Disclaimer: All shows referenced in this nonprofit fanfic belong to their respective copyright owners. Parts of this story were borrowed from Jeremy Ray Logsdon's Earth Crystals.
Author's note: This is the final part of the Minion of Darkness storyline and marks the return of the universe to normal.
"Where do we go from here?
Where do we go from here?
The battle's done, and we kind of won,
So we sound our victory che - er.
Where do we go from here?"
It appeared that the Rangers had failed and that the Universe had paid the price of that failure. Earth, Aquitar, Triforia... it didn't matter really; all had been sucked into the endless void that was the Dark Dimension. The combined efforts of the heroes of the Earth had managed to destroy the cause of the universe wide destruction. B that time the process had accelerated beyond their control and its complete absorption into the darkness had been inevitable.
At first there was calm as the denizens of the Dark Dimension looked at the fresh souls that had been brought into their domain, hungrily anticipating the torment they would unleash. The Sword of Ragnarok had appeared, supposedly indicating that the process was complete and that the veil between dimensional planes had been sealed forever, and they had celebrated their victory. Then the last heroes of Earth had appeared, weakened from their efforts and ready for the demons to devour. A cry of victory could be heard throughout the realm, until Tommy along with the Green Lantern and the Morphin Rangers had finally appeared. At that point the Great Power, which had been building inside the protection of the Green Lantern's forcefield had been released.
Whether Jason and the others had planned to reverse the effects of the Sword of Ragnarok by destroying the Dark Dimension, was unclear, but the raw power driven by the pure intentions of the Rangers exploded through the void, bringing light to the darkness and life to a place where only death and misery should have dwelled.
The thin seal that had been created opened, marking the rebirth of the universe. The Earth was restored to its previous location, the Ley Lines flaring with renewed magic. From there the rest of the universe was shaped, the Great Power guiding the process to create a new universe in the image of its predecessor, drawing the extinguished souls back to the planet. Life found a way and as it did so, the Great Power grew in intensity.
It was a slow process at first, but the pace rapidly increased as with an explosive burst of magic, the rest of the Universe was reborn. Where once there was darkness, a speck of light appeared, emerging as a burst of golden energy that raced across the universe, restoring things to how they were before. The damage done by Minion was erased as the Great Power latched onto a previously cast spell and manipulated the flow of time, the planets drawn into the Dark Dimension were renewed; most of the lives lost since the villain had first emerged were restored. There were exceptions, some who would never return to life, their link to the Power having rendered them beyond the reach of even the Great Power; in some cases the Great Power reversed the damage that Minion had caused, but had taken something in return; above all the balance had to be maintained.
Unfortunately the need to balance meant that even as the innocent bystanders, Rangers and other heroes were brought back to life, the villains who had not been created by Minion were also restored. While Minion was gone, drowned in a lava pool of his own making and most likely facing the wrath of thousands of demonic entities who had just had their home torn apart, others who were just as evil as Minion if not more so were resurrected.
On a small island somewhere off the Spanish coast, a small group of survivors appeared. They were the Nega Rangers, barely alive after the shock of losing their connection to Minion. Somehow though they had survived his destruction, but without his power to keep their bodies alive, they were rapidly deteriorating. Minion had given them the ability to absorb the life energy of others, a trait that would allow them to survive. And if they survived, they would return stronger than ever, evolving the Power to suit their needs, ready to engage the Rangers one more time. Without Minion to command them there would also be a clash for control as the more aggressive personalities vied for superiority. The strong would thrive and the weak would perish. That was the way of the universe.
Finally, its job done, the Great Power dissipated, removing the memories of those who remembered dying during the last few days. When all was said and done, only the Rangers, their allies and the villains would remember everything that had happened. Although nobody would ever forget Minion, nor the evil he had caused. In the end the light had won, but the victory would have implications for a long time to come.
Jason opened his eyes. His head was spinning, although he wasn't in any type of pain. "Where am I?" he asked. He sat up, and the room came into focus. He stood up and saw the collection of computers. "The Power Chamber."
Billy stood up from the floor as well. "Are we alive?" Billy asked.
"I guess," Jason answered.
"Man that was some trip," Zack complained, grinning at his friends.
"Welcome back, Rangers," a familiar voice said. Alpha Five walked out from a door of light.
"Where are the others?" Jason asked, looking around. Surely they had survived.
"Behold the Viewing Screen," Zordon said, appearing in his tube.
"Aye-yi-yi!" Alpha cried. "The Earth is back to normal."
"Indeed, the Great Power undid most of the damage Minion inflicted upon the Universe."
"But where are the others?" Jason insisted.
"Don't you remember, Jason?" Alpha asked. "The others were sent to their chambers, but you and Billy insisted on waiting until you were certain that the planet had been restored; Zack passed out as soon as he returned and we didn't want to move him."
Billy didn't hear a single word that Alpha said. He was in tears over the view on the Viewing Screen. The Earth was back to normal. The oceans were blue, the land was green, and the clouds were white. Everyone was still alive.
"So the Great Power did it," Zack guessed.
"Correct Zachary. It would seem that the Great Power interacted with a number of the Earth's features, both magical and temporal. It rewrote history, erasing the damage that Minion caused while leaving the memory of those events. I believe you will find that only those involved in the battle will recall everything that happened."
"So, it's like it never happened," Billy said happily.
"That is not entirely accurate, Billy," Zordon said. "The Great Power has its limits just like any other power. While it managed to ensure many of the consequences never came to pass, it had to rewrite events in such a way that balance was maintained. Those who fell to Minion before the final battle and who held a Ranger power could not be revived. In addition we do not know what occurred during that period when the Great Power was unleashed and the Universe was restored. We do not even know how much time elapsed in that period."
"I will send a message for the others to join us," Alpha said.
The fourteen Rangers stood together in the Power Chamber, in front of Zordon's tube. "First of all," the White Master said, "the Zeo Crystal has been restored by the Great Power. And using that power, reality has been restored to how it was before Minion used the sword."
"Everything went back to how it was before?" Trini asked. "No one died?"
"I'm sorry to say that there were some things even the Great Power could not reverse. I have been unable to determine the fate of Travis. I am afraid that it does not appear that the Rangers of Aquitar and Triforia were restored. It is possible their exposure to the Power prevented their restoration. I am still trying to learn the fate of the young Masked Rider and a few others. For some their energy signatures have vanished. While Aquitar was restored, it has already come under attack from several warlords. I do not believe the planet will hold out long enough for assistance to arrive; interplanetary teleportation has been disrupted. While Trent has assumed the throne of Triforia, Terr's death is no longer a certainty."
"What about our powers?" Tommy asked.
"The Gem Coin powers may now be retired since the Zeo Crystal has been restored," Zordon said. "Jason and his team are bound to their powers for life, only turning their backs on the light will remove their powers now."
"Really?" Billy asked excitedly.
"The world is not yet ready for fourteen Power Rangers," Zordon said, "nor do I believe we will be able to function with so many Rangers active. Sooner or later you will get in each other's way."
"So we can be Rangers, but not all at the same time?" Trini prompted.
"Yes," Zordon said with a smile. "Although you will only be called into battle during an emergency. For now, the five Zeo Rangers will again resume the Zeo Power."
"So what do we do?" Zack asked.
"Keep the power," Zordon said. "Carry it with you always, and you may be called upon in an emergency. The Universe owes you a great debt Rangers. The world is lucky to have you, and so am I. Go now, I will call should the need arise. And may the Power protect you."
"I must admit," Trini said, "it's good to have our full powers back."
Zack looked nervous. "Shh. Here comes Ernie."
"He already knows," Kimberly said.
"No way," Aisha said.
"Yes way," Ernie said as he put their Smoothies on the table.
"How long?" Jason demanded.
"Just let me clarify what we're talking about here," Ernie said. The Rangers at the table looked at each other warily, except for Kimberly. "You guys being Rangers?" he whispered.
"That's the one," Kimberly said, taking a sip of her Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie.
"Nearly since the beginning," Ernie said. "You all have paid for much more food than you've eaten. Plus those little watches beep all the time. And you change into the Power Rangers out in the hallway all the time. I'm not blind. But I haven't told anyone."
"Good," Zack said, "because then we would have to kill you." Everyone laughed heartily at his joke.
How they had ended up there was beyond them, but given their exceedingly bad luck and a few of the tall tales they had told on Horath, they imagined it was easy to mistake them for heroes.
Farkus Bulkmier and Eugene Skullovitch pulled themselves from the rubble of their cell and wondered what they would do now. The island was dark and silent as they made their way through the corridors, squealing when they saw Arcana, impaled by a scaffold pole.
They followed the maze of passages, relying upon their ability to blunder into just about any situation to guide them. Eventually, they came upon a chamber that Minion had obviously intended as a throne room. Many of the artefacts inside had been destroyed, but some trinkets caught their attention.
"We're rich Bulkie!" Skull cried, examining the coin.
"Now we just need to get out of here," Bulk said.
They exchanged glances, realising that they had no way off of the island, and worse, no food. That was when they started to scream.
A few days later
After the excitement was over, the Rangers settled back to their normal routines. The teens returned home, seeing their parents and family for the first time in days. But amid the happiness there was also unease, something that Tommy decided to address at the next opportunity.
"You know why we are here," he said, looking at the other Zeo Rangers.
Although they had come to terms with what had happened to them long enough to fight Minion, the Zeo Rangers were far from healed, mentally at least. Their future was uncertain and being so close to death had caused them to question their futures.
"When Zordon gave us the chance to be Rangers we were all honoured," he said. "But the fact remains, we dropped the ball on this one and Minion took advantage of our errors."
The others nodded. They had been having similar thought about their recent problems. They were seventeen, due to graduate in a few months and when they did so the close ties they had enjoyed as a team would be lost. What would become of them then?
"I spoke to Billy this morning," Adam told them. "He is looking to redesign the Gem Coin powers, turn them into something else and maybe commission a whole new team."
"In that case I suggest we talk to Zordon," Tommy said. "I love being a Ranger, but perhaps the time has come to find some replacements."
It was an uneasy meeting, but one that was desperately needed. The three groups had been talking for days, but this was the first time they had all gathered together.
"Thank you for coming," Henry Gyrich said, as he looked at those present. He hated this job, but since he had mixed with some of these costumed freaks before, he was the one recruited to undertake a potentially lethal task.
Before him sat the superheroes of Earth, or at least representatives of the three largest organisations. And heroes they were, even if Gyrich felt they were more trouble than they were worth. Captain America, Henry Pym, Wasp, Hawkeye, Iron Man, and the weakened Scarlet Witch represented the Avengers. Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Hawk Girl and the Martian Manhunter had appeared for the JLA. Robin, Starfire and Changling had answered the call for the Teen Titans. Finally, at the back of the room, Spider-Man sat suspended on a web hammock. He wasn't an Avenger although he had been accepted many times.
Batman had not been seen since the restoration although some felt that he would not return to active service and Wally... When the Flash had discovered his regenerated legs he had been ecstatic, until the memories had caught up with him. It would take many hours of therapy before he would be able to put events behind him. Raven had taken an immediate leave of absence, needing to relearn control of her emotions; Vision and Cyborg had not yet been spotted.
"I'll make this brief since I have other important matters to deal with." He pulled a file from his pocket. "I have in my hand an order for the groups known as the Justice League, Avengers and Teen Titans to cease and desist all activities within the United States. As of now all security clearance is revoked and your international status is reduced to that of ordinary citizens. Thank you."
With that he stood and left the room, leaving the now former heroes to debate what to do next.
"He didn't say we had to retire," Robin pointed out. "Just that we were not allowed to team up."
"Yes," J'Onn agreed, rubbing his chin. "There is something very strange happening here."
"He left us an opening to continue making a difference, but didn't want us to do so as a group," Captain America realised, "Why?"
"Perhaps we are meant to disband," Wonder Woman said. At the confused looks she received, she continued. "The Power Rangers have proven repeatedly that they are the ones to protect the planet. Perhaps they should be allowed to deal with the aliens while we concentrate on matters closer to home."
"They're covering up," Stark told them. "We failed and the world saw it. The government is trying to distance themselves and by ordering us to disband they hope to kill the story."
"They're trying to avoid a panic," J'Onn agreed.
"So this is it, we just disband?" Spider-Man asked.
"We were brought together through need. Now the benefits of teamwork remain, but the need is gone. And while concentrating on national and world matters, we're forgetting the people we became heroes to protect."
"Gotham has been having a little drug's problem recently," Robin said thoughtfully. "Perhaps now is the time for us to go our separate ways."
"Or we could come together under one banner."
"Avengers League?" Spider-Man asked.
"No dude, we'd be the best of the best," Changling told him, "The Ultimates."
The others looked at each other, smiling as they thought the idea over. It was not something they could discuss now, following the order, but perhaps in time it would come to pass.
In the area of California known as the Freak Zone, the other survivors of the recent war were meeting. Ryan Steele, JB Reese, Kaitlyn Starr of the VR Troopers, Drew, Jo, Roland and Josh of the Beetleborgs and Dex, the Masked Rider. Servo it seemed was irretrievable and Jesse, the Rider of Earth was still missing.
It was a short meeting, a declaration of purpose and a promise of alliance. They were survivors and from now on they would be looking out for each other. Assuming of course that they could come to terms with all that had happened.
Far from Earth there was a presence. The Master had tried to take advantage of Minion's actions and had failed. Now he had realised that his plans to bypass the box and access the Realm of Demons was flawed. Still, all was not lost. He had the box and would solve the puzzle. The Power Rangers had defeated the Minion of Darkness, but there were other threats out there. And in the background, the Master would remain, revising his plans to ensure that when the time came, he would be there to seize control.