Author’s Note: The following story takes place in 2003, shortly after the start of Book Six: Shadows of Evil. Shadows of Evil and Galaxy Rangers run concurrently.   

 

Galaxy Rangers: Chapter One

Legend Reborn

 

A buffer of dense woodland separated Angel Grove South’s border from the city of Stone Canyon. An older Japanese resident of Stone Canyon sat in those woods and drew a picture of a small acorn person as his 11-year-old son Ryuuta watched.

 

“A little acorn man?” Ryuuta asked. “Have you lost it, dad?”

 

“No,” Haruhiko Aoyama said. “I saw it here once when I was a boy.” Mr. Aoyama sighed with wonderment and nodded as he looked across the woodland surrounding them. He was using the woods as inspiration for a children’s book he planned to write and illustrate. “There’s a real legend in this forest.”

 

Ryuuta rolled his eyes and walked back into the car. “Dad, you’re crazy,” he said. “This is the scientific age. There’s no such thing as legends,” he said as he fiddled with a Game Boy.

 

His dad came by the window. “Sure there is. Now…do you want to come walking with me? There’s a trail not far from here.”

 

“No,” Ryuuta said, keeping his eyes on his game. “I’ll stay here.”

 

His dad sighed. “Fine. Be that way.”

 

Mr. Aoyama started to walk away.

 

Ryuuta tried to keep focused on his game, but he found that a feeling of guilt swelled up stronger in his throat with each step his father took away from the car. He sighed and stepped out of the vehicle. “Dad, wait!”

 

Hidden in the forest, a foot-tall acorn person laughed quietly to himself as he watched the father and son walk by. “It’s impossible to enter this forest, Boku,” he whispered.

 

The strange acorn’s collar propelled and lifted him from a tree branch. The acorn, Boku, flew through a mystic border with a flash of golden light. He entered a pocket dimension on the other side of the border.

 

image003Lush forest spanned the pocket dimension. Men and women in strange tribal clothing attended to various chores as Boku hovered past them.

 

The men and woman were preparing for a special ceremony that happened only once a generation. Five swords and holsters were on display, held upward by thin pedestals in front of a large leather canvas painted with ancient writings and drawings.

 

An old man with a white beard used his cane for support as he walked around the swords. He was the Shaman Ohghi. “Seijuukin…” he said, calling the swords by their name. He looked into the air. “It’s time to select the next warriors.” He shook his head. “The days pass fast.”

 

***

 

Deeper in the hidden forest, two brothers sparred. Ryouma was the younger of the pair, dressed in a red vest with a white undershirt. His brother Hyuuga wore black with a red scarf wrapped around his neck.  

 

Ryouma leapt forward and extended his hand towards his older brother. “Mane of Flame!” Ryouma’s palm launched a stream of fire towards Hyuuga.

 

Hyuuga quickly dove aside and rolled across the ground before rising in a crouched position. “Ha!” Hyuuga shouted as he extended his hand and launched a stream of flame from his palm.

 

The fire stream blasted Ryouma from the air. The teen crashed against the ground.

 

Hyuuga rose to his feet and shook his head while walking towards his younger brother. “Ryouma…” he said as he extended his hand and helped his younger brother up.

 

“I’m alright,” Ryouma said as he dusted himself off. “Your Aasu is strong,” he said. “I can see why you were chosen.”

 

Hyuuga sighed. “Ryouma, your Aasu is strong too, but…”

 

A teenage girl walked from the trees towards them. She wore a white blouse with an intricate pink scarf.

 

“Hyuuga,” the girl said as she jumped onto his back. “It’s time for the festival. We’d better get to the plaza.”

 

Hyuuga smiled. “Get off me Saya,” he said playfully as he grabbed her arms and pulled her off his back.

 

Three other teens entered the clearing. Gouki was dressed in a blue and white outfit and blue headband, Hayate wore a green shirt laced with black and yellow, and Hikaru wore a yellow and black vest. 

 

Saya walked over towards Ryouma, smiling at him. “I thought you would be depressed, but you don’t look like it.”

 

“Why would I be depressed?” Ryouma asked.

 

“Well,” Saya said. “We always practice together, but you weren’t chosen as one of the five warriors.”

 

Ryouma shrugged. “I’m not surprised,” he said.

 

Hikaru smiled as he ate an apple. “Still,” he said, “there’s nothing to do with your Aasu anymore. It’s wasted.”

 

Hikaru extended his hand and blasted a rock with a yellow bolt of electricity.

 

Hayate smacked him over the head. “Don’t waste your Aasu,” he said. “Besides. It’s time to get going.”

 

Hyuuga nodded. “Right…Gouki! Let’s go!”

 

Gouki was practicing kneeling and receiving a sword. He was using a slender stick as a prop as the others laughed at him.

 

Hikaru ran past him and grabbed the stick that Gouki was using. “Look what I have!”

 

“Hey!” Gouki ran after Hikaru. “Bring that back!”

 

The others chuckled as they began to walk off.

 

Ryouma hesitated for a moment. “Uh oh, I forgot. Mom asked me to run an errand.”

 

Ryouma grabbed a bucket as Boku floated by him. “Ryouma…whatcha doin?”

 

“I have to find food for the festival,” he said. “Wanna come with?”

 

“Follow me,” Boku said as he hovered away. “I know the perfect place.”

 

***

 

Outside the boundaries of the hidden Ginga Forest, Ryuuta walked alone through the woods. “Dad’s on his own again,” he said. “He always gets lost.”

 

Ryuuta stopped in his tracks when he saw his father’s car parked along an asphalt path. “This is where I started from,” he said with confusion as he looked around. “What’s with this forest?”

 

Then, Ryouma fell through the border along with Boku. Ryouma dusted himself off as he stood. “Ah...See…we’re outside. I told you we were close to the border,” Ryouma said.

 

Boku’s eyes opened in surprise. “Ryouma, look behind you, behind you!”

 

Ryuuta stared wide-eyed at Ryouma.

 

***

 

The ceremony began within the Ginga Forest. Hayate, Gouki, Hikaru, Saya, and Hyuuga stood in front of the sword display. The old, bearded Shaman Ohghi paced by them. He started the ceremony by handing out the swords to the teens individually.  

 

“The 133rd generation warrior of flame, Hyuuga.” Hyuuga bowed and accepted his sword.

 

“Warrior of wind, Hayate.” Hayate declined his head and grabbed the sword by its leather holster.

 

“Warrior of water, Gouki.” Gouki was so nervous, he bumped his head against the sword, and some of the gathered children laughed.

 

“Warrior of thunder, Hikaru.” Hikaru had a lopsided grin on his face as he accepted the blade.

 

“Warrior of flower, Saya.” Saya gracefully bowed and accepted the sword.

 

“You Gingaman must awaken the Ginga Braces which are hidden in Mount Otakebi outside of our forest.” The shaman pointed out to the distance. The mountain had a tall pillar on it, and inside were the symbols of five animals.

 

***

 

Ryouma and Ryuuta were talking outside the Ginga Forest boundaries.

 

“Huh? A legendary forest?” Ryuuta asked.

 

“Yeah,” Ryouma said,

 

“But there’s no such thing,” Ryuuta got up and started to walk away. “This is the scientific age. There’s no such thing as legends.”

 

“I see,” Ryouma said as he stood. “Well…even though we just met…I’ll tell you the legend of this forest.”

 

Ryuuta wrinkled his brow.

 

***

 

Back at the ceremony, the Shaman Ohghi was telling the same story.

 

“3,000 years ago, the Earth was entering a dark era and was attacked by the most evil of space pirates. They were known as Balban. Five warriors fought against the Balban using the power known as Aasu. Using that power, the Seijuu arrived on Earth. The Seijuu and the warriors became one, and the Balban was banished beneath the sea.”

 

***

 

Ryuuta laughed. “That’s a true story? You can’t expect me to believe that?” he said as he laughed.

 

Ryouma nodded. “I understand why you can’t believe it.”

 

The forest ground began to shake violently. Ryouma felt a chill creep down his spine.

 

***

 

Ripples formed across the sea. A stone castle resting on top of a stone-encased dragon rose from the depths of the ocean. The stone around the castle cracked and shattered, revealing a castle of wood.

 

Inside, a man in leathery armor covered in what looked like zippers starting shooting his two guns in the air. His name was Sanbashu. He was happy to be free.

 

A skimpy-dressed woman in white armor stepped onto the deck. Her white hair contrasted her brown skin. Her name was Sherinda. “Stop, Sanbashu! You might damage something.”

 

“Sherinda…” Sanbashu started to say threateningly as he stepped towards her.

 

A barbarian covered in spikes crashed onto the deck. He carried a broad axe slung over his shoulder. His name was Batbos. “Shut up, Sanbashu! You want me to kick your ass?”

 

The commotion awoke Iresia. She stepped onto the deck. Her clothing and face ornaments had an Egyptian look and style. “You spoiled my wonderful morning…”

 

Sanbashu walked towards her. “I can still make you happy…”

 

The sound of metal sliding into a holster came from the deck’s main entrance. The samurai named Budo leaned against the frame with his sword in hand. “True happiness must be felt by oneself.”   

 

Sanbashu scoffed. “Whatever.”

 

Orange soldiers known as Yattatoo burst into the room. They started chanting and waving their curved swords. Each soldier wore a bandana around its head and a brown leather strap across its chest. What appeared as an upside down question mark was on each grunt’s orange face.

 

Sherinda walked over to a wooden keg, as tall as her waist. “Wake up, Bukarates,” Sherinda said as she poked the keg with a sword. The keg yelped as a small troll-like man stood from within. The keg itself retracted around his back. 

 

“What are you trying to do to me?” he asked as he rubbed his butt wound. “If I die, who would give you wisdom? I don’t know what would happen…”

 

“Shut up,” Sanbashu said as he pistol whipped the wise troll.

 

A door opened on the main platform deck. “Silence you bastards!” their leader said as he entered the room. He had a hook for a hand and a long dark cape covering his back. 

 

“Zaihabu,” Sherinda spoke his name as the troops fell into formation.

 

Four black banners lowered from the ceiling. The Balban generals, Sanbashu, Budo, Iresia, and Batbos, stood beneath their respective banners. Zaihabu nodded with approval as he ran his hand along his hook. 

 

“Finally we have some luck,” Zaihabu said. “After 3,000 years…we can do anything we want now…”

 

***

 

Wooden ships powered by a spell from Bukarates floated from the castle and streaked towards the city of Stone Canyon. Yattatoo were piled in the ships, along with the four generals.

 

***

 

Batbos leapt from a ship towards a group of skyscrapers below. A group of Yattatoo joined him in the plummet towards the surface.

 

The Yattatoo crashed through a skylight and into the lobby of a building. They armed their curved sabers and charged forward to attack the citizens, who were screaming and running in panic.

 

Batbos slammed his axe through support columns within the building, causing the lobby to collapse.

 

Budo stalked through the city streets, using his samurai sword to slash the tires of moving vehicles. Cars swerved out of control and crashed against one another.    

 

Iresia entered jewelry stores while holding a crystal ball that emitted a high-pitched noise. The noise made people scream as Iresia and the soldiers lifted jewels and placed them into bags.

 

Sanbashu stalked down the street, shooting his two handguns at anything that moved.

 

***

 

Shaman Ohghi sensed the Balban. He wasted no time dispatching Hyuuga and the others into battle. The teens ran to their horses and mounted the beasts.

 

The young warriors rode forward, leaving the Ginga Tribe’s boundary with a flash of light.

 

“Let’s go!” Hyuuga shouted as they road on.

 

“Warriors!” they heard Ohghi shouting. “Go to Mount Outakebi. Awaken the Ginga Braces and fight as Gingaman!”

 

***

 

Ryouma wrinkled his brow as he watched his older brother and friends storm away from the Ginga Forest on their horses. He stood and watched them take off towards the distance. “Brother?” Ryouma asked himself. “Why did they come out to this world?”

 

Ryouma followed the horses. Ryuuta was at the teen’s heels.

 

***

 

The horses stopped at the foot of the mountain, where the pillar extended towards the sky. Inside were five symbols, each representing an animal engraved on the Seijuukin. 

 

“There,” Hyuuga said as they dismounted.

 

Explosions sparked across the ground in front of them as they fell off their feet. Zaihabu’s hovering boat landed between the teens and the mountain. Bukarates was inside the ship as well, along with a group of Yattatoo.

 

“They have the Seijuukin,” Bukarates said. “They must be the descendants.”

 

“You must be Balban,” Hyuuga said as he and the others stood in defensive stances.

 

“You will pay for what your ancestors did to us!” Zaihabu yelled.

 

Yattatoo leapt from the boat and charged towards the teens.

 

“We have to get the Ginga Braces,” Hyuuga said as he unsheathed his sword. “Let’s go!”

 

The five warriors charged into battle.

 

Hyuuga dashed past a Yattatoo while running his blade through the soldier’s gut, the sword sparking on impact. The warrior jump kicked a second grunt upside the head before chopping his sword down, ripping the soldier open from top to bottom with bursts of spark.

 

A group of seven soldiers rushed towards Hyuuga from the side. Hyuuga extended his palm towards them. “Ha!” He launched a stream of fire that exploded against the soldiers, knocking them backward as explosions ripped across their bodies.

 

Hayate held his sword upside down, with the handle upward and the blade downward. He spun past a soldier while slashing the grunt across the chest. Another group of soldiers rushed towards him.

 

Hayate extended his hand. “Ha!” He fired a stream of twirling wind from his palm that knocked against the soldiers and sent them flying backward. 

 

Gouki slammed his elbow against a soldier’s face. He turned to his left and chopped his sword down through a soldier’s head with a powerful blow.

 

Gouki slammed his fist against the ground. “Ha!” Geysers of water erupted from the surface and blasted the soldiers backward.  

 

Saya stood in a defensive stance as soldiers charged towards her. She thrust her hand forward. “Ha!” Energy petals gently swirled around her like flower petals in the breeze. The petals shot forward and cut through the soldiers like hot knives through butter. The grunts exploded and crashed to the ground.

 

***

 

Ryouma and Ryuuta came to a cliff and looked down on the battle below. “That’s…” Ryouma started to say.

 

Ryuuta gasped. “What’s going on!?”

 

Ryouma nodded. “I told you… That’s the space pirate group, the Balban.”

 

***

 

Hyuuga slashed a Yattatoo out of his way and dashed towards the mountain. Zaihabu leapt onto the ground to block the warrior’s path. The villain lifted his hook arm. “This arm…I was injured in the last battle by Gingared. I’ll show you how painful that was…”

 

Zaihabu shot his hook forward like an arrow. The hook was still connected to the villain’s arm with a chain. The hook and chain wrapped around Hyuuga’s neck. Zaihabu snapped the chain forward, tugging Hyuuga closer.

 

The pirate slashed his blade across the teen’s chest. Hyuuga’s body whipped backward and crashed to the ground. 

 

“Brother!” Ryouma shouted as he hopped down the cliff.

 

Zaihabu walked closer to Hyuuga. Hyuuga was hunched over, his hand over the deep, bleeding cut across his chest. “Your injury is nothing compared to mine,” Zaihabu said.

 

A basket struck Zaihabu in the head. The pirate turned to see Ryouma charged towards him.

 

“Stop!” Ryouma shouted as he dashed forward towards the villain.

 

“Ryouma, don’t!” Hyuuga yelled.

 

Ryouma pounced like a lion towards Zaihabu. The pirate used its hook arm to bash Ryouma from the air. Ryouma crashed against the ground, but quickly rolled to his knees and assumed a crouched fighting stance. 

 

Ryouma thrust his hand forward towards the pirate. “Ha!” Fireballs leapt from his palm and exploded against the villain’s armor. The captain barely seemed to notice.

 

“You have no power, even though you are their descendant,” Zaihabu said. He transformed his hook arm into a cannon. “Get out of my sight!”

 

The cannon fired.

 

“Ryouma!” Hyuuga shouted as he pounced forward and pushed his older brother out of harm’s way. The cannon blast exploded with a shockwave that sent the two brothers crashing backward.

 

Zaihabu slammed his curved blade against the ground. A massive crack formed in the ground and streaked towards the brothers as the earth split open.

 

Hyuuga could not avoid the crack as the ground split in two beneath his feet. He fell downward, but managed to grab onto a stone to keep from plummeting towards the depths below.

 

“Brother!” Ryouma yelled as he ran to the edge and laid down, extended his hand towards Hyuuga. “Give me your hand!”

 

Hyuuga reached as hard as he could but he couldn’t touch his brother’s hand.

 

Zaihabu fired his chain to the other side of the cliff. “You are not as strong as your ancestors,” he said as he started to pull the split back together.

 

Four smaller ships suddenly hovered downward from the air. The Balban generals had arrived.

 

“Captain!” Sanbashu shouted as he and the others leapt from the ships and landed on the ground below.

 

“Did you find them?” Iresia asked.

 

“Yes,” Zaihabu said. “But they’re not as strong as their ancestors.”

 

Ryouma kept trying to reach his brother’s hand. “Brother!”

 

“Ryouma,” Hyuuga said as he started to slip. “Listen to me. You do have great Aasu. You just don’t believe in yourself…”

 

Zaihabu pulled harder as the earth shook.

 

Hyuuga extended his saber upward. “Ryouma…take it.”

 

Ryouma shook his head as tears streamed to his face. “No! Give me your hand! Hurry!”

 

Hyuuga placed the sword in Ryouma’s hand.

 

“Ryouma,” Hyuuga said softly. “I believe in your strength.”

 

“Brother!”

 

Zaihabu gave a final pull. “Go to hell!” he shouted as he pulled the crack closer together.

 

Hyuuga slipped and fell towards the darkness below.

 

“Brother!” Ryouma yelled. The ground slammed closed.

 

“Hyuuga!” the others yelled as they ran to Ryouma’s side. Ryouma slowly rose to his feet, his body trembling. His knuckles were turning white from grasping the saber so tightly.

 

The generals laughed at the teens. “You are miserable,” Batbos said.

 

“You disgrace the names of your ancestors,” Budo said.

 

Ryouma wrinkled his brow and glared at the Balban. “Brother…” He called upon all his anger and sorrow. He let his emotions fuel him. He shouted a war cry and raised his hands in front of his chest.

 

“Main of Flame!” He shouted as he thrust his hands forward. A massive torrent of flames shot forth, a blanket of fire that exploded against the gathered villains, knocking them backward with a massive burst of sparks and flame.

 

The five teens stood together boldly as the Balban rose to their feet. Ryouma tightened his grip on the sword.  

 

“I won’t forgive you,” Ryouma shouted. “We’ll destroy you!”

 

The pillar erupted as the braces shot forward in streaks of light. The light struck the teens and wrapped around their wrists as their braces formed. 

 

Ryouma looked at the others with a fierce look of determination in his eyes. They nodded and armed their braces.

 

“Let’s go!” Ryouma shouted. “Ginga Tensei!” Ryouma twisted the dial on his morpher, which clicked into position over a red line. “Ha!”

 

image005The teens slapped their braces’ activation panels. The energy of their elements circled like pillars around them as they morphed into their armor.

 

“It’s them,” Zaihabu grumbled.

 

The Rangers snapped into fighting stances.

 

“Gingared! Ryouma!”

 

“Gingagreen! Hayate!”

 

“Gingablue! Gouki!”

 

“Gingayellow! Hikaru!”

 

“Gingapink! Saya!”

 

Gingared extended his hand. “The sword of legend cuts through the galaxy! Seijuu Sentai!”

 

image007Together, they shouted. “Gingaman!”

 

“Gingaman!” Sherinda cursed.

 

“Break!” Gingared shouted as they jumped into action.

 

Gingablue pounced forward and grabbed a soldier by the back of the neck. The Blue Ranger slammed the grunt to the ground, bashing the soldier’s head against the ground. Gingablue rolled across the ground towards his next target.

 

Gingayellow jumped and hopped through a group of soldiers that were swinging their curved swords towards the Ranger. The Yellow Ranger moved in low and sweep kicked a grunt’s leg away. Gingayellow rose back to his feet and flipped another soldier over his shoulder.  

 

Gingayellow rolled to his side and kicked the legs out from another grunt. The Yellow Ranger grabbed the soldier by the neck and started to drag the soldier across the ground. Gingayellow slammed the soldier’s head against a tree and rolled aside.

 

Meanwhile, Gingagreen crouched on the ground with his arms stretched out. He sprang through the air, bounced off a tree with his feet, and glided past a group of soldiers while slashing his sword across their armor.

 

Galaxy Green landed while grabbing two soldiers by the neck and pushing them to the ground. He used his hands like claws to bash their faces before leaping away towards his next opponents.

 

Gingapink charged towards a group of soldiers. She pounced forward and slammed the grunt to the ground. She clawed across the soldier’s face before rolling off the grunt.

 

Gingared shouted a war cry and charged towards Zaihabu and the Balban generals. “Seijuukin!” he shouted as he unsheathed his sword. He held the blade forward as he ran towards the villains.

 

Sanbashu extended his gun and emptied several rounds. Bullets exploded against Gingared as the Ranger ran through the blasts, ignoring the attack.

 

Zaihabu fired his cannon at the Ranger. Gingared dove over the blast, rolled forward across the ground, and rose back to his feet while continuing his charge. 

 

The generals stood in front of their captain to protect him. Gingared dashed past each of the villains while slashing across their bodies. The Red Ranger dashed past the generals and moved in straight towards the captain.

 

image009Gingared jumped towards Zaihabu while swinging his blade down towards the captain’s head. Zaihabu used his hook to catch the sword. The captain twisted the blade downward and slashed his own curved blade across the Red Ranger’s chest. The blade sparked upon impact and knocked the Ranger backward.

 

Gingared rolled back into a crouched position and thrust his hands forward. “Ha!” he shouted as he fired a stream of flame that exploded against the captain and knocked him backward.

 

Zaihabu slowly rose to his feet. His generals regrouped around him.

 

image011Gingared slowly brought his blade upward as strands of crimson energy collected in the blade’s hilt. Gingared brought the blade down towards his chest and twisted the sword so its edge faced the Balban. Red energy flared upward on the saber.

 

“Mane of flame!” Gingared swung the saber downward with a streak of fiery red energy. The blade produced a shockwave that exploded against the Balban captain and generals with a burst of spark.

 

The five Rangers regrouped as Ryuuta watched, his eyes wide open with amazement. 

 

“Okay Gingaman,” Zaihabu said as he and the other Balban moved back towards their ships. “You’ve won this battle, but don’t think you’ve won the war!”

 

The Balban leapt onto their ships and flew back into the air, streaking into the skies.

 

Gingared looked down at the sword held tightly in his hand. “Brother…”

 

To be continued…Chapter 02