Ultimate Gao Rangers: Chapter Three

Noble Eagle Vanishes

 

The bulky, crimson-skinned Org Monarch stepped forth from the shadows within the Org Nexus. He had a large eye in the center of his body, and smaller eyes ran along his arms and fingers. He carried a small axe in his right hand.

 

His leathery body was covered with thick slime that seemed to move as if alive.

 

“I am Shuten’ of Org,” he said.

 

The dukes inclined their heads. “Highness Duke Shuten’…”

 

The Monarch walked past his charges and looked over the various stone faces and sculptures in the Nexus. Toxica fearfully walked over to her new master. “We’ve been having some trouble with the Gao Ranger…”

 

Jindrax nodded in agreement, keeping partially hidden behind Toxica. “They are getting quite annoying…”

 

The Highness Duke waved them silent, dismissing their concerns. “I am a Monarch…”

 

Shuten’ turned to the gaping stone mouth of Master Org. Light started to burn within the stone jaws.

 

***

 

The night sky shrouded Angel Grove. Eerie streaks of mist crept over the streets and around corners. The mist was an Org spirit, and the spirit was looking for a home.

 

The mist passed across the front of a camera shop. The mist penetrated the glass display and entered one of the digital cameras for sale. It hissed as the mist settled into the camera. Two small horns sprouted from the camera’s casing.

 

***

 

Eleven-year-old Sam walked down the city streets with his head hung low. He was fiddling with a broken camera strapped around his neck. The lens was broken. He was out of luck.

 

He sighed while running his fingers along the lens’ cracks. “This stupid thing is useless…I’ll never win now…”

 

Sam pulled a small flier from his pocket. The flier was for a photography contest being sponsored by the local school district. The camera around his neck had been a recent birthday gift, and he had fully intended to use it in the contest.

 

The boy passed by a camera shop with several models on display. They seemed to taunt him with prices as high as the thousands. Sam leaned forward and placed his hand on the glass. “Technology would be great if it wasn’t so expensive…”

 

A smaller digital camera off to the side caught his eye. It looked awkward, sporting two horns, but it was unbelievably cheap. Cheap and affordable. Sam opened his eyes wide with shock.

 

“Yes,” he said to himself as he entered the store to buy the camera. He was unaware of the evil locked inside.

 

***

 

Gao Rock was hidden in city parkland. An amusement park was nearby, with blinking lights and music filling the air. But the rangers in Gao Rock were oblivious to the sights and sounds of fun nearby. They had their minds on other matters.

 

Four of the rangers stood in a line as Simon passed out paper packets to them. “I printed this out last night,” he said. “I thought we should look it over together at least once…”

 

Yellow raised an eyebrow with disbelief after reading the title page. “A rule book? You expect us to read a rule book? Have you lost it?”

 

“No…” Simon answered. “Blue, you read the first one.”

 

Blue flipped over the title page and looked over the first page. He started reading. “A workout schedule?” he shrugged. “We work out enough already…don’t we, Black?”

 

Black nodded. “It shouldn’t be a problem.”

 

Simon smiled, then flipped the page to his manual. “Yellow…you read the second one.”

 

Yellow looked disgusted as he reluctantly flipped his page. He wrinkled his brow with disbelief as he read the second rule.

 

“Yellow?” Simon said.

 

Yellow shook his head. “ ‘Never fight alone’? You have lost it…”

 

“No,” Simon said. “The Org are dangerous. They could kill any one of us individually. We have to work together…this has to be a carefully planned and thought out war.”

 

Yellow snorted with disbelief and tossed the manual at Simon. He turned and stormed out of the chamber. White followed him, showing concern for her teammate and friend.

 

White caught up with Yellow near the entrance to Gao Rock. “Yellow…Yellow!”

 

She caught up with him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “What are you doing? Red’s our leader now…you have to accept that. We have to be patient with him.”

 

Yellow shrugged her hand off and started to walk away. “I really don’t…”

 

***

 

Yellow walked through the streets with his fists clenched. Never work alone? What is that kid thinking?

 

Yellow was not used to working on a team. He was even less used to taking orders from others. It was his defiance for authority that had landed him in a military school instead of a public high school. The ranger’s mind flashed back…

 

Ryan was 15-years-old when he started school at the Winston Military Academy in Stone Canyon. He shared a dorm room with five other boys, each of whom started to socialize and get to know each other immediately. Ryan preferred to be left alone.

 

He woke up on his first morning at the academy. He stood in front of the mirror and straightened his tie as the other boys joked and goofed around in the background. They still weren’t in uniform.

 

One of the other teens, Thompson, looked in Ryan’s direction. “It’s bad enough you won’t talk to us, freak show…but now you’re trying to act better than us?”

 

Ryan paid them little attention and worked on adjusting his tie. “I’m putting on a tie. It’s not my fault you apes can’t dress yourself.”

 

“Hey!” Thompson narrowed his eyes and walked over to Ryan’s back. He grabbed Ryan by the shoulder and whipped him around. “You better learn some respect, freak show…or I’ll mess up that pretty face of yours.”

 

Ryan grabbed Thompson’s wrist and twisted. The bully cringed while being forced back. Ryan snapped a sidekick that slammed against the bully’s chest. Thompson was knocked backward on impact, and tumbled over a nearby bed.

 

“You punk!” one of the other boys shouted as he led three friends forward in a charge.

 

One of the boys lunged towards Ryan with both hands stretched out. Ryan sidestepped and swung his backfist across the boy’s face, cracking the bully’s jaw.

 

Ryan leapt forward before the second boy could attack. He slammed a jump kick upside the bully’s head. The bully’s body snapped backward and he crashed to the ground.

 

The third boy grabbed a wooden chair, snuck in behind Ryan, and swung the chair forward. The chair splintered against Ryan’s back, bringing the boy down to his knees. The bully kicked Ryan in the gut while he was down.

 

The dorm room’s doors swung open and their sergeant walked in, his face red with anger. “What the hell are you boys doing?!”

 

***

 

Ryan stood partially at attention in the sergeant’s office. The older man paced back and forth while glaring at the teen. “You’re not in school anymore, kid. You hear me? That temper of yours may have gotten you in here, but it will not be tolerated here. Not when it’s misguided, that is…”

 

Ryan stared ahead blankly, not intimidated by the sergeant. “They started it. I wasn’t about to let them-”

 

“Spare me,” the sergeant said. “I’m familiar with your track record, cadet. Seems like people are always ‘starting it’ with you. I haven’t seen so many suspensions on one record since the Pacers. Maybe you need a little attitude adjustment. And a little discipline…You can start by working the mess hall, every morning and every night. When you’re not working, you will belong to me. My every word will be your every command. Do we understand each other.”

 

Ryan looked the sergeant straight into the eye. “No we don’t. A soldier shouldn’t follow orders blindly from someone they don’t know…especially from those who give orders just because they can.”

 

The sergeant smacked the back of his hand across Ryan’s face.

 

***

 

Sam wandered past a city plaza and fiddled with his new horned camera. He was walking through a wooded park where people often went to picnic. It was the perfect place for photo opportunities.

 

A young coupled nestled up next to each other while sitting on top of a large rock. The rock looked out upon a crystal-clear pond with ducks swimming across the water. It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up.

 

Sam raised his camera and zoomed in. He snapped a picture just as their lips were about to touch. The young man heard the camera’s click and snapped his head around to face Sam. The man was not happy.

 

“Hey! You little pervert!” the man shouted as he rose to his feet, as if to chase after Sam.

 

“Uh oh!” Sam shouted. He turned and ran away as fast as he could.

 

The man decided to give up pursuit. Instead, he turned to face his girlfriend. He sighed in frustration. “God…kids these days. Right, Be-”

 

He gasped when he saw it. His girlfriend was slowly fading from sight. Her eyes opened wide in horror as she watched the same thing happen to her lover. She screamed and ran towards him. They extended their arms and embraced each other. They could feel each other’s touch. But they were invisible.

 

***

 

Ryan was running through the park nearby. His yellow-trimmed jacket was tied around his waist. He heard the woman’s scream and immediately stopped in his tracks. He looked to his right and ran towards the woman’s direction.

 

Ryan raced down a hill towards the pond were the young couple had disappeared from.

 

“Help!” he heard a voice shout near him. “My body! Oh god, what happened?!”

 

Ryan wrinkled his brow with confusion. “Is somebody there?”

 

Ryan noticed footprints in the grass near him. An unseen pair of hands grasped at his collar. “What the-”

 

The ranger tripped backward and landed on a small patch of dirt. A cloud of dirt kicked up and outlined the invisible couple standing in front of him.

 

“Help us, please!” the woman pleaded.

 

Ryan narrowed his eyes in disbelief. “What happened to you…?”

 

The man tightened his grip on Ryan’s collar. “How the hell should we know! Some kid with a weird camera took our pic…and then this…happened!”

 

***

 

Simon and White, along with the other two rangers, were standing in Gao Rock when their morphers beeped. White flipped open her G Phone and activated its communication function. It was Ryan.

 

“This is Yellow. There are two invisible people in the park. Get over here now,” he said over the G-Phone.

 

White wrinkled her brow. “What is that supposed to mean?”

 

Simon snatched the phone from her. “Yellow…don’t act alone. Remember the-”

 

Ryan hung up.

 

“He is so unforgiven,” Simon said as he handed the phone back to White. He turned and started running towards the exit.

 

“Red!” White shouted after him. “What are you doing?”

 

“Going after Yellow,” Simon said over his shoulder as he ran out.

 

Blue slapped a hand on Black’s shoulder. “Let’s follow, Black.”

 

Blue and Black followed at Simon’s heels. White was not far behind.

 

***

 

Sam walked through a plaza area to look for his next photo opportunity. Parents and kids were throwing pennies into a nearby fountain. A group of skateboarders were hanging out at a nearby corner. But was really caught his eye was the group of school girls walking by. One of them in particular was a knock out, and a friend of his.

 

“Julia!” Sam called to her. He jogged over to Julia with a smile on his face and horned-camera in hand.

 

She turned and smiled at him. The site made his heart melt. Sam took her by surprise with a quick picture.

 

Julia giggled. “What was that for?”

 

A sheepish grin spread across Sam’s face. “There’s this photo contest I want to win. I could use someone to pose for a few shots…if you’re interested that is…”

 

She shrugged. “Okay, sure.”

 

Sam blushed and started to take her picture again. He looked through his lens, and suddenly, Julia started to vanish. She screamed as she noticed her own body fade from sight.

 

“Julia!” Sam shouted as he dropped his camera and ran to where she had stood.

 

The fallen camera burned with white and blue light as it grew human sized, sprouting arms and legs in the process. It transformed into the Camera Org.

 

Sam took a step back in fear, tripped on his own feet, and fell to the ground. “Who the…what the…”

 

Camera Org laughed. The creature took pleasure in the young boy’s fear. “Ahhh…don’t be scared,” he said mockingly. “Now…if you ever want to see your cute little friend again, you’ll do what I say.”

 

Sam stammered and nodded. “D-…okay. Just don’t hurt her.”

 

“Excellent,” Camera Org said as he leaned down and lifted the boy up by the shoulders. “By the way…you take wonderful pictures.”

 

***

 

Nurses and doctors scurried frantically around the hospital. Invisible people were being dragged in by the dozen. After getting past their initial shock, doctors started monitoring the invisible people’s vital signs. They were dying.

 

Simon and the other rangers, except for Ryan, were at the hospital too. They were helping bring the injured in and trying to figure out what their connection was to the Org.

 

“Red!” Blue called as he dragged an invisible person in. “I found the last one.”

 

Blue set her invisible form down gently on the bed. Afterwards, the four rangers gathered in the hallway outside the hospital room.

 

Simon looked to his team. “We have to find whatever Org is responsible for this…we better get going.”

 

***

 

Ryan entered the air force right out of school. Flying let him rise above the cities and towns that bore all his problems. Flying let him live without corruption and cruelty around every turn.

 

His parents couldn’t have cared less about his decision to join. They were just happy Ryan, the son they never asked for or wanted, would be out of their hair.

 

Ryan tightened his grip on his pilot yolk as his objective approached.

 

An ace pilot, Ryan was given a mission earlier than most his age. He was flying over the skies above the Middle East, on route to a training facility of enemy troops. His fighter flew in the right slot of a four-fighter diamond formation. The flight was ordered to bomb the facility, and eliminate any air support in the area.

 

The Russians had secretly given the enemy group war planes and other weapons.

 

The flight commander’s voice came over Ryan’s comm system. “Freedom One to group, I’m picking up three bogies dead ahead. Freedom Two, form on my wing to engage the fighters. Freedom Three, lead Freedom Four on a strafing run against the base.”

 

Ryan, his call sign Freedom Four, pushed his yolk down and blasted his afterburners. The jet took a nose dive and rolled to starboard while moving in towards the enemy base.

 

Ryan narrowed his eyes as sensor data displayed on his fighter’s radar. “This isn’t a base…it’s a town…”

 

“Cut the chatter,” Freedom Three said. “Target the main structure.”

 

Ryan shook his head. He had seen intelligence picture of the facility they were supposed to target. The town above did not come even close. “No. Something’s wrong. We need to fall back.”

 

“Negative,” Freedom Three said.

 

Ryan mumbled under his breath and opened his throttle to full. His jet swooped down towards the town, screeching through the air and alerting everyone below. Men, women, and children scattered as the craft flew dangerously close to the rooftops.

 

“What the hell are you doing!” Freedom Three shouted.

 

“Warning them,” Ryan said. “Do you really think those kids are the enemy back there.”

 

Freedom Three locked a missile onto one of the town buildings and fired.

 

Ryan flew his jet perpendicular to the missile’s course and fired a trio of counter-measure flares. The missile exploded against the flares, raining shrapnel below.

 

“Damn it Four!” Freedom Three shouted. He fired another missile at the town.

 

Ryan never had time to line up for another deflection. He reacted without thinking. He lined his jet dead straight towards the missile and ejected. He blasted out of his cockpit as the missile exploded against his plane, consuming the craft in a ball of fire. 

 

***

 

Ryan moved across an elevated walkway that passed over the street below. He narrowed his eyes and looked over the area around him. Whatever caused the people to turn invisible had to still be near, he thought.

 

He looked forward and saw Sam approaching. The boy looked frightened. He clutched onto a strange horned camera as if it was a vile of poison.

 

Ryan approached the boy. “Hey…could I see your camera for a minute?”

 

Sam opened his eyes wide with fear and took a step back. He hesitated before he turned and broke into a sprint. Ryan screamed for the boy to wait as he ran after Sam.

 

Sam turned and ran towards an area blocked by an old chain-linked fence. He panicked when he realized he was cornered, and tried to shake the fence. He hoped to find an opening that would let him move to safety.

 

“Stop!” Ryan shouted as he hoped down into the area. “There’s no reason to freak out, kid.”

 

The Org spoke into the boy’s head. “Him! take a picture of him!”

 

Sam hesitated and raised the camera to his eyes. His finger hovered over the camera button. If he pressed it, another person would disappear. Someone else would vanish from sight. Just like Julia had.

 

Ryan took a cautious step forward. “Why did you run?”

 

The camera Org screamed into Sam’s mind. “Do you ever want to see Julia again? Take his picture!”

 

“I-” Sam shook his head and threw the camera aside. “I can’t!”

 

“Ouch!” the camera shouted as it reverted back to its monster Org form. Ryan snapped into a fighting stance as Sam ran for cover. “You stupid kid!”

 

Ryan flipped open his golden morpher.

   

“Wild Access!” Ryan shouted and pressed his morpher’s activation key. He thrust his arm forward and pulled the morpher back. “Ha!”

 

Yellow energy flashed around him as he morphed into his suit of armor. His helmet wrapped around his head and his visor snapped shut.

 

Gao Yellow snapped into a quick bird-like fighting stance while spreading the wings beneath his arms. He crossed his legs, bent, and pushed forward to leap through the air towards Camera Org.

 

“Eagle Sword!” he shouted while arming his blade and swinging the weapon down towards the Org’s head. Sam, who was hiding around a corner, opened his eyes wide with amazement at the sight.

 

A jagged dagger came out of nowhere and blocked Gao Yellow’s blow. An identical dagger spun in its holder’s grip before thrashing across the Ranger’s chest with a burst of spark. Gao Yellow fell backward and rolled back into a crouched fighting stance. He looked up to see Jindrax standing with a blade in each hand. Toxica was with him.

 

Toxica smiled and looked down at the fallen Ranger. “You will die in the name of Lord Shuten’.”

 

Gao Yellow rose to his feet. “Lord who…?”

 

Jindrax swung his blades forward and fired blue energy daggers that streaked through the air. Gao Yellow jumped to dodge them, but a trio of the energy blasts exploded against his chest with bursts of spark and sent him crashing backwards. Even through his armor, the blasts bruised his ribs and knocked the wind from him. 

 

Gao Yellow quickly rose to his feet and pounced forward to attack. He swung his blade down towards the duke Org’s head. Jindrax parried the blow and dashed forward while thrashing Gao Yellow across the chest. Jindrax turned and struck against with a pair of diagonal strikes that cut against the Yellow Ranger’s armor with bursts of spark.

 

The duke Org spun forward, thrashing against Gao Yellow’s chest with a series of repeated horizontal strikes, each blow sparking against the Ranger‘s armor upon impact. The Ranger fell backward and tumbled across the pavement.

 

Jindrax laughed in a high-pitched raspy voice. “Wouldn’t he make a nice picture?”

 

Toxica moved her palm across Camera Org’s button and pressed down. The Org’s shutter snapped and took a picture of the Yellow Ranger.

 

“Got him,” Camera Org said.

 

Sam watched in horror as Gao Yellow started to turn transparent.

 

Toxica smiled with pleasure as she draped her arm across the Camera Org’s back to lead it away. “Come…I will take you to Highness Duke Shuten’.”

 

The three Org teleported away with a flash of purple energy as Simon and the other rangers ran to the scene. They spotted Gao Yellow. His armor vanished and his skin started disappearing as well.

 

“Yellow!” Simon shouted as they ran over to him. But it was too late. Ryan was gone.

 

***

 

Toxica and Jindrax brought the Org into the Nexus, the place where Org were born. The young Camera Org looked around the cavern with curiosity and sensed the power within the walls. 

 

“Highness Duke Shuten’,” Toxica said as she walked towards her master. “Gao Yellow has fallen as a victim.”

 

Camera Org grunted with satisfaction. “The Ranger’s life energy is being drained.”

 

“Glorious,” Shuten’ said as he extended his hand. The Highness Duke’s palm pulsed with red energy as a cord and switched grew from Camera Org. The switch fit into the Org’s hand. “For your reward, this will allow you to take your own shots. Now go back to the city.”

 

The monster bowed and stepped backwards before teleporting away.

 

***

 

Ryan, still invisible, keeled over in pain on the stone floor of Gao Rock. Tetomu gently draped a blanket over his form as he started to shiver.

 

White shook her head with concern. She and the other rangers were standing around Ryan. “Is there anything we can do to turn him back to normal?”

 

Tetomu, her face full of sorrow, looked up to White’s eyes. “His life energy is being drained. It won’t stop until…”

 

“No!” Ryan shouted as he shoved Tetomu away. He pushed past Black and Blue and started moving towards the exit. “I’ll find that Camera Org and stop him.”

 

“You can’t!” White shouted after him.

 

Ryan stopped and turned to face his friends. A thin layer of mist let them see partial outlines of his determined and suffering face. “I have to…”

 

Ryan collapsed and gasped in pain. Simon ran to Ryan’s side and bent down, placing a hand on his teammates shoulder. “No…I’ll get him, Yellow. I’ll get your energy back for you. Just wait…”

 

Simon ran off from Gao Rock.

 

***

 

People were running in panic on the streets. They screamed as they fled from their attacker. Simon ran against the crowd, bumping against shoulders, as he moved closer to his target. “Come on…where’s that Org…”

 

He skid to a stop when he saw the Camera Org ahead. “Stop it, Org!”

 

“Ah,” Camera Org said as he tapped his activating switch against his right palm. “So you did come, Gao Ranger.”

 

Simon snapped into a fighting stance, one Tommy had taught him, in what seemed like another lifetime. “What have you done to all those people? To Yellow?”

 

“I’ll show you,” Camera Org said as he projecting a holographic screen. The screen showed different images of all the Org’s victims. “When I capture their images, I capture their life force. That energy feeds me.”

 

Simon glared at the monster, sickened by the Org’s cruelty.

 

***

 

Sam moved past the frantic crowd in the hospital. He knew Julia was somewhere, in one of the rooms. “Julia! Julia it’s me! Where are you?”

 

“Sam…” he heard a weak voice call out.

 

Sam turned into one of the hospital rooms. He saw three monitors stuck on an invisible body. It was Julia, and her breathing was shallow and weak. He placed his hand over hers. “Julia…”

 

***

 

Camera Org finished cycling through his images and squared off with Simon. “And now, it’s time to add your cute little profile to my collection!”

 

The monster squeezed his trigger, but Simon ducked and rolled out of sight before the shutter snapped. The teen ducked behind a nearby rock for cover. Camera Org snapped another picture that made the rock vanish.

 

Simon rose to his feet. “That is so weak,” he said as he started to sprint away. He leapt through a line of trees and moved towards a fence that wrapped around a factory area. Camera Org was in hot pursuit as Simon leapt onto the chain-link fence and started climbing over it.

 

Simon flipped to the other side of the fence and quickly ran into a warehouse. He took cover behind a tall pile of crates and boxes as Camera Org stepped inside.

 

“I love hide and seek,” the Org said mockingly.

 

Simon’s mind flashed back to Yellow and the look of pain on his face. He remembered telling Yellow that he would save him. That he would stop the Org.

 

Camera Org snapped a picture that made the crates disappear. Simon rose to his feet and backed away from the creature before rolling for cover behind another stack of crates. Camera Org snapped his shutter, and made those crates disappear as well.

 

Simon ran and ducked behind a fork lift. He rolled his hands into fists as his thoughts drifted back to his teammate. “Yellow…just hold on…”

 

Simon snapped to his feet and stepped forward to face the Org. “Okay you Polaroid reject…you want me…I’m all yours.”

 

Just outside the warehouse door, Gao Blue, Gao Black, and Gao White ran to the scene. They turned to see Camera Org stalk towards Simon, ready to take his picture.

 

“Red!” Gao White shouted.

 

Laughter came from in front of the Rangers. They turned to see Jindrax and Toxica standing outside with an army of Aurgetto, or as Blue had started calling them, Putrids.

 

“How touching,” Toxica said mockingly. “You’re all here to help your friend…”

 

Jindrax laughed. “I think I may cry.”

 

The grunts charged forward and slammed against the three Rangers with giant clubs.

 

Inside, Simon stood still as the Camera Org fingered his switch. “Locked on…” the Org said quickly as he focused in on Simon’s face. Simon narrowed his eyes and rolled his hands into fists. He heard the others calling his name, but ignored them. He had to time things just right.

 

Camera Org pulled his hand back and prepared to strike the activation switch. Simon pounced forward and kicked a nearby crate as hard as he could. The crate arced through the air and slammed against a pile of boxes and crates on a shelf above ground. The crates and boxes fell, smashing against the Org and distracting him while Simon charged forward.

 

Simon leapt through the air and pulled out his morpher. “Wild Access! Ha!”

 

He transformed into his armor with a burst of red energy and slammed a double jump kick against the Org. His momentum kept him going forward, so Simon followed with another pair of double jump kicks that slammed against the Org, denting the creature‘s armor. The Org fell backwards, crashing against the ground as his film case popped open. The film cartridge was rattled out on impact.

 

Gao Red rolled across the ground and grabbed the cartridge. He leapt like a lion outside of the warehouse and pulled the negative strip from the film. He held the negatives up towards the air, and the images were released in bursts of blue energy.

 

***

 

Ryan curled up with a blanket on Gao Rock. His invisible body shivered with pain. Tetomu leaned over him, placing her hands on his shoulders. He was her first ranger. Her first friend in the strange world she woke up to. She could not lose him.

 

A burst of yellow energy streaked into the chamber and splashed over Ryan, returning his life force and visibility. Ryan smiled, not even trying to hide his surprise or relief. “He did it…”

 

***

 

Julia’s visibility returned, and Sam immediately wrapped his arms around her. “Julia! Thank god!” he would have died if she had been hurt. It would have all been his fault.

 

***

 

Gao Red stood besides his three teammates, each snapping into animal-like fighting stances as Camera Org regrouped with Toxica and Jindrax.

 

“Camera Org,” Jindrax said as he pulled an empty film cartridge from behind his back. He handed the monster film. “Reload. And take a nice group shot of our colorful friends.”

 

Camera Org stalked slowly towards the Rangers. He lined them up in his lens, his hand hovering over the shutter button. “Smile!”

 

“Ha!” a voice screamed suddenly from the air. It was Gao Yellow. The Ranger used his arm gliders to swoop down towards Camera Org. He pulled his Gao Dagger and slashed the monster’s lens, shattering the device with a sparking explosion.

 

Gao Yellow somersaulted through the air and landed, moving through a quick back flip to regroup with the others. He snapped into a bird-like fighting stance while the others gathered around him, relieved that their teammate was alright.

 

“Yellow!” Gao Red shouted with relief.

 

Gao Yellow playfully slapped Gao Red on the chest. “Looks like you broke your own rule. About not operating alone.”

 

Gao Red sheepishly placed his hand behind his helmet, not used to Gao Yellow kidding around. “Well…I guess I got a little carried away.”

 

Camera Org growled in annoyance, shattered glass from the lens at his feet. The Rangers snapped into their individual fighting stances and called out their names.

 

“Blazing Lion! Gao Red!”

 

“Iron Bison! Gao Black!”

 

“Surging Shark! Gao Blue!”

 

“Noble Eagle! Gao Yellow!”

 

“Belle Tiger! Gao White!”

 

“Guardians of the Earth,” Gao Red called, “united we roar! Wild Task Force…”

 

“Gao Ranger!” the five shouted in unison.

 

“Get them!” Toxica shouted.

 

Camera Org and Gao Yellow charged towards each other.

 

“Eagle Sword!” Gao Yellow armed his golden sword and somersaulted forward through the air. He swung his blade down diagonally while landing, thrashing the monster across the chest. He spun forward with a horizontal blow that sparked across the monster’s armor. The golden sword sliced through Org armor, tearing through rotted flesh and dirtying the blade with black slime and scraps of undead flesh.

 

Gao Yellow turned and swung his sword down towards the Org for another strike, but the monster grabbed the blade. Camera Org twisted the saber to the side and slammed a series of round kicks against Gao Yellow’s chest, each kick sparking against the Ranger’s armor.

 

Camera Org lunged forward, grabbed Gao Yellow in a choke hold, and threw the Ranger off his feet. Gao Yellow went tumbling through the air and crashed down through a crate, the wood splintering and shattering on impact.

 

The other Rangers gathered around Gao Yellow for cover as he pulled himself from the broken crate.

 

Camera Org didn’t give the Rangers a chance to fight back. He shot five strand of thick film forward, each strand wrapping around a Ranger and squeezing tightly. The Rangers struggled to break free, but the film tightened with each attempt, pinning their arms down and threatening to snap a few ribs.

 

The monster sent blue electricity snaking along the film and exploding against the Rangers’ armor.

 

The Red Ranger clenched his jaw beneath his helmet to keep from screaming as pain flooded his entire body. The pain intensified as Camera Org fired another energy pulse along each strip.

 

Gao Red narrowed his eyes beneath his visor and glared at his opponent. He called upon the power of the lion, which was boiling in his veins.

 

“Lion Fang!” he shouted as his claw weapon formed around his right hand. “Gaoling cannon!”

 

The claw shifted shape and transformed into a short rifle weapon with the golden head of the rifle engraved at its end. The weapons barrels were wrapped around the lion’s mane. Gao Red triggered the weapon, firing rapid blasts of green energy darts that exploded against the Org with bursts of spark. The blasts punctured through armor, spraying black ichor upon impact. 

 

The monster released its grasp on the rangers and stumbled backward.

 

“Final mode!” Gao Red said as he 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 while tearing through Camera Org. The blast caused a massive explosion that ripped the Org apart, vaporizing its armor and incinerating its rotted flesh.

 

Toxica extended her staff towards the oozing remains of Camera Org. She whispered an incantation while waving her staff back and forth. The end of the staff slid open like an iris, and a dozen black seeds shot out. Toxica started to scream the chant as the seeds rooted in the ooze remains. “Oniah-sha-shee! Kua-ta-to!”

 

Thick black vines shot up from the ooze, extending as high as a skyscraper. The vines started to mesh together while twisting and thrashing back and forth, bubbling with black puss and ichor that crackled with energy. The vines formed a giant-sized version of a reborn Camera Org.

 

The Rangers unsheathed their Gao Daggers and extended the blades into the sky. “Wildzords, descend!”

 

The blades emitted an enchanting melody. The tone reached up to the sky island Anamarium and caught the ears of the Power Animals. A bridge of multi-colored light extended down from the island and towards the Earth. The Power Animals roared as they charged down the bridge and into battle.

 

The Rangers stood in a circle and thrust their daggers towards the center. Gao Red looked up while making a claw with his left hand over the right side of his chest. “Wildzords! Assemble!”

 

The five Wildzords charged forward as fiery energy surrounded them. GaoBison morphed into a waist and set of legs. GaoTiger and GaoShark formed the arms and attached to GaoLion, which served as the chest. GaoEagle attached to the lion and allowed the zord to hover over the ground as it zoomed forward.

 

The Rangers leapt up towards the zord and melded with it. A cockpit formed in GaoLion’s head armor, and five stations appeared for the Rangers to stand behind. Each station had two black, organic globes for controls. A slot was between each globe pair for the Gao daggers.

 

Gao Red laid his dagger onto the slot and placed his hands over the globe controls. “Rise up!”

 

 The combined zord rose and back-flipped through the air as the formation completed. “MegaWildzord!” the Rangers shouted from their cockpit. “Gao King!”

 

The Rangers struck just as Camera Org was ready to take a picture.

 

“Shark Surge!” Gao Blue shouted. The shark fist swung forward and slammed against the monster with an explosion.

 

“Tiger Fury!” Gao White shouted. The tiger fist charged forward and bashed against Camera Org.

 

The punch knocked the villain’s film canister loose and sent it spinning through the air. The film smashed through a nearby office building, shattering glass and concrete.

 

Fin Blade!” Gao Red commanded.

 

The MegaWildzord armed its blue fin blade and swung the weapon upwards diagonally. The sword slashed across the monster with sparking explosions, ripping through its armor and cutting through rotted flesh. The strike forced Camera Org backward.

 

“Roaring Fury!” Gao Red shouted.

 

Each of the animal’s mouths opened and fired a pulse of energy. The energy beams combined into a rolling torrent of enraged power that exploded through the monster, ripping Camera Org to shreds and vaporizing him.

 

Their hearts still pounding in their chests, the Rangers slowly relaxed their shoulders within the zord’s cockpit.

 

But the clouds above suddenly turned crimson and twisted like a whirlpool. Gao King looked up to see the face of the Org Monarch appear within the clouds. 

 

“Who-” Gao Red started to ask.

 

“Gaoranger…I am Lord Shuten’. You have proven to be quite an annoyance to me,” the villain said in a voice that shook the streets like thunder.

 

“Lord Shuten’ …” Gao Yellow whispered, recognizing the name.

 

“If you continue to get in my way, you will be killed,” The Org Monarch said as he disappeared. The skies returned to normal.

 

“Try it!” Gao Red shouted. “I can take you on myself!”

 

Gao Yellow looked to his teammate. “That would be breaking your second rule…”

 

***

 

Ryan’s vision slowly blurred back into consciousness. He tried to get up, but his muscles screamed in protest. He winced as pain shot through his entire body.

 

The sun was shining bright overhead. He was in the desert wilderness somewhere. His throat was already parched. How long had he been laying out there? How long since he had ejected?

 

Ryan stirred as he heard footsteps approach. He looked up to see a gun barrel pointed at his head, and the man holding the weapon did not seem happy.

 

To be continued…Chapter Four