Reality shattered, leaving shards of time and space in an endless void of chaos and madness. Within the void, the Ultimate Power Rangers gathered to learn the secrets of the End of All. Using Ranger Keys, they unlocked Time Shards to slowly unravel the history of existence’s downfall.
The Shards revealed this story.
The sun shined brightly– at midnight. The pale glow cast an eerie hue across the Charterville Cemetery.
Jo McCormick kneeled at her brother Drew’s grave and placed flowers on the grass, twisted and dying. A young woman, her hair looked disheveled, and her clothing worn. She never recovered after she lost her brother and Josh during the Second Countdown to Destruction.
“Hey, big brother,” she whispered. “So I guess the world is ending? Not the best news…but I guess we’ve been through this before, haven’t we?”
Footsteps came from behind. She didn’t need to turn to know who they belonged to. “Are you following me, Roland?”
He stayed back, his hands in his pockets. “I just came to see how you were.”
She shook her head. “Just leave me alone. I want to say goodbye to my brother. One last time…”
“It doesn’t have to be the last time,” Roland said. “Maybe we can find the Rangers. See if we can-”
“Can what?” She shot to her feet and turned towards him, her face wet with tears. “Remember what happened the last time we tried to play at being heroes? Jesus, we were just kids, Roland. We didn’t have any business-”
Two lights flared in midair and hovered between them. One shined with a silver hue, and the other purple.
Jo opened her eyes wide with fear, taking a step back. “No…”
Roland tilted his head, not sure if he could believe what he saw. “Is that…? Jo, do you know what this means?”
“No,” she whispered.
Roland reached out and grabbed the light, which formed his Beetle Bonder. “If we can Borg, we can help stop whatever’s happening.”
“I said no!” Jo snapped.
“What would Drew do?”
“Get himself killed!”
“Pull yourself together,” Roland said. “Drew and Josh died to save all of us. Are you going to just throw that away? The same way you’ve thrown your whole life away?”
Jo rolled her eyes. “I’m sorry I didn’t become a successful comic-book store owner like you.”
“That was my dad’s store,” Roland said. “You know what? Never mind. You stay here with the dead. I’m going to go save the world.”
He turned around and started to walk off, arming his Beetle Bonder. He spoke the words that gave Jo chills.
“Beetle Bonder! Beetle Blast!” Silver light wrapped around him, transforming him into the Titanium Silver Beetle Borg.
The Silver Guardians did their best to evacuate Corinith after the city came under attack by demon-possessed machines and circuitry.
Wes, Jenn, and Lucas– former Time Force Rangers and now Silver Guardians– led one caravan into the woods that bordered the city to the north. Above, the skies swirled with unnatural light, which looked like reflections from a pond.
Wes looked over his shoulder towards the city. He sighed and turned to Jenn. “Jenn…you and Lucas stay here and lead the caravan. I’m going back.”
“Are you crazy?” Jenn said. “Wes, Corinith is gone. We have to get these people to safety.”
“There won’t be any safety. Not if we don’t do something to fight back,” Wes said.
Lucas walked towards them. “Hey,” he said with his usual calm demeanor. “These people are panicking. We need to get moving.”
“There’s nowhere to move to,” Wes said. “Nowhere is safe. Not anymore.”
“We can’t just-”
Three lights of energy appeared, floating in front of the former rangers. The energy splashed into them, and wrapped around their wrists, forming their Chrono Morphers.
They looked at their wrists, stunned.
“Our morphers…” Wes said.
“Do you think they work?” Lucas asked.
“Only one way to find out.” Jenn looked to Wes and nodded.
He nodded back.
With their powers back, they didn’t need to debate. They didn’t need to discuss. They knew what to do.
They stepped into their morphing stances.
“Chrono! Trigger!” Energy wrapped around them as they morphed into their Ranger forms: Time Red, Time Blue and Time Pink.
Riots broke out along the streets. Richie, former Ninja Blue and now an officer with the police force, did his best to keep the crowd under control. For his efforts, he got a bat to the head, knocking him to the street.
He cursed beneath is breath, shot to his feet, and flipped the attacker to the ground. Another attacker stepped towards him with a broken beer bottle. Richie grabbed the man’s wrist and twisted, flipping him off his feet.
Another rioter came at the former Ranger. Then another. Their eyes turned solid black, demon possessed. The demons burst from their hosts, taking physical form with splatterings of blood, muscle and bone.
Richie narrowed his eyes and stepped into a defensive stance.
Before they could attack, a flare of blue light appeared in midair. The light solidified into a familiar shape: The Ninja Coin of the Blue Ranger.
He reached out and grabbed the coin. It ebbed with blue light that formed a morpher.
He grasped the morpher tightly and shifted his stance.
“Shogun Transform! Ninja Power!”
Blue light circled around him as he morphed into his Ranger form and snapped into a fighting stance.
Different organizations popped up over the years to help in the fight against evil. One organization called itself STN, organized bounty hunters who specialized in hunting witches and Shaded, children whose parents were possessed by demons. STN lent its services to INET, as well as governments and corporations.
Recently, the organization turned its efforts to recruiting former Rangers, although hard to identify and find. Their first and only former-Ranger recruit so far: Zack Taylor, former Mammoth Ranger and former Ninja Black.
The organization found value in Zack because, even though he couldn’t morph into Ninja Black, he could still channel various Ninpo abilities from The Power.
During his current mission, he stalked through the shadows of an office building taken over by a coven of witches. They wore robes patterned with the images of spiders and insects, part of some sort of pantheon they worshipped.
“Man, why’d it have to be bugs?” Zack muttered.
He maintained radio silence with his teammates, at other strategic points within the building.
Suddenly, two lights flared in front of him.
The light caught the witches’ attention. They lashed out with staffs, hurling bolts of dark magic. Zack dove and rolled for cover; the blasts exploded around him with splatterings of webbing.
When he rolled into a crouched stance and looked up, he noticed the two lights had solidified– into the Power Coin of the Mammoth Ranger, and the Ninja Black Power Coin.
He didn’t know how they appeared, or why they had such rotten timing, but they felt…right. He shot to his feet and grabbed the nearest coin, the Mammoth Coin. It pulsed with energy that formed a morpher in his hand.
“Yes!” he shouted as he thrust the morpher forward and snapped it open. “Dino! Buckler!”
Energy flashed around him as he morphed into his armor and snapped into a fighting stance.
“Mammoth Ranger, Black!”
Rocky started his own sporting goods company after a few years as a professional fighter. The company became quite successful, even after a short time, despite the economic troubles that came with the end of the freaking world.
He sat in his office while on the phone with Chelsea, his fiance, and Tommy Oliver’s sister.
“I know you’re worried about Tommy,” Rocky said. “But the important thing is to keep you safe. Where are you now?”
“I’m coming to you,” Chelsea said. “Then we’re going to find my brother.”
Rocky sighed. “OK…” Outside, the sky had started to shift back and forth between pitch black and daylight bright. “Just be careful. This is…different somehow.”
“I will. You too. Love you, see you soon.”
“Love you.” He hung up the phone.
Of course he would try to find Tommy. And Adam. And try to help stop…whatever the hell was going on. But how could he without his powers?
As if to answer, a flare of blue light shined above his desk. The light formed his Heaven Gravity Star Thunder Gem.
“That looks like the…”
The Gem shot into his hand. It glowed with light that wrapped around his wrists, forming his Aura Bracers.
Rocky smiled. “Maybe I can help Tommy after all…”
Chris Harris felt compelled to join NASA after his adventures as the Black Astro Ranger. The former ranger became an astronomer for the organization, which gave him a chance to use his skill sets in astro navigation.
Those skills didn’t matter much anymore. All of NASA’s instruments went berserk as Chris watched from the floor of the control room. Space, and the very laws of physics, no longer seemed to make sense.
Frantic voices tried to find any shred of logic in their findings.
“Uh, we’re picking up the moon, sir.”
“It’s in Hawaii.”
“Solar flares coming from Venus.”
“It’s the asteroid belt, they’re…planets?”
“Why is Saturn’s ring around Mars?”
Suddenly, control panels exploded with bursts of spark. Black smoke surged into the room and streamed into several technicians, possessing them. Demons burst from the bodies, taking monstrous physical form.
Chris narrowed his eyes and tightened his fists.
Just within eyesight, a flash of green light appeared. The light solidified and formed the Green Zeo Subscrystal.
Chris opened his eyes wide as the light reflected in his eyes. “My Zeo Crystal…”
Another flash of light appeared, this one purple and black. Chris recognized it somehow- the Black Astro Ranger powers. They seemed more fitting to his surroundings.
He reached out and grabbed the black light. It flowed around his wrist, forming his Digimorpher.
Chris shifted into his transformation pose. “Install! Astro Ranger!”
Could a Machine truly die?
J.B. and his friend David asked themselves that as they ran to the park. Something tugged at the back of their minds to go there, a familiar presence.
“This can’t be possible,” J.B. said.
“It is,” David said. “You feel it too…”
In the center of the clearing, a silver, virtual light formed. The light started to take shape, like a mechanical body knitting itself back together. Flesh started to appear, and then clothes.
Ryan Steel, alive again, stepped from the light. As Cybertron, he was his powers, and his powers were him. So when his powers returned, so did he.
“Incredible…” J.B. said. “Ryan!”
They ran and hugged their friend. Ryan laughed and hugged them back.
“What’s wrong, J.B.? David?” he asked.
Before they could answer, two lights of digital energy flared. The energy pulses splashed into J.B. and David. A Virtualizer formed around J.B.’s neck, and a hand-held transformation device called a Galavanizer appeared in David’s hand.
“Man, what’s going on?” David asked.
“What do you mean?” Ryan asked, knitting his brow.
“Ryan,” J.B. said. “You were dead. And our powers, they were gone. And now…how is this happening?”
Years ago, the three young men received different power sets that drew energy from the same source, virtual energy, with origins tracing back to the ancient Box of Isis that held the secrets to melding man and machine.
David had named himself after the order of space protectors that gave him his powers: Galavan. Only later did he learn his armor’s true name, Shaider.
J.B. had taken the guise of the Black Nova Trooper, a suit of power armor originally designed to serve Sauron, the Dark Monarch of Evil.
And Ryan had learned he was really a cyborg, built, not born. He could transform himself into a powerful virtual warrior named Cybertron.
Ryan had died during the Second Countdown to Destruction.
He didn’t remember that death. Or the death of…
“Where’s Kaitlin?” Ryan asked.
“Ryan…” J.B. said. “She…she didn’t make it.”
Ryan paled. “That can’t be.” He closed his eyes. And the memories rushed back. The Second Countdown to Destruction. The fight against the Undead. “We won…but everything’s still…Nothing’s changed…”
Suddenly, flares of energy erupted, forming virtual demons and ghouls, drawn to the sudden eruption of power.
Ryan narrowed his eyes as he faced the villains. He rolled his hands into fists, and as one, the three comrades stepped forward.
Saiya sat in a meditative pose in her father’s dojo.The former White Wild Force Ranger kept her eyes closed and breathed deeply.
Her father opened the door and entered. “Saiya…” he said. “The sky…has gone dark.”
She lowered her head. In her hand she gripped her G-Morpher, which had appeared to her moments ago along with her Animal Crystal. She knew what it meant but didn’t want to accept it.
“Are they here?” she asked.
Her father nodded. “Yes…”
She opened her eyes and stood. Slowly, she walked outside, to where two of her former comrades awaited: Michael, former Gao Black, and Timothy, former Gao Blue.
“You got yours back too,” Timothy said. “Didn’t you?”
She nodded. “I haven’t heard from Ryan, though. Or Shirogane…”
Timothy held his Animal Crystal in his right hand, rolling it across his palm. “You know what this means, though, right?”
She nodded. “We have a part to play again now.”
“And…” Michael said. “You know who we have to stop…”
She nodded, and spoke the name of their former leader and friend, a wide-eyes optimist turned to dark. “Simon…”
Saying nothing else, they stepped into a clearing and armed their morphers.
“Gao Access! Ha!”
Junior lived for journalism. Fitting that journalism would kill him.
The former Blue Lightspeed Ranger decided to head to the capital for a story: politicians going rabid and eating their constituents. Fun times they were not.
His phone vibrated in his pocket, again, for what seemed like the 126,000th time. He pulled it out and checked, while ducking into a hallway to avoid a wave of zombie senators and lobbyists. He saw a text from Max…something about getting his morpher back?
The phone rang, and Junior answered, just as a trio of politicians charged at him.
“Hey, it’s Junior, bad time, man.”
“Junior? It’s Kevin.”
Junior sidestepped a diving senator. “Oh, hey Kev, long time. How’s the ball and chain.”
“Steph is good. Listen-”
“One sec.” Junior kicked a politician upside the head and elbowed a lobbyist in the face. “OK, go.”
“Listen, I know this is going to sound crazy, but did you, uh…get your morpher back.”
“Get my, what? Are you- Oh hold on, another call.” He jump kicked a senator and dashed towards the nearest staircase. “Hey, its Junior.”
“Jesus Christ, man, what took you so long, I’ve been texting you for-”
“Oh, hey DJ, one sec.” He hopped down a couple stairs while kneeing a politician upside the head. “OK, go.”
“What the fuck is going on? It’s like the world is ending…and I got my morpher back…”
Junior slapped a senator on the forehead to knock him down the stairs. “Oh, Max didn’t text you?”
“The world is in fact ending, and we did, in fact, get our morphers back.”
“What are you-”
“Oh, hold on, I still have Kev and Steph on the other line.”
Junior flipped over the railing while kicking a politician’s face. “Hey Kev, sorry about that. Guess what? DJ got his morpher back too. Not sure where mine- oh, there it is.”
A light of blue energy appeared. Junior smiled and grabbed the light while spinning forward with side-kick, bashing a senator’s chest. The light wrapped around his wrist, forming his Rescue Morpher.
“What do you say?” he asked into his phone. “Class reunion? At Corinith? Great, see you at 7.”
He hung up and threw his phone at a politician’s face.
In different parts of the country, but united yet again, the four friends armed their morphers and called out.
Tommy’s vision blurred into focus. He climbed to his feet, his body and soul aching– yes, he could actually feel his soul and spirit, an odd sensation, to say the least, like skin beneath skin beneath skin.
He lifted his right hand and noticed his morpher. It looked like his Dino Buckler, but more golden. He didn’t know how, but he realized, this morpher, freshly Forged within the Astral Plane, contained all his Ranger powers. A Master Morpher.
He smiled. “I did it…”
He breathed a sigh of relief and thrust the morpher forward. “Chakra ignite!”
Power and flame washed over him as he morphed into the Red Dragon Ranger.
Then he remembered. The Hell Child’s death, the release of the dead universes– whatever that even meant– broke the Final Seal to the Dark One’s prison.
Dragon Ranger looked up.
The Dark One’s face filled the sky, the entire sky, for as far as the Ranger could see. It looked like a massive curtain of black fire, featureless except for two eyes larger than suns, burning red and hot just above the horizon.
The Red Ranger took a step back. Fear gripped his spine and nearly forced him to his knees. He felt terror as he had never known. His heart pounded in his chest, and his limbs numbed.
Quietly, he whispered. “Dear god…”
—To be continued…Chapter 10