Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. They belong to the respective copyright owners. This is a fan work and no profit is being made from it.
"Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to the most heavily anticipated race in the history of Velocistar. Today's special Death Strike Gauntlet will see Visceron step out of his comfort zone in the speed races to take part in the special winner takes everything challenge. Can our brave champion hope to survive the gauntlet that has claimed so many other racers or will next months Baribaria Cup commence without a defending champion?"
The commentator clicked off the mike and watched the numbers soar as punters both on-planet and off-world placed their bets. The smart credits were of course made against Visceron. There had never been an instance where the challenger had survived the gauntlet, let alone won it. And for Visceron to have been entered into the Gauntlet meant that the racing star had upset somebody very important. In that case it seemed even less likely that they would recover any remains following whatever nasty accident he was involved in.
"And the competitors are line up ready to race. We have a full house today, seems everybody wants the opportunity to put Visceron in his place. All your favourite Death Strike teams are ready to race into action. And the anticipation is building with experts predicting an absolute certainty that Visceron will not finish the race. The question now is: how far will he get and which of our competitors will be the one to end his career?"
The race wasn't fair by any means. For one thing Visceron would be racing his standard vehicle while his opponents had spent years modifying and arming their cars for the rigours of gauntlet competition. Then there was the fact that while he had to beat every other racer to win, they only had to beat him.
"And the flag is raised ready to begin this epic confrontations. The anticipation is growing, who will win this race? And there's the flag. We're off!"
The monitor before him showed the cars surge forward and then the majority swerved either to the left or the right in a blatant attempt to catch Visceron early on. It seemed the champion driver at least had the sense to predict such an attempt and had jammed his brakes on the moment the race had started, before directing his vehicle to avoid the massive pile up.
"Spectacular thinking on the part of Visceron to avoid a thirty, no forty car pile up that would have surely ended his chances in this competition. He swerves around the carnage and is in last place as the lead drivers reach the end of the first straight."
What followed was a fast paced race as Visceron tried to catch and overtake the race leaders without giving them the opportunity to take him out of the competition.
"Oh my word, when did Visceron have a chance to arm his vehicle? Is Visceron even allowed to arm his vehicle?"
The other competitors were armed and dangerous, but there had never been an instance where the challenger had been allowed to even the odds.
"Visceron is fighting back. I don't think any of our officials expected this. And wait, he's coming up to last corner now. Spectacular move, he just shot under the racing line of his opponent and into first place. The finish line is in sight. This could be the first time a challenger has ever escaped the Death Strike Gauntlet. He slides the tail just a little, straightens up and he's over the finishing line. Visceron has won and you can bet that there will be more on this story to come."
Visceron was an Inquirian, a race known for their endless pursuit of knowledge and boundless curiosity. While some chose to seek their knowledge within the ancient texts of bygone eras, Visceron chose to seek out knowledge through experience. To aid him he had been upgraded with advanced recording and archiving equipment as well as technology to improve his sight and hearing.
Unfortunately Visceron was also a risk taker, willing to place himself in danger to solve whatever mystery had caught his attention. Ultimately that curiosity had drawn him to Velocistar, a racing planet rumoured to be owned by the Dianthe Clan. He had heard the rumours of the illegal betting, race fixing and other crimes that plagued the planet, but had been intrigued to find out the truth for himself.
To that end he had set himself up as a racer and had competed in many of Velocistar's competitions. He had been crowned champion six seasons in a row and had used his fame and new found wealth to find his way into the inner workings of Velocistar's criminal underworld. His investigation had taken him to places where he should not have gone, but he had survived and had gathered a great amount of evidence against a number of corrupt officials within the Galactic Council. But his most recent discovery had put all his previous accomplishments to shame. He had discovered how the funds the were being siphoned off were intended to be used.
He had not believed what he had seen at the time. And that was why he had still been there when security personnel had responded to the alarm he had triggered. Unable to kill him outright - for it transpired that Visceron had managed to download the entire Dianthe Database into his expanded memory, and had set it to transmit the contents should he be killed in any of the traditional ways - the Dianthe's representative had found it amusing to put him in the Death Strike Gauntlet a perfectly legal race with an extremely high death toll. Unfortunately because the death would be as the result of his agreement to participate, albeit unwillingly given, the safety measures he had taken would not trigger.
On the other hand he was relieved to find that the stewards had not checked his car before the race and had missed the preparations he had made should he need to escape in a hurry. And now in the confusion that followed him winning the race, he switched his vehicle to space mode and soared into the sky.
Escaping Velocistar was all well and good, but it now he needed to warn somebody about his discovery. The question was who could he trust when The Galactic Council had been infiltrated by dark forces at its highest levels, the Intergalactic Police Force had enemy agents working within, and even the Rider Corps had been infiltrated if what he had heard was true?
Visceron had only one choice: Zordon. The White Morphin Master would listen to him and know how to use the evidence he provided. Maybe Zordon could warn the Council of what was about to come although he doubted even then that they would act in time to stop the poison that threatened to bring them down from the inside... years in his line of work had turned Visceron paranoid and he was constantly thinking up new conspiracy theories.
As he set the coordinates he spotted the first signs that his captors had found him and were giving chase.
He finished downloading the message into his ship's communications device, Visceron continued to wonder just how things had gotten so bad without somebody noticing. The forces of darkness were gathering in secret, well away from those that drew attention to themselves like Rita Repulsa and Divatox. They had infiltrated the organisations responsible for stopping them and in doing so had effectively crippled the light side. Upon review he realised that he had the needed to expose the corruption of some of the most respected organisations in the galaxy. Unfortunately that discovery was bound to cost him his life.
But knowing that he would not survive only encouraged him to push more and more data into the limited transmitter. Just because he was going to die did not mean that he couldn't warn Zordon or anybody else who would listen. The broadcast would be imprecise, but it would a chance to make sure that other were warned. Then they would have the means to defeat the threat before it grew too strong.
He only had to fly a little further, to keep the enemy at bay a little longer and then the message could be sent. But it seemed his pursuers had predicted his path accurately as demonstrated when a large vessel appeared right in his path. Suspecting that his end had come, he prepared himself for the inevitable, pulled the wheel sharply to the left and pushed his vehicle into high gear. With a squeal of breaking gears, the shuttle car lurched into high speed flight and disappeared.
As October moved slowly into November, the year continued to pass for the Power Rangers of Earth. For some now enjoying the freedom of life outside of school, the days seemed to fly by. For other less fortunate members of the elite group, Double English on a Thursday morning was proving to be an exceptionally dull affair. To be precise the five youths that made up the Turbo Rangers were sat listening to another lecture about poetry and grammatical rules. Only Justin seemed to enjoy the lesson although the others were at least more attentive than their fellow students, some of who had fallen asleep.
Was it wrong to hope for a monster attack to break up the tedium of the morning? Tasha knew the answer was yes and secretly hoped she would be forced to endure the rest of the lesson, but a part of her craved the excitement that came from saving the world. And if it would get Justin away from Kristen Parker, so much the better.
If the Turbo Rangers had been the sort to look around, like some of their fellow students, they might have noticed the odd periscope that appeared from the fish tank at the back of the class. Unfortunately for them, Kat and Tanya had taken it upon themselves to lecture them on the importance of keeping up their grades and paying absolute attention in class, so the intruder went unnoticed.
"Rygog, stop messing around with that thing, you won't see anything new!"
Divatox was bored. Since the defeat of Cocky Roach she had sent a few Bounty Hunters to Earth, but for the most part she had seemingly given up on her plans for the planet. In reality her forces had been carrying out raids and thefts around the world to gather the needed parts for her new scheme. It was nice to return to the pirate lifestyle of stealing that she so enjoyed, but the effect was ruined because in order to prevent the Power Rangers from guessing her plan she had been unable to boast about her crooked gains.
And when all the materials had been gathered, she had been forced to sit back and wait, something that didn't suit her personality in the slightest. It made her very unhappy and that in turn made the atmosphere on board her vessel extremely tense. So tense in fact that even Elgar was aware of it and chose not to pester his aunt.
In the engine room, Porto took some comfort that for the time being he was safe from her anger. In all honesty he was more concerned about what would happen if Rygog, Elgar or any one of the many foot-soldiers who had been unfortunate to cross her path should find him. Unfortunately as he stared down at the report in front of him he knew he would not be able to hide any longer. At least he had something to distract her with.
"Porto!" Divatox shrieked at the top of her lungs. "Porto, get in here, right now!"
Porto sighed. It seemed that no matter how hard he tried, sooner or later she would remember his existence and summon him. Dusting himself off he made his way to the bridge, hoping that this time she would at least let him answer.
"Well?" she demanded the moment he entered, fixing him with an icy stare. "Have you accomplished anything or have you just been hiding out down in the engine room again?"
"I'm sorry Divatox, I was making progress but the overnight ratings arrived," he explained. Noticing her confused and irritated look, he elaborated: "for the races on Velocistar."
"Oh?" she responded. As Queen of the Dianthe she enjoyed telling her underlings how she was responsible for the success of all her clan's little ventures. But she rarely had the opportunity to involve herself directly. "How did we do?"
Porto looked nervous, hoping that he could disguise the bad new without her noticing until he had gone. "Last night saw the highest ratings of all time," he reported. "Our agents managed to draw in almost five times their previous takings and interest in our operations have never been higher."
"Excellent news Porto," Divatox smiled. "With a result like that even my mother should be pleased."
"Yes," Porto agreed. "The only downside is that Visceron escaped and was last seen heading towards Earth."
"WHAT?!" she screamed. "Why didn't you tell me that first you dunderhead. We need to stop that little sneak before he has a chance to talk to Zordon."
"We'll need to find some new drivers too," Porto reminded her, "Visceron managed to injure most of them while escaping."
"When I get my hands on that spy I'm gonna..." she trailed off as an idea hit her. "Porto, start advertising the next race: a Death Strike Gauntlet with all new competitors. Then order our scouts to go out there and find me some new racers. If Visceron turns up here we'll just deal with him and Zordon's little pests."
"At once," Porto agreed.
"And Porto," she called, "I haven't forgotten about that task I set you. I want it done, quickly!"
Porto paled and then hurried off, leaving Divatox to smile dreamily as she envisioned herself ruling over the other villains as the one who finally put the Power Rangers in their place.