The Command Center
The five young people screamed and screamed, but it was no use as their bodies were hurled through the sky with amazing speed. They stretched their legs and tried to move their arms, but they weren't going anywhere away from the colorful light that encapsulated them. They whizzed by buildings, people, and landscapes until they reached what looked like some kind of rocky desert area. In just a few seconds, the five touched down at the top of a high cliff, the light around their bodies dissipating.
"What was that?" Ash managed to ask as he shook his head and rubbed his eyes.
"Flying, obviously," Misty said with a deadpan tone. "How it happened is the question."
"I think the why is the bigger question, Misty," Brock added. He turned his gaze up to the sky—still dark, but producing no more rain. He continued to turn him head to look at the sandy rock walls below them, and then back again. "We're out here in the middle of no…"
Brock paused, his mouth hung open as she took in the solid, etched walls in front of her and the rest of the group. A towering whitish-brown structure stood before the teens, reaching several stories high; curved lines, circles, and other ancient-looking symbols adorned the surface. In the middle of the two stretched-out walls was a huge cylindrical column with a wide opening, and there was another black opening before them at ground level.
Tracey went up to the building and traced his finger over a sunburst-shaped etching. "I wonder what these marking mean," he remarked in a hushed voice. "So intricate, but I've never seen them before. Certainly not the Unown."
"No way, Tracey," Lia said. she scanned the walls and looked at the place from top to bottom. "I've read about loads of temples and lost ruins and there's nothing that looks quite like this. This is just awesome."
Lia then turned her attention to the open blackness that formed at the temple's base. Everyone took a moment to stare into the opening, and then without a word or a nod, they all walked toward it.
Darkness, darkness, and more darkness filled the group's vision as they walked into the entrance. After a minute, it seemed like they were just moving around in some dead void somewhere, and then came the flash of bright light, followed by a pleasant assault on the senses. A multitude of colors and lights greeted Ash, Misty, Brock, Tracey, and Lia as they stepped from the stony ground onto a smooth purple floor. The ceiling above them split in two, the back end featuring a starry backdrop and the front end swaths of hot and cold hues. But what stood out most of all were three columns in the front of the chamber—two golden tubes with electric rings around them and a light blue one in the center.
"Okay…this is different…" Ash said, his eyes wide. "We've been some strange places before, but this one's probably the most unique."
"Unique? This is beautiful, magnificent," Misty said. As they stepped into the center of the room, a smile crossed her face. "But what is it all for?"
The center of the room was surrounded by a ring of purple stands, which all housed a variety of rectangular and square buttons that flashed at different intervals. Tracey looked at the blue column and one of the panels and got an idea.
"There's got to be something inside that tube," he said. "Maybe if I can work whatever device this is…"
"Hey! Stop! Don't touch that…Ahh!"
Just as Tracey went to access the computer, that squeaky voice cut him off, followed by a metallic clang. The humans turned around to see a large being fallen on the floor, and they went to pick it up.
"Whoa-ho!" Tracey let out as he helped hoist up the being by its red body. "A fully sentient, multifunctional automaton!"
"So I guess he's top of the line," Lia said, chuckling. She brushed off the robot's body and its golden saucer-shaped head. Arms and legs with ruffled tubing were attached to its red center, which featured a variety of flashing lights and a lightning bolt in the very middle.
"Um…I would suppose so…" the robot spoke, the circuits whirring a little from the fall. "Ay-yi-yi…"
Suddenly, a crackle of electricity fizzled in the air, prompting everyone to spin around and look at the giant blue column in the center. It was no longer empty, now featuring the giant, smooth face of a bald man.
"Welcome, young humans," the man boomed, ignoring the shouts and stuttering back of those below him.
"Wait, what? Misty asked. "What?"
"Warrior monsters, robots, and heads in tubes…" Brock muttered. "What is this, Sci-Fi Friday?"
The man in the column chuckled and nodded his head. "Your skepticism is healthy, Brock, but this is indeed real."
Ash then motioned everyone to come forward and asked, "How do you know our names? We have no idea who you are."
"Or what you are," Lia said, running a hand through her two-tone hair and turning to her new friends. "I take it he's not a creature you've encountered."
"My name is Zordon," Zordon announced. "I am an interdimensional being from a world far from yours. And this is my companion and assistant Alpha 5."
"Hello everyone," Alpha said, sheepishly waving a padded hand.
Zordon continued. "For millennia, Alpha and I have sought to help keep peace throughout the galaxy, but we faced our greatest challenge when we came to Earth, where we were able to stop a great threat to the planet at the cost of my freedom. That is why I am in the time warp you see before you. Since then, we have done our best to prepare to protect life from any great peril that humanity and Earth's great creatures could not stop. We created this Command Center as a fortress against evil."
Tracey blinked his eyes a couple of times and wiped his brow. "I guess that explains why Lugia isn't leaping out of the sea," he tried to jest. "But that doesn't completely explain that giant monster and that snake."
"That's right," Lia interjected, straining to take things in. "That giant ape thing…Goldar said something about someone named Rita. Who's that?"
"Please observe the Viewing Globe behind you," the sage instructed. "All will become clear."
The teens turned to face a glowing white sphere resting on a glowing pedestal in the southeast corner of the room. Alpha pressed a few buttons on a console, and then images of Rita and her minions flashed onscreen.
"This is Rita Repulsa, a dark sorceress from a far corner of space," Zordon explained. As he spoke, the Viewing Globe showed the empress and her monsters , including Adder, in hideous detail—claws on display, fangs dripping with saliva, and people running and being busted open by their advances. "I was able to seal her away ten thousand years ago, but she has returned to reclaim her grip on Earth and especially this island, the seat of her vile rule. She has no doubt refined her abilities and is able to create evil beasts much like this Adder, and with her henchmen and Putty Patrollers, she has more than enough strength to accomplish what she wishes."
Cold sweat ran down all five humans' faces. Brock was breathing open-mouthed, Lia's head was throbbing in thought, Tracey closed his eyes to digest everything, Misty's eyes were brimming with moisture, and Ash gripped the side of computer console until his knuckles turned white.
"We…we have to do something!" Ash said, his tone rising at the end of his sentence. He was all set to make another space crack, but the sight of a small dog being tossed into a tree by Adder erased any levity.
"You got that right," Misty growled, smacking a fist into her palm and making Lia turn her eyes toward her. "But how can we without our Pokémon?"
"As I have said, Misty," Zordon began, turning everyone's attention to him. "Alpha and I have worked to help stop such peril. And unfortunately, even you and your companions, with your strong bond, will not be enough to stop Rita. And it would be unconscionable to knowingly put them in this kind of danger."
"Luckily," Alpha piped up, the red lights on his visor bouncing to and fro as he pressed more buttons. White static crackled, producing a metal box in his hands. "we do have the means to help you five take her on!"
The teens walked up to Alpha, who opened the box to reveal five round, blocky objects. They were silver in color with red stripes and a red center; the words "POWER" and "RANGERS" were emblazoned in white across the top and bottom stripes respectively. Each teenager picked up a device, noticing a retractable black handle on the back of each one.
"What are these?" Brock asked.
"Those are your Power Morphers," Zordon replied. "You five have been selected to form an elite team to battle Rita, and these are your conduits for a universe of power, but they are incomplete without the keys. Hold out your hands and receive them now!"
The group hesitated for a second, but they all extended their right arms, palms open, and that's when they felt the immense warmth of otherworldly currents begin to fill their bodies. Bolts of black, pink, blue, yellow, and red flew from the golden columns surrounding Zordon and struck Brock, Lia, Tracey, Misty, and Ash's hands, eventually producing five gleaming gold coins, each one featuring the embossed image of some kind of animal.
"Behold the Power Coins!" the good wizard said.
Everyone's eyes lit up when they stared at the treasure in their hands. They silently appreciated and inspected them when Lia exclaimed, "Wait…that's a pterodactyl! That's the screech I've been hearing."
"Pterodactyl?" Tracey inquired. His gaze was fixed on the image of his animal, one with a wide skull crest and three horns.
"Yes!" Alpha confirmed. "The Power Coins are infused with the strength of the dinosaurs!"
"Precisely, Alpha," Zordon acknowledge. "You now have access to a universe of power, drawn from the ancestors of the creatures with extraordinary abilities that now inhabit Earth. I chose them for their bold and mighty spirits. When in danger, insert the Power Coin into the Morpher and raise it to the sky, calling the name of your dinosaur. You will then become a formidable fighting force—the Power Rangers!"
"Wait, Zordon," Ash managed to interrupt, finally looking again at the strange man in front of him. "How can we save the world? I mean…"
"We're not exactly unfamiliar with this kind of thing, sir," Tracey interjected. "But how can we use this power?"
Zordon closed his eyes for a moment and smiled. "Your doubts are unfounded." He then moved his eyes to each young human; as he did, lines of brilliant light drew together on the colorful wall behind him, forming a full picture of each dinosaur.
"Tracey, you exhibit patience and one of the most promising technical minds of those your age, making you invaluable to this modern age. You will serve as the Blue Ranger with the spirit of the triceratops as your guide."
"Misty, you approach life and tackle all challenges with a dynamic blend of ferocity and passion . Your mentality and personality reflects that of the saber-toothed tiger, and you will fight as the Yellow Ranger."
"Ashton, there are few people in this world that share your adventurous spirit and enthusiasm. You never hesitate to put yourself on the line for those you care about and the greater good. As the Red Ranger, you will call upon the tyrannosaurus."
"Every team requires a solid foundation of strength and reason. You exemplify these traits, Brock, and you will draw power from the sturdy mastodon as the Black Ranger."
"And then there is Lia, an agile physical force and a young lady who pursues knowledge of all kinds and from every avenue. As you reach for greater heights, Pink Ranger, you will do so like the pterodactyl."
A few silent seconds passed. The images of the dinosaurs flashed, and their calls rang out in the Command Center as they vanished.
"I was gonna say 'welcome to the team' earlier," Ash said to Lia, running a hand behind his head. "But I guess I…well, never mind." He chuckled nervously, blown away by what Zordon just said.
"This is an honor," Lia began, walking to the side and shaking her head while she rubbed her eyes. Yes, everything there was real. "A rather insane one, though. How does that make us qualified to fight aliens?"
"Right," Brock agreed. "We're willing to help any way we can, but there has to be a mistake. Aren't there any special forces or military that would be in front of us for this mission."
"Absolutely not," Zordon answered. "Your true beings and abilities led us to select you to be Power Rangers."
"And don't forget," Alpha chimed in, scuttling closely to the group. "You have been chosen by the spirits of the dinosaurs. They are not wrong."
"I just knew we were being called," Misty said. She turned her Power Coin around in her fingers. "I could sense the saber-toothed tiger wasn't calling us to danger, at least any caused by it."
The others nodded, and as they did, a loud whine filled the air, causing everyone to cover their ears.
"What is that sound?" Tracey asked, wincing at the noise. He turned to see a polygonal crystal on top of one of the consoles blare red and yellow.
"It's Goldar and Adder! They're bringing more victims to the cave!" Alpha squealed. As he reported, an image flashed on the Viewing Globe. The two beasts were lugging a couple more people, a Charmander, and a big boxer dog in their arms, trumping through the forest.
"Okay," Lia hissed. Her body trembled at the sight, mainly out of anger. "Looks like it's go time."
"Oh yeah," Ash said, taking a big breath in. "But that gold guy looks like he's one of the main henchmen. I'm sure he's expecting us to just charge."
"Yes," Zordon acknowledged. "I will teleport you in a safe place behind the cavern. Keep an eye out and move when you are ready." All five teenagers nodded, and Zordon assured, "You will know what to do when you use the Morphers and Power Coins. Go now, and let the power protect you."
As soon as he finished the last word, his team shot up again into the air and through the center opening in the Command Center, streaking to their destination in another shower of rainbow light.