Ultimate Gao Rangers: Chapter Thirteen

Unstoppable

 

Gao Blue pounced forward and thrust his Shark Cutters at the enemy. But Bus Org grabbed the fin-shaped blades and stood his ground. The Blue Ranger pushed forward, but the Org would not budge.

 

Bus Org scoffed. “You’ve no strength.”

 

Gao Blue narrowed his eyes beneath his visor. “At least I’m not dumb and slow.”

 

The Blue Ranger pulled his blades back and spun around, slashing the cutters across the villain’s armor with a burst of spark.

 

Gao Blue had been ambushed by the latest Org born from the slime of hatred and rage that boiled beneath the earth. Jindrax and Toxica had sent the Org monster after the Rangers to prove they were still useful as dukes, even with Zena’ku in the equation.

 

The other Rangers were on their way to help Gao Blue. But an obstacle stood in the other rangers’ way.

 

***

 

Simon, Michael, and Ryan ran towards a tunnel at the edge of the city. They were on their way to help Timothy when they heard the eerie sound of the flute come from within the tunnel.

 

The rangers skid to a halt. They looked down the tunnel and saw a pair of pale yellow eyes. Zena’ku slowly walked forth from the shadows with his flute dagger held to his mouth.

 

***

 

Gao Blue spun forward, striking his blades across the monster Org with bursts of spark.

 

“Shark Cutters!” Gao Blue shouted as his weapons pulsed with blue power. “Surging chopper!”

 

He swung his blades horizontally, each weapon streaking with blue energy while slashing across Bus Org and sparking on impact. The villain crashed against the ground and skid backward.

 

The villain rose to his feet as streams of exhaust erupted from pipes in his armor. Bus Org charged forward with a burst of strength, plowing past Gao Blue, and slamming the Ranger backward with a massive burst of spark.

 

Gao Blue stumbled back a few steps as the Org pressed forward. Bus Org slammed against Gao Blue again, sending the Ranger flying off his feet and crashing back against the ground. 

 

Muscles aching, the Blue Ranger slowly rose to his feet and looked up just as Bus Org fired optic ray blasts. The bursts of light exploded against the Blue Ranger’s chest with a burst of spark, whipping his body backward.

 

***

 

Zena’ku held his blade to Gao Red’s throat and forced his back against a rail. The villain leaned forward, his snout inches away from the Red Ranger’s faceplate. The Duke Org softly growled, a sound that sent chills running down Gao Red’s spine.

 

The villain smashed his knee repeatedly against the Red Ranger’s side, each blow sparking on impact while bashing against the ranger’s body and bruising his ribs.

 

Zena’ku pulled back and slashed the Ranger across the chest, blade sparking on impact and snapping Gao Red backward. The Red Ranger crashed against the pavement and stumbled backward.

 

“Moonlight-u sonic!” Zena’ku shouted as he swung his blade forward. Crescent energy blades blasted forth and exploded against the Rangers’ armor with a massive burst of spark.

 

When the sparks cleared, Zena’ku was gone.

 

The Rangers ran to help their teammate.

 

***

 

Bus Org grabbed Gao Blue by the arms and threw him to the ground. The Blue Ranger tumbled backward and rolled into a crouched fighting stance.

 

The Org dashed forward and slammed against the Blue Ranger, knocking him back off his feet. Bus Org swung its fist down towards the Ranger’s faceplate.

 

But a white baton suddenly thrust out and blocked the blow. It was Gao White. The White Ranger twisted the Org’s arm back and slammed a sidekick against the villain.

 

The White Ranger helped Gao Blue to his feet. The two Rangers dashed towards their opponent.

 

Bus Org fired pulses of light that exploded against the Rangers’ armor with bursts of spark, knocking them off their feet.

 

Gao White rolled to her feet and leapt through the air while swinging her baton down towards the monster.

 

Bus Org grabbed the baton and pulled it from the White Ranger’s hand. The villain used the Ranger’s baton to bash Gao White across the chest repeatedly, each blow sparking on impact.

 

Gao Blue moved in from the monster’s side. Bus Org snapped around while swinging the baton, which smashed across the Blue Ranger’s chest with a burst of spark, whipping his body backward.

 

Bus Org turned his attention  back towards Gao White and swung the baton towards her head. Gao Blue leapt in front of the blow, which crashed against his shoulder with a burst of spark. 

 

The Blue Ranger knocked the baton out of the monster’s hand and pounced forward with a flurry of kicks against the monster’s side.

 

Gao Blue placed the giraffe gem into the hilt of his dagger and stepped back into a fighting stance.

 

“Giraffe Typhoon!” he shouted as he leapt forward to attack.

 

The Blue Ranger spun like a helicopter blades, his blades thrashing against the monster with bursts of spark as he circled around the villain.

 

Gao Blue flipped through the air and landed several meters away from the Org monster. The Blue Ranger swung his blade down through the air in an x-shaped pattern. An orange-tinted energy blade extended from the dagger with each strike and slashed through the monster.

 

Gao Blue thrust his dagger forward. The dagger fired a lance of golden energy that speared through the Org, puncturing through the monster’s body with a massive burst of spark. Black ichor seeped from the wound as Bus Org crashed against the ground. The creature slowly vaporized into a puddle of bubbling black slime. 

 

Stepping forward as if from nowhere, Toxica extended the end of her staff downward as it slid open like an iris, shooting out a dozen black seeds. Toxica started to scream a 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 Bus Org.

 

The other three Rangers arrived just in time to see the monster grow giant.

 

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 combined zord rose and back-flipped through the air as the formation completed.

 

“Soul Bird!” Gao Red shouted as the mystic-armored bird took shape with a flash of golden light.

 

The Rangers leapt into the air and landed on five slots that formed along the Soul Bird’s armor. “Soul Drive!” Gao Red shouted. “Gao King!”

 

The Soul Bird phased through the Gao King’s back and took its place in the zord’s cockpit. They placed their Daggers into the Soul Bird’s control slots and hovered their hands over pairs of black, organic-looking orbs.

 

“MegaWildzord!” the Rangers shouted from their cockpit. “Gao King!”

 

The Megazord charged forward to 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 Bus 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 Bus Org backward.

 

“Soul-Charge, Roaring Fury!” Gao Red shouted.

 

The end of the Soul Bird opened and formed a spinning turbine that shot a blast of golden energy out of the lion’s mouth. Each of the animals’ mouths opened and fired a pulse of energy. The energy beams combined and exploded through the Org, ripping the monster to shreds and vaporizing him.

 

A blur of motion dashed across the ground below as Zena’ku appeared and looked at the giant zord.

 

“Dark Wildzords!” Zena’ku shouted as he armed his dagger and gems. “Arise!”

 

Zena’ku tossed the crystals into the air. The three gems fell back down, and Zena’ku caught them with three slots in his crescent-shaped dagger. The Org lifted the flute to his mouth and started playing a bone-chilling melody.

 

A flash of dark silver light appeared on the cliff behind Zena’ku. A silver-armored wolf appeared and howled into the skies.

 

A purple-armored hammerhead shark suddenly swooped down from the skies as if it were swimming, and a massive green-armored alligator stomped onto the scene.

 

Zena’ku tightened his grip on his dagger as the gems started to glow with dark power. The gems shot from the dagger in streams of energy the skies crisscrossed the skies. “Dark Wildzords! Unite!”

 

Zena’ku played a bone-chilling melody on his dagger. The Dark Wildzords pulsed with energy and started to change shape. GaoGator formed a body and legs as GaoWolf and GaoHammerHead formed the arms. The wolf-like head of the zord rose from the body as its Org horn snapped upward.

 

The gator’s mouth opened wide as the zord howled, crackling with dark energy that danced across its armor.

 

Zena’ku materialized in his zord’s cockpit and placed his dagger in the control panel slot. He hovered his hands over two dark, slick control globes embedded in the control station.

 

“Predazord!” Zena’ku shouted. “Gao Hunter!”

 

Gao King stomped forward.

 

“Shark Surge!” Gao Blue shouted. The shark fist energized and swung forward.

 

“Hammer Claw!” Zena’ku shouted. Gao Hunter bashed its hammerhead fist against the shark fist with a massive burst of spark, knocking Gao King’s arm away. 

 

“Tiger Fury!” Gao White shouted. The tiger fist charged forward.

 

“Wolf strike!” Gao Hunter’s wolf fist energized and slammed against the tiger fist, bashing the Megazord’s left arm aside.

 

Gao Hunter armed a crescent shaped boomerang and hurled the weapon forward. The Moon Blade energized and exploded against Gao King’s chest, sparking across armor.

 

“Gator Blade-o!” Zena’ku shouted. The blade energized and slashed downward with a streak of crimson energy that exploded against Gao King, sending the zord tumbling off its feet and crashing against the ground.

 

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 forward into battle. 

 

“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 lifted his giraffe arm backward.

 

“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 shot forward in a blazing lance of energy. Gao Hunter leapt over the blast with ease.

 

Zena’ku thrust his hand forward. “Howling Fury!”

 

The gator jaws opened and fired a rolling column of blue energy that shot towards Gao King. The energy wave howled like a wolf while exploding against the Megazord with a massive burst of flame and spark.

 

The blast slammed the Megazord off its feet, causing Gao King to blast apart into the individual Wildzords.

 

Zena’ku leapt from the cockpit of his zord and landed on the ground below while claiming his prize: the crystal of GaoGiraffe.

 

***

 

A day passed.

 

Simon trained alone at Bear Lake. The young ranger weighed his wrists and ankles down with strapped on weights while moving through a series of kicks and punches.

 

His last battle against Zena’ku weighed just as heavily on his mind as the weights did on his arms and legs. Never before had he been so beaten so decisively. Not even with Shuten’.

 

What’s worse is that this guy keeps stealing our zords, he thought to himself.

 

His mind drifted to Saiya, who was still blaming herself for the loss of GaoElephant. Why can’t she see that it wasn’t her fault?

 

Simon wished he was strong enough to sweep in, defeat Zena’ku, and retrieve the gem for Saiya. But he knew that wasn’t the case.

 

The young ranger moved through another series of kicks and punches, but once he started thinking about Saiya, he found it difficult to clear his mind or think of much else.

 

I don’t even know her real name, Simon thought to himself. The rangers knew each other by colors only. Maybe that’s part of our problem…

 

During their last battle, the Rangers had not exchanged a single wise crack or taunt. Each fight was starting to consume them. 

 

Simon narrowed his brow and punched harder. Images of Zena’ku’s blade pressed against his neck were still fresh in his mind.

 

Simon lowered his guard and sighed with frustration. He had to bring the Rangers together somehow. They had to be a team to beat Zena’ku, not just five combatants thrown together onto a field.

 

He walked off to find Ryan. 

 

***

 

Ryan sat alone at a jazz club in downtown Angel Grove East. He sat along the bar, his back facing the stage where various musicians played.

 

Behind the bar, a television mounted on the wall was displaying news coverage of the Rangers’ latest battle with the Predazord named Gao Hunter.

 

Ryan narrowed his eyes and looked to the bartender. “Why don’t you turn that off?”

 

The bartender, a local college kid, scoffed at the ranger. “Why don’t you get your own bar, then you can decide what people can and can’t watch.”

 

“Just turn the channel, jackass,” Ryan said.

 

The bartender shot Ryan a dirty look and ignored the ranger’s demands.

 

Ryan took one final sip of his drink before turning around to leave. His path was blocked by a group of six guys, all wearing greek letters. They didn’t look happy, and from the smell of them, they had recently been drinking quite a bit.

 

“Can I help you guys, or are you just lost?” Ryan asked.

 

“Think you’re funny?” the black-haired student said as he wrinkled his brow with anger.

 

“It depends on the time of day,” Ryan said.

 

“I heard you smarting off a second ago, pretty boy,” the lead greek, Sloan said. “Who the hell do you think you are?”

 

“Someone who’s leaving,” Ryan said. “Now get out of my way before I move you myself.”

 

Sloan punched Ryan across the face while his friends grabbed hold of the ranger’s arms. “I hate people like you…” Sloan said as he grabbed Ryan by the shirt collar and reached back to hit the ranger again.

 

“Let him go,” a voice said from the entrance. The group of frat members turned to see a blonde-haired teenager walk in. Ryan recognized him immediately as Simon.

 

“What are you doing here?” Ryan asked, still being held by Sloan.

 

“Just dropped by to say hi,” Simon said. “I was in the neighborhood, and all.”

 

“Friends with this creep?” Sloan asked Simon.

 

“That was almost a complete sentence,” Simon said.

 

Sloan tossed Ryan down. “I am so gunna bust you,” he said as he walked towards Simon, his hands rolled up into fists.

 

Sloan lunged forward with a left hook punch. Simon sidestepped to his left and used his left arm to parry the blow. He extended that arm and struck Sloan in the throat with a knifehand blow. Simon followed with a right hook across Sloan’s face. It was a simple combination, but one that nearly busted his knuckles.

 

Sloan collapsed to the ground as his five friends moved towards Simon.

 

Yeah, this was a bad idea, Simon thought as he tried to shake the pain out of his injured hand.

 

Simon ducked under one of the fraternity member’s punches, but was hit across the face by another greek and went sliding across a table before falling to the floor.

 

Ryan stepped up behind the greek that struck Simon and grabbed him by the shoulder, spinning him around while hook punching him across the face.

 

Another greek tackled Ryan, slamming his shoulders into the ranger’s chest and slamming him onto a table. The table’s legs broke from the impact, and the two slammed onto the ground.

 

Simon rose to his feet as a greek charged towards him. Simon grabbed the greek’s arm and flipped him to the ground.

 

I’m never underestimating my armor again, he said as a greek tackled him from behind. Simon lifted his knees, knocking the greek off of him before rising back to his feet. He moved over near Ryan and the two stood side-by-side as the greeks regrouped in front of them.

 

“This seems familiar,” Simon said.

 

“Only the Org are better looking,” Ryan said.

 

The greeks charged at the two rangers.

 

Simon sidekicked a greek in the chest, but his kick wasn’t nearly as strong as he expected. The greek shrugged the blow aside and punched Simon in the stomach.

 

Ryan uppercut a greek in the side, then hook punched him across the face.

 

Simon dodged a punch, then kicked the side of the greek’s knee, snapping the bone. Whoops…

 

Sirens blared in front of the jazz club as five cops ran inside. The cops lifted their weapons and aimed at the two rangers and greeks.

 

***

 

Simon and Ryan sat next to each other alone in a small jail cell. They leaned forward on their bench, saying nothing to each other for the first 30 minutes of their temporary imprisonment.

 

“Nice place,” Simon said.

 

Ryan nodded as he stared ahead at the bars. “Cozy.”

 

This isn’t at all awkward, Simon thought to himself as silence once again filled the jail cell.

 

“Listen…” Simon said after another moment of silence. “We don’t have to like each other to work well together.”

 

Ryan nodded, his face still expressionless. “I know.”

 

Simon nodded. “Good.”

 

Silence filled the cell room again as Simon anxiously tapped his fingers against the side of the bench.

 

Ryan arced his eyebrow at the teen. “Do you have to tap?”

 

“Hey,” a guard called as he stepped closer to the cell. “Looks like you two have some generous friends.”

 

The guard fumbled with his keys a moment before opening the cell door. Simon and Ryan stood as Saiya walked into sight.

 

***

 

Timothy cut across the pavement on his skateboard. His body still ached from the pounding by Zena’ku, but he tried his best to ignore it.

 

He could not remember the last time he had been in good shape since the Org appeared. It seemed like he always had one injury or another.

 

The harder we fight, the harder they fight back, he thought as he turned a corner. It’s like they’re unstoppable…

 

Timothy was so lost in thought that he accidentally bumped against a cub and spilled off his board. The ranger crashed against the ground and skid his knee against the pavement.

 

***

 

Saiya and Simon walked across a sidewalk along the city streets. Ryan had left them alone as soon as she bonded them both out of jail.

 

“So are you going to tell me what happened?” Saiya asked.

 

Simon shrugged. “We sort of…bonded…I guess…kind of.”

 

“You don’t sound convincing,” Saiya said.

 

“That’s because I’m not convinced,” Simon said. “I just don’t get him. We’re supposed to be a team, but he’s always such a loner. It’s going to get us killed. I thought if I could work out my differences with Yellow…it might make a difference. Maybe then we could even start calling each other by name.”

 

“He’ll come around,” Saiya said. “He’s just very…determined.”

 

“So am I,” Simon said. “I’m just not a jerk about it.”

 

The two continued walking until they got to Saiya’s apartment. They stopped outside the door.

 

“Well,” Saiya said. “Thanks for walking me back to my apartment.”

 

“No problem,” Simon said, his face turning slightly red. “Thanks for…ya know…bonding me out of jail.”

 

He hesitated. He clearly wanted to come inside, and Saiya did not want to be rude.

 

Saiya opened the door and looked to Simon. “Do you want to come in for a minute?”

 

Simon’s face lit up. “Sure.”

 

He entered her apartment as his eyes scanned the room. The two-bedroom apartment was small, but well-kept. She had several book collections in bookcases and on wall-mounted shelves. “You have a nice place,” Simon said as he walked in.

 

“Thanks.” Saiya moved to the fridge. “Do you want something to drink? All I have is tea…”

 

“Tea’s fine, thanks,” Simon said. He took a deep breath and walked over to her coach. Just tell her, Simon, he told himself. This is probably the best chance you’ll get…

 

Saiya walked over and handed him a drink while sitting down next to him.

 

“Thanks,” Simon said. “I was thinking…I haven’t even told you my name. I’m Simon.”

 

Saiya recognized the sparkle in his eye. She had seen it on too many boys’ faces too many times before. She countered before he could go any further.

 

“Red,” she said. “This isn’t a good idea.”

 

Simon’s face turned slightly red. “What isn’t?”

 

“You’re my good friend,” Saiya said. “You’re my teammate. That’s all we can be. Besides…you’re still in high school. It just…wouldn‘t work.”

 

Simon’s heart sank. “Okay…this is awkward.” He sighed and shook his head. “All I’m saying is I want us to get to know each other. I want to know your name. I want to know what you were like before this Ranger stuff happened to us.”

 

“I want to get to know you too…but just as friends,” she said. “I just…I don’t feel that way about you. I’m sorry.”

 

Simon sighed and twirled the tea in his glass. A slight, sheepish grin curled up on his lips. “Well…I see you’re just as direct in conversation as you are in fighting.”

 

Saiya smiled. “Would you rather I have led you on for a while?”

 

Simon shrugged. “That could have been fun, actually.”

 

Saiya smiled and rolled her eyes.

 

***

 

Ryan walked back into his room within Gao Rock. The ranger did not have a place to stay within the city. The rock fortress had been his home for a year. And his home was starting to get crowded with four other rangers having temporary rooms set up inside.

 

He liked it better when it was just him and Tetomu. 

 

“Yellow!” Tetomu called from the main chamber.

 

Ryan bolted from his room and ran into the main chamber, where Tetomu was standing over the Sacred Pool. “Is it Zena‘ku?”

 

Tetomu shook her head. “No, but it’s an Org monster. Get the others.”

 

***

 

Clock Org was in the barren hills outside the city while randomly shooting at the ground. He was clearly just trying to get the Rangers attention, so Simon and the others suspected a trap.

 

Simon narrowed his eyes and pointed to the villain. “You wanted our attention, ugly, you’ve got it!”

 

He and the others flipped open their morphers.

 

“Wild Access! Ha!” They pressed their morphers’ activation panels, causing energy to wrap around their bodies as their armor took shape. Their helmets wrapped around their heads, and their visors snapped into place. They morphed into their Ranger forms and snapped into animal-like fighting stances.

 

A panel on Clock Org suddenly flipped open like a coo-coo clock as a small wooden bird popped out. The bird’s eyes flashed with yellow light, creating a swirling vortex of energy that surrounded all of the Rangers except Gao Red.

 

The Red Ranger watched helplessly as the vortex sucked his teammates inside of Clock Org. Clock Org then turned around and vanished in the blink of an eye.

 

“No!” Gao Red shouted.

 

A streak of black energy dashed through the sky and slashed Gao Red across the chest with a burst of spark. The blur of motion extended behind the Red Ranger and landed. It was Zena’ku.

 

***

 

Ryan’s vision slowly blurred back into focus. The ranger was trapped within a pocket dimension inside of Clock Org. The pocket dimension looked like a dark, foggy woods.

 

A mocking, high-pitched laughter came from within the woods. “Has anyone ever told you that yellow is a fitting color?”

 

“Yes,” Ryan said. “They’re dead now. Quit hiding and come out.”

 

“Are you sure you can fight me alone? You’ve become so dependent on your ‘friends,’” the unseen villain mocked.

 

“I don’t need them,” Ryan said. “Come out, and I’ll show you why.”

 

“Of course not,” the voice said. “You’ve never needed anyone your whole life, have you?” The voice laughed. “You’ve been alone your entire life, pushing everyone away because of your fear. You are a coward.”

 

Ryan grasped tightly onto his morpher as his eyes darted back and forth across the woods. “I’m not the one hiding.”

 

“Of course not, Yellow,” the voice said mockingly. “You never hide behind anything, do you, Yellow?”

 

A creature suddenly sprang from the trees and swooped towards Ryan. The villain had bat-like wings and blood red eyes. It’s skin was black as coal. 

 

The ranger flipped open his morpher. “Wild Access!”

 

Energy wrapped around his body as he morphed into his Ranger form. “Eagle Sword!”

 

Gao Yellow swung upward, slashing the creature from the air with a burst of spark. 

 

***

 

Saiya stood on a rocky shore. Heavy clouds of fog drifted in from the waters and flowed across land like a dark blanket. She was trapped in the same pocket dimension as Ryan.

 

The wind suddenly howled, causing a chill to creep down her spine.

 

“You can never escape his shadow,” a voice said from the fog. “The shadow of your father…”

 

Saiya reached for her morpher. Before she could react, a figure stepped forward from the fog. It was her father, only his eyes were red and the lightning-bolt symbol of the Ikkazuchi was burned across his forehead.

 

***

 

Timothy appeared on a frozen tundra. He immediately wrapped his jacket tighter around his body and shivered. “What the hell…where is everyone. Guys! Black!”

 

He was trapped inside Clock Org’s pocket dimension.

 

Laughter came from the far off distance. “You’re all alone, little ranger. Abandoned. Again.”

 

He flipped open his morpher. “Wild Access! Ha!”

 

Energy wrapped around his body as he morphed into his Ranger form. The Blue Ranger snapped into a shark-like fighting stance. “Get out here. I was never a big fan of hide-and-seek.”

 

“Ah, your humor,” the voice said mockingly. “You are always starving for attention, aren’t you child? Mommy and Daddy must have never been there for you.”

 

Gao Blue narrowed his eyes beneath his visor. “My parents died.”

 

“Case and point,” the voice said.

 

An ice creature suddenly rose from the tundra. The villain was made solely of jagged ice, except for its two blood-red eyes.

 

***

 

Michael was surrounded by concrete walls that appeared gray and faded, partly transparent. Fog drifted through the walls and into the room.

 

Something tapped Michael on his left shoulder. He snapped around, but nothing was there. The ranger knitted his brow.

 

A tap hit his shoulder again. The ranger turned, but saw no one.

 

“Teasing you is rather enjoyable,” a voice said from the fog. “No wonder everyone enjoys it so much, you big dumb ox.”

 

The walls slowly started to close in, threatening to crush the ranger where he stood.

 

***

 

Gao Red tumbled across the ground and rose to his feet just as Zena’ku dashed past him. The villain slashed across the Red Ranger’s armor, blade sparking on impact, and stepped past the Red Ranger with a powerful waist-level swing that sparked violently against Gao Red’s armor and whipped his body around.

 

 The Red Ranger struggled to keep his balance as Zena’ku snapped around, chopping the crescent blade downward. The villain’s blade bashed across the Red Ranger hard, sparking as its razor edge slashed across Gao Red’s armor.

 

Zena’ku swung his blade down again.

 

Gao Red narrowed his eyes beneath his helmet and clenched his jaw. Not again…this is not happening again…

 

Gao Red used his left Lion Fang to block the blow before dashing past Zena’ku. The Red Ranger swung both claws across the villain’s chest while dashing forward, each fang sparking on impact.

 

Gao Red turned and slashed both blades upward, the claws sparking against the villain’s armor. The Red Ranger pressed forward and swung his Lion fangs back down, each sparking against the Org’s armor and whipping his body backward. Zena’ku crashed against the ground and tumbled over the dirt.

 

***

 

Gao Yellow swung at the bat creature, but it disappeared and reappeared on the Yellow Ranger’s back.

 

The bat monster bit down hard against Gao Yellow’s neck, but the Ranger’s armor protected him. Gao Yellow reached back and grabbed hold of the bat before hurling the villain off his shoulder.

 

The bat monster went tumbling through the air before using its wings to steady itself. Opening its jaw, the creature emitted a high-pitched screeching sound that slammed against Gao Yellow and knocked him off his feet.

 

The Yellow Ranger rose to his knees and bit his tongue to keep from screaming, his teeth drawing blood. The sonic scream felt like twin daggers stabbing into his ears and piercing into his head.

 

***

 

The ice creature slammed its fist against Gao Blue. The Blue Ranger was knocked backward and slammed against a wall of ice.

 

The ice monster snarled. “Your friends aren’t here to help you this time, pathetic urchin…no one is here to hold your hand.”

 

The ice creature pounced forward and grabbed hold of the Blue Ranger’s helmet while lifting him off the ground. “How long until you scream for Gao Black to come in save you?”

 

The monster tightened his grip.

 

***

 

Gao Red and Zena’ku dashed past each other while swinging their weapons. They each scored hits, blade and claws sparking against armor. But the opponents did not slow their pace.

 

Gao Red ignored the pain of each blow and kept moving, determined to take Zena’ku down no matter what. The Ranger called upon his power as the blood of the lion poured into his muscles, fueling his every strike and parry.

 

The Red Ranger and Zena’ku sprang through the air and leapt towards each other. Their weapons sparked against each others’ armor as they moved past each other in midair.

 

Zena’ku landed, but Gao Red twisted through midair and landed his feet against the side of the cliff. He pushed off the cliff and leapt back through the air while angling his descent towards Zena’ku.

 

“Lion Fang!” Gao Red shouted as the fang weapons energized with fiery power. “Blazing Fire!”

 

He swung the fang weapons down through streaks of fiery red energy. But Zena’ku held up his blade to block the blow. Fangs sparked against the crescent blade as Zena’ku twisted his wrists, knocking the Lion Fangs aside and slashing the Red Ranger’s chest with a burst of spark.

 

The blow sent Gao Red flying off his feet and crashing onto his back. Pain shot through his spine when he landed, ignited what felt like fire across his nerves. The Red Ranger ignored the pain and rolled into a crouched fighting position as his Lion fang shifted shape to form a blaster. 

 

“Gaoling Cannon!” Gao Red shouted as he triggered a rapid-fire volley of green energy darts. Zena’ku leapt through the air like a twirling corkscrew as the blasts exploded harmlessly around him with massive bursts of flame and spark.

 

Zena’ku landed on a cliff edge and snapped open the edges of his crescent blade.

 

“Moonlight-u sonic!” he shouted as he swung the blade forward, firing a volley of curved, yellow-tinted energy blasts that exploded against Gao Red’s chest with a burst of spark that knocked him off his feet.

 

Zena’ku leapt back to the ground and charged towards the fallen Ranger.

 

Gao Red clenched his jaw. The pain of his injuries was intense. But he had to keep fighting. His friends were counting on him.

 

Zena’ku swung his blade down towards the fallen Ranger’s head.  

 

“Ha!“ Gao Red shot to his feet and blocked the blow with his dagger. The Red Ranger slapped the crescent blade aside and swung his dagger towards the villain’s throat. Zena’ku twisted his weapon and brought the blade back towards Gao Red’s throat.

 

The opponents stopped their blades about an inch from each others’ throats and glared at each. They slowly circled around each other, keeping their blades in position.

 

“Your Gao Dagger…” Zena’ku growled. The sight of the weapon filled his veins with cold anger. “I’ll enjoy adding GaoLion to my collection.”

 

Zena’ku knocked the dagger aside and slashed Gao Red across the chest twice while dashing past him. The attack took the Red Ranger off guard, each strike sparking across his armor.

 

Zena’ku turned and swung his blade down twice, but Gao Red used his dagger to parry both blows, and twisted the crescent blade downward. The Red Ranger’s dagger grinded across the black blade as Gao Red held it down.

 

“GaoLion is mine,” Gao Red said, his heart pounding in his chest. “And I’m going to use his power to tear you apart!”

 

Gao Red pulled his dagger away and slashed across the villain’s chest with an ‘x’ pattern. Each blow sparked across the Org’s armor as the Red Ranger pressed forward.

 

Gao Red reached back and swung his dagger towards the villain’s head. But Zena’ku grabbed Gao Red’s blade arm by the wrist and held his crescent blade up to the Red Ranger’s neck.

 

Zena’ku dashed forward, pushing the Ranger along before releasing him. Gao Red went flying through the air and crashed into a shallow pool of water nearby.

 

***

 

The shadow of Saiya’s father stalked towards her. The villain narrowed his brow and tightened his hands into fists.

 

Saiya shook her head and stepped back. The pocket dimension within the Org monster was filling her with fear. “Stay back…you’re not him. I know it.”

 

“Does it matter?” the shadow said. “Real or not, you will never truly escape me. You will always be within my shadow’s reach.”

 

The image of her father pounced forward. Saiya’s instincts screamed at her to move, but she could not. Her father tackled against her body and smashed her against the ground.

 

***

 

The walls closed in. Panic flooded Michael’s body as he tried to punch his way through the walls. But they kept moving. Inch, by inch until he had less than half a foot on each side to move.

 

***

 

 

Gao Red’s muscles burned with fatigue. He could barely defend himself as Zena’ku slashed repeatedly across his chest, each blow sparking against armor.

 

The villain speared his weapon against Gao Red’s chest, knocking the Red Ranger off his feet and sending him crashing against the ground.

 

Zena’ku snapped open the edges of his weapon and swung the blade forward. “Moonlight-u sonic!”

 

Curved energy blades shot forward and exploded against Gao Red, sparks ripping across his armor and tearing into his body. The Red Ranger’s dagger went flying from his grasp as he collapsed.

 

***

 

The screeching was starting to drive Gao Yellow mad.

 

The Yellow Ranger snapped a feather dart that exploded against the monster’s face, knocking the creature backward.

 

Gao Yellow rose to his feet and tightened his grip on his sword. “I don’t know what you’re trying to do to me, but it won’t work. I may be alone, but I can still bring it.”

 

The Yellow Ranger sprang forward and dashed past the bat creature, slashing his golden sword across the monster’s belly. His blade tore the creature’s body apart.

 

The bat crashed backward as its body’s energy overloaded and exploded. The explosion flashed with brilliant white light that tore through the pocket dimension, giving Gao Yellow a way to escape.

 

***

 

The ice creature tightened its grip around Gao Blue’s helmet. The Blue Ranger could feel his helmet start to buckle.

 

“Scream,” the ice creature said.

 

Gao Blue narrowed his eyes beneath his helmet. “Shark Cutters!”

 

Gao Blue armed his weapons and swung upward, shattering through the ice creature’s arms.

 

The Blue Ranger landed and dove forward, smashing through the ice creature’s chest, causing the villain to splinter into shards of ice.   

 

The ice shards tore through the pocket dimension, ripping it apart and giving the Ranger a path to escape.

 

***

 

Cold laughter echoed inside of Michael’s mind as the walls closed in around him.

 

He was tired of being teased.

 

He grabbed his morpher and flipped it open. “Wild Access!”

 

His armor flashed around his body as his helmet snapped into position. The power of the bison pumped through his veins, rushing into his muscles.

 

Gao Black swung his arms outward, smashing through the walls, which turned to dust in impact. The walls crumbled away, creating a hole in the pocket dimension for the Black Ranger to escape.

 

***

 

Saiya rolled back and kicked the shadow of her father off of her body. She rolled to her feet and flipped open her morpher. “Wild Access!”

 

Energy wrapped around her as she morphed into her Ranger form.

 

“Tiger Baton!” Gao White armed her short baton weapon and dashed forward, her stance like the tiger.

 

Her baton energized with white light as she swung the weapon towards the shadow’s body. Her baton slashed through the shadow with a burst of white light, tearing it apart, and creating a rippling effect through the pocket dimension.

 

The ripple tore open a hole for the White Ranger to escape through. 

 

***

 

Gao Red snapped up his legs and caught the blade with his heels. He swung the blade aside and kicked Zena’ku across the face, sending the villain tumbling across the ground.

 

The Red Ranger sprang to his feet and pounced forward top attack like a lion. Gao Red clawed Zena’ku across the face repeatedly before slamming his foot against the villain’s chest and pushing off to backflip across the air.

 

Gao Red landed in a roll while retrieving his dagger and rising into a low, animal-like fighting stance. His heart was pounding in his chest. “I’m not alone Zena’ku…my friends are out their fighting too…I’m not letting them down!”

 

“Don’t pretend to have honor, Ranger,” Zena’ku growled.

 

A flash of light suddenly tore through the air as Clock Org slammed against the ground. The monster had fallen as if from nowhere. Nearby, the other four Rangers fell to the ground as well.

 

“Guys!” Gao Red shouted as he ran to the others. 

 

Zena’ku glared at the Rangers as he slung his crescent blade over his shoulder. Very well, he thought to himself. I will eliminate them all at the same time…

 

Gao Red pointed his dagger at Zena’ku. “Not talking tough now, are you, Zena’ku?”

 

The Rangers snapped into their animal-like fighting stances.

 

“Blazing Lion! Gao Red!”

 

“Noble Eagle! Gao Yellow!”

 

“Iron Bison! Gao Black!”

 

Surging Shark! Gao Blue!

 

“Belle Tiger! Gao White!”

 

“Guardians of the Earth!” Gao Red shouted. “United we roar! Wild Task Force!”

 

The Rangers snapped into animal-like fighting stances. “Gao Ranger!”

 

As Clock Org charged forward to attack, and the Rangers combined their weapons.

 

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

 

See ya!” Gao Red shouted to the creature.

 

They chopped the energized blade downward. The golden blade extended while chopping through the 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.

 

Zena’ku tossed a handful of black seeds into the slime. The seeds took root and sprouted giant black vines that sucked up the Org’s remains while shifting shape, melding with each other, and forming a reborn Clock Org.

 

“Dark Wildzords!” Zena’ku shouted as he armed his dagger and gems. “Arise!”

 

Zena’ku tossed the crystals into the air. The three gems fell back down, and Zena’ku caught them with three slots in his crescent-shaped dagger. The Org lifted the flute to his mouth and started playing a bone-chilling melody.

 

A flash of dark silver light appeared on the cliff behind Zena’ku. A silver-armored wolf appeared and howled into the skies.

 

A purple-armored hammerhead shark suddenly swooped down from the skies as if it were swimming, and a massive green-armored alligator stomped onto the scene.

 

Zena’ku tightened his grip on his dagger as the gems started to glow with dark power. The gems shot from the dagger in streams of energy the skies crisscrossed the skies. “Dark Wildzords! Unite!”

 

Zena’ku played a bone-chilling melody on his dagger. The Dark Wildzords pulsed with energy and started to change shape. GaoGator formed a body and legs as GaoWolf and GaoHammerHead formed the arms. The wolf-like head of the zord rose from the body as its Org horn snapped upward.

 

The gator’s mouth opened wide as the zord howled, crackling with dark energy that danced across its armor.

 

Zena’ku materialized in his zord’s cockpit and placed his dagger in the control panel slot. He hovered his hands over two dark, slick control globes embedded in the control station.

 

“Predazord!” Zena’ku shouted. “Gao Hunter!”

 

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 combined zord rose and back-flipped through the air as the formation completed.

 

“Soul Bird!” Gao Red shouted as the mystic-armored bird took shape with a flash of golden light.

 

The Rangers leapt into the air and landed on five slots that formed along the Soul Bird’s armor. “Soul Drive!” Gao Red shouted. “Gao King!”

 

The Soul Bird phased through the Gao King’s back and took its place in the zord’s cockpit. They placed their Daggers into the Soul Bird’s control slots and hovered their hands over pairs of black, organic-looking orbs.

 

“MegaWildzord!” the Rangers shouted from their cockpit. “Gao King!”

 

Clock Org fired clock-hand-shaped energy spears that exploded against Gao King, providing cover as Gao Hunter moved in to attack.

 

“Gator Blade!” Zena’ku shouted from within his cockpit.

 

The Predazord slashed its blade down repeatedly with a flurry of blows that sparked against Gao King’s armor. Each blow forced the MegaWildzord further backward. Gao Hunter continued to slash at Gao King, giving Clock Org time to move in.

 

Clock Org armed a saber, which was shaped like the hand of a clock. The saber slashed the zord across the chest, blade sparking on impact while forcing the Megazord back.

 

“Hit ‘im back, guys!” Gao Red shouted. “Fin Blade!”

 

Gao King armed the curved fin blade and hurled the weapon forward. The fin blade speared against Clock Org, sparking on impact and denting the villain’s armor.

 

“Soul-Charge, Roaring Fury!” Gao Red shouted.

 

The end of the Soul Bird opened and formed a spinning turbine that shot a blast of golden energy out of  the lion’s mouth. Each of the animals’ mouths opened and fired a pulse of energy. The energy beams combined and exploded through the Org, ripping the monster to shreds and vaporizing him.

 

Zena’ku lifted the curved blade from his console and slid two dark crystals into the dagger’s slots. “Dark Wildzords! Arise!”

 

Zena’ku played an eerie melody that drifted through the air. The ground started to shake as two Power Animals stomped forward from the distance. Zena’ku had gained control of GaoElephant and GaoGiraffe.

 

“No way!” Gao Blue shouted.

 

GaoGiraffe thrashed its neck back and forth, using its own head like a blade to slash repeatedly across the Megazord’s armor.

 

GaoElephant charged forward and slammed its tusks against the Megazord, knocking Gao King off his feet. The elephant zord charged forward to attack again.

 

“GaoElephant!” Gao White shouted. “Don’t do this!”

 

“Dark Wildzords, attach!” Zena’ku shouted. The right arm of the Predazord disconnected, and the giraffe took its place, forming a spear-tipped arm, for the zord. “Predazord…Gao Hunter, Spear!”

 

The Predazord reached its spear arm backward. The tip of the spear crackled with moonlight energy.

 

“Spear strike-u!” Zena’ku shouted.

 

Gao Hunter thrust his spear arm forward. The spear energized and extended, smashing against Gao Hunter’s chest with a massive explosion that tore the MegaWildzord apart. The five Wildzords separated and tumbled through the air before crashing against the ground. 

 

The rangers armored power down as they skid across the ground after getting tossed from their cockpit. They slowly climbed back to their feet and looked up to see the giraffe spear aimed down at them.

 

“Fitting,” Zena’ku said. “Being crushed like insects.”

 

Gao Hunter lifted his spear arm for a final strike.

 

But curved yellow-tinted energy blades suddenly exploded against Gao Hunter, knocking the Predazord back a few steps. The villain and rangers looked to see Gaorilla in the distance. The guerilla zord hurled another volley of curved energy blades that exploded against the villain’s zord.

 

GaoBear and GaoPolar ran onto the scene.

 

The bears leapt through the air towards Gao Hunter. They melded into a rolling energy wheel of fiery power that shot towards the Predazord and crashed against its armor with a massive burst of spark.

 

“Hit him together!” Simon shouted from below. “Roaring Fury!”

 

The Wildzords opened their mouths and fired beams of multi-colored energy that shot towards the Predazord. The beams combined into a single wave of charging power that roared towards Gao Hunter.

 

Zena’ku thrust his hand forward. “Howling Fury!”

 

The gator jaws opened and fired a rolling column of blue energy that shot towards Gao King. The energy wave howled like a wolf while exploding against the Roaring Fury wave.

 

The resulting explosion created a massive shockwave that blasted against Gao Hunter, knocking the Predazord off its feet and sending the zord skidding across the ground.

 

The massive zord slowly rose back to its feet before teleporting away, taking its pilot along.

 

***

 

The rangers returned to Gao Rock and laid themselves about the main chamber. They were each exhausted and wounded.

 

“So guys,” Simon said. “What happened to you back there? While you were in that Org?”

 

The other rangers said nothing.

 

To be continued…Chapter Fourteen