Wind and Thunder: Chapter Four

Be Reckless

 

A line of explosions cut across the ground in the mountains just outside of Angel Grove.

 

The ground erupted, and a Jakanja soldier leapt out. The creature was a member of the Jakanja Mecha Corps. His name was TerraMole. “Excellent,” the drill monster rumbled. “It’s almost complete…”

 

A trio of golden energy lances suddenly exploded against the monster’s armor with bursts of spark.

 

The monster turned to see the three Power Rangers standing with their rifles aimed forward.

 

“Jakanja!” Hurricane Red shouted. “What are you up to?”

 

“Better talk quick!” Hurricane Yellow shouted while fingering his weapon’s trigger. “My finger is getting itchy.”

 

“Ahhh…” the strange mole creature said while tilting his head. “You’re the Hurricane Rangers…well if you want to know, you’ll have to catch me first!”

 

TerraMole dove into the ground and tunneled out of site.

 

“Where’d he go?” Hurricane Blue said as she and the others stood back to back in a circle with their weapons ready.

 

The monster suddenly burst up in between the Rangers, spinning and striking against their armor with razor claws. TerraMole spun through the air before diving back through the ground.

 

The Rangers could see a trail of dust kick up as the creature tunneled around them like a land shark.

 

“Leave this to me,” Hurricane Yellow said as he placed his right fist against his left palm. “Earth Style! Tunneling Jutsu!”

 

Hurricane Yellow dropped into the ground like a drill. The Ranger started tunneling forward head-on towards the monster.

 

Hurricane Red and Blue watched as the two lines of kicked-up sand slammed against each other. An explosion erupted, and Hurricane Yellow burst from the ground, his body flailing out of control before crashing back to the dirt.

 

The other Rangers regrouped around Hurricane Yellow and helped him to his feet.

 

TerraMole leapt up from the ground and landed in a fighting stance.

 

“I am TerraMole,” the creature said, identifying himself.

 

“We didn’t ask,” Hurricane Red said while arming his Hawk Blaster. “Let’s bring ‘em together!”

 

Hurricane Red and Hurricane Blue combined their weapons, but Hurricane Yellow stayed back with his Lion Hammer in hand.

 

“We can’t just fire at him,” Hurricane Yellow said. “He’ll dive out of the way, and then we’ll be vulnerable again.”

 

“Justin…” Hurricane Blue said with frustration.

 

“Now is not the time, pal,” Hurricane Red said. “Come on…”

 

TerraMole fired a jagged energy stream that exploded against the Rangers’ chests, sending them crashing to the ground.

 

“That’s it!” Hurricane Red said with frustration as he stood. Hurricane Red ripped the Lion Hammer from Hurricane Yellow’s hands and assembled the Storm Striker himself.

 

“Hey!” Hurricane Yellow shouted as he rose back to his feet.

 

The two Rangers started struggling for the weapon as the monster stood by, laughing. TerraMole drilled back into the ground and vanished.

 

“Uh, guys,” Hurricane Blue said as she opened her visor. “In case you haven’t noticed, we just lost the monster.”

 

Hurricane Red and Hurricane Yellow opened their face plates.

 

“You have got to be kidding,” Simon said. He looked to Justin. “How could you let this happen?”

 

“Me?” Justin said defensively. “Look, I was only trying to say that we can’t jump into a fight without knowing how we’re going to fight. It's just common sense.”

 

“I’ve done this before, Justin,” Simon said. “I know what I’m doing.”

 

Justin sighed and turned away from Simon while closing his face plate. The Yellow Ranger slowly jogged away from his teammates.

 

“Where are you going?” Hurricane Blue asked.

 

“I have something to do,” Hurricane Yellow said as he went on his way.

 

***

 

Tommy sighed and shook his head, having watched the battle in Ops. “They have got to start working together,” he said, his eyes still fixated on the monitor. “I don’t care how cliché it sounds.”

 

Ashley was at her computer station. She had diagrams of a new Power Sphere on the main screen. “It takes time,” she said. “You and Cy almost killed each other on the Megaship, remember?”

 

“It’s not just that,” Tommy said. “Simon has always let his emotions fight for him. His time as a Gao Ranger only made it worse.”

 

“Give them time,” Ashley said.

 

***

 

A teenage girl hung a pair of bathing suits to dry outside of Angel’s Haven Children’s Shelter. The children’s center served kids without parents as well as at-risk children. Justin lived at the center as a kid, and that was when he’d met Rocky DeSantos, the former Blue Tenma Ranger.

 

Justin slowly walked towards the center with a few boxes of supplies in his hands. The girl, Erika, looked at him and smiled. “About time you got here, big brother.”

 

Justin smiled back. “Nice to see you, too, sis.”

 

Erika and Justin walked around to the back of the building. A playground nearby had several children running and playing on it.

 

“So what’s the news?” Justin asked. “It sounded important.”

 

“Well…” Erika said. “I’ve decided that instead of finishing school here…I’m going to Africa.”

 

Justin stopped walking and arced an eyebrow at his sister. “I’m sorry…what? Africa?”

 

Erika nodded, her eyes wide with excitement. “Miss Julia wants me to come with her. We could be a big help…some of those people have nothing.”

 

Justin shook his head. “This is crazy…you’re 15! Have you even given this thought?”

 

“Of course I have,” Erika said.

 

“But…” Justin said. “Who’s going to watch you?”

 

“I just told you,” Erika said. “Miss Julia. She‘s been like a mom for as long as I‘ve been here.”

 

A group of kids called from inside the shelter before the siblings could finish their conversation.

 

“I have to go, Justin,” Erika said. “We can talk more about this later.”

 

Justin sighed as he watched his sister walk off. He turned to see Simon and Rachel watching from nearby. They had followed watched the whole exchange. Justin stared at them with quiet frustration as Simon sheepishly grinned at being caught eavesdropping..

 

***

 

Simon, Justin, and Rachel walked across the beach as the sun started to set on the horizon, casting an orange glow across the shore. Justin took the lead, his hands in his pockets and his head hung low.

 

“Our parents died in a car crash just after my sister was born,” Justin explained. “We were practically raised at the shelter, and I’ve been looking after her ever since…except for this one time when we were younger…I told her to stay at the shelter while I went to soccer practice. But I didn’t notice she followed me anyway.

 

“I was kicking my soccer ball near some construction, being reckless, and the ball hit a ladder. The ladder fell over and hit my sister. She fell and knocked her head pretty hard. Had to spend a month in rehabilitation therapy.”

 

He looked to Simon. “She got hurt because I was acting like a reckless schmuck. Ever since then I’ve tried not to be so careless.

 

“But even now, like back when we were fighting that monster, I just dove into the ground with my tunneling jutsu without even thinking,” Justin said. “You saw how well that turned out.”

 

“Justin…” Rachel laid a hand on his shoulder. “What happened to your sister wasn’t your fault. You’ve been too hard on yourself about it.”

 

Justin shook his head. “She just can’t leave.”

 

***

 

TerraMole increased his speed. The villain drilled beneath the surface while cutting through power lines and water pipes. Civilians on the surface thought it was an earthquake. Power went out for blocks, and water mains went dry.

 

***

 

Tommy returned to the Hayate Way school, where he and Ashley were living since neither could afford a place to stay.

 

Ashley worked part-time as an intern for a computer company to pay her way through school, but Tommy had no job. He was a Master, the same as Zordon and Kaku had been. Such a life seemed void of any normality such as career goals and employment.

 

Tommy still remembered the vision he experienced after the Mogralord war.

 

He saw a wide plain of tall yellow grass and three giant beasts fly across it. He had seen the animals in visions before: a hawk, a lion, and a dolphin.

Flames suddenly consumed the field of grass and stretched to the skies. From the flames, a mighty Kirin stepped forth and spat a torrent of fire that distorted the vision into a twirling vortex of chaos.


Faceless minions joined alongside the Kirin, as god-like beings laughed above.

The hawk, dolphin, and lion charged through the chaos and dashed towards the Kirin. From within the chaos, a tyrannosaurus, pterodactyl, and triceratops charged forth as well, and moved in alongside the original three animals.


Chaos in the vortex intensified, giving birth to five more creatures of power: a phoenix, garuda, bull, mermaid, and fairy.


The resulting battle created a shockwave that ripped the vortex apart, tearing it to shreds, until only two stars remained. One of the stars sizzled with crimson power, and the other star was a dark jade.

 

The hawk, lion, and dolphin were obviously his three Power Rangers. The vision was already starting to come true, it seemed, but he had no idea what the rest of the images meant.

 

The part that worried him worst was the massive Kirin, which seemed to represent Billy and his attempts to control The Power as an energy source instead of a mystical, all-encompassing power to be respected.

 

Tommy entered the control room, where Ashley sat in front of her multi-screen computer.

 

“Where’d you head off to?” she asked.

 

“I went to drop Tyler back off at my parents,” he said of his son. “They’re watching him again this weekend.“

 

Tommy reached around her from behind and gave her a hug, which she returned.

 

The computer monitor suddenly flashed with an alarm.

 

“What is it?” Tommy asked.

 

Ashley uploaded the data to her computer screens. “A Jakanja is boring beneath the streets. He looks like a member of the Mecha Corps.”

 

“Contact the rangers,” Tommy said.

 

***

 

TerraMole erupted from the ground in a construction area near Angel Grove Central, an abandoned part of the city dubbed Demon City.

 

Several cranes and construction vehicles were scattered around the construction area, which was part of the Angel Grove Reconstruction Zone.

 

The Jakanja monster seemed fatigued while wobbling on its feet towards a pile of iron pipes. The villain let loose a sigh of relief and practically collapsed onto the pipes for support.

 

“Almost complete...” he muttered to himself. “Taking too long...”

 

The monster’s rest was interrupted by the sound of footsteps running in his direction. He rose back to his feet and looked to see Simon and Rachel rushing onto the scene.

 

“Jakanja!” Simon shouted. He and Rachel skid to a halt and snapped into fighting stances. “You won’t slip away this time!”

 

The two rangers armed their wrist braces. “Senpu… Ninjetti change! Ha!”

 

Energy circled around them in a powerful cyclone as they morphed into their Ranger forms. They snapped into fighting stances once their armor assembled.

 

“Power of Air…Hurricane Red!”

 

“Power of Water…Hurricane Blue!”

 

“Hurricane Task Force...Power Rangers!” 

 

The two Rangers charged to attack.

 

***

 

Justin had been at the shelter when he received the call to action. But as he ran to assist his friends, he was distracted by the sight of his sister leaving the shelter while pulling along a suitcase.

 

“Erika,” Justin called to her. “Shouldn’t you think about this a little more. I mean…we’re talking about a whole other country. Are you sure this is a good idea?”

 

“Sure? Of course not,” she said. “But it’s something I want to do. It’s a one-time opportunity.”

 

“Fine but just think about it some more, I mean-”

 

“When life gives you chances you have to take them,” she said. “If I just sat around thinking all day I wouldn’t get anything done or go anywhere. Sometimes…if you hesitate, you miss your one shot.”

 

***

 

A line of torn-up dirt shot between the Rangers and knocked them off their feet. The two Rangers crashed against the ground as TerraMole bore to the surface nearby.

 

***

 

“But…” Justin hesitated, not sure what to say. “I can’t let you get hurt.”

 

Justin’s communicator toned.

 

Erika seemed to not notice.  “You can’t watch after me forever, Justin,” she said. “And I can’t miss out on a chance like this just because you’re worried.”

 

Justin shook his head. “But this is way too sudden. I mean, jesus, I just found out about this today and you have your bags packed already.”

 

Justin’s communicator toned. He covered his communicator with his hand and grimaced. “I have to go, but I’ll be back, ok?”

 

“I have to be at the airport in 40 minutes,” she said. “I know it seems sudden, but I just decided yesterday. Miss Julia has had this trip planned for months though.”

 

“Ok, ok…I’ll meet you at the airport.” Justin turned and ran to help his friends.

 

***

 

TerraMole popped his head above the surface before diving back down. Seconds later, he popped his head up again, only in a different location.

 

The monster’s laughs surrounded the Rangers as it circled around them, taunting them by emerging in different spots only to disappear again beneath the surface.

 

Hurricane Red and Hurricane Blue stood back-to-back with their swords in hand while the monster continued its pattern, laughing mockingly each time it emerged.

 

Hurricane Red tightened his grip on his sword. “Okay that’s just annoying.”

 

TerraMole suddenly popped up behind Hurricane Blue and dragged her down to her waist. “Simon!”

 

“Hold on Rach!” But TerraMole resurfaced behind the Red Ranger and grabbed him by the legs.

 

The monster, still partially in the ground, pulled Hurricane Red off his feet and swung the Ranger through the air before releasing him.

 

Hurricane Red crashed against the ground and skid to a halt next to Hurricane Blue. The two Rangers helped each other to their feet.

 

***

 

Justin ran to the edge of an overhang that looked down into the construction area. He was about to leap down and morph, but hesitated.

 

He watched Hurricane Red and Hurricane Blue dash to attack the monster, and get beaten back by the creature’s claws, which sparked across the Rangers’ armor.

 

Justin rolled his hands into fists. His teammates were attacking too quickly, barely taking time to think. He did not want to do the same.

 

The ranger’s mind wandered to what his sister had told him. Sometimes if you hesitate, you miss your one shot.

 

Huh, Justin thought to himself. Since when is she the one giving me advice?

 

Justin took a deep breath and armed his morpher. He could not let fear of failure make him hesitate. He could not overanalyze every situation. Maybe sometimes it’s okay to be a little reckless…

 

Justin leapt from the ledge. “Ninjetti change!”

 

Hurricane Yellow somersaulted through the air and swung his hammer towards the monster’s head while landing. But the creature dropped beneath the ground to avoid the blow and vanish from sight.

 

Hurricane Yellow gripped his hammer with both hands and stepped back into a defensive stance. The Yellow Ranger tightened his grip and waited.

 

“Screw this.” Hurricane Yellow smashed his hammer against the ground, turned, and slammed the mace against the ground again. The Yellow Ranger repeated the pattern several times, sending shockwaves of power rippling beneath the earth.

 

Hurricane Yellow smashed his hammer against the ground with a final swing. The shockwave popped the monster up from the earth several feet behind the Yellow Ranger.

 

Hurricane Yellow turned and sprang at the monster with a volley of hammer strikes that exploded against the creature’s armor, sparking on impact and forcing the villain backward.

 

The Yellow Ranger was relentless, not giving the monster time to maneuver away from the attack. Hurricane Yellow spun and smashed his hammer against the monster with a burst of spark, knocking the creature off its feet.

 

TerraMole bore beneath the ground and disappeared from sight. The monster emerged several feet behind the Yellow Ranger, then burrowed back underground. The monster appeared again to the Ranger’s side before tunneling back underground. The villain continued to pop up and burrow back down, taunting the Yellow Ranger.

 

Hurricane Yellow stepped back into a defensive stance and lifted his hammer over his shoulder. “Guys, watch his movements. Let me know where he’ll pop up.”

 

Hurricane Red and Hurricane Blue closely watched the ground for trembling.

 

“Behind you, 5 o’clock!” Hurricane Red shouted.

 

Hurricane Yellow hopped and turned to bash his hammer on the monster’s head as soon as the creature emerged. TerraMole bore back underground.

 

“Three o’clock!” Hurricane Blue shouted.

 

Hurricane Yellow spun and slammed his hammer on the creature’s head as soon as it emerged.

 

Hurricane Yellow spun and smashed his hammer repeatedly, listening to his teammates to strike the monster as soon as its head popped up from the ground.

 

The final blow dented the monster’s armor and sent it stumbling in a daze, too disoriented to dive back underground for cover.

 

The three Rangers regrouped.

 

“Let’s bring ‘em together,” Hurricane Red said as they assembled their three weapons into a single cannon.

 

“Storm Striker!” they shouted. “Fire!”

 

The cannon fired a spherical pulse of crackling energy that ripped through the monster and exploded, tearing the villain to scarp metal and consuming his body with flames.

 

The Jakanja launched its Copy Giant torpedo, which absorbed the data from the fallen monster and assumed its shape and abilities.

 

Hurricane Red lifted his Gyro Morpher closer to his faceplate. “Storm-zords, mobilize!”

 

The Storm-zords charged into battle while passing through a trio of holographic entry portals. The Rangers leapt into their cockpits.

 

“Storm-zords assemble!” Hurricane Red shouted. “Whirlwind fusion!” The three zords transformed and started to combine. The lion zord formed the chest, body, left arm, and legs. The dolphin formed the Megazord’s right arm, and the hawk flew in and formed the head.

 

“StormMegazord!” Hurricane Red shouted from his cockpit. “Senpuujin!”

 

StormMegazord stomped towards the monster, but TerraMole dove through the ground, tunneling beneath the surface and out of the Rangers’ sight.

 

TerraMole emerged behind Senpuujin and slashed the Megazord with a burst of spark. StormMegazord turned to attack, and the monster struck again with a slash of his claws.

 

StormMegazord swung a punch that TerraMole ducked beneath while diving back underground.

 

“I’d hate to see the road-repair bill after this,” Hurricane Yellow said.

 

“We need quicker reflexes,” Hurricane Blue said.

 

Hurricane Red nodded. “StormMegazord, lightening up!” The Megazord’s armor retracted and folded back, decreasing its own density to form a slender humanoid robo. “Senpuujin, lightening mode!”

 

StormMegazord snapped into a fighting stance and waited.

 

TerraMole started to emerge from behind Senpuujin, and the Megazord somersaulted away.

 

StormMegazord rolled into a crouched fighting stance and leapt towards the monster with a flying kick. But TerraMole dove back underground before the kick could connect. StormMegazord landed in a fighting stance.

 

TerraMole popped up to waist level behind the Megazord and dragged it down into his hole. Pinned in place, the Megazord was helpless as TerraMole slashed against the Megazord’s armor, sparking on impact.

 

***

 

Ashley’s fingers danced across her keyboard. Tommy stood over her shoulder with his eyes fixed on the  monitors. “They’re getting thrashed,” Tommy said. “How’s the new Power Disc code coming?”

 

“Almost finished,” Ashley said. “Give a girl some time.”

 

***

 

TerraMole tightened its grip on the Megazord and slashed against its armor.

 

Ashley’s voice came through the Rangers’ communicator. “I have a new Power Disk for you to access. I’ve keyed it to Justin’s terminal.”

 

“Alright then,” Hurricane Red said. “Let’s break lose from this creep.”

 

The Rangers summoned all their Megazord’s strength and agility to smash several elbow strikes against the monster, loosening its grip. StormMegazord leapt free and landed nearby before powering down to its armored state.

 

The Yellow Ranger activated his control terminal to download the Power Disk, which materialized in a shimmer of light.

 

“Power Disc,” Hurricane Yellow inserted the disc into his console. “Lock…and drop.”

 

StormMegazord’s chest plate opened, and Power Sphere No. 2 hovered out. The Sphere opened, revealing a ram-head-shaped hammer. The ram’s curved horns formed the hammer’s mallet. 

 

StormMegazord reached out and grabbed the mace.

 

“Ram Hammer!” the Rangers shouted.

 

TerraMole charged at the Megazord. StormMegazord slammed its hammer against the creature with a burst of spark, knocking the soldier backward. 

 

“Ram Hammer!” the Rangers shouted. “Horn Crasher!”

 

The Ram Hammer powered up and swung towards the monster while extending long enough to reach. The Hammer smashed through the creature with a powerful explosion that ripped TerraMole into piles of scrap.

 

***

 

Erika pulled her luggage behind her while she walked through the crowd-packed airport.

 

Justin caught up behind her. “Erika…glad I made it in time.”

 

Erika turned to face her brother. Her stern expression let him know she was keeping her emotional guard up. “Please stop trying to talk me out of this, Justin. This is why I didn‘t tell you until the last minute.”

 

“That’s not why I’m here…” he walked closer to his sister and placed a hand on her shoulder. “You were right.” He gave her a reassuring smile. “Go do what you have to do, sis.”

 

She arced an eyebrow at him. “Is this some kind of reverse psychology trick?”

 

Justin laughed. “No, I just…you were right. Sometimes if you hesitate you miss your shot. There’s a difference between being reckless and taking a chance. And you can’t let fear stand in your way.”

 

Erika smiled and pulled her brother into a hug.

 

***

  

Lothor kneeled before his master, whom he kept secret from the Jakanja underlings. Tao Zento towered over Lothor like a giant humanoid centipede, shrouded in darkness.

 

“You should have killed the Dragon Ranger in the Rigel Expanse years ago,” Tao Zento said with a voice that rumbled within the darkness. “Now his Rangers stand in the way of our finding the Final Prophecy.”

 

“We will find It, master” Lothor said of the Prophecy. “It will appear.”

 

“Not if you waste time with these pathetic plots,” Tao Zento said. “You will deliver results more quickly, or I will strip you of the dark powers I have granted you. Destroy the Rangers. And pave the way for the Final Prophecy to appear. Do not hesitate, or you will die.”

 

To be continued…Chapter 05