Ultimate Origins: Chapter Eight

Fever: J

 

Simon narrowed his eyes. "What? The first Rangers didn’t show up until 2001."

 

"Well," Mitchell said, "they weren’t exactly Rangers as you know them. The text from the Egos gave Starr the idea to create soldiers modeled after the Rangers, which were referenced in the data pad several times."

 

"So what did he make?" Justin asked.

 

"He called the project Battle Fever J," Mitchell said.

 

Justin raised an eyebrow.

 

Mitchell lifted his hands defensively. "I didn’t pick the name, ok. The BFJ project basically consisted of five suits of armor. Starr would have created more if they weren’t so costly to construct. Section 31 pulled funding from several governments to make building the suits possible."

 

Justin smiled. "Were they color coded?" He was only slightly kidding.

 

Mitchell scoffed. "Hardly."

 

The captain described the suits. Each suit of armor was a mesh of dull-gray plating over durable material that looked like black fabric. The helmets had grated mouthpieces and slits for visors. Each suit of armor had  a disc on the left side of the chest, and each disc had the symbol of a different country: America, Japan, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union.

 

Each disc acted as a suit’s power generator with a limited charge of 12 hours. Starr had developed the discs through futuristic information taken from the salvaged Egos data core.  

 

"Stewart and I were chosen to use the suits," Mitchell said. He shook his head as if still in disbelief. "Tye wanted to keep us close since we were the only two surviving soldiers that had seen those Egos things in action."

 

"So what happened?" Simon asked.

 

"We got company while Starr was showing us the suits in one of his office towers," Mitchell said. "Security captured someone who had broken into the building. He told us his name was Tatsuya. And that he was from the future."

 

"Tatsuya," Simon said. "From Time Force." Simon recognized the name as one of Earth’s champions who was killed during the final battle against the Mogralord. Tatsuya had taken the mantle of Time Red during that fight.

 

Mitchell nodded. "He’d led a team to follow the Egos into our time, and he came to us to ask for help."

 

***

 

Angel Grove, California, 1984 AD

 

“If you’re really from the future, what the hell do you need us for?” Tye asked Tatsuya. They were sitting on opposite sides of a table. “Why not just go blow these Egos bastards up with your fancy futuristic ray guns?”

 

“We don’t really have ray guns,” Tatsuya said.

 

“Answer the damn question,” Tye said.

 

“It’s not a matter of need,” Tatsuya said. “You’re already involved, so we want to keep you close. I’m sure you can understand.”

 

Tye’s gaze drifted to Stewart and Mitchell. “Yeah…I suppose I can…” He looked back to Tatsuya. “Keep talking.”

 

“You slowed the Egos down at Chernobyl, but barely,” Tatsuya said. “They were using the nuclear reactor to construct a crude Energy Well, something that shouldn’t be invented until after the turn of the century by a man named William Cranston. The Energy Well can summon massive amounts of power from another plane of existence called the Negative Zone.”

 

“Cut the crap,” Tye said. “Just tell us what the weapon was supposed to do.”

 

“The Egos are concerned about one thing, one person, the Dragon,” Tatsuya said. “They came back here to establish a power base strong enough to control the Dragon by the time he reached the appropriate age, when he would carry out the Breaking of the World by harnessing the Gates of Hell.

 

“Egos believes the Dragon was born in 1985, a year from your present,” Tatsuya said. “They plan to use the Energy Well to open a spatial rift, a gateway, and kidnap him as an infant. Then they can raise him in secret until he’s ready to break the world.”

 

Tye narrowed his eyes. “So you expect us to believe this weapon they’re building isn’t a weapon at all. It’s some kind of god damn magic door?”

 

“Yes,” Tatsuya said. “But it’s a dangerous door. The first Energy Well was tested on the moon. And let’s just say that, in my time, a noticeable chunk of the moon is missing. Energy Wells are highly unstable, and since the one the Egos are constructing is so crude, we predict a 98 percent chance that the Well will overload and wipe out all of Europe.”

 

Stewart spoke up for the first time. “Why do it if it’s that risky?”

 

Mitchell nodded. “And why build something so elaborate just for a kidnapping.”

 

Tatsuya looked to the young men. “They don’t believe the Dragon was originally born on Earth. They believe he was born on a world called KO-35. They intended to use one Energy Well to get them there, and a second Energy Well to bring them back, along with the infant. The rifts would remain stable enough going both ways for them to avoid the Energy Well overloads.”

 

“I don’t believe it,” Tye said.

 

“It doesn’t matter what you believe,” Tatsuya said. “They’re building a second Energy Well, and we have to stop them. My team’s probably tracked down the Well’s exact location by now. It‘s another site in Russia, where they’d been transporting materials from Chernobyl before it blew.”

 

***

 

"Hold on, back up," Justin said. He looked to Simon. "I thought you said this Dragon was probably Tommy?"

 

"He is," Simon said. "Tommy wasn't born on Earth."

 

"No way!" Justin said. "He never told us that...what does that even...whoa."

 

"Are you done?" Mitchell asked impatiently. The rangers said nothing, so he continued. "While Tye was meeting with Tatsuya, Starr and Professor Koji had used the Egos technology they salvaged to track down Tatsuya’s Time Ship, the Becket," Mitchell said. "Starr and Koji used the information there to verify Tatsuya’s story."

 

"Koji…" Rachel thought for a moment. "That name keeps sounding more familiar."

 

Simon looked to her. "That was my grandfather."

 

Mitchell nodded. "Starr and Koji used techniques from the Egos database to extract information from the Time Ship’s computers. The Time Ship was loaded with information about the late 1900s and early 21st century, since it was all relative to Tatsuya’s mission and the Egos. Starr handed the data over to Koji to decrypt and analyze.

 

"When he got back to Angel Grove, Starr talked Tye into agreeing on a joint strike mission with Time Force against the Egos stronghold in Russia."

 

***

 

Russia, 1984 AD

 

Stewart was strapped into the Battle Cossack suit, and Mitchell was in the Battle America armor. Other marines wore the additional three Battle Fever J armors, Battle Britain, Battle France, and their field leader Battle Japan.

 

They rode in a stealth troop carrier through Russian airspace.

 

“You know the plan!” Tye barked at them from the carrier’s open drop door. “Follow it until you hear otherwise. What you are wearing is collectively worth enough to buy the entire west coast, so put it to good use.”

 

Their target was not a Hydra installation. This time the troops were sent to a Russian skyscraper owned by the Technomancer Organization. The skyscraper was a dark, black contrast to the rest of the Russian city.

 

The Time Force Rangers had quietly landed on the rooftop and taken out the building's two guards, who wore black jumpsuits and carried standard rifles and machine guns. Once inside, the Rangers were to use their technology to disable the building's surveillance systems.

 

They had succeeded.

 

"All right people, move! Move!" Tye shouted.

 

The five soldiers leapt from the plane. Battle Japan, Stewart, and Mitchell angled their decent towards the building's roof. Their armor eliminated the need for parachutes. The three soldiers hit the roof hard and rolled across the surface to cushion the impact. Meanwhile, the other two soldiers shattered through windows of the skyscraper's 50th floor.

 

BFJ's mission was to find and destroy the Energy Well, while Time Force went after the Egos leadership. The Egos leaders were too powerful for Battle Fever J to handle, or so the team was told.

 

Stewart, Battle Japan, and Mitchell bashed into an elevator shaft, leapt inside, and slid down the cables. They skid to a halt while dangling in front of the doors to the 40th floor.

 

Battle Japan unclipped his gun and fired explosive bullets tipped with vibranium that punctured through the elevator door and blasted it open. Starr had designed the vibranium-tipped explosive bullets with technology salvaged from the Egos.

 

Stewart, Battle Japan, and Mitchell swung onto the empty floor. All of the enemy soldiers were likely dealing with the diversion created by Battle France and Battle Kenya. At least that was the plan.

 

A dark blur slammed against Stewart and knocked him through a nearby wall. The soldier crashed against the floor and slid back between rows of desks walled with glass cubicles.

 

Stewart unclipped his gun and rose to a crouched position while looking up to see the blur charged towards him.

 

Back in the corridor, guards rushed from hidden ports, armed their rifles, and opened fire on Battle Japan and Mitchell.

 

Mitchell leapt aside as bullets blasted through the walls and floor around him and sparked against his armor. He rolled into a crouched fighting stance and opened fire, his own weapon spraying death into the darkness and tearing through enemy grunts.

 

He didn't notice a grenade roll across the floor nearby and explode with enough force to rip apart the floor itself with a massive burst of smoke and flame that would have incinerated Mitchell if not for his armor. 

 

Mitchell fell, several stories, through a pit engulfed with darkness, and he crashed against a black-tiled floor. Luckily, his armor protected him from the impact. But it still hurt.

 

He looked up and saw six Technomancers standing around a demonic symbol etched on the floor. Above the symbol was a twisted vortex of flame, and within the vortex was a demonic figure with blood-red eyes and bat-like wings.

 

Mitchell unclipped his weapons and shot the Technomancers down with streams of gunfire that blared like chainsaws. He rolled closer to the vortex, rose into a crouched stance, and opened fire. But his bullets passed harmlessly through the strange being.

 

The demon extended his hand, and Mitchell was caught in an invisible chokehold.

 

"Foolish mortal," the demon bellowed. "You dare to fire on Diabolico, First Son of the Saima Queen?"

 

An invisible force hurled Mitchell backward and crashed him against a pillar, where he was held firm by Diabolico. "Your will is strong, mortal, but mine is stronger. Witness the power of my queen and the fate of your world!"

 

Images flashed across Mitchell's mind. He saw the planet's of the Solar System align into a cross-like pattern that unleashed demonic forces upon the Earth. Cities burned. Billions were slaughtered. And the Earth became a planet of Hell.

 

Mitchell screamed, and the images dissipated. The soldier crashed against the ground hard, and when he looked up, the vortex was gone. "What...the...fuck."

 

***

 

Justin shook his head. "What was it?" he asked. "That...thing you saw."

 

"The Saima," Mitchell said, and at the mention of the name, his gaze hardened even more than before.

 

Simon nodded. "The Lightspeed Rangers fought against them a couple years back. They were demons. The question is, what did they have to do with the Egos?"

 

"Nothing," Mitchell said. "The Technomancer Organization had little pet projects of their own." He sighed impatiently and glared at a digital clock embedded on his desk. "I swear to god, if you kids keep asking questions, I'm never going to make it through this story."

 

"Continue," Simon said.

 

"Oo, may I?" Mitchell said sarcastically. He continued the story. "When I got out of that chamber, I regrouped with the others. We were supposed to go after the energy well...but we ran into something else along the way." 

 

***

 

Russia, 1984 AD

 

The Dome sat embedded in the top three floors of the Technomancer building and served as the central office for the Egos. The walls were mostly smooth, made of an organic steel fashioned by Egos scientists.

 

A desk crafted from onyx stone sat at the far side of dimly lit Dome, facing the large chamber’s only entrance. Behind the desk was a towering holo-screen, displaying various images of landscapes across the world.

 

At the desk sat a man dressed in a dark jacket made of material that looked like leather. He leaned forward with his elbows on his desk and his hands folded. His hair was white and neatly combed, and his eyes were solid red. He was the Taipan, the Egos leader from the future.

 

Behind him on both sides stood two men dressed in solid black uniforms with white stripes running down the center. They wore dark sunglasses, and their jet back hair was gelled back across their heads.

 

The Taipan was expecting company. And he was ready for it.

 

A massive explosion blew down the door to the Dome, and the five soldiers of Battle Fever J leapt inside the room.

 

Stewart was taken aback by the sight of the Taipan and his minions. "Um...this isn't the energy well. Did we take a wrong turn?"

 

The Taipan laughed at the sight of Battle Fever J. “Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look? You are pathetic. A mockery of what this planet’s defenders will become.” He leaned forward and looked to his two men. "Akuntenshi..."

 

The two men behind him stepped forward in front of the desk, and their suits started to rip as their bodies transformed.

 

The Akutenshi to the Taipan’s right stood tall as his skin rippled. His flesh started to tinge red as if being burnt, and long scars formed around the ripples of his muscles. His hair burnt away as long columns of short spikes extended over his head, running from his brow down to his neck. His eyes were glowing with yellow fire as he extended his hand. A broad sword of red-hot steel extended from his arm as he gripped the handle. He kneeled down in a fighting stance as he slung his blade over his shoulder.

 

The other Akutenshi underwent a more startling transformation. His skin turned pale yellow as small needle-like hairs sprouted all over his body. His two eyes enlarged and transformed into black compound eyes. Four smaller compound eyes rose through his skin above the main pair. Four extra arms sprouted from his side, and all six hands became three fingered with sleek black claws. Mandibles protruded from his mouth as he crouched forward and hissed.

 

From the shadows stepped two snarling panther-like creatures called Kurohyou, which stood alongside the Akutenshi.

 

“Please tell me we have a plan,” Stewart said as he snapped a pair of longknives from his forearms and into his hands. 

 

Battle Japan activated his twin swords. “Take out those panther things first.”

 

“Call that a plan?” Mitchell asked as he armed his fist blades.

 

The scarred Egos, Kai-Akutenshi, fired wide blasts of yellow plasma from his eyes that slammed against the soldiers. The blasts danced across their armor while crashing them back against the wall of the Dome.

 

The spider-like Egos, Supaida-Akutenshi, extended all six of his hands and fired off strands of razor sharp webbing. The webbing wrapped around each of the five soldiers, and Supaida pulled them off their feet, swinging them around while slamming them against the ceiling, walls, and floor.

 

Supaida held the rangers with his webbing while Kai dashed towards them, striking them each across their armor one-by-one with his broadsword. The rangers tried to fight back, but they were hindered by the webbing.

 

Kai moved towards Battle France and swung his blade down towards the soldier's head. At the last moment, Battle France side stepped away from the blade and held his web-tied wrists near the sword. Kai’s blade tore through the webbing, freeing Battle France’s hands as he twisted his body and knife-hand shopped Kai in the back of the neck. He followed through by twisting his body in the other direction and whipping his leg out in a hook kick across Kai’s face.

 

Kai rolled with the impact of the kick and spun his sword around horizontally across Battle France's armor and knocked him to the ground.

 

The two Kurohyou surrounded him as he rose to his knees and snapped out a metallic spear.

 

Nearby, Battle Japan hopped over to Battle Britain, Stewart, and Mitchell, their arms and wrists still bound by webbing.

 

“Pull!” Battle Japan shouted as they tugged as hard as they could, bringing the Supaida flying off his feet and swinging him in an arc, crashing him against the Dome wall.

 

Supaida fell to the ground as his webbing went limp, and the rangers freed their hands.

 

Kai fired optic blasts in their direction. Stewart and Mitchell were hit in the chest, the force of the impact sending them flying towards the other side of the Dome and crashing against the wall.

 

Battle Britain and Battle Japan ducked and rolled to avoid the blast. Battle Britain armed his blaster and fired several rounds. Kai twirled his sword, deflecting each blast as Battle Japan ran towards the left side of the Egos with his twin swords ready.

 

Kai turned his head towards Battle Japan and fired an optic blast while continuing to deflect Battle Britain’s blasts. Battle Japan jumped over the plasma wave and launched a flying sidekick towards Kai’s head. Kai slashed Battle Japan from the air in one powerful swing with his sword, being blasted by several of Battle Britain’s shots as a result. The wounds inflicted from the blaster healed as quickly as they were formed.

 

Mitchell and Stewart rose to their feet as Supaida ran towards them, his mandibles opening wide and shooting a spray of darts at the rangers.

 

“I hate spiders,” Stewart grumbled as the two rangers attempted to roll out of the way.

 

The darts barely missed Stewart, and a few out of the volley struck Mitchell in his armor’s shoulder plating. The small spikes pierced his armor, sending jolts of burning pain through his right arm. He screamed as he kneeled back and tried to remove the darts.

 

Supaida saw that Mitchell was injured and ran towards him with his claws outstretched and ready to pounce.

 

“Oh no ya don’t!” Stewart shouted as he jumped in front of the Egos and roundkicked the creature in the gut. His kick connected, but the sharp hairs protruding all over Supaida’s body stabbed into his leg’s armor plating. He screamed as Supaida used his three left arms to backfist Stewart away.

 

Mitchell downloaded his blaster and fired at the Egos, but Supaida managed to flip and dodge each blast while firing a razor sharp webbing strand that knocked the blaster from Mitchell’s hand.

 

Meanwhile Battle France used his spear to sweep the legs out from underneath a Kurohyou, then twirled his staff around and brought its edge down over the creature’s chest, crushing its ribs.

 

The other Kurohyou leapt towards his back, but Battle France turned in time to jam the blade of his spear through the creature’s stomach. The creature slumped over to the ground as it coughed out its last breath.

 

The Kurohyou with the crushed ribs lunged towards Battle France while his back was turned and wrapped its arms around him while pulling back on his head, trying to snap his neck.

 

Battle France armed his fist blades and reached backwards, jamming the cold steel through the Kurohyou’s temples. The creature went limp and fell to the ground.

 

Nearby, Mitchell held out a sword with his uninjured left arm as Supaida came charging towards him. His visor was flashing various warnings and assessments before his eyes, but he ignored them all.

 

Supaida bent his knees, then used his powerful muscles to leap towards Mitchell, each of six clawed hands extended to strike his prey. Mitchell waited until the creature’s claws were mere inches away from his visor before going limp, dropping to the ground, and extending his sword upward.

 

The sword slid through Supaida, tearing through its body and protruding out its back. The creature howled in pain as it landed on Mitchell. The creature’s dark yellow blood spilled on Mitchell, and using its acidic properties, slowly started to eat through his armor.

 

Mitchell kicked Supaida backward. Even with the sword still struck through its body, Supaida flipped backward and landed on its feet. The creature grabbed the blade with four hands and pulled it free from his flesh. Mitchell rose back to his knees, watching as the wound started to heal itself.

 

On the other side of the Dome, Battle Japan’s blades clashed against Kai’s broadsword as the two opponents dueled. “Go help Battle Russia!” he shouted to Battle Britain while parrying another strike from Kai.

 

Battle Britain nodded and ran to the other side of the Dome to where Mitchell was being attacked by the Supaida.

 

Kai swung his blade harder than ever, knocking Battle Japan’s swords away. The Egos brought his blade back around, striking Battle Japan across the chest. The blade sparked against armor and slammed Battle Japan to the ground.

 

Kai jumped into the air, and he aimed his landing so that his knee would crush Battle Japan’s chest and his sword would spear through his faceplate. 

 

Battle Japan tried to roll away from the landing, but he was too slow. Luckily, Battle France came to Battle Japan’s aide and flying sidekicked Kai, knocking him off course.

 

Kai tumbled across the ground as Battle Japan rose to his knees and regrouped with Battle France.

 

“Thanks,” Battle Japan said as Kai pulled himself back to his feet.

 

Battle Japan and Battle France rushed towards their opponent while arming their longknives.

 

On the other side of the Dome, Battle Britain snapped off a blade boomerang in Supaida’s direction. The Egos fired a strand of webbing at the boomerang, knocking the weapon from the air.

 

Battle Britain regrouped with Mitchell, and Stewart limped over to them as well.

 

“There’s gotta be an easier way to do this,” Stewart said as the three rangers ducked for cover to avoid a spread of webbing.

 

“Hit him from different sides,” Mitchell said as he snapped off two blade boomerangs from the warrior’s right side. Stewart did the same from the Egos’s front, and Battle Britain from the left.

 

Supaida flipped through the air and dodged the boomerangs as he landed on the Dome’s walls. He looked down at the three rangers and fired a volley of darts in their direction. The three rangers flipped backward as the darts struck the ground in front of them.

 

“Enough!” the Taipan shouted as he walked over to the front of his desk. The two Akutenshi withdrew their attack and stood beside their master.

 

The rangers regrouped and faced the trio.

 

“Do you even know why you fight?” the Taipan asked. “Do you even know who you fight for.

 

Mitchell rolled his eyes underneath his helmet. “Christ,” he said as he aimed his blaster and fired. The Taipan lifted his hand, and the blasts bounced harmlessly off his flesh. Mitchell stopped firing.

 

“The five of you are nothing but pawns in a game more complex than you could ever imagine,” the Taipan said. “Power down your armor and call off this absurd attack, and I will show you.”

 

“Thanks, but no thanks,” Battle Japan said.

 

“Very well,” the Taipan said. “Finish them.”

 

The two Akutenshi leapt towards the five rangers. They snapped into defensive stances as three words flashed before each of their visors.

 

POWER BOLT CHARGING

 

They each felt an increase in energy as electricity danced between each of their armors. They held their hands out in front of them as spheres of electric energy formed between their palms.

 

“Power bolt…” Battle Japan said softly, feeling the energy build up in him as well as the others.

 

“Strike!” they shouted together as they extended their hands outward, their spheres combining into one energy blast that tore through Kai, causing the Akutenshi to explode. The shock wave crashed the Taipan back into his monitor and knocked into Supaida, ripping off two of his arms.

 

Battle Japan ran towards the injured Akutenshi, letting the residual energy from the thunderbolt charge his saber. He spun while slicing the creature horizontally, tearing through its midsection.

 

It started to repair the wound, but Stewart leapt towards Supaida with his fist blades stretched forward and jammed them into the Egos’s damaged gut. He twisted the blades, opening the wound further before kicking the creature back.

 

Battle France and Battle Britain ran towards Supaida while firing their blasters. Their blasts tore through flesh and bone as the warrior struggled to regenerate.

 

“Regenerate from this,” Mitchell said as he tossed a longknife at the Egos. The knife speared through Supaida’s mandibles and tore through his brain, the blade protruding from the back of his head as he collapsed to the ground while taking one final hiss of breath.

 

The rangers regrouped as the Taipan mockingly clapped his hands. “Well done, little puppets. Unfortunately, you won’t live long enough to celebrate your victory.”

 

Small portals all around the Dome’s walls opened from the floors as countless numbers of deformed creatures rose to ground level. They were messes of flesh and bone, some with missing appendages, others added. Some appeared humanoid, while others appeared to be hybrids of the oddest combinations of animal and plant species.

 

“These are the Akahaji. Once they were human, but their bodies rejected the genetic evolution we granted them. They are regarded as little more than sewer urchin in our great society. Most are incinerated the second they show signs of deformities. I have always kept mine. They’re nothing more than walking death, but as you can see, they can still serve a purpose.”

 

The creatures charged towards the rangers, their hideous wailing echoing off the walls of the Dome.

 

“Farewell,” the Taipan said as he vanished through the floor.

 

“Let’s get the hell out of here!” Battle Japan shouted as they started to dash for the exit, Akahaji surrounding them from all sides.

 

They activated their blasters and fired countless rounds at the creatures blocking their escape. Possessing none of the regenerative or shielding capabilities as agents or warriors, they fell easily.

 

“This is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen!” Stewart said as they moved forward, closing in on the Akahaji in front of them.

 

Their visors warned them that creatures were approaching them from behind and closing in faster than the rangers were advancing.

 

They each snapped off two blade boomerangs at the creatures behind them. The ten weapons whirled through the air and sliced through deformed soldiers.

 

The rangers switched to short-range weapons as they started to smash through the Akahaji.

 

“Sick and wrong sick and wrong sick and wrong…” Stewart muttered as he used his long knives to carve through the creatures, yellow and green blood splashing over his armor.

 

“There’s too many of these damn things,” Mitchell said as he used his fist blades to double punch a soldier in front of him, cracking through the creature’s ribs and flesh.

 

***

 

"Battle Japan ordered Matt and I to go after the energy well while he and the others held off the Akahaji," Mitchell said. "So we did. We just didn't know that the Taipan was on his way down to the well too."

 

***

 

Russia, 1984 AD

 

The energy well was beneath the Technomancer building and spanned the length of an auditorium-sized room. In its center, the well stirred with a pool of cyan-tinted power that thrashed like a whirlpool.

 

The Taipan stepped onto a catwalk that looked down upon the energy well. "It's not ready..." he said with disappointment. "After all our preparations...it still is not ready."

 

"Taipan!" a voice shouted from behind. The villain turned to see Time Red and the other four Time Rangers rush onto the other end of the catwalk.

 

The Taipan narrowed his eyes. "Time Force..."

 

The five Rangers snapped into their individual stances.

 

"Time Red!"

 

"Blue!"

 

"Green!"

 

"Yellow!"

 

"Pink!"

 

Together they thrust their badges forward. "Time Rangers!"

 

"Was that necessary?" the Taipan asked. "Really?"

 

"Taipan," Time Red said boldly as his team took several steps forward. "You're under arrest for breaking the Temporal Accords."

 

"Oh, I'll be breaking something here in a minute," he said.

 

He extended his hand, which had a different-colored ring on each finger: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. The Taipan formed a fist, and his red ring pulsed with a burst of fiery power that sparked across the Rangers' armor with enough force to knock them onto the catwalk.

 

Below, Mitchell and Stewart arrived at the rim of the energy well.

 

"This is it," Mitchell said. He looked to Stewart. "Charges."

 

Stewart pulled four metallic disks from his belt and handed two to Stewart. "These should do the trick..."

 

The two soldiers split up to opposite sides of the energy well, and they heard blasts come from above as the Time Rangers battled the Taipan.

 

Stewart set a charge near the center of the well and activated its timer; and it wasn't until that moment that he noticed the make and model of the small detonator. "What the hell..." He looked to his partner. "Don't set those charges!"

 

"What?" Mitchell practically barked. "This isn't the time to get cute, Matty."

 

"I'm serious," Stewart said. "These aren't the charges we were supposed to be using. The yield isn't high enough. All we'd do is destabilize the energy well..and blow up half the damn country!"

 

"What are you-"

 

The catwalk above exploded with bursts of sparks and collapsed onto the floor below as the Time Rangers tumbled out of control. The Taipan landed gracefully on his feet and extended his fist; his green ring radiated with power that formed a chain of green energy that wrapped around the Time Force Rangers, nearly crushed them together, and whipped them across the room.

 

"Shit." Mitchell armed his blaster and fired high-yield rounds at the Taipan, but the bullets bounced harmlessly off the villain's invisible energy shield.

 

The Taipan's yellow energy ring radiated with power as he swung his arm around, and strands of power lashed out and sparked across Mitchell's armor with enough force to send him flying off his feet.

 

The distraction gave the Time Force Rangers enough time to get back on their feet and regroup.

 

"Vol weapons," Time Red commanded. The Rangers armed their massive cannon weapons and stood in formation. "Assemble the Chrono Launcher."

 

The five Rangers combined their weapons into a single bazooka; Time Green, Time Blue, Time Yellow, and Time Pink split up and stood at the weapon's sides, and Time Red grasped the bazooka from behind.

 

"Target...locked on," Tome Red said as his visor zeroed in on the villain. "Chrono Launcher, fire!"

 

The bazooka fired a spinning energy pulse that shattered through the Taipan's energy shield and exploded against his body with massive bursts of spark and flame, which created a shockwave that froze and suspended his body to mere inches.

 

The Time Rangers lowered their weapons, which vanished with streaks of light. Time Red walked to the Taipan and extended a badge over the villain's miniaturized body, and the badge materialized into a canister that suspended the Taipan inside.

 

Time Green walked to his leader's side. "The energy well..."

 

"Right," Time Red said. He looked to Mitchell and Stewart. "Have you set the charges?"

 

Stewart shook his head. "They won't work. The yields aren't high enough."

 

"We'll take care of it then," Time Red said. "You two get out of here."

 

"No. We've got to go back," Mitchell said. "There's something...I don't know what it was, but it looked like a demon."

 

Time Red shook his head. "That's not why we're here."

 

"What the hell does it matter?" Mitchell said. "We've got to-"

 

"Those demons have nothing to do with the Egos," Time Red said. "The Technomancers...what they're doing here is twisted and wrong, but it's normal, it's already happened, and we can't change it."

 

"The hell we can't."

 

Mitchell punched Time Red across the helmet. He followed with an uppercut towards the midsection, but Time Red grabbed his wrist and twisted to hold him in place.

 

"We don't have time for this," Time Red said. He looked over his shoulder to Time Green. "Take them down."

 

Time Green pressed a button on his morpher, and an invisible pulse of energy shocked through Mitchell and Stewart's armor and knocked them to the ground. Their systems shut down, and they could barely move because of the weight of their gear.

 

"What the hell..." Mitchell grunted as he tried to rise.

 

"We weren't going to let you leave here alive anyway," Time Red said.

 

"Bastard," Stewart said. "It was you who gave us the faulty charges."

 

"No, that was your own boss, Tye," Time Red said. "He wanted the energy well to overload and wipe Russia out. Obviously, we couldn't let that happen. And we couldn't let you and Battle Fever J live. The changes to the time stream would have been unacceptable."

 

Stewart tried to pull himself to his feet, but collapsed. "You...damn you!"

 

"It's nothing personal," Time Red said.

 

***

 

Alarms blared in the Lightspeed Bay Area.

 

"Not now..." Justin said.

 

"Shit..." Mitchell pulled up a holographic monitor on his desk, and the screen showed an image of a giant monster attacking the city. "You five get out of here. I've told you enough. If you come back again, I'll throw all your asses in the brig."

 

"No way!" Justin shouted. "You can't just stop there."

 

"You want the rest of the story, go talk to daddy," Mitchell said.

 

Simon's communicator toned, and he answered. "This is Simon, go ahead."

 

"It's the Shinzon," Tommy said through Simon's communicator. "They've already gone giant."

 

***

 

monster-14Zebrizon had a heart-shaped body covered with black and white stripes, and its head was bug-like, with red compound eyes and antenna, and a white lion-like mane swept down across his shoulders and back.

 

The five Power Rangers scattered on the streets below as 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, and the Wind Power Rangers leapt into the air and merged into their cockpits.

 

Hurricane Red stood behind his cockpit's pedestal and 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 three 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 their 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!"

 

Zebrizon leapt several stories into the air with surprising speed and slammed a flying sidekick against the ThunderMegazord. The kick smashed the Megazord from the skies, and ThunderMegazord crashed through several buildings before skidding across the streets.

 

The monster leapt through the air and aimed a drop kick towards the fallen Megazord, but StormMegazord swooped through the air and smashed a flying spin kick against Zebrizon to knock the monster away. 

 

"All right," Hurricane Red said. "Let's-"

 

04Sirens blared from across the streets, and when the Power Rangers looked from their cockpits, they saw a zord-sized, high-tech fire engine speed down the streets towards the battle site. But the vehicle didn't approach the monster, it swerved towards the area where several buildings had toppled and ignited with flames.

 

"What is that thing?" Hurricane Yellow asked.

 

Hurricane Red shook his head. "I'm not sure...but Max did say Lightspeed Rescue was coming back online. Maybe that's them."

 

Zebrizon rose to its feet and spotted the massive rescue vehicle. The monster's antenna started to spark as if ready to deliver a discharge, but before the creature could strike, ThunderMegazord moved back to its feet and used its scythe to slice the creature's antenna from its head.

 

The monster howled and stepped back, and the Thunder Rangers pressed on their attack.

 

"Thunder Scythe!" they shouted. "Spinning Thunder!"

 

They swung their staff, and the scythe emitted a twirling blade of yellow-tinted energy that punctured through the monster with a massive burst of flame. Zebrizon crashed backward as his body overloaded and exploded.

 

The explosion cast a wall of flame that swept across the city block.

 

HeroRescueNearby, four figures leapt onto the top of the zord-like rescue vehicle. Each wore a bright orange body suit covered by a chest piece, and each chest piece was a different color and labeled with a different number: blue 1, silver 2, red 3, and white 4.

 

The Power Rangers watched as the four rescuers leapt into a nearby collapsed building.

 

"Do we help them out?" Hurricane Yellow said.

 

Before the Red Ranger could answer, explosions sparked across the StormMegazord's armor. The Megazord turned to see the Jet Force Megazord stomp onto the scene.

 

ThunderMegazord stepped back into a fighting stance, and Navy Thunder's eyes narrowed from beneath his helmet. "It's the birds again," he said. "I really don't like them."

 

Hurricane Red shook his head. "We're not doing this, guys. Fall back."

 

The StormMegazord and ThunderMegazord shot into the skies and flew away from the scene of the battle.

 

***

 

The Dark Man known as Akuma sat in his dimly-lit, hidden lab and watched a video display of the StormMegazord and ThunderMegazord flee from the Jet Force Megazord. "My, my..." A cold smile twisted across his pale face. "Things are getting interesting. But not nearly interesting enough..."

 

He swirled around in his chair and faced three of his Marauders: Vexacus, Shadow Blade, and Red Python. "Let's change that, shall we," he said to them. "Assemble the rest of my Marauders. It's time I made my move."

 

To be continued...Chapter 09