Ultimate Time Rangers: Chapter 09

Electric

 

Dr. William “Billy” Cranston sat in the center of a dark room. He leaned forward on a sleek rectangular table of black marble. Eleven holographic projections surrounded him. Each projection was nothing more than a slab of black light with a number.

 

Each slab represented a member of INET’s board of directors. They did not know each other. Cranston was not even sure who each of them was.  

 

“You’re losing focus,” a voice said from one of the projections. The number was 006. “Lightspeed is a year off schedule, J-Force is behind by two.”

 

Billy sighed with frustration. “You accuse me of being off schedule, and in the same breath, mention projects that are secondary to our main objective.”

 

“Dr. Cranston is correct,” 003 said. “We only agreed to fund his Ranger and meta-talent response initiatives in exchange for his assistance with the Amelioration Project.”

 

006 was quick to respond. “His work with the Amelioration Project nearly blew up the moon.”

 

“But it was still a success,” Cranston said. “Keep in mind, I’m the whole reason INET exists. I know what my priorities are.”

 

“Doubtful,” 004 said. “You recently wasted funding and assets designing weapons for the proposed Silver Guardians unit.”

 

“We need that contract,” Billy said.

 

011 spoke for the first time. “Dr. Cranston is right. And the Silver Guardians project should be further developed, at top priority.”

 

“That’s absurd,” 006 said. “The Guardians are not even one of our initiatives. They belong to the 3rd TOTAL R & D Lab.”

 

“It doesn’t matter,” 011 said. “We need results. The Guardians initiative will give us results. How soon can the Gears be operational?”

 

“Within a week,” Cranston said. “Now…if that’s all, this meeting is over.”

 

Billy flipped a switch on the table in front of him. His connection with each of the board members terminated. Except for one. 011’s hologram still hung in the air.

 

Billy leaned back in his chair. “I’m not sure this is a good idea.”

 

“I am,” 011 said. “J-Force and Lightspeed can wait. We need the Silver Guardians online now.”

 

“And once the Gears are finished, you’ll finish your end of the bargain?” Billy asked.

 

“Yes,” 011 said. “I’ll even give you part of the data download now.”

 

Billy pulled out his data pad. Information started scrolling across the pad’s screen. The pictures were schematics for a zord called the V-Rex.

 

***

 

Dorunero had a new addiction: 21st century television. The crime boss was a regular watcher of soap operas, a type of program Lira had introduced him to. One Life to Live was his favorite.

 

The episode he was watching featured the long-awaited reunion of Travis and Starr, two beautiful young lovers. Dorunero’s eyes were fixated to the screen as he watched Travis and Starr run towards each other. The young couple swept into each others arms and hugged tightly. 

 

Travis leaned in to kiss her.

 

The power suddenly went out throughout the prisoner tower as the lights and TV blinked off. Dorunero gasped. “Gien!”

 

The droid peeked his head into the main chamber a few moments later. His eyes acted as flashlights and provided some illumination. Lira was crouched behind the droid. She looked to her lover. “What’s happened?”

 

Dorunero narrowed his eyes. “I intend to find out.”

 

Gien led Dorunero and Lira through the darkened corridors towards the main computer core. One of the core’s panels was torn free. Wires were strewn across the floor plating.

 

Sparks suddenly flashed from a darkened corner. Gien swung his eye flashlights over to reveal a creature snacking on the wire’s electricity. The creature resembled a bloated worm with brown/yellow segments making up his body and head. The creature had a gaping maw for a mouth.

 

Uugo!” Dorunero snapped. The creature dropped the wires and turned to face Dorunero. Lira released Uugo from a prison capsule two days earlier. The creature had scurried off and disappeared. Apparently, he did not get far. “Stop eating our power grid, worm.”

 

“But, but…” the criminal stammered. “I’m hungry…”

 

A smile crossed Dorunero’s lips. “Perhaps there is something we can do about that.”

 

***

 

Wes had the other rangers sitting around the coffee table. Wes had a wide smile on his face as he walked over to the table. He tossed a long manila envelop down. “Go on and open it.”

 

Jenn lifted the envelop and opened it. A check and glossy pamphlet slid onto the table. Damien’s eyes opened wide as he picked up the check, taking note of the number of zeroes.

 

“There’s a festival coming up that the Stark Foundation does every year,” Wes explained. “They hired us to set everything up for them. Isn’t this great.”

 

Sion’s eyes opened wide with excitement. “When is it?”

 

“Sunday,” Wes explained. “But we have to get started today. If we split up the work, we can get done quicker.”

 

Jenn shook her head. “I have a job to do tomorrow.”

 

Lucas nodded. “Me too. I’m booked for the next week.”

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Wes said. “I canceled your jobs for you to free up your schedule. I didn’t think you’d mind.”

 

Jenn arced an eyebrow. She was not happy. “You did what?”

 

“You’ll thank me later. Promise,” Wes said. “Now, I’m off to make posters.”

 

Sion’s smile brightened as he followed Wes out the door. “I wanna come!”

 

The others slouched in their seats.

 

***

 

The rangers worked on setting up the festival at Deer Creek Plaza. Sion sat on a stage while tweaking the wiring of various speakers and sounds. Jenn and Damien were on ladders at opposite sides of the stage, hanging up a banner as Wes directed them. They were losing patience.

 

“A little to the left…” Wes said as he looked up. “…no, make it right…..a little more. No, that’s too far.”

 

Ya know,” Lucas said quietly to Jenn. “We could probably drop this on him.”

 

“I heard that,” Wes called out.

 

A pair of suited men walked towards Wes. They represented Stark Enterprises. “I trust everything is going well?”

 

Wes smiled with enthusiasm. “Couldn’t be better sir.”

 

Sion suddenly winced as the speakers and lights short circuited. Lights across the entire city block blinked off.

 

Wes and the others darted over towards Sion. Wes looked in dismay at the broken equipment. “What happened?”

 

Takku spoke through their communicators. “A blackout has covered the city block. Something shorted out a series of cables underground.”

 

Sion looked to Jenn. “It might be Dorunero.”

 

Jenn nodded. “Let’s go check it out.”

 

“No,” Wes said as he moved off. “You guys stay here and keep working. I’ll check in on it. Just…keep working.”

 

***

 

Uugo snacked on a cluster of power cords that ran beneath the streets. Energy sparked between his teeth as he sucked as much power as he could.

 

The Red Ranger ran through the underground corridor towards the creature. Time Red grabbed the creature by the tentacles and pulled the villain away. The Red Ranger held firm while slamming a pair of roundkicks against the villain’s side.

 

The criminal leaned forward and breathed a puff of steam from its maw. The steam exploded against Time Red’s armor and knocked him backward.

 

Uugo scurried outside to escape the Ranger. Time Red followed, staying hot on the villain’s heels. They moved out to the plaza area, where the other rangers were nearby. 

 

Time Red leapt through the air and tackled the creature to the ground. The two opponents rolled across the concrete and came to a stop. Time Red slammed his elbow against the fallen creature’s chest.

 

Takku spoke to the other rangers through their communicators, but Time Red did not hear. “Rangers, avoid using energy weapons against this prisoner. He feeds off of such power. It’s how he disrupted the city’s electricity.”

 

Time Red leapt forward, angling his descent towards the criminal while holding his two Vector Sabers in a noon and 9 position.

 

“Time Strike!” He swung the blades through streaks of red power that exploded against the villain.

 

But Uugo absorbed the attack’s energy, creating a backfire that exploded against Time Red with a violent burst of sparks and light. The Red Ranger crashed backward as secondary explosions thrashed across his armor and Chrono morpher. His armor flashed like static and powered down.

 

Wes lied on the ground, drifting out of consciousness. Blood dripped down his forehead.

 

“Wes!” Jenn called as she and the others ran to his side. Wes’s body went limp as darkness consumed him.

 

***

 

Jenn, Lucas, Damien, and Sion sat in a hospital hallway while worrying about Wes. He was in a nearby room being examined by doctors. The rangers managed to convince doctors that Wes was an innocent civilian hurt during the criminal’s attack.

 

Sion was examining Wes’s broken morpher when a doctor walked towards them. Sion stuffed the morpher in his pocket as he and the others sprang to their feet.

 

“He’s going to be alright,” the doctor said. “He has quite a bruise on his head, but he should be waking up soon.”

 

The rangers breathed a collective sigh of relief and sat back down.  

 

Sion opened his eyes wide as an idea struck him. “Since Wes is okay…we should finish setting up for the festival. It’ll surprise him when he wakes up!”

 

“I suppose…” Damien said. “Even though he is pushy.”

 

Jenn nodded in agreement. “I’ll stay here though…someone should be here for Wes when he wakes up.”

 

Sion pulled the broken Chrono morpher from his pocket. “I’ll fix Wes’s brace…it shouldn’t be too hard.”

 

Damien put his hand on Lucas’s back. “I guess that leaves us to do the grunt work.”

 

***

 

Jenn stood watch over Wes from his room’s doorway. A suited man walked towards her from the hall. It was one of the men from Stark Enterprises. He carried a small bouquet of get well flowers.

 

Jenn arced an eyebrow at him. “Can I help you?”

 

“I just came to wish Mr. Collins well,” he said. “I’ve taken the liberty of paying his hospital bills. It’s the least I can do.”

 

“How so?” Jenn asked.

 

“I used to be one of his father’s men,” he explained. “It’s how I found Wes.”

 

They didn’t notice Wes stir slightly in his bed. He was awake enough to hear what they were saying. The man’s words hurt almost as much as the head injury. He was only hired because of his father? As a ...what…a favor to his father? Would he ever be able to escape his father’s shadow?

 

***

 

Night shrouded Angel Grove. Uugo’s snack attacks had taken out power to several city blocks. Dorunero took advantage of the power outages and launched a crime spree.

 

Junk droids swarmed the blackened city streets. The soldiers smashed through windows and doors, getting their hands on as much merchandise as they could. Jewels, diamonds, cash, and clothes for Lira were all taken.

 

***

 

Sion was up despite the late hour. Jenn was still at the hospital, while Damien and Lucas patrolled the streets, trying to track down junk droids. Sion was hunched over his desk, Wes’s repaired morpher nearby.

 

With the morpher repaired, Sion had turned his attention to a new weapon: the Spark Vector. The weapon used a single Vector Saber and smaller components that Sion fiddled with. Each component seemed made to attach with the saber.

 

Takku had the rangers’ comm lines open as Damien and Lucas gave a report.

 

“We just missed them,” Lucas said. “They tore right through a bank at 59th and Wabash.”

 

“Keep looking for them,” Jenn said. “I’ll meet up with you in a few blocks…”

 

***

 

“This plan was brilliant, Gien,” Dorunero said as junk droids poured jewels and cash onto a table in the prison tower. “Not a bad idea, for a droid.”

 

Gien nodded in appreciation, silently cursing the prejudice of his leader.

 

***

 

Morning came. Jenn returned to the hospital to find Wes’s room empty.

 

Meanwhile, back at the plaza, Wes was sitting on the stage with his shoulders hunched low. A bandage still wrapped around his head from his injury. He cursed silently beneath his breath. “It’s my faulty we couldn’t do this…”

 

The man from Stark Enterprises quietly walked towards Wes from behind and took a seat next to him. Wes narrowed his brow. “So my dad was behind this…”

 

The man nodded. “I would have told you…but I didn’t think you’d agree.”

 

“I wouldn’t have,” Wes said.

 

The man nodded. “He’ll probably find out about this, eventually. Things like this are normally so far beneath his notice. But in this case-”

 

“I got it…” Wes said as he stood and started to walk off. “If you see him yourself, tell him to stay out of my life.”

 

***

 

Uugo fired an electric blast that exploded through a cop car. The car was torn to shreds with a massive explosion. The villain stalked through the back streets on his way towards a city power plant. 

 

Time Yellow, Time Blue, and Time Pink landed in front of the creature and snapped into fighting stances.

 

The Yellow Ranger tightened his fists. “Feeding time’s over.”

 

“Let’s go,” Time Pink said as the three Ranger charged forward to attack.

 

Uugo spat a jagged burst of electric energy that exploded against the three Rangers’ armor with a massive burst of spark, sending them crashing off their feet and skidding backward across the pavement.

 

***

 

Sion still worked on the Spark Vector. Jenn’s voice spoke over the communications network. “Sion…now’s a good time to finish that new toy of yours.”

 

Sion scrambled to fit each of the device’s components in a yellow case. “I’m on my way, Jenn…”

 

***

 

Uugo stalked towards the fallen three Rangers. Gien watched from behind a nearby corner. It looked like the Rangers were finally about to die. 

 

A motorcycle suddenly sped from around the corner and charged towards the creature. It was Wes.

 

Wes skid his cycle to a halt, positioning himself between the criminal and other Rangers.

 

“Wes, what are you doing,” Time Pink scolded. “You don’t have your morpher.”

 

“No,” Wes said. “But this will have to do.”

 

Wes twisted his cycle’s handle and charged past the villain. Uugo turned and watched the cycle speed by. The villain was attracted to the cycle’s battery. The creature chased after the bike.

 

Uugo fired an electric blast that exploded around Wes’s cycle, knocking him off the bike. Wes slammed against the ground hard and skid across the pavement.

 

“Wes!” Time Pink shouted as she, Time Yellow, and Time Blue ran to his aide.

 

Gien extended his hand towards the three oncoming Rangers. Bullets blasted from his finger barrels and sparked against the three Rangers’ chests, knocking them off their feet as smoke rose off their armor from the bullet impacts.

 

A whining suddenly shot through the air above. Wes looked up to see Time Green on the Time Flier. The Green Ranger leapt down to ground level with his yellow case in hand.

 

“Wes,” Time Green said as he helped his friend to his feet and handed him his brace. “I fixed your morpher.”

 

Wes smiled and strapped the morpher onto his wrist. “Sion, sometimes I could just hug you.”

 

He armed his morpher. “Chrono, Trigger!” he shouted as he slapped his morpher’s activation panel. Columns of data energy circled around him as he morphed into his Ranger form. 

 

“Time Rangers!” Time Red shouted as he thrust his badge forward. The badge flashed with gold energy. “Uugo…you’re under arrest for breaking the Temporal Accords. It’s time for judgment.”

 

Gien fired a volley of bullets from his gauntlet. The bullets exploded around Time Red and Time Green with bursts of spark as they dove aside and rolled across the pavement.

 

Time Red rose to his knees and armed his Vector Sabers. He triggered a crimson energy blade that exploded against Gien with a burst of spark, knocking the droid backward.

 

Time Green ran to the Red Ranger’s side and opened his yellow case. “I made a new weapon you can use against Uugo.”

 

Time Red connected the devices to his Vector Saber, creating a rifle weapon.

 

Uugo tossed a handful of golden nuts and bolts onto the ground to cover himself from the Rangers. The bolts formed a group of drunk droids that marched towards the Red Ranger to attack.

 

Time Red charged forward and aimed his rifle steady. He triggered a volley of golden pulse blasts that splashed across a group of junk droids. The energy formed a shell around the villain’s and shattered with a burst of light, vaporizing the soldiers.

 

Another wave of the grunts closed in towards Time Red from the side. Time Red continued his charge forward while swinging his weapon to the side and trigging another volley of pulse blasts. The blasts splashed across the junk droids and vaporized them with bursts of light.

 

Another wave of soldiers swarmed in from all side. Time Red rolled across the ground and rose to his knees, swinging his weapon around while triggering a volley of pulse blasts. The blasts vaporized the soldiers.

 

Time Red charged forward towards the criminal. Uugo fired jagged bursts of energy that exploded around Time Red with a massive burst of flames and spark as the Red Ranger leapt forward through the air.

 

The Red Ranger turned his attention towards the criminal.

 

Time Red triggered a volley of pulse blasts that exploded against the villain, knocking him backward. Uugo stumbled but managed to keep his balance and fire another pair of electric streams. The streams exploded against Time Red’s armor with a burst spark and knocked him from the air.

 

Time Red crashed to the ground and rose into a crouched position as the other rangers regrouped around him.

 

From nearby, Gien fired his finger cannons at the criminal’s patch. The patch shattered, exposing the criminal’s DNA and causing a chain reaction that made the villain grow giant.

 

Time Red activated his communicator. “Takku!”

 

Yokai.“ The droid activated his temporal transceiver. “3-D system, stand by for launch!”

 

A wormhole opened in the sky above Angel Grove, and the five zords streaked through, swooping down into the atmosphere.

 

A shadow started to cover the sun like an eclipse. The shadow darkened the streets below. Rangers and villains looked up, not sure what was happening. Then the eclipse revealed itself to be a time portal. Time Shadow blasted through the portal.

 

The zord climbed upward and twisted while in mid-flight. Time Shadow started to change shape and form a warrior mode. The black zord armed two double-edged blue blades, and its eyes pulsed with pale-blue energy.

 

“Time Flier,” Time Red commanded as the Time Flier hovered past their location.

 

The Time Rangers leapt onto the Flier. The Flier carried them over their five Time Jets, traveling at frightful speeds. Thankful he was not afraid of heights or prone to airsickness, Time Red and the others jumped off the Time Flier and fell into their cockpits.

 

“3-D Formation…” Time Red commanded as he grasped control levers to his side. “Time Robo, Beta!”

 

The Time Jets stayed in tight formation and flew across the streets as they streets, Each zord started to reassemble and combine into a giant, blue-armored zord. The 3-D formation completed as the Rangers activated their zord: the Time-Force Megazord, Mode Blue.

 

The Rangers stood in the zord’s central cockpit. Five tall rods extended from the floor to the Rangers’ waist levels. The Time Rangers reached forward and grabbed the Lancers.

 

“Flier Magnum,” Time Red commanded. The Time Flier transformed into a blaster that the Megazord gripped in its hand.

 

The Megazord dashed to the side and opened fire with spears of blue energy that exploded against the criminal. Uugo opened fire with jagged energy bursts that exploded against the Megazord’s armor.

 

While the villain was distracted with the Megazord, Time Shadow moved in from behind and slashed its blades across the giant villain’s back.

 

“Delta Formation,” Time Red said as he tightened his grasp on the control lancer in front of him. “Shadow Beta!”

 

The Time-Force Megazord and Time Shadow shot upwards into the air. Time Shadow shifted its formation, forming a suit of armor that wrapped around the Megazord.

 

“Shadow-Force Megazord!” Time Red shouted once the transformation was complete. “Mode Blue!”

 

The Megazord armed a rifle-like cannon, edged with Time Shadow’s vector blades. Shadow-Force Megazord hung in the air and looked down upon the criminal while aiming its rifle downward.

 

Time Red pulled the lancer from the control port, and it transformed into a miniature version of the rifle with a flash of blue energy. “Shadow-Force Megazord Saber…Final Strike!”

 

The rifle fired twelve energy pulses. The pulses slammed against the streets, surrounding the criminal like the hours of a clock. The pattern suspended the villain and kept him from moving. The Megazord fired a final pulse blast that shot downward and exploded against the villain with a massive burst of energy.

 

The creature fell backward and exploded, his body shrinking and returning to a state of suspended animation.

 

***

 

A week passed.

 

Eric Myers walked into his small mobile home just outside city limits. He tossed his keys onto a nearby table and walked over to his fridge. He opened the door. The refrigerator was bare except for four longneck bottles of Miller Genuine Draft.

 

He took the beer from the fridge and shut the door.

 

A pad on the small kitchen table nearby caught his eyes. He looked at the data pad and narrowed his eyes. What the hell was it?

 

Eric walked over and picked up the data pad. It was a written invitation to join some new kind of fighting unit called the Silver Guardians.

 

The pad was signed by a Dr. William Cranston.

 

To be continued…Chapter Ten