Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers; they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.
Authors Note: This is an alternate universe with an alternate time line.
A Hope Reborn
Days passed and the Rangers had accepted that Minion had ceased his attacks for the time being. It was not unusual for a villain to take a step back after their first push had failed. Far from giving up though Minion had been preparing his next move, starting with one of his most important weapons: knowledge.
"What have you found, spell weaver?" he asked.
Arcana and Bronzo looked nervous as they entered Throne Room. It was Arcana who spoke. "I have completed my task. I used every enchantment I could and I think you should see this." He handed Minion a long piece of parchment on which he had recorded the information he had gleamed from various sources.
Minion looked over the scroll and a lot of small pieces started to fall into place. "So the Green Ranger really is the same pathetic clone I almost killed last time; why Rita and Zedd would want to create a copy of Tommy is still beyond me." He thought for a moment. There were many ways to destroy a clone; unfortunately most of them destroyed all the clones in a solar system. Minion knew his new body would survive such a spell; it was his mind he was worried about. He had not escaped the Dark Dimension just to be sent back there by his own spell.
"What about this link he has with Minion, have you found a way to break it?" he asked.
"No Lord Minion," Bronzo replied.
"Whatever spell the clone used it bonded to you on a physical, spiritual, mental and magical level," Arcana added.
"You fools!" Minion snapped. "This is not the effect of a spell, it is a link created through an oath. Minion needs to know the contents of that promise before the link can be broken."
Beneath his mask Minion frowned. The sensors in his Lunar Palace were more powerful than the ones Zordon used, yet it had taken Arcana's magical sight to expose the magical tie between the Green Ranger and himself. ~Maybe this merits further examination,~ Minion thought.
"Leave me Arcana," he instructed. "Keep watch on the Earth, I want to know when they answer the summons. If Silvo and Brasso return tell them to await me outside; Minion does not wish to be disturbed."
Once Arcana had gone, Minion closed his eyes and entered a deep trance; he ignored Bronzo, his presence was not a problem. He searched the Earth below, trying to touch the minds of the Rangers. He felt Tommy, Kat, Tanya, Rocky, Adam and the clone. Minion's eyes snapped open. ~Where is Jason?~ he wondered. Even though the former Gold Ranger's powers were extremely limited, he was no less powerful than Tommy and the others, now that they had lost the Zeo Crystal and had to rely on the Gem Coin powers. Jason should have been there, fighting alongside his teammates, yet Zordon had kept him hidden. Zordon obviously knew or suspected something that Minion did not.
The Rangers' new powers and Zords had proven an annoyance for Minion. He had been hoping to keep the Rangers powerless until the time came to unleash Serpenterra and grind the Earth into submission. And while he had not deviated from that plan he knew the importance of keeping the Rangers off balance. He needed to ensure they were too distracted defending against his attacks to launch a counter attack.
He checked on Brasso and Silvo's progress and was pleased to discover they had already succeeded in securing Stone Henge in England, the site he planned to use to break the link between the Zeo Crystal and the Zeo Rangers.
They had also started on their next task, to isolate the Rangers from the other heroes of Earth. Brasso had gone to Crossworld City, home of the VR Troopers with instructions to create a barrier around the city to keep the local heroes contained until his forces could move in and take complete control; Silvo had gone to Leewood, the adopted home of the Masked Rider with similar instructions. WD Units had been dispatched to North Valley, just a few miles beyond Crossworld City as well as Charterville, Reefside, Mariner Bay and Blue Bay Harbour. All had orders to contain and then control the areas.
He produced an egg timer from subspace and silently calculated the waiting time. Serpenterra would take time to charge once the Zeo Crystal was ready. However there was no reason why he could not give the Rangers something else to think about. Maybe instead of worrying about his activities on the Moon, he could have them worry about a destructive threat from their own planet. Taking the Sword of Darkness and the Zeo Crystal with him, Minion teleported to Earth. It was time to put the Stone Henge to use.
Stone Henge, England
Minion appeared just outside of the barrier Silvo and Brasso had placed around Stone Henge. This site was one of many he planned to locate around the globe once he had conquered it. He had created this one ahead of schedule after Bronzo had discovered that the Zeo Crystal was still feeding energy to the Rangers. He hoped that the magical energy beneath the site, which he had used to create the purple dome, should break that connection.
His plans for Serpenterra depended upon breaking the link between the Rangers and the Zeo Crystal. He planned to dedicate the monument's full power solely to isolating the Zeo Crystal's power. Later he would order Bronzo to install equipment to use the Zeo Crystal to provide Serpenterra with all the power it required.
He checked to ensure there were no Rangers around. Satisfied there was nobody around Minion walked through the barrier and into the monument.
"By the power of all that is evil, I command Stone Henge to be restored!"
The ground shook as the mystical stones shifted position to return to their original positions within the stone circle. Over the years many humans had attempted to discover the true power behind the stone circle. Some had claimed it was an ancient form of calendar, some said it was an ancient burial ground and some even claimed aliens built it. Only Minion knew the truth, somebody within the Dark Dimension had told him the secrets of Earth and Stone Henge.
As the site reformed itself, Minion reflected on how arrogant humans were to believe for even a second that they knew the secrets of a site created long before this circular structure which became a magnet for new age travellers. He could just see the face of the country's greatest leaders if he was to resurrect them and tell them the power that had been under their very noses for centuries.
The final stone moved into place, forming a control station from which the portals could be opened. Minion pointed the Sword of Darkness at the ground. A beam shot from the end of the sword and opened a swirling portal of dark energy. He summoned the Zeo Crystal and placed it on the central altar. The energy that the crystal emitted would be redirected to a storage unit until needed.
Satisfied with his work, he teleported away.
Stone Henge was not the only site he had recently conquered. His forces had also secured the small town of North Valley and four relatively weak sites throughout across the planet. It was on a relatively small Ley Nexus and would not aid him in terms of power. However, North Valley was a major producer of electronic goods, something he would require in the future; its population would make excellent workers.
For now though it would serve another purpose. Using the Sword of Darkness and the power of the nexus, he opened a portal to the Dark Dimension.
"Peckster, Eye Guy, King Sphinx, Bones, Pudgy Pig, I command you to exist!"
From the portal stepped a group of monsters first set against the Power Rangers when Rita Repulsa had attacked the world. Minion knew they had all fallen in battle, but also realised they would act as a way to keep the Rangers busy and reveal any new weapons they created.
"Go to Angel Grove and destroy the Power Rangers. Do so at your full height, there is no point in fighting a losing battle and then growing."
He watched them leave and then returned to the Lunar Palace, but not before he had solidified the dome extending over the area.
Despite the success of the Gem Coin powers and the Ninja, the Rangers had been unable to relax. There was still work to be done, the Gem Coins were an unstable power source and the Gem Coin transformers had not performed as well as Zordon had hoped.
Then there was the matter of the Ninja. While the machine had managed to defeat the Siphon, the lack of individual Zords meant they were incapable of dealing with multiple threats. Adam and Jason were working on finding a way to separate the component Zords using parts from the machine they captured from Gasket to replace any missing components.
The sound of the alarm caused the Rangers to drop what they were doing and report to the main control room. On the screen they could see five monsters making their way through Angel Grove.
"Zordon, can we use the Ninja while it's under repair?" Tanya asked.
"No," Zordon replied. "Alpha and I will keep working on them. In the meantime Sam will have to handle the monsters with the Dragonzord."
Sam nodded - "Dragonzord!" - and teleported away.
In an instant he was transported into his Green Ranger uniform. Holding the Dragon Sword out he called, "Dragonzord, power up!" A beam of green light shot from his weapon, followed by the sound of the tune floating through the air.
On the view screen the familiar form of the Dragonzord appeared. Sam blurred, as he teleported to the Zord's cockpit, ready to start the battle.
Dragonzord stalked into the path of the five monsters and was soon joined by Tor, now converted to its warrior mode. Between them the two Zords started to play a game of tag with their opponents. Dragonzord smacked Pudgy Pig and the Peckster with its tail, before drawing them into range for Tor to blast with its weapon systems.
"Dragon Missiles!" Green Ranger called. The high-powered rockets launched from the Dragonzord's fingers, blasting Eye Guy in its main eye, destroying the monster. Bones attempted to blast him from behind, but found himself on the receiving end of the Dragonzord's tail drill.
King Sphinx had chosen a different strategy. Instead of attacking directly he blasted both Zords with his wings. Even the mighty Tor could not remain standing and landed on its back, converting back to Turtle mode. It remained there, unable to right itself.
"Turtle Battle Dragonzord, engage!" Green Ranger called.
As he pressed the series of buttons, Dragonzord rolled the fallen Tor back onto its feet. Tor converted to stand upright, its top splitting from the bottom, which had transformed into a pair of legs. With the Dragonzord dropping into place on top of the legs to form the body and head, the top part of Tor split in half from top to bottom, both halves transforming and connecting to the body as arms. Finally the Dragonzord's tail transformed to form its lance.
"Turtle Battle Dragonzord, online!" Sam called as the machine powered up.
Using the energy of the newly formed Zord, he blasted King Sphinx out of existence.
North Valley, Earth
"Run!" Sam shouted as the metal soldiers drew closer.
His two friends did not need telling twice. Both of them turned and ran as fast as they could through the smoking remains of their town. They had already tried to leave North Valley, but had found their way blocked by an unknown force field. Sam doubted these things were part of Kilokahn's army. He had seen footage of them on television fighting the Power Rangers. That was shortly before the attack. Afterwards there was no electricity left to run a television. The metal warriors had invaded quickly and then left only a small force to round up the townsfolk.
Malcum Frink ran for his life. When the attack had come, Malcum's computer had been destroyed along with any chance he had for power. Now all that mattered was staying alive long enough to find a way to ingratiate himself with the new villain in town. He turned the corner, hoping that Kilokahn had managed to store himself as a backup file on his laptop. He knew some of the new guards were Cogs, highly-developed robots but robots nonetheless. Robots had miniature computers to control them and that meant a way for Kilokahn to take control.
Sam stopped behind the remains of a building. His family and most of his friends were gone, but his only concern was survival. Behind him was a bright flash. Sam and his friends turned around in time to see a large machine with long tentacles staring down at them.
"Perfect," the Overseer said. "Humans, young and weak, you will make adequate batteries."
The Overseer signalled for her servants to grab the three youths and then carry them away. North Valley was not its assigned target, but a town full of much needed resources, was too good to miss. Sam Collins struggled briefly, but he was a hacker, not a hero. At least, not in the real world.
Minion had travelled back to the Moon and when he felt the surge of energy suggesting his first wave of monsters had been destroyed, he had used Bronzo's machine to recreate them. He also added a Giant and a Minotaur to his forces. He sent them back into action to the Financial District of Angel Grove.
"Turtle Battle Dragonzord, Disengage!"
There was the loud grinding of gears as the two machines never intended to combine, separated. The Power made them versatile enough to adapt from one formation to another. Tor finished reverting to its normal form and then returned to wherever it was that he came from.
Sam watched before preparing to return to the Power Chamber. The Dragonzord lurched as it was struck violently from behind and carried forward by some unknown force. Looking down he could see a horn sticking through the Zord's chest panel.
Minotaur finally stopped moving, throwing the Dragonzord to the ground where the other monsters closed in. Minotaur blast the Zord with energy from his horns; Giant and Bones moved in with their swords, hacking the Zord's tail; King Sphinx fired energy bolts from his sceptre and Pudgy Pig started to feed on the Zord's weapon systems.
"We have to help him," Kat said as she watched the Zord take yet another blow.
"She's right Zordon," Tommy added. "We need the Zords now."
Zordon nodded silently. He did not like the idea of the Rangers using the Zords until they were ready, but given the Ninja's origin, it was unlikely that it would ever be ready. "Rangers, observe the Viewing Screen."
The Rangers did as they were told. On the screen appeared the reconditioned and streamlined Ninja, Gasket's prototype copy of the Ninja MegaFalconzord. In its right hand it held a thin metal sword.
"The rebuilding has been mostly successful; the Ninja Zords are now ready for use. They are not as powerful as they should be, Alpha and Adam still need to install the booster elements. They will continue to work with your limited powers. Unfortunately since there are only five of you the Wolf will have to be operated by Jason from here, using remote control."
"Will we be able to use Titanus?" Adam asked.
"Yes," Alpha replied. "I have reconfigured Titanus to act as a Carrier Zord for you."
"Rangers step up to the table," Zordon instructed. As he spoke a six-sided table appeared. It was split into six segments; red, yellow, blue, pink, black and green. In each of the red, yellow, black, pink and green segments was one of the Gem Coin transformers that Zordon had been upgrading since the last battle.
In place of the previous morphers that had been indescribably cumbersome, these were the size of a normal Power Morpher. A small golden coin with a coloured gem embedded in the center, fixed into a small metal box inside of which Zordon had placed the electronics needed to regulate and control the process.
"I have adjusted the Gem Coins to handle your powers in a more efficient way. The Gem Coins will allow you to tap into your own links to the Morphin Grid while one of the generators transmits some of the Zeo energy we have been able to collect from the Super Zeo Gems. The energy will be mixed with pure Grid energy through the Wizard of Deception's wand."
"The powers are still highly unstable," Zordon warned. "They will only last for a short time before needing adjustment; they are not strong enough to power true Zords, but they should be able to control the Ninja." Tommy looked at the blue segment and saw the old remote unit Billy had built for the Falconzord.
"Thanks Zordon," Tommy said. He looked at the others and asked, "Ready?" When he saw them all nod, he signalled for them all to take their Gem Coins together. "It's Morphin Time!"
"Zeo Ranger I - Crane!" Kat cried.
"Zeo Ranger II - Bear!" Tanya shouted.
"Zeo Ranger III - Ape!" Rocky called.
"Zeo Ranger IV - Frog!" Adam cried.
"Zeo Ranger V - Falcon!" Tommy called.
In five beams of light the Rangers left to help their friend.
Malcum skulked through the remains of his town. He found it ironic that the boy he been trying to destroy for so long had been captured while he the evil mastermind remained free. Now he was aware of the fate in store for him should he ever be captured. There would be no negotiation, Malcum Frink was as good as dead.
Inside Malcum's laptop, Kilokahn was thinking the same thing. Malcum would not last much longer. The stress had finally driven the boy over the edge and together with Kilokahn's own actions the boy was finally ready to serve his true purpose.
"Malcum, look at the screen," Kilokahn instructed.
Malcum foolishly looked at the screen, hardly noticing the tiny flash as Kilokahn left the computerised world of electronics and entered Malcum's mind, which was after all just a collection of electrical impulses that he could control. Once inside the virus started to take over, building on the gradual damage he had caused during the time they had worked together.
"And now I am free from the limitations of the computer world, my Mega Virus monsters will be unstoppable."
Unfortunately he had not been paying attention to his surroundings and failed to notice that the forces he had been trying to escape had caught up with him. Before he could explain who he was, his newly acquired body was rendered unconscious, returning him to a much small computer world.
"We need the Zords, now!" the five Rangers called as they appeared near the spot where Dragonzord was still taking a beating.
As they teleported into their cockpits, Tommy reflected on how good it felt to be finally back in the sky. His cockpit was a lot simpler than the Falcon Zord he remembered. Alpha had installed a fly-by-wire system to compensate for the instinctive knowledge he now lacked. Taking the controls in his hands, he headed for where the monsters were still beating on the weakened Zord.
"Wing Rockets, launch!"
The wings of the Falcon folded together revealing eight rocket launchers. On his original Falcon Zord Tommy had been able to pick the size of the rocket and the force to put behind it. With this version there was only one size built in. Nevertheless they did the job, driving six of the monsters away from the fallen Zord and destroying Pudgy Pig.
The other Rangers meanwhile had activated their Gestalt systems and were trying to merge their machines together. "It's no good," Zeo Frog said. "Tommy, we need the Falcon to make this work."
"On my way," Zeo Falcon responded. He flew the Zord back into range of the others. "Okay, insert Gem Coins, now!"
[Ninja sequence initiated. Wolf remote control online.]
Zeo Falcon read the message displayed and smiled. It had been a while since they had done this and he hoped it was still easy to pilot. With his Gem Coin in place Zeo Falcon pressed the commit button and let the Gestalt System take control.
The arms and legs of the Ape detached from the body, the legs of the Bear split away from the body and legs and head of the Wolf retracted into its body. The bodies of the Ape, Bear and Wolf joined to form the upper torso and arms of the Ninja. The legs of the Ape joined and connected to the base of the upper torso to complete the main body.
Meanwhile the Frog had transformed into a pair of legs, joining with the Bear's legs, which had transformed to make two feet, to form the lower body. The arms of the Ape had converted into fists, which connected to the arms.
Finally the body and arms merged with the legs, allowing the Falcon to clip onto the back and the Crane to slide into place as the head. As with the previous Megazords the Rangers were all grouped together in a single control room. Once again Alpha and Zordon had included fly-by-wire controls to assist them.
"Prepare to use the Double Power Punch," Zeo Falcon instructed.
"Um Tommy," Rocky whispered quietly. "There's no such function."
"Okay, change tactics; we'll just punch him out."
Moving in between the fallen Dragonzord and the remaining monsters, the Rangers started to fight back. Catching the Minotaur they used him as a shield against the Peckster. The Peckster's beak reduced the Minotaur to dust, allowing the Ninja to punch it in the face.
"Power Sword!" the Rangers called.
With the Ninja using the Power Sword and Dragonzord striking the monsters with its tail, the Rangers were soon victorious.
"Ultra mode, now!" Zeo Falcon called.
"Tommy we're finished," Zeo Crane told him.
"Not yet," Zeo Falcon replied, "Watch."
When his monsters returned the second time, Minion did not bother asking what had gone wrong. He was using the monsters Rita had relied on during her disastrous attempts to conquer Earth. The fact the Rangers were now weaker than ever did not seem to have made them any less able to beat the monsters.
"Go again," Minion ordered. He knew they would not win, but every moment the Rangers spent fighting had drained their powers and allowed him to move forward with his plans.
Now was the time Minion had planned for. Already the links between the Zeo Crystal and the Rangers had been broken. Soon he would be able to use the crystal for his own purposes.
After a few minutes of waiting, Tommy's hunch paid off. The seven monsters appeared yet again. This time they did not take the Rangers by surprise. As they finished teleporting the Rangers had already formed the Ultra-Ninja. The Rangers measured their opponents and fired their weapons, the full power of the Ultra-Ninja ripping the monsters to pieces.
Finally victorious the Rangers teleported back to the Power Chamber. For the first time in the last few days the Rangers were victorious and had managed to keep their machines intact to fight again.
When they entered the Chamber they found Zordon and Alpha waiting for them. Before he could congratulate them Tommy spoke. "Thanks Zordon. The Ninja Zords were just what we needed."
"Indeed," Zordon boomed, his voice filled with pride. "Although not as powerful as the Zords you have used, hopefully they will aid you until the Zeo Crystal can be recovered or a better alternative is found."
"What about Dragonzord?" Rocky asked.
"Not a problem," Alpha told him. "The damage is within the Zord's repair capabilities."
"So we win again?" Rocky asked.
"Yes," Zordon boomed. "Minion's monsters have been beaten back. However, there is more work to do. But for now you should go and relax while you can."
In a flash, the Rangers were gone. With them gone Zordon turned his attention back to the Zords he had been creating with Alpha, partly based on some plans Billy had sent just before contact with Aquitar had been lost. The plans included completely new designs for Zeo Zords I and II, along with several other improvements to the overall fleet. It had occurred to Zordon that it would be possible to build a version of these Zeo Zords that drew power from the Gem Coins, in case the Ninja Zords failed.
Of course, he wasn't sure how long the Gem Coin powers would remain useable, but it was a case of working with what was available.
Stone Henge, England
"Yes Minister, I understand. We'll do our best sir, yes fine, we'll keep in contact. Goodbye Minister." Finally able to put the phone down Brigadier Jeremy Brand returned to his assignment.
The previous day a strange energy barrier had appeared around Stone Henge. Although he had only recently taken command of the Special Affairs Team, he had been asked to take personal charge of the situation and to resolve the unknown problem.
"Sir?" The Brigadier turned around to be confronted by his second-in-command. Andre Le Chaud had been Head of Operation for five years. In the day-to-day activities, he knew the job better than his superior.
"Ah Le Chaud, good to see you."
"Thank you, Sir," the captain replied.
"Well, what do you make of this?" the Brigadier asked indicating the reason UNIT had been called in.
"It's some kind of energy field. We've been unable to penetrate it with x-ray or ultrasound. We've tried working a trench under the dome, but it appeared to continue down for more than two miles."
"I see," the Brigadier muttered. "Sergeant Groves!"
"Sir!" The young man snapped to attention as he saluted his superior.
Younger than most of the officers who had served under him in the past, Groves looked cool, calm and efficient. His short dyed hair was hidden under his Green Beret. The Brigadier noticed the man was carrying a small revolver at his hip.
"At ease," the Brigadier said. "Right, I want a five-mile exclusion zone around the monument. Anybody you find in the area I want detained and taken to a safe area for debriefing. Then post some men around the monument itself. Nothing is to go in or out of that barrier."
"Yes sir," Groves said as he hurried away.
"Now," the Brigadier continued. "Let's go take a look at this barrier, shall we?"
The Moon was a very peaceful place; the Sea of Tranquillity was a tomb of rock and ash untouched by either of these two mighty forces. In fact it had remained the same for decades, only ever touched by the footprints of the two American astronauts that had graced its surface. The marks were just a small reminder of mankind's accomplishment, the American flag and of course the residual litter was another indication.
Long ago a civilisation had lived on the Moon during a time when all the planets lived together in harmony. But that time was long passed and the machine that skimmed over the surface wouldn't have cared anyway. It was called Serpenterra, until now an unpowered hulk left to rust by its former master. Now it had enough power to make the journey to Earth where Minion planned to fully integrate the Zeo Crystal that currently powered only a fraction of its functions.
It continued drifting towards Rita and Zedd's palace, ignoring the battered Winnebago and then lifted as its pilot set a new course. In Indiana a small observatory recorded a dark shadow moving across the Moon. At the same time the alarms in the Power Chamber sounded.
The journey was relatively quick and Minion brought the machine to a dead stop over the Gulf of Mexico where it hovered ominously while the Zeo Crystal was moved from the engines to the weapon systems.
A single burst of energy left the giant machine's mouth, a burst of explosive energy equal to a nuclear bomb, which descended beneath the waters and exploded on the bedrock. A tidal wave formed as the unstable plates beneath the surface shifted, riding against and over each other to form a new landmass, an island that he could call his own that was outside of any human control.
As he directed the huge machine to land, after managing to reinstall the Zeo Crystal in time to avoid crashing, Minion pondered his next moves. The Zeo Crystal was now completely his to do with as he wish. And while he had not won the last round against the Rangers, they could not consider themselves the victors.
Bronzo would start reconfiguring the apparatus he installed in Serpenterra as soon as the core had had time to cool. Once that was done and the fuel cells were charged, the machine would be ready for use.
In the meantime Venjix had reported success in Charterville despite an encounter with the local heroes and while Brasso and Silvo had yet to report success, North Valley at least was under Minion's control. Minion would build on that success, maybe dispatch Arcana for a little gorilla action against the Rangers.
Yes, things were certainly moving in Minion's favour, so much so that both Arcana and Venjix had taken the opportunity to speak with their respective masters. Minion was getting too close to claiming power for himself, it was time for more suitable leaders to take control. Regardless of his success, the last thing they needed was Minion getting out of hand.