Champions Saga: Chapter Nine

Lost Galaxy

 

The Astro Megaship zoomed past the colony world of NE-31 near Eltar. Two manta-ray shaped Eltarian patrol vessels pursued the rangers’ ship at high speed.

 

Arming high-yield plasma cannons, the patrol ships sprayed darts of red energy at the Astro Megaship. The blasts exploded against the ship’s outer hull, and Daithi, the Megaship’s gunner, retaliated with a barrage of fire from the Megalasers.

 

On the bridge, the rangers rocked at their stations from another impact.  

 

“Question,” Daithi said while he locked Megalasers on the closest ship and triggered a volley of blasts. “Why are they attacking us? Eltarians are supposed to be the good guys?”

 

The ship shook again.

 

“Tell them that,” Bran said.

 

Cy looked down to the communications station. “Karone, are they still ignoring our hails?”

 

“I think so,” she answered. She turned in her chair to face Cy, her face full of guilt. “Maybe it’s me they’re after.”

 

“No,” Zhane was quick to say. “Don’t even think that.”

 

The ship rocked from another impact.

 

Cy grasped onto his control panel. "DECA, how long until we can make the jump to hyperspace?"

 

"At current velocity, 2.89 minutes," DECA answered.

 

Daithi shook his head. "That's too long. Unless you want me to destroy the Eltarians, they'll rip us to shreds by then."

 

Cy shook his head. "We can't kill the Eltarians. Keep trying to knock out their engines. DECA, transfer auxiliary and emergency power to thrusters. We need to pick up some speed."

 

Through the viewscreen, the rangers saw three Eltarian cruisers swoop down to block their exit vector.

 

"Great," Zhane said sarcastically. "Just what we needed."

 

The new arrivals opened fire with a volley of blasts that exploded against the Megaship's hull.

 

"Daithi," Cy said. "Target their weapon platforms."

 

Daithi triggered a volley of blue energy blasts that splashed across the attacking cruisers' shields.

 

Daithi shook his head. "They're adapting to our weapon frequencies."

 

"How?" Cy asked.

 

"They're Eltarian," Zhane said. "They're freaky-smart."

 

The Eltarian cruisers continued to close in on the Astro Megaship. But a bolt of jagged blue energy suddenly tore across space and smashed against the Eltarian ships, sending them spinning out of control.

 

Its wings spread, the MegaThunderzord suddenly dropped into view near the Megaship. The NinjaMegazord was not too far behind.

 

"Need a hand?" Dragon Ranger asked from the MegaThunderzord cockpit.

 

"If you're not busy," Zhane said.

 

The MegaThunderzord extended its Tenma arm, which emitted another gravity blast to push the attacking Eltarian ships away. This made an opening that the Astro Megaship shot towards at full speed.

 

The two Megazords moved alongside the Megaship, and all three blasted into the safety of hyperspace.

 

***

 

Tommy stepped through the airlock and onto the Megaship's main deck. The other Earth rangers seemed to hesitate before following him, because it was their first time setting foot on the Megaship.

 

Cy, Zhane, and Karone were on the deck to meet Tommy and Jason's teams.

 

"Welcome back on board," Cy said as he and Tommy shook hands.

 

Karone practically jumped forward and wrapped her arms around her brother. “I’m so glad you’re okay...”

 

Transitioning from Astronema into Karone was not easy for her. Her moods were as unpredictable as her powers. She could change from acting cold and hardened to sensitive and compassionate in a heart beat. Sometimes she acted as if her soul was much older than her age, and other times she acted like a child who just starting to find her way around the world.

 

“I’m fine, sister,” Tommy said. “Everything’s going to be fine...”

 

Zhane stepped up from behind Cy. "Did you guys find the scrolls?"

 

“Yeah,” Tommy answered. “That’s probably why the Eltarians attacked you.”

 

Jason nodded in agreement. “They weren’t exactly happy to let us have those scrolls.”

 

Cy knitted his brow. “What did you do?”

 

“It’s a long story,” Tommy said. “Let’s talk on the way to the bridge.”

 

Zhane flashed a lopsided grin. “Think you can remember your way?”

 

“I’m sure I’ll manage,” Tommy said as they walked off.

 

***

 

Tommy and Jason’s teams joined Cy, Zhane, and Karone on the bridge. The other three Astro rangers were elsewhere on the ship making repairs.

 

“...so we have the scrolls, but they don’t mean jack without this Galaxy Book,” Rocky finished summing up.

 

“Right,” Tommy said. “The Galaxy Book has the spells we need to stop the Mogralord.”

 

“What about the Zeo Crystal?” Zhane asked. “How does it fit into all this?”

 

“According to the scrolls, the Zeo Crystal is the key to unlocking the Zodiac Power,” Tommy explained. “That power will fuel the spells we need.”

 

“Sounds simple enough,” Jonathan said.

 

“Not quite.” Cy brought an image up on the viewscreen. “We tracked down the Galaxy Book’s location from what we learned on the Eltarian colony world.”

 

The viewscreen showed a small brown and white planet surrounded by an asteroid belt. Several outposts dotted the asteroid belt, and a massive compound of web-shaped bases stretched across the planet.

 

“The problem is, the Book is in the hands of pirates loyal to Darkheart,” Cy said. “The Vexxen.”

 

Tommy grimaced at the name. “Not them again.”

 

“Old friends?” Rocky asked.

 

“You might say that,” Tommy said. “We tangled with them during the war against Sauron.”

 

Cy nodded. “It’s going to take time to find a way past their defenses.”

 

“We don’t have time,” Zack said. “Let’s just blast our way in there, get what we need, and leave.”

 

“It’s not that simple, Zack,” Tommy said. “But you’re right. We don’t have time. Aquitar is the only planet in the Cross not taken yet. And I don’t know how much longer the Aquitions can hold out on their own.”

 

“We’ll go to Aquitar,” Jason said. “We can fight alongside the Rangers there, and buy you guys some time to get the Galaxy Book back to Earth.”

 

Tommy nodded. “You guys go. I’m staying here with the Astros.”

 

Adam looked to his leader. “You sure?”

 

Tommy nodded. “Getting this Book is too important. I need to be here for now.”

 

***

 

The NinjaMegazord and MegaThunderzord flew off towards Aquitar and left the Megaship behind.

 

Tommy remained on the bridge along with the Astro team.

 

Cy stepped aside and lifted his hand towards the center station. He looked to Tommy. “Care to take your old station back? Just as long as you don‘t get too comfortable...”

 

Tommy couldn’t help but smile as he stepped forward to the console. “DECA,” he said. “Set a course for the Galaxy Book’s coordinates. Maximum Hyper-Rush velocity.”

 

 

***

 

Warlock’s latest creation attacked the city of Leawood without mercy. The creature was towering mass of twisted flesh and mystic machinery. The villain had crimson eyes and jagged spikes along its back. Its name was Wrailocke.

 

Wrailocke stomped across a city plaza and hurled bolts of plasma at pedestrians, who ran for their lives down the street and up cement stairwells that led away from the plaza area.

 

“Run!” he shouted with mad joy. He hurled a plasma bolt one of the many statues, which exploded upon impact, pulverizing into dust. “Flee for the sake of your meaningless existence!”

 

“Stop!” a voice shouted from behind.

 

Wrailocke turned and looked up towards the top of a stairwell. The young Japanese man named Shou stood with his hands rolled into fists.

 

“Try to make me!” Wrailocke shouted, his voice thick with madness. “Yes! Come, try to make me, and I will melt the legs off your body, human!”

 

“I have one word for you, demon.” Shou pounced through the air towards Wrailocke. “Guy-ver!”

 

Energy flashed around Shou, and the living tendrils of his Bio-Booster armor wrapped around his body, transforming him into the Guyver.

 

Guyver smashed a flying sidekick against Wrailocke, and the villain went flying backward before shattering through a nearby statue. The creature crashed against the ground and skid backward while tearing up pavement.

 

Guyver landed, the medal on his forehead flashed a hum, and steam hissed out from his mouthpiece.

 

Wrailocke laughed and pulled himself to his feet. “Yes! You are going to be fun to play with , human...”

 

Guyver shot forward in a blur of motion and slammed his elbow against the villain’s gut. Hopping up and spinning, he smashed a hook kick across the villain’s head. The blow whipped Wrailocke off his feet and sent him tumbling back down.

 

“You’re right.“ The Guyver snapped his arm blades into position and leapt upward. “This is fun.”

 

Guyver angled his descent towards Wrailocke‘s fallen form. But the villain hurled a volley of plasma bolts that exploded against the Guyver, knocking him from the air. The hero crashed through a nearby building and skid across the food court of a vacant retail center.

 

Wrailocke hopped to his feet and dashed after the Guyver. The villain pressed down on a wire along his arm, which triggered a cascade effect throughout his entire body. Mystic energy flooded through his veins, which popped from his skin. He screamed, and every muscle in his body expanded.

 

The Guyver rose to his feet and stepped back into a defensive stance. “This is not good...”

 

Wrailocke thrust a punch that Guyver ducked under. The Guyver slammed an uppercut against the villain, but the hero may as well have been punching steel.

 

Wrailocke grabbed the Guyver by the wrist and hurled him off his feet. The hero went flailing through the air, but he executed a series of flips to balance himself and land on his feet.

 

Before Guyver could attack, Wrailocke hurled bolts of plasma at the hero. The Guyver dove aside and rolled for cover as the blasts exploded around him.

 

One of the blasts exploded against Guyver’s head and snapped his body backward. He crashed against the ground as dizziness washed over him. The Guyver pulled himself to all fours and tried to stand up, but the vertigo would not let him.

 

Wrailocke charged forward and slammed a kick upside the fallen hero’s head. Guyver’s body whipped backward and went flying through the air before crashing against a nearby wall.

 

“Yes! I seem to have broken my toy!” Wrailocke charged towards the fallen hero to attack again.

 

But a figure leapt through the air as if from nowhere and slammed a flying kick against the villain’s head. The villain stumbled aside and looked towards his attacker.

 

Hikaru landed and snapped into a fighting stance. The young Japanese man was the keeper of a King Stone, and the first of Earth’s Kamen Riders.

 

“Another!” Wrailocke shouted. “Yes! I will break you too!”

 

A voice called from behind. “Don’t count on it.”

 

Wrailocke turned to see Kouishiro, a young Japanese man who also possessed a King Stone. The villain opened his eyes wide with excitement. “Yes! I break you three!”

 

Kouishiro’s arms were crossed casually over his chest. “Sounds like you have a few wires loose. Maybe I can make things worse.”

 

Kouishiro snapped into his henshin pose, and Hikaru assumed his transformation stance as well. The two Riders moved their arms through a series of simple movements while calling upon their power.

 

“Kuuga, awaken!” Kouishiro shouted.

 

“Black Sun!” Hikaru yelled.

 

Energy wrapped around the two heroes and transformed them into the armor of Kamen Rider Kuuga and Kamen Rider Black.

 

Black Sun and Kuuga charged forward from opposite side of the villain. Kamen Rider Black moved in high with a flying kick, and Kuuga crouched down low.

 

But Wrailocke grabbed Black Sun by the leg, whipped him around, and smashed him into Kuuga. Kamen Rider Kuuga crashed against his back and skid across the ground.

 

Wrailocke twirled Black Sun around before releasing him, sending him crashing against a nearby wall.

 

Kuuga flipped up to his feet, and his eyes flashed blue. The warrior transformed into his Dragon form, which transformed his armor into blue-tinted plating with gold trimming.

 

The Rider pulled the metal leg off from a nearby chair, and the leg transformed into a long, blue staff.

 

“Come on,” Kuuga taunted the villain.

 

Wrailocke hurled bolts of plasma at the warrior, but Kuuga twirled his staff to deflect each blast.

 

Meanwhile, the Guyver rose back to his feet and charged forward. He flipped through the air and spun while extending his arm blades, which sparked across the villain and knocked him back a step.

 

The Guyver landed and snapped a kick at the villain, but Wrailocke blocked the blow and slammed a punch across the warrior’s head. The Guyver spun with the blow and slammed a kick against the villain’s chest, but Wrailocke was not fazed.

 

Kuuga dashed forward and smashed his staff across the villain’s head before swinging the weapon around and spearing its tip against the villain’s body. Wrailocke merely swatted Kuuga and Guyver aside like bugs.

 

Black Sun leapt through the air and swung his legs towards the monster. “Rider Kick!”

 

The Rider’s kick energized with crimson power, but Wrailocke hurled a bolt of plasma that exploded against Black Sun and knocked him from the air.

 

Kamen Rider Black hit the ground hard. The warrior slowly rose into a crouched fighting stance as Kuuga and the Guyver regrouped around him.

 

Wrailocke laughed mockingly at the gathered heroes and pressed a wire on his arm. “Yes! More!”

 

The villain’s eyes grew wider as power surged through his system.

 

Kuuga resumed his red warrior form and stepped back into a defensive stance. “He’s to strong for us to handle alone.”

 

Black sun turned his head to glare at Kuuga. “Don’t say that. We’ll tear this place down onto his head if we have to.”

 

The villain shouted a laugh, his booming voice shaking the foundation beneath their feet. He placed his palms together, and tendrils of plasma energy danced between his hand.

 

Wrailocke created a massive burst of plasma energy and hurled it forward.

 

The blast exploded against the three warriors with massive bursts of spark and flame that sent them flying off their feet. The heroes went crashing backward, smashing through walls and skidding across floors before slamming to a halt.

 

***

 

The Megaship flew through the sparkling tunnels of hyperspace at maximum speed.

 

Tommy and Karone took a moment alone to catch up in Tommy’s old quarters. Tommy sat on his chair, while Karone looked out the viewport window at the stars shooting by.

 

“So how have you been?” Tommy asked.

 

Karone kept her gaze out the window. “Okay I guess. Every day is a new day. At least that’s what I keep telling myself…”

 

“It can’t be easy,” Tommy said.

 

He remembered what he went through after breaking free from Bandora. For just a short period of time, he had tormented an entire city and its people. He couldn’t imagine how much worse Karone felt, after a lifetime of evil and atrocities across the galaxy.

 

“It shouldn’t be,” Karone said. “It shouldn’t be easy. I deserve every bit of pain and guilt. Every time I start to feel like I‘m moving on…every time I start to feel like I‘m fitting in…it always comes back to the guilt.”

 

“Do you still have the nightmares?” Tommy asked.

 

Karone nodded. “Not as often.”

 

Karone’s dreams had been plagued with nightmares during the past two years, after breaking free from evil and shedding her identity as Astronema.

 

The nightmares often involved her playing as a child and getting captured by someone hidden in the shadows. She knew Darkonda was the one who actually had kidnapped her, but someone had been pulling Darkonda’s strings.

 

In her nightmares, that someone would find her and kill everyone dear to her before taking her away again. 

 

“It’s going to be okay, Karone,” Tommy said after a moment of silence. “Just remember…you’re not alone. You have the other Astros. You have me and my old team. We all care about you. We’re all going to help you through this.”

 

Warning klaxons suddenly started to blare throughout the ship.

 

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

 

***

 

The Megaship dropped out of hyperspace at the edge of the pirate’s system. Two interdiction mines had pulled the ship out of warp, and an armada of pirate vessels was nearby to intercept the vessel.

 

“They were expecting us,” Cy said as Tommy and Karone walked onto the bridge.

 

“Polarize the hull plating,” Tommy said. “Power up Megalasers and plasma cannons.”

 

Karone took her station. “We’re being hailed.”

 

“On screen,” Tommy said.

 

An image of one of the pirates appeared. The humanoid that appeared on the view-screen was an orange-eyed man that reminded Tommy of modern zombie thrillers.

 

“Surrender your ship,” the man said. “Now.”

 

“We don’t want any trouble,” Tommy said. “As I’m sure you’re well aware, we’re just here for the Galaxy Book. We’re prepared to compensate you for it.”

 

“Trouble?” the pirate said. “Heh. The only trouble we have is deciding whether to turn you over to Darkheart or the Eltarians. You Rangers are not so popular these days.”

 

“I’ve noticed,” Tommy said. “And if you don’t get your ships out of our way, you’ll see why.”

 

“Is that a threat, Terran?”

 

“Yes,” Tommy said.

 

The villain laughed. “You have backbone.”

 

“And I have a Megaship armed to the teeth with enough firepower to blow up your entire outpost,” Tommy said. “And seeing that your armada is just a bunch of old freighters, you’ll excuse me if I’m a bit over confident.”

 

Tommy nodded to Karone, and she turned off the viewscreen.

 

Cy looked to Tommy. “Feeling trigger happy today?”

 

“There wasn’t time for diplomacy,” Tommy said. “Now let’s do this. Full ahead.”

 

The Astro Megaship shot forward towards the enemy armada.

 

The pirate ships opened fire with particle beam cannons, disrupters, and ion cannons. Cy spun the Megaship through looping evasive maneuvers, but some of the blasts still exploded against the ship’s hull.

 

Daithi triggered the ship’s lasers and plasma cannons to return fire. Darts of blue and red energy streaked from the Megaship and exploded against the lead group of freighters.

 

“Cy,” Tommy said. “Swing us over to the nearest interdiction mine. We have to blow those things and jump further in system.”

 

The Megaship rolled to port and fired its afterburners, throttling towards the nearest interdiction mind. More than a dozen enemy freighters blocked their path, and the pirates opened fire with proton missiles and concussion grenades.

 

Their weapon signatures registered on Bran’s panel. “They’re pulling out the heavy artillery.”

 

“Deploy counter measures,” Tommy said.

 

Daithi shook his head. “We’re out.”

 

Tommy looked to Cy. “Out? Out of countermeasurers?”

 

“Looking for the Galaxy Book wasn’t exactly an intergalactic pleasure cruise,” Cy said. “We ran into trouble.”

 

“You could have told me earlier,” Tommy said. “Evasive maneuvers. Daithi, target as many of those missiles as you can.”

 

The Megaship climbed and banked, and Daithi opened fire with a volley of blue-tinted Megalaser blasts. The Megalasers blasted most of the missiles away, but several dozen managed to lock onto the Megaship and continue shooting forward.

 

The Megaship dove to starboard, and the remaining missiles locked onto the rear of the vessel.

 

“Cy, I have an idea,” Tommy said. “Keep those missiles on our tail. Take us straight towards the interdiction mine. Transfer auxiliary and emergency power to engines.”

 

“We’re out of aux and emergency,” Saoirse said.

 

Tommy looked to Cy. “Out? Out of auxiliary and emergency power?”

 

“Do I have to explain again,” Cy said. “We had trouble.”

 

The ship rocked from a volley of particle beam fire. The front dorsal hull plating buckled, and part of the hull tore open. The impact nearly tossed the rangers from their stations.

 

“Take whatever power you can,” Tommy said. “Just keep those missiles behind us, and the mine in front of us.”

 

The Megaship flew past a group of freighters, taking heavy disrupter fire in the process, and throttled towards the interdiction mine. The missiles stayed on the Megaship’s tail.

 

“Wait till the last second, Cy,” Tommy said.

 

Cy nodded and tightened his grip on the control levers. The interdiction mine grew larger in the viewscreen. Cy waited until the last possible second and pulled the ship up in a hard, steep climb. The missiles exploded against the mine with a massive burst of flame that was quickly consumed by the vacuum of space.

 

“One down, one to go,” Tommy said. “Cy, take us to the other mine.”

 

Bran’s console started to beep. “Uh, guys…we have something of a problem.”

 

“What is it?” Cy asked.

 

“Darkheart’s ship just dropped out of hyperspace,” Bran said. “Tekno-Man and Tekno-Red are leading an army of craboids this way.”

 

***

 

Shou awoke to the feeling of a cold compress pressing gently against his forehead. His vision blurred into focus, and he saw Miss. Fairweather standing over him. The young warrior knitted his brow with confusion.

 

Fairweather smiled down at him. “You’re okay. You’re in the Bay Area’s medical wing. We recovered you after your battle with Wrailocke. You’re lucky to be alive.”

 

“What of Hikaru? And Kouishiro?”

 

“They’re safe too,” Fairweather said. “Now get some rest…”

 

“No,” Shou said as he started to sit up. He hated hospitals. They reminded him of Kronos Corp. labs. “Wrailocke is still out there. He has to be stopped.”

 

Fairweather gently pushed him back down. “You’re in no condition to go out there yet. Not until you get some rest and recover.”

 

Shou reluctantly nodded and settled back down. “That monster…he was like nothing I’ve faced before.”

 

Fairweather nodded. “Like I said…you’re lucky to be alive.”

 

***

 

Max, the Red Lightspeed Ranger, was in the Bay Area’s situation room along with a group of Earth’s champions: Ryan, the cybernetic warrior known as Cybertron; JB and Kaitlin, the Nova Troopers; Ryan’s cousin David, the virtual warrior known as Galavan; and Neil, the cyber warrior known as SHOC. 

 

Max finished making modifications on the situation room wall screen. “Just one more wire…” he said to himself while manipulating a group of circuits. “There.”

 

The screen activated, and an image of Professor Hart appeared. Hart was Cybertron’s mentor, who had befriended the other heroes of Crossworld City during the years.

 

“Greetings,” he said.

 

Max sighed with relief. He had to modify the Bay Area’s computer processors to access the professor’s program. Earth’s heroes needed the extra help, because of constant attacks from the Mogralord’s forces.

 

“Professor,” Ryan asked, “have you had a chance to analyze Warlock’s latest demon?”

 

“It’s not a demon, Ryan,” Hart said. “Wrailocke is a cyborg powered by mystical energy and mechanics.”

 

Max nodded. “And his power levels are off the charts.”

 

“So what do we do?” Kaitlin asked.

 

“Wrailocke is highly adaptive,” Hart explained. “He can increase his strength level a near infinite time, so every time he is about to be beaten, he can just make himself stronger.”

 

The Bay Area’s alarms suddenly started to blare.

 

“It’s Wrailocke,” Hart explained. “He’s attacking Crossworld City.”

 

Ryan rolled his hands up into fists. “Let’s go, guys.”

 

“Wait…” Professor Hart said. “Warlock has also sent a large force to attack Stone Canyon.”

 

Max looked to Ryan. “You guys go after Wrailocke. I’ll get the rest of my team and head for Stone Canyon.”

 

***

 

Ryan, JB, Kaitlin, David, and Neil ran against the flow of the panicked crowd in Crossworld City. A stray plasma blast struck a nearby building and sent debris crashing towards them.

 

“Look out!” Ryan shouted.

 

The heroes dove aside and rolled for cover as debris fell around them. They rolled back to their feet and looked up to see Wrailocke stalking towards them.

 

“Yes!” Wrailocke shouted. The brute’s eye caught Kaitlin. “OOoooooh. Very much yes!”

 

Kaitlin wrinkled her nose with disgust. “Let’s take this creep down.”

 

The champions stepped forward.

 

“Cyberize!” Ryan shouted. A well of virtual energy released inside of him and flooded his body like living fire. His entire body became a machine. Wires replaced nerves, conduits replaced blood vessels, servos replaced joints, and advanced positronic processors replaced his brain. His body was encased in a suit of red, blue and gray armor.

 

“Trooper Transform!” JB and Kaitlin shouted. Energy danced across their body like lightning. Their armor materialized and tightened to fit their forms. The armor sent strands of virtual data directly into the Troopers’ nervous systems, downloading data and instincts into their brains.

 

“Galvanize!” David shouted. Blue energy flashed around his body as his armor took shape. The armor pumped virtual power into his veins and interfaced with his nervous system. 

 

“SHOC!” he shouted, “Samurize!” SHOC transformed into his cyber armor.   

 

Cybertron leapt forward, somersaulted through the air, and slammed a flying drop kick against Wrailocke. The villain stumbled back, and Cybertron smashed a round kick against the villain’s side and a knifehand chop against his neck.

 

Wrailocke laughed and grabbed Cybertron’s arm. “That tickles!”

 

The villain smashed a punch against Cybertron’s gut and tossed him aside like a pile of junk.

 

Galavan and Black Trooper leapt through the air and swung their blades down towards the villain’s head. Meanwhile, White Trooper moved in low with her blaster and fired darts of energy that exploded against the villain with bursts of spark.

 

Wrailocke lifted his arms to shield himself from the blaster fire, and Galavan and Black Trooper landed while slashing their blades across the villain, weapons sparking on impact.

 

The villain reached out and grabbed Black Trooper and Galavan by the throats. Squeezing, he forced to the two warriors to their knees. Wrailocke bent them back with all his might, nearly snapping their backs in the process.

 

“Let them go now!” SHOC ran towards the villain’s side, but Wrailocke smashed a sidekick against the warrior’s face.

 

Black Trooper and Galavan struggled to break free, but they couldn’t escape the villain’s grasp.

 

Black Trooper downloaded his blaster and fired darts of blue energy that exploded against the villain with bursts of spark, knocking Wrailocke backward, and making him lose his grip.

 

Galavan and Cybertron rolled aside, then SHOC and Cybertron dashed and slammed sidekicks against the villain, knocking him off his feet and sending him skidding across the pavement.

 

Wrailocke slid to a halt near a parked car. The villain rose to his feet and placed his hand on the car. “Play catch.”

 

Wrailocke lifted the car and hurled it at the heroes. They dove aside and rolled for cover as the car slammed against the street and exploded with a massive burst of flame and smoke.

 

***

 

Hikaru was strapped down to a metal bed. He struggled to break free, but his bindings only tightened. His eyes darted across the room. It was dark and foggy, and several tubes and wiring were suspended to the ceiling. His brother by adoption was nearby.

 

Hikaru looked over to him. “Saske! Answer me!”

 

Three hooded figures moved around the captured brothers, watching them with amusement. “Black Sun…Shadow Moon…you two will lead us to victory.”

 

One of the hooded figures extended a hand over Hikaru’s naked chest. A small beam of energy shot from the villain’s palm and moved down, cutting across the teen’s chest. Hikaru screamed as the smell of his own burning flesh filled his nostrils.

 

A man in a black suit burst into the room and ran over to the hooded figure. It was Hikaru’s father. “Stop!” he said as he grabbed the hooded man’s arm. “This wasn’t part of the deal…”

 

“Father!” Hikaru shouted, his chest burning in agony.

 

The father pushed the villain aside and un-strapped his son. The hooded figure grabbed onto Hikaru’s father’s arm and threw him backward. Hikaru’s father crashed against a lab table of equipment that collapsed under his weight. Some of the equipment exploded, and walls of flame stretched across the room.

 

“Run!” Hikaru’s father shouted from behind the flames.

 

“But-” Hikaru started to protest. He could not abandon his father and brother.

 

“Run!” he shouted again as the flames continued to stretch.

 

Hikaru awoke in a cold sweat. His heart pounding, he bolted up in bed. His eyes darted around the room. He was in the Bay Area’s medical wing. He was safe. But the dream was still fresh in his mind. 

 

The dream was a powerful memory for Hikaru. The three hooded figures, priests of the Gol’drm, had transformed him into Kamen Rider Black and turned his brother into Kamen Rider Shadow Moon. Gol’drm legend said that Black Sun and Shadow Moon would fight to the death, and the winner would become the new Century King.

 

Hikaru was forced to kill his own brother and take the Shadow Moon King Stone. Using the power of both stones, Hikaru killed the Century King and defeated the Gol’drm cult.

 

Hikaru ran his fingers through his hair and tried to take deep, calming breaths. I haven’t dreamt about my brother for years…why now?

 

Hikaru swung his legs over the bed and stood. Agonizing pain suddenly flooded his brain and forced him to his knees. An intense buzzing filled his mind.

 

“I am coming for you, my children…” a voice stabbed into his mind like needles. “I am coming for you…”

 

***

 

Craboids descended upon the Astro Megaship and started clawing at the hull. The spider-like crabs ripped away at pieces of armor plating and started climbing inside the ship.

 

Tekno-Red grinned beneath his faceplate.  He looked to Tekno-Man. “Come, brother. Let’s go great your old friends.”

 

Tekno-Man and Tekno-Red blasted towards the Megaship.

 

***

 

The bridge shook from another impact.

 

“Multiple hull breaches,” Saoirse reported.

 

Bran’s console lit up with multiple warnings and alarms. “Craboids have entered the ship…and so has Sage and Tekno-Red.”

 

Cy narrowed his eyes.

 

Tommy looked to the Kerovian. “Who?”

 

“It’s a long story,” Cy said. “DECA, engage auto pilot.” He looked to Tommy. “We need to morph and clear the ship.”

 

“Agreed,” Tommy said. “Any pointers on fighting these Craboids?”

 

Cy shook his head. “Just keep hitting them until they die.”

 

***

 

Three Craboids charged through a corridor while thrashing through bulkheads and conduits. Interior lights flickered and died, and only the eruption of power conduits pierced the darkness.

 

Astro Black used his helmet icon to track them through the ship and block their path. The Black Ranger stood his ground as the Craboids charged towards him.

 

“Astro Lance!” He summoned his black staff and twirled the weapon into a fighting position.

 

The Black Ranger dashed forward, and while spinning past the lead Craboid, cut the legs off the creature with a bursts of sparks. Ichor from the wound sprayed against the bulkheads.

 

A Craboid lunged and snapped its jaws at Astro Black, but the Ranger leapt over the villain and jammed the end of his staff through the armored creature’s skull.

 

Astro Black leapt off the Craboid and slammed a drop kick against the third creature. The Ranger swung his staff, which energized with a dark-purple hue.

 

The Black Ranger swung his staff hard, and the weapon slashed through the last Craboid with a massive burst of spark.

 

***

 

A group of eight Craboids moved along the lower decks. Astro Pink and Dragon Ranger dropped onto the creatures, slamming their feet against two of the villain’s heads while landing. Their heals crushed through the Craboids skulls.

 

Astro Pink dove aside and armed her weapon. “Astro Capture!”

 

The Pink Ranger fired rings of pink energy that ripped across a Craboid, tearing its armor and flesh apart with massive explosions. She rolled aside, rose onto her knees, and blasted another Craboid with waves of pink-tinted rings.

 

Dragon Ranger armed his twin swords and hacked through the remaining beast/mecha hybrids with ease. His blades sparked while ripping through the creatures and scattering their innards across the deck.

 

The last Craboid fell.

 

“Well that was fun,” Dragon Ranger said. “Good work, little sister.”

 

“Thanks,” Astro Pink said. “You know…I wonder how normal families bond?” 

 

Dragon Ranger smiled beneath his helmet.

 

***

 

Astro Red and Astro Silver dashed into the darkened cargo bay. Astro Silver had his Silver Blazer mounted on his arm in blade mode, and Astro Red had his Drill Saber in hand.

 

The cargo bay appeared empty, but DECA’s internal sensors showed otherwise. Tekno-Red and Tekno-Man were somewhere within the shadows.

 

Astro Silver tightened his grip on his weapon. He was anxious to get the fight over with. “Quit your hiding!”

 

Tekno-Red’s metallic laughter echoed from the shadows. “Patience, Silver Ranger. You see, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Allow me to have some fun before I destroy you.”

 

Astro Red narrowed his eyes beneath his helmet. “It’s you who’s going to be destroyed, Tekno-Red.”

 

The villain laughed. “Your old friend Sage seems to disagree.”

 

Tekno-Man throttled from the shadows and dashed past Astro Red and Astro Silver while slashing them across the chest. Somewhere within his mind, sage doubted his own motives for wanting to kill the two Rangers, the only friends he remembered having. But his own powers had wiped away any morals, and replaced those morals with blood lust.

 

Tekno-Man spun his blades staff and hurled it at the Rangers. Astro Red and Astro Silver leapt aside, but the blade curved and slashed across their armor with bursts of spark.

 

Astro Red used his Drill Saber to steady himself while rising to his knees. His mind flashed back to what Sage had told him.

 

Sage laid his Tekno Crystal out on a table. “You know as much about that as I do.”

 

Cy wrinkled his brow. “What do you mean?”

 

“I cannot remember anything past the previous five years of my life. My first memory is of waking up in the mountain ranges of Isis with this in my hand. This...Tekno-Red says he knows more about me than I do, and he may be right. I have never seen him before, and yet he knows my identity, my armor’s weaknesses...and even my secret.”

 

“What secret?”

 

“You must tell no one. Not even the other Astro Rangers.”

 

Cy wondered why Sage had come to him out of all the Rangers, but that was not important. “I promise.”

 

Sage nodded. “For some reason, when I become Tekno-Man, my body and soul both experience....changes. My powers turn me into nothing more than a killing machine. A killing machine being driven towards evil.

 

“Whenever I am Tekno-Man for more than fifteen minutes, the powers themselves corrupt me and twist my mind. I become a mindless savage, capable of destroying anything and anyone.”

 

Cy was shocked at this news and wasn't quite sure what to say. “Is there anything we can do?”

 

Sage handed Cy a small disk. “This contains the weaknesses of my armor. Knowledge that Tekno-Red already possesses. If I am ever to turn evil...you are to use this knowledge to kill me.”

 

The staff twirled back into Tekno-Man’s hand, and his visor pulsed with red light.

 

Astro Red stepped back into a defensive pose and tightened his grip on his sword. “Don’t make me do it, Sage.”

 

Tekno-Red laughed mockingly. “I highly doubt he even understands you at this point, Ranger. You see, my brother is nothing more than a killing machine now. A perfect, living weapon. A weapon under my control.”

 

Tekno-Man’s shoulder cannon’s flipped open and pulsed with a green/blue energy charge.

 

“Zhane, move!” Astro Red pushed Astro Silver aside and dove for cover seconds before Tekno-Man opened fire with his powerful Tekno Blast.

 

The blast exploded against the cargo bay door with a massive explosion, puncturing through the door’s armor and blowing a hole out into space. The bay decompressed and sucked Astro Red and Astro Silver into the cold vacuum.

 

The two Rangers flailed about while trying to get their bearings. Astro Red activated his communicator. “Cyber Sliders!”

 

The red and silver sliders shot from the Megaship and flew towards the Rangers. Astro Red and Astro Silver climbed onto their boards and turned back towards the Megaship.

 

Tekno-Red and Tekno-Man activated their back thrusters and flew into space at high speed. They each armed their double-bladed staffs.

 

Astro Silver and Astro Red armed their weapons and leaned forward on their sliders. They shot forward towards their attackers to meet the charge.

 

Astro Red narrowed his eyes beneath his helmet as he and Tekno-Man shot towards each other. At the last second, Astro Red veered to port and swung his Drill Saber, but Tekno-Man parried the blow with a clash that sent Astro Red spinning out of control.

 

The Red Ranger’s Cyber Slider smashed against the Megaship hull and knocked off Astro Red, who was sent skipping across the Megaship’s armor like a pebble across a pond.

 

Tekno-Man turned back towards the Megaship and zoomed down towards his opponent.

 

Astro Red stood on the Megaship hull and braced himself while holding his Drill Saber in a defensive stance.

 

Tekno-Man swooped down and clashed his blade against Astro Red’s sword with a massive burst of spark and electrical discharges that exploded against the Megaship’s hull. Astro Red twisted Tekno-Man’s blade aside and slammed a roundkick against the villain’s side, but Tekno-Man barely seemed to feel the blow.

 

Tekno-Man twirled his staff through a backhand swing that slashed across Astro Red’s armor with a burst of spark and swatted him off the Megaship’s hull.

 

Meanwhile, Tekno-Red flew circles around Astro Silver, who was still on his Cyber Slider.

 

Astro Silver swung his arm cannon and fired darts of golden energy that just missed Tekno-Red with each pass. The Ranger cursed beneath his breath. “Will you just stand still!”

 

“No.” Tekno-Red hurled his staff towards Astro Silver, and the blade spun like a helicopter propeller and slashed Astro Silver off his slider with a burst of spark.

 

Tekno-Red swooped in, grabbed Astro Silver by the throat, and zoomed back towards the Megaship.

 

The villain smashed Astro Silver back-first against the Megaship hall. The air knocked from the Silver Ranger’s lungs, and he struggled to breath as Tekno-Red tightened his grip around the Ranger’s throat.

 

Tekno-Red laughed and leaned closer to the Silver Ranger’s faceplate. “I’m about to send you to Hell, little Ranger. Make sure you save a place for your friend Cy. He’ll be joining you soon.”

 

***

 

Two pirates guarded the Galaxy Book in the Vexxen’s main compound. The villains wore tattered rags covered with random plates of armor and scrap metal. Their skin was sickly green, and their three eyes were solid red.

 

One of the villains hissed with annoyance and poked at the book. “This one doesn’t understand what all the bother is about. It’s just a book.”

 

The other Vexxen knocked his comrade’s hand away from the book. “Powerful book. This one doesn’t think you should prod it. You’ll get yourself and this one killed.”

 

“Bah. Coward.” He pushed his comrade aside and opened the book. “It’s just a book. See? This one has opened it, and no harm has come to you or this one.”

 

The writing of the Galaxy Book caught both the villains’ eyes. The writings, in ancient language, was almost hypnotic to them. They stood in silence and slowly looked closer at the book and it’s spells.

 

The book urged them to read the spells. One in particular intrigued them above all else. They slowly whispered the spell, and quickly found they were unable to stop. The book itself started crackling with bursts of electric energy. The energy danced across the room and crawled up the walls.

 

The surge of energy heightened with each word. The two pirates started chanting louder. Faster.

 

Then, with the final words spoken, the Galaxy Book flashed out an all-encompassing wave of energy that washed across the entire compound and spread into space.

 

***

 

The energy wave stretched towards the Megaship. Its light nearly blinded Astro Silver, Astro Red, and the two Tekno Men.

 

The wave washed across them while sweeping the Megaship up in its current.

 

***   

 

The Astro Megaship spun to a halt as the energy wave dissipated.

 

Tommy and Karone rushed onto the ship’s empty bridge. They stopped in their tracks at the site through the viewscreen.

 

Unfamiliar, dense clusters of stars stretched across space. A string of stars with a blue hue curved across the expanse. A bright, neon-pink moon was nearby, and a pair of flashing lights circled around its equator like shooting stars.

 

“DECA, where are we?” Tommy asked.

 

“Coordinates unknown,” the ship’s computer answered.

 

“What was that wave that hit us?” Tommy asked.

 

“Unknown.”

 

Tommy sighed and shook his head. “You’re not much help today, are you, DECA.”

 

Karone moved towards a starboard sensor station. She leaned down and accessed the controls. Data scrolled across the console’s screen, and she could not believe what she was seeing.

 

She shook her head. “It looks like we’re in a whole different galaxy.”

 

“How is that possible?” Tommy asked.

 

“I don’t know,” she said.

 

The bridge suddenly lurched from an impact, nearly knocking Karone and Tommy off their feet. The bridge shook again, and a side conduit exploded behind a bridge console, blowing out a panel with a burst of spark.

 

“Report.” Tommy said as he moved to the center station.

 

DECA’s voice came over the comm. “An unidentified, hostile ship is attacking.”

 

“Hail them,” Tommy said.

 

“It’s no use,” Karone said. “They’re not answering.”

 

The bridge shook again. Tommy clutched onto the control console to keep from falling. “DECA, lock plasma cannons and Mega-Lasers onto the attacking ship an open fire.”

 

“Unable to comply,” DECA said. “Plasma cannons and Mega-Lasers are non functional.”

 

Another impact slammed against the Megaship and rocked the bridge. Another side conduit exploded beneath a control panel and blew out a console with a burst of spark.

 

A signal toned on Karone’s panel. “They’re hailing us now…”

 

“On screen.” Tommy said. 

 

An image of an orange-skinned, bulky humanoid appeared on the forward viewer. The being had thick black hair growing along the side of his face. His eyes were deep grin, and his hair was tied back in a pony tail. The attacker’s grin revealed rows of chiseled, mangled teeth.

 

“Greetings,” the humanoid said in a deep, rumbling voice. “I am Capt. Mu’tan’ee, here to welcome you to the Lost Galaxy.”

 

DECA’s voice came over the comm. “The hostile vessel is targeting the bridge. Countermeasures are offline. Thrusters and engines are offline.”

 

“Now,” Capt. Mu’tan’ee said. “Let’s be discussing the terms of your surrender. I hope you and your crew are in shape….I do despise weak slave laborers.”

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes. “We’re no slave laborers, Mu’tan’ee. And we’re far from weak.”

 

“I beg to differ, pale-face,” the Captain said. “The laws of physics work differently in our galaxy than yours. Your ship’s engines and weapons are useless.”

 

“Then I guess you should come on board,” Tommy said. “We’ll be waiting.”

 

Tommy turned off the viewscreen. He looked to his sister. “Karone…what have you got on sensors?”

 

Karone pulled up several data displays on her console. “He’s right. Our weapons and engines won’t work. We’re dead in the water, and defenseless.” A nearby data monitor started blinking. “We have another problem…”

 

“What is it?” Tommy asked as he walked over to her.

 

“The wave that brought us here must have expanded for a few sectors,” Karone said. “It pulled in a few transports, filled with Ev’vahn civilians.”

 

The Ev’vahn were a peaceful people who lost their homeworld during the war against Sauron. They now scattered space in search for new homes.

 

Karone continued her reports. “A group of smaller ships are breaking away from Mu’tan’ee’s cruiser and closing in on the transports.”

 

“We have to stop them,” Tommy said. “DECA, contact the other rangers. Tell them to get to the bridge.”

 

“Unable to comply,” DECA said. “Internal comm links have been severed.”

 

In space, Mu’tan’ee’s cruiser closed in on the Astro Megaship. The enemy vessel was shaped like a space-fairing version of a pirate ship, complete with solar sails that extended from the dorsal and ventral sides of the cruiser.

 

A tendril lashed out from the pirate’s ship, snaked across the void, and latched onto the Megaship’s hull.

 

The impact rocked the bridge.

 

“”They’ve extended a boarding tube,” Karone said.

 

Tommy rolled his hands into fists. “Let’s go meet our guests.”

 

***

 

Wrailocke bashed a kick upside SHOC’s head, and the hero crashed back against the street. Galavan ran to SHOC’s side and helped him off his feet. “You okay?”

 

SHOC shook his head. Anger and frustration welled inside of his throat and tensed his body. “How are we supposed to fight something that keeps getting stronger?”

 

The Nova Troopers leapt towards Wrailocke with flying kicks. Their heels smashed against the creature, who braced himself as the blow skid him backward, his heels carving up pavement.

 

Cybertron moved in from the side and smashed a spin kick across the villain’s head.

 

Wrailocke thrust his arms out and spun like a tornado while bashing the three heroes aside. The virtual warriors flew backward and slammed against building walls. 

 

Galavan armed his saber. He hated seeing his friends beaten so badly. He looked to SHOC. “Come on.”

 

Galavan somersaulted through the air and slashed his saber across the villain while landing. But Wrailocke grabbed Galavan by the wrists, lifted him off his feet, and pulled his arms outward, nearly ripping the limbs from their sockets. Galavan screamed as pain shot down his arms and shoulders.

 

SHOC charged forward, thrust his fist towards the villain, and fired a bolt of black energy that exploded against Wrailocke with a burst of spark.

 

The villain’s grasp loosened, and Galavan took advantage of that by flipping backwards and kicking the creature upside the head. Galavan landed on the pavement and smashed a sidekick against the villain’s chest.

 

***

 

Kouishiro bolted up in bed and clutched the sides of his head. He nearly screamed as pain shot through his skull.

 

“I am coming for you, my children…” a voice stabbed into his mind like needles. “I am coming for you…”

 

The door to his medical room opened, and Hikaru stepped inside. The Rider had a grim look on his face. “You heard it too?”

 

Kouishiro nodded as the pain in his head slowly subsided. “The voice was so…”

 

“Familiar,” Hikaru said. “A familiar kind of evil…but different than the Gol’drm.”

 

The Gol’drm was the cult that had granted Hikaru and his brother the powers of Black Sun and Shadow Moon. Nearly seven years ago, Hikaru had broken away from the cult and destroyed it. He had to kill his brother and take the Shadow Moon King Stone in the process.

 

Kouishiro nodded. “It’s nothing from Kuuga’s past either.”

 

“Then what?” Hikaru asked, frustration rising in his voice. He did not like to be violated or tampered with. “What is this evil that links us together? That calls to us?”

 

The door slid open again, and Shou stepped in. “Why are you two just standing here? He have to go after Wrailocke. The virtual heroes are being beaten.”

 

Kouishiro looked to Hikaru. “This will have to wait.”

 

Hikaru nodded. His hands rolled into fists, he followed Shou and Kouishiro out the door to go help the Earth’s virtual champions.

 

***

 

The Turbo Ranger’s carrier zord, Artilitron, returned to Earth and landed just outside of Stone Canyon. They were the first team to return back.

 

Dex stood at the zord’s view port. The prince’s cold glare cast across the city below. “They’re here…” A feral grin spread across his face. “They’re close. It’s almost time…”

 

Luke and the other Turbos stood back on the bridge, keeping their distance from Dex, but watching the prince with growing concern.

 

Tyler looked to Luke. “He’s been whispering to himself the entire trip. What happened to him back on Edenoi?”

 

Luke shrugged. “Maybe he’s just…stressed or something.”

 

“I’m stressed too,” Tyler said. “You don’t see me mumbling to myself.”

 

Cassie arced an eyebrow and nudged him teasingly. “Oh?”

 

“No more than usual, I mean,” Tyler said.

 

“Guys,” Tanya said. “Dex just lost his grandfather, and his planet was invaded. He’s entitled to act a little weird.”

 

“It’s more than weird, it’s freaky,” Tyler said.

 

Dex placed his hand against the view port glass and leaned forward. His eyes closed, his smile grew wider. “They are here. They are close. It is almost time. I am coming for you, my children…I am coming for you…”

 

***

 

Pirates blasted through the airlock and piled into the Megaship’s corridors. The villains were dressed in rags and rusty plates of armor. Scarves covered the lower parts of their scaly, sickly-green faces, so only their red eyes and bald heads were visible.

 

These particular pirates were called Slavers. The Slavers carried stun sticks, which crackled with blue/purple energy on the tips.

 

The Slavers split up into groups of five and stalked through the Megaship.

 

Tommy suddenly leapt out from behind a corner and slammed a jumpkick against a Slaver. The villain crashed against a bulkhead and dropped his staff.

 

Tommy kicked up the staff, grabbed it from the air, and twirled it into a fighting stance. He turned to face the other four Slavers. “Welcome aboard.”

 

The Slavers pounced to attack, staffs buzzing while twirling through attack patterns. Tommy snapped out his staff and parried the villains’ blows with ease.

 

The ranger spun forward and smashed a sidekick against a villain’s face before cracking his staff down against the back of a second Slaver’s neck. Turning to his side, Tommy smashed the staff upside the third Slaver’s head and hook kicked the last Slaver across the face.

 

***

 

The Ev’vahn were stranded and helpless against the Slaver boarding parties. Pirates forced their way onto the ships and carried Ev’vahn civilians away by the shuttle load.

 

Nearby, a bright, neon-pink moon hung in space. A pair of flashing lights circled around its equator like shooting stars.

 

The moon’s surface was desolate. Wind blew tornados of crimson sand across dry desert. Rivers of white ice floated across the desert, winding through hills and patches of quick sand.

 

Astro Red used his Drill Saber for balance and rose to his feet. The wave from the Galaxy Book had dropped him onto the moon.

 

The Ranger’s vision blurred into focus while he looked across the desert expanse. “What is this place…?” He activated his helmet communicator. “Zhane…Zhane, come in…Zhane!”

 

A howling noise, like an jet engine in overdrive, cut through the air. Astro Red turned to see Tekno-Man blasting forward on his shoulder thrusters.

 

“Sage…” Astro Red whispered.

 

Tekno-Man swooped down and swung his blade staff towards Astro Red’s head. Astro Red blocked the blow, but the impact sent him flying backward off his feet. The Red Ranger crashed against the ground and skid backward.

 

Tekno-Man landed next to Astro Red and chopped his blade at the fallen Ranger’s faceplate. Astro Red lifted his Drill Saber and blocked the blow. He held his saber with both hands and pushed upward, trying to force Tekno-Man’s blade saber away.

 

“Sage…” Astro Red said as he pressed his sword against Tekno-Man’s weapon. “Don’t do this. You have to remember. You have to remember who you are!”

 

Tekno-Man’s visor flashed red. He pressed his blade down harder. The weapon moved closer and closer to the Ranger’s faceplate as Astro Red’s strength faltered.

 

***

 

Static filled Astro Silver’s helmet communicator. He was lost on the same moon, with no means to contact Cy or the Megaship.

 

“Great,” he muttered. “This is just great. Why do these things always happen to me?”

 

“Because you are weak,” an unseen voice said. It was Tekno-Red.

 

The villain swooped down as if from nowhere and tackled Astro Silver against the back. Tekno-Red throttled across the landscape while grasping onto the Silver Ranger and driving a shoulder against his back.

 

Tekno-Red laughed maniacally. “Isn’t this cozy?”

 

“That’s not the word I had in mind.” Astro Silver slammed his knee against Tekno-Red’s chest. The villain didn’t seem to feel the blow, so Astro Silver struck with his knee again.

 

Tekno-Red arced downward and smashed Astro Silver back-first against the ground. The blow knocked the wind from Astro Silver’s lungs, and the Ranger struggled to stay calm and catch his breath.

 

Tekno-Red leapt upward and armed his jagged blade staff. The villain swooped down and aimed his decent towards the fallen Silver Ranger.

 

Astro Silver activated his arm-mounted Silver Blazer in blaster mode and triggered a volley of golden energy darts that exploded against Tekno-Red with bursts of spark, knocking the villain off his path.

 

The Silver Ranger rolled into a crouched position, aimed his weapon, and fired again. Golden energy darts shot forth and exploded against Tekno-Red, but the villain’s armor protected him.

 

“You can’t be serious with that little toy of yours,” Tekno-Red mocked. The villain hurled his blade through the air like a helicopter propeller.

 

Astro Silver switched his weapon to blade mode and swung towards the twirling staff. The blades clashed against each other with an impact that knocked Astro Silver off his feet and sent him skidding across the ground.

 

Static filled his helmet communicator, and a voice came through. “Zhane, do you read me?”

 

“Bran, is that you?” The Silver Ranger rose into a crouched position. “Wherever you are, get down here. I could use some backup.”

 

“That’s not possible, at the moment,” Astro Black said. He had used his helmet icon to break through interference and open a comm line with the Silver Ranger. “We haven’t figured out how to move the Megaship yet.”

 

“I’m no engineer, but have you tried the engines?” Astro Silver said.

 

“It’s a long story,” Astro Black said. “I’m sending you data on Cy’s location. He’s fighting against Tekno-Man on the same moon you’re on.”

 

“It’s a regular party,” Astro Silver said sarcastically.

 

“Just hang in there, Zhane,” Astro Black said. “We’ll get to you as soon as we can.”

 

“Take your time.” Astro Silver rose to his feet and held his blade forward in a defensive stance as Tekno-Red charged towards him.

 

***

 

Tommy and Karone regrouped with the remaining four Astro Rangers on the bridge after Bran restored communication. A few remaining Slavers still stalked the corridors, along with left over Craboids.

 

“We don’t have much time,” Tommy said. “We need to find a way to get to Cy and Zhane, and we need to free the Ev’vahn that these pirates carted off as slaves.”

 

“How can we when our engines won’t work?” Daithi asked. “Besides…we don’t know where this Mu’tan’ee transports his slaves too. We should focus on getting Cy and Zhane, and getting back home.”

 

Tommy shook his head. “We can’t just strand the Ev’vahn here. I’ll let myself get captured, then you can track me to wherever the pirates are holding their captives.” He looked to Saoirse. “What can you do about engines?”

 

She sighed and shook her head. “I have a few ideas…I’m just not sure if any are plausible. From what I can tell so far, the laws of physics are almost completely different here.”

 

“It can’t be too different,” Daithi said. “Light is still moving the same way. So we can assume faster-than-light travel is still possible.”

 

Saoirse shook her head. “Not even light is traveling the same. It’s more like space is moving all light waves instead of light waves moving through space.”

 

“You’ll figure it out,” Tommy said. “I’ll get into the Megashuttle and make it look like I’m trying to make a break for it. After they capture me and leave, go get Cy and Zhane, then come back for me.”

 

“Wait,” Daithi said. “How do you know they’ll leave after they capture you?”

 

“This ship is still crawling with Craboids,” Tommy explained. “I’ll convince them that the spider crabs have killed you all. DECA can shield your presence on the bridge.”

 

“I don’t know,” Bran said. “This is risky…”

 

“You think this is risky?” Tommy asked. “Let’s hope you don’t have to hear about my Plan B.”

 

***

 

Warlock stood upon his balcony and looked over Angel Grove. Black clouds still dotted the crimson skies. Patrols of Wraiths, Gooclones, and Shades swept across the streets The Eight Devils of Kimon were within the palace, waiting for the final, inevitable battle.

 

All they waited on was the fall of Aquitar. Then, with the planets of The Cross under his command, he could begin the ceremony to open every Hell’s Gate in the universe.

 

A cold smile spread across Warlock’s face. Warlock, the living embodiment of all evil the Rangers’ had destroyed, wanted nothing more than to see the universe consumed by Hellfire.

 

“Then I will rule all,” he whispered.

 

A psionic dagger drove through his mind like a hot wedge, spreading pain throughout his body and forcing him to his knees. He grabbed his head and gritted his teeth to keep from screaming.

 

The massive Mogralord stepped up besides the palace. The creature was larger than any zord, and its power could consume the planet with the blink of an eye.

 

“Do not become overconfident.” The Mogralord’s telepathic voice drilled into Warlock’s mind. “Remember your place. You are my servant, and this reality will become my realm to rule.

 

“But these Rangers are an irritant I want eliminated before the Gates of Hell are opened. They have already defeated Shadow King, Kar and Alcorn. The pitiful Ooze is still on Edenoi. I am in need of new warriors and generals.”    

 

“But Mogralord,” Warlock said. “The Eight Devils of Kimon are-”

 

“The Devils of Kimon are to remain here. They are the guardians of this Demon City now. I need a new army to compliment my Shades…”

 

The Mogralord looked into the distance, and his eyes pulsed with white-hot fire. The massive demon lord opened its jaws and created a shockwave that shook the center of the city.

 

Crimson lightning shot from the sky and struck the top of the palace. Lightning blasts spread energy across the top of the palace, which was flat and circular. The Tablet of Chakra was on the center of the palace rooftop.

 

Warlock hovered from his balcony and landed on the center of the Tablet as lightning continued to strike against the palace.

 

Strands of energy formed demonic symbols around the edge of the palace rooftop. Columns of energy suddenly shot upward from the symbols and ripped into the skies. Warlock shielded his eyes from the massive display of dark light and power.

 

A humanoid figure rose from a bat-like symbol and started to take shape. Black armor and a cape covered his body, and a grated helmet covered his face. He carried a slender sword with a bat-shaped hilt.

 

“You are the leader of my new army,” Mogralord spoke. “Nocturnal. Stealth. You are the Hunter Knight.”

 

Four more figures took shape on either side of Hunter Knight.

 

Dark-gold and black armor covered a second warrior, whose armor and helmet had an insect motif. He was armed with a set of razor-sharp pincers over his left forearm. His name was Hunter Claw.

 

White and black tiger-like armor covered the third warrior. He carried a broad, powerful axe. His name was Hunter Taiga.

 

 

Crimson and black armor covered the fourth warrior. His slender body had a manta ray-motif. He carried a jagged whip and a small shield. His name was Hunter Sting.

 

 

Purple and black armor covered the fifth, snake-like warrior. His name was Hunter Viper. 

 

“I give you the Soul Hunters: Hunter Claw and Hunter Taiga, the brute force and strength of the team. Hunter Sting and Hunter Viper, the most agile and cunning fighters this pathetic realm will ever know.”

 

The Mogralord’s creations continued to take shape. Two demonic figures covered in black, tight-fitting leather armor took shape. Their faceplates were black. One of the villain’s armor was trimmed with red, and the other villain’s armor was trimmed with light blue.

 

They were the Hell Riders, Hibiki and Eiki. Hell Rider Hibiki was armed with two short club-like staffs, and Hell Rider Eiki was armed with short club-like staff that had a blade running along its side. 

 

“The fire of Hell courses through their veins. The Hell Riders. Silent, deadly assassins.”

 

Warlock knitted his brow and looked away from the new warriors. He was in awe at Mogralord’s power to create these fighters out of thin air. But he resented the demon lord too. Warlock knew he should be the one controlling this new army. He planned to overthrow Mogralord when the massive demon least suspected it.

 

“I am no one’s puppet…” he said quietly.

 

Mogralord grinned, able to sense Warlock’s every thought. The mortal realm was proving more amusing than he ever thought possible.

 

***

 

Black Trooper and White Trooper fired their blasters at Wrailocke, but the demon merely swatted the blasts and reflected them. The Nova Troopers own blaster bolts exploded against their armor and knocked them off their feet.

 

Cybertron and Galavan ran side-by-side towards the villain.

 

“Laser Saber command, now!” Galavan shouted, energizing his sword into a saber of blue light.

 

“Lightning hand command, now!” Cybertron shouted.

 

Cybertron pounced towards Wrailocke and swung a pair of energized knifehand blows that slashed across the villain with a burst of spark.

 

Galavan moved in next and swung his sword through a powerful horizontal arc, producing an energy blade that shot forth and exploded against Wrailocke, knocking the villain back a step.

 

***

 

Nearby Wrailocke’s battle against the virtual champions, Hikaru, Kouishiro, and Shou ran through a wooded park on their way to help the heroes.

 

They did not notice that Dex was watching them from the cover of trees and bushes. A cold smile spread across the prince’s face. He extended his hand, and his palm started to pulse with pale-green light.

 

Two creatures suddenly took shape from the dirt and rose from the ground. Each of the slimy creatures had insect-like skin. One of the creatures had a crimson shell, and the second creature had a black shell.

 

The black bug monster had narrow insectoid eyes, a jaw filled with fangs, and two antenna growing from its head.

 

 

The crimson insect had a pair of mandibles extending down from its jaw.

 

 

Dex smiled at the creatures. “Go, my creations. Bring these so-called Masked Riders to me…”

 

***

 

Hikaru, Shou, and Kouishiro continued their sprint through the park.

 

The two insect creatures pounced out from the trees and tackled against Hikaru and Kouishiro, knocking them to the ground.

 

Shou snapped into a fighting stance. “Guyver!”

 

The tendrils of his bio booster armor lashed out and surrounded him, transforming him into the Guyver.

 

The Guyver charged forward and slammed a kick against the black insectoid, knocking it off Hikaru. Guyver continued his advance and slammed a double flying kick against the villain. The Guyver landed, stepped forward, and slammed a volley of punches against the insect’s chest.

 

The creature grabbed Guyver’s arm, twisted, and smashed a kick against his side.

 

The Guyver activated his arm blade and swung its edge towards the creature’s head, but the insectoid caught the blade and kicked the Guyver backward.

 

Dazed, the Guyver stumbled backward, but kept his balance. The insectoid stepped forward and smashed his palm across Guyver’s head, knocking the hero off his feet.

 

Nearby, Hikaru rose to his feet and stepped into his henshin pose. “Black Sun!”

 

Crimson energy flowed across his body and transformed him into Kamen Rider Black.

 

Black Sun somersaulted through the air and slammed a drop kick against the creature, knocking the villain backward.

 

Meanwhile, Kouishiro grabbed hold of the crimson insect’s shoulders, rolled back, and kicked the villain in the chest, sending the creature flying through the air and crashing against a tree trunk.

 

Kouishiro flipped back to his feet. “Kuuga, awaken!”

 

Energy wrapped around his body and transformed him into Kamen Rider Kuuga.

 

Kuuga dashed towards the creature and slammed a volley of punches against the villain’s chest. The crimson insectoid monster slammed its fists against the Rider’s shoulders, forcing him to the ground.

 

Kuuga kicked the legs out from the monster, and the creature crashed onto its back. The Rider somersaulted over the dirt and slammed a kick against the fallen creature.

 

Hidden from view, Dex watched the Riders and Guyver battle his creations. A cold smile spread across his face. “These Riders are more powerful than I imagined…excellent.”

 

Black Sun slammed a jumping sidekick against the black insect, used his leg to pivot on the villain’s chest, and swung his other leg around to smash a kick across the villain’s head. The insect stumbled backward, but stayed on its feet.

 

The Guyver charged towards the creature and leapt through the air. Spinning like a corkscrew with his arm blades extended, he angled his descent towards the insect monster.

 

His blades slashed open the creature’s chest, spraying black ichor and puss. The monster stumbled backward while clutching its chest.

 

Meanwhile, Kuuga smashed a hook punch across the crimson insect’s head and bashed a roundkick against the villain’s side.

 

Dex’s smile grew larger. The Riders’ powers were ripe.

 

The prince stepped out from the trees. “Enough!”

 

The insect monsters ended their attack and scurried back behind their master.

 

“Dex?” Kuuga regrouped with the Guyver and Black Sun. “What’s going on?”

 

“I am not Dex,” the prince said. He snapped into his henshin pose. “Ryuuki, awaken!”

 

Energy shimmered around him as he transformed into his powered-up armor.

 

Ryuuki looked back to his two creations. “This Guyver is of no interest to me. Dispose of him.”

 

The insect monsters charged towards the Guyver to attack. The Guyver stepped back and snapped into a defensive pose.

 

Kuuga shook his head and looked at Ryuuki with disbelief. “Dex…what happened to you on Edenoi?”

 

Kamen Rider Black rolled his hands into fists. “That is not Dex…he said so himself. He is the enemy now!”

 

Black Sun charged towards Ryuuki. “Rider Punch!”

 

***

 

Wrailocke smashed Cybertron and Galavan’s heads together and tossed them aside. The villain heard footsteps running from behind. He turned to see Simon, Max, and their teams running out from a nearby alley.

 

The two ranger teams snapped into fighting stances. They had been sent to the scene after dealing with their own threats elsewhere.

 

Simon pointed at the villain. “Think you can take on two Ranger teams, Wire Face?”

 

Wrailocke smiled with blood lust. “Ooooooh…very much yes.”

 

“Be careful,” Cybertron warned. “He may not look like much, but he packs a punch.”

 

“So do we.” Simon and his team reached for their morphers, and Max and his team armed their wrist braces. “It’s morphin time!”

 

Max and his team thrust their hands forward and crossed their wrists, right over left. “Lightspeed!” They brought their arms back in and flipped open their morphers. “Rescue!” Energy wrapped around them and they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

“Rescue Task Force! Light! Speed! Rangers!”

 

Simon and his team flipped their morphers open. “Wild Access!” they shouted, pressing their morphers’ activation panels. “Ha!” Golden light flashed around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms.

 

“Guardians of the Earth, united we roar! Wild Task Force! Gao Ranger!”

 

An army of Shades appeared with flashes of dark light, and the grunts charged towards the two Ranger teams.

 

***

 

Ryuuki blocked Black Sun’s punch and slammed a kick against the Rider’s chest. Ryuuki spun forward and slammed a sidekick against Kamen Rider Black, knocking him off his feet and sending him skidding across the ground.

 

Ryuuki stalked towards the fallen hero and lifted him by the neck. Kamen Rider Ryuuki smashed the back of his fist across Black Sun’s head.

 

“Kamen Rider Black Sun,” Ryuuki said. “Hikaru. I have watched you with the most interest. Your heart is the darkest of the Riders. Your heart is black and full of hate. Anger. Rage. And guilt, at the death of your brother. He died by your hands.”

 

“The Gol’drm killed my brother!”

 

“No,” Ryuuki said. “I watched him too. I saw inside his mind. Even at the end he pleaded with you to save him. To liberate him from Shadow Moon, who’s stone you now carry. But you ignored his pleas.”

 

“No! Release me, Ryuuki, whatever demon you have become!”

 

“Do not deny it, Hikaru.”

 

“No!” Black Sun smashed a kick against Ryuuki’s side. Ryuuki stumbled backward a few steps and released his hold on Black Sun.

 

Ryuuki laughed and thrust his hand forward, firing a sphere of flame that exploded against Black Sun’s chest and knocked him back.

 

Black Sun somersaulted backward as soon as he hit the ground, and he rolled into a crouched fighting stance. Kamen Rider Black pounced forward and somersaulted through the air while swinging an energized drop kick towards his opponent.

 

“Rider Kick!”

 

Ryuuki grabbed the Rider’s legs, pulled him through the air, and smashed him against a nearby tree.

 

“Your anger makes you strong,” Ryuuki said. “But not strong enough.”

 

Kuuga dashed forward towards Ryuuki.

 

“Ha!” Kuuga swung his fist towards Ryuuki, but Ryuuki caught the fist and kicked Kuuga upside the head. Ryuuki spun a roundhouse kick across Kuuga’s helmet, knocking the Rider backward. 

 

“Kamen Rider Kuuga,” Ryuuki said. “Kouishiro. You are the opposite. Naive. Optimistic. Your human emotions are your weakness.”

 

Kuuga placed his hands over his belt and triggered an energy pulse that washed over his armor, transforming him into his green form. Kuuga ripped off a nearby tree branch, which Transmorphed into a crossbow.

 

Kuuga triggered a volley of energy blasts from the bow that exploded against Ryuuki with a massive burst of spark and sent him flying off his feet.

 

Ryuuki landed on his back and started laughing. “That was a little better.”

 

Ryuuki flipped back to his feet and fired a Rider Flare that exploded against Kuuga and knocked him backward. “Really, my children, I could keep this up all day.”

 

“Stop calling us that!” Black Sun shouted as he regrouped with Kuuga.

 

“Why?” Ryuuki asked “It’s the truth. Your powers are born from me.”

 

***

 

The Phantom Ranger’s ship entered Earth’s atmosphere after returning to the Solar System from Triforia. Drew, Jo, and Roland said behind the Phantom’s cockpit chair, and watched as a display lit up on the forward console.

 

“What is it?” Drew asked.

 

“Trouble,” Phantom said.

 

The ship’s visual scanners locked on to Ryuuki’s battle with the Kamen Riders, the Guyver’s fight against Ryuuki’s two monsters, the Gao and Lightspeed Rangers’ fight against the Shades, and the Virtual heroes’ fight against Wrailocke.

 

The Time Rangers and Silver Guardians were elsewhere battling a small group of Shades that attacked Angel Grove refugees in Stone Canyon.

 

“Where do we start?” Roland asked. He was in disbelief my the shear number of enemies Earth’s champions were up against.

 

Fairweather’s voice came over the ship’s comm line. “Help against Wrailocke.” She wasted no time with pleasantries. “He’s the most resistant and adaptive. The Turbo Rangers are on their way too.”

 

Cassie…The Phantom Ranger’s mind drifted to the Pink Racer.

 

The Phantom swung his ship down a steep dive.

 

***

 

The battle against Ryuuki moved into the city streets, a few blocks away from Wrailocke and the army of Shades. Guyver and Ryuuki’s two creations were not too far behind.

 

The black insect monster grabbed the Guyver by the shoulders and knocked him backward, sending him flying off his feet and crashing over a light pole. The hero smashed against the concrete, and the two insect monsters pounced towards the fallen warrior.

 

Guyver flipped up and scissor kicked the two monsters back before landing on his feet. The Guyver dashed forward, smashed a roundkick against the black insect, snapped his foot around and slammed a hook kick across the crimson insect’s head. 

 

A group of Shades spilled further down the streets, and the Lightspeed and Gao Rangers bashed their way through the grunts.

 

Gao White thrashed her claws across a soldier’s face, her glove’s nails drawing black ichor while sparking on impact. A soldier tried to sneak up behind her, and she snapped a kick back, bashing her heel across the grunt’s head.

 

Rescue Pink rolled into a crouched stance nearby. She armed her Rescue Blaster and rose to her feet while firing a volley of red energy beams at an approaching group of Shades. Her blasts exploded through the demon soldiers, tearing their bodies apart with massive bursts of spark and smoke.

 

The Pink Ranger quickly moved to the other side of the street and opened fire on a second wave of Shades. The creatures quickly felt the sting of her blaster as explosions tore them apart and knocked them off their feet.

 

One Shade snuck in close enough to swing its claws towards Rescue Pink’s head. Rescue Pink ducked and moved back, getting pinned back-first against a wall as the Shade charged forward to finish her off.

 

“Back off!“ Rescue Pink quickly triggered a blast at point-blank range that whipped the grunt’s body backward with a burst of spark upon impact.

 

Meanwhile, Gao Black grabbed a soldier by the neck. The Black Ranger’s muscles flooded with the strength of the Bison as he lifted the soldier and slammed it back onto the ground, crushing its body.

 

Two grunts charged towards Gao Black. The Black Ranger grabbed both grunts by the heads and bashed their faces together. Their heads squashed like melons.

 

“Ha!“ Gao Black tossed the two grunts backward. The two soldiers went crashing against a wall, shattering concrete on impact.

 

A waist-level wire ran across an alley nearby.

 

Rescue Green grabbed onto the wire and flipped over it while smashing his heels down against a Shade. He swung his leg around to give the fallen grunt a final heel strike against the chest.

 

Rescue Green used the wire to pull himself up and flip backward while kicking two grunts away. The Green Ranger slammed an elbow against a third soldier’s chest, then flipped back over the wire while crashing an axe kick down on a grunt’s neck.

 

Nearby, Rescue Blue bashed his way through a group of Shades nearby. The Blue Ranger slammed his knee against a soldier’s gut and smashed a knifehand strike against the back of that soldier’s neck. More of the grunts swarmed around him.

 

“Going up!“ Rescue Blue snapped off a grappling hook that attached to an overhang above. The Blue Ranger slid up the rope, drew his Rescue Blaster, and fired beams of red energy down upon the Shades. Explosive bursts of sparks from the beams ripped the demon soldiers apart.

 

Meanwhile Gao Blue thrashed his claws across a soldier’s face with a series of strikes.

 

Gao Yellow glided through the air, his wings in position, and snatched up a soldier. He slammed that soldier against a wall, then tossed the grunt away like a rag doll.

 

Meanwhile Rescue Yellow armed his Rescue Baton and dashed through a group of Shades. “Let’s go, bitches.”

 

He held the sword with one hand in a fencing style while parrying the grunts’ blows and cutting them aside. He knocked two blades away and stabbed his weapon through a grunt’s chest. He turned to his right and parried a blow before swinging his weapon back around and cracking the baton against the grunt’s chest.

 

Nearby, Gao Red crouched down low, sharpening his claws against the ground as grunts charged forward. He narrowed his eyes beneath his visor and clenched his jaw.

 

“Ha!” Gao Red pounced forward and attacked, surrendering to the power of the lion.

 

Gao Red landed while slashing his claws across a soldier’s chest with a burst of spark, tearing open the grunt’s body and spraying ichor, thick with black puss, in every direction.  

 

Gao Red dashed forward, clawing through a soldier’s chest, then hopped and turned to swing both claws across a soldier’s face. Rips tore across that soldier’s head with bursts of spark, spraying black ooze against the Red Ranger’s armor.

 

Meanwhile, Rescue Red smashed his knee against a grunt’s gut and bashed his elbow against the back of the Shade’s neck, dropping the grunt to the ground.

 

A Shade charged towards him, and Rescue Red unsheathed his Rescue baton and slashed that soldier across the chest with a single strike.

 

The Shades managed to keep the two Rangers away from Wrailocke and the Virtual heroes’ battle.

 

Luckily, the Turbo Rangers, Phantom Ranger, and Beetle Borgs arrived at the scene to give the virtual heroes support.

 

“Bleck!” Turbo Blue spat at the sight of Wrailocke. “That thing is even uglier in person.”

 

Chromium Gold armed his blaster. “It will be even uglier when we’re through with it. Come on, guys.”

 

The four Beetle Borgs charged towards Wrailocke while firing blasts of golden energy. The demon swatted each blast aside while laughing.

 

“Yes! More fun, come. Yes…”  Wrailocke pressed a button on his arm, and even greater energy surged through his veins.

 

Cybertron looked to the Beetle Borgs. “Watch out!”

 

Wrailocke slammed his fists against the ground, which produced a shockwave that tore across the streets and exploded beneath the Beetle Borgs, knocking them off their feet and sending them flying through the air.

 

Turbo Red activated his helmet communicator. “Turbo RAM, rev up!”

 

The Turbo RAM, an assembly of weapons shaped like a car, raced onto the streets and skid to a halt at the Rangers’ feet. The Rangers armed themselves.

 

“Turbo Lightning Sword!” Red Racer shouted.

 

“Turbo Thunder Cannon!” Green Racer shouted.

 

“Turbo Mountain Blasters!” Turbo Blue shouted as he held his twin cannons.

 

“Turbo Star Charges!” Yellow Racer called as she activated her knuckle weapons.

 

“Turbo Wind Fire!” Pink Racer shouted as she activated her bow weapon.

 

Wrailocke laughed so hard that he clutched his side. “Yes, the most amusing of all!”

 

The villain charged towards the Turbo rangers. One-by-one, the Turbo’s swung their weapons at the villain, and one-by-one, they were knocked aside.

 

The Rangers regrouped around Turbo Red as he pulled himself to his feet, slamming his fist against his open palm with frustration. “I’m over this guy. Turbo RAM! Cannon Mode!”

 

The Rangers combined their weapons into a cannon platform, which they aimed upward towards the giant villain. “Fire!”

 

A stream of crackling energy shot forth and exploded against Wrailocke. The blast skid him backward, but he kept his balance.

 

Cybertron charged forward. “Take him out while he’s off balance…Lightning Laser Command, now!”

 

A lightning laser appeared across Cybertron’s forearm, and he thrashed the weapon across Wrailocke’s body with a burst of spark.

 

“Laser Saber command, now!” Galavan shouted, energizing his sword into a saber of blue light.

 

Galavan swung his sword through a powerful horizontal arc, producing an energy blade that shot forth and exploded against Wrailocke, knocking the villain back a step.

 

The four Beetle Borgs regrouped behind the villain.

 

“Data Lasers!” Chromium Gold shouted. “Maximum power!”

 

The Borgs fired four powerful streams of golden energy that punctured through the villain’s body with massive bursts of spark.

 

“No!” Wrailocke shouted in pain. “Very much no!”

 

The villain reached for his arm to give himself another power boost, but an invisible hand grabbed him by the wrist and twisted his arm behind his back. The Phantom Ranger held the villain in a tight grip.

 

White Trooper opened fire with darts of energy that exploded against the villain, and SHOC fired a jagged burst of black energy that sparked against Wrailocke upon impact.

 

The Phantom released his grip, and Wrailocke stumbled backward. The Lightspeed Rangers took that moment to fire their Rescue Blasters at the villain. Lances of red energy exploded through the demon, tearing apart its undead flesh and circuitry.

 

Black Trooper moved in for the finishing blow.

 

“Laser Lance Command, now!” Black Trooper extended a second blade from his saber’s handle. The weapon flashed with crackling blue energy and formed a double-bladed laser saber.

 

Nearby, Turbo’s Blue’s eyes lit up beneath his helmet while he watched. “Sweet…just like Darth Maul.”

 

Turbo Pink playfully slugged him in the shoulder. “You’re such a dork.”

 

Black Trooper thrust the lance forward. One of the blades extended and speared through the monster with a burst of spark. The Trooper stepped closer to the villain and pulled the lance free.

 

Black Trooper swung the blade downward diagonally, and swung the other blade upward diagonally. Both strikes slashed through the monster with bursts of spark, ripping the demon cyborg apart.

 

“No!! Very much no!!!” Wrailocke crashed backward, his energy overloading and exploding with a massive sphere of flame that shook an entire city block.

 

Meanwhile, Ryuuki continued his battle against Black Sun and Kuuga while the two insect monsters kept the Guyver busy.

 

“You may as well surrender,” Ryuuki smashed a hook kick across Black Sun’s head and swung the same leg around, bashing a kick across Kuuga’s helmet. “This was written in destiny. You were born for this moment!”

 

Kuuga rolled into a crouched fighting stance. “You’ve gone crazy, Dex! Snap out of it!”

 

“Dex?” Ryuuki laughed. “I am afraid not. Now and forever…I am Mar’ex!”

 

Ryuuki extended his palm, and pain suddenly shot through Black Sun and Kuuga’s bodies.

 

Tendrils of energy sapped away from Kuuga and Black Sun. The energy strands seeped across Ryuuki’s body with a radiant glow that covered the streets.

 

With a burst of power, a sphere of energy shot from Ryuuki and sent the Rider flying backward, crashing against a nearby building. The Rider’s armor powered down to its normal form.

 

The energy sphere started to twirl and take shape. The pale-green energy took form and covered in a suit of light silver armor.

 

It was Mar’ex. He was reborn.

 

Ryuuki shook his head as his vision and mind blurred into focus. He rose to his feet and rolled his hands into fists at the site of Mar’ex. “You used me!”

 

Mar’ex stood tall, and his body pulsed with power. Tendrils of energy lashed out and exploded across the streets. Bolts of power whipped across the Rangers and heroes with massive bursts of spark that sent them flying off their feet.

 

Gao Red smashed against a parked car and shattered its windshield while bashing in its hood. Ryuuki crashed against a nearby wall that cracked on impact. And Cybertron skid across the ground while ripping up pavement.

 

The Red Gao Ranger slowly pulled himself to his feet and unsheathed his Gao Dagger. He looked over his shoulder to Ryuuki, who was rising to his feet. “What is that thing?”

 

Ryuuki narrowed his eyes beneath his helmet. The prince rolled his hands into fists. His anger outweighed his guilt. “That thing is Mar’ex,” he explained. “He was the first king of Edenoi. A tyrant, whose energy was used to create the Kamen Rider powers.”

 

Gao Yellow flipped through the air and landed next to Ryuuki. The Yellow Gao Ranger glared at Ryuuki and walked towards him. “You want to explain why you brought him here, prince?”

 

Gao Red moved over and placed a hand on his teammate’s shoulder. “Not now, Ryan. We can figure out where he came from later. Let‘s just stop him.”

 

Gao Yellow looked back to his leader. “Any bright ideas?”

 

The Red Ranger shook his head. “Not one.”

 

Mar’ex looked down upon his resurrected body of pure energy. “I am reborn at last! I am power incarnate!” The villain turned and stared mockingly at Ryuuki. “You have done well, my child. Now kneel before me! Become the first of my servants!”

 

“Villain!” Ryuuki leapt onto a car and snapped into a fighting stance. “You have defiled this galaxy for the last time. Your tyranny ends now!”

 

Black Sun and Kuuga leapt towards the scene and landed on opposite sides of the villain. Mar’ex grinned with fiendish delight. “So…my children want to turn against me? Very well. Come, my Riders. Show me the powers I granted you!”

 

“Rider Flare!” Ryuuki thrust his gauntlet forward and fired a stream of flame.

 

Kuuga and Black Sun leapt forward and somersaulted through the air while swinging energized, double kicks at the villain. “Rider Kick!”

 

The flame splashed harmlessly against Mar’ex, and the kicks bounced off him. Kuuga and Black Sun flipped backward and landed on the ground.

 

Mar’ex lashed out an energy tentacle that exploded against the Riders’ chests with bursts of spark and whipped their bodies backward. They slammed hard against the ground and skid across the pavement.

 

Nearby, Gao Red looked to Gao Yellow and Cybertron. “Let’s help them, guys.”

 

Gao Red, Gao Yellow, and Cybertron rushed forward to attack.

 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the street, Phantom Ranger charged towards the villain and fired a volley of dark-blue blaster bolts from his wrist gauntlet. Lances of energy stabbed against Mar’ex, but the villain was unharmed.

 

Mar’ex thrust his hand forward and fired a bolt of lighting that exploded against the Phantom Ranger and sent him flying off his feet.

 

Gao Red and Gao Yellow pounced towards the villain to attack.

 

“Ha!” Gao Red swung his Lion Fang, and Gao Yellow swung his sword.

 

The weapons slammed against Mar’ex, and energy feedback shot from the villain’s body, through the weapons, and against the Rangers’ armor with massive bursts of spark. Energy feedback exploded against their armor and knocked them backward.

 

Cybertron moved in low. “Lightning hand command, now!”

 

“No!” Galavan leapt forward and pushed Cybertron away. They slammed against the ground and tumbled backward before rolling to a stop.

 

“What are you doing?!” Cybertron shouted to his cousin.

 

“Have your possessors melted?” Galavan pointed his sword to Gao Red and Gao Yellow, who were slowly rising from the ground, smoke still steaming off their armor. “That’s what happens when we touch this freak.”

 

As the virtual warriors spoke, Gao Red and Gao Yellow charged forward to attack again, the power of their animals fueling their every muscle with strength and empowering their emotions with rage.

 

Meanwhile, the Lightspeed Rangers and Beetle Borgs regrouped to attack Mar’ex.

 

Rescue Green looked to Rescue Red. “Have the Beetle Borgs distract him while we hit him with a specter blast.”

 

“Sounds like a plan.” Rescue Red looked to Chromium Gold. “Feeling up to it?”

 

Chromium Gold nodded and armed his Data Laser. “Always.” He looked to his team. “Come on, guys. Let’s show this creep some Borg power.”

 

The four Beetle Borgs charged forward and split up to surround the villain. They kept circling the creature and opened fire, triggering lances of golden energy that speared against the villain.

 

Meanwhile the Lightspeed Rangers took position. “V-Lancers! Specter Blast!”

 

The Rangers fired five streams of energy upward, and the energy streams converged to form a laser-V pattern. The Rangers swung their weapons downward, and the V-shaped energy blast exploded against the villain with bursts of spark.

 

But Mar’ex merely laughed, a booming noise that washed across the streets. “Your little Ranger toys are nothing to me. My powers have only grown throughout time.”

 

“Well good for you!” Rescue Yellow shouted. He stepped forward and fired a stream of energy from his V-Lancer rifle.

 

Mar’ex extended his hand and fired a jaded pulse of blue/green energy that exploded against the five Lightspeed Rangers with a massive shockwave that sent them flying off their feet.

 

The six Gao Rangers quickly regrouped behind Mar’ex. The main five Rangers combined their weapons to form a long, single blade.

 

“Gao Blade!” they shouted as the blade energized with fiery golden power.

 

See ya!” Gao Red shouted to the creature.

 

They chopped the energized blade downward. The golden blade extended while chopping down towards Mar’ex. But the villain swatted the blade aside, and the energy saber cut through a nearby building instead, blasting a cloud of debris, fire, and spark upon impact.

 

The Turbo Rangers armed their weapons and charged forward to attack.

 

Meanwhile the three Riders pounced towards the villain, somersaulted through the air, and swung drop kicks down towards the creature of energy. “Rider Kick!”

 

Mar’ex fired a burst of energy that exploded against their armor and knocked them from the air.

 

***

 

Tekno-Man slashed his blade across Astro Red’s chest, and the blow knocked the Ranger off his feet.

 

Astro Red crashed onto his back. Tekno-Man stepped onto the Red Ranger’s chest and pressed down hard. Astro Red struggled to pull the leg off his chest, but Tekno-Man kept increasing the pressure.

 

“Sage…” Astro Red said. “Get off me!”

 

Astro Red felt his ribs start to crack. The Red Ranger looked up and spotted the weak point in Tekno-Man’s armor, the one Sage had pointed out in case he turned evil.

 

“I’m sorry, Sage. You leave me no choice.” Astro Red pulled out his Astro Sniper and fired darts of blue energy that exploded against Tekno-man’s chest armor with massive bursts of spark. The Tekno warrior growled with pain and clutched his chest wound while stumbling off the Red Ranger.

 

Astro Red rolled into a crouched position and rose to his feet. He was already too late by the time he realized he had missed the weak spot in Tekno-Man’s armor by a fraction of an inch.

 

Tekno-Man howled with rage, lunged forward, and speared his blade at Astro Red. The blade tore through Astro Red’s armor with a burst of spark and ripped through his shoulder.

 

The Red Ranger screamed in pain, and the blow forced his armor to power down. Cy was unprotected without his armor helmet, and the toxic atmosphere immediately seeped into his lungs, choking off his breath.

 

His lungs burned for fresh air, and the pain forced him to his knees. Blackness slowly clouded his vision, his world started to blur, and he slipped away from consciousness.

 

Tekno-Man stared down at Cy’s fallen form. The villain’s blood lust subsided at the sight of his fallen opponent. When this happened, the part of Tekno-Man that was still Sage realized the horror of what he had done.

 

Tekno-Man looked to the blood running thick on his blade. His eyes moved back to Cy’s fallen form, and his anger and guilt overwhelmed him.

 

Tekno-Man grabbed the sides of his head and dropped to his knees. He screamed, a frightening, metallic sound that vibrated his armor. Tekno-Man’s consciousness was trying to return, but his armor’s lust for blood and hunger still dampened him.

 

He screamed louder.

 

He tried to tear his armor off, but it would not obey him.

 

With a final howl, Tekno-Man activated his shoulder thrusters and shot towards the sky.

 

He left behind Cy, whose blood was filling with the planet’s toxins. He had stopped breathing.

 

To be continued…Chapter Ten