Disclaimer: I do not own Power Rangers or any other show. They belong to their respective copyright owners. No money is being made from this piece of writing.
Enduring the Elements
The alarms sounded throughout Angel Grove, summoning the people from their homes to their nearest monster shelter. At the schools, the students were herded into the basement and gym area where the roofs had been reinforced. In the financial and warehouse districts special bunkers had been built while in the residential areas selected houses had been strengthened. Inside the Youth Center, the largest monster shelter in Angel Grove, Ernie had turned on the television and was anxiously watching as the newscaster made his report.
"This is the first time in history that the Power Rangers themselves have called a state of alert. Our sources inside City Hall reveal that two of the Rangers had personally warned the mayor that the attack would pose a serious threat to all areas of Angel Grove and that all citizens should report to the nearest monster shelter where they can be evacuated easily. Military forces have been placed on the streets to maintain order, but have been asked not to intervene in what this reporter has been led to believe will be a major confrontation."
Ernie silently watched as the camera panned to where the Rangers had positioned their Zords in the sky above Angel Grove Park. There they remained hovering, waiting for whatever danger they were expecting to face.
"Good luck guys," he said quietly.
Inside the Zords, five Rangers sat waiting. They had failed to stop the hyperlock vessels from fully activating and releasing the Elemental Beasts, but they had at least discovered that Minion could not exert direct control over the creatures. It was not enough to hope that without the villain controlling them they would not attack, according to Zordon the Elemental Beasts were born to destroy regardless of whether they were being controlled. The Rangers had been lucky enough to destroy some of the hyperlock vessels, but that in turn left four of the powerful beasts alive.
The electronically generated sound of each Zord could be easily heard throughout Angel Grove. The Rangers had not merged their battle machines, choosing instead to wait in case their opponents arrived at the same time. The size and power of the blip that appeared on their radar soon changed their plans though.
"Let's put it together guys," Tommy said.
"Right!" his four companions replied.
"Ninja Zords unite!" they called, as the inserted their Gem Coins and Alpha initialised the Wolf's transformation from the Power Chamber.
[Ninja sequence initiated. Wolf remote control online] flashed in front of Zeo Falcon's visor.
Zeo Falcon read the message and with his Gem Coin in place, he pressed the commit button and let the Gestalt System take control.
The arms and legs of the Ape detached from the body as the head was retracted into the chest. The arms then joined together under the body and the newly formed unit shaped itself into the left arm. The legs connected over the head providing an extra thick layer of armour on the top of the arm. As the leg merged together and were sealed in place, the sole plates mounted to the feet drew back to reveal a series of wires and mechanisms.
The head and legs of the Bear detached from the body, which then rotated so that the neck was upright. The sockets for the front legs were at the top and he sockets for the back legs had slightly shifted position at the base. The four legs joined together and slotted over the torso to add shape to the back and reinforcement to the empty sockets.
The head of the Wolf twisted to the right with the lower jaw shrinking to make a thumb whilst the upper jaw split into fingers. The front legs were pulled in tight against the body and covered by a thin layer of metal to keep them in place. The tail twisted ninety degrees so that it was pointing at the ground. The rear legs altered shape to cover the rear of the Zord, leaving only the tip of the tail and some minor connectors exposed to view.
Then the three Zords united, wires and mechanisms on the Wolf and Ape slotting into the upper sockets on the Bear. Inside a heat seal was activated and pressure applied to forge strong joints between the body and arms. The head of the Bear then attached itself to the chest, once again forming a seal that could only be broken if the Rangers decided to separate.
Meanwhile, the Frog Zord had started its own transformation. The front legs were pulled back into the main body while the back legs were full extended. Heavy clamps locked the lower leg joints into position and allowed the cabling system inside to adjust appropriately. One the knee, ankle and hip joint had been properly set the clamps were released as the Frog's body continued the transformation. The mouth opened and the curved areas were squared. Behind the mouth the cockpit had been removed, leaving only the wires and circuitry; the tongue uncoiled and fixed itself in place. Then the Zord rotated into the air so that the feet were pointing towards the ground and the open mouth was pointing towards the sky, and waiting for the body.
The computer now took over since the four Rangers were unable to control their machines. The tongue of the Frog shot out to its full length, the solid metal sliding through a small hole in the base of the Bear Zord. From there the end split in half and emerged through the sockets that had housed the Bear's rear legs. With a sharp tug the torso and legs of the machine were drawn together. The wiring inside the Frog's mouth slotted into the sockets as its mouth closed firmly around the base of the Bear Zord. Torso and lower body adjusted their size to provide the correct balance for the machine.
At the appropriate time, Kat deactivated her Zord's thrusters and allowed Tommy in the Falcon to carry the Crane into position. The head and neck of the Crane flipped so it pointed straight down. Then it was pulled back to a position between the mechanical bird's claws. Where the head had been, the crude face of the Ninja was revealed. The wings folded behind the head to form a shield for the back of the neck joint.
"Releasing now," Zeo Falcon announced as he released the Falcon Zord's grip and watched the Crane Zord plummet.
When it was mere meters from the Bear Zord's empty neck socket. The beak of the Crane opened and then closed again when its descent was finished. The powerful beak locked into place as the neck enlarged to fill the hole. Once the cabling links were complete four of the Rangers appeared in the cockpit of the Ninja.
"Wing deployment to full!" Zeo Falcon ordered as he pulled back a lever to triple the length of his Zord's wings. He then directed his machine into position on the back of the almost complete Ninja. The head and talons of the Falcon locking into place as Tommy was teleported to the cockpit.
When they had first used the prototype Zords they had discovered that the main cockpit had a definite lack of seats. This time though they could not afford to be thrown about and had taken the time to build a proper cockpit. Six stations had been fitted despite there only being five Rangers to pilot the machine. With Zeo Falcon maintaining overall control and commanding the limited weapons of the prototype, Zeo Bear sat at a side console and monitored the leg units, Zeo Frog and Zeo Ape were responsible for the arms and upper body, and Zeo Crane acted as the team's eyes and ears.
Now hovering in the air over Angel Grove, the Ninja twisted in the air, searching for the Rangers' first opponent. A soft roar alerted them to its presence and they spun to face the first of the Elemental Beasts. The two gigantic creatures met in mid air. Flesh and bone met the hard metal of the Zord as the two mammoth creations traded blows with blasts of fire from both sides. The Ninja rammed its chest and shoulders against the Elemental Beast. It twisted its opponent's neck and slammed its elbow into the place where the neck met shoulder. The Elemental Beast's head snaked out on a long neck, aiming for the Zord's metallic throat, but it was kicked aside by heavy feet. Tommy worked the controls carefully and repositioned the Zord's wings to slow their descent. During their scuffle, both opponents had plummeted towards the city.
Adam shifted his controls and a strong punch connected with the Elemental Beast's shoulder. At Tanya's command, it stepped up almost on top of it's opponent and twisted about, tearing at its side and rolling off as the fire Elemental Beast writhed and slammed its thick tail into the Zord's head.
The blow rolled the Ninja despite Tommy's desperate attempts to correct their course. The tip of the left wing neatly sliced the top floor of one of the tall buildings and the Rangers were glad they'd ordered the city to seek shelter. Had anybody been inside they'd have been killed instantly. Even so it took all five Rangers to prevent the Zord from crashing into the ground. The Elemental Beast had followed them and the two foes were side by side. Once again the Rangers changed their position and moved forwards. The Power Sword raked across the Elemental Beast's back, which in turn retaliated by sinking its teeth into the machine's side.
Sparks flew from the damaged area and after breaking free the Rangers had no choice but to land. The Elemental Beast followed it down and the fight resumed on the ground. This time any thoughts of avoiding damage to the city were forgotten as the Zord was slowly beaten back towards Angel Grove Park. As they entered the grassy area in an undignified manner, the ground beneath them was torn up; The Ninja had been thrown so that it skidded along the ground on its back. The powerful wings of the Falcon Zord were buckled as the machine came to a halt near to Angel Grove Lake.
The fire Elemental Beast ignored the lake as it landed, leaving the Rangers with an advantage; the lake was behind the Elemental Beast. Fire cannot withstand lots of water, and the lake was very full. Once again they came together, the Zord lifting itself slightly off the ground and striking out with its fists and teeth. Knees and elbows collided as the Elemental Beast ripped at the Zord's mighty chest. Hands and claws connected as the two colossal fighters tried to overpower each other, their feet digging into the already torn up ground. Suddenly the Ninja turned slightly aside, the Elemental Beast, surprised, fell forwards allowing the machine to strike out again.
The claws of the Crane Zord were now positioned on the giant machine's arms, allowing it to rake the Elemental Beast's side. Blood gushed from the wound as the Elemental Beast screamed and twisted, raising one clawed front leg and lashing out, releasing another burst of fire at the machine's head. The Ninja twisted aside and hid behind the flames, using their cover to get airborne and drop on the enemy from above. The Elemental Beast rolled away, the Zord's left arm, the Elemental Beast changed direction and rolled over, closer to the lake, before rearing up on its hind legs. The Rangers took the challenge and ploughed the Ninja right into its foe. The two fell, scrabbling wildly, the Elemental Beast's jaws snapping. The Rangers was crafty however and continued with their original plan, rolling and propelling Zord and beast towards the lake, taking many injuries in doing so, but generally ensuring the machine gave as good as it got.
Finally both regained their footing, sensing the other was about to fly, Tommy shifted his controls and the Zord raised its wings to block the escape. The Elemental Beast unleashed a barrage of flame causing the Rangers inside to recoil from the scorching heat. The machine raised a little, kicking out with both front feet. The Power Sword was once again ready for use, lightning lashed down as it was attracted to the blade, the Elemental Beast screamed as the energy reflected off the weapon and onto its body. The Zord slammed back down only to be met with a snarling face full of fire and teeth. Kat pulled on her control stick and the machine rolled its head almost lazily aside, then struck back with incredible speed.
Using the claws on its arms, the Zord stabbed at the Elemental Beast's wings, grounding the beast. With a sharp twist the wing was broken and tossed aside. The Rangers pressed their advantage, driving the machine forward against its astonished foe as the other howled in pain. Using its head the machine rammed its enemy, the sharp edges formed by the Crane's wings drawing yet more blood. The Elemental Beast tried to counter with its frothing jaws, but was again countered as the struggle continued. They carried on lashing out until, with an agile twist, the Zord turned around and struck out with one of its powerful legs, catching the other full in the face and sending the Elemental Beast rolling into the lake.
The Elemental Beast writhed and screamed in agony as water was vaporised around it. The Ninja jumped, landing on the Elemental Beast, sinking it down underwater. But the Elemental Beast was not done; it gripped the Zord and dragged it under as it continued to evaporate the water. The heat of the beast was too much for the water and the lake boiled away. Meanwhile the beast ripped at any part of the Zord it could reach, desperately trying to breach the cockpit and drown the Rangers trapped inside.
But the Zord was not yet out. While Adam and Rocky worked to protect the head from damage, Tanya had drawn the legs back into the ready position. Then as the Ninja's arms closed around the Elemental Beast's back, she released the tension and the Zord was propelled into the air. The water left behind was covered with a red skin as the Zord continued to soar upward, driving the steaming Elemental Beast into the sky. The battered wings were fully deployed as the machine continued to soar upwards. The beast struggled to break free as the Zord stopped moving and just hovered. At first the Elemental Beast struggled more than ever, but the Zord had carried it into orbit where without Oxygen to fuel its flames, the fire Elemental Beast started to freeze. Its fire like state extinguished, al that was left was a smoking husk. With a sharp kick the Zord sent the Elemental Beast back into the lake where it cooled and Zordon could dispose of it.
The Zord shakily returned to its original place over the city. It had been battered, but from the way it defiantly banged its chest it was clear it was far from finished. One Elemental Beast down. Three to go.
Suddenly another small flying shape appeared over the western horizon, from its silver-pale grey colour, and that it seemed partially transparent it was an air Elemental Beast. The Zord let out loud roaring and very electronic battle cry. It was a sound that reminded the Rangers that even though they had won the first round, their job was far from over.
Air, dragon like in appearance, semi-transparent, burning silver eyes, it appeared to be filled with mist. The sun had retreated behind grey clouds probably called up by Rita as a means of unsettling the Rangers and disturbing their Zord's power source. Of course since the Rangers were piloting Zords that lacked the sophisticated solar cells of their predecessors and had to rely on energy transmitted via their Gem Coins, the sudden change in the weather was merely a warning of the storm to come; the clouds were turning dark on the horizon. Its colour made the Elemental Beast blend with the sky.
The Ninja took flight, air was much more agile than fire. The creature looped around the machine him and flew up, the Zord stayed steady, the Rangers sensing that the other would dive, it did. The mecha rolled to one side just in time and lashed out with its legs while performing a backwards somersault in the air, the sharpened edges of its feet cutting up the inside of the Elemental Beast's front legs. Fog-like blood spewed out, the Ninja righted itself and the two collided, fierce punches from the Zord against the snapping and slashing teeth of the Elemental Beast. With all five Rangers working together, the Zord got a grip on the Elemental Beast's nose, holding its jaws shut.
Even as Adam and Rocky struggled to maintain their hold, Tanya was working on the legs. With Tommy keeping the wings in the right position to maintain their height, she drew the legs up so that the might Zord was curled into a ball. Then as the Elemental Beast was released, the machine thrust its left leg into the beast's front. The Elemental Beast recoiled, but showed little damage for all Tanya's effort.
The Elemental Beast's jaw muscles strained as it tried to pierce the Zord's armour. Finally, it let go and twisted about, striking out with its tail as it rolled away. The Elemental Beast's teeth cut a great slash across the machine's lower back. Like a cat, its left front claws lashed out at the heels of the Ninja, tearing thin strips of alloy from the machine. The two disengaged and floated apart, then the Elemental Beast bent its head around and unleashed a blast of compressed air, slicing through the machine's already damaged wing.
This time it was the Ninja that recoiled, the Rangers blinded as the Elemental Beast thickened the air around the Zord to blind them. Its claws, teeth and tail battered the Ninja as the Rangers made the machine lash out blindly with its fists. Finally, Kat managed to counteract the fog and for a brief time they enjoyed an advantage. The Zord twisted away and dropped below the fog as the Elemental Beast, thinking its prey was blinded by the fog, dove in. The two clashed, the Elemental Beast's teeth tearing down the back of on the machine's neck, its tail flicked up and thwacked the Zord along the side.
In the Angel Grove Youth Center, attention was focussed on Ernie's small television. The bar area was crowded with children and adults wanting to see their heroes in action. Ernie was unsure whom he admired more, the Power Rangers for fighting such hideous creatures under conditions that were not in their favour, or the lone news reporter who was filming most of the battle. Most of the fight was filmed at long range and in some cases the battle was too far away to be seen.
"They're doing well," one of the police officers assigned to protecting the building commented.
"Oh, that had to hurt," another said as the Elemental Beast scraped its claws across the Zord's shoulder, leaving three deep parallel gashes in the layered armour. The extra protection that had been placed on the shoulder was gone.
The Ninja struggled to recover, locking its hands around the Elemental Beast's neck. With a sudden force it started to shake the monster vigorously, tearing at the skin, and slicing one of its cheeks open and the side of its head just behind the ear. The claws from the Crane ripped at the other's side. The Elemental Beast couldn't twist its front far enough to fight back, but it back legs kicked in, cutting the machine's mid-section. It left some long scratches, but couldn't curl up far enough to do real damage.
"And once more it appears that the Power Rangers are on the attack, their opponent's temporary advantage eliminated through skilful operation of their mighty robot. At this moment it appears-- yes, the Rangers have drawn blood. They're going for the swift victory. Here comes that sword again. Oh my god! The Rangers' machinery is on fire, I repeat the Rangers have been engulfed in flames."
Golden flames burned everywhere, they couldn't see, and instinct alone guided them in this wild fight, the lives of every other living creature was held firmly in the balance. Only the slight tilt of the cockpit from the pressure behind the flames, told them where their enemy had been. Even so, their strikes were less than graceful as they moved around. Lubricant poured from a great gash on the inside of the lower left leg. The flammable fluid only intensified the fire that threatened them.
Adam screamed in pain, his minute link to the Frog Zord feeding back into his mind. The others were not doing much better; they felt as if the intense heat was burning them even though the cockpit was normal temperature. Rocky was grimacing from the shoulder wound and Tommy had been coping with the pain since the Elemental Beast had ripped the Falcon Zord's wing.
"Controls are not responding!" Tanya warned.
"Hold on guys we're going down!"
The Zord plummeted as the need to extinguish the fire drew resources away from other equally important functions such as staying in the air. The Zord smashed into the top of an abandoned warehouse, demolishing two neighbouring buildings as it skidded along the ground. The falling metal helped to dampen down the flames while the Ninja flailed aimlessly in an attempt to regain control. Finally it grabbed hold of one of the cranes that were used for moving heavy containers, ripping it from its moorings, yet providing enough friction to halt the Zord's movement.
Overhead the Rangers could see the Elemental Beast circling them, but there was little they could do from their prone position. It opened its mouth and blasted the crippled machine with a blast of compressed air, aiming not only at the Zord, but the surrounding area as well. Pieces of buildings and crates that had not been secured properly were rammed into the robotic body, denting the armour. A second blast hit a concrete chimneystack ad brought it crashing down on the Zord's exposed back, furthering the damage already caused to the Falcon Zord.
Inside the Ninja it was Tommy's turn to scream in agony as Kat implored Zordon to deactivate the feedback system. She knew that to do so would mean they were out of synch with their machines, but had the wisdom to understand that that particular tool was being used against them. With the feedback problem removed the Rangers had only to wait for the computer to return control to them. Adam was already working to make sure that they would not have a similar problem again.
The Elemental Beast released several smaller blasts of air, piercing the parts it had already damaged and widening the open gashes. The stress threatened to tear the Zord apart, rips evident in the damaged leg now mangled and barely moveable. More blasts followed causing even more damage, the machine attempting to stand and failing each time.
"Can we separate?" Tommy asked.
If they could disengage the Zords, they at least stood a chance of surviving while repairs were made. From the damage they sustained, he suspected that only the Crane would be in good condition with the Wolf as a possibility. The Ape and Frog had been damaged severely during the battle, and the Falcon would not be able to fly. If they were lucky though the Bear would still be operational. It had taken a fair few knocks, but was also had the hardest shell.
"Rangers if you separate the Zords there is a good chance you will not be able to combine them again," Alpha warned.
"We need time to get the Ninja up and running again," Kat sent back.
Unfortunately the Elemental Beast did not want to give them the time they needed. It swooped down again, its claws digging into the machine's armour, shredding some of the servomechanisms as it did so. Its wings flapped and the Ninja was lifted into the air, dangling precariously from the claws that were slowly slicing through its alloy skin.
"Oh no, Rangers!" Alpha whined as he watched the battle on the Viewing Globe. "We need to help them, Zordon."
"I agree, Alpha," Zordon boomed as he monitored the abnormal fluctuations in the Zord's power core. "Prepare Titanos to help them and reconfigure the Ninja to compensate for any damage when it becomes the Gem Coin Ultrazord."
"But there is not enough power left for them to combine."
Zordon paused, wondering whether to take the risk he was considering. Then again, he didn't have a choice.
"Billy, deactivate the Grid Warrior apparatus and install the coins to augment the Gem Coin powers. I fear we must risk losing everything if the Rangers are to survive this encounter. It could be the Rangers' only hope."
The Elemental Beast continued to fly, dragging the helpless Ninja along behind. While Tanya and Adam tried to repair some of the internal damage, the others worked on a way to break free. Kat was rerouting their vision so that at least they could see their opponent. When she was successful, the screen cleared and they were able to work on an escape plan.
"There... to the left," Rocky snapped.
The Ninja twisted in a way it should not have been able to move, sacrificing sections of its armour in order to break free from the beast's grip. The Elemental Beast battered the machine with its wings, but the Zord dropped back towards the ground, gaining the Rangers some time to recover.
"Rangers, stand by for a boost."
"Power cells are open," Tanya reported.
Power surged through the almost empty machine, recharging the robot and jump-starting the repair systems. Taking advantage of the lull in the battle, the Rangers adjusted the Megazord to meet their needs. The claws from the Crane Zord slotted into place on the giant robot's feet. The Wolf's legs, until now restrained against the body, were released, the power converting them into wrist mounted blades on the right hand. The Falcon Zord's talons reappeared on the Ninja's left hand. Finally, the face of the Zord extended outwards, providing a buffer zone between the face and the cockpit. The shape now resembled that of the bird and helped to give the Zord a more ominous appearance.
The Elemental Beast attacked again, but the Rangers were ready. The Ninja raised its weapons as the beast moved in, ripping and tearing its side, then rolled away before the dragon could retaliate. It tried a second time with almost the same result, except for the horrible smell as the dragon's fangs sank into the robot's back. The blades on the Zord's arm reversed as it drove its elbow into the beast, slicing it across the tops of the legs. Energy arced across the blade, exploding on the side of the dragon, which could not duck swiftly enough.
The ground was close again; neither side had been paying attention to where they were until it was almost too late. The Rangers recovered and direct the Ninja to land. They were eager to keep the battle on the ground if at all possible. The Zord pounced at its opponent, claws and talons groping at the beast, drawing more blood. The Zord seemed to be fighting on its own as it blows connected every time. The Elemental Beast was on the ropes as the Zord gouged its eyes with the talons on its left hand.
Claws raked the machine's side, proving to the Rangers that the fight was not yet over. The robot twisted away from the assault and smacked the other a heavy blow to the head with a wing.
The Elemental Beast was learning, it used its wings now to bash the Ninja about, the machine retaliated by ripping a long tear in one wing and cutting open the side of the Elemental Beast's neck. The air Elemental Beast used its powers to block off the flow of air around the machine, attempting to crush it with the extreme pressure. Under other circumstances that would have spelt the end of the battle, but the Rangers of Earth were lucky to have friends in the Power Chamber ready to help them.
The Earth's Fire descended from its orbit onto the Elemental Beast. The creature had not been paying attention and failed to spot the falling spacecraft until it was too late. With the distraction in place the Rangers countered the blockage around their Zord while the Earth's Fire slammed repeatedly into the Elemental Beast, battering its already damaged body. The beast screeched as the craft turned and blasted it with its thrusters. The Elemental Beast recoiled, but was not yet defeated.
With a sudden and decisive thrust the Elemental Beast attacked the Earth's Fire. The assault was swift, aggressive and final. When it was finished the spacecraft fell from the sky, crashing into the city before exploding.
The Ninja finally broke through the air block and sliced a huge rip along the Elemental Beast's shoulder. In return the Elemental Beast clawed at the base of the machine's throat, narrowly missing the control systems.
"Time to put an end to this," Tommy said.
The Zord had been battered, bitten, clawed, squeezed and set on fire, but it was still standing. Inside the Rangers were tired, but otherwise unharmed. They summoned the power Sword and this time energised it to make the final blow.
On televisions around the world people watched the battle over Angel Grove. They watched as the Zord battled with the dying Elemental Beast. The fuel leaks had ceased and although battered it was clear that the machine was the stronger of the two combatants. Normally a Megazord would only need to take on one opponent and when faced with multiple enemies they were often weaker. But today the Rangers were being pushed to their limits. They all gasped as the Zord twisted in a way it shouldn't be able to and kicked the Elemental Beast, delivering a hard blow to the neck, it turned and raked its talons down the Elemental Beast's face and jabbed the beast's neck with its fists. The crunch of breaking bone was audible as the Elemental Beast, severely wounded, retreated, blood spouting from its mangled neck. The Rangers were not done though as they somersaulted over the Elemental Beast and with a fully energised Power Sword, it leaned down and sliced off the Elemental Beast's head.
The Megazord staggered away, eventually landing in front of a chemical plant as the Rangers tried to fix the damage it had suffered before their next battle.
Overnight and well into the next day the cameras remained focussed on the chemical plant where a battered Ninja had set down for repairs. The all clear had yet to sound, so the citizens were required to spend the night in the monster shelters. Although an effort had been made to reunite families, there still some parents who were unsure if their children were safe. The head and shoulders of the mighty Zord loomed over the rooftops, reassuring those it protected that the Power Rangers were still there to watch over them. Even so, the long wait for the next attack was starting to cause tempers to fray.
The camera crews tried repeatedly to zoom in on the Ninja, but each time they did so something jammed their signal. The newscasters assumed it was to protect the Rangers' identities. In fact it was to prevent panic when the true state of the Ninja was revealed.
The Rangers and their allies had had to work long into the night to prevent the machine from crashing to the ground. Its damaged leg could not take any weight and they had been forced to use scaffolding and winches to hold the Zord upright while Adam and Trini tried to repair some of the internal damage. Kimberly, Aisha and Kat had set about wielding heavy plates of metal to some of the worst hit areas, while Tommy, Zack and Rocky were busy blasting small holes in the wings. Jason was acting as coordinator between the different teams of workers and Billy was running circuit by circuit tests of the machine's vital components; Sam and David were helping Alpha to sure up the energy feed.
"I hope Billy knows what he is doing. I thought we were meant to be repairing the Zord," Rocky complained as he followed his leader's instructions.
"We are," Tommy explained. He pointed to one of the more obvious tears in the wing. "We need to take the stress off the metal or these cuts will grow larger. If we put a hole at the ends of each crack, we can relieve the tension and then repair the damage without stressing the break."
"Where did you learn that?" Rocky asked.
"My uncle's a race driver," Tommy said. "When I used to stay with him, I would spend the race in the Pit with his mechanic. He used to use this technique on his saw blades so they would last longer. Hey, what's that?"
Tommy pointed to a green growth along the edge of the Zord's wing. It was bubbling away on the metallic skin, the occasional puff of smoke erupting from one of the bubbles.
"I think it was blood," Rocky said, remembering how the blood had sprayed out of the severed neck of the air Elemental Beast, before it had fallen to the ground. "Oh no, look at the Power Sword!"
Sure enough the sword was covered with the same substance. As it continued to bubble, a chunk of the blade fell away.
"Jason, the blood is corrosive, we need to clean it off," Tommy warned.
It had been two o'clock in the morning before the Rangers were finished. They had cleaned and neutralised all the blood they could find, but there had still been damage. In the end they had had to cut away the damaged section of wing to ensure the corrosion did not spread. That along with the damaged leg, which they had only been able to partially restore, left the Rangers lacking mobility either on land or in the air.
The next morning they were back at the site to continue work. Time was against them, they could tell. Soon the next Elemental Beast would arrive and when it did they would have to battle in a partially working Ninja and without the Earth's Fire to provide a distraction. The scaffolding had been removed after the teenagers spent the better part of their morning replacing the shattered support structure.
In truth the Zord was now as ready as it would ever be for the upcoming attack. When the battle was over, they would need to spend considerable amounts of time repairing the individual machines, although in the case of at least one Zord, it would be easier to rebuild from scratch.
"Let's get back to the Power Chamber," Tommy said at last.
In a flicker of light they vanished, unaware that away from Angel Grove the people of the Earth were facing a battle just as deadly as the Elemental Beasts. Minion's forces had finally attacked in force and the world's armed forces seemed unable to stop them.
It was a mess, but as it stood defiantly under its own power, the Ninja was a symbol to the world in its time of need. Two Elemental Beasts had fallen and the Rangers were hopeful that their luck would continue to hold. While Adam and Tanya had spent the past hour patching as much of the Zord's armour as they could manage, Tommy, Rocky and Kat had been busy making other preparations. The Earth's Fire had proven that it was useful to have a surprise ready just in case. So it was that Kat had teleported to the crash site to try and salvage anything useful while Tommy and Rocky had taken a room-by-room search of Power Mountain for anything they could use.
In the end it had been Zack who had had the best idea, requiring Billy and Trini to work on a means of combining the teleport system with the old Zeo launch system.
Adam sighed as he realised the Zord's optic sensors would not improve despite his attempts to adjust them. The damage caused by the Fire Elemental Beast had at some point overloaded the light-sensitive sensors used to give a clearer image. There wasn't time to replace them at the moment. The eyes were one of the more complicated circuits in the Ninja's control systems; to remove them would render the machine useless in battle. Instead he moved to the central controls where Tommy was supposed to sit and initiated the power-up sequence. It would be just their luck that the damage caused by the Elemental Beasts had damaged some vital but unnoticed component that prevented them from using the machine in combat. Fortunately that was not the case.
The Zords changed position, no longer lifeless but now alert and radiating powers as its head moved slowly from side to side, searching for a threat. Adam hit a second control and there was a mechanical whirl as the claws mounted on the feet and arms retracted briefly before reappearing. That was a self-sharpening mechanism used to keep the weapon keen and reliable.
Inside the Power Chamber, White Morphin Master and mentor to the Rangers of Earth watched the Viewing Globe. The Ninja had surprised him when after the battering it had taken it continued to stand ready for the next fight. Yet he wondered if that was due to a small miracle or perhaps the determination of the Rangers themselves.
"Amazing isn't it?" he asked. "After all they've been through, they still try to protect their city. They are truly heroes. The ancient Morphin Masters would have been proud to know them."
"Do you think Minion will send the remaining Elemental Beasts?" Alpha asked. Zordon nodded solemnly.
"Yes. He will not miss such an opportunity. Unfortunately for now all we can do, is watch," Zordon told him.
There was an uncomfortable silence until the alarm sounded.
"Ai-yi-yi, here we go again," Alpha warned.
The Rangers had sensed that something was about to happen and had teleported back to the Zord. Already they were bringing their stations online and actively scanning for the next attack. The Zord's eyes shone brightly as abruptly it moved to a crouching position ready to leap into action. A mechanical screech left the unified Zord, no doubt Billy's attempt at a method of intimidation. Whether it worked or not was unknown as the Rangers didn't have time to look at the results.
On the horizon the blackening clouds seemed to stir in answer and the breeze grew, whipping at the Ninja's defiant form.
Zordon looked at the point of the Viewing Globe where Alpha was pointing. In the distance they could see the blue outline of another Elemental Beast.
"Water," Zordon murmured, the Ninja seemed to sense its foe's presence for it turned to it and rose to its feet. Inside the Rangers worked as a team to make the Zord appear more like an animal than a machine. Slowly the growl grew in volume until the buildings nearby shook from the vibrations, then the gigantic wings shot up and unfolded, the song became a deafening battle roar that could be heard throughout the city and out across the harbour. The pitch made everyone flinch away and cover their ears. Then it ceased as the machine took flight, racing to meet the Water Elemental Beast.
The Prototype Ninja Zords had been programmed to act like the original Ninja Zords, but in reality their only link to the Morphin Grid was through their power generators. They were not endowed with the spirits of the animal they represented and despite the small similarities to the original Zords they were just simple machines. So it shocked the Rangers when the Zord seemed to act on its own. Of course it had protocols loaded to override user control in order to prevent its own destruction, but the way it moved was so natural. They didn't mention it to each other, but did make a note to talk to Zordon if they survived.
The Water Elemental Beast opened its mouth and let loose a huge gush of water, with such force that it nearly knocked the Zord over. Steam rose from a small gash where the water had struck; at the correct temperature and pressure, water could slice almost any material. Inside the Zord the Rangers were feeding their energy into the machine while trying to keep it from falling over. As they did so they started to feel the connection they had once had with the real Ninja Zords return. Rangers and machine became one, the Zord seeming to act before they could move the controls, acting like a warrior instead of a weapon.
With a shake of its head the Zord recovered and lashed out with its right arm. Flames shot from the claws on its wrists. The Elemental Beast screamed in pain as the heat boiled away parts of its body. Soaked the two collided with each other amidst huge spouts of water and fire which turned to steam. The Elemental Beast wasted no time in grinding its teeth into the joint where the Falcon component connected to the Bear, trying to sever the connection between body and wings.
The Zord roared without Tommy touching the controls. It twisted as one of the arms replaced its hand with a pair of snapping wolf jaws and raked its teeth along the other's wing and back. Claws flashed silver and pale blue; golden blood ran from the Elemental Beast, burning the Zord as the spores it contained reacted to the metal. The Zord recoiled as Rocky summoned what was left of the Power Sword. The two separated, lightning flashed down, the Elemental Beast dodged and charged while the Zord remained still and allowed the discharge to run to ground.
Kat adjusted the Zord's profile, folding the wings into a streamlined position, the two behemoths sped towards each other, at the last second water began to turn aside so it could tear its enemy's back as it passed; Tanya moved the legs back so that the chest of the Ninja was outstretched, then took control of the Bear so that its teeth traced long gaping wounds along the other's belly. The Elemental Beast responded with a flick of its tail, breaking the Zord's grip and pour gallons of water against the damaged machine's armour.
They rolled away from each other and landed. The Zord resumed its stance in the city. Already Adam was in the engine room trying to repair the damage they had taken. A normal Zord would never have taken the abuse the Elemental Beasts had dished out, yet surprisingly the Ninja was still intact. There was little he could do though until the power generators had dried out. The water the Elemental Beast had pumped into the Zord had shorted out some of the circuitry and flooded the legs. With a sigh he drew his sidearm and blasted the base of the machine's legs, watching as the water drained away leaving yet more damage in its wake.
The Elemental Beast charged and they crashed together. Claws raked at each other, the Elemental Beast got a grip on the Zord's neck and shoulder and threw it down before it attempted to rip the robot apart. Rocky diverted some of the Zord's damaged fuel cells into the Bear's mouth and ejected them. A spark from the Power Sword ignited the volatile fluids resulting in a fireball that swept straight into the Elemental Beast's face.
Amid screaming roars they tangled again, locking jaws, claws scrabbling for purchase. The battle had moved into an old quarry away from the city where the Rangers could fight without fear of damaging property. The Elemental Beast had already blasted the area with water, turning some of the softer soil into muddy ground. The Zord used great sweeps of its wing to lend it extra force and pushed the Elemental Beast back a few steps.
The Elemental Beast abruptly dropped lower, as the machine's claws sank into its shoulders it came up from below and almost succeeded in ripping the Zord's head from its shoulder. A jet of water cut through a portion of the neck; only by shielding the area with its sword were the Rangers able to prevent serious damage. In disgust Rocky released the grip on the sword and watched it sink into the mud.
Suddenly confident the Elemental Beast attacked, pounding the Zord on the back until the robot could no longer stand. But Tanya had already planned for such an occurrence and using the powerful mechanisms housed in the Ninja's legs, launched the machine head first like a battering ram. It was a good move and knocked the Elemental Beast off balance, but lacked the force it would have had if the legs had not suffered such severe damage earlier. The joints groaned as the Zord touched down, its design pushed to the limits. The Water Elemental Beast had already recovered and delivered its own head butt, shattering the Zord's left knee. A combination of Kat's skill and Tanya's legwork allowed the Zord to perform an amazing twist as it fell and it landed feet down towards the ground.
"Jason, now!" Tommy ordered.
Back at the Power Chamber, the cannon that had been used for launching the Zeo Zords moved into firing position. The Grid Warriors had loaded it with as much junk as they could find in the Angel Grove Scrap Yard. With Billy working the cannon and Trini teleporting more and more junk into the firing tube, they had created a formidable weapon.
At Tommy's command it fired, releasing its arsenal toward the battleground, covering both the Zord and the Elemental Beast with shrapnel. A mushroom cloud of dust formed over the area, as the Rangers were teleported away from their machine as it and the Elemental Beast were bombarded with junk.
Both survived the onslaught although neither could be described as a pretty sight. The Elemental Beast was bleeding from gashes that ran the length of its body while the Ninja's left arm had been ripped open and new gashes had appeared in its wings.
They took to the sky again, fiercely using everything they had to tear each other apart, neither able to fly straight due to the damage they had suffered. The Elemental Beast let loose another blast of water, but the Zord was operating on automatic and had one purpose: the destruction of its opponent. As the Rangers watched helplessly from the Power Chamber, it threw it arms around the Elemental Beast and headed back towards the city.
The Elemental Beast lashed at the machine with the barbed end of its tail, but the Zord held fast. Then it plummeted towards an electrical substation. As they crashed the machine slashed at the Elemental Beast, causing it to unleash another burst of water. Both combatants were electrocuted, the Elemental Beast barely recognisable when it eventually pulled free. The Rangers used the opportunity to regain control of their Zord as its computer was fried by the unauthorised action.
From the distance the Rangers could feel the approach of their last hope against the Elemental Beast. A lumbering hulk of metal intended to resemble the mighty Titanus, one time Carrier Zord of the Power Rangers. They had dubbed it Titanos and it was only the slight difference in the pronunciation of its name that allowed them to tell the difference between the original Zord and the replica it had taken so much time to build; Titanos had been built to interface exclusively with the Ninja and unlike Titanus, it did not suffer from poorly fitting connectors.
The sound of energy weapons broke through the Elemental Beast's screams of pain as the prototype Carrier Zord unleashed a barrage at the creature. Without delay Tommy pushed the sequence of buttons needed to untie the two Zords together to form the Ultrazord. Now the Elemental Beast faced them on three legs while the Ultrazord seemed to tower over it. A blast from the Zord knocked the Elemental Beast thirty feet through the air before it hit land again; great wounds gaped in its side. It roared as the Zord moved to a new position and attacked the machine, cutting up its shoulder and side as the weapons recharged for another attack. Suddenly the Ninja detached from its housing and drove its arm claws into the Elemental Beast's stomach.
The Elemental Beast got to its feet, screaming in pain, made the machine breath fire again and again onto it. The beast tried to counter with water, but to no avail. Titanos fired. Its weapons hit the Elemental Beast's wing, tail and eyes, blinding it. Blind, badly burned, with one broken leg and with its guts hanging out the Elemental Beast gave one last try even as it started to die. It leaped and the Rangers were ejected from the Zord since they had been unprepared for the movement. They fell heavily. Once again the Zord somehow managed to take control, this time a fierce animal rage surfaced. With nothing to hold it back, the fighting power leaped forth and before the Elemental Beast even knew what was happening, the Zord had torn it to shreds.
Now two Elemental Beasts lay dead on the ground, and one in the evaporated site that had once been Angel Grove Lake. The sun's rays in the afternoon were starting to turn deep orange. In a half hour they would be red. The Ninja swayed for a moment, then powered down. That meant three Elemental Beasts down, and one to go. But this time the cost had been high. The Rangers had had to use all the tricks they could find to defeat the Water Elemental Beast and they had barely managed to emerge victorious. Now they had no surprises left for the remaining Elemental Beasts and the Ninja was in such a state they doubted it would last much longer.
Day turned to night, but as the city slept its heroes were busy ensuring that the next battle would not be their last.
Minion had watched the battle between the Elemental Beasts and the Rangers with interest. All out war would have been a better to describe the carnage that had been caused so far. Serpenterra was ready and waiting to launch, standing by to destroy whatever remained once the battle had ended. There was no doubt in his mind that a few blasts would destroy an Elemental Beast and smelt a Zord with ease. He had already dissected one of the five surviving beasts to make sure of it.
Better still, his source inside the Ranger camp, his ace in the hole, had revealed that the Rangers' powers came from their Power Chamber. Destroying the mountainside headquarters would rob them of their Zords, their powers and any assistance that Zordon might have offered them.
He glanced at Silvo and Brasso, wondering when they had gotten back from their latest task; after their success with isolating the known trouble spots where the likes of the Masked Rider, Beetleborgs and the VR Troopers could be found, he had sent his favoured henchmen to strike at military installations around the world. Bronzo had been dispatched to Crystal to pick up a special guest, one whose appearance would place some of his plans in jeopardy.
"By the end of tomorrow either the Rangers or the Elemental Beasts will have met their end. Then will come the time of Serpenterra and Minion."
The next day the sun had reached its highest point when the Earth Elemental emerged on the scenes. Brown in colour, its body looked as if it were made up from pieces of stone that had been forced together. In fact had it not been for the bright blue eyes that burned under the thick slab it had for a forehead, it would have been difficult to imagine this creature was alive. It seemed to fly towards the previously assembled Ultrazord and land its first blow before the Rangers could react. The machines had taken a beating in their battles with the three previous Elementals and as a result were slow to react.
The first punch from the creature's enormous fist snapped the Ultrazord's head back so far that the head was almost ripped from the body. The Rangers struggled to maintain control, but as the cockpit continued to spark and more and more systems failed, the Elemental landed two more blows. With a sudden burst of strength it ripped the Ninja free of its mountings. Then, after tossing the gestalt away like a piece of garbage, the Elemental turned its attention to Titanos.
Titanos was big by Zord standards, equipped with heavy weapons that would make Tor or the original Titanus jealous. But the weaponry like everything else on the prototype Zords had lower safety limits than the real thing. As its twin cannons ripped into the Elemental, the warning gauges were slowly rising. The weapons glowed red as they started to overheat and a high-pitched squeal could be heard from the generator housing. Smoke poured from the control circuits and still the machine fired. Its mouth opened and grasped the Elemental's leg, preventing the monstrous being from backing away. The squeal grew louder and then the weapons exploded.
The Elemental was caught in the blast that spelled the end of Titanos. The Carrier Zord was shredded as its own weapons tore it apart. The neck unit of the Zord was ripped free as the Elemental soared into the air again. The jaws, still clamped firmly to the Elemental's leg dropped to the ground, its eyes flashing once before turning dark.
Then the Elemental turned its attention to the Ninja, which had stopped moving the moment it had landed. The damage to the neck prevented commands from the battered head reaching the body as the Rangers tried desperately to restore some semblance of control. After leaving Rocky and Kat in the cockpit, Tanya, Tommy and Adam had moved to the auxiliary control room, where they hoped to take control. But their time had run out as the Elemental loomed over them and lifted the fallen machine from the ground. The Zord was held in the air, dangling from the Elemental's claw by its damaged neck. The Elemental lashed out with another of its mighty fist blows. The sharp rock pieces that acted as knuckles smashed into the left shoulder, sending the machine hurtling backwards again.
The Rangers tried to adjust the wings even as the Zord was cartwheeling through the center of Angel Grove. When it stopped spinning, it continued to scrape along the street until it finally came to a rest. A blast of high-pressure sand ripped across its lower body, stripping the previously damaged leg away and burying the mecha. The Elemental moved forward, sharp teeth ready to slice through the metal frame. It struck at the lower body once more, gripping the Zord in its teeth and jerking its head from side to side like a dog would shake a rabbit.
With only a thin piece of metal to show where one leg had been, and the other leg crumpled beyond recognition, it was lucky that the Rangers were finally able to get the remains of the Ninja airborne. The head was still hanging at an impossible angle, but control had been restored from the chest area.
Even so the Rangers knew it was only a matter of time before their Zords were destroyed. During the battle their Gem Coins had been feeding the machine with a constant supply of additional energy, which was the only reason the Zord was still intact after receiving a beating a fully power Megazord would have difficulty withstanding. The odds of surviving the encounter were growing slimmer by the minute. They had already used all the tricks they could find, but the battle was taking its toll.
"Jettison Frog and Crane," Tommy ordered.
"But Tommy," Kat started to protest. She stopped, not willing to question her leader in the middle of a battle.
Adam and Kat touched their Gem Coins and severed the union between the Frog and Crane components, and the rest of the Ninja. Both Zords were teleported back to the Power Chamber for emergency repairs. With the damaged Zords removed the power drain was reduced, allowing the Rangers to concentrate their energies on the battle.
With outstretched arms the Zord started to spin like a top, its claws slashing at the Elemental. One claw gained purchase on the underside of the beast's forehead and as a result ripped a chunk of stone free. Black mud seeped from the wound giving the impression that the Elemental was bleeding. The Zord continued to spin as Tommy guided it lower to strike the Elemental in the chest and legs. The Elemental groped at the machine, trying to stop its movement. Finally it caught the left arm and used it to fling the Zord into the First Angel Bank.
Before the machine could move again the Elemental had pounced. Its hands ripped into the Wolf's carcass and tried to wrench it loose from its junction. The wolf seemed to whimper before the Elemental gave up and moved onto the next target. The next fist tore into the main body and cracked the metallic skin open. The Falcon Zord detached as the Ape reverted to its normal form and attacked with its swords.
The Bear charged at the Elemental with Tanya firmly in control. It stood on its hind legs and used its front paws to bat the Elemental around the head. Then its front legs descended, causing the street to shake from the impact before it fired its eye beams at the Elemental's chest. The Elemental turned away and kicked the Zord with its powerful foot.
"Crane and Frog returning to battle," Billy announced.
The Elemental flew into the sky to meet the smaller Crane. According to the details that Zordon had revealed, the Earth Elemental should not have been able to fly. At first Kat thought perhaps Minion had altered it in some way to allow it flight capabilities, but quickly realised that that was not the case. The Elemental wasn't flying; it was leaping and using its powerful legs to stay in the air for a period of time. The Crane was smaller than the Elemental, but with Kat at the controls it was agile enough to avoid it. Using the Zord's claws and beak, Kat was able to draw the beast away from the city, giving Tommy time to bring the Falcon Zord online once more.
The Falcon Zord was in poor shape following the Ninja's battle with the Elemental. Large sections of its wings had been destroyed either by the fighting, the landing, the corrosive blood of the Fire Elemental, or Tommy's attempts to prevent further damage by shooting holes into the metallic frame. The forcefield generators had been reconfigured to hug close to the hull and as a result gave the Zord the aerodynamic wings it needed. Unfortunately all the protective cushioning of the forcefield was diminished because it was too close to the metal body. Tommy pushed his Gem Coin into the activation slot and crossed his fingers as the Zord lifted into the sky.
"Billy, we need a distraction," Zeo Falcon.
"What kind of distraction?" Zack asked.
Tommy considered. "Just get it to look the other way so we can reform the Megazord."
Luckily Zack and Billy didn't need to worry. A distraction had just arrived.
"Fox Leader, you may fire at will," the voice of some faceless radio operator reported.
Norman Thomas acknowledged the message and fired his twin missiles at the Earth Elemental. The weapons barely attracted its attention as it tore through the city. A jet of sand ripped his wing and forced him to eject while the rest of his squadron engaged. He never made it to the ground.
"Teleporting your Zords to a new location," Billy told them. "Then you can reform the Ninja and attack."
Now was the time, the Rangers had retreated and all but one Elemental Beast had been destroyed. Minion activated the engines and powered up the main weapon as Serpenterra took to the air.
The Elemental had stopped attacking the planes and seemed to look beyond them towards the sun. A faint snarl left it as it reared up and pounded its chest in a show of respect. But whatever it was that was heading towards the planet didn't care about victory cries. A shape emerged as it flew closer and started to cast a shadow over the area. It was enormous, far larger than the Earth Elemental. It opened its mouth and a ball of plasma engulfed the area. The flash knocked out the news cameras as the earthquake flattened the surrounding buildings. Then the flames died back as it ran out of fuel and the Earth Elemental was gone, reduced to ashes in the intense heat. Serpenterra let out a cry of challenge and fired another plasma ball.
"What happened to it?" Tanya asked as the Viewing Globe cleared.
Zordon had ordered the Gem Coin Rangers to return after he had witnessed the decimation of the square mile surrounding the Earth Elemental. It now resembled a scene from a science fiction movie. The area had been incinerated by the blast, leaving behind ash, smoke and a few areas that had not been demolished. Small sections of wall could still be seen in places, the charred remains of a telephone directory blew along what had once been a sidewalk. Aside from a few McDonalds products that were as indestructible as they were uneatable.
The Viewing Globe changed angle so that Zordon's orbital satellites could focus upon the city. There something floated, blocking the camera from revealing the full devastation below. Trini adjusted the controls as Alpha searched for a better picture. They shared a gasp of horror as the image finally filled the Viewing Globe.
"What is that?" Kat asked.
"Serpenterra?" Jason answered gravely, exchanging a look of shocked horror with some of the others.
The monstrous machine that had in the space of a few minutes wiped out the Elemental and the area surrounding it was not the machine they remembered. For a start it was still moving where during their previous encounters it had stopped after blasting something. Secondly it looked larger than it had been when Tommy had first seen it during the quest for the Sword of Light.
"Aw man, that is one UGLY Zord," he remarked.
"That's a Zord?" Kat asked. "I thought only Rangers had Zords."
"Normally yes," Tommy answered. "But Goldar had Cyclopsis, his War Zord, and I bet there are others out there."
"It's big, metal, piloted and kicks butt; I'd say it counts as a Zord," Tanya commented.
"That's not Serpenterra," Adam remarked as he studied the console. "Or if it is, someone has gone to a great deal of effort to upgrade it."
"So how do we stop it?" Tanya asked.
"It's still a machine no matter how many upgrades it's received," Tommy said. "We all know Zords can be destroyed. We just need to make sure this one falls quickly."
They were interrupted by a gasp from Adam. He had been watching the Viewing Globe while the others were talking to Zordon. The machine was heading away from Angel Grove, a trail of destruction following it as it headed inland. Already the air force had engaged the powerful machine, but it had ignored them and continued its warpath, straight toward the Power Chamber.
"We have to get back out there," Tommy said.
"I concur," Billy agreed. "We need to bolster our forces by escalating our manpower."
"Dragonzord would prove useful," Sam pointed out.
Tommy nodded reluctantly. What Billy and the others were suggesting meant removing the Power Coins from the Gem Coin generator and risked destabilising the upgraded energy grid. Still, by doing so they freed the coins for the Grid Warriors to use, knowing that their additional numbers would make piloting the Zords easier.
"Trini, Zack and Aisha have managed to repair the Sky Zords following your encounter with Chop Shop," Zordon reported.
"All right guys, this is what we'll do," Tommy announced. "Place the Ninja on remote control and then pilot the other Zords into battle. Rocky, Adam, Zack, Billy and David will take the Defender Zords, Trini, Tanya, Kat, Kimberly and Jason can handle the Sky Zords; Aisha and I will pilot the Techno Zords. Sam can join us in the Techno Zords or pilot Dragonzord."
"Actually Tommy, it would be beneficial if I remained here to control the Ninja," Billy said.
"Good, let's do it," Jason said. "It's Morphin Time!"
"Zeo Ranger I - Crane!"
"Zeo Ranger II - Bear!"
"Zeo Ranger III - Ape!"
"Zeo Ranger IV - Frog!"
"Zeo Ranger V - Falcon!"
They promptly teleported into battle as Billy made his way to a control station he had created to remotely operate the Zords.
"Okay Rangers, Warriors, report in," Jason ordered. "Team two in position." The Sky Zord pilots had positioned themselves close to the Secondary Zord Bay on Power Mountain. The area had been cleared to give them a catapult runway.
"Team One in position," Rocky reported from a position inside Angel Grove. The Rangers had positioned a portal there to deploy the Zords rapidly in case of an emergency.
"Team three in position," Tommy responded. The Techno Zords were located at the far end of the mountain range, well away from the Power Chamber. There was a whirling of gears as the stone door opened.
"Green Ranger in position," Sam reported from the dockside.
"I have moved the Ninja to a more suitable position and initiated battle sequence," Billy replied.
"Then let's get to work," Jason finished. "Tommy?"
"Let's do it," the Red Ranger answered. "Rangers, Warriors, deploy!"
Zordon had been on Earth long before the city of Angel Grove had first appeared. And he had taken advantage of that time, using it to build the deployment systems he needed before the humans arrived and interfered. Making use of the water system that flowed through the foothills at the base of the mountainside, he had arranged for an access tunnel to be dug under the area where the future sewers would run. A large section of the access tunnel had collapsed at the turn of the century, portal apparatus proved the easy solution to that problem.
The entry point shifted at the Rangers' command, revealing the Defender Zord garage. A turn of the key and a shift of gears, and the five vehicles roared out of their hiding place. At first they resembled normal vehicles although a close look would have revealed that one of them was empty. Then Zeo Frog shifted the lever and the Zords were expanded to their full size, shaking the foundations of nearby buildings as they headed towards Serpenterra.
"Call it Zack," Zeo Frog said, deciding to give the Black Grid Warrior the honour.
Zack smiled, clearly enjoying being back in action. "Defender Megazord, power up!"
The fire engine's cab rolled up and over the top to reveal the Megazord's head, the rest of it shifting shape to form the body. The helicopter's rotor blade flew of as the tail detached itself allowing the helicopter to form the right arm. The ambulance attached itself to the left side of the body and the motorcycle and police car, formed the legs.
Once again the Drop Zord appeared, releasing the hands, feet and chest shield for the Defender Megazord. When the Megazord was complete the rotor blades and tail transformed into a Power Sword.
"Megazord, activated," the computer reported.
"Ready?" Zeo Falcon asked as he flipped the safety switch and activated the thrusters of the two aerial Zords. A chain had been connected to each air-based Zord and the large gun and joined them to the ground vehicles.
"Yes," Aisha replied. When she had returned to service as a Grid Warrior, she had never expected the opportunity to pilot a Zord again. She was in one of the ground-based Techno Zord and with the remote controls for two more machines at hand, she had command of three Zords.
"Go!" Zeo Falcon ordered.
Aisha gunned the engines and the three vehicles roared out of the base of Power Mountain, dragging the two aircraft behind them. Together the Gem Coin Ranger and the Grid Warrior waited until they had sufficient speed and then disengaged the chains holding the two jet-like Zords, allowing them to soar into the air.
"Techno Megazord, form up!" Zeo Bear and Zeo Falcon called together.
The two planes flew away for a moment, but soon appeared again. The high speed of the cars caused the chains dragging the gun emplacement to lift it off the ground. At the right time the chains were released. The gun detached itself from the emplacement, allowing it to form the lower body onto which the larger of the two planes formed to create the upper torso, shoulders and head. The dune buggy and motorbike transformed into the arms and the other plane and car formed the legs.
A panel opened on the lower back of the Megazord from which the hands and feet for the Megazord were released along with the chest panel. The gun had in the meantime split in half and appeared in each hand.
"Drop Zord!" Zeo Falcon called and as the large Carrier Zord moved overhead, the Techno Megazord grabbed hold and was transported to the battle site.
Jason positioned himself in the Red Sky Zord, relieved that Pyramidas had given him some experience in the air. Kat claimed control of the Pink Zord while Kimberly chose the Yellow Zord; Tanya piloted the Black Zord, which she realised on closer inspection was a mixture of black and very dark green. That left Trini to pilot the Blue Zord, which had most of its functions slaved to the machines of those more experienced in flight situations.
"Alpha, we're ready," Jason announced.
There was no response, but the Rangers could feel their Zords being moved into the launch chute. Around them the atmosphere was pressurised as their engines reached full power. Then they were shot forward as the pressure was released and they were shoved along the runway.
"Full thrust!" Jason ordered. The others obeyed, flying in formation across the desert.
"Sky Megazord, power up!" Zeo Crane called. She had retained control of the Megazord's formation not only because she had experience, but because her machine had an extra set of controls that allowed her to make fine adjustments to all five machines' positions in the air.
The five planes headed upwards into the sky, where the thinner atmosphere aided their movement. The red plane's nose cone retracted into the cockpit to be replaced by a head, the wings folded toward the bottom of the plane and the fuselage shrunk to half its normal size. The pink and yellow planes transformed into the arms, and the blue and black planes formed the legs.
"Billy, now!" Zeo Crane ordered. As the near complete Megazord flew into position, the launch cannon fired fists, feet and chest plate of the Megazord towards it.
"Sky Megazord, online!" Zeo Crane ordered.
"Megazord activated," a computerised voice responded.
"Course set," Kimberly reported.
"Weapons on standby," Tanya added.
"We're still too high," Kat noticed, directing the Zord back towards the ground.
"Adjusting water injection," Trini muttered. "All systems check."
"Then let's go!" Jason ordered.
At his words a targeting grid appeared in front of his position, giving him strategic control while Kimberly and Kat retained flight controls.
With a jerk the Megazord was off, flying towards its new target, hoping to stop Serpenterra before it came into firing range and destroyed the Power Chamber.
Minion laughed when he saw the pitiful resistance the Rangers had prepared for him. The badly damaged Ninja hovered in his path and for a moment he entertained the thought of swatting it aside with Serpenterra's massive tail. Given that Serpenterra could crack the Earth in half if Minion funnelled enough power into the shot, he would have expected more in the way of resistance. How could the Rangers hope to survive such power when a few Elemental Beasts had ripped their Zord to pieces?
"WD Units, prepare the generators for the next shot. WD-40, ensure the prisoner remains in his cell."
During the battle between the Rangers and the Elemental Beasts, Minion had been so engrossed in the battle that he had failed to acknowledge Bronzo's return from Crystal with a very special guest. He wondered how the Rangers would feel when this little surprise was revealed to them. He shook the idea off. The Rangers would be dead soon anyway, what was the point of ruining a sure scheme by tormenting them?
"Master," Silvo interrupted. He and Brasso had returned from their assignments to help pilot the machine. "There are three objects heading in our direction."
"So the Rangers do have some sense," Minion mused. "Even Tommy wouldn't dare confront Minion with only one Zord."
"Shall we fire?" Brasso asked. He sounded almost eager.
"Patience Brasso. Minion wants his enemies to see that Serpenterra destroy their Zords. Otherwise they might believe that it was an accident."
The three Megazords arrived and even with the Drop Zord bolstering their number, they still appeared insignificant when confronted by the massive machine that stood in their path. Serpenterra's eyes glowed brightly as the robotic stare down continued. In the end it was the Rangers who made the first move.
The Ninja flew forward, Billy having taken the lack of activity as some sort of malfunction had chosen to go for a quick attack. Replacement Power Sword in hand and with the safety controls turned off, a move that electrified the Ninja's metal shell. Against the Elemental Beasts such a move would have proven a deciding factor, but against Serpenterra it would serve little use from the outside.
As the Ninja followed through, it shifted position as it tried to slip around the side of the head and up towards the underbelly where it could use the sword effectively. Serpenterra was too quick for such a manoeuvre though and as the Ninja sidestepped, it reared up on its back legs, dragging itself out of the way before descending rapidly to pluck the Ninja with its front foot.
"Jase, fire the SFC!" Tommy urged.
Inside the Sky Megazord the five Rangers moved to oblige, Tanya summoning the Stress Fracture Cannon while Kimberly and Kat locked the thrusters into a position where they could deal with the recoil. Jason was already using the small sweeper beam to find a weakness as Trini analysed the findings and punched the coordinates into the console.
"Fire!" The five teens cried as the light on the console turned green to show a positive lock. With a machine the size of Serpenterra though locking onto a target was not as big a problem as locking onto the right target.
The first beam of energy left the cannon, locking onto the path of the sweeper beam and testing the surface for any imperfections. Finding one such weak point, the beam ended. The arm of the Sky Megazord adjusted to the right position and the blast was fired, ripping through the air to cover the short distance between Serpenterra and the Zords.
The impact wielded disappointing results. The Rangers had been hoping for a major breach of the monstrous machine's armour, perhaps even some structural damage caused by the concussion of the blow. They had achieved a few pinpricks that barely registered on the scanners. It was clear Serpenterra had barely noticed the impact though as it concentrated on the Ninja.
Billy had struggled with the remote controls, hoping that the Power Sword would at least cause Serpenterra to loosen its grip. With a forceful shove the Ninja was shoved away from the other Zords and even as Billy tried to make the machine roll out of imminent crash, Serpenterra unleashed its primary weapon.
It was a sight Jason remembered from years before when he had seen Zedd's Zord decimate the Deserted City. Purple energy seemed to concentrate around the head and then with a mechanical roar it unleashed a blast of devastating fire to engulf the Ninja.
Billy's screens went dark, the feedback from the Zord such that it overloaded the remote sensors. The Ninja was nowhere to be seen and given the crater that had formed around its previous position, its fate was almost certain.
Billy sighed and ripped off his virtual interface. He had other things that needed doing. He could try establishing contact with the Ninja again when the battle ended.
"Damn!" Tommy swore as Serpenterra finished with the Ninja and immediate turned its attention back to the three Megazords. "We need to attack now before it can generate another blast."
"That could be a problem," Trini replied.
"Why?" the confusion was evident.
"Look!" Trini screamed as the Sky Megazord darted to the left.
Serpenterra had fired a second time and was rapidly moving towards the Rangers. On instinct Aisha threw the Techno Megazord into a side roll, bringing its weapons into firing positions as she did so, loosing several shots. The Defender Megazord was slower than the other machines and was forced to stand its ground, relying on its forcefield generators to deflect the incoming blast.
All of those events took only a few seconds and for the Rangers and Warriors it seemed as though time had slowed. Then with a violent lurch, events accelerated again as the blast connected. The shockwave choked the Sky Megazord's thrusters, depositing it firmly on the ground, shocked but otherwise fully functional. The impacts blew the rolling Techno Megazord across the sand. Aisha and Tommy had to fight the controls, but eventually had the machine back under control.
That just left the Drop Zord, which had managed to out fly the shockwave and the Defender Megazord, which despite emerging undamaged thanks to its power draining shields, had been buried up to the neck in sand.
"Nail him!" Jason cried before turning the Sky Megazord' arsenal loose on their monstrous opponent.
Tommy and Aisha responded by firing their Zord's weapons at Serpenterra's head. They were hoping to hit the eyes or somewhere equally important. The combination of their blasts and The Sky Megazord's attempt to successfully use the SFC against their foe, kept the monster away from the recharging Defender Megazord.
"Man that was too close," Zack commented as Adam and Rocky worked to restore basic functions. The blast had not been damaging, but the shield had drained their power reserves.
"We need to find a weak spot on that thing," David noted, "because I don't think we could take another blast like that, shield or no shield." The bulkhead next to the White Warrior had been melted by the blast leaving no doubt that they had been lucky.
"Power Sword!" Adam called, activating the Zord's major weapon.
With a determined movement the Defender Megazord hauled itself from the ground and advanced on the towering Serpenterra. The Sky Megazord had by now found a new firing position and was close to overloading the SFC by repeatedly discharging the weapon at the monster's neck. The Techno Megazord was still firing at Serpenterra's eyes although it stopped when a twin blast from the eyes barely missed the Zord's left leg.
"Drop Zord, begin bombing run!" Tommy ordered.
"When did you arm the Drop Zord?" Rocky asked.
"Alpha did it when he realised that we had an extra Zord out here that does very little during the battle."
As they watched some of the panels that made up the Drop Zord's frame opened to reveal a multitude of weapons. Most promising thought was the oversized rocket that was held in the deployment bay under the fuselage.
"Fire Fog!" Tommy toned.
The Zord changed course, dispersing a collection of pellets that turned to gas in the air. When a stream of microwave energy passed through the gas, it turned into an explosive ball of plasma, which drifted toward the large machine. Serpenterra though seemed to ignore the flaming ball as it engulfed its head.
"Null Ray fire!" Tommy commanded, eager to find some weapon to take this monster down. Although he hadn't mentioned it, the Drop Zord held many of the weapons that belonged on the individual Zords.
The Null Ray worked on a similar principle to an Electro Magnetic Pulse generator in that it disrupted electronic equipment within a given range. The difference with the Null Ray was that it was capable of greater accuracy since it was projected as a beam of energy. Unlike an EMP, the Null Ray did not cause lasting damage to the machinery it hit; it created a negative charge within a small area that prevented the flow of electrical energy through that system.
Serpenterra rolled slightly as the effects of the Null Ray and those of the Fire Gas combined, blinding those inside the cockpit. Still, the machine did not crash back to the ground. The energy it had been using as a weapon did briefly disappear, but only for a second. The energy powering Serpenterra was not electrical in nature and although the ray still had some effect, it was nowhere near the results Tommy had hoped for. The Plasma blast that ripped into the ground below, spewing forth a mushroom cloud that clouded their view screens, showed just how powerful Serpenterra remained.
"Force Beam Fire!" Tommy tried.
Using opposing forces to generate a twist effect, the Drop Zord's computer targeted the weakened bodywork of the monstrous machine. By targeting at the head it was able to force Serpenterra to take to the sky and by maintaining the pressure force it into a dive.
Minion angrily shoved Silvo away from the controls and twisted Serpenterra so the energy was no longer locked on his head. A sharp discharge from the machine's antlers caused the Drop Zord to break contact as it pulled sharp right to avoid Serpenterra's foot.
"Fire!" Minion commanded as he pressed the button.
There was no playfulness in his tone this time as Serpenterra unleashed a violent pulse of purple energy towards the Drop Zord. The machine dodged, but its left wing caught a glancing blow, forcing it to return to the Power Chamber.
"Jason, aim at the ground," Kat urged as the Sky Megazord shifted to a new position.
Jason did as he was instructed, hoping to catch Minion's metal beast before as it landed. But Serpenterra proved too fast and changed course as the ground it had been aiming for collapsed.
This time Serpenterra did connect with a tail shot, pummelling the Sky Megazord into the ground, leaving a groove as it slid along the ground. It came around rapidly and opened fire with its full power, almost destroying the Sky Zords in the process. It would have succeeded if one of the other Zords hadn't interfered.
The Turtle Battlezord was an annoyance to Serpenterra but little more. Still, its attack had been sufficient to divert the energy stream away from the Sky Megazord. It wasn't far enough for the machine to escape unharmed; many of the Sky Megazord's systems had been disrupted. The SFC was locked at an awkward position that meant further shots were impossible.
"Teleport back to the Power Chamber," Tommy ordered as he moved the Techno Megazord around the back of Serpenterra. The Techno Megazord fired a constant barrage at the larger machine, preventing it from turning its full attention of Sam. The five teens in the Sky Megazord obeyed, allowing the remaining Rangers to concentrate on attacking.
"Very good Tommy," Minion said as the Techno Megazord's weapons destroyed Serpenterra's left antler.
With renewed vigour Serpenterra turned and blasted the Defender Megazord, which until that point had been hacking a small hole in its tail. This time despite its shielding there was no hope for the Megazord as its chest plate was burnt to a crisp by an eye blast. Serpenterra struck with its front claws and the Zord had a gaping hole through its body. As the claw shifted, the Megazord squirmed. Still, there was no mistake as Serpenterra's powerful jaws clamped around the Zord. A single jerky movement and it was all over as the Megazord's upper body, now empty, crashed to the ground.
"Sam!" Aisha cried, causing Tommy to return his attention to the battlefield. The Turtle Dragonzord appeared resistant to Serpenterra's energy blasts, but it was rapidly losing its resistance.
There was a flash of green as said Ranger was ejected from his machine. Zordon had obviously teleported him back to the Power Chamber seconds later as Sam vanished from sight. Tor and Dragonzord had seemingly decided to fight on by themselves and a moment later Titanus had joined them.
"Well, well," Minion spoke, his voice carrying across the desert. "Seems we're all here. Allow me to introduce you to Serpenterra's full power!"
What followed was a firestorm as the monstrous Zord unleashed the power of the Zeo Crystal at its opposition. This time there was nothing the Rangers could do to protect their machines; Tommy and Aisha had tried to teleport only to find that they were trapped.
"Emergency separation!" Tommy called.
The arm of the Megazord detached from the rest of the body, transforming into its individual form of a large dune buggy, it raced off across the sands in an attempt to out run the destructive tidal wave that threatened to destroy them. The light became blinding as Tommy tried to teleport one last time. Then there was nothing as the Techno Megazord, Sky Megazord, Dragon Battlezord and Titanus, along with the remains of the Defender Zords were incinerated.
"Tommy!" Kat cried.
David just stared at the screen, numb at the apparent loss of his brother.
"Zordon, what happened to the teleport system?" Jason demanded.
"There is no problem," Billy answered. "For some reason he chose not to teleport."
"That's impossible," Zack countered. "We saw them trying to eject."
"Maybe there's a problem in the Power Chamber's systems," Billy allowed. "I'll go and check."
The Blue Warrior hurried out, stopping briefly at the Grid Warrior's power generator. He stopped for a moment and then sprinted through the door and into the depths of the power room, seeking answers.
"Zordon, can we disable the teleport system?" Trini asked. She avoided her teammates' eyes, even those of Zack and Jason. She didn't want to believe what she suspected, but the idea had been there for a while.
"We can discuss this later," Adam interrupted. "Serpenterra is heading this way and we're out of Zords."
Zordon sighed; he had hoped this day would never come. He knew that if the Power Chamber was lost, his link to the Rangers would be gone and so would all hope.
"Alpha, return Sam's wand and prepare for Operation Tempest."
"What about Billy, he's not in the room?" Alpha asked.
"I don't think it matters," Sam commented. "He's taken his Power Coin."
"You mean he's gone to help?" Kimberly asked, concerned. Nobody answered as the alarms heralded Serpenterra's arrival.
A streak of blue light heralded the arrival of Minion's uninvited guest. Billy Cranston stood before the cause of all his problems; Power Coin firmly in hand and promptly fell to his knees.
"Master," Billy acknowledged.
Minion's eyes glowed. "Welcome back my little spy," he said, taking in the youth before him. "Brasso, fetch my other guest, I believe Billy will find this meeting truly enjoyable."
Billy was silent, not for the first time wondering why he was doing this. It didn't seem the logical thing to do, but he had made the deal with Minion and he would honour his side of the bargain. There was the sound of a struggle as the WD Units led by Brasso dragged in Minion's prize possession.
"Ah, it's been a long time, Mr Cranston," Minion commented as another Billy was dumped at his feet.
Flashback to Planet Crystal, The Recent Past
The landing had not been bad, but scrambling free of the wreckage had been difficult. Still, Billy had managed to clamber out of his ship.
"Zordon, Alpha, can you hear me?" he called, hoping his communicator would reach Earth. There was silence. With a sigh he made to explore his temporary home when he saw somebody ahead of him.
"Oh it's you," he said, relief crossing his face. "What are you doing here?"
He was too far away to be heard though. One thing was certain though: he was saved. He approached cautiously, in case his friends mistook him for someone else. He had never expected to see Zack and Trini here of all places and in Zeo Ranger uniforms no less. But why were they Zeo Rangers and what were they looking for that required them to enter Standby Mode?
"Billy?" Trini asked, obviously shocked. "Is it really you?"
"What are you two doing here?" he asked.
"There was a problem on Earth," Zack told him. "The others are... ill."
"Zordon sent us here to get the cure, but we were infected too," Trini explained. "The cure is to inhale the pollen of this flower." She paused. "You'd better take the cure too Billy, just because we're cured doesn't mean we aren't carrying."
"Yeah," Zack agreed. "Zordon will need to filter us through the teleport system to be certain.
Billy reached out and took the plant before raising it to his nose. He glanced up to see a victorious smirk on Trini's face as the pollen shot into his eyes.
"I told you he would fall for it," he heard her tell Zack.
"He always did trust you," Zack replied.
"Affirmative," came a third voice. He looked up to see an identical copy staring down at him. He tried to move, but the pollen had paralysed him. "I'll take that," the impostor said, seizing Billy's blank Power Coin.
"You won't get away with this," Billy warned.
"Oh but he will, Mr Cranston." A black masked figure had appeared in front of him. "My name is Minion, soon to be ruler of Earth. I see you've met my faithful constructs."
"Minion does not jest, Mr Cranston. Your landing here was planned for from the moment you left Aquitar. Already my servant Arcana has injected one of your friends with a magical virus that requires them to come here. When they do, they will find your duplicate and take him back to Earth. Then, the fun will begin."
"The Rangers will stop you," Billy insisted. He had faith in his friends. He had seen what the Zeo Rangers could do and knew in his heart that they would rescue him.
Minion laughed. "Stop me, stop Minion? I already have the Zeo Crystal in my possession. Your friends are using temporary powers and second rate Zords. I doubt they could stand up to Finster, let alone Minion. Besides, how will they rescue you when they don't know that you're missing?"
Minion turned away from Billy to talk to his, well Arcana's creations; the duplicates were made from a similar substance as the slime Arcana had used to drain the Rangers' powers a day or so earlier.
"Do you understand your mission?" he asked.
"Yes," the Billy clone answered. "I am to infiltrate the Rangers, overtly offer my full assistance until the right time. Then, when the time is right I will destroy Tommy."
"Very good," Minion agreed. "You have the time it takes for Serpenterra to reach full power," and he ignored Billy's gasp," ensure that the Power Chamber is destroyed before you rejoin my forces."
"Yes master," the Billy-thing answered, bowing deeply.
Minion turned his attention to his other servants. "Take Billy and ensure he does not escape. Minion will send Bronzo to collect him when he's needed. After that, await further instructions."
The constructs bowed and dragged the real Billy away as Minion's image faded.
And there it was, a plan that if the recent arrival was any indication, had been a total success. His clone of Billy had sabotaged the teleportation system to prevent Tommy leaving the Techno Megazord and entering the Power Chamber. And since Serpenterra had incinerated the whole area, there was little chance of the Red Ranger surviving.
"Do it," he commanded.
The Billy clone pulled out a remote and pressed the button, setting off explosives he had planted throughout Power Mountain. In one shot he hoped to take out the Zords, the armoury and most importantly, the Gem Coin powers. The clone had already stolen Billy's Power Coin back. He had even taken Sam's coin, robbing the Grid Warriors of their powers.
"Good, now go to the island and start work on your next task," he said. The clone promptly obeyed. "And that Billy is why Minion will triumph. I have the tools, the knowledge and the power. You could too... join me."
"No." If it had been one of the other Rangers, Zack or Rocky for example, there would have followed a tirade about how they would never join forces with evil. Billy didn't bother, his attention focussed on Minion. If the villain chose to attack him physically, mentally or magically, he wanted to see it coming. He knew that if a villain wanted him on their side they would have a way to force him to do so. Pretty speeches would not change that.
Minion cocked his head to the side before ripping off his mask. What Billy saw was shocking. The face was twisted, disfigured by metal rivets and hoops; it was unquestionably his face that was staring back at him coldly. And when he spoke, Billy recognised the voice as his own. "That's ... regrettable." Then Billy felt himself being hauled to his feet by the WD Units. "Take him to the island."
Explosions ripped through Power Mountain, destroying every room that the Billy impostor had been to. The Citadel at the top of the mountain was the first victim, collapsing in as it had done so when Rita and Zedd had blown it up previously. Then the explosion progressed down the main lift shaft, taking out the Zord Cannon as they did so.
Elsewhere in the mountainside the Secondary Zord Bay exploded, falling rocks crushed the medical room and the armoury was destroyed, the ammunition stored there added to the blasts and ripping through into Billy's secret storeroom.
Other explosions were triggered in the areas of the mountainside that had been used to store the Zeo Zords. The bays and the machinery used to launch them were destroyed, undermining the foundations as it shot up the central access tube. The Briefing Room was consumed in a massive fireball.
"Hello Rangers." The message had started as soon as the first explosions had been heard. "If you haven't guessed by now, those explosions were not caused by Serpenterra; yours truly accepts full responsibility."
"Billy. How could you?" Trini asked.
"How could I betray you, my friends?" the message continued. Obviously he had accurately guessed their questions. "Easy you simpletons, I was never your friend; I'm not even Billy Cranston, just a clone obeying my master's wishes while the Billy you know rots in my master's prison. How does it feel Rangers to know you let the enemy into your headquarters and helped him to destroy you? And for the record, Tommy and Aisha's didn't die because they failed to teleport; I cut the power, just as I stole the Power Coins. Goodbye Rangers, knowing you wasn't as pleasant as fooling was."
That was when the Power Chamber had exploded.
Serpenterra continued on its path of destruction, unhindered by the machine's high fuel consumption, which had been corrected thanks to the Zeo Crystal's near infinite supply of energy. Even with its plasma cannon repeatedly firing the fuel cells didn't show signs of diminishing. Of course the shots were not the high yield planet crushing blasts that it had used before. For some reason Minion found it more pleasurable to take lives in small doses rather than kill all life at once.
Below was a small town. It managed a few select stores, a public bar, elementary school and its own small television station. The major employer in the area was the nuclear power plant, the most notorious plant in the country since its millionaire owner was a miser who was more than happy to ignore as many safety rules as possible. The mayor was a corrupt womaniser who spent much of his fortune paying the town's papers not to cover his indiscretions and the police department to deal with those that weren't sensible enough to accept bribery.
The town was not known for its citizens' calmed reasoned thinking at the best of times; today there was absolute panic. The people had realised that the monster above them could not be stopped and there even the old fallout shelters built in case of nuclear war, would not shield them. And so they huddled together under the statue of their town's founder, hoping that something would save them.
Serpenterra hovered over the town, waiting as the sense of panic reached a peak. Then the energy flowed into its weapon systems. A glow formed in the mouth and with sudden ferocity, a plasma blast ripped into the ground. The roads boiled as the houses were vaporised. The people tried to cry out in pain, but their voices were already lost as the sound of the explosion echoed into the neighbouring town.
And on board the ship, Minion laughed as he adjusted his course to take him to Washington DC via a few other small towns. He was the master now and nothing could stop him. The Earth, was doomed.
To be continued