Ultimate Origins: Chapter Two
The High Evolutionary Xorin walked through a dark, massive corridor inside the Shinzon ship. The corridor was lined with containment units of clear metal that held various creatures and monsters suspended in yellow-tinted liquid.
Three brains surrounded by transparent globes hovered behind Xorin as he looked out upon the creations. "Which is the most powerful?"
"Parameters vary," the brains spoke telepathically as one. "Define power. Strength? Speed? Energy projection? A combination of all?"
The High Evolutionary stopped for a moment to ponder. "I want something...explosive."
Brakk suddenly stormed into the corridor from behind his master. "High Evolutionary!" he shouted. "We have spotted the bio trace of the Red Ranger."
"How is that possible?" Xorin asked.
"He has moved outside of the population center known as Angel Grove and into an area where his bio signal is more easily recognizable," Brakk said.
"This pleases me greatly," Xorin said. "Send an appropriate greeting."
Simon walked up to the wide doors of Hakumenrou's mansion in the Japanese wilderness. The teen reached up, rang the doorbell, and fidgeted impatiently while he waited for someone to answer. He hated waiting.
The doors opened, and Simon looked down to see a young boy named Ryouske. Ryouske actually shared his body with a young spirit called a Youkai, and as a result, he would never age.
Simon was taken aback by the sight of the boy. "Um...hi? I'm looking for Hakumenrou."
The boy stared blankly at Simon.
"Do you speak English?" Simon asked. "Hakumenrou...is he here?"
The doors opened wider, and Hakumenrou stepped up behind the boy. "May I help you?"
Simon sighed with relief. "Yes. My name is Simon. I knew your daughter, Trini. I...I'm sorry for your loss."
Hakumenrou nodded. "She is in a better place. I'm assuming you didn't come all this way to offer condolences."
Simon shook his head. "No. I came here because I think you knew my grandfather. Professor Koji. I'm looking for his research."
Hakumenrou narrowed his eyes. "Who are you?"
"I'm Simon. Simon Kaden. I'm a Ranger, just like your daughter was," he said. "My grandfather, he-"
A flash of light suddenly splashed against the ground nearby and materialized into a wave of Zectoids, led by one of the Shinzon monsters, named Elekzon. The creature's pale-white body looked like the flattened head of an elephant, with a pair of red eyes on its chest. The top of its body opened with a gaping, fanged maw where the head should have been, and the maw was filled with a clump of red, leathery orbs. Tendrils extended from the odd creature's shoulders.
"Stay back," Simon said to Hakumenrou as he armed his morpher. "Senpu...Ninjetti Change! Ha!"
Energy twirled around him as he morphed into his Ranger form: Hurricane Red.
The Red Ranger leapt through the air to attack.
Tommy couldn't believe his eyes. What he held in his hands was impossible. "There has to be a mistake...it just can't be..."
"No mistake," Ashley said. "...you got accepted!"
Tommy and Ashley had both been accepted into Crossworld City University, despite Tommy's fear that the admissions office would sooner enroll a Piranatron than him.
"Well..." Tommy said. "Looks like it's back to school. Oh my god...we're going to need backpacks again."
"And notebooks," Ashley said.
"I don't think schools use paper anymore," Tommy said. "It's all laptops, palm pilots, and power point."
Ashley's face lit up. "Oh my god, I'm going to love it!"
Tommy smiled and kissed her on the forehead. "I love you."
"I love you too," she said.
The main monitor in Ops suddenly started blinking with alarm. Tommy and Ashley both sighed and walked towards the computer terminal.
"You know...these Shinzon are going to make going back to school a lot easier," Tommy said sarcastically.
Ashley sat down and pulled up a window on the main computer monitor. "The attack's in...Japan? Simon's fighting one of those gene beasts in Japan."
"What's he doing in Japan?" Tommy said.
"I don't know, he didn't say anything to me about it," Ashley said.
"All right...let's contact the other rangers."
Hurricane Red held his saber back in an attack position and charged towards the Shinzon monster and grunts. He wasn't expecting the monster to lean forward and hurl a volley of red organic bombs that surrounded the Red Ranger and exploded with enough force to send him flying backward.
The Red Ranger crashed against the mansion of Trini's father and slid to the ground.
"Damn..." he cursed beneath his breath and used his sword to rise back to his feet. He looked up to see a wave of the grunts charge towards him.
But a volley of throwing stars suddenly shot down from the rooftop and sparked against the grunts, knocking them backward.
Hurricane Yellow, Hurricane Blue, Crimson Thunder, and Navy Thunder leapt from the rooftop and landed on the ground near Hurricane Red.
"Japan?" Hurricane Yellow asked. "What are you doing in Japan?"
"They have really, really good curry," Hurricane Red said as he stood alongside his teammates.
Xorin monitored the battle from the bridge of the Shinzon ship, and the three brains hovered behind him. The High Evolutionary turned to face the brains. "Did you modify the beast's DNA appropriately?"
"Yes, High Evolutionary," the brains said in unison.
"Good," Xorin said. "Trigger the appropriate genetic markers."
Elekzon's body suddenly spasmed as the Rangers fought against the Zectoids.
Navy Thunder jumped straight up while slashing upward across a soldier's chest with a burst of spark, and he dropped down while chopping off the creature's head with a burst of spark. He smashed a spinning sidekick against the headless soldier to knock it away, and the headless grunt crashed against a trio of Zectoids.
He looked towards the monster. "Uh, guys...something tells me we-"
The monster suddenly expanded and grew giant with a thundering boom.
"Yeah, that's pretty much exactly what I was saying," Navy Thunder said.
The Rangers regrouped, and Hurricane Yellow looked to Hurricane Red. "I don't suppose Tommy and Ashley whipped us up some new zords."
"No," Hurricane Red said. "No they did not."
Tommy's voice spoke through their communicators. "Guys, prepare to teleport back to Ops."
"We don't retreat," Crimson Thunder said.
"It's not a retreat," Tommy said. "You guys are going to need zords...and I've got just the thing."
The team teleported back to Ops, and minutes later, Tommy and the Rangers stood on a mountainous landscape on the Astral Plane. The vista was the same landscape where Zordon's Power Rangers had first called upon their second set of Thunderzords in 2003.
Tommy sat in a meditative pose and motioned for his Rangers to do the same. "Have a seat."
Navy Thunder shook his head with agitation. "Have a seat? What the hell are we doing here? We don't have time for this, that giant is attacking."
Tommy kept his eyes closed. "And unless you all sit, we won't be able to do anything about it except hop up and down on the giant monster's toes."
Navy Thunder scoffed and shook his head. He reluctantly sat in a meditative pose, as did the other Rangers.
"Take out your Power Discs," Tommy said. The Rangers snapped their discs from their morphers and held the medallions in their hands. "Breathe deep. Clear your minds. Feel the disc's connection to your Animal Spirit. Focus on that connection, and nothing else. Now feel your Animal Spirit's connection to the currents of the One Power. Draw on that power."
Their discs slowly started to glow. The medallions vibrated with power and hovered above their owners' palms.
"Feel your Animal Spirit," Tommy said. "Give it shape in your mind. Let The Power guide you."
Beams of light shot from their medallions and into the sky. The clouds twirled with a storm of energy that flashed with brilliant pulses of light. Jagged bolts of energy shot down from the skies and exploded across the Astral Plane.
"Now," Tommy said. "Project that image into the space around you. While the living zords of my past were born from The Power, your zords will be born from your selves, projections of your Animal Spirits, brought to life. Extensions of your being."
The clouds above split open, and five giant creatures appeared. The zords appeared more lifelike than the Hurricane team's previous zords. They were clearly organic beneath plates of armor.
A mighty hawk swooped downward. Sleek plates of red armor covered the beast's powerful muscles and white-feathered wings.
A lion's golden fur was covered with plates of blue and yellow armor. Its eyes were red, and the H-shaped symbol of the Hayate Way was etched across a small dome on its back-armor plating. A dolphin flew next to the lion. The dolphin's slick body was covered with plates of blue armor.
They were the new Storm-zords.
A pair of multi-legged, giant insects followed the Storm-zords. The horned beetle and stag beetle were covered with sleek-black exoskeletons. The stag beetle's armor was highlighted with lines of navy, and the horned beetle was highlighted with lines of crimson.
They were the new Thunder-zords.
The rangers' eyes snapped open in Ops.
Tommy looked to his team. "Now you're ready."
Elekzon stomped towards Tokyo in an effort to lure the Rangers out of hiding. The mindless creature didn't have to wait for long.
The Rangers dashed across the ground and ran towards the Shinzon monster.
Hurricane Red raised his morpher towards his faceplate.
"Storm-zords, arise!" Hurricane Red shouted. Hurricane Hawk, Hurricane Lion, and Hurricane Dolphin swooped down from the skies. The Rangers leapt into the air and merged into their cockpits.
Hurricane Red stood behind a pedestal that carried a crystal control sphere. The sphere was transparent, with a red gem in its center. The gem pulsed with strands of energy that traced along the sphere's inner surface.
The Red Ranger placed a hand over his control sphere. "Storm-zords assemble! Whirlwind Fusion!"
Hurricane Hawk, Hurricane Lion, and Hurricane Dolphin radiated with energy and shot into the sky like comets. The comets twirled around each other and collided with a burst of light, which cleared as the zords started to merge.
The zords formed a warrior similar to the shape of their former StormMegazord in Lightening mode. A pair of wings extended from the Megazord's back, and armor formed around the wings as they snapped into position. Most of the Megazord's armor was white, with accents of blue, and the red-colored, H-shaped symbol of the Hayate Way was etched onto the small dome on the Megazord's chest.
"StormMegazord!" the Rangers shouted from a central cockpit. "ChoiSenpuujin!"
Below, Crimson Thunder raised his morpher towards his faceplate. "Thunder-zords, arise!"
The Navy Beetlezord and Crimson Insectazord swooped down from the skies, and the Thunder Rangers leapt into their cockpits, embedded within the zords' armor.
Crimson Thunder placed a hand over his control sphere. "Thunder-zords assemble! Thunder Fusion!"
The two zords radiated with energy and shot into the sky like comets. The streaks of energy twirled around each other and collided with a flash of light that dissipated as the zords started to merge.
The zords formed a warrior similar to the design of their old ThunderMegazord, only more slender. Two pieces of chest armor folded over the front of the Megazord to cover the front of its body; then the plates of armor flipped back like a pair of wings as the Megazord snapped into a mid-air fighting stance.
"ThunderMegazord!" The Rangers shouted from a central cockpit. "ChoiGouraijin!"
"Thunder Scythe!" Crimson Thunder shouted.
ThunderMegazord armed a staff weapon that ignited a yellow energy blade shaped like a scythe. The Megazord leaned forward and dove down from the air towards the Shinzon Monster.
Elekzon looked up and fired a volley or organic bombs that shot towards the ThunderMegazord like cannonballs.
ThunderMegazord flipped its chest shield closed, and the bombs exploded harmlessly against the shield's surface. The volley cleared, and the Megazord snapped its chest shield back open and dropped towards the monster. ThunderMegazord landed while slashing its scythe across the creature with a burst of spark, and the Megazord stepped forward with a powerful horizontal slash that sparked across the monster and knocked the creature off its feet.
Elekzon crashed hard against the ground with a thundering boom that shook the earth, and a pair of its bombs fell loose and exploded. The giant creature climbed back to its feet as the StormMegazord swooped down to attack.
StormMegazord somersaulted forward through the air and slammed a drop kick against Elekzon to knock the monster backward.
"Storm Saber!" the Wind Power Rangers shouted as the Megazord summoned a slender blade in its right hand. The blade radiated with ebbing, yellow-tinted power, and wisps of flame and vapor danced along the blade's edge. "Storm Slash!"
The Megazord swung its blade through a powerful, horizontal swing that ripped through the creature's midsection with a massive burst of spark. The creature howled with pain as its body split apart, and its two halves exploded with spheres of flame that consumed the remains.
Xorin tilted his head as he watched the battle conclude and his creature erupt into flames. It seemed not only could the humans harness the bio energies of the animals of their plane; they could also control bio machines of great power.
"Intriguing..." he said softly. "Most intriguing..."
The five teens gathered in a courtyard outside of Hakumenrou's mansion.
"You guys go ahead," Simon was telling them. "I won't be long."
"What are you doing here anyway?" Justin asked. "What's with all the secrets all of a sudden..."
"It's not a secret," Simon lied. "He just...he knew my grandfather, and there's something I want to talk to him about. That's all."
"Okay," Rachel said. "But you might want to tell us next time you decide to leave the country."
"Noted," Simon said. "Sorry, I just didn't think it would be that big of deal."
Justin sighed. "It's not that deep. We'll see you when you get home, k?"
"First thing," Simon said.
Simon and the rangers parted ways, and Blake took a moment to ask Rachel aside.
"Do you, um, have a minute?" he asked her.
"Not really, no," she said.
"OK, what's your problem?" Blake asked. "You've been acting like this since I got back."
"You were gone for two months," she said. "I had no idea when you were coming back, or even if you were coming back."
"But I'm back," he said. "So what does it matter?"
"What does it matter?" she raised her voice. "You can't just...you can't just do that to people. You can't just leave without saying a word; without telling the people you care about."
"Well what was I supposed to do?" he asked defensively. "I was raised by a psychopathic, homicidal lunatic. That's not exactly something I can just shrug off. I can't just, just snap my fingers and turn myself into some high school preppy who likes Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter."
"No one's asking you to," Rachel said.
"But you are, Rachel," he said. "You're expecting me to be this perfect guy who knows what to say and when to say it; who's been perfectly socio-conditioned. But I'm not, okay. I wasn't exactly raised by the most socially competent people."
"You could have just called or texted me-"
"What makes you think I have a cell phone?" Blake asked. "What makes you think I have anything that even remotely constitutes as normal? Why do you think I left for those two months."
"What does that have to do with why you-"
"I did it for you, Rachel," Blake said. "So I could get some space, some time to think and clear up all this...all this crap that's going through my head. I mean, don't you think I'd like to be that perfect guy for you? I'd give anything to be that guy."
"I'm not asking you to change," she said.
"Then what are you asking?"
She shook her head. "I don't know. It would just be nice to...I don't know."
"To what?" Blake asked.
"To be a normal girl for a change," she said.
Blake smirked. "Normal girls don't voluntarily sign up for ninja school."
She rolled her eyes. "It helped me keep in shape. Besides...that doesn't mean I asked for this kind of life. Monsters. Rangers. I wanted to be a singer. A star."
Blake smiled. "You are a star..."
Her cheeks turned slightly red, and she smiled at him. "I thought you didn't know the right things to say?"
"Or when to say them," Blake said. "I, uh...don't. You must have an effect on me...sometimes..."
"When you're not being an idiot," she teased.
Blake smiled. "You make me crazy, you know that?"
"You were already crazy."
"Ouch," Blake said. "That hurt."
She leaned towards him. "Kiss and make it better?"
"I thought we were fighting?" Blake asked.
"We are..." she leaned closer.
"That makes so much sense, it's staggering," he said sarcastically.
They leaned in and kissed.
Hakumenrou led Simon into a wide vault cluttered with artifacts and paintings.
"Your grandfather knew much about legend and myth, more than any man," Hakumenrou said. "He was the one who told me of the Youkai, spirits that possessed humans and turned them into monsters. The Youkai were the origin for most of my country's folklore. I lost touch with your grandfather after he returned to the United States."
"Why?" Simon asked.
"He was...not happy when I decided to track down the Youkai tomb," Hakumenrou said. "I wanted to see it for myself, but more importantly, I wanted to ensure that its horrors would never be unleashed upon the world. Koji believed that my daughter, Trini, would be drawn into a war against the Youkai at the turn of the century. I wanted to stop that from happening."
Hakumenrou opened a small safe and pulled out a data pad. "This was the start of everything your grandfather knew."
"What is it?" Simon asked as he took the pad and turned it on.
"Religious texts," Hakumenrou said. "He retrieved that data pad from a cult known as the Egos. A cult from the future."
To be continued...Chapter 03