Vasco and the Red Ranger dashed at one another while firing their blasters. They pounced and clashed in midair, twisting around each other and arming their swords.
They landed and clashed blades. The weapons clanged and sparked; The Red Ranger hopped backward and kicked Vasco upside the head. The Ranger landed and slashed; Vasco parried and kicked.
The Red Ranger jumped, used his ankles to grab the villain’s head, and twisted him off his feet.
Vasco crashed, tumbled, and rolled to his feet.
The Red Ranger fired his blaster
Explosions sparked around Vasco as he flipped backward.
The other five Rangers faced Kamen Rider Decade.
Decade slid a card into his buckler: “KA-KA-KABUTO”
He transformed into Kamen Rider Kabuto and slapped the slide of his belt, which spoke the command: “CLOCK UP.”
The Rider dashed through blurs of motion, striking the Rangers with bursts of spark.
Before the Shattering INET HQ
Tommy opened the door and stepped into Dr. William “Billy” Cranston’s office. Cranston stood with his back to the door while peering out the window. He didn’t bother turning to face his former teammate.
“I’m surprised, Tommy. I never thought you’d attack INET. Do you think Zordon would have done something like this? Or Sensei Kaku?”
Tommy shook his head. “Look, Billy…I’ve tried to talk to you, but you don’t-”
A distortion wave bashed Tommy to the floor, pinning him in place.
Billy sighed and took off his glasses. He used his shirt to wipe the lenses. “We’ve been here before, Tommy, you and I. This time…I’m sorry, but this time I can’t let you get in my way…not like before…”
“Two things…” Tommy said through a clenched jaw as he tried to push himself up. “One, your sincerity is lacking. Two…I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“I’ll show you…”
Cranston activated a holo-emitter on his desk, and images flashed through the room.
Angel Grove, 2008AD Shortly after the Second Countdown to Destruction Alternate Timeline Designate 002
Billy crouched on a rooftop that looked out upon decimated Angel Grove Central in the distance. People had started calling it Demon City. But he couldn’t bear to use the name. To him, Angel Grove Central still sounded like home.
Tommy walked onto the rooftop from a fire escape and moved closer to his friend. “Could you use some company?”
“Not really,” Billy said.
Tommy sighed and took a seat next to him. “I heard about your father…”
Billy stared ahead and said nothing. His father didn’t make it to a shelter in time to avoid the onslaught of the Mogralord War. Few civilians in Angel Grove Central did. With no mother, and now no father, Billy was an orphan.
“Look…” Tommy said. “I know this is bad timing…but it’s not over. I had a vision.”
Billy arced an eyebrow. “A vision?”
Tommy nodded. “It wasn’t very clear. But one thing’s for sure…the world still needs Rangers.”
“Our powers are gone,” Billy said.
“But we still have Alpha and the Command Chamber,” Tommy said. “And we still have each other. I’m a Master. You’re a Shaper. We can stop something like Demon City from ever happening again. If evil wants to come back? We’ll be ready.”
2014 AD Alternate Timeline Designate 002
The Grand Canyon formed a geyser of shadow energy that tore Arizona to shreds. Cracks of demonic power webbed from the geyser and spread through the entire state, ripping through towns and cities, and killing all traces of humanity and wildlife.
Demonic creatures spawned from the geyser and spread through the air. They numbered great enough to completely darken the skies.
Farther west, in California, alarms blared within the Command Chamber.
“Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!” Alpha-5 cried out. Billy had rebuilt Alpha-5 and the Command Chamber after the Countdown to Destruction in 2005. “Tommy! Billy! A new shadow fissure has just erupted!”
Massive doors slid open, and Tommy and Billy rushed into the control room. The room looked like a blend of archeology and technology, with holographic screens between stone columns, and holographic projections above stone consoles. Intricate markings covered the stonework throughout the entire chamber. The markings served as mystic runes created by Tommy.
Alpha activated the main screen near the front of the room. The massive screen showed the state of Arizona crack as if ready to erupt.
Billy narrowed his eyes. “This is the biggest incursion yet,” he said. “Level 8, at least. Alpha, order INET to send a containment team. We can’t let the fissures spread.”
INET served in a support capacity, similar to the help provided when the Zeo Rangers battled the Machine Empire. Tommy and Billy developed the Rangers, zords and weapons, and INET helped with construction, maintenance and upkeep. Tommy and Billy never developed a new Ranger team until they needed one.
Tommy watched as the monitors showed demons spread through the air and across the ground.
“We have to do something about that demon army,” Tommy said.
“Not even all six of our Ranger teams can stop an army that large,” Billy said. “Let the demons go. We have to stop the fissures. If they spread, reality tears apart.”
Tommy cursed beneath his breath. “We lose either way.”
“We do,” Billy said. “But if we stop the fissures, at least reality survives.”
Tommy reluctantly nodded. “Fine. We’ll need to get to the center of the geyser. We’ll send in the Hurricane team. They’re the best in the air.”
Alpha waddled to the nearest control console. “I’ll get a shuttle ready now…Ay-yi-yi…”
Tommy and Billy had stopped six fissures, but not before they demolished most of California, now called Demon Coast. INET fixed the fissures by patching them with a new tech Billy developed. But the patches weren’t designed to last.
“The Hurricane team is on their way,” Alpha told Tommy and Billy.
“Good,” Tommy said. “Have the Insecta Rangers and Dino Knights on standby,” Tommy said. “Samurai, Jungle Fury and the Ninja Steel Rangers will hold the fort.”
“We’re stretched too thin…” Billy said quietly.
“We have been for a while,” Tommy said. “But we’ll work with what we can. We can still pull this off.”
Billy shook his head. “I’m not so sure…”
An INET shuttle blasted through the air towards Arizona. The shuttle held a team of INET scientists, Silver Guardians and the Hurricane team — Shane Clarke, Dustin Brooks, Rachel Gray, Vince Carter and Amy Ness.
The shuttle flew towards the Grand Canyon, where a mountain of demonic energy rose from the vortex of shadow energy.
Billy and Tommy watched the mission from the Command Chamber.
Billy shook his head. “We keep fighting, but we’re not making any headway.”
“We’re doing the best we can,” Tommy said. “That’s all we can do.”
“Is it?” Billy asked. “I have to show you something, Tommy. Come with me.”
Billy led Tommy into a small room within the Command Chamber’s outer level.
“According to my calculations, all of reality has already shattered. I’m not sure if it happened in what we perceive as the past or what we perceive as the future…possibly an alternate timeline…but it’s already happened. It’s too late. At least…too late for existence as we know it, in the confines of our Creation.”
Tommy knitted his brow. “You lost me, Billy.”
“Our reality, our entire multiverse as it stands now, and every dimension within it, has shattered,” Billy said. “But there are other Creations, completely independent of our own. The reason we’ve failed to save our multiverse is because we haven’t pushed ourselves beyond the boundaries of humanity’s limited understanding.”
Tommy smirked. “You’re starting to sound a little bit like a mad scientist, pal.”
Billy didn’t smile. “You don’t understand, Tommy,” he said. “I’ve seen It.”
Tommy arced an eyebrow. “Seen what?”
“The Final Prophecy,” Billy said. “The Ultimate Secret. The very nature of existence. Of every existence. Every multiverse. In a void beyond space and time.”
He activated a holographic image of a technological tower– an Enetron Matrix. “I’ve tasked INET with constructing these towers. Enertron Matrices. Without these, all sentient life will erode into irrelevance.”
Chills crept down Tommy’s spine. “What do they do…?”
“Think of each Matrix as a morpher for our planet and the entire universe. We can use the Morphin Grid to kick-start evolution, to become a joint, single existence. A collective consciousness. No more emptiness. No more insecurity. No more sadness, loneliness or pain. Our weaknesses would be filled by the strengths of others. We’d wipe out the concept of the individual and become one mind.”
Tommy shook his head. “Billy, that’s…that’s insane. You have to know that. You’re talking about combining all of humanity into one hive mind?”
“Not a hive,” Billy said. “Hives are comprised of individuals. I’m talking about morphing all living creatures into a unified intelligence.”
“Yeah, somehow that’s worse,” Tommy said. “Let’s have Alpha take a look at you.”
“I’m not crazy, Tommy.” Billy lifted his hand palm-up. Ripples of distortion energy danced between his fingers. “Think about The Power and how it works. The way it elevates our Bodies, Minds, and Souls. The way we use it to combine, to form Megazords, Ultrazords, Gigazords. Why limit ourselves to forging weapons? Why limit ourselves to the confines of space and time as defined by the understanding of human science?”
Billy waved his hand. The holographic image shifted to show the entire planet, dotted with red lights representing Enertron Matrices. The image doubled, then doubled again into dozens of Earths covered with Enertron Matrix towers.
“I’ve seen to it that these Matrices are built across alternate timelines and parallel worlds. When we activate them, our entire multiverse will morph into the power of one. One entity, without pain, loneliness or death. A cosmic being capable of stretching into the void, and not just surviving, but thriving alongside entities from other Creations, other Existences. Other multiverses.”
Tommy stepped back. “What…what happened to you?”
“I told you,” Billy said. “I saw the Ultimate Secret.”
Tommy shook his head and moved to the control panel. “There’s got to be something wrong. Something controlling you.”
“No,” Billy said. “I’m simply facing the truth. This is the only way our reality survives: a higher stage of morphing. Morphing the quantum level of being. Not just the Body, Mind, Soul and Spirit. Morphing the fabric of existence.”
“What you’re talking about it is-”
“Beyond genius,” Billy said. “Reality, life itself, has its own source code. I’m hacking that code.”
Billy extended his hand to his friend. “Will you join me, Tommy? I can show you the Ultimate Secret. So you’ll understand. This is the only way we survive.”
Tommy shook his head. “No, Billy,” he said softly. “No, I won’t join you. I’ll…stop you. You realize that, right? What you’re talking about doing…I have to stop you.”
“I’m talking about saving existence.”
“By ending it,” Tommy said. “A unified intelligence? Collective unconsciousness? You’d be wiping out trillions of individuals. People!”
“It would be like your dreams bleeding into the dreams of others, until they become one,” Billy said. “At least, at first. The true state of our combined intelligence is incomprehensible within the limits of human minds.”
“That’s why I need you,” Billy said. “Human minds and souls are too primitive for this type of transformation. I need a way to elevate the metaphysical state of being. But my power sets are only ever able to morph the Body. I need you to help me morph the Mind, Soul, and Spirit.”
Tommy lowered his gaze. “Let me…Billy, this is a lot. Let me think about it. OK?”
Billy nodded. “I know this is a lot to take in, Tommy. But I trust you to make the right decision. Without my Enetron Matrix Network…reality ends.”
Tommy said nothing as he walked away.
Billy returned to the Command Chamber the next day to find his work wiped. All his progress, all his discoveries– gone.
“No…” he whispered.
“I’m sorry, Billy,” Tommy said as he entered the Command Chamber. “I had Alpha delete all your files. I can’t help you with what you’re planning. But I can help you. You’re not thinking straight-”
Billy lifted his hand. Distortion energy bashed Tommy and pinned him against the wall. Tommy swung his arms wide with a burst of Ki, breaking from the distortion field. He dropped to the floor and rolled to his feet, thrusting his hand with a burst of energy.
Billy swatted the blast aside. Instead of counter-attacking, he stood still, staring at the control consoles around him and the emptiness that remained of his work.
“I can’t start over…” Billy said. “At least…not from here, from this period in time. The damage that’s been done is too extensive.”
“It’s over, Billy,” Tommy said. “Come home…”
Billy narrowed his eyes. “No…” he said. “I suspected you might do something like this. But I wanted to believe in you. So I gave you a chance. I trusted my feelings instead of my reason.”
“No,” he said. “No…it seems I’ll have to do this on my own.”
He tightened his hands into fists. Yellow energy swirled around him, rippling with the power of the Heaven Time Star. Billy vanished with a burst of yellow light.
“I shifted into the past and merged with my younger self, before the Countdown to Destruction,” Billy said. “This time I didn’t make the mistake of trusting you.”
“You’re insane…” Tommy tried to channel The Power to push against the distortion field, but could not.
“You’re a grown man who still dresses up like a dinosaur,” Billy said. “Wake up, Tommy. This world of Rangers and Riders isn’t getting us anywhere. It’s time for something new.”
Tommy kept trying to channel. Finally, he felt trickles of power leak through the distortion field. He started to draw on those drips of energy. Slowly. He needed to stall for time.
“You couldn’t do it, could you?” Tommy asked. “The Power can alter the Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit. But not your Rangers. Your Ranger power sets could never power anything but the Body.”
“I tried,” Cranston said. “With Jet Force, I grafted energy onto Chakra Points. With the Bio-Beast team I tried to replicate the Ninjetti Powers of your Hurricane group. I even tried to create artificial souls, with RPM and Dino Charge. I learned with each failure.
“Ultimately, the Kamen Rider Blade powers held the final key I needed. The fusion of Undead and human. Now I’ve learned everything I need to manipulate not just the Body, but the Soul, Spirit and Mind.”
Tommy closed his eyes and triggered a Ki blast that shattered the windows and shook the entire floor. The distortion field collapsed, and Tommy shot to his feet.
Tommy launched a flurry of kicks. Cranston lifted his hand with a distortion field that blocked the blows; each strike smashed the barrier with a ripple of energy.
Tommy stepped back and ignited his fist with power.
His fist smashed through Billy’s barrier and punched the former ranger’s chest. The blow sent Billy skidding backwards across the floor as he stayed on his feet.
Cranston smirked — since when does Billy smirk?– and pulled back his shirt, revealing a buckler.
Billy slid a card into his buckler and snapped it shut. The belt spoke the command: “DECADE!”
Energy flashed around him as he morphed into Kamen Rider Decade.
Tommy armed his Dino Morpher.
“Dino Thunder! Power-up! Ha!” He slid his key into his bracer and triggered his morph into the Dino Thunder Black Ranger.
Decade tilted his head. “Interesting power choice.”
“I could say the same,” the Black Ranger said. “A Kamen Rider?”
“I’ve grown fond of the Riders over the years.”
“Really, wow,” the Black Ranger said sarcastically. “Tell me all about it, I’m itching to know.”
“Snarkiness doesn’t become you, Tommy,” Decade said.
“Fine, I’ll be more straightforward.” The Black Ranger raised his sword. “You were my friend and my brother, but that was a long time ago. Now…you’re a threat, and I’m shutting you and your whole operation down.”
Explosions burst through the walls. Riot Troopers charged into the office and attacked.
The Black Ranger blocked and parried their blows, slashing them aside with bursts of spark. He spun with a wide swing, slashing a trio of soldiers to the floor. Pressing forward, the Ranger snapped a jump-kick that bashed a Riot Trooper upside the head.
Kamen Rider Decade moved in, swinging a volley of kicks and punches.
The attack took the Black Ranger off-guard, forcing him back step-by-step as he blocked and dodged.
Decade leapt backward to gain distance. He slid a card into his buckler and snapped the buckler shut: “BLADE!”
The Rider shifted into his Kamen Rider Blade form and lunged with a flurry of sword swings. The Dino Thunder Black Ranger twirled his sword, blocking and parrying, weapons clangining against each other and bursting with spark.
Another group of Riot Troopers rushed into the office.
The Black Ranger hopped aside and lifted his sword.
“Energy Orb!” He circled his blade, forming a sphere of power. The Ranger batted the sphere, launching it forward.
The Orb blasted through Riot Troopers with massive bursts of spark, scattering them across the damaged floor.
Decade slid another card into his buckler: “GARREN!”
He morphed into Kamen Rider Garren, pulled out his blaster, and opened fire.
The Black Ranger dove and rolled aside; blasts sparked around him.
Garren leapt upward and slid a belt into his buckler: “BLACK RX!”
“Rider Kick.” The Rider launched at the Black Ranger with a double flying kick that ebbed with crimson energy.
Dino Black crossed his arms over his chest. The kick smashed him with bursts of spark and a shock wave that tore through the area.
The floor collapsed, and the Black Ranger tumbled downward, falling to a lower floor cluttered with offices and desks separated by glass cubicles.
Decade shifted back into his standard armor, dropped through the opening, and landed next to the Black Ranger.
Dino Black swung his staff towards the Rider’s faceplate. Decade blocked and snapped a kick that the Black Ranger blocked.
Dino Black hopped backward and stabbed his blade into the floor.
“Flame Strike!” His sword ignited with bursts of fire that ripped through the floor and exploded beneath Kamen Rider Decade.
The floor crumbled and tore open, dropping the combatants another level as debris fell around them; wires sparked, and dust clouded the air.
The Black Ranger shifted into a defensive stance. “You done?”
“Hardly,” Decade said. He stepped back and shifted his stance into a casual posture. His gaze drifted around the office space of his corporate empire. “Did you ever wonder how INET happened so quickly? I went from a small start-up in my garage to a multi-million dollar corporation practically overnight.”
“You had help,” the Black Ranger said. “Starr Enterprises.”
“True.” Decade lifted his hand. His palm pulsed with temporal and spatial energy. “But the real help came from my own power; the temporal and spatial energies of the Heaven Time Star.”
Energy flashed through the floor. Twelve numbered, black slabs appeared. From the slabs stepped 12 young men Tommy recognized: each a form of Billy Cranston.
“I found versions of myself in alternate realities. Like-minded individuals. And we decided to pool our resources, to create an organization, INET, to span the Multiverse.”
The Black Ranger knitted his brow. “You can’t be serious…” He looked at the doppelgangers, the other Billy’s. Their eyes seemed empty and almost zombie-like. “What did you do to them?”
“I’m the Prime,” Decade said, as if that explained everything. “The others didn’t possess my intellect and grew tiresome. I’ve essentially lobotomized them.”
“To use them.”
The alternate Billy’s morphed with flashes of light and power. When the light faded, they stood in various Ranger forms.
One appeared as the “classic” Blue Ranger, the Tricera Ranger. Two other Tricera Rangers stood, but looked different. One wore armor that looked like sleek plating, and the other also wore sleek armor, with scale-like etching and a glowing diamond in the center of the chest.
Two Billy’s appeared as the Yellow Kirin Rangers, and a third appeared as the Yellow Zeo Ranger.
Two of the alternate Billy’s had the power of the Gold Zeo Ranger.
One Billy became the Titanium Ranger, and another became the Phantom Ranger.
Two more Tricera Rangers rounded out the group. One looked classic, skin-tight blue, but with the symbol of the Triceratops on the chest, and the other looked plated in sleek armor with black along the shoulders.
The villains pounced at Dino Black.
The “classic” Blue Ranger twirled his lance. The Black Ranger blocked and slashed the Blue Ranger aside. The Armored Blue Ranger lunged forward with a jump-kick. But the Black Ranger dodged and side-kicked the villain, bashing him backward.
The Black Ranger cursed beneath his breath. “Are we seriously going to do this, Billy? Are you really going to throw these doppelgangers at me?”
The two Gold Zeo Rangers lifted their staffs.
“It’s time for a Gold Rush!” they shouted in unison. “Victory Flash!”
They swung their staffs at Dino Black, firing bolts of golden energy that exploded around him.
The Black Ranger dove aside and armed his Master Morpher.
“Dragonzord!” Energy flashed around Tommy as he morphed into his Green Dragon Ranger form.
Two Tricera Rangers swung their lances at the Green Ranger.
Dragon Ranger leapt backward and swung his dagger.
“Dragon Claw!” He fired a streak of jade energy that slashed the Blue Rangers with bursts of spark, whipping them backward.
Another Blue Ranger armed his Blade Blaster and fired. The Green Ranger’s golden chest shield absorbed the blasts with flashes of jade light.
The Green Ranger pounced with a flying scissor kick, bashing the evil Rangers off their feet. Dragon Ranger landed and blocked a flurry of kicks from a Tricera Ranger.
Hopping forward, Dragon Ranger chopped the Blue Ranger to the ground.
The two Gold Rangers charged and swug their staffs.
Dragon Ranger leapt backward and armed his Master Morpher.
“Ultra transform!” He morphed into Zeo Red.
“Zeo Power Sword!” His saber flashed into his hand with a burst of red light.
He parried the first Gold Ranger’s staff, then the second, twirling his sword and slashing, blade sparking on impact. He side-kicked the first Gold Ranger in the helmet and knife-hand chopped the second Gold Ranger in the back of the neck.
The Phantom Ranger blurred into view inches from Zeo Red. Phantom Ranger round-kicked and punched, pommeling the Red Ranger.
Zeo Red blocked the next volley of punches and slashed the Phantom Ranger to the ground.
The Titanium Ranger lunged with a flurry of kicks, bashing the Red Ranger backward.
Zeo Red hopped aside to gain distance. He armed his Master Morpher.
“Install! Astro Ranger!” He morphed into Astro Red and armed his Drill Saber.
“Saber Slash!” He swung his sword through streaks of energy, slashing the Phantom Ranger with bursts of spark that whipped his body to the floor.
Beyond all Space and Time After the Shattering
The Ultimate Red Ranger and Vasco clashed swords, blades clanging and sparking on impact.
The Red Ranger chopped high. Vasco blocked; they pressed blade against blade, leaned close, and turned, each trying to gain the upper hand.
They pulled back, turned, and swung their blasters, firing; blasts struck the opponents with bursts of spark. They dashed aside and rolled across the ground, firing at one another, blasts tearing across the ground.
Vasco rolled to his knees and fired.
The Red Ranger dodged and dove.
He rolled to his knees and slid his Ranger Keys into his sword and blaster. The weapons hummed with power and spoke the command: “FIIIIIIIINAL WAAAAAAVE!”
He triggered an energy bolt and swung his sword through a streak of power, firing an energy blade. The blade struck the bullet and turned into a wave of power that shot towards Vasco.
Vasco fired his own energy bolt and wave of power; the blasts combined into an energy wave that shot towards the Red Ranger.
The blasts exploded with shockwaves of light and flame that hurled the opponents off their feet. They crashed and tumbled across the dirt.
Kamen Rider Decade transformed into Kamen Rider Blade and slashed through the other five Rangers, blade sparking on impact.
The Ultimate Silver Ranger slid a Key into his morpher: “LIIIIIIIGHTSPEED RESCUE!”
He morphed into the Titanium Ranger and launched a flying jump-kick at the Rider. Blade blocked and slashed the Ranger to the ground.
The Ultimate Red Ranger pushed himself to his feet, grabbed his blaster, and charged at Vasco.
Vasco climbed to his feet and opened fire, bullets streaking towards the Red Ranger. The Red Ranger twirled his sword, blocking the blasts as he charged towards his opponent.
The Red Ranger leapt through the air and landed with a chop that Vasco blocked. The villain stepped back and fired, blasting the Ranger. The impact hurled the Ranger backward, but he twisted through the air, landed against the side of the church, and pushed off to leap back at Vasco.
The Red Ranger hurled his sword like a spear. It clashed against Vasco and knocked the blaster from his hand.
Vasco staggered back and hurled bolts of crimson energy; the blasts smashed the Red Ranger with bursts of spark, sending him staggering backward.
The villain grabbed his blaster and dashed through blurs of energy, striking the Red Ranger with bursts of spark. The blows knocked the Red Ranger off his feet, and he crashed against the ground.
Smoke sizzled from the Red Ranger’s armor as he rolled onto his back, wounded and exhausted.
Vasco stalked towards the fallen Ranger with his blaster aimed forward. “You put up quite the fight, Ty-Ty. But it’s over…”
The villain stepped next to the Ranger and aimed downward at his helmet.
Vasco fired. The Red Ranger rolled aside just in time, grabbed Vasco’s sword, and dashed to his feet with blade swinging. The Red Ranger poured energy into his movements, drawing on the depths of his stamina and will.
“I’ve had enough of you dashing around!” the Red Ranger shouted.
He stomped onto Vasco’s foot and stabbed through both their feet with bursts of spark, pinning them in place.
“Are you crazy?!” Vasco shouted.
“I told you,” the Red Ranger said as he grabbed his own sword. “This is the last time. We’re settling this!”
He slashed through a streak of red energy, and Vasco fired bursts of power at point blank range. The blasts exploded with massive eruptions or flame and spark.
The impact knocked them from their armor, tossing Tyler and Vasco to the ground.
Decade shifted back into his standard armor and slashed the Ultimate Blue Ranger to the ground.
He looked aside to where Vasco and Tyler had fallen.
Vasco opened his eyes, blood dripping down his forehead. He sat up, slowly. “I can’t believe it…” he muttered. “We both fell? Classic.”
The villain pushed himself to his feet. “We should have done this sooner.”
Tyler’s eyes fluttered open. Slowly, he climbed to his feet.
Vasco narrowed his eyes. “Oh come on. How are you not dead?”
Tyler reached into his jacket and pulled out a piece of smoking scrap metal. Sally’s armor scrap had blocked Vasco’s bullet.
Vasco scoffed at the sight. “You lucky bastard.”
The villain smirked. He traced his hand across his chest wound and laughed, falling to his knees.
“Just think about it, Ty-Ty,” Vasco said as he choked on his own words. His body started to fade in and out of existence. “On some other world, in some other time, we would have been brothers. Isn’t that…cute?”
Vasco collapsed and disintegrated with a burst of red ash.
David powered down his armor and walked towards the ashes of Vasco. The villain sighed, pulled off his buckler and tossed it to the ground.
“What a waste…”
He looked at his hands and noticed them start to fade.
The villain took a deep breath and shook his head. “Father…I tried…”
Nearby, the other rangers climbed to their feet. Mat looked up just as David disintegrated into nothingness. He noticed the nearby church start to fade as well, and the ground itself began to peel away.
His eyes opened wide. “Um…guys. If we don’t get back to the ship now, we’re done.”
Before the Shattering INET HQ
Noah sliced into the Enetron Matrix, finally.
“I’m in!” he shouted. “It’s too late to stop the power-up sequence but maybe I can-”
He acted too late.
The Matrix activated with a pulse of light that hurled Noah backward. The pulse smashed the Digi Rangers and Seraph Rangers and shook the entire building.
Noah tumbled across the floor and rolled to his feet. “No…” he whispered.
He lifted his tablet and started typing, trying to access the Matrix and shut it down, somehow. Maybe sabotage it? But would that prevent the Matrix from shattering reality? He didn’t know.
A blast knocked the tablet from his hand. He looked up to see Digi Blue charge at him with blaster in hand.
Noah grabbed his morpher.
“Seraph Summon!” Energy flashed around him as he morphed into the Blue Seraph Ranger.
Digi Blue lunged with a punch that bashed Seraph Blue backward. The Blue Seraph Ranger fell, but instead of crashing to the ground, he started to float upward, as did the other Rangers.
“Uhhh…” Seraph Black nearly lost his grip on his axe as he rose towards the ceiling. “Gravity? Hello?”
The Matrix whined with a thundering boom that sent tendrils of energy through the walls, floors and ceilings.
The INET building fell apart and crumbled–upward. Chunks of concrete, metal and glass broke away and floated as if exploding in slow-motion.
Decade jumped onto a piece of floating debris and pushed off, shooting towards the Green Dragon Ranger.
The Dragon Ranger armed his Master Morpher.
“Chakra Ignite!” he shouted as he morphed into the Red Dragon Ranger.
Decade crashed against the Red Ranger; they shot backward, smashing through pieces of wall and debris.
Dragon Ranger kicked away from Decade and kneed the Rider upside the head.
Decade twisted in midair, twirled his saber, and slashed Dragon Ranger with a burst of spark, whipping him backward.
The Red Ranger crashed onto a massive piece of concrete.
He climbed slowly to his feet. “Come on, Billy. I know you lost your mom when you were a kid. But that doesn’t give you an excuse to go crazy! You’re smarter than this. I’ve seen the Final Prophecy too. The Ultimate Secret. But you can’t let it-”
Decade flew at Dragon Ranger with a Rider Kick. Dragon Ranger flipped over the kick. But Decade whipped around and slashed the Red Ranger with a burst of spark, hurling him through the air. Dragon Ranger smashed through a floating piece of debris, and then another.
Kamen Rider Decade landed on a steel beam that floated upward. “This isn’t about my parents. This about reality, freeing it so it can grow. The world has reached an evolutionary dead-end. It’s all downhill from here. But if we break the Gears of Fate, rip free from the Pattern of Ages…like a single cell breaking loose from a cancerous body and evolving…we can become something more. We can rise above the selfish impulses that drive us towards destruction every day.”
“Wake up, Billy.” Dragon Ranger jumped onto a floating pieces of concrete.
The Red Ranger hurled multiple energy attacks at his opponent.
“Star Fire!” He lauched a comet of flame.
“Nova Force!” He threw a twirling ball of energy.
“Wildfire Flare!” He fired a blade of energy.
Decade shot through the air, dodging, weaving and leaping across floating debris. The Rider twirled and pulled out what looked like a morpher covered with wires and circuitry. Cranston had constructed his own Master Morpher.
“Titanium Power!” he shouted.
Cranston morphed into the Titanium Ranger and shot at Tommy with a flying sidekick. The kick bashed Dragon Ranger and hurled him downward, sending him smashing through pieces of concrete.
Dragon Ranger summoned his golden-hilted sword with a burst of energy. “Ryuseiken!”
He slashed through a streak of power that fired an energy blade. The Titanium Ranger flipped over the blade; Dragon Ranger shot at him and swung wide, slashing the Titanium Ranger with bursts of spark, whipping him backward.
The Titanium Ranger landed against a piece of floating concrete, pushed off, and launched a flying sidekick. Dragon Ranger blocked. But the Titanium Ranger flipped backward, kneeing the Dragon Ranger upside the head.
The Titanium Ranger twisted in midair with a reverse sidekick, bashing Dragon Ranger and sending him hurling downward with the speed and force of a meteor. Dragon Ranger smashed through pieces of rubble and crashed against the streets with a thundering boom.
The Titanium Ranger armed his axe; he dashed towards the fallen Red Ranger and swung hard.
Dragon Ranger lifted his sword to block. Weapons clanged with a massive shock wave that tore across the streets.
The Red Ranger twirled back to his feet and swug the hilt of his weapon; the sword bashed Titanium Ranger’s helmet, shattering his faceplate and whipping him backward.
The Titanium Ranger crashed, rolled aside, and armed his Master Morpher.
“Unleash the Power!” He morphed into the Dino Charge Navy Ranger and shot at Dragon Ranger.
Dragon Ranger armed his Master Morpher. “Dino Thunder! Power-up!”
He morphed into Dino Thunder Black. Navy tackled Black with a thundering boom that shook the earth beneath their feet. Dino Black shifted to Super Dino Mode and hurled the Navy Ranger aside.
The Navy Ranger crashed, rolled to his feet, and armed his boomerang weapon. He snapped the boomerang; it shot through the air and slashed Dino Black with a burst of spark, sending him staggering backward.
The Black Rager stayed on his feet. The Navy Ranger shot forward, swung his boomerang like a sword, and slashed. Dino Black hopped backward to dodge.
The Black Ranger twirled his staff; Navy Ranger slashed the weapon from Black Ranger’s hand.
Dino Black moved close, leaned in, and kneed Navy Ranger’s gut.
Navy Ranger staggered backward.
“Dino Buckler!” Billy morphed into Tricera Ranger and fired his Blade Blaster.
“Dino Buckler!” Tommy morphed into the Green Dragon Ranger. His chest shield deflected the blasts.
Green Ranger unsheathed his Dragon Dagger and swung. Tricera Ranger switched his blaster to blade mode and parried. Dragon Ranger snapped a spin kick. Tricera Ranger ducked.
Green Ranger kicked Tricera Ranger upside the head, whipping him backward.
The Blue Ranger crashed and armed his Master Morpher.
“Chakra Ignite!” Billy morphed into the Yellow Kirin Ranger.
“Chakra Ignite!” Tommy morphed into the Red Dragon Ranger.
They fired bursts of Ki that collided and exploded.
Dragon Ranger lunged. “Burn Knuckle!”
Kirin Ranger stepped back. He slapped his right fist against his left palm.
“Heaven Time Star! Time Distortion Destruction!”
Waves of distortion grabbed the Dragon Ranger. He felt his entire body burn with pain, as different parts of him aged, and different parts of him de-aged, tearing apart years of his life.
His armor powered down with a flash of light, and he collapsed to his knees, screaming with agony.
Cranston powered down his armor. He formed a fist, and chronol energy twirled around his hand. He twisted his fist.
Energy flared around Tommy, distorting the essence of his very being.
Nearby, the Enetron Matric hummed with power as it activated within the center of the ruined INET building, still floating upward as if exploding in slow motion.
“No!” Tommy shouted. He’d been through too much. Lost too much. He couldn’t let himself lose. He wouldn’t let anyone down. Ashley. Tyler. Nick. Teddy.
He armed his Master Morpher.
“Tigerzord!” Energy flashed around him as he morphed into the White Ranger, breaking free of the distortion wave with a burst of energy that hurled Cranston backward. The White Ranger twirled his weapon into a fighting stance– and paused.
Wait a minute…he thought. I was never the White Ranger… He looked at his saber, Saba. Saba? Who the hell is Saba?
Cranston lunged forward and hurled a jagged wave of distortion energy. The White Ranger lifted Saba and blocked the blow; energy blasted the saber with discharges of power and light. But the White Ranger stood his ground.
He leaned forward, pressed against the distortion wave as hard as he could, and tried to fight back against the pulsing power. He felt tendrils of pain lick down his hands and arms, as wisps of distortion started to trace through his body.
His armor powered down with a flash of white light.
He placed his right fist against his left palm.
“Ki!” He pushed forward with an invisible energy burst.
Cranston intensified his distortion wave.
The energy blasts exploded with enough force to shake the earth, hurling Tommy and Billy off their feet. They crashed and skidded across the ground. Secondary explosions tore across the streets.
Their clothes ripped. Heat scorched their skin. Bones broke as they skipped across the torn landscape and rolled to a stop, steam hissing from their battered bodies.
Tommy and Billy laid side-by-side, battered and bruised, worn to exhaustion. Steam rose from their skin. The air around them sizzled with power, like heat bouncing off pavement.
Tommy tilted his head and looked at Billy. Maybe it was the fatigue, but for a moment, Tommy let himself remember Billy as a friend, a shy 15-year-old boy too awkward to talk to girls or speak up for himself. A boy who lived in his shell.
Tommy smirked. “Remember when you were scared of fish?”
Billy smiled. And he laughed, surprising Tommy so much that he started laughing too. The friends let the stress and anxiety of a lifetime pour into the sound, tears swelling in their eyes.
Tommy sighed with a gasp of laughter. “Aw man…” he caught his breath, and the laughter died down, fading.
Tommy whispered, “What happened to us?”
Billy hesitated, shaking his head. “Life.” He stared into the war-torn skies. “I couldn’t save them, Tommy. My mother. My father. Cestria. All my intellect, and I couldn’t save them. And I couldn’t cure the pain of the loss. The loneliness. I’m so alone…”
“You chose to be,” Tommy said. “We were here, Billy. We were always here.”
“No…” Billy said. “It wouldn’t have mattered. Mankind doomed itself ages ago. To think we can ever really find happiness…true happiness…is insanity.”
“Well…” Tommy whispered. “Maybe we’re both crazy.
Tommy climbed to his feet, and Billy did the same.
“It’s over now,” Tommy said. “Come home.”
Billy shook his head.
The Matrix thundered in the distance, vibrating street and sky. Tommy felt the molecules in his own body start to hum. He was out of time.
Tommy summoned his sword back to his hand with a flash of golden light. Time for the nuclear option…
He flash-stepped towards the Matrix and stabbed his sword, which surged with power. He knew the blow would cause untold damage, recklessly placing his Ranger teams and civilians in danger. But he didn’t have a choice.
Tommy leaned with a thrust.
His blade stabbed— through Cranston. Billy had flash-stepped in front of the weapon.
Tommy opened his eyes wide with horror. “Billy…” he whispered. “No, you…”
Billy grabbed Tommy’s blade. He looked up, and smiled. “It’s…done.” He coughed and collapsed to his knees. “You’ll…thank me…Tommy. You’ll…thank me.”
Billy pulled his body free from the weapon. He felt his insides rip and tear, bleed, as he collapsed to his side. Numbness spread from the wound.
He closed his eyes. There’s nothing to worry about…I finished my task. I saved…everyone….
Everyone who had ever lived or died…they would all become one, joined in a comforting dream of peace, rising beyond cruel and petty instincts and becoming something…more.
After years of holding back his emotions, after years of a stoic existence, he allowed himself to feel. Images swirled through his mind like snowfall dancing in the soft wind. His past self. His future self. His counterpart from Demon World Earth. All one, bleeding together.
He remembered his childhood, leaning over his mother’s deathbed as cancer killed her.
Kimberly, his first love, had chosen Tommy. Ashley, his second love, had chosen Tommy.
Billy was the first to offer Tommy friendship. Family. And when Billy needed help to save all of reality, Tommy betrayed him and almost doomed the world. Tommy…his best friend. His brother.
Billy’s father had died.
Cestria had died.
Endless wars…because mankind never evolved past caveman instincts.
Billy felt cold beneath his eyes. Tears?
There’s nothing to worry about… he told himself again. I finished my task. I saved…everyone….
No more loneliness.
No more pain.
Just a dream.
Only comfort and peace.
His last thoughts were of his mother.
After the Shattering
The Rangers managed to regroup with Tyler and return to the Legacy Galleon, which floated in endless void. Mat looked out the viewport of the ship.
“Even that church is gone now,” he said with barely a whisper. “We’re it. This ship…us…we’re all that’s left. Everything else is just…gone. It’s over.”
Tyler walked across the deck. He grasped onto the six Rail Ranger Keys, tightly.
“We have one more Grand Power,” Tyler said. “One more Time Shard we can unlock. It’ll have the answer.”
The Keys flared with golden light as Tyler unlocked their Grand Power, a task almost second nature to him at this point. Images swirled through the minds of the Rangers. They saw Tommy’s Ranger teams battle Billy’s Ranger teams. They watched Tommy fight Billy.
And they saw the Enetron Matrix activate.
Kym nearly collapsed. “The Enetron Matrix…”
Seth shook his head. “That wasn’t it. The Matrix didn’t shatter reality.”
To be continued…Chapter 21