Ultimate Origins: Chapter Eighteen
City at War: Prelude
Meteors burned through the night sky above Angel Grove.
The supernatural sight had appeared before, most notably twice: in 2001, before Bandora escaped from her prison on the moon, and in 2008, when Jakanja arrived on Earth. The meteors always carried a message.
More often than not, the message was cryptic. A vague prophecy or warning heralding dark things to come. Most recently, the messages centered around something called the Final Prophecy, the path towards the Ultimate Truth.
This time the message was far more precise and carried a very specific name: Tyler Oliver.
His name was Dr. William “Billy” Cranston, but he was not the Billy of our world. He came from Demon World Earth, an alternate reality where evil ruled. And Cranston, the Dark Shaper, served on the side of that evil.
He sat in his cave lair in front of a cluster of computer monitors. Each monitor displayed the asteroid shower and analyzed the coded messages within.
“Fascinating…” he said. The villain activated a secondary monitor towards his side.
The monitor beeped. Then beeped again. The screen then blinked to life and showed the face of the real Dr. Cranston.
“I told you never to call me here,” Cranston said.
“Now, now,” the Dark Shaper said. “That’s no way to greet an ally.”
“I’m not your ally.”
“You are when it suits you,” the Dark Shaper said. “And it suits you now. Have you seen this meteor shower?”
“It doesn’t interest me,” Cranston said.
“It should,” the Dark Shaper said. “You really need to open yourself up more to the supernatural.”
“I’ve been to Hell and back,” Cranston said. “I’m quite open to the supernatural. Now what is this about, besides wasting my time?”
“I don’t know what your end game is,” the Dark Shaper said. “But I do know one thing: it’s not going well. Mine isn’t either. There’s no shame in admitting it to yourself...or a version of yourself, in this case. This world is full of cannon fodder for our experiments and plans, but we need more than fodder.”
Cranston narrowed his eyes, then sat back in his chair. “I’m listening.”
“There’s something very special about these meteors,” the Dark Shaper said. “Their source is something more powerful than you or I have ever encountered. And they contain....blueprints.”
“A plan,” the Dark Shaper said. “For unlocking a power that hasn’t touched the Earth since before time. The key to unlocking that energy is a merger of the One Power and the Power Cosmic, along with the fires of rebirth.”
“The fires of rebirth?” Cranston asked. His face hardened. “Kimberly…the Phoenix is dead.”
“But her offspring is not,” Dark Shaper said. “A boy. We can possess unheard of power…the power to shape our wishes into reality…and all we need is the life of one small child.”
Shadow Blade stalked through the darkened corridors of the Hand’s newly-acquired skyscraper in Angel Grove City. Beneath his dark armor was the form of Tommy Oliver from Demon World Earth, given new power by the Dark Man Akuma.
Two rows of crimson-clan Chunin stood with their backs to the wall while guarding a door ahead. Shadow Blade knew his target was beyond the door. And he was tired of stalking through the shadows.
The dark warrior leapt down the hall and hacked off the heads of two ninja before they could even move. Shadow Blade continued his advance, smashing a hook kick across a ninja’s head, and slashing his sword through the gut of another soldier.
The Chunin regrouped and attacked with swords drawn. Shadow Blade easily parried their blows, blade clashing against blades, as he dashed through their ranks and hacked off their limbs, cutting through their flesh and bone.
The villain dashed to the end of the corridor, kicked through the door, and pounced into a wide office lined with ceiling-to-wall windows.
A Japanese woman sat on a meditative mat within the room. Her dark hair flowed down her white robes. Her name was Chiyome, leader of the Hand.
“Was this supposed to be a show of force?” she asked calmly. “My Genin saw you the moment you entered my halls. I allowed you to make it this far. I wanted to test your limits, to see if you were worthy of my personal attention. Unfortunately…you are not.”
Four Jonin dropped to the floor. The twisted ninja unsheathed their swords and pounced forward to attack. But Shadow Blade merely lifted his hand and grabbed the soldiers in invisible chokeholds, suspending them in midair. The villain’s Kiryoku strangled the ninjas so tight, their heads popped off their shoulders, and their bodies crumpled to the ground.
“That,” a voice said from the shadows, “was our show a force.”
The Dark Man Akuma stepped from the darkness, his hands casually in his pockets.
Chiyome snapped to her feet and unsheathed her daggers while turning to face the villain. “Who-”
“A potential friend,” Akuma said. “Or an enemy that will rip this building to the ground. The choice is yours.”
“You would be my ally, gaijin? Do not insult me. I am Hand.”
“And you are far away from home,” Akuma said. “I certainly understand your desire to make a stronghold here in Angel Grove. This city is ripe with power. But…it is also very, very crowded.”
“Perhaps I intend to make things less crowded,” Chiyome said.
“Yes, yes, of course,” Akuma said. “Your little plan to have Crimson Thunder lead your army of demonic ninja.”
“And grip this city by the heart,” Chiyome said.
“The heart of this city is rotted,” Akuma said. “And under the control of a very dark force. Xanathor.”
Chiyome narrowed her eyes. “Why are you here? I’m starting to find this conversation tiresome.”
“To give you information,” the Dark Man said. “That is all.”
“What kind of information? And at what price?”
“No price,” the Dark Man said. “As I mentioned, this city is crowded. All I ask is a truce. When Angel Grove erupts into war, as it will very soon, your Hand and my Marauders will not fight as enemies.”
“And in exchange? What is your information?”
“Not as much information as advice. And my advice is this. Look to the sky, for tonight the stars themselves speak.”
The Black Queen of the Hellfire Club looked down at her son, who sat in a chair while staring out a window. He trembled with fear and grief. The Black Queen laced her fingers through his blonde hair. “What is it that troubles you, my child?”
“I…I saw something tonight,” Samuel said. “I looked up, and it was like the stars were speaking to me. Sharing their secrets.”
“Secrets?” the Black Queen asked.
Samuel shook his head. “I don’t quite understand. It felt like…it felt like I was going mad trying to understand.”
“Try now,” the Black Queen said. “You’re here. You are safe.”
“The Phoenix,” Samuel said. “I remember…”
He squinted tightly and shook his head.
“Don’t try to force it,” the Black Queen said. She sat on the arm of the chair and draped an arm around his shoulder. “Now tell me…tell me what you saw...”
“He needs the Phoenix,” Samuel said. “He needs the flames of rebirth.”
“I don’t…I don’t know,” Samuel said. “But the Phoenix is the key to unleashing a power. A great power that hasn’t touched the Earth since before time. But...not just the Phoenix. A merger…between the One Power and Power Cosmic.”
“Go on,” the Black Queen said. “You’re doing so well.”
“I think…I think I have a nephew,” Samuel said. “And I think he is the merger. The Phoenix. His name is Tyler Oliver.”
A feral grin crossed the Black Queen’s face. “So…it would seem I have a grandchild. Dearest Kimberly wasn’t as useless as I thought.”
A part of Xanathor was still Centhrax, born of a race attuned to the cosmic currents of the universe. He above all others in existence sensed the storming message of the meteor shower that burned across the skies of Angel Grove.
Xanathor stood on top of his dark palace and looked towards the crimson-cloud-covered skies of Demon City.
“It’s time,” he said.
“For what?” a voice asked from behind. Hurricane Green, Kou, stepped onto the rooftop.
“Don’t you feel it, Karas?” Xanathor asked. “The scar of Demon City throbs.”
“I…” he hesitated. “I do feel it.”
“And do you sense the message above? The message in the skies? A new power will soon be released by the flames of the Phoenix.”
“Tyler Oliver,” Hurricane Green whispered.
Xanathor nodded. “Gather our forces.”
“You can’t seriously be thinking of kidnapping him,” Hurricane Green said. “Tommy’s son? Do you have any idea how-”
“No,” Xanathor said. “We won’t need to kidnap the child. He’ll be brought to us.”
Tommy finished passing out morning teaching assignments to his new instructors and walked back towards the Hayate Way dojo. He opened the doors and stepped inside, intending to walk up to his bedroom to study. He and Ashley were trying to finally finish college, on top of mentoring the Rangers and raising Tyler.
Life kept them busy.
“Hello, Tommy,” Akuma said as he stepped from the shadows.
Tommy summoned his golden-hilted sword Ryuuseikin with a pulse of fiery energy and aimed the blade towards the Dark Man’s throat.
“You lost the right to drop in on me a long time ago.”
“Lower your weapon,” Akuma said. “I don’t wish to fight. I came here to warn you.”
“You can’t seriously think I’d trust you.”
“Of course not,” the Dark Man said. “And I assure you, my reasons for warning you are completely selfish.”
Tommy hesitated, then slowly lowered his sword. “Talk.”
“The Dark One speaks from his prison,” the Dark Man said. “The meteor showers that burn the skies; they’re his messages. His warnings. His instructions. Your very existence weakened his prison enough for him to reach out in this manner. And when you failed to let this Age end as the Wheel willed, his prison weakened even further.”
Tommy didn’t trust the Dark Man, but Gozen had spoken of the Pattern unraveling.
“So what are these...meteors…saying?” Tommy asked.
“They tell the Final Prophecy,” Akuma said.
“I’ve heard that before,” Tommy said. “What does it mean?”
“The Final Prophecy is the path to the Ultimate Secret. The Final Truth. This is the only prophesy that remains in the mortal realm, and it comes not from the One Power, but from the Power Cosmic.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that too,” Tommy said. “But what is the prophecy.”
“I do not know.”
Tommy couldn’t help but smile. “That scares the crap out of you, doesn’t it?”
“Of course it does,” the Dark Man said. “And it should scare you too. The Dark One’s most recent message was very…specific. He wants your son.”
Tommy’s face grew pale. “If you touch him, I swear-”
“I don’t want him,” Akuma said. “Not yet. I have my own plans for the boy. But others will come for him. Soon. They’ll tear each other apart in the process, and then when they’re at their weakest, you’ll stop them. Thankfully. I dread competition.”
“Who are the others,” Tommy demanded. “Who’s coming after my son.”
“My ultimate form!” The Shinzon’s leader grew giant in Angel Grove. “Tremble, Rangers! Tremble at your greatest foe! Your ultimate nemesis!”
Hurricane Yellow looked to Navy Thunder. “What’s his name again?”
“Xorin or something?” Navy Thunder answered. “I don’t think anyone really cares.”
Navy Thunder, Hurricane Yellow and Hurricane Blue stood alone to face the monster. They hadn’t heard from Simon or Hunter for two weeks, since returning to the United States.
Hurricane Blue and Hurricane Yellow raised their morphers to their mouth pieces. “Storm-zords, arise!”
Navy Thunder raised his morpher to his mouth piece. “Navy Beetlezord, arise!”
Hurricane Lion, Hurricane Dolphin, and Navy Beetlezord swooped down from the skies. The three Rangers leapt into the air and landed in their cockpits.
Xorin turned to glare at the approaching zords. “Your armored creatures are nothing compared to my ultimate form!”
The villain fired optic blasts that exploded against the zords, hurling them backward. Hurricane Dolphin crashed through a nearby skyscraper. Navy Beetlezord crashed into a storefront. And Hurricane Lion crashed against the street and skid backward while tearing up pavement.
Navy Thunder cursed beneath his breath. “We need more firepower. Why’d your pretty-boy leader pick now to go A-wall?”
“Why’d your brother?” Hurricane Yellow asked.
“Because he’s being a dumbass,” Navy Thunder said. “It’s not that complicated.”
“Boys,” Hurricane Blue chided. “Ugh, we so need a Pink Ranger on this team.”
Xorin kicked the fallen Hurricane Lion, hurling the zord through the air. The zord crashed through the side of a building with a massive explosion.
Navy Beetlezord crawled from the broken storefront. Navy-tinted lightning danced between its two pincer claws.
“Claw lightning!” Navy Thunder shouted.
The Beetlezord fired a bolt of lightning that exploded against Xorin with bursts of spark. But the villain merely laughed as explosions ripped across his body.
“An insect!” Xorin shouted with amusement. “You would fight me with an insect!”
Hurricane Lion crawled from the rubble of a broken building.
“I really wish we had our Megazord to shut this guy up,” Hurricane Yellow said. He activated his weapon systems. “Lion Seismic Storm!”
The lion roared, creating a seismic blast that tore across the ground. Xorin braced himself. The blast exploded against the villain with bursts of spark, and he skid backward, heels plowing up pavement as he stood his ground.
Xorin laughed at the attack. “You fools. You fools!”
Explosions suddenly sparked against Xorin from behind. He stumbled forward and nearly fell, but managed to keep his balance. The villain turned to see a green-armored eagle swoop down from the skies.
Hurricane Green piloted the zord, the Hurricane Eagle.
“Hurricane Eagle!” the Green Ranger shouted. “Wing Blades!”
The eagle swooped its wings forward and fired volleys of golden energy blades. The blades sparked against Xorin, knocking the villain backward.
“Hurricane Eagle!” the Green Ranger shouted. “Sonic echo!”
The zord shrieked, creating a duplicate of sonic energy that shot towards the villain. The energy duplicate exploded against the creature with massive bursts of jade-tinted flame.
“Rangers,” Hurricane Green said to the others. “Combine our zords.”
“Since when does he have a new zord?” Hurricane Yellow asked.
“Do it,” Hurricane Green said. “Storm-zords, assemble!”
Hurricane Lion, Hurricane Dolphin and Hurricane Eagle energized and shot upward.
The three zords merged to form a Megazord similar to the StormMegazord. 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 green. A golden, H-shaped symbol of the Hayate Way was etched on a small dome on the Megazord’s chest. The head of the Hurricane Eagle formed a gauntlet over the Megazord’s right fist.
“Blake, you too,” Hurricane Green said. “Navy Beetlezord, equip!”
The Navy Beetlezord pulsed with power and shot towards the Megazord. The beetle formed a claw-shaped fist weapon over the zord’s left hand.
“Eagle-Storm Megazord!” Hurricane Green shouted as the four Rangers joined in a central cockpit. “ChoiTenkuujin!”
“Seriously,” Hurricane Yellow asked the Green Ranger. “When did you get the new zord?”
“I made it,” Hurricane Green said. “In Demon City. The same way you made your new zords. Now, shut up and fight.”
Xorin fired optic blasts at the new Megazord. Eagle-Storm Megazord snapped its wings and flew aside to dodge the blasts. The Megazord thrust its eagle gauntlet forward, and a golden blade extended from the beak.
The Megazord snapped its wings and shot at Xorin. ChoiTenkuujin swung its blade through a streak of golden energy that sparked across the monster, whipping its giant body backward.
Xorin crashed against the ground and skid across the street. The villain slowly pushed himself back to his feet, just as the Megazord lunged forward to attack.
Eagle-Storm Megazord plunged its stag claws through the villain’s gut with massive bursts of spark. The creature’s tentacles snapped, whipping the Megazord backward.
The Eagle-Storm Megazord held its ground and lifted its sword arm to attack.
“Eagle Sword!” Hurricane Green shouted. “Sonic Strike!”
The blade hummed with green-tinted, sonic energy. The Megazord swung the blade through a blur of jade-tinted power that slashed through the monster’s wound with massive bursts of spark, tearing open the villain’s body.
Xorin collapsed and exploded with bursts of flame that knocked him down to normal size. The villain landed on the street below, half his chest and stomach gone, oozing with blue blood.
“Not…” he whispered hoarsely. “Not like this…not like this…”
He activated a device on wrist. A burst of crimson energy teleported the Shinzon leader back to his ship.
The four Rangers leapt from their zords and landed on a rooftop. Hurricane Green kept his back to the Rangers and looked towards the distance.
“So…” Navy Thunder said. “Didn’t expect to ever see you again. Did you come to kiss and make up? Because I’m not interested. Justin might be. But I’m not.”
“Kou…” Hurricane Blue took a step closer to him. “Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me,” he said. “And don’t call me Kou. Nothing’s changed. Except…I had to come warn you.”
“Warn us?” Hurricane Yellow asked. “About what?”
“Tommy’s son is in danger,” Hurricane Green said. “They’ll be after him.”
“Who?” Hurricane Blue asked.
“Everyone,” Hurricane Green said.
“Why do you care?” Navy Thunder asked.
“Because of what happened to my broth-” he shook his head. “To Akomaru. The Gorma stole his childhood. His innocence. I can never knowingly let that happen to someone.”
He looked over his shoulder. “Warn Tommy.”
“Why don’t you come with us?” Hurricane Blue said.
“Because I don’t belong,” he said.
The Green Ranger leapt back into his Hurricane Eagle zord and flew towards Demon City.
Xorin limped back onto the bridge of his ship. He collapsed onto all fours and crawled, nearly falling onto his belly. “Brakk…” he called weakly. “Brakk!”
Brakk’s body suddenly flew through the air and crashed lifelessly against the deck. Shadow Blade stepped from the darkness, as did Red Python.
Xorin looked up to face the two Marauders. “You dare. You dare to enter my-”
“Don’t waste your breath, freak-face,” Shadow Blade said. “You’ve lost all relevance. It’s fitting you’re the first player we wipe off the board.”
Shadow Blade hurled a dagger through the air. The blade sparked through a control console that exploded on impact. The ship lurched, and with the controls down, plummeted towards the Earth below.
Red Python kicked the villain upside the head, then plunged her dagger through his back with a burst of spark.
“Yes,” Shadow Blade said. “We dare.”
Shadow Blade and Red Python stepped back and vanished into the darkness, leaving the Shinzon ship to plummet from space.
The Wolfram & Hart building stabbed upward from the heart of downtown Angel Grove East. The top floor opened to a wide, railed balcony that curved around the east side of the building.
A pale man stood on the balcony and took a sip from a goblet filled with red wine. He wore a black suit with a black pin on the center of the collar. His dark wardrobe matched the color of his black goatee and slick-black hair.
“It’s time…” he said.
Nearly a year ago he had felt the city stir. Now he felt the city throb, as if ready to burst.
“It’s finally time…”
The man, possessed by the demon Azmodai, closed his eyes and reached out with his mind. He felt the six children he had created with the Black Queen, and in particular, his eldest son Simon. The boy was shrouded with sorrow and despair.
“No more hiding in the shadows,” Azmodai said. “The Descendants of the Dark One will rise. The Seals will break, one-by-one. And His Chosen will walk the Earth…”
He smiled and took another sip from his goblet. “Good times ahead…good times, indeed.”
To be continued…Chapter 19