The Legend of Zeo: Chapter Thirteen

Power of Gold

 

A tunneling wormhole bored its way through space in a conduit of swirling crimson and black energy. Lances of blue energy shot down the wormhole faster than the speed of light as a gigantic golden-and-black pyramid streaked through the hyperspace corridor.

 

The inside of the pyramid-shaped craft was dimly-lit by only the faint flashes of several power conduits and energy spheres.

 

In the center of the ship were two bio beds lying side by side, their occupants in a state of suspended animation. One of the beds held a boy who appeared 18 in human years. His skin was tanned, and he had dark eyes and medium-length hair parted down the center. He wore a golden headband with a medallion at the center. The medallion had three parallel lines running horizontally with a vertical line running through them. He wore a black body suit made of a shining, silky material. Over his chest was a plate of golden armor that wrapped around his back. Shoulder blades extended from the chest plate. He wore a thick, golden belt, and golden braces wrapped around his forearms and ankles.

 

In the bed next to him lied a girl who appeared around his age, with the same dark eyes and long dark hair. She wore a gown of pure white with an intricately designed pattern of red, green, and gold wrapped around her chest and back. She wore a thin golden headband.

 

The pyramid continued to bore through space on its way towards Earth.

 

***

 

Billy sat alone in the mecha hanger’s control room. As always, he was working on many projects at once despite the late hours of the night.

 

A small red light in front of him started to blink.

 

Billy wrinkled his brow with concern as he started to manipulate a series of controls. “This is strange…”

 

He pulled up a readout of the energy patterns of the five Zeo sub-crystals. The energy waves of the crystals were spiking and resonating at exponential rates.

 

Billy activated a comm unit. “Alpha…I need you and Zordon to take a look at something for me.”

 

***

 

Justin covered a yawn with his hand as he entered the Command Chamber, finding his other four teammates in similar sleeping attire.

 

“Super villains need to be more considerate of super heroes’ sleep schedules,” he said as he tried to mat down his messed up hair.

 

“What’s going on, Zordon?” Tommy asked.

 

“Observe the Viewing Globe,” their mentor instructed.

 

The rangers turned to face the Viewing Globe as images flashed within its glass, displaying ancient drawings and glyphs they didn’t recognize.

 

“These are ancient texts from the planet Triforia, a world of kings and nobles,” Zordon explained. “Thousands of years ago when the Machines approached Triforia, it was the power of their prince Trey that allowed the planet’s mages to fashion the Zeo Crystal.

 

“After the Machines were driven away, Trey and his companion entered a state of suspended animation. They knew the Machines would one day return. And so, Trey and his companion were sent adrift in space. Triforia quickly split into several different nations following their departure.

 

“Legend told that Trey would someday return to claim the throne of Triforia and unify the planet. His return would be a sign of an approaching Second Age of Darkness…a Darkness he would be instrumental in fighting against.”

 

The Viewing Globe shifted to an image of a giant pyramid in the center of the city.

 

“He’s back,” Billy said.

 

“So what do we do?” Chris asked.

 

“We go to him,” Tommy said. “Before the Machines do…”

 

“Well,” Ashley said. “What are we waiting for?”

 

***

 

Trey sat stood with his companion Triana at the forward command viewport of the giant pyramid. “This is not good…” Trey said as he narrowed his eyes and looked out upon the night-lit city of steel and concrete before him. “This is not good at all…”

 

“Where are we?” Triana asked as she wrapped her hand around her lover’s arm.

 

“I don’t know,” Trey said. “But I’m going to go find out. You stay here…”

 

Triana nodded as Trey backed away towards the exit. He extended his hand, and a short, black staff flashed into the palm of his hand with a burst of golden light. The staff was tipped with a golden symbol that matched his headband. It was the symbol of royalty on Triforia.

 

Trey left his pyramid and headed into the city.

 

***

 

Trey ran along the edge of a neon-lit amusement park and looked upon the twirling lights and noises with a mix of anxiety and awe. He chambered his staff as it vanished in a flash of light, and he flipped down to a lower level of the park.

 

“What kind of place is this?” he asked as moving, multi-colored lights flashed across his skin.

 

He watched twirling devices of metal spin through the air as vehicles traversed paths of twisted metal at dangerous speeds.

 

He heard a loud clanging noise coming from behind him as he turned to see a group of Cogs land on the ground with their staffs in hand. He feared the worst. Could the Machines have conquered his home world and turned it into this monstrosity? Or did he simply land on a world controlled by them?

 

Trey charged forward and sidestepped while slamming a sidekick against a Cog’s chest, knocking that soldier backward as he turned to his left to face another Cog. He roundhouse kicked that soldier across the head, turned to his left, and tornado kicked a third Cog to the ground.

 

Three Cogs came at him with their staffs swinging, but the Triforian executed a series of back flips to dodge the blows.

 

Trey landed on his feet and used his left arm to outer block a blow, and he cross punched the attacking Cog against its faceplate. He finished the soldier off with a well-placed round kick to the neck.

 

Trey looked over his shoulder and spotted an incoming Cog, so he turned to face the soldier while slamming a sidekick against the Cog’s face plate.

 

Trey flipped through the air and executed a flying sidekick against the last Cog. He then hopped forward and stomped on the soldier as its systems overloaded and its head exploded into pieces.

 

Trey narrowed his eyes as he looked around for anymore signs of enemies. “I need to find out what’s going on…and fast…”

 

***

 

Near the Machine’s main base on the moon was a newly constructed dome that served as an area for experimentation on biological/machine hybrid creations.

 

The transparent walls surrounding the sphere provided a clear view of space, while the inside of the dome was filled with countless piles and mounds of dirt and rock.

 

A sophisticated android with slender, female attributes and white armor plating walked along the piles as the Machine King towered by her side. She was known as the Tamer.

 

“The Gold Ranger?” she asked in disbelief. “Trey himself? I can see why you are worried, my King.”

 

“Nothing worries me, servant,” the Machine King said. “His vessel cloaked upon landing. I need something to hunt him down. I know he won’t stay in hiding forever…”

 

***

 

The sun had risen an hour and a half after the rangers started their search. They sped through the streets on their Zeo Jet Cycles while wearing their leathers and black helmets. They split into two groups, continuing their search of the area where the pyramid was last seen before it cloaked.

 

Nearby, Triana had left the pyramid to see the surrounding area for herself. She stood near a city block, hiding behind a tall pillar of concrete while holding a small creature the size of her forearm. The small pet had a slender body with green-matted fur. Its eyes were like small black pearls.

 

The pet wiggled within Triana’s grasp, fearful of its new surroundings as it leapt from her arms.

 

“Takku!” she called as she ran after the small pet.

 

Justin, Kat, and Ashley were riding along when they spotted the young woman. They pulled their bikes to a stop and removed their helmets as they ran after her.

“Come on,” Ashley said as they sprinted forward.

 

The creature known as Takku entered a line of bushes that marked the nearby, wooded, Tipton Park, as Triana ran after her pet.

 

***

 

Trey stood on a balcony overlooking a docking area on Angel Grove’s shore. He watched below as several types of machines worked to load various vessels. The machines seemed to have men working alongside them. Were they slaves? Or maybe the machines were slaves of the men? It was too early to tell.

 

***

 

Chris pulled his cycle to a halt near the docks and removed his helmet. Tommy did the same.

 

“What is it?” Tommy asked.

 

“Over there,” Chris said as he pointed towards the distance.

 

Tommy looked and saw Trey standing as stiff as a statue as he stared towards the docks and shore.

 

“Come on,” Tommy said as he ran in that direction alongside Chris.

 

They moved behind a pile of pipes as they entered the top platform where Trey had been standing, only the Triforian was no where in sight.

 

“Where did he go?” Chris asked as he and Tommy looked around. “He was just here.”

 

“Kiya!” they heard a voice shout as they looked up to see Trey flipping towards them from a crane while executing a flying sidekick.

 

“Break!” Tommy shouted as the two rangers leapt for cover.

 

Tommy rolled to his feet in time to block a round kick from Trey. The Triforian lunged forward with a cross punch, but Tommy grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his body.

 

“We’re not here to fight you,” Tommy said. “We’re Rangers.”

 

Chris walked over to Trey with his hands outstretched in a non threatening manner. “It’s true.”

 

Trey narrowed his eyes at Chris. “Why should I believe you…”

 

They heard a whining screech of mecha cut through the skies above as they looked to see a small group of crab mecha fighters.

 

“Down!” Tommy shouted as they leapt for cover, and missiles exploded around them. They rose to their feet as a group of Cog’s ascended to their platform.

 

“It’s morphin time,” Tommy said as he and Chris readied their braces.

 

“Ultra Transform!” they shouted as they morphed into their armor and snapped into fighting stances.

 

“Zeored!”

 

“Zeogreen!”

 

Zeored leapt forward while slamming a sidekick against a Cog’s chest. He moved to his right while snapping a reverse crescent kick, and he swung a knife-hand chop against a soldier’s head. The Red Ranger sidekicked the Cog backward.

 

Zeogreen outer blocked a blow with his right hand before crashing a left hook across a Cog’s head. He followed by turning to his right and slamming a backfist hook punch combo against a second Cog. The Ranger turned to his right and ducked under a blow while rising and slamming an uppercut against a Cog’s chest.

 

A group of Cogs opened their face plates and fired a volley of energy bursts that exploded against the two Rangers and Trey, sending them flipping over the railing and landing on an open area below, near a wide staircase and small pieces of construction equipment.

 

They rose to their feet just in time to face the oncoming rush of Cogs.

 

Zeored used his left arm to inner block a staff as he slammed a round kick against that soldier.

 

Trey ducked under a soldier’s blow before rising with a jump hook kick that slammed across a Cog’s head. He turned to his right and inner crescent kicked another Cog while spinning and snapping out with a reverse sidekick. Another soldier swung a staff towards his head, but he knocked it away before slamming his elbow against that Cog’s back.

 

Zeogreen grabbed a soldier’s staff and twisted it around while flipping the Cog to the ground.

 

Zeored jump kicked a soldier in the faceplate before spin kicking the Cog off its feet.

 

***

 

Triana ran through the park as she called for her pet.

 

The three rangers followed, keeping their distance quietly as to not scare her off.

 

Triana came to a small pond where she heard a small splashing noise. She looked to see Takku hiding within the waters. “Takku,” she called gently as she kneeled down next to the waters. “It’s okay. You can come out…”

 

Takku moved with the speed of a ferret and climbed onto Triana’s arm.

 

Kat smiled as she watched from afar. “Interesting…”

 

“Weird,” Justin said, and as a result, he got an elbow in the ribs from Ashley.

 

Triana started to walk away from the pond when a series of small explosions sparked around her, and she screamed.

 

“Come on,” Ashley said as they ran to her side. Kat helped the frightened girl to her feet as Justin and Ashley snapped into fighting stances to face the slender Machine walking towards them. It was Machine Tamer.

 

The Machine glared at Triana. “Where’s your little flesh-mate?”

 

“Leave her alone,” Justin said defensively.

 

“I’ll do just that,” the Machine said sarcastically as she snapped her fingers.

 

Dozens of Cogs dropped from the trees as their gears whined, and countless other Cogs leapt from the bushes.

 

“Get her to safety,” Ashley said to Kat as she turned towards an incoming group of Cogs and lunged forward with a flurry of crescent and roundhouse kicks.

 

Justin flipped a Cog over his left shoulder while snapping out his left leg with a sidekick against a Cog’s face plate. He moved forward with an inner crescent kick against another soldier, but four more moved forward. Justin leapt backwards in a series of back flips before rising to his feet. A Cog swung a staff at him, but he dove over the weapon and rolled across the ground before wrapping his legs around a Cog’s ankles and twisting the soldier off its feet.

 

Kat led Triana behind the trees as Justin and Ashley continued to slowly fight their way through the Cogs.

 

Tamer activated an energy whip and lashed the three rangers backward with a powerful strike that mildly electrocuted them. Tamer swung her whip around and struck back Triana.

 

***

 

Trey grabbed onto a soldier’s staff and round kicked that Cog before flipping it to the ground.

 

Through his mind’s eye, Trey saw a group of Cogs lift an injured Triana from a grassy field and carry her off as three strangers fought against the Machines. He was sensing her through a special bond instilled between them at birth. All Triforian children of nobility were connected through a telepathic rapport to those chosen as their mate.

 

“Triana!” he shouted as he kicked a Cog away and darted forward.

 

Zeored knife-hand chopped a soldier in the back as he looked to Zeogreen. “After him…”

 

The two Rangers ran after Trey as they followed a stone path that led towards one of Angel Grove’s larger parks. Explosions sparked around them as the mecha fighters pursued and opened fire.

 

***

 

Justin, Kat, and Ashley rose to their feet as a group of Cogs fired optic blasts that exploded against the ground around them.

 

The three rangers recovered and readied their Zeonizers.

 

“Ultra Transform!” they shouted as they morphed into their armor.

 

The Rangers downloaded their weapons in flashes of light as they charged forward through the group of Cogs.

 

Zeoblue leapt over a soldier’s staff and rolled across the ground, coming to his knees as he turned and swept that Cog’s legs out with his blade. The soldier fell to the ground as Zeoblue slammed his arm blade through the fallen Cog’s chest.

 

Zeoblue rose to his feet and front kicked a Cog, but the soldier caught his leg. The Ranger flipped backwards to kick the Cog upside the head and break free as he landed and spun forward while slashing through the soldier.

 

He turned to his left as a soldier approached him, and he snapped out with a crescent kick that slammed against that Cog’s face. He turned to his right and launched a tornado kick that slammed against another Cog.

 

Zeopink used her shield to high block a soldier’s staff before arcing her weapon around and slamming it against the Cog’s midsection.

 

To Zeopink’s right, Zeoyellow tornado kicked a Cog and followed through with a trio of blows with her nunchuku batons that sent the Cog crashing backwards.

 

Tamer narrowed her robotic eyes as she watched the battle unfold, the three Zeo Rangers tearing through the Cogs as if they were made of paper. She snapped her fingers and summoned one of her creations, which she named Wolfbane.

 

The three Rangers snapped into fighting stances as they heard a sharp howling noise echo across the woods.

 

“That sound can’t be good,” Zeoblue said.

 

“No sh-” Zeoyellow was cut off as a cybernetic, horned wolf creature sprang from the bushes and tackled against them.

 

The three Rangers fell backward and slid across the ground before recovering and rising to their feet. They charged forward and attacked.

 

Wolfbane knocked away Zeoblue’s arm blades and slashed the Ranger across the back with its claws before swinging its arm around towards Zeopink’s head. Zeopink blocked the blow with her shield, but the creature brought his other arm around and clawed the Ranger across the chest with a burst of spark.

 

Zeoyellow moved in towards the Machine’s back and slammed her nunchuku against his cybernetic armor, but he turned and slammed the back of his hand across her helmet.

 

The creature turned its attention back towards Zeoblue and swung his claws towards the Ranger’s head. Zeoblue ducked under the blow, and the Machine tore through a tree trunk, splintering wood and bark in every direction as the tree collapsed.

 

The three Rangers regrouped.

 

“Hit him together!” Zeoblue shouted as they pounced forward and struck with their weapons, but a powerful swing from the cybernetic creature knocked them backward again.

 

Zeoyellow rose to her feet and began twirling her nunchuku as they sparked with yellow energy. “Zeo Batons, power thrasher!”

 

She spun forward while slamming her energized weapons against the Machine, but he knocked her backward with a swipe from his claws.

 

Zeoblue extended his arms blades as they pulsed with blue-tinted energy.

 

“Zeo power charge!” he shouted as he dove forward and slammed his weapons against the cyborg’s armor, but the creature rolled with the blow while tossing the Ranger aside.

 

Zeopink armed her shield as it sparked with energy.

 

“Power Dive!” she shouted as she dove forward, spinning like a drill as she slammed her shield against the Machine’s chest. The creature slammed its fists down against her back and kicked her aside as she rolled across the ground to her two teammates.

 

“Zeo laser rifles!” Zeoyellow commanded as the three Rangers assembled their rifles and fired lances of energy that exploded against the cyborg’s armor.

 

The Machine stepped forward and brushed himself off, completely un-effected by the blasts. The monster leaned forward and fired streams of electrical energy from his horns that exploded against the Rangers’ armor and sent them crashing to the ground, their weapons flying from their hands.

 

The three Rangers heard Triana scream in the distance as she broke free from a group of Cogs and started running.

 

“Come on,” Zeoyellow said as they ran to aide the girl.

 

Tamer smiled as she watched the Rangers limp away. “Run while you can…you won’t get far…”

 

***

 

The mecha fighters continued to fire as Trey ran towards the park, explosions spraying shrapnel in every direction as the Rangers followed.

 

***

 

The three Rangers left the park area along with Triana and started to move across mountainous hills of dirt and grass just north of the city.

 

“Think we lost ‘em?” Zeoblue asked.

 

A swarm of energy blasts exploded around the three Rangers as they dove for cover to protect Triana. They rose to their feet and turned to see Wolfbane stalk towards them. Tamer followed closely behind the wolf along with a group of Cogs.

 

“Running will only make my pet fight harder,” Tamer said. “Isn’t that right, Wolfbane?”

 

Wolfbane howled as he opened his jaw and spread a volley of annihilation discs that exploded against the Rangers’ armor and sent them sliding across their backs.

 

Triana slowly rose to her knees as she looked to the oncoming Machine monster with fear. The creature snarled as it licked its metal lips with a cybernetic tongue.

 

***

 

Trey continued to run as he made his way across mountainous hills of dirt and grass. A missile volley exploded behind him, creating a shockwave that knocked him forward. The prince rolled across the ground to recover from the blow and rose to his feet.

 

The two Rangers and Trey dove for cover as another volley of missiles produced shockwaves that hurled them off the side of a hill and sent them tumbling below. They rolled to the bottom of the hill and rose to their feet as another volley of missiles streaked towards them.

 

***

 

Wolfbane continued to stalk towards Triana as the three Rangers ran forward to defend her. The Machine’s claws energized as he struck the incoming Rangers down one by one, causing sparks to ignite across their armor. He blasted them back further with a trio of fiery annihilation discs.

 

Triana backed away as the wolf growled with animal rage, slowly stomping towards her. He bent over and grabbed the girl with his massive hands as she struggled to break free from his grasp.

 

A black blur of motion crashed against Wolf Bane, slammed him backward,  swooped up Triana, and carried her to the top of a small cliff. It was Trey.

 

He set her down and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Triana…are you all right?”

 

She nodded as she leaned forward and hugged her lover.

 

Below, Zeored and Zeogreen regrouped with the others, helping them to their feet.

 

“You guys okay?” Zeored asked.

 

Zeoblue nodded. “We’ve been better…”

 

Tamer slowly walked to the foot of the cliff where Trey and Triana stood as she led along Wolfbane and the Cogs.

 

Trey stared down at them defiantly. “I don’t know how it is you’ve returned, and I don’t care…I beat you before, and I’ll do it again!”

 

Tamer laughed as she stared up at Trey. “Come, little Triforian…give it your best shot.”

 

“You asked for it…” Trey said as he armed a golden brace on each of his wrists. They were similar to the Rangers’ Zeonizers, only more simplistic in technical design, but more intricately marked with runes.

 

He crossed his arms above his head, mimicking the movements he saw the Zeo Rangers make earlier as he shouted: “Ultra Transform!”

 

Golden energy flashed around him as he transformed into a black suit of skin-tight armor covered with gold plating across the chest, shoulders, and legs.

 

He snapped into a fighting stance as he stared down at the Machines below. “Zeo Gold!” He pointed down at the Machines below. “Alright…Now it’s my turn!”

 

He shouted a war cry as he dove off the cliff while flipping downward through the air. He charged forward towards the Cogs at blinding speed as they moved in to attack him.

 

Zeo Gold low blocked a soldier’s staff and slammed a backfist against that Cog’s faceplate, following with a sidekick against that Cog’s chest. He turned to his left and swept a kick against a Cog’s legs, knocking the soldier’s feet out as he spun and slammed a fist against the Cog’s chest while it was in midair. The soldier crashed backward against a trio of Cogs.

 

Two Cogs came in and swung their staffs towards Zeo Gold’s head, but he high blocked both the blows by holding his arms out and knocking the weapons away. He slammed a backfist against the soldier’s faceplate to his left and hook kicked that soldier across the head. He turned to his right and snapped out with another sidekick that slammed against the soldier’s chest.

 

Zeo Gold leapt forward while spinning in midair and snapping out a left round kick that shattered through a soldier’s staff while smashing against its chest. The Ranger completed the spin while landing on the ground and snapping out a right reverse side kick that smashed against another Cog’s face plate.

 

Another Cog charged forward while swinging a pair of staffs in a blur of motion that Zeo Gold dodged as he was forced a few steps backward.

 

The Cog swung its staff towards the Ranger’s head. Zeo Gold shot out his left hand and caught the wrist while leaning forward and slamming his elbow against the Cog’s locked elbow. The soldier’s elbow snapped in two, and Zeo Gold leapt up with a right jump tornado kick across the Cog’s head. The Ranger landed and immediately snapped off a left reverse side kick that sent the soldier flying of its feet and crashing against another group of Cogs.

 

Zeo Gold spun to his right while knocking a staff away and slamming a backfist against a Cog’s chest. He brought his backfist up against the soldier’s faceplate and chest again before grabbing the soldier by the head and flipping it to the ground.

 

Zeo Gold stomped through the fallen Cog’s chest as small explosions erupted from its body.

 

Zeo Gold stalked forward boldly as another line of Cogs charged towards him.

 

The Ranger snapped off a left round kick that slammed against a Cog’s face plate, then he swung that leg around in a reverse crescent kick that smashed through the soldier’s head.

 

Zeo Gold hopped forward with a double jump kick that knocked two soldier to his sides backwards.

 

Anther soldier charged at him with its staff, but he caught the staff between his left arm and hip and slammed his right fist against the back of the soldier’s neck while turning forward and slamming that soldier to the ground. As he turned, he snapped out with a tornado kick, using his left knee to block a staff while swinging his right leg around and slamming it across that soldier’s head.

 

Two soldiers came at him from the sides, and he grabbed on to both their staffs as he twisted, pulling the Cogs and slamming them against each other.

 

Zeo Gold turned to his left and swung a backfist across a Cog’s face, followed by a sidekick that sent the soldier crashing backwards and knocking over another line of Cogs.

 

The Gold Ranger charged towards a lone Cog and flew through the air with a flurry of double sidekicks that he slammed against the soldier’s chest. The Cog was thrown backward as it crashed against the side of a hill and exploded.

 

The five Rangers watched in amazement as the Gold Ranger continued to move as quick as lightning, as strong as steel, through the Cogs.

 

“He’s good,” Zeoblue said.

 

“Real good,” Zeogreen added.

 

Three more Cogs moved in towards Zeo Gold and swung their staffs towards his head. He spun while holding his arms out and knocking the staffs backward. He turned towards the lead Cog and slammed a right jump kick against that soldier, snapped a right sidekick against another Cog, and a right roundhouse against the third.

 

The final group of Cogs moved forward, opening their face plates and firing a volley of electric pulses. The Gold Ranger dove for cover as explosions sparked out around him.

 

Zeo Gold rolled to his knees as he placed his hand in front of his visor, and his Golden Power Staff appeared in a flash of gold light.

 

“Wa-zzah!” he shouted as his staff energized, and he sprinted through a line of Cogs, slashing through them as they exploded, shattering metal shavings and gears in every direction.

 

The Gold Ranger turned to the last three Cogs and cut them down one by one with simple swipes from his weapon.

 

Wolfbane turned towards Zeo Gold’s side and fired a pair of jagged energy blasts. The blasts exploded around the Ranger as he dove for cover. He rolled to his knees just as a trio of plasma disks from the Machine crashed against his armor.

 

Zeo Gold flipped with the blast to soften the impact as he rose back to his feet.

 

“It’s time for a gold rush…” he said as the top part of his staff split open. He held the weapon above his head as it gathered streams of golden energy. “Victory Flash!”

 

He chopped the staff forward as a flurry of golden energy bolts streaked forward and exploded against the Machine.

 

The Machine fell backward, its systems severely damaged as small explosions erupted from its armor.

 

“Clank!” Tamer shouted as the slender robot assistant of the Machine King appeared above.

 

The Machine tossed his companion Orbus onto the fallen Machine monster and activated its expansion program, causing Wolfbane to grow to gigantic proportions.

 

The six Rangers regrouped as they stared up at the giant.

 

“We’ll take it from here,” Zeored said as he activated his communicator. “Zeo-zords, mobilize!”

 

The Rangers leapt into the air as the zords activated their retrieval programs, and the Rangers teleported into their cockpits in streams of multi-colored energy.

 

“Ultra Fusion!” Zeored shouted as the Rangers activated their combination program, and the five zords combined to form the ZeoMegazord.

 

“ZeoMegazord!” the Rangers shouted as they joined in their central cockpit.

 

Wolfbane charged forward towards the robo and energized his claws as he sliced across the Megazord’s chest. The ZeoMegazord turned to counter attack, but Wolfbane slammed his horns against the Megazord’s armor, causing a series of small explosions.

 

“He’s fast,” Zeogreen said.

 

“Kind of obvious, man,” Zeoblue said just as the Machine struck them once again.

 

“Super Crown Sword,” Zeored commanded as he activated the ZeoMegazord saber.

 

The Megazord charged forward while slicing its saber horizontally across the creature. The robo turned for a diagonal blow, but the wolf knocked the blade away and smashed his claws against the ZeoMegazord.

 

Wolfbane opened his jaws and launched a volley of fiery annihilation discs that exploded against the Megazord’s armor.

 

“Calling in some backup,” Zeored said. “Red Battlezord, launch!”

 

The Red Battlezord shot from a launching cannon in the zord holding bay as it streaked across the sky towards the Rangers. Zeored transferred to the Battlezord’s cockpit in a streak of light.

 

“Gattling cannons, full power!” Zeored shouted.

 

The zord’s gauntlet’s rail cannons opened fire with countless darts of orange energy that exploded against the Machine. Wolf Bane stepped forward unharmed and fired a volley of plasma disks that struck hard against the two zords.

 

Zeo Gold leapt forward towards the feet of the monster as he stared up defiantly. “This ends now, Wolfbane…I call upon the power of Pyramidus!”

 

Zeo Gold extended his staff towards the sky as a golden stream of energy shot forth. Dark clouds twirled through the air as the Gold Ranger’s pyramid zord appeared and pulsed with energy.

 

Zeo Gold leapt towards his zord in a stream of light as he materialized in the cockpit.

 

“Pyramidus, power up!” he shouted as he placed a crystal from his brace into the control console in front of him.

 

The gigantic pyramid hovered forward as Wolf Bane hurled a volley of plasma disks against the zord’s armor.

 

“Alright, Wolf Bane,” Zeo Gold said. “I’m tired of messing with you...Pyramidus, fire!”

 

The zord fired a steady stream of golden energy into the sky which produced a massive golden lightning bolt. The lightning bolt zoomed forward while tearing through the ground, and the energy bolt ripped apart Wolf Bane as the Machine’s systems overloaded and exploded.

 

Zeo Gold teleported back to the surface as he ran to Triana.

 

“Trey!” she shouted with a smile on her face as Zeo Gold lifted her up and embraced her. The other five Rangers ran to their side.

 

“That’s quite a zord you got there,” Zeoblue said.

 

“Gold Ranger!” a voice shouted from besides them as they turned and snapped into fighting stances. It was Machine Tamer. “Wolfbane was my…my favorite.”

 

“I don’t recall asking,” Zeo Gold said as he stood in front of Triana to protect her.

 

“Foolish Triforian,” Tamer said. Her body crackled with electricity as a suit of white armor appeared, and a helmet with the golden head of a bird on top covered her head. She activated an expansion program and grew to giant size as she readied her whip.

 

She fired a volley of energy blasts from her chest that exploded around the Rangers with massive eruptions of flame as they dove for cover, Zeo Gold making sure to protect Triana.

 

The Machine laughed with amusement as she watched the Rangers scurry around below.

 

Tamer opened a circular compartment in her midsection and lashed out with a white ribbon that slithered downward and wrapped around Zeo Gold. He struggled to break free, and even Takku leapt from Triana’s arm to try and chew through the ribbon. The Machine retracted the ribbon as Takku and Zeo Gold were trapped inside her body.

 

“No!” Triana shouted.

 

“Yes,” Tamer said simply as she extended her hand and fired an energy pulse that exploded around the Rangers. Zeored lifted Triana as they dove for cover.

 

They slowly rose to their feet and regrouped amidst the smoke from the explosions, but Tamer was gone. And with her, the Gold Ranger.

 

***

 

Trey lied facedown on the ground of the Machine’s bio dome on the moon. Tamer walked over to him, a smile of amusement on her face as she held her whip. She kicked him onto his back and placed her foot down on his chest as she gazed up and down his body.

 

“What a wonderful specimen,” she said. “Oh, the things I can do with you…”

 

The Machine King entered the dome and walked over to Tamer, towering over her with his dark cloak wrapped around his gray metallic body.

 

“I never thought I would see this boy again,” the Machine King said as he looked down at Trey. “He has been a thorn in my side for far too long.” Machine King turned to Tamer. “You know what I want. See that it’s done.”

 

***

 

Triana sat on a bio bed within the Command Chamber as Billy gave her a look over. “You should be okay,” Billy said.

 

“Thank you,” she said as she rose from her bed and walked over to where the other rangers stood in front of Zordon.

 

“Triana,” Zordon said. “You have my assurances that we will do everything within our power to find Trey…”

 

Triana crossed her arms in front of her chest as she shivered lightly. “I hope so, Zordon. Something terrible is happening to him…something evil…”

 

***

 

Near a museum in the center of the city, a teenage, Japanese girl was walking along one of the upper concrete walkways that led to the main museum building. Two such walkways ran parallel to each other on opposite sides of the building. The museum itself had a wide staircase leading down to a plaza area.

 

The girl heard heavy breathing from behind her as she turned to see a Machine monster. She screamed and backed away from the creature, which resembled a twisted, bronze metal and gold version of the Gold Ranger.

 

***

 

Alarms in the Command Chamber started to blare.

 

“Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi,” Alpha said. “There’s a disturbance at the Angel Grove Hulman Art Museum.”

 

Tommy sighed. “The Machines never waste any time…let’s go…”

 

***

 

The five Rangers ran across the upper balcony of the museum as they looked towards the platform where the Machine monster stood. The monster was slowly stalking forward as the girl tried to back away on the ground. She was screaming and terrified.

 

The Rangers leapt over to the walkway. Zeopink led the girl to a staircase as the other four Rangers charged the Machine monster. The creature pushed them back with a powerful blow, and they fell over the railing, plummeting to the ground below.

 

“This way,” Zeopink said as she led the girl to safety.

 

Behind her, the other Rangers rose to their feet as the Machine monster leapt down to their level and moved forward.

 

Zeopink rejoined the others after leading the girl to safety, and they assumed fighting stances.

 

“Doesn’t this creep look familiar?” Zeoblue asked.

 

“Almost like Trey,” Zeoyellow said.

 

An electric whip snapped down and slashed across the five Rangers as they were thrown to the ground. They quickly rose to their knees and looked up at the walkway to see Tamer glaring down at them.

 

“You again…” Zeored said through a clenched jaw as he rose to his feet.

 

“Do you like my new pet, Rangers?” Tamer asked. “I believe he used to be a friend of yours…he’s an excellent replacement for my Wolfbane.”

 

She lashed out with her whip again and struck the five Rangers backwards. “Attack them, Bane Gold!”

 

Bane Gold charged forward as the five Rangers sprang to their feet. The Machine grabbed hold of Zeored and tossed him aside. Zeoblue moved in towards the Machine’s right, but Bane Gold slammed a backfist across the Ranger’s helmet. The other three Rangers leapt onto the Machines back, but they were tossed away by a powerful swing from Bane Gold’s arms.

 

Zeored moved back in towards the Machine. “C’mon Trey, fight it.”

 

Zeored snapped out with a round kick, but Bane Gold blocked the blow before hook punching the Ranger backward.

 

Zeoblue moved in towards the Machine’s side, but Bane Gold slammed an elbow against his gut before grabbing him by the helmet and flipping him over.

 

Zeogreen and Zeopink latched on to the creature’s arms, but he swung them away with ease. Zeoyellow moved in next with a high kick that Bane Gold blocked before slamming a sidekick of his own against the Ranger’s chest and punching her away.

 

The five Rangers regrouped as Bane Gold armed a long, twisted staff of golden metal. He aimed the staff at the Rangers and fired a volley of golden energy bursts that exploded across their armor and tore up the pavement around them in a flash of golden fiery energy.

 

The Rangers rose to their feet as the smoke cleared, but Bane Gold and Tamer were no where to be found.

 

***

 

Back in the Command Chamber, Triana shook her head in disbelief as she watched Bane Gold vanish from sight.

 

“It can’t be,” she said as she shook her head and backed away. “I refuse to believe that monster is Trey…”

 

“Triana,” Zordon said reassuringly. “The Rangers will do everything in their power to-”

 

“No,” she said as she looked to Zordon. “I’ve had enough lies! Enough of this place!”

 

Triana ran from the Command Chamber as tears streaked down her face. Billy tried to run after her, but his back wouldn’t permit it.

 

“Alpha,” Zordon said. “Monitor Triana closely in case the Machines attempt to approach her.”

 

“Right away, Zordon,” Alpha said.

 

***

 

The teens regrouped in the Command Chamber as Billy activated a series of data images in the Viewing Globe to compare Bane Gold to Trey.

 

“His energy signature, bio signature, and movements are all identical,” Billy said as the images flashed across the globe.

 

“So is it Trey?” Ashley asked. “Or some kind of replica?”

 

“It’s impossible to be certain,” Billy said. “But I’m inclined to believe Bane Gold is Trey.”

 

Tommy sighed. “So how do we stop him without killing him?”

 

“I’m working on some possible solutions,” Billy said. “It may take a while.”

 

“What about Triana?” Kat asked. “One of us should go try and talk to her…”

 

Justin nodded in agreement. “You and I can go…”

 

“Be careful, guys,” Tommy said to them. “Whatever that Bane Gold thing is…it’s still out there.”

 

***

 

Triana was staring down at a pond, looking at her reflection as Justin and Kat walked towards her. They moved slowly as to not startle the Triforian.

 

“Hey,” Kat said softly. “Are you alright?”

 

Triana turned to face Kat, her face surprisingly optimistic. “I’m fine. You didn’t have to come…”

 

“We wanted to,” Justin said.

 

Triana nodded as her gaze drifted back to the pond. “It’s not Trey…I know it.”

 

“That very well may be,” Kat said. “Billy should have some definite answers soon.”

 

“I don’t need definite answers,” Triana said. “I know it…”

 

***

 

A small ranch rested in the woods south of Angel Grove. Various zoo animals were being kept in steel cages, and one cage held an assortment of young girls. The prisoners were crying, frightened for their lives.

 

Tamer walked along the cage of girls and gave them an approving nod. Bane Gold was by her side with his long staff in hand.

 

The young Machine Prince the rangers referred to as Sprocket was also at the ranch while alongside a group of Cogs. The young Machine was taunting various zoo animals, fascinated by their biology and appearance.

 

Tamer did her best to ignore Sprocket’s metallic giggles as she looked over the captive girls. “They should work perfectly.”

 

The Machine planned on melding the DNA of the captives with various beasts to create powerful cyborgs similar to Wolfbane.

 

“No need to scream, children,” Tamer said. “It will all be over soon…”

 

***

 

A fighter wing of crab mecha swarmed across the city skyline while firing a missile salvo that tore through buildings and streets with powerful explosions. A group of Cogs materialized on the war torn streets as citizens ran in panic towards the nearest safety shelters.

 

Tommy, Ashley, and Chris ran from a nearby alley and started to bash their way through the Cogs so the citizens could get to cover.

 

Tommy activated his communicator. “Justin, Machines are attacking the city…” he hook kicked a Cog across the head. “Get Triana back to the Command Chamber.”

 

***

 

Justin, Kat, and Triana heard Tommy’s warning just as a group of Cogs dropped down to the ground around them and moved in.

 

“I hate it when they do that,” Justin said as he and Kat readied their Zeonizers.

 

“Ultra Transform!” they shouted as they connected their braces and morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

Zeoblue stood in front of Triana as two Cog’s swung their staffs forward. The Ranger inner blocked the blows and snapped his leg out to kick the two soldiers back with a round kick/hook kick combo.

 

Zeopink slammed an outer crescent kick across a soldier’s head, causing the Cog to fall backward and splash into the pond.

 

Triana stepped backwards as the two Rangers kept the Cogs away from her. A tingling feeling crept along the back of her head as she opened her eyes wide with recognition.

 

“Trey…” she said softly as she turned and ran towards the distance.

 

***

 

Trey awoke to the feeling of a cold, small tongue licking his cheek. His vision slowly blurred into focus as he looked to see the small creature Takku licking his face.

 

Trey rubbed the back of his head as he slowly sat up. “Takku…where are we…”

 

He looked around to find himself surrounded by a dark fog. The ground beneath his feet was cold and covered with piles of pebbles and rock.

 

Trey rose to his feet and looked around as he narrowed his eyes, searching for anything helpful. Takku scurried off into the distance while making a high-pitched clicking noise. Trey knew the creature wanted him to follow, and since he had few options, he did so.

 

***

 

Triana ran to a wide open field of tall grass within the mountains, following the thought patterns she was receiving from Trey. She stopped cold in her tracks as Tamer appeared in front of her alongside Bane Gold.

 

“Aren’t you tired of running, girl?” Tamer asked as she and Bane Gold stalked forward.

 

***

 

The five Rangers shot across a dirt path nearby while riding their Zeo Jet Cycles.

 

“We’re almost there,” Zeored said to the others as they opened their throttle to full.

 

***

 

Tamer and Bane Gold continued to stalk towards Triana until they heard the thundering roar of the Rangers’ cycles. They turned to see the five Rangers riding forward at blinding speeds.

 

“Get them,” Tamer ordered.

 

Bane Gold aimed his staff forward and fired a volley of cyan-tinted spheres of destruction towards the Rangers. The five rangers swerved through a series of evasive maneuvers as the blasts exploded against the ground around them.

 

Zeored zoomed his cycle past Bane Gold while slamming his fist against the Machine’s face. The other cycles jetted past Tamer.

 

Tamer lashed out with her whip towards Zeopink, and the weapon wrapped around the Ranger’s neck. Tamer pulled Zeopink off her bike and she landed hard against the ground.

 

Zeopink rose to her knees, and Tamer energized her whip before striking the Pink Ranger across the chest.

 

Tamer stepped closer to the Ranger and swung her whip again, but Zeopink caught the weapon around her wrist. The Ranger swept her leg around in an arc and slammed down on the tightened whip, causing the Machine to stumble forward. Zeopink slammed a double palm heel blow against Tamer’s chest, and the Machine fell backwards.

 

A few feet away, Zeored charged forward on his cycle and rammed against Bane Gold. The Machine was knocked off its feet and sent slamming against the cliff face.

 

Zeored hopped off his cycle and rejoined his teammates as they faced off with Tamer.

 

The Machine narrowed her robotic eyes at the team as she rose to her feet. “I’ve had enough…enough…”

 

Tamer activated her expansion program and grew to giant size with a burst of energy.

 

The Rangers activated their communicators. “Zeo-zords, mobilize!”

 

The five Zeo-zords appeared as the Rangers leapt into their cockpits in streams of multicolored energy.

 

“Ultra Fusion!” they shouted as their five zords combined to form one giant robo.

 

“ZeoMegazord!” they shouted from their cockpit.

 

Tamer extended her palm and produced a golden cube of entwined energy bars. She extended her palm forward, and the cage of energy wrapped around the ZeoMegazord, trapping it in place.

 

“Ashley…” Zeored said as he looked back to Zeoyellow.

 

Zeoyellow shook her head. “We try to break through these bars, we blow ourselves sky high.”

 

“That wouldn’t be so bad,” Zeoblue said sarcastically.

 

Tendrils of energy lashed out from the bars and exploded against the Megazord’s armor.

________________________________________________________________________

Trey limped forward as he followed Takku to the edge of a cliff. He could sense Triana’s fear. Her despair. He knew he had to help her no matter what the cost.

 

Takku crawled up Trey’s leg and made his way up around the prince’s arm. “Down here, huh…” he said as he looked down to the glowing crimson rocks below. “Here goes nothing…”

 

Trey dove down into the chasm below.

 

***

 

Triana backed away as Bane Gold slowly crept towards her. The Machine breathed a low rumbling laugh as he tightened his grip on his staff.

 

A flash of golden light suddenly erupted between them as Trey appeared and sidekicked the Machine backward.

 

The Rangers looked down at the prince from their cockpits.

 

“Guess this answers that question,” Zeogreen said.

 

Zeoyellow nodded. “They must have been holding him in some pocket dimension.”

 

Back on the ground, Trey stepped forward towards Bane Gold to protect Triana. “Keep your rusty hands off of her…”

 

The prince round kicked the Machine, but did little damage in his weakened condition. Bane Gold followed by spearing his staff forward. Trey caught the weapon and twisted before slamming a backfist blow against the Machine. He followed with a right inner crescent kick, left round house kick combination.

 

Bane Gold was forced a few steps back, but countered with a horizontal staff strike. Trey somersaulted backwards to avoid the blow and landed while readying his transformation braces.

 

“Ultra Transform!” he shouted as he morphed into his armor with a flash of golden energy.

 

Zeo Gold leapt over the Machine while slamming his heel against the back of the creature’s neck. The Ranger twisted through midair and landed to face the Machine while arming his Golden Power Staff.

 

Bane Gold moved in and swung his staff towards the Gold Ranger. The Triforian used his staff to parry the blow and followed with a sidekick to the Machine’s chest. Zeo Gold spun forward while striking the monster with a horizontal blow.

 

“It’s time for a gold rush…” Zeo Gold said as he powered up his weapon. “Victory Flash!”

 

The Ranger extended his staff forward and fired pulses of golden energy that ripped through the Machine like paper.

 

Clank appeared, following normal protocol as he threw Orbus onto the fallen Bane Gold. The droid activated Bane’s expansion program, and the Machine grew to giant size.

 

Bane Gold aimed his staff downward and fired pulses of energy that exploded around Zeo Gold as he rolled for cover. The Ranger rose back to his feet as he raised the Power Staff into the air.

 

“I call upon the power of Pyramidus!” he shouted as his pyramid-shaped zord appeared with a storm of golden lightning.

 

Zeo Gold leapt into his zord with a streak of golden light as he maneuvered towards the ZeoMegazord. “Need a hand…”

 

Pyramidus fired a burst of golden energy that broke the robo free from its cage.

 

“Thanks Trey,” Zeored said, just as Billy’s voice piped through their communicators.

 

“Guys,” Billy said. “I’ve found a group of captives nearby.”

 

A monitor displayed the ranch where the teenage girls and zoo animals were locked in cages.

 

“Guys,” Zeored said to his team. “You stay here and pilot the Megazord. I’ll free the captives.”

 

“Be careful, man,” Zeogreen said.

 

Zeored leapt from his cockpit.

 

***

 

Zeored flipped down onto the ranch as a line of Cogs separated and ran towards him from behind the caged girls.

 

“Sorry to crash your party, tin heads,” Zeored said as he charged forward.

 

The Ranger outer blocked a soldier’s blow before bringing his other hand around and flipping the soldier over while spinning forward, snapping a reverse sidekick that slammed against another Cog’s face plate. Another soldier speared a blade towards Zeored. The Ranger grabbed the spear and swung it back across another soldier’s chest. He flipped the staff away and hook kicked the Cog across the head.

 

“Star Riser!” Zeored shouted as he placed his hand in front of his visor, summoning his sword with a flash of crimson energy.

 

He parried a soldier’s blow and followed with a diagonal strike. Zeored turned to his left and slammed a sidekick against a Cog, then turned to his right while swinging his blade horizontally and decapitating a Cog.

 

Zeored moved to the cage and cut its lock in two as the bars swung open.

 

“Get moving,” Zeored said to them. “Run.”

 

A Cog came charging forward, and Zeored low blocked a blow with his blade before slamming the end of his sword’s handle against the Cog’s face plate.

 

Zeored activated his communicator once he saw the girls had reached safety. “Red Battlezord, go!”

 

The giant zord was shot through the sky as Zeored leapt into his cockpit in a stream of red light.

 

Zeored maneuvered his zord alongside the ZeoMegazord as Tamer regrouped with Bane Gold.

 

“Let’s take care of business,” Zeored said as the two zords charged forward and began exchanging fierce volleys of blows against the two Machines.

 

Tamer energized her whip and slashed the two zords backward as Bane Gold extended a staff and fired an energy volley. Explosions sparked across the zords’ armor as they were forced back.

 

“Guys,” Billy’s voice said to the Rangers over their communicators. “I’ve unlocked a fusion code within Pyramidus. Bring all yours zords together to form the ZeoUltrazord.”

 

“Right,” Zeored said as he downloaded the program from the Command Chamber. “Golden fusion!”

 

The pyramid zord extended a platform from its base that the five Zeo-zords took positions on, and the Red Battlezord rode on the rear. The ZeoUltrazord rolled forward in carrier formation as it fired lances of golden energy that tore through Bane Gold and caused the Machine to explode.

 

“You’re next, Tamer,” Zeored said. “ZeoUltrazord, battle formation!”

 

Pyramidus stood upright as it assumed a bulky warrior formation, with the zords sealing inside its back.

 

“ZeoUltrazord!” the six Rangers shouted. “Golden Storm!”

 

A fierce volley of golden lightning blasts and energy pulses decimated Tamer as the Machine disintegrated.

 

***

 

Triana was in a grassy field along with Takku. She was introducing the creature to a white rabbit as the six rangers stood by.

 

“We’ll have a lot to learn about this place,” Trey said.

 

“So you’ve decided to stay here?” Kat asked.

 

Trey nodded as he watched his companion play in the field. “We have to…until the Machines are defeated.”

 

“Well Trey,” Justin said as he laid a hand on the Triforian’s shoulder. “We’re glad to have you around.”

 

***

 

Tommy, Justin, Chris, Ashley, Kat, and Billy gathered in the Command Chamber in front of Zordon. Their mentor had an expression on his face the others didn’t recognize.

 

“Rangers,” Zordon said. “I am afraid the time has come for me to say goodbye.”

 

“Whoa,” Justin said. “What?”

 

“What do you mean bye?” Chris asked.

 

“A great darkness is emerging in the galaxy,” Zordon said. “My presence is required on Eltar.”

 

Tommy wrinkled his brow as he crossed his arms in front of his chest. Zordon had left for Eltar once before, after their final battle with DaiSatan and Bandora…but this seemed different. Tommy had a feeling that this time, Zordon would not be coming back.

 

To be continued…Chapter 14