Ultimate Time Rangers: Chapter 13
The rangers had their office TV tuned into the news. Practically every local cable station was broadcasting a press conference at one of Mr. Collins’ office buildings. Collins and Eric stood center stage at the conference.
News of Time Fire and the V-Rex had quickly spread across the world. Time Fire was mankind’s first public Ranger with legitimate government-granted authority. A group of a dozen Silver Guardian soldiers stood behind Collins and Eric on the stage. Four of those soldiers wore neatly-polished SWAT armor.
SWAT armor resembled high-tech versions of standard SWAT armor worn by police. They wore a black-padded vest over their chest. A plate of black armor covered each side of their chest. Similar armor plating wrapped around their forearms, ankles and thighs. A pair of high-tech blasters were strapped on the outside of each leg.
Their utility belts were equipped with extra ammo clips and miniature stun bombs and grenades. High-powered rifles were strapped across their backs. Black helmets covered their heads, along with black visors. The helmets had targeting scanners attached to their sides.
Sion shook his head, not paying much attention what was said. “This could be a problem…31st century technology has fallen into their hands…”
“Better them than the Londaraz Family,” Lucas said.
“Still,” Wes said. “I know my father. He’s going to try to exploit that morpher for everything its worth.”
Sion opened his eyes wide when he recognized a photographer snapping pictures of Collins and Eric. “Hey Damien! It’s Emily!”
Emily was the news photographer who had a large crush on Time Yellow. They had met during the Rangers’ first week in the 21st century.
Damien had a slight look of longing on his face when he saw her on the television.
Emily was among the reporters and photographers that swarmed around Collins and Eric outside when the news conference was over.
“Mr. Collins, what is your relationship to the Time Rangers?”
“Do you know their secret identities?”
“How did you acquire the V-Rex and Quantum Morpher?”
Collins ignored the reporters as he and Eric climbed into the backseat of a limousine parked at the curb. The limo slowly pulled away.
Emily lowered her camera as the crowd of reporters and photographers dispersed. She sighed and reached into her pocket, pulling out her small red wallet. She had a picture of Time Yellow inside the wallet. A picture of Lucas was next to it.
Emily did not realize that Damien, not Lucas, was Time Yellow.
Collins turned on his cell as soon as he got into the limo. “We’re on our way in……yes……I want the tests ready as soon as we get there. I want every Silver Guardian in a Quantum Ranger suit by the end of the year. We have to develop this technology.”
A thirteen year old boy cried while in the fetal position. He was surrounded by pitch-black darkness and wearing nothing but a pair of boxers. Faint, pale light shined down on his smooth, auburn skin.
“Help…” he whimpered. “Help me…”
A creature appeared behind the boy. The villain had a small brown, leathery face that appeared like a cross between a lizard and insect. The being had no neck. Instead, a massive headpiece wrapped from his collar bones and around his shoulders. The gray, metallic headpiece was shaped like a clam. The rest of his body was covered in white cloth.
The scarcely-clad boy lifted his head when he heard the creature approach. He hugged the creature and cried. “Help…please help me, sir…”
The creature patted its leathery hands on the boy’s back. “It’s alright…you’re safe here…”
The criminal raised his hand. The dark landscape changed to a field of grass and a clear blue sky. The boy smiled as the warmth washed over him.
The criminal, in his human disguise, removed his virtual reality goggles. The boy did the same. They were within a doctor’s office downtown, where the criminal was a licensed psychiatrist, specializing in cutting-edge treatments for depression and anxiety.
The criminal reached out and patted the boy on the shoulder. The 13-year-old remembered nothing except the happiness at the end of his experience.
The boy’s parents would pay him handsomely. Then his condition would worsen again soon. The parents would bring him back. It was a wonderful, profitable cycle that worked so well with so many parents and their children.
Sion’s eyes opened wide when an e-mail message popped onto his desktop. It was from Emily. He looked over his shoulder to where Damien was standing at his locker. “Damien…you have an e-mail…from Emily!”
Wes smiled from the couch and dashed towards the computer. Damien quickly pushed Wes out of the way and moved to the computer monitor, spinning Sion’s chair out of the way too.
Damien read Emily’s e-mail, addressed to Time Yellow. She wanted to meet him. She gave a time and a place.
A day passed.
The criminal took a pair of VR goggles off of his latest subject. The man sighed with relief, a large smile on his face. “That was wonderful doc…”
“I do try my best,” the doctor said as he extended his hand and helped the man to his feet.
The man pulled out his wallet and opened it. It was empty. The man’s face turned slightly red with embarrassment. “Ummm…is there anyway you could send me a bill? Unless you take credit?”
The criminal narrowed his eyes. “Credit is unacceptable…”
“Stay here with them,” Zeku’tar said to the man. “You’ll fit right in soon enough…”
The boy’s fear slowly turned into absent-minded laughter.
Damien was doing push ups in the office. His thoughts were fixed on Emily and his upcoming meeting with her. He could not think of anything else, no matter how hard he tried.
A knock sounded on the office door. Lucas opened the door, and a frantic woman walked inside. Jenn walked over to the woman. “Can we help you?”
“My son…” the woman said frantically. “I think he’s in trouble. I called the police…but they wouldn’t listen…”
“What happened?” Jenn asked.
“He went to the therapist after school today…but he never came home…”
The rangers got more details about the therapy sessions from the woman before she left. The technology she described could have only come from the future, Jenn determined. She told Takku to search the criminal database for a match.
A picture of the criminal flashed onto the computer monitor as Takku spoke. “Prisoner number AG-19M. Zeku’tar. Arrested on 79 counts of mind altering Class-D.”
Lucas looked to Jenn. “We should check it out.
“Agreed,” Jenn said. “Now here’s the plan…”
Damien’s mind trailed. He was supposed to meet Emily soon, at 4 p.m.
Wes and Damien sat in a car in front of the doctor’s tall office building downtown. The other rangers were positioned close by.
Wes sat behind the car wheel, and Damien was in the back. Damien wore a neatly-ironed suit and carried a briefcase. He sighed and looked at his watch. It was five minutes until 4 p.m., when he was supposed to meet Emily. He obviously wasn’t going to make it.
Wes noticed in his rearview mirror. “You promised 4, right?”
“Emily?“ Damien asked.
Wes smiled. “That’s the time of the appointment we made…”
Damien’s face turned red. “Oh…right…”
Wes flashed Damien a quizzical expression. “Were you planning on meeting her?”
Damien shrugged, keeping his gaze low. “I was thinking about it.”
Wes gave his friend a sympathetic look. “I know how you feel,” Wes said. “You don’t know when you’ll have to go back to your time…”
Damien smiled slightly and opened his door. It was time for his appointment with the criminal. He glanced back at Wes. “Jenn will have to go back too…”
“Huh,” Wes stammered, his face turning slightly red.
Damien patted Wes on the shoulder and left the car. Wes looked towards his friend. “Hey Damien…be careful, okay?”
Damien smiled and nodded. “Always.”
Emily sat alone at the plaza where the sniper had almost gunned her down. It was an odd choice, but one of the few places she had seen Time Yellow. She wanted to pick a familiar location.
She checked her watch. Time Yellow was two minutes late. Emily sighed, wondering if he was going to show.
Damien sat in the doctor’s office.
The criminal took a seat next to Damien and started taking notes on his clipboard. “Okay…you must be Damien…”
“That‘s me,” Damien said.
The doctor nodded. “And you’ve been having trouble at work because of stress?”
“What is your date of birth?” the doctor asked.
“Dec. 28, 297-” Damien stopped. “I mean, 1981...”
The doctor asked a few more questions. A hidden clip in Damien’s tie transmitted every word to Sion and the others, who were pretending to work elsewhere in the building.
After taking all his notes, the doctor placed a headset and visor on Damien, and put one on himself. Damien peeked to make sure the doctor was not looking before putting a device Sion had made on his own headset.
The doctor activated the system.
The other rangers dropped what they were doing as soon as they got the signal that Damien had entered the trance. The four rangers regrouped on the building’s fourth floor and activated their armor.
Takku relayed information to the Rangers’ visors to help them track down Damien’s signal.
Damien was surrounded by white emptiness. He was still dressed in his suit. The criminal appeared in his natural form behind Damien and laughed, a bellowing sound that came deep from the pit of the being’s stomach.
Damien snapped around and assumed a morphing stance, but his brace was gone.
“Time Ranger…” the villain mocked. “You can not morph here…This is the place of your heart…a blank canvas for you to see what you wish and dream…”
The scene changed to pitch black as Damien appeared in a suit of lightweight sparring armor, the same armor he wore as a pro fighter in his own time.
The criminal tilted his head as he stared at Damien. “So this is your line of work.”
“Get out of my head!” Damien shouted as he lunged forward with a punch.
But Zeku’tar disappeared in the blink of an eye and reappeared behind Damien. Damien turned and swung a hook punch at the villain. Zeku’tar blocked the blow and pushed Damien backward. Damien toppled over and crashed onto his back.
Damien slowly rose to his feet as mocking laughter surrounded him. The laughter was from a large crowd of spectators. The laughter was like a dagger driving into his mind.
Damien saw Emily standing alone among the crowd.
“Emily!” Damien called out. His clothing returned to the jersey and hat he typically wore in the 21st century.
The rest of the crowd vanished except for Emily. The scene returned to pitch black.
Zeku’tar armed a double-edged blade and held the weapon to Emily’s neck while forcing Damien to watch.
“Don’t…” Damien said. “Stop!”
The scene shifted in the blink of an eye. Then Damien was holding the blade to Emily’s neck. “What the-”
Damien tried to pull the blade away, but could not. The criminal was going to force Damien to cut Emily down.
“No!” Damien screamed in protest. “Stop it!”
The blade slashed downward through Emily. Her limp form collapsed to the ground. Damien leaned onto his knees and looked at his own hands with horror. He screamed at the top of his lungs.
The other four Rangers heard Damien’s scream from down a hall. They darted into what appeared like an empty room nearby. The room led to a different hall, which led to Damien.
But a group of junk droids appeared and blocked the Rangers’ path.
Time Red spun past a junk droid while slamming a knifehand chop against the back of the droid’s neck. The Red Ranger pushed forward, slamming a sidekick against a second grunt’s chest.
Zeku’tar laughed mockingly at Damien and placed a hand on the ranger’s shoulder. “Poor Damien…always hurting the people you care about, aren’t you?”
Damien rolled his hands into fists and narrowed his eyes. Emily’s body suddenly disappeared. Damien thought of her, knowing she was alive and well. He rose to his feet as the scene shifted to pure white.
The device he had placed on his goggles had let him take control of the simulation.
Damien narrowed his eyes at the villain. “I think this session is over.”
Damien slammed a cross punch against the criminal, knocking him backward.
Damien removed his goggles. He looked down to see the doctor sprawled on the floor. The criminal slowly climbed to his feet while removing his own goggles. The villain’s body flashed as he dropped his disguise and returned to his normal, monstrous form.
The other Rangers burst into the room.
“Damien!” Time Red shouted. “You okay?”
“Just fine,” Damien said as he put on his brace.
“Chrono Trigger!” he shouted as he slapped his morpher’s activation panel. Strands of data energy circled around him as he morphed into his Ranger form.
“Time Rangers!” they shouted while thrusting their badges forward.
Time Yellow stepped forward while holding his badge. “Zeku’tar! You’re under arrest for breaking the Temporal Accords. It’s time for judgment!”
Zeku’tar quickly tore off his cryogenic patch. The tear created a chain reaction that caused the criminal to expand and grow giant, crashing through the roof in the process.
The Rangers jumped to the streets below.
“Takku!” Time Yellow called into his brace.
“Yokai,” Takku answered. The droid activated his temporal transceiver. “3-D system, stand by for launch!”
Angel Grove, 3006AD
In the north section of the city sat a circular command complex with several rectangular buildings webbing out from the main compound. A yellow and black giant-sized robo stomped around the perimeter of the compound near a tall gate shaped like an upside down ‘V.’ A runway connected the gate to the complex.
A platform of five Time Jets surfaced at the end of the runway. The platform rotated and lined the red-trimmed jet into position.
The Providus zord swung its massive fist towards the Time Jet. The fist smashed against the Time Jet and throttled the vessel forward. The Time Jet accelerated closer to the Time Gate, and disappeared through the gate, leaving a trail of energy vapor in its wake.
One-by-one, Providus slammed the Time Jets through the Gate. The five zords flew in tight formation and throttled backward through the time stream.
Time Shadow lined up next.
Angel Grove, 2006AD
A wormhole opened in the sky and the five zords streaked through, swooping down into the atmosphere.
“Time Flier,” Time yellow 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. Time Yellow 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.
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.
Time Shadow 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.
“Delta Formation,” Time Yellow 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 Yellow shouted once the transformation was complete. “Mode Blue!”
The Megazord armed a rifle-like cannon, edged with Time Shadow’s vector blades.
Eric was standing in front of Mr. Collins’ desk when one of the businessman’s aides walked into the room. The aide carried a small file folder in his hand.
“Sir,” the aide said. “The Time Rangers’ Megazord is battling a Meta-level criminal in sector AN-36.”
Collins looked to Eric. “This is your chance.”
A smug grin crossed Eric’s face as he nodded.
Shadow Beta fired a jade-tinted pulse blast that shot towards the criminal like a ball of flame. The flame splashed harmlessly across Zeku’tar as the villain laughed.
“That’s never happened before…” Time Red said as he tightened his grip on his lancer.
The criminal pounced forward and armed his sword. Zeku’tar slashed his blade across Shadow Beta’s armor, the weapon sparking on impact with each strike, forcing the Megazord backward.
A black SUV skid to a stop on the streets below. Eric stepped out of the vehicle and looked up to see the giant criminal thrash against the Megazord.
Eric tossed his hat off in a display of arrogance, throwing it into the air as he armed his morpher. “Quantum Fire!”
Fiery energy circled around him as he morphed into his Ranger form.
Time Fire looked towards the distance and raised his morpher closer to his mouth piece. “Charge! V-Rex!”
Back above, Zeku’tar had forced the Megazord to the ground. The villain chopped his blade down repeatedly against the fallen zord, each strike sparking violently on impact.
V-Rex roared as it charged onto the scene. The zord spun forward, whipping its tail across the criminal. The tail smashed against the villain with a burst of spark, forcing him backward.
V-Rex bit down hard on the villain’s zord arm, driving its teeth through the criminal’s leathery flesh. V-Rex used its bite grip to throw the villain through the air. The criminal slammed against the streets and skid backward.
Below, the Quantum Ranger looked to his zord. “Voice formation…V-Rex Robo!”
V-Rex shifted shape as it rose up, assuming a humanoid warrior form. The zord had a massive right fist and a revolving missile cannon in place of its left fist. The Megazord still had its tail, and green emitter disks were mounted on the zord’s shoulders.
“V-Rex Knuckle!” Time Fire shouted. “Engage!”
The V-Rex fist energized and shot forward. The fist exploded against the criminal’s chest, smashing massive cracks and dents across the villain’s armor.
Shadow Beta moved in to attack, but V-Rex smashed the back its fist against the Megazord to keep it back.
“Nice try,” Time Fire said from below. “But this is my fight. V-Rex! MAX Blizzard!”
V-Rex’s shoulder cannons fired streams of jade-tinted energy that exploded against the criminal with a massive display of power. The blast caused a chain reaction that caused the villain to shrink and enter a state of suspended animation.
Eric was stepping back into his SUV when the ranger ran towards him.
“Eric!” Wes shouted. “What was that all about?”
Eric grinned at the rangers. “You guys are just going to have to stay out of my way.”
Eric stepped into his vehicle and drove off.
Emily had waited for almost two hours. She leaned on her own hand at the plaza. The wallet with Time Yellow’s picture was in her left hand. She sighed, finally deciding to give up.
Emily swung her bag over her shoulder, accidentally bumping into a passerby. She didn’t notice when her red wallet fell to the ground.
“Sorry about that,” she said with a smile as she walked off.
Damien was nearby and just missed Emily. He walked over to the main patio area and looked around. He sighed. “I shouldn’t have expected her to wait…”
Damien noticed the red wallet on the ground. He picked it up and opened it. Inside was a picture of Time Yellow next to a picture of…Lucas?!
Damien laughed at the irony, his laughter hiding his own pain at the realization. He sat on a bench and leaned his head down, his shoulders sinking.
To be continued…Chapter Fourteen