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  • PRAF-SP: All For Brotherhood

    PRAF-SP: All For Brotherhood
    Written by Devvy-boy and Lord Pouchlaw

    Chapter One: Enough of the Darkness

    Planet Foresta; New Rootcore

    Being the only two that still called New Rootcore home, Deryk and David Lonewolf returned from a skirmish against the conquering forces of Scorpina with Starrock's team. Though David was still in high spirits, he was totally concerned about his brother, Deryk. Since Nick Kane's demise, Deryk has since been depressed, to the point where he was using each battle as a chance to satisfy a death wish. Even someone as bold as the Scarlet Contessa was getting tired of having to rescue the older twin whenever they shared a fight with the Boomer Twins. He was becoming too much of a liability, and even Yin-Yang was being ignored when trying to intervene!

    At least Deryk stopped dying his red hair black.

    After the severely depressed Lonewolf returned to their shared quarters, David slumped in a chair as he grimaced. Totally unlike David to not smile despite the low morale. "It's time to face the truth mates; Deryk is becoming too much of a liability in battle. Even Starrock says the bloke needs to get 'is act together, and for once Ah don't blame 'im for taking that stance."

    "Starrock is away at the moment, but he will be back," stated Benjamin as he leaned against one wall. "Times are certainly bleak. If only Nick hadn't... sorry, I know we're not supposed to talk about it."

    Kyr hummed, "I better check on Deryk, if the good Lord can give him enough willpower to survive." She then walked off. Even she can tell things were getting worse for Deryk. Even the Boomer Force's presence did nothing to make Deryk less depressed.

    "What's the point in not talking about Nick now, Benji?" said David, tired of having their former leader's name be taboo because of Deryk's ridiculously low morale. "Deryk loved Nick, and losing 'im was the breaking point, and everything 'umanly possible we done to 'elp Deryk get over 'im 'asn't worked." The younger twin remembered that there was a lot of losses in his brother's past, but he didn't want to lose Deryk. "Ah 'ad enough of seeing my brother like this, and we got to do something to get 'im out of this awful mood."

    At that moment, a familiar forest glider pulled up to a stop just outside and the hood enshrouded humanoid hopped off and entered the New Rootcore. Once inside, the entity lowered her hood to reveal Helga. "This has got to stop, guys. My mother is throwing a big party right now because she thinks the next fight she has with you guys will be the last one based on your performance today. And because this crap needs to stop, it is time to break one of my vows... And I hate breaking my word like this. Especially since I gave my word not to talk about it. And yes, it involves Nick." She then looked at David with a serious gaze. "I have some information concerning Nick. Do you want me to reveal it to the team or... in private?"

    Since Hector was training with Jakkin elsewhere (as was planned), David walked up to Helga. "Let's talk about this in private, sheila." He then looked to Benji, "Sorry about this mate, but Ah don't want to make spirits worse around here unnecessarily."

    Leaper then floated around Benjamin as David and Helga left the common room. "All this talk about Mr. Sad-boy is pretty boring. Wanna make some lion-roo joeys with me? Ah'm sure they'll look so kyoooooote!"

    "Nick would have bared his bottom for you, Leaper. But for me... please keep it in your pouch and your sheath... unless you just want to come with me and train in the treetops."

    Using a key he kept from Deryk, David unlocked the room his brother used to share with Nick and closed the door behind him. "Okay, 'elga. Deryk thought 'e lost the key to this room long ago, so he'll think that no one is in 'ere if we keep quiet. What is this information concerning Nick?"

    "I have two pieces of information regarding Nick and both are just as important," Helga said as she leaned against a crate and rubbed her not always apparent fattened tummy. "I am pregnant with Nick's child and..." she then stared directly into David's eyes. "...Nick is still alive, just off planet. He came to me late one night and begged me to sneak him off planet to another slaver world. But I wouldn't help him for free, I told him. I demanded that he make out with me or else I'd tell my mother that he was in the castle. He complied and a few hours later, I loaded his crate into a ship en route to the arid planet of New Britannia. It is a world populated by Rabbits and Kangaroos who are at war with each other. Deserts, swamps, and rocky canyons. Very little forests to speak of. Last I heard... they were trying to get a rebellion started but they lacked a leader. It was perfect for Nick since he had that experience as you well know. I haven't been in touch with him since he went there, but occasionally I hear generals speaking to my mother in heated tones regarding the rebellion on New Britannia. One phrase mentioned that bleeping dragon. And you can guess who that implies. I wanted to tell you guys the day he left, but he made me promise not to say a word unless the team were in dire straits. Well... you guys are in that situation now, wouldn't you say? Anyway, Nick doesn't know that I am pregnant. But it is his."

    David sighed. "If Deryk knew Nick was still alive on another world, he wouldn't 'ave been ready to off 'imself in battle. My brother would've done it without going in battle, and we're doing all we can to stop 'im from killing 'imself. 'Maybe Ah'll join 'im with Clipper in 'ell,' Ah remember 'im saying when 'is 'air was dyed black. 'e would be in for a major disappointment. Yas seen 'ow badly 'e acted around our former team, and it's only gotten worse since. And we all know no one but Sam can come back to life." Phoenix Rider.

    David sat on the bed and frowned. "Truth be told, before yas gave me this info, 'elga. Ah was going to go back to Australia on a bit of business. An elder power called the Arranger is down there granting wishes for Aussies. Ah was thinking of going back down under to make a wish that would 'elp 'im get over Nick, and still 'ave a part of 'im."

    With a sigh, Helga said, "Deryk is the main reason Nick jumped the ship, David. Remember all those failed training sessions or all those times my mom's troops caught Nick and either Benji, Hector, or Kyr off by themselves? And no sign of the Boomer Twins each and every time. Why? They were working out in New Rootcore. Nick was fed up with the lack of commitment that your brother had for team activities. And just because I haven't heard from Nick... I do have a way of contacting Clipper."

    She pulled out a necklace with a purplish crystal on it from her bosom and she activated it. "Clipper? This is Helga. Answer me and don't you dare say you can't hear me."

    "You are so lucky that 'you know who' left camp ten minutes ago with another rebellion strike force. What do you want?"

    "Dire straits, Clipper. I had to tell David the truth. Deryk almost died this afternoon and David is more than worried. They were all almost captured by my mom's latest army."

    A sigh is heard. "Okay, let me talk to David. For the record, David is the only one Nick actually likes of the twins because he has always been far more polite about situations and he didn't live with his head up Leaper's birthing track."

    David said, "Clipper, Ah'm sitting with 'elga, right now. Deryk is starting to become more of a burden in battle. 'e nearly got 'imself killed, and the army nearly gave the bloke what 'e wanted. Even Starrock's team is saying 'e's too much of a burden in battle. Ah was planning to go to a an elder power called the Arranger to make a wish that would make Deryk 'appy even without Nick in 'is life." He then took a deep breath. "If Nick is willing, Ah'd like to visit the bloke, and talk to 'im in person, before it's too late."

    "I can open a private portal for you, David. Tech transporters are monitored, but magical ones are able to sneak past the scope. There is one other thing you need to know, David... Since arriving here, Nick refrains from morphing unless his team is in the utmost of dangers. Which means, otherwise speaking, he almost never morphs anymore. I think Nick would permit your visiting as long as it was only you. When would you like me to open the portal? And please remember: the rebels here don't know you, so they might aim their weapons at you."

    David knows that he would have to do this alone; he and Deryk are inseparable (despite their occasional brotherly squabbles) but even if he didn't stay true to his word and had Deryk come with him, the elder twin would throw himself in the line of fire. "'ector is going to keep an eye on my brother tonight. When 'e returns in two Forestan 'ours, Ah will be available then. There will be no more battles tonight unless New Rootcore itself is attacked."

    "You may not be gone that long, David. There is an interesting time difference between Foresta and New Brittania. One hour Foresta time is four hours of New Brittania time. Also, the local weather here is not kind to foreign made materials unless the material is made from magic or local fibers. We learned this the first time we had to do a rebel run in the rain. Earth clothes were" he then made a whistle sound "totally gone. Only the morphers and rider tech are immune to this. We see generals wearing armor all the time. There is a local made clothing, but it is devoid of flashy colors. Nick commented once that it makes him look like Daniel Boone. But he was smiling as he said it. Whenever you are ready for me to open the portal, just give the word and we will get you over here. Nick will be glad to see you. Wait until you meet the local Rabbit Ranger and the local Kangaroo Rider both of whom often help Nick out during the rebel missions."

    For just a moment, David was back to his old smiling self. "Ah'd be delighted."

    End of Chapter One.

  • #2
    Chapter Two: Leaper's Delight (or Au Naturale)

    Once Hector and Jakkin were back at New Rootcore from their training as Ranger and Shadodrak partner, David briefed Hector about the earlier outing. "Please make sure Deryk eats at least ten spoonfuls of the vegan stir-fry. The bloke didn't eat any of 'is breakfast this morning."

    Jakkin looked a little sad about Deryk not doing too well, but kept his youthful innocence. "Deryk not happy like 'e used to be. Think Daddy and Jakkin can cheer Deryk up?"

    Hector rubbed the head-scales of Jakkin caringly, then said. "We'll try to get him to at least eat something. This is not like Deryk to be so down like this."

    David had a face of concern. "Ah know, mate. But we only remember the Deryk that is fun to fight alongside. From what Deryk told me of our past, 'e 'ad a lot of losses, and losing Nick was the worse thing that 'appened to 'im."

    Hector said, "What are you going to do with your break though?"

    "Ah'm thinking of taking up knitting," said David half-jokingly as he made his way toward the stairs. "Maybe make scarves to go with our cloaks."

    Hector chuckled a little as David started down the stairs. "Good luck with that."

    When David was in between flights of steps, he looked towards Leaper. "Yas might want to get in the Boomer Bracelet, mate."

    "Aww, and Ah wanted to yiff that scalie kyootie-pie, too!" Leaper sniffed before going into the Boomer Bracelet.

    "Keep it in yer pouch, Leaper!" The younger twin then took a deep breath, and focused. "Alright Clipper. Ah'm now ready, if yas wouldn't mind."

    The portal then fluctuated as it opened, indicating that some weather phenomena was occurring on New Britannia. The portal was diamond shaped instead of an oval like most portals. But the sounds from the other side were not that of rain; as David passed through to the other side, and thankfully he arrived within a pavilion tent, one of many, that was built within a cavern. Just outside of the mouth of the natural opening appeared what looked to be a massive dust storm. Visibility outside the cavern was nearly zero. There was a group of rabbit men and kangaroo men gathered over by a storage warehouse where cloaks and turbans were being removed and the dust carefully shaken off before hanging them up. And the person manning the warehouse was none other than Nick, although he had facial paint markings much like the rebels did. Nick was dressed in all natural tan and brown leather(?) and fur(?). Only through his Guardian Dragon morpher could one recognize him.

    Clipper hugged David gently when he arrived. "From the delay, I have to assume you had to make arrangements for the black cloud's well being. Nick and his rebel team just returned. This storm has been active for about an hour. At least with this going on, the Imperial Slavers won't be making any stupid maneuvers. Now remember: the rebels don't know you and I haven't had time to let Nick know you were coming. So be prepared for any understandable growling. He really doesn't like how..." he then whispered. "...Aquarian Force..." before continuing normally, "turned out. He thinks the team got used to being a normal ranger team and forgot what fighting for a cause was all about."

    "There is only so much we can do to keep 'im from doing things 'e'll end up regretting, Clipper," He then thought of something, and smiled as he mentally gave Leaper an instruction. Go say g'day to Nick, if yas please.

    Leaper emerged from the Boomer Bracelet, and floated past other people and made a 'leap' over Nick's head and gave him a deep kiss. "Finally Ah found yas, yas sexy bloke! Let's 'ave a night of orgy and get introductions over with that way!"

    David crouched down, and mentally said, Keep it in yer pouch, Leaper!

    All weapons from all over the cavern were immediately out and aimed directly at Leaper! Nick raised one hand and snapped his fingers. "Stand down, rebels. I know this yiffy little spirit. He is playful but he is the only one who keeps people back home on their toes. Otherwise, they would all likely be dead. And if Leaper is here... then..." he glanced over the throng of rebels toward Clipper's pavilion tent. "Ah... the twin I don't mind seeing. The one who has the decency to not fawn all over others in such a blatantly distasteful manner... unlike his twin brother."

    He then pulled out a treat from his belt pouch and stuffed it into Leaper's muzzle. BLECH! Nick forgot that he wasn't carrying the usual treats these days; it was the local variety of lizard jerky which even he had to get used to at first. But Nick was already headed over to greet David at the pavilion tent. "David! I never thought I would see you again!" He hugged the young man and looked him over. "If these clothes you have on get wet, you will lose them for sure. And then Leaper will get a free show... most certainly. What brings you to New Britannia?"

    He swallowed the jerky and turned green in disgust, but was grateful for treats that weren't tear-soaked, blessed with a prayer, or confused with Shadodrak food. "Bad taste, but Ah still love the way yas feed 'em to me, mate!"

    David smiled for a moment. "Ah came 'ere for the sights, the smells, the food..." That was when he frowned. "And the team is at its lowest morale yet. Even 'elga saw it. Otherwise, she wouldn't 'ave told me where yas were and contacted Clipper. Ah'm not 'ere to ask or beg yas to come back to Foresta, Nick; Ah would just like for yas to 'ear me out."

    Nick nodded his head as he sat down on a bedroll chair. "As you might have heard... my trademark accent has faded over time of being on this planet, but I can always get it back by visiting Australia back on Earth... if I ever get the time that is. Have a seat, David. I never meant to spend this long off world, but upon arriving here and I saw how bad off the people here were... and it reminded me of our days back on Desparia... only worse... I knew I had to help them get their rebellion back on their feet. Since I became their leader, we haven't lost a single rebel soldier. Not one. Occasionally I let Stellar have some play time... but usually only when things are at their worst for the new team. They are afraid of Stellar even though I keep telling them that I control him."

    Just then, a rather handsome rabbit male came in and sat down near Nick. He was holding a plate of fresh greens and carrots. "Help yourself, Nick. The newest batch from the gardens you helped us to get started."

    Nick smiled and ate one of the carrots, as he smiled and said, "Eh... what's up doc?" He then giggled as he offered some to David and Clipper. "David, this is my current right hand rabbit, Reyes Sven, otherwise known as the Red Starshine Ranger. His remaining team members are currently laid up in our medical tents after a near disasterous encounter with an Imperial Envoy. Say Reyes," pronounced as 'Rays' and 'Swen', "Any idea where Mackenzie, the Rocket Courier Rider, is? It isn't like that speed demon to miss a good meal like this."

    Reyes smiled. "He said he was going to try to" he coughed. "'acquire'" he paused again with a smile. "some Imperial Ale for us. You know how he gets when he gets an idea in his head."

    Nick looked to David again. "Okay, let's hear what you have on your mind, old chum."

    Looking directly into Nick's eyes, David said. "As much as yas would like to not 'ear about my love-sick brother - as yas known 'im to turn out. Deryk 'as been taken the 'loss' of yas worse. The team was led to believe that yas died, and that's what made 'im lose all 'ope for life. The bloke nearly tried to off 'imself a few times, be it at 'ome or by trying to go out in what most would think of as a blaze of glory. The bloke even dyed 'is 'air black for a month. And earlier today, the skirmish us Boomer Twins went on with Starrock's team was nearly 'is last. Ah know this can't go on, Nick. If the bloke keeps on going on like this or fall in battle in the mindset 'e is in, Scorpina will likely beat us, and overtake New Rootcore."

    David then said, "Only 'elga knows Ah'm 'ere, mate. Ah 'ave a plan which involves a trip to Earth, and seeing that yas are still living, mate... Ah'd like to reflect the idea off of yas. Something that might get Deryk back in fighting form, and stop the partying in Scorpina's lair."

    At that moment, black clad motorcycle pulled into the cavern from the dust storm and the rebels all ran and hopped over excitedly as the kangaroo rider began handing off small kegs of Imperial Ale. "The blokes never knew what 'it 'em, mates! They were distracted by the dust storm! Oy! Nick! Reyes! Delivery Roo came through!" And he hopped off the motorcycle and hopped over to the pavilion tent where he set two kegs down between those in the meeting. "Successful run... as usual." He was now looking at David. "Who's this furless bloke? Did yas catch a new enemy alive this time, mate?"

    Nick smirked as he opened one keg and sampled the ale. "Oh yeah... that's the real stuff. Thanks Mackenzie. And no, David is an old friend of mine from Foresta. He brought me knews from the front regarding Scorpina's idiot war. And sad news regarding Captain Lust For Brains. It is still surprising that he is a ranger since he can't focus on important tasks instead of people's butts. Namely mine. He needs a sheila."

    Mackenzie fuzzled David's hair with a grin, then he hopped over to a seat of his own and stole some of the food from the platter. "Yer welcome, Reyes." Munch munch munch.

    Nick shot a grin at David for all of a moment, then he got serious again. "If you came here to ask me to donate sperm to get Deryk knocked up, the answer is no. I won't do it and if I find out he is carrying any form of my child, I will attack Foresta and the bleeping Aquarian Force myself. Since you are a smart boy and I don't expect you to come all this way to ask me this, what's the real reason you came to talk to me?"

    Clipper hopes an explosion isn't about to happen.

    David said, "Ah know yas might say no to that, and Ah'm not angry. And the thought of seeing our father pregnant still grosses me out, but seeing the other ways to get Deryk out of 'is funk didn't work my options are running dry, there were no other options to explore. Ah thought that a Kane child would 'elp bring 'is 'ope back as well as bring a sense of closure that would bring back the Tao Ranger in full force. But if a donation isn't possible, what other choice is there, mate? All the things we've tried to boost morale 'as failed with 'im." He wondered if Deryk was the same way in their past before he remembered waking up naked in the Outback after a battle with one of the forces. Kangamancer? Sakar? It was virtually impossible for David to remember before then.

    He was quiet for a few moments as he ate some greens and carrots, and drank some Imperial Ale. Then he glanced at David once again and nodded his head. "I do have one idea. If fact, I considered doing it before I made the decision to go cool off after the last team fiasco on Foresta. The name of the idea is... Jacob Marley. I figured I would have to let Kyr in on the plan and then... she could fake a seance or something like that... to summon my spirit from the great beyond. Then with Clipper's magic, I would 'appear' like a ghost in front of Deryk and try to convince him that I cannot return from the great beyond until he got over his lust of me. It isn't love, David, and that is the huge problem. Keep in mind, if you will, there is and always has been a Nick Kane living with his parents near Blackall on Planet Earth. A lot of people seem to forget that I am not from any of the known Earths or Earth like worlds. Mainly because my Earth doesn't exist anymore. There used to be a Planet Earth in the PAWs Galaxy and it was destroyed by the forces of evil. It was on that world that I was first involved in the earliest version of Aquarian Force. We fought against the left over members of the Alliance of Evil. So you see, when it comes to my going home, I can't because I don't have a home anymore. My home is where ever I find people in need, like those here on New Britannia. So my current home is with them. If they weren't in such danger, I could return to Foresta without question. Without my conscience bothering me. But I have seen how these lapines and marsupials suffer. I can't turn my back on them now that I am involved. I don't have time for love lost depressions. That would get me killed for sure."

    Nick paused for a moment as he took another drink of the Ale... the alcohol was making him speak more than he normally would. Whether that was good or bad, who knew? "The only way I would ever agree to your idea, David, would be if your brother not only promised to get over his lust of me, but actually did it. Do you remember how many far sexier than me guys there are in the Aquarian Force? I caught myself one time asking Wendell if the Battle Cat Ranger would use his barbs on me. He slugged me for even suggesting it before reminding me that he likes girls. Those lion guys are hot dudes. I never asked Benji the question because he is mated to Isaac. Stellar wanted to mount Hector a few times. But good thing I prevented it. He can be worse than Leaper sometimes and that's saying something. I had to tell Stellar to keep it in his slit." He laughed as he took another drink. He was obviously getting very drunk. Something he almost never did back on Foresta. "My suggestion, Davey... is to go ashk the Earth verzzzun of me if he will knock yer bruther up. I bet he would hhhellllp without question. He always did like youus Boooomer Forzzzer goeys..."

    And at that point, both Reyes and Mackenzie reached out and caught Nick before he could hit the floor face first. Reyes smiled at David. "He always gets drunk when we have Imperial Ale. He will feel like Hell in the morning. It never has this affect on us locals. I guess it is because he is human, but I'd bet he would look good as a rabbit or a kangaroo."

    Mackenzie giggled. "Or even... blasphemy... a kangarabbit or a bunnyroo!" He started laughing at the idea. "Anyway, if yer brother wants to be knocked up, Ah can do it proxy for Nick and we could just say it was Nick's. Or Reyes 'ere... 'e is a fantastic actor. Clipper would cover Reyes with a magical illusion so 'e looks like Nicky and then yer brother could 'ave one night with 'e whom 'e does not really love."

    Reyes shook his head. "No, Mackenzie. I think Deryk would feel twice as bad if he thought he had a one night fling with Nick and got pregnant from it. He would always be reminded that he took advantage of Nick like a common villain. His lust is likely not so bad, but he went overboard with it because it got on Nick's nerves. However, the Jacob Marley idea... could work. Being ghost fucked by Nick with the same results, but again Nick has already declared that he would turn evil if Deryk got pregnant from him. And then we would never be able to trust him ourselves. So my pretending to be Nick for a single night... I could play the part of Nick's ghost easily. As you said, I am a great actor. But the child wouldn't be a pure human because of the union. I'm a Britannian Lapine with some interesting powers I don't use very often. The offspring would inherit those powers." He paused with a rabbit like smile. "And he might like them." He then grinned. "When would you like me to get your brother knocked up?"

    Humming, David remembered that his great uncle Deryk Devlin had a good rapport with Nick Kane. "Ah'm planning to 'ead to Earth for a bit. Try and do something without Dad and Father noticing. Last Ah was there, Father was pregnant with us; but our time as my brother 'as said before, 'as been gone when 'e altered the past. We are from a future where our parents died when we were barely just a year old. Nick knows this. But all of yas 'as brought me good options." He then looked to the Britannian lapine. "Ah know yas would be more than willing to do that, and Ah feel that Ah should think about it. Even Nick can make good suggestions when 'e's shitfaced drunk sometimes."

    Getting up from where he sat, he walked over, and gave Nick a kiss on the forehead. A form of thank you that wouldn't be given so lightly by the younger twin; bisexual that leans toward liking girls. "Ah should probably get back before Kyr starts praying for my protection. Ah'll give yas the word of what Ah find out. Tell Nick thank yas for the 'elp as well, and Ah might come back to talk to yas blokes, if Ah am welcomed back." Even he has his secrets from his own brother.

    Mackenzie smirked. "Eeyeah... Nick opens right up before 'e passes out drunk. We get a lot of good rebel plan strikes from 'im when 'e is all sauced up like this."

    Reyes got up and went to the rear of the cavern and when he returned, he was holding a box. "Please give this to your holy team member. It is a sacred relic of hope and faith from our world's religion. Nick when he saw it said that Kyr would love it. There is an icon of silver and a book in there. Also..." He handed the box over and then he pulled out a small vial of sticky white fluids. "...if all else fails, even though Nick said he wouldn't do it, he did provide a sample when he first met us. So if this Arranger needs a fresh sample, now you have it." He handed it over and sat down once again.

    The Courier Rider drank some more ale, wondering if that sample was the same one that both Reyes and he mixed their samples into at the same time to see if they were compatible with Nick.

    End of Chapter Two.


    • #3
      Chapter Three: The Lonewolf Hope Forgot

      Helga spent time bedside with Deryk while David was gone, trying to get anything out of him at all. "Look, I know you think you loved Nick a lot, but if he saw you like this, he might think it only appropriate. The Aquarian Force disappointed him before he le-, ahem, passed on." She almost said it and then Nick would be mad at her. But then again, her promise no longer applied since she told David the truth. "Deryk... I know a sure fire way to cheer you up. I might get killed later because of it, but..." She reached over and kissed Deryk on the mouth before whispering, "Nick isn't dead, Deryk."

      Looking the worse he ever looked, Deryk was quite desheveled, yet his hair was entirely back to being as red as it was before Nick left. However, he said. "No... the bloke is gone. Ah've seen the smokin' 'elmet."

      Yin-Yang floated to Helga's shoulder. "Ah can find it obvious that yas are telling the truth, sheila. But Deryk 'asn't listened to much reason since the day before the Boomer Force came for a month. Even Lari Kingston Knight of Adalia couldn't get some sense into the bloke." He remembered Deryk asking Lari if being a were-roo would make the pain go away, and getting a less than favorable answer.

      Kyr was making a long prayer on the other side of the room, hoping Deryk would snap out of it and get over Nick just enough to get the team back into shape. She didn't like seeing him all suicidal like this. She tried using her ruler against him on occasion, but he'd catch it, and find some solitude away from the religious lady. She didn't want to lose the elder Boomer Twin, either.

      Helga aloud said, "Okay, this is gone on far enough! I told Nick this wouldn't work in the long run before I helped him get off planet and helped to stage the smoking helmet so everyone, particularly my mother, would think he was dead! Kyr, Yin-Yang... I am pregnant with Nick's child. As you know, I am a Varg'rr; not a human. Therefore my gestation period has a 2 year run; not 9 months like human ladies have. Nick doesn't know that I'm pregnant and neither does my mother. She thinks that Nick is dead and she thinks I killed him. But the truth is... Nick sneaked into the castle one night and quietly asked me to help him get off planet so he could spend a few months cooling off and try to forget how shitty the Aquarian Force has become. He was particularly ticked off at Deryk for not showing up for a team outing, the one where it was only him, Benji, and Hector. And they faced off against my mother and her forces directly. They were almost captured that day. But where were the Boomer Twins and Kyr? Personal training at New Rootcore. I remember this because that's what you personally told Nick afterward and he felt like knocking your head off. He even had a truce talk with my mother about a week before he asked me for help to... disappear. Nick is very much alive albeit on one of the other slaver planets. I just don't know which one. All I do know is that I had to tell David the truth earlier and he requested permission to speak to Clipper."

      "And that's another thing everyone on this team always forgets," she continued. "Nick and Clipper are actually married. Nick told the team this way back on Desparia and he reminded us of this fact before the trip to Foresta. Nick is MARRIED, Deryk. He married a Devil Mouse which is NOT uncommon for those in the Outback. Roe, the old owner of the Boomer's Hole, is married to a Devil Mouse himself. So its common among the Outback males to resort to a marriage source which is not normal when they cannot find a decent girlfriend or human boyfriend. Nick and Clipper are married and they do sleep together. Get over it."

      Helga then turned to look at Kyr and Yin-Yang directly. "But I am not lying; Nick is very much alive right now... I just don't know which world he ended up on. He said it was only going to be for a few months before I smuggled him into supply crates en route to other slaver worlds. But aside from contact with Clipper which I have through a magic necklace, I don't know what world they are on. But apparently David convinced Clipper to permit him a visit to directly talk to Nick about Deryk's suicidal behavior. And that is the truth."

      Benjamin was at the door with Hector and Jakkin. "So that's what is really going on. When I joined Nick's team back on Desparia, I swore to him that I would always be there for him and I would always obey his orders. And I never faltered at anything he ever asked of me. I was loyal to the tee. I can understand his wanting time off from a team that was not working. Remember: Deryk originally forced Nick to allow him to join in the rebellion on Desparia. Nick never asked him to join at all; Deryk demanded it. The rest of us all asked Nick if we could help. Everyone except Deryk. He never asked; he just dived in and was helping without care. And now he wants to kill himself... without care. I have to wonder if Deryk is even as alive as he thinks he is. Maybe he and David switched places. David Seth is living and Deryk Lexington is being as moody as his father. Like father, like son. And don't you dare say you aren't doing exactly the same as your father would, either. You are being just like him. When you don't get your way, you get suicidal. If Nick is alive, then my allegiance is still to him; NOT to the Aquarian Force. To me, the Aquarian Force is actually Starrock's team; not us. We are the Rebellion. And if Nick wants the Adamantium Lion right now, I'd go and kiss his ass and call him my master. If it weren't for Nick, I would not be alive today. He rescued me from an executioners camp. I owe Nick my life. My soul. I will never make him sorry he saved me."

      "Nick wanted to leave the planet for a reason," said Hector gently. "We all were forgetting what we are, and Ah've been the only one aside from Benjamin that took our trainings and outings seriously. And Deryk, please stop trying to freeze out people trying to help you! You're the closest thing we have to a leader, and if you can't get your act together, then I've kept my belief of your redemption for no apparent reason."

      Deryk pounded his fist onto the table. He had a glare that made him look like the very spitting image of his father. "If that is what you think of me, when Ah 'ad nowhere else to go, then that is yer right. But if yas 'ave a problem with me, then yas should've told me from the get-go, and not keep it to yerselves until now! Yes, Ah made my mistakes, and Ah've made blunders, and Ah never learned 'ow. Yes, Ah'm not as 'appy-go-lucky as David is, and yas may 'ave not known about my 'alf-brother, but Ah'm not as curious as 'e was! Ah guess that doesn't matter anymore, since the bloke doesn't exist anymore! If yas don't want me to stick around, then go a'ead and say so! Ah'd be more than pleased to get out of yer sight." He left the room, and headed for some form of solitude.

      Kyr made a face of disgust, and pulled out her metal ruler. She smacked Benjamin with it a few times, and made a loud smack each time it hit. If Helga was truly pregnant, she wouldn't want to hurt her if she is with child. "Must. You. Both. Act. Like. Such. BULLIES. To. Deryk?!" She started panting. "You might have thought its for Deryk's own good, but don't you guys think you're making him want to off himself more?!"

      Jakkin hid in his human's sweatshirt, obviously afraid by all the arguments. "jakkin scared, daddy..."

      David walked in with the religious pendant in hand, and smiled. "Ah'm back from my outing and Ah got something that would make Kyr really..." He then looked around, and sensed the tension in the atmosphere. His smile turned into a frown. "Okay, something tells me that yas-know-what 'as 'it the fan."

      Helga turned to David. "I got tired of your brother's black cloud and I told everyone the truth. At first, he called me a liar. But then I revealed that I helped stage the smoking helmet to fool my mother into thinking that Nick was finally gone. I never said what world he went to, so Deryk is the only one who doesn't know that Nick is on New Britannia helping the rebellion there. Your brother stormed out of the room; I am surprised you didn't see him, unless he went to the city in the mountains to spend time at the monastery up there with our backup members. Another way you can learn that I am telling the truth is through these next two facts: Clipper cannot be killed and he would always be where Nick was. So when I said I had contact with Clipper, that was a sure fire indicator that Nick was still alive. And the second way is that if Nick did die, Stellar would be on the loose and he isn't. Remember: Stellar simply dwells within Nick's body; so if that body was indeed dead, then Stellar would have attacked my mother's castle instantly. And since that didn't happen, then Nick must be alive. He is a Guardian Dragon."

      Benjamin then said, "Like father, like son." He then glared at Kyr. "You need to get over yourself, Kyr. We are not in a time of peace here. What Deryk was doing cannot be tolerated. All this talk of Deryk having earned leadership of this team is a load of crock. The leading roster has always been as follows since the days of Desparia: Nick as the primary leader, Helga as the second in command, Myself and Hector joined at the same time and Nick treated us equally as third in commands, Kyr as fourth in command because you were the healer and religious icon, and Deryk dead last because he never politely asked if he could help Nick. But when David revived officially, the very first thing that David did that his brother could never bring himself to do was to politely ask Nick if he could help the team. He never demanded to join us; he asked. Nick regarded David as equal to Kyr in that regard alone, but his respect for David was growing day after day. Deryk never gained that respect because he kept thinking with his penis instead of being the team presence the rest of us had earned."

      Moz the shaman moose then entered the room with Deryk in one firm hand and carrying a mysterious long box in the other hand. Isaac stopped at the door politely. He was not a team member and had lately been living with Moz. "No more barking. We settle now." He placed Deryk on a hangar hook on one wall then he opened the mysterious long box to reveal a wicked looking ceremonial dagger of his people. "Life Blade. Hold much respect. No respect make others kill you. Die that way, join fire pit, no respect. But respect gained if kill self. With Life Blade. No more throw life at bad people. Use blade. Or not." He then removed Deryk from the wall hook and placed him in front of the blade for all to see. "If no can do, then no more sad cloud. You fake or use blade on self." He then stepped back to block the exit from the room. The implication was simple. Either use the honor blade to take your own life with your friends as witnesses or... reject the blade and recover entirely. Moz was being very serious about this. Like anyone, he has had enough. Either do it yourself or stop trying to get others to do it for you.

      Helga eyed Deryk for a moment. She knew how powerful Moz's grip was first hand. "I think it is a fine test. And very honorable." She then looked at David, "How did it go with your visit to Nick, David?"

      David whispered to Helga. "The booze at the bloke's location 'as loosened 'is lips a lot, and Ah can figure out a way to get Deryk to open up a little more, but it involves me going back to Earth, and hopefully Dad won't notice my presence there."

      Deryk stayed still for a moment. Deciding on what to do at this point. He remember what David was trying to tell him as the Boomer Force had left. "What is the point of being this way if yas refuse to 'ave the resolve to be better than this?" He took up the blade and raised it in the air.

      David glared when he saw Deryk grab up the blade. "Deryk! There should be no reason to kill yourself. We fight together, and yas saved me a few times. What use is killing yerself if yas leave yer twin without a brother. Snap out of this, Brother!"

      Deryk froze. He remember being happy that his brother was alive again, and helped them fight off Kangamancer and Sakar. He couldn't find himself able to follow through with the blade. He wondered what had led him so astray, aside from the fact that he was to blind to see his love for another as an infatuation that made him no better than Lexington when he was younger than him. He still had the blade pointed at his heart, yet he couldn't thrust it in, and sweat was starting to make his grip a little slippery. With a guttural cry, he threw the blade into one of the walls, and collapsed to the ground, tears flowing from his face.

      Moz nodded his great head with a knowing grin as he retrieved the blade and put it away. "We done. No more bark. You heal self. Team heal. Nick may-be... come back. But prove him you worth come back." He then left the chamber with Isaac in tow. What Moz just said for the more common speaking people was this: We are done, no more fighting. You will heal yourself and the team will also heal itself. But to get Nick to come back, the team has to prove that they are worthy of having him return. They had lost their focus in the weeks before Nick got tired of the shit that was going on and that is why he left. But he could return... IF they were worth it.

      Benjamin slowly turned to look at Kyr once again. Leave it to the moose to make things right in the team. He often pulled them out of their morasses when all seemed bleak indeed. "I... I apologize for my outburst, Kyr... and Deryk... Like Nick, I was tired of it only being Hector and me showing up for Nick's team outings and then we would have to try to save ourselves from Scorpina's forces. Maybe I shouldn't have said everything I said, but... some of it needed to be said. You have your uses, Deryk, but team leader you aren't. Not while you're like this. And for Kyr to say you are the leader in place of Nick wasn't appropriate. You wanted to lead too much and the old addage goes... he who doesn't want to lead makes for the best leader. And that isn't you because you wanted it too greatly."

      Helga hummed as she then went over and helped Deryk to his feet. "David, you go and conduct your 'mission'. The rest of us need to contact Starrock, his team, and the back up members. The only way we can prepare for the reunion with Nick is to finish my mother and her forces tonight. If we wait until tomorrow, she will attack New Rootcore and Aquaria East. By succeeding tonight, we will prove to Nick that we have learned our lessons and are ready to join him on... New Britannia. He is in a dire situation there, Deryk. The rebellion there has it worse than Desparia had been. And we cannot go there if you aren't in full form. So please... one last push against my mother. But it has to be tonight while they are too dispersed on wine and debauchery to know what is going on. Their guard is down, guys. Can we do this?"

      "Ah 'ave a lot to make up for," said Deryk while wiping the tears from his face, and looked to his KSP. "Even to yas, Yin-Yang. Ah was wrong to treat all of yas that way."

      Yin-Yang said, "The only way for me to forgive yas is to fight like yas did before all this roo-poo 'appened. Show the foes why the Tao Boomer Ranger shouldn't fool around!"

      David then placed a hand on Deryk's shoulder, and gave him a hug. "Ah'm going to 'ead to Earth on a mission." He said, putting his traveling cloak back on. "Ah'll try not to be too long; Ah'd like to see 'ow Scorpina would cower at the sight of the Boomer Twins fighting at full force once again!"

      "David..." muttered Deryk as he gave his brother a big hug. "Ah need to apologize for my be'avior to everyone, but for now, we need to get things started!"

      David smiled and hugged back. "Ah'll try my best to return as quickly as possible. The only explosions Ah want to see 'appen is the enemy forces being decimated." He then pulled his hood up and headed for the access portal to Earth.

      End of Chapter Three.


      • #4
        Chapter Four: Home on the Arranger.

        Planet Earth, Australia.

        Even though the Arranger left for Dreamwolf before the one week Boomer Force visit to Foresta, he still had his eye on the Outback, just in case. All had been very quiet; he knew the dragons were sneaking around; he knew the war factions were preparing for war; and he knew the Dreamtime was ill prepared for what was to come. But at least the Boomer Force were back in full form and making bad guys pay through their noses.

        Under his secured cloak, David was riding on his Boomer Cycle towards Kane Station. He knew that Earth didn't feel like their home anymore, but seeing as the Nick they've known had a lack of interest in helping David with giving hope to his brother he decided to see if the Nick Kane of Earth was willing to help Deryk recover further. We remember all our options, Leaper. Ah guess getting my brother pregnant now won't work unless 'e can learn from another how to not compromise 'imself like that.

        Aww... no being a boy-mom for Deryk? lamented Leaper. If that'd 'appen, Ah'd 'ave been more than willing to 'elp induce labor.

        Keep it in yer pouch, Leaper! came the common response for Leaper's gutter ramblings. Besides, Deryk isn't in a ready state to 'andle pregnancy. This plan is going to take some time. At least if we can convince Nick of Earth to 'elp Deryk see the error of 'is ways, maybe 'e wouldn't be so fool'ardy as to get into a black cloud like that. He then revved the motor. Ah see Kane Station on the 'orizon, mate. Please don't let this be a day to put a foot in my mouth.

        Earth-Nick was, once again as he often did, working on someone's vehicle. He was just good at this. Rusty, Drayce, and Lord Studpaw were keeping him company because this Kane was very well liked even though he was not a ranger nor a rider himself. Which was odd because every Nick across the worlds had access to transformation except for this one on Planet Earth. Why was that?

        Drayce sniffed the air and said, "Motorcycle approaching. Boomer unique variety. Oh boy... I smell Leaper."

        Rusty arched an eye as he looked at Studdy. "Smelling Leaper can only mean one thing, love."

        Studpaw smiled when he sniffed out the approaching cycle rider. "David is back on Earth? And without Deryk. Ah wonder what is going on for one twin to return while the other 'asn't?"

        Ah smell Lord Studpaw, and that kyoote Shadodrak partner of Rusty's. Man! This is going to be a good reunion for me!

        Stopping at the gate, David had Leaper revert back to his KSP form and go back into the Boomer Bracelet. Still kept cloaked while at the gate, David shouted out. "G'day mates? Mind if Ah come in and enjoy the delights of a former 'ome?"

        Nick called out, "Come on in, lost Boomer twin. Ah just about 'ave this vehicle repaired."

        Rusty smiled. "It is David. Ah wonder too what brought 'im to Earth and to the Kane station instead of to the Sidarius station."

        "Thank yas, Nick," said David as he loosened the hood, and lowered it back. "Ah thought Ah'd come 'ere first before Ah'd go and replenish the tofu supply that went bad." He looked a little stressed, but he smiled regardless. "'ow are yas doing bloke, and what 'as been the goings on since the last time Aquarian Force was in the Outback?"

        Floating once again out of the Boomer Bracelet, Leaper joined Studdy and Rusty both on the sidelines, talking to them pretty quietly. "David is on a personal mission, mates. And after the last time 'e was at Sidarius Station, both 'e and Deryk were nearly sick to their stomachs after seeing Lexie-roo boy-mom preggers." He giggled, then looked to Studdy. "And David isn't planning to check in on the family this trip; 'e's looking for some 'elp for his brother."

        Nick continued to work with a smile. "Yer father gave birth to twins and the Boomer Force spend three quarters of their time at Anti-Poacher 'eadquarters to escape from... changing diapers. But Ah am sure yas didn't come to talk about that. So why are yas really 'ere? Surely yas remember that Ah am not a 'ero like the rest of the blokes are around these parts. Ah'm just good old Nick Kane; mechanic; choir joey."

        David shuddered a little, and said with a smile. "Yas may not be a 'ero, mate, but if yas are willing, my brother could use a lesson in not letting 'is infatuations rule 'is emotions like it did recently." As he sat near Nick, he told him about what had happened since the Tao and Violet Boomers left initially, and how Deryk's actions helped to cause a Nick Kane of another world to fake his own death and go to another world (which made his smile turn into a frown. And how Deryk nearly got himself killed until Moz finally got him to stop the black cloud from growing.

        David took a deep breath, then sighed. "That black cloud made Joey's Black Cloud look like a sunny day in comparison. Ah know from my father's journal that 'e 'ad problems with infatuations at a younger age, but now that Deryk is starting to recover, Ah want to prevent it from 'appening again." He then told of his original plans, and the reason for the alteration. "Ah don't know what Ah'll do if Ah lose my brother to a black cloud like this, Nick. The bloke is family, yas know."

        "If Ah was the other Nick, Ah don't think Ah would 'ave run away like that. If Ah 'ad dragon powers, Ah probably would 'ave snicked out my claws and just cleaved my point into yer brother's 'ead. But Ah'm not powered. So my stance must reflect the righteous path and the course of the church, for now. If the Lord wanted me to be a Ranger or a Rider, it would 'ave 'appened by now. Ah would be glad to 'elp, but Ah need to get my father's permission first. The Kanes do what is right... most of the time." And he cleans his hands and heads toward the house to ask for permission.

        When he returns, he has on his brown leather coat and a cowboy hat. "Okay, mate. Ah 'ave permission now. Ah even packed up a fresh supply of steel rulers for yer friend Kyr." He winked with a grin.

        Shaking out of his head an immoral thought of seeing the Earthian Nick in that cowboy hat and nothing else (Roolock would be proud), David said. "And Ah still 'ave that pendant from New Britannia to give 'er, so this would make it more like Christmas for 'er." He winked.

        From Leaper's standpoint, the KSP grinned. "Tut tut. Naughty thoughts like that can get a bloke in trouble... and make me real proud of my 'uman."

        Studdy grinned. "So David is thinking about Nick in a naughty way, eh?"

        "But David didn't want to think of it. The bloke like sheilas more than blokes. Yucky! But 'e did learn 'ow Rabbits can multiply." the YRO KSP winked. "Deryk is the bloke that really likes the fellas, despite the attitude of a eunuch before leaving the Boomer Force."

        "Ah thought the bloke was mission-bound," inquired the Kangaroo Lord.

        "Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, mate."

        End of Chapter Four.


        • #5
          Chapter Five: Castle Bowling Night.

          Planet Foresta, New Rootcore.

          Upon returning to Rootcore, David and the Earthian Nick Kane got to see the entire Aquarian Force together preparing for the night strike. Even the back up members were there. David found himself in a furry hug getting a lapine kiss on the muzzle. "Good to see you made it back in time, handsome."

          Most of the talking came to a stop when they noticed the younger looking Earthian Nick Kane standing there next to David.

          David smiled his classic Aussie smile towards Rudella, then noticed the silence. "Ah asked the Nick Kane from Earth to join us to 'elp a certain bloke. 'e may be a choir joey with no powers, but the bloke is willing to 'elp with the battle." He left out that they talked about a lot of stuff on the journey back.

          Kyr hummed, and thought of switching David with a ruler if Deryk relapsed.

          Deryk looked at Nick and looked as if he was a puppy between his legs. The elder twin still looked disheveled but a very tiny spark of survival was brought back in his eyes. He knew it was not the Nick he helped to drive away but a Nick that helped him fix the good Professor's old motorcycle when he was using it as transport.

          Sam, whom was now a Forestan Phoenix after unlocking his Redemption form, tilted his head quizzically while conversing with Davyd Starrock. "Isn't that the definition of making things worse, Starrock?"

          Starrock replied, "In a manner of speaking... perhaps. But I can see David's goal in bringing this Nick here now. This joey is an expert mechanic. He has always been a good friend to the Boomer Rangers."

          Earthian Nick went over to Kyr and revealed his gift he brought for her. Brand spanking new extra-strength steel rulers. Guaranteed not to bend. hehe. He then went over to where Deryk was standing and said, "Ah've 'eard yas needed a pick me upper. David thought bringing me 'ere would 'elp yas in some small way. Ah got permission before Ah came so 'ere Ah am." He gave Deryk a hug.

          A hug was given back to Nick, albeit hesitantly. Though Deryk knew this was a different Nick, it was obvious that he still feels remorse for the way he's been acting. "A-ah... guess... that'll be... okay." He never was hugged like that before when he used to have conversations with the Earthian Nick when he was part of the Boomer Force. And it felt different than the hugs the older Nick gave.

          Mike said in her conversation with Erica, Kyr, Godyva, and Helga, "The younger Nick looks cute hugging Deryk like that."

          Erica countered, "But during a pivotal moment, we need the Tao Boomer to fight at full force, not become self-destructive again."

          Helga replied, "I've been in contact with Clipper again. As an incentive to prove to our Nick that we are not a lost cause, Clipper will magically arrange a view projector 'movie' for the Rebellion members on New Britannia. It would motivate their morale something fierce if they saw another rebel force on another world taking out one of the prime evils. However, this 'movie' night has another purpose regarding our Nick. He will be watching to see if we are worth forgiving to give us another chance to work with him. There is a clothing problem on the other world, but Clipper got Nick to agree that if the team proved itself tonight... he would forgive us and provide us with local clothes for New Britannia. BUT... he followed that up by saying that if he noticed Deryk looking gloomy or fighting at less than half strength, he would simply stop watching the 'movie'. So that is the catch. Deryk has to fight at full strength because it is for a good cause this time. Nick and his new friends will be watching. So let's not blow this. The only help I can give you guys is a secret way into the castle; after that, I have to be out patrolling the forest on my Forest Glider. My mother would fight at double strength if she saw me teamed up with the good guys. So do whatever you have to do to take her down."

          Earthian Nick said, "Deryk... would yas rather Ah went back 'ome and worked on people's vehicles? David really thought my being 'ere would 'elp. Ah know yas are 'aving a problem with yer Nick, but if yas want yer Nick to see that yer worth it, then yas are gonna 'ave to win tonight. And yas can't do that if yer mopy."

          Wendell held aloft his magic sword and said, "For the Freedom! Of Trolla!" And magically he transformed into his armored form of the Battle Cat Ranger. "Okay, best to do that here so the bad guys don't hear me on site." He shot a grin at Benjamin. "Do I get to see the Adamantium Lion?"

          Benjamin chuckled. "Yes, and not in the nude either." And he activated his transformation changing himself into the Adamantium Lion Ranger.

          Starrock then said, "I need to know up front who is going to be leading Aquarian Force West during this mission. As you know, I lead the East Coast team so I'll be leading my guy and gals to victory."

          "Please stay," Deryk said to the Earthian Nick. "Ah'd rather not let my brother down by turning yas away, or going back to what Ah was." He then looked to Starrock, slapping his Boomer Bracelet, and becoming the Tao Boomer Ranger, with the warrior's stature that hasn't been seen in months. "Though Kyr thought of me as a good leader without Nick and put a lot of faith in me when Ah 'ad the blackest of clouds 'anging over my 'ead... Ah think 'ector will make a better leader."

          Hector paled. "Me? W-why?"

          David grinned to the Green Diamond, as he slapped his Boomer Bracelet to become the Violet Boomer Ranger, Kangaroo Order shield and all. "That sounds like a reasonable choice to me. Yas were one of the few that kept a level 'ead, and participated in battles with Nick. You've improved a lot with training where we were complacent." He then said, "Not to mention, the KSPs and Jakkin are well taken care of because of yas."

          Jakkin nodnodded his muzzle. "Daddy make great leader!"

          Starrock smiled as he morphed into the Sunshine Music Master Ranger. "My band will be on standby. They won't key up any battle music until I give them the signal. Going in, we have to be sneaky and that means silence. No music. Deryk, our Nick will be watching this strike. There is a lot riding on this. Are you up for this? Clipper convinced Nick to watch so he can discern whether to forgive the team or not, but in truth, it is all riding on you and how well you perform tonight. One black cloud moment and its all over. So are you sure you are ready for this?"

          Deryk hummed, as he kept a respectable space between him and the Earthian Nick. "Ah may be 'ungry, in need of some tea, and depraved beyond compare. But Ah've been through this before. Ah'll make sure that they 'aven't forget 'ow battle-seasoned the Tao Boomer Ranger is."

          David sheepishly said. "There's no need to rush into battle, Deryk. Ah also got the tofu to replace the stock that went bad." He held up the bag. "And Kyr, this is what two of Nick's new friends gave to me when Mr. Wild Oats got drunk beyond belief." He dangled the pendant in front of her.

          Kyr was amazed and held the pendant in her hands. "This is beautiful! If all of New Britannia is naturally as beautiful as this, I should fight harder than I have been as well!"

          Helga said, "Okay, teams... suit up and follow me. And remember... keep quiet until you are in a fight. Otherwise, this will truly be the end of the Aquarian Force."

          The individual team members all morphed and transformed with their trademark sequences which were all their own, and then they followed Helga (who was flying her Forest Glider slowly and silently) as she led them to a cavern entrance located just under the castle drawbridge. Helga had claimed the chambers under the castle for her own private lair and garage without her mother knowing about it. This explained how she was often able to sneak out of the castle so often... or to sneak people in, as was such the case that night. She quietly gave them instructions for navigating the corridors and tips on how to avoid the guards. But she did warn them... once they started a fight, the battle would be on. The troops in the castle were experts so avoiding them until the team was ready was the only way to do this. She then departed.

          The two teams made their way up through the corridors, silently taking out any lone guards they found and avoiding large groups of guards for the moment. Nick Kane of Earth came in handy at a mechanical device that locked a door leading out into the main chambers of the castle, for he expertly cracked the lock within a few minutes, by the grace of God (Kyr LOVED that!) Once through the door, Nick was advised to stay out of the fight directly so the villains could not use him to gain the upper hand in the fight to come. There was really bad music coming from the grand hall where the party was occurring and that was their cue to crash the gate and announce themselves. Needless to say, Scorpina was shocked that all of the Aquarian Force teams chose that night to bring the final battle to her own throne room.

          Starrock gave his band the signal to play the battle music and then the fighting commenced in horrendous explosions and powerful booms which shook the entire castle. Nick had a cord strung across the entrance to the throne room so when any new soldiers surged in to help their queen, they tripped and fell on the floor, sliding across the room where easy strikes upon them were made. Starrock and the Boomer Twins managed to corner Scorpina and were in battle with her while the rest of the teams threw generals out of windows or in some cases, through the walls. In battle jokes were made simply to keep their spirits on high and the enemy troops were becoming fewer and fewer until finally, it was the final showdown between Deryk and Scorpina; Starrock only thought it to be appropriate to permit Deryk the opportunity to deliver the final strikes against this evil villain who had caused much suffering on Planet Foresta for many years.

          Scorpina fell although when she tried to pull a fast one, Deryk was right on top of her as he mercilessly chopped her hand that held the remote off of her arm. The queen of evil activated a self destruct button with her free hand and then a race to flee the castle was on. Grabbing Nick over once shoulder, the Battle Cat Ranger bounded forth with the throng of the teams following close behind. They barely managed to get clear of the fortress when the entire mountain exploded multiple times sending debris high into the atmosphere and chunks rained down across the planet for hours afterward. On Planet New Britannia, seeing the prime evil destroyed and the villains castle explode caused the rebels there to cheer and celebrate themselves. Stellar Nick nodded his head with the start of a brief smile. "They did it, Clipper."

          End of Chapter Five.


          • #6
            Chapter Six: Foresta Free at Last.

            Planet Foresta, New Rootcore.

            The next morning, Helga held the communication crystal in plain view as she spoke to Clipper. "I am glad the rebels got the show they really deserved to see, Clipper. And how is Nick faring?"

            Clipper's reply was, "Nick is having the local clothes made for any team members who want to come to New Britannia. He was very impressed by Deryk's finally acting like he should and he said there was hope for this Deryk... and when I asked him what he meant by that statement, he said, it is better to tell everyone at once so I don't have to repeat myself. At any rate, a victory dinner is being prepared for the Aquarian Force here at the Rebellion Caverns. Reyes and Mackenzie can't wait to meet you guys. Mackenzie fetched more Imperial Ale just for the party. Reyes is busy making sure his teammates will be well enough to attend the party. I am sure the local kings will want to congratulate you guys but whenever you are ready to come and join Nick and me, just give the word."

            Helga smiled as she glanced at the other rangers and riders. "You heard him, guys. Nick is willing to forgive and he is waiting for us."

            Earth-Nick was sitting at a table having a small meal. He felt good that he was able to help out. Although his thoughts kept drifting back to what Studpaw and Rusty had said about how every Nick across every Earth like world had access to morphing and transformation. All of them except him. Now he was wondering why he was excluded. But he never stopped smiling since he felt good about their win.

            Deryk was the reluctant one. He was still eating a lot of Tofu Scramble trying to get his full strength back after overtaxing himself with his Battlizer, but the only people he had comfort in talking to (with more than just a monosyllable) was Earth-Nick, his twin, and Yin-Yang. "Good," said the elder twin in between bites. It's going to take time to apologize to the others after being such an ass to them. He held out his plate to David. "More please."

            "Be careful with the soy, Brother," said David as he took his brother's plate to refill it, adding pieces of fruit and some vegan bread to go with it. "Overdoing it can do more 'arm than good."

            Hector was feeding Jakkin and the KSPs, making sure he didn't mistakenly give Shadodrak food to the Kangaroo Spirits, and not the special kind of treats to Yin-Yang. One Yiffy Roo is enough for the group.

            Kyr started her morning prayers after hearing the good news, thankful for Nick's forgiveness. She was wearing the pendant along with her other religious pendant.

            Benjamin was looking contemplative over something but like anyone else, he didn't want to ruin the moment for the others. That something concerned his mate... or rather more to the truth, former mate. Isaac and Moz were not only living together but Isaac was learning the trade from the moose as well. And Benjamin could see that it was love and not just a student-teacher relationship.

            Starrock then came in and he said, "Well, it was great to work with you guys to get rid of Scorpina but... this is where East and West part our separate ways once again. I spoke to my team and they want to help the Forestans to restore the tech level of the planet. Although... the back up team still need to decide what they want to do."

            Rudella smiled as she went over and hugged David. "I would like to accompany this Boomer Twin on his journey. What of you, Sam?"

            Sam just wanted to keep his beak clean now he was redeemed of his Earthian sins. "I am of Foresta now, Rudella. I cannot leave easily when I feel the need to ponder all the wonders of this world for a couple millennia or so. As much as I would like to explore another world, I am linked to this world." He then looked to Starrock. "If you ever need assistance, you can count on the Phoenix Rider to purify evil with the flames of redemption." He winked, which looked a little odd with a big phoenix beak covering most of his face.

            Erica hummed. "I agree with Davyd, here. I am still interested in keeping my music career going, and all the young children listening to me sing to them with wonder in their eyes... I just can't let them down."

            Mike said, as she nudged the R&B singer with her elbow. "We are still staying, Erica."

            Helga walked over to Starrock and said, "As much as this may disappoint the rest of my team, I cannot go to New Britannia with them. And I have a good reason, in fact. Several if you want the truth. The main one is this... I am pregnant. And I wouldn't want my child to grow up in such danger as the Rebellion is often in. He will be a Varg'rr like myself. And he will have some awesome powers. The Rabbits and Roos on New Britannia are prey animal types and they might become a meal for a hungry Varg'rr. So for the concern of my child, we must remain here. But that is only one reason; the other is this... even though you guys defeated my mother and the troops you found there, that was in no way all of them. From your report, several of the generals were not at the party. Therefore, it would be for the best if I remained here to assist Starrock and the others just in case the generals made their appearance once again. With the castle gone, I will reside here at New Rootcore to protect the magical shortcut between here and Earth."

            Benjamin sighed. "So we're losing the most powerful woman in the universe... but for a reason I can understand. Take good care of Isaac for me, Helga; he won't be coming with us. He and Moz... well, he is apprenticed to Moz and he needs to continue his lessons with his... mate..." He then shut up because he didn't want to talk about it anymore.

            Starrock raised an eye brow. "I am now wondering how many of you are actually going to go join Nick on New Britannia. I know Benjamin is going without Isaac; Helga isn't going because she is pregnant; Rudella and Grant the Tekno Knight are both going; Sam is staying here; but what about Kyr, Hector, and the Boomer Twins? Are we about to see your classic rebellion break up now that everything has been ironed out? And David... you are responsible for getting the young Nick back to Earth. He only had permission to come cheer up an old friend. He surely cannot go to the next world with you guys."

            Godyva smiled as she walked over and struck a pose. "Starrock, I have decided to take Helga's place on New Britannia. As you know, I am the biggest boobs in the universe and not afraid to show it. I have done bull fighting in the nude before back in Spain. I am sure the locals on New Britannia would love to see a woman with oomph and flare for a change."

            Olympia said, "I promised the Zodiac Command on the Libra Continent that I would help them get their college re-established. Then later... there are some ruins I would love to pilfer through..."

            Wendell was quiet for a moment, "Hmm... Sam can be my replacement on the team. I must go where the battles are. But if you ever needed us again, we could return. So I am coming with you, Benjamin. You guys might need the Eternal Battle Cat Ranger and his magic of Trolla."

            Starrock patted Wendell on the shoulder. "I am sure Nick will put your battle skills to good use. I may be losing the biggest boobs and the battle cat but hey, I'm getting the phoenix and the Varg'rr."

            Earth-Nick came over at that point and he shook Starrock's hand. "Since Ah 'ave to go back to Earth... Ah just want to say, Ah often 'ear yer band and Erica's music on the radio back 'ome. It was a pleasure to get to meet yas mates and sheilas in person. Don't ever stop pumping out the music, yas guys. Some times on a lone afternoon when Ah am repairing... someone's... vehicle... seems Ah am always doing that. But as Ah was saying, it is good to 'ear yer music as it 'elps to pass the time for me. Um... yeah." He was rather flustered at that point.

            "Do you play any instruments, Nick?"

            "Well... Ah do 'ave an old beat up guitar in the closet that Ah sometimes mess with but Ah'm a choir joey; Ah can sing good."

            "As you know, I am the Sunshine Music Master but I wasn't the only Music Master to exist. There used to be three others before they surrendered their morphers and chose to go follow their music careers. An old beat up guitar will never cut it, Nick. So..." He gave the signal and his booking agent, Mary Ann, came in with a black guitar case and she handed it over to Nick. "...I will front you a new guitar and you can pay me back by someday getting a song on top of the charts back home. Can you do that for me? Star*Rock cannot exist without good competition. Erica is good for up front music duals but it would be nice for someone I know back on Earth to find his own personal crescendo. Anyway, this Red Stratocaster Guitar is now yours, Nick. I've included a song book of different styles so you can develop yourself your own way."

            Nick took the guitar case with a smile. "Thank yas, Starrock. Ah'll do my best not to let yas and Erica down." He then went back over to stand near the magical shortcut teleporter the team often used to go to Earth. "Ah never expected to receive a gift like this. Thanks again, mates." But was a guitar and a music book the only things in that guitar case? Only the Music Master knew for sure.

            David had frowned; As much as he enjoyed being around Rudella, he didn't like seeing Benjamin sad like that. Those sorts of feelings started to confuse him, making him more like his brother. "Ah'm going to New Britannia as soon as Ah drop off Nick. those blokes are fun to get along with once yas get to know 'em." He then said to the Earthian Nick. "Whenever yas ready to 'ead back, Ah'll take yas, mate."

            Deryk said, "My 'ome is where my friends and brother is. Ah 'ate to go, but there is more things to do in New Britannia." Including making his apologies. He is going to have a hard time doing so, especially to the apology that mattered the most.

            Hector hummed, and conversed with Jakkin. "We're going to have to stay in Foresta for the time being. Jakkin and I have a lot of training to do before we can join Nick and the others. Even though you guys considered me a leader in Nick's stead, I am still one of the weakest Rangers in the group. When I am ready, I will come join you." Besides, everyone knows that the scaled species is what matters the most to Hector Anthony.

            "We're going to miss you, Hector," said Kyr, not having to use any of her rulers once on him. "I'll be going to New Britannia with the others. It's worth it seeing that there is a religious following there."

            Helga was now counting heads. "Let's see here... Nick's team will include Benjamin, Kyr, the Boomer Twins, Rudella, Grant, Wendell, and Godyva. And Starrock gets the rest. Seems about equal since Starrock also has Prince Silvergaze on their team."

            End of Chapter Six.


            • #7
              Chapter Seven: Just a Choir Joey.

              Planet Earth, Kane Station.

              Rusty, Studpaw, and Drayce were lounging in the hayloft when Drayce perked up his head and said, "I smell Leaper again. And Nick. Nick is home."

              Rusty smiled. "David must be bringing Nick back to us finally. Ah 'ope things went well on Foresta. Although... Nick 'as not been very 'appy lately. Don't ask 'ow Ah know... Ah just do."

              Studpaw nodded. "Not even Zander can get it out of 'im, and Zander is the closest friend 'e 'as aside from..." He then realized something about the David bringing Nick back. "We'll discuss this later, Rusty. When Leaper is not within earshot."

              The Violet Boomer Cycle arrived at the Kane station and Nick got off and grabbed his new guitar case in hand. "Thanks, David. Ah 'ope yer brother's spirits gets back up to where they were."

              David smiled. "Well, the bloke should be on the right track, but the 'ardest part for 'im once 'e gets to New Britannia will be to apologize to the Nick 'e was infatuated over." He was still deep in his mind, thinking a little about Benjamin and Rudella. "'ope Ah can see yas again, whenever we run out of vegan food. Ah still dunno why Deryk likes that stuff." With a friendly wave goodbye, David turned around and rode the Boomer Cycle into the horizon.

              "'ow was the outing?" asked Studpaw as he hopped up to Nick, sniffing at the Guitar case.

              "Ah did a good job," replied Nick. "and THE Davyd Starrock gave me a new guitar and a songbook, too! Though Ah really missed yas guys a lot!"

              As David's cycle disappeared in the horizon, another was coming at the station from different direction (not seen or sensed by Leaper) is a black and white Boomer Cycle with a hooded figure smelling as if he was around Atlanteans.

              Rusty arched an eye. "Say Drayce... correct me if Ah am wrong, but David Sidarius just rode off to the South on 'is Violet Boomer Cycle, and 'is brother Deryk is on Foresta... so who is this other Boomer Cycle just now arriving? As far as Ah can recall, Ah thought Deryk was the only one who 'ad a White Boomer Cycle."

              Drayce perked his head toward the sky and back at the arriving Boomer Cycle. "Strange... I am getting two Deryk readings and two David readings. I don't get it."

              Nick couldn't hear what Rusty and Drayce were saying in the loft as the Boomer Cycle approached. "Um, Studpaw... 'ow many White Boomer Cycles do yas know of? Ah just saw David and Deryk on Foresta."

              Studpaw then said, before the Tao Boomer Cycle was within earshot of the station. "Ah sensed that David is not of this Dreamtrail Sector Earth. He could be from another version of the Earth we know in the same sector, but something is strange about the ones in Aquarian Force. Ah just can't put my paw on it. Ah'll 'ave to find Lord Kiel later, and see if 'e can 'elp with this conundrum" He looked from the other direction, and used his lordly powers to check this Deryk Sidarius heading from Atlantis. "This one is from our Earth, and 'as been living at Atlantis." He then thought. If Ah remember right, this Deryk 'as been getting quite unassertive around Nick lately...

              Yin-Yang said mentally to Deryk Sidarius during the ride, Remember not to scare 'im off... If yas find it too 'ard, no one can blame yas for being too bashful.

              That Deryk replied. David's dating that shark lady. Ah dunno what they see in each other, but even talking to Zander about it makes me feel lonely. If Ah freeze up like last time, Ah don't know if Ah can say that to 'im.

              Just give it some time.

              Nick whispered to Studpaw, "Regardless of who the David is who brought me 'ome, mate... Ah like the bloke a lot. 'e was a perfect 'ost while Ah was up there."

              Then he watched the Boomer Cycle arrive at the station. Nick put on his classy Aussie smile and said, "Ah just got 'ome from an outing to see a sick friend but if yas need me to fix yer bike, just give me a moment to put away my new guitar and get into my work clothes and Ah'll be right with yas." He will wait to see if its a bike repair on the Boomer's mind, because he knows that Boomer Cycles are actually the KSPs and fixing a KSP might be big fun -- IN BED! Woo Hoo, Leaper!

              Deryk let out a nervous sigh, as he saw Nick go into the house. He was shaking like a dried leaf! Yin-Yang reverted back to his KSP form, and hovered over to Studpaw, and confided to him, "Ah've talked 'im out of going 'full blast' infatuation on Nick, and take baby steps. Now 'e's gotten too nervous."

              Studdy nodded his muzzle, this time realizing that this Deryk listened more to Yin-Yang than the other had. "No wonder the bloke is so bashful; 'e likes Nick." Studdy then said. "'ow long 'ave yas blokes stayed with the Atlanteans?"

              "For a couple years now, trying to keep out of history's way as far as family is concerned," said Yin-Yang. "Deryk and David agreed not to break off ties with friends so readily by leaving Earth, but we've been keeping this a secret from the other Boomers and their Parents." He then confirmed that David has been dating a nurse shark that was interested in him.

              Nick emerged in his casual work clothes as he walked out and stood next to Studpaw. "So... are yas needing a bike fixed or does Yin-Yang need something on 'im repaired in a slurpy nice way?" He winked at the KSP.

              "This isn't about business, as much as Ah would like it to be," said the nineteen year-old Deryk nervously, with his hands twisting each other out of anxiety. "It's just that... Ah..." He was starting to blush. "Ah'll still respect yas if yas say 'no...'" Then the sweat came like bullets. "Wouldyasliketo...?" Deryk closed his eyes tight, freezing up before he could ask Nick if he would like to go out with him sometime. "Wouldyasliketogooutwithmesometime?" Then everything was silent. He held his breath, prepared to hear any answer as time seemingly stood still for him.

              For a ranger that fought a reckless battle against Sakar without abandon, this son of a Lonewolf was quite a nervous wreck when it comes to asking one simple question of a person that interests him.

              Yin-Yang looked slightly unamused; first for Nick's wanting to 'fix' him in a 'slurpy nice way', and second for Deryk being too much of a nervous wreck. but at least he got something out this time. But why didn't he at least separate his words? The nerve-wreck that was his human partner was the major part of his bemusement. Yin-Yang mentally said to Studpaw. At least Deryk didn't jump the gun and profess his undying love for Nick. That would've been WAY too much.

              It wasn't two seconds before Nick replied. "No. Ah cannot for two reasons. First of all, until Ah know who the Boomer Twins are that Ah just spent 36 'ours with on Planet Foresta... then 'ow am Ah to know that it is really me yas like and not the other Nick Kane; the Stellar Dragon Guardian who visited the Boomer Force with 'is team during the Outback Rescue days. That David was my escort to and from Foresta just moments before yas arrived. And that David is dating a pretty lapine kamen rider lady. And the Deryk who Ah went to cheer up 'ad a black cloud over 'im far worse than Joey's black cloud. And second of all, yas are afraid of my father, Alexander Kane. Yas know... the minister? Yas would 'ave to ask 'im for permission to date me. And Ah can warn yas now... when it comes to human-human relationships... 'e wants male-female because it is the will of God. And that scares yas which is why yas are afraid to speak to 'im. Good old Nick is a choir joey and a mechanic. Don't get me wrong; my father has no qualms about human-other_species relationships as long as the son is the man of the family and the other species is the woman figure. Although 'e 'as made exceptions for the Dreamtimers because there are so few sheilas in the Dreamtime and a Lord must settle with who they can get. That's why Studpaw and Rusty are over 'ere so often. My father permits them to be and they are keeping me company so Ah'm not lonely. And now yas show up and ask me to date yas. If yas 'adn't run away way back before going to Atlantis, yas could 'ave 'ad a chance then. But back then, Ah was seeing an Aussie Joey and an Aussie flyer, literally, and neither had sex on their minds. And not once did yas ever come to me and say yas were interested in me. Not even a letter or a note or a mop-'aired courier roo who Ah don't mind colliding with, especially when he smells 'orny."

              Nick had to sit down after ranting like that. "Yas... Ah... apologize for that outburst. But yas cannot just show up and ask a question like that after being gone for so long. Time waits for no man nor roo. And when yas left, and yas never said any time yas were 'ere that yas liked me, Ah did what anyone would. Ah moved on. Since there is no vehicle to work on, Ah'm going to get back into my good clothes and take my new guitar up the loft. Davyd Starrock gave me a brand new guitar and a songbook as a gift. And Ah owe it to 'im to practice with it." He got up and said, "Yas can stick around, if yas want. My father is in the living room reading the paper." And then he went back inside the house himself to get changed and to grab his new guitar case.

              Rusty whispered to Drayce, "Nick really blew up for a moment. Ah've not seen something like that since Cary pitched a tantrum in the old days."

              The White Shadodrak merely nodded his head quietly.

              Deryk collapsed after his knees buckled. He took the 'no' like a man, relieved it was all over. Yin-Yang floated over and said, "It's my fault for not teaching yas sooner, mate," said Yin-Yang, "But at least yas 'ave yer answer. Maybe it would've been 'andled better."

              Deryk said shakily, as he pulled up the hood of his cloak. "It's not entirely yer fault, Yin-Yang. Ah 'andled it badly, but at least it gave me a good lesson to learn. 'ard, but a lesson it was." He looked to Studpaw, as if he was trying to hold back the true emotion. "Let the bloke know Ah won't ask 'im again, but Ah still would like to be 'is friend."

              "Ah'll speak to 'im when 'e calms down," said Studpaw, seeing how Deryk is upset "but Nick is right; yas didn't visit 'im often enough. What's done is done. But if yas want to visit again, it would be better to ask first. If the bloke needs another friend, 'e may be more accepting if yas weren't even a nervous wreck."

              Deryk said as he mulled over what Nick has said, "If the bloke doesn't want to, that's fine. Ah can't act like Leaper when it comes to other blokes." He was trying to take the rejection with grace. "Maybe David and Ah should spend some time in America. Not too many blokes know us there, and it would be wrong of us not to visit the States once. It's where our parents came from, after all."

              "Yas can leave, and prove to Nick yas can't improve like the beliefs about the Lonewolf clan, or... if yas want to make more friends without breaking some bonds," said Studpaw as he hopped towards Deryk, and placed a paw on the red hair. "Kingston Knight lives in another town and probably would like to 'elp teach yas 'ow to be a friend if yas gave 'im a chance. Yas know 'ow to fight, teach others 'ow to fight, and be friendly to yer former teammates. But being a friend outside of the team is one of yer weakest points, but that can change; all yas need to do is to make that change." He then gave the former Boomer Ranger some advice. "Just because yas want to let history take its course with the Boomers and yer family, doesn't mean yas and David 'ave to be in self-exile. Think about it. Australia's only a courier roo away." He then left Deryk to Yin-Yang, as headed to join Rusty and Drayce.

              Yin-Yang said quietly, sensing his partner's sadness over his first rejection. "If yas want, we can go get a juice popsicle treat from the Quicky Koala before we 'ead back to Atlantis."

              "Y-yeah..." His voice was breaking, but he will apologize, and get over the pain.

              End of Chapter Seven.


              • #8
                Chapter Eight: Dinner With The Rebellion.

                Planet New Britannia, Rebellion Caverns.

                The Rebels didn't fool around with arranging an all out dinner for the Aquarian Force who would be arriving. When Clipper opened the portal for the others and they began coming through, the one who got the most attention was Kyrsten because she was the holy one. The second best attention getter because he made the killing strike was Deryk. David was given hugs and smiles because the rebels remembered his prior visit and he was a nice guy to have around. When Rudella came through, she got the official greeting from Mackenzie since he was the local Kamen Rider. Wendell and Godyva were shown some great attention; Wendell because he was the only one with a magic sword and Godyva because she used a whip better than the Imperials and she wasn't afraid of talking about her boobs in battle. Knight (Grant Emberheart) was given about as equal a greeting as David, since he seemed to be a nice guy too.

                'Nick' greeted his comrades and escorted them over to the main dinner area. And as the throng of the crowd went that way the quiet settled into the vacated spot where... Benjamin Twayn had been overlooked. Not one of those gathered spoke to him nor shook his hand. He also didn't feel quite right about things, so... he waited for the others to drift over to the bonfire in the central cavern, then he slowly and quietly departed the cavern and stepped outside. He was kind of disappointed in the landscape; it reminded him of the Sahara Desert, at least in this area. And then he went to the side and found himself a quiet spot half hidden by dry bushes where he sat down and looked at the night sky. By himself. No one will even know I'm gone. They certainly didn't treat me as great as the others. But in Scorpina's battle... I was in my lion form. And they aren't seeing that now. I wonder if defecting to the side of Evil is permitted for someone like me?

                Spiritklaw mentally replied, Those in Lion Valley honor your victory, Benjamin. Shame not yourself for feeling left out. Sides are not always what they seem. Someday, you will know what I mean.

                Back inside at the dinner, the partying was escalating quickly. There was local music, dancing, and passes being made at both women. Along with the occasional sounds of a ruler in use.

                Nick chuckled as he watched Kyrsten bean Mackenzie for even suggesting getting hot and heavy with the Sunrise Tiger. "I can't believe he went that far, mates. I know better."

                Godyva was seen necking with the rabbits and roos. She apparently knew how to party. And Wendell was getting drunk FAST!

                Rudella refused to drink the Imperial Ale because she claimed that she was allergic to it. A bald faced lie; she KNEW what that stuff could do to people who weren't expecting it.

                David refrained from drinking more than a sip. He found out that stuff packs a wallop, not to mention its unpleasant taste. Deryk however (after apologizing to 'Nick'), downed a whole bottle, and was feeling the worst in being tipsy. He kissed Mackenzie deeply in his drunken state, and started to rant afterwards. "Oh... My 'alf brother Devlin kissed me like that once. Even showed me 'is scepter, thinking Ah'd 'ave the same curiosity as 'e did after 'e found out my father slept with my Uncle Deryk. Ah kept on telling 'im no each weekend, and the stupid bloke didn't come naked to my room again after Ah punched 'im in the nuts. Uncle Deryk said 'e is my older brother, but 'e was just as pervy as Leaper! Oh my goodness Ah didn't like 'im, and he was NEVER a replacement for David! No sir!"

                Several minutes later, Nick secretly did a head count of those who had arrived for the dinner and for some reason... he thought someone was missing but he didn't know who. So he pulled Mackenzie off to a private side and whispered to him, "I think someone is missing, old friend. Tell me who all arrived through Clipper's portal."

                The Kangaroo Rider quietly replied, "Kyr, Godyva, Rudella... that is the three ladies; the twins, one of which yas can't stand even though yas forgave 'im; Wendell, Knight, and that one guy yas never told us the name of. Yeah, Ah think that's the list of who came through. Three girls and five boys."

                "There is a boy missing;" he said in quieted reply. "All of the males and Godyva are drunk off their ass, while Rudella and Kyr won't touch the ale at all. Makes me wonder how we are going to get them drunk. We need them to get drunk so they will spill any secrets they have. I'll ask Reyes for help against the ladies; you try to find that missing guy."

                Mackenzie was starting to suspect that there was something wrong with Nick tonight. But he wisely went and asked Kyr to help him locate their missing teammate who wasn't at the dinner. The two of them exited the cavern and soon located Benjamin off by himself in a nice and quiet location with a nice view of the open stars. Once they were seated together, the roo said, "Yer friend Nick noticed yas weren't at the dinner."

                Benjamin turned to look at Mackenzie and Kyr, then he quietly replied a revelation that no one should have known at all. "Mackenzie... Kyr... whoever that is in there... he isn't the Nick who rescued me from the executioners axe back in Desparia. Clipper told us recently that Nick lost his accent when he set foot on your world. But back on Desparia, Nick personally told me one night that his accent was permanent and could never be lost unless affected by powerful Dreamtime magic. I haven't heard you rebels mention Dreamtime even once the whole time we've been here. Therefore, that Nick who is in there right now is a fake. And I am not on his side at all. I know my Nick and that isn't it."

                The roo turned to look at Kyr. "Is 'e right?"

                Kyr nodded, "The real Nick would never treat Deryk like trash in the manner I've heard from Mr. Sven. Whoever this person is, he's NOT the Nick that Deryk shared tents with to do blasphemous things back in Desparian. The Real Nick woudn't dare try to make a pass at me, because he knows that I'd smack him with the ruler."

                "I knew I wasn't wrong if Kyr would agree with me," said the lonely young man as he suddenly reached out and hugged the both of them. "This guy has to know where the real Nick is and until we can get that part out of him, he is all we have."

                Mackenzie then hugged Benji in return. "The big problem is that this bloke 'as been leading the rebellion 'ere. If we raise any doubts about 'im without proof, the rebels will aim their weapons at us. The best thing to do is give it time and 'ope 'e messes up eventually. No mortal is perfect, right sheila?" he asked looking at Kyr once again.

                "Hope can take on many forms, Mackenzie," nodded Kyr, as she was brief in her hug with the Roo, unlike Deryk when he kissed Mackenzie. "All we have to do is have a little faith that our hopes in finding the true Nick can come true. Let us pray on this. Pray to the Lord of us all." Mind the reference.

                End of Chapter Eight.
                End of PRAF-SP: All For Brotherhood