Galaxy Rangers: Chapter Eight

Sanbashu's Final Hope

 

Yattatoo soldiers surrounded Sanbashu on the deck of the Balban ship. Each soldier aimed their curved blade towards the general, ready to strike if the zipper-armored warrior resisted.

 

Sherinda walked forward, a half smile spreading across her face as she watched Sanbashu tremble with fear. “Yattatoo…seize him.”

 

“No!” Sanbashu shouted. “Captain! I will not be taken away by these orange mumbling fools!”

 

Capt. Zaihabu walked onto the deck. “You deserve worse, Sanbashu. But do not worry…the worse is yet to come.”

 

“No!” Sanbashu shouted.

 

The general pulled his sidearm and fired on each of the Yattatoo. The soldiers dropped one by one as explosions sparked through their chests.

 

Sanbashu held his sidearm at the ready while looking towards Zaihabu. “My latest plan was not a complete failure.”

 

More Yattatoo flooded into the room and stalked towards Sanbashu to attack.

 

“Explain quickly,” Zaihabu said as the Yattatoo charged forward and swung their blades towards the general.

 

Sanbashu fired at the approaching soldiers while he explained. “The quakes unearthed the cave where the Lights of Orion are being held…I have the key.”

 

ginga-vi-budou13“Ha!” Sherinda said mockingly. “Only someone with Aasu can open that cave.”

 

“I know!” Sanbashu said, shooting down the last of the soldiers. “That can be arranged…”

 

No one on the deck noted a creature spying on them. The warrior was dressed in the styling of a Japanese ancient monk. He wore a basket-like helmet that covered his head and face, except for his mouth. His slender body was covered in baggy blue and white robes. He was Teksa, a monster from the army of General Budo.

 

***

 

Budo was sitting in a meditative posture within the ship. Teksa walked up behind his master, keeping his distance and staying off the meditation mat. Teksa told his master the plans of Sanbashu.

 

“So,” Budo said, slowly holding his sword in front of him and pulling the samurai-type blade from its holster. “This is Sanbashu’s final hope…”

 

Teksa nodded. “He will fail, my general.”

 

Budo nodded. “Be there if he doesn’t.”

 

***

 

Sanbashu drove his motor bike across a hilly field of dirt and grass just outside the city. His engine roared as he lifted his gun into the air and fired round after round. A coffin was chained to the back of his bike.

 

Gingaman!” he shouted, firing round after round. Gingaman!”

 

The Rangers suddenly burst onto the scene and snapped into fighting stances, morphed and ready for action.

 

“You called?” Galaxy Yellow said.

 

Sanbashu screeched his bike to a halt in front of the team.

 

Sanbashu,” Galaxy Red called while pointing forward towards the villain. “Whatever you’re up to this time…it’s about to stop.”

 

Sanbashu laughed mockingly while stepping off his bike. “Watch what you say, Gingared…you wouldn’t want me to accidentally hurt my cargo…”

 

Sanbashu whipped open the coffin and pulled up an unconscious body. It was Hyuuga.

 

“Brother!” Galaxy Red shouted, as the other Rangers stood speechless.

 

“Yes, your dear Hyuuga,” Sanbashu said.

 

“How…” Galaxy Red started to say, shaking his head. “How?!”

 

“Don’t you remember?” Sanbashu said. “He fell into that crevice…we went searching and found him shortly after. He’s still alive for the moment…but I plan to change that.”

 

“No!” Galaxy Red shouted as he and the other Rangers pounced forward to attack.

 

Sanbashu summoned a group of Yattatoo, and the orange grunts rushed towards the Rangers and attacked, keeping them away from Sanbashu and Hyuuga.

 

Galaxy Red knocked a Yattatoo away and hopped forward towards a second soldier, clawing the Yattatoo across the face. He continued forward with a jump kick as the other Rangers split up to tackle their own opponents with animal-like fury.

 

Sanbashu dropped Hyuuga back into the coffin and slammed it shut. He turned to taunt the Rangers while climbing back onto his motorcycle. “Gingaman…I hope you took a good look at your friend. You’ll never see him again.”

 

The Balban general rode off while dragging the coffin.

 

“Stop!” Galaxy Red shouted while swiping a Yattatoo across the face and jump kicking the soldier away.

 

The Galaxy Rangers regrouped and charged forward to stop Sanbashu, but their communicators suddenly chimed. The team stopped in their tracks as they heard Moku’s voice. “Rangers!” Moku called to them. “Do not follow…return to the ranch. I must speak with you.”

 

***

 

The rangers walked towards Moku. Hikaru stormed forward, visibly upset that he was being called off from the battle with Sanbashu and the Yattatoo. “Why’d you call us off?” Hikaru practically yelled. “They have Hyuuga.”

 

“I know,” Moku said. “Sanbashu is surely trying to lure you into a trap.”

 

Ryouma boldly stepped forward. “It doesn’t matter…they have my brother. We have to get him back.”

 

“And you will,” Moku said, “but be cautious. Sanbashu and the Yattatoo are searching for something in the mountains. Something powerful.”

 

Hayate nodded. “We’ll be fine, Moku.”

 

***

 

Tall yellow grass lined the mountains outside the city, along with several trees. Yattatoo were spread out across the area as a few of the soldiers stood guard around the base of a large hill. Hyuuga was tied to the trunk of a tree at the foot of the hill. He was still unconscious, his head slumping down low.

 

The rangers stayed hidden behind a mound as they watched the soldiers movements for a weak point. They saw Sanbashu walk over to Hyuuga and backfist him across the face.

 

“Come on,” Hikaru said, nearly pouncing forward to attack.

 

Hayate grabbed Hikaru by the arm to keep the teen from running forward. “Stay down.”

 

“Ryouma,” Hikaru said, looking to his leader. “How can you just sit and watch them do this to Hyuuga?”

 

Ryouma shook his head. “We can’t just charge in…we have to move carefully.”

 

The rangers split up and snuck towards separate opponents, staying low and out of sight. Sanbashu was leaning against the tree in a relaxed posture, his gun held up and resting against his shoulder.

 

One of the nearby Yattatoo quietly yelped as its legs were knocked out from underneath and he was pulled to the ground. From behind a close dirt mound, a pair of hands aimed forward with a slingshot.

 

The slingshot fired and exploded around Sanbashu, sending sparks showering in every direction.

 

“What the?!” Sanbashu shouted while stepping forward through the explosion.

 

Saya, Hikaru, Gouki, and Hayate hopped forward and snapped into animal-like fighting stances as Sanbashu and the Yattatoo regrouped.

 

“Ha,” Sanbashu said mockingly as he stepped forward. “It’s about time you showed up.”

 

The Balban general extended his firearm and triggered several shots.

 

The blasts exploded around the rangers as they shouted “Galaxy transform!” to transform into their armor and hop through the sparks. They stood in animal-like postures while charging forward to attack Sanbashu.

 

“Yattatoo!” Sanbashu shouted as he dashed forward along with the orange foot soldiers. The Rangers split up and attacked, slamming against the soldiers with a flurry of movement.

 

While the villains were distracted battling the four Rangers, Ryouma snuck over to where his older brother was tied to a tree. The ranger kneeled down and placed his hands on Hyuuga’s shoulders, slightly shaking him.

 

“Brother…brother,” Ryouma pleaded.

 

Hyuuga slowly stirred, his eyes opening as he looked up, smiling when he saw his younger brother’s face. “Ryouma…” he said weakly.

 

“Hyuuga,” Ryouma said as he leaned forward and embraced his brother. “When you fell down that crevice…I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. How did you escape?”

 

Hyuuga shook his head. “There’s no time for that now. We have to stop Sanbashu…he’s after the Lights of Orion.”

 

“Lights of Orion?” Ryouma asked.

 

Hyuuga nodded. “Help me up, Ryouma…”

 

Sanbashu turned from battling Galaxy Green and noticed Ryouma untying Hyuuga and helping the older teen to his feet. “Stay away from him!”

 

Galaxy Green threw himself onto the general before Sanbashu could fire at Ryouma and Hyuuga. “Ryouma! Get Hyuuga out of here!”

 

Ryouma nodded and draped his brother’s arm over his shoulder, helping Hyuuga scurry away from the battle site. They moved through the woods as fast as they could while a group of Yattatoo stayed in pursuit. Ryouma didn’t want to fight the soldiers while Hyuuga was injured. The ranger didn’t want any more harm to come to his older brother.

 

Ryouma and Hyuuga turned towards an area thick with foliage and ducked for cover behind a bush. The two brothers sat in silence, watching as the Yattatoo passed them by.

 

“They’re gone,” Ryouma said. “For now at least…”

 

Hyuuga nodded, still a little winded. “Good. “Now…we have to free the Lights of Orion before Sanbashu does.”

 

“Brother,” Ryouma asked as he leaned down to Hyuuga, “what are these Lights?”

 

“A powerful energy source that was released on our world thousands of years ago,” Hyuuga explained. “Sanbashu could use the lights to revive Daitanix…we can’t let that happen.”

 

“What do we do?” Ryouma asked.

 

Before Hyuuga could answer, a group of Yattatoo burst from the trees and attacked the brothers by surprise. The two teens dove for cover to avoid being sliced in half. Ryouma grabbed hold of a soldier’s wrist and flipped that grunt to the ground while dropping to his back. Ryouma swung his legs while on the ground, smashing another Yattatoo away.

 

Hyuuga grabbed onto a soldier’s shoulders and fell backward, bringing the Yattatoo down too. Hyuuga placed his foot on the soldier’s chest and rolled backward, pushing off and sending the Yattatoo flying and slamming against a tree trunk.

 

“Ryouma,” Hyuuga called to his brother, still out of breath and heavily injured. “Help me up…we have to get moving.”

 

Ryouma moved to his brother’s side, draping Hyuuga’s arm over his shoulder. The brothers started moving off to escape the next wave of incoming Yattatoo. They moved as fast as they could, but Hyuuga was having trouble keeping up because of his injuries.

 

“Ryouma, wait,” Hyuuga said to his brother.

 

Ryouma stopped and lowered Hyuuga to the ground near a tree. “What is it?”

 

“I’m just slowing you down,” Hyuuga said. “You have to go on without me. You have to get the Lights and keep them away from Sanbashu.”

 

“No way,” Ryouma said. “I will not leave you behind again.”

 

Hyuuga reached forward and placed a hand on Ryouma’s shoulder. “Ryouma…you have to do this. The cave is hidden just beyond a hill not too far from here. Follow your Aasu. It will guide you.”

 

Yattatoo burst from the bushes and charged towards the brothers. Hyuuga summoned his inner strength and threw himself forward, grabbing onto the lead Yattatoo and holding it steady while looking back to his younger brother. “Ryouma! Go! Find the Lights!”

 

Ryouma shook his head. “But brother…”

 

Hyuuga flipped a soldier over, slamming it to the ground and smashing a punch against the fallen soldier’s chest. Hyuuga looked to his brother. “Go!”

 

Ryouma bit back a curse and reluctantly ran, leaving his brother behind to battle the Yattatoo.

 

***

 

The other four Rangers fought against the Yattatoo, splitting up to take the soldiers one on one. Sanbashu set his sights on Galaxy Green and slammed an upper cut punch against the Ranger’s chest. The villain followed by the slamming his weapon handle against the back of Galaxy Green’s neck.

 

Galaxy Green stumbled backward and fell against a tree before turning and facing Sanbashu again. Explosions sparked against Galaxy Green’s chest as Sanbashu opened fire.

 

***

 

Ryouma ran to the base of a small cliff that looked over the ocean shore. A cave entrance was beneath the cliff, sealed with an ancient metal door that bore the symbol of the Earth, surrounded by a star of light.

 

“This has to be it…” Ryouma said as he drew on his Aasu, igniting the fire inside his body. He extended his hand and launched a flame pulse that exploded against the door and blasted it open.

 

Ryouma breathed a sigh of relief and ran towards the entrance, hopping inside, and landing on the dark cavern floor below. He spotted a cage up ahead that was surrounded by a pale blue light. Ryouma ran to the cage door and found the lock.

 

Seijuukin!” he shouted while unsheathing his sword and hacking the cage open.

 

Ryouma entered the cage and moved towards the cave’s center to where a large chest sat. The chest was black and gold, surrounded by dirt and rust. He used his sword to break the chest’s lock as well. Inside was a small wooden box lined with red and gold. The box contained the Lights.

 

Ryouma picked up the box and started moving towards the cave’s exit. He didn’t get far before an energy pulse slammed against his back and knocked him to the ground, scorching his flesh and damaging his body. Ryouma weakly looked back to face his attacker. He opened his eyes wide with horror when he saw Hyuuga.

 

“Brother…what are you?”

 

Hyuuga kicked Ryouma in the face and walked out of the cave with the box containing the Lights of Orion in hand.

 

***

 

Sanbashu grabbed Galaxy Green by the neck and slammed a knee against the Ranger’s chest before backfisting him away. The Yattatoo continued to fight against the other three Galaxy Rangers, Seijuukin clashing against the soldiers’ own curved blades.

 

Sanbashu!” a voice shouted from above. The villain turned to see Hyuuga standing with the golden box in hand. “The Lights of Orion are ours!”

 

Galaxy Blue swung the end of his saber to knock the last Yattatoo away as he and the others regrouped, looking up at Hyuuga. “Hyuuga? What are you doing?”

 

“Where’s Ryouma?” Galaxy Yellow asked.

 

Hyuuga laughed and jumped off the cliff, flipping downward and landing on the Rangers’ level. “Ryouma is left for dead.”

 

“No!” Galaxy Pink shouted.

 

Galaxy Green wrinkled his brow beneath his helmet. “You’re not Hyuuga.”

 

Hyuuga laughed. “Very observant…”

 

ginga-vi-sanbash12Orange energy flashed around the Hyuuga doppelganger as he transformed into his true form, a bulky lion creature with red-orange fur and powerful claws. His name was Gurinjii. The creature snarled at the Rangers, revealing a mouth full of fangs. “Humans are so gullible.”

 

Sanbashu turned to his final soldier. Gurinjii! Kill them! Use the lights!”

 

Gurinjii snarled with delight as he started to open the box. Ryouma suddenly leapt forward as if from nowhere and slammed against the monster, knocking the creature backward and sending the small wooden box flying through the air. The box slammed against a stone, catching Sanbashu’s eyes.

 

The Balban general ran forward towards the box as Gurinjii continued to wrestle with Ryouma. Sanbashu pumped his legs as fast as possible, reaching forward towards the box that would be his salvation. His last chance.

 

“I don’t think so!” Galaxy Yellow said as he pounced forward, rolling across the ground and lifting the box into his hands while rolling into a crouched fighting stance. “Looks like your pet cat dropped something.”

 

Nearby, Gurinjii tossed Ryouma aside, sending the ranger tumbling backwards. The creature laughed mockingly at the ranger. “I’m stronger than you can ever hope to be, brother.”

 

Ryouma rose into a fighting stance and armed his brace. “We’ll see about that…Galaxy transform! Ha!” Energy shimmered around Ryouma as he slapped his brace and morphed into his Ranger form.

 

Galaxy Red pounced forward and swung his hands down towards the creature’s neck. He struck hard, but Gurinjii knocked the Ranger’s arms away and slammed a backhand across Galaxy Red’s helmet. Galaxy Red stumbled backward but stood his ground, stalking around the monster in a lion-like fighting stance.

 

Galaxy Red hopped forward with a knifehand chop aimed towards the monster’s collar. Gurinjii clawed the Ranger across the chest, knocking Galaxy Red backward. Galaxy Red rolled backward onto his knees and placed his hands together, aiming towards the monster.

 

“Ha!” Galaxy Red shouted, firing a torrent of flame that exploded against Gurinjii and sent the monster stumbling backward. The Ranger continued the advance by unsheathing his saber. Seijuukin!”

 

Galaxy Red leapt forward, swinging his blade down diagonally towards the monster’s head. Gurinjii ducked away and dove into the ground, digging into the surface like a mole. Galaxy Red snapped into a fighting stance, holding his saber upright while waiting for the creature’s reemergence.

 

Gurinjii erupted from beneath Galaxy Red and grabbed the Ranger’s ankles. Gurinjii pulled, flipping the Ranger through the air and sending him stumbling across the rocky ground. Gurinjii leapt over towards Galaxy Red and slammed his feet against the Ranger’s back. The monster stomped against the Ranger’s back, sparking against his armor with each strike.

 

Galaxy Red struggled to move as a voice sounded in his mind. It was Hyuuga. Ryouma…the voice said faintly. Ryouma…

 

“Brother,” Galaxy Red said softly, rolling his hands into fists. He wasn’t sure if the voice was a hallucination or real. Either way, Galaxy Red drew strength from the voice.

 

Galaxy Red grabbed hold of the monster’s ankle and pulled, knocking the creature off balance while the Ranger rolled away. Galaxy Red rolled back towards Gurinjii and speared the creature, Seijuukin piercing through its fleshy armor.

 

“Bastard…” Gurinjii said as he armed his own sword and faced off with Galaxy Red. “You will pay.”

 

Nearby, Sanbashu fired several blasts with his gun that exploded against Galaxy Yellow and the other three Rangers. The four Rangers went stumbling backward, crashing against the ground as the Balban general stalked towards them. Sanbashu kept his pistol aimed forward.

 

Sanbashu fired again, blasts exploded against the Rangers’ armor as the box went flying from Galaxy Yellow’s hands and landed at the feet of Sanbashu. Galaxy Red regrouped with the others as Sanbashu lifted the box.

 

“This is the end, Rangers…” Sanbashu said, softly running his hands along the box’s edge. “Daitanix will be revived by the Lights of Orion…but you will be dead before then.”

 

Sanbashu extended his blaster as Gurinjii also approached the Rangers. The two villains opened fire, Sanbashu with pulse blasts and Gurinjii with a jagged blast of orange energy. The blasts exploded against the Rangers’ armor with a violent shower of ripping sparks.

 

Sanbashu and Gurinjii regrouped, standing side by side and laughing at the fallen Rangers as they slowly struggled to rise to their knees.

 

Galaxy Yellow rolled his hands up into fists. “No one does this to us…no one…”

 

Galaxy Red slowly rose along with his teammates. “You two are going down, Balban. For mocking my brother’s memory.”

 

The Rangers stood boldly and armed their Kiba Daggers, holding the weapons together and pointing them towards the two villains. “Kiba Daggers, star formation…fire!”

 

A multi-colored, star-shaped energy pulse shot from the daggers and exploded against the two villains, knocking them backward with a fiery explosion. Gurinjii slowly climbed to his feet, smoke still rising from his orange muscles. He pulled out a small vile of liquid.

 

“Balban essence,” Gurinjii said as he drank the liquid. The potion started a chain reaction in the monster’s body. The creature’s cells started to expand as Gurinjii grew giant.

 

Galaxy Red looked to the sky and placed his hand near his mouthpiece while calling out. “Star Beasts, arise!”

 

The Rangers leapt onto their Star Beasts as the five creature stomped into battle.

 

“Zord transform!” Galaxy Red shouted while holding his Kiba Dagger into the air. Energy struck the daggers and flowed across the five beasts. The Star Beasts transformed into mystical suits of armor as the Rangers dropped down into their cockpits.

 

Seijuu fusion!” Galaxy Red commanded. “Gingaiou!”

 

The zords rushed forward, their bodies shifting and changing as the five combined into one armored warrior. A golden hilted double-edged sword appeared in the warrior’s hand.

 

“GalaxyMegazord!” Galaxy Red shouted once the fusion was complete. “Gingaiou!”

 

Below, Sanbashu lifted the box and prepared to release the Lights. “Finally…”

 

“Stop!” Galaxy Red shouted as he leapt down from the Megazord and landed on the ground below, snapping into a lion-like fighting stance and facing off with Sanbashu while unsheathing his Seijuukin. “Drop the Lights, Balban. Drop them now.”

 

“Bastard!” Sanbashu shouted as he held his pistol at the ready. “It’s well past your time to die!”

 

Galaxy Red and Sanbashu charged towards each other, while above, the GalaxyMegazord charged towards Gurinjii. GalaxyMegazord slid forward while horizontally slashing its blade across the lion monster, while below, Sanbashu fired a volley of blasts that exploded against Galaxy Red’s chest with a shower of sparks.

 

Sanbashu poured on the firepower until Galaxy Red collapsed to his knees, smoke rising from his armor after the volley of explosive blasts.

 

Galaxy Red slowly rose back to his feet, tightening his grasp on his saber while glaring at Sanbashu through his visor. “You Balban have done enough harm…I won’t let you hurt anyone else. Like you hurt Hyuuga. Like you hurt me.”

 

“Just die!” Sanbashu shouted, extending his gun to fire again.

 

Galaxy Red twisted his saber, energizing the blade with crimson, fiery light. “Mane of flame!”

 

Sanbashu fired a volley of blasts as Galaxy Red’s energized saber slashed vertically down the villain's leather-armored chest with massive bursts of sparks. The weakened warriors stood facing each other, both wounded but trying to keep their ground. Sanbashu collapsed first, dropping the Lights. Galaxy Red collapsed soon after.

 

Above, GalaxyMegazord landed a solid blow against the lion’s face and prepared to finish Gurinjii off.

 

Gingalcon!” Galaxy Green shouted as the GalaxyMegazord armed its blaster, which was part of the Condor Galactazord. “Howling blast!”

 

The condor shrieked and fired a pulse blast that exploded through the creature’s chest, ripping the monster apart as he fell backwards and exploded.

 

Sanbashu, smoking and damaged, crawled over to the Lights of Orion box and cradled it in his arms. The Balban general pulled out his golden key and inserted it into the box, slowly twisting. The lock clicked open. He slowly opened the box…but nothing was inside.

 

“What?!” Sanbashu said, frantically shaking his head. “The Lights…the Lights aren’t…”

 

Galaxy Red slowly pulled himself to his feet while using his saber for balance. Sanbashu mumbled to himself while the Ranger rose, then broke into insane laughter.

 

“The Lights,” Sanbashu said, laughing beneath his breath. “Capt. Zaihabu will have my head…no place to hide…damn you Rangers!” Sanbashu tossed the empty box to the ground and turned to face Galaxy Red. “You are behind this…I know this…I know it…”

 

The general’s injuries suddenly sparked again, exploding across the villain’s armor as he fell back to his knees. The other Rangers arrived in time to see Sanbashu fall, and they regrouped with Galaxy Red.

 

The Balban general tilted his head up and glared at the Red Ranger. “You…” he grumbled. “If I’m going to die…you’re coming too!”

 

Sanbashu flipped backward through the air and landed on his motor bike. He opened the throttle to full and shouted a war cry while racing towards Galaxy Red. The Ranger snapped into a defensive stance as Sanbashu opened a gun port in front of his cycle.

 

Galaxy Red screamed as he charged forward. He held his Kiba Claw forward in his right hand, and his Seijuukin back in his left hand. Sanbashu opened fire, showering explosions across Galaxy Red’s armor, but the Ranger continued his charge.

 

“Mane of Flame!” Galaxy Red shouted as he flipped forward through the air and energized his two blades with fire. He passed over Sanbashu’s cycle while swinging the blades in an ‘x’ formation. The blades slashed through the general’s body as Galaxy Red landed behind the charging cycle.

 

Sparks exploded across Sanbashu’s body as he drove out of control, driving through the trees. His cycle went berserk and drove off a cliff. Sanbashu screamed with rage as his cycle and body overloaded, fiery explosions consuming him.

 

The five Rangers walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down at the Balban general’s final moments. The Rangers weren’t the only ones who saw Sanbashu’s demise. Nearby, Teksa stepped back into the shadows

 

To be continued…Chapter 09