CHAPTER III - "Face to Face with Evil"

Darren peered through his spacesuit faceplate, pressed up against the airlock window, to try to see the Mind-Worm ship is they closed in on the agressor. When Darren saw it, he gasped with surprise, it was so close, and so big. It was hard to focus on a black evil ship in the blackness of deep space.

Darren could see a lit area behind the window of the other ship's airlock, directly opposite their own. It seemed a chaotic mass of humanoid creatures, standing in what looked like family groups, two or three adults and a few children, surrounded by a few pieces of luggage. It looked like the pictures of refuge ships Darren had seen in the newspaper, of innocent victims of war freeing the disputed border zone near Betalgeuse.

Luckily Darren's reflexes from boot camp kicked in when the sudden distinctive whine of the Space Ranger ship's primary Defense Beam broke the silence. Darren just managed to close his eyes before the entire side of the Mind-Worm ship was vaporized in a blinding flash.

"Gosh, that sure was close! My eyes could have been permenantly damaged by that flash!" Darren thought to himself.

He sure was learning the harsh realities of Space War quickly!

Looking back out the porthole, Darren briefly wondered where the refugees had gone. He didn't have much time to wonder though, as the order came over the loudspeaker to prepare to board the enemy vessel.

Darren barely knew what was going on as he and his fellow Rangers were blasted across the space seperating the two ships, and into the hole that had been blasted in the Mind-Worm's ship. One minute he was in the Vincenne's air lock, and the next minute he was in a chaos of blackness, smoke, laser blasts, and screaming, as they killed everything in sight.

The defenders of the ship made strange gestures by sticking their arms straight up, and jumping into view, but Darren had been taught all about this tactic, and he shot them each time, before they could try some nefarious new trick on him or his friends.

Darren entered the command deck of the Mind-Worm spy ship to see three other Space Rangers keeping a carefull guard over the captured Mind-Worm prisoners.

"Ohway odgay easeplay onday'tay illkay usway!" The captive Mind-Worm captain threatened venemously.

Commander Bill kicked him untill he was quiet then turned to address his troops. "They appear to be vaguely humanoid, but if you look deeply into their eyes you can see the unmistakeable glint of wormy evil." He explained, pointing to one of the bound Mind-Worms on the floor.

Space Ranger Clyde Tetra von Dioxin leaned over to look at the captive's face.

"Actaully, he looks like a completely normal human, doesn't..."

He was cut off mid sentance as Commander Bill blew his head off with his handheld Mood Guidance Unit, carried by all Space Ranger Officers to help them peacefully resolve interpersonel disputes.

Darren and the other Space Rangers looked at their officer in shock. He calmly explained that the fact that Ranger Clyde didn't see the evil in the Mind-Worm's face meant that the evil Worms had begun to psychicly control him.

Everyone then agreed that the Mind-Worms looked ever so evil, and thanked the Commander for overcoming the evil in Clyde before it could effect any of them.

The news then came through their radios that the entire ship had been subdued, so they executed the remaining prisoners, planted a few large explosives, and headed back to their ship.

"Everyone meet in the cafateria in fifteen minutes for debriefing and hot chocolate."

"YEA!" Darren and his fellow rangers shouted. They went back to their cabins to change out of their spacesuits, flush with the excitement of protecting innocent Stellar Republic Citizens, and the anticipation of a hot steaming cup of cocoa! "No ammonia for us tonight!" they thought.

The young Space Rangers aboard the Cruiser Vincennes were too excited with the day's events to realize that this was just the first fun-filled day of their twenty year enlistment. It was sure going to be a exciting adventure for the young friends!

Unfortunately, Darren was one of the last to get unsuited and back up to the cafeteria, so there was no hot chocolate left for him. "Oh well" he said to his friends as he sat down to his cup of ammonia, and listened to Commander Bill explain to everyone how the Mind-Worms had killed Space Ranger Clyde.

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