The Legend of Zeo: Chapter Ten
From the Associated Press
Published in 2004
Taken from various news articles
Police blame the death of 13-year-old Jacob Paterson on interference from the Rangers. The group of self-proclaimed heroes acted carelessly and instigated Paterson’s killing by the Machines, police Chief Al Hessman said.
“These costumed Rangers are getting completely out of hand,” Hessman said Monday. “They don’t care who gets hurt as long as they get their thrill.”
I can’t let them hurt that boy, Zeogreen thought to himself as he stood back in a defensive stance. A 13-year-old boy was being held in a construction area by the Machine prince the Rangers referred to jokingly as Sprocket. The young machine was only four-feet tall and normally only launched at the Rangers with laughable plots.
Zeogreen was not laughing today. A group of Cogs guarded the boy as a machine monster that resembled a robotic boxer stepped out from behind a pile of crates.
“Help!” the boy screamed as the Cogs held on tight to keep him from running.
“New game,” Sprocket said. “My machine beats you, he dies. You win, I’ll let him go.”
Sprocket slapped the back of his hand against the machine’s chest. “Don’t just stand there…go get him!”
The machine charged forward while Zeogreen switched stances.
The machine lunged forward with a left hook punch that Zeogreen dodged to the side while snapping off a right hook across the head, followed by an uppercut to the body.
Zeogreen moved forward with a right cross punch and a forward right hook. The monster was pushed back slightly before countering with a hook punch across Zeogreen’s helmet and a combination of uppercut blows against the Green Ranger’s body.
The machine pushed forward with a cross punch/hook combination that smashed against Zeogreen’s helmet as he fell backward onto the ground. He tried to rise back to his feet as he heard the boy’s cries for help.
Zeogreen rolled his hands into fists. “No way you’re getting away with this…”
Zeogreen sprang back to his feet and struck back with a forward left uppercut to the machine’s body, followed by a right hook across the monster’s head, and a left uppercut that slammed upside the monster’s head. The machine fell backward against a pile of crates as Zeogreen moved forward towards his opponent.
The machine pulled out a giant metallic hammer and smashed it against Zeogreen’s chest. The Ranger fell backward against a stack of cement blocks. The machine swung the hammer towards the Ranger’s head, but Zeogreen ducked, and the weapon smashed through the concrete behind him. The monster brought his weapon back around and slammed it across Zeogreen. The Ranger was hit hard and smashed off his feet as he rolled across the ground.
“Finish him!” Sprocket shouted.
“Not today,” Zeogreen said as he rose back to his feet and leapt forward while slamming a flying punch against the machine. The monster crashed backward.
Zeogreen clutched onto his hand as his armor shimmered down. He had bent his wrist the wrong way with his punch and mangled his hand in the process.
“Not good…” he said.
“Game over!” Sprocket shouted as he turned to the Cogs. “Kill him!”
The Cogs held up their staffs over the boys head.
“No!” Chris shouted as he darted forward. He leapt in front of the teen and high blocked the staff before it could strike the boy. He twisted the staff around and flipped the Cog to the ground. Chris turned towards Sprocket and sidekicked the short machine to the ground.
The other Rangers suddenly leapt onto the scene from above and began smashing against the Cogs. They destroyed the boxing machine, which grew to giant size because of Clank. Zeored summoned his Red Battlezord and blasted the machine to pieces.
Psychologists speculate that the Rangers have high needs for power.
“They’re risk seekers,” said criminal psychologist Mark Hamm. “They have a high need to look danger in the eye and laugh.”
Zeopink was afraid.
She was in the mountains outside of Angel Grove as a machine monster resembling a walking construction power hammer stalked towards her. Zeopink was in a defensive stance, but her ankle was twisted.
The machine slammed a drill against the ground that sent a shockwave ripping towards Zeopink and exploding beneath her feet as she was thrown backward.
The monster armed his power-hammer weapon and charged forward as Zeopink rose to her feet.
“Circle Defenser!” she shouted as she placed her palm in front of her visor, and her shield flashed into her hand with a burst of pink energy.
She sprang to her feet despite the near crippling pain and extended her shield forward as the machine crashed his weapon against it, and Zeopink was knocked backward onto the ground.
Zeopink tried to tell herself the fear stuck in her throat was just the body’s natural reaction to danger, and she would be feeling the same thing if faced with a difficult trig test. It didn’t help.
The monster charged forward as Zeopink struggled to get back onto her feet, wishing to be anywhere else. Doing anything else.
She rolled to the side as the monster’s weapon crashed against the rock where she had been lying. She rolled onto her knees as she let a cloud of energy build around her. She refused to give in to her fear.
“Zeo power cloud!” she shouted as she extended her hands forward, and the cloud formed a sphere of pink energy that shot and exploded against the machine’s armor.
Investigators are nowhere close to discovering the Rangers’ identities, and the U.S. government denies they’re a part of a black-ops task force unit.
“We are as much in the dark about these Rangers as anyone,” White House spokesman Joseph Stone said at a press conference at City Hall Wednesday. “They’re a thorn in the government’s side and do nothing but make our jobs more difficult.”
One of the Machine’s Gear Ships hovered across the city towards City Hall along with an escort of crab fighter mecha.
The Rangers’ zords were repaired enough for individual use, and they launched immediately to intercept.
The Sky Phoenix tore through the air as a group of fighters fell in behind the mecha and launched a missile salvo. Zeored pulled his zord up to avoid the missiles and performed a loop to bring him behind the machine fighters.
“Lights out,” he said as he fired his pulse cannon. The lances of red energy vaporized the machines.
“Tommy,” Zeoyellow called from her zord while firing a pulse cannon barrage at a group of fighters near the ground below. “That gear ship is getting closer to city hall.”
Sky Phoenix climbed and banked to avoid a missile salvo from a small group of mecha. “They’ve got me boxed in. Justin, can you make it through?”
Dash Leon stomped through the streets while making a sharp turn and swinging the Moa Loader around as the zord launched a stream of rockets towards a group of mecha.
“We’re working on it,” Zeoblue said.
The Gear Ship’s shadow crept closer to City Hall.
“Billy,” Zeored asked over the comm line. “How much punishment can this thing take?”
“Not a whole lot at the moment…” Billy said. “I may be able to boost your structural integrity fields by shifting power away from non-crucial systems.”
“Go for it,” Zeored said as he pushed his control levers forward, launching his zord forward as it streaked towards a formation of fighter mecha in between his zord and the Gear Ship.
Sky Phoenix crashed through the enemy formation as the enemy mecha launched a near countless number of missiles.
“Guys,” Zeored said through the comm. “Some cover fire would be appreciated…”
Zeogreen moved his Gran Taurus beneath the sky battle. “On it.”
Dash Leon followed. “Coming through.”
Explosions slammed against the Sky Phoenix as missiles exploded against the zord’s armor. Warning lights flashed on Zeored’s control panel, but he ignored them as the Gear Ship grew larger in his forward viewport.
Zeored locked his zord’s pulse lasers onto the enemy ship’s power core so the resulting explosion would vaporize the vessel, leaving little debris to damage the ground below.
Another explosion rocked his zord as he blasted through the fighter mecha and fired his pulse cannons at the Gear Ship. The first volley of energy darts ripped through the outer hull of the ship, then the interior, and finally pierced the power core as the ship exploded.
“They’re probably no better than bullies,” Hamm said. “The type that picked on other kids in High School.”
A study by Hamm examined the Rangers’ behavior and actions. The study found a high correlation to personality traits of criminals and lawbreakers.
A senior nicknamed Skull slammed Chris into a row of lockers.
“Watch where you’re going, you little spaz,” Skull said as he pushed Chris again, and the ranger dropped his books to the floor.
Justin walked by and wrinkled his brow as he watched the exchange. “Hey Skull, pick on someone with your own IQ, like the hamster in Mr. Shay’s class.”
Skull rolled his eyes as he walked towards Justin, the group of bullies surrounding the ranger.
“Wasn’t too long ago that was you we were slamming against the lockers, freak,” Skull said as he pushed Justin. “Feeling left out?”
Skull’s arm was suddenly bent behind his back as he yelped in pain and was slammed face first against a locker. Ashley tightened her grip as she pinned him against the wall.
“Are you ever going to grow up?” she asked as she pulled him backward and tossed him to the floor.
Skull rose from the ground and brushed himself off as he glared at Ashley, then turned to Chris and Justin.
“I’ll deal with you freaks later, when your big sister ain’t around…” Skull said as he walked off.
Rumors of Starr Enterprises supporting the operations of the vigilante Ranger group were proved false Tuesday.
An investigation by the CIA produced no leads, and officials say they’re pursuing other possibilities. They would not specify as to what these possibilities are.
Billy stood alone in the mecha bay’s viewing port while speaking with Anthony Starr over a video comm.
“The Warriorzords should be done sooner than expected,” Starr said.
Billy nodded. “Excellent. Thanks again for your help…”
“Not a problem at all,” Starr said. “How’s your progress on the Astro Program?”
Billy shook his head. “Slowly on our end. NASA is doing quite well, all things considered.”
“The time table is flexible,” Starr said. “Besides…it will be worth the wait.”
The Rangers’ ability to function as a unit contradicts all other observations, sociologist Ragina Phalangi said.
“Whoever they are,” Phalangi said, “they’ve been well trained and are obviously experienced in combat.”
“What the hell do we do?” Zeoblue shouted as a Machine resembling a walking tank opened fire on the Rangers with twin barrels. Explosions ripped through the streets around them as they were tossed to the ground. The battle was taking place at the financial district near a tall ornate fountain.
“Zeo Rifles,” Zeored commanded as they armed their weapons and fired a volley of energy lances, but the blasts struck a type of deflector shield surrounding the machine monster, and its armor was undamaged.
The machine returned fire with gatling cannons around its gauntlets that exploded against the Rangers’ armor in a shower of sparks as they dove for cover again.
“Justin, Chris,” Zeored commanded. “Take him from the sides and aim for his weapons. Ashley, Kat…you’re with me.”
Zeoblue and Zeogreen placed their hands in front of their visors as their weapons appeared in bursts of energy.
“Delta Tonfas,” Zeoblue shouted while holding out his arm blades, and they charged with blue energy. “Power Charge!”
Zeoblue dove forward in a blur of energy towards the machine’s left cannon while holding his arm blades in front of him.
“Square Crushers!” Zeogreen shouted as he energized the blades of his two small axes. “Zeo Breaker!”
Zeogreen dove forward in a blur of motion and swung his energized blades in an ‘x’ pattern towards the machine’s right cannon.
Their attacks slammed against the deflector shields surrounding the cannons, causing an energy feedback blast to throw them backward as small explosions danced across the machine’s armor.
Zeored charged forward with Zeoyellow and Zeopink besides him. He placed his hand in front of his visor as his sword appeared in a flash of red energy.
Zeoyellow and Zeopink aimed their Zeo Blasters and fired lances of energy that exploded against the machine’s shielding as Zeored energized his sword.
“Star Riser,” he shouted as he twirled his blade and it pulsed with fiery energy. “Ignite!” He swung his energized saber through the machine as it fell backwards, its deflector shield failing and its systems overloading and exploding.
Letter to the Editor:
I used to believe with the popular thinking that these Rangers were nothing more than a group of glory-hogs and thrill seekers engaged in some kind of private war.
I used to believe they were a hindrance with no respect to authority. A menace that interfered with police work and military operations at the cost of civilian lives.
I used to believe they had no reason for doing what they do except selfish ones.
I was wrong.
Not too long ago, these Rangers saved my son and other children in the area. They saved me as well.
What surprised me more than anything was the way they seemed to care. The concern in their voices and movements. The burden they bore on their shoulders.
The Rangers are not burdens.
They are heroes.
And I have them to thank for my life and the life of my sons.
--Detective David Park
-- Angel Grove Police Department
To be continued…Chapter 11