Spoiler Warning: The commentary found here discusses events in this episode and beyond.  Read at your own risk!

POWER RANGERS TAKE FLIGHT

Episode 1: "In Formation, part 1"

The series title "Take Flight" was intended to be simple, quaint, and unassuming, in order to let the writing speak for itself.

The project began in November, 2005, when I obtained the full Jetman series on video and began editing it down to usable footage (minus audio).  From this, I took notes about each episode's remaining footage and spent some time rearranging them into what I felt was a plausible order, using new weapons and Zords as dividers.  For instance, I grouped all the "solo Kestrelzord" fights into a segment in the middle of the season (after the Megazord's heavy use but before the Mega Kestrelzord's debut); I then wrote story arcs to explain these trends (i.e. perhaps they wore out the Megazord and didn't have anyone to fix it for a while).  I later deviated from this plan only to switch around a few episodes as the series developed.

This two-parter was completed on January 24, 2006, and released on March 15, 2008.  The title references both the team's formation and jets flying in formation.  It could also be seen as a pun on "information."

Writer:  Joe Rovang

Of note, the format of these scripts was based loosely on standard screenplay format, with variations made under the assumption that the series would enter the audience's mind exclusively in written form.  Were the series to be actually produced, the scripts would need to be reformatted considerably, and cinematography directions would be removed to give the director something to do.

[ Sentai footage is from Jetman #1 unless otherwise noted. ]

In Jetman #1, two Skyforce agents are brought to a space station to receive "Birdonic" energy.  The Red Ranger is created, but an attack from dimension-spanning villains led by Radiguet (Trask's sentai form) causes Red's fiancée to be sucked into space.  Their mentor, Chokan, takes Red to Earth in Jet Hawk (Hawk One), and energy from the exploding space station endows four Japanese civilians with superpowers as well.  Radiguet dispatches a monster (Podling) which absorbs energy to create parasitic bugs (Jinnsects).  Red and Chokan seek the empowered civilians, finding White (a bored rich girl, her color referred to as Pink in Take Flight), and Yellow (a peaceful farmer).  White and Yellow fall off a cliff in battle but learn how to morph and help Red.  Meanwhile, Radiguet's fellow villains are revealed as a robot named Gray (Strife), a telekinetic youth named Tran (not used in Take Flight), and a whip-wielding female named Maria (Sasha), created from Red's fiancée.


[ Fade in to EXT. SPACE STATION - A disc-shaped space station rests in Earth orbit.  The station could comfortably fit a crew of fifty, and it must also contain a sizable spacecraft hangar toward its underbelly. ]

This scene takes place on Monday, March 9, 1992.

The Project Jetman space station was adapted from Jetman #1.  Though I didn't end up using any footage of the sentai space station, the idea was cemented in my plans before I made the decision to scrap its footage.  This happened a few times during the course of writing Take Flight.

Though the station is described as fitting a crew of fifty, I assumed it would not have been fully staffed when Trask attacked.

[ A caption reads, "1992.  Project: Jetman headquarters." ]

The series is set in the year 1992 to follow the tradition of most Power Rangers seasons following their sentai counterparts by a year (Jetman took place in 1991).

I kept the name "Jetman" to explain this label on the side of the Echo Blasters (which debut in episode 33).  It didn't seem like an unreasonable name for a secret military project.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - We see a high-tech command center at the heart of the space station.  Monitors and instruments line the walls, with men and women in nondescript uniforms manning various stations.  Near the center of the curved rear wall of monitors and controls is a larger main viewscreen which is currently displaying various charts and schematics.  All of the technology in the room is advanced but not impossibly futuristic.  DR. BERING, a woman in her early thirties with flowing brunette hair, stands attending a round console in the center of the room.  She is wearing a formal gray uniform, adorned with several ID badges.  She does not wear a wedding ring.  The mood in the station is calm and apparently routine. ]

Dr. Bering is reminiscent of Jetman's mentor, Chokan, but the sentai mentor was harsher than Dr. Bering.  Also unlike Dr. Bering, Chokan remained present throughout the series.

DR. BERING (speaking to the console):
I want you to take another look at the gravity ball symmetries.  The phase modulation shouldn't account for more than five percent of the output loss.  ...Three at those angles.

Dr. Bering is referring to the Sky Enforcers' gravity ball attack, which was left less powerful than she would have liked when the station was raided.  The attack debuts in episode 2.

TECHNICIAN (audio transmission):
Yes ma'am.

DR. BERING:
Now, the backfire issue on the Echo Blasters...

The Echo Blasters' backfire issue becomes relevant in episode 33.  At an early stage, I knew I wanted to use footage from Jetman #43 to show the Echo Blasters backfiring (whether actual or hypothetical).

TECHNICIAN (audio transmission):
We've isolated it to the frontal matrix.  We're running a reverb analysis to check for transmission errors.

This is a veiled allusion to Zordon's transmissions.

[ A minor alert tone is heard.  An officer, OFFICER1, at a wall console reacts to readings on his monitor.  He turns to DR. BERING hesitantly. ]

OFFICER1:
Dr. Bering...?

DR. BERING (to console):
Good.  Send me the report before tomorrow's feed.  If we need a resend, I'll want it done then.  End transmission.

[ She turns and approaches the officer's station. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
Report.

OFFICER1 (puzzled):
We're... picking up an incoming vessel.

Project Jetman did not expect an alien assault at this point, as their preparations pertained to a preemptive war they intended to wage against Magda's empire at some distant point in the future.  This may have been naive, as Sasha would later allude to numerous interstellar warlords in this part of the galaxy (episode 13).

DR. BERING (studying the monitor, puzzled as well):
There's no payload coming today...  Check the flight log.

OFFICER1:
Hawk One's in for the gyro adjust.  The others are holding in low-Earth.

The "gyro adjust" was my original justification for the Hawk's subsequent crash-landing in the quarry.

[ The space station tremors violently.  Several monitors nearby go to static. ]

OFFICER2 (off-screen):
We've been hit!

DR. BERING:
External camera!

[ OFFICER1 presses several buttons.  One of the monitors switches to an external view of outer space, with something visible on the right side of the screen.  The camera pans right to focus on a smallish spacecraft approaching.  Its combination of smooth curves and angular points makes the craft appear simultaneously sleek, menacing, and not from Earth.  Its finish is gunmetal black but still light and reflective enough to be visible against the space background.  The craft is several times smaller than the space station and probably contains only a small crew. ]

As revealed later, Trask's ship was modified from a ship he stole from a Vessit missionary.

Jetman's villains conducted their attack from a brain-shaped base which remained their headquarters throughout the series.  Further, the sentai villains were native to another dimension; I retained this element for the Jinnsects (see episode 3), but Trask and Dillik were simply extraterrestrial in nature.

[ DR. BERING reacts with puzzlement and subdued concern. ]

[ In the monitor, the craft fires a blue laser pulse near the direction of the camera, and a nearby explosion causes the monitor to change to static.  At the same time, the station is hit with a second tremor. ]

OFFICER1:
They're firing on us!

[ Alarms begin to sound.  Another officer, OFFICER3, calls out from within a side monitor, where DR. BERING immediately looks. ]

OFFICER3 (from monitor):
There's an intruder in Life Support!

Trask is able to teleport himself and others using warp generators implanted in his hands, as revealed in episode 26.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, LIFE SUPPORT - In another control room, OFFICER3 is facing a console in which DR. BERING and OFFICER1 are seen.  Nearby, another officer lies unconscious while several others flee in panic.  An alarm here is sounding as well, and one of several large pipelines in the wall is leaking steam.  The camera nears OFFICER3 from the perspective of someone stalking him from some distance behind him. ]

We cut to Life Support to see Trask's attack first-hand, as he wouldn't have been visible through the camera.

OFFICER3 (cont'd):
Repeat, an intruder in Life Support!  We are under attack!

Trask has come to Life Support to asphyxiate the crew.  Presumably from here he could also suppress the release of the emergency rebreathers later introduced in episode 32.  He probably teleports Will to safety after this scene (see episode 18).

[ OFFICER3 suddenly looks over his shoulder anxiously. ]

[ Behind the officer approaches TRASK, a sinister male figure in black leather, over which resembles a black leather trenchcoat.  His build is tall and slender with broad shoulders.  His face appears human, but his skin is unnaturally pale, his expression stoic.  As he approaches, he extends his hand and projects a funnel-shaped torrent of green energy, sending OFFICER3 flying with a burst of sparks and landing unconsciously against the wall.  TRASK then shoots another green torrent at an embedded camera in the wall (shown in close-up). ]

I made up Trask's name on a whim, but I then remembered I was familiar with the name from an X-Men character with the last name of Trask (he created the giant robot Sentinels which hunted the X-Men).  It's apparently not a terribly uncommon last name.

Trask's green torrents correspond to Radiguet's energy blasts in Jetman, as I planned to use Radiguet as his advanced form.  In Take Flight, the blasts serve an offensive purpose in addition to his Vampirian ability to leech energy, though I didn't yet have leeching in mind when this episode was written.

One wonders why Trask would bother blasting a camera when he's invisible to them.  This is a holdover from an early revision of the script before I decided to make Trask a space vampire.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DR. BERING's monitor is now static.  DR. BERING starts for the exit but issues an order to OFFICER1 before leaving. ]

DR. BERING:
Ready Hawk One for launch.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, LAUNCH BAY (sentai) - HAWK ONE, a red jet craft resembling a hawk, rolls through a hangar to a nearby launch corridor, its boosters lit.  It then hurtles down the launch corridor as explosions erupt around it.  Its landing gear raises as it begins to fly. ]

For dramatic purposes, we've skipped two sequences: Dr. Bering first gave Luke the Morpher case (shown in episode 2), and he then boarded the Hawkzord amidst explosions (shown in episode 36).

Hawk in hangar Hawk takes off

In the sentai, Chokan has knocked the panicking Red unconscious and is now piloting the Hawkzord.


[ EXT. SPACE - We see a view from the end of the launch corridor as HAWK ONE streaks away and banks left toward the Earth below.  Explosions billow out from the corridor behind the HAWK.  Fade to white. ]

These explosions (their cause later explained in episode 36) led Luke to believe the station had been destroyed.  Unlike in Jetman, however, the space station survives.

The explosions also may have played a role in the Hawkzord's crash-landing, notwithstanding the original "gyro adjust" explanation.

I used Hawk One in US footage here, under the assumption that even a crude CGI model would suffice.  Neither this appearance nor any of my subsequent US Sky Flyer appearances would require a high level of detail in their models.


[ INT. APARTMENT STAIRWELL - Zoom out from a cardboard box being carried up the stairs by LUKE, a young man in his early twenties.  He is average height with a toned build.  His hair is fairly short.  His attire is casual but neat; his outer shirt is dark red with long sleeves. ]

The rest of this episode takes place on Saturday, April 18, 1992.

Lucas "Luke" Branson is currently age 21, born on August 22, 1970.  Suffering from amnesia, he has been under his parents' care for roughly a month since his crash-landing, but he has recently moved to Spring Valley.  He shares the sentai Red Ranger's origin as a pilot recruited for a Ranger program, though amnesia was not an element of the sentai.

The apartment was my method of bringing together five young adults who would become Rangers, and I considered it a novel base of operations for a Ranger team.  This was not an element shared by Jetman.

[ As LUKE totes the relatively heavy box upstairs, he passes LENORE on her way downstairs.  LENORE is a black woman in her fifties or early sixties with a penchant for boldly colored outfits.  She is wearing a wedding ring.  As she stops to speak with LUKE, he politely shifts the heavy box in his arms without any sign of impatience.  On his left wrist is what appears to be a black digital wristwatch.  It has four side buttons (two on each side) and a flat button below the time display. ]

Luke is wearing his AviMorpher he was wearing when he fell from the sky (shown in episode 2).  He has not previously discovered his powers or his Hoverbird, as the Morpher resembles an ordinary watch.

I admit the AviMorpher's design wouldn't make for a very exciting toy if this series were actually produced, but I felt this design was most practical given the team's lack of a proper mentor or base during the first half of the series.  Click here for a mock-up of the AviMorpher, including labeled buttons (the date and time shown in the image represent events in episode 2).

LENORE:
Well, hello there!  You must be the young man from 5F...

The tenants of the fifth floor:

AptTenant(s)
5ALenore, Steve Patterson
5BMaggie
5CCasey
5DPete, Chris
5E--
5FLuke
5GBarry
5H--
5IJulie, Terri
5JMr. Mason

LUKE:
How do you do.  Luke Branson.

LENORE:
(laughs) ... How do I do... Listen to you.  My name's Lenore, but you can call me that wild woman over in 5A.

[ LUKE chuckles appreciatively. ]

LENORE (cont'd):
So, we've got one more young college man on our floor, do we?  Poor Steve and I are getting to be a dying breed.

The tenants on this floor now include college students or recent graduates Maggie, Casey, Pete, Chris, Barry, Julie, Terri, and now Luke.  The only remaining older residents are the Pattersons in 5A and Wilbur in 5J (shown on the tenant list in episode 13).  The prior tenant in Luke's apartment may have died or moved to a retirement community.

LUKE:
Um, no ma'am, I'm out of the Air Force, actually...

LENORE:
Oh, the Air Force!  My goodness!  Did you just get back from overseas?

Lenore is alluding to the Gulf War of 1990-1991.

LUKE (hesitantly):
Not... that I'm told...

Luke has had difficulty getting answers from the Air Force regarding his missing time.

LENORE:
(startled, then laughs) ...You!  All right, well, listen... (gestures upstairs) You've got Maggie in 5B.  She's working on her Master's day in and day out, so you probably won't hear a peep out of her.  Then there's Pete and Chris in 5D.  They're old college buddies, probably more your style.  Although poor Chris doesn't get out too much...

Maggie and Chris are mentioned here but don't actually appear until episode 2.

[ LUKE nods politely as LENORE goes on. ]

LENORE (cont'd):
Oh, and there's Casey in 5C.  She is just precious!  ...And single too. (grins suggestively)

By the time I released this series, Power Rangers Jungle Fury (2008) had introduced a male Red Ranger named Casey.  I wouldn't have chosen to duplicate his name here, but I created my characters and began writing Take Flight in January, 2006; by the time Jungle Fury debuted, I was much too far along in my series to change my Pink Ranger's name.

[ LUKE smiles awkwardly. ]

LENORE (cont'd):
Well, anyway, I have to get going.  I will never get any peace and quiet unless I get that man some hamburger buns.  I have never seen a man so obsessed with hamburger buns!  You know he refused to eat one of my burgers on two pieces of bread?

[ LUKE nods, slightly dazed. ]

LENORE (cont'd):
I said, "Bread is bread!"  But he wouldn't have it!  And I said, "You can fix your own dinner then!"  And you know what he made?  A sandwich!  Can you believe that?  A sandwich!

Seemed like a moderately amusing anecdote at the time.

LUKE (regaining focus):
Well, it was very nice to meet you.

LENORE:
(takes a step downstairs)  You let us know if you need anything, honey.  You'll be waiting forever for Mr. Monroe to fix anything, but my Steven's a whiz at that stuff.

Steve's repairs will be featured in later episodes.

LUKE (continuing upstairs, smiling):
Thank you.


[ INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY - The main hallway is a straight corridor with stairs going up and down at the end of the hall.  Four doors line each side of the hallway: 5A, 5C, 5E, and 5G are on the left side of the hall when facing the stairs, while 5B, 5D, 5F, and 5H are on the right side.  5A and 5B are closest to the stairs.  At the opposite end of the hall, past 5H and 5G, the hall takes a turn to the left, around which are presumably more apartments.  In the right corner past 5G is a trash chute. ]

[ LUKE comes up the stairs with his box.  He pauses for a moment to look at 5C's door.  He then shakes his head and continues toward his door, 5F.  As he nears the door, he's suddenly bowled over from behind by BARRY, a tall wiry man in his mid to late twenties whose fashion sense seems to date back to the 70's.  LUKE bumps the left side of his wristwatch into the frame of his door (shown briefly in close-up).  BARRY stumbles more than Luke but regains his balance and puts his hands out to make sure LUKE doesn't drop his box. ]

Luke is briefly intrigued by having a single girl living next door, but he brushes off the idea of any romance.

Luke's brush with the wall pushes the upper left button of his Morpher, toggling its Hoverbird video.  We must assume he hasn't tried pressing this button since his crash, which may be plausible if the Morpher has kept perfect time.

BARRY:
Whoa, whoa, sorry, man.  I wasn't looking where I was going.  (intently) Hey, have you seen a squirrel around here?  Gray hair, about this tall, this wide... (gestures the dimensions of an average squirrel)  And, like, a little orange collar...

Mr. Whiskers has a tendency to escape.

LUKE:
Umm, no... Sorry...

BARRY (awkwardly, shifty-eyed):
Oh, okay.  ...Good.  Uh, forget I said anything.

Barry is nervous about being caught keeping a pet squirrel without a license, as discussed in episode 12.  Mr. Monroe also banned pets from the building, which will be to their advantage when episode 13 comes along.

[ BARRY continues down the hall in a hurry, checking the floor as he goes.  He heads around the corner at the left end of the hallway, then soon reappears and ducks mysteriously into 5G at the right end of the hall.  LUKE stands holding his box for a moment, dumbfounded, and then slips into his apartment. ]


[ Dissolve to INT. LUKE'S APARTMENT - A modest-sized studio apartment with a basic couch and a few pieces of furniture.  Numerous boxes are stacked everywhere, some unpacked but many still taped shut.  Some books are on a bookshelf, but much of the apartment remains undecorated.  LUKE is in the small kitchen nearby, which is separated from the living area by a counter.  He is unpacking a box of hand-me-down pots and cooking utensils.  To the right, perpendicular to the kitchen counter, is a window with the curtains shut. ]

Luke's bookshelf suggests he likes to read.

[ As LUKE is unpacking, he takes out a wall clock, looks at the time it's displaying, then checks his watch.  He nearly does a double-take as he notices the entire face of his watch is a blank sky blue (shown in close-up). ]

We are seeing video from his Hoverbird as it basks in the sunlight.  It isn't actively searching the city because its seek mode hasn't yet been enabled.

[ LUKE taps the watch face, but it remains the same.  He tries pressing one of the side buttons (lower right), at which point the sky blue image zips to life: the watch face is actually a camera view now flying over a city at a breakneck speed, and what was sky blue was simply a static view of the sky before the image began moving. ]

The lower right button recalls the Hoverbird to the wearer's location (without breaking glass to get there).

[ LUKE is spellbound. ]

[ The image dives down into a residential area of the city and hurtles straight toward the fifth-story window of a beige, seven-story apartment building which stands beside a park (all of which flies by almost imperceptibly). ]

Luke lives on the fifth of Parkview's seven floors.

[ Precisely as the image comes to a sudden stop practically lens to the window (nothing visible through the window), there is a single small tap against the window in Luke's apartment.  LUKE looks up from his watch toward the living room window, but nothing is visible through the closed curtains.  Cocking his head suspiciously, he sets his clock down on the counter and walks around to the living room.  He approaches the window, places his hands on the curtains, and pauses.  He then pulls them open, revealing a HOVERBIRD, a round, silver device just smaller than a ping pong ball, with a red stripe around its middle.  The HOVERBIRD hovers against the glass, with a small lens on its front pressed against the glass. ]

Since the Rangers wouldn't have any mentor during the first half of the series, I needed a way to keep them appraised of monster attacks; the Hoverbirds were my solution.  They also allowed me to use footage of monsters attacking Japanese civilians (at low resolution in the Morphers' displays) when said footage might have been otherwise unusable; in this regard, they functioned similarly to the Viewing Globe in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

[ LUKE studies the HOVERBIRD through the glass with fascination.  He then looks down at his watch face and sees his own image being transmitted from the Hoverbird's camera. ]

This footage is used by Trask and Dillik at the end of the episode to locate the Rangers' apartment.

DR. BERING (distant voice-over):
And this is a Hoverbird.  It's a remote reconnaissance device linked to your AviMorpher.

LUKE (distant voice-over):
How do you control it?

[ LUKE draws his hand near the watch as the voice-overs continue. ]

DR. BERING (distant voice-over):
This button engages the Hoverbird's seek mode.

Amnesia is admittedly an overused cliché in fiction, but it was too useful to pass up in Take Flight, as it allowed Luke to remain only an occasional source of Ranger knowledge.

[ LUKE presses another side button (upper right).  The HOVERBIRD zips out of sight, and the watch displays the Hoverbird's view soaring over the city once again.  It quickly reaches the edge of town and flies down to a remote quarry, where the view stops suspended several feet above the ground at the bottom of the quarry.  The camera is angled slightly toward the ground. ]

The upper right button engages seek mode, whereby the Hoverbird seeks out monsters or other unusual phenomena.  In this case, Luke's Hoverbird seeks out the two Morphers lost in Luke's fall (shown in episode 2).  One may wonder why the Hoverbird didn't home in on the future Rangers' Morphers which they brought back from the future (see episode 36); for this I have no immediate answer.

[ LUKE studies the image, then looks away distantly out his empty window, lost in thought.  Just then, there is a knock at the door.  LUKE startles slightly, glances down at his wrist, and pulls his sleeve down over his AVIMORPHER. ]


[ INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY - From the view of Luke's visitors, we see a close-up of Luke's door.  LUKE opens the door and looks at his visitors.  We then see Luke's view of PETE and CASEY smiling broadly (almost comically so).  PETE is a young black man in his early twenties.  He is average height with a thick build, if not a few extra pounds.  He wears casual, loose-fitting clothes with a yellow theme.  CASEY is a young woman of mixed descent, also in her early twenties.  She is slightly shorter than Pete, with a slender, petite frame.  Her hair is dark and shoulder-length.  She wears fashionable pink and white sportswear appropriate for 1992.  Both PETE and CASEY are consistently friendly, while CASEY is particularly bubbly and enthusiastic. ]

Peter "Pete" Williams is currently age 23, born on November 18, 1968.  While Pete is a chef, the sentai Yellow Ranger was a farmer.

Estelle "Casey" Reynolds is also 23, born on January 3, 1969.  Like the sentai White Ranger, Casey comes from a wealthy family, though Casey herself is not especially wealthy.

CASEY:
Hi!

PETE:
Hey, what's up, man.

CASEY:
Welcome to the building!  I'm Casey.  This is Pete.

I imagined that it was Casey's idea for the both of them to visit Luke.

LUKE (greeting both and shaking their hands):
Hi.  Luke.  Nice to meet you.

CASEY (looking past Luke into his apartment):
Wow, nice place.

PETE (gesturing):
Yeah, the... uh, boxes are a nice touch...

LUKE (embarrassed, inviting them in):
Oh!  I'm sorry.  Come in.


[ INT. LUKE'S APARTMENT - LUKE, PETE, and CASEY gather in the living room.  PETE eyes the books on Luke's bookshelf. ]

CASEY:
So, are you new to Spring Valley?

Spring Valley's real-world counterpart is Oakland, California.

LUKE:
Um, no... Well, I grew up in Brighton, so...

Brighton's real-world counterpart is Concord, California.

CASEY:
Oh, okay.

PETE:
So you met Mrs. Patterson.  She's a trip, huh?

LUKE:
Yeah.  Um, and a guy looking for a squirrel...?

CASEY (to Pete):
Aww, Mr. Whiskers must've gotten out again...

PETE (to Luke):
That's Barry.  He's a pretty good guy.  He's got a VCR repair shop down the street.

At one point, I considered that Barry might be useful for helping to repair the Rangers' technology in lieu of a mentor.  This never came up, however.

LUKE:
Oh yeah?  So, uh, what do you guys do?

CASEY (sheepishly):
Booksmart, fourth year running.

PETE:
I'm a commis chef at Franco's on Third Street.  Like a chef's apprentice.

CASEY:
Oh, come on, Pete, you practically run the place!

PETE:
(chuckles) Yeah, I don't hear Mr. Franco saying that.

This sets up Pete's recurring feelings of being unappreciated at work.

CASEY (to Luke):
So... Mrs. Patterson said you're a pilot...?

LUKE (rubbing his temple self-consciously):
Well, I'm not really anything right now.  I'm still trying to get some stuff figured out...

Luke is currently unemployed but will get a job in episode 5.

[ By raising his hand, LUKE has exposed the AVIMORPHER on his wrist.  The display continues to show the Hoverbird's view of the quarry. ]

PETE (approaching, amazed):
Whoa!  What is that?!

[ PETE curiously takes ahold of LUKE's wrist before LUKE can decide what to do. ]

PETE (cont'd):
... Like, a parting gift when you get out of the Air Force?  (to Casey) Look at this!  Man's got a video screen in his watch!  (to Luke, jestingly) What are you, like a super-spy or something?

In 1992, a video watch would have been more remarkable than today.

[ CASEY tentatively steps forward for a closer look, watching LUKE's uncomfortable reaction.  Her eyes are then drawn to the AVIMORPHER, and she tilts her head curiously to see the screen. ]

CASEY:
Isn't that...?

LUKE:
What?

CASEY:
Well, it's the quarry south of town.  My brothers used to go up there to do their... dirtbike stuff all the time.

Casey's brothers are Todd (now a real estate agent) and David (soon to be married).  They all grew up in the nearby town of Fairplain, as named in episode 12.

LUKE (intently):
Can you show me where it is?

[ PETE is puzzled. ]

CASEY (sincerely):
Sure, I can drive you. (heads for the door)  Pete?

PETE (following Casey, with Luke behind him):
Uhh, yeah, all right.  (to himself) This is a little weird and all, but what the heck?  Twenty-minute drive to the middle of nowhere, dude's got a TV in his watch... Nothing out of the ordinary...

[ LUKE, last out of the apartment, shuts the door behind him, keys in hand. ]


[ EXT. SPACE STATION - The alien craft is now permanently docked onto the space station unless otherwise noted.  Some superficial scorching remains visible on the station's exterior from the initial attack. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - The command center appears similar to its original form, but several modifications appear to have been made on various control panels, using technology more advanced or alien than the existing technology.  The lighting is also dimmer than when the command center was originally seen. ]

As a Vampirian, Trask is uncomfortable in bright lighting.

[ A subtle alert tone is heard once.  It then chimes again, continuing to repeat once every several seconds. ]

[ A nearby door slides open automatically.  Initially, no one is seen in the doorway or the corridor beyond, which takes a turn to the left.  We then see an alien named DILLIK peek watchfully around the corner, intrigued but quite cautious.  DILLIK is a green-and-white-skinned alien of moderately humanoid features, a bit lanky in physique.  He wears a frumpy, loose-fitting yellow and orange protective suit with no head covering. ]

Dillik has no sentai counterpart (aside from Strife, built later).  I originally wondered whether a two-man villain crew was enough for the early portion of the series, but I found I enjoyed the interplay between Trask and Dillik.  Dillik also quickly became my favorite character.

Dillik's name was created on a whim, as it sounded befitting of a timid technician.  I now see that "dillik" is also apparently some sort of thick hot sauce.

[ After glancing around the room, DILLIK approaches the central console, strutting with impunity.  He examines the monitor therein and presses a few buttons.  The alert tone doesn't chime further. ]

[ As DILLIK studies the monitor and makes a few adjustments using the console's buttons, a curved silver blade (refer to TRASK's sentai form) inches in front of his face from his right side.  As soon as the blade enters his peripheral vision, DILLIK stops warily, though not terrified.  We then see TRASK standing beside DILLIK with the sword in his right hand, his arm casually extended.  Under his other arm is a silver canister roughly the size of a small propane tank.  When TRASK speaks, his voice routinely seems sinister simply due to the precision of his syllables and a feigned sense of gentleness. ]

Trask's sword will be named the Sword of Tears in episode 38.

Trask busied himself collecting biomass on Earth using his biomass gun (later revealed in episode 16).

TRASK:
Dillik... Is the lab on fire?

[ DILLIK scratches his head as he thinks.  When he speaks, his voice routinely sounds slightly nasal and lacks boldness.  He also occasionally stutters a syllable due to a lack of confidence. ]

DILLIK:
N-- no...?  It's been a couple of weeks since the last time it caught on fire...

TRASK (more seriously):
Then why aren't you in it?

Trask doesn't want Dillik leaving his lab until the wormhole generator is upgraded.  Oddly, however, the large contraption is later seen to reside in the engine room (episode 17).  I suppose Dillik may have done most of his testing in his lab before integrating the important technologies into the generator... or perhaps he simply teleported the generator in and out of his lab as necessary.

[ DILLIK rambles, gesturing briefly to the control panel, despite the sword still held in front of his face. ]

DILLIK:
Oh!  Well, there was this beeping sound in here, so I was going to turn it off because I know how you don't like noise... um, or lights... (thinks)  Or much of anything, really...

Trask's aversion to noise can be explained by general grumpiness rather than any Vampirian traits.

[ TRASK stares at him through narrowed eyes.  DILLIK clears his head and focuses on the monitor in front of him.  He has to crane his neck to see over TRASK's sword. ]

Humorously, Dillik is relatively unfazed by Trask's attempts to intimidate him.  I later assumed this was due to his ability to detect Trask in the shadows (see episode 4), an ability which baffled Trask.

DILLIK:
Oh, but then I found this signal coming from Earth on one of the special frequencies...  And I was just thinking it might be some of that missing hardware.

Dillik is detecting the signal from Luke's Hoverbird, though he hasn't yet decoded the transmission.

[ His eyes still narrowly focused on DILLIK, TRASK then shifts his gaze to the monitor without turning his head. ]

TRASK:
Where?

[ As DILLIK leans forward to work the console, TRASK shifts aside, lowering his sword, and faces the console more directly.  The canister is still under his arm.  As he lowers his sword, it vanishes with a ripple effect.  DILLIK taps a sequence of buttons, and we then see a close-up of the monitor, which shows a computer-generated globe of the Earth rotating to the Western hemisphere.  A red pulse graphic emanates from the coast of California. ]

DILLIK (pointing):
Here.  On the edge of this big thing.  (tapping his finger on California)  What do they call that, Bolivia...?

TRASK:
California.

DILLIK:
Oh yeah.  I think I get them confused because--

[ TRASK interrupts, handing DILLIK the unwieldy canister.  As it moves, a thick sloshing sound can be heard inside it. ]

TRASK:
I want you to send a battalion of Nobodies.

I chose the term "Nobodies" to refer to their origin from a mixed stew of melted organic material; they retained no trace of their original forms and were thus simply "nobody."

[ DILLIK takes the canister, which appears much heavier in his arms than in TRASK's.  DILLIK grunts from the weight, then stammers in protest. ]

DILLIK:
B-- But...  Congealed biomass goes bad in a couple of days, and then you just have to go get more...  And there's still the wormhole that's, like, the most important project ever, according to Lord Omos...

Dillik's invention of Nobodies aboard Trask's ship is seen in flashback in episode 17.  Nonetheless, he finds the idea distasteful.

Lord Omos will be discussed in further detail in episode 17.  Initially, I did not think of Lord Omos as fictional.

[ TRASK glares at DILLIK. ]

From an early point, Trask is seen to be unconcerned with Lord Omos as an authority figure.

DILLIK (turning to exit with the canister):
Wh-- Why don't I just go make some Nobodies?

This will be the first of six battalions of Nobodies during the series.  The battalions are as follows:

Btl. #Episode(s)Roles
11-3quarry fights, downtown fight, one turned into Somebody, park fight
25-6assisted Traffico, one brought scouting seed to Dillik
39-12accompanied Trask, attacked Pete, assisted Sasha and Snapshot
416-17assisted Reverbit, attacked Sasha's lair, assisted Hoser
518Somebody army
620attacked Zephyros, then assisted him


[ EXT. OUTSIDE OF TOWN - Casey's car, a white 1990 or 1991 compact convertible with the top down, drives down an isolated road.  Wooded patches alternate with occasional ranch homes and large, open fields, with houses growing increasingly sparse.  CASEY is at the wheel of the car, with LUKE in the passenger seat and PETE leaning forward from the back seat to participate in the conversation.  They have to speak loudly over the sounds of the wind and road. ]

It may be assumed that Casey's parents bought her this car.

LUKE (looking around):
... I think this was actually the road where they found me.

Luke is seen wandering this road in flashback in episode 2.

CASEY (noting a coincidence):
Huh.  You know, the quarry's just up ahead.

PETE:
So, wait, hang on... You're telling us you just have, like, months of your life missing?

Luke doesn't remember joining Project Jetman in December, or testing any of the Ranger equipment.

CASEY:
Can't the Air Force tell you anything?

LUKE:
Well, according to them, I was discharged back in December...

General Taggart presumably had Luke's records altered to hide Project Jetman's existence.  It isn't certain why Taggart preferred to keep an eye on Ranger developments from afar rather than contact Luke.  (It should be noted, however, that I didn't conceive of Taggart specifically until much later in the series.)

PETE:
But then where'd the flight suit come from?

LUKE:
Exactly.

CASEY (looking around):
Does any of this look familiar?

LUKE:
I'm not sure.  Maybe.  But that spot at the quarry... There's something about it...

Luke is drawn to the spot where he crash-landed.

PETE (taking Luke's wrist for closer inspection):
And this watch...

LUKE:
It's an AviMorpher.

[ CASEY looks at LUKE. ]

PETE:
A what-Morpher?  (asking about the name)  Where'd you get THAT from?

LUKE:
I don't know.  (pauses for a moment, shifting his gaze as if making a decision)  ... But here's something I found...

[ LUKE unfastens the AVIMORPHER from his wrist and turns it over.  PETE takes a closer look.  Engraved in the metal plate on the back of the device is the word "JETMAN" (shown in close-up).  Above that is the number 1. ]

Click here for a mock-up of the reverse side of Luke's AviMorpher.

The Rangers' numberic assignments are taken from Jetman: Red is 1, Black is 2, Yellow is 3, White (Pink) is 4, and Blue is 5.  This was difficult for me to remember at times, since Pink is more commonly last in sentai teams' numeric rankings.  While we're on the topic, here, have a table:

Color#Morphing CodeOfficial NameSentai NameZordMorpher User(s)
Red1"Sky Hawk"Red OneRed HawkHawk OneLuke (1-38, 40), Dr. Bering (31, 39), Maggie (40)
Black2"Sky Condor"Black TwoBlack CondorCondor TwoChris (2-40)
Yellow3"Sky Owl"Yellow ThreeYellow OwlOwl ThreePete (1-40), Mr. Patterson (8)
Pink4"Sky Swan"Pink FourWhite SwanSwan FourCasey (1-40), Lisa (16)
Blue5"Sky Swallow"Blue FiveBlue SwallowSwallow FiveMaggie (2-31, 34), Lance (31), Lisa (31-40)

PETE (leaning back):
"Jetman?"  What does that mean?

[ LUKE shrugs as he prepares to put the AVIMORPHER back on. ]

PETE:
Oh, I know.  Maybe you were, like, testing some sort of secret rocket pack for the government, and you crashed, and it gave you amnesia!

Pete has a vivid imagination from reading comic books through adolescence.  Sometimes, however, his theories are closer to the truth than one might expect.

[ LUKE half-chuckles and shrugs, the AVIMORPHER still not fastened. ]

CASEY (looking at something off the right side of the road, ahead):
Who the heck are those guys?


[ EXT. FARM - CASEY slows the car suddenly as LUKE and PETE look to a ranch nearby.  LUKE's AVIMORPHER drops to the floorboard at his feet (shown in close-up).  At the ranch, a FARMER in his fifties scrambles to get away from six humanoid figures in black - NOBODIES.  Their heads are black and featureless, and their solid black bodies are marked only with a light yellowish-orange and white splotch up their chests, with smaller spots elsewhere on their bodies.  Some carry curved black blades.  Some appear to be searching the area, while others are making hostile advances toward the fleeing FARMER. ]

Jetman's foot soldiers (dubbed Nobodies in Take Flight) are among my favorite foot soldier designs.

Jetman #1 also featured Nobodies attacking a farm.  At one point, I considered using the sentai footage of this attack, but I decided against it, as the footage showed the Nobodies dropping from the sky in the form of pods; this didn't fit with my desired origin for the Nobodies.  As occurred at other times throughout the series, my decision not to use a certain bit of footage came after the corresponding idea (in this case, a farm attack) had already solidified, and the parallel remains despite the footage not being used.

[ The car is now stopped.  LUKE urgently unbuckles his seatbelt and jumps out of the car. ]

PETE:
Luke!  What are you doing?

LUKE:
He needs help!

I consider Luke as having a few vexing personality traits, but he is certainly quick to help people in danger.

[ LUKE starts toward the ranch, where several NOBODIES look his way and pause.  LUKE, meanwhile, stops in his tracks long enough to call back to CASEY and PETE.  In the background, the FARMER safely locks himself inside his house. ]

LUKE (cont'd):
Go find that spot!  I think they're after it too!

[ CASEY reaches over and picks up the AVIMORPHER from the floorboard.  She and PETE look at each other as she holds it in her hand. ]

LUKE (cont'd):
Go!

[ LUKE runs toward the farm.  Some of the NOBODIES are banging on the farmer's house and ruining his property, but more of them are noticing LUKE approaching. ]

[ CASEY and PETE exchange a concerned glance before CASEY drops the AVIMORPHER into her lap, grips the steering wheel with both hands, and steps on the gas.  PETE is pressed into the back seat as the car accelerates and speeds away. ]

[ LUKE, meanwhile, engages in hand-to-hand combat with the NOBODIES nearest him.  The entire group of NOBODIES is now fully aware of his presence and try to surround him as several attack.  LUKE is apparently well-versed in martial arts and manages to fight them off with moderate success.  The first time LUKE makes contact with a NOBODY (accompanied by a dull "squish" sound), he grimaces slightly and looks at his fist, which has a sticky black residue from the impact.  He continues fighting, each impact making similar squishes (as will be heard in future NOBODY fights). ]

Reminiscent of Oozelets in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie?

[ Through the window, the FARMER peeks anxiously at the action.  He reaches for a phone and waits for an answer (having dialed off-screen).  His eyes remain glued to the scene. ]

A scene cut from the beginning of episode 2 would have shown sheriffs' cars racing by Casey's car in the opposite direction (in response to this call) as the three heroes returned to town.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - The door leading to DILLIK's hallway opens, and DILLIK trudges in. ]

DILLIK:
Well, I sent them...  So they're looking for whatever's sending the signal.  But I think if I could--

[ DILLIK notices he's alone in the room.  As soon as this dawns on him, he frollicks over to the console and begins working.  We see a close-up of the Earth graphic and its California pulse break away to various waveform graphics and signal analyses. ]

Dillik begins decoding the Hoverbird transmission.


[ EXT. FARM - Despite LUKE's skill, it soon becomes apparent that the NOBODIES are too numerous for him to gain the upper hand.  Several NOBODIES grapple him and throw him outside their cluster.  He lands in the field nearby.  Some distance behind him, the ground, populated with trees, slopes down. ]

[ Sentai (Jetman #3) - A NOBODY extends its hand, projecting an incendiary blast from its fingertips. ]

Nobody prepares to fire (blasts not shown)

It seems these blasts were explained as bullets in Jetman.  I simply refer to them as "incendiary blasts."

[ LUKE leaps aside as a large cloud of dirt and grit explodes behind him.  He lands in a rolling position and looks up at his attackers with determination in his eyes. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DILLIK is hard at work on the center console.  After several moments, he recoils happily. ]

DILLIK:
I did it!  We have video!

[ DILLIK looks around at the empty room. ]

DILLIK (to himself):
Wow, that's great, Dillik!  You've really outdone yourself this time!  (turns, modestly)  Why thank you... But really, just knowing that I helped in some small way-- (looks at the monitor more closely)  What the heck is it, anyway?

Dillik apparently feels under-appreciated from the get-go.

[ In the monitor, we see the same quarry view which was shown in LUKE's AVIMORPHER. ]

DILLIK (off-screen, unimpressed):
It's just a bunch of rocks!


[ EXT. DIRT ROAD - CASEY's car speeds along a broad, winding dirt road lined with trees.  PETE is now in the passenger seat.  CASEY is holding the AVIMORPHER in her hand, glancing at its display occasionally. ]

PETE:
Oh man, we should NOT have left him back there!

[ CASEY stops the car at the top of the quarry.  We see a wide shot of the quarry below, including a long ravine etched into the distant edge. ]

CASEY (checking the AviMorpher display):
Look, this is it!  (looks out at the quarry)  But it's different from how I remembered...

The ravine is new, having been carved by the Hawkzord's crash landing.  This ravine will be the one into which Casey and Pete will fall before morphing for the first time.

[ CASEY places the AVIMORPHER into her car's change compartment in front of the gearshift, and she and PETE unbuckle their seatbeats and get out of the car, their attention on the quarry below. ]

One may wonder why Casey would leave the Morpher behind.


[ EXT. WOODS - LUKE is ducking between trees as he makes a getaway down a wooded slope.  Behind him, the group of NOBODIES is in pursuit. ]


[ EXT. QUARRY BOTTOM - CASEY and PETE are searching on foot along the level ground of the bottom of the quarry. ]

PETE:
What are we looking for, anyway?

CASEY:
Whatever it is, let's hope those creeps in black don't follow us here.

PETE (pointing):
Hey, check that out!

[ PETE and CASEY approach the HOVERBIRD which floats motionless in the air near eye level.  As they draw near, it turns to aim its camera eye at them.  They freeze in their tracks.  After a moment, PETE takes a step toward it with his hand cautiously extended, but the HOVERBIRD drifts back, out of his reach.  PETE tries to touch it again, less timidly, but it almost playfully winds a meandering path in the air, just above his reach.  PETE laughs softly in astonishment.  CASEY's attention, meanwhile, is drawn to the ground. ]

[ We see PETE through the HOVERBIRD's lens. ]

PETE:
It's like a little flying camera...

CASEY (crouching off-screen):
Pete, look at this.

[ PETE looks down.  We switch back to a normal shot of CASEY.  She is brushing loose gravel off of a buried object.  She picks it up, revealing it to be a second AVIMORPHER.  She brushes it off, fascinated.  She then flips it over and wipes off the dust, revealing an identical "Jetman" inscription (shown in close-up), with the number 4 above it. ]

She is holding what will be her own Morpher.

[ PETE suddenly catches sight of the HOVERBIRD zipping over their heads and stopping several yards away, its eye trained on the ground once again.  CASEY stands as PETE jogs over to the HOVERBIRD's new location.  The HOVERBIRD moves aside slightly as PETE stops nearby.  Reluctant to take his eyes off the HOVERBIRD, he nonetheless bends down and produces a third AVIMORPHER from the gravel.  Standing, he brushes off the dirt from the back plate, revealing "Jetman" (shown in close-up) and the number 3. ]

Coincidentally, he is also holding what will be his own Morpher.

[ PETE looks up, and the HOVERBIRD is gone.  He looks at CASEY, who is watching him in return.  He walks over to her, shaking his AVIMORPHER like a rubbery conductor's wand to emphasize his point. ]

The Hoverbird has left to watch the Nobodies pursuing Luke, as will be reviewed by Trask and Dillik at the end of the episode.

PETE:
Do you know what this means?  (looks around at the entire quarry)  I think... (looks around again, then to Casey) ... they're mining watches here.  Space watches!  Thousands of them!  (furrows his brow)  And those things in black are trying to get them back, because if they let humans get their hands on them...

Again, Pete's theories occasionally miss the mark.

[ CASEY points up to the top of the quarry, interrupting PETE. ]

CASEY:
Luke!

[ Zoom-up to LUKE fighting NOBODIES near the ledge above, where the woods meet the upper quarry level. ]


[ EXT. QUARRY LEDGE - Trying to fend off the NOBODIES, LUKE is knocked back into Casey's car nearby.  He catches sight of his AVIMORPHER in the change compartment (shown in close-up) and leaps over a NOBODY's blade, landing inside the car.  He grabs his AviMorpher and vaults out over the driver's side door as several NOBODIES lunge for him.  NOBODIES then spill around the front and rear ends of the car, surrounding him with the exception of the cliff in front of him.  PETE and CASEY can be seen far below in the middle of the quarry. ]


[ EXT. QUARRY BOTTOM - PETE and CASEY react to the scene above. ]


[ EXT. QUARRY LEDGE - Cornered, LUKE glances at the cliff and the NOBODIES on either side of him.  He then calmly closes his eyes as he fastens the AVIMORPHER onto his left wrist.  He holds the Morpher near his mouth and then speaks boldly: ]

LUKE:
Sky Hawk!

Apparently some of his memory came back.

[ Just as the NOBODIES lunge for him from either side, LUKE takes a running dive right off the edge of the cliff.  A red gleam of light envelops him in mid-dive, morphing him into the RED RANGER. ]

I opted against elaborate morphing sequences in this series because I felt they interrupted the flow of the action, and because I felt the (hypothetical) special effects budget could be put to better use.

Note that the morph seemed to take a bit longer to kick in here than it normally does in the rest of the series.  I have no explanation.

[ Sentai - RED RANGER spreads his arms, opening rigid wing-like structures under his arms.  He then soars down gracefully (Jetman #11).  Just before he reaches the ground, he pulls up and soars head-first several feet off the ground, arms out wide. ]

Red Ranger opens his wings Red Ranger flies down Red Ranger pulls up


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DILLIK stands transfixed by the image in the monitor (off-screen). ]

[ Previously unseen in the background, TRASK grabs DILLIK's shoulder, making DILLIK yelp, and escorts him toward the side door leading to DILLIK's hallway. ]

TRASK:
I'd like a word with you.

DILLIK (straining to look back at the monitor):
But we're gonna miss the action...!


[ EXT. QUARRY BOTTOM - RED RANGER lands in front of PETE and CASEY.  They stand slack-jawed, still holding their AVIMORPHERS. ]

In the sentai, Red Ranger actually arrived after leaping out of the Hawkzord, which he had just used to blast Podling and the Nobodies.

CASEY:
Luke...?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
It's all right, guys.  ... I think.

[ RED RANGER notices the AVIMORPHERS in their hands. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
You found them.  (nods to himself, then continues)  ... Good.  All right, you should put them on in case--

[ Behind them, numerous NOBODIES collide with the ground and splatter into gooey black puddles of mush.  RED RANGER, PETE, and CASEY startle, RED RANGER turning and holding his arms out to put himself between his friends and the NOBODY puddles.  As seen in close-up, the puddles gather back into solid masses and re-form into their humanoid forms.  Nine NOBODIES begin to advance menacingly on the trio. ]

Given a limited budget, wouldn't you rather watch Nobodies re-forming from gooey puddles of mush than the Rangers morphing with fancy sequences?  I would.

PETE (nervously fumbling to fasten his AviMorpher onto his left wrist):
Oh man, this is so messed up!

[ CASEY fastens her AVIMORPHER onto her left wrist in silence. ]

[ RED RANGER speaks over his shoulder to PETE and CASEY as he takes a step back defensively. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Guys, listen.  Try to get somewhere safe.  If you get into trouble, say the code words "Sky Owl" and "Sky Swan" into your Morphers.  They'll protect you.

PETE:
Protect us?  What are you--?

[ Before PETE can finish his question, RED RANGER leaps forward. ]

[ Sentai - RED RANGER flies head-first through the crowd of NOBODIES after an initial shot from his perspective flying through the crowd.  He lands on the other side of them and begins fighting them. ]

Red Ranger flies through Nobodies Red Ranger flies through Nobodies Red Ranger begins to fight

[ CASEY and PETE watch in amazement. ]

In the sentai, Red Ranger tossed the others their Morphers at this point.  Jetman's Morphers consisted of two wrist braces: the right brace triggered the morphing process, while the right brace was a communicator which also activated the Flyers.  They were not similar to Take Flight's AviMorphers.

[ Sentai - RED RANGER gets a NOBODY in an arm lock and calls out to PETE and CASEY. ]

Red Ranger puts Nobody in arm lock

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Go on, guys!  Get out of here!

[ CASEY grabs PETE's arm and makes him retreat with her. ]

CASEY:
Come on!


[ INT. SPACE STATION, LIFE SUPPORT - In the modified Life Support room, DILLIK enters the room anxiously backing away from TRASK, who stalks him into the room.  DILLIK is shaking his head and holding a green alien pod slightly smaller than a football behind his back. ]

Life Support was modified to provide a special atmosphere in the Jinnsect habitat (see episode 3).

DILLIK:
No, not my Podling!  (chuckling nervously)  Y-- you don't really mean it, do you, Trask?  He's the last of his kind!

In Jetman, the Podling was the mother of the Jinnsects.  In Take Flight, it was an alien Dillik picked up during his exobiology studies (see episode 17).  We aren't told what calamity caused his species' near-extinction.

TRASK (coolly):
You don't expect Lord Omos to conquer the Earth with Nobodies, do you?  (looks around with sarcastic wonder)  And I don't see any Jinnsect colonies yet...

Trask foreshadows the Jinnsects' arrival in episode 3.

DILLIK (continuing to back away):
Now, see, about that... What about some robots?  I could build some robots!  Some of the plans I found here aren't half bad, and I --

Dillik is referring to schematics of the Flyers and the Battlezord, though his first robot will be Strife.  He will later use the Battlezord schematics to begin his own Zord, a project which ultimately evolves into the Gigazord.

TRASK (more forcefully):
If that Podling isn't down there this second, you will be.

[ DILLIK sulks.  He then hands over the pod in defeat. ]


[ EXT. QUARRY BOTTOM - Fleeing through the quarry, CASEY and PETE suddenly stop in their tracks. ]

[ Sentai - A squad of five additional NOBODIES charges, running with a naturally wobbly gait. ]

Nobodies charging

[ CASEY again grabs PETE's arm and runs in a different direction. ]

CASEY:
This way!  This way!

[ CASEY and PETE nearly stumble into a nearby ravine, seen earlier to be on the distant edge of the quarry.  It's dark and quite deep, with pebbles seeming to fall endlessly over the edge.  CASEY and PETE both gulp. ]

Yes, that is quite a deep ravine to have been carved by the Hawkzord.  It had to be, due to their upcoming prolonged fall.

CASEY (worriedly):
That's new!

[ CASEY and PETE look back at their attackers.  As shown from above, the NOBODIES are advancing dangerously close to the duo, whose heels are nearly to the edge of the ravine. ]


[ EXT. QUARRY BOTTOM (sentai) - RED RANGER punches a NOBODY and prepares to leap. ]

Red Ranger prepares to leap

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Hang on, guys!

[ RED RANGER leaps into the air to come to his friends' aid.  Suddenly, a red tentacle with a claw end flies through the air and latches onto RED RANGER's neck in midair.  He grabs it with his hands and falls out of the air. ]

Red Ranger's leap tentacle tentacle grabs Red Ranger


[ EXT. QUARRY, RAVINE EDGE - PETE and CASEY react to the nearby scene. ]

CASEY:
Luke?


[ EXT. QUARRY BOTTOM (sentai) - RED RANGER stands, the tentacle still holding his neck.  The tentacle seems to be connected to something unseen.  RED RANGER yanks on the tentacle, pulling an alien-looking monster named PODLING out of an invisible warp which crackles with blue energy as the monster emerges.  Shown in close-up, PODLING growls with a slobbering sound, his tentacle connected to his alien mouth. ]

Red Ranger pulls Podling out of his warp Red Ranger pulls Podling out of his warp Red Ranger pulls Podling out of his warp Podling


[ EXT. RAVINE EDGE - PETE is both transfixed and horrified by the monster off-screen.  CASEY, meanwhile, takes another look at the approaching NOBODIES. ]

PETE:
What in the world is that?!

CASEY:
Pete, watch out!

[ Sentai - One of the NOBODIES extends its hand and fires a series of blasts. ]

Nobody blasts

[ An explosion of smoke flings PETE and CASEY over the edge of the ravine.  They plummet into the darkness, yelling all the way. ]


[ EXT. QUARRY BOTTOM (sentai) - The tentacle still latched onto his neck, RED RANGER calls into his left wrist. ]

Red Ranger yells into wrist

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Guys, the Morphers!

Hey, look, his Morpher features a call function in the sentai footage.  It was only later in the series (between episodes 5 and 9) that I realized I had neglected to use this function while the heroes were unmorphed; thus the retcon in episode 9 which established that the talk button didn't work while they were unmorphed.


[ INT. QUARRY, RAVINE - Still falling, CASEY brings her AVIMORPHER to her mouth and calls out: ]

CASEY:
Sky Swan!

[ CASEY is enveloped in a pink gleam, morphing her into the PINK RANGER. ]

Though Jetman described this Ranger's color assignment as white (White Swan, in fact), I opted for pink because it felt more familiar, particularly with regard to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  When I made this decision, I neglected to consider that her Shadow Ranger counterpart in Jetman #25 was white and black, not pink and black.  Further, her suit is actually white in all the places where the others' suits are respectively-colored; pink appears where the others' bear a neutral white.  On the other hand, note that Jetman used both white and pink special effects for her at various times (US effects use exclusively pink).  Her official designation as Pink will be confirmed by Dr. Bering in episode 30.

[ PETE shouts into his AVIMORPHER as well. ]

PETE:
Sky Swan!

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Owl!

PETE:
Sky Owl!  Sky Owl!!

That wacky Pete...

[ With a yellow gleam, PETE morphs into the YELLOW RANGER.  PINK RANGER grabs his left hand with her right hand (shown in close-up).  We see their perspective, falling toward the dark bottom of the ravine, but the camera suddenly swoops upward and flies up toward the opening.  PETE can be heard groaning anxiously. ]

No Jetman footage exists of Yellow Ranger's wings opening in close-up (nor Black's, actually); therefore, I showed the upward swoop from Pete's perspective, as I thought the underarm wings might be difficult to recreate in US footage.  (The sentai footage at this point in Jetman #1 merely showed Yellow and White flying straight up from deep within the ravine; not only did I not like the look of the sentai ravine, but I wished to convey more clearly that the Rangers could glide but not fly outright.)


[ EXT. QUARRY BOTTOM (sentai) - As RED RANGER continues to struggle with the tentacle, the YELLOW and PINK RANGERS soar up from the cliff behind him.  Their underarm wings are open, and they are holding hands as they fly. ]

Yellow and Pink Rangers soar up

[ RED RANGER looks back. ]

Red Ranger reacts

LUKE (Red Ranger):
You did it!

[ PINK and YELLOW continue to fly over the quarry, still holding hands. ]

Yellow and Pink's maiden flight

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Pete, we're flying!

PETE (Yellow Ranger, as they fly by the camera):
This is so wrong...!

[ We see over their shoulders as their flight continues. ]

Yellow and Pink's maiden flight

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
I feel like I'm dreaming...

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Then wake up already!

[ PINK RANGER shakes her head, then dreamily touches her face, looks at her hands, and clasps them, inadvertently releasing YELLOW's hand. ]

Pink Ranger lets go Pink Ranger lets go

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
(giggles)  No, I mean, I feel real, but something's different.  Like it's all going to be okay...

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Don't let go!  Don't let go!

This was a challenging scene to write dialog for; on one hand, Casey's gestures are unusual, and on the other, I'd never tried to create extensive dialog to match preexisting video.  This process struck me as being vastly different from writing the US-original content, but it seems more natural to me now.

[ YELLOW RANGER flies off out of control over the quarry, yelling.  He clips some dead treetops, flails his arms and legs, and finally comes to a rolling crash on the quarry ground. ]

Yellow Ranger's crash landing Yellow Ranger's crash landing Yellow Ranger's crash landing

As adapted from the sentai, Pete has some initial difficulty flying.  This will be the basis for his few rough landings in future episodes.

[ PINK RANGER is shown making a diving leap over the camera, her underarm wings still open. ]

Pink Ranger dives to help

[ US footage - PINK RANGER lands near YELLOW RANGER as he recovers from his fall.  She helps him up, and he touches his helmet as if making sure his head is still in one piece. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Pete!  I'm sorry!  Are you okay?

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Yeah, actually...

Well, what do you know?  Morphing did protect them, as advertised.

[ US footage - PINK and YELLOW suddenly look to their right. ]

[ A battalion of NOBODIES draws near. ]

Nobodies approach

[ US footage - Slightly agitated, PINK RANGER starts to run the other way, trying to bring YELLOW RANGER with her.  She passes behind him to get away, but he stands his ground. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger; somewhat audibly upset):
Oh...!  Those freaks are still here!

On more than one occasion it struck me as natural for the novice Rangers to describe the Nobodies as "black guys," but of course then I realized that wouldn't do.

[ YELLOW RANGER clenches his fist (shown in close-up) and brings it up in front of his head with determination. ]

Yellow Ranger's determination

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
I think we can take these guys!  Come on, Casey, are you with me?!

I cut a few shots here because I found it amusing to juxtapose Pete's declaration with Casey's squealing retreat; it was not this way in the sentai.

[ Cut to PINK RANGER running away in a squealing fit, NOBODIES on her heels.  One NOBODY sticks its leg out, tripping her.  She falls into a roll but quickly returns to her feet, backing away and holding up her hands pleadingly. ]

Pink Ranger squeals Pink Ranger tripped Pink Ranger falls Pink Ranger pleading

CASEY (Pink Ranger, panicked):
No, stay back!

[ A NOBODY runs up and slashes PINK RANGER across the chest with its blade, causing a burst of sparks.  Another then does the same from the other direction. ]

Pink Ranger slashed

[ Starting from a close-up of his helmet, YELLOW RANGER is hoisted into the air by a group of NOBODIES. ]

Nobodies lift Yellow Ranger

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Put me down!

[ The NOBODIES hurl YELLOW RANGER.  He lands in the arms of a nearby NOBODY as others swarm in the background.  His arms and legs wrapped around the NOBODY, YELLOW pulls his head back, realizing who's holding him. ]

Nobodies hurl Yellow Ranger Yellow Ranger lands in Nobody's arms

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Huh?!

[ In close-up, the NOBODY's head lights up in several orange patches as the NOBODY makes a gurgling sound. ]

Yellow Ranger reacts to Nobody

[ YELLOW RANGER lets go, yelping.  He flails on the ground until the NOBODY swings with a blade.  YELLOW rolls aside just in time. ]

Yellow Ranger falls Yellow Ranger rolls aside

As was evident in Jetman, Pink and Yellow are clearly amateurs.

[ RED RANGER's feet are shown running along the quarry floor, and he leaps into the air. ]

I rearranged this Podling sequence so that it would make a bit more sense; in the sentai, Podling was mysteriously absent after Pink and Yellow flew up from the ravine, and he later reappeared from a warp rift for no apparent reason.

Red Ranger's running leap

[ In close-up, RED RANGER spreads his wings. ]

Red Ranger opens his wings

[ In another close-up, RED RANGER draws a white laser pistol from a holster on his right hip.  He then flies through the air over PODLING, blasting him with yellow bursts from his laser pistol, a sword in his left hand.  The tentacle is still affixed to RED RANGER's neck. ]

Red Ranger grabs blaster Red Ranger flies over Podling Red Ranger blasts Podling

[ RED RANGER flips over the camera, the tentacle releasing from his neck.  His feet are then shown rebounding off a nearby rock wall. ]

Red Ranger freed Red Ranger rebounds

[ RED RANGER flies over the top of a crowd of NOBODIES, holding his sword horizontally in front of him with both hands.  A group of NOBODIES flips onto the ground and vanishes with a liquid black warping effect (US addition).  On the other side, another group of NOBODIES flips onto the ground and vanishes with the same effect (US addition). ]

Red Ranger's sword attack Red Ranger's sword attack Nobodies vanish

[ RED RANGER leaps down over the camera and runs to join the PINK and YELLOW RANGERS.  He turns and holds out his arms to defend them, still holding his sword. ]

Red Ranger defends Pink and Yellow Red Ranger defends Pink and Yellow

[ US footage - The remaining NOBODIES cluster together.  They then stand rigid and vanish with the black warping effect. ]

[ RED RANGER relaxes for a moment but then looks to his left. ]

Red Ranger looks

LUKE (Red Ranger):
All right!  ... Huh?

[ Growling unintelligibly nearby, PODLING projects a yellow bolt of electricity from his mouth.  As RED RANGER stands in front of YELLOW and PINK, a large smoke explosion engulfs them.  Fade to black. ]

Podling's electrical blast smoke explosion smoke explosion


[ Break. ]

There was no break here in the sentai.


[ Fade in to EXT. QUARRY BOTTOM (sentai) - The PODLING's growl and blast are shown again.  The smoke explosion engulfs RED, YELLOW, and PINK.  Moments later, RED RANGER is flying forward from the clearing smoke, sword in hand.  YELLOW and PINK are seen on the ground, watching, as the smoke clears behind RED. ]

Podling's electrical blast smoke explosion smoke explosion smoke explosion

[ PODLING leaps into the air toward the camera (image mirrored from sentai in this and successive shots).  RED RANGER leaps toward the camera as well, his sword ready to strike.  The two meet in slow motion in midair and strike each other simultaneously, the film pausing briefly during the moment of impact as PODLING's midsection is lit up with sparks.  They both then fall back amidst a mutual burst of sparks. ]

Podling leaps Red Ranger's sword strike Red Ranger's sword strike

Luke didn't give Podling much of a chance to surrender before running him through with his sword, but it could be argued that he didn't know communication was an option at this point.

[ US footage - RED RANGER lands rolling on the quarry floor. ]

[ PODLING leaps into an invisible warp which again crackles with blue energy as he passes through. ]

Podling retreats

In the sentai, this warp rift was opened remotely by Radiguet's sword.  Also cut was a shot of Podling copiously spewing sparks from its torso before retreating.

[ US footage - YELLOW and PINK run over to join RED RANGER, who is clutching his right shoulder.  As they approach, PINK and YELLOW look around. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
He left!

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
You did it, Luke!  They're all gone!

[ US footage - YELLOW and PINK help RED RANGER to his feet as he groans, still clutching his right shoulder. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Hey, are you all right?

LUKE (Red Ranger, sounding a bit exhausted):
Yeah.

[ US footage - RED RANGER stands on his own, still holding his shoulder. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Power down.

[ US footage - A red gleam demorphs RED RANGER back into LUKE.  His back still to YELLOW and PINK, he winces slightly and briefly removes his hand to check his shoulder for injury, but none is seen.  Meanwhile, YELLOW and PINK are taken aback. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Whoa!  What did you do?  "Power down"...?

[ Just then, YELLOW RANGER demorphs into PETE.  He looks down at himself in awe.  Now only PINK RANGER remains morphed.  She looks down at her suit and speaks: ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Power down.

[ PINK RANGER demorphs in a pink gleam into CASEY.  She alternates her gaze between PETE and LUKE.  All of them are still wearing their AVIMORPHERS. ]


[ EXT. QUARRY, RAVINE EDGE - Looking up from within the ravine, we see LUKE, PETE, and CASEY approach the edge, looking off into the distance along the length of the ravine.  We then see an elevated view from behind them, showing the ravine stretching into the distance, a long scar dug through the edge of the quarry and the neighboring woods.  The fissure is punctuated by a mound of broken trees and ground in the shape of a partial triangular crater, as if something large had come to rest there after its slice into the earth.  Whatever caused it, however, is now gone. ]

[ LUKE, PETE, and CASEY stand transfixed by the scene before them.  After a moment, CASEY speaks. ]

CASEY:
So...  Anything you wanted to tell us?

[ LUKE turns and somberly looks at PETE and CASEY. ]

LUKE:
No.  But there's something I need to show you.

...that being the last two AviMorphers.


[ EXT. SPACE STATION - Establishment shot. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - We open with a close-up of the monitor in the central console.  It shows the HOVERBIRD's vantage point from above the tree level as someone below, an obscured LUKE, fled from NOBODIES through the woods.  He cannot be seen clearly from this distance (and through the trees).  A numerical time code in one corner of the screen can be seen rapidly counting through the frames of the recording, though it does not necessarily indicate minutes and seconds. ]

[ In the monitor, numerous frames flash by too quickly to discern, as though being fast-forwarded.  (The time code also jumps ahead after this transition.)  We then see the HOVERBIRD's elevated and somewhat distant angle of LUKE having been cornered by NOBODIES beside Casey's car at the quarry ledge.  The video then shows him leaping off and morphing, his face never shown clearly from the HOVERBIRD's angle. ]

[ More frames flash by, and the time code again jumps ahead.  We see the HOVERBIRD's elevated angle of the PINK and YELLOW RANGERS running to help RED RANGER as he lay on the quarry ground.  Just as they begin to help him up, the HOVERBIRD's view suddenly swerves away and darts into the sky, occasional tufts of cloud the only indication of velocity. ]

[ We see DILLIK manning the console, enrapt in the video. ]

TRASK (off-screen):
So, your Podling is off licking its wounds, beaten by a human...

Trask found Podling's defeat disdainful, apparently unfamiliar with Power Rangers.  Note, however, that Trask would have encountered a physically threatening human in a Larian harvester ship (shown in flashback in episode 17).

[ We see TRASK leaning against the wall, arms folded.  He then saunters toward DILLIK. ]

TRASK:
And your Nobodies also failed.  (cocks head with wicked sarcasm)  Why, with all this failure, you'd think you were busy upgrading a wormhole generator...

[ TRASK barks at DILLIK as he slams his palms onto the console in front of DILLIK, who remains mostly unfazed. ]

TRASK:
And yet you AREN'T!

DILLIK (still looking at the monitor):
But I did come across this...

[ TRASK's narrowed eyes shift to the monitor as he again avoids turning his head.  We then see the monitor, which shows a freeze-frame of the HOVERBIRD's perspective of LUKE looking out his apartment window at the camera.  His face is shown clearly.  (The static time code is much earlier than the previous recordings.) ]

I was intrigued with the idea of the villains discovering the Rangers' identities and home so early in the series.

[ TRASK's posture stiffens curiously.  He blinks slowly before speaking. ]

TRASK:
Find him.

[ We again hold on the shot of LUKE.  "To be continued..." ]