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

POWER RANGERS TAKE FLIGHT

Episode 26: "Threats Unknown"

This episode was completed on September 15, 2007, and released on August 30, 2008.  Its title refers to a variety of threats, including the Rangers' mysterious duplicates, the agency investigating the Rangers, Maggie's uncertain future, the invisible monster, Trask's pursuer, and his secret crime.

Writer:  Joe Rovang

[ Sentai footage is from Jetman #38 unless otherwise noted. ]

In Jetman #38, the Rangers destroy a monster (Satellizard; see episode 25) and freeze its red bug for research purposes.  One scientist (who happens to be Red's old rugby rival) steals the bug for personal gain, but he is attacked by Radiguet's monster (Hammersham), and the bug's canister falls into a pond nearby.  Red severs the monster's hammer hand, and the Echo Enforcers destroy him; under the water's surface, however, the captured bug merges with the severed hammer to recreate Hammersham.  As Tranza and the Nobodies then occupy the others, Red's rival uses a fire extinguisher to reveal the monster for Red's thrashing purposes.  Tranza causes the monster to grow, and the Rangers use the Kestrel's scanner to locate him once again, destroying him soon thereafter.

I used this episode here as a means for Maggie to come to terms with her uncertain future (from this point on, only the Smog Rat battle featured Blue Ranger prominently, and I'd reserved that episode for Lisa's debut; an invisible monster fit the bill, however, as it could "appear" in US footage).  Also, I wanted to use Hammersham's Kestrelzord battle before the Mega Kestrelzord and Battlezord were introduced.  Its placement here meant I had to omit a fairly interesting Echo Blaster sequence, however, as those weapons hadn't been introduced yet in Take Flight.


[ Fade in to INT. HOUSE, LAUNDRY ROOM - Dressed in casual clothes, LUKE is loading wet clothes into the dryer when the phone rings once, distantly.  Moments later, we hear PETE calling out from another room.  LUKE pauses to listen. ]

This scene takes place on Tuesday, July 21, 1992, shortly after Morales' files were raided in the previous episode.

Luke's chores around the house include doing the laundry.

PETE (off-screen):
Hey, Luke, it's for you!  It's Detective Morales!


[ INT. HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - As LUKE enters from the laundry room beside the foyer, PETE tosses him the cordless phone from the couch.  LUKE catches it deftly and answers. ]

LUKE:
Hello?


[ EXT. CITY STREET - DETECTIVE MORALES is using a pay phone. ]

DETECTIVE MORALES:
Luke, listen.  There's some serious stuff going down at the station.  Some guys claiming to be from the Air Force just took all of my files.


[ INT. HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - LUKE reacts with concern. ]

LUKE:
You mean they know who we are?


[ EXT. SPACE STATION - Establishment shot. ]

The rest of this episode takes place on Wednesday, July 22, 1992, the day after Morales' files were raided, and two days since the triple monster threat (episode 25).

TRASK (voice-over):
Tell me what I'm looking at, Dillik.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, OBSERVATION BOOTH - TRASK and DILLIK stand observing the rocky landscape in the holding bay below.  Every few seconds, a relatively small rube of rock vanishes with greenish-silver vertical streaks, then another, and another, in sequence.  The rock is peppered with Jinnsect-sized holes (see episode 3). ]

DILLIK (confused):
W-- Well, it's the old Jinnsect habitat.

TRASK:
Clearly.  What's it doing?

DILLIK (eagerly):
Ohh!  Well, see, Mainframe programmed the teleporter to empty out all this rock from the holding bay.  It's all automated, so we just have to sit back and wait!

TRASK:
And we want the holding bay empty why?

[ DILLIK is startled by the question. ]

DILLIK:
T-- To build stuff.  (mischievously) As a matter of fact, I just might have a certain secret project in the works...  (seriously) But it's too soon to talk about it.  I don't wanna jinx it.

I needed a place for the Gigazord to be constructed; this emptying process will also clear the way for the Rangers' Flyers to land in the station, though I didn't have that in mind here.

[ TRASK grunts noncommittally.  They stare a while at the slowly disintegrating landscape.  Eventually, DILLIK speaks absently while continuing to look out the window: ]

DILLIK (absently):
You know, I was thinking about sending frozen scientist home.  She might be happier out of suspended animation.

TRASK (calmly, without looking at Dillik):
You do realize she's the only thing keeping the Rangers at bay, don't you?

Trask is referring indirectly to events in episode 13.

I find the calmness of Trask's reply interesting, given the outlandishness of Dillik's suggestion.

[ Apparently surprised, DILLIK looks at TRASK, but before he can ask a question, SASHA's voice is heard: ]

SASHA (off-screen):
Plus, how would you keep creepy Vampirians out of your room without her?

Sasha has returned from her recovery on Illam (see episode 24).  Specifically, she has come to reconcile with Strife, and to take down Trask.  (My primary motivation for bringing her back was due to her role in the Shadow Ranger plot next episode.)

Her reference to Dr. Bering keeping Vampirians at bay is based on her knowledge gleaned in episode 12; further, she will exploit this prior to Kora's arrival later this episode.

[ TRASK and DILLIK whirl around to find SASHA leaning smugly in the doorway, her arms crossed.  Her Star Handle is not visible. ]

SASHA (cont'd, with a smirk):
... Gentlemen.


[ INT. HOUSE, DOWNSTAIRS - MAGGIE enters through the front door. ]

Maggie has come home from unspecified school-related activities; Pete has the day off.

MAGGIE:
Honey, I'm home.

Pete jokingly said the same to Maggie in episode 20.

[ On the living room couch, PETE tries to hide a silvery packet from which he had apparently been eating with a fork.  He is in different clothes from the previous house scene. ]

PETE (anxiously):
Oh, hey, Maggie.

[ MAGGIE suspiciously approaches, a sly grin on her face. ]

MAGGIE:
What have you got there?

[ PETE acts casual. ]

PETE:
Uhh, what?

[ MAGGIE pulls out the packet. ]

MAGGIE:
Aha!  Rations from Illam!  You like this stuff after all!

Originally, I intended for the Rangers to take edible plants from Illam, but rations seemed more plausible in retrospect, so I snuck this in after the fact.

[ PETE cries out in anguish, still holding his fork. ]

PETE:
All right!  I admit it!  I like their packaged food!  (pleadingly)  Please don't tell anyone.

See episodes 7 and 11 for Pete's feelings on packaged food.

[ MAGGIE laughs and returns the packet.  She then sits, growing more serious. ]

MAGGIE:
Hey, can I ask you a question?

[ PETE continues to eat small cube-shaped pieces of food from the packet. ]

PETE:
Go for it.

MAGGIE:
Why do you think I didn't have a duplicate?

Of the five Rangers, only Maggie lacked a duplicate during their week in space (see episode 25).  Maggie is concerned after Pete suggested that the duplicates were their future selves.  (Of course, later we learn Maggie stepped down before Tachyderm sent them back in time in episode 36, and so it's actually Lisa who has a duplicate rather than Maggie.)

After devising the time-traveling duplicates subplot, I didn't actually plan to revisit the duplicate issue after the Rangers' initial confusion (episode 25), but I now found it relevant to Maggie's journey toward retirement.  Ultimately, the duplicates were mentioned many times between episodes 25 and 36.

[ PETE ponders weightily. ]

PETE:
I dunno.  But... you shouldn't get too worried about it.  It doesn't have to be a bad thing.  Maybe... you stayed behind in our Time Base to keep an eye on the rest of us.  Professor Maggie.

In Pete's imagined future, Maggie serves as a technical advisor for the team, as did Blue Ranger Billy in Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers and Power Rangers Zeo (1996).

[ MAGGIE smirks gently. ]

MAGGIE:
Yeah?  You wanna show me this "Time Base" of yours?

PETE:
Maggie, don't be ridiculous.  We haven't built it yet.

Pete later tries to instate use of the term "Time Base" for their residence as they repeat their year back in time (episodes 36 and 37).

[ MAGGIE chuckles. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, OBSERVATION BOOTH - DILLIK lights up. ]

DILLIK:
Your majesty!  Welcome back!

[ SASHA strolls into the room and passes between DILLIK and TRASK to examine the landscape below. ]

SASHA (wryly):
Yeah, don't worry, I survived.  Thanks for asking.

Dillik secretly knows this already after finding her as Strife (episode 24).  Even still, from the perspective of Earth, Sasha (in giant monster form) was merely seen vanishing with the Rangers, so concern might or might not have been warranted.

In episode 24, Strife left indignantly after Sasha insulted Dillik and Trask; rather than suspecting Dillik's identity, however, she merely wondered if they were Strife's friends.  For this reason, Sasha has returned to Earth as she seeks reconciliation with Strife, though surely bringing ruin to Trask was a major temptation as well.

We don't know what became of Gamma Two, in whose care Strife left Sasha (episode 24).

DILLIK (stammering):
W--  Oh.  I-- I'm sorry, your majesty.  I-- I guess I just assumed --

[ TRASK silently watches the pair, alternating his eyes between Sasha and Dillik (off-screen). ]

Trask notices something seems to be awry.

[ SASHA turns with a shrug. ]

SASHA:
Oh well, no hard feelings.  Sorry about... you know, all those Jinnsects.  Do you have anything else in the works?

Sasha's failed plan in episodes 21 and 22 resulted in the loss of the last fifteen Jinnsects.

TRASK:
Why are you here?

SASHA:
(scoffs incredulously)  Isn't it obvious?  I missed you guys!

[ DILLIK cocks his head.  In voice-over, we hear SASHA's line from episode 24. ]

SASHA (voice-over):
I think I even kinda like you a little.  ...unlike those losers Trask and Dillik.

[ DILLIK speaks: ]

DILLIK:
R-- Really...  I-- I would've thought you were... you know, mad at us about something.  Like, you thought we were "losers" or something...

[ SASHA laughs, perhaps hiding her true feelings. ]

SASHA (amusedly):
What?  Who said that?

She must know Strife and Dillik are in cahoots now.  She doesn't want to admit saying it, however, and Dillik doesn't want to admit knowing it.

[ DILLIK shrugs, feigning innocence. ]

DILLIK:
Oh, n-- nobody.

[ TRASK eyes them both without amusement.  He then addresses SASHA: ]

TRASK (with a polite nod):
Welcome back, your majesty.  Make yourself at home.  We'll notify you as soon as we've devised a mission for you.

Trask coolly accepts Sasha back, so long as she's willing to serve under their authority.

[ SASHA purses her lips into a sour smile, attempting to show gratitude. ]

SASHA:
Thank you, Trask.  I look forward it.

In fact, she has no interest in serving Trask and Dillik; she merely seeks Strife because she was comforted by the idea of having an ally in the galaxy (and while she's at it, bringing about Trask's downfall seems attractive).

[ TRASK exits. ]

[ Once Trask is gone, DILLIK approaches SASHA. ]

DILLIK:
Y-- Your majesty...

[ DILLIK pauses and looks to the doorway. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Trask?


[ INT. SPACE STATION CORRIDOR - Immediately outside the observation booth, hidden just out of SASHA and DILLIK's line of sight, TRASK curses inaudibly under his breath and vanishes with a ripple effect. ]

I considered that Trask would probably want to know more, and hiding outside the door seemed like a reasonable approach.  Unfortunately for Trask, Dillik can detect him, thanks to his super hearing.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, LIFE SUPPORT - In an even more modified Life Support (compare with episode 1), MAINFRAME stands with his fingertips to the walls, apparently in deep concentration. ]

Here, I intended for Mainframe to be adjusting the atmospheric settings for the holding bay (formerly the Jinnsect habitat) in preparation for his and Dillik's Zord project.

[ TRASK appears beside him with a ripple effect and barks with a snap of his finger: ]

TRASK:
Mainframe, monster.  Now!

[ MAINFRAME releases his hands from the wall.  TRASK vanishes just as quickly as he arrived.  MAINFRAME looks around and exits hurriedly. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, OBSERVATION BOOTH - With a shrug, DILLIK continues. ]

DILLIK:
Your majesty, are you sure something isn't troubling you?

SASHA (in a low voice):
Dillik, I know you're friends with Strife.

[ DILLIK appears startled. ]

SASHA (cont'd):
I want to talk to him.  Please, have him meet me at the park where we met before.  He'll know where it is.

The park Sasha describes was the place where Strife tried to talk Sasha out of her monster army plan in episode 21.

[ DILLIK nods speechlessly.  SASHA summons her STAR HANDLE and vanishes in a white gleam. ]

[ DILLIK anxiously looks out the observation window. ]


[ Dissolve to EXT. PARK - MAGGIE and SEAN walk along the side of a gurgling stream.  MAGGIE is in her same clothes.  The two are not holding hands. ]

[ They pause to watch the flowing water a while.  Eventually, SEAN speaks. ]

SEAN:
I'm glad you're back.

[ MAGGIE doesn't respond. ]

SEAN (cont'd):
How's your... was it your aunt?

[ MAGGIE looks at him distractedly. ]

MAGGIE:
Hmm?  (clearing her head) Oh, she's fine.  They-- they've got her on bed rest.

Maggie is improvising, as she doesn't know exactly what Sean was told regarding her absence.

SEAN (concerned):
What was it?

MAGGIE:
It was, uh... an acute case of... lutraphobia.

SEAN (puzzled):
Fear of...

MAGGIE (awkwardly):
Uhh... otters...

I can't explain how Maggie just happens to know this, psychology major aside.  Incidentally, Maggie seems to be a poor liar on the spot.

[ SEAN blinks. ]

MAGGIE (cont'd):
Yeah, she... uh... she has a hard time with it.  I... uh... I have to help calm her down sometimes.

SEAN:
From the otters.

MAGGIE:
Right.

SEAN (looking toward the water):
Wow.

[ As SEAN looks aside, MAGGIE grimaces privately. ]

MAGGIE:
(grimaces)  Yeah.

[ SEAN soon begins speaking to MAGGIE again, but his voice fades away as MAGGIE stares at the water. ]

SEAN (fading):
I talked with your friend Casey last week when I was trying to reach you.  Well, I don't know if I'd say "talked"...  She answered the phone...

We see future-Casey answering the phone in episode 37.

Due to the unspecified cause of their original breakup, Sean is now compulsively honest; Maggie finds this a bit annoying, but she also feels guilty that she can't reciprocate.


[ EXT. PARK (ELSEWHERE) - SASHA wanders searchingly through a park (compare with sentai).  She ultimately spies someone (off-screen). ]

[ Switch to sentai (Jetman #49) - STRIFE emerges. ]

Strife Strife Strife

In Jetman #49, Gray (Strife) was trying to talk the vampiric Maria (Sasha) out of her mad lust for power.

STRIFE:
Welcome back, your majesty.

[ US footage - SASHA smiles with relief. ]

SASHA:
Strife...  You came.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S QUARTERS - DILLIK sits on his web-bed, wearing his VR helmet.  His door is closed, and the frozen canister (not seen distinctly) is in the corner. ]

Dr. Bering is gone by this point; Dillik hasn't noticed.

DILLIK:
Of course, your majesty.  It's good to see you back on Earth.


[ EXT. PARK (US footage) - SASHA smiles softly. ]

SASHA:
Look, Strife, I'm sorry about what I said about your friends.  I just... get sick of being used as their pawn against the Rangers.  I didn't mean to upset you.

I felt I needed to elaborate further on the nature of Sasha's turnaround on her opinion of Dillik.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S QUARTERS - DILLIK pauses a moment.  He then looks down and shakes his head soberly. ]

DILLIK:
No, I-- I'm sorry.

After Sasha's explanation, Dillik guiltily realizes his fortune-telling scheme and monster provocation plan (episode 19) did, in fact, place her in danger.


[ EXT. PARK (US footage) - SASHA smirks and crinkles her brow. ]

SASHA:
You're sorry?  What do you have to be sorry for?  Saving my life time after time?

He saved her in episodes 12 and 16, made an attempt in episode 21, and found her on Illam in episode 24.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S QUARTERS - DILLIK looks up and shakes his head again. ]

DILLIK:
No...


[ EXT. PARK (Jetman #49) - STRIFE lifts his hands plaintively as SASHA stands in the foreground. ]

Strife speaks (Sasha in foreground) Strife speaks (Sasha in foreground)

STRIFE (cont'd):
You're right.  I've been placing you in danger.

[ US footage - SASHA scoffs. ]

SASHA:
You're not making sense, Strife.

[ STRIFE slowly turns away.  He then speaks with resolve. ]

Strife turns Strife turns Strife turns

STRIFE:
No, not Strife.  (with resolve) ... Dillik.

[ SASHA's jaw drops. ]

My early plans for the series involved Sasha running away with Dillik upon learning his identity (which was planned to follow her role in the upcoming Shadow Ranger plot).  I later decided I could make things more interesting than that (and I also didn't want to get rid of Dillik).


[ INT. BOOKSMART CAFE - MAGGIE slouches miserably as she arrives in front of CASEY at the beverage counter.  CASEY is in uniform, while MAGGIE is in the same clothes.  Further down the counter, Casey's coworker DREW may be seen glancing in Maggie's direction from time to time as he helps the occasional customer. ]

CASEY (cheerily):
Well, hey, Maggie!

MAGGIE (pitifully):
Hi...

CASEY:
What's wrong?

MAGGIE:
I just got back from my lunch date with Sean.

CASEY:
Oh.  Did it not go well?

MAGGIE:
Ahh, I dunno, it was okay.  It just bothers me that I have to keep so much hidden from him... and meanwhile, he's so compulsively honest about every little thing now.  Like, he had to tell me he talked with you on the phone one day.

CASEY (puzzled):
Wait, what?  We've never talked on the phone.

MAGGIE:
(reflects)  Oh, that must've been the other you.

CASEY (curiously):
Oh.

MAGGIE:
But, see, that's the kind of stuff I can't talk about with him.  "I'm a little worried because I'm not sure if I exist in the future.  Oh, and by the way, the military may be coming to confiscate my watch, or they may just arrest me."  Oh, plus I had to lie about why I was gone for a week.

[ CASEY makes a sympathetic face.  She then notices a customer waiting behind MAGGIE at the entrance to the cafe. ]

CASEY (to Maggie):
Oops, sorry, hang on one sec.

[ Noticing the customer, MAGGIE backs away demurely. ]

MAGGIE:
That's okay.  I'll see you tonight.

At this point, the script originally had Maggie encountering Barry and his new girlfriend Diane (see episodes 20 and 40) near the comic books on her way out.  I cut that encounter because it didn't do much for the episode.

[ MAGGIE exits.  CASEY appears concerned for her, but she then greets the approaching customer (low audio).  CASEY soon turns and begins preparing a cappuccino.  DREW leans over and speaks in a hushed voice. ]

DREW:
Hey, that was your friend, right?

CASEY:
Who?  Maggie?

DREW:
Right, Maggie.  She was in here a couple of months ago, right?

[ CASEY thinks a moment and then laughs. ]

CASEY:
Yeah, but she wasn't really herself back then.


[ We flash back to episode 4, in the same location: ]

CASEY:
Umm, yes ma'am.  You wanted the iced coffee...?

CUSTOMER:
No!  I want this heated up.

MAGGIE (to the customer):
Hey, are you dense or something?  It's an iced coffee!  (advancing)  Why don't you get out of here, huh?


[ INT. BOOKSMART CAFE - DREW inquires hopefully: ]

DREW:
Is she seeing anybody?

Shortly after I wrote episode 4, I made a note that Drew might be intrigued by her wild (spell-induced) behavior, and I finally managed to incorporate that into the series here.  (It does make one wonder about Drew's taste in women, though.)

[ CASEY does a double-take toward DREW, pausing with the cappuccino in her hand. ]

[ At the counter, the customer clears his throat.  CASEY distractedly replies to DREW: ]

CASEY:
Yeah, she kinda is.

[ CASEY returns to the counter as DREW ponders. ]

DREW:
Kinda?

[ CASEY hands the customer his drink and gives him change (Drew not shown from this angle).  CASEY then speaks before turning around. ]

CASEY:
Yeah, they're on, like, a trial --  (turns, sees Drew gone)

[ CASEY looks around for DREW and finds him making his way out of the cafe. ]

DREW:
Hey, would you mind watching my counter for a sec?

CASEY (flustered):
Uhh... sure...


[ INT. BOOKSMART - Near the front of the store, MAGGIE is headed for the exit when DREW stops her, a book in his hand. ]

DREW:
Uhh, Miss?  I'm sorry, did you drop this?

[ MAGGIE glances at the book. ]

MAGGIE:
No, I --  (laughs) "Beginner's Guide to Rock-Climbing?"  Sorry, I don't rock-climb.

[ DREW casually places the book on a nearby display case. ]

DREW:
Oh.  Would you like to?  Say, on Saturday?

That Drew is a rather crafty sort.

[ MAGGIE blushes. ]

MAGGIE:
Um... I'm kind of dating somebody...

DREW:
Are you dating him on Saturday?

[ MAGGIE laughs. ]

MAGGIE (sportingly):
That's not really any of your business, is it?

DREW:
Yeah, I guess not.  So, should I pick you up about three-ish?

I figured Maggie might find his tenacity disarming, if not charming as well.

[ MAGGIE purses her lips, seemingly not sure how to reply. ]

[ DREW produces a pen and tears part of a blank page out of the back of the rock-climbing book. ]

MAGGIE (stunned):
What are you--

DREW:
It's okay, I'm gonna buy it.  I don't know how to rock-climb either.  (extends the pen and paper)  Could I get your number?

[ MAGGIE reluctantly takes the pen and paper and writes "Maggie" and her phone number (555-0159).  She returns the items with a skeptical expression. ]

Maggie gave the same phone number to Sean in episode 16.

[ DREW smiles. ]

DREW:
Cool.  My name's Drew, by the way.

[ MAGGIE nods at his name tag. ]

MAGGIE:
I see that.  I'm Maggie.

[ DREW glances at the piece of paper. ]

DREW:
Check.  Nice to meet you, Maggie.

[ MAGGIE backs away, still seeming puzzled by the encounter.  She is smiling slightly, however. ]

MAGGIE:
Yeah...  All right, well... bye...

[ DREW cheerfully raises his palm as a farewell gesture. ]

DREW:
Bye!

[ MAGGIE curiously turns and exits the store. ]

[ DREW heads back to the cafe, taking the rock-climbing book with him. ]


[ EXT. CITY PLAZA - MAGGIE walks through the plaza in the afternoon.  (No passers-by are seen.) ]

MAGGIE (voice-over):
Yeah, like I'm gonna go rock-climbing...  Actually, it might be fun...  (shakes her head)  Wait a minute!  What am I even thinking?  I don't rock-climb, and I certainly don't date two guys at once.  (crinkles her brow)  Are you even allowed to do that?

Maggie may not have even dated anyone before Sean.  One wonders how they met, given Maggie's introversion.

[ As she walks, one of MAGGIE's feet steps down slightly into an indentation in the pavement.  She then pauses to look at it. ]

[ The indentation is circular, roughly six inches in diameter, and appears to have been smashed into the pavement with great force. ]

[ MAGGIE surveys her surroundings.  As the camera pans around, we see identical indentations throughout the plaza.  A nearby fountain wall has been partially broken from whatever caused the blows, and water is leaking out. ]

Hammersham has been on a rampage.

[ A BOY on a bicycle calls out from the edge of the plaza. ]

BOY:
Hey, lady, you'd better get out of there!

The boy calling Maggie "lady" amused me.

[ MAGGIE turns to look at him.  Upon taking another glance around, she approaches him. ]

MAGGIE:
What happened back there?

BOY:
I don't know, but stuff's getting crushed all over the place!

MAGGIE:
Crushed?  By what?

[ The BOY shrugs and bikes away. ]

I also liked the boy's response here.

[ MAGGIE looks back at the plaza and ponders. ]


[ EXT. PARKING LOT - BLUE RANGER cautiously navigates a parking lot.  She follows a series of cars smashed with the same round indentation, many of them knocked askew from their original parking spots. ]

MAGGIE (voice-over):
I'll bet I'd go out with that guy if I were under a spell.   But not as normal Maggie.  That's... kinda sad.

I figured someone as mild-mannered as Maggie would find the attitude spell experience thought-provoking, even long afterward.

[ As she continues, BLUE RANGER perks up as a distant smashing sound is heard.  She directs her attention toward a large parking deck nearby.  She then touches two fingers to the left side of her temple. ]

The Hoverbirds can be controlled with in-helmet eye gestures, though this gives some of them a headache (see episode 31).


[ INT. PARKING DECK, UPPER LEVEL - On an upper level of the parking deck, the blue-striped HOVERBIRD enters and surveys the area.  One car has been smashed, but nothing else appears amiss. ]

[ BLUE RANGER leaps up over the railing of one particular level of the parking deck.  BLUE continues to survey the area, the HOVERBIRD remaining nearby. ]

[ Soon, a gravely voice echoes through the parking deck. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
I see you, Power Ranger.  Can you see me?

[ Drawing her SKY BLASTER, BLUE scans the area but sees nothing. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger, somewhat boldly):
Who's there?

[ An oversized silver hammer (compare with sentai) materializes in mid-swing, smashing the rear of a parked car with great force.  The hammer then vanishes immediately.  (When seen, the hammer's head is connected to a green rod, the end of which is faded to invisibility.) ]

I wish you all the best, hypothetical special effects department.

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Oh, just the wind.  And the wind whispers, "Hammersham!"  (laughs)

Hammersham is quoting (with modification) from the Jimi Hendrix song, "The Wind Cries Mary."  His original name in my notes was "Lizhammer."

[ Heavy footsteps retreat further into the depths of the parking deck, the interior of which is relatively dark. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Stop where you are!

HAMMERSHAM (unseen, echoing):
Nice try, Ranger!  You don't even know where that is!  See ya round!

[ As the heavy footsteps fade into the distance, BLUE advances several steps but then pauses. ]

MAGGIE (voice-over):
Great.  Is this why there's no me in the future?  Maybe I should call the others.

I assumed that not seeing a future version of oneself might cause one to see death around every corner.

[ Another car is smashed in the distance.  HAMMERSHAM's echoing laughter recedes into the distance.  BLUE stands her ground. ]

MAGGIE (voice-over):
But why can't I do it alone?  The others fight monsters by themselves all the time.  (pauses)  Spell-Maggie would just jump right in.

The Rangers' solo monster battles to date (slightly subjective):

LukePodling (1), Papyria (15), Shockra (21), Boomer (21), Satellizard (25)
ChrisCanhandler (7), Magda (10), Hoser (17), Flamion (21), Armoros (21)
PeteCanhandler (7), Ramenator (11)
CaseySomebody (3), Arcanum (19), Lockjaw (21), Swirlwind (21), Arella (22)
MaggieReverbit (16), Stackster (21)

[ In the distance, HAMMERSHAM's laughter continues but is interrupted by a clank of falling metal. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Ha ha ha ha!  (clank)  Ow.

This was just intended to serve as comic effect, but it might even be interpreted as a fire extinguisher being dislodged, depending on the staging here.

[ BLUE RANGER clenches her fist. ]

MAGGIE (voice-over):
Let's do it.

This is now Maggie's personal battle cry after her wry observation in episode 16.

[ BLUE proceeds deeper into the parking deck.  Her HOVERBIRD follows. ]


[ INT. PARKING DECK, LOWER LEVEL - Deeper into the parking deck, no outside light is visible as BLUE RANGER stalks through the area with her SKY BLASTER ready.  Her HOVERBIRD follows over her shoulder. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Boo.

[ BLUE twirls around, unsure where to aim her SKY BLASTER. ]

[ Suddenly, his hammer becomes visible as it hurtles toward her.  It strikes her midsection (the HOVERBIRD flitting out of the way), sending her flying back with a burst of sparks. ]

[ Rolling back, BLUE quickly rises to her feet, though she remains slightly doubled over from the blow. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen, cont'd):
Thanks for coming to see me.  Oh, but you can't, can you?

[ BLUE RANGER fires a shot straight ahead, but her yellow laser simply strikes the rear wall with a burst of sparks, leaving a charred, smoking spot. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen, cont'd):
Wow, that was close, Ranger.  You almost hit something!

[ BLUE fires in another direction, striking another wall. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen, cont'd):
Oop!  Try again!

[ BLUE fires a third shot in yet another direction with similar result. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen, cont'd):
Aww...  You're not very good at this, are you?

[ BLUE anxiously aims her SKY BLASTER in various directions.  Her HOVERBIRD is seen nearby in the foreground. ]

MAGGIE (voice-over):
I don't stand a chance against this guy... unless...  (looks at Hoverbird)  My Hoverbird sees infrared, but only when it's dark.

Until Dr. Bering's modification in episode 31.

Chris mentioned the Hoverbirds' night vision in episode 3.

[ BLUE aims at a nearby light. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Lights out, Hammersham!

[ BLUE begins shooting out all of the surrounding lights in quick succession.  With each shot, the area grows progressively darker. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Hey, what are you doing?!

[ BLUE shoots out the final few lights, casting the area in near-total darkness.  BLUE RANGER is now unseen. ]

I'm sure this technique has been used against other invisible foes in fiction, but it's just a clever strategy; I wasn't intending for this to be an homage to anything in particular.

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Now, what do we have here?

[ Through a thermographic infrared camera (or an approximation thereof), we see the parking deck in shades of purple and blue.  (Some warmer spots linger in reddish-orange where Blue's lasers struck the walls, while the shot-out lights, if seen, continue to radiate in yellow and white.)  Almost directly ahead stands a thermographic orange and yellow image of HAMMERSHAM, a chameleon monster with a hammer for a right hand and a claw for his left (compare with sentai).  The monster appears confused. ]

And once again, best of luck, special effects department.  You have to recreate a sentai monster in infrared, from scratch.  I felt this was necessary to sell the scene.

HAMMERSHAM:
Hey, where are you?  It's pitch black in here!

According to my research, it seems chameleons can't see in the dark.  I did check before writing this.

[ We switch back to the darkness. ]

MAGGIE (unseen):
Oh?  I hadn't noticed.  I see you just fine.

[ We hear the sound of numerous physical blows.  HAMMERSHAM exclaims in pain with each strike. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Hey!  Ow!  Stop that!

MAGGIE (unseen):
Battlizer, power up!

I didn't plan to have the Battlizers at my disposal in US footage, which led to some awkward failures to try the Battlizers at times when I had no corresponding sentai footage.  But as long as the lights are out here, why not throw it in?

[ Following a brief, blue, Battlizer-shaped gleam at chest height, the pummeling continues with even greater intensity. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Hey!  You didn't stop at all!  You're just punching me even harder!

MAGGIE (unseen):
Battlizer Beam!

[ A sparkling blue beam (compare with episode 16) cuts through the darkness, striking HAMMERSHAM's presumed location with a burst of sparks. ]

[ HAMMERSHAM groans, unseen. ]

[ Following a brief blue dissipating gleam circa the Battlizer's presumed location, we hear the sound of a TALON SWORD being unsheathed. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Hey, what was that?

[ We once again see through the thermographic camera.  It follows just over BLUE RANGER's shoulder (she is shown in relatively cool shades of pink and blue) as she charges toward HAMMERSHAM wielding her TALON SWORD, her footsteps clattering on the concrete floor. ]

More infrared monster.  Well, hey, if he had to be created with CGI, at least the texture and color don't have to match, right?

HAMMERSHAM (cont'd):
Stay away from me!

[ HAMMERSHAM flicks out his long, extending tongue (compare with sentai), depicted in bright yellow in the thermographic image.  The tongue strikes both BLUE RANGER and the flying camera itself, causing the image to turn completely white. ]

In trying to defend himself in the darkness, Hammersham has accidentally swallowed the Hoverbird, leaving its vision white from the heat all around it.

[ Back in the darkness, BLUE RANGER's footsteps stop, but HAMMERSHAM's heavy steps run away into the distance. ]

MAGGIE (unseen):
(grunts)  Did you just lick me?!

HAMMERSHAM (unseen, voice receding):
Sorry, no time to talk!

[ BLUE's footsteps break into a sprint. ]

MAGGIE (unseen):
Get back here!  What did you do to my Hoverbird?!


[ INT. PARKING DECK, EXIT - As the sound of doubled running continues, we follow BLUE RANGER as she dashes into an area lit by outdoor light.  Though we continue to hear two sets of footsteps, we only see BLUE RANGER.  They are approaching a gate leading outside. ]

MAGGIE (voice-over):
Darn it, I'm gonna lose him!  (looks around desperately as she runs)  Maybe I can mark him somehow...  Like, spray him with something...  Aha!

I tried to think of a good solution to prevent him from getting away (and yet at the same time, I couldn't let her succeed, because I had no footage for it).

[ BLUE dashes up to a concrete column painted red, in which a recess for a fire extinguisher is embedded, with a red and white "Fire Extinguisher" sign above.  The recess, however, is empty.  BLUE RANGER strikes the column in exasperation. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Oh, come on!  Who steals a fire extinguisher?!

This was an easy way to thwart Maggie's (otherwise clever) idea, and it's a twist on the sentai's use of a fire extinguisher to reveal the monster in a field (though that footage was mostly unusuable).  Incidentally, this idea came to me while I was searching Flickr for images of fire extinguishers in parking decks, and I came across a photo of an empty recess from which someone had apparently stolen the fire extinguisher; that seemed fitting here, especially given Spring Valley's crime problem.


[ EXT. PARKING DECK - BLUE RANGER dejectedly emerges from the parking garage, passing the gates.  (Inside a booth is a puzzled attendant.) ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Great.  (touches her temple)  Now, what's wrong with my Hoverbird?  All I can see is white.

[ BLUE looks back at the dark parking deck. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
Where are you, little guy?

[ BLUE is distracted by something in her visor. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
Hang on...

[ We see through Blue's visor as she looks down the street.  A blue pulse (compare to episode 2) narrows into an attention indicator further down the street, in the direction of the outskirts of town. ]

Like the red blip seen in Luke's visor in episode 2; this shows the location of a distant Hoverbird.

MAGGIE (voice-over, cont'd):
My visor says it's this way.

[ BLUE startles. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger, cont'd):
It's inside the monster!

[ BLUE RANGER dashes off.  We zoom in on the puzzled parking attendant as she dials a phone. ]

This call may have resulted in Special Agent Turnquist's arrival at the end of the episode.


[ INT. QUEEN'S CHAMBER - In the dark realm last seen in episode 16, DILLIK and SASHA sit on a staircase leading up into darkness.  DILLIK speaks to SASHA while holding his VR helmet in his lap.  He refers to someone off-screen. ]

Again, the VR helmet is used without the hand controls (see episode 24).

DILLIK:
I-- I started building him after I finished the wormhole generator...

True; see episode 4.

Sasha hasn't previously been told about any wormhole generator; this tidbit will play a role in Sasha's realization that Dillik banished Magda (see next episode).

[ Sentai (Jetman #13) - STRIFE stands almost motionless near one column, his chest lights active. ]

Strife

[ DILLIK continues: ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
But I-- I really started using him when I...

SASHA:
When you what?

DILLIK:
When I wanted to prove myself to you.

Episode 12.

[ SASHA is slightly taken aback.  DILLIK fidgets with his VR helmet in his lap. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Y-- You thought I was insignificant.

Episode 11.

SASHA:
Dillik, I...

DILLIK:
It's okay.  Maybe I was, a little.

[ DILLIK sets his VR helmet on the steps and stands proudly. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
But I've realized I don't need Strife to be strong.

Dillik has begun to stand up for himself since episode 17; further, in episode 24, he expressed a desire to stop pretending to be someone else.

[ SASHA smiles and stands beside him. ]

SASHA:
That's right.

DILLIK (determined):
Now, what do you say we go help Trask destroy the Rangers once and for all?

[ SASHA looks down. ]

SASHA:
You know, about that...

Sasha knows Kora is on the way, and Dr. Bering is now gone, leaving Trask without defense against other Vampirians (so she believes, as she is unaware of Will).


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - TRASK storms into the room, where MAINFRAME has a hand on the wall controls. ]

TRASK:
What do you mean, an alien vessel?

[ The main viewscreen turns on, showing a silver spaceship hovering in space.  The ship might fit one or two passengers. ]

MAINFRAME:
It's locked in orbit with us.  I don't detect any markings.

TRASK:
It's a pirate ship.  I've seen hundreds.  Fire a warning shot.

Trask shows some decency here in wanting a warning shot fired, rather than simply having the ship destroyed.

MAINFRAME:
Wait.  I'm receiving a transmission.  Th-- They're using a biophone like you've got in your ship.

This was my explanation for Trask's ability to communicate using his ship's radio (see episode 13); though Vampirians are usually invisible and inaudible to electronics, this hybrid bio-technology circumvents that limitation.

[ TRASK cocks his head and listens. ]

KORA (voice-over):
Benaagen Trask, you are under clan arrest.  Boarding will begin shortly.  Do not attempt to resist.

Trask's full name is revealed.

[ TRASK exclaims with amusement: ]

TRASK:
She's Vampirian!  (chuckles) "Boarding" indeed.  Bring me the frozen scientist.

MAINFRAME:
But she's a human!  Are you two even allowed in the same room?

Just to explain for anybody who was wondering.  The logic of this curse is elusive at times, but I think I ended up being mostly consistent over the course of the series.

TRASK:
If the human enters my territory, it becomes OUR territory.  Just do it already!

Barring this caveat, it would be awkward to see a Vampirian being pushed out of his current location simply because a human strolled in.

MAINFRAME:
Okay, okay...  (touches the wall)  Teleporting.

[ Dr. Bering's cryogenic container teleports into the center of the room with greenish-silver vertical streaks. ]

[ TRASK is alarmed to see the cryogenic container is empty.  He presses his hands against it in panic. ]

TRASK:
What did you do?!

Sasha previously teleported Dr. Bering to Earth while aboard the space station in order to give Kora free reign (not knowing about Will).

MAINFRAME:
What do you mean, what did I do?  I teleported the-- oh.  That's strange.

TRASK:
Bring me the other one!  Quickly!

This is the first indication we receive that Trask apparently has a second human captive (revealed as Will in episode 32).

KORA (off-screen):
It's no use, Trask.  I've already been invited.

Was it Sasha's invitation or the lack of a human in this particular room which allowed Kora entrance?  I don't specify here.

Incidentally, Kora got in with the help of a teleporter in her ship, as shown in episode 35.

[ TRASK quickly looks at the intruder (off-screen). ]

[ KORA (see episode 17) strolls into the room.  She is wearing light armor colored dark purple and is equipped with numerous blade weapons.  In her hand is a twisted blade similar to Trask's (compare with monster blade from Jetman #30). ]

It seems I had already planned this early for Kora's sword to be used in the creation of Sashaga in episode 30.

[ TRASK warily backs away from the container and summons his sword with a ripple effect.  MAINFRAME anxiously looks between TRASK and KORA. ]

TRASK:
How did you get in here?

[ KORA advances, her sword held with precision toward TRASK's chest. ]

KORA:
I met a friend of yours at a Nimian outpost.  She was happy to tell me all about you and these "humans" you're after.

Kora apparently left her home planet and visited nearby Nimian outposts in search of Trask.  There, she encountered Sasha, who was perusing the same outposts after having heard Trask speak of them in episode 16.

Sasha has apparently told Kora about the humans, but her intonation here seems to suggest she either doesn't believe they are the legendary Builders, or she doesn't care.  (Kora also told Sasha about Trask's High Crime.)

Sasha and Kora probably had an interesting encounter and conversation at the Nimian outpost, but they will not be shown interacting on-screen.

[ TRASK desperately seems to search his memory. ]


[ We flash to INT. SPACE STATION, OBSERVATION BOOTH from episode 16 - TRASK advances on SASHA while admiring his BIOMASS GUN. ]

TRASK:
It's a handy little device I picked up from a Nimian outpost years ago.  (repeated) ...a Nimian outpost...


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - TRASK mutters under his breath: ]

TRASK:
Sasha.


[ INT. QUEEN'S CHAMBER - DILLIK recoils.  SASHA catches his hand pleadingly. ]

DILLIK:
You what??

SASHA:
Listen, Dillik...  You don't need Trask.  You and I can conquer the Earth together.

Presumably she would have tried to make the same case to Strife, had he not turned out to be Dillik.

[ DILLIK shakes his head, apparently overwhelmed. ]

DILLIK:
N-- No, I have to help him...

Dillik seems eternally loyal to Trask.

[ SASHA shakes him firmly. ]

SASHA:
Dillik, listen to me!  You can't trust him!  You don't know what he's done!

[ With a broken voice, DILLIK wobbles limply under SASHA's shaking. ]

DILLIK:
No, he told me everything.  I know he didn't rescue those creatures from the Larians.  I don't care...

He learned that unpleasant truth in episode 17, but two secrets not yet known to him are Trask's murders of Vir and Omos (Omos' fate is revealed in episode 35).

[ SASHA releases him and speaks calmly: ]

SASHA:
He turned on his friends, and he'll do it to you.

Sasha seems to have genuine fondness and concern for Dillik.

DILLIK:
W-- What are you talking about?


[ Dissolve to EXT. DESERT (SANDSTORM) - KORA huddles with VIR (see episode 17) as the sand whips around them.  Both wear dark gray cloaks. ]

[ Without warning, TRASK (also in a cloak) is upon them from behind, siphoning their energy in the form of dual green funnels of energy from his hands.  They try to resist but grow increasingly weak.  Ultimately, they collapse, and TRASK departs with renewed vigor. ]

We don't know how Kora made it back to her village.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - KORA advances on TRASK, the empty cryogenic container separating them.  MAINFRAME watches anxiously from the side of the room. ]

KORA:
You have been judged guilty of the High Crime.

I speculated that among a people with the power to drain energy from other lifeforms, draining their own kind against their will would have been deemed despicable, and doing so to lethal ends would have been the gravest of offenses.


[ INT. QUEEN'S CHAMBER - DILLIK speaks with SASHA. ]

DILLIK:
What's a "High Crime?"

SASHA:
The worst offense among Vampirians.  Stealing another's life force to the point of death.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - TRASK scoffs while continuing to back across the room.  KORA rounds the cryogenic container. ]

TRASK:
(scoffs)  "High Crime"...  You're still here, aren't you?

KORA:
Vir perished that day.

[ TRASK solemnly furrows his brow. ]

Is it possible Trask regrets this outcome?  He certainly seems less trivial upon hearing this.


[ EXT. DESERT (SANDSTORM) - KORA weakly crawls across the sand to VIR but finds him motionless. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - TRASK is backed against the wall controls as KORA stands with her back to the cryogenic container.  MAINFRAME continues to watch anxiously. ]

TRASK:
Kora, listen.  If there's one thing I've learned in my travels, it's that there are victims and there are survivors.

KORA:
I notice the people you meet become victims.

TRASK:
Sacrifices have to be made.  That's how I've become a survivor.  I ensure the advantage will always be mine.

This genuinely seems to be Trask's philosophy.

KORA:
Not for long.  You never could beat me with a sword.

TRASK:
I don't intend to.

They will swordfight in episode 35, at which point Trask will try to maintain the upper hand by forcing Kora to stay within his darkness dome.

[ With a wave of his hand, TRASK causes KORA to vanish with a ripple effect, her abandoned sword clattering to the floor. ]

[ As seen in close-up, KORA is now sealed within the cryogenic container.  She pounds furiously on the glass.  TRASK picks up her sword with his free hand and approaches the container. ]

Trask's teleportation ability is not innate to Vampirians.

Note that Kora doesn't try any of her additional blade weapons here.  Oops.

TRASK (cont'd):
Advantage takes many forms, comrade.  (dispels both swords with ripple effects, then shows his palms)  In this case, sub-dermal warp generators.  A painful operation to implant, but worth it, I think.

These warp generators play a role in Trask's downfall in episode 35.

[ TRASK snaps a finger at MAINFRAME, who scampers to the container and places his hand on it.  The container promptly fills with mist, freezing KORA solid. ]

I hadn't planned the outcome of this confrontation until I was actually writing this scene.


[ EXT. PARK - In a remote park (compare with sentai), we see footprints from Hammersham's invisible feet (compare with sentai) stomping across the grass. ]

MAGGIE (off-screen):
Stop right there, Hammersham!

[ As we zoom out to reveal the five RANGERS surrounding the invisible monster, his footprints show him twirling around in surprise. ]

Chris, Luke, and Casey have had to leave work for this fight.

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Hey, what's the big idea?

[ BLACK RANGER crosses his arms. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Well, we've got a small problem here.  You seem to like going on invisible rampages.

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
And you think you're gonna stop me?

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Yeah, pretty much.  Talon Swords!

[ In close-up, we see BLACK RANGER unsheathe his TALON SWORD.  The five RANGERS surround the invisible monster with their swords. ]

[ We see through Blue's visor as the footprints turn around briefly before charging at PINK RANGER.  Where the monster's stomach would be, a blue indicator flashes. ]

[ BLUE RANGER calls out: ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Casey!

[ PINK slashes the invisible monster with her TALON SWORD, causing a burst of sparks from midair. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Ow!

[ The invisible monster turns and charges toward YELLOW RANGER. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Pete!

[ YELLOW likewise slashes the monster. ]

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Darn it!

[ The monster charges toward BLUE.  She slashes him.  The five RANGERS then lunge forward and strike him in unison, causing a large burst of sparks. ]

[ The four RANGERS then gather behind BLUE.  Her TALON SWORD gleams blue as she delivers a mighty upward slash, causing a significant burst of sparks. ]

Maggie is the third and final Ranger to perform the gleaming sword strike technique.

[ Sentai - Smoking, HAMMERSHAM rolls back with a groan before vanishing once again (US effect, dissolve to opening frames). ]

Hammersham briefly appears Hammersham briefly appears Hammersham briefly appears Hammersham vanishes again

[ RED RANGER calls into his left wrist. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Phoenix Cannon!

[ Sentai - The PHOENIX CANNON transforms and descends to the RANGERS.  Their energies charge it. ]

Phoenix Cannon Phoenix Cannon Phoenix Cannon Phoenix Cannon Phoenix Cannon

[ Still over a black background, BLUE touches her fingertips to her temple.  (YELLOW RANGER is seen behind her.) ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
A little to the left...  Now!

[ Sentai - RED RANGER presses the trigger button.  The cannon fires. ]

Red fires Phoenix Cannon fires Phoenix Cannon fires Phoenix Cannon fires

RANGERS (in unison):
Fire!

[ The phoenix blast (compare with sentai) spirals and strikes the invisible monster mid-stride with a bright gleam, causing a fiery explosion. ]

In the sentai, Hammersham merely grew when Tranza pushed a button on his wrist controller; the Phoenix Cannon didn't appear (but it's worth noting that by this point in Jetman, the Echo Enforcers were used in place of the Phoenix Cannon).

[ Sentai - A spiky trail of red energy streaks into the sky and materializes into a giant-sized HAMMERSHAM.  The monster bends down and makes threatening hammer gestures. ]

Hammersham grows Hammersham grows Hammersham grows Hammersham grows Hammersham grows hammer time

The detail in this growth sequence tempted me to make Hammersham the first biomass monster to grow in Take Flight, but Formico (episode 25) ended up serving that purpose instead.

HAMMERSHAM:
(laughs)  It's hammer time!

[ BLACK RANGER shakes his head in dismay as RED RANGER calls into his wrist. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Man, that's so 1990...

MC Hammer released "U Can't Touch This" in 1990, two years prior.

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Sky Kestrel!


[ EXT. SKY (sentai) - We see progressively closer shots of the KESTRELZORD in flight. ]

Kestrelzord Kestrelzord Kestrelzord


[ EXT. PARK - The five RANGERS are beamed up in blue light. ]


[ EXT. SKY (Jetman #25) - The KESTREL transforms into Warrior Mode.  The Rangers' emblem gleams behind it. ]

Kestrel transforms Kestrel transforms Kestrel transforms Kestrel transforms Kestrel transforms


[ EXT. MOUNTAINS (switch back to Jetman #38) - The KESTREL lands some distance from HAMMERSHAM and assumes a ready stance. ]

Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham

[ HAMMERSHAM charges and locks arms with the KESTREL, but the robot slashes him twice with its talons. ]

Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham

[ The KESTREL then delivers a punch to HAMMERSHAM, knocking him back. ]

Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham Kestrel vs. Hammersham

[ Rolling across the ground, HAMMERSHAM vanishes. ]

Hammersham vanishes Hammersham vanishes

[ Now alone, the KESTRELZORD appears startled as it surveys the area. ]

Kestrel alone Kestrel alone Kestrel alone Kestrel alone

Too bad the Rangers don't have the Phantom Ocarina anymore (see episode 15).

HAMMERSHAM (unseen):
Poor Rangers, you look so lonely...


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT (US footage) - The RANGERS look around.  BLUE soon consults her controls. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Man, where is he this time?

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
I'm getting a reading from my Hoverbird!  He's... right beside us...!

There were no Hoverbirds in Jetman; the Kestrel simply had a scanner on-board.


[ EXT. MOUNTAINS (sentai) - As the KESTRELZORD advances a step, HAMMERSHAM's hammer strikes it in the shin, causing it to topple over. ]

Kestrel gets hammered Kestrel gets hammered Kestrel gets hammered Kestrel gets hammered

[ The KESTREL lands.  Another hammer comes down and strikes the prone KESTREL in the chest, causing a burst of sparks.  The attack then repeats from another direction. ]

Kestrel gets hammered Kestrel gets hammered Kestrel gets hammered Kestrel gets hammered


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT (US footage) - As the RANGERS are shaken, BLUE points ahead. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Incoming!


[ EXT. MOUNTAINS (sentai) - HAMMERSHAM becomes visible as he leaps into the air to attack. ]

Hammersham attacks Hammersham attacks

[ The downed KESTREL punches the incoming monster in the head, causing him to fly back.  HAMMERSHAM vanishes in midair. ]

Hammersham punched Hammersham punched Hammersham punched Hammersham punched


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT (US footage) - BLUE RANGER works her controls. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Locking on!


[ EXT. MOUNTAINS (sentai) - The KESTREL rises and scans the area, its eyes blinking with red energy. ]

Kestrel scans Kestrel scans

[ We pan across the mountains, as seen through the Kestrel's scanner.  It finally registers HAMMERSHAM's outline with a colored, computerized silhouette (US effect over sentai). ]

Kestrel locks on Kestrel locks on Kestrel locks on (not shown: computerized silhouette over monster)


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT (US footage) - BLUE RANGER mashes a button on her controls. ]

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Got him!  Thermo Beam!


[ EXT. MOUNTAINS (sentai) - The KESTREL fires its chest beam.  Struck, HAMMERSHAM turns visible while crackling with orange electrical bolts.  Sparks erupt around him. ]

Thermo Beam Thermo Beam Hammersham blasted Hammersham blasted Hammersham blasted

HAMMERSHAM:
Arrgh, you nailed me!

[ The KESTREL assumes a ready position and leaps into the air.  We then see it flying overhead. ]

Kestrel leaps Kestrel leaps Kestrel in flight

[ Smoking, HAMMERSHAM reacts. ]

Kestrel leaps Kestrel leaps

HAMMERSHAM:
You're not supposed to see me!

[ The KESTREL delivers its glowing slash.  HAMMERSHAM flies back, gleaming with golden light, and explodes. ]

Kestrel leaps Kestrel Slash Kestrel Slash Hammersham's demise Hammersham's demise Hammersham's demise


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT (US footage) - The RANGERS cheer.  RED RANGER nods to BLUE as YELLOW looks out through the cockpit glass. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
What, just one monster today?!

The past two monster attacks have featured multiple monsters: fifteen in episodes 21-22 and three in episode 25.

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Nice work, Maggie.

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Yeah!  Way to go!

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
Thanks, guys.  (looks out the cockpit)  Now, where's my Hoverbird?


[ Break. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - TRASK stands in front of the cryogenic container in which KORA is now frozen.  MAINFRAME stands anxiously nearby. ]

This scene was written into the beginning of episode 27 before I decided to move it here.

TRASK (to Kora):
Sorry, comrade.  There'll be no arrest today.  (to Mainframe) Find me Sasha.

MAINFRAME:
My last reading was in Siberia.

[ TRASK thinks a moment, narrowing his eyes.  Then: ]

TRASK:
Get Dillik in here.

MAINFRAME:
Um... he teleported to Earth about an hour ago.

TRASK (taken aback):
To Earth...?  (confused) Wh-- Where?

MAINFRAME (sheepishly):
He took his robot to meet with Sasha.

Presumably Mainframe didn't intentionally reveal Dillik's secret here.

TRASK (perplexed):
His -- (thinks)


[ We flash back to INT. QUEEN'S CHAMBER (episode 16) - His BIOMASS GUN aimed at SASHA, TRASK looks over his shoulder. ]

[ STRIFE stands stoically, his arms crossed. ]

stoic Strife


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - TRASK clenches his fist. ]

TRASK (inwardly):
Traitor!  He DID build that robot...  (to Mainframe, aggressively) What do you know about it?

Regarding Dillik's identity, Trask had vague suspicions (see episode 13) which were apparently put to rest when Strife stood up to him in episode 16.

MAINFRAME (stammering):
Uh-- uh-- uhh.... robot...?

[ TRASK advances on him. ]

TRASK:
Out with it!

MAINFRAME (defeated):
... His name is Strife.  Dillik controls him.


[ EXT. MOUNTAIN STREAM - MAGGIE crouches beside a babbling stream running through a large, flat clearing in a wooded, mountainous area.  In front of her, inches above the water, floats her HOVERBIRD, covered in reddish-black residue.  MAGGIE cups water in her hands and pours it over the HOVERBIRD.  She repeats the process numerous times, each rinsing removing more residue. ]

I found it slightly hard to believe that a Hoverbird could survive inside an exploding giant monster, but I didn't feel I had much alternative.  (At least Luke's Hoverbird had been shown surviving being thrown at a Discard and hitting the asphalt in episode 9, so they had to be fairly durable.)

[ CASEY approaches her from behind and crouches beside her. ]

CASEY:
Is it okay?

MAGGIE:
Yeah, just a little dirty.  Dirty but waterproof.  Where are the guys?

CASEY:
Oh, they're scanning for more monsters, just in case.

After all, multiple monsters would seem to be the norm at this point.

[ MAGGIE nods absently while continuing to rinse the HOVERBIRD. ]

MAGGIE:
So, your friend Drew asked me out.

CASEY (excitedly):
I knew it!  Ohh, he's so full of it sometimes.  I mean, he's a good guy, though.  (ponders)  He sure takes rejection well.

MAGGIE:
Oh, well... I didn't exactly turn him down.

CASEY (startled):
You w--!  (more quietly)  What...?

Clearly it surprises Casey to think that Maggie would date two guys at once.  But in fact she's decided to dump Sean (who I thought was kind of a loser anyway).

MAGGIE:
I'm just not enjoying myself with Sean.  On some level, I guess I thought were were meant to get back together, but that's stupid.  My future's in my own hands.

I had a difficult time making Maggie grow stronger from this episode's experience and yet leave her in a state that would be conducive to her stepping down in a few episodes.  I think it turned out all right, though.

[ In the distance, a helicopter can be heard faintly. ]

CASEY:
Wow.  Well, yeah, I guess you're right, but...

MAGGIE:
You know what?  For a second, I thought this monster might be my last battle.

CASEY:
Because of our duplicates...

MAGGIE:
Right.  And it was scary, and I didn't know what was going to happen, but I pulled through.  For all I know, maybe I just changed my future.

This scenario vaguely reminded me of "Future Unknown" from Power Rangers Time Force (2001).

[ CASEY ponders as MAGGIE continues.  Meanwhile, the helicopter sound grows closer. ]

MAGGIE (cont'd):
I mean, who knows how long I've got left?  Or any of us!  But in the meantime, I'm gonna start doing things the way I want, not the way I think they're "supposed" to be.

I hoped this resolution would explain both her dumping of Sean and her eventual decision to step down.

CASEY:
Hey, more power to you.

[ They both stand.  The HOVERBIRD, now clean, rises to shoulder height.  MAGGIE looks up as the helicopter sound grows louder. ]

MAGGIE:
What is that, a helicopter?

[ The RED, YELLOW, and BLACK RANGERS emerge from another part of the woods. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
We've got company!

[ The girls call into their MORPHERS and morph quickly with respective gleams. ]

MAGGIE:
Sky Swallow!

CASEY:
Sky Swan!

[ A black helicopter, unmarked, hovers just over the treetops, stirring up clouds of dirt and debris.  The five RANGERS watch as it descends and ultimately lands beside the stream.  Its occupants are unseen behind a reflective canopy. ]

[ The rotors eventually slow, and from the helicopter's passenger side emerges SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST.  His hair and suit ruffled by the residual wind from the rotors, he approaches the RANGERS, a clipboard in hand.  After waiting for the rotors to quiet down, he then addresses the RANGERS. ]

As stated in the previous episode's commentary, I didn't originally plan for Special Agent Turnquist to reappear beyond episode 25.  He seemed to fit well here, though.

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
Hello!  My name is Special Agent Turnquist.  It's nice to meet you in person, Rangers.  Or should I say...

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST reads from his clipboard: ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (cont'd):
Lucas Xavier Branson...

[ RED RANGER reacts. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (cont'd):
Wayne Christopher Jacobs...

[ BLACK reacts. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (cont'd):
Margaret Jing Lu...

[ BLUE reacts. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (cont'd):
Estelle Reynolds...

[ PINK reacts. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (cont'd):
Peter Darren Williams.

[ YELLOW reacts. ]

These names were all previously revealed in episode 13, when they were seen in Detective Morales' tenant list.

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST coolly lowers his clipboard. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (cont'd):
Did I mispronounce anybody's name?

[ RED RANGER steps forward. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
What do you want from us?

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
I have a proposition for you.

[ The RANGERS listen. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (cont'd):
I represent Project Phoenix, a special branch of the United States Air Force.  We'd like to offer you a secure hangar for your combat vehicles.  And repair work, if you'd like.

Project Phoenix only seemed like a fitting name for the organization which arose in the wake of Project Jetman's abrupt end.  I hadn't decided on a name until writing this episode.  What I had planned from the very beginning, however, was that the military would help the Rangers circa mid-season after a period of the Megazord being inoperable.

[ YELLOW steps forward. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Wow, man, that's really generous of you.  So, what's in it for you?

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
(chuckles)  You don't waste any time getting to the point, Mr. Williams.

[ Disarmed, YELLOW grumbles slightly and takes a half-step backward. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (cont'd):
The exchange is simple.  By using our facilities, you allow us to examine this "Sky Kestrel" you've acquired.  And perhaps you'll tell us where you got it.

Project Phoenix has been monitoring the Rangers' transmissions, and so they know the Kestrel's name.

[ The RANGERS exchange glances. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (cont'd):
Make no mistake, Rangers.  We have no intent of interfering with your duties.  Our director is pleased with your performance.

The director is later revealed as General Taggart (see episode 30); I hadn't decided on a name when this episode was written.  I did want to mention his approval to explain why they hadn't reclaimed the Morphers prior to now.

Despite Turnquist's claim here, Project Phoenix will in fact interfere with the Rangers' duties at times.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
You've been spying on us?

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST gestures toward the HOVERBIRD. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
No more than you've chosen to reveal to us.

[ YELLOW RANGER mutters to himself in consternation. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Hoverbirds...!

[ RED RANGER remains steadfast. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
What about confiscating Detective Morales' files?

Surely Project Phoenix had discovered the Rangers' identities long before episode 25.

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST (with a smirk):
Just comparing notes.  (more seriously) In any case, you'll find you're free to come and go as you please.  All we're asking for is a research opportunity.  Let's call it "Plan B."

MAGGIE (Blue Ranger):
You want to build more Zords.

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
We want to be prepared.

No further Zords are built this season.

[ The RANGERS wordlessly consult each other.  Cut to black. ]

As we see next episode, they will agree to this proposal.