It was a dark and stormy Saturday night. Fortunatly, the
rangers were off duty. Everyone was in the break room in various stages
of relaxation when Doc walked in. Zach was at a table with his kids.
He was drinking coffee; the kids were eating ice cream sundaes.
"Decided to stay in, Captain?"
Zach gestured at the window, where sheets of water poured down,
illuminated by blasts of lightning. "We decided not to risk it."
"Can't say I blame you." Doc glanced around. Niko was curled
up on one of the couches, data pad in hand. She might have been
working, but Doc guessed she was reading the copy of "The Mists of
Avalon" that she had downloaded yesterday. She looked up, smiled, and
went back to reading her book. She was oblivious to the cluster of
rookies staring worshipfully at her, trying to pretend that they were
really interested in the Tri-D.
*Maybe I should get them a bucket to drool in. Hmmm...Nah.*
Doc took his own mug, coffee with a shot of Jack Daniels, over to the
couch in front of the Tri-D. Goose was sprawled across most of it, idly
flipping through channels with the remote. That the Tri-D was working
in an electrical storm that had fried several main computer banks was a
testamnent to Goose and Doc's tinkering.
*Thing probably has more backup systems than the central
computer, at this point.* Out loud, he said, "Anything on, my Gooseman?"
Goose favored him with a raised eyebrow. "Not really. Just the
usual network crap." He continued flipping. Channels sped by at three
second intervals. Doc got dizzy watching.
"Goose, you're giving me a headache with that. Why don't you
just tune in "Saturday Videorama", and leave it while you decide what to
"Absolutely not!" snapped Zach. "I don't want to see another
video, ever!" The captian looked ready to spit, he was so mad. Zach
Jr. and Jessie, on the other hand, looked positivly amused.
"Don't tell me; let me guess. They're still playing OUR video,
aren't they?" The snickers from around the room answered his question.
Zach grimiced, and turned back to his coffee. Zach Jr. and Jessie
suddenly had coughing fits. Doc grinned, and turned back to Goose.
However, the supertrooper had stopped channel surfing. He was siting
up, staring intently at the screen.
"What'd you find, Goose?" Doc looked at the screen, but all
that was on was an ad for skin dye.
"I dunno. I caught the end of a preview. There's some show on
next, supposed to be about the Galaxy Rangers."
Everyone looked up at that. "A show about us? You sure?"
"I think that's what they said. We'll know in a minute." On
screen, the skin dye commercial had given way to one advertising
Spaceliner Cruises. Doc, Niko and Zach looked dubious.
The commercials finally ended, and the Movie-of-the-Week logo
spun, as a deep voice proclaimed "And now, our World Premeire Movie! Steve
Desmond, Mace Bailey, Cynthia Fowler, and Luis Ocampo star in--Ranger Danger!"
Jessie paused, her spoon halfway to her mouth. Niko dropped her
book. Zach nearly dropped his mug, but caught it in time.
Various jaws dropped, Doc's among them. All thirty-seven people in the
lounge fell silent and turned to watch.
*"Ranger Danger", where have I heard that before?*
As the movie opened on a desolate desert scene, Doc racked his brain.
He was certain he had heard that before, as a joke.
*Bennett. Gordon Bennett, my old drinking buddy from
college. I was telling him about my job, all the crazy
things that seem to happen, and he nicknamed my stories
"ranger dangers". When was that, six, seven months ago?*
Out of the sunrise, a calvary charge of rangers rode. Their leader was
a squared-jawed, no-nonsense sort who came across as stiffer than
*He didn't. He couldn't have. He's out of work, dammit.
he was going to try for a job filming documentaries. He
wouldn't have written...*
Shadows approached across the horizon. Ranger Commander Dan Danger
raised his hand, calling his troop to halt. The shadows loomed closer,
raising clouds of dust with their approach. Quickly, the shadows
resolved themselves into armored soldiers, on horses that resembled
skeletons. A garish red warship (obviously made of plastic) screamed
out of the sky. Lazer fire erupted, cutting down riders from their
horses, and sending the rest of the rangers into a dust-raising panic,
as Danger tried vainly to rally his troops.
"Oh yeah, right. We run around like Bovo chickens at the
stockyards when the Queen shows up." Ranger Haram sneered at the
screen. There was a mumbled assent from the room. Doc relaxed a
*Well, I didn't tell Gord anything like this. It must just
be a coincidence. Thank God!*
Ranger Danger regained conciousness tied to a bed of red and purple
velvet. The Royal Princess (an "alien" in purple skin-dye, stilleto
heels, and a cone bra) slunk over to the captive Danger.
"Well, my *dear* Dan Danger, you've fallen right into my
clutches." She leaned down, and whispered into his ear, "How does it
feel, knowing that you're the only survior of Kirwane?" Her hand
trailed down his chest.
Zach Jr.'s eyes bugged out. Zach Sr. clapped his hands over a
protesting Jessie's eyes. There were low whistles from the audience.
Goose snickered. "Bet the Queen would just *love* this. Maybe we
should send her a copy."
Lieutenant Chase, a Space Navy liasion, snorted. "I'd rather
send her whoever came up this shit. 'Kirwane', indeed!" He was highly
insulted. Chase had been one of the 80 humans captured in the raid on
Kirwin, back when he was still an ensign.
"I can't belive that that is supposed to be Kirwin," Zozo
complained. "We don't *have* any deserts!"
"Creative License, obviously," grumped Zach.
"Danger there looks kind of like you, Captain. Think it's
intentional?" Goose was grinning.
"He does *not* look like me. Why would he? This is fiction."
Danger played along with the Princess, tricking her into loosening his
bonds. He promptly escaped.
Zach looked ill. "I don't believe this crap. Who came up with
this?" Doc endevored to look innocent.
Danger raced back to headquarters, to report the Empire's plan of
conquest. He was debriefed by a crusty "old soldier" type, who promptly
assigned Dan a new crew. Three rangers were introduced.
Bart Black, a maverick. A completely uncontrolable cowboy, with a "I
don't take any shit" attitude. Needless to say, he wore all black.
Goose stared at the screen, looked down at the casual black
outfit that he had taken to wearing, and looked back up at the screen.
"Now just a minute..." Zach chuckled. "Problem, Goose?" Doc did his
best to not wince visibly. He didn't like how this was shaping up...
Dina Starr, a scientist (of surprisingly empty head), hovered next to
Black. She spent most of the briefing checking her nails, adjusting her
hairstyle, and trying to get Bart to notice her.
Niko squawked in protest. So did Jessie. However, it was
Ranger Parker, fresh out of the academy, and the only other woman in the
room, who found her voice.
"Two centuries of equal rights, and *this* is what they come up
with? This worthless little TWIT?!" she shouted at the screen. If
looks could kill, the Tri-D would have exploded just then.
Rounding out the crew was Dr. Wesley Hustace, a half-man, half-machine
computer jockey who spoke in semi-inchoherant jargon.
Doc was rendered utterly speechless. *If you had anything to do
with this Gord, anything at all, I swear I'll kill you.*
When he recovered his voice, he said "I dunno, I don't think that looks
like me at all. Now the other two..."
"That, that, *frippery*, does not look anything like me!"
protested Niko. Goose growled assent. "That woman's face looks like it
was painted on."
Ranger Danger and his new team, the Dangerous Rangers (wince), took
off, determined to foil the plot of the evil Empire. For some reason,
they needed to infiltrate a vicious gang to do this. The gang was led
by a sultry human woman, who instantly made a succsessful play for
Ranger Black, annoying Ranger Starr.
There were more snickers. Niko turned bright red. Goose cursed
under his breath.
*Oh, God. Did I tell Gord about Daisy? Please, don't let
her be watching. I don't need an angry Irishwoman gunning
for me personally...*
The Dangerous Rangers got the info they needed, but the gang found out
who they were, and attacked. The Rangers were forced to don disguises,
and false names, in order to get off-planet. Black disguised himself as
a gambler, Danger a gentleman. Hustace became a dentist, and Starr
ended up as a dancehall girl named Louise in a pink dress.
"WHO THE HELL TOLD THEM ABOUT THAT?!" Niko hit a decible level
previously only dreamed of. Zozo covered his ears and wimpered. Doc
felt like joining him. "I do not believe this. I thought everyone
swore they wouldn't mention that ever again!" She glared around the
room. Half a dozen people suddenly discovered fasciating spots on the
*Me and my big mouth...I should never have mentioned Louise.
If she even suspects it was me, I'm dead.*
By this time, it was obvious who the movie was supposed to be based on.
Doc spent the last half hour praying that no one would figure out that
this was his fault. He had given up on the "coincidence" theory.
The Dangerous Rangers foiled the plans of the Princess and her evil
Empire, thought she escaped to plot her revenge. They rode off into a
binary sunset, on robotic steeds. (Black's was black, and Starr's was
The movie finally cut to the credits. First up was a very large
tag proclaiming "Based on true events". This was greeted with boos and
hisses from everyone. Then the music kicked in.
"Oh no," Zach groaned. He held his head in his hands. Sure
enough, the background music was the single the Rangers had sung as the
centerpiece of their performance at Kreib's Battle of the Bands.
As soon as Doc saw Gordon Bennett's name in the credits, he began to
edge for the door. No one knew he was Doc's friend, but all the same...
*Be cool, Hartford. He never told you about this, so he
probably won't credit you for the inspiration. You're
just an old drinking buddy, you had nothing to do with the
film. He didn't mention your name, he didn't...*
As everyone watched intently, hoping to get some clue as to who was
responsible for this monstrosity, the final credit popped up, filling
the entire screen:
"Special Thanks to Ranger Walter Hartford, without whom
this project would not have been possible"
*Thank you, Gordon. I'm going to kill you.*
As the credit faded to the copyright date, thirty-seven sets of eyes
turned and fixed on Doc. He put on his best smile, and edged closer to
"Um, did I mention that I have this friend who writes for the
One electronic book, six mugs, a melted ice cream sundae, and the remote
control flew at his head. Doc scrambled out the door, Goose, Niko, and
Zach in pursuit. Most of the lounge followed, the better to watch.
Zach Jr. looked at the door, then thought better of it. He
picked up the remote, and plopped down next to Buzzwang, who was still
staring at the screen. After a moment, Jessie joined them.
"Some movie. Think they'll make a sequel?"
"Oh, I hope so!" Buzzwang was practically gushing. Zach and
Jessie stared at him.
"You LIKED it?!" Jessie was incredulous.
"Well, sure. It was neat. I think a lot of people will like
"For Doc's sake, you better hope not." Zach started flipping.
He just missed the ad proclaiming "Ranger Danger - the series!
Premiers Friday night at seven..."
See also: Ranger Danger II