Season Notes: violence, magical coercion, references to suicide, cliffhanger
The safe house they found belonged to a family that had gone missing in the first attack. It was a vacation home, tucked away in the woods where they could hopefully hide for a time without attracting notice. They weren’t happy about just taking it over, but none of them had resources to buy a place, and even if they did — paper trails to your safe house were generally a bad thing for a sentai group.
It was a temporary solution, but it worked.
Officially, all of them but Salem were missing. Salem had waited a couple of days, then started sprinting into the city each day. Her employer was on the outskirts of the city, so she was able to go back to work and hopefully keep some money coming in. On her days off, she zipped around the city. She did some recon, retrieved stuff for the others, kept an eye on the fortress, and ran errands as needed.
At the new base, Mobb used the money Salem brought back to set up perimeter security. The others monitored the news, got supplies, and (discretely) practiced their powers. Quickmoon, in particular, spent a lot of time in practice. Not just in eir transformed state but also as emself. Ey kept it simple — not a lot of fancy moves. One kick, one cut, one high guard, one low guard. Thrusting with a greatsword was, ey figured, a technique for later. Within 5 days, ey had practiced eir one kick 10,000 times and didn’t think ey would ever walk right again.
The news was being very official and referring to them as the ‘unknown possibly supernatural defenders.’ Well, the news shows that didn’t denounce them as demons. But folks on social media were more relaxed; it wasn’t long before some anime buffs started calling them — “Mighty Hero Force Epsilon.” Epsilon because it was the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet, and there were five of them. (Of course, in the old shows most sentai teams had five members. Apparently, ‘Mighty Hero Force’ was too short for a proper sentai name.) The rest was self-explanatory. Quickmoon, Astaroth, and Salem were amused. Mobb and Blade didn’t get it. Either way, it became popular and had trended on Twitter for three days.
It was on the sixth day that the next attack came.
Quickmoon came racing into the house waving around eir wrist, which had a glowing patch on it. “Guys, something’s going on!
Blade came racing out of the kitchen where he’d been watching the news. “Kansas City! We need to get to Kansas City!”
They had no idea how to get to Kansas City. It was a couple hundred miles away, not exactly next door.
“Transform first,” Astaroth said.
It was the first time they’d gone through the transformation sequence while all in the same place and able to watch each other transform. It was… impressive.
When they landed, they knew what they needed to do. And that it would come with some severe limitations.
They gathered in a tight circle, in the same order they had been in when they surrounded Mourningdagger’s fortress. Then they reached out, first right hand reaching right, grabbing each others’ right wrist. Then left hand reaching left, grabbing each other’s left wrists.
They had channeled their power into the ground when surrounding the fortress. Now, they channeled their power into the circle formed by their arms, the connection they forged between them. And Astaroth said, “Kansas City, near the fighting.”
They shimmered out of existence.
One of Mourningdagger’s lieutenants led the attack. The man who had worn modern clothing and stood to Mourningdagger’s right. He led a force of humanoid monsters, their skins (or perhaps some weird clothing? it was hard to tell) a silverish grey and their faces (if they had faces) masked by a featureless oval.
As they flashed into existence, Mourningdagger’s voice boomed over the city. “Gain me a foothold, lieutenant!”
The man did not reply but immediately began ordering his forces out into the city. The monsters split up into groups and began driving people out and away from where the lieutenant stood. Unlike in the first attack, they ignored those who ran. Any who tried to stand or fight back would be swarmed by a half dozen or more of the things. Some went into buildings, breaking open doors and driving out any people they found.
The team shimmered into existence on the top of a building under attack. Salem and Quickmoon jumped off the building, landing with sidewalk-shattering force. Quickmoon immediately drew eir sword and began aggroing the monsters.
Salem took off at a run, grabbing up civilians and getting them to safety.
Mobb lay down at the edge of the roof and put down covering fire for Salem. She loved her magical, magazineless gun and put it to good use.
Blade and Astaroth went through the building. They took down the monsters and helped people there get down the stairs and out to the street.
Blade’s HUD projected an escape route every step of the way. As soon as they had folks moving out of the building, the HUD updated with safe regions for people to retreat to. “West!” He shouted, “Head northwest, get to Andrew Drips Park on 16th. Move!”
Salem heard him as she zipped in and out of the buildings surrounding the park area the invaders had landed in. She took up the call, shouting to each group as she ran past, “Andrew Drips on 16th. It’ll be clear of the damn fighting.”
“Get your asses in gear, folks: west.”
“West is fucking that way. Andrew Drips, move it!”
Astaroth, once clear of the building they landed on, worked his way through the monsters to stand beside Quick. Between the two of them, they had almost all the remaining monsters aggro’d on them.
It was Mobb who saw it first, the way he — the lieutenant — watched them tying up his monsters and smirked. She swung her scope around and assessed the situation. Her teammates had the monsters under control. So she zeroed in on him. She was no sniper, but she had a magical gun and a clear shot.
She took it.
The bullet might have been on target — or not — she was never sure. It got within a couple yards of him and ricocheted away, bouncing off of clear air. She cursed and lined up another shot. He winked at her, and she saw him gather a ball of magic between his hands.
“Speed! Get that bastard before he does… whatever he’s doing.”
Salem was near the roof of another building when the call came. Rather than going down the stairs, she burst through the roof access and leaped out into the air. She landed halfway to him and ran the rest of the way in a split second.
She bounced off the same shield that sent Mobb’s bullet off on a ricochet.
He grinned at her. “Thank you for your help… Speed was it? With the humans clear, I can now open the door.”
Blade, racing (much more slowly) out of the building he’d been clearing, called, “Speed, get me there.”
“Why?” she replied, but she was already halfway to him.
“I got this,” he said. He was digging through his pouches even as she hauled Blade out to where he stood in his protective bubble. “I think.”
“Sword, Frontman?” Mobb asked.
“We’re here, Guns,” Astaroth replied. “Time to stop playing.”
Quick slammed eir sword into the ground, repeating the shock effect that knocked the monsters off their feet. Astaroth, following the intuition none of them ever understood, growled, “Stay down.” And the monsters froze, not even trying to get up.
Leaving the grey-skinned monsters behind, they rushed to converge on Mourningdagger’s lieutenant.
Before they had even downed the monsters, Salem was back at the bubble with Blade. Blade pulled a hand out of one of his vest pockets, holding a small vial of powder. He poured the powder into his palm and tossed it toward the lieutenant. For a moment, it settled on the bubble, and then the bubble… popped.
Mobb, who’d been watching for her chance, immediately took another shot. This time he reached up and caught the bullet out of midair. In doing so, he had to release the magic he had been holding. It exploded outward, shaking Salem, Blade, Quick, and Astaroth, but destroying his spell.
He laughed. “Impressive, children. Let’s see what else you have.”
From nowhere, he drew a pair of swords and attacked.
Quickmoon lunged forward, meeting his attack head-on and parrying it. Astaroth shouted, each yell knocking him off balance, but the bastard recovered almost immediately, too quickly for Quick to take advantage of.
Mobb took every clear shot she could get, but he dodged or deflected them, all while evading Salem’s speed runs.
Blade stayed clear and kept the powder coming, shutting down every magical attack he tried to gather and giving small boosts to the rest of the team.
“Thanks, Heals,” Quick called as Blade tossed a blood-red powder over em that left em feeling refreshed and strong, even after wielding eir sword nonstop for nearly half an hour.
“Incoming,” Salem yelled, and Quick and Astaroth jumped out of the way to give her a clear shot at him. He dodged, but barely.
“He’s tiring,” Astaroth yelled, “Now!”
It was too perfect to be spontaneous — but it couldn’t be anything else. Quick came in with a cross attack that drove him back just as Astaroth’s shout slammed him from the side, and Salem rushed in behind him and slammed his knee as she dashed by.
He went down, and Quickmoon’s sword stopped just above his throat.
“Surrender,” Astaroth demanded.
He smirked. “My lord commanded I gain him a foothold. So I shall or die trying.”
They were sentai but new to it, and they were, with the exception of Mobb, not trained for battle. So Quickmoon hesitated, and the other’s froze, and he twisted himself around and knocked eir feet out from under em.
He rolled to his feet, breathing heavily and with only one sword now, but still prepared to fight.
Before the fight could begin again, Mourningdagger’s voice echoed through the air, “Retreat, lieutenant!”
“Ah, my master’s orders.” He smirked as he saluted them. “Next time.”
And he and all the monsters shimmered and vanished.
Mighty Hero Force Epsilon (S1 E4)