Disclaimer: Disney owns the Power Rangers now. I'm not trying to make any money, just playing around.

Future Red

Chapter 5: The Ascension

Six Red Rangers: Jack Landors, SPD B Squad; Alanya Tian, Karovian Astro, Haylun, Aquitarian Doron-Sena; Falon Shan, Triforian Zeo 5; Dramlin Zell, SPD Alpha Squad; and Tyler Forge, Geo-Force, were chained against a wall in the fortress of the entity called Omni. They had surrendered after Omni, using its telepathic control over the Troobians on this nameless planet, had forced one of the Troobians to put a blaster bolt through her own head. Their various morphers were laid out on a table in front of the massive tank of yellowish-white liquid that contained the gigantic brain that was Omni. It had been alternately studying the morphers and the Rangers with the large red eye at the end of its single eyestalk.

Every time Omni looked at them, Falon seemed slightly nervous while Alanya, Haylun, and Dramlin appeared stoic, revealing no emotion. Jack appeared vaguely disinterested in what was happening, which likely meant he was plotting their escape. Tyler glared at Omni with undisguised rage.

The Troobian male that served as Omni's "voice" stepped forward and regarded them one at a time, "So, you six are Power Rangers? I am both unimpressed and surprised that my progenitor had such difficulty with your kind. But, perhaps that Omni and its puppet, Grumm, lacked the willingness to make sacrifices. Yes, that must have been it. I can see no other logical way in which you creatures could have defeated them." The mind-controlled Troobian walked down the line of chained Rangers, stopping in front of Tyler, "And this one, merely a child." An amused look crossed his face, "Such a look. Do you think to burn me with your gaze?"

"You'd be surprised you reject from a bad horror movie," Tyler replied, a growl in his voice. Tyler's head immediately snapped to the side as the Troobian slapped him.

The older Rangers yelled and struggled against their bonds, Omni ignored them, watching Tyler, who for his part turned back, his eyes still defiant as blood trickled from the edge of his mouth, "Wuss."

The Troobian made to strike Tyler again, but just before his hand connected, there was a flash of red. The Troobian yanked his hand back with a scream of pain. The skin on his hand was already blistering, his sleeve was smoking, but his eyes were now clear. He said something in a strange language that sounded like a question.

The Troobian was quickly shoved out of the way by several Orange Krybots, who unshackled Tyler and dragged him closer to the tank. One of the female Troobians now stepped forward, her eyes glowing red, as Omni took her as his new voice.

Omni's eyestalk pulled back slightly, closer to the safety of the liquid in the tank, but still fixed on Tyler. However, its new puppet got in close and demanded, "How did you do that!? Those manacles neutralize genetic powers, such as your leader's phasing or the Karovians' telekinesis. How were you able to use your power!?"

Tyler never took his eyes off Omni, "Because my Power comes from Without as well as Within."

A few feet away from the exchange between Tyler and Omni, the other Red Rangers struggled.

"We've got to get loose," Dramlin said through gritted teeth as he struggled against his bonds, "We have to help Tyler!"

Alanya, Haylun, and Falon made sounds of agreement as they struggled against their own bonds. Jack, however, didn't move.

After a moment, he finally spoke, "You wanted to know why Commander Tate wanted Tyler on this mission? You're about to see why. Be ready to move."

Omni's eye glowed brightly as its puppet screamed, "What do you mean!? Answer, human!!"

Tyler was now smirking, even though part of him was absolutely terrified, but he was listening to that inner voice again, the one that felt like his mother, "Gee, for a giant brain, you're not very bright are you?"

The puppet roared Omni's rage, and then became eerily calm. "Very well Ranger, you leave me no choice." The puppet began to walk in a circle around Tyler and the Krybots holding him. "I am sure you all wondered, why the Troobians? It's simple. Unlike nearly every other species in this galaxy, the Troobian mind is structured in such a way that it is possible to telepathically bypass their Will without destroying the underlying psyche. It is what has allowed my to use them so effectively, as they still have minds, unless I am completely controlling them as I am with this puppet, but their Wills are totally subservient to mine."

"So?" Tyler asked.

"So, in a moment, when I invade your mind for the information I desire, you will be left as a mindless husk." The puppet now grinned evilly in Tyler's face.

Tyler wanted to scream out that he would tell Omni anything it wanted to know as fear gripped him, but once again, he listened to that calm voice from deep within himself, "Don't count on it."

The puppet took a step back as Omni's glowing eye rose above her, "Insolent to the last, yet it will avail you not."

Omni's eye began to glow even brighter and Tyler gritted his teeth as he felt the fist stabs into his mind. Deeper and deeper the probe went, the pain increasing . . . until . . . something happened.

All Jack and the others saw was Omni's eye starting to glow stronger and Tyler appearing to be wracked by pain when suddenly, the young Ranger burst into flames. The Krybots holding him were incinerated and the female Omni was using as its voice jumped back screaming, the telepathic hold on her broken as Omni submerged itself completely.

On the table holding the Rangers' morphers, the silver bracelet that was Tyler's Geo Morpher ignited, transforming into fire. Those flames jumped off the table and joined the pillar of fire that was Tyler. Tyler's features could just be made out within the fire, and as the morpher joined him, he morphed.

However, he wasn't done yet. Tyler crossed his arms over his chest and yelled out, "Geo-Force Red Ranger, the Heart of Fire! Dragon Fire Form!!!"

Tyler's black gloves and boots became metallic gauntlets and armored boots. The black section of Tyler's suit, which covered his shoulders and tapered to a point at his abdomen pushed out, becoming a metallic armored chest plate. The silver motif of scalloped wings on his helmet grew and extended, sweeping back and beyond the helmet. After these transformations completed, the flames dancing around Tyler's body focused at his back and formed two large, red and black, scalloped wings trimmed in silver. As the rest of the flames died down, the Heart of Fire sigil on Tyler's chest ignited.

The elder Rangers reacted with a certain shocked awe.

"Fascinating," Haylun said.

Falon only managed, "Whoa."

Dramlin asked, "How did he . . . ?" at the same moment Alanya observed, "No Battlizer . . ."

Jack just grinned.

Everything seemed to freeze for a moment, and then the Krybots charged. Omni's tank vanished in a flash of old Alliance of Evil style teleport energy. The Troobian female Omni had been using as his voice screamed and ran for cover. And Tyler spun, shards of flame flying from his fingers and vaporizing the manacles that held the other Red Rangers.

The others ran and grabbed their morphers as Tyler fended off the Krybots. Every time one of the robots made contact with Tyler, or he with them, they came away with their plating slightly melted.

Tyler was getting ready to finish off the Krybots when Jack yelled, "Find Omni! We'll deal with the Krybots!"

Tyler turned slightly, nodded, and then spread his wings, leapt into the air, and flew out . . . through the ceiling.

As Tyler left, Jack turned to his fellow Red Rangers, "Ready?" He received nods, and continued, "Let's do it! SPD Emergency!"

"Doron-Sena Ataxis!"

"Zeo Ranger 5, Red!"

"Let's Rocket!"

"SPD Emergency!"

As they morphed, more than a hundred additional Krybots teleported into the space formerly occupied by Omni's tank. Five fully armored Reds, bearing the collective legacy of eons of Rangers, took battle stances, looked at each other, and charged.

Jack pulled his dual blasters and yelled at Dramlin, "Follow me!" The younger SPD Ranger complied and the B Squad Ranger and his Alpha Squad successor moved in a deadly dance of blaster and Enforcer bolts cutting through the Krybots. Even though the two had never fought together, their similar SPD training let them move like a well-oiled machine, jumping, flipping, and rolling. Covering each other as they completed a maneuver. Jack and Dramlin's eyes met through their visors, both men nodded and flipped clear of the crowd of Krybots. As Dramlin knelt down and took aim with his Enforcer, Jack put his blasters into their combined mode. The SPD Red Rangers simultaneously fired their weapons at full power into the assembled Krybots.

Alanya drew her blaster, summoned her Spiral Saber, and began cutting her own swath through the robots. She knew that, with the possible exception of a few basic models that got in her way, she wasn't making any terminal hits. At least, not until she got to the other side of the crowd of Krybots, who, when they turned to face her, found themselves staring into the business end of the Spiral Saber in booster mode. Alanya pulled the trigger and launched a sphere of energy into the midst of the Krybots.

Haylun was more methodical, his Doron Saber in one had, his Battle Fist with the Star Shield mounted on the other, he moved through the Krybots, dispatching those who came near before moving on. However, this resulted in him being surrounded. Haylun seemed to study the situation for a moment, and then leapt straight into the air, launching the Star Shield, which now became a giant, four-pointed shruiken, which cut down the machines.

Falon's feet never seemed to stay on the ground for more than a second. He would flip into the air, blast a Krybot with his Zeo Blaster in one hand, land, slash another with his Zeo Star Saber, and then leap into another flip. Unfortunately, as he was fighting mostly Orange models, they quickly adapted to this strategy and threatened to overwhelm him. Realizing this, Falon jumped into the air, charging his saber as he went. He came back down, slamming the saber point first into the ground. A five-pointed, star-shaped shockwave of red energy blasted away the Krybots.

When Tyler had flown up and out of Omni's fortress, he wasn't quite sure how he was going to follow Jack's order and find Omni. For all he knew, that teleport pulse could have come from the orbiting battle ship that shot them down. He became convinced of that fact as a sonic boom ripped through the air. Tyler looked up and prayed that he wasn't seeing what he thought he was seeing. As the shape dropped further into the atmosphere, Tyler's heart dropped into his stomach. He was only five when it happened, but no one who had lived in New Tech City back then wouldn't recognize what was now dropping towards the planet's surface . . . the Magnificence.

The gargantuan mecha, comprised of a dozen Troobian battle cruisers set down on the surface. The ground buckled under the massive feet, which then began to carry the monstrosity towards the fortress. Tyler immediately realized that deep inside the Magnificence, Omni planned to use its new body to crush the Rangers and any of its troops and Troobian slaves that happened to be in the way. Even with the new power of his Dragon Fire Form, Tyler doubted he could stop the Magnificence, or even make a dent in it.

"Wish I had my Zord, for all the good it would do," Tyler mused aloud. A mighty roar answered him, as, framed by the planet's sun, the Firedrake Zord appeared.

Tyler smiled under his helmet and flew up to meet the Zord. He entered the cockpit and reached out for the control crystal. No sooner did he touch it than he reverted to his normal Ranger form, as the energy from his Dragon Fire Form passed to the Firedrake. Flames danced across the mecha as it suddenly tripled in size, becoming a massive, four legged, Red Fire Dragon.

The Magnificence still had the height advantage, as at the shoulder the Red Fire Dragon only reached the Magnificence's "waist," but then, so did most predators when compared to a human. And one-on-one, the predator usually won. The Red Fire Dragon roared.

The Magnificence actually stopped and seemed to consider this new situation. It then moved towards the Dragon, as if to grab it. In the cockpit, Tyler grinned behind his helmet. In this form, the Zord's personality felt stronger, and it definitely reacted to things like a wild predator, so the idea this giant bipedal thing trying to grab it did not sit well with the Dragon. Amazingly agile for its size, the Dragon leapt to the side while biting down with its massive jaws on the offending appendage.

If the Magnificence could have screamed, it would have, as it pulled away short one hand . . . a hand that the Dragon chewed a few times and then swallowed. Tyler was a bit shocked himself, as he didn't know the Zord could do that. The Magnificence now retaliated, opening fire with the dozens of weapon batteries from the battle cruisers that made up its body. However, once again, the Dragon's speed prevailed, as it launched itself into the air, taking only glancing hits. The Dragon launched its own attack, opening its mouth and bathing the Magnificence in white-hot flame.

The Magnificence staggered under the assault and lashed out blindly with its remaining hand. This time the Dragon wasn't fast enough and the blow connected, knocking the Zord away and slamming it into the ground. As Tyler willed the Dragon back onto his feet, he gritted his teeth and said, "Okay, let's try a different tactic." He grabbed the sides of the control crystal and the Heart of Fire sigil on the wall behind him ignited, "Red Fire Dragon Zord, Warrior Mode!"

A brilliant, shimmering red light enveloped the Zord as its form shifted, changing from a four-legged dragon into a giant, bipedal, winged warrior mecha in dragon-motif armor.

The Red Dragon Warrior Zord spread its wings and launched itself at the Magnificence. It got in close, dodging and weaving among cannon fire, landing a series of blows to the Magnificence's hull. The cannons kept firing, and the monstrosity swiped ineffectively at the Zord with both it's hand and the stump the Dragon left it with.

Finally, another blow connected, knocking the Zord back. But Tyler was able to right the Dragon Warrior in mid air. He focused himself and said, "Time to end this." The Red Dragon Warrior Zord flew up to the edge of the atmosphere, where Tyler channeled everything he had into the Zord while commanding, "Dragon Warrior Zord, Celestial Inferno Strike!"

Flames like those that accompanied the birth of a star danced over the Red Dragon Warrior Zord, which then dived down through the atmosphere. The Magnificence launched a barrage of cannon fire, but it all bounced impotently off the burning Zord. At the last second, the Magnificence threw up its arms in a final attempt to defend itself, to no avail. The Red Dragon Warrior Zord cut right through Omni's ultimate weapon. The resulting explosion triggered earthquakes and volcanic eruptions all across the once-dormant planet.

Jupiter was visible out the view port when Tyler awoke in private quarters aboard a large SPD Star Cruiser. He looked around and found his older brother Kris, SPD Terran Division Alpha Squad Green Ranger, and Jack at his bedside.

"Well, look who decides to finally wake up once all the hard work is done," Kris said with a smirk, then got serious. "How you feeling bro?"

"Like wet cardboard," Tyler replied with a yawn. "What happened? How long have I been out?"

Jack answered, "Almost three days. After that rather impressive light show you put on dealing with Omni, you teleported about a foot away from me, de-morphed, and passed out. We were kind of worried at first, because your life signs were almost non-existent, but then Haylun declared you were in some kind of regenerative trance."

"And the ship?" Tyler asked, gesturing vaguely at the room.

"Apparently Grandmother contacted Commander Tate and told him to send a ship and personnel prepared to assist the Troobians," Kris answered.

"Yeah, she seemed to know you had gone all Super-Ranger," added Jack.

Tyler seemed to digest that for a moment, then asked, "How are the others?"

Jack replied, "They're fine. We took a slight detour and dropped Haylun, Alanya, and Falon off at the Astro Megastation . . . which looks like they put a giant barbell into orbit around Karovia, by the way. Haylun and Falon can get lifts back to Aquitar and Triforia from there. Dramlin's been sitting with you when he hasn't been in debriefing or I've ordered him to get some sleep."

"Oh," was all Tyler said, disappointed that the others hadn't been around for him to say goodbye.

Jack looked at Kris with a smirk, and then fetched something off a nearby table. He came back and handed the flat, wrapped object to Tyler.

Tyler looked at his brother and Jack, "What . . . ?"

"Open it," was all Jack said.

Tyler pulled back the wrapping and found a red metal plaque. Jack, Haylun, Alanya, Falon, and Dramlin had signed it under the engraved words, "Welcome to the Club."

A/N: Well, that's the end of Future Red. I will be returning to Geo-Force, more or less. There will probably be more delays in new chapters, as I have a new job that's taking up my time now.