“What’s going on dad?” Amanda nervously asked as Jack led everyone into the basement.
Jack held tightly onto Amanda’s arm as he walked down the stairs with Fara and Felicity close behind. Amanda’s expression was a combination of fear and confusion, making him what to explain the situation to her but he wasn’t fully certain what was going on himself. He was forced to escort her and the others downstairs to the nearest safe place while keeping his daughter in the dark. He knew she could see how worried he was, and it killed him or not be able to do anything. He was certain Fara was having the same problem with Felicity, but she was remaining quiet. It wasn’t much of a basement, just a small room large enough for a small group of people to hide in with a bathroom into the corner. It certainly wasn’t ideal for the situation. He would have preferred to hide in the woods so they could escape but there was no time for that. They were forced to hide and hope everything worked out in their favor, though he had his doubts it would.
“Something possibly dangerous, but we shall see.” Jack eventually answered Amanda as they made it to the bottom. “Till it blows over I need you three to stay down here.”
Amanda crossed her arms and glared at Jack. “That doesn’t explain a thing dad. You got to explain what is going on.”
“Yeah Jack.” Felicity added, loudly shouting to convey her point. “Tell us what is going on.”
“Just stay here and be quiet.” Jack sternly ordered, giving Felicity and Amanda an angry look. “Do NOT do a thing, let me handle this.”
Felicity and Amanda stepped back as Jack’s outburst seemed to scare them. It hurt him to have to scare the girls, but he needed them to understand the importance of the situation and remain safe. Fortunately, Fara seemed to understand, giving him a confirming nod. She gently held the kids back and gave Jack a nod signifying she understood. It didn’t exactly fill Jack with confidence given the severity of the situation, but it did make him somewhat happy to know that she was looking out for the kids. It wasn’t much but it was enough to get Jack moving.
Amanda stepped forward as Jack turned around and she nervously spoke. “Please be safe dad.”
Jack smiled down to Amanda and laid a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I will sweetheart, I promise you that.”
Amanda gave her father a confident nod though she seemed to be nervous. “Thank you, dad.”
Jack nodded, glad that Amanda finally understood the situation but sad that he didn’t have the time to do anything. Given what was possibly headed their way there wasn’t much he could do beyond nod, even though he wanted to comfort her. It stung his heart quite a bit to have to turn around and walk away but he didn’t have much a choice. Deep down he was determined to make it up to her later, assuming he lived to see her again.
“Wait, where are you going, Jack?” Felicity asked as she stepped toward only for Fara to quickly grab her.
“I’m just making sure you ladies are safe.” Jack confidently replied, seeing his answer didn’t satisfying Felicity. “It’ll only take a minute so all you need to do is stay here and be quiet.”
“But what if I don’t want to?”
Fara growled as she swatted Felicity on the top of her head. “You will because I am telling you to.” Fara turned her gaze to Amanda. “That goes for both of you.”
Amanda was quick to reply. “You don’t have to tell me twice.”
Jack rolled his eyes and silently smirked. He wanted to say something but kept his mouth shut knowing he’d probably get a claw from Fara, sarcasm from Amanda, and a growl from Felicity. Instead, he remained quiet as he turned around and headed back up the stairs, leaving the girls behind. He had wasted enough time talking with the girls and he needed to address whatever was fast approaching his home. He could hear Fara arguing with the girls, more specifically Felicity, telling him he was really in for it later. There was probably an earful coming his way from Fara later but at that point in time he didn’t care, he would deal with it later. But he did stop at the top of the stairs and turn back around for one more word.
“Fara, keep them here, at all costs.” Jack ordered before shutting the door.
Jack was quick to turn around and run outside but not fast enough for him to hear the scream that came from Fara, though he couldn’t make out exactly what it was. He didn’t really need to know as the tone told him it certain was not pleasant, and probably increased the punishment he would receive later. That made him hasten his pace out of the house but quickly froze as he opened his front door to see several black, large SUVs nearing his driveway. He counted at least six as he closed his door, certain they were loaded with experienced and armed individuals. The signs on the hoods of the SUVs only served to amplify his concern as he instantly recognized the PDF logo.
Okay, this is probably not going to end well. Jack thought as the vehicles turned down his driveway. Not like I got much of a choice for the lady’s’ sake.
Jack swallowed his fear as he looked down to see Hunter by his side. He was partially surprised to see Hunter nearby as he expected him to be with the girls. Knowing how much Hunter loved Felicity and Amanda was very unusual. But, taking Hunter’s loyalty to account, it wasn’t so surprising to find him by his side, ready to fight and defend him. Jack smiled, happy to see that he had a friend with him, but he wasn’t willing to risk Hunter’s life. Beside the fact that Felicity and Amanda would kill him if anything happened to Hunter, he wasn’t about to have his death on his conscious.
“Hunter, time to disappear.” Jack ordered.
Hunter whined but Jack glared at him showing how serious he was. It didn’t take long for the wolfdog to understand, lower his head, and take off running for the woods. Jack hated to have to be even slightly aggressive towards Hunter, but he wasn’t about to let him possibly die. He wanted to give the wolfdog one last scratch but was happy to see him disappear into the woods. Though he wasn’t certain where Hunter was going, he knew he didn’t be safe, certainly more so than by his side. Besides, Jack knew they would be reunited, eventually, and that gave him some hope.
Alright, now it’s just me in danger.
Jack thought as the vehicles slowed down to park near him.
Jack stood his ground as the vehicles came to a halt in front of him. The vehicle kicked up so much dirt and debris as it slid to a halt that it nearly caused him to cough. He barely moved a muscle though, instead focusing on the first vehicle where he recognized the guy in the passenger seat immediately. His old coworker Alex was easy to recognize, even with the vehicles tinted windows. The gaze Alex gave him was surprisingly intense and seems to be quite angry, making it awkward for him to keep starring back. But he held his ground and kept smiling as if he had nothing to hide; a skill he had mastered quite well throughout his life.
“Alex, what are you doing on my property? Old friends are supposed to call first before visiting.” Jack spoke as the vehicle was turned off.
Jack stood his ground, putting up a casual front, as Alex opened the door and stepped out of the vehicle. Even though he was armed himself, his 1911 .45 hidden under his jacket, fact that there was well over a dozen PDF with high-powered, experimental rifles and combat gear and armor in front of him did not fill him with confidence. Watching them file out do their vehicles quickly, and take positions in front of him, made him slightly nervous. Jack knew he was fast enough to take out a coupe on the draw, but he’d be gunned down quickly. Still, he kept himself presented in a casual and stoic manner to avoid anything happening so bullets didn’t start flying. Instead, he focused solely as Alex since he was in control of the armed PDF agents.
“That only applies to old friends, we are certainly NOT old friends.” Alex shouted as he slammed the door shut, Jack noticed his pistol was unstrapped and ready to draw. “I am not friends with traitors.”
Jack titled his head pretending to be confused though Alex’s angry tone made it difficult for him to keep his calm demeanor. “Traitor, what are you talking about? You know I would never betray my country.”
“Don’t give me that crap.” Alex growled as he rushed towards Jack. “Did you really think we wouldn’t find out?”
“Uh, find out what?” Jack replied as he shrugged. “If you’re going to accuse me of something first you . . .”
“Shut up traitor.” Alex shouted as his swung his pistol into Jack’s head, knocking him to his knees. “We know you are hiding the Zordons.”
Jack growled as he rubbed his forehead, feeling blood dripping from Alex’s hit. “Okay, I see you are not in a talking mood. You’re always serious when you get straight to the point.” Jack stood up and faced Alex despite his forehead bleeding and the headache. “What makes you think I have the aliens you’re looking for?”
Jack suddenly heard the door to his house slam open, causing him to spin around and gasp at what he saw. Out of the front door he witnessed several armed PDF agents escorting Fara, Felicity, and Amanda who were struggling against their grips. The agents were not being gentle to any of them, practically dragging them outside. He could see that Fara, Felicity, and Amanda’s hands were all bound despite the three of them desperately fighting back. Fara was being dragged while bearing her teeth at the two agents handling her despite the obvious pain she was in from her injury. The agents escorting Felicity and Amanda were holding them off the ground so they couldn’t fight back though they were kicking and screaming like crazy.
“To answer your obvious question . . .” Alex smugly stated as Jack focused on the PDF agents escorting Fara, Felicity, and Amanda. “I sent a security team around your property to get the drop on your . . . visitors. It’s a trick I learned from observing you.”
Jack growled even though what Alex said was true. He had taught Alex quite a bit when they were in the PDF together, but not everything. Nearly everything else Alex had picked up through observation; more specifically watching Jack operate on assignments. Jack just never realized how much his old coworker had learned from him and that was horrifying for him to think about. He was glad he hadn’t been aggressive during his time in the PDF so Alex couldn’t have learned that from him; granted Alex was already brutal so he didn’t need to learn that from anyone.
Seeing his daughter and furry friends being escorted outside so roughly made Jack’s heart drop and he didn’t even try to hide it. Jack couldn’t have been restrained in that situation even if he wanted to. The only thing keeping him from drawing his sidearm and dropping the agents holding them was the more than a dozen heavily armed agents no doubt ready to drop him if he so much as moved. He wanted to slaughter the agents for so much as touching the ones he cared about, and it infuriated him to no end to knew that he couldn’t do anything without putting them at greater risk. At that point he didn’t care about his own safety but Fara, Felicity, and Amanda’s was more important than anything; requiring him to remain calm and hope something happened to change the situation.
“RESTRAIN THEM ALL!” Alex ordered, Jack hearing a sadistic in his voice.
Before Jack’s eyes the PDF agents roughly forced Fara, Felicity, and Amanda onto the ground and quickly handcuffed them. All he could was watch in horror as the women he cared deeply about were roughly restrained and forced onto their knees. Their tears and screams fueled his rage as he started reaching for his sidearm but stopped once his fingers touched the grip, knowing there were agents ready to gun him down in an instant, even though he’d easily take out a few first. He, and the girls, were completely in the PDF agent’s mercy and the fact there was nothing he could do without getting them all killed pushed Jack to the point he was on the verge of an outburst.
“Why are you doing this Alex?” Jack angrily shouted as he stepped towards Alex. “They’re innocent in all this.”
Alex chuckled, unphased by the cruelty unfolding. “Simple, the PDF wants them in cages, and I intend to deliver. I have never failed an assignment yet, but I will not start now.”
“But they’re children.” Jack growled. “You cannot do this to children.”
Alex shrugged. “It’s not the first time we have experimented on children. You are well aware of this.”
Jack looked back at Fara to see the shocked look on her face before turning back to Alex. “No, that was something I never got involved in and had I known I would have left the PDF ALOT sooner. After burning the organization to the ground.”
“Ah, so you are a coward and always have been.” Alex casually stated. “You have always been afraid to do what is necessary to succeed.”
“NECESSARY?!” Jack screamed. “What is necessary about this? The Zordons are not our enemies and have never been hostile towards us.” Jack confidently stated. “If anything, they have been trying to help us.”
“None of that matters to the PDF so shut up.” Alex interrupted, his expression being one of annoyance. “All that matters to me is getting these . . . furries to command and collecting our reward. You’re not going to stop us with a simple, pathetic speech.”
“Yeah, I should have realized that you guys are too heartless for sympathy and common sense to work on.” Jack sighed loudly, mentally kicking himself for attempting a cliche sympathy speech. “But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to let you take them.”
Jack glanced towards Fara to see her shocked expression. It took him a moment to realize she was probably shocked by his statements, no doubt surprised he was willing to risk his life so readily for them. She was probably just as surprised as he was, almost certainly believing he would step aside at the first sign of danger. The smile he gave her probably confused her even more though she still smiled uncomfortably back at him.
Alex suddenly drew his sidearm and aimed it at Jack. “Are you really willing to risk your life for these aliens? Seems pretty stupid to me to risk your life for someone when there are no benefits . . . and when you’re likely to die.”
Without hesitating, Jack stepped towards Alex till the gun was inches from his face. “Yes, I am more than willing to die for them. I will NOT make that mistake again.”
Alex stared blankly at Jack, clearly shocked at his response, as did nearly everyone else around them. Jack guessed none of them were expecting that kind of response, certain he would step down with a gun aimed at his head. It didn’t last long though as Alex got angry and glared at him with the intent to kill. He was certain a bullet would be blowing his brains out at any time, but he was ready for it.
“Commander!” An agent shouted, just as Alex opened his mouth to speak, getting everyone’s attention. “We got company!”
Alex spun around and sternly spoke. “What are you talking about? No one is around but us.”
The agent shivered under Alex’s gaze as he looked at the tablet he carried. “I do not think they are ours, sir. Or, that they belong to any government.”
Jack tilted his head as his ears picked up what sounded like strange aircraft fast approaching their location. He had never heard aircraft like that before, leaving him to believe it was an alien craft. It sounded deep and powerful, giving him the impression, it was a large craft, and heavily armed. As time progressed, he could swear there was more than one, but he never saw anything, due to the tree lines that surrounded his property.
“XULONS!” Jack heard Fara shout just before the first rounds slammed into the ground near them.
The ground shook and flames erupted everywhere instantaneously. Jack barely had time to comprehend what was going on before he was thrown to the ground. The sheer volume of explosions and noise rung Jack’s belly momentarily, nearly putting him on all fours. He was able to remain on his feet despite the ground shaking from the explosions and incoming fire. To him everything was a blur, making it difficult for him to comprehend what was going on, requiring him to keep low to avoid taking any hits as he was certain he would be an easy target wandering around till his senses returned. It took some time before his sight started returning to normal, but he kept down to be safe.
Chaos unfolded as several Xulon ships flew over and agents tried to take cover anywhere they could. Everywhere he looked was flames and debris, nothing appeared to be standing of left untouched. He noted each of the vehicles, including his own, have been hit and blown apart. The noise was just as disorienting as the smoke that covered area with the agents shooting, despite only have small arms rifles, and the Xulon ships flying overhead. The agents seemed to be doing what they could, but it was clearly not enough. Fortunately, Jack was able to recover quickly despite the overwhelming chaos, debris, and everything else happening around him.
The Xulons are definitely making themselves known. Jack thought as he coughed through the smoke. They’re trying to overwhelm us quickly and will probably swoop in to clean up soon.
Jack looked behind him to see his house engulfed in flames and barely standing. The home he had been living in for more than a decade reduced to rubble was a hollowing sight for him, particularly since it happened so quickly. The sight of it made it personal, as if it weren’t already, adding more fuel to the boiling rage inside him. It gave him the motivation to dive for any cover nearby which happened to be a destroyed SUV despite being unarmed. His fighting spirit propelled him forward, unfortunately towards Alex who was also near SUV trying to give orders though no one seemed to be listening.
“Damn, they were using us?” Alex shouted as be dove for cover behind the nearest destroyed vehicle.
Jack didn’t think twice as he dove for cover towards Alex, acting purely on instinct and his training. He made it in time to bar, who avoid getting blown to pieces by incoming aerial strikes. Though he’d prefer to be as far away from Alex as possible given the situation there wasn’t much choice since he was unarmed. Alex barely budged as even he seemed to understand the dangers of the situation as did the two agents near him. It certainly made Jack uncomfortable to be so close to Alex, particularly with plasma rounds flying all around them.
Not ideal but it’s not like I have much of a choice.
Jack thought as he looked at Alex who stood up an dropped off a couple of rounds. I just need to wait for the perfect opportunity.
Jack peered out from cover to see an Xulon transport ship had landed near the convoy. Being near the entrance to his driveway he had the perfect view, just not for them, as the Xulons filed out and quickly joined the battle. It being the first time he had seen an Xulon in person, especially in combat gear, it was quite a terrifying experience, particularly seeing the agents’ rounds practically bounce off their armor. He could only observe as the Xulons fired upon nearby agents, their plasma rounds penetrating through the agents’ armor with ease and blowing them to pieces literally. Though there was only a few Xulons, less than ten from what Jack could see, they quickly had the battle on their side. It happened so quickly the Xulons had wiped out all agents by them within a few seconds. If he weren’t on the receiving end of their assault Jack would have been impressed at how effective the Xulons’ shock and awe tactic was.
“Alex, give me a weapon.” Jack shouted as he kneeled back behind cover.
Alex looked at Jack with an expression that was pure confusion. “Why the hell would I do that?”
“Because we are in a situation where we can’t afford to be assholes.” Jack growled back. “Give me a gun so I can at least help.”
Alex seemed to think about it for a moment before he reluctantly drew his sidearm. “Fine, here you go.”
Jack smiled as he took the pistol. “Thanks, old friend.”
Jack wasted no time in pointing the gun at Alex’s neck and pulling the trigger. The bullet pierced Alex’s neck, spraying blood all over the SUV’s door. He collapsed on the ground with a shocked expression, but Jack paid no attention. The two agents nearby barely had time to comprehend what was going on before Jack turned his attention onto them. He fired quick shots at their heads, dropping them both on the spot. Before their bodies even hit the ground Jack was looking around, searching for another target but no one else seemed to notice; they were a good distraction.
“What the hell, Jack?” Alex exclaimed as he tried to cover his neck wound but was ineffective.
“You should have expected this, you did harm my daughter and threaten my friends. There was no chance I was letting that go unanswered.” Jack chuckled. “Besides, I know you were going to kill me at the first opportunity, I just beat you to it.”
Alex gave Jack a devious grin as blood dripped out of his mouth. “You know me too well old friend.” Alex spat some blood. “I was going to wait till the Zordons were in the truck than have one of the agents put a bullet in the back of your head.”
“Yeah, that is pretty much what I expected.” Jack replied with a shrug. “Can’t say I’m going to regret this, may have some mild inconvenience CE but you simply are not worth much of anything.”
Alex growled as best he could with blood still pouring out of his neck. “You really are an asshole.”
“You’re one to talk.” Jack stated as he aimed at Alex’s forehead. “Now please, shut up forever.”
Jack pulled the trigger, blowing Alex’s brain out and spraying blood on his arm. Alex plopped on the ground instantly dead, but Jack barely paid any attention, keeping true to his word. His attention was on a group of individuals significantly more important to him to care about the jerk blob before him. Even the Xulons were not that important to him compared to Fara, Felicity and Amanda. His only concern was getting them as far away from the battle as possible.
Jack grabbed Alex’s rifle and stood up slightly to get a look around to see that the area was in complete chaos, and he was in the middle of it. He could see the Xulon soldiers quickly advancing on the PDF agents with ease and overwhelming most of their positions. The Xulons ships soared across the sky, but the thick tree line gave them cover. The agents that were still alive were taking cover behind anything they could but were being quickly picked off one by one. Jack didn’t need to be an experienced veteran to know the PDF agents were screwed and he couldn’t care less about them. Fortunately, he got a glimpse of the girls and the agents holding them, seeing that they were a good distance away from the fight. They were momentarily safe compared to most of the agents and that gave him hope.
“FARA!” Jack shouted as he sprinted toward the ladies, past all the agents who ignored him.
The agents holding Fara turned their attention to Jack, which proved to be a big mistake. She was quick to abuse the opportunity and grabbed the agent on her left’s arm and tossed him like a ragdoll on the ground. Before the second agent realized what was happening Fara turned her attention on him where she plunged her free hand into his neck, her claws shredding his neck. The agent collapsed as blood poured out of his neck but not before Fara grabbed his sidearm and turned it on the previous agent and shot him in the face. The agents holding Felicity and Amanda stood there shocked at the sight of Fara quickly dispatching two of their own and she used that to her advantage. She turned her new pistol on the agents holding Amanda, who were the closest to her, and fired two accurate shots, hitting them both in the head. Amanda was left puzzled as the agents holding her dropped to the ground while Fara barely flinched.
Damn she can be smoking hot from time to time. Jack thought, extremely glad Fara wasn’t a telepath. I’d probably get a claw upside the head for saying that aloud.
Jack barley thought as he turned to the agents holding Felicity before Fara could act. Fortunately for him, the agents were too shocked to do anything, making it easy for him to drop them. He was quick to fire four shots, two for both of their heads, and dropped them instantly. Felicity was quick to respond once free and ran to Fara and comforted both her and Amanda. Upon seeing they were all free Jack ran towards them and pulled them to cover behind the debris of a SUV away from PDF agents and hopefully where the Xulons couldn’t see them.
“Is everyone alright?” Jack asked, laying a hand on Fara’s shoulder.
“Yeah, we are all fine, thanks to you.” Fara said as she held Felicity and Amanda close to her while tightly gripping her new sidearm and monitoring the unfolding battle around them. “Unfortunately, I would say it would be very difficult for things to get worse.”
Jack looked over his shoulder to witness an Xulon soldier blasting two agents close to their position. “Uh, I would say things are at their worst.”
“No, we could have a true Xulon invasion instead of a small force. They would have burned this area to the ground immediately.” Fara answered as she patted Felicity to comfort her. “Still, we are screwed.”
Jack sighed loudly as he shouldered his rifle and opened his mouth to speak only to suddenly hear something new fast approaching their location. He turned designer towards the noise to realize it was coming from directly above them, as if it were from the sky. At first, he thought it was more Xulons till he was able to clearly hear it and that it sounded different that the Xulon ships flying over them. It sounded softer, as it was liter and ran on a different, and much more efficient fuel source. Jack’s curiosity almost got the better of him, but he managed to keep his focus somewhat on the battlefield.
“What is that incoming?” Jack muttered as he looked towards the sky. “Don’t tell me it’s more Xulons.”
Jack hesitantly turned his head towards the sky to see several small dots quickly coming down from the sky, from space. They approached their location quickly allowing him to get an excellent view of them to see they were indeed spacecraft, and certainly not Xulon ships. Once they were close enough, he immediately recognized them as Zordon ships causing him to smile and internally jump for joy. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Fara raise her arm in excitement and shout in pride. She was so loud he was surprised everyone around couldn’t hear her.
“FINALLY, the rescue team has arrived!” Fara exclaimed with the biggest smile he’d seen her have yet. “Took them along enough.”
Jack smiled as he patted Fara’s shoulder while he kept on the alert, which was difficult with the Zordons arriving. He barely had time to assess the situation before the Zordons accelerated towards the Xulons ships and opened fire. It all happened by the time Jack could blink, seeing the Xulon ships get blown to pieces. In just a couple seconds half of the Xulon ships were blown up or crashing to the ground. Jack could only watch in awe as the Zordons were able to engage and outmaneuver the Xulons. Their ships were so fast Jack couch barely see them but was able to witness the results of their firepower. Even the Xulons on the ground seemed to realize the situation and were taking off to find any source of cover.
Jack watched as the Zordon ships, numbering only twelve, broke off in groups of three and pursued individual Xulon ships with animalistic aggression. It reminded Jack of wolves when they worked together to take down big prey and it was amazingly effective. Though the Xulon ships appeared to have better armor and more weapons the tactics, speed, and maneuverability of the Zordons proved to be significantly better. The Xulons were unable to do much beyond try to evade but were ineffective as they were quickly downed one by one.
“Dang, they really know how to make a bang.” Jack exclaimed, earning a chuckle from Fara.
“That is us Zordons for you.” Fara stated. “We know how to make an entrance and to quickly exterminate an enemy.”
Jack shook his head as he peered out from cover to observe the ground fight only to see an Xulon ship crashing from the sky blindly firing as it fell. The ship fired in all directions, spraying its explosive rounds all over the ground, killing both Xulons and PDF agents alike. Knowing the likelihood of the danger he wasted no time in protecting Fara, Felicity, and Amanda. Even though he knew he was putting his life at risk it didn’t matter to him; there was no chance he was going to take the chance of letting any of them get so much of a scratch.
“FARA!” Jack screamed as he sprinted towards Fara as rounds exploded around him.
Jack jumped towards Fara and covered her as the explosive round landed near them. He took the blunt of the explosion and was thrown through the air while she remained safe. Everything was a blur as he sailed through the air and slammed into a nearby tree headfirst. The impact sent shockwaves through his body causing him too completely black out. The last thing on his mind as the lights quickly dimmed was his concern for Fara, Felicity, and Amanda with the uncertainty of what would happen while he was out.
“Damn it!” Jack muttered as he blacked out.