The Legend of Zeo: Chapter Eleven

The Missing Link

 

A giant machine monster was rolled up into a gray-and-blue armored mace as it rolled through the streets causing havoc.

 

The Red Battlezord and repaired ZeoMegazord landed in front of the monster and assumed defensive positions as the machine continued its roll and bounced forward, slamming against the Red Battlezord’s armor.

 

“Chris,” Zeored commanded. “Use your battle helmet to try and crack him from his shell.”

 

Zeored pulled his zord back as the ZeoMegazord moved in with Zeogreen at the forward station.

 

“Zeo IV battle helmet, activate!” he shouted as his horned helmet came online.

 

ZeoMegazord leaned forward as the horns charged with jagged beams of jade energy that shot forward and exploded against the armor of the mace. The machine was barely damaged as it bounced against the ZeoMegazord’s armor, then back against the Red Battlezord.

 

Zeored pushed his control levers forward as his Red Battlezord leapt through the air towards the mace.

 

The monster suddenly uncoiled and stood erect before leaping through the air and slicing across the Red Battlezord’s armor. The Red Battlezord fell to the ground as the machine assumed its mace form again and bounced forward.

 

As soon as the Red Battlezord rose back to its feet, the mace slammed against the zord, forcing it a few steps back.

 

ZeoMegazord regrouped with the Red Battlezord as the machine unfolded back into its monster form.

 

The mace monster fired jagged beams of blue energy that exploded against the armor of the two robos.

 

“Guys,” Billy’s voice said from over their communicators. “I installed a new fusion program when repairing the ZeoMegazord. Your two zords can combine to form the Zeo MegaBattlezord.”

 

“That’s a mouthful,” Zeoblue said quietly.

 

“Alright,” Zeored said as he called up the combination program on the control panel in front of him, and instructions were downloaded into his visor. “MegaBattlezord fusion!”

 

Red Battlezord extended its right fist into the air, slamming it against the ZeoMegazord’s left fist. The two zords then stood back to back to combine, but something went wrong. Tendrils of energy feedback resisted between the two zords, exploding across their armor while pushing them apart.

 

“Try again,” Zeored commanded. They did so, but with the same results.

 

Zeoyellow shook her head as she looked over her control panel. “Error? What’s the error?”

 

“Rangers,” Zordon said. “Fall back to the mecha hanger so Billy can assess the problem.”

 

Zeored sighed as he agreed reluctantly. “Alright, Zordon…guys, back to the Command Chamber.”

 

***

 

The rangers stood behind Billy and Alpha as they worked over one of the Command Chamber’s consoles. Billy turned to face them while holding a data pad.

 

“The problem is on the Red Battlezord’s end,” he said. “As far as I can tell, it’s only one missing component.”

 

“What kind of component?” Ashley asked.

 

“A focus lens with a control chip embedded in it,” Billy said. “It was installed within the cockpit.”

 

Chris arced an eyebrow. “And now it’s just missing?”

 

“It may have been jarred loose during the…original crash,” Billy said, referring to when his test pilot died while trying to control the Red Battlezord. “It was on an exterior control node near the front of the cockpit.”

 

“And now it’s just missing?” Chris asked again.

 

“Could it have fallen from the cockpit somehow?” Ashley asked. “When you dug through to the cockpit after the crash?”

 

“That’s the only plausible explanation,” Billy said. “However unlikely it may seem…”

 

Alpha shook his head as he manipulated a set of controls in front of him. “Ay-yi-yi…I can’t find a trace of the chip anywhere near the crash site…”

 

Justin shrugged. “Maybe it’s been moved since then…”

 

“Justin may be right,” Zordon said from his holographic tube. “I will scan the crash site for any residual psionic signatures of those who may have stumbled upon the Red Battlezord’s control chip…”

 

Zordon’s mind stretched across the mountains outside of the Command Chamber as he tilted his head down and closed his eyes. People rarely wandered into the mountains, so it didn’t take long for him to find what he was looking for.

 

***

 

Zordon managed to track a psionic signature back into Angel Grove. The signature belonged to a 12-year-old boy. A quick scan of his house confirmed the location of the computer chip within.

 

The boy’s name was Max Mitchell. He sat in a bedroom filled with various pieces of computers and technological equipment.

 

The rangers were in their civvies as they walked up to the front door of the house, which was actually part of a larger apartment complex.

 

“So,” Justin said. “Don’t you guys think this is going to seem a little weird to them?”

 

“Probably,” Tommy said as he reached up and knocked.

 

A middle-aged woman opened the door as Tommy put on his best smile. “Hello mam, my name is-”

 

“I’m not interested,” she said as she started to shut the door.

 

“No, no,” Tommy said. “We’re not selling anything. It’s about your son…”

 

The lady wrinkled her brow with concern. “Max? He’s my foster son. What about him?”

 

Kat shook her head. “It’s nothing bad.”

 

“No,” Tommy agreed. “He just found something that belongs to us. A computer chip…”

 

Max was listening from his window when he overheard.

 

“Rotten luck,” he mumbled to himself as he picked up a black-boxed device that contained the chip the rangers were looking for. He bolted through the back door of the apartment complex when suddenly, a group of Cogs appeared as if from nowhere. Max screamed as the soldiers grabbed him.

 

The rangers heard the screams and immediately bolted around to the back of the apartment complex. They ran towards the rear of the building as the Cogs turned to face them and opened fire with optic blasts that exploded across the ground around them.

 

The rangers rolled out of the way as they readied their Zeonizers.

 

“It’s morphin time!” Tommy shouted.

 

“Ultra Transform!” the rangers called in unison as they connected their braces and morphed into their armor.

 

The Cogs backed away through a row of arches that ran alongside the apartment building. More than a dozen stood in front of the boy to block the incoming Rangers.

 

Zeored took the point, trapping a Cog’s staff between his left arm and hip while spinning to his right and slamming a right elbow across that soldier’s head. He followed with a sidekick that pushed that soldier backwards.

 

Zeogreen came in close behind Zeored and slammed a round kick against a soldier’s chest, followed by a hook punch across the head.

 

The other Rangers pushed forward with volleys of kicks and punches as the Cogs continued their slow retreat through the narrow arches.

 

Two Cogs placed their staffs in an ‘x’ formation to block Zeored, but he knocked their staffs away and stepped forward while slamming a right round kick against the Cog to his left. He snapped that leg immediately to his right with a hook kick across the second soldier’s head.

 

Zeored continued to lead the Rangers in. He outer blocked a soldier’s staff, slammed a ridge-hand blow against that Cog’s neck, and stepped forward with a reverse sidekick against another Cog’s chest.

 

“Out of my way,” he said as he activated his Star Riser sword and forced the retreating Cogs out into the wooded area behind the apartment complex.

 

Zeored dashed forward while slicing a soldier through the chest horizontally. Another group of Cogs came swinging towards him with their staffs. Zeored parried a blow before slicing that Cog diagonally. He turned to his right to parry another strike and cut that soldier down as well.

 

A group of Cogs closed in behind Zeored, so he jumped around while smashing against them with a roundhouse kick before dashing forward with a horizontal strike from his sword.

 

Back in the archway, Zeoblue and Zeoyellow dove over a pair of staff strikes and rolled across the ground only to be met by another group of Cogs.

 

“These machines may be slow and dumb, but they’re persistent,” Zeoblue said as he rose while flipping a Cog over his shoulder.

 

“So are we,” Zeoyellow said as she pushed forward with a flurry of kick combinations.

 

In the field behind the complex, Zeogreen and Zeopink stood back to back as a group of Cogs surrounded them.

 

Zeogreen high blocked a staff before spinning forward and slamming his elbow across a soldier’s head. Zeopink swung her hands in a circular formation, blocking a staff and slamming a palm-heel blow against a Cog’s chest.

 

The Cogs with Max sprinted away through the woods and headed out along the rocky area towards the mountains as Zeored continued his pursuit.

 

He flying sidekicked a soldier to the ground and landed while turning to his left and striking a Cog down with a diagonal strike with his sword. He spun forward with a reverse sidekick that crushed a soldier’s faceplate.

 

He moved forward as another small group of soldiers broke away to engage him. A Cog swung its staff towards the Ranger, but he parried the blow while spinning forward and slamming and elbow blow against the soldier’s face.

 

He moved in towards the two Cogs holding Max. He flying sidekicked the soldier to his left in the chest and pushed off that Cog while snapping his foot around with a roundkick across the second soldier’s head while in midair.

 

Zeored landed in front of Max while holding his sword in a guard position as a group of Cogs charged forward.

 

“Stay back,” Zeored said as he parried a soldier’s staff and ran his blade through a Cog’s neck.

 

The Cogs were relentless as they pushed forward, driving Zeored and Max towards a dirt slope.

 

Zeored had his left hand around Max’s arm while he used his right arm to wield his blade and keep the soldiers at bay. He low blocked a blow and slammed the end of his sword against that soldier’s faceplate. He turned to his left while dragging around Max and cutting a soldier down diagonally.

 

The Cogs resorted to tackling against Zeored as they all started tumbling down the slope to the ground below.

 

Zeored rose to his feet and slammed the end of his sword across a Cog’s head while jump kicking forward at another soldier.

 

The other Cogs started rising to their feet. Zeored twisted and turned through them, swung his sword, and slashed through the machine soldiers.

 

Zeored struck down the last soldier as he took a hold of Max and lead him to the base of a cliff that was well hidden.

 

“It’s okay,” Zeored said. “I don’t want to hurt you…”

 

“I kind of figured that out by now,” Max said sarcastically.

 

“Well aren’t you bright,” Zeored said. “The computer chip…do you have it?”

 

Max wrinkled his brow as he cradled the box protectively. “I need it…besides, I’m the one that found it.”

 

“How did you find it?” Zeored said.

 

“My friend Junior heard a rumor that one of your big robots was out there,” Max said. “We went snooping.”

 

“Well, we need that chip back,” Zeored said. “It belongs to one of our zords.”

 

Max shook his head as he looked down at the box. “Look…Whatever that chip is…it works…”

 

“What do you mean?” Zeored said.

 

“My father,” Max said. “He was working on a project before he died. I’ve been trying to figure out what it was exactly he was working on. The programs embedded in that chip of yours were enough for me to really get close to figuring it out.”

 

The mountains suddenly started to rumble. Zeored and Max looked up to see the giant mace monster rolling towards them as explosions tore across the ground.

 

“Run,” Zeored said as he grabbed Max by the arm and started sprinting.

 

The ZeoMegazord landed on the ground in front of the mace and stopped the machine in its tracks.

 

“We’ve got your back, Tommy,” Zeoblue shouted over the comm.

 

“Thanks,” Zeored said as he grabbed hold of Max and started to run.

 

The ZeoMegazord lifted the mace and tossed it through the air as it struck against the ground and unrolled into its monster form.

 

The monster fired jagged blasts of energy that exploded against the Megazord’s armor.

 

Zeored ran while carrying along Max, and a group of three crab-like fighter mecha swooped down from the sky and fired at Max and the Red Ranger.

 

“You’ve gotta be kidding,” Zeored said as he evaded the explosions. He lifted Max and dove down a slope as they started to roll.

 

Zeored rolled onto his feet and sprinted towards the nearby woods as the mech landed and started stalking forward, splintering through trees and crashing forward as Zeored and Max dove for cover.

 

Cogs began spreading out through the woods as Zeored checked his communicator. The teleportation signal was being jammed.

 

“We have to make a break for it,” Zeored said. “Ready?”

 

Max nodded.

 

“Go,” Zeored said as they started sprinting forward.

 

They made it to a wooden bridge that extended over a creek far below when Max hesitated.

 

“I hate heights,” he said. “Hate, hate, hate heights.”

 

“It’ll be okay,” Zeored said as a group of Cogs emerged from the woods behind them. “Come on…”

 

They started moving across the bridge when a small contingent of soldiers appeared on the other side as well.

 

Zeored charged forward while holding Max with his left hand and his sword in his right. He swung horizontally with a powerful strike that forced a Cog off the bridge. He turned to his right and snapped a hook kick across a Cog’s head.

 

The mech hovered towards the end of the bridge and primed a volley of missiles. Zeored quickly grabbed a hold of Max.

 

“Grab on and don’t look down,” he said as he leapt over the bridge. The mech’s missiles blasted the bridge to pieces as Zeored and Max dropped into the creek below.

 

***

 

Tommy and Max crawled out of the creek, soaked head to toe.

 

“I can’t,” Max said in disbelief as he shook his head. “Did we just…how did we...what the…”

 

He sat down on the ground and breathed a sigh of frustration.

 

“Are you okay?” Tommy asked.

 

Max nodded, then narrowed his eyes as he looked to Tommy. “You don’t look anything like I thought you would.”

 

Tommy nodded. “Okay…”

 

Explosions sparked across the ground around them as Tommy dove in front of Max, his clothes ripping from the blast.

 

He turned to see the Machine King and Clank standing alongside a group of Cogs. Tommy stood with his hands stretched out in front of Max as he glared at the machines.

 

“You put up quite a chase,” the Machine King said with an evil metal grin.

 

“Thanks,” Tommy said.

 

“I’m sure you’ve realized by now we managed to track your energy signatures to the boy’s home since you weren’t in uniform. Once we found out why…I couldn’t resist,” the Machine King said.

 

“Never really had time to think about it,” Tommy said. “I was too busy wiping out at least half your Cogs.”

 

The Machine King laughed with amusement. “This new zord system of yours will never be brought online, and my forces will overpower your little robo…”

 

Nearby, the ZeoMegazord was being hacked at violently by the machine mace monster.

 

The Machine King extended his hand and fired a burst of plasma energy that exploded around Tommy and Max. They dove for cover, but Max’s device shattered on the ground.

 

Tommy reached over and grabbed the chip from the pile as the Machine King readied another plasma blast. Tommy held his communicator to his mouth.

 

“Red Battlezord, online!”

 

Tommy grabbed Max and dove for cover as the Red Battlezord streaked by overhead while launching a volley of energy bursts that exploded around the Machine King and his machines.

 

Tommy rose to his feet while arming his braces. “Ultra Transform!”

 

***

 

The mace monster charged forward while slashing its claws across the ZeoMegazord as showers of sparks exploded against the Megazord’s armor.

 

The monster was distracted by a buzzing sound cutting through the air, and it looked to see the Red Battlezord corkscrewing forward.

 

“Back off, mace face,” Zeored said as the zord slammed against the monster, and the machine was sent crashing backward.

 

“Gatling arms, full power!” Zeored shouted as the cannons around the zord’s wrists pumped, spun, and sprayed lances of orange energy. The monster rolled into its sphere form, and the blasts reflected off the creature’s surface.

 

“Let’s take it up a notch,” Zeored said as he inserted the control chip into his front console. “MegaBattlezord fusion!”

 

The two zords stood back to back as energy flowed around them and they successfully combined.

 

Zeored joined the others in the Megazord’s cockpit as they shouted, “Zeo MegaBattlezord, online!”

 

The monster rolled into its mace form and shot forward towards the zord like a bullet.

 

“Battle Cannons, Ultra Blast!” they shouted as the shoulder-mounted cannons  pumped volleys of massive, orange energy blasts towards the monster.

 

The blasts exploded against the mace, causing it to unroll as another volley pierced through the creature’s armor. The machine’s systems overloaded, and the creature exploded.

 

***

 

The Rangers ran down to the woods below and found Max, who was running towards them with a smile on his face.

 

“You guys were awesome!” he shouted.

 

“Thanks,” Zeored said. “About what your father was working on…”

 

Max nodded as he looked down at the damaged device in his hand.

 

Zeored continued. “We have a friend who’s rather good at understanding technology. Maybe he could take a look.”

 

“Really?” Max asked as his face lit up.

 

“Sure,” Zeored said. “It would be no problem.”

 

Max smiled as he cradled the broken device. A small emblem rested on the inner panel that resembled two three-pronged gears laying on top of one another. The word “Lightspeed” appeared beneath the symbol.

 

To be continued…Chapter Twelve