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A couple of days later, the outdoor funeral was held for Lenny Santoro, which was attended by everyone from close family and friends to people within the Angel Grove Police Department. Several people went up to speak about Lenny, reciting memories and stories that they had of the fallen officer. Darren, dressed in a Class A uniform like his fellow officers, was asked to speak as well. He was, after all, Lenny’s only partner on the force.

Darren sat beside Sarah, the lieutenant similarly dressed for the funeral. She looked over at him and couldn’t help but notice just how hard he was trying to keep his emotions in check.

“At this time,” A superior officer at the podium spoke, “I’d like to introduce Darren Garver, who would like to say a few words.”

Darren was uncertain of himself at first, but a reassuring squeeze on the arm from Sarah helped him. With a deep albeit shaky breath, he stood from his seat before approaching the podium. The walk to the podium in question felt like an eternity, as several sets of eyes were focused on him. Once he made it to the podium, Darren began to speak,

“Hello, everyone. I’d like to thank everyone for coming and paying their respects to someone I only met about a year ago. As a rookie on the force, it’s tough to make friends, especially with so many personalities. Lenny was one of those personalities that meshed well with me and we hit it off right from the start. Whether it was talks about the weather or how legitimate the ingredients in fast food breakfast burritos were, not a single moment was wasted. What I learned to respect even more about him…” Darren could feel his voice become shaky. “Was his bravery.”

“People who only knew Lenny for a short time would see his comedic outlook on life… The more I got to know him, the more I realized just how brave he was. He loved serving as an officer and it was something that he dedicated himself to. In many respects, I looked to him as not only my friend but…” Darren could feel the tears come down his face. “The best role model I could have asked for. For someone to treat his job with so much respect but continually look on the bright side of life… It would make anyone proud.”

He looked to the crowd and saw a familiar-looking older couple in the front row, the gentleman keeping an arm around the lady’s shoulder, his other hand inside of hers. It was apparent that they were distraught. “Mr. and Mrs. Santoro,” Darren continued, directing his attention toward them. “You should be proud of your son as well. He made me a better person, just by spending time with him. He might not have been blood,” He held back his sobs. “But I was honored to call him a brother in arms. Lenny, I love you and I cannot wait to see you again.”

Darren, knowing that he had said more than enough, stepped away from the podium to take his seat against Sarah once more. She leaned over and whispered to him, “That was a wonderful speech, Officer Garver.”

With a sad smile, Darren replied, “Thank you, Lieutenant.”

His words were not false, though. Darren hoped that, when his time came, he would be able to patrol the skies above with Lenny by his side.

*~*~*

Despite his respect for the recently departed Lenny, though, Darren didn’t quite feel like attending the post-funeral reception. He felt like he had to be alone, but the fact that his journey led him to the diner only seemed to make him sadder. This was the same location that he and his partner would stop at during their coffee breaks. Darren’s go-to drink was a black coffee, while Lenny always went for a latte. It felt strange, then, for Darren to be sitting at a booth by himself. He adjusted the collar of his uniform jacket while the waitress approached the table with a coffee pot.

“More coffee, sir?” She asked.

“Hm?” Darren looked up. “Oh, I’m sorry. Yes, please.”

The waitress gave a kind smile, pouring the officer another drink. “I don’t mean to pry, but don’t you usually come in with the other officer?”

Darren nodded his head a bit. “Yes,” He replied in a sad tone.

“Hope to see him again,” the waitress remarked, moving to another table at the far end of the shop to help them. Darren felt his heart sink after said remark. He knew that the waitress meant well, but that didn’t make it sting any less. He remained at the table for a little while longer, contemplating whether he should pay and leave or not. It sounded strange, at least to him, but spending time in this small diner made him feel like Lenny was still around. Darren kept his hands wrapped around his coffee mug, his eyes focused on the dark liquid inside.

“Is this seat taken?” Darren heard a slightly gruff male voice ask.

Shaking his head, Darren replied, “Help yourself.” He didn’t look up to see who had sat in front of him, not out of rudeness but due to the lack of focus he felt at the time. Darren brought his head up and his eyes widened slightly at who he was greeted by. It was a gentleman, somewhere in his mid-to-late 30s, with dark spiked hair and a small goatee. He wore a black leather jacket over a solid green t-shirt, which confirmed who it was in Darren’s mind, “Wait, aren’t you…”

“Tommy,” He held his hand out. “Tommy Oliver. It’s good to meet you, Darren.”

Darren reached forward and took Tommy’s hand in a shake, though it wasn’t nearly as firm as it usually was. From Lenny’s funeral to meeting arguably the most legendary Power Ranger in history, this was easily one of the most surreal days of the Phantom Ranger’s life.

“I heard about what happened to your partner,” Tommy began, “And I want to offer my condolences. I know all too well what it’s like to lose a close friend or two. Even though that pain never truly goes away, it gets easier to deal with.”

Darren nodded his head before responding, “Tommy, I don’t mean to sound rude, but what are you doing here?”

Tommy then explained, “I came to you because I have an offer.” His tone was hushed as he continued, “I’m assembling a team of Power Rangers for a special mission, one that can change the fate of the world as we know it. I’ve heard what you’ve done in Angel Grove as the Phantom Ranger and, based on that, you’re exactly the kind of person I want on my team.”

Darren blinked a few times, attempting to register what he had just been told. Perhaps it would have been easier to do if his mind wasn’t scattered. He shook his head. “I don’t know if I can. Just a week ago I was a rookie on the force, wanting to make a difference, and now I don’t even have my partner,” He stared down at his coffee mug, seeing a slight reflection of himself in the coffee. “My whole life is changing so fast and it feels like I can’t keep up.”

“I know it’s tough, but you have to change with it,” Tommy urged him, his tone reassuring yet firm. “I still believe that you’d be an excellent candidate for this mission.” He took a napkin from the nearby dispenser on the table and wrote a series of digits on it; his phone number, to be more exact. With his index finger, Tommy pushed the napkin over in Darren’s direction. “You said that, as a police officer, you wanted to make a difference. As the Phantom Ranger, you can change the world, especially with other skilled Rangers to support you.”

Darren picked up the napkin and stared down at the number that Tommy offered.

“Think about it, and give me a call by the end of the week if you’re interested,” Tommy insisted before standing from his seat. He then dropped a few dollars down on the table. “Coffee’s on me. Good meeting you, Darren,” The legendary Ranger said before giving the young officer a clap on the shoulder. As Tommy exited the diner, Darren’s attention remained fixated on the number in front of him.

Before he could accept this mission, though, there was one person in particular that Darren wanted to run this by.

*~*~*

“So, let’s recap: after the service, you left to go to the diner. Tommy Oliver – the Tommy Oliver – walks inside and talks to you?”

“Yes, Lieutenant.”

“He then offered you a position to be part of his assembled team of Power Rangers, for some kind of secret mission, a potentially dangerous one at that.”

“That’s correct, Lieutenant. And I didn’t accept… Not yet, at least.”

It was awkward, to say the least, to speak to Sarah. It didn’t seem like it was too long ago that she had expressed some kind of interest beyond a professional relationship, though that might have been Darren misconstruing her demeanor. To speak so seriously to Sarah now felt familiar, and not in the best of ways, as if he was back to his first week on the force.

“It’s funny,” Sarah said, giving a slight smirk as she cupped her hands in front of her on her desk. “I remember when you first came onto the force and you were so excited to live up to your father’s standards. From the word of my superiors, he was a great officer.”

“The best that AGPD has seen,” Darren added. “And I’ll get there one day… But I have to pave my own path to get there. I want to change the world. So I’m asking for your blessing, to accept this mission.”

Sarah stood from her desk before extending her hand forward. “You have a knack for attracting danger, Officer Garver, but you’ve proven to have a bigger knack for bringing it down. If this is what you want, then I support you one-hundred percent. And you’ll always have the force to back you up.”

Cracking a slight smile, Darren took Sarah’s hand in a shake, “Thank you, Lieutenant. I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to repay you.”

“Just be true to your word and change the world. We could use it.” Sarah turned her head to the side, noticing a poster for the annual Angel Grove Police Officers’ Ball, which was only tomorrow. “Also, if you’d like… I don’t have a date for the ball.”

Darren furrowed his brow, that same smile on his face. “Are you asking me out, Lieutenant?”

“If we’re to put it into those terms, then yes,” Sarah confirmed, giving a nod. “I’d like you to accompany me to the Police Officers’ Ball, but just as associates,” She stressed to him. “Again, if you would like to do so. I know this week hasn’t been easy for you, so I understand if you’d rather not.”

“Tommy said that I could call him by the end of the week… But that’s then. I’d love to go to the ball with you, Lieutenant,” Darren agreed.

“Excellent. I’ll see you tomorrow evening. Oh and one more thing,” She flashed an almost playful smile in Darren’s direction. “It’s ‘Sarah.’”

“Sarah… Right,” Darren returned the smile, though his proved to be a bit timid by comparison to the more rough-around-the-edges lieutenant. He then left the office, this time with a greater sense of confidence about him. Darren would have to learn that, no matter what negative events transpired throughout his life, life would go on.

What lay ahead, Power Rangers-related or not, remained a mystery.

THE END
Phantom Authority, Chapter Six
Following his final battle that ended in tragedy, Darren finds himself at a crossroads as the Phantom Ranger. He's then met by a legendary Power Ranger, who presents him with an interesting opportunity...

For those who have been reading along, I thank you for spending time doing so. This was so much fun to write and I might follow up on this with another story. Let me know if it sounds like something I should pursue!


Original characters (Darren Garver, Lenny Santoro, etc.) belong to me.
Phantom Ranger and Power Rangers as a whole belongs to Saban.
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It would have been an understatement to say that Darren and Lenny were focused on bringing down the final bounty hunter. Darren had just brought down the previous two and after Lenny’s run-ins with the group, it was clear that he wanted some kind of retribution. The two of them drove up to the beach area they saw in the video call from Oracon and saw that it was strangely deserted, even more so than usual. Lenny steered the vehicle onto the sand and asked, “Do you see anything? Bounty hunter? Massive Zord?”

“Neither.” Darren shook his head. “But he’s around here somewhere.”

It would seem like the bounty hunter was closer than they thought. Landing right on the hood of the cop car was Oracon, who performed a graceful backflip in the air, landing several feet away from them. Oracon motioned with his hand for Darren to come forth.

“Stay in the car, Lenny,” Darren told him.

“But it might be a trap-“ Lenny began.

“I said, stay in the car,” Darren repeated, his tone much firmer. Lenny knew better than to argue with his partner when he was in this kind of mood. With that out of the way, Darren exited the vehicle and stepped forward. “So, here I am,” He told Oracon.

“Yes, here you are,” Oracon confirmed. “I was starting to wonder if you would show.”

Ignoring that last comment, Darren replied, “I see you here…” He looked around before finishing, “I don’t see any Carrierzord.”

“Patience,” Oracon told him. Soon, Darren’s Phantom Morpher on his wrist started to glow red, as if it had activated something. Darren’s eyes narrowed at this strange phenomenon but things would become even more surreal as the nearby ocean started to tremble. As if they had been transported into a fantasy world, a massive structure emerged from the water, almost as big as several skylines. It was a series of three different cars linked together, almost like it was designed more for storage than combat. Nonetheless, it was imposing. It was Artillatron.

“Amazing,” Darren breathed as Lenny watched on from the car, believing that he had just seen everything.

“And it will be mine,” Oracon switched out his trusty gun for something a bit closer range: a curved sword. “As will your Power Ruby. I thank you for activating Artillatron for me. My boss might get the Power Ruby, but this Zord will make the perfect consolation prize…. Once you’re gone, of course.”

Darren turned his attention back to Oracon, assuming a battle stance. Before Darren had the opportunity to morph, Oracon moved toward him like a blur, immediately taking him by the throat and backhanding him, sending him down to the sand. Darren rolled backwards to avoid a downward stab and kicked Oracon’s sword back to give himself some room. He then started to kick at Oracon, who blocked the attacks with quickness. Once again, a smack from the bounty hunter had Darren eating sand.

“Is this all the successor to Eltar’s hero can muster?” Oracon taunted.

Darren rose to one knee, spitting some of the sand that got into his mouth. There was no denying the fact that Oracon was a far greater challenge than either Anion or Feldon. Darren wasn’t about to surrender, though. He jumped back up to his feet and ran forward, attempting a spin kick, which was easily evaded. The next attack, a thrust kick, was able to send Oracon back a few steps.

“You didn’t think you’d get the Power Ruby so easily, did you?” Now was Darren’s turn to taunt.

Oracon straightened himself up, adjusting his composure. “I won’t take you lightly again,” He threatened. He ran forward and started to slash at Darren, the young officer moving quickly to avoid each strike. One slash caught Darren’s shirt, though, tearing a diagonal hole. Oracon followed up with a spin kick of his own, sending the Phantom Ranger down to one knee.

“I’ve had enough,” Darren stood once more, bringing his Phantom Morpher up to his lips, “Phantom Po-“

“Oh no you don’t,” Oracon swung his sword up, catching the wristband of the Phantom Ranger, before sending it to the distance. Without his morphing device, Darren was caught off-guard with several more kicks, which was followed up by an uppercut. Darren soon found himself lying on the sand but before he could make another move, Oracon pressed his foot against the fallen Ranger’s chest, keeping him in place.

“What a predicament you find yourself in,” Oracon applied more pressure on his foot, causing Darren to cry out in pain. “A Ranger without the ability to morph…”

Lenny watched this scene with worry etched along his facial features and concern inside of him. Oracon’s sword swung from side to side, as if to taunt Darren.

“You’re not going to win,” Darren remained courageous, despite his inability to free himself.

“But I will.” Oracon shook his head. “Once you’re gone, the Power Ruby will belong to my boss and I’ll have more wealth than I’ll know what to do with. It’s just a shame that you won’t be alive to witness anything further,” He held up his sword, the blade positioned downward. “Rest well, Phantom Ranger.”

Before Oracon could deal the finishing blow, he was stunned by a heavy force landing on his back. Darren opened his eyes and saw Lenny on Oracon’s back, keeping him from landing the aforementioned blow.

“You’re not hurting my partner!” Lenny exclaimed.

“Get off of me!” Oracon exclaimed. He finally threw Lenny off of his back, the two of them now engaged in a battle of tug-of-war with the sword. In the blink of an eye, Lenny felt a sense of cold steel enter his abdomen, a sudden gasp of pain escaping him. He looked down and saw Oracon’s sword, which the bounty hunter held firmly in place. Slowly, Oracon removed the blade from Lenny’s abdomen, kicking him back to lie motionless in the sand. “You never should have left your vehicle.”

Lenny!” Darren exclaimed, tears stinging his eyes as he watched this. Adrenaline kicked in and the officer raced forward, taking Oracon by the arms to tackle him onto the sand. The battle resumed, this time with a more ferocious officer targeting the callous bounty hunter.

Meanwhile, a helmeted figure rode onto the scene on an AGPD motorcycle. Removing her helmet was Sarah, who raced onto the scene just in time to see Darren and Oracon fight, not to mention a severely wounded Lenny lying on the beach. She looked down and saw the Phantom Morpher lying on the sand. Acting quickly, she ran toward the device, tossing it into the distance, “Darren, catch!”

Darren kicked Oracon backwards and jumped up, catching the Phantom Morpher in his hand. He nodded in thanks to Sarah before securing the device back on his wrist. “Phantom Power!” He exclaimed, bright technological energy enveloping his body. Now fully morphed, Darren fired his Phantom Laser at Oracon’s hand, causing him to drop his sword.

“You should thank your lucky stars your friend came to save you.” Oracon shook his wrist a bit to regain feeling in it. “But I still have Artillatron.”

With that said, Oracon ran toward Artillatron, using the entrance ramp in order to get inside. Darren aimed but failed to get a clear shot at the bounty hunter. This would be only one problem, though, as he turned his head to see Sarah examining the fallen Lenny. Darren holstered his Phantom Laser and moved to his partner’s side. The Phantom Ranger knelt down and removed his helmet, setting it down on the sand beside him.

“Len.” Darren tried to support his partner, whose skin had become scarily pale. His eyes averted downward to see a prominent shade of red form under Lenny’s shirt, which caused the Phantom Ranger’s stomach to turn. He then looked into Lenny’s eyes, seeing him stare right back at him.

“Guess I paid off my tab, didn’t I?” Lenny joked, finding it a struggle to laugh at his own remark.

“Listen to me, pal. You’re going to be just fine,” Darren wrapped an arm around Lenny. “We’re going to patch you up and you’ll be okay. I need my partner, right?” He weakly smiled but he couldn’t sustain it as he watched the life slowly fade from Lenny’s eyes. “You can’t leave me like this, Len, come on…”

“Just… Do me a favor,” Lenny squeezed Darren’s hand. “Go inside of that Zord and take him down.”

Darren wanted nothing more than to stay with Lenny in this state. However, he knew that the true activation of Artillatron was just a few moments away if he let Oracon have his way. He looked up at Sarah, who gave him a reassuring nod.

“Go,” Sarah insisted. “I’ll stay with him.”

Darren nodded in return and smiled down at Lenny. “I’ll give him one for you,” He promised. He placed his Phantom Ranger helmet back on his head and ran toward Artillatron, entering the massive Zord through the same ramp that Oracon used.

Once he was inside, Darren was in awe at what he saw. Even though Artillatron was very much a machine, the space in which the user had to maneuver was nothing short of ample. There were several gears in motion and electrical circuits that continually pumped power through the Zord. He didn’t have much time to admire the inner workings of Artillatron, though, as he had a bigger task on his plate.

Darren continued forward, but just narrowly avoided a laser bullet directed toward him. He looked to the side and saw Oracon, who quickly ducked around a corner.

“Get back here!” Darren barked, chasing down the bounty hunter that wounded his partner. He turned the corner, only to find himself in another room. “Where are you? Show yourself, you coward!”

He wouldn’t have to wait long, though, as Oracon seemingly appeared out of nowhere, kicking the Phantom Ranger into a moving gear. Darren fell to the floor while Oracon stood proudly, despite what he had just committed moments earlier.

“You should have known that was coming.” Oracon shook his head. “You destroyed two of my trusted comrades. It was only right you felt my pain.”

“You’re monsters…” Darren rose to one knee. “All you care about is yourselves. What do you know about pain?”

“Well, I do know that there’s nothing quite like sensing steel meet flesh,” Oracon drew forth another blade, this one slightly shorter than the other he had used. “I’ll be more than happy to let you join your partner before I take that precious Power Ruby from you.”

“Not a chance,” With his Phantom Laser in hand, Darren clashed weapons with Oracon, using his strength to force the bounty hunter against the wall. He then kneed Oracon several times in the abdomen, taking him by the throat before throwing him down. “Lenny was innocent in all of this… How could you?!”

Oracon grunted as he rose to his feet, almost enjoying the rage coming from the Phantom Ranger.

“He was my friend!” Darren fired his Phantom Laser at Oracon, who used his superior speed to evade each blast sent his way. The chase was on once again, with Darren following Oracon out of the room. Soon, he was met in an intersection, with four different hallways to enter. He didn’t have much time to decide on which hallway to enter, though, as Oracon attacked from overhead. The force was so severe that the two of them fell through the floor below, landing in an entirely different room.

With a central generator in the location, it was apparent that Darren and Oracon arrived – to put it mildly – in Artillatron’s generator room. This was where the source of the Carrierzord’s power was located. Darren was the first to stand up and quickly mounted Oracon, proceeding to wail on him with a series of punches to the face.

“This is for Lenny,” Darren repeated. “This is for him, you monster!” Anger had completely overtaken the Phantom Ranger, who resorted to brute force in order to keep Oracon down. Every punch was fueled with every negative emotion Darren felt, and the bounty hunter experienced every ounce of it. In fact, the strikes were so powerful that they had actually cracked the mask he wore, revealing a humanoid face behind it. As Darren continued to punch, though, his rage became less intense. It was like he had little energy left.

Darren soon stood up, watching as the impaired Oracon crawled toward the generator, chuckling lowly all the while. “What are you laughing at?” The Phantom Ranger hissed.

“Fool,” Oracon spat, leaning against the generator, “Don’t you get it? You put all your heart into those punches… And I’m still standing. I’m beyond anything you could comprehend. You, on the other hand, are human. You have human strength. You have human senses. You have human limits… That’s why even with the Power Ruby, you’ll always be weak.”

“I’m not weak.” Darren shook his head. “I’m more than just the Phantom Ranger. I’m Darren Garver, officer of the Angel Grove Police Department. And I speak on behalf of all of AGPD when I say that life in prison is too good for you.”

“So what will you do? Do you think that you can destroy me with that?” Oracon looked down at the Phantom Laser in Darren’s hand. “I’m too powerful for your little toy.”

“Maybe.” Darren drew up his firearm and aimed. “But not enough for this,” He fired just to the side of Oracon, striking the generator. The impact of the laser caused the generator to surge, Oracon’s body convulsing out of control. Darren watched this in amazement, wondering just how of this a single being could withstand. The generator soon ran out, fading to black as Oracon slumped back against it.

“I suppose,” Oracon spoke lowly, the strength gone from his voice. “You wanted the Power Ruby more. Farewell, Phantom Ranger,” He then dropped to his knees before falling flat on his front, his body disintegrating into noting. Darren’s heart was racing a mile a minute at this point as he slumped down to the floor, trying to regain himself as best as he could. As he did, though, the generator kicked back online, power once again running through Artillatron.

“I guess this thing has reserves,” Darren reasoned, knowing that there was more of this Carrierzord to see. Once he climbed out of the generator room, he made his way up to the cockpit of Artillatron, where power was restored as well. Darren was met with a room with three wide windows in front of him and various controls to be seen as well. He removed his helmet and sat down at the controls, placing his helmet down on the floor next to him. Darren reached forward and pressed a few buttons, as if operating Artillatron was second nature to him. Perhaps this was a side effect of the Phantom Ranger powers, he thought to himself.

After a few more button combinations, Darren was successful in powering down Artillatron, allowing the Carrierzord to remain dormant once more. With the threat of the bounty hunters gone, there was no need for Artillatron. Despite this, it wasn’t an entirely happy ending for the Phantom Ranger.

*~*~*

After stepping outside of Artillatron, the Carrierzord lowered back into the water, remaining at the bottom of the ocean until it was meant to be used once more. Darren looked to the side to see Sarah on the sand, staring sadly down at the fallen Lenny. Darren raced forward, his Phantom Ranger helmet under his arm all the while.

“You made it,” Sarah remarked, her tone sadder than she would have liked. “And that hunter…”

“He’s gone,” Darren reassured her. He looked at Lenny, eyes closed and unresponsive. “No…” He whispered, the tragic realization coming over him. “Len…”

“Darren, I’m so sorry.” Sarah tried to fight back her tears. She wasn’t used to losing officers, regardless of the circumstances.

“This can’t be happening,” Darren leaned down to cradle Lenny’s body in his arms, sensing just how cold he felt. Try as he might have, he couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down his face, “Lenny, please…” He cried as he held his partner close. Sarah moved to Darren’s side and moved an arm around his shoulders, allowing him to weep for his departed friend.

Angel Grove was free from a massive threat, but not without losing a courageous officer.
Phantom Authority, Chapter Five
Two bounty hunters down, one more to go. As Darren faces the final challenge in Oracon, little does the Phantom Ranger know that this would be his greatest challenge so far. He would also learn that no good deed goes unpunished...
This isn't the end, though. Stay tuned for the last chapter of the Phantom Authority saga, featuring a cameo from a legendary Ranger!


Original characters (Darren Garver, Lenny Santoro, etc.) belong to me.
Phantom Ranger and Power Rangers as a whole belongs to Saban.
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“Hey, Lenny, it’s me. Look, you haven’t responded to my texts at all yesterday and you didn’t come into work today. Just… Give me a call when you get this. I’ll talk to you later.”

Darren couldn’t have been more stressed that afternoon. He knew Lenny to be many things – sarcastic, scatterbrained, and overconfident, just to name a few adjectives – but tardy was never part of that conversation. Darren sighed and hoped that Lenny would get his message. Something wasn’t quite right.

“Officer Garver,” Darren heard that familiar voice and looked up from his cellphone to see Sarah approaching him. “I’m putting you on training duty. Work is a bit slow today and I think that it’ll be a good change of pace for you.”

“I’ll get right on that, Lieutenant. Thank you,” Darren replied. “Wait.” He placed his hand on Sarah’s arm to stop her. “You wouldn’t happen to have heard from Lenny, would you? I’ve tried texting and calling him several times since yesterday and he hasn’t responded.”

“No, I’m sorry, I haven’t heard from Officer Santoro.” Sarah shook her head. “Do you think he’s in some kind of trouble?”

“I really hope not,” Darren sighed. He looked back down at his phone and couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief wash over him. It was an incoming video message, with Lenny’s caller ID clearly visible. “Oh, there you are,” He accepted the call but what he saw was far from what he expected.

The video depicted a rather grimy environment, as if it hadn’t been maintained in years. From this angle, though, it was tough to make out what specific environment it was. As the angle heightened, the individual holding the cellphone became clear. It wasn’t Lenny, but who it was made Darren’s blood run cold.

“I had a feeling that you’d respond.” The face of Oracon, the leading bounty hunter after the Phantom Ranger’s Power Ruby, became visible.


Darren motioned to Sarah to follow him as they moved to a more private area of the precinct, so that they wouldn’t be interrupted.

“I’m sure you were starting to miss us as well,” Oracon continued. “Seeing as how things have been relatively quiet in your small town. However, my task remains the same: to take the Power Ruby, regardless of who wears the Phantom Ranger suit. And I’ll do it by any means necessary. For example,” Oracon shifted the cellphone so that the camera panned upward, to where an unconscious figure remained in an elevated cage. It was Lenny!

“Oh no…” Darren gasped, while Sarah looked on in absolute shock.

“This is your partner in the force, if I’m not mistaken,” Oracon spoke as the camera remained on Lenny. It seemed like he only moved slightly, indicating severe weakness. “Phantom Ranger, you eliminated one of my partners and if you don’t confront me, I plan on eliminating yours. I’ll be seeing you in this old warehouse on Valencia Street, and come alone. We don’t need any innocent lives being sacrificed, do we?”

That’s signaled the end of the call, which left Darren infuriated. At that moment, training duty was the last thing on his mind. He put his cellphone in his pocket and stormed out of the building, which left several other officers staring in confusion, especially as Sarah followed after him.

“Darren,” Sarah called after him, in a rare display of her calling an officer by their first name. “Where are you going?”

“I’m going to get Lenny back,” Darren continued to walk at a quick pace. “Oracon just made the biggest mistake of his life. And I’m going alone.” He stopped to look at Sarah before adding, “I can’t risk my friend’s life by bringing anyone else.”

“This isn’t smart,” Sarah tried to argue as they approached one of the cop cars. “It’s one thing going alone morphed against some petty criminals, but this is an entirely different level of danger.”

“I don’t care. I have to help my partner,” Darren opened the car door and stepped into the driver’s seat. “Lieutenant, I have to ask you to keep quiet about this. It probably breaks every guideline we have, but please do this for me.”

Sarah took a deep breath as she rested her arms on the roof of the car. “Not like you haven’t broken guidelines in the past few days already,” She remarked.

“I’ll take that as a ‘yes,’” Darren replied. He then peeled out of the parking lot and toward the direction of the warehouse on Valencia Street. He only hoped that he wasn’t too late.

*~*~*

Upon arrival at the abandoned warehouse, Darren was cautious walking inside. He knew that he was, in all likelihood, stepping foot into a trap expertly crafted by bounty hunters. He remained focus nonetheless, keeping his pistol drawn. He surveyed the area and, much like he had thought, the location looked like it hadn’t been used in years. Judging by the conveyor belts and various crates, it seemed to be a bottling company of some kind.

As Darren continued to inspect the area, he soon came across Lenny, who remained hanging overhead inside of a cage. To say that it was inhumane treatment would have been an understatement, “Lenny,” He called out.

Lenny’s eyes opened and he looked down. Though he was weakened, he knew who it was, “Darren, get out of here…” He muttered.

“I’m going to get you out.”

From behind a stack of crates emerged one of the bounty hunters. It wasn’t Oracon but rather his trusted associate of sorts. “Is that so?”

Darren shot around and his eyes narrowed, “Feldon,” He said, holding up his pistol as a means to defend himself. “I’m giving you one last chance to stand down. Release my partner, surrender yourself, and the punishment will be less severe.”

“The way that I see it…” Feldon drew forth his rifle, the weapon he was most accurate with. “You’re in no position to bargain with me or Oracon. If anything, Phantom Ranger, you should be the one to surrender. Oracon wishes he could be here, but he had a more pressing engagement.”

“Guess I’ll just have to settle for you.”

“Very well.” Feldon aimed his rifle forward, firing an energy blast at Darren. The officer rolled aside to evade the shot and continued to run as Feldon fired one blast after another in rapid succession. Darren quickly ducked behind the conveyor belt and then rolled aside to another in an attempt to keep Feldon on his toes.

“Phantom Power!” Darren exclaimed, leaping over the conveyor belt as he morphed. He then drew up his Phantom Laser, firing a shot at Feldon in return. The bounty hunter ducked behind the same set of crates he was hiding behind before. Feldon shot at the Phantom Ranger again, who was staggered by the blast. Nonetheless, Darren quickly hid behind the conveyor belt again, attempting to figure out a way to take down this foe.

“This doesn’t have to end in destruction, Phantom Ranger!” Feldon exclaimed as he took cover behind another crate. “Just hand over the Power Ruby!”

“And let you or your boss have enough power to cause other people harm?” The Phantom Ranger retorted. “Not a chance.”

“Then we’ll tear this entire city apart!” Feldon threatened, firing another shot that narrowly missed Darren. In return, the Phantom Ranger fired a shot that went right through the crate, grazing the bounty hunter’s shoulder. This infuriated the usually calm Feldon, who leaped out from behind the crate, landing right next to Darren.

With the element of surprise on his side, Feldon took hold of the Phantom Ranger by the throat, kicking him several times in the abdomen before tossing him across the conveyor belt, sending him through a number of cardboard boxes.

Feldon leaped up and aimed his rifle downward at Darren, firing several shots at him. Darren evaded the attack, rolling off of the conveyor belt and landing on his feet. With his Phantom Ranger in hand, he fired off several shots at Feldon, who blocked each one with his rifle. Darren then dashed forward and nailed the bounty hunter with a shoulder tackle, sending him down to the floor.

“Sure you don’t want to stand down?” Darren held his Phantom Laser up high.

“You… You won’t win, Ranger.” Feldon came up to one knee, using his rifle for support. “Especially now that Oracon has unearthed a major weapon… One you might have a particular interest in.”

“What do you mean?” Darren stepped forward. “You better start talking.”

Feldon remained silent, a smirk hidden behind his mask. Darren, on the other hand, was not so amused. “I don’t have time for this.” He aimed at the wounded shoulder of Feldon, firing a sustained laser at it. The pain became so severe for the bounty hunter that he fell to the floor, crying in agony as the laser made contact with his skin. Darren mounted Feldon, holding him by the collar. “I said, talk. Now.

“Artillatron,” Feldon coughed, the effects of the fight earlier clearly taking their toll on the bounty hunter, “It… It was the original Phantom Ranger’s Carrierzord. It was used to help the Turbo Rangers, but has since been dormant here on Earth… Oracon plans on making it his own. He will use it to crush you.”

“That’s what you think.” Darren stood up, which caused Feldon to immediately spring to his feet. “I’m taking back Artillatron, but not before I’m finished with you.”

Feldon drew up his rifle, ready to aim and fire once more. Before he could, though, Darren’s invisibility came into effect, hindering the bounty hunter’s aim. Before he knew it, Feldon felt a sharp pain run across his torso. Reappearing behind him was Darren, who used the bat-like edges of the Phantom Laser to deal a tremendous blow.

“Thanks for the information,” Darren said.

Feldon fell backwards, going up in a massive explosion much like Anion had done. Two otherworldly bounty hunters down, one more to go. Speaking of, Darren held up his cellphone and video called Lenny’s number, knowing who still had his partner’s phone. Once the visual of Oracon came up, Darren spoke, “I hate to break it to you, but you’re down another partner. It’s just you and me now.”

“I see…” Oracon placed a hand on his chin. “And I assume that coward told you about my potential finding?”

“He mentioned something about that,” Darren replied.

“A sharpshooter he is, but horrible at keeping secrets all the same. Let’s make this interesting, Phantom Ranger. I’m currently at the site of Artillatron, buried beneath the surface.” Oracon panned the cellphone around him, showing that he was near the water, on a beach that was deserted. “You defeated my comrades, but you’ll find me to be a greater challenge. If you defeat me, not only will you get Artillatron but the goal of all officers in your squad: peace on Angel Grove. If you lose, well, let’s just say that Angel Grove is going to be the least of your worries once the Power Ruby is in the hands of my client.”

“I’ll be there,” Darren agreed, closing the call shortly thereafter. His attention was brought to the hanging cage where Lenny remained. “I’ll get you out there in a sec. Just hang on, bro,” Darren used his Phantom Laser to fire at the top of the cage, sending it down to the floor. Once it was, Darren powered down to his civilian form and unlocked the door, helping Lenny to his feet.

“Are you okay?” Darren asked, keeping his hands on Lenny’s shoulders for support.

“Saved me twice now…” Lenny remarked, his tone weak. “I don’t think I can pay you for all of that.”

“I’ll put it on your tab,” Darren joked. “But seriously, did they hurt you? Any serious injuries?”

“I’m fine,” Lenny insisted. “But what was he talking about before? Some kind of Zord?”

Darren nodded in response. “Artillatron. Seems like there’s a dormant Carrierzord in Angel Grove, and I’m going after it before he can cause any further damage.” He looked to Lenny. “You should get going, though. I can take it from here.”

“You kidding me? After what those creeps did?” Lenny shook his head. “I have a bit of a score to settle. Besides,” He clapped Darren on the chest. “That big guy still has my phone.”

Darren couldn’t help but to laugh. “I thought that’d be your response.” He tossed his set of car keys to Lenny. “Are you well enough to drive?”

“It’s the best part of my job,” Lenny remarked. The two of them made their way to the car, their next destination being perhaps the largest in scope they will ever see.
Phantom Authority, Chapter Four
Just when things were starting to quiet down in Angel Grove, the two remaining bounty hunters for the Power Ruby reappear. To show how serious they are, they kidnap Darren's partner. Along the way, Darren will learn of a hidden power beneath the surface...


Original characters (Darren Garver, Lenny Santoro, etc.) belong to me.
Phantom Ranger and Power Rangers as a whole belongs to Saban.
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“Garver, Santoro, you two came to me for a reason. Judging by the tone in your voice, Garver, it sounded urgent. What can I do for you two?”

Darren and Lenny knew that they couldn’t keep the secret of the Phantom Ranger concealed forever, but they didn’t know where to start. However, Darren trusted Sarah Barton, as not only a lieutenant in the Angel Grove Police Department but one of the most levelheaded people he’s ever met in general.

“Lieutenant, I have to show you something.” Darren stepped forward as Sarah sat at her office desk. “But you have to promise me you won’t go crazy.”

Sarah arched a brow before responding, “Officer Garver, I’ve seen plenty of ‘crazy’ things on the force. Hostage situations, bomb threats, you name it… I’m sure yours won’t be much crazier.”

“Then you might want to stand up for this,” Lenny suggested.

Sarah sighed and shook her head, “Fine, I’ll humor you,” She replied as she stood from her seat.

Darren looked down at the Phantom Morpher on his wrist before bringing up to his lips to give the voice command, “Phantom Power!” Before Sarah knew it, the young officer’s body was surrounded in technological light as the familiar suit formed around his body. Standing in Darren’s place was the Phantom Ranger, which caused the often stoic lieutenant’s eyes to widen in surprise.

Lenny walked over to Darren’s side, leaning his forearm against the shoulder pad of Darren’s Ranger suit. “Aren’t you glad you stood up for this, ma’am?”

Sarah found it difficult to find the words to describe what she had just witnessed, “Officer Garver, how did this… Where did you…”

“It’s a long story.” Darren stepped forward, which caused Sarah to take a cautious step back in response. She didn’t know what to expect from these powers, after all. Darren decided to power down to his civilian form, lest someone else barge into the room. “But what matters now is that the AGPD has a new weapon on the force. We can use these powers for something good, if you’ll give me the word.”

“Garver… I-I can’t allow that.” Sarah shook her head. “This is outside of AGPD regulation. We don’t know the extent of these powers, and we especially don’t know what kind of danger these can bring to the force.”

“Danger is something we encounter every single day, though,” Darren retorted. “As police officers, danger comes with the territory. At least now we have a bigger way of reducing that danger and, more importantly, protecting the people of Angel Grove. Isn’t that the reason we signed up for this in the first place?”

Sarah knew where Darren was coming from. After all, she was once a rookie officer with less than a year’s worth of experience under her belt, too. Nonetheless, she responded, “I’m sorry, but I can’t allow this. I’ll need to evaluate the situation and you’ll have my response by the end of the day. Until then, you are not to use these powers by any means-“

Before she could finish her response, Sarah received a call on her portable radio, which she answered, “Go.”

“We have a hostage situation at the Angel Grove Bank! I repeated, we have a hostage situation at the Angel Grove Bank! Backup is required!”

“Looks like that’s our cue.” Darren clapped Lenny on the chest, the two of them headed toward the door.

“Garver,” Sarah stopped him. “Remember what I told you.”

Darren swallowed hard and nodded, before he and Lenny continued to make their way out of the office. The new Phantom Ranger hoped that he wouldn’t have to use his abilities for this new situation.

*~*~*

By the time that Darren and Lenny arrived on the scene in their shared cop car, there were already several other vehicles in front of the Angel Grove Bank. The story was that a group of thugs entered the establishment, before quickly apprehending the bank’s security guards and bringing down the innocent patrons to their knees. Before the thugs could escape, the police had arrived on the scene, which led to the hostage situation that was currently in development.

Darren and Lenny exited the vehicle, surveying the scene.

“This is the Angel Grove Police Department,” One of the superior officers announced on his speaker. “There’s nowhere to run! Come out with your hands up!”

Just like that, a bullet fired from the bank to the outside. The officers quickly took cover behind their cars, Darren and Lenny included. The two of them drew up their pistols, though they were just as hesitant to use them as the other officers were. After all, they didn’t want to harm any innocent civilians.

“What do we do?” Lenny questioned.

Darren shook his head, “We’ll have to wait for further orders… I just don’t want anyone inside to get hurt.”

Lenny thought about it for a moment, “Wait a second…”

Darren arched a brow, until he saw the smirk slowly forming on his partner’s face. That’s when he knew what Lenny was getting at. Immediately, Darren responded, “No, absolutely not. Lieutenant Barton forbade me from using my powers. Besides, I can’t just morph and break in there. I’ll be putting everyone at risk.”

“But you can turn invisible, right?” Lenny brought up, remembering the battle where Darren defeated Anion. “Just sneak in through the back.”

Darren knew that his partner had a point, as scattered as Lenny might have been at times. He contemplated the decision for a moment, before he heard another gunshot go off.

“We require additional backup,” A commanding officer could be heard.

Darren looked to Lenny and told him, “We can’t wait for the backup. Cover me. I’m going around the back.”

Lenny smiled a bit, “Get ‘em, tiger.” He clapped Darren on the shoulder, who slowly made his way around the police cars, using the vehicles in question as coverage so he wasn’t seen. He only hoped that there were no casualties inside.

*~*~*

Inside of the Angel Grove Bank, the hostage situation remained relatively calm. There were a band of four thugs, all of them wearing black outfits and donning plastic masks so that they could not be identified. While three of the thugs kept a close watch on the civilians inside – these ranged from families to businesspeople to employees of the bank – the other stayed by the door.

“Listen,” One of the employees weakly spoke up, “Why don’t you just give yourselves up? This place is going to be surrounded.”

One of the thugs used the frame of his gun to strike the employee in the face, knocking him to the floor. “Shut your mouth and stay down! All of you,” He barked to the other civilians. “Anyone says another word and you’re going to need more than the police.”

“Like this?” A seemingly invisible force knocked the thug to the ground, which caused the other three to react. They couldn’t see what might have caused this, but what continued to shock was that another thug was brought down by the same force. Another found himself floored just as quickly.

“This isn’t funny!” The thug by the door shouted, as he was the last one standing. “Show yourself!”

Forming behind the thug was the Phantom Ranger himself. The thug turned around to punch him but Darren blocked the attack, utilizing an armbar to keep him in place. The other thugs stood up and aimed their weapons at Darren.

“Phantom Ranger, watch out!” A little girl exclaimed, staying within the arms of her mother and father.

Darren reacted quickly, drawing up his Phantom Laser. He fired three consecutive lasers at the hands of the three thugs, causing them to drop their weapons. He then looked down at the thug he had his hold on and kicked him toward his group, sending them to the floor. Compared to his fight against Anion, apprehending four average lowlifes proved to be a simpler task. Once Darren tied down the thugs, ensuring that they wouldn’t get away, he looked to the still fearful civilians.

“You’re safe, everyone. You’re clear to stand,” Darren told them.

The civilians slowly rose to their feet, the little girl from before approaching the Phantom Ranger, her parents behind her.

“Hey there.” Darren knelt down to her height. “Thank you for your help before. Are you okay?”

The little girl nodded in response, seemingly awestruck by being so close to an actual Power Ranger.

“That’s good.” Darren looked up at the girl’s parents. “I suggest you get back home now. Let the police take care of things from here,” The Phantom Ranger gave a slight wave before he faded into invisibility. A number of police officers entered the bank, presumably to ask questions related to the hostage situation and apprehend the bound criminals.

Seeing that Lenny was still by his police car, to survey the situation from the outside, Darren knelt down and reappeared beside him, now in his civilian form. “Geez!” Lenny exclaimed, “Give a guy a little warning before you creep up on him like that.”

“Good news,” Darren clapped his partner on the shoulder. “The situation has been diffused.”

“No casualties?”

“None.”

“Attaboy,” Lenny ruffled Darren’s hair, laughing all the while. “You’re a real hero!”

“I’m just an officer, Lenny. You would have done the same if you had this,” Darren held up his wrist where the Phantom Morpher resided. “I just hope that Lieutenant Barton isn’t angry.”

“You kidding me? She might even ask you to marry her!” Lenny’s eyes widened.

Darren arched a brow. “She’s an attractive lady, but get real.”

“Whatever. The point is that when she speaks to you about this, I can’t imagine her not thanking you,” Lenny made his way into the car. “You coming with?”

“I think I’m going to stick around and see if the guys need my help. You can go on without me, though,” Darren insisted, “I’ll get another ride.”

Lenny nodded his head and drove off, leaving Darren to help with questioning and the like. He couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride as the Phantom Ranger, as secretive as the role might have been to the rest of the AGPD. As Darren remained at the scene, he wondered what his future conversation with Sarah would be like.

*~*~*

“Officer Garver, I’m sure you know why I called you into my office.”

“No, Lieutenant. I actually don’t.”

Sarah arched a brow, under the impression that Darren was playing dumb with her. With the door closed, she said, “During that hostage situation, the bank’s security cameras were on the entire time,” She told him. “The bank owner was kind enough to supply me with video footage of the scene,” Behind her was a monitor, which played the scene in question from a ceiling angle. Even from this spot, though, the rescue courtesy of the Phantom Ranger was clear as day. While Darren felt that same sense of pride, Sarah’s facial expression was rather difficult to read. Once the video stopped, Sarah turned in her swivel chair to face Darren, who stood there with his AGPD hat in his hands.

“I told you,” Sarah’s voice was firm. “Not to use your powers. They aren’t under AGPD regulation and you could have escalated the situation.”

“But I didn’t. I diffused it,” Darren argued. “If I didn’t morph and sneak inside, we would have had casualties on our hands. Lieutenant, with all due respect, I feel like I was in the right. I helped people today. I made a difference.”

“Officer Garver, the point is that you disobeyed my direct orders and acted outside of regulation. I have half a mind to dismiss you from the force,” Sarah took a deep breath, “With that said, you’re right. You did help people today and if you didn’t, perhaps the situation would have been more tragic.”

Darren’s eyes narrowed, “What are you saying?”

“What I’m saying is that, in rare instances, regulation is meant to be tested.” Sarah cracked just a hint of a smile. “If you plan on resuming use of your Phantom Ranger powers, understand that your efforts must remain confidential. No one outside of the two of us must know of your new role.”

“The two of us and Lenny,” Darren pointed out.

“I stand corrected. Speaking of Officer Santoro, where is he? He’s usually with you,” Sarah pointed out.

“I told him to leave while I helped at the bank. He might have stopped for lunch,” Darren thought aloud. He thought about something that made him chuckle, which caused Sarah to raise an eyebrow.

“Is something funny, Officer Garver?”

“It’s just something Lenny said while we were out. He thought that when you heard about what I did at the bank, you’d be so happy that you’d… That you’d…” Darren struggled to get the words out.

“Want to marry you?” Sarah finished, which caused Darren’s jaw to go partially agape. She explained, “Officer Santoro is quite good at his job, but he’s forgetful about certain things… Like not tuning his radio properly before speaking, for instance. That’s why I knew you were going to act at the bank before you actually did.”

“Listen, I didn’t mean to offend you-“

“On the contrary, Officer Garver, people think of me as so hardened and cold that compliments like yours take me aback,” Sarah flashed a genuine smile, which was the first time Darren had seen her do that during his time on the force. She cleared her throat. “But I think I’ve kept you long enough. You’re free to go. And tell Officer Santoro to check his frequencies before going out on assignments.”

“Yes, Lieutenant.” Darren saluted before stepping out of Sarah’s office, knowing that his relationship with the oftentimes stoic commanding officer had changed forever. Darren knew that the danger was far from gone, though, especially with two otherworldly bounty hunters on his tail.
Phantom Authority, Chapter Three
After given orders from his lieutenant not to use his Phantom Ranger powers in the line of duty, Darren soon encounters a hostage situation that pushes him to test his boundaries. Will it pay off, or will he face the wrath of his straight-laced superior?


Original characters (Darren Garver, Lenny Santoro, etc.) belong to me.
Phantom Ranger and Power Rangers as a whole belongs to Saban.
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He had been through a series of war throughout his life. Between helping the Turbo Rangers to witnessing one of the biggest battles against between good and evil two decades ago, the Phantom Ranger prided himself on being resilient. In his current state, not to mention age, he couldn’t remember ever being in this much agony. Fortunately, the human who called himself Darren helped him escape the bounty hunters, the two of them making their way through a tunnel outside of the construction site they escaped from.

Darren craned his neck to look behind them and sighed in relief, “I think we lost them,” He then made his way to the tunnel wall and set the Phantom Ranger down, allowing him some time to rest. “Are you okay?”

The Phantom Ranger nodded his head, “I should be…” He replied, though there wasn’t much optimism in his tone.

Now that they were deep in this predicament, Darren couldn’t help but speak, “I remember seeing you when I was a kid... And that big battle in Angel Grove, when the Power Rangers saved the world,” He was, of course, referring to the United Alliance of Evil being defeated by the forces of good at the time, the Space Rangers leading the charge. “Since that day, I’ve wanted to be a Power Ranger. Just didn’t expect to meet one.”

“Especially under these circumstances?” The Phantom Ranger added, holding a hand over the wound in his side.

“Exactly,” Darren replied. “But I don’t get it… Why are you back? What do those three want from you?”

“They’re bounty hunters… Sent by someone to find me and retrieve this,” The Phantom Ranger used his other hand to touch the Power Ruby fixed on his chest. “They’ve been after my Power Ruby for days. I know that they would target my home planet, so I ran. I’ve tried to outrun them, but they’ve been relentless. Ultimately, I arrived here to seek temporary refuge.”

“That’s what they’re after? Why go through all this trouble just to steal a ruby to sell?”

“It’s not so simple as wanting to sell it. My Power Ruby contains great power,” The Phantom Ranger explained. “In the wrong hands, it can become disastrous,” He attempted to stand but due to the immense pain he was in, he found himself seated once more. Darren placed a hand on the ranger’s shoulder in a supporting manner. “I can’t go on, Darren. They won’t stop until they have me and, more specifically, the Power Ruby.”

Perhaps against his better judgment, Darren asked, “How can I help?”

“You truly want to get involved… I saw it the moment you stood up to those bounty hunters with only an Earth firearm,” The Phantom Ranger took the Power Ruby in his chest between his fingers, before turning and pulling it out. He took Darren’s other hand and place the glowing red gem in the palm. “Darren, I must ask this of you… I must ask you,” He coughed weakly. “To become the new Phantom Ranger.”

Darren’s eyes widened slightly as he felt the strength of the Power Ruby resonating in his hand. The ruby soon disappeared and in his place was a small black device that wrapped itself around his wrist: The Phantom Morpher. He opened his mouth to object but even in his weakened state, the Phantom Ranger stopped him, “You must think that you’re only a young police officer, but you’re so much more. I can sense it.”

“But…” Darren muttered. Before he could speak further, his attention was drawn to the static in his portable radio. He was surprised that he could even receive a signal in the tunnel. He answered the call, “Go.”

“Darren, it’s me,” Lenny’s voice was heard on the other line. “Listen, I’m in the car right now and one of those freaks just came out of nowhere! He’s on the roof of my car! I need help!”

Darren’s jaw clenched; no one was going to harm his partner, he thought to himself. “I’ll be right there.” He then turned to the Phantom Ranger. “I’ll come back for you, I promise.” With that, he raced out of the tunnel toward the site of the recent attack. The Phantom Ranger tilted his head back against the wall behind him, knowing that he had made the right choice.

*~*~*

“Come out of the car, earthling! Come out and play with me! I promise I’ll play fair!”

The eccentric yet terrifying tone of Anion left Lenny shaken, for lack of a better word, as he found himself frozen in fear in the driver’s seat of his police vehicle. Anion continued to shoot at the windshield, hoping to finally break it and get his target.

“Who’s going to save you, earthling? Who?!”

As if karma was at play, Anion was met with a flying kick to the face, sending him falling to the ground. Landing in front of the car was Darren, who stared down the bounty hunter. “If you wanted my partner to get you a breakfast burrito, you just had to ask.”

“He’s not even getting the crumbs,” Lenny loudly added with a sense of newfound confidence. Darren smirked slightly but didn’t turn his attention from Anion, knowing just how dangerous he has proven himself to be.

“I’m ready to end this!” Anion exclaimed.

“Same here.” Darren held up his wrist where the Phantom Morpher was secured. “As an AGPD officer, in this situation, I’m now well within my rights to use excessive force. Phantom Power!” With one vocal command, an almost technological cloak of light surrounded Darren’s body, slowly forming the familiar suit of his predecessor. Once the helmet formed last, the young police officer now stood firm as the Phantom Ranger. Lenny witnessed this transformation with his jaw agape and eyes widened. Slowly, his utter shock turned to absolute elation, watching his partner take on awesome power.

“Darren,” He heard a voice emit from the inside of his helmet. It was that of the Phantom Ranger! “It’s me. I’m going to give you instructions on how to use this new power,” As he spoke, Darren evaded a kick from Anion, returning the gesture with a kick of his own.

“What should I know?” Darren replied as he blocked a punch from Anion, using his other arm to lock it into place.

“Even though these bounty hunters have firearms, you have one of your own,” The Phantom Ranger stated as Darren swept the legs of Anion out from under him. In Darren’s hand emerged a bat-shaped blaster, which took him by surprise. “This is the Phantom Laser. It’s quick to fire and leaves a huge impact. Use it to ward off targets from a distance.”

Testing it out for himself, Darren fired off a few laser bullets from the Phantom Laser, each one striking Anion with a satisfying spark emitting from his body. Darren stayed alert, though, knowing just how dangerous these bounty hunters were.

“Next,” Darren felt his body become less visible until it was like he no longer of this planet while the previous Phantom Ranger spoke, “The Phantom Ranger powers grant you invisibility. With this, stealth remains on your side. You’ll move quicker in this form, but your strength will remain.”

“Let’s see if you’re right,” Darren said. He set his sights on Anion and made a dash toward him. Like a bolt of lightning, he struck Anion with authority, causing yet another set of sparks to fly. Darren repeated the attack again, and again, and again. Lenny watched this onslaught from the car and found it difficult to keep up.

Darren soon came to stop, skidding across the pavement. The severely weakened Anion, on the other hand, dropped to his knees and fell forward, his body erupting in a massive explosion. Lenny had to shield his eyes from the blast but once his vision cleared, he was stunned to see the figure of the Phantom Ranger – now his partner – standing there.

“D!” Lenny came out of the car, seeing that it was safe now. He approached the figure of the Phantom Ranger with a surprised smile on his face. “How did you…”

“I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this.” Darren lowered his arm, powering down from his Ranger form into his civilian form. “Lenny, this power… There are no words to describe it.”

“Don’t even try to. Just let me treat you to coffee after this,” Lenny offered. “I might need three.”

“Guess I’ll be the designated driver, won’t I?” Darren responded teasingly, making his way over to the police car, glad to see that the damage done to it was minimal.

“But what happened to the Ranger we saw earlier? The one who helped you?” Lenny questioned.

“Oh no.” Darren ran a hand through his hair, believing the worst might have happened to his fallen friend since leaving him. “We have to get back. Come on.” He patted Lenny on the shoulder. “I’ll explain everything on the way there.”

*~*~*

During the walk back to the tunnel, Darren told his partner everything that had happened. He told Lenny about how he followed the Phantom Ranger and the three bounty hunters to the nearby construction site, how he helped the Phantom Ranger escape, and the passing of his powers. As difficult as this was for Lenny to believe, he trusted Darren’s word. After all, he had seen easily the weirdest events during his shift today.

“He was right here…” Darren approached the location, holding a small flashlight in front of him to guide the way. However, he was stunned by what he had seen.

Where he left the Phantom Ranger, he was no longer there.

“Are you sure this is the right place?” Lenny asked.

“I’m sure. I left him right here when I got your call,” Darren told him.

Lenny looked down and saw a strange chrome device on the surface, the red light on top of it blinking, “What’s that thing?”

Darren tilted his head and knelt down to inspect the device. He reached over to touch it, in order to see what it was. Upon pressing a button on the side, a holographic message popped up; it was a communication device! The holographic message in question depicted the Phantom Ranger, who was worse off than he was before. The message began,

“Darren, if you see this message, it means I’m already gone. I passed down the powers of the Phantom Ranger to you, but I left out one detail before I did…. The Power Ruby is not only a source of great power, but it was also linked to my life force.”

“’Linked to his life force?’” Lenny repeated, his brow furrowed.

Darren continued to listen intently to the Phantom Ranger’s message, “I used the remainder of my energy to help you become accustomed to your new powers, but it’s my time to leave this world. Don’t feel remorse for me, as I know I’ve selected a credible successor. Do not let them take the Power Ruby; to do so would be disastrous. Thank you, Darren, and may the power protect you.”

The message ended, the graphic fading quickly thereafter. Darren stood up and turned to look at Lenny, who asked him, “Well, what are you going to do now?”

Darren attempted to shake off the sadness of losing a friend he had only just made as he said, “The way I see it, one of those bounty hunters is gone, and two are still out there.” He looked down at the Phantom Morpher on his wrist. “And they’re not going to stop until they get the Power Ruby. I just want to know who sent them in the first place.”

“All I know…” Lenny clapped Darren on the back as he led them out of the tunnel. “Is that the AGDP is going to have a powerhouse on their side.”

“If the force lets me use it, that is,” Darren replied, before glancing down at the Phantom Morpher on his wrist. To say that life had changed for the average officer would be a tremendous understatement.
Phantom Authority, Chapter Two
After assisting the Phantom Ranger, Darren learns that he must now take up his mantle. Now with more power than he could ever imagine, Darren confides in Lenny, with the hope that he will be able to use his new abilities to make a difference.



Original characters (Darren Garver, Lenny Santoro, etc.) belong to me.
Phantom Ranger and Power Rangers as a whole belongs to Saban.
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But when it comes to the spandex heroes I hold dear, I still have an idea of two waiting in the wings.

Stay tuned and yes, sorry for the extended hiatus.

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:iconryantaylorgirl:
RyanTaylorGirl Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I hope this sends you a notification email. I love you oodles and oodles! <3
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:iconryantaylorgirl:
RyanTaylorGirl Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Just a little note to remind you how much I love you <3
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:iconkamenriderreaper:
KamenRiderReaper Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Right back at youuu.
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:iconmarkellbarnes360:
MarkellBarnes360 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Happy B-Day!
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:iconsetsuyami:
Setsuyami Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Do you do art trades or commissions?
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:iconkaltagstar96:
kaltagstar96 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015
Happy Birthday man :P
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:iconratedvickie:
RatedVickie Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014
Hey Robbie, I was curious, would you be interested in a story where I broke the fourth wall had had one of my OC's do an updated rundown of everything I forgot to post, like a Raw and NXT? That way everyone is caught up and I don't have to do several posts?
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:iconkamenriderreaper:
KamenRiderReaper Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, I think something like that would be very cool. :) Make it happen. Besides, if anyone make a unique idea like that work, I believe it would have to be you.
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:iconkaltagstar96:
kaltagstar96 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014
Hi Rob :) I know you wanted to see Chloe Storm vs. Angelina Love for the KO Championship and I've granted your wish :) kaltagstar96.deviantart.com/ar…
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:iconratedvickie:
RatedVickie Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014
Hey Robbie how are you? I was wondering if I could use RJ for NXT with an interview with Julia if you don't have a major match set for him as Sigma? :)
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