Max walked through the corridors of Lightspeed Headquarters. His hands were rolled into fists and his jaw was clenched. He moved towards the office door of Capt. Mitchell, his father. A Silver Guardian stood at attention at the side of the door.
Max walked up to the Guardian. “I need to see my Dad…”
The Guardian shook his head. “I’m sorry…no one is allowed in at the moment.”
Max narrowed his brow. He pointed to the brace on his wrist. “Don’t make me bust out my morpher and kick your butt all the way down this hallway, chuckles.”
A small comm unit on the Guardian’s wrist toned. Capt. Mitchell spoke over the comm device. “Let him in…”
The Guardian stepped aside as the office door slid open. Max walked inside. His father’s office was dimly lit. The only source of illumination came from lights outside of the Aqua Base, visible along the Ocean waters that flowed across a viewport.
Max stopped in his tracks. His breath caught in his throat. He was alone with his father, the man he thought dead for more than ten years.
“What was that all about?” Max asked. “What do you mean you can’t talk to me. You owe me an explanation. I’ve spent my entire life either living at the shelter or getting bumped into different foster homes. It’s all your fault, and I deserve to know what happened.”
Mitchell took a deep breath, not even trying to hide his annoyance. “It’s customary to salute your superior officers and stand at attention before addressing them.”
Max wrinkled his brow. “What?”
Mitchell shook his head. “If this is going to be too much for you, just throw your morpher on the table and leave. Frankly, I won’t be surprised if you can’t handle this. Just let me make one thing clear: even though you’re my offspring, you are not my son.”
Max’s face grew pale. His emotions threatened to choke him.
Mitchell leaned back in his chair. “It’s not my fault you’re alone. Your mother left you. It’s all a moot point now anyway. Now…I‘ll spare you the embarrassment of being escorted out of my office.”
Billy sat in his high-rise office in the INET building. Miss. Fairweather stood on the other side of Billy’s desk while glancing at a data pad. She and Billy were comparing notes on the Lightspeed Rangers’ performance.
“I don’t know…” Billy said. “I originally intended to take the morphers back after their first battle and try to find older candidates…but it’s hard to argue with these results.”
“So what should I tell our latest potential recruits?” Fairweather asked. She held a roster of names: Carter, Chad, Dana, Kelsey, and Joel.
“Tell Carter and the others they’re not needed,” Billy said. “I think we’ve found our Lightspeed team.”
Junior sat in the cockpit of a MECH Warrior video game at an arcade. He was blasting anything and everything that moved in a mind-blowing, simulated battle against countless enemies who would stop at nothing in their quest to wipe out the forces of good.
“It’s practice,” Junior said as he triggered a missile volley that exploded against an enemy MECH.
Kevin and DJ leaned on opposite sides of the game cockpit.
“No,” DJ said. “It’s a new excuse for your laziness.”
Junior shrugged. “That too…”
Kevin looked to DJ. “Have you heard from Steph and Max?”
“Nah,” DJ said as he shook his head “Steph was still waiting for him last I heard. He was having trouble getting past all the red tape to talk to his dad.”
Junior locked on his weapons. “I hope that went okay for him…That‘s gotta be a weird situation…”
An enemy MECH blasted Junior’s vehicle off its feet. The ranger’s MECH overloaded and exploded with a burst of energy. Junior slammed his hand against the console in frustration.
“Huh,” DJ said. “Remind me never to let you pilot the Rescue Walker alone.”
“Ha,” Junior said sarcastically.
The Saima palace resembled a dark and twisted Mayan Pyramid with a jagged, demonic skull head on top. The palace was hidden in a dark pocket dimension within Angel Grove. The land Angel Grove sat on used to hold a palace dedicated to the worship of the Saima Queen.
The dark skies above the palace twisted in pools of pale-purple and crimson light. The light illuminated the skull portion of the Saima palace, where the demons plotted the downfall of mankind and the resurrection of their queen’s palace.
Diabolico narrowed his red beady eyes as he stared through a view screen of fire. The villain’s bulky body was black and dull gold, except for the red star on the center of his chest. Powerful wings extended from the villain’s back, and horns curved from his long head.
The view screen showed an image of the Lightspeed Megazord killing the Saima demon of molten lava the day before.
“How did they destroy our demon so easily…” Diabolico said, his eyes fixated on the view screen. “They are just children.”
Vypra nodded in agreement. Her face looked like it blended seamlessly with the open jaw of a blue and silver scaled snake. She wore tight-fitting black slacks and a dull-silver chest plate. Most of her body’s scaled flesh was exposed.
“But they are children with very impressive toys…” she said.
Lokai stepped forward besides his demonic siblings. The bulky villain’s leathery skin was mostly blue, covered with bony, gray armor. Two horns extended from his back like wings, and two horns extended from his head.
“Let me fight them, Diabolico,” Lokai pleaded.
“No,” Diabolico said. “This needs to be done quickly…Spell Master!”
Jinxer, a slender, insectoid demon stepped out from the shadows. The villain wore round glasses that concealed his black, beady eyes. He waddled closer to his demon family. He cradled the young infant Impus in his arms. Impus looked like nothing more than a small, demon head protruding from a crimson cocoon.
“Yes, Diabolico…” Jinxer said as he bowed his head.
Diabolico pulled a monster card out from behind his back. He handed the card to Jinxer. “We need your power to summon a demon monster from the underworld.”
Jinxer took the card. A picture of a winged, blue-skinned goblin monster was etched onto the card. Jinxer walked towards the Hell gate. The Hell gate served as a mystical portal to cross demons from Hell into the mortal realm. The gate’s power was limited, meaning the Saima could only summon no more than three or four demon monsters at a time.
Jinxer tossed the card into the fiery portal. The card flashed with black energy, summoning the demon monster etched on its surface. Jinxer waved his hands back and forth while whispering an incantation in a spoken language known only in the lower Circles of Hell.
Flames burst from the portal as the demon monster materialized. The creature opened its fanged jaws and shrieked, a sound that caused the entire pocket dimension to tremble.
Steph looked around the empty apartment room that accessed the secret passage leading to the Aqua Base. The small apartment was obviously set up so she and the others could live there instead of at the Shelter. The boys had their own room with two sets of bunk beds, and she had her own room.
She walked back into the living room and took a seat on the couch. She leaned back and checked her watch. Max had been gone more than two hours. She hoped everything was going okay. She could only imagine what she would feel like if her father returned from the grave.
Steph got up and moved Max’s jacket into the boys’ bedroom. If things went poorly, she did not want him to just grab his jacket and leave without talking about it.
She walked back into the living room as the chamber opened and Max stormed into the room. His brow was knitted and his shoulders clenched. “Where’s my jacket?”
“What happened?” Steph asked.
“Jacket,” Max said.
“Talk,” Steph said. She pointed to the couch. “Sit.”
Max sighed and sat down. “I’m not a dog.”
“Huh,” Steph said. “Guess I should take that squeaky toy I bought you back to Wal-Mart.”
“That’s so not even funny,” Max said. “You know how much I hate Wal-Mart.”
Max reluctantly told Steph about what happened with his father. She nodded as she listened, and she placed her hand on his. Steph understood what it was like to not be wanted by a parent. Her mother had left her when she was five-years-old, after her father died.
“So basically…” Max finished saying. “I still have no idea what’s going on. And I hate unanswered questions.”
Steph was about to give him words of advice when something started thumping against the wall outside. The sound had the rhythm of hail, but whatever was striking the house was too soft, making slapping noises.
Max and Steph ran outside to see dead fish getting thrown from the air like rain all around them.
Steph wrinkled her nose and stepped back into the doorway. “That is so disgusting…”
Max looked towards the distance and saw a large tornado near the shore. The tornado was apparently kicking up fish from the ocean. “This is new…”
Max’s heart practically jumped to his throat when his communicator sounded. He answered the call, and Dr. Cranston spoke through the bracer. “That cyclone you’re seeing is spiking with Minus Energy. I’ve already told the others to regroup with you. They’re nearby, so it shouldn’t take long.”
Steph stepped forward. “So what are we supposed to do?”
“Help clear the area and stop whatever demon is causing that cyclone,” Cranston said.
The five rangers regrouped and ran to a patio nearby the shore. The winds were throwing tables and chairs through the air as citizens ran and screamed in panic.
DJ covered his eyes with his arm to keep away the sting of the wind. “So…you think we’re going to ever get some kind of training for this? Or are they going to keep throwing us into these situations and assume we’ll know what to do?”
“We’ve got to move closer to the cyclone,” Max said as he struggled to breath against the pressure of the wind. “Let’s morph.”
The rangers armed their morphing braces.
“Lightspeed, Rescue!” they shouted as they flipped their morphers open. Energy wrapped around their bodies, forming skin tight armor as masks slid across their lower faces. Their helmets then wrapped around their heads and visors snapped shut as they morphed into their Ranger forms.
They snapped into their individual fighting stances.
They shouted together: “Rescue Task Force…”
“Light!” Rescue Blue called.
“Speed!” Rescue Red shouted.
“Rangers!” they yelled together.
The Rangers ran down an alley of freight boxcars and cargo. The wind nearly pushed them off their feet as they struggled forward.
Rescue Red clenched his jaw and looked up while placing his hand against the side of his helmet, activating his visor’s sensor. Through his visor’s scanners, he saw the demon monster suspended in the middle of the cyclone.
The wind intensified, nearly crushing the Rangers’ bodies.
“Found the monster…” Rescue Red said through his helmet communicator. “Can’t so much get to the monster…”
Dr. Cranston uploaded information onto their visors. “Use your Rescue Blasters. Their targeting won’t be affected by the wind.”
Rescue Red drew his sidearm and aimed forward. “Rescue Blaster!”
The Ranger fired a volley of energy beams that pierced through the cyclone and exploded against the demon inside. The creature grunted with pain and crashed against the ground as the winds died down.
The blue-skinned, winged goblin slowly rose to its feet. Smoke from the energy blasts still rose from its leathery skin. The demon snarled, revealing a face full of misshapen fangs beneath its beady green eyes and pig-like snout.
Rescue Yellow snapped back a step. “What the fuck is that thing?”
“Rangers…” the goblin creature hissed. “My brethren in Hell will soon cleanse their teeth with the bones of your damned bodies.”
Rescue Blue scoffed. “I didn’t think you freaks actually talked like that.”
A group of Batlings rose to their feet like shadows slowly growing from the ground. The soldiers and Rangers charged at each other and attacked.
Rescue Yellow armed his Rescue Baton and dashed through a group of Batlings. He held the sword with one hand in a fencing style while parrying the grunts’ blows and cutting them aside. He knocked two blades away and stabbed his weapon through a grunt’s chest. He turned to his right and parried a blow before swinging his weapon back around and cracking the baton against the grunt’s chest.
Nearby, a wire ran across the alley at waist level.
Rescue Green grabbed onto the wire and flipped over it while smashing his heels down against a Batling. He swung his leg around to give the fallen grunt a final heel strike against the chest.
Rescue Green used the wire to pull himself up and flip backward while kicking two grunts away. The Green Ranger slammed an elbow against a third soldier’s chest, then flipped back over the wire while crashing an axe kick down on a grunt’s neck.
Rescue Pink rolled into a crouched stance near a T at the alley. She armed her Rescue Blaster and rose to her feet while firing a volley of red energy beams at an approaching group of Batlings. Her blasts exploded through the demon soldiers, tearing their bodies apart with massive bursts of spark and smoke.
The Pink Ranger quickly moved to the other side of the alley and opened fire on a second wave of Batlings. The creatures quickly felt the sting of her blaster as explosions tore them apart and knocked them off their feet.
One Batling snuck in close enough to swing its blade towards Rescue Pink’s head. Rescue Pink ducked and moved back, getting pinned back-first against a crate as the Batling charged forward to finish her off. Rescue Pink quickly triggered a blast at point-blank range that whipped the grunt’s body backward with a burst of spark upon impact.
Rescue Pink stepped away from the crates as she heard footsteps above her. She looked up and saw another group of Batlings on top of the crates. She lifted her Rescue Blaster and shot the creatures down with beams of red energy that punctured through the demons’ bodies with bursts of spark.
Rescue Blue bashed his way through a group of Batlings nearby. The Blue Ranger slammed his knee against a soldier’s gut and smashed a knifehand strike against the back of that soldier’s neck. More of the grunts swarmed around him.
Rescue Blue snapped off a grappling hook that attached to an overhang above. The Blue Ranger slid up the rope, drew his Rescue Blaster, and fired beams of red energy down upon the Batlings. Explosive bursts of spark from the beams ripped the demon soldiers apart.
The goblin demon grabbed Rescue Red by the arm and slammed him against a boxcar, which dented on impact. The creature pulled the Red Ranger back and slammed him against a stack of crates.
The demon tossed Rescue Red away. The Red Ranger tumbled across the ground, skidding against the pavement before rolling to a halt.
Rescue Red rolled back to his feet and stood in a rough fighting stance with his Rescue Baton held firmly in both hands. His mind kept drifting to his father.
If this is going to be too much for you, just throw your morpher on the table and leave. Frankly, I won’t be surprised if you can’t handle this.
Rescue Red tightened his grip on his Rescue Baton and charged forward.
The villain shot fiery optic bursts from his beady eyes. The blasts exploded against the Red Ranger’s armor with bursts of spark and whipped his body backward. The Red Ranger crashed back against the pavement.
Rescue Red slammed his fist against the ground out of frustration and pulled himself back to his feet. He spotted a parked car nearby through the corner of his visor.
“Fine…” Rescue Red said. “We’ll play rough…”
Rescue Red ran towards the car and hopped into the driver’s seat. The keys were in the ignition. The Red Ranger turned on the car and sped towards the demon monster, tires screeching against the pavement.
The goblin demon fired another burst of optic blasts that exploded against the car, tearing off part of its hood and smashing through windows. The car’s tire blew out just as the vehicle crashed against the demon monster. The car toppled over on top of the villain and skid across the ground before slamming to a halt against a boxcar.
The Red Ranger slowly pulled himself from the car, smoke still rising from his armor.
“Max!” the others shouted as they ran towards him.
The Rangers regrouped, but were quickly attacked as the demon pushed himself free of the car wreckage. The demon fired a jagged golden energy burst from his jaw. The blast exploded against the Rangers’ armor and knocked them onto their backs.
“Rescue Blasters!” Rescue Red shouted as he and the others fired at the villain while still on the ground. Their red energy beams exploded against the demon monster with bursts of spark that knocked him off his feet.
The villain hissed a sound of terror as he rose back to his feet. The creature summoned a gust of wind and surrounded himself with a massive tornado.
The tornado struck an airplane high in the sky above the city. The plane whirled out of control and started streaking down towards the city below. Engines whined in protest as the pilots tried to regain control of their aircraft. But the plane kept plummeting through its out-of-control decent.
Rescue Red activated his communicator. “Rescue Bird!”
The Rescue Bird blasted from the Bay Area in the blink of an eye and shot towards the battle scene. The Rescue Bird materialized above the Rangers and lowered into their hands. The Rangers followed their visor instructions and stood in formation while arming the weapon in its blaster mode.
“Rescue Bird, UniLaser Mode!” Rescue Red shouted as they aimed the blaster towards the demon. “Fire!”
A broad wave of crackling blue and gold energy shot forth from the Rescue Bird. The blast shot through the cyclone and exploded through the center of the goblin demon with a massive explosion of crackling energy and sparks. The villain was pulverized and smashed into pieces. The creature’s remains hardened like rock and scattered across the ground as the winds died down.
Cranston spoke to the Rangers through their communicators. “That cyclone knocked out a plane nearby that was headed towards the airport. It’s about to crash in the city. You’ll have to use your Rescuezords to get the plane under control and help it land.”
Rescue Yellow slapped his hand against his faceplate and shook his head.
Rescue Red activated his communicator. “Go-Liner, on track!”
The water stirred off the shores of Angel Grove. A massive bay area broke the surface of the water. The bay area had five main chambers, each number and colored coded. A lengthy rail rose from the waters, connecting the bay area to the shore of Angel Grove, and interlinking with the city’s transportation system.
The individual liners shot forward like bullets. The liners combined and formed a single train that throttled across the ocean and onto the shore while traveling faster than Angel Grove’s own bullet train.
The Go-Liner skid to a halt near the battle scene. The Rangers ran towards the massive train and hopped into their individual cockpits.
Rescue Red inserted his blaster grip over the console node in front of him, and twisted the grip downward.
“Rescuezords, mobilize!” Rescue Red commanded.
Each zord rolled out of its liner.
Rescue Red activated an open comm line through his helmet. “Are there any wide enough streets nearby to land that plane?”
“Yes,” Rescue Green answered. “But barely. And the street hasn’t been evacuated. It’s full of traffic.”
“Damn,” Rescue Red said.
“Steph’s zord could clear the traffic,” Rescue Green said. “The rear of the Med Rescue is big enough for all the cars and trucks to drive into.”
“Glad you’ve been doing your homework,” Rescue Red said.
The pink-armored zord rolled to the edge of the street and lowered its aft hatch while extending a wide ramp. Rescue Pink activated her zord’s external loudspeakers.
“Everyone….drive into the back of my zord,” she said through the speakers. “I’ll get you to safety…”
It took a few seconds of disbelief for the cars to actually drive up the ramp and into the Med Rescue. Rescue Pink sealed her zord and drove off once all the cars and trucks were inside her rescue vehicle.
Meanwhile, Rescue Green flew his zord over the airplane and extended a pair of grappling hooks. The hooks sealed onto the front half of the plane and lifted up to stabilize the aircraft’s decent and keep the plane from nose diving out of control.
Aero Rescue gradually lowered the plane so its landing gear slammed against the streets and started to screech. The wing tips thrashed across buildings, tearing to shreds while cutting through windows and slicing through poles.
The plane finally skid to a halt.
Jinxer crossed his arms over his chest as he stood on a tall building that looked down upon the demon monster’s rubble. Jinxer pulled out a card from his belt. The card had a symbol of a white, winged demon that appeared to rise from the ashes of destruction. The demon held two white orbs in its outstretched hands. It was a Resurrection Gigantisize card.
Jinxer whispered an incantation known only in the pits of Hell. His high-pitched voice spread over the streets as he tossed the card downward. The card spun downward and stuck in the rubble of the goblin demon.
The card flashed with dark energy that spread across the rubble. The energy and rubble shot upward like a giant wave of countless bats. The bats twisted and took shape, meshing flesh and energy while forming a giant sized version of the winged goblin demon.
The goblin demon stomped towards the streets towards the plane’s landing site. The creature shouldered its way past buildings with massive explosions that sent rubble crashing to the streets.
Rescue Red thrust his blaster grip forward. “Lightspeed Megazord fusion, online!”
Aero Rescue hovered over Hydro Rescue and lowered two grapplers. The grapplers hooked onto the zord’s side and started to lift the machine from the ground. Meanwhile, Med Rescue and Hazer Rescue rolled side by side. The two zords tilted upward, forming a pair of legs.
Rescue Green maneuvered his zord over the legs and slowly lowered the Hydro Rescue downward. The Hydro Rescue locked into position with the legs, forming a lower torso.
Pyro Rescue extended its ladder arms and grasped onto the torso. The red-armored zord used its ladder arms to rise from the ground and slide down onto the torso. Pyro Rescue locked into position, forming the zord’s chest and arms.
Aero Rescue slid onto Pyro Rescue and completed the transformation, forming the Lightspeed Megazord.
The demon started to spin. Gale force winds burst forth from around the creature and kicked up dust and rubble that slammed against the Lightspeed Megazord.
“Ladder arms…Engage!” Rescue Red commanded.
The ladder arms extended and thrust forward with a volley of punches that slammed against the winged demon. The creature was taken aback by the punches, which caused the winds to die down.
“Lightspeed Megazord Saber!” Rescue Red shouted as he pushed his blaster grip forward.
The zord’s double-edged saber formed in Lightspeed Megazord’s right fist. The blade started to pulse with fiery energy.
“Lightspeed Megazord Saber…ignite!” Rescue Red shouted.
Megazord slowly swung its weapon in a circular pattern, creating a ring of fire. The blade energized with blue-tinted power and swung downward through the fire ring while chopping through the demon. The Megazord’s white-hot blade tore the demon’s body apart with a single stroke.
The goblin demon fell backward, his power overloading and exploding.
Max and the other rangers stood in front of Dr. Cranston’s desk at INET headquarters. Mitchell and Fairweather stood behind Billy.
Billy leaned back in his chair and got straight to the point. “I want to make you five my Ranger team on a more permanent basis. We‘ll get you out of that shelter and let you live in the apartment building that leads to the Aqua Base. You'll be paid weekly, plus a per-engagement bonus.”
Junior raised an eyebrow. “Paid? We get paid?”
“It’s not extravagant, but yes,” Billy said. “I understand this is a lot to ask. I was about your age when I became involved in all this…Ranger business. If you don’t think you can handle this, I’ll understand. I'll give you a day to think about it.”
Max looked to his father and narrowed his eyes. “We don’t need time to think about it. We’re in.”
Miss Fairweather smiled and stepped out from behind the desk. She had five orange and black jackets in her hands. “You’ll need these…”
DJ arced an eyebrow with disbelief when he looked at the jacket. “We’re really supposed to wear these things?”
“Are you kidding?” Junior said, his face lit with excitement. “I think this is awesome…”
“You would,” DJ said.
Max slid on his jacket. It had a patch sewed onto his left arm with a red number 1 inside the symbol.
“Now,” Mitchell said. “Let’s talk about your training…”
To be continued…Chapter Three