Reality shattered, leaving shards of time and space in an endless void. The Ultimate Power Rangers journeyed through this void to learn the secrets of the end of existence. Using Ranger Keys, they unlocked Time Shards to slowly unravel the broken pieces of history.
The Shards revealed this story.
The Astral Plane
Dragon Ranger entered his cockpit and placed a hand on his control sphere.
“OK, Red Dragon. Let’s…pretend like we know what we’re doing.”
The Red Dragon Thunderzord snapped its tail and dove towards the Megadinozord, corrupted by the same dark energies tainting the Astral Plane.
The Megazord looked up and fired a beam of molten energy from its horns. Red Dragon swerved, barely dodging the blast, intense enough to scorch the zord’s armor plating.
“Two can play at that game. Red Dragon, Fire Blast!” the Red Ranger shouted.
The Thunderzord opened its jaws and breathed a stream of fire, splashing across the Megazord. But the flames did nothing. The Megadinzord absorbed the fire into its armor and body.
“Aw man, is that thing seriously immune to fire?” Dragon Ranger muttered. “That’s going to be a problem.”
The Megazord armed its saber and slashed through a streak of power. The Red Dragon dodged and circled back for another pass. Megadinozord chopped again, but the Red Dragon snapped its claws, parrying the blade.
“This isn’t working…” Dragon Ranger rolled his right hand into a fist, leaving his left hand on his control sphere. “Red Dragon, Rise up!”
The Thunderzord crackled with lightning and shifted shape, changing into warrior mode. The Red Dragon landed and skid across the ground of lava while arming its staff.
Megadinozord charged with a full assault, swinging and chopping its blade. Red Dragon spun its staff, blocking and parrying. But each powerful blow of the broadsword forced the Thunderzord back a step. The Megadinozord clearly outmatched the Thunderzord in terms of raw strength.
“OK, Red Dragon. Time for our greatest hits. Dragon Staff! Whirling Force!”
The Thunderzord stepped back and twirled its staff with the speed of a helicopter propellor. The staff energized with crimson power, discharging sparks of light that floated like pedals. Red Dragon lunged and swung its staff through a streak of power, slashing the Megazord with massive bursts of spark.
Red Dragon pressed forward, using its staff like a pole vault and swinging towards its opponent. The Thunderzord circled the staff, launching a volley of kicks that slammed against the Megazord’s armor.
The Megazord held its ground and back-fisted the Thunderzord, blows sparking on impact.
Red Dragon spun its staff and speared the weapon towards the Megazord’s faceplate. The Megadinozord summoned its Mammoth Shield and blocked the staff, nearly knocking it from the Red Dragon Thunderzord’s hands.
“Sure…” Dragon Ranger grumbled. “Now you use the Mammoth Shield.”
Megadinozord shield-bashed the Red Dragon with bursts of spark.
The Red Ranger’s cockpit shook; Dragon Ranger cursed beneath his breath. “This is getting me nowhere.” He needed a plan. “And some serious back-up.”
Suddenly, a black point of energy ignited in front of Dragon Ranger. The energy solidified, forming a black Heaven Star Thunder Gem. The Red Ranger reached out and grabbed the gem, smiling beneath his helmet.
The gem belonged to the Shadow Dragon, a short-lived zord that fought alongside the Power Rangers during their battle against Lord Zedd years ago.
“Haven’t seen you in a while.” He tightened his grip on the gem. “Shadow Dragon, arise!”
The black-armored, medieval-styled dragon swooped from the skies. It opened its jaws and breathed a stream of energy, bashing the Megazord with massive bursts of spark, forcing the giant backward.
The Red Dragon crouched and leapt upward, shooting into a comet of crimson energy.
“Red Dragon Thunderzord…”
The Black Dragon ignited into a comet of power and shot upward.
The comets of power circled around one another.
“Armor merge to…”
The comets of power collided and combined, forming a single zord. The zord had the body of the Red Dragon, and wore the Black Dragon like armor plating. The Black Dragon’s head acted as the chest piece, and its claws formed gauntlets. Black wings extended from the zord’s back.
The Dragonzord dove and smashed its knee against the Megadinozord’s chest. The blow sparked on impact and forced the Megazord back several steps. The Dragon pressed forward, whipping around with a spin-kick against the Megazord’s head.
The Megazord slashed upward, but the Dragonzord shot backward to dodge. What the Dragonzord lacked in raw, physical strength, it made up for in speed and maneuverability.
Dragonzord swooped around the Megadinozord and grabbed the giant from behind.
“OK…let’s see what happens if I get you away from the Forge.”
The Dragonzord shot upward, carrying the Megadinozord. They blasted through clouds of energy and streams of power, into what passed as sky within the realm of consciousness and thought that made up the Astral Plane.
The Megadinozord continued to struggle as if maddened. The Megazord broke free from the Dragonzord and plummeted downward, unable to fly.
The Dragonzord swooped after the falling Megazord. In midair, the Megadinzord flipped backward, kicking the Dragonzord upside the head. The blow whipped the Dragonzord backward, and its wings flailed out of control.
The Megadinozord crashed with a thundering explosion that hurled shock waves upon shock waves, battering the Dragonzord with bursts of spark and hurling it across the landscape.
The Shadow-Armor Dragonzord crashed and skid across molten rock. The impact rocked the Red Ranger within his cockpit. But he stayed on his feet.
“Shadow Claws!” The Dragonzord thrust its Black Dragon gauntlet and fired darts of energy.
The Megazord used its Mammoth Shield to block the blasts with bursts of spark.
“Okay…” Dragon Ranger grumbled. “I can’t overpower him. I can’t get him away from the Forge.”
Then he realized, maybe he needed to go about this a different way, from a different angle. More accurately, from inside the Megazord.
“Get us as close as you can, Dragonzord…”
The Thunderzord snapped its wings and shot towards the Megazord. The Megadinozord slashed at its incoming opponent. But the Dragonzord swooped aside to dodge the blow.
Spinning, Dragonzord shot upward and dive-kicked the Megazord’s shoulders, driving the larger zord to the ground.
The Red Ranger leapt from his zord, landed on the Megazord’s head, and dove into its cockpit.
Long led Simon through the ruins of a temple that had appeared in the middle of the Nevada desert. Dim light illuminated the interior of the temple, although Simon couldn’t identify the source. He saw no torches or windows, or even glowing energy orbs.
“I thought you said this place was in Demon City?” Simon asked.
“It is, and so are you,” Long said, with his usual smile, as if amused by an inside joke only he understood. “This temple exists at multiple points in space. We’re in the state called Nevada, and also in Demon City, California. Also, India, Saudi Arabia…”
“That’s not possible…”
“It is, it is, even by the physics you limited mortals pretend to grasp,” Long said. “Although…you’ll find physics and the laws of reality blurred in this temple.”
They entered a chamber circled by stone pillars. In the center of the chamber stood a dais with three empty displays. The entire chamber looked ancient, with worn and crumbling stone, and webs within the shadows.
“This is where Metatron inscribed the tablets shortly after the first turn of the Wheel of Time. The gods found themselves sealed off from the mortal plane, and spoke through him, so their knowledge could be passed down,” Long said.
He walked to the dias and placed the Demon Tablet on the center pedestal. As soon as he did, two other tablets appeared on the other stands. The Angel Tablet and Mortal Tablet.
Simon felt spiritual pressure from all three, as if they hummed in unison upon their reunion.
“How do we use them?” Simon asked.
“I will read them…” Long said. “And unlock their knowledge. I only need time. These ruins were considered ancient before the word or concept even existed.”
“Fine,” Simon said. “Just-”
Long snapped his head towards the entrance of the chamber. His face grew stern, serious and maddened. “It’s…them.”
“'Them’ who?” Simon asked.
“Rangers,” Long said.
Simon sighed and shook his head. “I’ll take care of it…”
Tommy had sent the Jungle Fury team to track down the Demon Tablet, hoping it held the secrets to banishing the gods from the mortal plane. Their first lead took them to the Nevada desert, where a strange temple had popped up out of nowhere.
The temple looked like a stepped pyramid of Aztec design, topped with the sculpture of a multi-headed dragon.
Casey, Theo and Lilly couldn’t help but feel chills as they approached the pyramid.
“Look at that dragon,” Theo said. “Remind you of anyone?”
Casey nodded. “Long. When he goes giant.”
“I sure hope he’s not in there,” Lilly said. “I’m really not in the mood for a rematch.”
“Can’t say I blame you,” Casey said. He looked into the distance and sighed. “I wish Dom and R.J. were here.”
“They should be here,” Theo said.
R.J had decided to join the Hurricane team in confronting Azmodai, and Dom offered to go with, leaving the core trio of the Jungle Fury team on their own.
They entered the temple slowly, keeping their eyes open for traps or an ambush. They didn’t see any source of light, and yet dim illumination ebbed through the interior of the temple. Hieroglyphs and runes covered the walls, thick with dirt and dust.
“See anything helpful?” Casey asked.
“Just dirt,” Theo said with disgust. “And more dirt.”
They didn’t notice Jarrod and Camille following them from the shadows.
Simon walked alone through a stone corridor. Shadows danced subtly along the walls, but he ignored the resulting shapes and sensations.
A voice whispered. “That can’t be…me?”
Simon stopped, recognizing the voice as his own, only younger. He looked at the nearest wall and saw a reflection of himself at age 12.
The former ranger sighed. “I’m not doing this…”
The younger Simon knitted his brow. “What happened to you?”
“I’m not doing this…” Simon turned away and started walking back down the corridors. But then, he stopped, a nagging feeling in the back of his mind. “You know…I remember being you. I dreamt of being a hero. Of saving people. I wanted to be a Ranger, pilot a zord, fight evil…” He shook his head. “You have no idea what you’re wishing for, kid. Do yourself a favor…stay young. The real world’s not a place where you want to be.”
Simon continued walking into the darkness.
Casey, Theo and Lilly entered a wide, empty room, with a single altar at the center. A massive archway stood on the other end of the room, and within the archway stood Simon, waiting.
He sighed. “You must be the Jungle Fury team…”
Casey tensed at the sight of the former ranger. “Simon Kaden…”
Simon nodded. “For the most part,” he said. “You three should turn around and leave. What you’re trying to do…it’s a waste of time. And if you get in our way, I won’t stop Long from killing you.”
“Long’s here?” Lilly asked.
Simon nodded. “He has the Demon Tablet. And the others.”
“Others?” Theo asked. “What others?”
“The Demon Tablet’s part of a set of three,” Simon said. “Once he unlocks their secrets, I’m taking them.”
“You can’t trust Long,” Lilly said. “He’ll-”
“I never said I do, this isn’t about trust,” Simon said. He lifted his hand, which ebbed with dark power. “Listen…I don’t know you three. I really don’t, and don’t care to. I’ve got enough people in my life to worry about.”
Lilly arced an eyebrow. “Do you? Because you seem pretty alone.”
Simon tightened his fist with a burst of power that knocked the rangers off their feet.
They skid across the ground, but quickly rolled to their feet and attacked.
Casey moved with the speed of the tiger, with punches and palm-heel strikes. Simon blocked and kicked the ranger’s gut, sending him staggering backward. Theo and Lilly moved in, spinning with kicks and punches. Simon blocked their blows and narrowed his eyes, triggering an invisible TK burst that hurled them across the chamber.
Simon sighed and summoned his black katana with a burst of dark light. “This is why I told you to leave…”
Casey climbed to his feet, and his teammates regrouped around him. They armed their bracers.
“Jungle Beast! Spirit, unleash!”
They slapped their right fists against their left palms, triggering waves of aura energy that washed over them, morphing them into their armor.
They moved into fighting stances.
“With the strength of the tiger…Jungle Fury Red Ranger!”
“With the stealth of the jaguar…Jungle Fury Blue Ranger!”
“With the speed of the cheetah…Jungle Fury Yellow Ranger!”
“Savage Task Force…” Red Tiger shouted. Together they called out: “Jungle Fury Rangers!”
The three Rangers charged to attack.
Simon spun his sword to defend himself. He slashed Red Tiger, pommeled Blue Jaguar, and spin-kicked Yellow Cheetah.
The Red Ranger staggered but stayed on his feet. He slapped his right fist against his left palm. “Call to the Beast Inside! Tiger Spirit!”
He thrust his hands with a wave of red energy shaped like a tiger. Simon slashed through the wave and swung wide, firing a blade of red-and-black energy. The blast struck Red Tiger with bursts of spark, hurling him backward, crashing him into a wall.
Yellow Cheetah slapped her right fist against her left palm. “Cheetah Jabs!”
She lunged with volleys of hyper-speed punches. But Simon used aTK shield to block them all. He slashed the Yellow Ranger with a burst of spark that whipped her off her feet.
Blue Jaguar armed his weapons.
“Jungle Tonfa!” He dashed and swung through a series of strikes.
Simon dodged them all and slashed the Blue Ranger to the ground.
“That..wasn’t terrible. Body, Technique and Heart right? The Ninja Rangers had something similar…with their zords, though. The Shogun Megazord represented Body, the Ninja Megazord Technique, and the Falconzord Heart.”
“We didn’t ask for pointless Ranger trivia,” Blue Jaguar said.
“You should learn about your heritage,” Simon said. “It’s flawed but has merits.”
“You’re one to talk of legacy,” a voice said from the shadows. “You tried to rob me of my mine.”
Simon sighed. He looked to the darkness and saw Jarrod step from the shadows.
Red Tiger opened his eyes wide beneath his helmet. “Jarrod!”
“Did you follow us here?” Blue Jaguar asked.
Jarrod ignored them, glaring at Simon. “I sense DaiShi in you.”
“His mind is gone, but his power is mine,” Simon said. “I’ll tell you the same thing I told the others. Leave. This thing with you trying to be relevant? It isn’t working.”
“We will see.” Jarrod rolled his hands into fists. His aura ignited like purple and black flame. “RinJyu. Lion-Ken Rinki. RinkiGai Sou.”
His aura took the shape of a lion and snapped around his body, morphing him into the armor of the Black Lion.
“Fist of the Beast King!”
He thrust his fist, firing a blast of energy shaped like the head of a lion.
Simon slashed the blast aside, knocking it towards the Red, Blue and Yellow Rangers. It smashed them with bursts of spark.
“Your powers should have never even existed,” Simon said, swinging his sword into a fighting stance. “This world was supposed to end. You? All of you? You’re the sequel nobody asked for.”
Black Lion charged with a flurry of punches and kicks Simon blocked and dodged. The Black Lion pulsed with Rinki, pouring his power into every blow. But none connected.
Simon countered, striking Black Lion in the chest. Neck. Kidney-shot. Side. Leg.
The former ranger kicked Black Lion with enough force to hurl him through a wall, stone and brick smashing to pieces.
“You’ll burn yourself out before you can take me,” Simon said.
The three Rangers climbed to their feet.
“Claw Boosters!" Their Claw Boosters flashed into their hands like Fist Weapons. They snapped the claws open and shouted: “Jungle Master Mode!”
KaGeki flared around them with orange and golden energy, morphing them into their Jungle Master Ranger forms.
Their KaGeki flared from their backs like thrusters. They shot towards Simon like cannonballs, claws slashing through streaks of power. Simon chopped them aside one by one, sending them flying through the walls, stone and concrete bursting into dust.
A tendril snapped from the shadows like a spear towards Simon’s head. He dodged, grabbed the tendril, and pulled, whipping Camille from the shadows. He spin-kicked the Green Chameleon to the ground.
“Camille!” Black Lion shouted. He flared with Rinki and shot towards Simon. “Ringi! Gouyuu Kou Ha!”
His lion spirit flared and pounced. Simon slashed through the energy and grabbed Black Lion. The former ranger tossed him aside with a burst of TK and Ki. Black Lion slammed through a wall and crashed to the floor, skidding backward.
The Black Lion rolled to a stop and looked up. He found himself in the same chamber with Long and the Tablets.
Long smiled, insanity in his eyes. “Well…hello, old friend. Come here to die?”
The Astral Plane
Dragon Ranger entered the Megazord’s cockpit. Images, voices and screams assaulted him, as if reliving every moment the Megazord experienced, would experience or could have experienced, all in one download of memory and sensation.
The Red Ranger collapsed to his knees and grabbed the back of the center seat to keep from falling.
“Tommy…” a voice whispered.
He looked up to see an echo of Burai, the original Green Ranger. He appeared as a ghost, mostly translucent. Dragon Ranger tried to speak but felt…separated from his mouth? That was the best description he could give, like his body parts were scattered.
“In this place, in this realm of mind…” Burai said. “I am bound to everyone who has and will wear my shield. The next to wear my shield will be the last.”
Dragon Ranger climbed to his feet. Images shifted, both within the cockpit and through the viewport.
He tried to ignore the images, despite their SCREAMING FREAKING INTENSITY. He took a seat SERIOUSLY STFU and placed his hands on the SHUT UP command panel. He took a deep breath STOP TALKING, SELF, YOU SUCK and channeled the power, drinking in its energy I’LL DRINK IN YOUR ENERGY YOU SON OF A-.
The Ranger directed his energy into the Megazord BIG DINOSAUR ROBOT. THAT’S A REAL THING.
He whispered the names: “Mastodon… Pterodactyl… Triceratops… Sabertooth Tiger… Tyrannosaurus…” REMEMBER BROOM BALL? THAT WAS A REAL THING TOO. THAT YOU PLAYED. WILLINGLY.
“Come on guys.” YOU’RE A BROKEN RECORD.
“Wake up…” THE GREAT TOMMY FREAKING OLIVER.
“Seriously, wake up!” YOU’RE TALKING TO ROBOT DINOSAURS, WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?
He felt he Megazord’s spiritual pressure intensify and nearly crush him within the cockpit. His visor cracked HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED BEFORE? YOU DON’T KNOW BECAUSE YOU SUCK. SUCK SUCKITY SUCK SUCK SUCK.
“Can you just not?!” STOP SHOUTING CALM TF DOWN OMFG!!!
His helmet and armor shattered. IF WE HAD A DIME FOR EVERY FREAKING TIME THAT HAPPENED.
“LIKE, COULD SOMEBODY COME BACK TO THE MALL AND PICK ME UP BECAUSE I. AM. LIKE. TOTALLY. CONFUSED.”
YOU SLEPT WITH THAT.
Tommy couldn’t see or hear his surroundings anymore, just the madness, the same mindscape of nightmares that infected the Megazord.
“Okay…” he whispered to himself. “Okay…I can’t do this by force. I can’t do this by power alone. I need, I need…”
What forces could stand against the darkness?
An image ignited in his mind. The red symbol for virtue, which he wielded years ago as part of his Ranger power-up armor, the Armor of Wildfire.
“Virtue…” he whispered.
He thought of the symbols of his teammates from that time, even Billy.
He focused on those traits.
And he poured them into the Megazord.
He mustered all his courage, all his will, all his determination.
And he turned those traits against the shadows that gripped the Megazord.
He could feel the steel will of the Megazord, as well, fighting against the corruption.
Drawing on all his inner strength, he combined that will, the will of the Megazord, with his own. WOW THIS MEGAZORD’S GOT SOME DINO GUTS!
The resulting spiritual pressure shook the Astral Plane and rumbled the forge.
The corruption ignited within the Megazord, and then peeled back, as the mighty giant ripped free from the darkness.
The Megazord collapsed to one knee, and the impact jarred Tommy from the cockpit. He fell and crashed onto the ground of the Astral Plane near the Forge.
He looked up, and saw the Megazord as it should be– armor gleaming, strong, free of shadow or darkness. The Red Dragon Thunderzord stood alongside the Megazord, as did the Black Dragon.
Slowly, they started to blur, glowing with Holy energy, as they faded away.
Exhaustion clenched Tommy– not just from the conflict, but from the effort of channeling The Power consistently in Ranger form, a constant stream of energy that grown adult bodies couldn’t handle as well as younger teenagers.
With a breath of pain, Tommy collapsed.
—To be continued…Chapter 06