Ultimate Gao Rangers: Chapter Seven

Memory Wipe

 

Gao Red pounced forward and slashed his claws across Torch Org’s body. The villain resembled a deformed goblin with two horns, and blow torches extending from his arms. The Red Ranger’s claws tore through armor with bursts of spark while ripping through rotting flesh below.

 

The villain stumbled backward as the Rangers regrouped.

 

“Let’s bring ‘em together,” Gao Red said. The Rangers combined their weapons.

 

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

 

See ya!” Gao Red shouted to the creature.

 

They chopped the energized blade downward. The golden blade extended while chopping through Torch Org, tearing its body apart, ripping through rotted flesh, armor and bone. The monster fell backward, its energy overloading and exploding, producing a shockwave that decimated the monster into nothing more than a boiling puddle of slime.

 

Jindrax and Toxica stepped forth from the shadows.

 

Toxica extended her staff towards the oozing remains of Anchor 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 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. The vines formed a giant-sized version of a reborn Torch Org.

 

The Rangers unsheathed their Gao Daggers and extended the blades towards the sky.

 

“Wildzords, descend!” they shouted. The blades emitted an enchanting tone at their command. 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. “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.

 

Gao Red laid his dagger onto the console’s 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!”

 

Gao King leapt up and flipped backward, snapping into a fighting stances and charging with energy for the attack.

 

“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 Torch Org.

 

The monster fell back as the Rangers prepared their final strike.

 

“Roaring Fury!” Gao Red shouted.

 

Each of the animal’s mouths opened and fired a pulse of energy. The energy beams combined into a single energy wave that exploded through the monster, ripping Torch Org to shreds and vaporizing him.

 

***

 

Minutes later, Simon sprinted as fast as he could to the Hayate Way courtyard. He was late - again. He rarely had time for classes anymore, and everyone at the school thought it was because he was slacking.

 

Simon swore he would make more time for classes during the next few weeks. The annual tournament with the Ikkazuchi Way was fast approaching, and Simon wanted to be a part of it again. The ranger had competed in the past four annual tournaments.

 

An invisible force of energy suddenly slammed against Simon and knocked him off his feet, sending him skidding across the grass. He rose back to his feet and looked up to see Tommy standing with his arms crossed over his chest.

 

Simon smiled sheepishly and placed his hand over the back of his head. “So…how mad are you…?”

 

“Walk with me,” Tommy said as he turned and started moving down a path through the woods.

 

“Okay,” Simon said quietly as he followed. “That mad. Got it…”

 

***

 

The other four rangers regrouped in Gao Rock with Tetomu. They barely had time to catch a breath before the Sacred Pool started bubbling for the second time in the day.

 

Timothy sighed with frustration. “Again?”

 

“It appears so,” Tetomu said as she looked into the pool.

 

A gray-skinned monster covered in ragged patches of metal had the head of a tilted stoplight. Stoplight Org was stalking through the streets and chasing civilians away with bursts of super-heated light.

 

“I’ll call Red,” Saiya said as she flipped open her G-Phone.

 

***

 

“Look…I need to know what’s going on,” Tommy said. “If you don’t want to train here anymore, that’s fine, just tell me.”

 

“It’s not that,” Simon said. “It’s just…I’ve been busy.”

 

“With what?” Tommy asked.

 

Simon sighed. He put his hands in his pockets and grasped onto his morpher. He still wasn’t ready to tell. “It’s personal…girl stuff.”

 

“Simon,” Tommy said. “I’ve known you for more than six years…this isn’t just some school crush.”

 

Simon stopped in his tracks as pain suddenly shot through his head. He felt the pain of the Earth itself through what felt like billions of white-hot needles stabbing through his skull. It was like his empathy was suddenly kicked into overdrive.

 

Darkness consumed him as he collapsed.

 

“Simon!” Tommy shouted as he leaned down to the teen’s side. He was breathing, but unconscious.

 

Tommy heard a ringing come from within Simon’s jacket pocket. Tommy reached into Simon’s pocket for the source of the ringing. He pulled out the golden G-Phone. He narrowed his eyes as he opened the phone in his hand. “Oh man…”

 

***

 

Simon lied on the couch in a basement room of the Hayate Way school. He had a cold compress on his head.

 

Ashley and Tommy sat at a table nearby. Tommy slid the G-Phone across the table to Ashley. “It’s a morpher. I found it in Simon’s pocket.”

 

Ashley picked up the phone and flipped it open. “Are you sure it’s a morpher?”

 

“Ashley,” Tommy said. “Look at who you’re talking to. It’s a morpher.”

 

Ashley ran her fingers along its edges. “This design looks almost like a lion. It would have to be a Gao Ranger morpher…we know who the other teams are.”

 

Tommy nodded. “But their Red Ranger’s fighting style doesn’t match Simon’s at all…”

 

“This could channel energy from a zord like the original Power Coins and Ninja Coins,” Ashley said. “That would explain the change in fighting style.”

 

Tommy nodded. “But that would only work with a living zord. I didn’t think there were any of those left.”

 

Simon slowly stirred on the couch. “Oh, my head…” He reached up and removed the washcloth from his head before turning to face Tommy and Ashley. “What happened?”

 

“I’m not sure…” Tommy said as he walked over to the couch.

 

Simon winced with pain when he tried to sit up. “That was a bad plan…”

 

“Simon…” Tommy said as he extended the G-Phone. “What is this…?”

 

“An ugly cell phone,” Simon said. “Why-”

 

His breath caught in his throat and he opened his eyes wide with shock. Parts of his memory were missing. He couldn’t think of his last name. He knew Tommy, but had no idea who the girl was, or where they were. And to him, the golden device in Tommy’s hand was an unrecognizable cell phone.

 

“Something’s wrong…” Simon said.

 

“What is it?” Tommy asked.

 

Simon placed his hands over his forehead and leaned down. “My memory…it’s like parts of my memory are missing.”

 

Tommy knitted his brow with concern. “What’s the last thing you remember?”

 

Simon shook his head. “I’m not sure…I remember…being in school after you guys beat the Machines…I remember-”

 

“Simon,” Tommy said. “That was more than two years ago…”

 

Simon’s face grew pale.

 

***

 

Simon sat in the back of his junior high school classroom and kept to himself. He had a small handful of about three or four friends in school, but none of those friends were in class with him.

 

But just about ever bully that had ever picked on him was.

 

Simon knew he could defend himself against all of them with ease. But he did not want to have to fight. He would be suspended from his school and his parents would ground him for life.

 

One of the bullies, Keagan, had known Simon since the first grade. Keagan was now king of the jocks, and still had the intelligence of a grade school kid - at least almost.

 

Keagan was boasting about how he was too tough to go to the shelter during the latest attack by the Machines.

 

“Nah, man, I wasn’t going to shelter,” Keagan bragged with a smug grin on his face. “I had to go see my girl.”

 

“How’d you stay away from the cops?” a dark-haired skank asked. She was known for giving head to football players behind the bleachers after school. 

 

“Pfft.” Keagan waved his hand dismissively. “Man, cops aren’t out on the streets at times like that. Even if they were, I could sure as hell out run the fat bastards.”

 

The skank giggled.

 

Simon couldn’t help but roll his eyes, which one of the bullies noticed. “Man, what the hell’s your problem?”

 

The bully reached back and dumped Simon’s books from his desk and onto the floor. Simon let them fall. “I just don’t find it amusing. You’re bragging about something stupid that could’ve gotten you killed, or hurt other people that may have tried to save you.”

 

Keagan laughed. “What the hell’s wrong with you? What…were you curled up in a shelter beneath your blankie? I go where I want, when I want. I‘m not too stupid to let some walking blender kill me.”

 

Keagan and his group of brain-dead followers was the first to start making jokes about every monster attack and the attack’s victims. Even after non-meta attacks, such as Sept. 11.

 

During a communications project, Keagan and his classmates were supposed to illustrate something by acting it out using non-verbal communication. Two kids had stood next to each other at the front of the class. Keagan threw a paper airplane at one of them, and he fell down.

 

Of course, they didn’t get in any trouble for it. But the same week, Simon had gotten a month’s worth of detention for being five minutes late to class. School policy, the teacher had explained. 

 

“Fine, just keep doing what you’re doing,” Simon said with growing frustration in his face. “Maybe during the next attack you’ll get stepped on by a giant.”

 

Keagan puffed out his dumb chest. “You trying to start something?” The bully pushed the side of Simon’s desk, causing the desk to spin to the side. “Don’t make me wait for you after you school?”

 

“No thanks,” Simon said. “You’re not my type.”

 

Keagan lunged forward as if to punch Simon, but Simon sat still. He knew Keagan was a coward who wouldn’t actually throw the punch.

 

Keagan scoffed and turned away. “Wus.”

 

***

 

Simon slowly walked into his room and shut the door. He threw his backpack at the foot of his bed and sat down at his desk. Sighing, he leaned his elbows onto his desk and rested his head in his hands. What the hell was wrong with him?

 

A knock sounded on his door.

 

“Come in,” he said while keeping his head down.

 

The door opened, and his dark-haired mother walked in. She was a small woman with tan skin and a frail body. She never had children of her own. Simon and the rest of her kids were all adopted.

 

“How are you feeling?” she asked as she walked over and sat on his bed.

 

Simon shook his head. “Not good. It feels like…there are whole parts of my life missing.”

 

“Maybe school tomorrow will help you get back in the swing of things,” his mother suggested.

 

Simon shrugged. “I’m not even sure what classes I’m taking this year. In fact…I don’t even remember being in high school…”

 

His mother sighed and rose from the bed. She placed a hand on her son’s shoulder. “Why don’t you and Teddy go see a movie tonight or something. It will be my treat.”

 

Simon smiled. “Thanks mom.”

 

***

 

“Where the hell is Red?” Ryan asked as he and the other rangers gathered in Gao Rock.

 

“I’m not sure,” Tetomu said. “And I’ve lost the trace of the Org.”

 

Saiya looked to Tetomu. “Could the Org have gotten to him somehow?”

 

Tetomu shook her head. “The sacred Pool would have sensed the Orgs turbulence if they battled and captured Red.”

 

Tetomu dipped her hand into the Sacred Pool and slowly shifted her hand back and forth through its waters. She closed her eyes and focused while reaching out towards Simon’s presence.

 

Tetomu raised her eyebrows at the familiar sensation. “I found him…but we have a slight problem…

 

***

 

Teddy, Tommy’s 15-year-old brother, walked along Simon across the city promenade on the way to the movie theater. They were best friends, even though Teddy hid a rather big secret. He’d had a huge crush on Simon for years.

 

The two friends had been through a lot together…

 

Teddy and Simon were in the city streets along with Zeo Gold. The two young teens had armed themselves with Cog spears after being freed from Gasket and continued to fight against the Machines.

 

They looked up to see the ZeoMegazord get pounded by Gasket and Archarina.

 

“They need backup,” Simon said as he shook his head.

 

“The MegaWarriorzord,” Zeo Gold said. “The Machines are holding it within their palace. I can break it free.”

 

“We’re coming with you,” Teddy said.

 

Zeo Gold didn’t have time to argue. The three ran towards the Machine palace.

 

***

 

The gates to the dimly-lit lower levels of the Machine palace tore open from Simon and Teddy’s spears as Zeo Gold barged inside. He led the two down a dark metal staircase as three Cogs moved up the stairs to stop him.

 

Zeo Gold swung his staff down, smashing a Cog’s faceplate in as he sidestepped and kicked the soldier back. That Cog went tumbling down the stairs as the next two moved in and swung their staffs horizontally. Zeo Gold blocked their blows and kicked them out of the way with a lightning quick kick combination.

 

The three moved down a dark pipe-filled corridor, trying to blend in with the shadows as a group of Cogs sprang forward and surrounded them.

 

Zeo Gold tornado kicked a Cog across the head, then swept the legs out from under the soldier.

 

Teddy held his staff horizontally to block a blow, but the force of the impact dropped him to his knees. Simon jumped in with a flying sidekick to back that soldier away, then slammed his spear through its chest.

 

“Thanks,” Teddy said.

 

“Don’t mention it,” Simon said as the two stood back to back to face the next wave of Cogs.

 

Zeo Gold jump kicked another soldier against the face plate, then batted his staff across the side of that Cog’s head.

 

The last soldier charged forward towards Zeo Gold. The Gold Ranger leapt forward and double-flying sidekicked that Cog in the chest, pushed off and flipped backwards, landed, and jammed the edge of his staff through that Cog’s chest. Zeo Gold removed his weapon and pushed the broken Machine body to the ground.

 

They moved deeper into the dark corridor and spotted a wide opened around a corner. A giant door extended upwards and bore the Machine symbol on its.

 

“Huh,” Teddy said. “I’m guessing that’s where the MegaWarriorzord is?”

 

Zeo Gold nodded as he eyed the guards. “I’ll take the point against the guards. Let’s go…”

 

Zeo Gold dashed forward towards the door, but before he could reach it, streams of crimson energy lashed out and exploded against his body.

 

A group of Cogs sprang out as if from no where and surrounded Teddy and Simon as the two struggled to fight back. They heard laughter and looked to see Clank nearby, his hand over a panel against the wall.

 

“You didn’t really think it would be this easy, did you?” he asked as he pressed the button.

 

Another volley of energy leashes lashed out and struck against Zeo Gold.

 

The Cogs quickly over powered the two younger teens and forced them to the ground…that was until a nearly invisible blur of motion crashed against the Cogs and hurled them to the ground. The mechanical soldiers were defenseless against their unseen enemy as they were beaten by a fierce volley of invisible blows.

 

Simon wrinkled his brow. “Am I seeing things?”

 

Teddy shook his head. “Not unless I am too.”

 

The figure slowly de-cloaked, revealing a man shrouded in slick black armor with a red ruby on his chest. He walked over to the two fallen teens and extended his hand.

 

“I’m a friend…” he said. “The Phantom Ranger…”

 

The Phantom helped the two teens as he turned to Clank.

 

Clank took a step back, not knowing how to react to this Ranger who had appeared out of nowhere.

 

The Phantom extended a gauntlet blaster and fired an energy pulse that exploded against Clank’s control panel. The crimson energy bursts stopped as the Phantom ran over to the Gold Ranger and helped him off his feet.

 

“Who are you?” Zeo Gold asked.

 

“The Phantom Ranger,” he said again. “I was sent from Eltar.”

 

Zordon had dispatched the Phantom Ranger to Earth to deliver Artilitron and the Rescuezords to the Turbo Rangers, as well as a shuttlecraft to the Earth-based INET group.

 

Zeo Gold nodded. “Thank you for your help…”

 

The Gold Ranger eyes Clank as the Machine slowly started to back away. Zeo Gold leapt forward and flying sidekicked Clank against the chest. He followed by striking his staff across the Machine’s head.

 

Phantom Ranger ran up to the doorway and fired a blast from his gauntlet cannon that blew the door open, revealing the MegaWarriorzord and Red Battlezord.

 

He activated his cloak and vanished from sight.

 

***

 

Simon and Teddy took cover in an alley. The streets nearby were still crawling with machines.

 

Simon winced as he leaned against a wall. “I think I twisted my ankle on that last Cog…”

 

“Let me take a look…” Teddy said.

 

Teddy rolled back Simon’s pant leg to above the knee. His ankle looked slightly swollen, and his knee was bleeding hard. Teddy tore off a piece of his shirt sleeve and pressed it down over Simon’s wound.

 

“This should stop the bleeding,” Teddy said. “I can’t do much for the sprain. Let’s hide out here for a while, then get you to a hospital.”

 

Simon nodded. He was too tired to argue.

 

His fatigue made him lower his power’s safeguards. His empathic abilities kicked in, and Simon felt Teddy’s feelings wash over him like a blanket. Simon had known about Teddy’s ‘secret’ since before he did.  

 

The secret didn’t bother Simon. It was the 21st century. No one cared about that stuff anymore - at least no one with half a brain. Sure, it was awkward at first, but Teddy was his best friend. Simon cared about him like a brother.

 

The only awkwardness Simon felt was because of his own secret. Teddy clearly didn’t want Simon to know the crush, which was fine. But Simon’s own secret, his empathic power, had blown the cover on Teddy. Simon felt guilty for knowing and not saying anything.

 

“Teddy…” Simon said. “This is kind of weird timing…but there’s something I have to tell you…”

 

A group of Cogs suddenly snuck into the alley and charged towards the two young teenagers.

 

“Some other time,” Teddy said as he rose to his feet to defend his friend.

 

***

 

Saiya, Ryan, Michael, and Timothy spied on Simon and Teddy from behind a nearby street corner.

 

“You’re sure he has amnesia?” Timothy asked.

 

Saiya nodded. “That’s what Tetomu said.”

 

“So what now?” Michael asked.

 

“Well…” Ryan said. “Let’s kidnap him again and start from scratch.”

 

“We can’t just do that,” Saiya said.

 

“Well what are we supposed to do then?” Ryan asked. “Just follow him and his little friend for the rest of the night?”

 

“Yes,” Saiya said as she moved onto the streets.

 

“Come on, Black,” Timothy said as he and Michael followed.

 

Ryan sighed and shook his head before reluctantly following.

 

***

 

Teddy and Simon left the theater after the movie.

 

“What the hell did we just see?” Teddy asked.

 

Simon groaned and shook his head. “I don’t understand how they still let Halle Berry make movies. I’m still recovering from Catwoman.”

 

Teddy laughed. “You realize you’re one of only 12 people that actually saw that movie.”

 

Simon shrugged. “My little sister wanted me to take her.”

 

“That poor girl,” Teddy said.

 

Saiya and the other rangers were still following Simon and Teddy. Saiya felt a tinge of guilt in her throat. Simon looked…happy. His smile was more real and vibrant then she’d ever seen it. Maybe this amnesia wasn’t such a bad thing for him.

 

Explosions suddenly rang across the streets with brilliant flashes of red, yellow, and green light. Citizens ran in panic as Stoplight Org stalked onto the scene.

 

“Come on,” Teddy said as he grabbed Simon by the arm. “Let’s help these people get to safety.”

 

“Wait,” Simon said as he stood firm, narrowing his eyes at the Org. He felt an uncontrollable urge to stay and fight his ground. He instinctively reached into his pocket for the ugly golden cell phone, but he wasn’t sure why.

 

A group of Org grunts appeared and charged forward.

 

Ryan and the other rangers pounced forward from behind and grouped around Simon. Ryan grabbed Teddy by the arm and pulled him away. “Run along.”

 

Teddy grabbed Ryan by the arm and flipped him to the ground. “Who are you people?”

 

The grunts attacked.

 

Saiya, Michael, and Timothy smashed against the slime-covered grunts with a flurry of strikes and kicks. Meanwhile Ryan rose back to his feet and had to restrain himself from slamming a punch across Teddy’s face.

 

Ryan grabbed Simon by the arms. “Red, you have to remember who you are…”

 

Simon arced an eyebrow. “Red?”

 

Ryan sighed impatiently. “Yes.” He pulled out his own G-Phone. “I’m assuming you still have your morpher.”

 

Simon’s eyes opened wide as he pulled out his G-Phone. “Are you trying to say…”

 

“Catch on faster,” Ryan said. “We need you.”

 

Meanwhile, Stoplight Org was upon the rangers and Teddy. Saiya, Timothy, and Michael flipped open their morphers.

 

“Wild Access! Ha!” Energy wrapped around their bodies as they morphed into their Ranger forms and snapped in animal-like fighting stances.

 

Teddy armed his morpher and reached for his key, but hesitated. Tommy would kill him if he got involved with a fight that wasn’t his own. It was a fact Teddy was reminded of every time news of another Rangers’ fight broadcast across TV.

 

“Well…” Teddy said as he looked at the golden key in his hand. “One time won’t hurt…” 

 

Teddy stepped forward. “Chakra ignite! Kiba Power!”  

 

He inserted his key into the brace worn on his left wrist. Energy wrapped around his body as his white armor materialized. His gold-trimmed black vest wrapped around his chest, and the golden tiger coin materialized on the center of his vest.

 

He snapped into a fighting stance after morphing into his Ranger form.

 

“Heaven Roaring Star! Kiba Ranger!” Golden light flashed around his body.

 

Kiba Ranger jump kicked a grunt upside the head and landed while slashing his blade upward through a soldier’s chest, his blade sparking on impact and drawing black ichor and puss from the wound.

 

Simon’s eyes opened wide in amazement as he watched the other Gao Rangers close in around Stoplight Org.

 

“I’m one of them…” Simon whispered.

 

“Do what I do,” Ryan said as he flipped open his G-Phone. “Wild Access! Ha!”

 

Energy wrapped around his body as he morphed into his Ranger form.

 

Simon felt the heart of the lion pumping in his chest. He clenched his jaw and tightened his grip on his morpher as he flipped the device open. “Wild Access! Ha!”

 

Energy wrapped around his body as he morphed into his Ranger form. Energy flowed across his body, refreshing his every muscle along with his mind. His memories returned to him like a mental floodgate opening.

 

Kiba Ranger opened his eyes wide beneath his visor. “Simon?!”

 

“It’s a long story,” Gao Red said as he armed his weapon. “Lion Fang!”

 

The Red Ranger pounced through the air and clawed his weapon across the monster’s body. The Lion fang sparked on impact, snapping the Org monster’s body backward.

 

The Ranger regrouped and combined their weapons into a single, long saber. “Gao Blade!”

 

Gao Red pulled away from the others and charged forward to attack with the Gao Blade in hand. Gao Red and Kiba Ranger dashed side-by-side towards Stoplight Org. 

 

“Ha!” Gao Red shouted as he moved in low and slashed the Gao Blade across Stoplight Org’s midsection. The blast sparked on impact, forcing the villain to stumble backward.

 

Kiba Ranger somersaulted forward through the air and landed while slashing his blade down across the villain’s chest. The tiger saber sparked on impact and ripped open the villain’s armor, tearing through rotting flesh below. Black ichor and puss seeped from the wound. 

 

The White Ranger spun forward with a hook kick that smashed across the Org’s face, shattering its lights upon impact.

 

Gao Red spun back towards his opponent and swung the Gao Blade upward. The blade tore across the creature’s chest with a massive burst of spark and ichor. The strike whipped the Org’s body backward and sent him tumbling across the ground.

 

The other Rangers regrouped around Gao Red as they stood in formation to deliver the final blow.

 

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

 

See ya!” Gao Red shouted to the creature.

 

They chopped the energized blade downward. The golden blade extended while slicing through Stoplight Org, tearing its body apart, ripping through rotted flesh, armor and bone. The monster fell backward, its energy overloading and exploding, producing a shockwave that decimated the monster into nothing more than a boiling puddle of slime.

 

Toxica appeared on a rooftop nearby and aimed her staff downward. “Oniah-sha-shee! Kua-ta-to!”

 

Black seeds shot from her staff and landed in the monster’s slimy remains. Thick 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. The vines formed a giant-sized version of a reborn Stoplight Org.

 

The Rangers unsheathed their Gao Daggers and extended the blades towards the sky.

 

“Wildzords, descend!” they shouted. The blades emitted an enchanting tone at their command. 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. “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.

 

Gao Red laid his dagger onto the console’s 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!”

 

Gao Blue placed his orange crystal into his dagger’s hilt and lifted the weapon upward. “Descend! GaoGiraffe!”

 

The dagger’s melody summoned GaoGiraffe from the sky island. The giraffe ran down a bridge of light and charged towards Stoplight Org. GaoGiraffe thrashed its neck back and forth, smashing its armored head against the Org monster with massive burst of spark.

 

“Detach, GaoShark!” Gao Blue said as the shark arm separated from the Megazord. “Attach! Giraffe Spear!”

 

GaoGiraffe shifted shape and formed a spear-tipped right arm that connected with the Megazord with a surge of power.

 

“MegaWildzord!” the Rangers shouted. “Gao King, spear!”

 

Gao King raised its spear arm, and the tip flashed with orange-tinted, fiery energy.

 

“Giraffe Spear, strike!” the Rangers shouted as they thrust their hands forward.

 

Gao King thrust the spear forward. The spear’s tip energized with a wedge of fiery power and energy that extended forward. The spear punctured through the monster’s armor with a burst of spark and tore through the center of the villain’s body.

 

Stoplight Org screamed as his energy overloaded and exploded with a massive sphere of flame that incinerated the monster’s armor, burnt through its rotted flesh, and reduced the creature into steaming slime that blew away with the smoke and wind.

 

“Ya know,” Gao Red said as he looked to Gao Yellow. “You realize that, a few minutes ago, you said you needed me.”

 

The Yellow Ranger crossed his hands over his chest. “I was…just trying to get through to you. That’s all.”

 

Gao Red smiled beneath his helmet.

 

***

 

Simon made it to classes at Hayate Way the next day. He circled around his friend and classmate Justin Stewart on one of the school’s outside sparring mats.

 

“Nice to have you back,” Justin said. “But your stance is a little rusty.”

 

“Maybe I just want you to think I’m rusty,” Simon said with a lopsided grin as he waved Justin forward.

 

“Right,“ Justin said sarcastically as he dashed forward and snapped a tornado kick towards Simon’s head. Simon ducked beneath the kick and rose to full height while slamming an uppercut against Justin’s chest.

 

Justin moved in and slammed an elbow against Simon’s chest. Stepping back, Justin ducked low and snapped a sweep kick towards Simon’s legs. Simon spun and hopped over the kick.

 

Lion’s blood pouring through his veins, Simon pounced forward like a cat while Justin rose back to his feet.

 

“Ha!” Simon shouted as he grabbed Justin by the neck and slammed him against the ground.

 

Justin pushed Simon’s arm away and slowly rose to his feet. “What kind of move was that?”

 

Simon shrugged. “I was just improvising…”

 

Tommy walked towards the courtyard with his arms folded behind his back. “Justin, could you give me and Simon a few minutes alone?”

 

“Sure,” Justin said./ he patted Simon on the back and walked off the mat. “Catch ya later…”

 

Simon and Tommy left the sparring area and walked along a wooded path.

 

“So your memory is back?” Tommy asked.

 

Simon nodded. “I’m still not sure what happened. But whatever it was, it wore off when I…morphed.”

 

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Tommy asked.

 

Simon shrugged and leaned back against a tree. He kept his gaze low. “I wanted to wait until I…got better, I guess. I wanted you to be proud, ya know…”

 

“Simon,” Tommy said. “Ranger or not, I’ll always be proud of you.”

 

A sheepish grin spread across Simon’s face. “Thanks.”

 

Tommy patted Simon on the shoulder as they moved back down the path.

 

“So…” Simon asked. “Can you and I start practicing in our armor?”

 

To be continued…Chapter Eight