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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

888 - MMPR: The Eighth Coin (2012 Final Cut) - Part 4


Disclaimer: The author of this document would like to clarify that Power Rangers and its characters is owned by Saban Brands and not the author.


Angel Grove Tavern
Present Day

She arrived at the city of Angel Grove, on business that she has no idea of the peculiars – only that it had something to do with the strange coin that was hanging from her neck. A coin that had been given to her three years ago by a strange woman claiming to be from another planet. A coin with strange powers that she had only recently begin to discover. She had made a quick run of the city before stopping by a tavern for coffee and conversing with the bartender Anthony, who brought her up to speed on the strange happenings of the city. Putting all that aside, she, herself, had travelled the world, a roaming vagabond of sorts embarking on adventures that would be deemed as outlandish as the tales spun in fiction.

And yet for all the strange adventures that she had experienced in her life, this might have been the most outlandish of all.

Standing before her were the heroes of the city, the protectors of the planet that had been the stuff of legends and conversation for the past two years. Gillian could sense an aura of power and authority emanating from these people and just from a casual glance in their direction, she recognized that none of these people were pushovers. They were possessors of great power and were great champions against the dark forces they fight against. They were the defenders of this city against those who would push their evil foils against the world. Although she didn't show, she was almost impressed by what she felt from their presence in the room.

But despite all that, she thought, they're still people.

The bartender, Anthony, hid behind the bar in fear of what might actually happen here. All this time he had been in service, he never had an incident. A few bar fights, sure. Possibly a couple more after the alcohol ban came into affect. But never something that would involve the gosh-darned Power Rangers.

Gillian, on the other hand, didn't so much as flinch from her seat and never bothered to give the Rangers more than a passing glance, preferring to keep her eyes on the still-warm cup of coffee that sat in front of her. Even as the Rangers slowly entered the bar and approached her, Gillian ignored their advances, taking casual sips of coffee. Her face bore no emotion or sign of interest or attention in the new arrivals.

"So, you're these Power Rangers I keep hearing about," she said, her tone disinterested at best. "Forgive me if I don't seem impressed."

The Rangers looked among themselves as this girl addressed them, not believing the tone and tact that she was pulling on them.

"That's right," White Ranger replied as he would to any other threat. "And whatever you're up, we're here to stop you!"

Gillian thought for a moment and smiled. The smile soon turned into an amused laugh. She couldn't help but laugh uncontrollably, which got the Rangers grimacing in embarrassment. "Stop me? From doing what?" She winced in realization, her amused mood not spoiled. "Oh, I get it. You like to eavesdrop on other people's conversations and you overheard that I go adventuring for a living. So you came to stop me from drinking the dreaded coffee of doom." She paused to drink up the last bit of coffee remaining in her cup, somehow able to consume the steaming hot substance without flinching in pain once. "Well, you're too late," she crackled mockingly. "I drank all of it and now I'm going to rule the world... or something."

Behind the counter, Anthony the bartender slowly stood up, covering his mouth with his hand to conceal the bursts of chuckles that he had succumbed to as a result of that last quip.

"I don't think so," White Ranger said, thankful that the helmet was hiding his blushing face. "There's no way we'll let Rita and Zedd take over."

Gillian let out an annoyed grunt and rolled her eyes in response. "Oh, for crying out loud, please tell me you're not all delusional morons with one-track minds under those things."

The Rangers looked at each other in bewilderment, their masks concealing their presumably reddened faces. "So, you're not working for Lord Zedd?"

"Who the hell's Lord Zedd?" she cried, more agitated than angry.

Before any of the Rangers could answer, Anthony spoke out. "He's the weird alien guy who lives on the moon. Wants to take over the world, sends monsters to destroy the Rangers," He pointed at the Rangers as he spoke, "But that ends up never happening."

Gillian looked at Anthony incredulously, then glanced at the Rangers for what seemed like an eternity  before turning back to Anthony. "Can I have more coffee please?"

The Rangers watched as the bartender, with a genuinely comfortable smile, quickly swiped the mug to the sink and produced another clean coffee mug. They watched as he began to pour the freshly-brewed coffee into the mug, added a slip of sugar, and placed the mug on the bar. The entire time they watched this scene, they were almost amazed that the bartender was all smiles and showing no signs of being under duress. They then turned their attention to Gillian as she took a quick sip from the mug, nodding her approval.

"That's excellent stuff, Anthony." she said, placing the mug back on the surface before turning to the other Rangers. "Is there a reason why you people are loitering and not ordering anything? Or is it just a policy you have to pester every out-of-towner that shows up?"

Tommy groaned in response, rolling his eyes behind the opaque mask. All the time he's been a Ranger, he never had to put up with such snark from anybody. Before he could stumble out a response, Blue Ranger stepped forward to address Gillian. "Do you know anything about the coin you're wearing?"

The coin? she thought to herself. Is that what they're here for?

"Actually, now that you mention it, I have an idea," she spoke calmly, "From what little I'm told and from what little I've learned, this is supposed to be the mythical Eighth Coin that's apparently in high demand for some strange reason." She toyed with the coin hanging from her neck for a bit before facing the Rangers. "Personally, I don't know why they call it the Eighth Coin, but that's what this is."

"It's because there are eight coins," Black Ranger replied, "We have six of those coins, the seventh is lost in the past, and then there's your coin, which is the eighth." He then just noticed the (masked) surprised stares of his teammates. "What? She asked. I replied."

Gillian nodded in agreement. "And it explains a lot too. Thanks."

The Black Ranger returned the nod and was about to add to the conversation, but the White Ranger pushed him aside to face the coinbearer.

"Hand it over, then!" he commanded, a hint of authority dominating his tone. "It doesn't belong to you!"

Gillian let out an annoyed sigh. "Really? You want to do this?"

Her query was answered in the form of the White Ranger taking a step forward and readied for the inevitable battle. Shaking her head to compound her growing annoyance, Gillian gingerly extended her right fist and opened it. A beam of blue energy shot from her palm and blasted the White Ranger in the chest, pushing him back. The others rushed towards the leader to check on him, who slowly got back on his feet. The White Ranger tried again and dashed at Gillian, but Gillian simply backhanded him on the side of the head, causing the Ranger to tumble over and crash through a nearby table. The table shattered on impact and White Ranger hit the floor hard, half-buried in wood and debris. The other Rangers started forward, but stopped when Gillian raised a finger and pointed towards their fallen leader. Neither side made a move for a solid minute.

"Just so you know, I've had this coin longer than you people have been jumping around in spandex," Gillian said bluntly, "And even if this coin didn't belong to me, I sure as hell know it doesn't belong to you clowns either."

Gillian looked at the one table that was destroyed and sighed. She half-stood on one leg and reached for something in her pocket. Believing that she might be pulling out a weapon, the remaining Rangers summoned their own Power Weapons and went into their standard poses. To their amazement and disbelief, Gillian did not pull out a weapon, but rather a sizable summon of hundred dollar bills. She rolled several bills and wrapped a rubber band around it, but before she could do anything with it, she noticed the armed Rangers.

"It's just money, kids," Gillian mused, placing the roll in front of Anthony, himself motionless at the action that has transpired. "I was going to pay poor Anthony over there for the coffee and the damage you caused."

"What?!" Red Ranger spouted, "You're the one who smashed him through the table!"

Gillian smiled and raised an accusing finger at the Rangers. "And it wouldn't have happened if you had waited until I was finished with my coffee and we could have met in a rock quarry or something, where nothing was in harm's way. It's not that hard a concept to grasp, guys. I've shed a little blood all my life, but I'm not THAT reckless either."

Aside from the roll of hundred dollar bills, she also pulled out a single five-dollar bill and held it for Anthony. "Sorry for all the trouble here."

Anthony smiled as he took the bill. "Forget it, kid. Believe me when I tell you that I've seen many bar fights trash up the place a lot worse than today."

"But a bar fight with the Power Rangers?" he said with a hint of glee in his voice and a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon. "That's something I will keep with me forever."

As Anthony blissfully made his way to the back door, Gillian finally stood from her stool and walked towards the exit, pushing the various Rangers aside. Before she went any further, she stopped and took a quick stroll towards the White Ranger, who was still lying on his back with pieces of table over him. She dropped to one knee and slowly moved closer to the fallen Ranger's head.

"Despite what you're thinking in that hard head of yours, Oliver, I'm not here to get into trouble," Gillian whispered in the Ranger's ear, "But the last thing you'd want to do is piss me off. Next time we meet, I won't be as considerate."

Gillian slowly stood and pushed the Rangers aside to walk out the door. As White Ranger slowly regained his bearings (and his composure) to slowly get to his feet, Red Ranger quickly made a dash out the door to chase after Gillian. But when he stepped out of the tavern, the streets were empty. He had a quick glance around the street just as the other Rangers joined him, but there was no sign of the girl.

No sign of the Eighth Coin.

"Gone," he said, "Like she was never here."

-o-

From the balcony of his lunar command chamber, Lord Zedd had witnessed the events that had occurred. He had gotten a good look at the human female who took down the White Ranger with a single blow. There was almost a glint in Zedd's masked eye as he saw this mere slip of a girl easily take down someone that none of his forces were able to suppress... but then he had gotten sa close look at the coin around her neck. Red energy was practically bleeding from his vision beam and when he turned away, his visor continued to bleed energy. Goldar had never seen Zedd like this before, possibly because he had never seen Zedd this anxious.

Zedd stomped towards the winged titan, his body glowing red brighter than before. "Goldar, I want that accursed coin. And I want it NOW!"

Goldar trembled as Zedd stormed out of the chamber of command. He had been accustomed to Zedd in anger, but he hadn't expected Zedd to lash out the way he did. It took a moment for Goldar to regain his composure and stared at the emerald planet outside the balcony of the palace. Letting out a silent growl, Goldar shook his head lightly.

-o-

The teens had reconvened at the Angel Grove Youth Center, where they were enjoying some snacks... or at least trying to. Even after some time having passed, the first disastrous encounter with the coin bearer was still fresh in the group's minds.

"Well, that went well," Rocky quibbled as he took a bite out of Ernie's Pita. "Any other bright ideas, Tommy?"

Billy nodded in agreement. He took a quick sip of his smoothie before he said, "I must admit that was fairly uncharacteristic of you, Tommy. We have no information regarding the identity or intentions of this girl and yet you decide to immediately pursue an aggressive stance towards her?"

Tommy shook his head. "I'm still wrapping my head around it. Maybe it's just past experience, but the minute that someone shows up with a new coin, chances are they're on the wrong side of things."

"If I recall correctly, the last time that happened he was under a spell," Billy mused, "But things worked out alright."

Aisha raised a finger. "But that's the thing. She doesn't look like the kind of person who's under a typical spell. If anything, I think she genuinely doesn't care what happens."

Tommy stiffened a bit. "Could be a cover story. For all we know, she could willingly be an agent of evil. Zordon told us to be careful with this girl. She's capable of anything."

"He also told us not to provoke her, Tommy," Kim stated bluntly, "And bullying her to give away the coin was a little harsh."

Tommy stammered. "Yeah, but-"

"To be fair, she seemed sincere in her ignorance of Lord Zedd," Billy added, "Which eliminates the possibility that she could be one of his minions."

"Not to mention she hasn't done anything remotely evil outside of knocking you through a table," Adam concurred, "And she did pay for the damage caused by our little intervention."

Tommy slumped further down on his chair. It was clear that he wasn't going to win this argument. And in hindsight, his attitude towards the coinbearer probably instigated her reaction more than anything. But as he was about to take another sip of juice, he froze for a moment, his mind wandering back to that encounter, back to the words whispered by the girl in his ear.

"I'm not here to cause any trouble, Oliver. But the last thing you'd want to do is piss me off."

"She knows who we are," Tommy blurted suddenly.

Kim's eyebrow raised. "What?"

"She knows our identities," he repeated, "She called me by my name, not my title."

"How can that be?" Aisha asked, the shock evident in her tone of voice. "She's only been here a short time. We never even met her. How could she know who we are?"

Billy thought about it for a moment. "It is possible that she was able to obtain this information through possession of the eighth coin. Since the coins are in close proximity, she may have access to the other coins in a way we haven't thought possible." His eyes widened as a sudden realization hit him. "That could also possibly explain the bouts of frequency interference that we've been suffering recently."

Adam frowned. "This can't be good news."

Before another word could spoke, the familiar tone chimed from the communicators. Almost instinctively, the six Rangers got up from their table and went to their hiding place in the Youth Center, checking to see if anyone was around before teleporting. However, for the first time in a while, their spot was filled with people occupying their lockers, prompting Tommy to mouth a profanity without actually saying it.

"You know, I could be wrong," Adam said, "But I think this is the first time this ever happened to us."

"Well, it is a locker room," added Aisha, almost sounding amused. "It was bound to happen."

"We'll have to find another way out," Tommy said, almost dejectedly. "Let's go."

The Rangers turned away from the locals and walked out of the Youth Center through the main exit. They rushed to a spot behind the building, which seemed to be devoid of life. After confirming that the coast was clear, Tommy raised his wrist communicator before him. Before he could respond, a brief yet powerful quake caught the Rangers off-guard. From the distance, they could see massive explosions of buildings being destroyed. Emerging from the massive layers of smoke was a familiar giant in gold armor.

"Goldar," Tommy spat, clutching his fists together. "Just what we don't need."

"This is the third time today!" Rocky observed, "What's going on here all of a sudden?"

"R--ge-s," Alpha's voice sizzled through the communicators, "Gol-o-'s on the lo-se."

Billy tried to adjust his communicator a bit, but to no avail. "The communication signal's being jammed - possibly due to the interference I just mentioned - but I don't think teleportation is being affected."

"That can't be too good," observed Kim, "What else could go wrong?"

"We'll worry about that later," Tommy nodded, "Right now, let's get to the Command Center and find out what's going on..."

To be continued...

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