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Thursday, June 18, 2015

2408 - Power Rangers: Zero Hour - ELEVEN

Disclaimer: The author would like to clarify that Power Rangers and its characters is owned by Saban Brands and not the author.


-o-

"Second intermixing phase is completed. Going for final intermix phase... now."

"Confirmed. Final intermix phase in progress... wait a minute."

"What is it, Justin? Something wrong?"

"There's a slight imbalance in Cell 2 and Cell 6. It's causing some disruption... I think."

"Let me see... it's nothing. I'll just calibrate the alignment here... there we go. Try it now."

"Looks good. Final intermix phase's going smoothly."

"I'm wondering how the outside world's doing without us, Justin."

"Come on, Billy. What's the worse that could happen?"

-o-

"My princess, we have approached Earth orbit."

Ecliptor stared long and hard into the eyes of Astronema, who looked out the window of her ready room at the planet and her mighty spaceships that surrounded it. Without hesitation, she commenced the battle with the utterance of three simple words to her loyal bodyguard.

"Launch the fighters."

-o-

"My lord, we have approached Eltarian orbit."

Lord Zedd stood from the command chair of his bridge and looked on as the viewer showed the dust-covered planet known as Eltare, nothing more than a shadow of a world that was a soft purple. Zedd tilted his head towards Thomas Oliver, who gave the fleshman an approving nod. Zedd didn't necessarily trust him and he got the feeling the Ranger doesn't trust him, but this partnership would be brief. He knows it and so does Oliver. Turning his attention back to the viewer, he noticed a small fleet of spacecraft emerging from the atmosphere.

"Deploy fighter wings," he commanded, "Then plot a course for the capital city."

The helm nodded and did as ordered.

-o-

The city of Angel Grove seemed relatively peaceful in the past couple weeks. There hasn't been word of a monster attack and for the most part, crime had lowered substantially. After a long and turbulent period of monster attacks and widespread destructions that had garnered the city's reputation as a hellhole, Angel Grove was starting to seem a little like paradise... and it seemed like nothing could spoil the mood for the citizens.

Then it happened. From the main street, citizens took notice to a large group of fighters emerging from the sky. As swiftly and as quickly as they appeared, they launched their attack. Their laser weapons and missiles, used to damage buildings and skyscrapers, had caused the people to panic and run for their lives. Vehicles skid off the road and collide with lamp posts and other obstacles. Some cars even get flipped over as a result of several ground explosions caused by the fighters' weapons.

-o-

Five squadrons of Velocifighters flew into New York and suddenly laid a hailstorm of laser fire across the city. The city soon fell into a state of panic, as traffic accidents occur throughout. Eventually, ground troops materialized out of nowhere to lay further panic to the citizens, most of them running for their lives. While the various emergency forces, such as police officers and army soldiers, arrive to counter the alien forces, their weapons prove ineffective and they are quickly subdued.

-o-

A listening post on Monster Island, a top-secret Japanese installation situated some hundred miles from Japan, observes the alien attacks through sophisticated scanning equipment. Several screens within the control room show images of invasion fleets opening fire on various cities throughout the world, including major American and European cities. One of the scout officers rush for the telephone, but the general in charge stops him.

"The invasion," the general stated, "is not a threat to the Japanese. Should such a threat arise, then we will deploy our task force."

The scout, understanding the logic behind this, nodded in agreement and returned to his post.

-o-

With the defenses of the Machine borders down, the large Alliance armada led by Mondo began its long, difficult journey to Gorah Khan. As Mondo clearly anticipated, there would be some resistance and there would be some losses suffered from his army, but they are just a small cost for reclaiming control of the Empire. Of course, those losses were quickly replaced by loyal Machine fleets whom would join Mondo's fleet to crush the so-called Emperor who currently ruled the Empire.

-o-

From the cruisers under Zedd's command launched several of the old Raptor-class interceptors, as they immediately engaged the orbiting Alliance starships, whom launched their own Velocifighters and Gunboats to counter the insurgents. The fighters managed to keep the Raptors away from the starships, although one of the Raptors managed to launch a barrage of space bombs at a starship at close range. While it didn't destroy the command ship, it did do significant damage that caused it to fall away from formation and slowly floating downward into the atmosphere of Eltare.

Aboard the bridge of the Tyrant, Zedd noticed the falling vessel in his scopes and turned to the helm. "Follow that cruiser!"

The Tyrant slowly engaged its thrusters and soon was in pursuit of the disabled vessel. This sudden course change had attracted several fighter wings to pursue, but the Tyrant anticipated and launched several reserve Raptor wings to counter the intercepting Velocifighters. This allowed the Tyrant to continue on its course and after a short while, was within firing range of the damaged vessel.

"All weapons locked on target," the weaponsmaster Tenga declared, "Ready to fire at your command."

Zedd looked to the Tenga with a bewildered (albeit hidden) look. "What are you waiting for?! FIRE!!"

That's all it took. With several commands transmitted, the Tyrant's main guns fired several concussion charges to the falling ship until it erupted in flames and exploded. Zedd had gotten the first kill as the bridge crew celebrated. The fleshman turned to the Ranger standing in the back, who merely nodded his congratulations at the fleshman. Zedd returned the nod and turned to helm.

"Steady on our course for the capital city."

-o-

Ninjor and Kimberly stood outside the Temple's walls, looking up at the sky as the first wave of Alliance vessels emerged through the dense clouds. Ninjor clasped both hands together and uttered a prayer in his native tongue while Kimberly continued to gaze at the fleet of cruisers. A second later, she saw several streams of lightning strike several cruisers and inflict heavy damage. Some damage inflict was enough to cause the cruisers to fall out of position and crash while other bolts incinerated the cruisers altogether. The lightshow continued until no more cruisers were in the sky.

"That was easy," Kim uttered, "A little too easy."

Ninjor didn't say anything, but merely pointed out in the distance. Kim took a quick look at the closest crashed cruiser and saw several hundred of its crewmembers emerging from the flaming wreck. Kim didn't recognize most of these grunt soldiers, although she was able to pick out some Pirahnatrons and skeleton knights, armed with swords and shields.

"Alright," she groaned, falling into a crane-like stance. "I take it back."

-o-

As soon as the Astro Megaship dropped out of its HyperRush speed, it appeared just behind the Alliance armada, which was already within Earth orbit. Soon enough, the Megaship caught the attention of several fighter wings, all of whom opened fire at the speeding vessel. With the other Rangers focused on maintaining respective systems such as damage control and targeting, Andros' sole responsibility was piloting the ship so that it made it to Earth. For the most part, he managed to avoid most laser blasts and the blasts that struck the ship did minimal damage at best.

"Ready lasers!" Andros called out, "It's time to take some of these guys down."

Zhane activated the auto-targeting system and operated the weapons while Andros piloted the Megaship to follow the trail of a three-fighter flight group. Once he got a lock, Zhane fired two laser bursts. To his utter shock, the laser beams were blocked off by an energy field that momentarily flickered blue on impact and immediately the flight group broke formation.

"Those fighters have shields!" Zhane cried, "Lasers are useless!"

Andros didn't reply. He kept his focus on trying to avoid the laser fire, which was plentiful. He steered the ship towards one of the battlecruisers, which minimized the fighters' fire. At that point, Zhane targeted the cruiser and concentrated laser fire on it. The volley of laser fire had done minimal scorch marks to the hull and a lucky shot managed to cause a power relay to explode, but the Megaship took the brunt of the explosion and Andros found himself wrestling with the suddenly stiff controls.

"Number 2 engine is out!" called Carlos, "I'm shunting power to compensate."

Slowly, Andros could feel control loosing up a bit as Carlos did his best to restore power to the disabled engine. Eventually, Andros got control of the ship back and resumed his course towards Earth. Zhane, meanwhile, targeted several old-style Velocifighters and fired megalasers. Much to his (and the others') relief, the lasers destroyed the small flight group of fighters at impact.

"One down, a bazillion to go," TJ declared, "But we're being tailed by two cruisers!"

Following TJ's response was a barrage of laser fire that rocked the bridge. The main lights went out and Ashley scrambled to bring up the emergency lights. The bridge was soon covered in a veil of red light and various, unoccupied consoles released several sparks before shorting out completely, and one of the control panels exploded, igniting flames that were quickly extinguished by DECA. Andros looked on as three Velocifighters were on a direct collision course, but were soon destroyed before he could veer out of the way.

"What the?" TJ muttered, which seemed to be the sentiment of all the Rangers. It wasn't long before they realized what had happened, as they saw a familiar ship firing various blue laser streams at various fighters, destroying some of them while the shielded vessels were protected.

"It's the shuttle!" Cassie blurted out, "They're taking down some of the fighters!"

Andros continued to pilot the ship towards Earth, but it seemed that the closer they got to the planet, the more ships they encountered and the more firepower he had to avoid. He took a quick glance to the short-range scanner and saw the shuttle slowly tailing him. Instinctively, he opened a comlink with the shuttle and its pilot.

"Rocky, get out of here!" he ordered, "You don't stand a chance against these guys!"

Rocky grunted as the shuttle shook from a laser blast. "None of us stand a chance against these guys! But right now, you need to get your asses down to Earth RIGHT NOW!"

Andros wanted to argue, but knew it was hopeless. For better or worse, Rocky was a Ranger longer than he was despite not having much experience in space. Besides, they needed to get to Earth. He turned to the others, all of whom nodded their heads in agreement and placed their respective stations on automatic control. With that done, Andros turned to Zhane, who was walking towards the controls, knowing what his friend will ask of him.

"Zhane," he said, "mind the store."

Zhane nodded and took control of the Megaship as the other five Rangers left the bridge and for the jump tubes. Minutes later, the morphed Rangers, on their Galaxy Gliders, blaze through Earth's atmosphere. Each Ranger pulled out their Astro Blasters, which had been significantly upgraded to deliver extra damage. It was clearly chaos and the task of dodging all the laser fire and missiles launched would be a daunting task. To the best of their ability, the Rangers continued onward, evading enemy fire as they saw them.

Andros noticed a Velocifighter tailing him momentarily and dodged the constant laser fire. After a while, Andros sped forward to increase distance between himself and the fighter. Aiming his blaster at the fighter's wing, he fired a charged shot that clipped the fighter's wing. The pilot lost control and soon the Velocifighter spun out of control, but not before it was able to fire a concussion missile that sped quickly towards Andros' glider jet. Before he could react, the warhead made contact and the impact caused the glider to explode instantaneously, propel Andros' body out of control and away from the others. Ashley tilted her head wildly as she watched the Red Ranger's body float helplessly away from them. She wanted to get back to him, but there was no chance; circumstances wouldn't allow it and Andros wouldn't want her to anyway. There was no time to turn back to their leader and friend. Whatever reluctance the four Space Rangers had in leaving Andros behind was quickly faded when they focused on the task at hand...


End ELEVEN

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