The Legend of Zeo: Chapter Eight
Day in the Life
From the journal of Justin Kase
Published in 2050 as a part of
“Fall of the Machines: History of the Zeo Wars”
The week started out mostly normal, although my definition of normal over these past few weeks has been slightly altered.
Monday, I dragged myself out of bed, dropped my little sister off at junior-high school, showed up to class 15 minutes late, apologized profusely for being late to said class, and dredged my way through the day until lunch.
Skipped the second half of school to fight against this machine that resembled a giant baseball pitcher, ended up being captured inside of said monster, and freed by seemingly-perfect leader Tommy. Fought monster. Monster grew. Beat crap out of monster with Megazord. Went home and went to bed.
Tuesday my little sister was running late, and there was almost an incident during our struggle for possession of the bathroom, but it was nothing a fair game of paper-rocks-scissors couldn’t remedy.
Showed up even later to school and was immediately sent to detention for the rest of the day, which was actually nice because I had free time to catch up on all the homework I’d been missing on account of my Rangering.
Went out with the guys after school, and Kat looked damn good. Ashley managed to talk Tommy into coming, and the old man’s actually starting to warm up a bit.
We ended up fighting this machine that looked like a screwed up keyboard/conductor hybrid thing before calling it a night.
Wednesday though…Wednesday was when things started getting weird.
It all started with a dream I had a few hours before it was time to wake up from school. I was running down this dark path in the woods. I was alone, scared, and my heart was beating like a drum or cannon.
A dark giant bird that looked like some kind of warped pterodactyl was chasing after me, and on top of the bird was this guy dressed in leathery black robes that looked almost alive.
The cloaked guy seemed familiar, even though I couldn’t see his face. The weird thing is…I was pretty sure it was Rocky, the guy who wore the blue spandex before me.
I woke up in a cold sweat a few minutes before my alarm went off.
“Damn,” I mumbled to myself as I reached over and turned on my lamp. The dream had seemed so real and so vivid.
I showered, dressed, and went about my normal routine, all the while not being able to shake thoughts of the dream out of my mind. I was finally able to talk to the Ashley, Chris, and Kat about it during lunch.
The four of us sat together at an outdoor courtyard as I told them the details of the dream.
Ashley was the first to comment.
“That’s not really a lot to go on,” she said. “Besides, I wouldn’t stress out so much about it. It was just a dream.”
Ashley had never been one to put too much stock into dreams or any of that. She was too grounded in science and fact.
Kat leaned forward, and I distinctly remember telling myself not to look down her blouse for fear I’d drool over myself.
“What did the dream mean to you?” she asked.
If Kat doesn’t become a psychology major next year in college, she’ll be missing her calling.
“I don’t know,” Justin answered. “It was just weird.”
What did you think about Rocky before the dream?” Kat asked.
I shrugged. “Not a whole lot. Just pressure in terms of filling his shoes…never really was scared he’d chase after me on a big black bird or anything.”
Following lunch, I convinced myself the dream was just a dream and went about my day.
I was walking through the park on my way home after school when the winds started to pick up. I didn’t think much about it at first, until lightning started to boom across the sky, and the clouds turned black as night.
“Ok,” I said to myself. “I may be new at this, but I know that can’t be good.
I used my communicator to try and get in touch with the Command Chamber, but all I heard was static. The leaves on the trees around me turned black and crumbled to ashes as they blew free from the branches.
A dark shadow suddenly dropped from the sky and started circling around me, kicking up a small cyclone as I armed my Zeonizers.
“Ultra Transform!” I shouted as my Zeo armor materialized around me.
The shadowy figure slammed against my chest, and I went flying backward, my back crashing through a tree trunk before I hit the ground hard, nearly breaking my neck in the process.
I flipped on to my feet as the figure took shape. It looked like a living shadow, with a body that flowed across the wind like a shroud and long strands of hair, each dancing as if they were alive. The only features noticeable on her face were two eyes that were flashing with bright blue energy.
She glared at me, and fear overloaded my entire body. It was a type of fear previously unknown to me, one that seemed to cause a primal instinct in me to run like hell and hide.
I pulled my Zeo Blaster from its holster, but the creature’s eyes flashed, and my weapon exploded from my hand. The shadow streaked towards me with its frail hands outstretched like claws.
I dove for cover while somersaulting across the ground and rose to my knees while activating my forearm blades in a burst of blue energy. The shadow thing closed in from behind me as I spun backward, swinging my blade horizontally. She grabbed my arm before my blow could connect, and her grip felt as cold as ice, chilling me to the bone.
The creature spun me around through the air like I was weightless before releasing her grip and sending me crashing through another tree.
I really wish she’d stop doing that, I thought to myself as I rose from the ground in time to see her streaking towards me again.
I leapt straight up into the air as I began to spin backwards while forming a sphere of cyan energy around me.
“Zeo Power Spin!” I shouted as I shot forward towards the shadow in a burst of blue energy.
She extended her palm, and I crashed against it as if it were an impenetrable wall before collapsing to the ground. The shadow leaned down towards me and literally phased her arms through my chest. All I remember was the pain, like stinging ice picks dancing through my body. My armor flashed as I was forcibly demorphed.
The next thing I knew, a bolt of golden energy struck the creature backward as the shadow dropped me to the ground. I looked over my shoulder to see a stranger hovering in the air.
He appeared as a 20-year old young man with short white hair and dark round sunglasses. His body suit’s collar rose above his mouth and up to his nose. A dark, red cloak flowed behind him.
“Come,” he said to me as he made a gesture with his hand, and a golden portal appeared behind him.
The stranger flew through the portal, and I quickly followed. I figured it was safer to trust the whacko who saved me than the one who had tried to kill me.
I stepped out of the portal and into a room that seemed like an antique library with books and shelves in disarray. I was at a loss for words as the stranger casually removed his cloak and tossed it aside.
“She will track you here in time,” he said as he moved to his bookshelf and began skimming across the volumes he had there.
“Okay,” I said to him. “And what exactly is she? And not to mention you?”
“The answer is complicated,” the man said as he pulled a leather-bound book from his shelf and brought it over to a table near me.
“The creature you faced is called a Psi-Wraith,” the stranger said. “A metaphasic being born of the Astral Plane.”
“Ya know,” I said sarcastically, “there’s not a word of that I don’t need explained.”
“Months ago, three of the Power Rangers journeyed through the Astral Plane to resurrect one of their teammates,” he explained as I tried to follow. “The Tenma Ranger used his healing powers to restore their teammate’s body…this healing ability attracted the attention of the Psi-Wraith. She is a being of the Astral Plane that feeds off of such energy. When the Rangers returned to reality, the Psi-Wraith followed, although the process weakened her. She’s been recovering all this time and assuming her current form.”
“What’s she after?” I asked. “Why me?”
“She was drawn to you,” the man said. “It was Tenma Ranger who attracted her in the first place…”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I said, cutting him off. “So just because I’m in the blue suit she thinks she has to pick a fight with me?”
“It’s a little more complicated,” the man said. “The Psi-Wraith was drawn to the specific energy Tenma Ranger wielded. He drew his power from the Magick. The source of your power may not be as pure, but it possesses some of the same energy Tenma Ranger called upon. It was this energy that attracted her to you.”
“So…” I said. “Like I said… just because I’m in the blue suit she thinks she has to pick a fight with me?”
The man sighed. “If you must put it that way, yes. The Magick is divided into various levels, each giving off unique frequencies that can manifest as various colors in the visible spectrum. ”
“Who are you?”
The young man stood upright, puffing out his chest in a rather egotistical manner. “I am called Strange.”
I chuckled. “I bet you are…”
Strange flipped through the book in front of him while rambling on about how he was some master of the mystic arts who helped Tommy and the Power Rangers a year ago against some group called the Technomancers.
“Lovely story,” I told him impatiently. “But how am I supposed to beat this thing? Wait…what am I thinking…I need to call Zordon.”
“No,” Strange said. “This creature has a rare connection to your Power. The others cannot be involved.”
“What do I do then?”
“The Zeo Crystal is a hybrid of technology and Magick. You must learn how to draw upon the Magick side of your powers and use it to destroy the Psi-Wraith.”
Strange appeared to be struck by a small wave of vertigo as he stared off into the distance. “We have a problem…”
Apparently, the Psi-Wraith was traveling south to Stone Canyon, where Rocky was attending a commuter college part time and working at a dojo. Strange told me he would send me to Rocky’s location, but he wouldn’t interfere. Something more important required his attention, but of course he wouldn’t say what.
Strange whipped up one of his portals, and I reluctantly stepped through. Now that I think about it, it’s kind of odd the thought of stepping through a portal caused me to hesitate when I’ve been teleported more than Captain Kirk in the past month alone.
I emerged from the portal in a secluded alley within the city of Stone Canyon. I took a deep breath before stepping out into the city streets, which were abuzz with activity. I turned to my right and luckily saw a martial arts dojo I assumed was Rocky’s.
The dojo appeared Chinese in nature, bearing a few symbols I wasn’t familiar with. I entered the dojo, and it was hands down one of the strangest I’d seen. In the center of the room was a tree growing from a circular area of glass framed by stone. The grass was cut to resemble the yin yang symbol. Several ornate lanterns hung from the tree branches. Various red and gold curtains hung around the inside of the room, each with different patterns.
I spotted Rocky off in a corner as he was running through a kata. The form was slow-moving and graceful, as well as edged and powerful.
I coughed in my hand to get his attention, more than a little intimidated. Rocky stopped and turned to face me.
“Hey,” he said as his face lit up. “Justin, right?”
I stepped forward, a little upset he wasn’t sure about my name. “That’s me.”
“What brings you down here to Stone Canyon?” Rocky asked as he patted the sweat from his brow with a towel. “Can’t be the tourist attractions…being that there aren’t any.”
“It’s kind of a…business visit,” I said.
“No one’s here,” Rocky said. “You can say Ranger.”
“Okay,” I said. “Ranger business…”
Rocky sighed as he took a seat on the bench. “Don’t tell me Zordon wants to call me out of retirement?”
I shrugged, not sure exactly how to explain. “Not really…see…apparently when you and the Power Rangers left the Astral Plane a while back, you brought this Psi-Wraith with you.”
A lopsided grin spread across Rocky’s face. “A Psi-Wraith, huh?”
“Trust me,” I said. “She’s not nearly as humorous as she sounds.”
“It’s a she?”
I shrugged. “That’s what Strange said.”
Rocky’s face lit up at the mention of the name. “White hair, bug-eye glasses, knows so much about mystic crap it’s kind of freaky?”
“That’s him,” I said. “He told me this Psi-Wraith is coming after you because…”
The power went out in the dojo, and the whole building was literally ripped from the ground. A cyclone of dark wind was raging around us, and citizens were running in panic as the Psi-Wraith floated in midair.
Rocky didn’t make a single remark. He just stared ahead, his eyes wide in terror. I knew the Psi-Wraith was provoking the same instinct response as it was in me. A response of primal fear.
Rocky armed his Aura Morphers while I readied my Zeonizers.
“Kiryoku Transform, Aura Power!”
Blue light flashed around us as we morphed into our armor.
The Psi-Wraith hissed as it dove towards us from the air.
“Jump!” Tenma Ranger yelled as we both jumped to the side. He threw one of his nunchuku at the creature before rolling to avoid her. The weapon spun like a small helicopter blade, but a simple flash of the Psi-Wraith’s eyes vaporized the weapon.
Tenma Ranger rose to his feet while assuming a defensive stance and backing away. “You should have mentioned she could do that,” Tenma Ranger said to me.
“How was I supposed to know?” I snapped back while arming my forearm blades. “She’s your villain, the big robots on the moon are mine.”
The Psi-Wraith angled her dive towards Tenma Ranger. I watched the other Blue Ranger stand firm despite the fear I knew was threatening to cripple him.
“Tenma Flash Kick!” he shouted as he launched an energized tornado kick towards the shadow.
She caught him by the leg and tossed him across the street as he crashed through a department store window and onto a jewelry display.
I cursed my own rotten luck as I charged forward, not knowing how I was going to attack, just that I was.
I leaped forward while spinning and holding my arm blades outward, but she slammed the back of her hand against me, knocking the wind from my lungs as I flew backward and crashed against the side of a small car, smashing through the door and window.
The Psi-Wraith swooped down towards me as I heard Tenma Ranger shout “Iron Rock Crusher!”
The next thing I knew, a giant energy wave tore through the street in front of me while creating a bright shockwave that blasted the shadow backward.
“Whoa,” I said, amazed at the display of power as I turned to see Tenma Ranger running forward with his Thunder Staff. It was hard to believe someone who could do that was defenseless against the Machine Empire.
Tenma Ranger looked to me as he assumed a defensive stance. “C’mon, blue-boy. You hit her high, I’ll go in low.”
The Psi-Wraith dashed towards Tenma Ranger in a blur of motion and phased her arms through his chest as he screamed.
“Rocky!” I shouted as I ran forward while channeling energy into my arm blades.
“Zeo Power Charge!” I shouted while holding my blades in front of me and diving forward. My energized weapons slammed into her and knocked her away from Tenma Ranger.
He rose back to his feet while struggling to catch his breath. “I don’t suppose Strange told you how you can beat this thing?”
“Magick,” I answered.
“Great,” Tenma Ranger said sarcastically. “I left my wand in my other tights.”
“I may have a spare,” I said back to him.
The shadow’s eyes flashed blue as the winds across the street kicked up and debris flew in every direction while crashing through buildings. The area was too heavily populated, which meant we had to move to a better area to continue our little dance. Apparently Tenma Ranger thought the same thing.
“We’ve got to get off the streets,” Tenma Ranger said as he leapt to the rooftops.
“Good thinking,” I answered as I followed his lead.
We ran and leapt across the rooftops while tying to gain as much distance from the shadow creature as possible, but she was faster than we could imagine.
She tackled me against my back as we both started a plummet back towards the streets below. I slid across the ground as she pushed me forward, breaking pavement along the way.
Tenma Ranger leapt towards her and slammed on top of her while spearing his Thunder Staff Blade against her back.
She reached around and grabbed him by the throat with one hand as she twisted her body to wrap her other hand around my neck. She pushed us both down to our knees as she sent dark energy tendrils dancing through our bodies. The pain was nearly paralyzing…something I will never forget.
It felt like she was ripping away my soul, as crazy as it sounds. I tried to keep myself from panicking as I felt the Psi-Wraith’s dark energy wash over me. I was being absorbed, and so was Rocky. I could feel him as if we were connected. And through The Power, for a brief moment that lasted nearly an eternity, we were.
That’s when I remembered what Strange had told me, about tapping into the part of my Zeo Crystal that was based in Magick, the same Power I felt flowing through Rocky’s veins.
“You want the Blue Power, bright eyes?” I asked between my clenched jaw. “Be careful what you wish for…”
Rocky and I tapped into our Power and poured it on.
“Keep it up, Justin…” he said besides me in a raspy voice. I could tell he was struggling as much as me.
Then it happened. The Psi-Wraith screamed as a torrent of blue energy erupted from the ground around us and shot into the sky. The shadow evaporated before our very eyes as the torrent of power slowly bled away and smoke covered the streets.
Tenma Ranger and I rose to our feet as we tried to catch our breaths. We stood in silence for a moment as the smoke twirled around us.
“I need a drink,” Tenma Ranger said to relieve the tension. I couldn’t help but laugh.
Around an hour later, Rocky and I walked around the remains of the dojo as emergency personnel attended to the scene.
“Have you done this yet?” Rocky asked me.
“Done what?” I asked.
“The Walk,” Rocky said. “That’s what Tommy called it. Something Jason started doing on the original team more than three years ago.”
I adjusted my hat as I shook my head. “What are you talking about?”
“Looking around at what happens every time we go up against one of those psychos trying to take over our planet,” Rocky said. “To kind of…remember why we do this, ya know? And to deal with it…”
Deal with it…I knew exactly what he was talking about. Ever since the plane crash. The plane the Machines attacked to get at me and the others. We were their targets, and yet we were the only ones who survived. I guess we never really did deal with it. We just went about our lives and just…what? We didn’t forget about it or pretend like it never happened. I guess we just never dealt with it.
Rocky shrugged and continued walking around the site. “Something you guys might wanna try.”
My communicator sounded, and Rocky smiled.
“Well,” I said to him. “I’ve got to get to work.”
“Good luck, man,” Rocky said. “We should do this again sometime.”
I ran to the nearest alley and teleported away. The other Zeo Rangers and I went up against a digging monster whose body was shaped like a fire hydrant. Kat injured her ankle during the fight, but we beat the machine as always.
After our battle, I had Tommy take us on the Walk. It wasn’t until that moment we truly realized what we were fighting for. It wasn’t until that moment we truly became Rangers.
To be continued…Chapter Nine