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Disclaimer: The Power Rangers idea belongs to Saban. Father Edward Payne is my own creation. Author's Notes: This story centers around a religious figure. He's Roman Catholic because that's what I was raised in and know most about, and it should not be interpreted as an endorsement of that or any other religion. This is part of a new series called "Aftershocks" and deals with the reaction of various community members to the Power Rangers. This story is set three days after Day of the Dumpster.

A Matter of Faith
by Chris Sedlacek

The church was crowded today.

But that was to be expected, wasn't it? After all, three days ago Angel Grove had been attacked. Three days ago a giant, armored thing had tried to trample the town. And three days ago, five...beings...wearing what appeared to be spandex had single-handedly saved everyone.

So now they had come, the faithful, the not-so-faithful, and the downright terrified. They had come, hoping that their priest could give them answers, reassurances, hoping for hope itself. But now, with Mass five minutes away, their priest had no idea what to tell them.

Father Payne sighed. He had been following the story in the media, along with everyone else, of course. So far, the Vatican was studiously keeping its' silence. However, the fundamentalist groups had been less restrained, to put it mildly. They had declared that Armageddon had arrived, and the end was nigh. Angel Grove had been flooded with evangelicals waiting for God to descend from the clouds and began judgment. That was just the Christians. Each major and many minor religions had sent representatives to Angel Grove, and each were claiming that they held the monopoly of truth about what had happened, and more importantly, what would happen next. It was enough to give even a priest a headache.

How was he to comfort others when he didn't even understand it himself? Half the world still thought it was an elaborate hoax. But Payne had seen with his own eyes the battle between the monster and the ...Megazord, he believed it was called. The church was only a mile away from the battle site, and it was rather hard to miss two hundred-foot tall behemoths throwing each other around. Payne had spent his life battling the darker tendencies of humanity, and now he was supposed to deal with demons/aliens/whatever the heck was going on-

Wait a minute.

Were things really all that different? True, evil had revealed a new face, but wasn't that it's nature? Payne had always known that the devil came in many guises. What was one more? And hadn't the good side won? The Rangers fought evil just as he did, albeit in a much more physical way.

As Payne stood up to bow to the crucifix before going into the main area of the church, he thanked God for giving him this realization. These heroes were, in their own way, doing God's work. They would tend to the monster-fighting, and he would tend to the spiritual side of things. Who knew? Perhaps the Rangers were humans, and were sitting in his church at this very moment. And perhaps together, they could vanquish one more piece of the darkness.

That last thought put a smile on his face as he went out to face his congregation.