The Legend of Zeo: Chapter Eighteen

Rightful Heir

 

A bulky blue armored machine that appeared with a cop-motif was terrorizing the plaza when the five rangers showed up to the scene in their leather uniforms alongside Trey.

 

“Man,” Justin said as they assumed defensive stances. “This Blastaar’s monsters are even more ridiculous than the Machine King’s.”

 

“And easier to take down,” Tommy said as they readied their braces. “It’s morphin time!”

 

The rangers connected their braces and morphed into their armor with flashes of energy.

 

The Cogs charged forward.

 

Zeo Gold outer blocked a staff from a Cog. He countered by smashing a right inner crescent kick, and spinning while snapping a left reverse crescent kick across the Cog’s head.

 

Zeogreen stood near Zeo Gold and inner blocked a blow with his left hand and swung his right fist across the Cog’s head.

 

Zeored parried a blow with his Star Riser and cut through the attacking soldier’s chest, ripping through its inner wiring.

 

The Machine monster extended his blaster and fired a volley of shots that exploded around the Rangers as they rolled for cover.

 

Zeored rose to his feet and leapt forward as he brought his blade down across the monster’s head.

 

The Machine was forced backward as Clank and Orbus arrived on a walkway above the plaza. Clank hurled Orbus, and the small droid clung to the Machine monster and activated its expansion program. The Machine flashed with electric energy as it grew to giant size.

 

The Rangers activated their communicators. “Warriorzords, mobilize!”

 

The Rangers leapt into their zords within streams of multi-colored energy.

 

The Machine monster opened fire with his blaster, and small explosions sparked across the zords’ armor as they moved forward.

 

Red Warriorzord swung its saber towards the monster, but the Machine rolled underneath the blow and rose to its knees. The monster aimed at the Red Warriorzord and fired at near point-blank range.

 

“Warrior fusion!” Zeored commanded as the five zords streaked into the air, reassembling as they stacked on top of one another to form one giant robo.

 

“MegaWarriorzord, online!” they shouted as they joined within their cockpit.

 

“Warrior blades, energize!” they shouted as they placed the zord’s two sabers together. The energy blade tripled in length as they crashed the sword through the monster vertically.

 

The Machine fell into two pieces as it exploded into a ball of flames.

 

 

***

 

In the Machine’s moon base, Blastaar was taking out his anger on Machina.

 

A group of Cogs surrounded the fallen Machine Queen and slammed the ends of their staffs against her breaking metallic body. Clank and Orbus stood by Blastaar and watched, since they were programmed to follow whoever was in charge of the Empire. Blastaar was the clear holder of that position.

 

“That’s enough!” Blastaar shouted as the Cogs halted their attack.

 

The Machine Queen tried to rise to her feet as her head rose to face Blastaar.

 

Blastaar laughed at the sight of the broken queen. “You’ve dirtied my base with your filth for the last time. I am afraid there is no room for you in my new Machine Order.”

 

Machina narrowed her eyes at the blue-armored general. “You will be destroyed for this…in the most cruel and unusual ways imaginable.”

 

“And how might that be, queen?” Blaster said. “Your King is destroyed. Your only heir scrapped and sent out with the rest of the garbage. I have taken everything from you…but don’t let it be said I have no mercy. Your emotional algorithms must miss your King and Prince. I will make arrangements for you to meet them. Guards…to the scrap heap with her…”

 

Machina refused to protest or beg as the Cogs carried her away. She merely glared at Blastaar, knowing somehow, he would pay.

 

***

 

The scrap heap rested within the bowels of the Machine base. Machina was tossed onto a pile of metal, steel, and wires and left for dead. Her joints were starting to lock into place and her power cells were draining.

 

Through her static-filled vision, Machina saw a startling image among broken Cog heads and wires. It was the head of her son, the Machine Prince.

 

Machina reached out, her limbs grinding in protest, and grabbed hold of her son’s head. She cradled him in her arms as a group of automated loaders began scooping the scrap heap into a pair of rusty transport vessels.

 

***

 

Ashley sighed with frustration as she slammed her hand against the Command Chamber’s control console. “Does anyone ever think to organize these files?”

 

Alpha waddled over to the ranger. “What is it, Ashley?”

 

She shook her head as her fingers danced across the controls in front of her. “Information on the Warriorzords is scattered everywhere. It’s a wonder Billy ever found his way around this mess.”

 

Alpha activated a control panel and assisted with the search. “Billy always referred to his file system as organized chaos. Heh heh.”

 

Ashley gave the android a lopsided grin. “You miss having him around, don’t you?”

 

The android nodded. “I do, Ashley…I do…” the android’s gaze drifted to the empty holographic tube. “And Zordon…”

 

Ashley was quite surprised that Alpha was capable of such emotions. She was even more surprised that she hadn’t noticed even after months of being a ranger.

 

Alarms in the Command Chamber started to blare as their attention turned to the Viewing Globe. What looked like a giant robot/dog hybrid was stomping through the streets, its odd-shaped body covered in golden armor plating.

 

“Justin’s going to have a field day with this one…” Ashley said as Alpha turned to contact the others.

 

***

 

The Machine’s transport was designed to haul un-recyclable waste into the sun to be destroyed. The scowl drifted away from the moon and set course for the sun, the remains of the Machine Prince and badly damaged Machina confined within its bowels.

 

The piloting program suddenly twitched, causing the vessel to halt in mid-space. The program was hacked into as the vessel reversed course and headed towards the dark side of the moon. The ship followed a homing beacon all the way back towards the moon as it crashed on the crater-filled, barren surface.

 

***

 

The five Warriorzords were facing off against the Machine monster and weren’t faring well. The monster was equipped with an energy beam that transformed certain portions of the zords into gold, rendering them nearly immobile.

 

The Machine opened fire with a volley of energy pulses that exploded against the crippled zords’ armor.

 

Zeored grabbed a hold of his control console to keep from being tossed from his chair. He activated his communicator.

 

“Red Battlezord, mobilize!” he shouted.

 

The Red Battlezord shot across the sky as Zeored transferred cockpits while teleporting in a stream of red energy. Zeored moved his zord forward towards the monster. It’s fists pumped as they slammed against the monster’s armor, forcing the Machine backwards with a fierce volley of blows.

 

Zeo Gold landed on the rooftops below as he raised his Power Staff into the sky. “I call upon the power of Pyramidus!”

 

The Triforian raised his staff towards the sky and summoned his giant pyramid zord with a burst of golden energy. Zeo Gold entered his cockpit and inserted his crystal into the forward control console.

 

“Take a piece of this golden power,” Zeo Gold said as his zord fired a golden energy burst that exploded against the Machine monster.

 

Zeored pushed his control levers forward as he shouted: “Gattling cannons, full power!”

 

The Red Battlezord’s wrist cannons pumped lances of energy that exploded across the monster’s armor, causing pieces of metal to splinter as explosions sparked. The device used to coat the zords in gold shattered.

 

The Machine lashed forward with a swarm of chains that it wrapped around each zord. The monster pumped electric energy through the chains as explosions tore across the zords’ armor.

 

***

 

Machina crawled forward from the scrap pile with the remains of her son in tow. She didn’t know what, but something was calling for her. It was a call she couldn’t resist. She found a hidden chamber and managed to open it with a simple push as she tumbled forward, banging her armor as she fell down a metal staircase and landed on the ground below.

 

The room had artificial gravity generators and was dimly-lit by the faint glow of various electronic devices of primitive design and shape. At the front of a room was a sight that shocked her.

 

A small cylinder tube rested on a pedestal. The tube was hooked up with various wires and filled with a bubbling liquid. Inside the liquid was the severed head of the Machine King.

 

“It can’t be…” Machina said as her robotic voice trembled.

 

The eyes of the Machine King started to faintly glow. “Machina…” he said in a broken voice, once booming with power and now reduced to a whimper.

 

“How?” she asked as she crawled towards him.

 

“I do not know,” he said. “I am being kept alive through this archaic system…it was through this system I was able to bring you here…”

 

“It was Blastaar,” Machina said. “He…did this to us…”

 

The Machine King narrowed his eyes as he stared at the remains of his son.

 

The Machine King scanned his son’s memory cells and found them to be intact.

 

“He can be reconstructed with the equipment here…my memory cells are degrading…his are intact…” The Machine King said. “Place him on the center table.”

 

Machina placed the remains of the Prince on the center table. Cords and wires sprang forward as if they were alive, snaking their way around the remains of Sprocket as energy pumped into him while crackling around the entire room in blinding flashes of light.

 

***

 

The Machine monster continued to pulse energy against the Rangers’ zords.

 

“Ashley,” Zeored said through the comm. “Can you reroute any of this energy back at him?”

 

“Not when half our zords are made of gold,” she said with frustration.

 

“Time to call in the back up,” Zeored said as he activated his communicator. “Zeo-zords, mobilize!”

 

The Zeo-zords stomped through the streets as the Rangers transferred cockpits.

 

“Ultra Fusion!” Zeored shouted as the five zords combined into one robo.

 

“ZeoMegazord, online!” the Rangers shouted from their cockpit.

 

Zeoblue shook his head. “I forgot how cramped it was in here…”

 

The ZeoMegazord activated its saber and cut the other zords loose from the chains.

 

“Trey,” Zeored said over the comm line. “Let’s bring on the Ultrazord.”

 

“Ready when you are,” Zeo Gold said.

 

“Golden Fusion!” the Rangers shouted as the ZeoUltrazord assumed battle formation. “Golden Storm!”

 

The zord fired massive volleys of golden energy blasts that ripped the Machine monster apart.

 

“Blast them!” Blastaar shouted from the streets below as he turned to run off.

 

“Not so fast!” a voice shouted from above. He turned in time to see Zeo Gold leaping towards him with a flying sidekick. The kick slammed against his armor and sent him crashing across the ground. The other five Rangers landed and assumed fighting stances as they circled around him.

 

“This ends tonight,” Zeored said.

 

“Why won’t you just die!” Blastaar shouted.

 

“Just to piss you people off,” Zeoblue said.

 

A loud rumbling noise split the air as a giant blur of fire swooped down and tackled against Blastaar and the Rangers, sending them tumbling across the ground. The blur of flames landed on top of a small building and materialized into a slender and feminine Machine scarcely clad in pink armor, and armed with a bow and arrow.

 

The Rangers slowly rose to their feet.

 

“Who is she?” Zeogreen asked.

 

The Machine laughed as she extended her hand and fired jagged beams of energy that tore through the ground around the Rangers in a series of explosions.

 

The Machine laughed again before pointing her bow down at the Rangers. “Call me Archarina…Cousin to Machina, and loyal to the Machine King alone.”

 

Blastaar rose to his feet. “The King is scrap!”

 

She extended her hand and fired a jagged burst of energy that exploded against Blastaar’s armor and sent him crashing across the ground.

 

***

 

Back in the hidden moon base, electric energy continued to travel through the wiring hooked up to the Prince’s remains. Systems originally intended to rebuild the Machine King were pushed to the max.

 

The Machine King channeled the last of the available energy through the wiring in one final explosive burst that ripped the wiring from the walls and shattered his containment tube.

 

The Machine King’s head rolled across the floor as Machina scooped him up into her arms.

 

“Machina…” he said as his eyes dimmed and his jaw froze open.

 

Machina rose to her feet and turned as the smoke began to clear. A tall figure was standing where her son’s remains used to be, and it took her a moment to realize that it was her son.

 

The Machine Prince, who the Rangers referred to mockingly as Sprocket, had been rebuilt in a slender body of a mature machine warrior.

 

The Machine Prince looked over his body with glowing yellow eyes. He made a fist and examined his hands. He continued looking over his own armor and started laughing. His insane laughter echoed off the cave walls as Machina stood in shock.

 

***

 

Blastaar rose to his feet and started to make a break for it as Archarina fired another wave of energy pulses that knocked the Rangers backwards. Blastaar managed to slip away as the six Rangers rose to their feet and regrouped.

 

“Zeo Rangers…” Archarina said as she glared down at the team. “You’ve been a thorn in my family’s side for far too long.”

 

Zeored stood in a fighting stance. “The Machine King is dead, Archarina…keep this up, and you will be too.”

 

The Machine leapt forward with great agility and dove through the team while cutting them back with her bow. She twisted across the air as she landed, and the Rangers charged towards her.

 

Zeored moved in with his Star Riser and swung the blade towards her head. Archarina parried the blow and slammed the end of her bow against the Ranger’s faceplate before kicking him backward.

 

Archarina turned to her left and slammed a sidekick against Zeo Gold’s face plate, then turned to her right while bashing her weapon across Zeoblue’s helmet.

 

Zeoyellow moved in with a spinning heel kick, but Archarina blocked the blow and slammed a kick of her own against the Ranger’s side.

 

Archarina quickly cocked two energy arrows and turned to snap them off against Zeogreen and Zeopink. The arrows exploded against their armor and tossed them backwards.

 

Zeo Gold and Zeored moved back in.

 

Gold Ranger swung his staff down towards the Machine’s head. His blow was blocked, so he spun while bringing the spear end of his staff towards her midsection. Archarina parried the blow while spinning a reverse sidekick that crashed against Zeo Gold’s chest and sent him flying backwards off his feet.

 

Zeored moved in with a flying sidekick that Archarina blocked. He landed and moved in with a flurry of punches and kicks, but Archarina blocked them before snapping a front kick upside Zeored’s head, and slamming a reverse sidekick against his chest. Zeored was slammed backwards alongside his teammates.

 

The Rangers regrouped just as Archarina radiated with fiery energy and shot forward like an arrow, blasting through them. She landed on the roof of a small building and turned to face them.

 

“Zeo rifles!” Zeored shouted as they fired lances of energy up towards the Machine.

 

Archarina twirled her bow, blocking each of the blasts. She countered by firing a volley of arrows that ripped apart the ground around the Rangers and tossed them backwards.

 

“You six are nothing compared to me,” Archarina said as she casually swung her bow over her shoulders. “Luckily…my attention is required on the moon. Blastaar must not be allowed to taint the Empire with his presence any longer…”

 

Archarina fired another volley of energy arrows before teleporting away.

 

The Rangers regrouped once the explosions cleared.

 

“So…” Zeoblue said. “At what point did we lose control here?”

 

“The Machine King has many generals,” Zeo Gold said. “We should have expected something like this after his demise.”

 

“This Archarina took us by surprise,” Zeored said. “It’s not a trick she can pull more than once.”

 

***

 

Blastaar inched closer to the Machine Base on the surface of the moon, trying to move faster despite the damage to his systems. He knew he was getting closer, because the base’s artificial gravity field was in effect. Be that as it may, he didn’t make it far.

 

Archarina shot towards him like a fiery arrow and crashed against him. Blastaar was thrown backwards as Archarina landed and glared down silently at him.

 

Blastaar cowered away as he inched backwards. “I did what I had to do…who was going to lead the empire. Machina? Their little whelp of a son? I was best suited.”

 

“You killed Machina. You killed the prince…” Archarina extended her hand and fired an energy pulse that blasted against his armor.

 

Blastaar struggled to rise to his feet as another energy blast struck him from behind. The fallen Machine turned to see a slender figure walk forward with a double-edged sword in hand. The stranger had frighteningly familiar features.

 

“It…can’t be…” Blastaar said.

 

The Machine Prince laughed maniacally as he walked forward. “Not bad for a little, whelp, ey Blastaar?”

 

Blastaar stood as he shook his head and backed away. “You’re supposed to be dead…”

 

The Machine Prince pointed his sword forward as he stalked towards Blastaar. “You look afraid, Blastaar…afraid for your own petty existence. What is the matter? Are you too much a coward to face a true machine?”

 

Archarina stared at the Prince with a gleam of pride in her artificial eye.

 

Blastaar shook his head. “Damn you…”

 

The Machine Prince began twirling like a cyclone as he swarmed back and forth across Blastaar, cutting open his armor in various locations as small explosions rang out across his body.

 

The Prince landed in front of Blastaar as the weaker Machine slid to the ground.

 

The Prince walked over to Blastaar and tilted his head up with the edge of his sword. “You’re not worth the cheap metal you’re made of…”

 

The Prince brought his blade down and cut off the Machine’s left arm as it exploded with a shower of sparks.

 

Blastaar screamed as the Prince laughed, amused by the injured Machine as he tried to crawl backwards.

 

Archarina’s laughter joined his as she walked forward and cocked an energy arrow. She fired the arrow, and it exploded against his right arm, severing the limb.

 

A grin spread across the Prince’s face as he looked to Archarina. “A lovely shot.”

 

The Machine tilted her head in a slight bow. “Only the best to serve my Prince.”

 

Blastaar shook his head frantically. “You two are mad!”

 

“Perhaps,” Machine Prince said. “But no need to worry, Blastaar…I have plans for you. You will fight the Zeo Rangers. I will sit back and watch as my enemies destroy one another. Then this planet will belong to me…the rightful heir to the throne.”

 

Blastaar shook his head. “You. Are. Mad!”

 

The Machine Prince laughed. “Resist all you want, Blastaar…but you don’t really have much choice.”

 

The Prince looked to Archarina. She nodded with understanding as insane laughter echoed from her artificial throat. They extended their hands and fired jagged beams of energy that penetrated Blastaar and reworked his inner circuitry wire by wire.

 

***

 

The five rangers were in the Command Chamber with Alpha while reviewing data on Archarina when the Viewing Globe started to crackle with static. An image of the Machine Prince appeared.

 

“How did he get on there?” Chris asked.

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes as he glared at the image. “Who are you?”

 

“Don’t you recognize me, Rangers?” the Machine Prince said as he laughed. “I’ve come to reclaim my father’s throne.”

 

“Sprocket?” Justin asked with disbelief.

 

“That is not! My! Name!” The Machine Prince shouted as he pointed his blade forward.

 

“Okay, okay,” Justin said. “Don’t blow a gasket.”

 

“You will get yours,” The Machine Prince said. “I have bent Blastaar to my will. You’ll see he’s quite blinded to anything but rage. Do enjoy him…consider him a gift.”

 

The Viewing Globe shifted to an image of a giant Blastaar tearing through the streets. His left arm was replaced with a double-edged blade, and his right arm with what appeared to be a bulky rocket.

 

“Let’s get to the Warriorzords,” Tommy said.

 

***

 

The five Warriorzords landed in the streets and surrounded Blastaar.

 

“Alright,” Zeored said over the comm. “Move in.”

 

The Warriorzords charged forward as Blastaar fought back. He hacked through each zord one by one in a mindless display of fury, slamming his rocket hand against the zords’ armor and thrashing across them with his blade hand. His movements were chaotic and uncontrolled.

 

Blastaar turned to his right and swung his blade towards the Blue Warriorzord, but Zeoblue fired his mech’s reverse thrusters and backed away from the blade.

 

“Eat this, metal head,” he said as his zord fired lances of energy from its rifle that exploded against the Machine.

 

The Yellow and Pink Warriorzords blasted the Machine back with their energy cannons as a stream of energy darts pounded against his armor, and he was forced a few steps back.

 

The Red Warriorzord armed its blade and leapt forward, striking the Machine against the head as it crashed backwards and tore up the street as it slid across the ground.

 

“Warrior fusion!” Zeored commanded.

 

The five zords shot into the sky and began reassembling as they stacked on top of one another to form the Megazord.

 

“MegaWarriorzord, online!” they shouted as they joined within the cockpit.

 

The Megazord landed on the streets as Blastaar rose to his feet.

 

The Machine extended his arm blade and fired a jagged pulse of electrical energy that slammed against the zord’s armor and caused explosions to spark across the robo.

 

Blastaar extended his other arm and fired a volley of blaster bolts that exploded against the zord’s armor. The MegaWarriorzord crashed backwards, falling through a building as it collapsed to the ground.

 

A flash of energy appeared on a nearby building as the Machine Prince and Archarina appeared.

 

“Zeo Rangers…” Machine Prince said as he stepped forward. “Something I should have mentioned about my new little toy…he’s rigged to self destruct. Rigged with enough explosives to wipe out this entire city.”

 

The Machine Prince and Archarina’s mechanical laughter echoed from the rooftops.

 

Zeored tightened his grip on the control panel in front of him. “You won’t get away with this.”

 

“Yeah,” Zeoblue said. “Gasket…”

 

The Machine Prince snarled at the Rangers. “Enough of your mockery! Destroy them!”

 

Blastaar struggled as he grabbed a hold of his own head as if fighting against his own programming.

 

The Rangers leaned forward as they brought their zord to its feet.

 

“What’s he doing?” Zeogreen asked.

 

Blastaar screamed with frustration as he aimed his rocket hand forward and fired another volley of blasts that exploded against the MegaWarriorzord’s armor.

 

A roaring noise tore through the streets as Pyramidus appeared in a flash of golden energy and hovered forward.

 

“Back off, Blastaar,” Zeo Gold said as he activated his zord’s main cannon.

 

Pyramidus shot a stream of cyan energy into the clouds above, which produced a golden lightning bolt that tore forward and exploded against Blastaar as he was thrown backwards.

 

Blastaar quickly recovered from the blast and aimed forward while firing a round of blasts that exploded against the pyramid zord’s armor.

 

The MegaWarriorzord moved in to assist, but Blastaar swung his blade arm around and fired a jagged beam of energy that exploded against the robo.

 

“We need some extra firepower,” Zeored said. He activated his communicator. “Red Battlezord, mobilize!”

 

The Red Battlezord shot through the air as Zeored transferred cockpits in a stream of red energy. The zord landed on the ground and charged towards Blastaar.

 

The Battlezord’s arms pumped as its fists slammed against the Machine in a rapid volley that pushed it backwards. Blastaar fell to the ground, but quickly rose back to his feet.

 

“Gattling cannons, full power!” Zeored shouted as he pushed his control levers forward.

 

The Red Battlezord’s gauntlet cannons sprayed golden beams of destruction against Blastaar as its arms pumped rapidly, but the Machine managed to stand his ground.

 

“That’s it…” Zeored said with frustration. “Golden fusion!”

 

Pyramidus assumed its battle formation as the MegaWarriorzord combined with its rear compartment.

 

“Golden storm!” the Rangers shouted together as the ZeoUltrazord fired a volley of massive golden energy bursts that exploded against the Machine’s thick armor plating.

 

Blastaar fell backwards, wiring and exposed circuits hanging from his damaged body as he collapsed to the ground in a giant heap of metal, his eyes glowing faintly before fading. The Machine’s back suddenly tore open as a large rocket emerged. The rocket hovered in midair as it started to rotate and change shape.

 

Gasket and Archarina laughed.

 

“You are even more foolish than I thought,” the Machine Prince said. “You may have destroyed Blastaar, doing me a favor I might add, but the explosives we placed in him are still active.”

 

The lights on the rocket began blinking faster.

 

“Alright guys,” Zeored said as the MegaWarriorzord separated from Pyramidus and they all joined in the cockpit. “We’ve got to clear that thing out of here.”

 

The MegaWarriorzord fired its forward thrusters and blasted into the rocket before firing its back boosters and blasting off towards the sky. They exited the Earth’s atmosphere as heat radiated off their zord’s armor plating.

 

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Zeogreen asked.

 

“No,” Zeored said as they cleared the atmosphere and throttled forward.

 

“That should do it,” Zeoyellow said.

 

They released the warhead and thrusted backwards, but it detonated ahead of time, producing a massive shockwave that enveloped the zord as explosions rang out across its armor.

 

***

 

The Machine Prince and Archarina laughed madly as they stared up into the sky, witnessing the explosion and destruction of the Rangers.

 

“That was too much fun!” he shouted at the top of his artificial lungs.

 

A large shadow blocked out the sun, dampening their spirits as the MegaWarriorzord descended from the sky and landed in front of the building they stood on. Its armor was nearly torn off and still smoking, but the Megazord was intact.

 

Zeoblue leaned forward. “Nice try, Gasket!”

 

The Machine Prince pointed his saber at the zord. “This is not even close to over…”

 

The two Machines teleported away in flashes of energy.

 

***

 

In the Machine Base, a ceremony was taking place. The main auditorium was filled with various generals and Cogs as the Machine Prince and Archarina stood before them. Her arms were draped around his shoulders.

 

Clank stood beside them with Orbus as he addressed the assembly.

 

“The Machine Empire will hereby be christened as the New Machine Order, under the leadership of the new King and Queen…” Clank said.

 

The Machine Prince stepped forward alongside Archarina. A center aisle was cleared in the auditorium as a feeble Machine walked forward. Her armor was degraded and dull gray with various cracks and holes beyond repair. It was Machina.

 

She stood beneath her son and niece and inclined her head. “My son…you would make even your father proud.”

 

The Machine Prince lifted his head up boldly.

 

To be continued…Chapter 19