Author's note: The following story takes place in 2009. It begins a couple months after the end of Wind and Thunder and Jet Force.

 

Ultimate Origins: Chapter One

Harvest: Arrival

 

New Bitmap ImageA saucer-shaped ship punctured into reality and entered orbit around Earth. The ship was smooth with an eye-shaped deflector dish along its rim. The deflector gleamed with deep-red power.

 

The ship belonged to the Shinzon. 

 

The Shinzon leader Xorin stood tall on the bridge of his vessel. He wore gleaming, dark robes of red and black. Thick armor that appeared as gray spider legs wrapped around his shoulders and nearly covered the upper half of his body, and a tendril slithered down from the end of each leg, draping across his chest. His face was white and featureless except for two black eye slits. A black helmet covered his head, and thick tendrils extended from the helmet like antlers.

 

The bridge was black, dark, and organic, and fog covered the deck.

 

A holographic image of Earth appeared in between a pair of tendrils that hung from above. “Is this the world?”

 

“Yes, High Evolutionary,” a creature named Brakk said. The creature was a blue-skinned brute with white fur that covered the right side of his head and various patches of his body. The left half of his body appeared cybernetic, and slim tendrils hung from the creature’s jaw line. “The lifeforms on this planet are ripe with power.”

 

“Begin a sampling,” Xorin said. "Lock onto the highest concentration of bio energies."

 

***

 

Tommy Oliver and Ashley Hammond stood side by side, hand in hand. They were visibly nervous. Despite all they'd been through together, the task before them was daunting.

 

Ashley looked to Tommy. "You sure you want to do this?"

 

"We don't have much of  a choice," Tommy said. "It's too late to go back now." He looked to his fiancé. "No matter what happens...just remember...I love you."

 

She gently squeezed his hand. The two lovers took deep breaths, and they stepped into the admissions office of Crossworld City University.

 

The admissions official was bald with dark skin and horn-rimmed glasses. He stood and smiled at the couple as they walked into his office. "Mr. Oliver, Miss. Hammond, come in, I'm Mr. Young."

 

Tommy put on his best smile, to hide his discomfort, and shook the man's hand. "Nice to meet you."

 

Ashley did the same, and they took a seat across from the man.

 

Mr. Young opened a pair of manila file folders on his desk. "So...you two are engaged?"

 

Great, small talk, Tommy thought. He sucked at small talk. Ashley had given him explicit instructions to let her handle that part of the interview.

 

"Yeah," Ashley said. "We're hoping to set a date for next summer."

 

"Good." The man smiled. "Long engagements are healthy. My wife and I were engaged for a year and a half."

 

Ashley and Tommy neglected to mention that they had been engaged for about two years, but they couldn't manage to keep a wedding date because of pesky things like Mogralord wars, undead viruses, and space pirates. 

 

"We're looking forward to the time we'll have to plan," Ashley said. "We want everything to be perfect."

 

"Great, that's great," he said as he looked down at his files. "So Ashley, I see you completed your undergrad work at AGU before it closed down? Four years of work in two years?"

 

"That's right," she said. "I'm a quick study."

 

"And Mr. Oliver..." he shifted to Tommy's folder. "You have...6 credits from the Angel Grove Community College."

 

"That's right," Tommy said. "Not-so quick."

 

Ashley laid a hand on her fiancé's arm. "Tommy started his own business."

 

He nodded. "It's a martial arts school of sorts," he said. "Now that it's up and running, I'm looking to finish college."

 

"And you're looking to major in education and minor in history and ancient civilizations?"

 

"That's right," Tommy said. "I-"

 

Images suddenly flashed across his mind's eye. He saw through the Astral Plane, and into space, where the saucer ship of the Shinzon floated in orbit. He saw their leader, the High Evolutionary, and he sensed their mission. They were here to harvest. They were here to experiment.

 

The Power was trying to send Tommy a message. The Hurricane Power Rangers were needed again.

 

Tommy gasped and clutched the arms of his chair as the vision stopped.

 

Mr. Young adjusted his glasses and looked at Tommy with concern. "Are you okay?"

 

"Oh, just a headache," Tommy said.

 

He barely paid attention to the rest of the interview, and Ashley and Mr. Young did most of the talking. The Earth was in trouble. Again. He wished he could have said that he was surprised.

 

Tommy and Ashley drove straight back to Angel Grove as soon as the interview ended.

 

***

 

Simon Kaden and Teddy Oliver jogged through the park together for the first time in a long time. The two friends had grown apart during the past couple years, first because of Simon’s duties as a Gao Ranger, then because of his time as a Power Ranger, the first Red Ranger of the new generation of Earth’s champions. The friends were making an effort to connect again.

 

“So what’s his name again?” Simon asked.

 

“Bryce,” Teddy said. “He’s really chill. We get along great.”

 

"That's awesome," Simon said.

 

"Thanks." Teddy took a swig from his water bottle. "So how's your love life?"

 

Simon snorted. "What love life? I'm 17, and I still haven't even kissed a girl."

 

"Neither have I," Teddy said.

 

Simon rolled his eyes. "Funny."

 

"I'm a woot."

 

Simon chuckled. "You're something , all right."

 

"You know you love me," Teddy said.

 

The two friends jogged across an asphalt path that wrapped through the wooded area north of Angel Grove City, which had recently opened back up to the outside world after nearly two months of being closed under a quarantine. About a third of the city's remaining population had moved immediately afterward.

 

"So what's on your mind?" Teddy asked Simon. "You're usually not this quiet."

 

"I've just been thinking lately...about my parents," Simon said.

 

"What about 'em?" Teddy asked. "Are they giving you a hard time again? They should just be happy you're going back to school this fall."

 

"I mean my birth parents," Simon said. "I've been thinking about trying to figure out who they are."

 

"Why the hesitation?" Teddy asked.

 

"I'm scared of what I might find," he said.

 

A streak of light suddenly shot down in the distance, further north into the woods, and the ground slightly trembled.

 

Teddy shook his head. "Why do these things always happen with us around?"

 

Simon shook his head. "I don't know."

 

"Let's take a look?"

 

Simon smirked. "Do you even have to ask?"

 

Simon and Teddy ran towards where they had seen the beam of light. They moved towards a clearing among the trees, where a dozen insect soldiers had appeared. The grunts were covered with sleek-black exoskeletons and had compound eyes, just below stubby antenna. They were called Zectoids.

 

Teddy rolled his hands into fists. "Let's stop them before someone gets hurt."

 

Simon shook his head. "I'll go. You're not a Ranger anymore."

 

"So?" Teddy said. "I can still fight. Besides, whatever those things are, they're just grunts. I can handle grunts."

 

"Fine," Simon said. He didn't have time to argue. "Let's do it."

 

Simon and Teddy dashed into the clearing to confront the Zectoids, but they stopped in their tracks at what they saw. The 12 or so grunts in the clearing were just a scouting party. More than 50 times their number were further back in the woods.

 

The scouting party spotted the two teens and screeched to signal their companions. The grunts further back in the trees screeched back, a chorus of blood-curdling noises that made the birds flock from the trees. The Zectoids charged through the woods, a wave of black pouring from around every tree that was in sight.

 

Teddy stepped back into a fighting stance. "We really need to move to New York or something."

 

***

 

The Wolfram & Hart building stabbed upward in the heart of downtown Angel Grove East. The top floor opened up to a wide, railed balcony that curved around the east side of the building.

 

A pale man in a black suit, with a black pin on the collar instead of a tie, laid his hand on the balcony rail and looked out upon the city, which stretched as far as the eyes could see, an endless landscape of lights and towers of concrete and steel.

 

He could feel the city stirring.

 

"Everything is falling into place..." He took a sip of a goblet filled with red wine. His face was slender, and he had a neatly-trimmed goatee that matched the color of his slick black hair. "Let the End Game begin again."

 

***

 

Teddy snapped a flying spin kick that bashed a grunt across the head and knocked the creature to the ground. He continued his spin, ducked low, and kicked the legs out from a second grunt. He kept punching and kicking, but the grunts were everywhere, and they seemed to be toying with the two teens, trying to lure them apart from one another.

 

Simon snapped a jumpkick that bashed a grunt upside the head and whipped the soldier's body backward. He moved to his left and smashed a roundhouse kick across a second grunt's head.

 

Teddy screamed as a group of about six grunts tackled him to the ground and twisted his arms back to lock him into place. He struggled, kicking back two or three of the soldiers, but the remaining villains tightened their grasp.

 

"Teddy!" Simon shouted. He armed his morpher. "Senpu...Ninjetti Change! Ha!"

 

Energy twirled around him as he morphed into his Ranger form: Hurricane Red. The Red Ranger unsheathed his sword.

 

“Air Style! Air Gallop Jutsu!” Hurricane Red unsheathed his saber and dashed forward while running across the air. He swung his blade left and right while charging through a group of Zectoids. His feet never touching the ground.

 

Hurricane Red leapt forward and somersaulted through midair. He landed against the side of a tree and pushed off while aiming his Gyro Morpher at the Zectoids. “Gyro Blades!”

 

The Red Ranger snapped a volley of H-shaped throwing stars that shot from his morpher. The blades ripped through Zectoids, bursting with spark.

 

But the soldiers kept coming.

 

The Red Ranger landed and gathered small wisps of fire between his palms. The tendrils of fire formed a small sphere of flame.  Hurricane Red thrust his hand forward. "Whirling Flame!"

 

He hurled a bolt of fire that twirled with wind energy and exploded in the midst of the Zectoids, scattering about a dozen of the grunts.

 

***

 

Xorin monitored the battle from the bridge of his ship. "Who is that red-clothed fighter?"

 

"He is called a 'Ranger,'" Brakk said.

 

"Scan him," Xorin said. "I want him studied."

 

"The creatures of this planet must indeed be powerful," Brakk said. "Look, the humanoid bears the symbol of an avian creature of some sort. It has bestowed him with great strength."

 

"Yes..." Xorin said. "This confirms my suspicion. The creatures of this planet must be harvested."

 

***

 

A Zectoid's mandibles inched closer to Teddy's neck. He tried to push the creature away as about a dozen more of the grunts piled onto the teen and held him steady. One of the creatures sank its mandibles into Teddy's neck.

 

Teddy screamed and collapsed to his knees as paralyzing venom flooded through his blood like ice-cold, stinging water. "Si..." He tried to call for help, but his voice became too weak and unsteady.

 

Hurricane Red spotted his friend from nearby, swung his sword back into an attack stance, and dashed through the insect grunts while twirling his blade through powerful swings that sparked through Zectoid armor.

 

The Red Ranger could sense his friend's pain. He moved towards Teddy's side, slashed back the grunts that surrounded the teen, and lifted Teddy over his shoulder.

 

"Just hold on, pal." Hurricane Red leapt into the trees and dashed away from the swarm of grunts.

 

***

 

"The subject has escaped," Brakk said.

 

"I see that," Xorin said, with a voice that was calm and icy. He was more intrigued than disappointed. "Send a scouting party to follow his bio trail before it fades."

 

"I obey, High Evolutionary," Brakk said.

 

***

 

Rachel lied back in her bed and hummed while scribbling notes onto sheet music. The sheet was smudged with eraser marks from where she had rewritten at least two or three notes on every measure.

 

She couldn't focus. She missed Blake. He'd been gone for about two months and hadn't even mentioned that he and Hunter were leaving.

 

Her communicator toned and startled her. The wrist device hadn't made so much as a beep in weeks. She sighed and answered. "This is Rachel."

 

"Rachel, it's Ashley. We need you at Ops. Simon and Teddy were attacked."

 

***

 

Justin stood in a clearing in the woods north of the Hayate Way dojo. He placed his right fist against his left palm and stared ahead at his target: a practice dummy tied to a post.

 

He reached down and felt his Animal Spirit of the lion. Through the lion, he channeled from the One Power. The Power flowed through his Life Force, strengthened his Body, sharpened his Mind, and ignited his Soul. His Animal Spirit strengthened all aspects of his being. 

 

Justin thrust his hand forward. "Seismic Storm!"

 

And...nothing happened.

 

The teen muttered beneath his breath and lowered his arms. For two months he had tried to duplicate the attack that he'd used against Tao Zento in the final battle with the Jakanja. But he couldn't, for whatever reason. It had come so naturally for him at the time.

 

"This is jank," he muttered. 

 

He wanted to make sure he was prepared for the next threat that the Earth faced. He had to do better next time. Angel's Haven, the shelter where he had grown up and lived, was gone, destroyed by Jakanja, and Justin couldn't help but feel guilty, like he should have been able to stop it from happening.

 

His communicator toned. "Justin, it's Tommy. We need you back at Ops."

 

He lifted his communicator. "I'm not that far, boss. On my way."

 

***

 

Justin and Rachel walked into Ops and noticed Simon and Tommy sitting across from the couch, where Teddy lied down, his head resting on a pillow. Tommy and Simon were both leaning forward with looks of concern and anger on their faces.

 

"What happened?" Rachel asked.

 

"We were attacked," Simon said.

 

Justin shook his head. "Is Teddy..."

 

"He'll be okay," Tommy said. "The venom is only temporary...designed to incapacitate, not kill."

 

"What venom?" Rachel asked. "Who attacked?"

 

"They're called the Shinzon," Tommy said. "They're from another dimension."

 

"How'd they get here?" Justin asked.

 

"I'm not sure," Tommy said. "I think it has something to do with Billy's tampering with The Power. That's how the Vyram got here. That's probably how the Shinzon arrived too."

 

"What are they after?" Rachel asked.

 

"From what I can tell, they harvest creatures from different planets to try and find the best genetic stock possible," Tommy said. "They're not here to conquer. They're here to experiment."

 

"But people could still get hurt," Justin said.

 

"Agreed," Tommy said.

 

"Where are Blake and Hunter?" Rachel asked.

 

Ashley spoke from her computer cluster on the other end of the room. "I can't reach either of them." One of her monitors started blinking. "That's never good..."

 

"What is it, Ash?" Tommy asked as he and the teens walked towards her.

 

"A group of Zectoids in the woods, not too far from here," she said as she zeroed in on a section of a digital map. "They're headed in this direction...but they're scattered."

 

"They must be trying to follow Simon and Teddy's trail," Tommy said. He looked over his shoulder to his student. "Simon..."

 

"We're on it," Simon said. He looked to his team. "Let's go, guys."

 

***

 

The teens dashed through the woods while channeling the One Power to enhance their speed. They moved towards a clearing, and in the distance, they spotted a group of Zectoids fanning out through the trees.

 

"Okay, there's not much to these guys," Simon said. "Hit 'em hard and fast."

 

The teens armed their morphers.

 

"Senpu...Ninjetti Change! Ha!" Energy twirled around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

The three Rangers leapt forward to attack.

 

Hurricane Red dashed so quickly he appeared as a blur of motion as he blurred past seven grunts and chopped through them with bursts of spark. He turned, slammed a spin kick against a grunt, and slashed his blade through another Zectoid with a burst of spark.

 

Nearby, a wave of the grunts surrounded the Yellow Ranger.

 

"Lion Hammer!" Hurricane Yellow armed his weapon, a yellow staff topped with a hammer-like mace.

 

The Yellow Ranger spun and twirled the staff around in an intricate pattern that bashed back all of the grunts that surrounded him. He completed the spin, swung the staff high, and slammed the hammer against the ground with a massive shockwave that knocked back about a dozen of the enemy soldiers.

 

Meanwhile Hurricane Blue moved in low and kicked the legs out from a soldier, rose to full height, and slammed an elbow backward against a Zectoid that tried to sneak up on her.

 

monster-3The Rangers were taking out the last of the Zectoids when a monster stepped out from the woods. The creature had a bulky body of dark-orange muscle tissue covered by patches of gray, leathery hide. Its head was like an octopus, with short tentacles extending to latch onto his upper body. The creature was designated by the Shinzon as the Krakizon.

 

The Rangers regrouped.

 

Hurricane Yellow snapped into a fighting stance. "This creep doesn't look too tough."

 

Hurricane Red shook his head. "Justin, you should know by now never to say stuff like-"

 

The monster's tentacles lashed out, extended, wrapped around the Rangers, and lifted them into the air. The creature swung Hurricane Red around and bashed him through a tree trunk, which splintered apart on impact, and the tree toppled to the ground. The monster slammed Hurricane Yellow and Hurricane Blue together and tossed them aside.

 

The two Rangers crashed against the ground and quickly rolled into crouched fighting stances.

 

Hurricane Yellow placed his right fist against his left palm. “Earth Style! Tunneling Jutsu!”

 

The Yellow Ranger drilled beneath the ground and streaked towards the monster while kicking up dirt and dust in his wake. He tore past the creature with a rumbling shockwave.

 

The monster stumbled backward, and Hurricane Blue dashed forward. "Hydro Blast!"

 

The blast exploded against the creature with a burst of spark, and the monster's tentacles slackened and released their hold on the Red Ranger.

 

Hurricane Red dropped, somersaulted downward through midair, and slashed his blade across the monster with a burst of spark while landing on the ground.

 

"Fire Blade!" Hurricane Red swung his sword and emitted a fiery blade of energy that exploded against the monster with massive bursts of spark

 

Sparks suddenly exploded against the Rangers' armor and knocked them back, but they managed to stay on their feet. They looked to see Brakk step forward from the woods.

 

The villain carried a broad sword with a chain whip attached to its pommel. "You three humans are powerful subjects to warrant my personal attention."

 

"Hey, thanks, that means a lot," Hurricane Yellow said. "Most villains would have just taunted us and such. They can be really insulting."   

 

Brakk tilted his head. The villain clearly didn't understand the concept of humor. What he did understand was the concept of battle. He swung his chain whip, which lashed across the Rangers' armor with bursts of spark that knocked them back.

 

The Rangers crashed against the ground and rolled into fighting stances, but before they could strike back, the monster lashed out with its tentacles.

 

"Gyro Blades!" The Rangers snapped volleys of H-shaped throwing stars that ripped through the tentacles with bursts of spark. The severed limbs fell to the ground and spasmed.

 

Hurricane Red looked to his teammates. "Guys, you take the Doc-Ock wanna be. The blue brute is mine."

 

The three Rangers split up and attacked their opponents.

 

Hurricane Red skipped forward and chopped his blade towards Brakk. But, with a quick and fluid motion, Brakk parried the blow, wrapped his chain around Hurricane Red's neck, and kicked out the Red Ranger's legs to force him to his knees while the chain tugged up his head.

 

Hurricane Red twirled his sword, chopped through the chain with a burst of spark, and spun back to his feet while slamming a reverse sidekick against the villain to knock him back.

 

Brakk swung his sword through a powerful backhand swing, but Hurricane Red parried the blow, spun closer to Brakk, and slammed the handle of his sword against the villain's face.

 

Nearby, Hurricane Yellow and Hurricane Blue charged towards the Krakizon.  

 

The creature slammed a pair of tentacles against the ground with enough force to create a shockwave that knocked the two Rangers off balance. Then the creature lashed out with a pair of tentacles that lashed across the two Rangers' chests with bursts of spark that sent them flying through the air.

 

Hurricane Blue flew towards a tree trunk, but a blur of motion passed her by, grabbed hold of her, and gently lowered her to the ground. She looked up to see who had grabbed her. It was Blake.

 

Blake landed on the ground, set Rachel onto her feet, and stood next to his brother.

 

"Blake..." she whispered.

 

He slightly blushed. "Hey..."

 

"Blake," his brother said as he armed his morpher. "There's time for that later."

 

"Right," Blake said as he armed his morpher.

 

Gorai…Ninjetti change! Ha!” Energy lashed around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

“Thunder Staffs!” The Thunder Rangers armed their staffs, aimed the weapons forward, and dashed towards the Krakizon to attack.

 

The Thunder Rangers hopped forward and slashed their weapons across the Krakizon, staffs sparking on impact and pushing the monster back.

 

Navy Thunder and Crimson Thunder ran past opposite sides of the Krakizon and spun while slashing their staffs across the monster’s body with bursts of spark. The Thunder Rangers turned, used their staffs to grab hold of the Krakizon, and hurled the monster through the air.

 

“Thunder Stars!” The Thunders snapped their staffs into cross-shaped formations.

 

They swung the weapons, which charged with crackling energy, and hurled the blades towards the monster. The Thunder Stars exploded against Krakizon with a massive burst of flame that cracked the monster’s hide. The Thunder Stars circled back towards the Thunder Rangers.

 

The Thunder Rangers stalked towards their opponent and armed their weapons.

 

“Horn Blaster!” Crimson Thunder armed his cannon.

 

“Stag Breaker!” Navy Thunder armed a claw-shaped weapon.

 

The Navy Thunder Ranger pounced forward and used his claw to grab the monster by the midsection. Navy-tinted lightning bolts crackled along the Stag Breaker and exploded across the monster’s armor with a series of sparks. Navy Thunder lifted the Krakizon off his feet and tossed the monster aside. 

 

The Krakizon crashed against the ground and looked up to see Crimson Thunder stalk towards him. The Ranger triggered his weapon, which fired dark-crimson tinted pulses of shadow energy that exploded against the monster with massive bursts of spark.

 

Nearby, Hurricane Red smashed a double jumpkick against Brakk to knock the villain backward. And the Red Ranger followed with a butterfly-pattern swing of his saber that sparked against the villain.

 

Brakk fell back onto his knees and clutched his injured chest. The power of the Red Ranger had taken him off guard. And the appearance of two more costumed heroes had distracted him. Five Rangers! He had to report to his master.

 

"You've surprised me, human," Brakk said. "A feet not easily accomplished." The villain rose to his feet. "We will fight again."

 

The villain triggered a teleportation wave that shimmered around him with thin columns of light as he faded away.

 

Hurricane Red sheathed his sword and dashed back over to his teammates, and the five Rangers regrouped to face the Krakizon.

 

Hurricane Yellow looked to the Thunders. "Enjoy your vacation?"

 

"Fight now, banter later," Crimson Thunder said.

 

"Agreed," Hurricane Red said. "Weapons, guys. Let's bring 'em together."

 

The five Rangers assembled their cannon. "Thunderstorm Striker!" they shouted. "Fire!"

 

The blaster fired a bolt of twirling energy that crackled with lightning, pulsed with shadow, and burned with flame. The blast rumbled the ground, and parted the air, while ebbing with power and shooting towards the villain through a comet of energy that left a trail of vapor in its wake.

 

The blast exploded against the monster with bursts of spark that tore through him from the inside, ripping his body into scraps before a final, massive explosion. The smoke from the explosion blew away into the wind as residual flames crackled and snapped along the ground.

 

They lowered their weapon, and Hurricane Yellow looked to the Thunders. "So really...where have you two been?"

 

"It's a long story," Crimson Thunder said.

 

Navy Thunder looked to Hurricane Blue. But the Blue Ranger turned her head away.

 

***

 

"Five of them?" Xorin asked.

 

"Yes, High Evolutionary," Brakk answered. "Each with the symbol of an animal, native to this world. They easily defeated the Krakizon. And their bio trails have now gone cold. We cannot follow."

 

"They will make themselves known again," Xorin said. "And we will take steps to be better prepared. I want them studied...I want their power."

 

***

 

"The Shinzon made a few collections while we were distracted," Ashley said to the five rangers in Ops. "Mostly animals..."

 

Hunter narrowed his eyes. "Why would they do that?"

 

Tommy looked to the rangers. "The Shinzon manipulate DNA; they're looking to create the ultimate genetic structure. The ultimate form of existence."

 

Simon looked away. Power in DNA...

 

Teddy sat nearby, having mostly recovered from the effects of the venom, and he noticed the look in his friend's eyes. When Tommy and Rachel finished speaking with the rangers, Teddy pulled Simon aside as the rest of the teens moved towards the door. Simon spoke before Teddy had a chance. 

 

"How you feeling?" Simon asked.

 

"Fine," Teddy said. "I was going to ask you the same thing. What's wrong?"

 

Simon smirked. "I thought I was the one with empathic abilities."

 

"What can I say," Teddy said. "You suck at hiding your feelings."

 

Simon sighed. "I was just thinking, about what Tommy said...maybe I do need to find out who my parents were. They're a part of me...and maybe, if I find out who they were, it will explain how I can do some of the things I can do. Maybe I'll finally get some answers..."

 

***

 

Blake caught up with Rachel in the courtyard outside the Hayate Way dojo. "Hey, Rach, wait up..."

 

She stopped and turned to face him, but the look she gave him was cold and distant.

 

"I, uh..." Blake stammered. "I wanted to tell you...I signed up for high school. Like you wanted. I'll be a little behind, but..." He shook his head. "Okay, why are looking at me like that?"

 

"Like what?" she asked.

 

"Like you think I'm still trying to kill you or something," Blake said. Rachel's cheeks turned slightly red with anger, and Blake swallowed the lump in his throat. "Too soon to joke about that?"

 

Rachel breathed a sigh and turned to walk away. "Goodbye, Blake."

 

***

 

Simon sat on the edge of his bed and traced his fingers along the edge of the ring he held in his palm. The side of the ring had a distinct engraving: a Chinese dragon wrapped around the Earth. The ring had belonged to his father, Shurikenger had said.

 

Shurikenger had somehow known Simon’s father, and shortly after Simon was born, the late Shurikenger delivered the infant to a foster family. Simon didn’t know why. Shurikenger had died before he could say more. The ring was the only clue Simon had.

 

A knock sounded on Simon’s door. “Come in,” he said.

 

The door opened, and Maya walked into the room. She smiled at her younger adopted brother. “You look bigger every time I see you.”

 

He arced an eyebrow. “Are you calling me fat?”

 

She rolled her eyes. “Yes, that’s exactly what I said.”

 

Simon stood and gave his sister a hug. They hadn’t seen each other in almost a year. Maya had left Angel Grove when Simon was still in grade school to explore various archeological sites across the world. She had returned to Angel Grove about a year ago but spent most of her time studying Demon City.

 

“Did you bring Grandpa’s computer?” Simon asked.

 

“I did.” She pulled the laptop from her handbag, sat at Simon’s desk, and flipped the computer open. “What is it you wanted to show me?”

 

Simon laid the ring on the desk. “That. The symbol on the ring, the dragon wrapped around the Earth, it seemed kind of…I don’t know…familiar.”

 

Maya typed in a few keywords to search the computer’s hard drive. “I’ll see what we can find.” Various results scrolled across the screen. The computer had a vast amount of data, all related to the Rangers and their mythology. “It may take a few minutes to sort through all this to find what we need.”

 

Simon leaned over his sister’s shoulder and looked at the screen. “Do you ever wonder how grandpa got all this info?”

 

Maya nodded. “All the time. I wish…” She shook her head. Maya’s biological grandfather had died before he could explain how he knew so much about the Rangers. He was the victim of one of Bandora’s first attacks in 2001, shortly after Maya and Simon met the Power Rangers. Her grandfather’s information had led the Rangers to the Command Chamber to find Zordon.

 

“I think I found something.” Maya pulled up a symbol that was identical to the engraving on Simon’s ring. Some text scrolled across a display window next to the image. “That’s the symbol of an organization named Egos.”

 

“Egos?” Simon asked. “What’s that supposed to be?”

 

“I’m not sure exactly,” Maya said. “Some kind of religious organization centered around something called the Dragon.”

 

“Does this dragon of theirs have a name?” Simon asked.

 

Maya shook her head. “I think that is the name.”

 

Simon shook his head. “That could be anything then.” His eyes opened wide at a realization. “Wait a second…Tommy’s called the Dragon. In all those prophecies that led up to the Mogralord War.”

 

In early 2008, all of Earth’s champions had battled a powerful demon beast called the Mogralord. The event was supposed to be the culmination of prophecy that told how the Dragon, Tommy, would bring about the end of the universe during a final conflict. No prophecies had foretold anything beyond that point in time. But Tommy had broken free from the strings of Fate and saved all of reality.

 

Maya picked up the ring and looked closely at the engraving. “There has to be some kind of connection.”

 

Simon nodded. “Which makes me wonder why we haven’t heard anything about the Egos before.

 

“We should talk to Tommy,” Maya said.

 

“No,” Simon said harsher than he meant to. “It’s just…I want to figure this out on my own.”

 

Maya nodded and turned back to her computer screen. She started scrolling through more data. “I’m not sure why the information in this entry isn’t complete.”

 

Simon shrugged. “We can’t expect that he crammed everything onto this thing. What happened to all the rest of his research after he died?”

 

“I don’t know,” Maya said. “I think he left most of his things in Japan before he came to Angel Grove, but I never knew where exactly.”

 

“We need to find someone who knew him then,” Simon said.

 

“That’ll be difficult,” Maya said. “He mostly kept to himself. A lot of people thought he was senile.”

 

“Well there has to be something we can do…” Simon started pacing across the floor and ran his fingers through the back of his hair. “What happened to everything he did have with him here?”

 

“I sorted through it all and rented a storage unit at the university,” Maya said. “But there wasn’t much, and there wasn’t anything he had that really stood out.”

 

Simon’s face lit up. “Let’s go take a look.”

 

***

 

Simon and Maya pried open a crate within the university storage area. Inside were a few plates of samurai armor, an old katana, and a few other miscellaneous artifacts.

 

“This is all he had with him,” Maya explained.

 

“Hmm,” Simon said. “It’s not much.”

 

“That’s what I tried to tell you,” Maya said.

 

Simon closed his eyes and ran his hand along the plate of samurai armor. He reached out with his senses and tried to find a mental imprint left behind by his grandfather. Simon had discovered his empathic senses when he was young, but it wasn’t until he almost died to save Hunter that his powers grew. The strange thing about his abilities was that they had nothing to do with the One Power, the source of all magick that gave the Rangers their powers.

 

Simon felt the shadows of his grandfather’s presence left behind on the artifacts. “Grandpa…” he whispered.

 

Maya wrinkled her brow. “Simon, what are you doing?”

 

“Trying to find something,” Simon said. “Anything.”

 

“How?” Maya asked.

 

“I have a secret,” he said.

 

Images of the past flashed across Simon’s mind. He saw his grandfather in a large mansion in Tokyo. His grandfather, Professor Koji, was standing in a wide room where several suits of samurai armor were on display. Koji was speaking with a man Simon didn’t recognize, but his name seemed to stand out.

 

Simon’s eyes snapped open. “Hakumenrou,” he said quietly.

 

“What?” Maya asked. “Simon, what’s going on?”

 

“I know where grandpa kept the rest of his research,” Simon said. “With HakumenrouTrini’s father.”

 

To be continued…Chapter 02