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by Red Witch
Summary: A strange dream hurls Goose into a nightmare. Can the other Rangers save him or will his salvation come from the very person he's trying to save?
The disclaimer saying that I don't own any Galaxy Ranger characters has sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Here is another fic that came out of my mind that ties in with a few other fics that came out of my mind. If you need further proof that I am out of my mind just go ahead and read.
Dark water was all around as the coldness chilled his body to the bone. Pain pulsed through him, incredible pain. But the pain was not his own. Eyes similar to his flashed in terror and a cry of agony broke through the darkness.
And the dark laughter of a one eyed Cyclops was heard as a sharp spear tore and hit flesh and scales and blood mingled with fear and pain.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Shane shot up from bed, covered in sweat. "CHEYENNE!"
"Goose?" Bubblehead blinked and flew towards him. "Hey big guy come on! What's wrong?"
"Cheyenne…" Shane shook violently. "No…No…"
"Goose…Goose," Bubblehead lightly touched him with his wing. "Come on big guy you're scaring me."
"I gotta do something…" Shane got out of bed, wearing only his boxers.
"Could you do it while wearing pants?" Bubblehead asked.
"Right," Shane grabbed a pair and put them on. Then he called Niko on his communicator. "Niko! Niko! Come in!"
"Ugh…" Niko's voice responded. "Goose do you have any idea what time it is?"
"Niko I need your help!," He told her. "It's an emergency. A family emergency if you get my drift."
"Okay give me ten minutes and I'll meet you at your place," Niko sighed. "Niko out."
"Ooh boy! Company!" Bubblehead flew around. "I'll put the kettle on!"
Soon Niko was at Shane's apartment. "And that's all you sensed?" Niko asked as Shane paced around the apartment. "Are you sure it wasn't a nightmare?"
"It was no dream Niko! Cheyenne is in trouble! I know it!" Shane told her. "I could feel it! I could feel the General stabbing her like I was there. He's after her, and she's hurt! I know it!"
"Shane calm down," Niko told him. "This won't help her or you."
"How did he find out?" Shane kept pacing. "How did that bastard find out about her? Oh no…It must have been…I'LL KILL HIM! I'LL KILL THAT FOUR ARMED FREAK AND FEED HIM HIS ARMS ONE BY ONE!"
"Mogul?" Niko asked.
"Who else?" Shane growled. "Remember Skoll? When he possessed me he blabbed about Cheyenne…He could read my mind. He couldn't stop laughing about her…situation. That slime ball sorcerer was there the whole time! He must have heard the whole thing!"
"So Mogul told the General…" Niko realized. "Why are they working together?"
"Who knows why those creeps do anything?" Shane snapped. "Maybe some kind of bad guy networking thing but I don't care! We have to save her!"
"Goose calm down!" Niko snapped. "I know you're upset but just flying off the handle won't help her or you. Remember, we're trying to keep Cheyenne's existence a secret."
"I know, I know…" Shane took a breath.
"Okay here's what we are going to do," Niko thought. "I'm going to go to the Commander and say I had a vision of Mogul and the General doing something to the oceans on Earth. I'll 'sense' they're in the area where Cheyenne is. Then I'll recommend that the two of us go check it out."
"Commander Walsh may not assign me to that mission!" Shane told her. "Why can't I tell him I saw it?"
"Shane I have to be the one to have the vision," Niko gave him a look. "It would be kind of suspicious if you had it."
"Right," Shane sighed. "That might tip them off."
"You think?" Bubblehead gave him a look.
The next morning Zach was walking down the hallway with his son. "It's great that you're going to teach me how to drive a car," Zach Jr. grinned.
"We'll you're already fifteen and you already know how to fly a starship," Zach shrugged. "You might as well get a head start on the basics."
"Hey guys! Just the man I wanted to see," Doc smiled as he walked up to them.
"What can I do for you Doc?" Zach asked.
"Actually it's Zach Junior I wanted to talk to," Doc took out a photograph. "Have you seen this woman before?"
It was a picture of a short haired blond woman who looked very familiar. "I don't know. She kind of reminds me of someone…" Zach blinked.
"She kind of looks like Goose," Zach said. "Isn't that…?"
"Cheyenne yes," Doc said. "I found an old picture of her."
"Doc why do you…?" Zach began.
"Wait a minute, I remember now!" Zach Jr. said. "Dad remember when we were on that space station with the science fair and that machine exploded and we were all knocked out? And we all had that dream where we saw a mermaid?"
"You're saying this is her?" Zach asked incredulously.
"The hair was a lot longer and she had a fish tail but I'm positive that's her!" Zach Jr. said.
"Doc what the devil is going on here?" Zach gave Doc a look.
"I think we might want to ask the Goose that," Doc said as he put the photograph away. "He's been acting rather odd lately especially whenever her name comes up. Not that the Gooseman isn't already odd but…"
"Who's Cheyenne?" Zach Jr. asked.
"Her name was Cheyenne Gooseman," Zach explained. "She died about a hundred years ago and her DNA is in our Goose."
"I'm not so sure she's…," Doc said softly. A beeping interrupted him. "We're wanted in the Commander's office."
"Sorry son, duty calls," Zach sighed.
"It's okay Dad," His son shrugged. "I understand."
As the two rangers left around the corner, flying from just around the other corner was Bubblehead. "Daisy, daisy…" He whistled.
"Bubblehead?" Zach Jr. blinked. "Are you supposed to be just flying around out here?"
"Probably not," Bubblehead chirped happily. "Hey wanna go to a room and randomly push buttons? It's fun!"
"I think I'd better get you back to Goose before you get into trouble," Zach Jr. reached out to grab him.
"Oh boy! A new game! Can't catch me!" Bubblehead flew away laughing maniacally.
"Bubblehead come back here!" Zach Jr. chased after him.
Meanwhile back in Commander Walsh's office…
"Are you certain your vision didn't go into any more detail Ranger Niko?" Commander Walsh asked.
"Not really. All I saw was the General and Mogul on Earth plotting something," She said pointing to a map. "I focused my powers and they seem to point their location in this direction."
"Do you have any idea what their purpose is?" Waldo asked.
"Not really," Niko said. "But knowing them it can't be good."
"All right, we'll send the Rangers in to investigate," Walsh nodded. "Captain Foxx you will…"
"NO!" Shane said rather loudly. Recovering himself he restated. "Sir it's me the General wants. I can't risk anyone else…"
"There is no debate on this Ranger," Walsh gave him a harsh look. "The whole team is going. That's final."
"All right," Zozo said. "I was starting to get bored staying around BETA so long."
"I meant the whole Galaxy Ranger Team," Walsh amended. "Technically this is an Earth matter. I can't ask either of you to be part of it."
"But…" Zozo began.
"We understand completely," Waldo said quickly.
"We do?" Zozo looked at him. Waldo gave him a look. "Oh yeah, right we do. No problems. Well got to go now."
The two aliens left. "Doc, I want you to go over the coordinates with your programs," Walsh ordered. "You'll depart first thing tomorrow morning."
"Tomorrow?! But by then it could be…" Shane began. "I mean why not leave now?"
"Because we have one of those damned stupid mandatory reviews in a few hours," Walsh grumbled. "I'm sorry Gooseman but unless we have some definite proof that the General and Mogul are doing something on Earth it's not our top priority. Not that I don't have the utmost belief in your skills Niko but I'm afraid the Board will need more than that."
"I understand Commander," Niko gave Shane a look. Shane wisely kept silent.
"Very well, dismissed," Walsh made a curt nod.
Shane left first and quickly with Niko on his heels. Doc uploaded the data into his CDU and he and Zach left the room afterwards. "Is it just me or do you get the feeling those two are up to something?" Zach asked.
"Take a look here Zach, doesn't this area seem a bit familiar to you?" Doc showed him.
"Hold on, isn't this…?" Zach's eyes widened at the coordinates.
"The same area where we found the Energy Star?" Doc finished. "Now things are starting to make sense. It was on that mission Goose started being curious about his past. And didn't you find it strange that Niko just happened to learn how to control the Energy Star so quickly?"
"And Goose took off pretty fast after that," Zach remembered. "He nearly got killed doing it. At the time I thought he was just hungry for seaweed again. But now…"
"I think we should have a little talk with our team mates," Doc finished. "And get to the bottom of this once and for all."
"Bubblehead come back here!" Zach Jr. chased after the memory bird into the hanger bay.
"Hey look at all the ships! Let's go for a ride!" Bubblehead twittered as he headed towards the large flying sub.
"No! Bubblehead come back!" Zach Jr. chased after him. To his surprise he found Niko and Shane on board the ship preparing for takeoff.
"Goose we can't just leave Zach and Doc behind!" Niko said to him.
"We don't have a choice! Just strap yourself in and prepare for takeoff," Shane told him.
Zach Jr. was about to say something when a pair of hands grabbed him and Bubblehead before they could make a sound. They were yanked back into the shadows.
"Did you hear something?" Shane stopped for a moment.
"Not really," Niko said as they took off. "Goose, you know Commander Walsh is going to really let you have it for leaving the others behind. Not to mention missing the review."
"I'll worry about that bridge when I come to it," Shane told her as he flew the ship. "I just couldn't risk it. I'll think of some excuse to why we left them behind."
"You don't have to," Bubblehead flew out. "They're right here!"
"WHAT?" Shane turned and saw Doc, Zach and his son creep out of their hiding places in the back. "What the…?"
"We had a feeling the two of you would try and skip out early," Zach folded his arms.
"Call it Ranger Intuition," Doc smirked.
"I was chasing Bubblehead and I ended up here," Zach Jr. admitted. "I was going to say something before you took off but Dad and Doc kind of stopped me."
"Speaking of taking off you mind telling us why you two are just running off like this?" Zach asked.
"Yeah don't you know leaving your fellow rangers behind is not very polite," Doc quipped.
"I admit Goose and Niko this is certainly not like you to act this way," Waldo emerged from his hiding spot with Zozo.
"Waldo? Zozo? What are you doing here?" Shane shouted. "What is all of BETA Mountain on this ship? Is Buzzwang hiding back there too?"
"Nah we gave him the slip in the cafeteria," Zozo said.
"As my Kiwi companion stated before life at BETA was getting a little stale," Waldo said. "And this mystery of why you two are acting secretive is quite puzzling."
"I'm going to take a wild guess on this," Doc gave Shane a look. "Niko didn't have this vision, did she? It was you. And it has something to do with Cheyenne."
"Cheyenne? As in Cheyenne Gooseman?" Waldo blinked. "Your ancestor?"
"All right Gooseman, spill it," Zach folded his arms. "What's going on?"
"I think you'd better tell them Shane," Niko sighed.
Shane realized he had no choice and did so. "Let me get this straight," Doc held up his hand after he finished. "Cheyenne Gooseman is alive…and she evolved into some kind of telepathic mermaid?"
"Yes," Shane told him.
"But why did you not inform any of us about this?" Waldo asked. "If she is alive and needs assistance why not tell us? After all the Galaxy Rangers were created to protect the people of…"
"Supertroopers aren't considered people!" Shane spat. "Not by the Board of Leaders. We're nothing but weapons to them. Tools to be used and thrown away when…I just can't let them find out about her! Can you understand that?"
"I guess so," Zach sighed. "All right Goose we'll keep your secret. It will be hard not to tell BETA about it, but we'll think of some cover story."
"It's not like we're already keeping secrets," Doc pointed out.
"What do you mean?" Zozo asked.
"Doc," Shane gave him a look.
"No, Shane," Niko held his hand. "I think we should tell them about…About the other thing too. Waldo and Zozo can be trusted. And Little Zach well…I think he's old enough to understand."
"Understand what?" Zach Jr. asked.
"What other thing?" Waldo was confused.
"Goose isn't the only one with family secrets," Niko sighed.
To say Zozo, Waldo and Zach Jr. were stunned when Niko told them about her colony was an understatement. "Why those dirty…despicable…" Zozo sputtered.
"How could they do something so horrible?" Zach Jr. asked. "I don't believe it. How could the Board of Leaders do that?"
"You'd be surprised kid," Shane said bitterly.
"Not everyone on the Board is probably involved in this," Doc said. "But we don't know exactly who is and who isn't."
"Now I understand your need for secrecy," Waldo sighed. "This is truly dangerous territory. On more than one level."
"What do you mean?" Zozo asked.
"Think about it," Waldo told him. "If there are members of Earth's government more than willing to exterminate their own kind because of differences, I doubt that they will hesitate to take extreme action against other life forms for their own purposes."
"You mean they'd be willing to kill us?" Zozo's eyes widened.
"Or other aliens," Shane said. "Remember the original purpose of the Supertroopers was to take out any alien threats to the Earth."
"Whoever was responsible for the massacre of Niko's colony might interpret the notion of 'alien threats' quite loosely," Waldo nodded. "They probably would have sent the Supertroopers to attack us if the program was successful."
"You mean if what happened at Wolf Den never happened Goose would have been sent to…" Zach Jr.'s eyes widened.
"Let's just say I try not to think about that," Shane told him.
"It would seem then logically that whoever ordered Niko's colony destroyed and the one who wanted to destroy the Supertrooper program are two different people," Doc thought aloud.
"Wait destroy the program? I thought Wheiner was responsible because he's an impatient idiot?" Zozo asked.
"He is," Shane said. "But he had no idea what the formula would do. He also didn't have the security clearance to get it in the first place.."
"I thought he was the main senator backing the Supertrooper program?" Zach asked.
"He was but there were a lot more powerful senators pulling the strings from behind the scenes," Shane said. "And a few higher ups that weren't thrilled about the project in the first place. A lot of them weren't exactly shedding tears when the Supertrooper project failed."
"So it makes sense to deduct that whoever ordered Niko's colony destroyed by any means necessary and does not like aliens would not have given Wheiner the X-Factor," Waldo thought.
"How do you figure that?" Zozo asked.
"Why risk human lives fighting aliens when you can just crank out a bunch of mutants to do it for you?" Shane told him. "Not to mention have your own trained freaks to deal with other freaks."
"Don't forget that many senators and businessmen have made a lot of money either due to new weapons projects or trade with alien planets," Doc said. "They were the most to benefit since the Supertrooper project failed."
"So on the one hand we have a bunch of xenophobic maniacs willing to do whatever it takes to wipe out any threats to the Earth, real or imagined…" Zozo thought. "And on the other hand we have some opportunistic bastards who will do anything to make a profit. And we are now in the way of both of them. Oi, Earth politics always makes my head hurt!"
"Right now I'm more concerned with Cheyenne," Shane sighed.
"Yes today we're dealing with Goose's family crisis," Doc pointed out. "We can tackle all the other stuff another time."
"I suggest we concentrate on finding Cheyenne," Zach nodded. "Knowing the General he's probably planning on using her DNA."
"He's always been obsessed with me," Shane grumbled. "If he found out about her and what she can do he wouldn't hesitate to use her to make some kind of army. She's had enough of that. She hated the idea of her DNA being used in the Supertrooper Program. I can't say I blame her."
"Shane, she doesn't blame you," Niko said gently.
"I know," Shane nodded. "I just don't want her to go through that again. She's been used enough."
"You really connected with her didn't you?" Doc asked.
"I know it's crazy and I've only really met her once," Shane said. "But…I don't know. I understand her. We're a lot alike. And not just in looks. I guess it's because I have a high concentration of her DNA inside of me. She is one of my primary donors after all."
"She's your mother," Zach Jr. said. "More or less."
"It's not the same," Shane said softly, "Not like you. I know I shouldn't feel this way but I do, even if she is just a donor. She had no choice in my birth. I don't have the right."
"Goose are you telling me you felt guilty about her because of me?" Zach Jr. shouted. "That's stupid!"
"Little Zach!" Niko startled.
"Well it is," Zach defended his son. "The kid has a point."
"Goose just because my mom is…," Zach Jr. struggled. "Well it doesn't mean you don't have a right to want one of your own. You have just as much a right to have a family as anyone else. Maybe even more."
"Aww! Goosie wants a mommy too!" Bubblehead chirped.
"Not now bird," Shane gave the memory bird a look. "I get what you're saying kid but…"
"But nothing," Zach put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "Goose promise me you'll talk to Cheyenne. Tell her how you feel. I have a feeling she might feel the same way about you. You'll never know unless you talk to her."
"Right now I just want her to be safe," Shane sighed.
"She'll be fine," Zozo piped up, "Now that the Galaxy Rangers are on the case!"
"I hope so," Shane said.
Shortly after they were in the ocean. Niko took out a smaller craft with Waldo, Zozo, Zach Jr. and Bubblehead to scout out one area while Zach and Shane took the sub in another. "I keep forgetting how big the oceans on Earth are," Zach realized. "No wonder Cheyenne has remained undetected for so long."
"I'm sorry I dragged your kid into this," Shane sighed. "He's only fifteen and already he's dealing with two different conspiracy theories."
"Three if you count the Queen of the Crown keeping his mother's soul hostage," Zach told him. "I guess I can understand why you were reluctant to trust us. But you don't have to be you know?"
"I just don't want anyone else to get hurt because of me," Shane said, looking down. "That's happened far too many times in the past. I don't want it to happen again."
"What do you mean?" Zach asked.
"I don't want to talk about it," Shane told him. "Trust me, you're better off not knowing."
"This isn't about what happened at Wolf Den is it?" Zach asked.
"In a way but…" Shane stopped. "Zachery please don't ask me any more about that. I…I just don't want to talk about it."
"Shane! Over here!" Niko called out on the communicator. "We found her. Actually, she found us."
"We're coming!" Shane piloted the flying sub to where the others were. To their surprise they found a small island where the others had disembarked.
As he opened the hatch he saw a familiar face swim towards them. "She's all right…" Shane let out a breath of relief. "She's safe…"
"She's beautiful," Zach Jr. said.
"She doesn't have a shirt on!" Bubblehead chirped. Immediately Zach covered his son's eyes. "Oh come on, it's not like you can see anything with all that hair."
"Oh my…" Waldo blinked nervously.
"Get over it Waldo like Bubblehead said her hair covers everything up," Zozo gave him a look.
Without hesitation Shane dove into the water. "Cheyenne…I…Are you all right? You're not hurt are you?"
Do I look injured to you? She smiled. I admit I wasn't expecting a visit from you or your friends. I take it you finally decided to tell them about me?
"We uh kind of had to drag it out of him," Zach admitted. "I'm Captain Zachery Foxx and…"
I know who you are, She made a wry grin. It's hard for me not to know these things.
"She's telepathic," Waldo was stunned.
"Yes and she's a very high level one," Niko nodded. "I can sense it."
"It's very nice to finally meet you Mother Gooseman," Doc made a slight bow.
Likewise, She raised an amused eyebrow. Shane what's going on? It's not that I'm glad to see you but you're worried about something.
"The General," Shane explained. "I saw him hurting you. I couldn't just…"
Shane, I'm fine. I haven't been attacked by this General you speak of, She frowned.
"What? But I saw him…I could feel it! I felt you being hurt!" Shane was puzzled.
Shane let me look into your mind…Cheyenne touched his forehead. Those images…I didn't send them.
"Then how…?" Shane began before he was interrupted by a laser blast next to him. "What the…?"
"It's the General!" Niko shouted. The single eyed alien was flying in a small ship firing on him.
"Congratulations Gooseman!" The General laughed as Shane and the others scattered, his cruel voice booming through the loudspeaker. "You have proven that my dream sublimator device works perfectly! I was able to sift through your mind and use your own fears against you!"
"A what?" Shane snapped. "Cheyenne! Get out of here!"
Cheyenne dove under the water. "I've heard of those things," Doc called out as the Rangers scattered to fight. "They're like long range hypno scans, but they were discontinued from use because they were too dangerous to operate!"
"That's how he found out about Cheyenne!" Niko shouted. Three other small ships appeared on the horizon.
"And like a fool I led him right to her…" Shane snarled. "This is exactly why I didn't risk looking for her before!"
"Watch out!" Doc dove, shoving Zach Jr. out of the way of fire. "Drone ships!"
"I must admit the discovery of an evolved metamorph such as the female is a fascinating discovery," The General laughed as one of his drone ships pinned down the Ranger's craft with his ship's lasers.
"We're not metamorphs you…" Shane fumed. "That's it!" He touched his badge and deliberately jumped in the way of one of the blasts. He absorbed the energy and directed it right back at the ship, hitting it.
To everyone's surprise one of the other small ships shot out several small silver pods that exploded around Shane. A strange gas emanated around him. "Come on General, you'll have to do…" Shane touched his badge again.
But instead of adapting to the gas, something else happened. He began screaming in agony. "AAAAAAAHHHHH!" He reverted back to his normal form and began to sink below the water.
"Goose!" Zach shouted. With a swear he used his bionic arm to shoot down one of the drones. "Something's wrong with his bio defenses!"
"An intriguing little poison I managed to obtain," The General laughed. "It directly interferes with your bio defenses, turning them against you."
Shane sunk beneath the water, unable to even move. "GOOSE!" Niko dove into the water without thinking.
Cheyenne swam to his aid and got him to the surface first. "We have to help them!" Zozo shouted.
"Yeah but first we have to help us!" Doc grunted as he tried to blast down the remaining ships with his blaster.
"Goose!" Niko managed to get to him and Cheyenne. She took him from Cheyenne's arms and treaded water. "Hang on Goose! I've got you!"
YOU HURT HIM! BIG MISTAKE! NOW I WILL HURT YOU!Cheyenne shrieked like a demon from below. Her eyes seemed to glow brightly. Suddenly a huge spout of water began to form. Like a watery tornado it grew in size until it trapped the remaining small ships.
"AAAAHHHH!" The General screamed as he spun around and around, his craft being torn to shreds by the waterspout around him.
"Go Mother Goose," Bubblehead blinked.
"Now we know where Goose gets his temper from," Zach gulped.
"And knowing is a great reason not to tick either of them off," Doc added.
The General was knocked out of his ship and into the water below. Cheyenne swam towards him. It's time you learned a lesson about messing with Supertroopers, General…She hissed. And the lesson is…Don't mess with Supertroopers!
The General screamed in agony as Cheyenne blasted his mind with a mental assault. "AAAAAHH! NO! STOP! PLEASE! STOP!"
Finally the General stopped screaming and lay in the water. "Is he dead?" Zach asked as Cheyenne used the water to give him a shove onto the island.
"No, just out cold," Waldo looked him over. "She literally fried his brain with a mental assault."
"So much for us saving her," Zozo remarked.
Cheyenne made her way back to Niko and touched Shane's forehead. Give him to me. I have to get the poison out and get his bio-defenses working again or else…
"Cheyenne! Wait! How are you…?" Niko began but before she could say anything more she took him from his arms and dove under the ocean with him.
"Where did she take him?" Niko cried out. "SHANE!"
Shane whimpered as the poison spread through his body. It felt like his entire body was on fire and being stabbed with knives. His bio defenses were crippled. He couldn't fight back. His vision blurred. Sounds and smells became too powerful, overwhelming his senses. No matter how tightly he shut his eyes, tears of pain flowed from them freely.
He didn't know where he was. All he knew was that he had been yanked through water and now he was somewhere else. He was soaking wet and shivering despite feeling a high fever.
A pair of gentle hands pressed against his forehead and chest. He felt a strange warmth flow from them into his body. But with the warmth came even more agony. He screamed loudly, unable to control himself.
He was pulled into a comforting embrace. Something warm pressed against his mouth and he felt a sweet tasting liquid pour down his throat. Instinctively he clutched against the body next to him drinking in the strange elixir. As he drank the pain seemed to lessen and the whirling vortex that assaulted his senses started to fade.
A gentle hand tenderly stroked his hair and jaw. He felt warm energy flow through his entire being. He drifted into a peaceful oblivion, letting the warmth lull him to sleep.
He awoke some time later. His body was still damp but the air around him was pleasantly warm. He opened his eyes and took in the sight around him. He was inside an underwater cave. Luminous stalactites hung from the ceiling , glowing with some natural phosphorous light. Within the walls of the cavern there were also some kind of minerals that made the walls twinkle like stars in the sky. Strange colorful plants and fish were abundant all around him as well as pieces of shipwrecks long ago.
He sat up and found that he was lying on a beach like area of the underwater grotto. Underneath him was a soft bed of moss. Cheyenne was beside him. How are you feeling? She asked, placing her hand on his forehead.
"Better…" He grunted. "I think it's over now. Where are we?"
My home, She told him. Don't worry, the plants in here create oxygen and we aren't too deep under the ocean so that the water pressure won't crush you.
"Wait you can still breathe air?" Shane realized.
Yes but I need to stay close to water, She explained. Like many aquatic mammals I can't survive long out of it.
"Oh," Shane said. "How did you get the poison out? You healed me?"
Yes…She seemed hesitant for a moment. Over the years I learned how to create antibodies within myself so I can reverse practically any poison or toxin. I made my body create something to help your bio defenses.
"Hold it…" Shane did a double take. "Cheyenne…You didn't do what I think you did, did you?" The memory became clearer now. "You did…"
I'm sorry Shane, Cheyenne tenderly brushed a lock of his hair from his forehead. I had no choice. It was the only way…
"Never, ever tell Doc or anyone about this…" Shane groaned with embarrassment. "I'll never live it down!"
There's something more, Cheyenne shook her head. I might have started something you're not ready for.
"What do you mean?" Shane asked.
Your bio defenses may get stronger. And you may become more…adaptable, Cheyenne sighed. It could be dangerous for you if…If you do evolve.
"Evolve?" Shane blinked. "Into what? You?"
Not exactly…It may be more dangerous if Walsh and the Board of Leaders find out about your changes than the actual changes themselves. Just be a little careful and more aware of your body from now on.
"Okay," Shane took a deep breath and looked around the cavern, desperate to change the subject. "This is your home? Nice place."
Thank you, It's hard to find a good decorator under the ocean.
"So that's where I get my sense of humor from?" Shane raised an eyebrow.
Where did you think you got it from? Skoll?
"I gotta admit…" Shane sighed. "I never had a real mother before. As strange as this whole situation is…It's kind of nice. I mean having someone to talk to. If you don't…"
It's no bother to me Shane. My social calendar isn't exactly full down here, Cheyenne grinned. I…never thought I would have any children. I was…made incapable of bearing them. I used to tell myself I didn't need them. That they would only slow me down but now…Now I'm glad for this. I'm glad we finally met. I don't feel so alone. Well when we do connect with each other that is.
"If that's your subtle way of telling me to call more often," Shane rolled his eyes. "I get the message."
There is something else, She paused. Shane a long time ago, back before I had a tail I met a young boy who could see the future. He warned me but I didn't listen. He told me that I like all my kind would be caught up in a cycle of death and betrayal. And that those who shared my blood would be cursed with it as well.
"No surprises there," Shane grumbled as he folded his arms.
This began long before Wolf Den, She gave him a look. With my own father. I loved and trusted him even though he turned me into a living weapon. And in the end…But that's not what I want to say. That boy told me that our kind would forever be at war with one another, never to find peace unless a son of my blood would break the cycle.
"Wait and you think that's me?" Shane looked at her.
You are the only Supertrooper that has the highest concentration of my DNA. I truly believe that you are the only one that can bring the other Supertroopers together and unite them.
"Unite them? I'm the one who betrayed them, remember?" Shane told her. "And the only reason I'm not frozen is that I have to hunt them down! I can't be the one to unite the Supertroopers! Unless you count how much the others hate me. They all agree on that!"
Maybe there is a way…She appeared to be deep in thought. Since we met I've been actively trying to connect with those that have my blood.
"I don't think that's such a good idea," Shane said. "Trust me, the last thing you need is Kilbane busting in on your doorstep."
I don't let them sense me if I can help it, She told him. But lately I've been sensing things. Shane how many Supertroopers escaped Wolf Den?
"Counting me? Eight," Shane told her. "I'm the only sane one."
I'm not so sure. Shane I've been sensing more than eight with my blood.
"More?" Shane asked. "That's impossible! How many more?"
Like I said I'm not sure. The distance is great. But there are definitely other Supertroopers out there.
"Other Supertroopers…" Shane was stunned. "Great! Just what I need! It was bad enough when I was told to hunt down the other seven! And they're still a bit antsy that I haven't brought any of them in! If the Board of Leaders finds out there's more than that…"
I know. I'm sorry to drop this all on you Shane. But I can only do so much now. I don't think I could change back into a humanoid shape even if I wanted too.
"Don't worry about it," Shane sighed. "Obviously I need to keep this quiet. I don't want to tell the others unless I absolutely have to. They're already in it deep enough without going further. But can you sense anything else about these other Supertroopers? What they're like or anything?"
You mean are they sane?
"I just don't want to go through what happened at Wolf Den again," Shane admitted. "It's bad enough what I did, even if it was necessary. I just don't want to be responsible for getting any other Supertroopers frozen. Well maybe with one or two obvious exceptions."
Shane, most of those in the Cryocrypt…They don't even know they're frozen. And the ones who have an inkling...They think they've escaped. I managed to make some contact with them a long time ago. I gave them peaceful dreams. They're not suffering Shane. At least…Most of them.
"Most of them?" Shane asked.
Like I said, one of the others that I'm not able to contact. I don't know Shane, I get images of pain. Terrible pain. Something terrible is happening to at least one of them. But for some reason I can't pinpoint who or where.
"Is it possible that someone is making other Supertroopers?" Shane asked.
I've said it before, anything is possible with our kind.
"What a fun day this has turned out to be," Shane groaned. He heard a noise and saw the flying sub break through the water in the grotto.
"Shane!" Niko called out as she exited the sub with the others. "Are you all right?"
"I'm okay now," Shane took a breath. "Thanks to Cheyenne. She got the poison out of me."
I'm sorry I was so abrupt but time was of the essence, Cheyenne told her.
"As long as Goose is okay," Niko sighed.
"So this is your home?" Zach Jr. looked around. "It's beautiful."
"Real swanky," Bubblehead fluttered around. "Hi Mommy Goose!"
"How did you find us?" Shane asked.
"I used my psychic powers to track you," Niko explained.
"The General…What about him?" Shane remembered.
"He's back on the ship,'" Doc told him. "Well his body anyway. His brain kind of went on a one way trip to La La Land."
"He'll be lucky to remember his own name after that mental blast much less Cheyenne," Niko told them.
"A fitting punishment for such a vile being," Waldo agreed. "I dare say it will be a long time before he bothers you again Gooseman."
"Mental blast?" Shane blinked.
"You were kind of out of it," Zach told her. "Let's just say Cheyenne can take pretty good care of herself."
"And then some," Shane added.
"How did you learn to do all that?" Zach Jr. asked Cheyenne. "That water spout was amazing."
Sometimes it gets a little too quiet down here, Cheyenne explained. I have a lot of time for practicing. Over a hundred years to be precise.
"You think Goose could learn to do that?" Zach Jr. turned to Shane for a moment.
"Let's just say you shouldn't expect any water tricks unless I have a garden hose," Shane gave him a look.
"I just can't get over how much she looks like Goose," Zozo said. "I mean she's like a female copy of him. From the waist up."
"Actually Ranger Gooseman is a male copy of her," Waldo gave the Kiwi and amused look. "More or less."
"Oh right," Zozo blinked.
"I hate to cut the family reunion short but we have to get the General back to custody," Zach told them.
"Hey what are we gonna say to Commander Walsh when he asks us what he was doing out here?" Zach Jr. asked.
"We could always say he was trying to do something lame like poisoning the Earth's oceans," Doc thought aloud. "And that his equipment was destroyed and his brain got busted during the fight."
"That sounds good to me," Zach said. "Fortunately the General is an escaped felon with a rap sheet a mile long. Even if we don't have any evidence of that crime we can still put him away for all the other crimes he's committed."
"Not to mention he was already convicted of several crimes when he escaped from the Deltoid Rock," Waldo added.
"It seems we never have enough time does it?" Shane looked at Cheyenne.
Hold on a minute, She told him. She slithered back into the water for a moment. Then she came back up holding something in her hand.
"What is it?" Shane knelt down to her level.
Here, She gave him a small star shaped crystal with a chain around it. She put it around his neck. When you feel most alone, hold this and think of me. That way I will always watch over you.
"Thanks," Shane fingered it. "I really appreciate it." Gently he touched his forehead to hers. "I'll come back one day…I promise. And this time I won't bring any extra guests."
I wouldn't mind if they were your friends, She smiled. She looked at the others. Take care of him.
"Don't worry Mother Gooseman," Doc quipped. "We'll look after your precious little baby boy."
Both Cheyenne and Shane gave each other a look. Playfully Cheyenne flipped her tail spraying a large amount of water onto Doc. "Like mother, like son…" Doc groaned.