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

POWER RANGERS TAKE FLIGHT

Episode 32: "Force of Will"

This episode was completed on January 16, 2008, and released on October 11, 2008.  The title is most directly a reference to Will, but it also describes Dillik's inner strength.

Writer:  Joe Rovang

[ This episode uses a small assortment of sentai footage, but all sources are indicated. ]

This is another rare US-original episode; a second Will focus was required by my implication in episode 26 that Trask had a second human hostage.  Further, by this point, I had planned to reuse Infernis, Zin, and Drek, so I was happy to think of a way to reuse Gog for a sense of completion.  What I didn't know going into this episode was that it would permanently place the space station under Project Phoenix's ownership (that part was improvised).


[ Fade in to EXT. SPACE STATION - Establishment shot. ]

This episode takes place on Saturday, August 22, 1992, six days after Lisa's first Ranger battle.  This was also the date I had decided was Luke's birthday when I first began planning the series.


[ INT. GIGAZORD COCKPIT - Inside an alien-looking Zord cockpit, a grimy and seemingly exhausted DILLIK is working on wiring inside an access panel.  The cockpit bears a single command seat.  (The space station's holding bay may be seen outside the viewscreen, depending on camera angles.) ]

[ TRASK enters and looks around. ]

TRASK:
Making nice progress, I see.

[ DILLIK continues to work. ]

TRASK (cont'd):
Do we have a name for it?

DILLIK:
The Gigazord.

The name "Gigazord" is a simple twist on the term "Megazord," as mega- means one million, and giga- means one billion.  In Jetman, this construct was known as Veronica for reasons I can't begin to fathom (it's Latin for "true image," if that makes any difference).

[ TRASK nods. ]

TRASK:
Gigazord.  Not bad.

[ TRASK casually sits in the command seat, facing DILLIK. ]

TRASK (cont'd):
Dillik, listen.  You've been working much too hard lately.

Trask noticed Dillik was overworking himself in episode 31; he tried to defeat the Rangers with a monster to spare Dillik the trouble, but not surprisingly, it didn't work.

[ DILLIK pauses to listen, wiping his brow. ]

DILLIK (somewhat pitifully):
But... we need the Gigazord to destroy the Rangers before they get too strong...

Dillik is still haunted by Sasha's (actually Sasha's clone's) demise at the hands of the Rangers in episode 30.

TRASK:
Yes, and I appreciate your zeal... really.  I couldn't ask for a better partner.  But Mainframe tells me you haven't been taking care of yourself, and you're not going to be any help to us if you drop dead.

An inadvertent bit of foreshadowing?

[ DILLIK looks down.  His eyes appear sad. ]

TRASK (cont'd):
Besides, my demon gems are recovering.  Before long, they'll be back to full strength, and the Rangers won't know what hit them.  We rough them up a little first, and you finish them off with the Gigazord.

That the demon gems were recovering (after the demons' destructions in episodes 29 and 30) was my way of indicating that Gog wasn't yet back to full strength, and it may have explained why he needed to be paired with a host (Will).

[ DILLIK contemplates, more interested now. ]

TRASK (cont'd):
But the only way we'll get there is for you to take it easy on yourself.

DILLIK (with a nod):
I'll do it.

[ TRASK smiles and pats DILLIK on the shoulder as he stands. ]


[ EXT. CAFE - We see an establishment shot of the usual cafe. ]


[ INT. CAFE - MAGGIE and the five HEROES sit at their normal booth, with CHRIS and CASEY together and LUKE and LISA together.  CHRIS sits across from LUKE, drinking from a glass of ice water which he sets in front of him.  LUKE appears to have opened several wrapped presents, and he is now opening a flat present. ]

Maggie continues to socialize with the Rangers even after stepping down.  After planning her retirement, I did plan to keep her in the Rangers' lives, but I didn't realize I would be doing it with this frequency.

Luke is once again shirking his museum duties.  Does he even have a job anymore?

LISA:
Come on, what is it?  What is it?

CHRIS:
It's a toaster oven.

[ CASEY giggles. ]

[ LUKE tears away the paper, revealing a framed drawing of a Sky Blaster, artfully shaded for an almost overly sentimental feel. ]

LUKE:
It's a... (chuckles and shows it to the others)  It's a blaster.

CHRIS:
Yeah, well, you missed them so much this week that I thought you'd like to keep it close to you.

The Sky Blasters were ruined by Smog Rat the previous Sunday (episode 31).

LUKE (wryly):
Thank you.

LISA:
Hey, remember this?  "I hope Dr. Bering..."

[ PETE, CHRIS, and CASEY chime in to conclude the quote: ]

LISA / PETE / CHRIS / CASEY (in unison):
"...fixes the Sky Blasters soon."

[ LUKE chuckles and hangs his head self-deprecatingly as the others laugh.  MAGGIE smiles along with them. ]

LUKE (with mock contempt):
I'll have you know they ARE fixed, thank you very much.  (more genuinely)  Actually, Dr. Bering says she maxed out the Enforcers' gravity ball.

The gravity ball enhancement wasn't necessary for the story, but I felt it was appropriate, given Dr. Bering's dissatisfaction over its potency in episode 1.

CHRIS:
...which we use so often now that we have the Phoenix Cannon.

An off-handed remark, but it does become relevant in this episode, when the Rangers are left unable to use the cannon aboard the space station.

[ LUKE chuckles and tosses a ball of wrapping paper at CHRIS.  CHRIS moves his arm to block but accidentally knocks his glass over, spilling his water across the table.  In a flash, LUKE grabs the drawing to keep it dry, but the water pours onto his lap as LISA jumps out of the booth to avoid the spill.  The others gasp.  As LUKE gets out of the booth, his lap dripping wet, MAGGIE quickly begins clearing items away from the spill, and PETE and CASEY mop it with napkins. ]

[ CHRIS blinks, staring up at LUKE.  They look at one another for a moment.  PETE then interjects from the table: ]

PETE:
Nice shot, man.

CHRIS (to Luke, awkwardly):
Uhhh... wow, man...  I'm sorry.

[ Though apparently uncomfortable from the cold water, LUKE presents the drawing with a smile. ]

LUKE:
The important part is... (presents drawing) ...my blaster survived unscathed.

The water spill was just to show Luke's graciousness toward Chris, as a contrast to their initial squabbles early in the series.

[ CHRIS smirks with relief.  He then gestures to a server across the cafe to ask for help, but LUKE's MORPHER chimes, its tone gentler and more subtle than the usual alert tone. ]

[ LUKE looks at his MORPHER. ]

LUKE:
It's a call from Dr. Bering.  We should go.

This subtly-toned call function was an upgrade introduced in episode 31.

MAGGIE:
Go on.  I'll clean up here.

[ CHRIS, CASEY, and PETE begin piling out of the booth.  LUKE sets the drawing beside MAGGIE, where the table is dry. ]

LUKE:
Thanks.


[ Wipe to EXT. MILITARY BASE - Establishment shot. ]


[ INT. LAB - The five helmetless RANGERS enter in good spirits. ]

Originally I wrote this scene with the Rangers in their civilian clothes, and Dr. Bering was perplexed by the wet spot on Luke's pants but refrained to comment.  On one hand, this set a more humorous tone than I wanted for this scene, but also I figured the Rangers would have morphed to come here, probably by gliding in.

CASEY:
Hey, Dr. Bering.  What's up?

DR. BERING:
Rangers, thanks for coming so quickly.  Luke, I have a special mission for you.

PETE (privately to Luke, in sing-song voice):
Someone remembered your birthday...

DR. BERING:
This mission comes directly from General Taggart.

[ The RANGERS' air of amusement fades. ]

LISA:
What is it?

[ DR. BERING seems reluctant to reply.  SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST then enters. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
Branson's mission is to take control of the space station.

It had been mentioned several times in the series that Dr. Bering's status as a hostage kept the Rangers from attacking the space station, so I felt I had little choice but to make the Rangers assault the station as soon as possible.  I had not decided the outcome when I began writing this episode, however.

Though Turnquist indicates this is a mission for Luke, he actually expects the others to insist on joining him.

[ The RANGERS' expressions quickly grow serious. ]

CASEY:
Wait, what?

PETE:
Uhh, you mean the space station where Trask and Dillik live?

LISA:
And Mainframe?

Fitting that Lisa remembers Mainframe, as she is the only Ranger to have confronted him (episode 29, prior to actually becoming a Ranger).

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
Yes.  (to Luke) You're to flush them out by any means necessary.

CASEY:
But... what about us?

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
This is a dangerous mission, and only Branson is familiar with the space station.  The rest of you are to remain here in case of emergency.

PETE:
I don't think so!

CHRIS:
No way, man.  He can lead the way, you can give us maps, whatever you want...  But we're going together.

This isn't the first time the Rangers have insisted on joining Luke on a mission.

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST looks to the others. ]

[ LISA and CASEY respond affirmatively. ]

[ SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST nods. ]

SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST:
We expected as much.  Now listen up...  About a month ago, right around when Dr. Bering was freed, a powerful electrical field was erected around the space station.

The current date is August 22; Dr. Bering was released on July 22 (episode 26).

Mainframe alluded to an electrical grid to keep out the Rangers in episode 29; it now becomes relevant.

DR. BERING:
We think we know how to penetrate it though.

[ DR. BERING taps commands into the keyboard. ]

[ The monitor shows an animated schematic (not to scale) of the Kestrel's warrior mode firing the Quad Cannon into the sky.  The beam travels into orbit, where it dissolves a field surrounding the space station. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd, off-screen):
By my calculations, a blast from the Quad Cannon could knock the grid offline.

In episode 40, Dr. Bering doesn't expect this same electrical grid to be able to stop the Kestrel Mega Cruiser; in that case, we may wonder why the Quad Cannon was necessary here.  (I assume it wasn't worth risking the Rangers' safety when the Quad Cannon was a sure bet.  In truth, though, I hadn't even planned for the Rangers to take possession of the space station, let alone for them to come under attack by the Mega Cruiser in the finale.)

[ DR. BERING activates a second animation.  Now, we see a closer view of the space station as the Skyforce Cruiser passes through its lower portion (shown in slow motion), leaving five Rangers inside the station as it passes. ]

Notice the animation Dr. Bering has prepared; it shows five Rangers.  Turnquist wasn't kidding when he said they expected them to join Luke.

DR. BERING (cont'd, off-screen):
Meanwhile, the Skyforce Cruiser will be approaching the station.  If the grid goes down, the Cruiser is programmed to phase through an unoccupied portion of the station with its firebird attack, at which point its teleportation beam will deposit you inside the structure.

The Cruiser's ability to pass through solid matter was a plot device for episode 28, but I've put it to further use here.

LUKE:
That sounds dangerous.

DR. BERING:
Slightly.  We've managed to get the failure rate under five percent.

Dr. Bering can be a bit clinical about life-and-death matters.

CHRIS:
Do we want to know what counts as a failure?

DR. BERING:
One or more of you becomes physically fused with the space station.

[ The RANGERS exchange grim looks.  CHRIS nods dryly. ]

CHRIS:
That's probably a no.

[ LISA points at the graphic showing five Rangers in the space station. ]

LISA:
So if we're all up here, who's firing the Quad Cannon?

...I asked myself.  The obvious answer was Maggie, since the Rangers would surely want nothing to do with Lance (see episode 31).  This was another instance in which I unexpectedly included Maggie after she'd stepped down.


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT - MAGGIE sits alone at the Kestrel's central seat.  She is not wearing a Morpher. ]

[ MAGGIE checks her controls. ]

MAGGIE:
All right, guys, everything checks out here.  I'm locked on and ready.

[ Voices emanate from the controls. ]

LUKE (from controls):
Maggie, thank you so much for doing this.

CASEY (from controls):
Yeah...  You really didn't have to.

[ MAGGIE smiles gently. ]

MAGGIE:
Don't worry about it, guys.  I kinda doubt you want Taggart's airman at the controls again.

Dr. Bering might have been able to do this job as well, but it made more sense to keep her in the lab to monitor the situation.

CHRIS (from controls):
All right, we're in range.

MAGGIE:
Are we ready, Dr. Bering?


[ INT. LAB - DR. BERING mans a keyboard and watches a monitor.  SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST watches nearby. ]

DR. BERING:
You're green across the board, Rangers.


[ INT. CRUISER COCKPIT (Jetman #5) - RED RANGER makes a straight-fingered hand gesture. ]

Red Ranger's gesture Red Ranger's gesture

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Let's do it!

[ RED RANGER presses his button  The monitor's hawk display transitions to a flaming bird display. ]

Red Ranger pushes button for firebird attack firebird display firebird display

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Auto-pilot engaged!

[ The computer responds in Dr. Bering's synthesized voice. ]

firebird display

COMPUTER VOICE:
Engaging firebird attack.

[ RED RANGER's joysticks flip up. ]

Red Ranger's joysticks Red Ranger's joysticks Red Ranger's joysticks

[ RED RANGER grips the joysticks as the cockpit is shaken and illuminated in red light. ]

full throttle full throttle

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Here we go!


[ EXT. SPACE - The CRUISER gains fiery wings. ]

Cruiser firebird


[ INT. SPACE STATION, HOLDING BAY - DILLIK sits on a crate, quietly eating from a container of jam (see episode 17).  His suit is now considerably cleaner, and his demeanor appears relaxed. ]

[ In the background, MAINFRAME is in the background working on what appears to be an enormous robotic hand, silvery-gray with pointed fingers (compare with Jetman #44), resting on the holding bay floor. ]


[ INT. CRUISER COCKPIT (sentai) - The roaring tremors shake each of the RANGERS. ]

Red Ranger shaken Black Ranger shaken Yellow Ranger shaken Pink Ranger shaken Blue Ranger shaken

In Jetman, this Ranger-shaking sequence was only featured the first time the Cruiser was used.  I showed it again to reinforce the reason for the Rangers' preference toward the Megazord over the Cruiser (see episode 6).


[ INT. LAB - DR. BERING continues to man her station. ]

DR. BERING:
Prepare to fire... in three... two... one...


[ INT. KESTREL COCKPIT - Just as DR. BERING concludes, MAGGIE mashes the button (compare with previous episode). ]

DR. BERING (from controls, cont'd):
Fire!  (Maggie fires)


[ EXT. ANYWHERE (Jetman #39) - Held by the KESTREL, the QUAD CANNON fires. ]

Quad Cannon fires Quad Cannon fires Quad Cannon fires Quad Cannon fires


[ EXT. SPACE, EARTH ORBIT - The four gleaming pulses (compare with sentai) streak up into space from the direction of California (the real-world location of Oakland, to be precise). ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, HOLDING BAY - Still eating contently, DILLIK takes a moment to look toward MAINFRAME. ]

DILLIK (happily):
You know, I'm glad Trask convinced me to take it easy.  I feel a lot better now.  More at ease, you know?

Poor Dillik.  I couldn't resist having him relax, only to break into utter panic when the Rangers raided the place.

[ In the distance, MAINFRAME nods. ]


[ EXT. SPACE STATION - The four pulses strike an initially invisible barrier around the space station with considerable force.  The barrier, revealed as a grid-shaped electrical structure, crackles with yellow electricity and shears away, beginning at the point of impact. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, HOLDING BAY - The entire holding bay is shaken violently.  MAINFRAME nearly loses his footing, while DILLIK drops his jam on the floor.  Both are alarmed. ]

DILLIK:
What was that?!

MAINFRAME:
My... my electrical grid's been knocked offline!


[ INT. SPACE STATION CORRIDOR - We see a long corridor.  At the distant end, a massive, fiery wave sweeps through the corridor toward the viewer at rapid speed (the wave actually the 43-meter-long CRUISER, intangible and difficult to discern at this scale).  As it flies by, we whip-pan to see the five RANGERS appear from a green gleam just as the fire dissipates.  The RANGERS are jarred slightly but appear no worse for wear. ]

I took the Cruiser's length from a Jetman reference sheet.

This would be a fun visual to see executed.  Fortunately, no Rangers end up fused with the space station.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
We made it!

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Everybody in one piece?

[ The others respond affirmatively. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
All right.  Let's get to work.

The Rangers have presumably planned their actions in detail, but I avoided showing the details of that plan to spare myself some mental effort.  Further, I'm not a tactician.


[ INT. SPACE STATION HOLDING BAY - MAINFRAME works a standalone control panel while DILLIK watches apprehensively. ]

MAINFRAME:
The Rangers' Zords are here!  They're circling around!

DILLIK:
Oh no...  They've probably come for the Gigazord!

Not quite.

MAINFRAME:
I'm reactivating the grid now.


[ EXT. SPACE STATION - The grid re-forms around the station and then shimmers out of view.  In the background, we see HAWK ONE flying by, outside of the grid's perimeter. ]

Just Hawk One because I didn't see the need to create CGI models of the other Flyers just for this sequence; Hawk One, however, would have already existed in CGI (or whatever form had been used for previous US sequences).


[ INT. LAB - SPECIAL AGENT TURNQUIST watches as DR. BERING speaks into the microphone.  In the background, MAGGIE enters.  She watches with concern. ]

Here's Maggie, because I saw no need for her to stay in the Kestrelzord all day.  She plays no further role in the episode, however.

DR. BERING:
Rangers, the grid is back online.  You're on your own right now.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, HOLDING BAY - MAINFRAME focuses on something unseen. ]

MAINFRAME:
The Rangers are inside the station!


[ INT. SPACE STATION CORRIDOR - BLUE RANGER uses her SKY BLASTER to shoot out the sensor above a nearby doorway (see episode 12). ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, HOLDING BAY - MAINFRAME startles. ]

MAINFRAME:
They're shooting my sensors!

Mainframe is a technopath, but that doesn't give him techno-omniscience.  Without sensors, he is effectively blind.

DILLIK:
We've gotta get out of here!

Dillik feared the Rangers' raid on the station as early as episode 6.

TRASK (off-screen):
Giving up so soon?

[ TRASK strolls into frame. ]

DILLIK:
Trask!  The Rangers are inside the station!

MAINFRAME:
We're doomed!

TRASK:
Would you nitwits knock it off?  You two get the Gigazord to safety.

DILLIK (to Trask):
But what are YOU going to do?

TRASK:
Defend our home, of course.

DILLIK (clutching Trask's arm):
No, Trask...  No.  (with dawning realization) That's an order.

Dillik finally asserts himself as Trask's leader after power was ceded to him in the wake of episode 22.  As we see below, Trask doesn't fight him, though he bends Dillik's orders slightly.

TRASK (disbelievingly):
I beg your pardon...?

DILLIK:
Do you remember putting a certain someone in charge?  A certain Dillik...?

[ MAINFRAME apprehensively looks to TRASK.  TRASK stares at DILLIK coolly for a while.  He then speaks: ]

TRASK:
Very well.  (pronouncing Dillik's name crisply) And your orders, Dillik...?

DILLIK:
You get out of here...  No fighting the Rangers.

[ TRASK thinks a moment and then nods politely. ]

TRASK:
As you wish.

[ He vanishes with a ripple effect.  MAINFRAME startles and looks to DILLIK. ]

MAINFRAME:
He actually did what you said!

DILLIK:
Yeah, you know, Trask's not a bad guy once you get to know him.  Now come on, let's get this thing out of here.

MAINFRAME:
But where?!

DILLIK:
There should be room in Sasha's lair.

Each time the lair was abandoned (episodes 10, 16, and 26), I had no plans of revisiting it, but a reason to do so inevitably arose later.  In this case, the villains' move is fortuitous, in that it suddenly allows me to use footage of the Gigazord in the dark void (episode 39); the space station's holding bay wouldn't have been tall enough for the Gigazord to stand inside it.

MAINFRAME:
Are you serious?  How big is that place?!

DILLIK (pondering curiously):
You know, I never did find the end of it...

I figured there was some sort of dimensional-warping going on inside the lair, somewhat like the TARDIS in Dr. Who.

[ DILLIK shrugs and assumes command of the control panel.  MAINFRAME steps aside. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Here, let me punch in the coordinates.

Mainframe has visited the lair before, though, in episode 27.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, STORAGE ROOM - In a storage room of some sort, TRASK approaches two identical cryogenic containers, their contents not yet shown. ]

Trask intends to respect the letter of Dillik's order, if not the intent: he will now infuse Will with Gog's energies as a trap for the Rangers rather than fight them himself.

TRASK:
Hello, friends.  I have a little task for one of you.

[ TRASK removes the yellow gem (see episode 30) from his coat.  It is fairly dark, but it is less blackened than its previous appearance. ]

[ TRASK looks at one of the containers, in which we see KORA frozen (see episode 26). ]

TRASK (cont'd):
I'll save you for later, comrade.

Trask captured Kora when she tried to arrest him in episode 26.  He later considers infusing her with demon energies (episode 35), but now isn't the time.

[ TRASK gestures with his hand, causing KORA's container to vanish with a ripple effect.  He is then left alone with the remaining container, the contents of which are still not shown. ]

It still isn't known to the audience that Will is the second captive at this point, though some may have guessed as such by now.  He was actually captured behind the scenes during episode 18, but Trask left a biomass canister to trick the Rangers into thinking he'd been melted.

TRASK (cont'd):
Now, as for you...  (grins)


[ INT. SPACE STATION CORRIDOR - The five RANGERS wander cautiously through the space station.  Eventually they speak. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
It's so quiet in here.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Too quiet?

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
No, just about right, actually.  (giggles softly)  But where is everybody?

Just a little fun with the "too quiet" cliché.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, OBSERVATION BOOTH - The RANGERS wander into the observation booth and survey the area below.  Beyond the glass, we see an empty holding bay, save for a few pieces of metal and empty crates. ]

LISA (Blue Ranger):
There's nothing here.

LUKE (Red Ranger):
That's not how it used to be.  There was something giant in here.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
How do you know?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
I flew out here once.  There was an obstruction that kept me from landing.

Episode 13.  Dillik got rid of the rock for the Jinnsect habitat in episode 26, and the Gigazord is now gone as well, though the Rangers don't know about that yet.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Looks like whatever it was is gone now.

[ The RANGERS hear a voice in their helmets. ]

DR. BERING (voice-over):
Rangers, the grid's down again.  I'm not picking up any activity from the station anymore.

Little point in the up-down business, I suppose, but it was just due to plausibility; Mainframe would put it back up as soon as possible at first, but he left it down to teleport them all out of the station.

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
How weird is that?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Yeah, there's definitely something strange about all this.


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - The RANGERS enter the command center, where their attention is drawn to the center of the room.  There, facing away from the Rangers, stands the cryogenic container. ]

[ RED RANGER cocks his head slightly and then approaches.  The others follow. ]

[ As RED RANGER rounds the container, its contents come into view: frozen within is WILL (dressed as he was in episode 18). ]

Ta-daaa!

[ RED RANGER startles and places his hands on the container. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Will!

[ The other RANGERS (with the exception of Blue) gasp. ]

Lisa wasn't on the team when the others encountered Will (episode 18).

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Oh my gosh!

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
That's not possible!

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
... Man.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Wait... Will?  The guy that Trask --

Luke has apparently told Lisa about the experience, though.

LUKE (Red Ranger):
It looks like we were wrong.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
He tricked us.  He wanted us to think he'd melted him, but he actually brought him here.

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
And then he froze him like Dr. Bering.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
So what do we do with him?  What, do we try to move him?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Let's call Dr. Bering and see what she recommends.

[ RED RANGER raises his left wrist to speak, but WILL's hand suddenly breaks out through the glass and grabs his wrist, alarming the RANGERS.  CASEY shrieks briefly. ]

[ RED RANGER tries to yank his hand away, but WILL's grip seems inhumanly strong. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
What the heck?!

[ BLACK RANGER draws his SKY BLASTER and fires in close range, causing WILL's hand to burst with sparks and release, retracting quickly into the container. ]

[ The RANGERS apprehensively step back as the container begins to tear open with the sound of rending metal.  It finally rips apart in a final burst, revealing its smoking occupant. ]

[ Standing in the container's place is a humanoid resembling Will, but his frame is larger, and his body bears several features harkening back to Gog (see episode 30), including yellowish-orange skin; a toothy, reptilian mouth; and long, curved arm blades.  This is DEMI-GOG. ]

The name Demi-Gog is just a little pun that I thought was fairly fitting (sounds like "demagogue," but spelled to mean "half Gog").

I didn't have Gog's costume or any sentai footage with which to bring back Gog for a second battle, but an original Will-Gog hybrid seemed doable.

[ The stunned RANGERS look on. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Will...?  Is that you?

[ DEMI-GOG speaks with a guttural voice combining WILL and GOG's voices. ]

DEMI-GOG:
It's hard to say, Rangers.  I'm a little bit of Will, and a little bit of Gog.

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Gog...  That demon we fought in the park.

Episode 30.  They know his name because he introduced himself at the time.

DEMI-GOG:
I'm so happy you remembered.

LUKE (Red Ranger):
What do you want?

DEMI-GOG:
You have to ask by now?  To destroy you, of course!

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Yeah, that does sound kinda familiar.

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
But you helped us in the desert, Will!  Remember, the Jinnsects?

[ DEMI-GOG pauses. ]


[ We flash to EXT. DESERT (from episode 18) - WILL slows as he drives near RED RANGER. ]

WILL (to Red):
I'm on it!

[ WILL speeds ahead and crushes a JINNSECT under his tires.  It dissolves with yellow shards. ]

[ WILL laughs and gives a thumbs-up to the Rangers (off-screen). ]

[ Several of the RANGERS look on speechlessly. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION COMMAND - DEMI-GOG scratches his head. ]

DEMI-GOG:
You're right...  Let's be friends, Rangers.

[ The RANGERS exchange seemingly puzzled glances. ]

[ DEMI-GOG chuckles. ]

DEMI-GOG (cont'd):
Just kidding.

[ DEMI-GOG blows a stream of fiery energy from his mouth (compare with Jetman #30). ]

[ Blasted, the RANGERS spark and crash against the wall behind them. ]

[ DEMI-GOG approaches as the RANGERS lie smoking on the floor.  They struggle to rise. ]

DEMI-GOG:
See, Will's kind of a weak guy, I admit...  He might've even joined forces with you if it meant bringing an end to his loneliness.  But Gog knows better.  You'll turn on me, just like Zin and Drek did.

Demi-Gog's disparaging insight into Will's character was my attempt to rationalize the ensuing battle even after Will's apparent reform in episode 18.  In actuality, I hadn't planned for Will to return (as a villain or otherwise) when I wrote that episode.

[ RED RANGER rises. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
No, Will, that's not true.  We want to help you.

[ DEMI-GOG laughs. ]

DEMI-GOG:
Help me how?  What do you think the military would do with Will?  Let alone a Demi-Gog like me...

He's got a point there.

[ The other RANGERS rise behind RED RANGER. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
We'll figure something out.  It doesn't have to be like this.

DEMI-GOG:
You're making promises you can't keep, Branson.

[ DEMI-GOG slashes RED RANGER across the chest with one of his long arm blades.  RED sparks heavily.  DEMI-GOG then strikes again with the other arm.  RED sparks again and falls back, but the others catch him and take several steps back in the direction of the exit.  BLACK RANGER draws his TALON SWORD and stands in front of RED. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
All right, fine.  You wanna fight?  How'd that work out for you last time, Gog?  You think this time will be any different?

[ DEMI-GOG swings his blade.  BLACK attempts to block with his TALON SWORD, but the monster's blade shatters his sword blade and rests against BLACK's arm. ]

So much for Chris's Talon Sword.  This is the second time a Talon Sword has been broken (see episode 30).

DEMI-GOG:
Oh, I think it'll go fine.

[ As BLACK looks down at his broken sword, DEMI-GOG pulls back with his blade, slicing BLACK's arm with a burst of sparks. ]

[ BLACK clutches his arm and takes a step back, gesturing for the others to move back. ]

DEMI-GOG (cont'd):
For one thing, I don't think you'll be getting that Phoenix Cannon of yours inside the space station.

Gog heard its name when they used it against him in episode 30.  It's also worth noting that it failed to destroy him then, though he may be less powerful now.

CHRIS (Black Ranger, to the others):
Get him out of here.

[ The RANGERS retreat through the exit, though PINK is reluctant.  They are soon gone. ]

Casey is growing less clingy around Chris, instead allowing him to be brave without protesting.

[ BLACK RANGER backs toward the exit, his broken TALON SWORD still in hand. ]

DEMI-GOG:
That's okay.  I don't mind destroying you one at a time.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Yeah, well, I sorta mind.  Sky Enforcer!

[ The remaining stub of the TALON SWORD blade retracts with a purple gleam, and BLACK RANGER inserts it into his SKY BLASTER, forming the SKY ENFORCER. ]

I was okay with the idea of a broken Talon Sword being able to form a Sky Enforcer, as the blades were absent any other time the Enforcers were formed.

[ We see over DEMI-GOG's shoulder as he plods forward toward BLACK RANGER.  BLACK fires a series of purple lasers from his ENFORCER, each causing a small burst of sparks which causes DEMI-GOG to jerk backward.  Once BLACK stops firing, DEMI-GOG straightens and glares at him. ]

DEMI-GOG:
Is that the best you've got?

[ DEMI-GOG charges out of frame toward BLACK RANGER. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Uh oh.


[ INT. DARK LAIR - In a large, black void with a mist-covered floor, MAINFRAME is working on his free-standing console while DILLIK looks on.  TRASK paces broodingly nearby.  Around them are the large robotic parts formerly seen in the space station's holding bay. ]

MAINFRAME:
Well, I think I can get us back online in a few days.  I'll need some raw materials, though.  (to Trask) Are you going to want a biomass refiner in here?

Mainframe needs raw materials, as he can't create matter out of thin air.

[ TRASK defers to DILLIK. ]

TRASK:
He's the boss.

[ MAINFRAME looks to DILLIK.  DILLIK alternates his gaze between TRASK and MAINFRAME with uncertainty. ]

DILLIK:
Ummm... no, I think we're okay...

Trask will decide otherwise once Dillik appears to perish.

[ TRASK makes no objection. ]

[ DILLIK nods with a bit more confidence. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Yeah, hold off for now.  The Rangers can keep what they stole from us.  We have everything we need right here...

[ DILLIK trails off as he grows panic-stricken. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Oh no...

MAINFRAME:
What is it?

DILLIK (upset):
The Star Handle!  I left the Star Handle on the space station!  I have to go back!

The Star Handle was last seen being hidden by Dillik in his quarters in episode 30; he was given it after Trask melted Sasha in episode 27.

[ TRASK gently holds DILLIK back before he can scamper off. ]

TRASK:
Take it easy, Dillik.

MAINFRAME:
The Star Handle?  Do we need it?

[ Initially struggling, DILLIK is pained by the question.  He stops trying to fight TRASK. ]

DILLIK (sorrowfully):
W--  No...  But it's all I have to remember Sasha by.

TRASK (gently):
Dillik, listen...  We may be able to go back sooner than you think.  I left a little surprise for the Rangers.

I found it tricky to juggle the threat of Trask's trap for the Rangers with the urgency of Dillik's compulsion to reclaim the Star Handle; how can both sides be on the losing end of the same conflict?  I think I did okay though.


[ INT. SPACE STATION CORRIDOR -  DEMI-GOG pursues BLACK RANGER down the corridor.  BLACK still holds his ENFORCER in one hand. ]

[ As they pass a side corridor, PINK RANGER suddenly leaps out with a glowing pink strike from her TALON SWORD.  DEMI-GOG sparks and staggers to the side. ]

Casey learned this trick in episode 22.

[ PINK then immediately draws her SKY BLASTER and shoots DEMI-GOG in the eyes.  He sparks from the face and recoils. ]

Shooting somebody in the eyes might be too violent for family TV, but it would probably be an effective distraction; it helped the Rangers against Infernis (episode 29).

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Sky Blaster!  (fires, Demi-Gog recoils)

[ PINK quickly escorts BLACK RANGER further down the corridor. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Casey!

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Come on!

Casey rescues Chris once again.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, CORRIDOR JUNCTION - In a spacious junction where several corridors meet, RED RANGER shrugs off BLUE and YELLOW's help. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Guys, I'm okay.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Are you sure?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Yeah.

[ BLACK and PINK catch up to them.  Their weapons are back in their holsters. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Watch out!  He's right on our tails!

[ RED RANGER reaches for his blaster. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Come on, guys!  Let's give this new gravity ball a shot!

[ DEMI-GOG bounds into the junction area but is confronted with five ENFORCERS aimed by the RANGERS (compare with sentai). ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Fire!

[ Sentai (Jetman #3) - The RANGERS fire their ENFORCER beams over a black background, generating a force bubble. ]

Enforcer blast Enforcer blast Enforcer blast Enforcer blast

[ The force bubble (compare with sentai) strikes DEMI-GOG and shatters with a fiery explosion. ]

[ The RANGERS shield their eyes, but the flames soon subside. ]

[ Standing amidst the flames is a smoking DEMI-GOG.  He staggers back slightly and then collapses forward with a grunt. ]

Presumably this was not part of Demi-Gog's ruse; Gog's energies had not yet fully recovered by this point, and the Enforcers are stronger (though probably not as strong as the Phoenix Cannon).

[ The RANGERS startle.  YELLOW RANGER looks at his ENFORCER in apparent disbelief. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Whoa...  We did it.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Way to go, Dr. Bering!

[ DEMI-GOG reverts to WILL in a crackle of yellow energy. ]

[ RED RANGER holsters his weapons and rushes forward to crouch beside WILL.  He rolls him onto his back. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Will!

[ Barely conscious, WILL groans with a raspy voice: ]

WILL:
Luke... I'm sorry...

Is this part of his ruse, or is this some of Will's actual regret spilling out?

[ WILL then loses consciousness.  RED RANGER looks to the others. ]

[ The other RANGERS look on wordlessly. ]


[ Break. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, INFIRMARY - In a makeshift infirmary, the room's prior function not clear, WILL lies unconscious on a bed to which his wrists and ankles are cuffed.  Electrodes on his head and chest are connected to monitoring equipment nearby.  Beside the equipment stands DR. BERING, her eyes on the readouts.  On the other side of the bed stands a uniformed guard, GUARD1, armed with a rifle. ]

A rifle is a bit low-tech, but we can't all have Ranger weapons.

DR. BERING:
His vitals look normal, but I want to keep him under observation for a little longer before you take him back.

Plot device to keep him here for further misadventures.

[ The helmetless RANGERS stand by the door.  LUKE nods.  Outside, another guard, GUARD2, arrives. ]

GUARD2 (to Dr. Bering):
Doctor, the station's clear.

DR. BERING:
Thank you.

[ DR. BERING and the RANGERS exit.  DR. BERING looks back sympathetically at Will (off-screen). ]

[ We see WILL continuing to lie unconscious on the bed. ]

[ They walk off.  GUARD2 remains outside the door. ]


[ Dissolve to INT. SPACE STATION, LIFE SUPPORT - DR. BERING and the helmetless RANGERS explore the modified life support room.  DR. BERING is particularly mesmerized by the alien modifications. ]

DR. BERING:
I'm just in awe...

[ DR. BERING studies an odd-looking pipe structure built into the wall. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
I've never seen this kind of technology.

Dr. Bering has seen technology reversed-engineered from the ancient Red Ranger's ship, and she's built Ranger technology from Zordon's specs, but she hasn't seen alien technology like Dillik's.

PETE:
You sure are impressed by that pipe.  Hey, didn't you design the Zords?

[ DR. BERING looks back at PETE and smirks. ]

DR. BERING:
Actually, no, not the Zords.

She designed some of the Ranger technology, but her crew was only responsible for programming the Zords; the designs came from Zordon, and contractors assembled them on Earth.


[ Dissolve to INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S LAB - DR. BERING and the helmetless RANGERS wander into the lab, looking around curiously. ]

DR. BERING:
This is remarkable.

CASEY:
A little grimy.  What is all this stuff?

DR. BERING:
I don't know.  But I'll figure it out eventually.

LUKE:
Wait, you don't mean...

DR. BERING:
I'm staying here.

CASEY:
What...?

LISA:
But...

DR. BERING:
Sorry, Rangers, I belong here.  Five years ago, I was barely out of college when General Taggart put me in charge of this station.  This is my home now.  (smirks)  Plus, that's not counting all this alien technology I get to study up here.

A little glimpse into Dr. Bering's backstory.

[ The RANGERS seem crestfallen. ]

DR. BERING (cont'd):
Hey, come on...  This is your station too, you know.

[ The RANGERS are puzzled. ]

CHRIS:
What?

DR. BERING:
Jon didn't tell you?  This station was always meant to be your headquarters during this phase of the operation.  It has room for your Zords, and we'll get it restocked with all the supplies you need...

Well, all right, not always.  Originally it was built to test the wormhole generator away from Earth to put fewer people in danger.

CASEY:
So we... have to move out of our house?

LISA:
And my apartment?

[ DR. BERING smiles softly. ]

DR. BERING:
Not if you don't want to.  Give me a few days, and I think I can figure out this teleportation system.  Then you can come and go like that.  (snaps her fingers on the last word)

I found it interesting how quickly the show's setup could change.  What's more, I didn't plan this until writing this episode.

[ The RANGERS blink and look at one another. ]


[ INT. DARK LAIR - DILLIK paces anxiously. ]

DILLIK:
Ohh, the Rangers are going to find that Star Handle... I just know it!

[ MAINFRAME approaches consolingly. ]

MAINFRAME:
Dillik, you heard Trask.  Maybe the Rangers are destroyed by now.  (whispers furtively) Hey, you should send Trask to go check it out.

[ TRASK emerges from the shadows.  His response is slightly gruff. ]

TRASK:
I'm sealed out.  The humans are still occupying the station.  Perhaps you'd like to go, Mainframe?

Trask can't reenter the station while it's a human dwelling place because of his Vampirian curse.

[ MAINFRAME shrinks back timidly. ]

MAINFRAME:
Uhh... well, I don't know if they've overridden my control of the teleporter yet...

[ DILLIK turns to listen. ]

TRASK (to Mainframe):
Find out.

MAINFRAME:
Ummm, okay.  (concentrates a moment, then chuckles nervously)  Nope, I'm still in control.  Lucky me, huh?

Future-Lisa will soon take control of it, however.

[ TRASK continues to glare at MAINFRAME.  MAINFRAME looks nervously between TRASK and DILLIK, apparently hoping for a reprieve.  DILLIK then speaks. ]

DILLIK:
I'll go.

TRASK:
Dillik...

DILLIK:
I said I'll go.

Aww, our little Dillik's all grown up.

[ TRASK narrows his eyes slightly at DILLIK. ]

[ DILLIK produces his COMMUNICATOR (see episode 30). ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
I don't want anyone coming after me.  (to both) That's an order.

[ TRASK lowers his eyes slightly.  MAINFRAME bows his head subserviently. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Send me.


[ INT. SPACE STATION CORRIDOR - The five helmetless RANGERS stroll absently down a corridor which will ultimately take them to the infirmary (see below). ]

PETE:
Wow, so we could live on a space station if we wanted to...

CHRIS:
Yeah, do you want to, though?

PETE:
Well, I don't know.  (to Luke) You stayed here for a while, right?  How'd you like it?

LUKE:
It was fine.  A little boring sometimes, but it's comfortable enough.

CASEY:
Would we... keep our jobs?

[ LUKE has no response. ]

CHRIS (to Casey):
I guess it depends on whether you want to be a full-time superhero.

In Jetman, Blue originally considered being a Ranger to be a (paying) part-time job, but she had a change of heart soon enough.  In Take Flight, only Lisa will choose to become full-time in this context.

[ CASEY ponders as they walk. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, INFIRMARY - As the helmetless RANGERS round the corner into the infirmary door, they're startled by what they see within. ]

[ The bed is now empty, the cuffs having been torn off.  GUARD1 and GUARD2 lie unconscious against the wall. ]

Well, who didn't see this coming?

[ The RANGERS look around in panic. ]

LISA:
He's gone!

CASEY:
Where'd he go?!

LUKE (to Lisa):
Go protect Dr. Bering!  She's alone back there!

[ LISA nods and hurries out of the room. ]

LUKE (cont'd):
Let's split up.  We've gotta find him.

[ The remaining RANGERS quickly depart. ]

LUKE (cont'd, while exiting):
Keep an eye on your locators!

Oh good, another use for the locators (introduced in episode 31).

[ In the now empty room (aside from the unconscious guards), we pan up to the ceiling, where a hand grasps a metal grate and moves it aside.  WILL then springs down into the room.  He chuckles wickedly. ]

WILL (softly):
So, Dr. Bering's here...  (grins)  Interesting.

Pesky ceiling grates.

[ His eyes flash with yellow energy. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION CORRIDOR - YELLOW RANGER (now helmeted, with his MORPHER exposed on his wrist) hurries searchingly down a corridor.  Suddenly, DEMI-GOG strikes him from behind, sending him colliding into the wall.  YELLOW falls to his knees briefly as DEMI-GOG runs past him. ]

[ YELLOW RANGER calls into his left wrist: ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Guys, he's here!

[ By the time YELLOW is back on his feet, he is alone in the corridor. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger, cont'd):
Well, he was.


[ INT. SPACE STATION CORRIDOR (ELSEWHERE) - BLACK RANGER (now helmeted with his MORPHER exposed as well) listens momentarily and then turns around, looking at his MORPHER. ]

PETE (voice-over):
I'm going after him.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
I'm headed your way, Pete.

[ Suddenly, BLACK is slammed aside by DEMI-GOG as he rushes by from the direction Black is now facing. ]

DEMI-GOG:
Out of the way, loser!

[ At the end of the corridor, the RED and PINK RANGERS (likewise helmeted with their MORPHERS exposed) round a corner with their SKY ENFORCERS ready.  DEMI-GOG tries to stop (near a side doorway), but they fire red and pink laser beams.  He tries to block with his arms, but the beams break off his arm blades, and he sparks and recoils.  He looks down at his broken blades and growls angrily. ]

I found it a bit unlikely that the Enforcers would break off Demi-Gog's arm blades, but they had to come off before his confrontation with Dillik, and I couldn't think of a better way to do it.

[ At the other end of the corridor, the YELLOW and BLACK RANGERS arrive with their ENFORCERS ready as well.  DEMI-GOG glances over his shoulder at them and grunts in irritation.  He then ducks into the nearby doorway. ]

[ RED and PINK start forward. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
After him!


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK's QUARTERS - DILLIK tiptoes through his quarters and opens his hidden panel (see episode 30).  He removes the STAR HANDLE and holds it close to his chest with a sigh of relief. ]

DILLIK:
It's still here.

[ DILLIK is distracted by a din of footsteps scurrying around, their sound apparently amplified beyond human hearing ability.  Clanks and thuds punctuate the noise. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
Boy, it's noisy in here.

Dillik's superhuman hearing comes into play once again.

[ We tune into the sound of LISA's distant voice somewhere. ]

LISA (distant, off-camera):
Dr. Bering!  Good, you're safe...

DR. BERING (distant, off-camera):
Lisa, what's going on?

[ DILLIK listens curiously. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S LAB - BLUE RANGER (now helmeted, with her MORPHER visible) speaks to DR. BERING while watching the doorway apprehensively. ]

On her way to protect Dr. Bering, Lisa took a detour by the command center to teleport future-Lisa aboard (see episode 37).  She didn't appear to foresee Will becoming a monster, though.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Will's turned back into his monster form!  The others are trying to hold him off.

However, we're left to wonder how Lisa knew that Will had turned back into his monster form.  Just a good guess?

[ DR. BERING shakes her head. ]

DR. BERING (inwardly):
"Monster form..."  How is this possible?

LISA (Blue Ranger):
They must've done something to him while he was frozen.

DR. BERING:
Great...  So what did they do to ME?

This conversation was a plot device to get Dillik to realize Dr. Bering ("frozen scientist") was here.

[ BLUE RANGER looks at her with no response. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S QUARTERS - DILLIK perks up. ]

DILLIK (inwardly):
Is it really her...?  Frozen scientist?!


[ INT. SPACE STATION GALLEY - The four RANGERS urgently survey the galley, which is dark but otherwise unmodified from its original appearance (see episode 18).  They look up as a metal scraping sound is heard above. ]

Other areas of the space station were converted to serve new purposes after Dillik and Trask took over, but I couldn't think of a new purpose for the galley, so I left it as-is.

[ A metal grate in the ceiling (like the one shown previously) slides shut. ]

[ BLACK RANGER quickly aims his ENFORCER at the ceiling and fires a purple beam.  RED tries to intervene but is too late. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Wait!  (Black fires)

[ The purple beam quickly sears a molten line through the grating and a nearby portion of ceiling.  Sparks flash within the dark space above. ]

[ Suddenly, a fireball explodes outward from the ceiling, blowing DEMI-GOG and a wave of debris onto the galley and the RANGERS below as they are thrown back. ]

[ At the edge of the room, one of the large windows cracks faintly. ]

[ Smoking, DEMI-GOG lands with a crunch on the floor below. ]

[ The RANGERS rise to their feet. ]

CHRIS (Black Ranger, to Red):
Were you gonna say something?

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Yeah, that there are explosive chemicals in the station, and we probably shouldn't shoot the walls and ceiling.

CHRIS (Black Ranger):
Good to know.

[ Still smoking, DEMI-GOG rises with an angry roar and hurls a broken tabletop at the RANGERS.  They leap aside (in the direction of the windows), and the tabletop crashes against the opposing wall with a loud clatter. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Jeez, man, I think you made him mad.

You know somebody's mad when he starts throwing tables.

[ DEMI-GOG hurls another table.  It soars in YELLOW's direction.  He braces for the impact, but it sends him flying against the windows and crashes there with him. ]

[ The window cracks slightly more. ]

[ The other three RANGERS rush to YELLOW's aid, but he rises from under the mangled table in one piece. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
Pete!

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
I'm okay.

[ DEMI-GOG growls and hoists a third table mightily above his head.  He then hurls it with great force. ]

[ The RANGERS leap out of the way. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Look out!  (Rangers leap)

[ The table smashes against the window, cracking it extensively.  A steady hissing sound then begins. ]

[ As the RANGERS recover and look at the window, the room is lit with red light. ]

COMPUTER (voice-over):
Air leak detected.  This sector is being sealed.

So if the space station automatically seals off damaged areas, it seems Luke might have been able to break into the station without rendering the station uninhabitable (see episode 13).  However, he still would have run the risk of hitting the area in which Dr. Bering was being held (or one of those pesky pipes full of explosive chemicals).

[ DEMI-GOG looks over his shoulder to see the exit door sliding closed.  He quickly leaps through the doorway just before it closes. ]

DEMI-GOG:
Later, Rangers!  (exits)

[ The RANGERS react.  The sound of rushing air continues. ]

CASEY (Pink Ranger):
We're trapped!

This scenario prompted me to research all about what happens to humans when they're exposed to the vacuum of space.  For one thing, they don't explode, and they don't freeze in a matter of seconds.  (I also learned that a skin-tight costume could actually make a decent space-suit if it shielded the wearer from radiation.)


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S LAB - BLUE RANGER watches DR. BERING pace the room. ]

DR. BERING:
I don't like this.  Maybe I should try to talk some sense into him.

Dr. Bering worked with Will for years aboard the space station.

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Uhh, no, I think we should stay here, Dr. Bering.

[ Suddenly, LISA and DR. BERING are startled as DILLIK leaps through the doorway brandishing the STAR HANDLE, though it lacks a sword or whip end.  LISA and DR. BERING calm slightly upon seeing the intruder. ]

DR. BERING:
Who is this?

LISA (Blue Ranger):
It's Dillik, I think...

To date, only Chris and Casey have seen Dillik in person (episode 30).

DILLIK:
Don't worry, frozen scientist, I'll protect you.

[ DR. BERING and BLUE RANGER exchange confused glances. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
I-- I mean, unfrozen scientist.

[ DR. BERING cocks her head and advances a step. ]

DR. BERING:
Do I know you?

DILLIK (embarrassed):
Well, no, I guess not.  But I... took care of you while you were frozen.

Dillik isn't as crazy as he seems sometimes.  For instance, he distinguishes between the real Dr. Bering and his imaginary friend, frozen scientist.

DR. BERING:
And your name is Dillik?

DILLIK (self-consciously):
Y-- Yeah...

DR. BERING:
Well, my name is Dr. Bering, but you can call me Vanessa.

DILLIK:
Vanessa?

DR. BERING:
Yes.  It's nice to meet you.

[ DILLIK awkwardly twists his foot against the floor. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION GALLEY - RED RANGER stands at a recession which has opened in one wall, revealing dozens of small breathing devices.  He hands three out to the other RANGERS and then takes one for himself. ]

Here's something to ponder: behind the scenes in episode 1, Trask asphyxiated the station's crew from Life Support, rendering them all unconscious, and yet this episode reveals ample rebreathers stored throughout the station.  My explanation: Trask's sabotage overrode the automatic release of the rebreathers.

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Here.  These'll buy us some extra time.

[ RED RANGER removes the mouthpiece from his device, exposing a square opening the shape of the mouthplates on the Rangers' helmets.  He then affixes the device to his mouthplate with a click. ]

[ We see an internal shot of RED RANGER's mouthplate through the device's opening.  The mouthplate splits open vertically and slides out of the way, revealing LUKE's mouth.  He begins breathing through the device. ]

[ The other three RANGERS do the same with their devices and begin breathing through them as well. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger, muffled):
Just breathe calmly, guys.  Our suits will protect us from a vacuum, and we've got plenty of air.

Rebreathers do a pretty good job of preserving the quality of a limited air supply, as human lungs don't convert a great deal of oxygen from the air into carbon dioxide.  But it is recommended that one breathe calmly and naturally when using a rebreather.

CHRIS (Black Ranger, muffled):
So how do we get out of here?  Break down the door?

LUKE (Red Ranger, muffled):
No, we'd put the rest of the station in danger.  I think there's only one way out.

Well, technically, the hallway would be sealed off as soon as they broke down the door and exposed it to the vacuum. And then the next room, and the next, and so on.  That's a very slow way to put the rest of the station in danger, but still...

[ RED RANGER looks toward the window.  The others follow his gaze somewhat warily, it seems. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S LAB - BLUE RANGER continues to watch the hallway while DR. BERING and DILLIK sit in the corner. ]

DR. BERING:
You speak English well.

Something which never seems to be given any thought in Power Rangers.

DILLIK (with a humble chuckle):
I picked it up from your radio signals while we were approaching Earth.  (smiles)  It's just a trick they taught us in school.  It only works while civilizations are in the radio age, though.

Hard to pick up signals that aren't being broadcast over the electromagnetic spectrum.  I also imply here that sapients' technology tends to evolve beyond using radio signals, which might explain why the galaxy isn't teeming with radio signals.

DR. BERING:
What did you study in school?

DILLIK:
Oh, well, some of this... some of that...  But my apprenticeship was in exobiology.

As mentioned in episode 17.

DR. BERING:
You studied alien lifeforms?  I'm so envious.

[ DILLIK smiles. ]

DILLIK:
Life takes limitless forms, so there's always something new to learn.  But it's funny, everything reminds you of something else.  We all arise and diversify independently, but we come up with the same solutions for so many challenges.

I dodged a direct reference to evolution to avoid unnecessarily alienating a certain subset of readers.

DR. BERING:
We're more alike than we realize.

DILLIK:
Exactly.


[ EXT. SPACE STATION - Outside a portion of the space station, we see a long shot of a window matching the one in the galley.  It suddenly shatters outward (no audio), and the four RANGERS, still wearing their breathing devices, soar out through the open window. ]

Note that there's no point in the Rangers having their underarm wings open, as there's no medium through which to glide in space.

[ Flying through space, HAWK ONE banks to turn around. ]

[ As the RANGERS float through space, the HAWK silently flies by in the distance, and the RANGERS are beamed into it with green light (no audio). ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S LAB - DR. BERING continues to speak with DILLIK in the corner. ]

DR. BERING:
So... Dillik, what made you join forces with Trask?  You don't seem like the typical evil space alien.

The term "evil space alien" was used as far back as the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993) to describe the Rangers' foes (usually the term was used in the toy line).

DILLIK:
Well, I could say the same about you.  I thought humans were only violent and destructive.

Touché.

DR. BERING:
Well, I guess that's true some of the time...  But we all have good and bad qualities.  Mostly, we just want to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and secure.

In my opinion, Dr. Bering has a fair but slightly optimistic view of the human race.

[ Having been listening, BLUE RANGER looks away. ]

Did something in Dr. Bering's appraisal resonate with Lisa?  Or is she just keeping watch for Demi-Gog?

[ DILLIK looks at DR. BERING. ]

DILLIK:
Trask used to say human altruism was worthless because you only help each other, like cells in a big, omnivorous organism.

I had had this tidbit in my series bible for quite a while, as I sought to explain why Trask was unfazed by the sight of humans protecting one another.  I hadn't found a place to work it in until now.

[ DR. BERING has no response. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
But you know, I kind of thought that altruism of any kind was a good start.  I've even seen humans raising animals as if they were their own offspring.

House pets, which arguably serve as a counterexample to Trask's theory (unless the raising of house pets is just a side effect of humans' propensity to nurture their own young).

[ DR. BERING laughs gently. ]

DR. BERING:
We do that too.

[ DILLIK looks down soberly. ]

DILLIK:
I'm sorry I tried to destroy your race.

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard this apology...

[ DR. BERING listens attentively. ]

[ DILLIK stands with determination. ]

DILLIK (cont'd):
I'm going to tell Trask that he's wrong about you.  This mission was a mistake.

I suppose the reform of a likable villain such as Dillik was somewhat predictable, but I hadn't actually planned this turn of events until I was writing this episode!  Earlier in the series, I had planned for Dillik and Sasha to run off together after the Shadow Ranger plot, but I eventually decided that was too rosy; I was left without a resolution for Dillik until this point.

LISA (off-screen):
Oh no.

[ At the doorway, BLUE RANGER is struck with a fiery blast, sending her flipping back with a burst of sparks.  She struggles to rise as DEMI-GOG arrives at the doorway. ]

[ DR. BERING springs to her feet and stands beside DILLIK, who clutches his STAR HANDLE tightly with both hands. ]

[ DEMI-GOG strolls in. ]

DEMI-GOG:
Well, isn't this a pretty picture...  Hello, Dr. Bering.

DR. BERING:
Will.


[ INT. SPACE STATION, HOLDING BAY (Jetman #1) - HAWK ONE sits in the background, its canopy open and landing gear down, as the four RANGERS (US composite in place of sentai actors) hurry away from the Zord and out of frame.  The RANGERS are no longer wearing their breathing devices.  In the background, a red alert light flashes. ]

Hawk One in hangar (not shown: Rangers)

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Come on, this way!

[ Switch to US footage - The RANGERS continue to run through the holding bay, but YELLOW looks back. ]

PETE (Yellow Ranger):
Wait, shouldn't we take the Phoenix Cannon?

Seemed like a reasonable question, but it really would be too bulky to take down the station's corridors (and driving it would be out of the question as well).

[ RED RANGER continues running. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
It's too big!  We'll try the Battlizer Beams with the Enforcers if we have to!

A little setup for the Gluestreak battle next episode.

[ YELLOW RANGER grunts and continues running with the others. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S LAB - DEMI-GOG approaches DR. BERING and DILLIK's side of the room.  BLUE RANGER remains on the floor, smoking as she attempts to regain her strength. ]

DEMI-GOG:
Who's this freak?

[ DR. BERING narrows her eyes and takes a step in front of DILLIK. ]

DR. BERING:
You leave him alone.

DEMI-GOG:
Aww, did you get yourself a new boyfriend?  What would your darling Red Ranger think?

In episode 18, Will indicated that jealousy over Dr. Bering and Luke's relationship was his primary motivation in siding with Trask.

[ BLUE RANGER clenches her fist and rises to approach DEMI-GOG, but he effortlessly swats her aside with his hand, knocking her to the ground with a flash of sparks. ]

This confrontation demanded that the Rangers be out of the way, so I kept Lisa down accordingly.  (Note that Lisa attacked him after he referred to Luke as Dr. Bering's darling Red Ranger.)

[ After glancing down at Blue Ranger (off-screen), DR. BERING stands more squarely in front of DILLIK and stares DEMI-GOG in the eyes as he stands before her. ]

DR. BERING:
Red Ranger...?  Is that what this is about?  You're jealous?!

Odd...  You'd think Luke would've mentioned that part when he was telling Will's story in episode 30.

DEMI-GOG:
You make it sound so trivial, Dr. Bering.  As if you hadn't raked your claws over my soul after I bared my heart to you.  (more deeply) You humiliated me.  Treated me like I was nothing.  But you're nothing.  Or you will be.

Will is so melodramatic.

[ DEMI-GOG approaches within arm's reach.  Swiftly, DILLIK pushes DR. BERING aside and thrusts the STAR HANDLE, now in sword mode, through DEMI-GOG's midsection (off-camera).  DEMI-GOG stiffens as a small burst of sparks ruptures from the entry point (off-camera). ]

Dillik's character-defining boldness comes out of a desire to protect Dr. Bering.  I find it interesting that Dillik's foe here is partially Trask's creation, but he's also an embodiment of selfish malice; Dillik, meanwhile, represents altruistic courage.

[ Staggering aside, DR. BERING turns to look at the pair.  We see a clearer shot of DEMI-GOG standing stiffly as DILLIK holds the STAR HANDLE sword, its blade through his torso.  DILLIK calls out to DR. BERING. ]

DILLIK:
Go!  Get out of here!

[ BLUE RANGER rises weakly and staggers to DR. BERING's aid.  BLUE pulls DR. BERING away and hurries out the door with her. ]

Oh, now your legs work...

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Come on!

[ DEMI-GOG grasps the near end of the STAR HANDLE with one mighty hand and clutches DILLIK's uniform near his neck with the other.  DILLIK keeps a tight grip on his end, but the jostling sends his COMMUNICATOR tumbling to the floor, where it lands with a clatter. ]

Plot device: I wanted to rule out any chance of Dillik's escape under his own power.


[ INT. SPACE STATION CORRIDOR - BLUE RANGER and DR. BERING meet up with the other four RANGERS, but BLUE waves them back. ]

LUKE (Red Ranger):
Lisa!

LISA (Blue Ranger):
Run!


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S LAB - DEMI-GOG squeezes the STAR HANDLE tightly as DILLIK struggles to hold on. ]

DEMI-GOG:
You foolish little worm...  You think this toy can stop me?

Again Dillik gets called a worm (see episodes 11 and 30).  This time, though, he's prepared to stand up for himself.

Speaking of toys, I doubt a Take Flight toy line would include the Star Handle.

DILLIK:
My name's Dillik.  And yes... yes, I do.

[ DILLIK thrusts forward on the STAR HANDLE, causing it to fire a steady white beam through DEMI-GOG's midsection and out his back.  DEMI-GOG roars in pain. ]


[ INT. SPACE STATION, HOLDING BAY - As the roar echoes through the station, the RANGERS and DR. BERING hurry to the HAWKZORD (barely in foreground, with landing gear shown below).  Holding the unconscious GUARD1 and GUARD2 over his shoulders, RED RANGER leaps up to the canopy (off-screen), while the others head for an open hatch in the jet's underbelly (partially off-screen). ]

My first version of this scene left out the guards.  Oops.


[ INT. CRUISER COCKPIT (DARK) - The four RANGERS and DR. BERING enter the darkened, inactive cockpit from the rear door.  They buckle themselves into their respective seats, DR. BERING in front center, as LUKE's voice is heard. ]

LUKE (voice-over):
Ready for takeoff!

I had decided not to reproduce the Hawk cockpit in US footage, so I had no means of showing Luke with the two unconscious guards.  However, I figured the Cruiser/Megazord cockpit was fair game (as it was in the Megazord's head, which was a part of the Hawkzord); though it was inactive here, it surely didn't cease to exist when the Hawk was in solo form (similar to Lisa remaining in the inactive Kestrelzord cockpit when the Mega Kestrelzord was formed in episode 29).


[ INT. SPACE STATION, HOLDING BAY (Jetman #1) - The HAWK rolls out of the holding bay, its boosters lit. ]

Hawk One ready for takeoff


[ INT. SPACE STATION, DILLIK'S LAB - As DILLIK struggles to keep his grip on the STAR HANDLE, DEMI-GOG squeezes more tightly on it.  The instrument's outer casing begins to crack, unleashing the traces of a bright white gleam from within. ]

Maggie was unable to break the Star Handle in episode 14, but it seems Demi-Gog is stronger.

[ DILLIK shields his eyes with one hand as the light from the cracking STAR HANDLE grows brighter. ]


[ EXT. SPACE STATION - We see the space station from a distant vantage point as the HAWKZORD flies away from the underside of the station.  The other four FLYERS circle around and join the HAWK in fleeing the station (no audio). ]

[ Just then, a blinding pulse of white light bursts forth from one side of the station's upper portion (no audio), spraying debris from that side of the station.  A shockwave ripples across the rest of the station, knocking KORA'S SHIP (see episode 26) loose from its airlock atop the station.  (Trask's ship is not present.) ]

Dillik's lab has just been destroyed, along with the Star Handle, Demi-Gog (Will), and the biomass refiner.  As seen in episodes 35 and 37, Dillik has secretly survived.

Kora's ship is knocked into space in anticipation of her return in episode 35.  Note that Trask's ship is missing, as I'd already planned for future-Lisa to have rescued Dillik behind the scenes (see episode 37).

As I began writing this episode, it became apparent that Dillik's demise would be a compelling resolution.  Before finalizing the script, though, I decided future-Lisa wouldn't allow Dillik to die (especially after having seen his valor in her younger form); I also didn't want him to die, so I was happy to allow for this escape (see episode 37).


[ INT. CRUISER COCKPIT (DARK) - The four RANGERS and DR. BERING are rattled slightly. ]

LUKE (voice-over):
Everybody okay back there?

[ DR. BERING looks down at her monitor in dismay. ]

DR. BERING (sorrowfully):
Dillik...


[ Break. ]


[ INT. DARK LAIR - With a large ripple effect, TRASK appears along with a large piece of machinery resembling a generator. ]

Some of the raw materials Mainframe asked for.

[ MAINFRAME runs up in an utter panic. ]

MAINFRAME:
Trask!!  I think something's happened to Dillik!

TRASK:
He hasn't come back yet?

MAINFRAME (wringing his hands anxiously):
No!  And there's been an explosion on the space station, and my communicator signal dropped off, and I can't teleport anymore, and... and... and I'm scared.

Mainframe's access to the teleportation system was cut off by future-Lisa.

[ TRASK absently looks off into the distance.  He eventually looks to MAINFRAME. ]

TRASK:
We carry on.  Build me a biomass refiner.

Trask seems aloof, but see below.

Trask requests a biomass refiner to create more monsters, even though he felt the Rangers' ability to repair their Zords (episode 28) rendered the monsters useless.

I was caught offguard by the sudden move out of the space station, so I needed to create a second refiner for Gluestreak (episode 33) and Tachyderm (episodes 36 and 37).

[ TRASK vanishes with a ripple effect.  Now alone, MAINFRAME anxiously looks around and whimpers. ]


[ EXT. SNOWY MOUNTAINS (NIGHT) - In the mountains, lit by starlight, TRASK removes his small box from his coat (see episode 30) and opens it. ]

[ Within, we see the darkened red, green, and blue crystals.  All that remains of the yellow gem are tiny, charred fragments. ]

TRASK:
It was too soon.

This was my way of explaining why the gems could be used only twice; the second time each of the demons is used, the demon hadn't had ample time to recover from the first destruction, and so the gem shatters upon the second destruction.

[ TRASK snaps the box shut. ]

TRASK (cont'd):
We'll have to wait longer next time.  I should tell Dillik --

[ TRASK stops himself and closes his eyes in dismay. ]

[ We zoom out as TRASK stands alone in the dark, snowy landscape.  Fade to black. ]

Trask privately mourns Dillik's apparent demise, which may not have sunk in until now.