Ultimate Gao Rangers: Chapter One

Lion Heart

 

Simon laid himself down on a grassy field near Bear Lake and looked up at the clouds. He took a deep breath of fresh air and let it out slowly. He closed his eyes and reached out with his mind.

 

The 15-year-old had empathic abilities that let him feel everything alive, from the blades of grass to the lovers strolling across a trail nearby. Lately, he was experimenting more and more with the gift, which he kept hidden from family and friends. He never even told Tommy.

 

Tommy Oliver was Simon’s older friend, teacher, and mentor. Simon had known Tommy for more than six years, ever since Bandora attacked the Earth. It seemed like a lifetime ago.

 

Simon let his senses dance across the wind. Suddenly, the wind took a sharp turn, as if in pain. Simon opened his eyes and narrowed his brow at the sensation. Something was wrong.

 

The clouds above turned gray.

 

Images flashed before his mind’s eye…

 

A lost civilization was burning. Its beautiful gardens and ornate palaces were ravaged by flame as gray-skinned soldiers spread across the land like cancer.

 

Each grunt held a thick, blunt club in its slimy hands. The creatures’ bubbling eyes were like boils. Stumps grew from the centers of their heads like horns. Red traces of slime wrapped around their otherwise featureless bodies.

 

Simon sat up and winced as pain shot through his head.

 

Villagers ran in panic. The gray soldiers tackled them to the ground and used clubs to smash in their skulls. A group of five Bushido dressed in kimonos armed curved sabers and dashed past the group of soldiers. 

 

The samurai, dressed as the early bushido of the Heian Period in Japan, slashed through the soldiers, cutting off rotting limbs and thrashing open wounds of black ichor and puss.

 

Simon stumbled to his feet. The vision wouldn’t stop. He collapsed back to his knees. A lion’s roar echoed through his mind as the visions continued.

 

The red symbol of a lion’s head burned against the back of Simon’s right hand. A flash of energy pulsed in his palm as a small red sphere-shaped gem appeared.

 

***

 

Night descended on Angel Grove as entertainers amused the citizens on the streets. It was a traveling carnival that highlighted elephants, people selling cotton candy, and a person blowing flames from his mouth.

 

A creature streaked across the sky at lightning speeds as it crashed into the window of a tall building, startling a couple that was eating at a restaurant. The monster resembled a turbine with legs.

 

The Turbine creature slashed the couple away and flipped backwards from the building before jetting across the night-lit skyline.

 

The monster landed on a building edge and looked over the city, trying to spot its next target.

 

A girl in skin-tight white armor suddenly landed on the building’s edge and snapped into a crouched fighting stance. Her helmet and faceplate bore the styling of a tiger. Her name was Gao White.

 

She pulled a golden-hilted dagger from her belt and dashed towards the turbine monster, attacking it swiftly with a relentless fury of diagonal strikes that sparked against the villain‘s armor.

 

Turbine grabbed the girl and pulled her up off her feet. Gao White felt the villain’s grasp tighten around her throat, threatening to choke off her air supply.

 

She knocked the creature’s hands away and flipped backwards, kicking the creature upside the head. Gao White dashed forward and sliced the creature across the chest with a powerful horizontal strike that sparked across Turbine’s armor plating.

 

Turbine grabbed the girl’s dagger with one hand, and with the other hand, knocked her away. The creature turned and leapt through the air, landing on a neighboring building.

 

Turbine turned to laugh at the girl as she crouched on the other building’s edge.

 

A boy in skin-tight black armor suddenly wrapped his ankles around the creature’s legs and tripped Turbine to the ground. The boy’s helmet and faceplate was modeled after a bison. He was Gao Black. 

 

Gao Black lifted Turbine up and ran while dragging the creature along. Gao Black rammed Turbine’s head through the top part of an elevator shaft, sending debris exploding in every direction.

 

The boy tossed Turbine off the building. The creature plummeted towards the docks below and crashed through a pile of crates, splintering wood upon impact.

 

Turbine climbed back to his feet and looked up towards the building towards the boy in black. Suddenly, a boy in skin-tight blue armor leapt from the water. His helmet and face plate were modeled after a shark. He was Gao Blue.

 

Gao Blue grabbed the creature and flipped backwards, dragging Turbine beneath the water’s surface.

 

Under the water’s surface, the boy in blue clawed Turbine diagonally with his right hand, and then horizontally with both hands. He continued to strike, his claws chipping away at the villain’s armor. Gao Blue punched the creature with his left hand and slashing it diagonally with his right.

 

The creature pushed the boy away with a jet blast from its turbines and blasted out of the water. Turbine climbed away from the water’s surface and started to throttle through the skies.

 

A boy in skin-tight yellow armor with the helmet of an eagle swooped down from the skies. He had wings underneath his arms, connected to his waist. His name was Gao Yellow.

 

Gao Yellow grabbed hold of Turbine and swooped down, diving towards the rooftop of a nearby building.

 

Gao Yellow dove downward and slammed Turbine against the roof before rolling away. The boy rose to his feet and pulled a golden-hilted dagger from his belt.

 

The yellow-armored warrior charged towards Turbine and speared his dagger against the creature, pushing between the monster’s armor and piercing the rotted, leathery flesh beneath its armor plating. Black ichor sprayed from the wound as Turbine growled in annoyance.  

 

Turbine slammed a backfist across the boy’s helmet. Gao Yellow went stumbling backward before rising to his knees in a crouched fighting position.

 

Turbine dashed forward and swung its fist towards the boy’s helmet, but a white staff suddenly blocked its blow. It was Gao White. She kicked Turbine away and rolled across the ground. Gao Yellow and Gao White rose to their feet and stood side-by-side in animal-like fighting stances.

 

The other two armored boys, Gao Blue and Gao Black, landed on the roof behind Turbine.

 

The four warriors rushed forward with their daggers, ready to strike the creature in unison. Tendrils of yellow lightning suddenly started dancing across the rooftops, sending explosions sparking everywhere. The blasts slammed against the four Rangers and thrashed across their armor with bursts of spark, knocking them backward.

 

Another creature appeared in a flash of lightning. The monster resembled a broad assembly of electric plugs. 

 

Gao Blue sighed with frustration. “Not another one…”

 

The two monsters fired a combined energy pulse that exploded against the warriors and blew up half of the roof in the process. Debris and rubble started to fall down towards the traveling circus below.

 

Back on the rooftop, the blue-armored warrior charged towards the two monsters, holding his dagger in a fighting position. Turbine slammed its fist across the warrior’s helmet and sent him sprawling backward.

 

The Plug monster extended his hand and launched powerful blasts of electric energy that exploded against the warriors’ armor with bursts of spark. The monster pair was gone by the time the smoke from the explosions cleared.

 

Gao Blue rose back to his feet and dashed over to Gao Black. “Damn…one more second and we would have had them!”

 

Gao Black rose to his feet too. “This is the first time two Orgs have come together…”

 

Gao White walked over to the two. “I think we need a fifth person, just like Tetomu said. The Org are getting stronger.”

 

Gao Yellow landed from a flying leap and walked over to his teammates. “We have enough strength to defeat them ourselves. We don’t need some new kid.”

 

Tetomu communicated from afar with the four Rangers. She sat in a white cave hidden within the clouds and stared into a small pool of water that served as her viewing portal into the rest of the world. She appeared Asian, with short dark hair and a tight, sleeveless white gown with intricate patterns etched across the silk. 

 

She leaned forward and touched the pool of water to speak with the others. “I’ve found him…the fifth Gao Ranger. He’s in danger…”

 

***

 

Simon was drenched head to toe as he ran through the pouring rain. Lightning illuminated the night sky above as he darted through the woods, his legs burning with fatigue. He heard his pursuers close in from behind as they ruffled through tree branches and leaves.

 

He had tried to stand his ground and fight them, but there were too many of the creatures. They were the same creatures he saw in his visions.

 

The fifteen-year-old held on tightly to the sphere-shaped red crystal in his right hand. Whatever it was, his strange pursuers probably wanted it.

 

Simon darted into a clearing, but stopped in his tracks, splashing through puddles as he skid to a halt. A group of gray soldiers, their backs hunched over, darted from the woods ahead of him. The creatures closed in from behind as well, surrounding him.

 

Each grunt held a thick, blunt club in its slimy hands. The creatures’ bubbling eyes were like boils. Stumps grew from the centers of their heads like horns. Red traces of slime wrapped around their otherwise featureless bodies.

 

The teen’s heart pounded in his chest. He had nowhere to run.

 

The grunts pounced forward.

 

Simon placed the gem in his pocket and defended himself. The teen had seen all kinds of grunts and soldiers before. He had grown up around monsters and Rangers since one of Bandora’s first attacks against Earth, six years ago.

 

Simon high blocked a club and slammed an uppercut against the attacking soldier’s body. The villain’s slime-coated flesh was surprisingly tough, and bruised Simon’s knuckles with each punch.

 

The teen turned and slammed a roundkick against the grunt’s side, knocking the soldier backward. The kick injured Simon’s already sore leg muscles.

 

A grunt snuck up behind Simon and slammed its club across the back of his head. Simon cringed with pain and crashed down into the mud as various grunts started kicking at him and clubbing him while he was down, bruising his body and breaking bone.

 

Simon managed to kick the legs out from beneath a soldier. That grunt fell to the ground, and Simon slammed his elbow against its throat.

 

Simon rolled back into a crouched position and lifted the fallen soldier’s club. He started parrying blows and bashing soldiers. He fought against his own pain with each swing, trying to fight back despite his broken body.

 

One of the grunts kicked the weapon out of Simon’s hands and bashed a club across Simon’s temple. Simon fell face-first into the mud.

 

A soldier lifted its club to deliver a fatal, crushing blow against Simon’s head.

 

But a pair of feather-like darts streaked through the air and exploded against the grunt’s body with a burst of spark. 

 

Simon lifted his head and looked back to see a Yellow Ranger leap down from the trees, his movements were like a hawk or eagle. The Ranger had a double-edged golden saber with a feather-blade hilt held in his right hand.

 

Gao Yellow landed while driving the blade deep into a grunt and twisting, opening the wound wider as ichor seeped forth.

 

The Yellow Ranger pulled his blade free and swung backward, thrashing the head off from another grunt.

 

Simon watched in awe as the Yellow Ranger dispatched of the soldiers. Gao Yellow moved with grace and agility, but at the same time, each move was fierce and powerful.

 

The sting of the Yellow Ranger’s blade slashed through another trio of grunts. Their slime-coated corpses joined the bodies sprawled out across the mud. That was the last of them. For now.

 

Gao Yellow powered down his armor. He looked no older than 20 or 21. His hair was dyed so blonde it almost appeared white. His skin was smooth and pale.

 

The ranger looked back to Simon. “You’ve just been drafted.”

 

Yellow tossed a small feather like a dart. The feather dart stuck against Simon’s neck like a needle, sending a chemical through his body that knocked him unconscious.

 

***

 

Simon slowly awoke to find himself surrounded by lush jungle land. “Ohh…” he moaned as he rubbed his head and stood up. “Where am I?”

 

A screeching noise suddenly cut through the air above. Simon looked up to see a giant bird fly across the treetops at near-blinding speeds.

 

Simon gasped with delight and followed the bird through trees and bushes. He emerged into a clearing and looked down to see a deep valley, with a sharp, climbing mountain near a sparkling-clear lake.

 

“What is this place?” he asked in amazement.

 

Simon then heard the snort of a giant bull as the black beast ran towards him and gazed down at the teen while snorting. Simon was blown back a bit by the air from the snort. A giant blue shark splashed above a nearby lake. A yellow eagle landed on the ground and gazed down at Simon as well. The teen was surrounded.

 

A roaring off in the distance came from behind Simon, and he turned to see a red lion off on the mountain top. The beast had a golden main and bright green eyes.

 

“A red lion?” he gaped with amazement while starting to trek towards the mountain. “Is this a dream?”

 

Simon began climbing the mountain, slowly pulling himself up the rock face inch by inch.  He slipped once, but grabbed onto a lower rock just in time. That was when a realization struck him.

 

“This island is in the sky!” he shouted.

 

***

 

The island was in the sky and shaped like a turtle, floating among the clouds. A rock formation shaped like a smaller turtle sat in one of the island’s corners. The rock was home to Tetomu.

 

Tetomu and the four rangers watched Simon through the reflection pool.

 

The rangers were each teenagers, three guys and one girl wearing black jackets with different colored accents. The teen with gray trimming was muscular with dark hair. A smaller brown-haired boy, the youngest of the group, wore a jacket with blue trimming. The girl wearing white accents was Asian with long dark hair.

 

The pool zoomed in as Simon continued his climb, determined to reach the top.

 

“He’s not afraid,” Tetomu said. “He is to be your leader.”

 

“Why him?” Blue asked with frustration. “I’m stronger than he is!”

 

To prove his point, he latched onto Black as if to lift the other ranger up. Black grabbed Blue’s arms and shoved the younger ranger away with ease. Blue slammed his tailbone against the ground while falling backward.

 

“The Gao Ranger selected by GaoLion is the leader,” Tetomu explained.

 

***

 

Rocks and pebbles started to fall on Simon as the lion shifted his stance on the cliff above. GaoLion suddenly leapt over the edge of the cliff and dove down towards the teen. Simon was startled and accidentally lost his grip, causing him to fall backward and plummet towards the valley below.

 

Back at the viewing pool, White shrieked as she averted her gaze, causing the others to look immediately.

 

GaoLion caught Simon with its massive jaw and lowered him to the ground. GaoLion tilted his head while looking down at the teen. Simon rose to his feet, slowly meeting the lion’s gaze as a smile spread across his face.

 

“Oh man…you are so utterly cool!” Simon said.

 

The lion lightly growled as it looked down at Simon. Simon closed his eyes to listen. The teenager listened with his empathy, a special sense he’d developed years ago.

 

“Huh? You’ve been looking for me?” Simon asked the giant red beast.

 

Simon could see his own reflection in the lion’s eye. “What are you trying to say?”

 

The red gem in Simon’s pocket started to pulse. He had almost forgotten about the crystal. Simon pulled the gem from his pocket. Within the crystal, an image of the lion formed.

 

Simon was suddenly whisked away in a stream of red light that arced across the skies. The beam of light curved across the island and streamed down towards a turtle-shaped rock hidden near the city. The teleportation beam struck against the rock, igniting a web of light as Simon was teleported inside.

 

Simon stood and looked around, finding himself in the cave with the four rangers and priestess Tetomu. Simon recognized Yellow immediately.

 

“Hey…you’re the guys who…what kind of weird dream is this?” Simon asked, confused with disbelief.

 

“This is no dream,” Tetomu said as she walked towards him. “You have been chosen to be the fifth Gao Ranger.”

 

“Gao Ranger?” Simon asked, opening his eyes wide. “You mean like a Power Ranger?”

 

Tetomu nodded. “I am Tetomu. The priestess who will teach you to understand the will of the Power Animals you met, the Wild Zords. You will fight with these others as a Gao Ranger.”

 

Simon shook his head, having trouble accepting what was happening. He’d spent the past six years of his life around Rangers, monsters, and villains, but he still never expected to be whisked away to a sky island and recruited by a strange priestess. A priestess he’d never heard Zordon, Tommy, or any of the Rangers mention.

 

“We need five to fight the Org, creatures born beneath the Earth from pain and sorrow,” Tetomu said.

 

She told him the story of the Org. A story Simon recognized from his own visions…

 

***

 

1,000 years ago, Japan

The Heian Period

 

The island was named Rokugan. Its culture was rich with art and beauty. Buildings of ornate wood blended seamlessly with rolling hills of grass and trees. A winding creek flowed through the main village. The water was crystal-clear.

 

Rock gardens and artificial waterfalls dotted the landscape. Wooden bridges stretched over small ponds, with thick goldfish swimming through the water.

 

Villagers wore kimonos of vibrant colors while tending to various tasks. Rokugan was divided into clans. Each clan settled on different areas of the island nation. Each clan wore the symbol of a token animal.

 

They were a people at peace and nature. A people at peace with themselves.

 

Except for one man. Yogo Junzo.

 

Junzo was the last survivor of the Scorpion Clan, a group of warriors who fancied themselves predators. The Scorpion had tried to unseat the emperor, and was wiped out as a result. Junzo swore revenge for his people.

 

The villain used the Black Scrolls to lead an army of undead against the people of Rokugan. The earliest samurai fought against the army to defend their lands. Thousands died from the onslaught.

 

In the final battle, a member of the Crane clan faced off with Junzo. The Crane’s name was Hoturi. The two opponents circled around each other on a battlefield that reeked of the dead.

 

Hoturi wore an intricate kimono of blue and white. His long hair was dyed white and flowed across his body. He carried a shining katana, the hilt of which was wrapped in blue cloth.

 

Junzo wore black and red samurai armor. A mask covered his face, and the helmet had a small horn extending from it.

 

Hoturi held his sword in a simple fighting stance. “You’ve tainted these lands for the last time.”

 

Junzo laughed, a demonic sound that echoed through the trees. “You have no idea what I’ve become. Do you really think you can defeat me? Cut me down, perhaps, but I can never be killed.”

 

“We will see,” Hoturi stepped forward and swung his blade upward with a lightning-quick strike. His blade sparked across the Scorpion’s armor and forced him back a step.

 

Junzo howled with rage and pounced forward, swinging his blade like a mad man, letting his anger and rage fuel each strike.

 

Hoturi slowly stepped back, parrying and dodging each blow with grace and precision.

 

Junzo snarled with rage. “Fight, damn you! Quit backing away like a woman!”

 

Hoturi spun forward while parrying the last strike. The crane slammed the end of his sword’s handle against the back of the villain’s head. Junzo groaned with annoyance and stumbled forward.

 

With a single strike, Hoturi severed the man’s head, blood thick with black puss spewing from the wound.

 

Junzo’s corpse collapsed to the ground. The body’s ichor seeped into the dirt and soil.

 

The people of Rokugan thought their danger passed with the fall of Junzo. They were wrong.

 

The blood and ichor of Junzo and his undead seeped through the ground. The Black Scroll magick still pulsed through the undead gore. Thick with puss, the blood combined beneath the ground. And Junzo’s hatred was reincarnated.

 

Less than a week later, winds howled in protest, screaming as nature itself was violated. Black tendrils erupted from the soil and stabbed into trees. Trees shriveled up and died as their bark blackened and withered away.

 

Ichor and slime seeped up from the ground and started to take shape. The slime formed gray-skinned soldiers, the first Org. Each grunt held a thick, blunt club in its slimy hands. The creatures’ bubbling eyes were like boils. Stumps grew from the centers of their heads like horns. Red traces of slime wrapped around their otherwise featureless bodies.

      

The Org spread across Rokugan like a plague. They grew stronger, and started possessing inanimate objects, shifting form to create twisted monsters. No one was safe.

 

The clans of Rokugan banded together for a final battle against the Org. The battle lasted for weeks, devastating the landscape. Flames spread across the woods as the Org continued their battles.

 

Out of an army of 6,000, only five bushido survived. They were each from separate clans: The Lion, The Buffalo, The Jaguar, The Condor, and The Shark.

 

The five were surrounded by Org grunts and a pair of monsters. The warriors stood in a circle with their backs towards each other as the villain’s circled around. The raging fires around them accentuated the gore on the soldiers’ skin.

 

Gaku narrowed his eyes. The warrior of The Condor tightened his grip on his saber. “Perhaps we will die with our land.” 

 

Takeru shook his head.  The Lion Clan bushido knitted his brow. “The battle is not over yet. This filth has defiled the empire for the last time.”

 

The Org soldiers pounced forward as one.

 

Takeru leaned in and stabbed his blade upward through a soldier, puncturing through its body like a sack of ichor and puss. The warrior pulled his blade free and spun forward, slashing the head from a second soldier. 

 

The other warriors twirled their blades, hacking through limbs and tearing apart rotted flesh. They fought bravely, the knowledge that they would die fighting fueled them and gave them strength.

 

***

 

Murasaki sat in the last temple of Rokugan along with her infant granddaughter, Tetomu. Murasaki was a shogenja, a priestess of The Crane. Her long white hair flowered over her shoulders, matching the color of her clean, gold-trimmed kimono.

 

A samurai body guard from The Wolf, Shirogane, knelt in a corner nearby.

 

Murasaki opened five scrolls and spread them across the floor in front of her. She knew the Org were born from the Black Scrolls. Only a greater or equal magick could stop the power of the Org.

 

Each scroll in front of her represented one of the five elements. She would use their power and magick to call upon the spirit of the Earth. Ancient legends told of nature giving birth to fierce beasts and warriors in times of need. She would call upon that same Power.

 

Murasaki closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. She used her magick to reach out and feel the scrolls, trace along the edges of each kanji. The kanji symbols on the scrolls started to glow with blinding light.

 

Murasaki let her mind draw into the symbols and flow down into the Earth itself.  Then panic struck her body. It felt like she was thrown into a rapid-moving stream, the pressure and waves threatening to crush her.

 

She felt the Earth’s power around her, hotter than the sun, as the river swept over her and nearly crushed her. She was not strong enough to survive the raging rapids of The Power around her. She was doomed, her mind screamed out in pain.

 

She felt a calm presence wash over her. A hand gently took her by the arm and guided her down the river. She felt kinship with him immediately. A being she would later know as Zordon.

 

Zordon guided Murasaki through The Power. Images of great, powerful beasts flashed before her minds’ eye. Born from nature itself, these beasts were covered with shining armor forged from The Power.    

 

Like all beasts born of The Power, they needed a group of warriors. Tamers, with the strength to sustain the beasts in the mortal realm.

 

***

 

The lead Org monster was a mockery of a samurai. Its body was dressed in mismatched armor and scraps from various kimonos. The creature’s eyes were blood red.

 

Takeru dueled with the villain, swinging his sword through various arcs and curves that the villain deflected. Takeru narrowed his eyes when he realized Samurai Org was toying with him.

 

“Foul demon!” Takeru cursed and chopped his blade towards the villain’s head.

 

Samurai Org grabbed the katana and snapped it in two. The Org spun forward and slammed its heel against the warrior’s chest, knocking Takeru backward. 

 

Samurai Org laughed with sick pleasure and raised his blade to strike the warrior down.

 

A lion’s roar suddenly sounded in the distance. The beast’s call created a shockwave, a powerful gust of wind that knocked the Org from their feet. 

 

Takeru and the others looked to see five giant beasts charging forward from the distance. A black-and-gold mountain lion roared with all its fury. A yellow-and-blue condor and rust-red saw shark soared across the skies. Alongside the lion, a brown buffalo and orange jaguar ran, legs pumping, stomping across the dirt.

 

Takeru’s hand felt like it was burning. He looked into his palm as a small black orb appeared with the golden symbol of the mountain lion etched inside. He felt the power and fury of the lion roar through his veins.

 

He clenched his jaw and pulled a small dagger from behind his back, narrowing his eyes at Samurai Org.

 

Samurai Org took a step back in fear, confused by the primal power in the warrior’s eye.

 

Takeru howled a war cry and pounced forward. The warrior thrashed his blade across the villain like a claw, each strike sparking across the Org’s armor and forcing the villain backward.

 

“Ha!” Takeru shouted as he stabbed his blade through the villain’s chest plate and twisted. The warrior pushed his blade in deeper, twisting the weapon back and forth, prying open the gaping wound.

 

Ichor gurgled from the villain’s mouth as he looked to the warrior in disbelief. “And you say I am the demon?”

 

“I am no demon,” Takeru said through a clenched jaw. “I am GaoLeon’s warrior…Mountain Lion! Gao Black!”

 

***

 

Murasaki swam through The Power for what seemed like months, although only a day had past. She gathered the strength of each clan and connected them to the spirit of the Earth, using nature’s power to birth more armored beasts. But even 100 of the Power Animals would not have helped. The Org’s grasp on their land was too strong.

 

***

 

The fighting raged on for months.

 

Takeru’s robes were torn and tattered. His face was caked with dirt and blood, and his dagger was stained with ichor from his opponents.

 

Cloak Org, a creature of torn rags, wrapped a tendril of cloth around the warrior’s neck and lifted him off his feet. The cloth tightened, cutting off the warrior’s breath.

 

Nearby, Gaku and the other three warriors were being beaten by Hammer Org, a creature of iron.

 

As Takeru struggled to break free from the choke hold, he looked down to see Hammer Org crash a mace against Gaku’s chest, snapping his ribs on impact. Gaku howled with pain and fell backward.

 

Takeru screamed with rage and ripped free from the cloth choke hold. He flipped downward and landed on the ground in a crouched fighting stance.

 

“Fall back!” he shouted to the others.

 

***

 

The warriors regrouped in the last temple, Anamarium, with Murasaki, her infant granddaughter, and the silent, samurai bodyguard from The Wolf clan.

 

A map was spread across the floor with various wooden figure pieces representing Rokugan’s forces. 

 

“GaoBear and GaoPolar are holding Beiden’s Pass with a group of bushido from The Crane,” she said. “The Phoenix and Dragon Clans are guarding the forests around Anamarium with the five youngest Power Animals, GaoLion, GaoBison, GaoShark, GaoTiger, and GaoEagle.

 

“The northlands are filled with the Org. GaoWolf, GaoGater, and GaoHammerHead battle in the northlands, but refuse to be tamed. Their attacks are strong, but chaotic and unfocused.”

 

Gaku cursed beneath his breath. “Then their power is useless to us.”

 

Murasaki nodded. “It is only a matter of time before they break through into Anamarium. Then they will have infested all of Rokugan.”

 

Shirogane looked up and spoke for the first time. “That cannot happen…”

 

***

 

The warriors summoned their power and focused their energy upon the last temple. A smaller island carved out of Rokugan with a blinding flash of white light. The island slowly rose to the skies, carrying with it Murasaki, her baby infant Tetomu, and five Power Animal guardians.

 

Shirogane remained below with the five Gao warriors. He knew that if he and the samurai of Rokugan failed, that island and its power would be the Earth’s last hope.

 

***

 

“Murasaki raised me on the Anamarium and told me its story every night when I was a girl,” Tetomu finished explaining. “She never went into detail about the final fate of Rokugan. I only know that the Org were stopped, but not before the civilization was completely destroyed.”

 

Simon and the others stood in silence. Simon’s mind especially was a whirlwind of questions.

 

The viewing pool suddenly started bubbling in alarm like a small fountain. The four rangers and Tetomu moved over to the pool and looked down into its rippling waters. Yellow narrowed his eyes. “They’re coming.”

 

Blue reached over and grabbed onto Simon’s arm, pulling him closer to the viewing pool. “Hey…look with us.”

 

Simon looked down into the pool and saw Turbine Org stomping around near a damn area, wreaking havoc with laser blasts and destructive gale-force winds.

 

“If we do not stop them, they will destroy your world,” Tetomu said. “All life will be extinct.”

 

The pool showed the Org stomp closer to the damn as citizens ran in panic. White shook her head with concern. “If he destroys the damn…that whole part of the city will be wiped out.”

 

Blue nodded. “Well…then we don’t have any time to stand around talking, right Black?”

 

Black nodded, a fierce look of determination in the older teen’s eyes.

 

Tetomu handed Simon a small rectangular device. “This is your G-Phone. GaoLion’s power is in here,” she said.

 

He stared at the device for a moment before looking up at Tetomu, a puzzled expression on his face. “What?”

 

“All right,” Yellow said, not taking any time for explanations. “Let’s go.”

 

The rangers started running towards the cave’s exit, but Simon lingered behind.

 

“Come on!” Blue said grabbing Simon’s arm and dragging the other teen off. Tetomu grinned with delight, happy that the Gao Ranger team was finally complete.

 

***

 

People were scurrying across the bridge, running for their lives as Turbine Org watched from the damn above. The monster laughed while looking down at the civilians.

 

“You can’t escape!” the monster yelled as it fired up its turbines and blasted the people below with a powerful wind force, injuring many and causing a lot of damage. Debris scattered everywhere as gas mains exploded and dust blew through the air.

 

Plug Org walked among the panicking civilians, laughing with amusement. “Just like mice…”

 

The Plug Org launched a jagged electric blast that exploded against the pavement. He turned towards another group of people and fired a second electric blast.

 

The teens arrived at the scene and looked over a walkway as the carnage continued to spread.

 

Simon leaned against the railing as he watched people and animals scurry away. He wrinkled his brow with concern. “Everyone’s afraid.”

 

Simon looked down at the G-hone he held in his palm and remembered what Tetomu had told him. GaoLion’s power is in here…

 

The teen’s mind flashed back. Back to something Tommy had told him a long time ago. We don’t fight because we want to. We fight because we have to. We have the power, and it’s our responsibility to use it.

 

Simon turned to face the others. “Do I really have the power to fight them?” he asked. They didn’t answer. “Tell me!”

 

“Yes,” White said. “You can do it.”

 

“If GaoLion’s eye was right,” Yellow said reluctantly. “But it will be difficult.”

 

Simon shook his head. “I can’t just stand by and watch when these people need help.”

 

Yellow narrowed his eyes at Simon, still sizing up the teen. Black and White nodded with determination as Blue smiled.

 

“Do what we do,” White said to Simon as she readied her G-Phone.

 

Simon nodded as he readied his own red-trimmed golden morpher.

 

White and the other three rangers with their right hands flipped open their morphers and swung the devises over to the left sides of their head’s. They held their right hand up by the morphers’ activation panels.

 

“Wild Access!” they shouted.

 

Simon followed their movements. “Wild Access.”

 

The four rangers pressed their morphers’ activation panels as the G-Phones shimmered with golden energy.

 

“Ha!” they shouted while holding the morphers back by the right sides of their heads and extending their left hands.

 

“Ha!” Simon shouted, following their moves.

 

Energy shimmered around the five as they transformed into their Ranger forms. Their armor flashed into existence as their helmets wrapped around their heads.

 

“Let’s go!” Gao Yellow shouted as he readied his wings and flew up towards the dam.

 

Turbine turned to face the Ranger, watching as Gao Yellow swooped down horizontally through the air.

 

“Gao Dagger!” Gao Yellow shouted while drawing his golden-hilted dagger, flying past Turbine Org and slashing the monster across its chest armor.

 

Gao Yellow twisted through midair and slammed his feet against a nearby wall. He pushed off the wall and leapt back towards Turbine Org, swooping down while diagonally striking Turbine Org across its armor. Turbine Org went stumbling backward as the strike exploded against his chest.

 

Gao Yellow landed back on the damn and snapped into a fighting stance. “Gao Eagle’s warrior…Noble Eagle! Gao Yellow!”

 

Turbine rose to his feet just as Gao Blue leapt through the air, bringing his hands together like the jaws of a shark and clawing the monster, sparking against its armor. The Ranger thrashed horizontally across the creature and elbowed it in the center of its body before kicking off the Org, back flipping, and landing in a fighting stance.

 

“Gao Shark’s warrior…Surging Shark! Gao Blue!” he shouted.

 

Down below, in a grassy field lined with trees, Gao Black was pushing the Plug monster forward, forcing the Org backwards step by step. The Ranger released Plug Org while hook punching him in the face. The monster flew backwards and crashed through a tree, splintering bark in every direction.

 

Gao Black snapped into a fighting stance. “Gao Bison’s warrior…Iron Bison! Gao Black!”

 

Plug Org rose to his feet as Gao White spun down towards the monster. The Ranger thrashed across Plug Org’s face with golden claws repeatedly, causing the monster to stumble backwards.

 

Gao White back flipped away from the Org and landed in a fighting stance. “Gao Tiger’s warrior…Belle Tiger, Gao White!”

 

Gao Red screamed a war cry while charging towards Pug Org. He twisted past the Org while swiping its legs off the ground, causing the monster to crash against the grass.

 

Gao Red snapped into a fighting stance. “Gao Lion’s warrior…Blazing Lion! Gao Red!”

 

Gao Red, Gao Black, and Gao White each assumed an animal-like pose while surrounding Plug Org and preparing to strike. They sprung towards the monster in unison, without warning. They each thrashed the creature with golden claws and followed by grabbing hold of the Org, trying to rip its armor apart.

 

The Rangers dug their claws in deep, wedging beneath armor and piercing through rotted flesh that seeped with black puss.

 

Plug Org fired an electric charge that exploded against the three Rangers and blasted them backwards.

 

The battle with Turbine Org had moved down to the ground as well. Turbine blasted a burst of air that knocked Gao Blue and Gao Yellow away, sending them flying backward. They twisted while in midair and pushed off a tree, leaping back towards Turbine with their daggers at the ready.

 

The two Rangers landed while slicing the monster downward diagonally, causing the Org to stumble backwards. Gao Blue and Gao Yellow sprang back towards the monster, bringing their daggers downward, but Turbine caught the blades and held them at bay.

 

Plug Org suddenly approached Gao Blue and Gao Yellow from behind.

 

“Leave him alone!” the Org shouted as he fired an electric tractor beam, using it to drag the two Rangers into his hand. He then overloaded them with his electrical energy, causing explosions to rip across their armor, and tossed them away.

 

Gao Blue and Gao Yellow rolled across the ground and rolled to their knees as the other three joined them.

 

Gao Blue and Gao Yellow rose from the ground, regrouping with their team as the two Orgs joined hands and blasted the Rangers with a combined energy bolt. The blast exploded against the Rangers’ armor with massive bursts of sparks and sent them tumbling backward.

 

Gao Red slowly climbed back to his feet as the lion symbol on his chest started to glow. He sensed GaoLion’s thoughts. He sensed the beast’s calling.

 

“Guys,” Red said. “Listen…”

 

“We don’t have time to listen to you!” Gao Yellow shouted as he ran towards the monster.

 

Gao Red held out his arm to stop Gao Yellow.

 

“GaoLion is calling me,” Gao Red said as the others stopped to listen. “Our methods are too scattered…if the five of us work together, we’ll be stronger.”

 

The others slowly nodded in agreement as they lined up and called for their weapons.

 

“Lion Fang!” Gao Red shouted as the weapon wrapped around his right hand.

 

“Bison Axe!” Gao Black shouted as his small axe appeared.

 

“Shark Blades!” Gao Blue shouted, summoning his arm blades.

 

“Eagle Sword!” Gao Yellow shouted while summoning her intricate golden sword.

 

“Tiger Baton!” Gao White shouted, summoning her short staff.

 

Together, they formed a larger bladed weapon that Gao Red held in his hand.

 

“Gao Blade!” they shouted as the blade energized.

 

See ya!” Gao Red shouted at the monster.

 

“Savage Slash!” they shouted, swinging the energized blade down and chopping  through Plug Org, ripping apart its rotted body. The creature’s energy overloaded and exploded, producing a shockwave that sent Turbine Org flying out of sight.

 

Gao Red lowered the blade, staring with amazement at the creature’s remains, a pool of puss and slime that bubbled on the ground. “We did it…we actually did it…Yes!”

 

***

 

Turbine Org was still alive and limping across a bride. The monster looked up and saw two strange figures in the distance, shimmering in the heat like an illusion.

 

“Who?” Turbine asked, tilting his armored head.

 

The two figures vanished and suddenly reappeared around Turbine Org. The woman was dressed in black and dark purple, and had a single red horn extending from her dome helmet. The bottom half of her face was covered with a veil. The male was dressed in white and purple, and had a white horn extending from his head.

 

“Single horned people!” Turbine shouted.

 

“Yes,” the woman, Toxica said with an evil grin spread across her veiled face. “A horn is the sign of an Org’s power.”

 

“Who are you?” Turbine asked.

 

“We are the Dukes of Org,” the male, Jindrax replied.

 

Toxica inclined her head with pride. “We are the ones who obeys the Org Master…He is the god of all Orgs.”

 

Turbine Org stared in confusion Toxica pointed her staff towards him.

 

***

 

The Rangers stood on top of the damn, searching around for any sign of Turbine Org. Gao Red shook his head. “I can’t see anything….but I have a bad feeling.”

 

Suddenly, behind them, Turbine Org rose giant. The Rangers turned to face the Org and took a step back in shock.

 

Turbine Org swung its massive fists, collapsing a nearby damn tower as rubble fell down around the Rangers. The team dove for cover as debris continued to slam down around them.

 

“He’s too big!” Gao Yellow said. “We can’t possibly defeat him.”

 

“Oh yes we can!” Gao Red shouted as he pulled his Gao Dagger and leapt towards the creature. Turbine Org used its giant hand to swat Gao Red away like a fly.

 

The Rangers helped Gao Red to his feet, as his dagger began to glow. The Rangers’ gems suddenly appeared in their hands with a flash of light and began to glow too.

 

Back at the sky island, even the crystal Tetomu wore on her necklace started to glow. “Everyone…place your gems into your blades.”

 

The Rangers placed their gems into the hilts of their daggers, and the blades began to glow. The daggers started to emit an enchanting melody as the Rangers slowly extended the weapons towards the sky.

 

On the island, the Power Animals heard the sound and started to run towards the Earth on a bridge of light before landing on the ground.

 

“They’ll fight for us!” Gao Blue shouted.

 

“Yes! GaoLion!” Gao Red yelled as the lion roared.

 

GaoLion pounced on top of the creature his claws across the villain’s armor, snapping through armor plating with bursts of spark. Turbine quickly smashed the back of its fist across GaoLion, knocking the zord away.

 

“GaoShark!” Gao Blue yelled as the shark swam through the air.

 

GaoShark bit down hard on Turbine Org’s arm. The shark’s fangs pierced through armor and bit down hard into the twisted, dead muscle tissue. Turbine Org growled with pain and swatted the shark away.

 

“GaoBison!” Gao Black shouted as his zord stomped forward. GaoBison rammed its horns against the creature, knocking it backward.

 

“GaoEagle!” Gao Yellow shouted as the massive eagle zord soared down from the skies, its wings shining in the sun. The zord flapped its wings and fired a volley of golden energy blasts that tore through the air like meteors before exploding against Turbine Org.

 

“GaoTiger!” Tiger flipped through the air while clawing the monster.

 

The Power Animals joined the Rangers on top of the damn, as the Rangers snapped into fighting stances.

 

“Wild Task Force…Gao Ranger!” they shouted in unison.

 

Turbine growled as he ran towards the group. The Rangers pointed their daggers forward and the Power Animals opened their jaws. Combined, they fired massive energy pulses that stabbed through the air and shot towards the villain.

 

The blasts tore through Turbine Org, causing the creature to explode as fiery energy vaporized his flesh and bone.

 

The Rangers stood triumphantly, the power of their animals rushing through their veins.

 

To be continued…Chapter Two