Author's Note: This story begins a new arc in the Lost Galaxy Adventures. It takes place sometime after "The Chameliac Warrior." Coming Soon: The Price of Silver
Early Wednesday morning, the GSA gym is empty save for two teenagers locked in seemingly deadly combat.
"C'mon, John," Kai prompts his friend, "I thought you knew this stuff!" Kai smiles as he drops into a comfortable defensive stance.
Thoroughly angry, John launches himself at Kai, throwing a clumsy Spinning heel kick at the Blue Ranger. Dodging the kick, Kai drops low sweeping with his right leg and kicking John's own legs out from under him.
"HOOOF!!!" John grunts in pain and humiliation as he lands flat on his back.
Staring at his fallen friend, Kai's smug grin is replaced with a look of sincere concern. "You know John," he begins, "I've known you for almost three years, I've sparred with you at least a hundred times, and even won my share of the matches. But," Kai stoops to offer his hand, "I've never seen you miss a kick."
Accepting Kai's hand, John pulls himself up ripping the headguard from his head, and tossing it angrily. "I'm just...off my game today," John snaps.
"Hey, remember what Master Tao taught us at the academy?" Kai asks pointedly.
John smiles as memories of his old instructor flood back. *You know better than to spar when your mind and body are not as one. * John remembers him saying.
"So what's bugging you?" Kai asks, knowing to well what John's answer will be.
"Kai," John replies, "What do you think of Hadrien's prophecy?"
Kai rolls his eyes at the mention of the mysterious Hadrien's prophecy. "I think your nuts, for listening to some ten thousand year old dead guy, and I think I'm nuts for listening to you!"
"Look man, I know it sounds weird, but Hadrien said I would find new morphing powers in..."
"That's it, isn't it?" Kai interrupts. "It isn't about Hadrien or Zordon, or whatever he calls himself." Kai points an accusing finger toward John, he says, "This is about you getting to be a Ranger again."
"Okay, fine!" John shouts. "I wanna be a Ranger again! You happy?"
John becomes more and more agitated as he speaks. "Do you know how it felt watching you guys go off to fight some new threat almost every day!?! The Crumummy, Motor Mantis, Deviot and his MegaZords, I stood on the sidelines and watched you guys fight 'em all. And news flash," John smiles a humorless grin, "a couple times you guys came close to seeing the promised land, and I don't mean the TV show!"
Kai remains silent; recalling his recent run in with the mind controlled Commander Stanton. They had all seen some rough times lately. But John had always been the one to lend a hand, if needed. *It must be murder not to be able to fight beside us. * Kai thinks.
"Have you talked to Kendrix?" Kai asks changing the subject. "With her studies of the Galaxy Book, she probably knows more about the "Great Beasts" than anybody."
"Yeah, I talked to her first. You know she's been pulling double shifts just to work my problems into her research schedule? And now that she's discovered the passage on that weird sword, she works even harder! I hardly even see her anymore!"
Kai sees the sadness in John's eyes and decides on yet another subject change. "What about Maya?" he asks. "If you're right about the "Great Beast" being a GalactaBeast, she should be able to help. She's the only person who can communicate with them regularly."
Smiling as if some dark cloud had just lifted, John grabs Kai by his sweatshirt and pulls him forward. "That's it!" John shouts, "She can talk to them!" John looks off into space with a thoughtful expression, "With any luck, they can tell her exactly where the powers are!"
Spinning around, John hurries toward the showers. "See Ya..."
Suddenly, John stops in mid stride and returns to Kai's side. "By the way," John says thoughtfully, "There are two things I need to say. First, Thanks man, You're the best."
"And what's the second thing?" Kai asks curiously shaking John's hand.
"KEEYAH!" Keeping an iron grip on Kai's wrist, John pivots his body around catching the shocked Blue Ranger in a devastating judo toss.
"Second, Kendrix was right. You do fall for the easiest throws! ZOINK!" Giggling, John rushes from the gym, a vengeful Kai hot on his tail.
"Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk! Sointenly!"
Maya is sitting alone in the apartment she shares with Kendrix, watching videotape of the Three Stooges. She had just opened a Coke and ordered a pizza. The show is pretty good, and for once, it's a nice quiet morning. *Ahh, rest and relaxation. If only all my days were like this. * She thinks.
Suddenly, the door buzzer goes off, announcing a visitor. "The pizza," Maya says happily to herself.
Opening the door, Maya is surprised to see John standing there. "Oh, it's you," she says.
"Gee thanks, it's great to be wanted," John says in mock pain.
Realizing what she said, Maya flushes with embarrassment. "No, I just meant..." she begins apologetically.
"S'okay," John laughs, producing Maya's pizza from behind his back. "I ran into the pizza guy on my way up."
"Come in," Maya chirps leading John into the apartment. "I'm afraid Kendrix isn't here though, she's..."
"At the GSA Science building working on the Galaxy Book." John finishes for her. "Where else would she be. Anyway, I actually came to see you?"
"Me," she asks surprised, "Why?"
John takes a deep breath and begins speaking slowly, "You know about the...vision I had a few weeks ago?"
Maya nods her head in recognition.
John continues, "Well, in the vision Hadrien, the guy Dulcea says was Zordon, told me that there are undiscovered Ranger powers inside of what he called the Great Beast. I gotta figure he meant one of the Galacta..."
"It's the Zenith Carrier Zord!" Maya interjects. "The secret powers are within the Great Shark GalactaBeast."
"How could you know that," John asks, "what are you psychic now?"
"Actually," Maya answers matter-of-factly, "Yes. The people of Miranoi are all gifted with great psychic abilities. You might call it ESP."
Opening a nearby drawer, Maya fumbles through it and returns with a spiral notebook with small drawings covering a page. "I had a dream just a few days after you told us about your meeting with Hadrien. I drew what I saw here. I'm afraid its not very good compared to your drawings."
"If these'll help me understand my little quest, they're the best drawings in the whole world." John looks over the page noticing images of large insects, a huge shark, and an armored man within the great sea creature.
Coming to the top of the page John almost drops the book in shock. There in the top margin is a crude drawing of a long glowing crystal identical to the object Hadrien Zordon had given him. "Maya," John says urgently, "tell me about your dream, tell me about your drawings." Reaching into his jacket, John retrieves a glowing crystal about a foot long. "And tell me about this."
Maya stares in shock at the crystal. "How did you..., that crystal was in my dream?"
"I know," John says, "it was in mine to."
Collecting her thoughts, Maya sits down on her hammock and begins to recount her dream, "It starts with me walking along a beach, I think it may have been the Ocean Dome. Ahead of me is a man, it's dark and his back is to me so I can't see his face. The next thing I know, we're attacked by a swarm of giant bugs..."
"What," John asks, "you mean like Sting Wingers or Trakeena's monsters?"
"Maybe, it's all so abstract. Like watching a movie, but all the scenes are out of order and the picture is warped."
John nods his head in understanding, "Please, go on."
Maya closes her eyes in concentration before continuing, "Well, we're fighting the bugs when I see this huge thing in the water. Like a sharks fin, but several stories high. Then it appears." Maya pauses letting her words sink in, "the Shark GalactaBeast. It was huge! Bigger than all the other Galactabeasts put together."
By now John is overcome with excitement. "What then!?!" he demands. "What happens next?"
"The man ahead of me holds up this," Maya takes the crystal from John's hand, "and he turns into a ball of light and disappears into the beast."
"It eats him!?!" John asks in horror.
Maya laughs at John's outburst. "No it doesn't eat him, but something strange does happen. The Shark transforms into the Zenith Carrier Zord. Then the front opens and there, standing in the opening is..." Maya falls silent.
"Oh God, Maya! Don't crap out on me now!" John pleads.
Slowly taking the notebook from John, Maya turns to the next page and shows him the drawing on it. "He was standing there," she answers finally.
On the new sheet of paper is a picture of a powerful looking man dressed in high-tech body armor. The man's face is completely covered by a helmet with a black visor.
"I knew it!" John whispers, "a new Ranger!"
"A Phantom Ranger," Maya adds.
"I've gotta get to the Ocean Dome," John says, "Gotta get that Zord."
"I'll come to," Maya tells him, "I can't communicate with the new Zords as well as I can the GalactaBeasts, but I can help."
"Great, I can use all the help I can get," John assures her, "now let's book."
"Hold it," Maya says sternly, "we're not going anywhere till we eat."
John starts to argue, but with one serious look from the jungle girl, he can only shake his head in defeat. "Fine, what's on the pizza?"
"Bell pepper, mushrooms, and something I've never heard of...anchovies." Maya offers a piece to John as she speaks.
"Why not, you only live once," John says taking a slice.
Simultaneously, they both take a bite of their pizza, and grimace in disgust.
"Oh nasty!" John says shaking his head.
"On second thought," Maya manages through clenched teeth, "let's get started now."
Placing their pizza in the sink, both teenagers walk out the door trying in vain to spit the salty taste from their mouths.
Aboard the Scorpion Stinger, Trakeena enters the Control Room, a disgusted look on her face. "Villamax!" she demands, "Where is Johnny Hunter?"
Surprised by her outburst, Villamax steps back from his control console and bows to his mistress. "We are having trouble locking in his position, but fear not my mistress, we will have him by days end."
"See that you do," Trakeena hisses, "without the Magna Powers, Hunter is the Rangers weakest link. Probably the only weakness those damn brats have!"
As Trakeena speaks, a lone Sting Winger steps forward and whispers in Villamax' ear. "EXCELLENT!" Villamax shouts, "we have not only locked onto Hunter, but he is alone with the Yellow Ranger as well. Shall we take them?"
"Yes," Trakeena commands, "Bring Hunter to me, we'll use him as a hostage against the other Rangers. As for Maya," Trakeena pauses as if making a minor decision, "kill her."
"By your command," Villamax shouts, "I shall dispatch a squad of Sting Wingers to the Ocean Dome at once!"
From a dark corner of the room, Deviot looks up in horror. "They're at the Ocean Dome!?!" he says nervously.
Annoyed at Deviot's interruption, Villamax turns to address him. "Yes, my spies say they are probably heading for the Zenith Carrier Zord."
With a sudden burst of speed, Deviot rushes across the room and grabs Villamax pulling him close. "You MUST stop them before they reach the Zenith!" Deviot yells.
"Deviot!" Trakeena orders, "explain yourself!"
Deviot turns meekly toward Trakeena but does not look at her. "I believe there may be some danger should the Rangers examine the Zenith Zord closely."
"But you built the Zenith Zord from the shark GalactaBeast. How could there be anything the Rangers could use against us?" Trakeena demands.
Carefully, Deviot begins to explain. "It is true that I did rebuild the three lost GalactaBeasts, BUT by the time my forces found them three thousand years ago, they had already begun to mutate into Zords."
"And..." Trakeena prompts him angrily.
"And," Deviot continues, "there were certain chambers we were never able to enter. That's why I had to use a remote control when I commanded them. The Zord's Command Chamber was sealed off."
Villamax shakes his head in disgust. "That would explain why Hunter is with Maya. If the Zenith does hold some secret power, it could make him a Ranger again."
With that, Trakeena becomes livid. Jumping up from her throne she levels her staff at Deviot's throat. "Hear this cyborg. If anything in that Zord helps the Rangers in any way, I will personally rip each and every circuit from your body. One at a time."
Turning away from Deviot, Trakeena shouts commands to Villamax, "Go!" she commands, "Send a squad of Sting Wingers to attack and destroy the Yellow Ranger and John Hunter!"
Activating the ships comm system, Trakeena shouts into the microphone, "BrainStormer! Go to Terra Venture and attack the Rangers. Destroy them if you can, but do not let them aid Hunter!"
Finally, Trakeena returns her gaze to Deviot. "Leave me, now. I have to try to repair your screw up."
As Sting Wingers scurry to obey her commands, Deviot stares darkly at Trakeena. "You'll get your day soon enough," he whispers, "Just like Daddy."
Later, in the Ocean Dome, Maya and John laugh as they walk along the beach.
"...So she throws what's left of the cake at me, but it hits Leo!" Maya laughs.
"Oh man, that must've been great," John tells her.
Suddenly, Maya frowns as she lowers her head. "No, it wasn't. I was afraid I had lost my only friend that day. Then we fought Destruxor..."
John turns to look at Maya as they walk. "Look, Maya. Kendrix wouldn't hold a grudge, believe me. And she would never dissolve a friendship over a stupid misunderstanding."
Now Maya looks into John's eyes, a smile on her face. "You really care for Kendrix, don't you?"
"Oh Yeah," John replies, "It's been tough not being a Ranger, but at the same time, it's been great just being a normal person with her. We go out, she helps me through my little sad sack moments, she even finagled me a part-time gig helping with that weird book at the GSASD."
John thinks for a moment as he looks at the beautiful girl beside him. "So what about you?"
"What do you mean?" Maya asks confused and a little nervous.
"You know," John replies, "I've got Kendrix, Leo has Ginger, Kai has Hanna, and Damon has Teri, but who do you have your eye on?"
For a brief moment, Maya looks into John's eyes, and an unspoken message is shared between them. "I...I really don't have my eye on anyone. I'm still hoping...to return to my life on...Miranoi. Until then I have to stay detached from your world, because I'll be leaving it some day."
For some reason John can't take his eyes off the young Miranite girl. As he speaks, he finds himself drawing closer to her. "Yeah, he begins, "I understand detachment. You're so close, yet you have to force yourself to keep a distance. It gets...difficult."
"John I..." whatever Maya might have said is lost as the two Ranger's lips lock in a passionate kiss. For a long moment they share the intimacy, before forcing themselves apart.
"Oh crap," John whispers.
"I'm so sorry," Maya tells him near tears.
"No, no, it's my fault," John argues, "I wanted to do that, I mean...I didn't want to..."
"I...we...should..." Maya stammers.
"Oh Maya," John says.
"Oh John," Maya says.
"Oh Kendrix," John says looking skyward.
"Oh Leo," Maya says sadly.
"Oh Leo!?!" John shouts in surprise.
"Oh Shit!" They say in unison.
Shaking his head to clear it, John looks out over the artificial ocean. "I think the water should be deep enough here," he says, happy to change the subject. "Go ahead and make the call."
"ZENITH CARRIER ZORD, ARISE!" Maya calls reaching toward the water.
Like a great leviathan of legend, the massive Zord rises out of the sea coming to rest just off the beach. Calmly it awaits its command from the Ranger who summoned it.
"That's a big Zord," John says in awe.
"Yes it is," Maya replies still flustered from a moment before, "maybe we should hurry and get started."
John nods his head in agreement. "Yea, before anything else happens."
As if on cue, a squad of Sting Wingers drops out of the air barring the Rangers' path.
"Oh Yea," John says with a sigh, "it's gonna be one of those days."
"Is this what Leo would call a beach party?" Maya asks sarcastically.
"Maybe," John jokes kicking two Sting Wingers, "but this sure ain't Frankie and Annette!"
Leaping into action, John and Maya attack the Sting Wingers with a vengeance.
Leaping into a knot of Wingers, John executes a corkscrew kick that sends four of the insects slamming into the sand. "COWABUNGA!" he shouts.
Spinning out of the way, Maya catches two Wingers with a clothesline maneuver, which leave them out cold on their backs.
So the battle goes, the teens meeting the oncoming assault with a barrage of punches, kicks, and incredible gymnastic maneuvers.
"Bee-bup, Bee-bup," Maya's communicator chirps. "Maya here," she answers after back kicking another Sting Winger.
"Ay-yi-yi," Alpha frets over the speaker, "DECA detects a monster in the Industrial Dome! The other Rangers need you there immediately."
"Go ahead babe," John calls as he traps a Winger in a headlock, "I've got this covered." With that he twists the Winger's head sharply and lets its now limp form fall to the ground.
"Alright, but if you need help, call us!" Maya says before teleporting.
Returning his attention to his attackers, John notices the only three left standing are now backing up nervously. "Oh come on, ladies!" he says smiling impishly, "don't be scared o' little old me."
With that, the Sting Wingers stop their retreat as another portal opens in the air just over their heads, and a group of ten more Wingers pour out of it.
His smile now gone, its John's turn to back up nervously. "I'm tellin' you guys," John says earnestly, "I'm havin' one hell of a mornin'. Uh...HELP!" John cries as the Sting Wingers make their charge. He doesn't expect anyone to hear him, but he decided it was worth a try.
"SCREEEEE!!!" With an earsplitting screech, a familiar white owl flies into the face of the lead Sting Winger, slashing its face repeatedly with her talons. Startled, the other Wingers stare dumbfounded at the attack.
As the owl finally flies away to land nearby on the beach, John takes the initiative, striking the injured Winger with a crippling sidekick.
Landing a few feet away, the owl raises its wings as if summoning some great power, and in a flash of glittery light there stands...
"Dulcea!?!" John shouts in relief. "Tell me you have the Orb warmed up and ready to cook bugs!" John calls to her. "Well actually," Dulcea starts, "no. I had something else in mind."
Making a strange hand gesture, Dulcea reaches her arm to one side, then raises it above her head. "NINJETTI POWER, THE OWL!"
With another flash of light, Dulcea's "normal" clothes are replaced by a formfitting white hooded jumpsuit. Her forearms covered by gauntlets, a white belt wrapped around her waist, and a white ninja-like mask covering the lower portion of her face. On her chest is a golden emblem of an owl.
"All Right," Dulcea says confidently to the Sting Wingers, "who wants to go first?"
Not waiting for a reply, the Ninjetti Master leaps into the air becoming nothing more than a streak of light as she slams into the waiting Sting Wingers. Moving to fast for the eye to follow and using martial arts moves no human could accomplish, Dulcea dispatches the creatures in a hail of light and sparks.
Stepping away from the pile of bodies, Dulcea pulls down her mask exposing the beautiful face beneath. "You'd better go now," she says to John while pointing toward the Carrier Zord, "time is of the essence!"
"Will you be okay?" John asks concerned, as yet another portal delivers more Wingers.
Smiling, Dulcea leaps back into the fray. "I eat these things for breakfast," she reassures him, "now GO!"
"Yuck," John whispers as he runs for the sanctuary of the Zenith Zord.
Several moments later, Maya, in her Yellow Ranger form joins the other Rangers in the Industrial Dome. "Where...where is...it?" she asks catching her breath.
"Still no sign," Leo informs her, "just a couple of trashed warehouses."
"It's almost like it were luring us here," Kai says.
"Whatever it's doing, we're gonna find, and stop it, before it hurts anyone! Fan out for a grid search," Leo orders.
If the Rangers had thought to look behind them as they searched, they might have seen the massive insect-like monster sneaking up behind them, its huge and hideously exposed brain pulsing with energy. Or perhaps noticed the exposed spinal column hanging from the back of the creatures head swinging back and forth like a deadly bone whip. Waiting to strike.
"Your gonna get it, Rangers. Definitely," BrainStormer whispers.
Meanwhile, back at the Ocean Dome, John wades in seawater up to his chest as he runs his hand along the bottom of the monolithic Zenith Carrier Zord.
"Hey Guys," John calls to no one in particular, "next time you build a Zord, think ENTRANCE SIGN! Please!
Moving further along, John comes to what looks like a six-foot rectangle in the Zords hull. "Now this could be a door." He whispers. *Just to bad it doesn't have a keyhole. Or a knob for that matter, * he thinks to himself.
Suddenly, a hiss of air escapes the rectangular plate as it slides inward and away, revealing the door John had been searching for. "Okay, now I'm worried," John says nervously.
Taking one last look at Dulcea fighting Sting Wingers on the beach, John pulls himself up out of the water and into the doorway above his head.
Once inside, John struggles to see in the near pitch darkness of the chamber he finds himself in. "I'm not afraid of the dark, I'm not afraid of the dark, I'm not afraid of the dark," he repeats over and over, his eyes slowly adjusting to the dim room.
Suddenly, the crystal that Hadrien gave John begins to glow in his shirt pocket. Retrieving it, John stares in awe at the glowing crystal as it illuminates the chamber. Then, as if responding to some irresistible force the crystal draws John toward a door to his left. "I guess I go this way," John says no longer straining against the pull.
And so he walks, the mysterious crystal leading the way into darkness, and the unknown.
"LOOK OUT!" Leo shouts as a bolt of energy strikes the ground directly in front of he and the other Rangers. The blast from the impact throws the group backward, slamming them to the ground.
"It's...some kind of...psychokinetic blast," Kendrix manages through intense pain. "He's blasting us with thought power."
"Yeah?" Kai snaps, "Well I've got a few thoughts for him to!" With that Kai leaps into the air firing his TransBlaster at the monster.
Like striking an impregnable wall, Kai's energy blasts bounce harmlessly away striking his fellow Rangers Damon, Maya, and Kendrix.
"AHHHGGH!" Kai screams in pain as BrainStormer's spine-whip lashes out striking him in the chest with a hail of sparks and smoke.
Hitting the ground hard, Kai slowly rises to his feet clutching the smoking rip in the chest of his uniform. "On...second thought..." he jokes painfully. "Owww!"
Moving to shield their fallen friend, the remaining Rangers gather around Kai, and prepare to attack.
"Alright, Guys," Leo commands, "Time to put on our work clothes!"
"LIGHTS OF ORION, POWER UP!" they shout together. Instantly the Rangers injuries are healed as the Orion armor forms around them.
"POWER UP MODE!" the Rangers shout as they charge BrainbStormer.
"Oh Yea, children, Blow My Mind!" BrainStormer howls.
Striking BrainStormer's mental shield, the Ranger's energy form is knocked harmlessly away sending the Rangers battered and exhausted to the ground. "Oh Man," Damon shouts, "we didn't even phase him."
"I think we're in trouble, guys," Leo says darkly.
Meanwhile, aboard the Zenith Carrier Zord, John Hunter continues his long trek.
Stopping in front of a large door, John lets out a deep sigh. "Damn it!" he cries in frustration, kicking the metal hatch. "I can't have come this far only to find a locked door!"
In anger, John strikes his crystal against the wall. "Hadrien!" John calls in frustration. "You told me I'd know what to do with this piece o' crap when it was time. Well it's TIME! What do I do now!?!" Tired, frustrated, and most of all mad, John angrily shoves the crystal into his shirt pocket.
"Come on," John pleads, "just give me a sign."
As if in answer, the dim lights that had only barely illuminated the corridor go out, leaving John in total darkness. "Oh Yea, thanks," he sighs, "this is perfect."
Turning around in the now dark corridor, John realizes he is once again lost. "NOW HOW THE HELL DO I GET OUT OF HERE!?!"
Fishing through his pockets for his flashlight, John feels an unfamiliar sensation. "What the Sam Hill?" he says feeling a slight vibration in his sweatshirt pocket. "That's my crys...
"AAAAGGGGHHH!" John screams in terror as a sword blade bursts from his chest. *I'VE BEEN STABBED! * His mind screams.
Dropping to his knees, John clutches his chest ready to staunch the river of blood he's sure will be coming. "KENDRIX, LEO, DULCEA, SOM...SOMEBODY!" he screams in horror, but there's no way they can hear him. Deep down, he knows his life is over.
"Oh God, Oh God, Oh...Wait," he says realizing there is no pain, no blood, no...wound? Examining his chest closer, John realizes he HASEN'T been stabbed after all. Somehow, the crystal in his shirt pocket had turned into a sword! Happy to be alive, John laughs hoarsely as he examines the sword.
No, he realizes not a sword. The shape is unmistakable. Even in this darkness he recognizes it instantly.
"A Quasar Saber," John whispers in awe, "and it's mine." Running his fingers over the hilt, he notices that the coin embedded at the base of the blade bares no symbol. "It's dormant," he realizes.
Taking the saber in his right hand John goes into an intricate sword kata. Around him the razor sharp blade flows in intricate arcs. The swords balance is perfect making the movements that much easier. John feels as if the sword were made for him and only him. After so long, it just feels right.
Finishing his exercise, John looks at the saber in his hand and the new gaping hole in his shirt, and remembers the crystal. "I'm glad I didn't keep it in my pants."
Without warning, a burst of energy fires from the blade of the sword striking the large metal door. With a hiss of escaping air, the now glowing door slides open revealing a brightly-lit room.
As John enters, he sees bright lights and monitors humming to life before him. In the center of the room is a large intricate control panel. In the center is a large slot, almost like a keyhole.
"Wow! Hadrien knew," John says in awe looking around the room, "the little SOB really knew."
"Alright," John says, "what now?"
Back at the battle, the Rangers desperately call on their last resort weapon. "Crystals ready?" Leo asks.
"QUASAR LAUNCHERS!" as the Rangers shout the command, the Powered Up Quasar Launchers appear in their hands ready to fire. Launchers to Full Power!" Leo orders, "FIRE!"
With a rumble like thunder, the Launchers fire they're deadly energies at BrainStormer. Cutting a blazing trail of light, the beams bare down on their target only to be knocked away once again by BrainStormer's incredible mental powers to strike the weakened Rangers with bone crushing force.
"Man," Damon moans forcing himself to his feet, "no way could this get wor...UUHHHAAGG!"
Before Damon can finish his complaint, he's struck and lifted up by BrainStormer's powerful spine-whip, and held helplessly in mid-air!
"It's worse," Kai whispers.
Back at the Zenith Carrier Zord, John is exploring the command chamber when his gaze falls once again to the central control console. "It's gotta have something to do with you," he says running a hand over the controls.
Feeling the slot in the middle of the console, John comes to a sudden conclusion. "It's a keyhole," he whispers. "To bad Hadrien wouldn't let me borrow the keys," he jokes.
Suddenly, the Quasar Saber he still carries begins to glow. Looking at it, John comes to a sudden realization, "Wait a minute," John says, "he did!"
Lifting the glowing saber over his head, John grasps the hilt with both hands before turning the saber upside down and firmly driving the blade into the control slot.
With a crackle of energy, the entire control panel comes to full life. Monitors show the Zenith's surroundings, and the status of the MegaZords. Lights come on, indicators flicker, and to John's surprise, he understands what they all mean.
Without warning, John feels the room quake as a massive door, which John had thought was just a wall, begins to open. "Oh Momma," John says in surprise, "that's a BIG door!"
"Guy's if your not to busy," Damon shouts still held in BrainStormer's spine whip, "this hurts very much badly!"
Having had enough, Leo somersaults forward to stand no more than a yard from BrainStormer. "Is that the best you got!?! Leo demands. "All you can do is sling Rangers around with that big...whatever it is?" he says pointedly. "Why don't you drop him, and show us what you're really made of!"
"WHAT!?!" the Rangers cry together.
In answer to Leo's challenge, BrainStormer slings away Damon with a flick of his spine, and then the monster begins to grow. "OOOOH, Little Red Ranger, Your gonna regret that."
Ignoring the monster's boasts and the questioning glances of the other Rangers, Leo reaches skyward.
"GALACTABEASTS, ARISE!" As the mystical beasts enter the battle field, Leo looks toward the now two hundred foot insect creature, "It's gonna be a long night," he whispers.
Aboard the Zenith, John has finally worked up the courage to walk through the massive doorway, only to find a vault like chamber on the other side.
Looking around the rooms bare metal walls, John realizes the "vault" was made for only one reason. To protect the objets lying on a small table before him. There in neat little trays lies a glowing red jewel-like crystal, and a high-tech looking computer disk.
For some reason, John feels compelled to examine the red jewel. It's as if it were calling to him in some irresistible way.
Reaching toward it, John hears a silent whisper somewhere in the back of his head. "I understand," he says. With a final fluid motion, John grabs up the crystal.
"AAAHHHGGG!!!" John screams in agony as what feels like a thousand lightning bolts pour into his body. The blood in his veins feels as if it were replaced with scalding acid, and his head feels as if it might explode. But through the haze of pain and sensory assault, everything seems clear. John knows what must be done. And with that realization, comes sweet soothing darkness.
At the Industrial Dome, the Galaxy MegaZord fights a loosing battle with the rampaging BrainStormer. Again and again the monsters psychokinetic blasts, razor sharp claws, and deadly spine-whip assault the mighty machine. With each new blow sparks fly, and smoke bellows from open wounds in the MegaZords metal hide.
"Leo," Damon calls from his command chamber, "the next time you get a plan to rescue me, Forget It!"
"I was hoping he would just throw you away, and try to kick my butt," Leo argues, "how could I know he'd grow."
"They always grow!" Damon retorts.
"Can you guys discuss this later?" Kai scolds, "We're kinda in the middle of something!"
As the Rangers struggle to maintain control, they all feel the MegaZord being lifted from the ground. "He's got us in some kind of mental force field!" Kendrix yells, "we can't move!"
With the MegaZord quaking under the mental assault, Leo slams his hand against his console in anger. Damn it!" Leo shouts in anger. "Guys, I don't think we're gonna win this one."
In the Zenith Control Chamber, a figure in black armor steps out of the vault as an alarm sounds from the central control panel. "Show me," he commands.
Suddenly the main view screen flickers to life showing the violent battle in the Industrial Dome. "My friends are in trouble," the man says. "No," he adds staring at his own-gloved hands, "my TEAM is in trouble."
After so long, the words seem strange to him, but he knows the command. And with a happiness he has scarcely felt before, he shouts the words like a solemn oath... "BACK TO ACTION!"
Back at the battlefield little has changed. The Galaxy MegaZord still hangs in the air helplessly. Suspended by the same mental energy that threatens to rip it apart.
"Leo!" Kendrix shouts, "We're losing power! We have to evacuate."
"NO!" Leo shouts back, "If we give up here, we lose Terra Venture! I won't let that hap..."
A hail of energy that strikes BrainStormer from behind, engulfing him in flames interrupts Leo's cries.
Suddenly free, the MegaZord drops to the ground with a crash.
"What was that!?!" Leo shouts in surprise.
His answer comes from Maya as she the source of the burst. "Leo look," she yells, "it's the Zenith!"
"But the Zenith didn't work," Kai questions, "who's..."
"Incoming message from the Statoforce MegaZord," Kendrix interrupts.
"Stratoforce," Leo repeats, "what's it say?"
Quickly, Kendrix reads the strange message, "It says, "Did you miss me StarLight?"
"StarLight?" Kendrix repeats shocked, "Oh God, its John!" she screams happily.
"Hunter?" Kai questions, "he was right?"
"Damn straight, son!" John's voice calls over the MegaZord's communicator. "Now listen up, I've been scanning that thing from the Zenith. I know what to do, but we only have one shot at this!" Speaking quickly, John relays his plan to the Rangers, and everyone prepares.
Outside, the still burning BrainStormer howls with fury. "You little scum," he roars at John, "New Ranger or not, I'll kill you first!"
"That's exactly what you'll have to do if you want another shot at my friends," John promises. "Now watch close Big Daddy, cause here comes a shot you'll never forget!"
Charging the Stratoforce's boomerang weapon with energy, John triggers the MegaZords finishing move, sending the weapon hurdling toward BrainStormer.
"Idiot," BrainStormer screams side stepping the boomerang, "now I'm gonna give you a piece of my mind!" With that, the monsters huge brain crackles with energy as he prepares to attack.
"We don't want a piece, Brain-man, we want the WHOLE THING!" Leo calls over the Galaxy MegaZords loud speaker from behind the monster.
As BrainStormer turns, he sees the Powered Up Galaxy MegaZord readying its massive saber for a slashing move.
"Galaxy MegaSaber, Full Power!" The Rangers shout.
Once, twice, three times they slash BrainStormer, before stepping back for a new attack.
"Pink Power!" Kendrix shouts channeling a powerful energy blast through the Galaxy MegfaZord's shoulder segment.
Once again BrainStormer is hit, and screams in pain.
"Tilt, My turn!" Damon shouts happily, "Condor Missile Mode, Fire!" With that command, the Galaxy MegaZord's Crossbow weapon fires its missile with a devastating payload, striking BrainStormer dead center.
"Noooo!" BrainStormer screams, "I will not be cheated of my victo..."
Before he can finish, the Stratoforce boomerang strikes BrainStormer from behind and finally the monster falls to the ground in defeat, and explodes.
"You'd think with a brain like that," John says sarcastically, "he woulda remembered, boomerangs and old friends always come back.
The battle now over, the two MegaZords stand victorious over the fallen monster. There pilots all the happier about they're latest victory, because of the knowledge that once more, they are a team.
Moments later, the victorious Rangers enter to the Zenith Carrier Zord's control room. "Wow!" Kendrix exclaims, 'I can't believe we never knew this place was here."
"One of us did," Maya reminds them.
Kai looks at his friends as he speaks, "That's right, I have to admit John knew what he was talking about, this time."
"Oh gee, Thanks Kai," a voice says from behind him.
"What!" Spinning, Kai looks for the source of the voice but finds nothing. "Who said that?" Kai asks nervously.
"Maybe, it was a ghost," Leo jokes.
"Not a ghost, Corbett," the voice tells him, "a Phantom." With that, a black clad figure shimmers into view before the eyes of the startled Rangers.
"John?" Kendrix asks tentatively.
Slowly, with a hiss of escaping air, the armored figure removes his black helmet, revealing John's smiling face. "That's right, StarLight, I'm back in the saddle.'
Rushing forward Kendrix leaps into Johns arms giving him a long kiss.
"I don't get it, John," Leo says when they finally part, "that's Phantom Ranger armor, Right?"
Still holding Kendrix, John looks to Leo. "Yea, that's right. It seems the Phantom Rangers have existed for thousands of years protecting and helping the Power Rangers. They're sort of like Power Ranger Special Forces."
"And you've been chosen to be the newest one, right?" Maya asks happily.
"Naturally," John smirks, "somebody has to watch your rears." Leaning around to look behind Kendrix, John says, "Some are just more fun to watch than others."
"You jerk," Kendrix admonishes him jokingly.
Stepping toward the control console, John smiles at the others. "That's not all, either. I also control the Zenith. It was originally meant as a mobile command center, it has living quarters, hangars for the Zords, and even vehicle and repair bays. Not to mention space flight capabilities."
"Like a bigger version of the MegaShip," Leo says.
"It gets even better," John says holding up a small black box, "I also got this. This box contains transformation codes for Zords, plans for new vehicles and weapons, and even some encrypted stuff I can't begin to crack."
"Sounds like you hit the jackpot," Leo tells him happily.
"WE hit the jackpot," John corrects him. "That is if you want me on the team."
"Well, I don't really know," Leo says slowly.
"There was that guy in engineering," Kai jokes, "he had a much better..."
"Boys," Kendrix says sternly.
"What the hell, You're in." Leo says.
"Okay," John says nervously, " but there's still one thing." Leaning close to the other Rangers, John whispers his request in their ears.
"Oh come on," Kai argues, "nobodies done that in years."
"I like the idea," Kendrix tells them.
"Me to," Maya agrees.
"If you want me back on the team," John says, "we have to do it."
"It's tradition," Damon says, "I got no problem with that."
"All right then," Leo says, "let's do it.
In turn, each Ranger places their hands on top of each other, John placing his hand last.
Each of them knows the gesture. More than just a cheer, or a battle cry, it's a pledge. A pledge to all that is good in the universe. To serve, to protect, to battle evil in all it's forms, no matter where they find it. It's a pledge they all took long ago in their own separate way. But now it was time to join together to give voice to the pledge, to call it out for the entire universe to hear.
They leap into the air together, shouting in unison, the name that has stood for justice in the universe for thousands of years. They weren't just teens anymore, or even soldiers, they are a team, they are family, they are...