Disclaimer: Saban owns the Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Beetleborgs, VR Troopers and probably a large number of other things as well. I am using their characters without permission and for no profit whatsoever. Ellen Brand owns Chelsea and Teddy Oliver and I thank her again for letting me use them occasionally. The Doctor, Master, TARDIS,and UNIT are from the BBC series Doctor Who. They are likely the property of the the BBC. North Valley comes from the series Super Human Samurai Cyber Squad. Queen of the Crown was the villain from Galaxy Rangers and is owned by Saban. Mandarin is owned by Marvel and Golobulus belongs to whoever created Action Force the Movie.
Authors Note: Anything written like ~this~ is a thought, anything like -this- is a conversation Sam is eaves dropping on, [this] is a computer message and anything appearing like *this* is a mental telepathic message.
The Journey Begins
The Kerova System had been an important part of Galactic society. Too small to wield true political power it was an example of how a few worlds working together could thrive. The ship yards were respected for the quality vessels they supplied, the mining operations on the asteroid belt on the far reaches of the system supplied countless industries. And the colony worlds had been an inspiration for those seeking to terraform new worlds. Financially it had been transformed from the poorest systems into one of modest wealth and had been on the brink of passing two of the key tests that would have seen it granted full member rights within the Galactic Council.
But then the invasion had started and the Kerova System had been amongst the first victims. Not considered important enough to be granted a Ranger team, the system had been forced to assemble its own military defence force led by the Astro Guardians. Three hundred Astro Guardians spread throughout the Kerova System, charged with the task of repelling invaders. And when the invasion had ended, the enemy had been certain that they had all perished.
The dockyards and space navy that had been the bulk of the system's defence were gone. The ships had either been destroyed during the fighting or had limped away from the battle only to be pursued by a ruthless enemy and captured. The Quantrons, Kerova's army of robotic soldiers had been subverted and integrated into the invaders' army.
Exactly how a system like Kerova could fall so easily was unknown. But soon after the invasion started the military had had problems with their ships. Weapons had refused to fire or had misidentified friendly vessels as enemy warships. Engines had suddenly activated or lost power leaving craft in vulnerable positions. Even the planetary defences had malfunctioned as the computers developed unexplainable errors. By the time it became clear that somebody had patched into their computers and was systematically rewriting their programming, it was too late; the bulk of Kerova's space fleet was wiped out in the space of a few days, leaving the citizens of the worlds below to fight for their freedom.
The Defence Grid had been sabotaged, the communication system had been undermined and the Astro Guardians had been rendered helpless as the invading army had picked their targets with care. The might Mega Ships had been destroyed, the shipyards had been obliterated. When the enemy had directed their assault at the transmission towers that supplied the Astro Guardians with their powers, it had been clear that the fall of Kerova had been an inside job. Somebody had betrayed them.
Now the system had been closed off and surviving worlds were under the imposed authority of a strict dictatorship. Many of the colony worlds had been torn apart for resources, the inhabitants shipped off to be turned into new soldiers to further the invasion. The mining facilities had been given additional slave labour to speed up production as the enemy attempted to turn the few surviving dry docks into production factories for their own vessels.
They had used a brutal demonstration of their power to quell all thoughts of resistance. With the Astro Guardians gone Kerova lacked the courage to stand up to an enemy that could kill so easily. Especially since their calls for help had gone unanswered as the Council had been too busy concentrating on an undefined threat from an unimportant planet in some backwater solar system. Kerova had been lost and it was only the beginning.
In the aftermath, the colony world of KO-35 was ignored. It had served as a lesson to the people of the Kerova System not to resist, but had seemingly outlived its usefulness; in truth the invaders had triggered a device that they claimed had wiped out every living thing on the planet leaving the buildings and cities intact, but needed to wait for the planet to recover before they could strip it of anything valuable. It was a delay they would regret.
KO-35 had only recently reached a level where it could be deemed as civilised. The terraforming operation had taken more than five centuries to bring the world to a habitable level. It had marked the end of an experiment to turn the lifeless moons on the outer edge of the Kerovian system into habitable planets where farming and other sources of primary production could take place. When the inner worlds had experienced a population boom, the need for farming and factories had forced the government to consider the experiments.
Over time, valuable resources had been removed from KO-35 as large strip mines had been used to tunnel deep beneath the surface. A large collection of nuclear reactors had been built to melt the thick ice that lined the crust of the planet, creating water vapour that in turn would form the basis of an atmosphere. At the same time the melted ice had allowed the engineers to prepare the land for plants. The process had taken many decades and for most of that time, the conditions had been so severe that only a few dedicated scientists had remained on the surface; others had worked on a six monthly shift pattern, switching between the planet and the huge space station above.
When the atmosphere had been deemed satisfactory, large forested areas had been planted to help convert Carbon Dioxide to Oxygen. The machinery could assist the natural process, but for the new world to become self-sustaining nature needed to do most of the work. And when life had taken hold of the small planet, life was far from easy. Although liveable, the planet was still cooler than the animals they herded there were used to. Many species perished before the right balance was found. And as with all artificial habitats, it was far from perfect.
It had only been within the last century that the colonists had started to spend longer periods living on the planet. Housing and commerce areas had been built using temporary shelters. When the architects had learnt how to build more permanent structures to handle the extreme temperatures, the huts had been replaced with brick and metal complexes.
For a time things had gone well, not perfect but without major incident. The colony had been forced to open a nursery when several families young families, all of whom had agreed to help scientist understand how the environment would affect children, had arrived. Apart from a single incident where a young girl had been kidnapped whilst playing with her brother, there had been no open hostility towards the colony; the girl was later found unharmed and returned to her family. And once the Galactic Council had been petitioned often enough, the Kerovian Government had received permission to put a shield generator and planetary defence system into position, adding a team of Astro Guardians to the colony.
It had been eleven years before that things had started to go wrong, although at the few had realised the raids on KO-35 had been a gradual testing of Kerova's defences. At the time the colonists and the other inhabitants of the system had been distracted by the assassination of one of their politicians. The man who had taken his place and had eventually been elected a junior member of the Council, had promised that changes would be made, but had failed to deliver.
Suddenly Kerova had been faced with a series of misfortunes, many of which had a direct impact on its colonies. There had been threats to KO-35's leaders to make them abandon the planet, a move that would have secured an invading army a suitable staging ground. Trade ships delivering supplies and collecting materials from KO-35 were raided as part of a targeted campaign to damage the Kerova System's economy. Replacement parts for worn out machinery were suddenly tied up in red tape as their representative failed to stop the Council from imposing harsh new laws; a later review would reveal that the representative had argued in favour of some of the most damaging amendments.
Then came the crushing blow not just for KO-35, but the entire Kerovian System. While KO-35 was not a big colony, its success meant the Kerova System had reached the size where it could make a request for a team of Rangers to protect their worlds. The request was only expected to lead to the appointment maybe two Rangers. For some reason the application had been turned down and the Rangers on loan from neighbouring systems had been prevented from lending further aid.
Despite the lack of a full Ranger team, the people of Kerova were resourceful enough to extend their Astro Guardian led defence force to include KO-35. A new relay station had been set up on the colony allowing the Astro Guardians to use it as a base of operations in that part of the Kerova System. A set of pseudo-morphers had been handed to the leaders of the colony allowing them to pick their own protectors.
The morphers lacked the standard connection to the Morphin Grid that was associated with most Ranger teams. Instead a blank golden disk similar to those used by Morphin Rangers was incorporated into a device, controlled by a complex electronic circuit, which imitated the functions of a morpher. Since the blank coin served only to collect energy and distribute it through the device, it did not fall under the control of the Morphin Masters. Indeed, the devices had been tuned to receive energy from specially built relay station; KO-35's relay was known as the Power Core.
The energy was channelled from the coin into a set of capacitors where it could be stored and then released. A small pre-programmed microchip held the template for the powers as well as an additional set of commands to handle functions normally operated by voice command. Finally, a numeric control pad had been added to the outside of the morpher to allow easy operation. The unit had been placed on a strap intended to be worn around the wrist. They had been dubbed Astro Morphers.
Each Astro Guardians had their own Battle Suit that through the use of Aquitian technology allowed only one Guardian to use it. The brainwaves of the operator were encoded deep in the subroutines where only a super computer could find and remove them. The combination of Guardian powers, powerful ships and the other defences amassed by the Kerovian, should have been enough to fight off the invading armies. But something had gone wrong.
The rules of engagement changed, and the Kerovians had been faced with a very different type of warfare. Instead of the small raids against a single planet, the new invaders launched random large scale attacks across the system, preventing the colonies from aiding their neighbours. The invaders had found the holes in the shields, the weaknesses in the defences and exploited every opportunity they had to find a breach. And once they had found a way to cut communications between the colonies, the Astro Guardians located on different planets were forced to fight an uncoordinated battle.
On KO-35, the Astro Guardians had fought back; nobody could have accused them of not trying. They had tried to take the invaders out before they could make land fall. During the months of combat, they had never given up hope, despite the lack of sleep and the lack of news from their neighbours. The colony's weapons had been placed under their, as had the shield generators. The technology had been upgraded constantly to keep up with the regular change of tactics; one day it had been random pot shots at the surface and the next it had been kamikaze assaults on suspected weaknesses. Through it all KO-35 had survived as the planets around it had fallen.
They had never discovered who had ordered the attacks or why for that matter. Their enemy had sent them constant demands for the unconditional surrender of the entire Kerovian System, but had never deemed it necessary to identify themselves. The foot-soldiers and attack vehicles had never been seen before and had not been identified through the Council's vast database. The few monsters that had been sent down were those used by any number of villains.
As the months of attacks had taken their toll, the people of KO-35 had rallied around their Astro Guardians. While they had been a peaceful colony, they had been willing to support their heroes. They had performed whatever tasks had needed to be done, which had not involved throwing themselves into battle. They had maintained and repaired the Battle Suits whenever they had taken a pounding. The repairs had been quick fixes, but they had lacked the time and tools to do more. They also ensured that the Guardians were treated following injury.
The Mega Ship assigned to Kerova had seen better days. Its automatic repair systems had been capable of repairing some damage, but after a particularly heavy assault, some of its more advanced systems had been damaged. The power drain from constant combat had also overstressed the generators, which in turn had caused them to frequently overheat and fail. It had been lost along with the Silver Guardian days before the colony had fallen.
KO-35's shield had also been in need of an overhaul. Months of use without the necessary reboot periods had diminished its effectiveness. Since such essential maintenance had meant deactivating the planet's most potent defence, they had refrained from doing so.
With so much to contend with and as the other colonies fell, allowing the invaders to concentrate more on the worlds that held out, it had only been a matter of time before the attackers had started to gain some ground.
KO-35's Green Guardian had been the first to fall in battle. It had seemed like one of the normal suicide attacks that had put so much strain on the shield. The Battle Suits had been moved into positions over likely targets and used their extensive arsenal to pick off the fighters before they could hit the shield. On that day though things had not gone as planned. The ships had started their assault and the Guardians had moved into position ready to fight them off, but at the last minute the enemy had changed course, picking on one of the Battle Suits instead. The first few collisions had seemed random, but quickly it had become clear that they had been aiming for the thruster packs mounted on the back and the direction jets on the legs. Even as the Battle Suit had swung its heavy energy sword, one of the attacking ships had struck the metal humanoid's head.
The damage had been severe and the Green Guardian was dead before she had had time to comprehend what had happened. The cockpit section had been crushed, a portion of it had been embedded in her back. Her powers had faded instantly in a final attempt to save her life; the coin had been reduced to dust, the template had been destroyed by the feedback and the circuitry burnt beyond recovery.
Like vultures the invaders had circled the Battle Suit before destroying it. The wreckage had been left in orbit where it could be seen by the other Guardians; a clear warning of the cost of losing.
In the next few months Blue, Black, Pink and Yellow Guardians had been slowly picked off. Each time they had attacked, the invaders had tried to separate the Guardians. While not always successful, they had often accomplished their goal. Once a Battle Suit had been damaged, more enemy fire had been directed at the damaged Suit. The Guardians had tried new strategies and had even attempted repairs, but KO-35 had been totally blockaded and replacement parts had been hard to come by. If they had been hoping for aid from the other colonies they were going to be disappointed; KO-35 was the only planet that had not surrendered.
In the end though the invaders had grown tired of waiting for the colony to surrender. The strange computer problems that had affected the other planets had not hit KO-35 as hard, something maybe had assumed was due to the damage the colony's computers had sustained at during the initial attack. The enemy had sent one of their heaviest ships filled with explosives towards the generator plant in the hopes that the blast would cause some damage. In truth, regardless of Guardians' actions the shields had been doomed. It had been unfortunate that the Black and Blue Guardians had tried to stop the massive craft's descent just moments before it had exploded, they had been vaporised; the resulting explosion had turned the Pink Guardian's Battle Suit into into a mass of molten debris.
In a state of grief, Yellow Guardian had charged at the mother craft knowing it was a waste of effort. She had never stood a chance of reaching the vessel and her Battle Suit had been ripped to shreds. Her death had left two Astro Guardians to protect a unshielded planet from attack. Their Battle Suits had been destroyed, but Red Guardian had activated an orbital jump to the surface, ready to give his life to stop the invasion.
With only Andros left to defend them, the people of KO-35 had taken an even more active role in the fight. It had been a welcome yet totally worthless gesture. Their morale had taken a severe blow when they had witnessed Quantrons, Kerovas robotic ground troops, leading the invading army into battle. The enemy had backed up their new grunts with tanks and cannons. The surface of the planet had been levelled in a matter of days and the best the Guardian had been able to do was slow them down enough for evacuation to take place. Andros had hoped the people would be allowed to leave in peace. He had been wrong.
The first ship to leave the planet had barely departed from orbit, when the final attack had come. Large attack ships had blasted the planet and the escaping craft. By the time the invaders had left orbit KO-35 had been in the process of destroying itself.
The assault had been merciless. The cooling system for the reactors had been destroyed and in doing so had started a nuclear meltdown that threatened to rip the planet apart. When the explosion came, the planet had survived but all living organisms had been evaporated. Bodies, even the simplest forms of life. Nothing had survived.
Not far from KO-35 there was an asteroid field. And deep within the asteroid field, hidden from the occupying army's sensors, were the broken remains of one of the Kerova Shipyards. It was a small docking station designed to house older ships that would be broken down for parts. At the time the dock had been blown into the asteroid belt by the attacking army, there had been only one vessel berthed there: a Mega Ship designated The Astro.
The Astro was an older vessel and lacked many of the systems that had been built into the newer and much larger ships that had succeeded it. Its computer system was primitive, its weapons limited and its speed was considered too slow for modern combat. Had it not been for the all-out assault on the shipyards, the Astro had been scheduled to be ripped apart within a month. Now it was the only Mega Ship to survive.
It had been fortunate that the last engineer to work on the Astro had neglected to turn off the computer network and deactivate its main systems. Had he done so then the loss of life from KO-35 would have been absolute. Instead the ship was now host to the surviving Astro Guardian and his saviour.
DECA was an advanced Artificial Intelligence created to control functions on board the KO-35 colony's own Mega Ship. When the ship had been lost, DECA has searched for a means to survive and had made contact with the Astro. Like a virus DECA had invaded the Astro's computer and established itself as the control program. It had then reactivated as many systems as possible and had searched for survivors After locking onto Andros moments before the Red Guardian had fallen, DECA had teleported him on board and then closed down until the Astro's energy levels were restored.
Life support had been the first function to be restored. It had taken a few hours to give the medical bay enough power to keep its patients alive. It had taken longer for DECA to restore enough systems to start basic repairs. When the engines had finally been restored to absolute minimal operating capacity, the vessel had broken free of the broken dock and limped away in search of help.
Andros had awakened a few days after the ship had started its journey. Most of its limited systems were offline since DECA had been unable to fully integrate without assistance. And until he completed the upload and restored voice command functions Andros was an unwilling passenger to whatever planet DECA was heading. He spent his time thinking about those he had failed and the teammates who had fallen in combat. He had been lucky to survive although he doubted he would ever be happy about that.
"KO-35 Naval Vessel Astro Log
Acting Captain Andros, Red Astro Guardian KO-35
I still cannot believe what has happened in the last year. Kerova has fallen, KO-35 is gone. My comrades are lost and Karone is missing, I can only assume she died; we never found the remains of Purple Battle Suit.
DECA finally restored manual control and I set course back to see what remains. KO-35 is gone, but I had hoped some of the other colonies would still be there. I was wrong. When KO-35 fell, the other colonies surrendered. The entire system has been claimed by the Alliance of Evil.
I managed to sneak back into occupied space and returned to the surface of KO-35 this morning to see if there was anything to salvage. There was nothing. The enemy forces destroyed almost everything and the explosion took care of the remains. I have been left nothing except heartache and a thirst for revenge. I swear by the Power that I will quench my thirst.
I am fortunate DECA retrieved some of the Astro Morphers before leaving. Hundreds of Astro Guardians and less than two dozen morphers were recovered, most damaged beyond repair. Still I feel better knowing they are here. If they had fallen into the wrong hands, we would have had even more to worry about. I have sealed the surviving morphers inside the vault and I vow I will never use them again. The Astro Guardians of Kerova are the past, now I will handle the future battle alone."
"DECA, stop log," Andros ordered. Despite his attempt to follow the daily routine he had settled into since the age of five Andros could not concentrate. His mind kept drifting back to the final moments of the assault, to the high-pitched female laugh he had heard before the world around him had exploded. He would find her and have his revenge.
"DECA, replay the end."
[Andros, this is unwise] DECA advised.
"Do it anyway," Andros ordered.
The front screen was filled with a scene Andros would carry with him to his grave. The Blue and Black Battle Suits fighting desperately to stop the massive craft, the shockwave that killed the Pink Guardian and Yellow Guardian's brave yet foolish attack.
~None of them had to die,~ he thought as he watched.
When it reached Andros' last stand, the screen went blank.
"DECA, what happened?" Andros asked. He had not been able to watch the film that far before and now DECA had deliberately ceased the playback.
[I am sorry Andros. My function at this time is to ensure your continued survival. I believe a further playback at this time would be unwise.]
Andros fumed silently. Why would DECA not let him watch his failure? His thoughts were interrupted by the proximity alert.
[Andros, I have detected a life form on the surface of KO-11's moon close to the relay station. Readings suggest it is human.]
"I'm going down," Andros said. "Let's Rocket!"
A device similar to a calculator watch appeared on his left arm revealing a numeric pad. Keying in the activation code, he was transformed into the Red Astro Guardian.
*Red Guardian - Spiral Saber ready, Astro Blaster ready, Galaxy Glider standing by. Battery life: two hours.*
The last part of the status concerned him greatly. The relay network had been disrupted meaning that his morpher no longer received energy. Every second he remained morphed meant his powers were drained with no chance to replenish them. He promised himself that even if he didn't locate the lifeform, he would see about salvaging parts from the relay. He had an idea that would have been impossible on a newer vessel, but with the Astro's less advanced systems stood a slim chance of working.
In the classic red beam of teleportation Andros left for the planet. He recognized the area immediately. It was another mining settlement used to extract tin. One of the stone supply huts to be exact. He wondered what could be there.
He approached cautiously and pulled away the stones. He gasped. What lay beneath might once have been a human male, but now it was burnt beyond recognition. It was struggling to breathe with a set of damaged lungs, having endured living there after his escape ship had crashed. Radiation sickness had taken its toll. Andros was not a medic, but he knew enough to realise this man would not live long.
The eyes opened and the face grimaced as it tried to smile.
"So some of you did survive. Many of us believed that you would. We never got a chance to thank you for what you did. Whatever happened, you did your best and that's all we could ask," it said. Andros couldn't think of the poor thing in front of him as human anymore. And minutes later when he returned to the ship, his Astro Blaster grasped firmly in his hand, he had another reason to hate.
[Integration complete Andros. The relay system is now linked to the ship's systems.] DECA reported.
It had been a risky move and failure would have blown the Astro's engines to pieces. But as he had hoped the older systems of the Astro had been designed to draw energy in a similar fashion to the relay except instead of directing the energy to a morpher, the Astro used it to power the engines. With a great deal of careful wiring and more luck than he deserved, Andros had made it possible for his Astro Morpher to draw power from the Astro.
[Astro Guardian transformation should now be possible.]
"And the engines?"
When not powering an Astro Guardian, Andros had hoped the relay would provide a boost for the Astro's limited capabilities.
[Engine capacity at two-hundred percent. Shield and weapon systems at maximum capability.]
It was not the same as his previous vessel, but it was now his home. With the vessels speed, offensive and defensive abilities increased it was the best he could have hoped for.
"Make a note in the log that this vessel is now the Astro Megaship," Andros instructed.
It didn't matter that the ship in question was much smaller than a normal Mega Ship, holding a maximum of fifty crewmen. It didn't matter that it was only capable of using Hyperspeed. It was the last surviving warship of Kerova and he would make it a symbol of the Kerova System's fight to reclaim its freedom.
[Confirmed. Set course and speed.]
"Set course for..." He needed information and the best place to get that was the sort of place where he could take out some of his rage. "Onyx."
From the surface below the people of the captured Kerovian System would have seen the noble Astro Megaship turn and launch into an unknown future and a new frontier. For the Red Astro Guardian the adventure was just beginning.
End of Part