The Ax


The Ax
the synopsis
by Dan Fiorella
Originally aired 10/1/1986



We're on an ancient world, an abandoned mining colony, fraught with danger and stuff. So naturally, Old Roy McIntyre and Burro-5000 must be about. And sure enough, there they are, making their way into a closed mine shaft. Using his space-age divining rod, Roy locates a spot which seems like a mighty good place to dig. A few blasts of his turbo-pick and the mine shaft wall breaks into...a hallway.


Naturally, Roy and Burro investigate. They enter a large chamber and Burro turns on its headlights. There in the middle of the chamber is a giant crystal statue of an axe wielding golem...or so it would seem. Embedded in its forehead is a red jewel that reacts to the light from Burro. Alarmed, Roy drags the "aluminum-hide" of Burro out of there and decides to contact the Galaxy Rangers, because "they'll know what to do."

Niko and Doc are on a training mission when Commander Walsh sends word about Roy's discovery of an ancient alien artifact. And since Niko loves ancient alien artifacts, she and Doc break off from maneuvers and visit the Bardo mining colony.

Turns out Niko and Old Roy are old friends from a previous archeological dig. Niko introduces Roy and Burro to Walter "Don't call me Wally" Hartford. Some snappy banter and then Roy takes them to the chamber to discover the ancient statue is gone! Niko then proceeds to do a psychic reading of the room. She gets images of the ancient civilization, a snake-like race, which built the statue, gave it the power crystal and named it "the Ax" (or Axe, we batted that around awhile, but Axe seemed very formal). She gets a real "danger" vibe. Turns out it's not a statue, but a guard protecting an ancient king's tomb and treasure.


Roy likes the concept of a treasure. Until the 60 foot golem manages to sneak up on them and tries to do a hatchet job on them. They manage to avoid the blade. Doc gets off a few laser blasts, but the light only passes through the crystal Ax. And it angers it. Turns out the Ax's ax can also send out sonic waves that can blow things up, too. The rangers et. al. make a break for it.



The Ax chases them down a hall and they escape down a tube which leads them further into the temple and maybe closer to the treasure. Niko gets a psychic read of the hallway, finding a secret passage, that unfortunately leads Doc into a trap door. Now Doc is hanging on by his finger tips, so naturally the Ax shows up. Niko manages to put a psychic force field in time to block the Ax's sonic waves and Roy is able to pull Wally up. They scurry off. The Ax starts lumbering after them.

Now, when the Ax steps on the laser beam trigger of the trap door, nothing happens, since the laser passes right through its crystal foot. So Doc grabs a round stone and hopes his college baseball days weren't a waste. In the script it was to be bocce ball, since Doc was then supposed to roll the stone down the hall and use it to break the laser beam. And this was an early script, so no one had started the Miss Abercrombie Finishing School jokes yet (though I like to think the idea for that running gag started here).


Anyway, he throws the stone, breaks the beam and the Ax drops down the trap door that almost got Doc. It's one of those odd things about this temple, halls, doorways and trap doors expand and contract to accommodate the Ax. So, with the Ax disposed of, they turn to Niko to try and sense a way out. Her power is drained. While Doc attempts to help her, Burro rushes up, bumps them and accidentally knocks them into another secret panel.

<commercial or cereal, I'm guessing>

As we re-join the Rangers, they're sliding down a tube and land in some sort of web in another part of the temple. As they hang there, suspended high above the floor, Niko notices something odd about the statues and engravings of the walls. Like the trap door, they're a different color then the rest of the room. Which, in animation, can only mean one thing: it's going to move! Sure enough, the snake creature statue comes to life, melts Doc's gun with it's lizard tongue but is brought down by one of Niko ninja star-disk thingies. She was supposed to take off her badge and throw it like a ninja star, as we were still figuring out how their powers and stars worked, but that's how re-writes happen. Anyway, the disc disables the creature and the statue falls to pieces.


Doc notices a jutting platform to which they might be able to swing the net over to. So swing they must. Niko pulls out a knife (I didn't know she had one either) and as they get over the platform, she cuts the net and they drop out. The platform is made of sonic meld plates (and no, I don't know what they are) which cause a door to open, leading to a stairwell. Since they do have to go up, they start off. They have to run, as blades keep falling as they climb the stairs. They come out into yet another hallway. Lost, they hear an eerie sound and proceed to check it out. Turns out to be Roy and Burro. Roy's been attempting to track the rangers and their badges with his divining rod. Roy wants to know what the Ax wants. "It wants us out," replies Niko. "I'm willing to oblige" pines Doc, "but which way?" A door slides open and off they go again.



Unfortunately, it leads right into the Ax. Roy's just about had it with this thing, so he pulls out his pappy's old fashion photon bazooka and fires. The photon blast hits the crystal Ax, shuns it, and refracts the light into an entire array of their light-based language. With the Ax re-disposed of, they make for another door. But it's sliding closed. The humans make it through, but Burro's tail gets caught in the shut door. Fortunately, Roy just has to hit the release button and the tail drops off like a seat belt and they continue...


...down a few more halls. There, Niko begins to hear humming noises. With her last bit of psychic power, Niko is able to locate the door to the control chamber. Turns out a bunch of computers are controlling this fun house, it's not just a curse, dependent on a lot of bad luck. Now Doc's in his element, as he calls up one of his program, Pathfinder, to enter and hack into the computer. The Ax is coming so he has to work fast. But it's an ancient system and tough to override. Niko will have to hold off the Ax long enough to for Doc to find the controlling programs. Pathfinder does inform them her that she should aim for the Ax's bejeweled forehead.

It's a stand off between Niko's phaser gun and the Ax's sonic pulses. As the Ax attempts a final power surge, Burro attacks the Ax, kicking it's foot. This distracts the Ax long enough for Doc to get into the program...but the Ax hit's Burro. Doc pulls the plug on the Ax, ceasing it's operation, so it returns to it's inert state and the ruby jewel drops from it's forehead.


With the Ax re-re-disposed of, Doc, Niko and Roy mourn the remains of Burro. Then suddenly, the computer of the tomb comes to life, announcing the riches of the king are theirs because they have passed the "test of the heroes." Go figure. A door is opened and a vault is revealed containing...a galactic chart of planets they visited made of precious stones. They even visited earth eons ago...that's why they look a little like Egyptian snakes, chariots of the gods and all that. It'll make an amazing museum, or so says Niko.



Back on the Ranger one, they know an archaeological team is on the way, Doc is keeping the Ruby to make into a ring and Burro-5000 is fixed, kinda, but Wally, err, Doc will help him get out all the bugs.

*The End*

     This was my first script for group Mandell, and went through a lot (pronounced: ALOT!) of rewrites. We were still trying to figure out many things, like their badges, how did they work? It was while I wrote this they came up with the idea of the rangers having to touch the badges to activate them. I didn't realize how big the Ax was until I saw the episode. To me, it was a Frankenstein/Golem type of thing. And we were still trying to determine just how space savvy the group was. At the time they were leaning toward making the group less experienced in space...some of Doc's lines that made it into the episode were holdovers from that attitude.

     And my original ending involved duplicating holograms and a Capt. Kirk-like use of logic to have the Ax self-destruct (as the Ax attempts to destroy holographic decoys, it causes them to duplicate. Since the Ax is programmed to destroy, the fact that it keeps "creating" things, causes it to overload and blow a fuse.) Another ! big influence was Indiana Jones, the whole episode was a temple of doom if ever there was one.

     Though it's not my favorite episode, I did get to begin a number of things, creating Roy and Burro, the "don't call me Wally" running gag, and giving the proceedings a sense of humor. And, hey, they liked it enough to let me write more, so there you go. But Rawlins and I never got to see the return of the Ax in our Road Runner homage episode that we wrote, "Buzzwang Gets the Ax."

Parting shot

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