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fic: Project Nexus (Chapter 3, Part 4)
Title: Project Nexus
Chapter: Trouble on The High Seas
Rating: T
Fandom: TGWTG/ Spoony Experiment
Character(s): Nostalgia Critic, Nostalgia Chick, MarzGurl, Spoony, Linkara, Doctor Tease , Doctor Insano, Professor Celluloid, Malachite, Welshy
Pairing(s): none, as of right now
Warnings: AU. mild language, violence

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

A murky gray light, like dishwasher, filtered through the dirty windows that separated the inside of the ship from the endless stretch of sea outside. Grumpily, Chick tried to steady herself as the ship rolled against the choppy waves, sliding anyone and anything not firmly tied to the floor a few inches.

            She needed to get out of there, she thought, that fact was obvious. But, just as obvious as that fact was, there were other equally obvious facts that told her that escape was difficult.

            For starters, there was the fact that she was currently being held in a cell. Secondly, even if she were able to break the bars on the cell, it wasn’t like she had anywhere she could go, unless she planned on swimming back to shore.

            Third, and probably a bit more important, was that she didn’t want to escape without either Spoony or Welshy. This, she noted bitterly, was a bit of impossibility as that Spoony was lying on the floor of the cell, still unconscious, and Welshy was still too much under the spell’s influence to be willing to follow her.

            However, she sighed as she slumped against the curved wall of the cell, it was probably only a small relief that only Welshy was standing guard at the door of the cell, as far as she could notice.

            Perhaps, she thought, it might be easier for them to escape if she managed to loosen the spell’s grip on him. At least that way, they might be able to get around the herds of armed pirates. The swarm of Synthspectors that’d inevitably descend upon them like flies on rotting fruit, however, was a tougher problem to contend with.

            But, she figured, if this worked, she’d probably be able to contact the others and find the nearest portal back to the base before either party managed to get them.

            “Psst,” she whispered, tapping the bars of her cell, “Hey, I need to talk to you. You got a minute?”

            The lanky, bewitched reviewer turned his head just slightly, looking at her out of the corner of the eye. That was enough of a sign for the brunette reviewer to keep talking.
            “So, um...yeah,” she continued, “It’s not like I don’t enjoy this whole being kept prisoner thing—I don’t—I was just wondering what your captain was planning on doing with us.”

            “Well,” Welshy replied, “Captain doesn’t see any reason to be keepin’ you around, seeing as you’re not really involved in any of this. So, we’ll probably be taking you back to port soon.”

            “And Spoon---I mean, Jack?” she asked, “What about him?”

            “Oh, y’know,” he said with the faintest hint of bitterness edged into his voice, “torture him a little, gut him like a fish, string up his carcass outside of our hideout and let the animals eat his rotting flesh. Not necessarily in that order.”

            “And what do you think about it?” Chick pressed on, taking advantage of the disgust she sensed in his words, “Seems a little intense, doesn’t it?”

            “It’s the Captain’s plan,” Welshy replied stiffly.

            “But how do you feel about it?” Chick asked, “Don’t think about it as one of your captain’s pirates. Think about it as yourself; as Welshy.”

The bewitched reviewer didn’t respond, but instead only focused upon the opposite wall. Although his back was turned to her, everything about the young man’s posture at that moment hinted a just the slightest bit of doubt and preoccupation.

            “You know you don’t belong here, Welshy.” Chick said, “You and I both know it.”

            Though her words were soft spoken, they echoed through some part of the bewitched reviewer’s mind that he hadn’t even realized was there, but at the same time always knew existed. His eyebrows arched, he returned his attention to the female reviewer.

            “You sometimes feel out of place,” she continued, “Like you’re a stranger to everyone around you, even the people you call your friends? Am I right?”

            “T-that’s nothing,” Welshy scoffed, feigning indifference, though the slight hitch in his voice betrayed his uneasiness, “Everyone feels that every so often.”

            “Yeah,” Chick said, “But not like you do. You sometimes wonder if parts your life—things you remember—aren’t part of some lie or a dream. People you think you’ve known all your life sometimes feel like strangers, while others you’ve just met seem oddly familiar?”

            Welshy nodded slowly, skeptical and suspicious of this young woman before him. Even as she spoke, he couldn’t help but remember how vaguely familiar she seemed to look to him when they had first met.

“Oh,” the female reviewer continued, “this feeling, it gets worse after those nightmares, doesn’t it? You know, the one’s you can barely remember but keep having; where you’re in some dark and cold place and being chased through bleeding rain by something you can’t see all that well?”

Again, Welshy nodded; his eyes wide and now fully focused on the Nostalgia Chick. How could she have known about any of that? He wondered. He hadn’t ever told anyone, not even his closest crewmate about any of this.

“Who or what in the hell are you?” he asked, trying to put on a front of gruffness, despite the breathless awe and fear in his voice, “Some kind of witch or seer?”     

            “Trust me,” Chick laughed, “If I was a witch, I could’ve just turned myself into a bird and flew away by now. Do you really think I’d still be hanging around here? Use your brain, idiot.”

            “Then how’d you know…?”

            “Listen, I know that you’re probably going to think this is bullshit, but a wizard named Malachite kidnapped you and messed with your memories. You’re actually from another dimension that was attacked three months ago.  My friends and I are from that universe, too.”

            “Traveling between worlds?” the curly haired reviewer scoffed, “You’re right, that does sound bloody daft.”

            “Okay fine,” Chick sighed, “Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way. Let’s try this, then: What if I could show you that I’m not lying?”

            Behind them, the door opened with a grating scrape of wood against wood, disrupting the conversation. Three figures emerged from the open door and approached them. To the casual observer, the trio looked like the typical comically mismatched troupe that one finds in old cartoons.  Towering over the other two was the Amazon-esque blonde that Welshy had called Melody. The second figure reminded Chick of a dwarf, partly from his tangled mane of flame red curls and his ruddy, weatherworn cheeks, and partly from the fact that he clearly didn’t appear to be much taller than Chick herself.

            The third figure, a toothpick of a man, grinned allowing the dim light of the prison cell to flash upon the few silver teeth within his mouth. Perhaps it was something to do with the lighting in the room, but she could have sworn the she could make out the faintest hints of a jagged scar running along one of the man’s eyes. But, it was the skin around the possible scar that caught her attention; it seemed to appear to be greenish in tint, like the scales of some reptile.

            Could it possibly be that Tegon was there, she wondered? No sooner had the thought crossed her mind, did she catch a brief flash of gold in the man’s eyes. It was only a momentary flash, but it was more than enough to confirm the reviewer’s suspicions.

            Of course, Chick thought bitterly, rolling her eyes. Tegon would disguise himself as the captain. Then again, she couldn’t really blame him. After all, she was pretty sure that if she had been given the opportunity to literally be anyone in the world, she’d probably let her ego get the better of her, too.

            “Captain,” Tegon asked, “Jack’s still unconscious. Should we try to wake him?”

            Chick blinked as she looked between the disguised reptilian and the other two. Immediately, an amused smirk broke out on the corners of her lips, just barely containing a laugh of mixed disbelief and amusement. The short man was the captain?  Granted, she knew that it was probably against her better judgment to be amused by this, but out of all the obvious and cartoon-y twists that she had expected to encounter on this adventure, she couldn’t see how she hadn’t expected this one.

            “That ain’t going to be necessary,” the Captain replied, his mouth splitting into a twisted grin, “the lad’s been awake the entire time. Give him and the lady a minute to say goodbye to each other before we take him.”

            From the corner, Spoony let out a disappointed groan as he slowly sat up. Glowering with carefully restrained annoyance, the Pink Ranger staggered a few steps toward the gamer, helping him to his feet.

            “What?!” she snapped, “You were awake the whole damn time?! Why didn’t you tell me?”

            “Didn’t want to get involved,” Spoony shrugged as he replied under his breath “Besides, I figured if I’d pretend to be unconscious, we could figure out what their plan was and still have some time to figure out how to get out of here.”

            “So,” Chick asked, now also speaking in an aside, “What do we do now? They’re still going to kill you, in case you haven’t been listening.”

            “I’ve been listening,” the game replied, “Yeah; they’re going to rip me up like a bad report card, and use my rotting body as a decorative bird feeder. But, they’re not even going to touch you, right?”

            “So,” Chick asked, frowning “While they’re off torturing the living shit out of you for all the wrong reasons, I’ll be free to contact the others and break out of this place? That’s sounds like a great plan and all, except I’ve got a couple questions for you.”

            “Okay, go ahead….”

            “How are you going to get out of this? I mean, there’s like a hundred of these guys, and only like one of you. How do we know that you’ll be able to hold out long enough for me and the others to get you back? And what about Welshy? They’ll probably kill him if we just leave him here.”

            “Don’t worry about it,” the gamer flashed a weak smile, just falling short of obtaining a convincing air of bravado, “I’ll figure out something.”

            “Well,” Chick grumbled, “You better. I’d never hear the end of it if you went and did something stupid like got yourself killed.”

            The gamer was not given time to reply, as that the iron bars to the cell were now forced open, and Welshy and Melody stormed into the room. The cell was rather small; much too small for four people to fit in comfortably, so Chick wasn’t surprised when Welshy jostled her, knocking her onto a nearby cot that took up most of the wall as he and Melody grabbed Spoony by the arms, dragging him out of the cell before disappearing through the door.

            The door to the cell swung shut and locked with a loud clang as the Captain left, leaving Tegon and Chick as the only two occupants of that part of the ship.  Slowly, Chick shook her head as she tried to sit up.  As she did, she felt something slide just under her fingertips.

            “Keys,” she mumbled to herself as she clasped her hand around the object, feeling the rough, rusting metal against her skin.

She must have gotten them off of Welshy when he bumped into her, she thought. But, that seemed impossible, as that everything had moved too quickly for her to have even been aiming for the keys, much less stolen them.

            There was only one logical explanation, she concluded; Welshy had deliberately bumped into her in order to give her the keys.  Well, Chick thought smiling secretly, at least it seemed like trying to get through to him hadn’t been a completely wasted effort.

            “What was that you said?” Tegon asked, glaring at her from the corner of his eye.

            “I said,” the female reviewer snarked, “Please,’ like as in ‘Please, they locked me in here with you? You’ve gotta be kidding me.’

            “I’d be careful if I was you, Pink Ranger” Tegon growled, “Or the next time you say ‘please’ it will be as in you begging for mercy.”

             Another malevolent, twisted grin spread across Tegon’s lips as Chick’s eyes narrowed. Damn it, Chick swore, somehow he’d managed to see past her disguise. It was going to be a lot harder to escape than she thought it was.  Though, if there was any silver lining to be seen in this, it would be that at least she wouldn’t have to figure out a way to discreetly contact the others in a room with very little hiding spots.

            “Of course,” Tegon continued to gloat, “I don’t necessarily envy your friend’s predicament much, either. You know their captain?”

            “Let me guess,” Chick replied, “One of your guys? Oh, don’t tell me that that little midget is actually your partner in disguise.”

            “No,” the lizardman replied, “He’s not one of Malachite’s men. But, I hear he’s just as deadly. They call him Bloodbeard Joe. You want to know why they call him that?”

            “Oh, I dunno,” the female reviewer said sarcastically, “Is it ‘cause his beard’s the same color as blood?”

             “Uh….” Tegon stammered, struggling to regain what intimidation he had lost, “Yes. But, they also say that his beard became red because of all the people he’s killed.”

            Although Tegon hadn’t been aiming to make the female reviewer gasp in shock like a woman in a 1950s horror film, he certainly hadn’t been expecting her to start laughing so hard that she was gasping for air, either

            “Oh my god!” Chick laughed, wiping a tear away from her eye “You’re shitting me, right?! That’s supposed to make shiver in my boots? That easily has to be the lamest thing I’ve ever heard!”

            Growling furiously, Tegon slammed his fist against the iron bars of the cell, causing Chick to jump back to avoid being hit. A murderous blaze of fire burned in his now golden eyes as he glared at her.

            “It’s pointless,” the lizardman growled, “You can’t escape. You’re stuck in that cage like the pathetic animal that you are.”

            “Oh, really?” the Pink Ranger smirked as she withdrew the keys from behind her back, “’cause this set of keys here says that getting out of here will be pretty easy.”

            Tegon grinned inwardly as Chick opened the lock, allowing the heavy iron door to creak open with an earsplitting groan. With a growl, he lunged at the open cell, hoping to catch the Pink Ranger before she had a chance to move. However, despite his quickness, Chick was much more agile, managing to throw him past her as she pushed her way out of the cell.
            Once more, Tegon swung at the Pink Ranger, who dodged out of the way. In all honesty, she didn’t want to fight him any more than she had wanted to even be in this room. She had more important matters to deal with, she reminded herself as she exchanged a few blows with her masked assailant.

            The battle, though very intense and difficult, given the small space that they were confined to, raged on for a few minutes, with neither side seeming to have much of a definite hold over the other. While Tegon was clearly the much more experienced fighter, and had the advantage of having weapons, Chick’s smaller frame made her much adept at maneuvering through the cramped quarters. She used this to her advantage, dodging and ducking around her enemy’s attacks, wearing him down, while occasionally landing a few of her own.

            Soon, the battle seemed to end, as Tegon clutched at his chest, where Chick had kicked him rather hard. The wide grin that he’d worn prior to the battle had long since faded and was now replaced with a furious, beast like scowl.

            “Bad move fighting me, human,” he growled as he raised the arm not clutching his chest, “You forget that even if I can’t defeat you here, I still have Synthspectors that will be willing to kill on just a word.”

            “What?” Chick said, “You don’t think you can take me on alone? Gotta have your faceless buddies to bail your scaly butt out of this?”

            “No. I could easily take you down myself,” Tegon said, “It’s not you that should worry about the Synthspectors.  Spoony—I believe is what you call that long haired little friend of yours—on the other hand, should.”

            The lizardman mumbled something under his breath as he vanished in a puff of oddly sweet smelling white smoke, leaving Chick alone in the room to contemplate her next plan.

            Damn it, she thought beating her fist against her other hand, He’s right. I forgot that about half of those mime looking creeps are hiding in the crew. I better get moving!

Without pausing to catch her breath, she summoned her morpher, tapping in a command she knew to be Critic’s communication frequency. Silently, she held her breath as the display on the tiny, wrist-mounted computer showed that the call was connecting.

Please pick up, she thought, Please be there.

            Meanwhile, Critic and the others were slowly making their way toward where their fellow Rangers were being held. The key word there, Critic added with a bitter sigh, was slowly.

            They’d decided that Jack and Bill should probably navigate the ship, seeing as that they were the only two who seemed to have a hint as to where the pirates would have taken their captives.

However, thinking back on it, Critic wished that he’d volunteered to steer the ship himself. At least then he might have had something to keep his mind from wandering toward the worst scenarios possible.

They might already be dead, the thought entered his head unwillingly, either these bloodthirsty buccaneers cut their throats. Or worse, the Synthspectors could have already…

Furiously, he shook his head, trying to dispel what horrible thoughts tried to form.

No, he told himself, Don’t say that! You know what they say; you think bad things, and bad things’ll happen.

“Can’t this thing go any faster?” he asked impatiently, more to keep himself from thinking than anything else.

“Sorry, mate,” Bill sighed, gripping the helm “But, we’re going as fast as we possibly can at the moment. We’re almost there though. They’ll probably already be landed by the time we catch up with them though.”

“Probably gonna be cuttin’ it close, eh?” Jack said, his eyes scanning the horizon, “They’ll probably be just about ready to hang ‘im by the time we reach land.”

“What about a trial?” Critic asked as he checked the compass, “Wouldn’t they give them one? You know, let them tell their side of the story and clear up all this bullshit?”

“We already had a trial,” Jack replied, “Why do ye think Bill an’ I fled? Those witches have everyone convince that they know what they saw.”

“Besides,” Bill added, “You think that they’d believe your friends’ story?”

Critic scoffed, but didn’t say anything as he shook his head. Why hadn’t they called? He wondered. Even if Spoony had been foolish enough to land them in hot water with the locals, surely Chick would have at least been able to have hid for a few seconds to contact them.

            Nervously, he snuck a glance down at his morpher. Maybe he should call them, instead, he thought. No, they were probably still in disguise, and probably heavily guarded. Blowing their cover by doing something stupid like trying to contact them would only make matters worse.

            But still, another part of him argued, they hadn’t contacted him or the others in over nearly two hours now. Maybe he’d have better luck figuring out what was going on if he tried to get a hold of them again.

            So caught up in thinking was Critic, that he almost failed to hear the cricket-like chirp of his morpher beeping. A sigh of relief escaped his lips as he heard Chick’s voice echo through the device.

            “Hey!” Chick said, “’Bout damn time you picked up.

            “’Bout damn time you called,” Critic snarked, although a note of happiness in his voice betrayed his relief, “You were supposed to call over an hour ago. Where are you guys?”

            “Long story,” the female reviewer replied, sighing, “Basically, a couple of creeps in eyepatches started thinking Spoony was some guy named Jack, and they dragged  us off to some hideout on an island.”

            “What about Spoony?” Critic asked, “is he still with you?”

            “No.” Chick replied, “the captain and this six-foot four blonde with a bad attitude came in and took him a few minutes ago. They left me here with Tegon. I’m fine, though, thanks for asking.”

          “Sorry,” Critic apologized, “I’m glad you’re okay. So, Tegon’s hiding out in the crew, huh? Guess that means that Welshy and Devafen are probably not too far away.”

            “Well, Welshy left with the captain. I haven’t even seen catwoman yet. Wait—how’d you know that Welshy was here?”

            The bearded reviewer explained everything to his female counterpart, telling her about how they’d met a couple of pirates who looked uncannily similar to both himself and the Yellow Ranger, and how those two had not only known of Welshy, but also seemed to have a vague familiarity with Malachite’s forces.

            The Pink Ranger listened carefully as the Red Ranger continued with the story, and when he finished, she remained silent for a few moments as she turned this new information over in her head.

            “…Sounds odd,” Chick concluded, “But, that’s beside the point. Now that you’ve found the real Jack, how much longer ‘til you get him over here and let him try to clear up this mess? I’m not sure that I’m gonna be able to avoid being caught by Synthspectors much longer. They already know I’m here.”

            Critic looked over at his pirate doppelganger, who only nodded towards the horizon. Just on the edge of the horizon, probably about fifteen minutes away he guessed, a black shape started to appear, steadily growing larger and more defined as the ship lurched closer to it.

            “Well,” Critic said, “How does fifteen minutes sound?”

            “It’ll have to do,” Chick said, “Wish you guys could get here faster, though. I just got on the island. They’re dragging Spoony toward the center of the island in chains as we speak.”

            “…and everywhere the fangirls started squeeing,” Critic snarked, smirking, “flying to their keyboards to write page upon page of dirty, kinky fanfiction.”

            “Pervert.” The female reviewer sighed as she ended the transmission with a faint click.
            The reviewer ignored her last words as he stared toward the ever growing mass on the horizon. For what felt like the second time in his life, he was over come with a powerful sense of purpose; as if he felt that everything depended upon him.

            “Full speed ahead!” he shouted, dramatically pointing towards the horizon.

            “We’re already travelin’ at full speed!” Bill muttered under his breath, rolling his eyes, “Geez. Man’s so dense his brain makes a block of lead look like paper in comparison.”

            “Just drive,” Critic replied, hitting his doppelganger on the back of the head.

            “Aye, aye,” Bill mumbled, rubbing the spot where Critic had hit him, “jackass.”



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