Five Stars of Heaven: Chapter Twenty-Six
The Sting of Betrayal
Kimberly was running down the streets towards the entrance to the lair. Tommy ran after her, and they met up at a corner while continuing to run.
“Kimberly, what is it?” Tommy asked as he ran through the streets after her.
“What could this mean,” Billy said as he felt the wall.
“What the hell happened,” Tommy said as he ran over to the wall.
“Kaku’s gone,” Rocky said. “Looks like he hired a few masons before he left.”
Kaku stood on the mountains outside the city, staring at the sunset. They must have found the lair by now…they’ll never know how much I will miss them…how proud I am…
“What troubles you, General?” a man said as he walked up the Kaku. The man’s name was First Lieutenant Zilong. He wore a dark robe with red trimming. Zilong sighed at the sight of Kaku. “You’re thinking about your students. I am sure you taught them well, but the Gorma need you more. Many of us are hoping that if you defeat Shadam, earning the right to take the emperor’s throne, that you will be able to end this war.”
“I wish there was another way,” Kaku said.
Zilong nodded. “It was Shadam’s right to challenge you. His claim to emperor is seconded only by you.”
“Which means if I lose…a man even more insane than the current emperor will lead our people.”
“You won’t loose,” Zilong said.
Kaku nodded. “Are you ready?”
Zilong nodded and transformed into a monster covered with bulky, thick black armor. Only his third eye was visible through his faceplate.
Tommy was walking with Rocky through an outside shopping area that wrapped around the subway station. Rocky looked to his leader. “So really Tommy, what do you think happened?”
Tommy shook his head. “I can’t even begin to guess. Things just keep getting crazier and crazier.”
People on a lower level of the streets started to scream and run in panic. Tommy and Rocky darted to the railing and looked down. They saw dark-armored Zilong walking forward with an intricate golden lance slung over his right shoulder.
“Gorma,” Tommy cursed as he activated his communicator to alert the others.
“Maybe bucket-head will have some answers,” Rocky said.
Tommy and Rocky leapt over the railing and landed on the lower level of the streets. The others ran from the subway system and joined the two rangers. They all dashed forward towards the monster while arming their braces. “Chakra ignite!”
Energy shimmered around them as they morphed into their armor and continued their charge towards the Gorma warrior.
Zilong easily continued his stride. He slammed the back of his fist across the Yellow Ranger’s helmet. He grabbed a kick from Tenma Ranger and hurled the Blue Ranger backward by the leg. The Gorma slammed a punch against Lion Ranger’s gut and moved forward while slamming his fist against Phoenix Ranger’s faceplate. The Gorma bashed the back of his fist across Dragon Ranger’s head.
The Rangers regrouped and looked towards the Gorma. The villain sprang upward and leapt through the air, landing on the roof of a skyscraper. The Gorma mounted the staff against the roof.
The five Rangers energized and leapt onto the rooftop.
“Gorma,” Dragon Ranger said as he assumed a fighting stance. “What is Shadam up to this time?”
The staff energized and struck the Rangers with a burst of golden light that exploded against their armor.
“I don’t know what that thing is, but I don’t like it,” Dragon Ranger said. “Let’s bomb ‘im.”
The Rangers scattered into formation and extended their hands into the air. Streaks of cyan energy formed spheres between their palms. They lowered the spheres to their chests. “Bomber, set.”
“Kiryoku!” Dragon Ranger shouted.
“Bomber!” they shouted together as they thrust the spheres forward. The energy spheres combined into a single golden energy blast that streaked towards the Gorma.
A red-armored figure suddenly dropped in front of Zilong and used a double-edge sword to deflect the golden Kiryoku blast. The dark-red suit of armor was a harmony of styles, from Greco-Roman to ancient Japanese. Only the Gorma third-eye was visible above the faceplate.
“Bastard,” Dragon Ranger said as he and the other Rangers stepped back into fighting stances. “Who do you think you are?”
The armored stranger reached up and removed his faceplate. It was Kaku. He had a Gorma third eye, that his brown headband had covered for centuries.
“Sensei?” Dragon Ranger gasped as he and the others took a step back. They were not sure what to expect.
Kaku looked at each Ranger, his gaze stern. “Tommy, Adam, Rocky, Billy, Kimberly…the Power Rangers are no more. Do not interfere with what we are doing.”
Dragon Ranger tightened his fists. “Kaku, what the hell is going on?”
“What’s with the eye,” Tenma Ranger said as he shook his head. “You can’t be…”
“Rangers,” Kaku said. “It is time for this war to end. The only way for that to happen is for me to rejoin the Gorma.”
“That’s crazy!” Lion Ranger shouted.
“How?” Phoenix Ranger said. “How could you do this?”
“I grow weary of battling, as do you,” Kaku said. “The five of you each have your own hopes, your own dreams. You’ve been involved in this petty war for far too long. Live your lives…live your dreams…you need to fight no longer. I’m doing this for you.”
“We can’t just give up,” Dragon Ranger said.
“You must,” Kaku said as he teleported away with Zilong.
Rocky slammed a fist against a wall in Kimberly’s apartment. “Sensei has officially lost his mind. How could he join the Gorma? They’re the bad guys! Did he forget that they’re the bad guys?”
“He said he’s doing this for us,” Billy said. “He said he can stop this war. Maybe we should stop fighting.”
“Stop?!” Tommy said. “As long as we have these powers, we’re going to use them.”
Adam nodded. “Tommy’s right. We can’t just sit on the side lines and let people get hurt.”
“I’m still not sure what Sensei is trying to accomplish,” Kimberly said as she shook her head. “I wish Zordon would come back.”
“We need more answers,” Tommy said. “Guys, let’s go wait by that spear. Maybe he’ll come back to it.”
“What’s the point…” Rocky said.
“Rocky,” Tommy said.
“What’s the point?” Rocky shouted with frustration. “What are we going to do? Fight him?”
“Guys, that’s enough,” Kimberly said.
Kaku was in his private chambers within the Gorma palace. He was sharpening the edge of his sword, refining the old blade which he had not used for 6,000 years. Zilong opened the door and entered.
“General,” Zilong said. “I have yet to place the second spear.”
Kaku nodded. He kept his eyes fixed on the sword.
Zilong sighed. “I know you’re fearful that the Rangers will try to stop me again…but that’s a risk we’ll have to take. This is bigger than them, my general. This is about giving you the power to end this war.”
“Go then,” Kaku said. He turned and placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder.
Shadam entered the room with an arrogant grin on his face. “Feel good to be back, Kaku?” Shadam said as he smiled. “I heard you ran into your old students? I would have loved to have seen their faces.”
“They were wearing their helmets, you idiot,” Kaku said.
“Tenma Ranger’s wit,” Shadam said. “You’re closer to them than you’ll admit. Did you get them to disband? That was part of the deal when I gave you Byakkoshinken. After I defeat you, I can’t have them trying to stop me. The last thing I need is Daijinnryu in my hair.”
“No,” he said.
“What?” Shadam grabbed Kaku by the jacket. “We had a deal.”
Kaku pushed Shadam away. “The deal was that I would fight you for the throne of the emperor and tell the Rangers not to interfere. I told them just that.”
Shadam glared at Kaku. “If they try and fight…try to stop this…Daijinnryu will come.”
Adam, Billy, and Kimberly were back at the brick wall wrapping around their lair. Adam ran his fingers along the lines of brick. One of the bricks felt out of place. He tapped the brick. Nothing happened. He tapped around the brick. The brick slid out.
The stone wall opened. But the lair was completely empty.
“It’s all gone,” Kimberly said.
“He must have taken everything,” Billy said.
The teens moved into a rear chamber near a stairwell. Only their Thunder Cycles remained.
“Why would he have left these?” Kimberly asked. “He took everything else.”
Adam placed his hands on his cycle’s handles. “Maybe he’s trying to tell us something.”
Rocky and Tommy were at the lance Zilong had stuck in the rooftop.
“Think they’ll find a way in?” Rocky asked.
Tommy shrugged. “I don’t know. I hope so…there are too many unanswered questions.”
“You mean like this thing,” Rocky said as he walked around the golden spear.
Tommy nodded. “Yeah.”
Rocky reached out to touch the lance. Golden energy shot forth, electrocuting Rocky and knocking the teen backward.
“Rocky, are you alright?” Tommy said as he moved to help his friend up.
“Yeah…” Rocky said as he climbed back to his feet. “Careful…that thing bites.”
They heard screaming and honking come from the streets below. The two rangers ran to the railing and looked down. Zilong was in his monster form, carrying another lance. This lance was dull silver.
“Déjà vu,” Rocky said.
Tommy and Rocky ran down the fire escape while alerting the other rangers. Tommy activated his communicator. “Guys…Kaku’s friend is back. Get over here now.”
Kou and Kameo were in Kimberly’s apartment when the young ranger heard Tommy’s call. Kou bolted towards the door, but Kameo held the boy back.
“Wait…” Kameo said as Kou struggled. “Stay here. They told you to stay here. This Gorma is too dangerous!”
“Let me go!” Kou screamed.
The teens regrouped on the streets and followed the monster from behind. Zilong continued to stomp forward through the vacated streets.
“So are we just following him or what?” Rocky asked.
“I wanna know what he’s up to,” Tommy said.
Police sirens came from around a corner behind the rangers. A squad of cars and a SWAT van pulled onto the street. Officers piled out of their vehicles and aimed their weapons at the Gorma. The teens ducked behind a corner.
The officers opened fire, their bullets sparking harmlessly against the Gorma’s armor.
Zilong fired an optic burst that streamed towards the cops and exploded. The shockwave blasted each officer down and destroyed a patrol car, the vehicle erupting into flames.
The teens ran to the fallen cops to help them back to their feet.
Rocky checked one of the cop’s pulse and shook his head. “This one is dead,” Rocky said. “We have to stop him.”
Tommy rolled his hands up into fists. He and the others stood between the officers and Gorma while arming their morphers.
“Guys…it’s morphin time!” Tommy shouted.
“Chakra ignite, Aura Power!” Energy shimmered around them as they connected their braces and morphed into their Ranger forms. They unsheathed their swords and charge forward to attack.
Kou ran from Kimberly’s apartment building. Kameo struggled to keep up with the boy. “Kou wait! Stop!”
Kaku suddenly appeared in the young ranger’s path. Kou skid to a halt and tripped backward, crashing onto his tailbone.
“Sensei…” Kou said as he rose back to his feet, his eyes open wide at the sight of Kaku in his Gorma armor.
Kaku extended his hand. “Your Heaven-Star Thunder Gem…give it to me.”
Kameo shook his head. “What?”
“Don’t make me take them by force,” Kaku said.
Kou shook his head. “No…”
Kaku grabbed Kou by the arm and took the boy’s gem and morpher. “Stop!” Kou shouted. He activated his communicator. “Phoenix Ranger help!” Kou shouted into his communicator, but Kaku took that too. Then he pushed Kou to the ground.
Dragon Ranger swung his Thunder Sword towards the monster’s head. Zilong blocked the blow with a double-edged sword and knocked the Ranger’s sword away.
The Red Ranger spun and swung his sword back around towards the monster’s gut. Zilong parried the blow and kicked the Red Ranger aside.
Phoenix Ranger moved in behind the monster. Zilong snapped around and swung his blade upward, slashing across the Pink Ranger’s armor with a burst of spark and whipping her body backward.
Tenma Ranger moved in high while Lion Ranger moved in low, each with their Thunder Swords. Zilong swatted them both away with a single swipe from his sword.
Kirin Ranger speared his sword towards the villain. The Gorma parried the blow and stepped forward. Zilong slammed the handle of his weapon across the Yellow Ranger’s head like a club.
Kirin Ranger fell backward as the Rangers regrouped. They stood in defensive stances as Zilong faced them.
“Stop Rangers,” Zilong said. “This must be done for General Kaku.”
“General Kaku?” Dragon Ranger said.
Tenma Ranger shouted with rage as he leapt towards the monster. Zilong fired a crimson optic blast that exploded against the Blue Ranger and knocked him from the air. Tenma Ranger crashed to the ground. The Rangers regrouped around him and helped him to his feet.
Zilong glared at the Rangers with his eye. “This must be done for General Kaku to succeed. Nothing will stand in my way…you were warned.”
Zilong fired another optic blast that exploded against the Rangers’ armor with a massive burst of sparks. The Rangers crashed to the ground as the Gorma stalked towards them.
“Sensei…” Dragon Ranger said as he struggled to rise to his feet. “What have you done?”
The Rangers sprang forward and charged at the villain. Zilong batted them aside one-by-one, using his blade to slash across their armor, sparking on impact with each powerful blow.
The villain leapt upward and landed on the roof of a small building.
Dragon Ranger stood below as the dragon eyes on his helmet flashed with blue power. “Heaven Fire Star! Lightning Flames of Destruction!”
Dragon Ranger thrust his Thunder Sword and Star Cutter forward. He fired a stream of electric fire that exploded against the villain and sent him crashing backward.
“All right,” Tenma Ranger said as the Rangers regrouped.
Zilong dropped the lance and pulled out an enlargement grenade. He tossed the bomb to the ground, and it exploded. Zilong absorbed the energy from the explosion and used it to grow giant.
The giant Zilong started slashing his sword through buildings.
“It’s time to take care of business, guys,” Dragon Ranger said.
The Rangers unsheathed their Thunder Swords and raised the weapons while grasping their Thunder Gems. “Thunderzords arise!”
The five Thunderzords appeared, charging over the landscape. Red Dragon and Phoenix flew through the air as the Kirin, Tenma, and Lion charged forward from the ground.
The Rangers used their Thunder Blasters like grappling guns and reeled themselves into their zords’ 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 the Gorma.
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 started to change shape and reconfigure 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.
The Rangers joined in the central cockpit. “MegaThunderzord!” they shouted together. “Dairenou!”
Zilong fired an optic blast that exploded against the Megazord, sparking against its armor.
MegaThunderzord stepped forward and slammed its armored fists against the villain, but the blows barely managed to dent the Gorma’s armor. Zilong fired an optic blast at near point-blank range that exploded against the MegaThunderzord with a massive burst of spark.
“That is it!” Dragon Ranger shouted. “MegaThunderzord Saber!”
Kaku ran below them. “Stop Dairenou!”
“MegaThunderzord Saber, Lightning Slash!” MegaThunderzord energized its blade with lightning and swung downward. The blade slashed through Zilong, causing the Gorma to crash backward as his armor exploded.
Zilong returned to his normal-sized human form below. He limped towards Kaku. “General…” he said as he crawled forward. He was badly injured and seconds away from death.
“No,” Kaku said as he ran to his friend’s side.
“I am sorry…general…”
Kaku shook his head and lifted Zilong slightly.
The teens gathered around, unsure of what to think or do.
“General…save our people…” Zilong said with his last breath. His body disintegrated and turned to ash in Kaku’s hands. Kaku rolled his hands into tight fists.
General Kaku stood and turned to glare at his former students. He thrust his hands forward and fired five energy tentacles that wrapped around the teens, tightening while pinning their arms at their sides.
“I told you not to interfere!” Kaku shouted.
“He was killing people!” Tommy shouted. “What happened to your heart, Sensei.”
Kaku released them. The teens crashed to the ground. Kaku shook his head. “You don’t understand,” Kaku said.
“Then tell us,” Tommy said as he and the others rose to their feet.
“I did not betray you to the Gorma,” Kaku said. “I am Gorma. Thousands of years ago, I was one of their generals. The Chief of Staff. That man you killed, my friend, was a member of the royal guard. I was as power hungry then as Shadam is now. I was next in line to be emperor. But then I changed. During the end of the war, I escaped with Ryuseiou.
“Now, Shadam has challenged me to a duel. I accepted his challenge in exchange for Byakkoshinken. If he defeats me, he will become emperor. If I win…I will lead the Gorma. I will end the war. Those spears were designed to enhance my strength during the duel.”
Kaku picked up the spear and slammed it into the ground. “For the last time…you must not interfere!”
“Phoenix Ranger!” Kou shouted as he ran to the scene with Kameo. Kou ran to Tommy. “He took my morpher and my gem.”
Tommy leaned down to Kou. “What?”
“It’s true,” Byakko said as he peaked his head out.
Tommy rose and glared at Kaku. “Why?” Tommy asked.
“Because, Tommy. Now the five of you must hand yours over too,” Kaku said.
“And what if more of your friends decide to trash the city? What if you go as insane as the current emperor?” Tommy asked.
“Hand them over or I will take them from you!” Kaku said.
“No.” Tommy said. “If we give up our powers, and the Gorma attack again…” Tommy shook his head. “No.”
Kaku sighed. “I will give you time to reach your final decision. Meet me at the quarry in five hours.”
Kaku blinked away.
The team gathered in Kimberly’s apartment.
“How can he be doing this to us!” Rocky shouted. “We can’t just surrender our powers. What if he loses? What if Gara or Zydos attacks while Kaku’s dueling with Shadam?”
The other teens were silent.
Tommy walked outside to the balcony. Kimberly followed him.
“Are you alright?” Kimberly asked.
“No,” Tommy said. “I trusted him, Kimberly…now I don’t know what to think. My father joined the Gorma…maybe his original intention was to end the war, but…we both know what happened to him.”
The teens ran to the quarry five hours later as told. Kaku looked down on them from a cliff. Then he jumped down to face them.
“Hand them over,” General Kaku said as he extended his hand.
Tommy shook his head. “We can’t…it’s too risky, and quite frankly, we don’t know if we can trust you anymore.”
“We can’t just give up, sensei,” Adam said.
“You were warned,” Kaku said as he started walking towards them.
“Now, calm down sensei,” Rocky said as he took a step back.
Kaku dashed past the teens in a blur of red motion, slamming them off their feet. Kaku landed on the other side of the rangers. He turned and watched them climb to their feet. Kaku thrust his hand forward and summoned a gust of wind that smashed against the teens and knocked them backward.
“Stop this, sensei!” Rocky yelled.
Kaku extended his hand. Explosions blasted around the teens, creating massive shockwaves that slammed against them and sent them tumbling across the ground.
Tommy screamed with rage as he sprang forward and charged towards sensei. Kaku lashed out with a red energy whips that wrapped around Tommy and snapped him off the ground.
Kaku lifted Tommy off his feet and crashed him against a stone wall. Kaku released the energy lasso, and Tommy crashed against the ground. The other rangers ran to his side to regroup.
Tommy readied his morpher. “Chakra…ignite,” he said through a clenched jaw. “Aura Power!” Energy shimmered around them as they connected their braces and morphed into their Ranger forms.
The Rangers and Kaku circled around each other. The Gorma Triumvirate watched the battle from above. “Idiots,” Shadam said. “This is working out better than I planned.”
“Let’s go!” Dragon Ranger shouted as he leapt towards Kaku.
Dragon Ranger armed his Thunder Staff and swung the weapon downward while landing. Kaku sidestepped and slammed the back of his fist across the Red Ranger’s helmet. Dragon Ranger spun around and swung the staff back towards Kaku’s head. Kaku used his arm to block the blow, sidekicked Dragon Ranger in the gut, and smashed a knife-hand chop against the back of the Red Ranger’s neck.
Dragon Ranger crashed against the ground and rolled to his knees. He rose back to his feet and thrust his hands forward. “Fire Stream!”
The fire stream wrapped around Kaku without touching him. Kaku extended his hand and sent the fire back towards Dragon Ranger. The fire exploded against the Red Ranger’s armor and knocked him backward.
Kirin Ranger armed his Thunder Blaster and fired lances of yellow energy at Kaku. Sensei lifted his hand and used his palm to deflect the blasts.
The Yellow Ranger lowered his blaster and charged forward to attack. Kirin Ranger pounced towards Kaku and swung the handle of the Thunder Blaster towards sensei’s head. Kaku caught Kirin Ranger by the arm, roundkicked him in the side, and hurled him through the air.
Tenma Ranger placed his fist against his palm. The Pegasus eyes on his helmet flashed with blue power.
“Heaven Gravity Star! Gravity Inversing Destruction!” Tenma Ranger thrust his hand forward and fired a jagged wave of gravity power.
Kaku reflected the beam back at the Blue Ranger. The beam exploded around the ground with a massive burst of flame and sent Tenma Ranger falling up the side of the quarry. He started tumbling back downward when the gravity power faded.
Lion Ranger placed his palm against his fist. The lion eyes on his helmet flashed with pale-green light.
“Heaven Illusion Star! Mist Concealment Destruction!” Lion Ranger extended his hand and launched a cloud of mist that surrounded Kaku.
Kaku created an illusion before Lion Ranger had a chance. Kaku projected an image of a rolling train that passed through Lion Ranger while exploding against his armor.
Phoenix Ranger leapt forward. “Cyclone!” She created a swirling vortex of pink energy that Kaku directed right back at her. The Pink Ranger crashed against the ground as the others regrouped around her.
“Stop!” Byakko yelled as he zoomed through the air. Kaku lifted his hand and caused an explosion against Byakko that knocked the saber from the air.
Kou and Kameo ran onto the scene.
“Phoenix Ranger!” Kou shouted.
“Billy, guys, are you alright?” Kameo shouted. They did not answer.
The Rangers regrouped. “Kiryoku Bazooka!” The bazooka materialized above the Rangers as they stood in formation. The bazooka slowly lowered. Lion Ranger, Tenma Ranger, Kirin Ranger, and Phoenix Ranger stood on the sides of the weapon. They inserted their Star Cutters into the bazooka’s casing to hold the weapon. Dragon Ranger crouched down and aimed the weapon over his shoulder.
Phoenix Ranger loaded each of the Rangers’ gems into the cannon. The bazooka whined with energy as the Rangers aimed forward.
“Kiryoku Bazooka,” Dragon Ranger said. “Fire!” the bazooka nearly blasted itself out of the Rangers’ hands as it fired a massive discharge of energy. The energy blast streaked forward, a comet of power. The blast exploded against Kaku, knocking him backward.
The Rangers lowered the cannon.
“Oh man, we hurt him,” Tenma Ranger said.
Kaku rose to his feet. He raised his hands and shouted an incantation in Japanese as the two spears Zilong placed in the city joined energy strings and struck Kaku, infusing him with power.
Kaku formed a sphere of energy that thrashed with violent lightning bolts in between his hands. The Rangers’ could feel its power, even from a distance. Kaku hurled the energy bolt forward. The blast exploded against the Rangers’ armor with a massive burst of sparks and flame, creating a shockwave that tore across the ground, kicking up rubble and debris.
The teens’ armor powered down as they crashed against the ground and skid backward.
Tommy limped to his feet and limped towards Kaku. The ranger’s body was bruised, burned, and battered. “We…can’t let you do this..” Tommy grabbed Kaku by the cape. “Please…”
Kaku punched Tommy in the stomach, and he passed out.
Tommy slowly regained consciousness and sat up, as did the others.
“Guys,” Kou said. He was leaning down next to them with a bottle of water and rags.
“They’re alright,” Kameo said.
“Kou,” Tommy said as the young one helped him up.
“It was Kaku,” Kou said. “He took your morphers and your gems.”
“What?” Tommy said.
They all checked their pockets and jackets. They found no gems. No morphers. Tommy rolled his hands into fists and clenched his jaw. “Kaku!” Tommy shouted.
To be continued…Chapter 27