I was approached by Ninjor (Hmm. that is almost a story in itself) in October of '93. He had these crazy drawings of Zords.. yeah I know that's how they all start out.. but something about them really caught my eye. He wanted me to rebuild them so that Zordon's Ranger team could use them. The Ninja Zords. The last team that held them were not human, and the cockpit designs were all way off bat. I couldn't even fit inside the Crane, it was so small.
Well I had seen Zordon's Dinos and they weren't a bad bit of rez, even for their age. Of course the NinjaZords were on Phaedos though... Oh great. I get to do my first bit of interstelar commuting to work, I guess. Still, I can't deny that Dulcea certainly puts on some heavy lunch for her human guests. Damn that place is hot. It's a good job I do come from Australia. I think this is one of the few photos she took of me with my pants on, and I certainly didn't see her wear any clothes the time I was there. You know.. not many other races in the universe wear clothes all the time like most humans do on Earth... But before you start wondering.. NO. I did not even touch the Master Warrior of Phaedos. And I wouldn't want to. She's great just the way she is thanks.
But seriously kids.. this particular job was fun. It's the first time I have ever had to actually sign up to get some Morphin powers! Well.. actually there's a story behind that. You see, the Council strictly licences the Meledan Ranger teams. But us makers.., well.. sometimes during the testing phase of a new set of Ranger powers, some of the licences get .. well.. put on the shelf. And it's handy too, because we can use them ourselves when we need to test the Zords as I'm sure you all know, I can't communicate or pilot any of them unless I'm morphed.. just like Zordon's gang.
Ninjor's shelf was quite full of stuff, actually. (see first photo) I chose this one. Like it? Apparently it was a reject from a batch developed yonks ago for a Meledon member known only as "The Professor". They had got as far as running the full armor on everything but hands and feet before they canned it and did something else.
Suits me fine! I hate working with gloves on. And better still Ninjor let me keep it, although it's not connected to the grid and to run it on Earth at home, even in standby mode, takes about 90kW of raw electrical power. Just my luck that Mom's place has three phase at the meterbox eh? Otherwise my barbie might not have been anywhere near as exciting. Pity Mom ran out of film though.. before I accidentally demolished the barbie with my backside. Suppose I'll never get used to how powerful those Morphin powers can be..
I guess one thing it's done is give me a new found respect for the Rangers.. I mean the real ones. Being morphed - it feels like you have just grabbed onto a 1500 volt power line. Small wonder. That's kinda exactly what happens. I think I almost felt sick the first time, and Mom will attest to the fact that it left me shaking for a week. But I will tell you guys.. Hey.. what a rush.
Any way you don't wanna hear about me, you wanna hear about my job don't you. I designed and constructed five and built seven cockpits for Zordon's Ninjazords. If you look closely enough you'll notice the Frog and Crane have the same controls, as do the Bear and Wolf. The Monkey was a pain in the butt to build, as all the functions for the other four get combined in it's systems and it seemed I had to do everything five times in it before it would talk to the other zords enough to even think about combining.
I've reproduced here Ninjor's scribble redesigns for the NinjaZords, and the Monkey in particular. The old one had the cockpit in the head but there was no way I could ever have fit a human in there, let alone poor Morphed Rocky. So we moved it to the chest area, which was a massive job. If you don't know already, the Zords use a technology unknown to Earth known as Ka-Plan. I had always known a little about it, but the crash course I learnt from Ninjor's team was.. well. I guess I'll have to use Earth-like terms, since this is an Earth based web page.
Imagine you could design a car, where the internal parts never needed access. No bonnet, no bolts, no screws. Just one big seething mass of technology. There's no need to leave room for hands or tools. We can pack things in really tight. So tight that in the Zords, the mechodensity is about 6 to 10 times that of the most advanced Earth robotics.
Ka-Plan can do this because all the physical construction and maintenance is done using specially designed teleporters. In fact that's how 95% of the Zord's structure is made, without even a single hand touching them. The remaining 5%.. the Cockpit controls.. must be hand made because they must interface with non Ka-Plan entities, i.e. the Rangers in Morphed Mode.
The downside to this is that in Ka-Plan almost every part is dependent on every other part, and modifications must be intricately worked out and tested in simulation and actual flight to ensure that no change has been made to the jigsaw puzzle of the original Ka-Plan. It takes a long time, and that's what's always short whenever issues of combat are involved.
Ka-Plan also has very different energy handling systems to that which Earth is used to. Apart from Electrical current, there are also two other energies used which Earth knows nothing about - Posanten current and TIAR (Time Indipendent Atomic Resonance). Most of the wiring and machinery in Ka-Plan uses all three concurrently, often flowing in the same materials and conductors.
Ka-Plan constructions use super-conductor like materials (ranging from A2 to A6) to radiate out from the cockpit to just about everywhere in the Zord. The wire is like hair, very thin, regardless of how much energy it is carrying. All the energy control is done at the Cockpit panels, which means there are massive amounts of energy (easily in the terawatt range) present in the cockpits when the Zords are in full battle - only millimetres from the Ranger's fingers. To power one up whilst in the cockpit unmorphed is probably foolish (Okay okay.... but only part of it was powered when I was unmorphed) but to take one into battle unmorphed would be suicide. I'm sure you can imagine what goes wrong in there when something fails. Yep, that's right. There's no shortage of explosions. Small wonder one of the most basic functions of being morphed is the Natural Electrical Earth.
Everything in the cockpits - _everything_ - is powered directly from 1500 volts DC. On Earth this is the sort of voltage you find on large Electric Railways! Anyone who knows anything about electricity will know what a fire risk High Voltage DC (HVDC) can be, especially in controlling it. The Zords use Electric Gravatrons (EGGs) (enabling them to stabilise, hover and fly). MonkeyZord has no less than 74 EGGs, and the rest aren't far behind. This means in total the Ninja Megazord can muster the physical strength of over 200 EGG units all coming together and controlled from the same source. That's to say nothing of the XLPFG (Cross Linked Primary Field Generator) capability which mimics the Ranger Armor itself in that it can reflect any force thrown at it in the opposite direction. (Sorry Einstein.. you were oh so wrong there..)
But all this hardware is pretty damn useless if you can't control it, and that's why it's the control of any Zord which is the most difficult to design. Using my Ninjor provided Metalder power, I had to continuously test and modify all the Ninja Zords so the Rangers would be able to operate them, and then develop SapCode which would interface with their existing Dino Mutual Understanding which they already had with their own DinoRanger setup. Talk about bastardisation. But both Ninjor and Dulcea were really pleased with the result we finally reached..., and .. well.. since this had been the first time I had done a full size Megazord before (I had done teleporters and other contracts for Zordon back in 1987).. I was pretty proud I guess.
Of course there's only one really big problem working in a megazord cockpit without being morphed. Do you have any idea how high up that top deck is compared to the lower? I did a hell of alot of climbing in there. Those lucky Rangers just teleport in. The original Ninjazord cockpit had chair conduits for all the Rangers, but my new one only has one for the centre top position, which comes off the back of the Monkey where the Falcon zord joins up. I really did try but there was just no way of linking the others without using sixdim mechanics which Ninjor didn't want to resort to.
All right then, let's get down to business. All Ranger teams licenced by the Council (and a good proportion of those that aren't..) use a quaint little effect called "Mutual Understanding" to control the Zords and to read back the information being given by the cockpit readouts. It is an extremely multiplexed system. This means that us Rangers read and operate them just like we might influence the path of a dream in our subconcious mind.
Part of the change on Rangers makes the nervous system similar to that of the Zord, i.e. lower instinct type motor functions are ignored and all movement and awareness is commanded directly by the subject's mind. Ninjor says us Humans are one of the best species for doing this with because we can keep our minds on one topic at a time very easily whilst other races can be too instinct driven and thus be unable to keep their mind on what they're doing.
You will notice that none of the readouts or buttons in the cockpits are labelled, although they do seem to be collected in specific groupings for dedicated control and display of the zord's functions.
That's because any control, anywhere in the cockpit, can assume any function at any time - depending on a Rangers' mutual understanding data flow within the morphed state. The changestep, i.e. the rate at which functions change for a typical Ranger can be in the order of about ten times per second - so hitting the right button at the right time is crucial.
I know what you're thinking, it sounds hard. And standing gazing at it unmorphed, I must agree. But as soon as I activate even the Metalder power (which wasn't even designed for a Zord at all..) I can instantly understand what the Zord is saying to me, and communicate back to it very quickly.
When you've got six Rangers in here, the effect for each Ranger is that they can operate at a changestep 36 times faster than they could individually. As a group they can easily control the movement of the entire machine's every component if they wanted to. But it would be rare for them to do anything like that in reality.
That's because they aren't just machines. They're sort of.. well.. alive.
The panelworks in the zords also have full instinct capability. The systems are not unlike synaptic circuitry in an analog brain, and they can remember and repeat learnt movements. Effectively they replace the instinct surrendered by a Ranger's own body when morphed.
This shot was snapped by Dulcea's globe the very first time Zordon's Rangers took control of our not-so-little leviathan.
I was with Dulcea and the Zords when they took them out - without any tests - against Ivan Ooze. (Hey.. can you blame me? I'm no idiot)
My initial readings confirmed that Zordon's new Ninja Ranger team were bettering a changestep of 187! I couldn't do better than FOUR in testing. You're all to good guys..
Let me introduce myself. Not many of you know me. But you probably see my work everyday, especially if you happen to have lived in Angel Grove (Earth) over the past six years.
I am what the Council like to refer to as a Maker. I am the only Earthling so far to qualify as a Level 4 Maker, a licence that many Council members would just love to take away from me. I don't fight. I don't come under the Mentoring scheme that the Ranger teams do. And I'm not all that interested in the politics of the Council either (and for that matter, it's more mysterious Meledan component).. There are lots like me spread about the galaxy, but I am the only Maker ever to have come from a closed culture planet - and remain living and working here on Earth - whilst also working as a Maker.
I just build and maintain Zords. Mostly I am generally contracted (i.e. asked nicely) by the various Ranger Team mentors such as Zordon, Ninjor and Dulcea when they want to modify their ranger teams' zords to work differently. I also do alot of work on communications systems, command posts and my specialty.. teleportation equipment.
Without being big headed, I do like to think of myself of being the best. A description that seems to have created a legend all it's own. But I know that what really makes me the best is being here - on Earth - and a Human. Making all the mistakes and stuffups that we all do every day...