((I still owe a couple of 101010 headshots and stuff - I was delayed since my laptop died for a few days - but first I’ve just rediscovered this little gem from my NaNo novel and felt it best to share immediately. This was written at the behest of Ame after she, Alex, and I watched the Power Rangers movie together (along with certain other unmentionable horrors). It was done mostly at the Black Sheep and entirely in a state of desperation and little to no awareness of what I was actually writing, so let’s all just keep that in mind. Cameo by espourtoe.))
It was a quiet and overcast morning in the town of Amherst, the sort to inspire a vague sense of melancholy in any sensible young man. It was therefore with an appropriate lack of vigor that one Alex Chautin dragged himself along the sidewalk and through the doors of a certain café. “One small coffee, please,” he rasped in the general direction of the counter.
Fortunately, a familiar smile greeted him as he shuffled zombielike to the coffee counter. “Hello, Alex!” she exclaimed with commendable cheer.
Just to be greeted by such a charming pink – haired lady would surely be enough to brighten the morning of anyone with even the smallest soul. Alex did not have one of these, but he smiled back anyway. “Hey, Caity. How’s work today?”
“Oh, you know.” Caity launched into a series of expressive emotes that would move any interpretive dancer to tears, describing a morning of immensely snobbish private school parents and horrifically bro – ish athletes. “The usual.”
Alex finished adding a sickeningly minimal amount of milk and sugar to his coffee and took a long swig with hardly a flicker of distaste, causing everyone around him to wonder whether he could truly be considered human. “Fair enough.”
Just then, a piercing cry in the distance interrupted their riveting conversation. “What was that?!” the very cute and in reality quite human redhead (who probably does have a soul and I apologize for insinuating otherwise) gasped.
“It sounds like someone’s in trouble!” Caity leaped voraciously over the counter, completing about six and a half flips in the air before landing in an action – y pose next to her equally prepared friend. They quickly formulated a plan of action via a complicated language of posturing and holding up their fists, and then sprang into action and out the door.
“Hi guys!” The voice responsible for the cry rang out loudly from across the street. Our heroes squinted, and then gave a simultaneous sigh of relief.
“Oh, it’s just Steven.”
The gallant young man in question crabwalked across the street and drew Alex and Caity into his arms for a big hug. “Good morning babies! I just wanted to see how you two were doing.”
“We’re fine!” they assured him. Thumbs up and high fives were had all round. They were about to bring it in with a big group laugh at nothing before the ending credits when Steven suddenly slapped his fist against his hand in a moment of recollection.
“Oh, that’s right! And Jenny said to send you guys over if I saw you. Apparently she and Liz have been abducted!”
“What?!” At this Alex and Caity resumed leaping into action. It was Monday morning, and the girls were presumably heading to their Japanese class right about now; the two heroes therefore sprinted, rolled, and of course backflipped their way toward the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. If you’re wondering why I wrote the entire name of the school out, well, I’m certain there’s no reason in particular. Moving on, the two rescuers soon saw Herter Hall rising up before them, like a stack of concrete blocks arranged in no special order by an easily distracted child who was also a fan of leaky roofs and weird graffiti.
The branches of the trees outside the building were scattered like they would be if there had been some sort of freakish October snowstorm ravaging the area not long before, and the ever – present line at the Herter café was staring outside in awe. Caity and Alex were about to venture inside and demand to know what had happened, but then they spotted That Guy standing inside, just waiting for the opportunity to explain things to them at length and offer related stories from his life and general knowledge base. Instead they looked around a little more and saw a trail of huge blue globs of goo leading toward the library.
If you didn’t know, the Du Bois library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is in fact the tallest in the United States of America. Caity and Alex marveled at this little factoid as they ran toward the towering red – brick structure and felt the previously gentle wind grow harsher and more ominous as they closed the distance between themselves and the building. It was a sort of wind tunnel effect, but there was no time for a proper explanation. In fact, the duo felt facts of this sort beginning to dissolve from their memory completely as they gazed up at the building in increasing distress. They caught a glimpse of a blue streak rapidly ascending the outside of the building, and heard a corresponding pair of unhappy cries.
“Liz!” Caity shouted.
“Jenny!” Alex shouted also, in unison with the previously mentioned shout.
“We have to transform and save them, come on! It’s magical morphin’ time!” Whipping a rather oversized ring off of her finger and holding it aloft, Caity held her pose for a moment and then waggled her eyebrows pointedly at Alex, who sighed and followed suit a bit less enthusiastically. He wasn’t a big fan of this part.
“Whale!” Caity called out, rising into the air. Waves seemed to swirl around her and wash her clothes away to quickly be replaced by a glowing sheen of light; bubbles appeared to rise up to the surface of the glow and pop before dissolving into shapes that resolved into a uniform that retained a bit of the gentle luminosity as most of the light faded. She landed lightly with one arm above her head and the other out to the side as one more wave of light formed a helmet that vaguely resembled a cute and smiling whale with fins protruding from each side, whose mouth made up an opaque white visor that shielded her eyes from view. “I am the Opal Ranger!” she declared as a final spray of shimmering water burst up behind her, and she held the pose expectantly as Alex checked to make sure she was quite finished, then straightened himself up.
“Dragon!” he yelled, a bit dutifully. As he was borne upward, colorful flames appeared to rise up around his body, lighting his clothes on fire in a color that settled itself into a shade of slightly pink – tinted violet. As the flames cooled, the color melted around his body like lava and hardened into a uniform to match the Opal Ranger’s. He took a pose that mirrored hers too as a last twist of fire curled around his head to solidify into the shape of a dragon’s – head helmet. “And I am the Heliotrope Ranger!”
They stepped forward together and pointed up at the distant blur climbing the library. “And you will not get away!”
It paused briefly and growled at them, a sound that sent a tremor through both Rangers. But the creature was already out of reach, and quickly approaching the roof.
Seeing no other option, the pair raced into the library and toward the elevators, only to witness a group of bumbling villains destroying them while bantering away. With no time to spare for their shenanigans, despite both Rangers normally being fans of this particular form of comical escapade, they turned instead toward the stairs. Now, the Du Bois library being, as previously mentioned, the tallest library in the United States, there were a great many stairs leading up its whopping twenty – six stories (and I do not use that adjective lightly).
Fortunately, the Opal Ranger and the Heliotrope Ranger had tricks of their own.
These mostly consisted of backflips. The duo commenced with their improbable ascent, leaping up entire flights while whirling through the air and springing impressively from one jump into the next. As they climbed in this manner, they were alarmed to be confronted by angry roars as the doors to the next several floors burst open and they were greeted by small but angry wolves of various unlikely colorations.
The Heliotrope Ranger cleared the way with a spinning kick, and the Opal Ranger took out the next wave by placating them with warm milk and other beverages which she had apparently brought with her from work. Though they clamored for more, she refused them a taste of the most delicious beverage of all, because wolves probably do not respond well to chocolate and at any rate she was saving it for Jenny because she is a human being who is undoubtedly and literally without flaws (the Opal Ranger, that is).
Despite their skills in quick ascension of obstacles such as stairs, between the fighting and the flipping both heroes were becoming worn out as they faced down the final few flights, and the last leg of their ascent more closely resembled a particularly unsuccessful QWOP session than a triumphant duo’s race toward glory. Luckily, by way of the mercy of the plot and its noble writer, and with a little boost from the caffeine they’d both partaken of not long ago, when they burst through the final set of doors and onto the roof of the library they appeared completely energized and struck a few more action poses to emphasize the point.
“Where are you? Show yourself!” the Opal Ranger shouted, gesticulating furiously (this was partly for dramatic effect, and partly as an effort to keep her rather minute frame steady on the extremely windy surface of the top of the library).
“We want our girlfriends back! Come out and fight!” the Heliotrope Ranger added, fists at the ready and hair even more tousled than usual.
“Wowza bowza,” a deep and metallic yet disconcertingly goofy voice rumbled. “You sure got some pipes on ya! Maybe it’s time to take a chill pill, if ya know what I mean!”
The Opal Ranger and the Heliotrope Ranger exchanged horrified glances. It couldn’t be. Surely this was a reference too horrible for even this author to make. But few understand the desperation of a National Novel Writing Month novelist whose word count is almost hopelessly behind, and the author happened at this moment to be in that very position.
The mechanized beast that had kidnapped the two Rangers’ respective girlfriends rose up to greet them, and just as they had feared, it was a giant robot in the form of Rikki Tikki Tavi, or at least the bizarre blue creature which apparently went by that name. It crawled onto the rooftop and stood ridiculously on two feet; Liz and Jenny were trapped in a cage – like compartment on its belly; both appeared to have given up on their dramatic cries for help in favor of tweeting frantically via their smartphones.
“Looks like your gal pals here are in a JUNGLE’S worth of trouble!” Rikki Tikki Tavi waggled its mechanical eyebrows revoltingly and swished its tail, and the Opal and Heliotrope Rangers leapt backward (with a few flips, as if that needs to be stated) and shook their fists at their opponent.
“What was that? That’s not even a joke!”
“You sound ridiculous! There’s no way we could lose to you!”
“We’ll just see about that! That is, if I can see you guys at all!” Rikki Tikki Tavbot countered wackily, whipping out a comically large magnifying glass from absolutely nowhere and squinting down at them with a sneer.
“I haaaate him,” the Opal Ranger seethed, and the Heliotrope Ranger nodded in agreement. “We need to use our Zords, now!”
“Right! Dragonzord Who is Totally Independent From the Canon Dragonzord Since This is Technically an Alternate Universe, come on!” An appropriately heliotrope – tinted, serpentine dragon mech thing roared as it emerged from the clouds, and the Heliotrope Ranger catapulted himself upward to land in the cockpit by dint of some truly remarkable acrobatics.
“Whalezord (HEH)!” the Opal Ranger called, and then, unable to resist, added “I choose you!” Waves of murky water sloshed across the sprawling green of the UMass grounds as a huge zeppelin – like whale rose out of the campus pond with a sound that could probably be described as a wail. It drifted up regally to meet the Opal Ranger as she dove off the roof and onto its back, climbing down a small entrance in its blowhole to reach the controls.
One could almost imagine the epic guitar riffs and zooming camera angles as the two Zords soared into action. Rikki Tikki Tavi yowled furiously, and started chucking humorously anachronistic objects at them with alarming speed. Though they dodged frantically, the two Rangers couldn’t get close enough to fight back.
“Does he have an infinite supply of these things? We need to open him up to attack somehow!”
“Leave it to me!” The Opal Ranger brandished her fists and then hit a few buttons seemingly at random. The Whalezord turned slowly and then swatted one of the objects – a giant stopwatch – back at their opponent with surprising speed. Rikki Tikki Tavi let out an unearthly shriek and toppled backward, pinwheeling its arms as it teetered precariously on the edge of the library. The Heliotrope Ranger quickly piloted his Zord into close range, wrapping around the ridiculous blue body.
Rikki Tikki Tavi snorted, its creepy–ass eyes glinting. “You really think this dumb ol’ plan is gonna work? Don’t choo know who I am? A snake like you can’t beat a mongoose like me, no way, no how!”
(“God, I hate him,” the Opal Ranger groaned. Jenny caught her eye from inside the cage and they exchanged a look of pained understanding.)
“I’m not a snake,” the Heliotrope Ranger retorted, his voice amplified by his Zord somehow or other. “I’m a dragon!” The Dragonzord’s mouth opened wide, and a blast of fire bombarded Rikki Tikki Tavi right in its awful, awful face. Before it could utter a parting line (“what is this, pick on the mongoose day?”), the Opal Ranger’s Whalezord aimed a focused burst of pond water at its now charred and disintegrating head, neatly decapitating the mechanical beast. Right on cue, the cage in its stomach popped open, and the Dragonzord gently lowered it to the foot of the library, allowing the newly freed girls to clamber out onto solid ground.
The two Rangers leapt out and, with a shimmer of light, were in their ordinary clothes again; each of them patted their robotic companions on the head before the Zords soared away into the grey clouds. Then they ran to embrace their respective significant others, who seemed disoriented but relieved. Sloppy makeouts presumably ensued. A gratingly cheesy ending song did not, much to everyone’s relief.
“Let’s hope that never happens again,” Liz remarked, and Caity nodded fervently in agreement. And as Jenny’s word count rose to a more comfortable number, the cloudy skies began to clear.