Disclaimer: I do not own Power Rangers or any other show. They belong to their respective copyright owners. No money is being made from this piece of writing.
Sprocket’s Chop Shop
The working street lamps barely provided enough light for the few pedestrians to see as they ambled along the sidewalk. Night time in Angel Grove had gradually grown quieter over recent months. Many residents were following the advice of the police and returning home early.
Keeping to the shadows, two figures walked down the street, studying the cars they passed with interest. They were dressed in black with woollen hats. Each wore black gloves and carried a shoulder bag that moved noisily as they walked.
“This one,” the taller of the two whispered, pointing to a Ford Escort.
His name was Ben and he was a thief. At the age of thirteen he had learnt that crime could pay so long as you didn’t get caught. At fifteen his school had been forced to invest in lockable cabinets and alarms after he had stolen their computer equipment so often that the school could no longer find an insurance company willing to cover them.
After school Ben had moved across the country, stealing cars for a living and selling drugs on the side. He had been caught a few times during the past decade and had only been released recently. Angel Grove was just a temporary stop over. The police force was too alert here to make a profit as a criminal. Still, with the monster attacks he had been able to turn over small shops without anybody noticing.
Tonight he was out car hunting, ready to leave the city the next day. He walked around the car, looking at each door in case the owner had forgotten to lock it. His eyes were also searching for the obvious signs of an alarm of an anti-theft device. There was nothing.
Jerry was a goon. If not for Ben giving the orders, the oversized man would probably never have left his couch after being released from prison. He had been in several gangs from an early age, lending his muscles to whoever happened to be in charge. He never changed because he had no desire to do so. He was happy being a goon.
With Jerry acting as lookout, Ben moved up to the car door and pulled out an old coat hanger. This was one of the first tricks his teacher had shown him and for the most part, it was useless. Still, it was worth a try. When it was obvious that it would not work, he settled for a more forceful method and prised the door open with a crowbar. By the time Jerry had seated himself in the passenger seat, Ben had hot-wired the ignition.
Laughing at their success, they drove off towards the city limits.
Events on Earth replayed endlessly on the wall of complex video screens as Klank and Orbus discussed Rita and Zedd’s latest failure in sickening detail. It was after all their jobs to analyse their failures in the hopes of finding some weakness they could exploit. So far the only useful fact they had found was that Speed Hound had somehow managed to break through the Blue Ranger’s uniform. Other than that small fact there was nothing worth detailing.
“It is only right that the Royal House of Gadgetry show up this Minion,” Mondo stated as he watched the Rangers finish moving their friend into her new home. “Rita and Zedd are inferior bunglers, this is something that takes machine ingenuity.”
Since arriving back in the galaxy, the Machine Empire had been looking for an opportunity to regain some of the prestige it had lost after the Rangers had defeated them. At their disposal they had a massive fleet of Cog operated craft, but were reluctant to deploy them; a sudden all out attack on the planet could have undesired consequences such as Minion believing they wished to unseat him. With Serpenterra and the Zeo Crystal in his possession, the villain was dangerous. And Venjix had failed to retrieve the crystal when he had answered his king’s summons; he had been dispatched back to the empire as punishment.
Marching Cogs into Angel Grove was not a solution though because despite being made by the advanced workers of Machine Empire, his Cogs were not a challenge for the Rangers. In fact as far as he knew only WD Units had proven a problem for the Rangers in recent months. On the other hand a good robot could destroy the Rangers before Minion, it would allow the Machine Empire to advance their position in the Alliance.
But what could he use? Sadly Mondo had to admit that he had exhausted his ideas and for some reason his design processor was failing to perform the task he had set. In humans he supposed it would be considered a lack of ideas.
“What’s the matter Dad?” Sprocket asked.
The youngest manufactured member of the Machine Empire had, like his sibling, been programmed to admire his father. Grommet’s admiration had been obvious from the way he had often accepted tasks even maintenance droids would complain about while Gasket’s flawed logic dictated that the way to prove his admiration for his father was to surpass him.
“Yes dear, whatever is the matter?” Machina asked.
“I wish to send a machine down to the surface my love,” Mondo replied.
“I can make a robot daddy,” Sprocket said. “You promised I could try again.”
“You did promise him dear,” Machina said, suddenly feeling very hot and extending her fan to cool her microchips. Thinking was a demanding task and her primary function was to look regal and stand at Mondo’s side. But she was willing to sacrifice some of her runtime to coming up with ways to help her husband. Such sacrifices helped to keep a marriage running smoothly.
“Yes my son, you shall make a robot. Klank, go with Sprocket and start work.”
“Yes yea Majesty,” Klank said as he hurried off, Sprocket running as fast as his short legs could carry him to keep up.
Ben and Jerry were not having a good time. Angel Grove’s police department seemed to have chosen today to hunt down the two petty car thieves. They had been forced to turn into one of the industrial parks to avoid their pursuers.
“I’m finished Dad!” Sprocket cried as he waddled in hours later, followed by Klank.
Behind them walked a human sized robot that resembled a fat suit of plated armour worn by human knights. His metal plating was blue with thinner stripes of gold running vertically around his outer shell. A three-foot diameter saw blade had been attached to each shoulder, so that the tip rose just above his head and the lower part vanished into the chest cavity where it was sharpened. Another set of blades was attached to the outside of his shoulders and lower legs, also running vertically. A fixed blade was wielded to each foot, mangled to fit without affecting his walking. As a final touch, the robot’s right hand had been replaced with an interchangeable saw blade and rifle.
“This is Chop Shop,” Sprocket announced proudly.
“Wonderful workmanship son,” Mondo stated.
“But Daddy, Klank won’t let me have the control,” Sprocket whined.
“Yea majesty, I thought maybe yea should control this one,” Klank said, presenting the control to his master.
“You imbecile!” Mondo boomed. “Sprocket has earned the opportunity to work his own robot.”
There was a loud bang and a moment later Queen Machina could be seen folding her fan and attempting to look surprised, well as surprised as her fixed face allowed.
Chop Shop appeared on Earth near to where Ben and Jerry were hiding.
They screamed, he laughed, there was the brief sound of saw blades whirling and then more screams as the crook’s car was cut to pieces with them inside. They ran before the robot decided to see how well he could cut them up. Luckily the police car they had been hiding from emerged in time to take them to the safety of jail.
The alarm in the Power Chamber sounded and the Rangers gathered around the Viewing Globe. The Power Chamber’s computer made a few polite enquiries of the monstrous machine, which responded like all creations of the Machine Empire with its name, serial number and warranty expiration date.
“It appears that King Mondo has allowed Prince Sprocket to build his own monster,” Zordon stated.
The Rangers watched as Chop Shop made his way through the industrial park towards an electrical substation. His spinning blades cut through anything in his path. Concrete, wood or metal, it made no difference to his cutters.
“Man, we need to stop him before somebody gets hurt,” Tommy stated as Chop Shop walked through a car, slicing it to ribbons in the process.
“Alpha and I will work on a way to neutralise his weapons,” Zordon said. “For now it appears that he is limited to close combat.”
“It’s Morphin Time!”
“Zeo Ranger I – Crane!”
“Zeo Ranger II – Bear!”
“Zeo Ranger III – Ape!”
“Zeo Ranger IV – Frog!”
“Zeo Ranger V – Falcon!”
The heavy lock and metal door were not enough to stop Chop Shop. His hand blade cut away the bolt and the hinges before he continued inside the substation. Destroying this building would knock out the electricity supply of the immediate area and cause shortages throughout the city. Not to mention the fire that would result from the destruction. It was bound to draw the Rangers into the open.
He walked casually through the substation, his undeveloped processor focussed on the sole task of creating mayhem. Sprocket had performed admirably when designing the body and weapon systems of his new toy, but had failed to give it a real personality. It could react independently for a short time on its own, but for the most part it was a remote-controlled puppet.
His metal body seemed unaffected by the high voltage cables sparking as he cut them loose, mainly due to the spike protection Klank had installed in the machine’s more delicate circuitry. Unlike most machine monsters though most of Chop Shop’s weapons and limbs shared the same powerful motors.
He turned from his task as the Rangers arrived, ignoring their warning speeches and attacking with little regard for their status. His arms and feet flailed as Sprocket tried to get him to fight properly. The result though was a very clumsy display, with its punches and kicks landing more by accident than on purpose.
“Swords!” Tommy instructed as he led his teammates into battle.
The Rangers drew their swords, but as they attacked they realised that for all his lack of fighting ability, Chop Shop had been built to make it difficult for any attacker. The heavy blades and plate armour were impervious to the blades and the sharp edges prevented the Rangers from getting close.
The Rangers moved back, drawing their pistols and combined their fire on Chop Shop’s chest. The plating distorted under the combined attack of the five red beams of energy before the blast was knocked away. The Rangers switched their pistols for the more versatile Gem Coin Blasters. They fired again, this time using a variety of exploding projectiles.
For his part Chop Shop was limited in his attack. The weight of his weapons made him slow and awkward. His armour although important prevented his limbs from extending fully.
Sprocket punched the controls, frustrated by his lack of progress. The blade on Chop Shop’s right arm transformed into a weapon barrel. He pushed another button and watched the new attack.
“Tommy!” Kat cried as a saw blade ejected from the cannon.
Zeo Falcon moved, but not quickly enough. The saw blade caught the back of his thigh, ripping his uniform and drawing blood. Zeo Frog and Zeo Ape were on the scene immediately, covering their friend as more disks flew towards them. They struck, causing sparks to erupt as they hit the Rangers in the chests. Both Rangers were thrown backwards.
Flames erupted from Chop Shop’s cannon, turning from a smoky orange flame to the brilliant blue of a cutting torch. He ran towards the fallen Rangers as Tanya leapt into his path. The torch burnt through her weapon, causing the power cell to ignite. She rolled away before he could turn the torch on her.
“Make him grow Klank,” Sprocket ordered.
“But sire, yea ‘re winnin,” Klank protested.
Logic dictated that in a winning position there was no need to escalate the battle. But for all his imagination Sprocket still had much to learn about winning a battle and unfortunately it was not something he could download. Mondo had decreed that Sprocket should be able to create strategy rather than simply copying a previous success. He wanted a son who could lead, not a war computer.
“Do it or I’ll tell my daddy,” the young prince retorted.
Klank sighed. Either way he would be in trouble when the plan failed. This way he didn’t have to listen to Mondo lecturing him about obedience first.
The Red Ranger was out of the fight, at least for a short time. His powers had kicked in to stop the bleeding although it still hurt. The damage the blade had caused to the muscles though would take longer to heal. For now he needed to put himself out of danger and allow Katherine and a slightly stunned Tanya to handle things.
He watched as the two girls battle the machine, using their speed rather than brute force to avoid his weapons. They couldn’t cause any damage though and were tiring fast.
Then for some reason Chop Shop had ceased his small scale attack and had grown to monstrous proportions. The flaming torch he had been using against Aisha and Kat was now large enough to incinerate whole buildings.
“Zordon, we need the Sky Zords,” Tommy called into his communicator.
At the secret hangar some distance from the Power Chamber, the five Sky Zords catapulted along the runway and flew towards the waiting Rangers. The Rangers regrouped and were ready to teleport aboard and take control of their battle machines.
“Megazord sequence, begin!” Tommy ordered.
Chop Shop had proven dangerous and while dog fighting would have worked against some monsters, the idea of a saw blade shredding his wings was unappealing.
“Sky Megazord One, power up!”
Sky Zord Five was the first to begin its transformation; a pair of legs folded out from the jet undercarriage, as the wings folded back and the arms bent upwards; the nosecone section folded back to reveal a small robotic head. Then, the arms folded in half and the legs did likewise, revealing a small patch of wiring. Tommy held the Zord ready as the remaining Zords moved in around him; a beam of light shot from each patch of wires and each beam connected to one of the other Zords.
The remaining Zords hovered in the air for a moment as their engines powered down and only the energy of Sky Zord Five kept them in the air. Their wings detached and merged, forming a single giant wing that glided over them. The nose cone, cockpit and fuselage of the Zords shifted so that the cockpit was mounted under the Zord and the nose cone formed a head. Two of the Zords shifted shaped to resemble a pair of legs and the other two Zords changed to form the arms. Finally they were drawn to Sky Zord Five where they slotted into the exposed section of wires. A connection was made and the union was covered by fresh armour as the giant wing attached to the Megazord’s back.
“Drop Zord, now!” Tommy ordered.
The Drop Zord flew over the top of the Megazord and opened its upper doors. From there it released two massive fists, a solid pair of feet and an enormous head. The extremities slotted into place as the Rangers placed their Gem Coins into their consoles. The Sky Megazord was online.
“Stress Fracture Cannon!” Kat called.
Sprocket had seen the Rangers perform this move before and he had a suitable counter. He shifted the control pad, watching as his toy responded by using its cutting torch across the Megazord’s chest. The robot moved closer, the two massive blades mounted in its chest rotating at full speed as it grabbed the Zord.
“I have control,” Kat stated.
She pulled the joystick to the left, adjusting the Zord’s wings to lift them off the ground slightly. A slight nudge and the machine was propelled backwards. She lowered the wing slightly so the feet were just scraping over the ground. With Tanya’s help she lowered the feet and bounced them into a forward attack, shifting a fist to strike the enemy on the side of its blade.
The robot extinguished its torch, reverting at least temporarily to another blade, which it slashed at the Megazord’s hip. There was a smell of fried wiring in the cockpit as the blade tore through fuel pods and wiring. The Zord attempted to turn aside and in the process reduced the depth of the cut.
“Look out!” Rocky warned.
Chop Shop had stooped over and was charging at the Megazord. The robot’s largest blades dug into both sides of the Megazord’s chest. As it cut deeper, the smaller blade made contact and started their own narrow cuts. The sharp spikes on Chop Shop’s head, normally invisible due to the larger blades, pierced the Zord’s lower abdomen.
The Zord collapsed from under the Rangers, the damage rendering its arms and legs limp. As the various cutters worked their way through, the distorted chest plating was pushed through the floor of the cockpit. Tanya screeched as a jagged piece of neck sliced her console in half.
“We need to abandon the Megazord,” Adam stated.
Nobody argued and they were swiftly whisked away.
It had been an almost comical sight when Chop Shop had released the Megazord. At first it had swayed violently until the chest cavity had simply collapsed, dropping the shoulders onto the tops of the legs. Then the remains of the head and shoulders tipped backwards and collapsed to the ground as the legs splayed apart to land in a mangled heap. The large wing on the back tumbled away, embedding itself in the ground.
Prince Gasket, ruler of the planet Horath and would-be conqueror of Earth was outraged. Having been forced to take his leave of the bungling King Mondo, he had to watch as his wretched suck up of a bratty brother successfully caused the Rangers to retreat from a battle.
It wasn’t fair that he, a ruler on his own planet should be forced into servitude. His father obviously lacked suitable optical sensors if he believed his third built son capable of being his heir. Anybody could get lucky in Gasket’s opinion. Even Rita and Zedd had had their good days.
But how to show his father that he was the only machine capable of succeeding to the throne of the Machine Empire was beyond Gasket. As much as he loathed to admit it, Sprocket’s creation had performed admirably. If he was to surpass his younger sibling, he would need to find a way to destroy the Rangers permanently. Of course that meant that first they would have to triumph over Chop Shop.
“I am truly sorry Tommy,” Zordon said. “There is nothing I can do.”
“I understand Zordon,” Tommy answered. “Man, losing the Megazord is bad enough, but I liked those jeans.”
The comment helped to break some of the tension inside the Power Chamber. In recent weeks and months they had lost mecha and powers on a regular basis. This time though, the machine monster had managed to penetrate their protective suits. The temporary loss of the Zords was sad, but this latest development was far worse.
“At least we can repair the Zords,” Kat commented.
“Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi, Chop Shop has moved near to Angel Grove Hospital,” Alpha warned.
“He must be trying to draw us out,” Tanya concluded.
“It’s Morphin Time!” Tommy said.
“Zeo Ranger I – Pink!”
“Zeo Ranger II – Yellow!”
“Zeo Ranger III – Blue!”
“Zeo Ranger IV – Green!”
“Zeo Ranger V – Red!”
“Techno Zords, online!” Zeo Falcon ordered
The new Zords raced into battle, shaking the streets of Angel Grove as they did so. Chop Shop staggered and returned fire by launching its flying disks, but the Yellow Zord performed an impossible spin to avoid the weapons.
“Hold on Tanya,” Adam called as his Zord approached.
The green Zord, charged into battle. It had a single weapon attached to its front bumper. As he approached Adam hit the brakes and fired the energy beam, somehow managing to flip the Zord through the air to land behind Chop Shop; the beam increased the effect of gravity around the robot, causing the impact to intensify. Then he fired again.
Kat was next to arrive, her Zord’s rear mounted thrusters transmitting extra power to the weapon mounted between the split nosecone. As she neared, she targeted the right arm in an attempt to destroy its most effective weapon.
Chop Shop spun away from the shot, trying to protect the arm with his body. Rocky took advantage as he directed his Zord into the robot’s legs. He was followed up quickly by Tommy who managed, to position his Zord so it swooped down towards the robot’s knee.
“Time to combine forces,” Tommy announced. “Techno Megazord – activate!”
That was the beginning of the end for Chop Shop. Unlike the Sky Megazord, the Techno Megazord relied on speed and stealth rather than brute force. It ducked for a short time before bringing out an oversized Gem Coin Blaster and destroying the monster.
“Never mind son,” King Mondo said, attempting to make his son feel better after such a disastrous defeat.
“It’s not fair daddy, I want a new monster.”
“I ave just the thing Yea Majesty,” Klank offered.
“Perfect Klank, get to work at once.”
Klank shuffled away, glad to be on his master’s good side again.
Mondo watched his retainer leave and then turned back to his son. The Rangers would pay for this insult. He guaranteed it.
To be Continued
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