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

POWER RANGERS TAKE FLIGHT

Episode 9: "Heiress Apparent, part 1"

This two-parter was completed on August 2, 2006, and released on May 3, 2008.  The title foreshadows Sasha's survival and Magda's downfall.  Its original title was "Heir Apparent," but to my disbelief, Power Rangers Mystic Force aired an episode of the same title (also a two-parter) as I was well into the writing of this two-parter.  I changed "heir" to the feminine for a small distinction.

Writer:  Joe Rovang

[ Sentai footage is primarily from Jetman #17, but all sources are indicated. ]

In Jetman #17, a meteor's landing causes electrical disruptions, briefly trapping Black and White together in an elevator.  Outside of town, Radiguet and the Rangers watch as the meteor opens to reveal Empress Juuza, the villains' former ruler.  She causes agonizing crystals to grow from people's bodies, their suffering feeding the pod she carries; Black is among her victims.  Radiguet attacks Juuza but is banished to Earth in human form.

I chose to place the Juuza/Magda episodes this early in the series because I wanted her episodes to be the debut of the Phoenix Cannon (in Jetman, it debuted several episodes earlier, against Snapshot).  Sasha was also required for the Dillik-Strife storyline (episode 12), and it furthermore made sense for the destruction of the Rangers' home (episode 13) to be caused by a new villain (Sasha).


[ Fade in to EXT. PRAIRIE (NIGHT) - We begin with a shot of the nearly full moon (with just a hint of shadow along its left side, indicating the night before a full moon).  The camera then slowly tilts down and pans across a prairie bordered with trees, the pale glow of the moonlight casting the area in an eerie blue hue.  The moon's position in the night sky suggests it may be roughly an hour before midnight. ]

The first two scenes take place on May 15, 1992, four days after the previous episode.  The moon's state here reflects its actual appearance on this date.

[ Eventually, the camera reaches SASHA, a slender, tall woman in a distinctive black and white suit (compare with sentai) and a large, round headpiece.  Her back is to the camera as she calmly surveys the area from atop a hill.  Near her chest, she clutches with both her hands an object later revealed to be her STAR HANDLE (compare with sentai). ]

Sasha is adapted from Maria, who in Jetman was Red Ranger's fiancée turned evil.  She debuted in Jetman #1 and had no relation to Magda (Juuza) in the sentai.  Her weapon was called the "Necrod."  She is the only sentai villain whose costume would have to be replicated in Take Flight.

I decided to adapt Maria after noticing her prominence in several monster battles.  Originally, I imagined Sasha as a human or mannequin merged with a Jinnsect, and I expected she would become queen of the Jinnsects.  I later opted to pair her with my "white queen" character (Magda) instead.  In either version, her character was intended to be Dillik's motivation for posing as Strife (episode 12), and to be the catalyst for the mid-season US monster army (episode 21).

My original name for Sasha was "Kora," a variant of "Cora/Kore," which is an alternate name for the mythical Persephone.  I found Persephone's story intriguing, as she was an innocent maiden who was abducted and ultimately became queen of the Underworld.  When I dropped the "Jinnsect queen" angle, however, I discarded the name Kora.  I later recycled it for the name of Trask's comrade (episode 17).

[ Nearby, slightly downhill from SASHA, we see TRASK approach, his eyes on SASHA with unknown intent.  He eventually speaks. ]

TRASK:
Your majesty.

[ SASHA curiously turns to face TRASK.  She eyes him for a moment, modestly intrigued.  Her STAR HANDLE is now seen more clearly: it is a white and blue rod adorned with a small red gem in one end. ]

I chose the name "Star Handle" to play up the light-based nature of her powers, as a nod to the future Shadow Ranger plot (episode 27).  I also found it interesting that her powers could be seen as the antithesis of Trask's.

[ TRASK bows onto one knee, lowering his gaze respectfully. ]

TRASK (cont'd):
My name is Trask.  Please allow me to welcome you to our humble planet Earth.

Trask appears to be trying to flatter Sasha by mistaking her for the queen, though he knows otherwise.  He may have been probing for signs of power lust which he might use to pit Sasha against Magda, but this proved futile.  Further, he is also subtly staking a preemptive claim on Earth by welcoming her to his and Dillik's planet.  Note that he will make no references to Lord Omos, presumably because this ruse was for Dillik's benefit alone.

[ SASHA narrows her eyes slightly, studying TRASK. ]

TRASK (cont'd):
You've traveled far.  Please make yourself at ease, my queen.  Our resources are your own.

[ SASHA finally speaks.  She does so with a wry smile. ]

SASHA:
You've mistaken me for someone else.  (continues to study Trask)  There's something out of place about you...  You're a Vampirian, aren't you?

This is the first mention of Trask's race.  I didn't intend any connection to the Vampiranoids alluded to in Power Rangers S.P.D., beyond both being sci-fi reinterpretations of mythical vampires.  I was, however, aware of S.P.D. when I wrote this.

[ TRASK's head remains lowered.  SASHA begins to amble a lazy, unconcerned path downhill toward Trask's location. ]

SASHA (cont'd):
I didn't think there were any Vampirians on this side of the galaxy.

This is the first reference to the galaxy at large.  Here, we learn Vampirians seem to live on the other side of the galaxy (though they are not necessarily exclusive to empire territory).  Later, we will learn the Earth's portion of the galaxy is considered a back-woods area; I found this idea intriguingly humbling, but it also serves the purpose of allowing for substantial interstellar communities elsewhere in the galaxy while the people of Earth remain none the wiser.

[ SASHA circles him casually.  TRASK's eyes follow her briefly as she strolls behind him.  When she returns within view from the other side of him, he surreptitiously returns his gaze to the ground. ]

SASHA (cont'd):
Where is your clan?

TRASK:
Long gone, your majesty.

This is the first reference to Trask's clan, which will be detailed in episode 17.  I had planned part of Trask's backstory by this point, but not in the level of detail shown in episode 17.

[ SASHA stops in front of TRASK. ]

SASHA:
Do you live among the humans?

[ TRASK bristles before replying with sinister precision, still looking at the ground. ]

We later learn the source of Trask's irritation with this notion, particularly in episodes 13 and 17, but Magda mentions the Vampirians being driven from Earth later in this episode.

TRASK:
... The humans' time on our planet is coming to an end.

[ SASHA laughs playfully. ]

SASHA:
Are you so sure I'm not a human?

[ TRASK politely bows his head further. ]

TRASK:
An excellent illusion, your majesty.  Please forgive me for sensing your power.

Sasha's true form is an alien creature (see episodes 22 and 30).  In addition to planning to use Radiguet's giant form for Sasha, I felt that human features would be unnatural for non-Earthen races.  Rather, Magda and Sasha have adopted human form for some reason upon arriving on Earth.  Unfortunately, in using sentai monsters for their true forms, I made it difficult to show them in flashbacks prior to their arrival on Earth.

SASHA (rolling her eyes):
Oh, let's stop this charade, Trask.  You know I'm not the queen.

[ TRASK's head remains lowered, his eyes unseen.  He then slowly rises and stands firmly, his eyes gazing in SASHA's direction but focused beyond her.  His face is expressionless. ]

In retrospect, I wonder whether Trask's expression could be interpreted as some sort of mental control over him.  This was not the intent; he's simply staring blankly in faux-subservience.

SASHA (cont'd, grinning):
Good boy.  (seriously)  Now, why do you think we're here?

Sasha is intrigued by Trask but can't seem to resist belittling him, probably due to her former position of power in the empire.

[ TRASK remains motionless, continuing to gaze through SASHA. ]

TRASK:
To expand your empire.

This is the first reference to the empire, a powerful force slowly growing somewhere on the other side of the galaxy.  It will later be hinted (episodes 30 and 40) that the purpose of Project Jetman was to prepare for a battle against the empire.  In fact, Zordon's "master plan" for this dimension was to seed Ranger technology across the galaxy (see episode 22) to form a broad coalition of rebel factions who could some day mount an assault on this empire.  How he originally became aware of the empire is unknown.

[ SASHA initially crinkles her nose in displeasure, but her eyes open slightly in wonder as a new realization dawns on her.  TRASK's gaze, meanwhile, focuses on SASHA as he watches her reaction. ]

SASHA:
... You haven't heard...!  (to herself, looking around)  Boy, news travels as slow as LIGHT out here...  (to Trask, kindly)  Well, Trask, thank you for your hospitality.  I think we'll find our objectives are... compatible.

News has not yet reached Trask that Magda and Sasha have been ousted from the empire.

Sasha notes the compatibility of their objectives because Magda conquering the Earth as a new base of operations isn't at odds with Trask's desire to destroy humankind.

Sasha's expression "slow as light" is indicative of the relative sluggishness of the speed of light with regard to the size of the galaxy; in order to travel or communicate across its vastness, one must possess advanced technology or magical powers.

[ SASHA smiles, takes a step back, and raises her STAR HANDLE.  An intense burst of white light flashes from the object, causing her to vanish as TRASK shields his eyes.  All that remains afterward is a fleeting puff of vapor in the moonlight. ]

Here I continued the emphasis on Sasha's light-based powers to put her nature at odds with Trask's.  To my knowledge, Jetman's Maria was not associated with light, beyond once bringing artificial daylight to Tokyo (see episode 27).

[ TRASK lowers his hands and touches his face tenderly, as though checking for burns.  Not amused, he then grunts to himself, turns, and vanishes with a ripple effect. ]

We are reminded of Trask's sensitivity to light.


[ Dissolve to EXT. SNOWY MOUNTAINS (DAY) - We see a long establishment shot of snow-covered Alpine-looking mountains on a clear, crisp day. ]

As revealed later, this mountain range is the Verkhoyansk Range in the Sakha Republic, Russia.  I chose it for Magda's base of operations because it was one of the coldest places on Earth.  To my recollection, though I intended for Maga's and Sasha's names to sound compatible (both Slavic/Russian), it was coincidental that their base was also in Russia.  If I were writing the series over again, I might be more careful to avoid giving an impression of Russophobia.

[ The camera gravitates toward the base of a particular mountain. ]


[ Dissolve to INT. QUEEN'S CHAMBER - We pan slowly across a dark chamber of some sort with a smooth, mist-covered floor; four large, ribbed columns appear to be tied into knot shapes, and knotted light structures are suspended in the air (compare with sentai). ]

This set is a reproduction of the throne room in the brain-shaped ship home to Jetman's villains; I used it here for Trask's eventual sentai-based confrontation with Magda.  I also unexpectedly managed to use additional footage for Trask's run-in with Strife (episode 16) and the Gigazord in waiting (39).  Magda's base in Garavan's dimension (episode 38) was also the same location in Jetman.

[ At one end of the chamber is a black and white platform, on which sits a tall-backed dark wooden throne (compare loosely with Jetman #17).  A long, red carpet extends from the throne. ]

[ Seated in the throne (though initially shown only from behind her throne) is QUEEN-EMPRESS MAGDA.  She is dressed in a royal white dress appropriate for a very cold climate, with a white hood draped loosely over her head.  Her forearms are covered with smooth white gloves, and her fingers adorned in elegant rings (compare with sentai hands).  Her right hand clutches an upright staff bearing a round end filled with various colored prisms and lenses which each distort light in a different shape and hue. ]

Magda's sentai counterpart is Juuza, the villains' empress who has escaped from a crystalline prison.  She has come to Earth within a meteorite and brings with her a pod which feeds on human suffering (this pod later becomes Semimaru/Infernis).

[ Sentai (Jetman #1) - Upside-down, SASHA descends an inverted, unseen staircase (or rather ascends, from her perspective). ]

Sasha descends Sasha descends

This footage comes from Maria's first appearance in Jetman and is unrelated to the Juuza encounter.  In Jetman #1, each of Radiguet's fellow villains approached in a different orientation (presumably reinforcing their extradimensional nature), and Maria's entrance happened to be upside-down.  In the next episode, I expanded on this idea for the Escher-like stairway nexus.

[ In close-up, we see SASHA descending, upside-down.  She then rotates around to the proper orientation and continues to descend. ]

[ Sentai (Jetman #1) - SASHA's boots land gently on the smooth floor below. ]

Sasha's boots Sasha's boots

[ MAGDA speaks from her throne, not yet shown from the front.  SASHA stands near the center of the chamber, STAR HANDLE in hand.  MAGDA's voice is regal and imposing. ]

MAGDA:
Sasha, this is no time for frivolity.  There is much to be done.

Magda is referring to Sasha's recent moonlight jaunt, not her upside-down staircase antics.

SASHA (curiously):
Mother, I met a Vampirian!

MAGDA (dismissively):
Shadow dwellers.  I've met many in my conquests.

SASHA:
But this one seems --

MAGDA (interrupting):
He is insignificant to our plans.

SASHA (curtly, disappointed):
Yes, Mother.

MAGDA:
Sasha, do you remember Illam?

SASHA (still pouting slightly):
Of course, Mother.  My birth world.

Here we learn of Illam for the first time.  Sasha spent some of her childhood here before the planet was ruined.

We don't know the nature of Sasha's conception or birth, but episode 38 hints that Trask believes she is Magda's biological child.

MAGDA:
Do you remember why we destroyed them?

SASHA:
There were weapons...


[ Flash to EXT. ALIEN QUARRY (Jetman #40, tinted dark blue from sentai) - We see various shots of a five-man armored team, the VANGUARDS.  In all shots, any visible facial skin from the sentai is covered with a grayish-black texture, a US addition. ]

In Jetman, the Vanguards were the Neo-Jetmen, a high-tech squadron sent by an overbearing general to replace the current team.  This plot was strikingly similar to the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue episode "Cyborg Rangers," and as such I had no interest in repeating this idea (I also had no Neo-Jetman costumes to use in US footage).  Therefore, I adapted them as alien warriors shown only in flashback (but their human faces must be obscured).

When this episode was written, I had not yet planned to use footage of Brimstone attacking the Neo-Jetmen in their base (episode 34).

The dark blue tinting was intended to match later footage of Sasha's monster form (episode 22), which I had already planned to take place on Illam.

[ In the first shot (reversed from sentai), the VANGUARDS pull white bird-shaped visors over their shrouded faces. ]

Vanguards (black mask effect not shown) Vanguards (black mask effect not shown) Vanguards (black mask effect not shown)

In this shot in Jetman, the Neo-Jetmen were raising their visors after revealing themselves to the Rangers below; they then proceeded to pummel Brimstone (see sentai summary in episode 34).

[ In the next shot, we begin with a close-up on a holstered pistol on a VANGUARD's chest, a red "J1" insignia above it.  The camera then shifts to a blue and silver shoulder apparatus. ]

Vanguards (black mask effect not shown) Vanguards (black mask effect not shown)

In Jetman, the shoulder apparatuses were generators built into the Neo-Jetmen's bodies, serving as the source of their remarkable power levels.

[ In the next shot (US footage), we see a close-up of a VANGUARD's belt buckle, fashioned to match the future Sky Kestrel's cockpit emblem (compare with Jetman #24).  It resembles a gold G in a pentagon shape. ]

The sentai belt buckle shot was perfectly usable, but I wanted it replaced with the Kestrel's emblem for increased continuity, as the Vanguards and Kestrelzord were both native to Illam.

[ In the next shots, we see a VANGUARD wielding a chain and hook weapon, another brandishing a sword, and another quickly throwing a boomerang in midair. ]

Vanguards (black mask effect not shown) Vanguards (black mask effect not shown) Vanguards (black mask effect not shown)

In addition to the weapons shown, the Neo-Jetmen also possessed laser pistols (shown in Take Flight in episode 22) and explosive vials.

[ The final shot shows the five VANGUARDS bracing to fire a bulky, dual-barreled cannon. ]

Vanguard cannon Vanguard cannon (black mask effect not shown)

The Neo-Jetmen used this cannon to knock Brimstone into a nearby pond, which proved injurious to Brimstone.

[ As the final few shots have appeared, SASHA's voice has been heard. ]

SASHA (cont'd, voice-over):
They wanted to use them against us.

A question not resolved in Take Flight is whether the Illamites actually did intend to use these weapons against Magda; it seems equally likely they were merely following Zordon's master plan of preparing for a war against the empire (of which Magda was not yet a part).  When I wrote this episode, I assumed the Vanguards intended to attack Magda, but this isn't the only valid interpretation.  After all, we don't know what threat (if any) Magda and Sasha posed to Illam prior to this turning point.


[ We return to INT. QUEEN'S CHAMBER. ]

SASHA:
But what does that have to do with Earth?

MAGDA:
I have seen the same technology here.

She saw it with her scouting seeds (see episode 8).

SASHA (startled):
What...?  How can that be?  The Illamites couldn't have sent a signal this far, could they?

I assumed a moderately advanced race such as the Illamites would have an ansible (a hypothetical device invoked by a number of science fiction authors, used for communicating faster-than-light).  However, it seems their ansible could not broadcast all the way across the galaxy.

MAGDA:
No.  I suspect a third party is involved.

SASHA:
Someone from the empire?

I speculated that assassins from the empire might come after Magda and Sasha at some point, but I never found an opportunity to introduce this element.

[ We see MAGDA's face for the first time.  She is seemingly human - beautiful, but with stern facial features, seeming to approach her late forties or early fifites by human standards. ]

MAGDA:
No.  Someone with knowledge of the Ancients.  There are Power Rangers here.

I mused further on the topic of the Ancients in episode 33, in which the ancient Red Ranger states that only immortals are familiar with the Ancients.  (And yet it didn't occur to me that Magda was an immortal until I was writing episode 38!)


[ EXT. CAFE - Downtown, we see the brick cafe known as "Vanishing Point." ]

This is the cafe's second appearance.

The rest of this episode takes place on Saturday, May 16, 1992, the day after Trask's meeting with Sasha.

CHRIS (voice-over):
But why don't they?


[ INT. CAFE - Inside, PETE and CHRIS are sitting at their usual booth (see episode 3), with plenty of room left for more guests.  In the middle of a conversation, PETE is struggling to explain himself. ]

The rest of this episode takes place on Saturday, May 16, 1992, the day after the previous scenes.

PETE:
Well... they're...  They're abstract.  Like... Like legends!  Legends don't age, you know?

Pete and Chris are debating whether comic book characters should age; this is a nod to episode 7, in which this subject was mentioned as a topic of conversation between them when their friendship was stronger.  Here, we see they've resumed this pastime.

[ A SERVER approaches the table with two sodas and sets them on the table, along with two straws. ]

PETE (cont'd, to server):
Thanks.

CHRIS (unwrapping his straw and putting it into his soda):
Yeah, but legends take place in the past.  Comic books are supposed to be contemporary.  They can't just keep --

I always figured Chris only took this side of the argument just to play devil's advocate (and to rile Pete up).

[ CHRIS is interrupted as CASEY and MAGGIE arrive.  CHRIS takes a sip of his soda. ]

CASEY:
Hey guys, look who I found!

[ CASEY and MAGGIE take a seat (CASEY across the table from CHRIS).  MAGGIE smiles modestly. ]

PETE:
Hey, Maggie!  So, one more year under your belt, huh?

MAGGIE:
Well, technically, there's still summer semester...  (cheerfully) But, yeah, only one calendar year to go.

CHRIS:
Pretty nice of the bad-guys to give you the week off for exams.

Chris is referring to the previous week, which has passed uneventfully since the Threadletter incident on Monday (episode 8); it is now Saturday.

[ Although she isn't the focus of this scene, CASEY bashfully brushes strands of hair behind her ear as she avoids eye contact with CHRIS. ]

Casey fell for Chris in episode 5.

MAGGIE:
(chuckles)  Yeah, really.  (to Pete)  Hey, how are you feeling?

[ PETE finishes taking a sip of his soda. ]

PETE:
Eh, no worries.  (reaches back and rubs his upper back)  Still just a little tender.  Hey, Luke said he was gonna try to be here in a couple minutes.

Pete is still recovering from being blasted by an unknown assailant (Trask) in episode 8.

Luke is on his way from the museum on his lunch break.  In giving the heroes what I felt were realistic work schedules, I made Luke work Saturdays, which proved difficult for getting them all together for personal functions.


[ EXT. CITY STREET - Wearing his museum uniform and his helmet (see episode 7), LUKE is cycling along the side of the street, mostly out of the way of traffic, except when he has to navigate around parked cars. ]

Luke bought this bike from Chris's bike shop.  To Pete'e surprise, it wasn't stolen when Luke left it in front of their apartment building during the Canhandler spell incident (episode 7).

[ As LUKE continues biking, LISA's voice is heard (off-screen). ]

LISA:
Luke!

[ LUKE looks and sees LISA on the sidewalk, waving him down.  A broad smile is on her face. ]

Luke last saw Lisa in episode 6, at which point she had partially reformed from her life of crime.

[ LUKE rides up to LISA and gets off his bike.  He leans it against his body as he removes his helmet.  The bike remains between them as they talk, with LUKE standing in an unoccupied curbside parking space. ]

LUKE:
Lisa!  Hi!  (awkwardly)  Hey, I... tried to call you last week...

LISA:
Oh, yeah, I went to see my mom.

LUKE (still breathing somewhat heavily):
Oh... (impressed) ... Really?

LISA:
Yeah, we had a really long talk... Got everything out in the open.  It was... nice, actually.

Lisa apparently has a strained relationship with her mother.  We later see them interacting in episodes 33 and 34.

[ LUKE nods, listening. ]

LISA:
(laughs softly)  We actually hugged.  (chuckles, wiping her eyes as they begin to get watery)  Sorry.

LUKE (sincerely):
No...  I'm happy for you.  I know that was a big step.

At some point, Lisa must have divulged something about her personal life, because she was fairly mum in episode 6.

LISA (done wiping her eyes):
Yeah...  Oh, I got a new job!

LUKE:
Really?  Where?

LISA:
A little greeting card shop down on Fifth.  (laughs)  I'm a cashier - what do you think of that?

Lisa will keep this job until episode 33.  The cashier job is to be contrasted with her previous life as a shoplifter, though she apparently has no convictions on her record.

[ LUKE smiles gently. ]

LUKE:
That's great.  Do you like it?

LISA:
Yeah, actually.  It's kinda nice helping customers.  When someone comes in and they're kinda down or upset or something, and you can make them leave with a smile, it feels pretty good.

[ LUKE smiles. ]

LISA (cont'd):
Sure beats looking over your shoulder all the time.  Aww, there was this one kid who had to be, like, twelve or so...

[ As LISA continues, LUKE glances up at the sky as though he is unsure of an unusual noise or presence in the air, though we hear nothing. ]

LISA (cont'd):
... and I caught him taking a pack of gum from the display, and I was just, like, "Why?"... you know?  And, I mean, I felt bad for him...  (notices Luke is distracted)  Wh... What is it?

[ LUKE looks to his right as the electricity goes out in a nearby shop.  He looks around as the entire street, including the traffic signals, have lost power.  Aside from a few car horns from rapidly gridlocking traffic in the intersections, the air is unusually still (with no background music in place).  LUKE and LISA continue to look around until LUKE notices something above them (at which point ominous background music may resume). ]

[ High above, we see a translucent white dome gather from all directions.  A hole directly overhead contracts slowly toward a central point overhead. ]

Magda has apparently seen that the Rangers operate in this city; she is now attempting to capture them, first by sealing them in the city so they can't escape.

This power outage may have been an intentional parity with Jetman #17, under the possibility that I could use some sentai footage of the powerless city (ultimately, I didn't).  Here, the outage is caused by Magda's forcefield, whereas Juuza's arrival triggered it in the sentai.  The sentai featured no forcefield.


[ INT. QUEEN'S CHAMBER - Meditating in her throne with her staff held upright beside her, MAGDA is surrounded with a brightly shimmering white aura. ]

The aura was added for the purpose of obscuring her in the sentai footage when Trask/Radiguet approached, as I otherwise wouldn't have needed Magda's costume to match Juuza's identically.


[ EXT. SKY - Above the city, the hole overhead continues to contract into a point until it vanishes, completing the dome's seal over the city.  (The scale of the dome is such that the intervening atmosphere tints the dome a pale blue the further away it is from our vantage point.) ]

The blue tint was a small detail I added because it seems special effects departments sometimes forget the value of atmosphere (air) in conveying scale.


[ EXT. CITY - From an already high and distant view over the city (use Oakland, California, as a visual model), we dramatically zoom out to a scale of several miles to see a massive, white crystalline dome encasing the entire city, as well as its outlying suburbs and part of the bay lying to the west of the city (comparable to San Francisco Bay). ]

If this series were produced as a real TV series, the audience wouldn't be told outright that Spring Valley is an alternate-universe Oakland, but the script's descriptions make it clear for the sake of the hypothetical production crew.


[ EXT. CITY STREET - LUKE and LISA are transfixed by the dome above, as are a growing number of pedestrians and blocked motorists.  Customers and shop owners begin to emerge from buildings to witness the spectacle as well.  The mood is generally neutral, though some people appear concerned as murmurs spread through the crowd. ]

LISA:
Oh my gosh...  What is that?

This incident will eventually drive out a number of residents who fear for their safety (alluded to in episode 15); Casey's parents will soon try to convince her to move out accordingly (episode 12).

[ At that moment, LUKE's MORPHER chimes.  Before LUKE can decide what to do, a distant scream is heard from behind LUKE and LISA.  They turn, LUKE dragging his bike with him as he turns so that it's now facing the other direction. ]

[ Some distance down the street, a white humanoid figure, a DISCARD, walks eerily between the gridlocked cars.  The DISCARD's body consists of a smooth, white material seemingly sewn together at random angles with lumpy, jagged stitches; one such stitch stretches diagonally across its face.  No other details are visible on the creature's body, not even eyes or a mouth.  Its gait is smooth, but its upper body remains oddly rigid, giving an impression of inhumanity. ]

The design for the Discard was a random US villain design I mocked up before I began writing the series.  When I reached this episode, I decided to use the design for Magda's foot soldiers.  Their name alludes to their apparent composition of discarded scraps of material.

It will be explained outright in episode 38 that Magda's willpower alone gives the Discards life.  They are currently her only soldiers, as she and Sasha have fled from the empire.  Note that in the sentai, Juuza brought no foot soldiers; presumably she regarded the Grinam (Nobodies) as her own.

[ As the DISCARD walks between cars in LUKE and LISA's general direction, nearby pedestrians grow apprehensive, staying clear of the creature, and drivers inside the cars react anxiously, though the DISCARD doesn't appear to acknowledge them. ]

The Discards have been sent to find and capture the Rangers.

[ Inside one car, a DRIVER frantically rolls up his window as the DISCARD approaches, though it passes by his car without incident.  The DRIVER nervously continues to watch the DISCARD. ]

[ Nearby, LUKE grows slightly tense and lays his bike on the curb, seeming to want to assume a martial arts stance.  His bike helmet remains in his hand, sadly the only tool or weapon at his disposal.  LISA grips his arm. ]

LISA (softly):
That's... not a Power Ranger, is it...?

Most people in the city have presumably heard of the Power Rangers since reports surfaced in episode 6, but if the media has circulated any images of them, Lisa hasn't seen many.  I did want to demonstrate, however, that Lisa was at least aware of the Rangers.

[ LUKE eyes the creature sternly, answering after a pause. ]

LUKE:
... No.

[ From behind the DISCARD, we follow as it slowly advances toward the wary LUKE and LISA.  LUKE tenses further.  Just then, it becomes apparent the DISCARD is merely walking past them, paying them no mind.  LUKE and LISA relax slightly and watch as it proceeds in the other direction. ]

Magda doesn't know the Rangers' civilian identities, and so neither do the Discards.

[ LISA nudges LUKE's arm and nods her head toward something above.  LUKE looks up. ]

[ Trailing the DISCARD from a height of several yards is Luke's HOVERBIRD. ]

[ LUKE nods reassuringly to LISA.  Suddenly, a yellow bolt of electricity erupts from the DISCARD's back, striking the HOVERBIRD and causing it to plummet lifelessly.  It falls onto a car's rear windshield (cracking a starburst fracture into the glass), strikes a glancing blow off the car's trunk, and lodges itself into the grill of a pickup truck parked behind the car. ]

The Discards drain energy, which seemed to be a useful power for beings sent to capture Power Rangers.

[ The DISCARD, meanwhile, begins walking down a side street and out of view.  (Though it isn't the focus of the shot, a blue and white "H" hospital sign can be seen in the foreground pointing in the direction where the Discard is heading.) ]

[ LUKE stands dumbfounded for a moment.  He checks his MORPHER, pressing the upper left button (where a red alert light is no longer blinking), but the display goes black.  He presses it again, and the clock display returns.  He cycles through the displays once more - black, then clock display - before noticing LISA has left his side.  She returns from the direction of the pickup truck, cupping the ping pong ball-sized HOVERBIRD in her hands. ]

[ LUKE looks at LISA for a moment, then at the corner where the Discard was last seen.  LUKE tosses his bike helmet onto his downed bicycle and nods toward the street corner. ]

This bicycle will not appear again; subsequent dialog in episode 11 hints that it was stolen here, as Pete expected to happen in episode 7.  This detail was added for realism, but I left it as subtext because it served no particular function in the story.

LUKE:
Let's keep an eye on him.

[ LISA nods, and they both hurry in that direction.  As they run, LISA slips the HOVERBIRD into her pocket. ]

The pocketing of the Hoverbird could remind viewers of Lisa's criminal past, but she does it here merely as a matter of practicality.


[ EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - On a street lined with houses and condominiums, the BLUE and BLACK RANGERS land and survey the area.  BLACK RANGER takes a moment to look up at the dome still persistently visible across the sky. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Man, I don't like that at all.

[ BLUE RANGER touches her fingers to the left side of her helmet. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Hey, I've got a reading.  Wait a minute, now he's at the waterfront!

I felt Maggie would be the Ranger most likely to use her Hoverbird for tactical advantages, so I frequently showed her consulting it as a matter of continuity.  Here, she and Chris tracked a Discard to this neighborhood, but Maggie's Hoverbird then detected another (of similar color) at the waterfront; this one still remains here, however.

[ BLACK RANGER, facing the other direction, nudges BLUE RANGER out of her helmet haze. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Uhh, no he isn't.

[ BLUE RANGER turns.  We see a gray-colored DISCARD, similar to the first but with different stitch patterns, walking some distance away down the center of the residential street, in the two RANGERS' direction.  The DISCARD then suddenly breaks into a sprint (though moderately inhuman in its smooth gait). ]

[ The two RANGERS anxiously take a step back.  BLACK RANGER draws his SKY BLASTER from his holster. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
This isn't gonna be pretty.


[ Break. ]


[ EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - The gray DISCARD continues sprinting down the street toward the camera, having gained decent ground.  The dome still covers the sky. ]

[ BLACK RANGER takes aim with his SKY BLASTER, BLUE RANGER by his side.  BLACK calls out in a firm tone. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Stand down, jack!

[ The DISCARD continues its frantic pace down the street, now shown nearly in close-up. ]

[ BLACK RANGER aims down slightly and fires.  A yellow laser strikes just in front of the DISCARD, creating a burst of sparks.  The DISCARD, in response, leaps with dazzling speed and agility over the explosion.  As the DISCARD flies nimbly through the air, it rips open at the seams as though its body consisted of a hollow shell of flexible material, the material unfolding into the shape of a large claw.  It slams into both RANGERS and wraps around them, cocooning them together in gray material as they tumble back onto the asphalt. ]

I liked the idea of foot soldiers who could unfold into a tough layer of material.  I felt it would pose an interesting challenge for the Rangers.

Chris's caution toward firing on an unidentified humanoid foe costs him and Maggie his freedom (for a time).  He will not hesitate to strike Magda in the next episode.

[ Their heads still uncovered, BLUE RANGER struggles in vain against the gray material now wrapped around them.  BLACK RANGER, meanwhile, shakes his head in dumbfounded frustration and then cries out: ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
... What?!!

[ From the two Rangers' perspective looking skyward (the dome still visible above), numerous DISCARDS - in assorted shades of black, gray, and white - gather around, looking down at the camera.  They then bend down to grab the Rangers (off-camera), and we fade to black. ]

Presumably the Discards must be able to teleport their captives back to Magda's lair, but we don't see it happen on-camera.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - Beginning with a close-up on the central console's monitor as it shows a wide aerial shot of the domed city, we zoom out to see a frustrated TRASK pound the console with his fist.  He turns away from the console but still occupies the central station.  DILLIK stands contritely on the other side of the console, TRASK's back now to him. ]

TRASK:
(grunts)  What is that old witch up to?

DILLIK:
Um, well... It looks like a class 2 forcefield around Spring Valley...

The distinctions between class 1 and class 2 forcefields, and the total number of classes, are up to the reader's imagination.

TRASK:
I can see that.  (turns back to Dillik)  Why haven't you traced the princess's teleport signature yet?

Throughout the series, Dillik will be able to track Sasha from the space station, but only when she teleports.

DILLIK (gesturing toward the console):
Well, you've been kinda hogging the monit--

[ TRASK glares at DILLIK.  DILLIK startles and busies himself at a wall console. ]

DILLIK:
A-- Actually, that's okay.  I'll just work over here.

Dillik is now working where Dr. Bering will work after the central console is removed from the room.

[ TRASK grumbles before looking down at the monitor once more.  In close-up, we see the domed city again. ]


[ EXT. WAREHOUSE - Alone outside among a cluster of warehouses, PINK RANGER emerges from around a corner, looking around as she holds her SKY BLASTER ready.  In shots where the sky is visible, we see the dome still overhead. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger, to herself):
All right, where are you...?

[ PINK RANGER continues to search the area warily.  She looks in various places, failing to find anything each time. ]

[ Nearby, PINK RANGER is walking between two buildings, SKY BLASTER still in hand.  As she passes through, a black layer covering one of the walls (seemingly an innocent, dark-colored wall while it was stationary) begins to peel off from the top corner while PINK RANGER's head is turned.  She notices too late as the layer of material suddenly springs out and engulfs her. ]

Another advantage of being able to unfold into a single layer.

[ Wrapped in this black sack-like prison, the now unseen PINK RANGER falls to the ground, her physical and verbal outbursts within almost muted entirely by the constrictive material. ]

[ From nearby, an assortment of gray, black, and white DISCARDS emerge and drag the wriggling sack away. ]


[ EXT. PARKING LOT - In a run-down, abandoned parking lot somewhere in the city, YELLOW RANGER hops down off a wall and surveys the area.  The dome still occupies the sky above. ]

[ Seemingly alone in the parking lot, YELLOW RANGER calls out. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Hey, man, come on out.  (looks around)  What do you say we just talk this out, huh?

Whenever possible, I tried to make the Rangers avoid resorting immediately to physical combat, an element in early seasons of Power Rangers which I found sometimes cheesy but still respectable.

[ On one of the surrounding walls, a white DISCARD hops up from the other side and faces YELLOW RANGER below. ]

[ YELLOW notices the Discard (off-screen). ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger, cont'd):
Oh, hey, there y--

[ YELLOW looks over slightly to his left.  A black DISCARD stands elsewhere atop the wall.  YELLOW reacts. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger, cont'd):
... Oh.

[ YELLOW looks in another direction and sees a gray DISCARD on the wall. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger, cont'd, disappointed):
Ohhh...

[ Others of various monochromatic hues line the surrounding walls. ]

[ YELLOW RANGER slumps his shoulders and lolls his head miserably. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger, cont'd):
Man....!


[ EXT. HOSPITAL - On another city street, LISA and LUKE are stalking the white DISCARD from some distance away.  No traffic is seen.  One side of the street is occupied by a sprawling metropolitan hospital, Valley Community Hospital (see episode 8), where lights are visible inside.  It is the only building seen with electricity.  The sky is still covered by the dome. ]

Valley Community was where Pete stayed after being blasted by Trask (episode 8).

[ Stopping in parallel with the hospital's main entrance, the DISCARD extends one arm toward the building without looking in its direction.  Yellow bolts of electricity extend from its hand and appear to be draining energy from the building. ]

[ LISA and LUKE react from afar. ]


[ INT. HOSPITAL HALLWAY - Two nurses in scrubs, NURSE1 and NURSE2, hurriedly walk down a hallway, with other staff visible in the background.  Only the emergency lights are on.  Just then, the emergency lights themselves begin to flicker with increasing difficulty.  The nurses and other background personnel pause and look at the lights anxiously.  A dying whine of machinery is also heard as the lights flicker. ]


[ INT. HOSPITAL, EXAM ROOM - Alone in an exam room, an ELDERLY PATIENT looks around, bewildered, as the already dim lights flicker here as well. ]


[ INT. HOSPITAL, OPERATING ROOM - As a female SURGEON and crew are performing surgery on a patient, the lights and equipment begin to fail.  The dying mechanical whine continues.  The surgical team looks around anxiously. ]

I added the interrupted surgery to give added gravity to the situation.


[ EXT. HOSPITAL - LISA and LUKE continue to watch as the DISCARD drains energy from the hospital. ]

LISA:
He's stealing the hospital's backup power!

Sometimes I felt it safer for characters to state the obvious than to risk being unclear.

[ LUKE looks around with helpless consternation, gritting his teeth privately. ]

LUKE:
Man, where are the Power Rangers...?

In the next episode, we discover the Morphers' talk buttons don't work in unmorphed form, which leaves Luke out of contact with the others at the moment (though presumably he wouldn't call them in front of Lisa anyway).

[ LISA looks down at the HOVERBIRD as she takes it out of her pocket.  She then hurls it at the DISCARD, striking it squarely in the back of the head from a distance of many yards.  The HOVERBIRD bounces onto the asphalt and begins rolling in the gutter.  The DISCARD, meanwhile, lowers its arm, the flow of electricity stopping. ]

[ LUKE looks at LISA quizically.  She shrugs with a mild smirk. ]

When this happened, I realized Lisa had characteristics which might make her an interesting Ranger candidate, though I didn't have any concrete plans for a roster change at this point.

Note that the Hoverbirds must be quite durable.

[ The DISCARD's body re-molds itself so that it's now facing in LUKE and LISA's direction without ever turning around (the stitches now lying in different positions relative to the DISCARD's face and torso).  The DISCARD begins to advance slowly toward the duo. ]

I would like to see that special effect executed.  But in addition to seeming like a cool idea, it just seemed practical for an amorphous being to turn around by reshaping itself rather than moving on its feet.

[ As the DISCARD is seen lurching in their direction in the background, LUKE addresses LISA seriously. ]

LUKE:
Lisa, get out of here.  I'll hold him off.

[ LISA crinkles her brow, finding the suggestion preposterous. ]

LISA:
Yeah, that's okay...!

[ She grabs his wrist and hurries him away from the area.  As he allows himself to be dragged away, LUKE looks back at the DISCARD one more time. ]

Lisa is a practical sort, preferring for her potential boyfriends not to die trying to be heroes.  Of course, she doesn't yet know he's a Power Ranger.


[ INT. ICY CELL - In a small room with uneven walls of ice and rock, CHRIS, MAGGIE, and CASEY (all unmorphed) stand huddled together, their breath visible in the cold air.  They look up as PETE's protracted yell is heard growing closer.  The camera pans up to show PETE fall from a tall shaft leading to a dim gray opening above. ]

[ As PETE falls from the ceiling in the midst of the others, he suddenly stops in midair with a surprised yelp.  He floats there a moment, perplexed, though the others don't seem enormously shocked.  He then finally lands with a thump on the ground as whatever force was suspending him lets go. ]

Magda's telekinesis is that force.  She doesn't want the Rangers dead just yet.

[ Above, the opening at the top of the shaft seals shut, causing the shaft to grow dark (though the cell itself is not in darkness). ]

[ In the cell, the others gather around PETE and help him to his feet. ]

CASEY:
Pete!

CHRIS:
They got you too, huh?

PETE (looking around):
Where the heck are we?

[ CHRIS exhales with a derisive puff of air while rubbing his hands together for heat.  His answer seems more an off-the-cuff quip than a sincere guess. ]

CHRIS:
Pfft... Siberia?

This seemed like a plausible off-handed guess (or quip), but he happens to be factually correct, as the Sakha Republic is within the Siberian region.

MAGGIE (to Pete):
Are you okay?

PETE (dismayed, touching his Morpher absently):
Yeah, I guess.  What'd they do to our powers?  Can we still morph?

MAGGIE (nodding toward one side of the cell):
Yeah, but I wouldn't try it.  They don't seem to like it very much.

The Discards' energy drain has apparently demorphed the Rangers off-screen, though they are still able to morph (see next episode).  In episode 34, Brimstone's energy drain didn't immediately demorph them, and their attempt to re-morph some time later was strained, as their Morphers' capacitors hadn't fully recharged.  These two scenarios aren't necessarily incompatible, but it's also possible the Discards and Brimstone drained their energies in different ways.

[ Behind glassy bars seemingly made of ice extends a long, dark corridor with mist along the floor.  Standing with their backs to the bars just outside the cell are a number of DISCARDS of various shades. ]

[ PETE grunts in the direction of the Discards (off-screen). ]

PETE (dissatisfied):
Those guys are messed up.

CASEY:
I know.  I'm starting to miss the Nobodies.

The Nobodies last fought the Rangers in episode 5, which would have been three weeks prior to this point.

MAGGIE:
Do you think they work for Trask?  Maybe this is where he lives.

CASEY:
Maybe.  I wanna know who that guy in the spaceship was.  What'd Mrs. Patterson call him?

CHRIS:
Dillik.

It was a challenge to try to imagine the Rangers' point of view, based solely on what information they would have about the villains.  As we see here, however, they don't know the location of Trask's base, and they don't know the nature of Dillik's "spaceship," as reported off-screen by Mrs. Patterson (following her experience in episode 8).

CASEY:
Yeah, what's his deal, anyway?

PETE:
I know.  I wish we knew who all these guys were.

MAGGIE:
And what do they want?

SASHA (off-screen):
Complete human extinction.

[ The four HEROES look in the direction of the bars.  Approaching from the darkness is SASHA, for whom the DISCARDS move aside.  SASHA stops a few feet from the bars, a smirk on her lips and a hand on her hip.  Her other hand clutches her STAR HANDLE. ]

[ Of the startled Rangers, PETE speaks up, appearing slightly distracted by the large hat on her head (off-screen). ]

Pete's distraction is my nod to the somewhat ridiculous nature of Sasha's hat; I don't consider its design ideal for an intimidating-looking villain, but I was forced to match the sentai or cut out all of her footage.

PETE:
Who are you?

SASHA:
My name is Princess Sasha.

CHRIS:
Yeah?  What are you the princess of?

[ SASHA narrows her eyes crossly.  She then continues undeterred. ]

As Sasha and Magda are currently in hiding from the empire, Sasha is actually princess of very little, to her chagrin.

SASHA:
I represent a concerned party.  From what we're able to tell... (chooses the next word deliberately) ...our... planet is under attack by rogue agents from another part of what's called the "galaxy."

Sasha is trying to use her human disguise to her advantage by posing as a mystical princess of Earth.  This charade won't last long, however.

Sasha also talks down to the Earthlings, assuming they don't know the nature of their own galaxy, due to Earth's back-woods status.  How she learned the English word for "galaxy" without expecting the Rangers to know of the concept is a mystery (unless her language skills are magical and thus immune to dictates of logic).

PETE (still distracted by her hat):
Yeah, we know what a galaxy is.

[ SASHA smiles politely with her mouth. ]

SASHA:
My apologies.  (continues)  We believe we can help free the Earth from this threat, with your help.

CASEY (cocking her eyebrow):
What help?

SASHA:
You must give us the secrets of your Ranger powers.

Magda wants to learn the Ranger technology's origins before she destroys the Rangers.


[ EXT. SPACE STATION - Establishment shot. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - Hunched over the central console, DILLIK squints as he studies the screen. ]

DILLIK:
Hey, Camera One stopped working.

This episode contains the only mentions of the Hoverbirds' technical designations as Camera One through Camera Five.

Dillik is, of course, referring to Luke's Hoverbird which was deactivated by the Discard downtown.

[ DILLIK taps the screen ineffectually.  As we see in close-up, the screen is divided into a five-way split-screen, with the center panel black.  Three of the other panels show Hoverbirds' perspectives as they pore over the smooth white forcefield: two are in remote, wooded areas where the forcefield meets the ground, while the third is over the water, the forcefield seeming to extend into the water.  The fourth, final panel shows an aerial view following a gray DISCARD at a waterfront. ]

The final camera is Maggie's Hoverbird, still following the Discard at the waterfront, as she mentioned previously.

DILLIK (cont'd, to the center panel):
What happened to you, little buddy?

Dillik tends to anthropomorphize technology at times.

[ DILLIK begins typing a sequence of keys on the keyboard.  He pauses to study the display, which now shows various diagrams superimposed over the center panel.  The other panels continue to display views from the other four Hoverbirds. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Wow, your solar cell's running on empty.  You need to take better care of yourself.

Here we learn the Hoverbirds are solar-powered, explaining what Luke's Hoverbird was doing in the sky until he recalled it in episode 1.

[ DILLIK distractedly takes a half-second to scrutinize the corner panel following the gray DISCARD at the waterfront. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Hey, who's that guy?  (clears his head and returns his focus to the keyboard)  All right, hang on, little fella.  I'm just gonna flash your memory...

Technical mumbo-jumbo here.  I have no idea why flashing a Hoverbird's memory would help it recover from depleted power cells.


[ EXT. CITY STREET - We see a close-up of Luke's HOVERBIRD lying against a wad of brown paper and other debris clogged in a curb drain. ]

Spring Valley clearly isn't the cleanest city in California.  However, if not for this debris, the Hoverbird would probably be in the sewer now.


[ EXT. ALLEY - In a side alley, LISA and LUKE duck behind a dumpster, both slightly out of breath.  LUKE closes his eyes for a moment as LISA peeks out for their pursuer.  She then leans back to join him in their hiding place, satisfied for the time being. ]

LISA:
I think we lost him.  Who knows what that freak's up to now though...

[ LUKE opens his eyes and addresses LISA as he stands. ]

LUKE:
Lisa, there's something I need to tell you.

Luke's conscience is bothered by his need to hide his identity from Lisa.  However, I decided to make circumstance prevent him from disclosing it outright.


[ EXT. CITY STREET - The HOVERBIRD rolls into what could be considered an upright position, its camera eye facing forward and its stripe parallel with the ground.  It then rises with a soft "whiz" sound, flying out of frame. ]


[ EXT. ALLEY - Still standing before the crouching LISA, LUKE is interrupted as his MORPHER chimes.  He glances at his blinking watch before speaking to LISA with determination after a brief moment of hesitation. ]

LUKE:
I-- (determined) I've gotta go.  I can help.

[ LISA looks up at him searchingly before flashing a defeated smile. ]

LISA (gently):
There you go saving people again.  What are you, a...?

Lisa is referring to events in episode 6, wherein she asked Luke if he went around "saving" people (though not in a Ranger context).  But now his heroics, particularly his willingness to fight the Discard, allow her to deduce his identity, particularly as he says nothing to contradict her below.

[ As her voice trails off, LISA's smile evaporates.  LUKE continues to meet her gaze without reply.  He then turns and trots away.  Now alone, LISA stares at the ground, stunned. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DILLIK stands back from the central console, clearly proud of himself.  In the background, a monitor on the back wall (where Dillik was previously seen searching for Magda) shows a graphic of Russia, with a blinking red dot in the Sakha Republic's Verkhoyansk Range (near the Arctic coast, in the middle-right side of Russia).  The dot features a text label (later shown in close-up) reading, "Verkhoyansk Range." ]

DILLIK (proudly):
Well, I did it!  Camera One's up and running again!  (then, as an afterthought:)  Oh yeah... I found Magda's base.

[ Polishing his sword while leaning against a console on the other side of the room, TRASK rises alertly. ]

Once agin, Trask is polishing his sword, which was later retconned into the application of Ancients' tears (episode 38).

TRASK:
Where is it?

[ DILLIK ambles over to the side console bearing the Russian graphic.  We cut to a close-up for a moment as he points. ]

DILLIK (pointing casually):
It's right here, in the... (squints and struggles to pronounce the name) V... Ver...  Verky--  Well, it's in Russia.  (turns back toward Trask)  What are you g--

[ DILLIK falls silent as he realizes he's now alone in the room.  He pouts moderately. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Yeah, tell 'em I said hi.


[ INT. ICY CELL - The four unmorphed HEROES continue to speak with SASHA through the bars of their cell. ]

CHRIS:
Look, Princess, you're asking the wrong people.

CASEY:
Yeah... We don't even know that much about this stuff in the first place.

I found it interesting that a team of Rangers would know so little about their powers and their origin (for a while, anyway).  This scenario is rare in Power Rangers.

SASHA:
And who does?  (examines the group with renewed interest)  ... There are five of you, aren't there...?

[ The HEROES glance at each other with growing dread. ]

[ SASHA smiles sinisterly. ]

SASHA:
Maybe your--

[ SASHA falls silent as she becomes aware of something unseen. ]

Just for the sake of realism, whenever I had to interrupt a scene, I tried not to set the interruption right at the end of a pithy statement.  Here, I don't give Sasha the chance to finish her line.

SASHA (cont'd, to herself):
An intruder...!

Sasha will not display clairvoyance again in the series; perhaps her knowledge of the intruder comes courtesy of Magda.

[ SASHA dashes off into the darkness, leaving the DISCARDS to guard the cell. ]

[ The confused HEROES look at each other. ]

PETE:
Luke...?


[ INT. QUEEN'S CHAMBER - MAGDA continues to meditate within a white aura on her throne. ]

[ From the dark nether-region beyond the immediate surroundings, SASHA dashes in and looks around anxiously, still holding her STAR HANDLE. ]

SASHA:
Come for your friends, have you, Ranger?  Show yourself!

[ Sentai (Jetman #43) - In his silver-armored form (see episode 8), TRASK emerges from behind one of the chamber's dark knotted columns, initially facing Sasha (off-screen).  His sword is poised behind him in his hand. ]

Trask emerges Trask emerges

Once again, Trask doesn't power down immediately after leaving the sunlight (contrast with episode 35).

Though the Sword of Tears was a retcon in episode 38, I found the new context from that episode fit nicely with Trask's pose here.

[ Initially surprised, SASHA scowls at the intruder (off-screen), clutching her STAR HANDLE threateningly. ]

SASHA:
You don't belong here.

Sasha doesn't immediately recognize Trask in this form.

[ Sentai (Jetman #43) - TRASK turns to face Magda (off-screen). ]

Trask looks at Magda

TRASK:
My empress...

Writing lines to match Radiguet's mouth movements proved especially tricky.  This made me use less of his footage throughout the series than I originally intended, as I found it distasteful to pull a Rita Repulsa by disregarding his phonemes entirely.

[ Seen through her aura, MAGDA slowly opens her eyes and speaks with an echoing, regal voice. ]

MAGDA:
Step forward.

[ SASHA watches incredulously as Trask advances (off-screen). ]

[ Sentai (Jetman #17) - TRASK confidently advances down the red carpet toward MAGDA and her aura-encased throne (US addition).  Speaking as he walks, TRASK then stops at the base of her throne platform and switches his sword to his other hand with a flourish. ]

Trask approaches Magda (aura not shown) Trask's sword flourish (Magda's aura not shown)

TRASK:
Your majesty, your powers are galactic legend.  (switches hands)

Trask is stroking her ego, but he could easily be speaking the truth.

[ Watching, SASHA stirs anxiously, not trusting the stranger. ]

[ Sentai (Jetman #17) - TRASK proceeds to step forward and kneel at the base of the platform, just outside the queen's aura (US addition). ]

Trask kneels before Magda (aura not shown)

TRASK:
I wish nothing more than to serve... (kneels) ...as your faithful general.

Presumably Trask aims to get close to Magda before making an attempt on her life.  This was an element of Trask's plan even without the Sword of Tears retcon.

[ As MAGDA smirks coolly, her aura dissipates. ]


[ EXT. ROOFTOP - On the rooftop of a building, LUKE is monitoring his MORPHER's display.  As shown in close-up within the display, the white DISCARD is walking through a city plaza. ]

[ LUKE glances up to notice the dome above fading away from view without a trace.  He then looks back at his display and does a doubletake. ]

LUKE (puzzled):
Where'd he go?

Trask has drawn enough of Magda's attention to make her recall the Discards and lower her forcefield, both of which require a conscious effort to maintain.  Presumably she retains enough focus to keep the Discards outside the Rangers' cell animated, however.


[ INT. QUEEN'S CHAMBER - MAGDA leans her head forward with bemused interest.  She speaks with slow, cruel precision. ]

MAGDA:
What manner of misfortune brings a lonely shadow dweller to serve me?  You, whose pitiful race was driven from this planet, now seek to command my armies against the Earthlings?

A small portion of the Vampirians' backstory is revealed here.

[ SASHA listens intently. ]

SASHA (to herself):
Trask...?

MAGDA (off-screen):
Imagine, the wretched against the overlords!

Somehow knowing the Vampirians' origins, Magda considers humans the victors in the human-Vampirian conflict; though in some sense she may be correct, she seems to have little respect for those she has deemed the losers.

[ MAGDA continues, rising from her throne as her upright staff continues to float beside her, unassisted. ]

MAGDA:
But very well, Vampirian of Earth.  (begins to extend her right hand)

[ Sentai (Jetman #17) - We see MAGDA's hand extend in front of TRASK's face. ]

Magda offers her hand to Trask

MAGDA (off-screen):
You shall be my servant.

[ His eyes shifting between Magda (off-screen) and her hand, TRASK reluctantly takes her hand and kisses it gently. ]

Trask kisses Magda's hand Trask kisses Magda's hand Trask kisses Magda's hand

[ Looking down at Trask (off-screen), MAGDA smiles sinisterly. ]

[ Sentai (Jetman #17) - After MAGDA (off-screen) pulls her hand away, TRASK rises. ]

Trask done kissing Magda's hand Trask done kissing Magda's hand

[ MAGDA turns slightly. ]

MAGDA:
As your first assignment...

[ Sentai (Jetman #17) - We see a close-up of TRASK's feet as he takes several steps backward.  We quickly pan up as TRASK roars in anger and thrusts his sword forward. ]

Trask attacks Magda Trask attacks Magda Trask attacks Magda

I assume Trask's plan didn't originally call for him to attack Magda this early, but her denigrating remarks about his people have infuriated him.  Note that in the context of episode 38, this attack becomes Trask's attempt to slay an immortal using his enchanted sword.

[ MAGDA calmly turns back to Trask (off-screen) as her staff flies in front of her, blocking the incoming sword blade. ]

[ Nearby, SASHA startles. ]

[ MAGDA speaks sinisterly to Trask (off-screen). ]

MAGDA:
That was foolish.

[ Her staff flings Trask's sword away from her (Trask not shown on-screen). ]

[ Sentai (Jetman #17) - TRASK tumbles back, rolling across the red carpet.  He quickly rises to his feet. ]

Trask rolls back Trask rolls back

Similarly in the sentai, Radiguet attempted to strike down Juuza after being humiliated; she then turned intangible for a while before becoming a monster.

[ MAGDA smiles savagely as she grasps her floating staff (out of frame, suggested through body posture). ]

MAGDA:
You were not the first to cross me...

[ Switch to sentai (Jetman #17) - Shown in close-up holding her staff, MAGDA's hand is illuminated in flashes of bluish-green light as it morphs with blue electrical bolts (US addition) into a monstrous white appendage with a curled tentacle. ]

Magda transforms Magda transforms

MAGDA (cont'd, off-screen, with growing monstrosity):
And you will not be the first to perish for it!

Magda brutally put down a number of insurrections during her rule over the empire.  The rebellion that drove her from the empire, however, will be detailed in the next episode.

[ Beginning with a now monstrously mutated torso, the camera pans up MAGDA's new body, showing a glimpse of a hideous monster face as the bluish-green flashes of light continue. ]

Magda's monster form Magda's monster form

[ TRASK staggers back with a horrified grimace. ]

Trask horrified

[ MAGDA shoots fiery red beams from her eyes. ]

Magda shoots eyebeams Magda shoots eyebeams

[ The beams strike TRASK, enveloping him in a red cyclone of energy, causing him to drop to his knees.  The energy then hoists him into the air, sending him spiraling into a series of dizzying backflips. ]

Trask levitated Trask levitated Trask levitated Trask levitated

[ MAGDA laughs wickedly with her monstrous voice. ]

Magda laughs

At this point in the sentai, Juuza's monster body vanished, leaving only a floating head.  Radiguet was then turned into a human and left unconscious on Earth.  Instead, I've used assorted sentai below to extend Magda's attacks on Trask.

[ Jetman #37 - Suspended limply in the air, TRASK sparks and plummets to the carpet below.  He rises with a determined growl, sword in hand. ]

Trask drops Trask drops Trask drops Trask drops

At this point in Jetman #37, Radiguet similarly turned on their new leader, Tranza, with equally disastrous results.  Conveniently, both encounters featured the red carpet on the floor, which allowed me to splice the battles together.

[ Jetman #17 - MAGDA again fires her eye beams. ]

Magda shoots eyebeams

This is a recycled shot; Juuza only fired once in the sentai.

[ Jetman #37 - TRASK's sword erupts in sparks as it flies painfully out of his hand.  We see the sword flip through the air before it rights itself in Trask's direction (off-screen).  It plunges down toward him and strikes him in the shoulder, causing him to soar back with a flash of sparks. ]

Trask loses his sword Trask loses his sword Trask loses his sword Trask loses his sword Trask loses his sword Trask loses his sword

More from Radiguet's clash with Tranza.  Tranza was telekinetic, but this power seemed to fit just as well with Magda.

[ US footage - SASHA watches worriedly. ]

Why is Sasha concerned for Trask so soon after his attack on her mother?  Presumably she empathizes with his anger after being humiliated.

[ Jetman #40 - Now holding his sword, a smoking TRASK stumbles onto the floor in agony. ]

Trask defeated

Jetman #40 opened with another uneven clash between Radiguet and Tranza.

[ Transition from Jetman #17 to US footage - MAGDA transforms back from monster form into her humanoid form with blue energy (US addition). ]

Magda before reverting from monster form Magda's humanoid form

MAGDA (cont'd):
But then... we aren't savages, are we, Trask?  (waves her staff)  Surely we can talk about this reasonably.

[ Sentai (Jetman #48) - Again standing, TRASK is struck with crippling pain as he crackles with red electrical bolts.  He immediately drops to his knees. ]

Trask crackling Trask crackling

In Jetman #48, Radiguet was apparently experiencing a power surplus after his experience aboard Veronica (the Gigazord).

[ SASHA cringes slightly at the sight. ]

[ Sentai (Jetman #48) - The camera rotates from behind TRASK to his front side as he continues to writhe in pain from the red electricity, clutching his chest/collar area.  His expression appears stunned.  Finally, he gleams with red light (US addition). ]

Trask crackling Trask crackling Trask crackling

[ Switch to US footage - When the light subsides, TRASK has reverted to his normal form.  He drops his sword and collapses onto his hands in weakness, panting for air. ]

[ SASHA appears concerned. ]

SASHA (to herself, softly):
Trask...!

[ MAGDA addresses Trask (off-screen) from her platform. ]

MAGDA:
Few of your kind realize their full potential.  To bathe yourself in light, you must be incredibly determined, or incredibly stupid.

It isn't revealed how Magda knows the Vampirians' potential, but she is quite old and well-traveled.

[ Still trying to catch his breath, TRASK manages to lift his head to look up defiantly at Magda (off-screen). ]

[ MAGDA is unmoved. ]

MAGDA:
I assume the latter.  But you may still be useful to me.  I would like you to bring me the Red Ranger.  I don't believe I need to specify the consequence if you decline.

Curious that Magda would entrust Trask with this mission after his attack.  Perhaps she was testing his limits by insulting his people.

[ MAGDA fades away into thin air.  SASHA regretfully takes several steps backward, fading into the darkness at the edge of the room. ]

[ Left alone with his sword, TRASK growls and punches the floor in frustration. ]


[ Break. ]


[ EXT. APARTMENT ROOFTOP - On the roof of the Rangers' apartment building stands a large semicircle of perhaps a dozen and a half NOBODIES (though we don't yet see the center of their formation). ]

[ Nearby, RED RANGER lands on the rooftop and confronts the NOBODIES with a martial arts stance. ]

[ Without appearing hostile, the NOBODIES closest to RED RANGER part to reveal TRASK leaning casually in the shade against an air conditioning unit. ]

Realistically speaking, even though Trask isn't in direct sunlight, the ambient daylight around him probably should have caused him some discomfort (compare with his discomfort in dim morning light in the next episode), but I was willing to waive this realism for the sake of the story.

TRASK:
I thought that might get your attention.

Since Trask is invisible to the Hoverbirds, he had to use Nobodies to draw in Red Ranger to issue his proposal.  This is battalion #3, created for this meeting but later reused in episodes 11 and 12.

[ TRASK makes a circular gesture with his hand, causing all of the NOBODIES to vanish in a chain reaction of black ripple effects tied to his gesture.  Only one NOBODY remains, off to the side, standing calmly. ]

Perhaps Trask has dismissed the other Nobodies to try to put Red Ranger at ease, but he needs one to keep the attention of Luke's Hoverbird (see next episode).

[ RED RANGER creeps slightly closer to TRASK, maintaining a rigid defensive stance. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
What do you want?

TRASK:
Your team has been captured.

[ RED RANGER tenses further. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
What did you do to them?

TRASK:
Sadly, I had no part in this.  An evil queen wants to add this entire world to her collection, and she's starting with the Power Rangers.

[ Though his visor hides his eyes, RED RANGER appears to eye Trask (off-screen) intensely. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
And why are you telling me this...?

[ TRASK stands upright (though still in the shade). ]

TRASK:
(chuckles)  To join forces with you, of course.

Trask isn't above temporary alliances with his foes to tackle worse foes.  It appears in the next episode that he even honors these alliances, though this may have been merely due to necessity.

[ "To be continued..." ]