The Legend of Zeo: Chapter Five

Hostages

 

On the mountainous shore outside of Angel Grove, a slender machine monster with a dark cape stood on a cliff while waving his hands and whispering an incantation. The incantation was actually an activation sequence for a variety of programs overlaid in this machine’s systems.

 

Through his mind’s eye, the monster saw Billy, a now powerless former Ranger. The machine zeroed in on his appointed target.

 

***

 

“Thanks for coming with me,” Billy said as he walked through Angel Grove’s amusement park alongside Tommy.

 

“No problem,” Tommy said. “So how long is your cousin going to be in town?”

 

Billy and Tommy stopped by a karris-wheel and watched Billy’s young female cousin ride around in circles as she smiled and waved.

 

“Just a couple more days,” he said.

 

Billy’s cousin, Crystal, finished her ride on the wheel and ran over to Billy.

 

“That was so fun!” she shouted as Billy picked her up and gave her a hug. “Can we go to the bumper cars next?”

 

“Sure,” Billy said with a smile as he set her down.

 

A high-pitched noise sounded above as Tommy and Billy looked up to see a trio of machine mecha screech through the skies.

 

“Not here…” Billy said.

 

The mechs released their missile racks, and the weapons streaked towards the amusement park below. Tommy and Billy jumped for cover along with Crystal as explosions tore up the ground around them. Citizens and tourists ran in panic as a group of Cogs appeared.

 

Tommy snapped into a fighting stance as Billy stood in between the Cogs and Crystal. “Billy,” Tommy said. “Run…”

 

Billy reluctantly nodded and ran off with Crystal as the machine soldiers charged forward.

 

A Cog swung its staff towards Tommy’s head, but he high blocked the blow before snapping a jump kick against the soldier’s chest.

 

Tommy spun around towards the next Cog while slamming a reverse sidekick against the soldier. He then turned to his right and round kicked a soldier in the mid-section before knifehanding that Cog across the neck.

 

***

 

The Command Chamber’s mecha hanger was concealed within the mountains, oblivious to only those who knew exactly where to find it.

 

Justin and Kat stood in the mecha bay’s main control room, a small rectangular space with gray consoles and wall plating. They stared through the view port into the main hanger as INET personnel worked on their two new zords.

 

“Your two zords will be the first ready,” Alpha told them. “The Dash Leon and the Moa Loader.”

 

“Nice,” Justin said as he looked over his zord, which resembled a giant sphinx.

 

“Come with me and I’ll give you a closer look,” Alpha said.

 

The two teens followed the android into the bay.

 

***

 

The machine continued his incantation on the cliffs above the shore. His eyes started to pulse with energy as they floated free of his metal skull.

 

The two eye spheres expanded to the size of basketballs as they floated towards the city.

 

***

 

Billy was hurrying through the park’s parking garage with Crystal when the machine’s eye appeared in front of them, blocking their path.

 

Billy stood in front of Crystal and backed away as he shouted to her. “Run!”

 

The eye fired a pulse of crimson energy that exploded against the ground, causing a shockwave that knocked Billy and Crystal to their feet.

 

The eye latched out with an energy whip tractor beam and lifted Billy and Crystal up before streaking off into the distance while carrying them along.

 

***

 

Back at the amusement park, Tommy reverse crescent kicked a soldier to the ground as the last of the civilians cleared the area.

 

Chris and Ashley drove to the scene on their Zeo Cycles and skid to a halt before jumping off their bikes and running towards Tommy.

 

“Tommy!” Chris shouted as he and Ashley sprinted towards their leader.

 

Tommy jump hook kicked a Cog across the head as Chris and Ashley came to his side.

 

“Let’s do it,” Tommy said as he readied his Zeo braces. “It’s morphin time…”

 

“Ultra Transform!” they shouted as their armor shimmered to form around them.

 

Zeored armed his Star Riser sword and dashed forward while striking a Cog horizontally through the chest. He spun around while bringing his blade down diagonally through another soldier.

 

Zeogreen jump kicked a Cog in front of him before hook punching that soldier across the head. He activated his axe weapons and dashed forward while cutting a Cog down with an ‘x’ formation strike.

 

Zeoyellow axe kicked a Cog to the ground before spinning forward and slamming her heel across another soldier’s head.

 

***

 

Billy slowly opened his eyes and found himself bound to a post on the shore. He looked up to see a machine monster staring down at him. He had his hand on the back of Crystal’s neck as she stood staring blankly off into space.

 

“What have you done to her?” Billy yelled.

 

“She’ll be fine,” the monster named Machine Brain said. “I can’t say the same for you….or your friends.”

 

The machine snapped his fingers, and Cogs appeared in a flash of light. The soldiers tossed Adam, Rocky, and Kimberly down next to Crystal.

 

“Guys!” Billy shouted.

 

***

 

Back at the amusement park, Zeored and his two teammates were still bashing through the remaining Cogs.

 

The machine’s second eye appeared and swooped down from the sky as it struck the three Rangers across their chests.

 

They were knocked to the ground as they quickly rose to their knees and pulled out their side arms.

 

“Zeo Blasters!” Zeored shouted as the three Rangers fired lances of crimson energy towards the sphere.

 

The eye absorbed the energy before reflecting it back, causing explosions to dance across the Rangers’ armor.

 

“What is that thing?” Zeoyellow asked.

 

“Nothing good,” Zeored said.

 

The sphere grew to giant size and began collecting junk and debris from all around the city. The sphere converted the mass into a star-fished shape body suit of armor as tall as a skyscraper. Its name was Machine Star.

 

The Machine stomped down as the Rangers rolled out of the way to avoid being stepped on. The monster then turned its attention to the city and began firing pulses of plasma energy that exploded across the streets.

 

***

 

Justin and Kat entered the Command Chamber as alarms started to blare.

 

“What’s going on?” Justin asked.

 

“Observe the Viewing Globe,” Zordon said.

 

The Globe activated and displayed an image of the giant starfish monster stomping through the city streets.

 

“Where are the others?” Kat asked.

 

“They are battling a small group of Cogs,” Zordon said. “You two must arm your mecha and fight this latest creation.”

 

“Um, Zordon,” Justin said as he looked back to his mentor. “We haven’t exactly had time for piloting lessons yet.”

 

“Alpha will feed instructions through your helmet monitors as needed,” Zordon said. “You can do this Rangers. I have faith in you.”

 

Justin and Kat looked at each other and nodded with some confidence and uncertainty mixed together.

 

“We’re on our way,” Justin said.

 

***

 

Justin and Kat entered their zords’ cockpits within the mecha hanger, making some last minute adjustments as they took their seats.

 

“It’s now or never,” Justin said to Kat over the comm system.

 

They readied their Zeo braces. “Ultra Transform!”

 

Energy shimmered around them as they morphed into their armor.

 

Catwalks retracted from the two zords as the mecha bay door slid open.

 

“Dash Leon, activate,” Zeoblue shouted as his sphinx-type zord began moving forward.

 

“Moa Loader, activate.” Zeopink called as she brought her zord online. It was dragged forward by the Dash Leon, being connected to the blue zord from behind by two chains.

 

***

 

Zeoblue looked through his forward viewport as his zord stomped towards the star machine.

 

The monster opened fire with its pulse cannons which exploded around the two Zeo-zords. The two zords moved forward towards the explosion to launch a counter attack.

 

“Moa Loader Fire!” Zeopink said as her zord’s laser turrets opened fire, spraying pink lances of energy towards the monster. The zord’s side missile ports opened and launched a volley of explosive rockets towards the machine.

 

“Dash Leon Fire!” Zeoblue shouted as his zord launched fiery energy bolts towards the machine.

 

Explosions danced across the star monster’s armor as he returned fire by energizing one of his star blades and launching it forward like a boomerang. The weapon exploded against the two Zeo-zords.

 

***

 

Machine Brain wrapped an energy lasso around Crystal and swung her through the air like a rag doll on a string.

 

“Stop!” Billy shouted as he struggled against his bindings.

 

The machine laughed. “Where’s your sense of humor?”

 

The monster tossed Crystal aside and leapt down to the shore before walking slowly towards the former ranger, Cogs falling into formation besides him.

 

“I heard you used to be quite a warrior,” the machine said. “If only your old enemies could see you now.” He started to laugh as Billy struggled against the chains.

 

Explosions rang around the group of machines as they were thrown to the ground. Billy craned his head back to see Tommy jetting towards them on his Zeo Cycle.

 

Tommy drove past several Cogs, knocking them to the ground as he accelerated.

 

From the cliff above, Chris and Ashley appeared as they pushed boulders below, crushing some of the Cogs.

 

They dashed down the cliff and regrouped with Tommy as they ran towards Billy. Before they could reach their friends, a wall of Cogs blocked their way.

 

“It’s morphin time!” Tommy called as he readied his Zeo braces.

 

“Ultra Transform!” they shouted as they activated their armor.

 

The three Rangers charged through the group of Cogs with a flurry of punches and kicks.

 

Zeored flipped a soldier over his shoulder before dashing forward and slamming a sidekick across another Cog’s face. He roundhoused another soldier down as he made it to Billy and started to untie the former ranger’s chains.

 

“Crystal…” Billy said.

 

“Chris and Ashley will take care of her,” Zeored said as he draped Billy’s arm over his shoulder. “I’m getting you out of here.”

 

Zeored dragged Billy along as he armed his Zeo Saber and fought his way back towards his Zeo Cycle. He parried a soldier’s staff before slamming the end of his sword against that soldiers head.

 

“There’s a teleportation block around this area,” Zeored said as he slashed a Cog horizontally. “I’m taking you outside it.”

 

Billy went along reluctantly as he looked back towards his cousin Crystal and the other two Rangers.

 

***

 

The star monster ceased its attack as it looked off into the distance after receiving a signal from the machines at the shore.

 

The monster transformed back into its spherical form and blasted past the two zords while crashing against them.

 

***

 

Zeored sped through the woods on his Zeo Jet Cycle as Billy held on behind him. The giant sphere suddenly appeared above Zeored and transformed back into its giant monster form before stomping on the ground in front of the Ranger’s path.

 

“Whoa!” Zeored shouted as he swerved out of the way.

 

A group of mecha swarmed down from the sky and fired a volley of missiles at the Zeo Cycle.

 

Zeored evaded the blasts and throttled deeper into the woods.

 

The Ranger lost sight of the mecha as he pulled to a stop.

 

“Crystal,” Billy said with concern as he rose from the bike.

 

“She’ll be fine, Billy,” Zeored said as he placed his hands on Billy’s shoulders.

 

Billy shook his head. “And its not just her. The others are down here too.”

 

“Others...?”

 

“Rocky, Adam, Kimberly…”

 

Zeored’s body stiffened. “They’re here…?”

 

The two friends heard rustling noises come from deeper in the woods. They looked off to their side and saw Zeogreen and Zeoyellow running along with Crystal, leading the girl away from a group of Cogs.

 

“Hey!” Billy shouted as he ran towards the Cogs to distract them away from his cousin. “Over here!”

 

“Billy wait!” Zeored shouted as he ran after his friend.

 

Zeored regrouped with his two teammates and Crystal as Billy ran off in the opposite direction. The Cogs followed the former Ranger.

 

Zeogreen and Zeoyellow tried to run after Billy, but the giant monster stomped down in front of them, blocking their path.

 

Zeored held out his arm to hold back his two teammates.

 

“We’ll come back for him,” Zeored said. “Right now we have to get Crystal to safety.

 

“But Tommy…” Zeogreen started to say.

 

“Crystal,” Zeored said. They took off away from the machines.

 

***

 

The five teens gathered in the Command Chamber.

 

“What’s the status of our mecha?” Tommy asked Alpha.

 

“They’re almost ready to go,” Alpha said.

 

Tommy nodded. “Good.” He sighed and shook his head.

 

“You did the right thing by getting Crystal to safety,” Zordon said.

 

The Viewing Globe activated and showed an image of Clank flying with Orbus in a mecha-fighter.

 

“Zeoranger,” Clank said as he read from a data pad. “If you do not surrender within the next hour, Billy will be executed...along with a few other old friends of yours.”

 

Tommy rolled his fists up in anger as the Viewing Globe image shifted to that of Rocky, Adam, and Kimberly bound along with Billy at the shore.

 

“Kimberly…” Tommy whispered softly.

 

“You have one hour,” Clank said.

 

“Bye-bye!” Orbus yelled as the Viewing Globe deactivated.

 

Tommy turned to the others. “Let’s get to our mecha.”

 

***

 

In the mecha hanger, INET crews worked double-time to put the finishing touches on the five Zeo-zords. The teens were in their cockpits making some final adjustments themselves.

 

***

 

Adam, Rocky, and Kimberly could barely move, but Billy held his head up defiantly as the Machine Queen appeared and walked towards him. Fifty five minutes had past.

 

“I’d hate to rid myself of four human specimens such as yourselves…but the Zeo Rangers have left me with no choice,” she said.

 

Billy glared at the queen.

 

“You will die knowing that your friends have failed you,” she said as she placed a blaster to his head.

 

Before she could fire, explosions rang out around the machines and the giant monster. Machina and her soldiers were thrown to the ground. She looked up to see the five mecha storming towards the shore.

 

“Sky Phoenix!” Zeored shouted as his red Zeo-zord flew through the sky.

 

“Dash Leon!” Zeoblue shouted from within his sphinx.

 

“Gran Taurus!” Zeogreen shouted as his bull-type mecha stomped forward, haling the Yellow Ranger’s mecha behind it with chains.

 

“Moa Loader!” Zeopink shouted from within her zord.

 

“Dogu Lander!” Zeoyellow shouted from her zord.

 

Billy smiled to himself as he saw his creations move forward. The Queen and Clank teleported away.

 

“Let’s clear the airway,” Zeored said as he armed his zord’s weapon systems. He fired crimson energy pulses that tore through a formation of machine fighter-mecha.

 

“Sounds like a plan,” Zeoblue said as a squadron of mechs swooped towards his zord. The sphinx pounced forward and crushed a group of fighters between its jaws. The zord then fired a volley of fiery bolts that exploded against a group of mechs.

 

“Let’s see what this thing can do,” Zeogreen said as his mecha rammed through a group of fighter-mecha.

 

“Break out the heavy fire power,” Zeored said.

 

“Right,” Zeopink said as she armed her missile racks.

 

“Armed and ready,” Zeoyellow said as her blaster turrets came online.

 

Their mecha launched a flurry of lasers and missiles that exploded against the monster and destroyed several fighter-mecha.

 

Below on the shore, the slender machine monster hopped into a fighter-mech and took off into the air in pursuit of the Sky Phoenix.

 

The fighter-mech zoomed head-on towards the Phoenix. Zeored opened his top hatch and stood on top of his zord and armed his Star Riser.

 

He energized his blade and cut through the fighter-mech. The mech flew out of control as it exploded in mid-air.

 

The star monster fired an energy blade that exploded near the Sky Phoenix. Zeored’s zord swerved out of control as it crashed into a line of wires. The zord was caught in the wires as it struggled to break free.

 

“Come on, you piece of junk…” Zeored said as he struggled to power up his zord.

 

The giant monster fired another one of its star blades that exploded against Zeogreen and Zeoyellow’s mecha. The monster then fired a wrist cannon that struck Blue and Pink’s mecha.

 

The star machine reverted back into its sphere shape and slammed against all of the zords, causing them to become immobile. The sphere then hovered above the zords and radiated with intense heat that slowly ate away at the zords’ armor.

 

The Rangers’ Zeonizer crystals suddenly began to glow. The panels called up a display of information about a “gattai” program.

 

“Guys…” Zeored said as he inserted his small Zeonizer crystal into the front panel, and a column of golden light emerged. “Insert your crystals.”

 

The other four Rangers inserted their Zeonizer crystals while shouting: “Zeonizer crystal!”

 

“Ultra Fusion!” Zeored shouted as the five zords began their combination programs.

 

“Yellow, Pink!” Zeored shouted, “assume leg modes.”

 

The two zords stood upright as they crackled with energy.

 

“Blue, Body mode.”

 

The Dash Leon assumed a chest with the sphinx head at the center and two arms.

 

“Green, waist mode.”

 

The Gran Taurus assumed the lower torso and upper legs, with the bull head in the center.

 

Zeored flew his mecha around the two zords. “Blue, Green, combine.”

 

The Gran Taurus and Dash Leon combined as they lowered onto the Moa Loader and Dogu Lander.

 

Sky Phoenix then flew in and assumed the head as the Rangers joined in one cockpit and shouted “ZeoMegazord!”

 

The sphere resumed its star-shaped monster form as it extended its gauntlet and fired a rail blaster at the Megazord. The blasts exploded across the zord’s armor as it stalked forward.

 

“Super Crown Sword!” Zeored shouted as he activated the ZeoMegazord’s saber.

 

The Megazord dashed forward while slicing the monster horizontally, and the machine smashed apart, debris falling everywhere as the core sphere radiated with energy.

 

The sphere fired energy tentacles among the debris and tried to reassemble itself.

 

“Grand Final Crash!” Zeored shouted as the saber powered up and sliced through the sphere, causing it to explode.

 

The Rangers jumped back down to the surface and demorphed as they ran towards the former rangers.

 

Tommy untied Kimberly and held her close as the other Zeo rangers untied Tommy’s other former teammates. Kimberly slowly opened her eyes as she returned to consciousness.

 

“Is it really you?” Kimberly asked as she smiled up at Tommy.

 

“In the flesh…” Tommy smiled as he held her.

 

“So,” Rocky said as he leaned on Justin for support. “I have a feeling we have a lot of catching up to do.”

 

***

 

Back in the Command Chamber, Billy was checking over Adam, Rocky, and Kimberly while they lied on the bio beds. Tommy was by Kimberly’s side, his hand on her shoulder.

 

Adam sat up and rubbed the back of his head. “I still feel like I was hit by a train.”

 

“Several trains is more like it,” Rocky said.

 

“All you need is a little food and a lot of rest,” Billy said. “Followed by some exercise to get you back into shape.”

 

Tommy looked over to the other end of the Command Chamber and noticed his Zeo team keeping their distance, talking with sad expressions on their faces.

 

Justin nodded as he and his group walked over to Tommy and the others while unstrapping their Zeo Braces.

 

“I believe these belong to you,” Justin said as he started to hand the morphers to Rocky. The others started to hand their braces to Billy, Adam, and Kat.

 

Rocky shook his head. “I don’t remember being a Zeo Ranger ever.”

 

Adam nodded. “The power belongs to you four now. Not us.”

 

“Besides,” Rocky said. “You guys seem to be doing a good enough job. At least you haven’t killed Tommy yet.”

 

Tommy grinned. “I’m glad captivity hasn’t changed your sense of humor.”

 

“So what will you guys do then?” Chris asked.

 

“College,” Adam said.

 

Kimberly nodded. “I’m going all the way to Florida.”

 

Justin nodded. From the look on Tommy’s face, that was a touchy subject for him.

 

“The bottom line is you five have become a team,” Rocky said as he grinned. “Besides, we could use a vacation.”

 

Zordon smiled as he looked down at his Rangers.

 

To be continued…Chapter Six