Champions Saga: Chapter Ten

The Hell Child

 

Earth

 

Mar’ex lashed out with a green/blue-tinted energy tentacle that wrapped around Gao Red. Energy surges sparked against the Ranger’s armor, and the villain swung the Red Ranger off his feet.

 

Gao Red crashed through the windows of a small car dealership and smashed against the side of a car door before slumping to the ground.

 

The Red Ranger immediately rolled to his feet and armed his Lion Fang. He looked ahead as Mar’ex stepped through the shattered windows and into the dealership.

 

Gao Red armed his Lion Fang. For a moment, he knew fear. But he quickly suppressed that fear with the rage of the lion. The strength of his companion beast poured through his veins as the heart of the lion pounded in his chest.

 

“Gaoling cannon!” The Lion Fang shifted shape and transformed into a short rifle weapon with the golden head of the rifle engraved at its end. The weapon’s barrels were wrapped around the lion’s mane.

 

Gao Red triggered the weapon, firing rapid blasts of green energy darts that splashed harmlessly into Mar’ex’s body of energy. 

 

“Final mode!” Gao Red stepped forward and aimed his weapon for another strike. The mouth of the lion opened to form a larger barrel. “Gao!”

 

Gao Red fired a roaring pulse of golden, crimson energy that rolled forward and exploded harmlessly against the villain.

 

Gao Red lowered his weapon and cursed beneath his breath, a habit he had picked up from Ryan, Gao Yellow.

 

Mar’ex extended his palm and whipped tendrils of energy across the dealership. The energy lashes knocked up cars and sent them flailing towards the Red Ranger.

 

Gao Red dove and rolled aside as a car crashed behind him. He rolled again to dodge a third and fourth car, but the fifth sixth cars smashed against him and crashed him against the ground.

 

Lances of golden energy stabbed against Mar’ex from behind. The villain turned and faced the four Beetle Borgs, who were firing their Data Lasers.

 

The villain released a bright energy pulse that exploded against the Borgs’ armor with a burst of spark that sent them crashing against a building’s wall.

 

***

 

A golden burst of energy cut across Earth’s atmosphere like a comet. The source of the comet was Pyramidus, zord of Zeo Gold.

 

***

 

Mar’ex fired energy pulses that exploded against Galavan and Cybertron, knocking the two virtual heroes off their feet and sending them skidding across the pavement.

 

Their battle had moved to a plaza area with an arched, memorial entrance and fountain. Various statues and trees formed a curving perimeter around the property. Another blast from Mar’ex sent the heroes smashing through two of these statues.

 

A rolling burst of energy suddenly splashed against the villain’s side. Mar’ex turned to see the Turbo Rangers holding their Turbine Laser.

 

“Play dead, Sparky,” Turbo Red said before triggering another volley of blasts.

 

Mar’ex fired a jagged burst of energy that exploded against the Turbo Rangers, knocking them off their feet.

 

***

 

Pyramidus landed outside of Crossworld City, a few miles away from the battle against Mar’ex.

 

***

 

Mar’ex snagged Ryuuki with an energy tentacle and lifted the Rider by the throat. The villain send energy pulses across the tentacle, which exploded against Ryuuki’s armor with massive bursts of spark and smoke.

 

One blast pierced through Ryuuki’s armor and burned through his side. The Kamen Rider bit back his screams and tried to break free. He thrust his gauntlet towards Mar’ex.

 

“Rider Flare!” Ryuuki blasted a stream of fiery energy that splashed harmlessly across the silver armor over the villain’s chest.

 

Mar’ex laughed and dropped the Rider to the ground. Ryuuki laid on his back and clutched his injured side. He tried to move, but the pain was too overwhelming, and he was quickly losing blood that spilled onto the pavement.

 

The Rider’s armor powered down with a flash of crimson light because of the injury.

 

Mar’ex stalked closer to Dex. The villain’s eyes glowed with deep energy as he prepared to deliver a fatal optic blast.

 

Dex narrowed his eyes and stared ahead at his opponent defiantly. “Go ahead, Tyrant. But there will be other heroes to face you after I fall. You will be defeated.”

 

“A pity you won’t live to learn how false your words are.” Mar’ex fired a massive optic blast aimed towards Dex’s unprotected head.

 

***

 

The side of Pyramidus opened, and the Galaxy Rangers and Zeo Rangers leapt out from the zord.

 

Zeo Gold pointed his staff southward. “That way,” he said to the others. “The battle is in that direction.”

 

“Well, what are we waiting for?” Zeoyellow said as she sprinted towards the city.

 

***

 

Black Sun leapt through the air and pushed Dex aside while taking an optic blast in the back. The blast exploded against Black Sun’s armor with a massive burst of spark that sent him tumbling forward across the ground.

 

“Hey, Snacky!” a voice shouted from behind. Mar’ex turned to see Rescue Blue aiming his V-Lancer forward. Rescue Yellow and Rescue Green were at his side. “Eat this!”

 

The three Rangers fired beams of energy that splashed harmlessly across the villain. Mar’ex lashed out with an energy whip that exploded against the Rangers’ armor and knocked them off their feet.

 

Rescue Red and Rescue Pink ran to their friends and helped them to their feet.

 

“You guys okay?” Rescue Red asked.

 

“No, Max,” Rescue Yellow said. “Why do you always ask us that when we’re getting our asses kicked?”

 

Mar’ex fired a volley of energy pulses that exploded around the Lightspeed Rangers as they dove and rolled for cover.

 

Suddenly, a voice shouted from behind the villain. “Quasar Launchers, Fire!”

 

Mar’ex turned just as a rolling blast of energy splashed against his body with a massive burst of spark and smoke. The blast had come from the Galaxy Rangers, who were holding their launchers in attack position.

 

Before the villain could retaliate, another blast of energy splashed against his body with a flash of spark and smoke that drifted over his armor and past his back. Mar’ex turned to see the Zeo Rangers holding their Ultra Blaster.

 

“Well,” Zeoblue said. “That didn’t go nearly as well as we hoped, did it?”

 

Zeoyellow looked to Zeored. “We need to go cosmic.”

 

Zeored nodded. “Right.”

 

The Zeo Rangers and Galaxy Rangers slowly regrouped. They closed their eyes beneath their helmets and concentrated on their new connection to the Power Cosmic.

 

“Zodiac Armor!” they shouted. “Energize!”

 

Golden light flashed across Galaxy Red. A gold shield wrapped around his chest, and jagged armor plates extended over his shoulders. A golden outline of the lion snapped over his helmet. Gold gauntlets wrapped around his arms and fists.

 

Similar armor wrapped around Galaxy Green, only his helmet had the Gemini symbol engraved on the forehead.

 

Golden power shimmered around Galaxy Blue. His armor had the Aquarius symbol etched across the chest plate.

 

Galaxy Yellow’s armor wrapped around his body, and a golden crab-like piece of armor snapped over his helmet.

 

A sapphire appeared on Galaxy Pink’s new golden helmet as her armor shimmered to life. The Libra symbol appeared over the left side of her chest.

 

Golden, edged armor wrapped around KuroKishi. The horns on his helmet became gold, and a golden chest plate with jagged shoulder blades wrapped around his body.

 

Similar armor wrapped around the Zeo Rangers. Zeored had the symbol of Aries, Zeoblue had the symbol of Capricorn, Zeogreen had the symbol of Pisces, Zeoyellow had the symbol of Scorpio, Zeopink had the symbol of Virgo and Zeo Gold had the Sagittarius symbol.

 

Their armor started to glow with bright light that nearly blinded Mar’ex. The Rangers leapt through the air and surrounded Mar’ex while forming a circle around the villain.

 

“No!” Mar’ex shouted. “I know this power you yield. Humans can not tame the Power Cosmic! You will fail!”

 

Mar’ex fired a volley of energy whips that streaked towards the Rangers, but the whips dissipated before they made contact.

 

“Zodiac Power!” the Rangers shouted. “Cosmic Storm!”

 

Their Zodiac symbols burned in the ground beneath their feet. Multi-colored cosmic lightning suddenly shot down from the stars and splashed against the Rangers, energizing their bodies and surging through their new armor.

 

The Rangers thrust their hands forward and hurled that power at Mar‘ex. Twelve bolts of radiating power converged against the villain with a massive shockwave that rocked the ground for miles.

 

Mar’ex screamed with pain as the Power Cosmic tore apart his existence. The cosmic energy vaporized Mar’ex into nothing but steam that blew away on the wind, dissipating into the air. 

 

***

 

Lost Galaxy

 

Tommy allowed himself to be captured by the pirates. After he and the remaining Ev’vahn were brought onto Mu’tan’ee’s ship, the cruiser activated its co-axial drives.

 

Space folded around the vessel and created a rippling effect, like a stone dropping in a pond. The pirate ship wedged into the Lost Galaxy’s version of hyperspace and moved faster than light.

 

Tommy was in a cargo hold packed with Ev’vahn slaves. Through a view port, he saw the stars fade, double, and realign in different patterns. The phenomenon repeated itself continually while the ship hopped through its hyperspace fold jump.

 

It wasn’t long before several Ev’vahn gathered around Tommy and gave him quizzical looks. The civilians whispered among themselves quietly, although Tommy heard the words “Ranger” and “Terran” mentioned.

 

A young, timid woman approached Tommy. “You’re one of them, aren’t you? One of the Earth Rangers?”

 

Tommy shook his head. “I’m afraid not,” he lied. “I’m Kerovian. Part of a science expedition that was trapped in the energy wave, same as you.”

 

“What is this place?” she asked him. “This…twisted space.”

 

“The pirates called this The Lost Galaxy,” Tommy said. “That’s all I know…”

 

Tommy noticed a young girl sitting on the deck. The slaves kept their distance from her, preferring to cram against themselves then step anywhere near her. “That girl over there…who is she?”

 

The woman’s eyes grew wide, and she shook her head. “No. We don’t talk to her, or speak of her. Best to pretend that she doesn’t exist.”

 

“Why?”

 

“They call her the Hell Child. Isn’t that reason enough?”

 

Tommy walked over to the strange girl. She used a small wedge of metal to scratch detailed geometric patterns on the deck around her. Her hair was long and blonde, and her eyes were bright blue. The girl had a blank expression on her pale face while she etched the symbols. She appeared no older than 13 Earth years.

 

“What are you drawing?” Tommy asked.

 

“Protection,” she said. Her voice had a soft, soothing accent. “The bad men are coming again. They always come.”

 

“The bad men?” Tommy crouched down on the deck, closer to her level. “You mean the pirates?”

 

She shook her head. “These men are something worse.”

 

“Worse?”

 

She nodded and kept drawing. “They come from my nightmares. And the nightmares of others. They’re always haunting me.”

 

The girl inclined her head. Tommy’s hairs stood on end when she made eye contact with him. Her wide eyes were eerie. A chill crept down Tommy’s spine, and a sense of panic clutched his throat.

 

The girl inclined her head with curiosity. “Your nightmares are stronger than the others’.” A tear dripped down her right cheek. “I pity your future, Dragon Ranger. I pity the future of us all. Your nightmares…will end you.”

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes. “Who are you?”

 

The girl tilted her head and stared ahead silently for a moment. She looked back down and continued her sketching. 

 

Tommy sighed with frustration and shook his head. He started to get up. But the girl suddenly pounced at him and wrapped her hands around his neck. The girl stared into Tommy’s eyes, and the bright orbs flashed with insanity that sent tendrils of fear coursing through Tommy’s veins.

 

Darkness overcame the ranger. He lost consciousness.

 

***

 

The Astro Megaship hovered in orbit above the moon where Tekno-Red and Tekno-Man had battled Astro Red and Astro Silver.

 

Saoirse had figured out a way to travel through the Lost Galaxy by folding space around the ship, instead of having the ship move through space. The modifications took an hour to make, and when they arrived, they found Cy on the surface, where he had been dead for 20 minutes.

 

They brought him back to the Astro Megaship and resuscitated him, but barely. 

 

Cy was in a coma within the ship’s medical bay. Only the equipment there was keeping him alive, and his brain showed no signs of activity. His breathing was shallow and weak.

 

Zhane stood by his leader’s bedside and grasped his hand firmly. The two Kerovians had always had an odd relationship. Different religious views kept them at odds when they first met. Cy was always spiritual, whereas Zhane was a scientist.

 

But during the last two years, Cy and Zhane had grown close to each other. They were almost like brothers, although they would never admit it to each other.

 

Saoirse stood on the other side of Cy’s bed. The yellow Astro Ranger had grown to love Cy very much during the two years they spent with each other. She hated seeing Cy so helpless, depending on a machine to survive.

 

“He can’t live like this,” she whispered.

 

Zhane narrowed his brow at Saoirse. “What are you talking about?”

 

Saoirse looked up to Zhane, and a tear streamed down her cheek. “We have to let him go, Zhane.”

 

“Are you crazy?” Zhane asked. “No way. We’ll get him back to our galaxy and give him the treatment he needs.”

 

“What treatment?” Saoirse asked. “He’s brain dead, Zhane. He’s…” She paused, her sorrow choking her. “He wouldn’t want us to let him go on like this. I know he wouldn’t. His faith-”

 

“Just stop,” Zhane said. “I’m in charge now that Cy’s down. We are not pulling the plug on my friend.”

 

DECA’s voice came through the speakers. “Enemy warships approaching.”

 

Saoirse practically shoved past Zhane on her way to the exit. “We’ll talk about this later.”

 

***

 

Aquitar

 

The remaining four Power Rangers were on their way to Earth with the Scrolls found on Eltar. Meanwhile, the Ninja Rangers arrived at Aquitar to assist the Rangers there with defending their planet.

 

The NinjaMegazord reverted back to realspace just outside the orbit of Aquitar’s moon. None of the Rangers were prepared for what they saw.

 

About a dozen starships made of black bio matter surrounded the world. Each ship was shaped like a squid, with thrashing tentacles bristling with weaponry. The maws of the ship were actually sucking massive amounts of water from the planet’s surface. Streams of vapor were sucked from the water world and into the ship’s jaws.

 

The oceans on Aquitar had receded, and several large land masses were visible. The planet should have only a had a few small islands.

 

Smaller ships swarmed around the planet. The black, wedge-shaped vessels had small tentacles thrashing aft, as if propelling the ships through space. They were nicknamed “Skips.”

 

The Aquition fleet was in shambles but still managed to fight back hard. And they had assistance from a few nearby worlds. Alliances forged across the galaxy during the Countdown to Destruction two years prior had only grown stronger.

 

Aquition Battle Cruisers formed a perimeter around the world alongside Fray’loth battle ships. The Fray’loth were a cat-like species.

 

Hundreds of Skips swarmed around the allied starships and opened fire with bolts of blue plasma energy that exploded against the vessels’ armor and shields. The Fray’loth vessels opened fire with darts of green disrupter energy, and the Aquition vessels fired crimson turbo-laser blasts, but the small and agile enemy vessels were too quick for the larger ships to shoot down.

 

Kerovian fighter wings were occupied with Skips farther out in orbit and unable to aide the allied capital ships. The fighters tried to break through a screen of countless Skips and move towards the Squids, to blast the larger ships out of orbit.

 

The NinjaMegazord hovered back for a moment as the Ninja Rangers tried to form a strategy.

 

Ninjablack spoke to Ninjared. “What’s going on, Jase?”

 

“I don’t know, but we have to stop it,” Ninjared said.

 

Ninjawhite agreed. “We should attack those…squids. It looks like they’re draining water from the planet.”

 

Ninjayellow rolled his eyes. “Any idiot can see that.”

 

“Then I’m sure you see it clearly,” Ninjawhite said.

 

“Jonathan, Trini,” Ninjared said firmly. “Not now.”

 

The NinjaMegazord locked its falcon wings in position and flew towards the battle. Several Skips spotted the Megazord and broke away from the main battle to intercept the Rangers.

 

“Let’s blast ‘em,” Ninjared said.

 

The Crane Ninjazord cannons, on the sides of the Megazord’s head, opened fire with white energy beams that stabbed through space and exploded through a group of skips, tearing apart their hulls and blasting open their engines with spheres of flame that quickly dissipated in the vacuum of space.   

 

A flight of enemy fighters flew past the wreckage of their wing mates and throttled towards the NinjaMegazord. The Skips opened fire with bolts of blue energy that exploded across the Megazord’s armor.

 

A wing of Kerovian fighters flew down to assist the Megazord and opened fire with energy darts and missiles that exploded against the enemy ships. The Skip’s rolled to port and aft to regroup as the Kerovians opened fire with another missile and blaster salvo. Darts of blue energy buckled the enemy ship’s hulls and blasted the Skips apart.

 

The NinjaMegazord rolled to starboard and dove downward towards Aquitar while charging towards the nearest squid.

 

“NinjaMegazord…” the Rangers shouted. “Double-knuckle strike!”

 

The falcon wings energized the zord’s two fists. The wolf fist and ape fist radiated with blue and red energy respectively as the NinjaMegazord dove towards the squid.

 

With a comet of power, NinjaMegazord punctured fists-first through the squid with a massive explosion, tore through the vessel’s body, and ripped free on the other side of the organic ship. The Squid exploded with a massive burst of blue flame that dissipated into space.

 

NinjaMegazord looped around and charged towards the second Squid. That vessel was guarded by a massive attack wing of enemy ships.

 

The Megazord hovered in space and swung its falcon wings forward.

 

“Falcon blast!” Ninjared shouted.

 

A volley of energy missiles blasted from the falcon’s wingtips. The missiles shot through space and exploded against the Squid, ripping apart its outer shell and tearing apart its innards with massive bursts of spark and flame.

 

The Megazord leaned backward through a flying arc, dove downward, and spun while throttling towards the next Squid.

 

***

 

The Ninja Rangers’ battle was being watched from the surface of Aquitar. The demon general named Na’mious saw the NinjaMegazord through a viewscreen of fire. Na’mious smiled with amusement at the sight.

 

Na’mious was the brother of the fallen demon Alcorn. Alcorn had released his brother and the Hell-damned forces of Atlantis while on his way to Eltar, where he was killed by the Ninja Rangers and Power Rangers.

 

“So,” Na’mious said with wicked delight. The demon was pale and skinny. His  short, spiked hair was dark purple and his eyes were deep red. “These are the Rangers that killed my brother? Hm. This will prove interesting indeed.”

 

***

 

Earth

 

Billy arrived at the Bay Area immediately after the Power Rangers returned to Earth. He stood in a small conference area with Miss. Fairweather and Max. 

 

“The Zodiac power the Zeo and Galaxy teams have is key to stopping the Mogralord,” Billy explained. “But the interference around the city makes it impossible to use that power.”

 

“So how do we break through the interference?” Max asked. It was a puzzle he had tried to solve himself to no avail.

 

Billy pulled up a holographic image of a small space station in Earth’s orbit.

 

“With this,” Billy said. “This is one of INET’s first space stations. With some modifications, we can use the station’s satellite to break through the interference around Angel Grove.”

 

Max’s eyes lit up. “That’s great, Dr. Cranston.”

 

“There’s one more thing,” Billy said. “This Aasu the Galaxy Rangers use, we’ll need to harness that energy for this to work.”

 

“That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?” Max asked. “So who are you sending to the station?”

 

Miss Fairweather looked to Billy. “You’ll need to send someone with technical expertise.”

 

Billy nodded in agreement. “Max, I want you and Ashley to go. Each of you can take a teammate along, and one of the Galaxy Rangers.”

 

“Can’t we just take our whole teams?” Max asked. “I hate splitting us up.”

 

“No,” Billy said. “That’s all we can spare. I need as many people as I can spare here to fight against the Mogralord if he attacks another city in the region again. Which he will. And soon.”

 

***

 

The Mogralord stared into the crimson skies of Angel Grove. His five Soul Hunters appeared on the palace rooftop below. Hunter Claw, Hunter Taiga, Hunter Sting, Hunter Viper and Hunter Knight kneeled before their master.

 

“These humans irritate me,” Mogralord said telepathically. “And waiting for the fall of Aquitar has made me…bored. A curious emotion. My Soul Hunters, amuse me. There is a magick forest hidden south of my Demon City. Find this place, this Ginga Forest, and kill everyone within.”

 

***

 

Lost Galaxy

 

The darkness spun like a raging hurricane. In his mind’s eye, Tommy was swept away by the storm’s current.

 

Images flashed across the mental hurricane’s winds. And each image seemed to burn through his eyes and into his mind. Tommy squinted his eyes, but the images only intensified inside his thoughts.

 

“It burns, doesn’t it?” the girl asked.

 

Tommy dropped to his knees and instinctively clutched his forehead, where pain  shot through his skull. “Stop this,” he said through his clenched jaw. “Now!”

 

“It never stops,” she said, her soft, bone-chilling voice echoing within the storm’s shadows. “Not in my mind. This is what I see. Everyday. Infinite possibilities. Infinite futures. Infinite realities. All of existence and non-existence.

 

“The key is to not fight it,” she said. “Like you learned about your powers at the volcano.”

 

She referred to a lesson Master Kaku’s spirit had taught him shortly after Zedd surfaced nearly five years ago.

 

“The key is to embrace death,” she said. “It frightens us all, but we must embrace that fear and turn it into power.”

 

“You’re not…making any sense.”

 

“Death is balance…” her voice suddenly grew panicky. “Balance is everything…so why can’t I feel balance!”

 

A chill crept down Tommy’s spine as her screams became shrieks. “Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me!”

 

Each scream ripped across Tommy’s mind. His mental form became weak as the raging storm surrounded him. Tommy could not stop the mental hurricane from whipping him off his feet and carrying him through the psionic winds. 

 

The girl’s screams were joined in the storm by Tommy’s own.

 

***

 

“More pirates?” Zhane asked as he stepped onto the bridge, and the ship rocked from a weapon’s impact.

 

Bran, Daithi, and Karone were at their stations, and Saoirse took a seat at one of the forward control panels. Another blast rocked the bridge.

 

“We’re not sure who they are,” Daithi said. “They just showed up and started firing.”

 

Zhane sighed and shook his head. “This galaxy is so friendly,” he said sarcastically. “Have we found a way to make our weapons work in this place?”

 

“No,” Saoirse said. “We’ll have to make a run for it.”

 

The enemy warships closed in on the Astro Megaship. The warships resembled starfish with jellyfish tentacles hanging from their ventral sides. The enemy vessels fired jagged bursts of amethyst energy that exploded against the Megaship’s armor.

 

“Bran,” Zhane asked as the blast shook the ship. “Do you have a lock on Tommy’s signal?”

 

“I do,” Bran said.

 

“Then get us out of here,” Zhane said. 

 

Saoirse triggered the fold jump sequence, and the Astro Megaship wedged through what passed for hyperspace in the Lost Galaxy. But the warships followed.

 

“We’re being tailed,” Bran said.

 

“Well…” Zhane was at a lost. “Do something, then.”

 

A jagged bolt of purple energy exploded against the Megaship, and the vessel went spinning out of control through the fabric of the space fold.

 

***

 

Aquitar

 

“NinjaMegazord…” the Rangers shouted. “Double-knuckle strike!”


The falcon wings energized the zord’s two fists. The wolf fist and ape fist radiated with blue and red energy respectively as the NinjaMegazord dove towards the last squid.

 

But the organic ship lashed out with a tentacle that wrapped around the Megazord and stopped its movement. The tentacle squeezed harder, nearly crushing through the Megazord’s armor.

 

The Megazord fired its head mounted cannons, triggering darts of white energy that exploded along the creature’s tentacle with bursts of spark that dissipated into space. The tentacle spasmed on impact, but tightened its grip instead of releasing the Megazord.

 

NinjaMegazord swung its falcon wings forward.


“Falcon blast!” Ninjared shouted.


A volley of energy missiles blasted from the falcon’s wingtips. The missiles shot through space and exploded against the tentacle, ripping it to pieces with massive explosions.

 

Cut loose, the NinjaMegazord backflipped, looped around, and dove at the vessel. The injured creature lashed out with its remaining tentacles, but NinjaMegazord weaved in and out of the thrashing tentacles to dodge them.

 

“NinjaMegazord…” the Rangers shouted again. “Double-knuckle strike!”


The falcon wings energized the zord’s two fists. The wolf fist and ape fist radiated with blue and red energy respectively as the NinjaMegazord started spinning like a screw.

 

The Megazord spun so fast it became a cyclone of stabbing, whirling energy that pierced through the squid and tore it apart with a massive explosion, scattering debris into space.

 

***

 

Na’mious kept watching the space battle through his viewscreen of fire. The brother of Alcorn leaned forward. A wicked smile spread across his face.

 

“Ah, yes…you’ve defeated the last of my children, have you? Well, I suppose I’ll be seeing you soon, then. I have quite the greeting planned for Rangers as infamous as yourselves.”

 

The villain turned his head, and his eyes pulsed with ruby-red light. Five cyclones of dust slowly whirled across the room and formed the five dead bodies of the Aquition Rangers. Being animated by Na’mious, the bodies transformed into their Ranger forms.

 

***

 

Earth

 

Hyuuga, the Black Knight KuroKishi, stood in for his younger brother Ryouma on the flight into Earth’s orbit, where the INET station hung like an ivory disk in the blackness of space.

 

Hyuuga was in the cockpit of an INET shuttle along with Ashley, Zeoyellow; Justin, Zeoblue; Max, Rescue Red; and Junior, Rescue Blue.

 

The ship’s starboard side slowly aligned with the space station, and a boarding tube extended towards the craft. 

 

“The atmosphere inside is stable,” Ashley said. “It should be okay to go in.”

 

“Good to know,” Junior said.

 

Max looked back to his teammate. “You’re doing it again.”

 

“What?” Junior asked.

 

“Talking just to hear yourself speak,” Max teased. “You do it when you’re nervous.”

 

“I don’t get nervous.”

 

“You almost wet yourself the first time you morphed,” Max said.

 

Junior shrugged. “It tickled.”

 

In the forward seats, Ashley looked to Justin after hearing the younger rangers’ exchange. “Were we ever that young?”

 

“I’m pretty sure I am still that young,” Justin said jokingly.   

 

The rangers left the shuttle, walked through the boarding tube, and entered the space station’s outer corridor. The dimly-lit hallway curved out of view in both directions.

 

“We’ll have to split up,” Ashley said. “Max, you and J.R.-”

 

“Junior,” Junior corrected.

 

Justin shook his head. “You’re better off with J.R.”

 

Ashley lightly elbowed Justin in the ribs to quiet him. “Like I was saying…Max, you need to head downside and access the main computer core. The rest of us will go topside to the main sensor array assembly.”

 

The plan was for Max to access the main computer core to boot the station’s systems back up. Then he would make the modifications Ashley needed to access the sensor array and reprogram it. The sensor array was key to using Hyuuga’s Aasu to disrupt the interference around Angel Grove.

 

The rangers split into two groups and went down the halls. A few minutes later, two stowaways stepped through the airlock and into the station: Teddy and Hikaru, the yellow Galaxy Ranger.

 

“I told you it would work,” Teddy said. “See, all that panicking you did was for nothing.”

 

“It wasn’t panicking,” Hikaru said with an angry, annoyed look on his face. “It was complaining. Complaining about the cramped cargo hold, complaining about the sore back I got from being inside the cargo hold, but mostly, complaining about you.”

 

“Flatterer,” Teddy said.

 

Ashley had forbid Teddy from going with her to the station. So Teddy decided he’d sneak on board by using the shuttle’s small, cramped cargo hold.

 

Hikaru insisted to tag along after he caught Teddy in the act of sneaking on board the INET shuttle. The yellow Galaxy Ranger had felt jealous about being left behind.

 

The two rangers moved through the corridors and left the airlock area.

 

But the airlock slid open yet again.

 

This time, two shadows slid through the airlock and across the station’s deck plating. The shadows crept upward along the corridor walls.

 

Two dark figures stepped out from the shadows: Hell Rider Hibiki and Hell Rider Eiki.

 

***    

 

Warlock attacked on multiple fronts to keep Earth’s champions busy while  Mogralord’s Soul Hunters moved towards the Ginga Forest.

 

Hunter Knight, Hunter Claw, Hunter Taiga, Hunter Sting, and Hunter Viper, stalked through the forest between Angel Grove and stone Canyon, where the Ginga Forest was secretly nestled.

 

Hunter Knight unsheathed his saber, and the blade radiated with dark energy. The villain slashed through the magick border of the Ginga Forest and tore it away like paper, ripping a hole into the pocket dimension.

 

The five villains stepped inside and entered the forest.

 

***

 

A living tree named Moku slept within the forest. His eyes snapped open as soon as he sensed the Soul Hunters enter the pocket dimension. “Demons!”

 

Moku’s warning carried across the tribe. Tribesman armed themselves with bows and arrows and ran towards the breach as fast as they could. The warriors left the main encampment and passed through a thick grove of trees before closing in on a clearing, where the five Soul Hunters marched forward.

 

One squad of archers climbed into the trees and took position to attack from above, while the remaining archers moved in low. These archers crouched down on the ground or took cover behind trees.

 

“Fire!” one of the archers shouted. 

 

A hailstorm of arrows snapped from the woods and shot towards the villains. The arrows, laced with magick, cut through the air and speared towards their targets.

 

But each arrow shattered harmlessly against the villains’ armor upon impact.

 

Hunter Sting snapped out his whip, which extended and thrashed towards the archers. The weapon wrapped around an archers neck and tightened, popping off the warrior’s head.

 

Hunter Sting snapped the whip back, while the weapon’s edges slashed open three warriors’ throats.

 

Hunter Taiga swung his axe, which emitted a spinning energy blade that shot through the woods and cut through about a dozen trees, sending them. and the archers in their branches, crashing against the ground. 

 

Hunter Knight walked up and lifted a fallen archer by the throat while spearing his sword through that warrior’s chest.

 

A small group of archers fell back and cocked another volley of arrows.

 

Hunter Claw dashed at them with blinding speed before they could strike. The villain used its scissor-like claw to chop the head off of an archer, then swung the claw around, slicing open a second warrior’s gut.

 

Hunter Viper spat a volley of darts that pricked against the necks of six warrior and sent poison coursing through their veins. They collapsed within a second.

 

***

 

Lost Galaxy

 

The raging mental storm swept Tommy’s astral form through a current of wind and gust before dropping him through the sky. The ranger plummeted through the air and crashed on a wide stone ground.

 

It may not have been real, but it hurt.

 

The flat landscape stretched as far as he could see. Everything, including himself, appeared gray. Except for the crimson blood on his hands and shirt.

 

Black fire suddenly shot from the ground and formed a ring around the ranger. The Hell Child stepped forth from the fire and entered the ring near Tommy. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head, and she opened her mouth as if to scream, but she was silent.

 

The hairs on the back of Tommy’s neck stood on end, and he took a step away from the child. “What the hell are you?”

 

The ground beneath their feet collapsed, and they fell through a seemingly endless void of darkness.

 

Images flashed through the darkness.

 

While falling, the Hell Child maneuvered towards Tommy and grabbed him by the wrists. Her ice-cold hands sent needles of pain up his arms. “Balance!” she shrieked, her face less than an inch away from Tommy‘s. “Balance is everything, why can’t I find balance!”

 

Tommy could barely make out the images flashing in the darkness. He saw the first Ranger Jestin defeat Sauron and establish an order of Masters and Rangers. He saw Zedd come to power and wipe out that order. Images showed Zordon break free from Zedd’s control and defeat Zedd.

 

“Balance!” the Hell Child shrieked again. “Balance is threatened! Fate no longer is in control! All will end! Everything! Because of him! Because of you! What he started, you will finish!”

 

More images flashed across the void. Tommy watched the creation of the golden chest shield of the Green Dragon Ranger during the Zyuranger era. At the time, it was prophesized that someone who wore that shield would destroy the world.

 

The images shifted, and Tommy saw the history of Earth’s Rangers sketched across a temple wall, and that history ended at what looked like a grand, final battle against the Mogralord.

 

“They knew since the beginning!” the Hell Child shrieked. “They knew! But they were missing a piece! An important piece. They were missing knowledge about him! Him! Him! Fate is no longer in control!”

 

Tommy tried to break his hands free, but he could not. “What the hell are you talking about? Let me go! Now!”

 

Back in reality, Tommy suddenly crashed back against the deck. His vision slowly blurred into focus. He was in the slave transport. All the slaves were staring silently at Tommy and the Hell Child. They had hard their screams.

 

Tommy slowly pulled himself to his feet. “Doesn’t your culture know it’s rude to stare?”

 

***

 

Mu’tan’ee’s ship reverted back to real space within the Lost Galaxy.

 

The cruiser flew downward through a planet’s outer, liquid shell and entered that world’s atmosphere. The planet’s surface appeared to be nothing more than an endless ocean of mud and sludge that bubbled and boiled.

 

A portal on the surface irised open, and the ship descended into the portal and beneath the planet’s surface.

 

Rock-like material lined the walls, but the jagged pieces of stone shifted shape at random intervals. It was not uncommon for a jagged piece of rock to spring out and puncture through a slave worker.

 

The ship set down in the middle of a circular landing pad. Caverns webbed out from the landing pad and extended deep into the surface.

 

The pirate ship’s belly opened, and a boarding ramp extended down to the platform. Slavers armed with lightning-tipped rods led a group of slaves down the ramp. Their wrists were bound together by wire-like shackles.

 

Tommy walked among the slaves, and the Hell Child was a few steps behind him. Her gaze seemed fixated on the cavern’s ceiling, as if she were looking through it.

 

She stopped when her feet touched the platform. She looked up high and extended her head as far back as possible. Her eyes opened wide and her jaw slowly opened, lips parted, as if to speak. A small breath of air escaped, but she made no sound. She only stared.

 

One of the Slavers grumbled in frustration. “Move, girl, or I’ll chew off your legs and carry you myself.”

 

The Slaver poked the end of his staff against her, but she would not budge. He tried again, but the Hell Child would not move. And her gaze was still fixed on the ceiling.

 

The Slaver reached back for a hard swing aimed at her head. But the girl snapped her head around. Eyes beneath a narrowed brow grew black and glossy. Her hair stood on end as she shrieked, a wretched sound that rocked the cavers.

 

Flames ignited on the Slavers and burnt through their armor, blazing into their bodies and souls. The Slavers combusted with poofs of flame and smoke.

 

Another Slaver stepped off the ship and onto the boarding ramp while aiming an energy rifle. He triggered a stun blast that knocked the Hell Child off her feet and crashed her against the ground.

 

More Slavers filed onto the platform and lifted the Hell Child’s unconscious form by the arms.

 

Mu’tan’ee walked down from his ship and onto the landing platform while staring at the Hell Child. He wrinkled his orange brow with confusion while looking at her. “Did all that power come from this little girl?.”

 

He stepped closer to her and lifted her face by the chin. Her eyes snapped open and she bit his finger hard.

 

Mu’tan’ee shrieked and slapped the back of his hand across her face.

 

The Slavers holding her suddenly combusted with white flame and smoke.

 

A Slaver stepped behind her and slammed the end of his weapon against the back of her neck. This knocked her unconscious onto the ground again.

 

“Don’t touch her, for Horath’s sake,” Mu’tan’ee said. “Bring a crawler, and have her moved to our…special holding area.”

 

The villain stepped closer to the fallen Hell Child, but still kept his distance. “Tell the crawler men to handle her with care. A girl with powers like she will make a mighty prize.”

 

***

 

Liquid space surrounded the Astro Megaship like an ocean of neon-luminescent water.

 

Emergency lights cast a red glow across the damaged bridge. Power conduits had exploded behind computer consoles, ripping most of the bridge to shreds. Wire and cable hung from the ceiling. And smoke rose from several aft stations.

 

Zhane slowly reached up and grabbed onto a console to pull himself up. He struggled against his aching muscles to finally stand. His uniform was torn and tattered, and his body bumped and bruised. Blood dripped down his forehead. 

 

“DECA.” Zhane coughed.

 

The ship’s intercom buzzed with background static as the computer spoke. “Fluidic space is contaminating the Megaship’s ventilation systems…”

 

“What about-” Zhane coughed again, his throat parched and dry. “Filters? And can you seal the containment leaks?”

 

“Negative.”

 

“But what about the filters?” Zhane asked.

 

“Filters have no effect against fluidic space particles,” DECA said.

 

“Can we get out of this fluidic space?” Zhane asked.

 

“Negative,” DECA said. “Propulsion modifications are offline. Bridge systems are non-functional.”

 

Saoirse was already crawling across the deck plating towards a side console. She ripped a panel out from underneath a console and started pulling out wires.

 

Zhane looked towards her and knitted his brow with confusion. “What are you doing?”

 

“Trying to hot wire the bridge so we can get the hell out of here,” she answered.

 

“Fair enough,” Zhane said.   

 

In fluidic space, a pair of large, eel-like creatures slithered towards the Megaship. Each eel’s four-pronged jaw was big enough to swallow the Megaship whole.

 

The eels snapped their tails and raced towards the ship. One of the creatures gained considerable distance and bit down hard against the Megaship. The creature snapped back its head to turn the Megaship in its jaws before swallowing it. 

 

***

 

Aquitar

 

The NinjaMegazord swooped into Aquitar’s atmosphere and plunged into what remained of its oceans. The Megazord dove towards the world’s capital city, called Gungan.

 

The city was an intricate layering of walkways, bridges, and buildings, all surrounded by a massive energy dome that separated the city from the Nebian Sea just outside.

 

Most of the city was in shambles and flooded.

 

The NinjaMegazord set down in the center of the city, and the Ninja Rangers leapt onto a nearby walkway. Raging floodwaters roared beneath them, and several corpses of Aquitions floated by. 

 

Ninjared rolled his hands into fists and shook his head with disbelief. “Look at this place…”

 

“Rangers!” a voice shouted from the far end of the walkway. The five Rangers looked to see Cestro and the other four Aquition rangers hurrying forward.

 

The Aquitions readied their morphers. Each brace was engraved with the symbol of a mythological water-dwelling beast.

 

“Aqua Beast, rebirth!” they shouted while slapping their brace’s activation panels.

 

“Sea-Dragon Ranger!” the red-armored Ranger shouted.

 

“Griffandor Ranger!” the black-armored Ranger shouted.

 

“Pegasaur Ranger!” the blue-armored Ranger shouted.

 

“Mermaid Ranger!” the white-armored Ranger shouted.

 

“Water-Bird Ranger!” the pink-armored Ranger shouted.

 

The Ninja Rangers took steps back defensively, not quite sure about what they were seeing.

 

Ninjayellow took another step back. “Something smells fishy…”

 

The five Aquition Ranger charged forward to attack.

 

Ninjared unsheathed his blade and stepped back into a defensive stance. “Swords, guys. Something’s happened to them.”

 

***

 

Na’mious stepped onto the roof of the tallest city building and looked down at the Ninja Rangers, who were on the walkway far below. The Aquition Rangers were dancing back and forth amongst the Ninja Rangers with blades slashing bursts of spark.

 

Ninjared parried a blow from Sea-Dragon Ranger and smashed a spin kick across the alien’s head. The Red Ranger stepped forward and swung his sword upward, blade sparking on impact.

 

The black-armored Griffandor Ranger smashed the back of his fist across Ninjablack’s helmet. But Ninjablack spun with the blow and lunged low while smashing a punch against the alien’s chest.

 

The blue Pegasaur Ranger and Ninjablue circled around each other while their swords twirled and clashed. Ninjablue parried a blow, twisted his wrist, and slashed the alien across his chest armor.

 

Ninjawhite leapt upward and hovered in the air. “Ninpo shard attack!” a cloud of energy diamonds appeared in front of her for a brief moment before shooting forward.

 

The diamond storm exploded against the pink Water-Bird Ranger with massive bursts of spark that whipped her body backward.

 

Ninjayellow armed his Shinobi Knuckle and smashed a punch against the white Mermaid Ranger’s faceplate.

 

Na’mious leapt off the rooftop and angled his decent towards the battle below. The villain extended his palm and hurled a bolt of purple fire that exploded against the Ninja and Aquition Rangers. The blast knocked them off their feet.

 

Ninjayellow and Ninjawhite toppled off of the bridge and fell into the floodwaters below, which swept them away in a powerful current.

 

“Trini! Jonathan!” Ninjared called as he rose to his feet and dashed to the side of the bridge. But he had already lost sight of his two teammates and friends.

 

Another bolt of purple fire exploded against Ninjared’s back. The Red Ranger toppled to the side and crashed against the bridge.

 

Na’mious landed on the bridge railing and crossed his arms while looking down at the Rangers. “Your reputation is well deserved, Rangers.”

 

Ninjablue quickly rolled into a crouched position and fired his Shogun Blaster at the villain. But Na’mious swatted the golden energy lances away with ease and hurled a bolt of purple fire, which exploded against the Blue Ranger’s hand, knocking the weapon away.

 

Ninjared used his sword to steady himself and rise back to his feet. “What have you done to the Aquitions?”

 

A sly grin crossed the demon’s face. “Isn’t it obvious, Ranger? They’re dead. All of them. Aquitar belongs to the forces of Hell. The Cross is now complete.”

 

Countless Shades leapt from the flood waters, landed on the bridge, and pounced at the three Rangers. Their claws slashed across the Rangers’ armor with massive bursts of spark, taking the Ninja Rangers off guard. 

 

***

 

Earth

 

Teddy and Hikaru roamed the dark corridors of the INET space station in Earth’s orbit. The grated deck plating squeaked with their every step, and that sound echoed throughout the halls.

 

“I’m telling you, there’s something going on that Billy isn’t telling us about,” Teddy said. “I don’t trust him.”

 

Hikaru arced an eyebrow. “Billy?”

 

“Dr. Cranston,” Teddy clarified. “I just know he has a secret about this place. A dangerous one.”

 

Teddy had inherited his distrust from his older brother Tommy, who had grown distant from Billy over the years.

 

Hikaru and Teddy turned a corner and reached a dead end. A circular door was on the wall in front of them. Teddy reached up and pressed the door’s control key, but it was locked.

 

Teddy looked to Hikaru. “I don’t suppose they teach you how to pick locks in the Ginga Forest?”

 

Hikaru extended his finger towards the door and fired a brief flash of lightning that exploded against the lock. The door portal irised open.

 

Hikaru mockingly stepped back and extended his arm towards the room. “After you, my good friend.”

 

“Show off,” Teddy muttered as he stepped into a dark room.

 

About a dozen glass columns lined the laboratory’s walls on each side. Most of the tubes were empty, but several were filled with monstrous creatures that floated in liquid. Several lab tables were scattered across the floor.

 

Hikaru walked towards a tube holding a monster and ran his hand along the glass. The tube was labeled as Trial B. “What is this place? And Trial B…what‘s that stand for?”

 

The creature inside the tube was humanoid in shape. Its bald head was pale white. The creature had a single blood-red eye in the center of its face. Two thin, fang-like lines of crimson streaked down his face where his mouth would have been. Similar lines curved away from his eyes and across the back of his head.   

 

His body was mostly black, and veins sprouted up beneath his skin.

 

White patches of armor covered his chest, and lines of black veins covered that armor.

 

Small, white patches dotted his legs, and straps of white covered his ankles and forearms. Two black blades extended about an inch off his back, and the blades followed down the creature’s arms.

 

Teddy shook his head as he looked over more of the glass capsules. “I have no idea…” Teddy said. “These things almost look like…zombie cyborgs, or something.”

 

Hikaru nodded in agreement, his hand still on Trial B’s glass. He had spent most of his life living in a mystical forest. Things such as zombie cyborgs were still beyond his understanding.

 

“This world you live in just keeps getting stranger and stranger,” Hikaru said.

 

Trial B suddenly snapped its head up within the tube, and Hikaru gasped while taking a step back. 

 

The creature shattered through its glass tube and landed in a crouched fighting position. The monster hissed and slowly rose to full height.

 

Teddy and Hikaru spun back and snapped into defensive stances on instinct.

 

The creature slowly turned to face the rangers and hiss a growl.

 

“Aw, man…” Teddy shook his head and armed his morphing braces.

 

“We really should have expected that.” Hikaru armed his brace.

 

“Ultra Transform!” Teddy connected his braces and morphed into Zeored.

 

“Galaxy Transform!” Hikaru slapped his brace’s activation panel and morphed into Galaxy Yellow.

 

The Red Ranger placed his hand in front of his visor. “Star Riser!” the sword appeared with a flash of red energy.

 

Galaxy Yellow emitted a strand of yellow lightning that danced between his palms.

 

“Ha!” Galaxy Yellow hurled a lightning bolt that exploded around the monster with massive bursts of spark.

 

But the villain dashed through the sparks and attacked.

 

Trial B swung its clawed fingers at Zeored. The Red Ranger lifted his sword and blocked the blow, but the impact sent him stumbling off his feet and crashing against the ground.

 

“Seijuukin!” Galaxy Yellow unsheathed his sword and swung an upward slash that cut across Trial B with a burst of spark. But the villain barely seemed to feel the strike.

 

Trial B grabbed Galaxy Yellow by the throat, and the villain bashed its forehead repeatedly against the Yellow Ranger’s faceplate. Trial B hurled Galaxy Yellow backward, and the Ranger shattered through a nearby tube before crashing against a wall.

 

Zeored held his blade forward and charged at Trial B to attack. But another creature shattered through its tube behind the Red Ranger. Zeored turned to see a creature labeled as Trial E rise to its feet.

 

Trial E was covered in plates of gray armor from head to toe. The creature had a cannon/club attached to its left arm. A jade gemstone was at the center of its chest, and jade tint ran along the sides of its body armor.

 

Short blades extended from the villain’s shoulders. Its eye slits were narrow, and its head was almost wolf-like.

 

Trial E aimed its cannon at Zeored and fired hyper-charged bullets that exploded against the Ranger’s armor and knocked him off his feet.

 

The Red Ranger rolled into a crouched fighting stance, and Trial B charged towards him from behind.

 

Zeored energized his blade with crimson power and swung a backhand slash that exploded against Trial B and forced the creature back a few steps.

 

Trial E moved in while Zeored was distracted and bashed its cannon across the Ranger’s helmet.

 

Meanwhile Galaxy Yellow rose to his feet and pounced towards Trial B like a wolf. Trial B, enraged at its wound suffered from Zeored, started swinging its claws erratically at the Yellow Ranger. 

 

“Great.” Galaxy Yellow said sarcastically to Zeored as he dodged beneath a swing. “Really, thank you.” He ducked beneath another blow. “You made him angry.”

 

“Me?” Zeored parried Trial E’s blow. “Listen, Lightning Boy, you’re the one that started zapping these freaks.”

 

Trial E smashed its knee against Zeored’s chest and shot the Ranger’s faceplate at point-blank range with a burst of spark, which whipped him off his feet and crashed him through an empty tube.

 

***

 

Towards the center if the station, Max and Junior entered the vast computer core complex.

 

The rangers stood on a walkway that wrapped around a dome-shaped chamber. The four-story-high computer core was in the center of the dome. Max and Junior did not notice any bridges or walkways that could get them to the core.

 

“Wonderful,” Junior said sarcastically, his voice echoing in the dimly-lit complex. “How are we supposed to get to that thing?”

 

“Simple,” Max said. “We can morph and use our grappling lines.”

 

“…oh,” Junior said. “Right.”

 

The teens armed their braces. “Lightspeed, Rescue!” Max and Junior’s armor wrapped around their bodies, transforming them into Rescue Red and Rescue Blue respectively.

 

Their helmet sensors alerted them to danger elsewhere within the station.

 

“What the…” Max’s visor showed him a red “blip” within the station, which symbolized an enemy threat. “Something must have followed us to the station.”

 

The Red Ranger tried to open a comm line to the others, but all he heard was static.

 

Rescue Blue’s communicator had the same results. “This isn’t good. You think the others are in trouble?”

 

“I don’t know,” Rescue Red said. “We should go find out.”

 

“Not a good idea,” Rescue Blue said. “I’ll go check it out. You stay here and do what you have to do. If you don’t hear back from me in 30 minutes…come rescue me.”

 

***

 

Rescue Blue moved down a dark corridor that curbed around the edge of the station. Several small view ports showed an image of the Earth hanging below like a blue and white gem.

 

The Blue Ranger took a left and moved closer to the source of the disturbance. He soon reached a circular door that looked like its lock had exploded open. Rescue Blue spotted broken tubes within the lab, and several lifeless creatures strewn about the ground. Trial B and Trial E were nowhere in sight.

 

Sparks of electricity randomly shot out from damaged wiring.

 

“Okay…” Rescue Blue said cautiously before stepping into the room. “Maybe I should have brought Max with me after all…”

 

The Blue Ranger kept his guard up and slowly stepped into the lab. He opened his eyes wide with shock when he noticed Teddy and Hikaru spread across the ground.

 

Rescue Blue ran over to the two rangers and crouched down next to them. They were still alive, but their breathing was shallow and their bodies were badly beaten. 

 

“This is not good,” Rescue Blue said. “These two aren’t even supposed to be up here…”

 

The Blue Ranger did not notice a shadow spread across the wall behind him. Hell Rider Eiki leapt from the shadow and smashed a kick against Rescue Blue’s back, knocking him off his feet and sending him tumbling forward.

 

Eiki wrapped his arm around Rescue Blue’s neck from behind and lifted him off the ground. The villain dragged the Blue Ranger across the room and hurled him against the wall. Rescue Blue slammed against the wall and hit the ground hard.

 

The Blue Ranger rolled into a crouched fighting stance and unsheathed his Rescue Baton. “What, not even an introduction? And here I thought-”

 

Eiki kicked the weapon from Rescue Blue’s hand and slammed a heel kick across the Blue Ranger’s helmet. The blow knocked the Blue Ranger aside.

 

Hell Rider Eiki grabbed Rescue Blue by the throat, lifted him from the ground, and slammed him back against the deck. 

 

***

 

Ashley laid beneath a control panel in the small sensor control room. She sighed with frustration. “I can’t do a thing until Max boots up the computer core. What’s taking so long?”

 

Justin leaned against a wall nearby. He fiddled with his wrist communicator. “I’m still getting static…these things worked fine when we first got here…”

 

Hyuuga stood at the entrance to the sensor room. His gaze was fixed on the corridor that led away from the sensor array controls. He knitted his brow with concern. “Something is wrong. There’s something else on this station…we are not alone.”

 

Ashley sat up from beneath the main control panel. “How can you tell?”

 

“My Aasu,” Hyuuga explained, referring to the power of Earth each Galaxy Ranger had. 

 

Justin looked to Ashley. “That’s a good enough explanation for me.”

 

Ashley nodded in agreement. “We have to get in touch with the others. Justin, take some signal lamplighters we bought and place them down this corridor. If that doesn’t work, one of us will have to go down to the core.”

 

“Why don’t I just do that now?” Justin asked.

 

“Because,” Ashley said. “We have to find out what the situation is down there first.”

 

“Gotcha,” Justin said. “You know, you’re really starting to sound a lot like that fiancé of yours.”

 

Ashley rolled her eyes and tossed him a pack of amplifiers.

 

***

 

Justin morphed into his Zeoblue armor and moved down the corridor. He placed his third amplifier along a bulk head and activated it.

 

The Blue Ranger lifted his wrist communicator to his faceplate. “Can you hear me now?”

 

He heard only static.

 

“Boy,” Zeoblue said sarcastically. “These signal amplifiers are a big help.”

 

A hyper bullet suddenly exploded against the amplifier with a burst of spark.

 

“What-”

 

A volley of hyper bullets exploded against the Ranger’s armor with bursts of spark that knocked him off his feet. The Blue Ranger rolled back to his feet and activated his arm blades with flashes of blue energy. He looked to see Trial E walk around a bend in the corridor and stalk forward.

 

“Hello, fella,” Zeoblue said.

 

Trial E aimed his arm cannon and fired another round of bullets. The Blue Ranger had no room to dodge in the narrow corridor, and the bullets exploded against his armor with bursts of spark.

 

The blasts forced Zeoblue to his knees, smoke still rising from his armor. “The silent type, huh?”

 

The Blue Ranger pounced forward. “Zeo power spin!”

 

Zeoblue leapt off the deck and started to spin backward while forming a sphere of cyan energy. The Ranger shot towards Trial E with a burst of blue power. But the villain used the back of its fist to swat the Ranger out of the air.

 

Zeoblue smashed against a bulk head and crashed against the deck.

 

***

 

Back on Earth, flames ravaged the central village of the Ginga Forest. Ryouma and his teammates charged through the forest on their horses.

 

Gouki could not keep the tears from his eyes. Bodies littered the ground, and the stench of death clouded the air. 

 

The Lightspeed and Gao teams ran to the scene not far behind the horses. Hey arrived in the village just in time to see the Soul Hunters step from behind a wall of flames. The Galaxy team dismounted.

 

“Welcome, Rangers,” Hunter Knight said. “Your home has become a graveyard.”

 

Ryouma tightened his hands into fists so hard, that his nails drew blood from his palm. “Galaxy Transform!” The rangers slapped their braces activation panels. “Ha!”

 

“Gao Access! Ha!”

 

“Lightspeed, Rescue!”

 

Energy flashed around the Rangers as they morphed into their suits of armor with a massive display of power and light.

 

“Seijuukin!” Galaxy Red unsheathed his sword and leaned down like a lion while charging towards Hunter Knight. The other Rangers followed his charge from behind.

 

The Soul Hunters extended their hands and fired jagged bursts of black energy from their palms. The Rangers dove and rolled for cover as the blasts exploded around them with massive bursts of spark and flame. 

 

Galaxy Red and Gao Red rolled into crouched fighting stances and sprang through the air towards Hunter Knight.

 

“Mane of Flame!”

 

Galaxy Red shouted from midair. His blade surged with crimson power and chopped down at the villain. But Hunter Knight parried the blow and slashed Galaxy Red across the chest with a blow that sparked against his armor and whipped his body backward.

 

“Lion Fang!” Gao Red armed his Lion Fang and swung a swung a punch at the villain’s chest. Hunter Night sidestepped past Gao Red and smashed his sword’s hilt across the Ranger’s helmet.

 

Gao Red crashed back-first against the ground, and Hunter Knight placed a foot on the Ranger’s chest.

 

Hunter Knight held his sword at the Ranger’s neck. “Your human emotions are your weakness.

 

“Your cockiness is yours,” Gao Red said. “Gaoling Blaster!”

 

The Lion Fang transformed into a small rifle that opened fire with rapid darts of green energy, which exploded against Hunter Knight and knocked him back a few steps. Gao Red rolled back to his feet, and Galaxy Red regrouped next to the Red Gao Ranger.

 

Galaxy Red crossed his hands and thrust his palms forward. “Ha!”

 

A stream of flame shot from his palm, but Hunter Knight twirled his cape to block the fire.

 

While the villain was distracted, Gao Silver charged towards Hunter Knight from the side. The Silver Ranger triggered his Lunar Cue rifle and fired lances of pale-blue energy that exploded against the enemy’s armor.

 

Meanwhile, Galaxy Blue, Gao Blue, and Gao Black circled around Hunter Sting. The villain lashed out with his whip, which thrashed across the three Rangers’ chests with bursts of spark.

 

Amidst a thick grove of trees nearby, Hunter Claw faced off with Rescue Green and Galaxy Green.

 

Galaxy Green leapt through the air and twisted a screw kick at the villain. Hunter Claw blocked the blow, but the impact knocked him back a few steps, which is when Rescue Green chose to strike.

 

The Green Lightspeed Ranger armed his V-Lancer and slashed past the villain with a burst of spark. Rescue Green turned back to face the villain and swung again. But Hunter Claw managed to catch the weapon in his claw.

 

Hunter Claw twisted the V-Lancer downward and slammed a punch against the Green Lightspeed ranger’s armor, which burst with spark on impact, whipping the Ranger’s body backward.

 

Meanwhile, Gao White and Galaxy Pink pounced through the air like cats at Hunter Viper. Rescue Pink moved in low towards the villain with her Rescue Blaster in hand.

 

Rescue Pink opened fire with lances of red energy that exploded against Viper.

 

Galaxy Pink and Gao White landed in front of the villain while slashing their claws against his armor with bursts of spark that knocked Hunter Viper backward.  

 

Nearby, Rescue Yellow faced off with Hunter Taiga.

 

Taiga chopped his axe down, but Rescue Yellow smashed his V-Lancer staff against the bladed weapon, knocked the axe aside, and smashed the edge of his Lancer across the villain’s head.

 

Taiga turned with the blow and whipped his axe around, striking Rescue Yellow across the chest with a burst of spark that snapped the Ranger off his feet. The Yellow Ranger smashed against the ground and rolled backward.

 

Catching his breath, Rescue Yellow rolled back to his feet and stepped back into a fighting stance. The Yellow Ranger rolled his hands into tight fists and narrowed his eyes beneath his faceplate.

 

He tried to keep his sore fatigue from bothering him, but the feeling threatened to overwhelm his entire body. He had been fighting practically non-stop for days, ever since Angel Grove was turned into the Demon City.

 

Taiga tilted his head with curiosity. “Is that all the strength you possess? I expected better. You and your Ranger brethren are feared in the deepest circles of Hell.”

 

“That’s good to know.” Rescue Yellow kicked his rifle off the ground, grabbed it, and aimed at the villain while triggering a beam of yellow energy.

 

But Taiga used the broadside of his axe to deflect the blast back at Rescue Yellow. The blast exploded against the Yellow Ranger with a burst of spark and knocked him off his feet.

 

“Ha!” Gao Yellow leapt through the air as if from nowhere and angled his decent towards Taiga. The Yellow Gao Ranger chopped his blade across the villain’s armor while landing.

 

Gao Yellow stepped towards the villain and speared his sword at his opponent’s chest, but Taiga grabbed the blade with one hand and bashed his axe across the Ranger’s chest, the weapon’s edge sparking on impact and whipping the Yellow Gao Ranger off his feet.

 

***

 

Dex awoke in a bio bed within the Bay Area. His wounds were patched up, but he still felt light-headed and weak.

 

Fairweather stood over him with a data pad in hand. “How are you feeling.”

 

“Weak…and guilty.”

 

She placed a hand on his shoulder. “What happened wasn’t your fault.”

 

Dex did not feel like arguing, so he changed the subject. “What has happened since I’ve been contained here?”

 

Fairweather’s face became grim. “The Mogralord is attacking the Ginga Forest. The Lightspeed, Gao, and Galaxy Rangers are fighting there now. Everyone else is either fighting off another attack or trying to stop those two insect monsters that…Mar’ex created.”

 

Dex knitted his brow. “They are still on the loose?”

 

Fairweather nodded. “They’ve attacked several civilians in Leawood.”

 

Dex fought back his pain and sat up while swinging his feet off the bed.

 

“No,” Fairweather said. “You’re in no condition to fight. That wound could split right back open if you push yourself.”

 

“I have no choice. I am responsible for bringing these creatures to life,” Dex said to Fairweather. “It is my duty to stop them.”

 

Someone spoke up from the doorway. “He won’t have to do it alone…” Dex looked to see Shou, Kouishiro, and Hikaru standing near the doorway. Kouishiro looked to the prince. “We’re coming with you.”

 

***

 

Back on the station, Rescue Red stood on a narrow walkway that wrapped around the computer core. He removed a side panel from the core and started switching control chips in their slots.

 

“Okay…” he said quietly to himself. He traced his fingers along several chips. “Just a few more of these should do it…but which ones…”

 

Max slid two more ships from their slots, and placed them in two empty slots nearby. The computer core whined while powering up all the station’s main systems.

 

“I got it!”

 

***

 

“He got it,” Ashley said from under the sensor control console, which powered up as soon as Rescue Red restored the station‘s main systems. She crossed a few more wires to make the necessary modifications to the control terminal itself.  

 

***

 

A loud clang sounded from the side. Rescue Red turned to see Trial B hunched over in a fighting stance. The villain had jumped onto the walkway.

 

Trial B sprang at the Ranger and bashed a backhand strike across Rescue Red’s helmet. The blow whipped his body back and sent him toppling over the railing. The Red Ranger grabbed hold of the railing at the last second to keep from falling, and his feet dangled above empty air.

 

Rescue Red kept hold of the railing with his left hand and used his right arm to pull out his Rescue Blaster. The Ranger fired red energy lances that exploded against Trial B with bursts of spark, but the villain kept stalking forward.

 

Trial B grabbed Rescue Red’s arm, pulled him up, and held him high while bashing a series of punches against the Ranger’s side. Each punch sent tendrils of pain through the Red Ranger’s body.

 

The monster slammed Rescue Red against the computer core, which sparked on impact and set off a power surge that fried several key systems.

 

The computer-core chamber, and entire station, went pitch black.

 

***

 

Ashley cursed beneath her breath when the power went out. She sat up from underneath the sensor control panel while taking caution not to hit her head in the pitch-black room.

 

“Emergency lights aren’t even coming on…” she said. “What‘s going on down in the core…”

 

Hyuuga spoke from somewhere in the darkness. “We haven’t heard back from Justin. I should go look for him…as well as Max and Junior.”

 

“No way,” Ashley said. “We’re not splitting up any more than we already have.”

 

Ashley fumbled across the deck for her equipment pack. She found the pack and pulled out a small lamp that she turned on. Its dim light barley illuminated the sensor room.

 

She turned her attention back to the control console.

 

The computer console needed power so she could make the necessary modifications to the sensor array. But with computer systems down across the station, she had no way of accessing the main power generator to turn it back on.

 

Ashley’s gaze drifted down to her Zeonizers. A sly grin spread across her face.

 

“Hyuuga,” she explained while connecting loose wiring to her Zeo braces. “I’m hooking this terminal up to my Zeo morphers. The morphers’ energy should give me enough power to make the necessary changes to the sensor array.”

 

Hyuuga stood in the doorway, his gaze fixed on the dark corridor leading away from the sensor room. He unsheathed his sword. “I would hurry,” he said. “We have a visitor…”

 

Hell Rider Hibiki suddenly pounced from the shadows and slammed his shoulders against Hyuuga, tackling the ranger off his feet and crashing his back against the wall.

 

Hyuuga swung upward, his blade sparking against Hibiki and knocking the Hell Rider back into the corridor.

 

Hyuuga held his blade up high. “Knight Rebirth!” Strands of green energy lashed out from the sword’s hilt and circled around him, morphing him into the black armor of KuroKishi.

 

Hibiki armed his twin clubs and charged at KuroKishi with a flurry of swings. KuroKishi parried each blow, but with extreme difficulty. The Ranger was powerful, but his armor slowed down his movement. 

 

KuroKishi parried a blow and stepped closer to Hibiki while smashing a backfist across the villain’s helmet. The Black Knight pressed forward and swung his blade in a butterfly pattern that sparked across the Rider’s chest.

 

A hole opened on Hibiki’s faceplate where a mouth might be. The villain spat a stream of purple fire that exploded against KuroKishi and tore across the Ranger’s armor while knocking him off his feet.

 

KuroKishi crashed against the ground, and purple flames continued to eat away at his armor and cape.

 

***

 

Trial E triggered rapid-fire bullets that exploded around Zeoblue with bursts of spark.

 

The Blue Ranger tried to move for cover but had nowhere to go within the narrow corridor. The darkness didn’t help either. Only the stars outside the viewport provided illumination.

 

Blasts exploded against his armor, and one bullet pierced through his armor and shot into his left shoulder. Zeoblue dropped to his knee and groaned in pain while clutching his injured shoulder.

 

The pain made his entire left arm go limp, and he dropped one of his blades.

 

Trial E marched towards the fallen Ranger.

 

Zeoblue sprang to his feet and used his right arm to wield his remaining arm blade. The Blue Ranger slashed upward across the monster’s chest with a burst of spark and chopped the blade against the villain’s shoulder.

 

Trial E smashed its weapon barrel across the Blue Ranger’s helmet and punched Zeoblue backward.

 

The Blue Ranger crashed against the ground and tumbled over the deck.

 

Zeoblue rolled back to his feet, and despite the pain, assembled his Zeo Rifle and held the weapon with his injured left arm.

 

Zeoblue jammed his right arm blade into a bulkhead and lifted his Zeo Rifle while triggering lances of red energy. The energy blasts shattered through the viewport, creating a massive decompression that sucked Trial E out into space.

 

“Not exactly fair…” Zeoblue said. “But it will do.”

 

***

 

Rescue Blue was not a martial artist. He and the other Lightspeed Rangers had minimal fighting training. Hand-to-hand combat had never been their specialty. So battling Eiki was quite a challenge for the Blue Ranger.

 

The lab was pitch black, so Rescue Blue used his visor’s night-vision to combat the Hell Rider.

 

The villain smashed a kick upside Rescue Blue’s head and followed with a spin kick across the helmet. The blow knocked Rescue Blue off his feet and sent him crashing against the wall.

 

The Blue Ranger slowly climbed back to his feet. “I don’t suppose we could settle this with a manly game of thumb wrestling?”

 

Eiki energized his staff with blue fire and emitted an energy wave that Rescue Blue barely managed to duck and dive under. “Guess not…”

 

The Blue Ranger lifted his Rescue Baton from the ground. He turned just in time to block the Hell-Rider’s staff. Rescue Blue pushed forward against the villain and slammed a roundkick against the Hell Rider’s side. 

 

Eiki smashed the back of his fist across the Blue Ranger’s helmet. The blow knocked Rescue Blue to the ground.

 

The Blue Ranger rolled backward to gain distance before rising to his feet. “That wasn’t very nice. I thought you wanted to be pals. Chums. Amigos-”

 

Eiki speared his staff at Rescue Blue, who used his saber to parry the blow before slashing the demon across the chest.

 

The Hell Rider took a step back and spun while thrashing his staff across Rescue Blue, who’s armor sparked on impact. The Hell Rider moved forward and twirled his staff, which cut repeatedly against the Blue Ranger’s armor with bursts of spark.

 

Rescue Blue dove aside to gain distance away from the villain. The Blue Ranger rolled into a crouched fighting stance. “V-Lancer, boomerang mode.”

 

The Ranger armed a V-shaped boomerang, charged it with morphin energy, and hurled the weapon at the villain. The boomerang exploded hard against Eiki, but the villain remained standing.

 

Rescue Blue switched his V-Lance to rifle mode and fired a beam of blue energy that exploded against Eiki with bursts of spark, but the villain simply walked through the explosions.

 

"Lancer Mode!" Rescue Blue switched his weapon to Lancer Mode and powered it up with more morphin energy. He felt his legs turn to mush as his weapon was charged. I can't keep this up much longer...better make this shot count.

 

Rescue Blue swung his weapon through a V-shaped streak of energy that exploded against Eiki and knocked the villain backward.

 

Eiki charged his staff with blue fire and hurled the weapon at Rescue Blue like a helicopter propeller. The staff slashed across the Blue Ranger’s armor with a massive burst of spark that sent him flying off his feet and cracked his visor.

 

Rescue Blue’s night-vision was knocked offline by the blow.

 

The Ranger saw nothing but black as Eiki bashed against him with a flurry of kicks and punches.

 

***

 

Ashley had a program set up. The sensor control console was finally configured to make the needed modifications to the sensor array. But without the main computer core up and running, her modifications were useless.

 

Just outside the sensor room, KuroKishi struggled to extinguish the flames eating at his armor and cape. He switched his weapon to rifle mode and fired bursts of jade-tinted energy that exploded against Hibiki with bursts of spark and knocked the Hell Rider backward.

 

Hibiki charged forward and slammed a sidekick against the Ranger’s chest. KuroKishi crashed against a bulkhead and slumped against the ground.

 

The villain stepped past the fallen Ranger and entered the sensor room. Hibiki turned his head and looked down to where Ashley crouched on the ground with her Zeonizers still hooked to the control console.

 

Ashley narrowed her eyes and stared defiantly at the Hell Rider. “Well…what are you waiting for?”

 

KuroKishi suddenly tackled against Hibiki from behind and slammed the villain against a wall. The Ranger swung his blade upward across the villain’s armor with a burst of spark and smashed a kick against the Hell Rider’s side.

 

***

 

Trial B slashed its claws across Rescue Red’s chest with a burst of spark. The villain pressed forward, each blow forcing the Red Ranger back a step.

 

The villain swung its claws at the Red Ranger’s head, but Rescue Red blocked the blow and slammed a punch against the monster’s chest. Rescue Red stepped forward and smashed a sidekick against the creature’s body. 

 

Trial B grabbed Rescue Red by the throat and bashed his head against the computer core. The villain tossed the Red Ranger over the railing.

 

Rescue Red plummeted downward but snapped off a grappling line that connected with the outer walkway wrapping around the chamber. The Red Ranger hooked the grappler to his belt and zipped upward to the outer railing.

 

Rescue Red slowly pulled himself onto the walkway and collapsed onto his back. His body was sore and fatigued. Dizziness clouded his vision, and he felt like he was going to pass out.

 

No…he thought to himself. Got to stay awake…they’re counting on me…

 

Trial B crouched down and sprang through the air while leaping from the computer core and onto the outer walkway.

 

Rescue Red reached up and grabbed the railing to steady himself and climb back to his feet. The Ranger armed his Rescue Baton and held the weapon tightly in hand.

 

The Red Ranger took a deep breath and charged at his opponent.

 

Rescue Red chopped his blade downward, but Trial B slapped the blade away and smashed a knifehand strike against the Ranger’s gut. The blow knocked the air from Rescue Red’s lungs and sent him stumbling backward. The Red Ranger tripped over his feet and crashed against the walkway.

 

The Red Ranger rolled onto his stomach and stopped moving.

 

Trial B stalked towards the fallen Ranger and stood over his body.

 

Rescue Red suddenly rolled onto his back and fired his Rescue Blaster at near point-blank range. Lances of red energy exploded against Trial B and knocked him back a few steps. 

 

The Red Ranger dashed past Trial B while slashing the villain across the chest. Rescue Red turned towards the villain’s back and chopped his lancer down in an ‘x’ pattern.

 

Trial B swung around and bashed the back of his fist across the Red Ranger’s helmet. The villain grabbed Rescue Red by the neck, lifted him off his feet, and slammed him against the walkway.

 

The monster stepped on Rescue Red’s chest and pressed down hard, nearly crushing the Ranger’s ribs. The Red Ranger reached for his fallen V-Lancer, but the weapon was just out of reach.

 

Suddenly, lances of red energy exploded against Trial B. The blasts sparked against the villain and sent him tumbling backward. The monster was taken off guard and fell over the walkway railing before plummeting towards the bottom of the computer core chamber.

 

Rescue Red sat up and looked to see Zeoblue walk towards him.

 

“Aren’t you supposed to be computing or something?” Zeoblue asked as he helped Rescue Red to his feet. 

 

The Red Ranger noticed that Zeoblue’s left arm was limp and blood had spattered on his armor. “What happened?”

 

“I ran into a monster that didn’t appreciate my sense of humor,” Zeoblue said.

 

***

 

KuroKishi smashed the handle of his weapon against Hibiki’s face and slashed the villain across the chest.

 

Hibiki leapt to the side, planted both feet against the wall, and pushed off while bashing a spin kick across the Ranger’s helmet.

 

The Hell Rider landed and smashed his clubs across the Black Knight with a flurry of blows. The clubs seemed to glow with inner red light as they drummed against the Ranger’s body.

 

***

 

Rescue Red and Zeoblue stood by the computer core. Rescue Red cursed beneath his breath while checking the damage. “This could take a while…I’m not even sure how to start bringing these systems back online.”

 

The Red Ranger moved to a small data monitor within an opened control panel on the core. Rescue Red flipped a few switches beneath the screen, and data started scrolling across the monitor.

 

“Wait a minute…” Rescue Red switched a few control chips and started winding various wires together.

 

“What is it?” Zeoblue asked.

 

“The core has a backup network in case the main processors are damaged,” Rescue Red said. “That should let me start to bring the station’s systems back online so Ashley can make the changes she needs to the sensor array.”

 

Trial B suddenly leapt from the bottom of the chamber and landed on the walkway.

 

Zeoblue pulled out his blaster and fired lances of red energy that exploded against the monster’s body. The Blue Ranger looked over his shoulder to Rescue Red. “Do what you have to do. I’ll keep our pal busy.”

 

*** 

 

Rescue Blue smashed against a wall, and his armor flashed before forcibly powering down.

 

Junior crashed to the ground.

 

Eiki reached down and lifted the ranger by the throat.

 

*** 

 

Rescue Red shook his head as he worked on the core. Data flashing across the small monitor did not make any sense.

 

The Red Ranger activated an image of the computer-core chamber. The monitor labeled the monster Zeoblue was fighting as “Trial B.”

 

Rescue Red quickly uploaded a file on Trial B. His eyes grew wide beneath his faceplate while he read. “It can’t be…has Dr. Cranston lost his mind?”

 

The Red Ranger accessed several other video feeds from the station. He saw that the other Rangers were in trouble.

 

Rescue Red pulled the Trial B file back up on the monitor. A lopsided grin crossed his face. He had an idea.

 

***

 

The station’s systems powered back up, and light flooded the corridors.

 

“About time,” Ashley said as she activated her program.

 

A chamber on top of the station slowly opened as the sensor array deployed like an umbrella and aimed down towards the Earth.

 

Meanwhile, Hibiki continued his assault on KuroKishi.

 

The Hell Rider smashed a kick upside the Black Knight’s head that knocked the Ranger off his feet.

 

KuroKishi slowly rolled into a crouched fighting stance.

 

Hibiki opened his mouth and fired a stream of purple fire that exploded against KuroKishi. The Ranger went flying backward and crashed against a wall as his armor shimmered and powered down with a flash of green light.

 

Hyuuga fell to the ground hard, and Hibiki charged towards the fallen Ranger. The villain twirled his clubs and swung the weapons down towards Hyuuga’s unprotected head.

 

Hyuuga stared defiantly as the club swung towards him. He braced himself for a death blow that never connected.

 

Trial B sprang out as if from nowhere and grabbed hold of the villain’s arm. Trial B swung Hibiki off his feet and crashed him against a wall. Three more cybernetic monsters flooded the hallway and bashed against Hibiki.

 

Ashley stepped into the corridor and knitted her brow with confusion at what she saw. Her communicator toned, and she answered. It was Rescue Red.

 

“Meet us at the shuttle. And hurry,” Rescue Red said.

 

“What’s going on?” Ashley asked.

 

“Long story short,” Rescue Red explained. “Billy had a small army of these cyborg zombie freaks on board the station. I used the computer core to take charge of them so we can get the Hell out of here.”

 

“Good thinking,” Ashley said.

 

She moved over to Hyuuga and helped him to his feet. “Let’s go…we’ll get to the top of the station and infuse the sensor array with your Aasu from the outside.”

 

***

 

Eiki tightened his grip, and Junior nearly lost consciousness.

 

But a group of Trial monsters suddenly pounced against Eiki and forced him to the ground.

 

Junior fell to his knees and coughed for air. His communicator sounded. It was Rescue Red. “You ready to get out of here?”

 

“Yeah,” Junior answered. He coughed again. “But I’m going to need some help. We have a couple extra passengers that are unconscious.”

 

“Teddy and Hikaru followed us onto the station.”

 

“Which Hikaru?” Rescue Red asked. “Black Sun or Galaxy Yellow?”

 

“Galaxy-” Junior shook his head. “It doesn’t matter, just get me some help.” 

 

***

 

The ranger regrouped at the entrance to the shuttle. Max and Ashley helped carry Teddy and Hikaru inside before closing the airlock.

 

The shuttle disconnected from the station and moved to its dorsal side, where the sensor dish was deployed. The rangers noticed Trial E crawling across the station towards the sensor array.

 

Ashley looked back to Max. “Tell me you took control of that Trial too…”

 

Max shrugged. “I didn’t even know he was out there.”

 

Ashley swung the shuttle into a sharp dive towards the station’s hull. She turned the shuttle through a sharp spin and opened fire with plasma cannons that spat darts of energy.

 

Energy blasts exploded against Trial E and knocked him from the station. Trial E went floating backward through space, and Ashley shot another volley of blasts at the monster for good measure.

 

“Damn,” Justin said. “That was effective.”

 

Ashley looked back to Hyuuga. “Hyuuga, your Aasu.”

 

Hyuuga left the cockpit and moved towards the shuttle’s airlock. He stood in the airlock and sealed it while unsheathing his sword.

 

Hyuuga held his blade up high. “Knight Rebirth!” Strands of green energy lashed out from the sword’s hilt and circled around him, morphing him into the black armor of KuroKishi.

 

KuroKishi stepped onto the top of the shuttle and aimed his palm at the sensor array. “Ha!”

 

A blast of fiery power shot from his palm and splashed against the sensor array. The Ranger’s Aasu saturated the array with power. Invisible beams of energy streaked towards Earth and pierced through the demonic interference around Angel Grove.

 

***

 

The two Hell Riders had regrouped.

 

Hibiki snapped the last zombie’s neck and let the creature drop to the deck. He looked to Eiki, and the two Riders nodded to each other. The Rangers were gone. They had no reason to stay on the station.

 

They teleported away with bursts of purple and blue flame.

 

***

 

The Lost Galaxy

 

Mu’tan’ee confined the Hell Child to a small chamber in the depths of the slave camp. The circular chamber had a dome-shaped cage of jagged rock that imprisoned the Hell Child.

 

Two Slaver guards stood at the tunnel leading out of the chamber. 

 

The Hell Child sat on the ground within the cage and etched demonic symbols in the dirt. She rocked back and forth and mumbled to herself while writing. Her eerie voice echoed in the darkness.

 

The symbols started to flash with dark energy.

 

Trickles of flame started dancing in the stale air.

 

***

 

Light-years away, the Megaship was stuck in the space eel’s throat. The creature tried to swallow the ship, but the vessel was too tightly lodged in the creature’s throat.

 

Digestive acids dripped onto the hull and started eating through the Megaship’s armor.

 

On the bridge, Saoirse tried to regain control of the ship’s systems. She hunched over a control panel she practically had to rip apart to try and rewire.

 

Pink clouds of fluidic space contaminated the bridge in the meantime. The other rangers except for Zhane were passed out on the deck. 

 

Zhane coughed as he walked over to Saoirse. “How’s it coming.”

 

She shook her head. “We’re not going to get out of this one…”

 

“Not exactly the reassurance I was hoping for,” Zhane said.

 

“The Megaship is being digested,” Saoirse said. “What do you want me to say. ‘Look on the bright side?’ ”

 

“A little optimism wouldn’t kill you,” Zhane said.

 

“No,” Saoirse said. “This fluidic space will. Or the hull breach after this eel is done swallowing.”

 

“We have to do something,” Zhane said.

 

“I’m trying,” Saoirse said. “If I can make the right modifications, I can send an electric charge through the hull. Hopefully, it will be enough to make this monster spit is free.”

 

“How can I help?” Zhane asked.

 

“See if you can-”

 

The ship lurched to the side, sending Zhane and Saoirse tumbling off their feet and across the deck. They heard the Megaship’s hull whine with protest. The ship lurched again, and the two rangers crashed against the side bridge stations.

 

“Warning,” DECA warned. “Hull stress reaching critical levels. Breach imminent.”

 

*** 

 

The Hell Child’s eyes rolled back in her head. She swayed back and forth and traced her fingers along her sketches. The demonic symbols pulsed with dark power that sent a static-feeling of energy across the entire chamber.

 

One of the Slaver guards twirled his staff open and activated its stun ends. The villain cracked his staff against the Hell Child’s stone cage. “Knock that off…”

 

The Hell Child sprang to her feet and reached through the stone bars to grab the Slaver by the throat. She pulled him close, her eyes pure white. Her hands burnt against the Slaver’s skin, and the guard screamed.

 

The second Slaver ran to his teammate’s aide. But flames suddenly combusted the second Slaver’s clothing and ate away at his flesh. The villain screamed as the fire intensified to a white blaze that tore through him and incinerated him into dust.

 

***

 

Tommy worked in a narrow stone passage along with a group of slaves. His clothes were dirty and torn, and patches of soot covered his skin. He used a small laser-like tool to dig at the flowing cave walls.

 

The Ev’vahn woman who had approached Tommy on the slave ship stepped next to him. “You could break us all free…why continue pretending you’re a helpless slave?”

 

Tommy sighed. “Even if I could break us out of here, even if I was a Ranger, like you say, where would we go once we were free?”

 

“Anywhere,” she said, sorrow in her eyes. “Anywhere is better than…this place.”

 

“What’s your name?” Tommy asked.

 

“Siarra,” she said.

 

“Siarra,” Tommy said, “I appreciate your faith in me, but I-”

 

“Quiet!” a Slaver barked from the shadows.

 

The villain swung his staff towards Siarra’s head. But Tommy stepped in the way and blocked the blow. The ranger caught onto the staff and held it tightly.

 

The Slaver narrowed his eyes. “That was very, very foolish.”

 

Three Slavers stepped from the shadows and smashed their staffs against Tommy while beating him to the ground. The ranger could have taken all the Slavers out in a second, but he did not want to give himself away until the Astro Megaship was in orbit to transport him and all the captives to safety.

 

***

 

The Hell Child tightened her grip on the Slaver’s neck. The villain’s blood trickled along her fingers and dropped to the floor.

 

The blood oozed across the ground and laced along the demonic symbols. The blood ignited with black flame. Flames spread across the ground like a blanket and ate through the rock, devouring stone and shaking the entire complex.

 

A creature slowly climbed from the fire. The villain’s black, slimy skin appeared as an intricate, tight-fitting suit of armor. Its skull-like head was covered with a black helmet. Its eyes burning with black fire, the villain sprouted wings and shrieked.

 

Dozens more of the creatures crawled from the flames. They were Drades, creatures from the Seventh Circle of Hell.

 

One of the demons snapped its wings and landed on the Slaver’s back. The Slaver howled with pain as he felt the black demon’s claws dig into skin and bone, sending needles of hot pain throughout the body.

 

The Drade opened its jaw wide and bit down around the Slaver’s head. The demon tore the head free and swallowed it whole.

 

***   

 

Crimson flame suddenly erupted along the tunnels of the salve walls.

 

Then without warning, the entire top half of the compound tore free, exposing the tunnels to the planet’s atmosphere and dim light. Harsh wind blew across the surface, creating a wave of muck and slime that flooded what remained of the tunnels.

 

The wind knocked the slaves off their feet.

 

The sky above slowly turned red with black clouds, and geysers of flame ignited within the atmosphere, forming cyclones of fire that shot into space after puncturing through the world’s membrane.  

 

Hundreds and thousands of Drades spat out from the cyclones and shrieked while flying through the air.

 

Tommy climbed to his feet amidst a shallow river of flowing muck and slime, about knee deep. He helped Siarra to her feet. The slave woman’s eyes were opened wide with horror and fixed on the Drades circling above.

 

Several dozen of the demons swooped down and started picking off the slaves one by one and taking them into the skies to devour them.

 

Tommy heard bone-chilling laughter come from behind him. He turned to see a woman whose tan skin was exposed, except for two black pieces of leather that went across her chest in a v-shaped pattern. She had waves of dark, curly hair that extended to her waist. She wore silver bands across her upper arms. And her eyes were solid black, like empty voids.

 

“What a surprise?” the demon woman named Xeria said. “I didn’t expect to see you here, ranger.”

 

“Xeria…” Tommy said. The right words escaped him. Tommy and the Power Rangers last encountered Xeria during their journey to Hell their senior year of high school. She was the last person Tommy expected to find in the Lost Galaxy.

 

The demon extended her hand and fired a pulse of black light that exploded through Siarra’s chest.

 

“No!” Tommy caught her body before it could fall. 

 

The slave woman’s eyes opened wide with horror in pain, and her gaze went distant. Her body went limp.

 

Xeria laughed. “I had forgotten how funny humanity was.”

 

Tommy narrowed his eyes at Xeria. “What are you doing here?”

 

“My clan’s territory is spilling into this Lost Galaxy,” Xeria said. “Your galaxy, and all of existence, are next.”

 

***

 

Cyclones of flame whipped off the slave world and lashed across space for light years, stretching through nearly a fourth of the Lost Galaxy.

 

A crimson nebula-like hue filled the blackness of space. The nebula started to twirl like a storm and crackle with purple-tinted lighting.

 

The nebula, formed from the depths of hell, stretched into fluidic space and devoured it. Fluidic particles vaporized on contact with the nebula, which formed an unstoppable hurricane of power.

 

A pair of space eels were caught in the storm and ripped to shreds, setting the Megaship free from the creature’s throat. But the vessel was swept up in a current of the Hell storm.

 

The storm snagged the ship and pulled it through space, towards a string of free-floating asteroids and chunks of rock that used to be planets.

 

The Megaship crashed onto a flat asteroid that stretched for miles. The rock seemed to be covered in black ice. The Astro Megaship skid across the ice before crashing to halt against the side of an inflated crater.

 

The bridge tore open and hurled the rangers outside. The rangers smashed against the asteroid’s surface and skid to a halt.

 

The rangers slowly rose to their feet.

 

The asteroid started to shake, and a throne of black ice appeared from the rock. A woman slowly took shape on the throne. She wore a dark gown that matched her mangled hair. Her eyes were solid blue with no pupils or white. Her skin as pale with specs of frost.

 

She leaned back in her throne and smiled at the rangers. “Quite a mess has been made in this small galaxy, it seems.”

 

Zhane narrowed his eyes. “You look familiar…who are you? And what is this place?”

 

“I look familiar?” Freelyn asked with surprise. “Perhaps one of your ranger friends told you about me. I am Lady Freelyn, ruler of the Circadyn Clan in the Third Circle of Hell.”

 

“What have you done here?” Zhane asked.

 

“Done? I have done nothing. This is the work of the Hell Child.”

 

Zhane arced an eyebrow. “Who?”

 

“I’m not sure where exactly she comes from or how she was created,” Freelyn said. “But Xeria and the Shadow Clan are using her as a key. A key to open all the Gates of Hell before the Mogralord does. That way the Shadow Clan will be in control once Hell spills over into every corner of existence.”

 

“You mean…we’re too late?” Zhane asked.

 

“No,” Freelyn said. “Hell has only covered a portion of this Lost Galaxy. The laws of physics are different here, as are the laws of magick. The Hell Child’s spell was incomplete as a result. And besides, she opened a Hell Gate as a knee-jerk reaction to protect herself.

 

“But if the Shadow Clan retrieves the Hell Child, they will be able to manipulate her into their control, and use her to open every Hell Gate in existence.”

 

“Why do you care?” Bran asked.

 

“I assure you, my reasons are mostly selfish,” Freelyn said. “The Gates of Hell will open, either by the work of the Mogralord, or by the Shadow Clan and the Hell Child. Whoever opens the Gates will have control over the new realm created as a result. Truth be told, I would rather be under the Mogralord’s control than that of the Shadow Clan.”

 

***

 

A flock of Drades swooped towards Tommy and shrieked at the tops of their lungs.

 

The ranger leapt onto the top of a rocky mound and armed his wrist morphers.

 

“Aura power!” He connected his braces and morphed into the red-armored Dragon Ranger. He armed his Twin Dragon Swords.

 

Three Drades dove towards Dragon Ranger’s chest. At the last second, Dragon Ranger flipped backward and kicked the center demon upside the head while twirling his blades and slicing off the other two demons’ heads.

 

Dragon Ranger landed in a crouched fighting stance as two more flying demons dove at him from opposite sides. The Ranger energized his blades with fiery power and spun, whirling his swords in intricate patterns that hacked the demons to pieces.

 

Xeria leapt onto the rock mound and sprang at Dragon Ranger to attack.

 

Dragon Ranger smashed a hook kick across her head and smashed the end of a sword against the back of her head. Xeria dropped onto the rock mound, and Dragon Ranger aimed his blade down at her throat.

 

“What have you done to this place?” Dragon Ranger asked.

 

Xeria smiled wickedly. “We’re just making ourselves at home. Is that a crime?”

 

The demon queen kicked the Red Ranger off of her and flipped back to her feet.

 

A group of Drades swooped downward. Xeria leapt onto one of their backs and flew towards the skies.

 

“Heaven Fire Star!” Dragon Ranger crossed his blades and thrust them forward. “Lightning Flames of Destruction!”

 

The swords fired a stream of fire that crackled with energy and tore across the skies. The Red Ranger swung his swords slowly back and forth as the flames incinerated dozens of Drades that swooped through the air.

 

The creatures screamed before their bodies exploded, vaporized into ash that blew away on the wind. But the Drade carrying Xeria flew to safety.

 

“Damn…” Dragon Ranger cursed beneath his breath.

 

Another swarm of Drades swooped down towards the Red Ranger. Dragon Ranger stepped back and twirled his blades into a fighting stance.

 

Darts of golden energy suddenly shot through the air and exploded against several of the winged demons, knocking them from the air.

 

Dragon Ranger looked back to see Astro Silver swooping downward on his Cyber Slider. The Silver Ranger leapt off his slider and somersaulted through the air before landing next to the Red Ranger.

 

“Zhane,” Dragon ranger said. “Are the others here?”

 

Astro Silver triggered another volley of blasts at an approaching swarm of Drades. “The ship’s in orbit. This Hell queen, an old friend of yours in fact, actually used her magick to repair the ship and send us here.”

 

Good,” Dragon Ranger said. He had no time to ask questions. “You guys find any survivors you can and get them onto the Megaship. I need to go find someone.”

 

“Who?” Astro Silver asked. He opened fire on another swarm of winged demons. 

 

“I don’t know her name,” Dragon Ranger said. “They call her the Hell Child.”

 

“The Hell Child?!” Astro Silver opened fire on another wave of demons. “Tommy, she’s responsible for all of this!”

 

Dragon Ranger was not surprised. “All the more reason to find her. Now go. I’ll meet up with you as soon as I can.”

 

Astro Silver hopped back onto his Cyber Slider and flew back into the sky.

 

The ground suddenly collapsed beneath Dragon Ranger’s feet, and he went plummeting down into the darkness. The Ranger somersaulted to slow his descent and landed in a shallow river of muck that flowed beneath the planet’s surface.

 

Bursts of orange-tinted energy suddenly shot towards the Ranger’s back. Dragon Ranger snapped around and used his swords to deflect the blasts.

 

Capt. Mu’tan’ee stood further down the tunnel. His wrist gauntlet was armed with a blaster that had fired at the Red Ranger.

 

The captain took a step back with fear. “What sort of creature are you?”

 

“Come here, and I’ll show you.”

 

Dragon Ranger leapt through the air and somersaulted over Mu’tan’ee before landing behind him. The Red Ranger smashed a sidekick against Mu’tan’ee, and the villain crashed into the shallow river of muck.

 

The Red Ranger grabbed Mu’tan’ee by the collar and lifted him off his feet. “The Hell Child? Where is she?”

 

Mu’tan’ee merely snarled at the Ranger.

 

“Here,” Dragon Ranger said. “Let me wipe that look of your face.”

 

Dragon Ranger pushed the captain’s face into the mucky river. Mu’tan’ee struggled to break free from the Ranger’s grasp, but could not. Dragon Ranger pulled Mu’tan’ee back up, and the villain gasped for air. 

 

The captain told Dragon Ranger how to find the Hell Child. And it was not going to be easy.

 

***

 

Dragon Ranger stood on a stone pillar that looked down upon a bottomless cavern. Spires of rock extended up from thick layers of fog that moved through the cavern like a river.

 

Chunks of rock shot back and forth through the caverns’ corridors at near-blinding speed.

 

The Ranger heard a deafening shriek from behind him. The shrieks sounded like swarms of bats. Dragon Ranger looked over his shoulder and saw a cloud of Drades fly towards him. The demons rushed forward like a thick, powerful geyser.

 

Dragon Ranger leapt from the pillar and dropped through the air. He angled his descent towards the lanes of moving rock that shot over the bottomless valley. The Ranger somersaulted to slow his descent and landed on a rock, which zapped through the valley at frightening speed.

 

Not far behind, the demons dove into the valley and flew to intercept the Ranger from behind.

 

Dragon Ranger turned and thrust his arms forward. “Nova Force!”

 

The Ranger fired spheres of red-hot power that shot through the air and exploded in cloud of incoming Drades. The blasts tore through the enemy creatures and incinerated many, but the swarm of creatures kept flying forward. For every dozen Drades a Nova blast destroyed, hundreds more filled that void.

 

The Drades closed in.

 

At the last second, Dragon Ranger stepped off the stone and dropped downward as the cloud of demons zipped over him. He slammed onto a rock that sped in the opposite direction through the valley. 

 

The cloud of demons swooped down and arced back towards the Dragon Ranger. The Red Ranger started leaping from rock to rock, trying to make himself a harder target by riding the shooting stone pieces through the valley.

 

A smaller group of demons splintered away from the main group and closed in on Dragon ranger from both sides as he shot through the valley.

 

Dragon Ranger corkscrewed through the air feet forward as he wrapped around a demon’s neck and twisted. The Ranger snapped the creature’s neck as he landed on top of a speeding hover car.

 

Two more winged soldiers swooped towards either side of Dragon Ranger. The Red Ranger jumped to his left and somersaulted backwards through midair, kicking one creature upside the head and bringing his legs around to slam against the second demon’s back. Dragon Ranger pushed down against the demon’s back, sending him crashing down and pinning him against a rock. The demon slammed against the stone hard, causing the stone to spin out of control.

 

Dragon Ranger leapt to another stone as the first rock spun out of control and shattered against a towering spire.

 

Dragon Ranger crouched down in a fighting stance as his stone sped towards an incoming group of 13 demons.

 

Dragon Ranger flipped forward through midair, swung his blade horizontally while upside down, and decapitated a trio of creatures. He completed the flip by slamming both feet against the head of another demon. That creature slammed backwards and shattered through another stone.

 

The sky darkened, and Dragon Ranger looked up to see a dark cloud cover the valley. The Red Ranger quickly realized that the cloud was actually a massive group of winged soldiers.

 

Dragon Ranger started jumping from rock and rock, moving against the flow of the stones’ flight to position himself for an effective defensive.

 

The countless winged demons continued their descent, drawing closer and closer to the Ranger below.

 

At the last second, Dragon Ranger dropped off the stone and plummeted downward. He fell back first and placed his right fist against his left palm while thrusting his arms upward. “Ki!”

 

The Rangers emitted an energy field of Kiryoku that expanded in diameter. The demons smashed against the shield as Dragon Ranger was forced further downward past rows of zipping stone. The demons were deflected like running water splashing against a brick wall, but they kept coming.

 

Dragon Ranger extended the energy shield’s diameter and tossed the disc up as it slammed against the storm of demons.

 

The Ranger slammed his feet against the side of a rock and pushed off, leaping towards the side of a rocky spire. The Ranger somersaulted through the air and slammed through the spire feet first, sending debris scattering everywhere.

 

The Ranger hit the ground hard and rolled several meters before skidding to a halt within the spire.  

 

“Great,” he said sarcastically while rising to his feet. “Lost my bearings…”

 

Dragon Ranger closed his eyes and focused. He remembered reading about a spell in the files Gandar had given him during the search for Zordon. The Seeker Spell helped locate items or people that the magick user was seeking.

 

Dragon Ranger held his palm face up and emitted a twirling sphere of flame. The flame started floating through the spire, and Dragon Ranger followed.

 

***

 

Tekno-Man flew aimlessly through the Lost Galaxy. His mind screamed against his armor. His guilt hammered against his soul. Cy was probably dead, and it was his fault. How could he let himself turn to evil? How?

 

Tekno-Man screamed and ignited his thrusters, throttling through space.

 

“I am more than this armor!” he shouted, letting his guilt turn to rage, which overrode the armor’s control. “I am more!”

 

***

 

Dragon Ranger walked through a winding corridor, or at least what he thought was a winding corridor. He could see no walls or ceiling in the demonic darkness that surrounded the passageway.

 

But the globe of fire led him forward.

 

The Red Ranger tightened his grip on his Twin Dragon Swords. He was being watched from the darkness. Dragon Ranger stood his ground and stepped back into a fighting stance.

 

A creature suddenly shrieked to the side. Dragon Ranger looked over his shoulder and saw a troll like creature swing at him while on a chain. The creature had no eyes on its oblong head, and its fang-filled mouth seemed to take up its entire face. The creature had sharp, bony claws extending from its hands, and it dressed in dirty-white, tattered robes.

 

Dragon Ranger pounced towards the creature and somersaulted through the air while passing it by and slicing through its chain. The chain broke, and the villain crashed against the ground before tumbling backward.

 

Dragon Ranger landed and charged at the creature. The villain swung its wrist claws at the Red ranger, but Dragon Ranger spun forward while using one sword to parry the strike and piercing his other sword through the villain’s chest.

 

The Red Ranger pulled his blade free and bashed a jump-hook kick across the villain’s head, knocking its body aside.

 

Another shriek sounded, and a second creature swung on a chain from the darkness behind Dragon Ranger.

 

The Red Ranger turned and crossed his swords while thrusting the blades forward. “Fire Stream!”

 

The swords fired a stream of fire that tore across the creature’s body. The villain erupted in flames, and Dragon ranger leapt past it while cutting it free from its chain.

 

Dragon Ranger landed and grabbed hold of the chain connected to the burning corpse.

 

Another villain swung from the darkness, and Dragon Ranger swung the burning demon’s body at the new opponent. The burning body crashed against the creature and knocked it from its chain.    

 

Three more creatures swung from the shadows.

 

Dragon Ranger smashed a flying sidekick against one of the villains and knocked it off its chain. The Red Ranger landed and turned just in time to slice the head off a second creature that sung past him.

 

Dragon Ranger spun through the swing and jammed his saber through the final villain’s gut.

 

The Red Ranger pulled his sword free, and the blade dripped with white ichor.

 

A powerful wind suddenly howled through the corridor and slammed against the Red ranger, knocking him off his feet. Dragon Ranger twirled backward through the air, but managed to jam his sabers into the ground to anchor himself.

 

The wind continued to slam against him and threatened to rip Dragon Ranger’s arms from his sockets if he did not let go of the swords.    

 

Dragon Ranger clenched his jaw and held on as tight as he could. “This is getting old fast…”

 

The wind suddenly died down, and Dragon Ranger removed his swords from the ground. “What was the point of that…?”

 

A massive creature of stone and slime suddenly rose from the ground behind the Dragon Ranger. The creature was three-times larger than human size.

 

The monster slammed its fist down, and Dragon Ranger dove aside just in time to avoid the creature’s powerful blow.

 

The Red Ranger sprang through the air and somersaulted backward while kicking the monster upside the head. On his way down, the Ranger slammed a volley of sidekicks against the monster’s body before landing.

 

Dragon Ranger landed back on his feet and thrust his arms forward. “Nova Force!”

 

The Ranger fired spheres of red energy that exploded through the creatures body with massive bursts of spark that tore the monster apart. Its remains crumbled against the ground.

 

Dragon Ranger turned his attention towards the end of the corridor and sprinted back into the darkness.

 

***

 

The Hell Child was still in her cage when Dragon Ranger found her. She was rolled in a fetal position and rocking back and forth. The demonic symbols she had drawn across the floor pulsed with dark energy.

 

Dragon Ranger thrust his arms towards the cage. “Ki!”

 

The Ranger’s Kiryoku shattered the stone cage into pieces.

 

Dragon Ranger moved towards the Hell Child and knelt down by her side. “Come on,” he said as he put a hand on her shoulder. “We’ve got to get you out of here.”

 

“Nowhere to go,” she said in a quiet whimper that echoed across the chamber. “No where to escape. They made me. They’re here for me…no where to run.”

 

The chamber walls and ceiling crumbled away and blew out into the open.

 

Dragon Ranger and the Hell Child were still on the chamber floor, but that floor was now on top of a narrow spire of rock surrounded by the black void of space. Massive pieces of rock that used to be the planet floated across that space among the crimson and black clouds of Hell.

 

Hell storms and cyclones of fire raged between the pieces of rock as the planet fell apart. Swarms of Drades, countless in number, flew through space as it filled with the power of Hell.

 

Dragon Ranger heard Zhane’s voice over his communicator. “Tommy, we’ve got to get out of here now!”

 

A massive wave of fiery energy suddenly swept across space and splashed across Dragon Ranger and the Hell Child. The wave nearly knocked them from the spire, but Dragon Ranger held on to her tightly and stood his ground.

 

To get to the Megaship, Dragon Ranger would have to travel against the wave’s current.

 

Dragon Ranger carried the Hell Child and leapt against the storm. The Red Ranger landed on a chunk of debris and immediately pushed off to jump towards the next chunk of rock.

 

Each piece of stone was caught in the storm’s current, but Dragon Ranger used those stones to slowly make way against the current. He leapt from piece of debris to piece of debris, despite the raging storm that threatened to tear his body apart and push him backward.

 

The Megaship appeared closer in the distance with each leap.

 

Dragon Ranger made a final leap towards the Megaship, but the storm suddenly intensified and smashed Dragon Ranger backward. The Red Ranger’s body flailed about as the storm forced him further away from the Megaship.

 

“Red Dragon!” the Red Ranger shouted. “Arise!”

 

Red Dragon Thunderzord materialized and flew through the storm with a massive display of speed and power. Dragon Ranger somersaulted backward and landed on the zord’s head.

 

The Red Dragon slithered through the storm while carrying Dragon Ranger and the Hell Child. The Red Dragon moved alongside the Megaship, and the zord and vessel swung upward in a steep climb before breaking through the storm.

 

They emerged in what used to be space, but was now a blanket of crimson dotted with black clouds and strings of asteroid that used to be planets. Cyclones of fire circled around the void.

 

Dragon Ranger took the Hell Child and leapt into the Megaship.

 

***

 

“We don’t have much time,” Bran said as soon as Tommy stepped onto the bridge. The Hell Child walked behind him, causing the rangers’ hairs to stand on end. “The storm’s gaining power and is about to…explode.”

 

“Explode?” Zhane asked. “Storms don’t explode.”

 

Saoirse rolled her eyes. “Look where we are, Zhane.”

 

“Take us to our entry point into the Lost Galaxy,” Tommy said. “We might be able to make a-”

 

The deck suddenly shook and nearly hurled the rangers’ off their feet.

 

The Hell Strom exploded with a massive shockwave of fire that washed across the Megaship, shaking the vessel from bow to stern. 

 

“This is just the initial shockwave,” Bran had to raise his voice to be heard over the ship’s vibrations. “The main storm front is closing in, and if it hits us, it rips us to shreds.”

 

“Get us out of here,” Tommy said.

 

The Megaship throttled through the storm, and at least this time, the ship was moving along with its current.

 

The deck shook harder as the ship gained speed. A power conduit exploded from behind an aft bridge station, blasting the console from the wall.

 

Saoirse did a quick diagnostic. “Our systems won’t hold out in this Hell storm much longer.”

 

Bran nodded in agreement. “And we’re not moving fast enough to escape the main storm front.”

 

“The one that will kill us,” Daithi said more than asked.

 

“Yes,” Bran answered anyway.

 

The main storm front rolled towards the Megaship like a wave of white-hot and dark-black flames. Tendrils of Hell energy lashed out from the main front and exploded against the Megaship’s hull.

 

More tendrils lashed out, almost as if to grab hold of the Megaship and consume it.

 

A violent tremor shook the bridge, the lights flickered, and several control consoles exploded. The front moved in closer, and its flames licked across the Megaship with massive bursts of sparks and explosions that ate away at the hull.

 

A tremor knocked the rangers off the feet, and Tommy slammed against the deck hard.

 

The Hell Child crawled across the deck to him and grasped onto his hand. Her skin was so cold and chilled Tommy to the bone. “My fault, all my fault. Save me. You can save me. Someday save me. Promise, and I’ll end this.”

 

“If you can end this, do it,” Tommy said. The bridge shook again from another impact. The main storm front was only meters away from the Megaship’s stern.

 

DECA’s voice came over the intercom. “Warning, engine temperature reaching critical. Hull pressure critical. Breaches are imminent.”

 

The Hell Child tightened her grip on Tommy’s hand. He could not pull away from her, no matter how hard she tried. Black tears streamed down her cheeks. “You can save me…I know you can. Despite what I know, I know.”

 

“Now isn’t the time for this,” Tommy said firmly. “If you can end this then do it.”

 

“I am a key,” she said. “They kidnapped me from Heaven, clipped my wings, and transformed me into this. Half demon. Half angel. An enigma. A portal. End my life and the portal closes.”

 

Tommy narrowed his brow. “What are you-”

 

“Goodbye Ranger,” she said. “We will meet again, I have faith in that.”

 

She twisted and snapped her own neck, and her body slumped against the pavement.

 

The raging Hell storm started to dissipate outside, and the Megaship throttled free from its clutches and into what passed as normal space within the Lost Galaxy. With the Hell Child’s death, the gates were closed after sucking back in the forces and powers of Hell.

 

The Hell Child’s body combusted into flames and turned into dust that fell across the Megaship’s deck.

 

Tommy rose to his feet and tightened his hands into fists. “Report.”

 

“We’re here,” Bran said. “Our original entry point.”

 

“And we’re not alone,” Daithi said. “Tekno-Man is out there.”

 

Sage’s voice came over the bridge’s speakers. “The fabric of space is still weak here. I can get us home…”

 

Zhane narrowed his brow. “No offense, Sage…but last time we saw you…you were trying to kill us…”

 

“I am…” Sage hesitated. “I am remaining in control of my own mind, despite my armor’s bloodlust. It is difficult, but my own guilt is more powerful than my armor. My guilt for what happened to Cy.”

 

For the first time, Tommy realized Cy was not on the bridge. His face grew pale. “No…” he whispered.

 

“He’s in the medical bay,” Zhane said. “He’s alive…but in a coma. Brain dead…”

 

Tommy’s fists tightened, and his nails dug into his skin.

 

Outside the Megaship, Tekno-Man opened his shoulder cannons and fired a roaring pulse of blue energy that literally stabbed through the fabric of the Lost Galaxy. That fabric was still weak from the Megaship’s entrance, and Tekno-Man took advantage of that weakness.

 

Tekno-Man’s armor was from the planet Isis, where the secrets of realities had been unraveled millions of years ago. It was this same technology that allowed the creation of Earth’s virtual heroes: Cybertron, Galavan, the Nova Troopers, and SHOC. The secrets of the world had been locked in an artifact known as the Box of Isis and banished into space along with a virtual demon known as Grimlord.

 

Using the secrets of his planet, Tekno-Man could easily open a dimensional portal out of the Lost Galaxy and into their own.

 

A twirling vortex of blue energy opened in space.

 

“Take us in,” Tommy said. “Full thrust.”

 

The Megaship blasted through the vortex and entered normal space, back to their previous coordinates before getting swept away into the Lost Galaxy.

 

But a massive enemy armada was on hand to great the returning Megaship. Darkheart’s ship was at the center of an enemy formation of countless Craboids, hundreds of pirate ships, and dozens of Isis battle cruisers and mobile attack suits.

 

Zhane sighed. “Think we can ask them for a  second to breathe?”

  

To be continued…Chapter 11