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Title: Project Nexus
Chapter: Trouble on The High Seas
Rating: T
Fandom: TGWTG/ Spoony Experiment
Character(s): Nostalgia Critic, Nostalgia Chick, MarzGurl, Spoony, Linkara, Doctor Tease , Doctor Insano, Professor Celluloid, Malachite, Welshy
Pairing(s): none, as of right now
Warnings: AU. mild language, violence

Disclaimer:Any recognizable characters that appear in this fic are property of their respective contributors at ThatGuyWithTheGlasses , therefore I do not own them, nor do I intend any disrespect toward either the character or the contributor portraying them. Also any concepts/ideas borrowed from Power Rangers/Super Sentai are property of Saban and Toei, respectively. Any other properties mentioned/used are also property of their respective owners.

On the other end of town, the remaining three Rangers were starting to get a little worried about their two missing teammates. Over an hour had passed since the two groups had split from each other, and so far none of them had even heard so much as sound from the Pink and Yellow Rangers.
        
            “Figures,” Critic said, leaning against the corner of one of the brownstone buildings, “We set a time for them to call us, and they already forgot.”

            “I dunno,” Linkara said, “I mean, yeah; I’m not saying that it’s unlikely. But, even they’re not that forgetful. I got a bad feeling about this.”

            “You think that we should contact Insano and the others,” MarzGurl asked, “and see if they can get a lock on them?”

            “Probably,” Linkara replied, summoning his morpher, “I mean, if anyone knows what’s up, they would, right?”

            However, before Linkara could initiate communication, Critic held his hand up, motioning for him to wait. All of the reviewer’s senses were heightened with rapt attention, as stared down the dark alley nearby.

Someone, human and possibly male by the shape of them, retreated into the shadows as if trying to hide. What dim light managed to filter into the dank gap briefly illuminated a mane of very familiar shaggy dark brown curls flowing from beneath a faded yellow bandana.

An annoyed frown spread across Critic’s thin lips as looked over his shoulder at his two companions, observing with baited breath. Of course, he thought, it all made sense now. This was just some stupid, childish prank that Chick and Spoony had decided to pull on the others.

Just as soon as the frown appeared, was it replaced with a devilish grin.

Well, he thought, it couldn’t work if the people they were pranking already knew that they were there. With the silent steps of a ninja (or at least an attempt thereof, as that silent movement was difficult when the leather of his boots kept creaking), he crept down, leaving Marz and Linkara behind to exchange puzzled glances.

            The man wrinkled his nose in disgust as the faint stench of garbage and other strange smells that nobody was brave enough to venture at guessing, wafted through the narrow passage.  Even for it being near mid afternoon, the shadows and fog that darkened the area were so thick that he had to strain his eyes just to have even half a chance of seeing.

            “You guys,” Critic called out, “Come on out, your cover’s blown. I already saw Spoony run in here.”

            No sound or movement occurred in response. For a moment, Critic wondered if he hadn’t only imagined seeing anything. No, he shook his head furiously; he was positive that he’d seen someone duck into this alleyway.

            “Oh, I get it,” He said slyly, “You know that we caught you, so now you’re going to try to pretend that you’re invisible and try to trick us into thinking you’re not here. That’s really mature.”

            Still no response.

            “Look,” Critic continued the faint twinge of agitation in his voice growing more and more pronounced, “We don’t have time for this bullshit. I already reported back to Insano, and we should have been getting ready to get out of here hours ago. So, unless you guys really want me to kick your ass, come out….”


            The last words escaped his lips slowly as the hairs on the back of his neck stood up uncomfortably. Something, or someone, was standing behind him; close enough to be able to breathe down his neck.

            “Linkara?” Critic asked, his voice barely able to squeak the words, “Marz? Is that you?”

            He tensed again as he felt a circle of coldness, presumably from the barrel of a gun, pressed against the back of his neck. Okay, he thought as he tried to keep himself calm, so it wasn’t Linkara or MarzGurl.

            “Didn’ think a bloke like you’d be stupid enough to let yer guard down,” a voice said, “’specially around a place like this.”

            Although he didn’t dare move, any fear that the reviewer had regarding his assailant was replaced with annoyance. He recognized that voice; it was the same one that Spoony had used when he was he was doing a pirate impression earlier.

            “Really, Spoony?” Critic sighed, “You’re going to hold me at gunpoint? That’s kind of pushing it a bit, don’t you think?”

            “I don’ know what yer talkin’ about,” The pirate growled, “But, what I do know is that ye got about three seconds to explain yerself before yer brains’ll be splattered all across this alley.”

            “What the hell are you talking about?!” Critic said, “Explain what?”

            “There’s somethin’ off about ye,” the man said, “I know that yer one of those witches in disguise, aren’t ye? Gotta say, mate; yer not the smartest witch in the coven. Otherwise, ye’d known that that face yer usin’ already belongs to someone who ain’t dead.”

            “Oookayy,” Critic said, “Clearly Marz was right; this dimension’s starting to get to you. Just put the gun down and well go back, and you can take a nap while Nurse and the doctors look you over, alright?”

Critic’s terror and panic flooded back into him tenfold as sweat began to bead against his forehead. His heart began to beat wildly in his chest as his mind raced. What was he supposed to do? He thought. Spoony had just snapped and now started getting a little too into character. If he didn’t think of something quick, the rats in the alley would be able to eat well for months, provided there was anything left to feast upon.

            “Time’s up.” The pirate said, as an audible click rang through the air.

            Critic swallowed, shutting his eyes tightly as he prepared to feel a ball of hot lead pierce through the back of his skull. Well, he thought with a twisted sense of optimism, at least he was shooting him in the head. The pain should be over with quickly.

            But, that bullet never came as another audible click, this one slightly different than the last, sounded from behind them. If Critic were able to look behind him, he would have seen two things. The first would have been a pirate who looked almost identical to Spoony holding a gun to his head. The second would have been Linkara aiming the magic gun at the duplicate of the gamer.

            “Put the gun down,” Linkara commanded in the firm but gentle voice that one usually reserves for coaxing an unruly child into behaving, “Please. I don’t want to shoot anyone.”

            The duplicate grinned slyly, but did not drop his weapon. Without warning, yet another audible click sounded, this time from behind the comic reviewer. To the casual observer, the appearance of the new gun-wielder would have been considered probably a little more baffling than the first.

            This pirate looked very similar to Critic, as if they could have possibly been twins. The only major difference was that, unlike the balding reviewer, this pirate had very long, and very greasy, mane of black hair. However, to the reviewers, who were used to dealing with people who coincidentally looked very similar to themselves, weren’t at all surprised by the resemblance.

            “Jack might be a bit of a lunkhead,” the second pirate said, “’But, he’s not dumb enough to go chasin’ devils on his own.”

            However, no sooner had the words escaped the other pirate’s mouth, did yet another click echo through the still air. This time, it was MarzGurl’s turn to join what was starting to look like the world’s most pathetic and violent conga line.

            “Okay, Spoony,” Critic tried again, “Just put down the gun. This is starting to get way beyond stupid.”

            “Um, Critic,” MarzGurl said, “Not sure how to break this to you, but that’s not Spoony.”

            “What do you mean, ‘that’s not Spoony’?” Critic shouted, still frozen in place, “Sounds like him.”

            “…And looks like him, too.” MarzGurl replied, “But I ran a scan, and I didn’t pick up Spoony’s signal anywhere near here.”

            “Oh,” Critic replied sarcastically, “Well, that’s comforting; knowing that the guy that’s about to blow my head off isn’t one of my friends.”

            “We won’t blow yer head off,” the first pirate, Jack as his partner had called him, “If you just tell me if yer working with the man in black or not.”

            At this, the trio of reviewers fell silent as they exchanged glances with one another. It was as if they were working on a section of a puzzle—they hadn’t quite found the last piece to make the section complete, but they’d at least managed to fill in enough pieces around it to have a very good indication of which piece fit there.

            “What do you know about him?” Linkara demanded.

            “I don’ think yer in any position to be askin’ questions,” The second pirate said, pressing the gun harder into the comic reviewer’s back.
        
            “Yeah?” MarzGurl said, pressing her gun into the second pirate’s back in turn “Well, seeing as I’m the only one in this line-up without a gun being pointed at their back, I think that makes me the only one here in position to be asking questions. Now, what do you know about this man in black? Is he a wizard?”

            “Yeah,” the second pirate replied, “Well, he’s some kind of devil, anyways.”

            “And the first time you saw him,” MarzGurl continued, “Was roughly three months ago, wasn’t it?”

            “Well, we just recently remembered,” the second pirate replied, “But, yeah; ye could say it was ‘round that time.”

            “Yeah,” Jack agreed, “He, this cat-lady, this sea-creature looking man and this bunch of faceless looking blokes showed up, an’ dropped a guy off here, then cast some sort of spell on the place. Of course, if yer with them, ye’d have known that, right?”

            Once more the trio of reviewers gave apprehensive looks to one another. There was definitely no mistaking it; these men were talking about Malachite and his army. Everything fit too well for it to possibly be anyone else, barring cosmic coincidences.

            In silent agreement, both the Blue and Green Rangers lowered their weapons. The pair of pirates, confused by their two captives’ sudden change of heart, also lowered their weapons.

            “It’s hard to explain,” Critic said finally, “But, basically; we’ve got score to settle with him, too.”

            “Ah,” Jack said, “I see. So, we’re really on the same side here, eh? Well, now I feel kinda bad for pointin’ my gun at ye. Name’s Jack, by the way; Smilin’ Jack D’Arcy, as they call me.”

            “Most people call me the Nostalgia Critic.” Critic said, extending a hand in greeting, “But, just call me Critic for short. So, who’s the guy with the eye-patch who you thought I was impersonating?”

            The second pirate gripped the reviewer’s outstretched hand, giving it a shake so vigorous that Critic could have sworn that his arm would have been ripped out the socket.

            “Black Dog Bill they call me,” the second pirate said jovially, “But, only when there drunk, ‘cause my real name is Howard. Although, you can just call me Bill.”

             Bill smiled as he removed his hat, giving a graceful bow toward MarzGurl, before extending his hand toward her. The purple streaked haired reviewer, seeing Critic still rubbing his sore arm, gingerly took the pirate’s hand, only to grimace as he lightly kissed her hand.

            “I’m MarzGurl,” she said, “And that guy over there is Linkara.”

            Linkara gave a half-hearted wave before pulling Critic aside.

            “I’m not sure about this,” he said under his breath, “On one hand; they managed to break Malachite’s spell without any help. On the other hand; if they were Synthspectors or any foreign presence in this dimension, like Tegon or Devafen, then the scan would have picked it up wouldn’t it?”

            “I don’t know,” Critic said, “For all we know those scanners probably messed up. But, I’ve got a good feeling about these guys. If they can help us bring down Malachite, then I’m not gonna complain.”

            “Still seems pretty reckless to me,” Linkara replied.

            “So’s everything else we’ve done,” Critic replied, “It’s never stopped us from doing it before.”

            “Still,” Linkara said, tapping a few keys on his morpher, “Better contact Insano and the others. Maybe they’ve got a theory about all this.”

            A faint blip echoed through the air, unheard by anyone but the two reviewers.

            “Hello,” a female voice said through the faint static, “Doctor Tease here. What can I do for you?”

            “Hello,” Linkara said, “Not trying to be rude, but where’s Insano?”

            “Oh,” Tease replied airily, “He and Celluloid are tied up with another project at the moment. But, I’m pretty sure that whatever problem you’ve got, I’m more than capable of helping. Those degrees I got out of that cereal box are more than just for decoration, you know..”

            With a shrug, Linkara explained the situation to the female scientist. Only a brief pause filled the static as Tease began to run a few tests and scans. A few minutes had passed before she spoke again.

            “Well, I can’t be sure,” she said, “But, based on a record of energy readings and anomalies over the past three months, as well as based on the more recent data from your scanners, I theorize that their reduced influence of the spell had something to do with our interfering with it a few months back.”

            “So,” Critic translated, “It’s the same thing that happened to us when Malachite invaded our dimension.”

            “Exactly,” Doctor Tease replied, “Well, kind of, anyways. Where your memories manifested themselves through dreams, theirs appears to be more conscious. Plus, there’s always the possibility that they happened to have caught a Synthspector outside of its disguise, which helped trigger these memories into their consciousness.”

            “That’s always a possibility,” Linkara replied, more to himself than to either Critic or Tease “So, what do you think we should do about it?”

            “Well, I assume that we could use this to our advantage,” Doctor Tease said, “After all, it never hurts to have a few allies. Besides, they could probably help us get rid of any left over Synthspectors…”


            “…Or to let us know about any residual spells in the area that we might have overlooked” Linkara finished, “Still sounds pretty risky to me. But, I guess you’ve got a point. Oh, by the way; could you locate Chick and Spoony for us? We were supposed to hear from them an hour ago, but we haven’t heard anything from them, and they won’t answer their communicators. And we’re a bit too far out of range for the scanners were testing out to get a lock.”


            “Yeah,” Tease said, as another faint clicking of keys punctuated the static once more, “I’ll make a note to adjust the range on the portable scanners when you guys get back. Ah, here we go; they’re on a ship about three miles east of you and moving.”

            “What are they doing on a boat?” Linkara asked.

            “You tell me,” Tease replied, “But, that’s not all. I’m picking up a few other readouts near them.”

            “Synthspectors?”

            “Well yes. But, I’m also picking up a faint readout from one of the missing reviewers. Don’t know why it didn’t set off our alarms. Maybe we had another glitch in the system while we were trying to get Nimue connected to communications....”

            A distant explosion caused the static to crackle loudly as the comic reviewer faintly heard Nimue’s voice alerting the scientist of some sort of emergency, and Tease muttering a few curse words under her breath.

            “Well, it looks like we have a bit of a mishap here….” The female scientist tittered nervously, “I better help Nurse before---Ohmigod! Celluloid; your hair’s on fire! Um, I have to go right now. Good luck with the mission and all.”

            A final, abrupt click signaled the end of the transmission, leaving the comic reviewer and Critic frowning down at the morpher, silently trying to imagine what sort of project they could possibly be working on that’d cause that big of an explosion. And, whatever it was, Linkara hoped that he wouldn’t have to be making too many repairs to Pollo and Nimue later.

            They tried to put it out of their mind as they rejoined MarzGurl and the two pirates outside of the alleyway. It was almost as the incident earlier had never happened as the two pirates and the female reviewer joked with each other like old friends.

            “Oh hey,” MarzGurl said, greeting her fellow teammates as they rejoined her, “I thought you were right behind us. Where were you guys?”

            “We’ve gotta get back to the ship” Critic said in a low voice, not even bothering to stop, “We’ve got trouble.”

            “What?” MarzGurl asked, stumbling as she tried to catch up to his brisk pace, “What do you mean?”

            Hurriedly, the Red and Green Rangers relayed the information they’d gotten from their conversation with Doctor Tease to the Blue Ranger and their two companions as they pushed their way through the crowds.

            Upon hearing mention of the missing reviewer, Jack and Bill exchanged worried glances with one another as they slowed. Critic growled under his breath as he turned around. Seriously, he wondered, what was holding them up this time?  Didn’t they know that they had a very important mission to do?

            “What is it?!” Critic asked impatiently, “We don’t have time for this.”

            “Um,” Jack said, nervously, “You said one of those friends your looking for---the ones the wizard left around here—his name wasn’t Welshy, was it?”

            Critic raised as skeptical eyebrow as he slowed to a stop. How’d they know what they’re missing fellow reviewer’s name was? He himself hadn’t even known which reviewer was here until just then. More importantly, why did they sound strangely apprehensive about it?

            “Well,” Bill explained, seeming to sense Critic’s suspicions, “It’s just that, well, the guy that was left in our crew is named Welshy.”

            “Really?” Critic said, brightening up a little, “Can you help us find him?”

            “Er…” Bill stammered, “Not exactly. That’s to say; we know where he is, but gettin’ to him is probably going to be really difficult. Well, for me and Jack at least. Probably you, too.”


            “Oh, of course!” Critic replied with agitated sarcasm, “Isn’t it always? Why should today be any different? So, what happened?”

            “Well,” Jack explained, “A little while back, ‘round the time that we started noticin’ the wizard’s spell, we were investigating and whatever. Well, we went to ask Welshy a few questions, but a couple of the wizard’s men got suspicious an’ tried to attack us.”

            “Unfortunately,” Bill added, “They were disguised as part of our crew. An’ when they magicked themselves out of there, the rest of the crew thought we killed them. I’m guessin’ that there’s a few more of ‘em in the crew, because they also convinced the crew that we were also tryin’ to kill Welshy.”

            “So,” Jack concluded, “Long story short; About half our crew wants our heads on pikes.”

            Now it was Critic and the others turns to exchange worried looks. Hurriedly, they began to sprint even faster than before.

            “Hey!” Jack called after them, stumbling to catch up with them, “What’s goin’ on?”

            “It’s a bit complicated,” MarzGurl explained, “But, one of our other friends; well…he looks like you. A lot.”

            “Kinda like Bill and Critic look alike?” Jack asked as the answer dawned on him, “So, yer thinkin’ that the crew probably thinks he’s me?”

            “Think?” MarzGurl replied, “Knowing our luck, we’re almost positive that Malachite—the man in black, I mean—and his pals aren’t the only one’s we’ve got to worry about.”

            The two pirates, quick to catch onto the severity of the situation, pushed ahead of the trio, leading the way toward the Critic’s ship. Behind them, Critic held his breath, silently hoping that they weren’t too late. And, if they were, he hoped that there would still be something of the Yellow and Pink Rangers left to save once both the pirates and the Synthspectors got through with them.

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