Five Stars of Heaven: Chapter Five

The Stranger

 

The Gorma Triumvirate gathered in an abandoned city warehouse. They were not happy. Shadam leaned against a crate with his hands rolled into fists. Zydos paced back and forth across the cold, concrete floor. Gara leaned against a pillar with her arms crossed.

 

Shadam slammed his hand through the crate. “Damn the Kidenjuu! Damn them!”

 

Gara shook her head with a look of disgust at how Shadam was acting. “The Rangers should have been killed by now.”

 

Laughter suddenly came from the shadows of the warehouse. The Triumvirate stood at alert. Two lines of Kyonshi marched from the shadows. The soldiers held a platform above the ground between them. The platform rocked from side to side as the soldiers moved forward.

 

A bearded man in white-and-red robes sat on the platform. He had the markings of a Gorma Archbishop running down his robe. The heavy-set man grinned at the Triumvirate. He was happy with the looks of shock on their faces. “Been a long time, hasn’t it Shadam, Gara, Zydos…”

 

“Daizojo Riju,” Shadam growled at the sight of Archbishop Saw, who technically outranked him in the Gorma hierarchy. “The three of us are enough. We don’t need you around to screw things up.”

 

Archbishop Saw rose from the platform. His robes hung from his body like dead skin. “It’s taken you too long to defeat these Rangers…”

 

Shadam growled, not wanting to admit that the Archbishop was right.

 

Daizojo Riju smiled wickedly at Shadam’s response. “You need someone to defeat Master Kaku, yes?” the Archbishop asked. “I have brought you someone.”

 

image003The Archbishop looked back to the shadows. A black-armored figure stepped forward. His body armor was trimmed with dark-gold lining. A black mask covered the lower part of his face, exposing only the pale flesh around his dark eyes. An onyx cape flowed behind him, matching the color of his helmet. A red streak of hair-like material extended from the back of his helmet.

 

The Archbishop smiled. “Tenkasei Ryou!” he shouted, identifying the dark-armored stranger.

 

The Gorma Triumvirate recognized Ryou immediately. They hated the man with a passion.

 

“Bastard!” Zydos charged towards Ryou with his fists held ready and muscles surging with blood to attack.

 

The Archbishop extended his hand. A jagged burst of red lightning shot forth and enveloped Zydos, knocking him backward as power electrified his every bone and muscle. Zydos slammed against a warehouse pillar before crumbling to the ground.

 

The strong Gorma’s body started to convulse as Archbishop Saw walked over to him. The Archbishop smiled down at Zydos with amusement and kicked the fallen warrior. “Pathetic…”

 

***

 

Rocky and Kimberly walked across the Honey Creek Blvd. shopping district in Angel Grove South.

 

Rocky’s arms were full of several bags from various upscale stores housed within skyscrapers along the street. “Gee,” Rocky said as he shifted the weight of the bags. “Are you sure you bought enough stuff?”

 

Kimberly rolled her eyes and smiled. “It will suffice. Besides, it’s not often I get to go out anymore.”

 

“As far as your pocket book is concerned, that’s a good thing,” Rocky said.

 

Explosions sparked further down the street as citizens ran in panic. The two rangers dropped the bags and dashed forward towards the disturbance. They turned a corner to see a dark-armored man slowly walk forward. An aura of dark power hung about him that made the rangers’ hair stand on end. It was Tenkasei Ryou.

 

“Who’s that clown?” Rocky asked.

 

“Trouble,” Kimberly said as she and Rocky snapped into fighting stances.

 

Ryou extended his hand. A flurry of black fire bolts shot forward. The Rangers morphed just as the black blasts exploded against their armor, knocking them backward, sending them crashing against a wall and crumbling to the ground.

 

The Rangers rose back to their feet. Tenma Ranger charged forward to attack the Gorma, who was standing tall and silent. Tenma Ranger launched a flying roundhouse kick that Ryou ducked under.

 

The Blue Ranger spun low and aimed a sweep kick towards the villain’s legs. The Gorma effortlessly hopped over the blow.

 

Tenma Ranger rose back to his feet and spun a tornado kick towards the Gorma’s head. Ryou grabbed the Blue Ranger’s leg and tossed him aside. Tenma Ranger crashed against the ground and tumbled backward.

 

Phoenix Ranger placed her hands together as the phoenix eyes on her helmet flashed with energy. “Heaven Wind Star! Whirlwind Destruction!”

 

A straight-line pink energy tornado streamed forward. Ryou extended his hand, and the wind blast passed harmlessly around him. Ryou extended his other hand. “Wind!” A tornado of black flame exploded against both Rangers’ armor and sent them flying off their feet. They crashed against the ground.

 

Tenma Ranger slowly stumbled to his feet and placed his hands in front of his chest. The Pegasus eyes on his helmet flashed. “Heaven Gravity Star! Gravity Inversing Destruction!”

 

Tenma Ranger extended his hand and fired a jagged blast of blue gravity energy that lashed towards the Gorma.

 

Ryou extended his hand and absorbed the blast. The Gorma extended his other hand and launched a jagged burst of golden energy. The energy blast slammed against Tenma Ranger and washed over him. The Gorma used gravity power to lift Tenma Ranger into the air and crash him against the ground repeatedly.

 

Ryou released his grasp, and Tenma Ranger crashed onto the ground. The two Rangers regrouped and rose back to their feet.

 

Ryou extended his hand and fired a crimson energy blast that exploded against the Rangers’ armor with a shower of sparks.

 

***

 

Tommy kneeled at the grave of his birth parents. It was the anniversary of their death. He made it a point to visit every year. But this time his younger brother and “twin” sister, both by adoption, went with him.

 

“You guys didn’t have to come,” Tommy said.

 

Chelsea placed a hand on her brother’s shoulder. “We wanted to, Tommy. You’re our brother.”

 

Tommy nodded as he sighed to himself. Too much death was in his life.

 

Teddy looked over to his older brother. “Do you remember your real parents?”

 

Tommy shook his head, his eyes fixed on the gravestones. “Not really. They died when I was very young. I do remember a dream I used to have about him though. I was running down the beach to them. The sand was so white…I could see my mom, but I couldn’t see my dad’s face. He lifted me up in his arms…They were both laughing…”

 

Tommy sighed, but before he could continue his story, his communicator started beeping.

 

“Whoops,” Tommy said as he got up. “I forgot about my appointment.”

 

“What appointment?” Chelsea asked.

 

“Exactly,” Tommy said as he ran off.

 

***

 

Kirin Ranger and Lion Ranger arrived at the battle scene on their Thunder Cycles. Their vehicles skid to a halt, and the Rangers jumped off the Cycles. They ran to their two teammates.

 

“Are you alright?” Lion Ranger asked as he and Kirin Ranger helped Phoenix Ranger and Tenma Ranger to their feet.

 

Phoenix Ranger nodded. “This guy is tough,” she warned them.

 

“Aren’t they all?” Tenma Ranger said.

 

The Gorma unsheathed his sword before the four Rangers could attack. Ryou plunged the blade into the ground. A shockwave tore a wide crevice along the ground underneath the Rangers. Tenma Ranger barely managed to roll out of the way. But the others fell into the depths of the rift.

 

Ryou swung his blade horizontally, emitting a crimson energy wave that exploded against Tenma Ranger’s armor. The Blue Ranger went flying backward and crashed through a pile of crates, his armor forcibly demorphing from the assault.

 

Rocky forced his exhausted muscles to pull himself back to his feet. He looked up to find Ryou standing in front of him. The Gorma held his blade to Rocky’s throat.

 

“Tell Master Kaku,” the Gorma said in a deep metallic voice, “that if he wants to see his team again alive, to meet me at the fighting ground in an hour. He will know where.”

 

Ryou started to walk away as Tommy ran to the scene. “Hey!” the ranger shouted, seconds before the Gorma vanished in a cloud of fog.

 

Tommy ran to his friend’s side. “Rocky, are you alright? Where are the others?”

 

Rocky shook his head. “They’re gone.”

 

***

 

Tommy and Rocky stood in the lair. Rocky was doing his best to explain the black-armored Gorma to Sensei Kaku. “He called himself Tenkasei Ryou…or something.”

 

Kaku’s eyes opened wide with recognition. “Tenkasei Ryou?”

 

“Who is he?” Tommy asked.

 

Kaku shook his head. “Ryou was the original pilot of Ryuseiou, the Red Dragon Thunderzord. That was until he was lured to the Gorma by Daizojo Riju, Archbishop Saw. Ryou led his teammates into a trap. They were slaughtered.”

 

Daos Civilization: 6,000 years ago

 

Four lightning-quick figures rushed through the battle field with their swords slashing any opponent that got in their way. The warriors wore white, baggy body suits, with plates of gray armor over their chests, forearms, and ankles. Each plate of armor had a different engraving of a different animal in a different color: a blue tenma, a yellow kirin, a pink phoenix, and a green lion.

 

The villains they fought were mere foot soldiers, none worthy of actual combat. They were called Kyonshi, the grunts of the Gorma empire. Gorma soldiers not strong enough to turn themselves into monsters often died while trying, but their bodies were reanimated by the Gorma and covered with skin-tight armor and masks to hide their appearance. Each undead soldier had an unseen third eye beneath its mask.

 

Suddenly, a dark muscular form dropped from the sky. He had short red hair, minimum amounts of golden armor covering his body, blue slacks, and one eye in the center of his forehead. His name was Baron Muscle. 

 

The four warriors stopped in their tracks and assumed defensive stances as Baron Muscle smiled wickedly. Fires of destruction continued to burn around them. “Dairanger…” he said with an evil grin.

 

The villain slammed his hand against the ground and shouted “Power Quaker!” as a wave of energy tore up the earth from beneath the warriors’ feet, forcing them to jump into the air.

 

“Gravity Pulse!” Tenjusei Shoji shouted as he leapt through the air. He thrust out his hand and fired a jagged-blue gravimetric shockwave that exploded against the Gorma monster. Baron Muscle braced himself as the blast hit him, skidding him backward as his feet tore up the dirt.

 

Tenjisei Kazu landed at the monster’s side as the blue energy dissipated. “Time Sparks!” the warrior shouted as sparks of energy flew from his palms and splashed harmlessly across the Gorma monster’s side.

 

The monster slammed the back of his fist across Kazu’s head, knocking the warrior into the air.

 

Tengensei Daigo held his Thunder Saber high and screamed at the top of his lungs as he charged towards the Gorma. Baron Muscle grabbed Daigo by the face and slammed him against the ground.

 

Tenpusei Rio thrust his arms towards the monster and shouted: “Tempest Winds!” He fired a gale-force wind that knocked the villain backward several steps as the ground tore up around him.

 

Winds whipped around Baron Muscle as he slammed his hand against the ground and shouted: “Power Quaker!”

 

An energy wave shot across the ground and exploded beneath the warriors’ feet with a massive shockwave that sent them flying through the air within a cloud of dirt kicked up by the blast. 

 

Tenjusei Shoji climbed back to his feet and gathered his energy around him. “Gravity Well!” He fired a torrent of blue gravimetric energy that enveloped the monster. The villain tried to block the blast, but was blown off of his feet and sent flying.

 

Shoji collapsed to the ground from the strain.

 

The four warriors limped back towards each other to regroup. They saw a man in black leather walk towards them. Daigo rolled his hands into fists. “Shadam…” he cursed.

 

Shadam smiled wickedly. “How pathetic you are without your leader.”

 

A man in dark armor walked up behind Shadam.

 

“Ryou…” Shoji cursed while grinding his teeth. “Bastard traitor!” he yelled as he jumped through the air with is Thunder Sword and Star Cutter and called out “Thunder Bolt Cut!”

 

Shoji swung his energized saber at Ryou. But the traitor caught the blade and slammed a spinning heel kick across the warrior’s head. Shoji crashed backward and tumbled across the ground.

 

The other three warriors shouted and charged at Ryou to attack.

 

The traitor smashed both fists against the ground and shouted “Hell Storm!” A ring of fiery energy twirled around him like a cyclone and expanded while tearing apart the landscape and lashing out against the warriors.

 

Shadam smiled. “Well done.”

 

***

 

Inside a dark dungeon, the leather-clad powerhouse known as Zydos strapped the warriors onto short stumps while they were on their knees.

 

“How could you join the Gorma, Ryou?” Rio asked angrily. “How could you do this to us?”

 

Ryou slammed the back of his fist across Rio’s face.

 

Shadam smiled as a leather clad women stepped out from behind him. “Poor Dairanger and your whining. At least die with some dignity.”

 

“Damn you, Gara!” Daigo yelled.

 

“Do it…” Gara said as Zydos readied his sword.

 

“It’s not over, Gorma!” Daigo shouted. “This is not the end.”

 

“Oh but it is…” Shadam said with a smile as the blade chopped down.

 

Tommy and Rocky shuttered at the thought of the traitor. Rocky could not imagine someone becoming so evil. For Tommy, Ryou was a harsh reminder of his days as Bandora’s Dark Warlord. The traitor was as symbol for everything Tommy loathed about his past.

 

“Don’t worry sensei,” Tommy said as he rolled his hands into fists. “Rocky and I will take care of that creep. He’ll think twice before he messes with us again.”

 

Kaku shook his head. “No. It’s too dangerous. Ryou’s Ki is too powerful. He will kill you if you try to fight him.”

 

“But sensei,” Tommy said, “You can’t take him on alone.”

 

Kaku sighed. It was close to an hour. He was running out of time. “Come with me,” he said as he moved down a nearby stairwell. Tommy and Rocky followed.

 

Kaku opened a door to a dark room. Tommy stepped in behind Kaku. Sensei was out of the room in the blink of an eye, taking Tommy by surprise, and locking the teen inside. “Hey!” Tommy shouted as he pounded on the heavy door. “Let me out!”

 

Kaku turned to Rocky. “Make sure he doesn’t leave. It’s for his own safety.”

 

“But…” Rocky was about to argue as Kaku walked off. “Where are you going?”

 

“To China,” Kaku answered.

 

***

 

Ten minutes passed, and Tommy still pounded on the door. Rocky sat on the ground and leaned on the other side of the door as Tommy shouted. “Come on, Rocky! Let me out!”

 

Rocky shook his head. A great part of him wanted to let Tommy out. “I’m just doing what Sensei said.”

 

Then Rocky heard glass break inside the room. The knocking stopped. “Tommy?” Rocky asked, but there was no answer. “Tommy, answer me…”

 

Rocky turned and opened the door. A small, narrow window near the ceiling was shattered. It barely seemed large enough for Tommy to squeeze through.

 

Tommy stepped out from behind the door and slammed a punch against Rocky’s stomach to knock him out. The ranger had broken the glass as a distraction. “Sorry pal,” Tommy said. “I have to help the others.”

 

***

 

Ryou stood in a small mountain range in China. The three teens were tied to posts on a cliff above and behind him. Kyonshi guarded the rangers. Ryou stared off in the distance, waiting for his opponent.

 

The wind around Ryou picked up, scattering dust and pebbles. “He’s here…” the villain whispered beneath his mask.

 

Kaku slowly stepped forward from the horizon. He stood tall and confident.

 

Ryou smiled beneath his mouthpiece. “It’s been a long time, Kaku…”

 

“Why do you continue to work for evil?” Kaku asked. He was not one to waste time with banter. “Why did you sell your soul to the devil?”

 

“Did you come all this way to talk or fight?” Ryou said as he unsheathed his sword and stood in a fighting stance. “I turned to evil for the power to overcome death.”

 

“That kind of power is born in the heart, not from evil,” Kaku said. He held his hand in front of him, palm open, in a simple defensive posture.

 

Nearby, Tommy arrived on the scene after teleporting to China. He stayed low behind a row of stone and watched as Kaku and Ryou circled around each other. His gaze drifted up towards his friends. He narrowed his eyes as he saw them chained to posts on the cliff. He stayed low as he moved to help them.

 

Ryou and Kaku dashed forward in lightning-quick bursts of motion. The streaks clashed against each other and skipped closer to the base of the mountain. They landed several meters away from each other.

 

Kaku extended his hand and fired an invisible telekinetic burst that tore across the ground, kicking up dirt and rubble. The invisible blast slammed against Ryou, knocking the villain backward.

 

Ryou was hurled towards the mountainside. He ricocheted off the mountainside and arced back towards Kaku while hurling his sword like a spear.

 

Kaku kept his hands at his sides and used his Kiryoku to catch the sword in midair. He turned the blade around and shot the weapon forward like a bullet.

 

Ryou grabbed the blade as he landed on the ground. The Gorma extended his hand and fired a golden burst of energy. Kaku extended his hand and fired a red-tinted burst of energy. The blasts exploded against each other with a massive shockwave that rumbled across the mountain range.

 

Kaku slowly raised his hands at his sides and levitated a group of heavy boulders. He extended his hand towards Ryou, and the boulders blasted like cannon balls.

 

Ryou created a wall of moving red-tinted energy blades that blocked and pulverized the boulders.

 

Ryou made the energy blades rush forward like a wave. The blades darted around Kaku. Kaku dodged most, but the ground erupted from underneath him, tossing the Sensei backward.

 

Kaku rose back to his feet as Ryou stalked towards him. “You are not as strong as you once were, Kaku.”

 

Above, Tommy moved to free his friends. A Kyonshi jumped on top of the teen. Tommy flipped the soldier to the ground and slammed a punch against the fallen grunt’s chest. Tommy stood and spun forward, slamming a sidekick against a second villain’s face.

 

Below, Kaku turned towards the cliff at the sound of the battle. Ryou dashed forward as Kaku was distracted and swiped his blade across Kaku’s chest. Kaku fell backward as the blade crossed over him, cutting muscle tissue and breaking ribs.

 

Kaku collapsed to the ground and called on his power to stop from bleeding to death.

 

“Sensei!” Tommy shouted as he slammed the back of his fist across a soldier’s head and sidekicked the soldier away.

 

Tommy leapt off the cliff and armed his morphers. “Aura Power!” Energy shimmered around him as he leapt downward and morphed into his armor.

 

Dragon Ranger landed and darted forward to attack Ryou.

 

The Gorma extended his hand and fired a jagged-crimson leash of energy that lashed around Dragon Ranger, exploded against his armor, and tightened like chains. Ryou used the crackling energy leash to drag the Red Ranger forward as explosions tore across his armor.

 

Ryou sent another energy pulse through the energy leash. The pulse exploded against Dragon Ranger’s armor with a violent flash of lightning and flame that tossed him backward.

 

Tommy rolled across the ground, his armor forcibly demorphing. Steam rose from Tommy’s chest as he struggled to rise to his feet.

 

Ryou stalked towards Tommy with his blade extended. The Gorma moved closer and extended his blade towards Tommy’s throat. An evil glimmer shined in the Gorma’s eye. “How fitting….die.”

 

Ryou lifted his sword, prepared to deliver the finishing blow.

 

“Ryou, stop…” Kaku struggled to shout, his hand over his injured chest as he tried to rise from the ground. “He’s your son!”

 

The sword stopped an inch from Tommy’s face. Tommy opened his eyes wide, staring at the face of his attacker. Ryou dropped the sword and took a step backward in shock.

 

“You know it’s true, Ryou…remember?” Kaku said.

 

Ryou turned away, his cape drifting around him as he blinked away. Tommy slowly rose to his feet, bile in his throat as he shook his head. His eyes were glued to where the Gorma had stood. “Not him…” he said under his breath. “Please God, not him…”

 

***

 

The five rangers gathered back at the lair. Kaku sat on his small platform as Tommy paced back and forth, his body tense. “It’s a lie, Kaku! How can that old fossil of a traitor be my father? It‘s not possible."

 

Kaku’s voice remained calm. “He may have joined the Gorma 6,000 years ago, but around 20 years ago he married your mother, giving birth to you.”

 

“It’s a lie!” Tommy shouted. “My father died when I was four!” It had to be a lie, he told himself. If he was the son of….a Gorma, what did that mean for his future? Tommy was already consumed with guilt over his actions as the Green Dragon Ranger. Now to learn that he was sired from a man who murdered his own team?

 

Tommy had doubted his ability to lead. Now his position as a Ranger frightened him. What if he became evil again and hurt Kimberly? What if more people he cared about died?

 

Kaku shook his head. “No. He rejoined the Gorma. It was the Gorma who secretly killed your mother in order to lure Ryou back to them. Before he left, he asked me to watch after his children, so I saw to it that you were adopted by a good families.”

 

The best, Tommy thought to himself as he fought back the tears.

 

Kaku stood and stepped towards Tommy. The sensei placed two hands firmly on the ranger’s shoulders. The teen shrugged him off. “It’s a lie! My father was a good man! I won’t believe it!”

 

Tommy fled from the room. The other rangers went to follow, but Kaku stopped them. “He needs time to be alone,” Kaku said.

 

***

 

Tommy stood at a rocky shore that looked out across the ocean. The waves splashed against the stones. He sighed to himself. This is crazy, he thought. His mind was flooded with questions and doubt. Anger. It can’t be possible, he tried to convince himself.

 

A small gust of wind came from behind Tommy, causing a chill to creep along the teen’s spine. Tommy turned and narrowed his eyes. “Ryou…” he said through a clenched jaw, trying to stop his shoulders from shaking.

 

The dark-armored Gorma stood on the rocky shore and stared at Tommy. “Tommy…” he said, as if finally convincing himself of the truth about the ranger. “My son…”

 

“No!” Tommy shouted. “It’s a lie! I’m not your son!”

 

Tommy glared silently at the Gorma. Ryou narrowed his eyes in a similar fashion before turning, his cape whirling around as he started to walk away.

 

“Wait!” Tommy shouted as Ryou stopped. “If you’re really my father…why did you join the Gorma? And why did you marry my mother?”

 

Tommy had to know. If it was true, he had to know what could lead someone with his blood to willingly turn evil.

 

Ryou ignored the ranger and walked away, his body blinking out of sight. Tommy’s mind flashed back to the Dark Man he first met after losing his Green Ranger powers the first time.

 

Tommy sat by Bear Lake and threw stones into the water. A man dressed in a dark trench coat walked up behind him.

 

“Can I help you?” Tommy stood and turned around to face the man.

 

The Dark Man shook his head. “No…but maybe I can help you. It must be hard…”

 

“What are you talking about?” Tommy asked as he wrinkled his brow.

 

“Losing your powers,” the Dark Man said. “The Dragon Ranger is no more.”

 

“Who are you?” Tommy asked. He rolled his hands into fists. “One of Bandora’s goons?”

 

The dark-haired man laughed. “Oh, Tommy. Your true war goes far beyond your little conflict with Bandora.”

 

“Who are you? I’m not going to ask again!”

 

“So much anger, Tommy…just like your father…”

 

“What?!”

 

“I must be going.” The man stepped behind a tree. Tommy followed the man behind the tree, but he was gone.

 

***

 

Back in the Gorma’s warehouse, Daizojo Riju was blasting Ryou with a barrage of crimson lightning. The Gorma’s body convulsed on the ground as pain surged through his body like white-hot flames. The attack was punishment for letting Tommy live.

 

Gara snickered as she leaned back against a tall pile of crates, her arms crossed over her chest. “Your tool wasn’t as effective as you thought,” Gara said with a smile.

 

Shadam agreed. “What will you do next?” He was anxious for the Gorma priest to fail and leave.

 

Archbishop Saw lowered his hand and ended his attack. The Archbishop turned towards the Triumvirate and placed his hand in front of his face. The Archbishop’s body rippled as his skin turned to iron. He transformed into his monster form. His face was thin and metallic with the traditional Gorma third eye, and he still wore his white robes, only the shoulders of these robes had saw blade extensions. A large saw blade pointed up from his back.

 

“It’s not out of my hands yet, Shadam,” Archbishop Saw said. He armed a saw-blade sword and slashed through a support beam to display his power.

 

The Gorma Triumvirate was not impressed.

 

***

 

Billy, Kimberly, Rocky, and Adam sat around a table at the Metro Pool Hall in Angel Grove Central. Their drinks and food sat untouched. None of them felt like eating. Their mood was somber.

 

Kimberly sighed. “How can we fight him if he’s Tommy’s father? And how do we know if it’s even true.”

 

Adam shook his head. “We don’t have any reason to disbelieve sensei. It has to be true.”

 

“It just seems so weird,” Rocky added. “This Ryouyo or whatever his name is is over 6,000 years old!”

 

Billy nodded. “It must be a result of his Kiryoku. Sensei is just as old. Perhaps frequent channeling of The Power allows for a longer life span.”

 

“He’s still Tommy’s father,” Kimberly said.

 

The teens noticed Tommy move closer to the table. He had entered from the back of the room and overheard their conversation. He laid a hand on Kimberly’s shoulder and smiled, trying his best to deny the truth. “It’s okay, Kim. He’s not my dad. And we can beat that traitor if we work together.”

 

The teens said nothing, not knowing how to respond. Their communicators toned, breaking the awkward silence.

 

***

 

Tommy and the other teens ran against a crowd of people fleeing in panic on the streets of Angel Grove. Explosions sparked around them, but they could not see any attacker.

 

“This isn’t odd at all,” Rocky said sarcastically.

 

“Power Rangers…” the Archbishop’s voice said from nowhere, echoing off of buildings.

 

A dark mist suddenly surrounded the teens. The mist clouded their vision and teleported them away to a barren valley. The ground was littered with skulls.

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes. “Who’s there!” he shouted. He was not in the mood for games.

 

Archbishop Saw appeared in his monster form and hovered towards the rangers with a saw-blade sword in each hand. Tommy and the others snapped into fighting stances as the villain landed. “I am Daizojo Riju, the master of Ryou.”

 

Ryou stepped forward on a cliff above and stared down at the rangers. His cape flowed around his body in artificial wind.

 

Tommy rolled his hands into fists and glared at the Gorma Archbishop with eyes like daggers. “Let’s go, metal head!”

 

Tommy and the others rushed towards Archbishop Saw as they armed their braces. “Aura Power!” they shouted as energy shimmered around them and they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

Dragon Ranger leapt through the air to attack. He unsheathed his Thunder Sword and Star Cutter. “Thunderbolt Cut!” he shouted as the blades radiated with cyan energy.

 

Dragon Ranger landed while swinging both blades down towards the monster’s head. But the Gorma used one saw blade to block the blow and slashed his other sword across Dragon Ranger’s chest. Explosions sparked across the Red Ranger’s armor as he tumbled backward.

 

Dragon Ranger slammed his fist to the ground with frustration and rose back to his feet. “Let’s hit him together, guys!”

 

The Rangers stood in formation and lifted their hands towards the air. They each gathered spheres of cyan energy between their palms. “Kiryoku, Bomber!” they shouted as they hurled the energy spheres forward. The spheres combined into a single, golden energy blast that that streaked towards Archbishop Saw.

 

The Gorma monster caught the energy blast in his palm, and its energy still crackled with fierce power. “Nice try.”

 

The Gorma amplified the blast and shot it back at the Rangers. The blast exploded against the Rangers with a massive explosion that tore up the ground and ripped across their armor with near-blinding sparks.

 

The Rangers were thrown backward and went skidding across the ground as their armor forcibly demorphed. Ryou leapt down from the cliff and stood at his master’s side. Strange emotions surfaced within the villain as he watched his son and the rangers struggle to rise.

 

Archbishop Saw stalked towards the fallen teens, laughing as he transformed back into his human guise. The Gorma walked towards Tommy and lifted him by the neck. “Dragon Ranger…” he hissed.

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes at the man. The ranger slammed a kick against the Gorma’s side. Archbishop Saw dropped Tommy but extended his hand and fired a pulse of crimson lightning that slammed against the teen and sent him skidding against the ground while sending volts of energy burning through his body.

 

“You are weak…” Archbishop Saw spat.

 

Tommy ignored the crippling pain and rose back to his feet. “We’ll see who’s wea-”

 

Archbishop Saw fired another pulse that wrapped around Tommy, sending burning waves of agony through his body. The Archbishop used the energy leash to skid Tommy across the ground. The teen had never felt such pain.

 

The ranger tried to hold in his screams. But he couldn’t resist. Maybe it was instinct. He called out to his father for help. “Dad!”

 

“Shut up!” Archbishop Saw yelled as he increased the voltage. Tommy was thrown backward against a cliff and crumpled to the ground. The Archbishop could have killed the teen at any moment with a single strike, but preferred playing with his prey.

 

“Dad…” Tommy cried again, only more weakly. He was losing his strength.

 

Tommy’s cries for help touched something deep inside Ryou. Something he thought had died long ago. The black-armored Gorma unsheathed his blade and ran the sword across the Archbishop’s back, ripping through muscle and bone.

 

“Bastard…“ Archbishop Saw snarled as he turned towards Ryou and blasted him with a massive burst of crimson power. Ryou stood his ground and inched closer to the Archbishop as explosions tore across his dark armor.

 

Ryou called upon all his strength and pierced his sword through the Archbishop’s chest. Archbishop Saw screamed with pain and fired another energy blast that ripped through Ryou’s armor, sending the villain stumbling backward and crashing to the ground.

 

His body broken, Ryou rose to his feet and extended his hand, blasting Archbishop Saw with an invisible pulse of telekinetic energy. The Archbishop was hurled backward and sent tumbling across the cliffs, heading out of sight into the far off distance.

 

Ryou crumbled to the ground.

 

“Dad!” Tommy shouted, his body bruised and battered as he ran to his father’s side. He leaned down to his father and lifted him slightly up by the back. “Dad…” he whispered. “Is it really you?”

 

Ryou removed his mask. The face, strong and edged, sparked memories in Tommy’s mind. He remembered his father’s face on the beach. Laughing with his mother. So full of life. What had happened? To both of them?

 

“Dad…” he said hoarsely, tears streaming down his face.

 

Ryou placed his hand on Tommy’s. “I’m sorry…” he struggled to say. Every breath pained him.

 

The other teens slowly gathered around but kept their distance. “Ryou…” they heard a chorus of four voices say from the distance. Four spheres of light streamed down from the heavens. The spheres hovered at Ryou’s side and transformed into four spirits: the spirits of the former Dairanger.

 

Ryou looked over to his former teammates, and the guilt became as unbearable as his approaching death. “Do you forgive me…?”

 

The Dairanger nodded in unison.

 

Ryou tilted his head back towards his son. “An-…Tommy. Bring out your Thunder Gems…they have hidden power…”

 

Tommy reached into his back pocket and slowly pulled out his red gem. The other four teens did the same. Ryou placed his hand over his son’s Thunder Gem and held on tightly. The four spirits placed their hands over the other rangers’ gems.

 

The Thunder Gems glowed in unison. The rangers felt the power emanate from the gems.

 

Ryou’s hand fell back onto his chest. “You now have the power to summon Dairenou…The MegaThunderzord.” His body started to tremble as life left him. “I love you…son…”

 

Ryou’s body vanished and transformed into a shining sphere of crimson light. The other four spirits swirled into balls of light, and all five streaked towards the heavens in unison. Tommy watched as his father vanished.

 

“Dad…” he said quietly.

 

Kimberly walked up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. She wasn’t sure what to say. None of the teens were. Tommy placed his hand on Kimberly’s and gave a gentle squeeze. What had happened to his father? What?

 

A loud explosion suddenly shook the earth. A giant-sized Archbishop Saw suddenly rose in the distance. The Gorma was in his iron monster form, his one eye staring down at the gathered rangers with intense hate.

 

Tommy glared at the Gorma and rose to his feet. A renewed strength flooded through his system. “Let’s take care of business, guys!” he shouted, staring up at the monster while he and the others readied their braces. “It’s morphin’ time!”

 

“Chakra ignite, Aura Power!” they shouted together as energy flashed around their bodies and they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

They unsheathed their Thunder Swords and held the blades into the air while holding their Heaven-Star Thunder Gems. “Thunderzords, arise!”

 

The five Thunderzords appeared in the distance. The red-armored Dragon and Phoenix swooped through the air while the Lion, Tenma, and Kirin charged forward. The Rangers used their blasters like grapplers and reeled into their zord’s cockpits.

 

Dragon Ranger placed his hand over the crystal control sphere in front of him. “Red Dragon, rise up!”

 

Tendrils of crimson energy danced across the zord’s armor as the Red Dragon changed shape. The massive zord reconfigured into its warrior mode and landed on the ground to face off with Archbishop Saw.

 

Dragon Ranger’s Thunder Gem began to glow with deep red power. The Red Ranger called upon that power as he called out. “Thunder Star Fusion!”

 

Lightning struck each of the zords as they radiated with energy. The zords changed shape and reconfigured as they merged with Red Dragon. Tenma and Kirin formed armor around the Dragon’s legs as the Phoenix wrapped around its waist. The Lion formed a chest plate and wrapped around the zord’s upper arms as a gold-and-black helmet slid into place.

 

image007The Rangers joined in the central cockpit. “MegaThunderzord!” they shouted together. “Dairenou!”

 

The Archbishop armed his twin saw blades and charged forward to attack. “You think you’re safe inside that tin can, Rangers?!”

 

The Rangers waited for Archbishop Saw to move in closer. Then in a single movement, Dairenou unsheathed its sword and slashed upward across the Gorma, knocking the villain’s weapons aside and slashing across the monster’s body with explosions sparking on impact.

 

The MegaThunderzord dashed forward while running its blade through the monster’s midsection, then turned and slashed a diagonal blow downward across the Gorma. Archbishop Saw was knocked backward and went tumbling across the ground.

 

The villain slowly rose to his feet as the Rangers prepared to deliver the final blow.

 

“MegaThunderzord Saber, Lightning Slash!” the Rangers shouted. The saber radiated with crackling yellow energy and slashed downward through a streak of power. The blade cut clean through the Gorma.

 

Archbishop Saw fell backward, his body ripped in half, and his energy overloaded and exploded.

 

Dairenou slid its blade into its holster as the sun set in the distance.

 

***

 

Tommy sat on the edge of a cliff as the sun set in the distance. He looked out upon the ocean below as the other rangers sat with him. Kimberly placed a hand on his shoulder. “It will be okay…”

 

Rocky nodded. “They’ll pay, Tommy…we’ll do it together.”

 

Kaku watched from a distance and nodded with approval. They’ve become stronger together, he thought to himself. The sensei turned and walked away.

 

To be continued…Chapter 06