Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owner. This is a piece of fanfiction and no profit has been made or sought by its production.
Timeline Note: Jamie, Katarina, Christina and Lillian discovered their rings in Ties that Bind parts 1 - 4. Jamie's discovery of the ring's power takes place before Emperors New Rage. Lillian, Christina and Katarina's awakenings take place after The More Things Change.
2 October 1997
It was a time of celebration. Four new heroes had joined the fight against evil and the Power Rangers were stronger than ever. Through sheer luck the arrival of Nate Oliver had led to new possibilities. And it had all started in space.
A few days after the arrival of Nate Oliver, 2300 Hrs
They were making love in the back of his stretched limousine and she was reaching her peak, dragging her fingers down the length of his bed, leaving a thin trail of marks in their wake. She was wonderful, the best hooker that he had ever found while curb crawling through the streets of Chicago. Long blond hair and legs that seemed to go on for miles, her soft Australian accent had been the thing that had encouraged her to pay her the extra; he usually got his jollies for less than ten dollars.
"Oh baby, you're the best," he panted.
She remained silent, her face fixed in an expression that showed that while she seemed to be enjoying herself, it was hardly the best experience of her life.
"Tell me you want it," he encouraged, his ego demanding some sort of response.
"Oh I want it," she told him, running her hand over his face. "I want everything you have big boy."
When had the glove appeared on her hand, he was certain it had not been there before. He could feel the cold metal studs as she drew them over his shoulder.
"I'll take it all," she told him as his body reach the height of ecstasy.
He grunted in satisfaction. She was the best prostitute he had ever had in his car. She was worth every cent he had paid for her services. She was -- refusing to let go as she pulled his head into her chest.
"Relax honey," she whispered, "this won't take any longer than you did."
She purred as he started to scream. She enjoyed the sex, but it was the moment she got to take everything she wanted, that she lived for. As she drained his body's energy she started to fell more alive, it was a rush that would last for a few days before she would need to find a new victim. It was an annoyance, but the price of her continued survival.
"Say my name, Boy!" She told him, pulling back on his hair so she could look into his terrified eyes.
"Kaat!" he croaked with his dying breath.
"And don't you forget it," she told him as she tossed his limp body away, propelling it through the car door and into the street before picking herself up off the seat, reclaiming her clothes and shimmering away in a haze of pink.
The winnebago of Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa landed in front of the Lunar Palace, allowing its occupants to disembark. At Rita's direction, the Putty Patrollers started to shift their masters' belongings back into their home. The spiritual form of Lord Zedd looked on as his wife grew increasingly frustrated with Goldar and Rito's attempts to help.
"Shall I prepare a troop to attack the planet?" Goldar asked.
"No you numbskull!" Zedd screamed. "We've only just arrived. First we need to see the strength of the Rangers and their allies. We also need to know who our competition is. Once that is done, we can plot our next move."
Goldar grumbled and looked to Rita for confirmation. Without a body, Lord Zedd was not a threat to his underlings. And in Goldar's case, that meant that he would only obey if Rita agreed.
"Perhaps you two should practice your combat manoeuvres," Finster recommended, eager to get them out of his way so he could get his workshop set up.
Soon Goldar and Rito were busy as they practiced with their swords. They had unpacked some target drones which the two hench-mutants could imagine were Rangers.
Rita nodded in satisfaction and began setting up her Repulsascope so that she could scan the planet below. ~Now let's see what we can see,~ she thought evilly. Her eyes widened in disbelief as she caught sight of something unexpected heading towards the Earth. "What is that?"
Although the cause of Rita's outburst had come from space, she would soon discover that it had originated from the Earth. Some time before their arrival, around the time that Zedd had lost his body, several beams of energy had shot into the heavens, where they had looped around the solar system before being drawn back to the planet.
As Rita watched, the beam of energy continued on its strange course, circling the Earth like a comet many times. It's orbit decayed as it headed back down to the planet.
As the beam circled, the almost sentient energy searched, seeking the one that could contain it safely. It had already found the right person, now it was just a case of finding her again.
She had red hair, was petite and when she had touched the ring, the same day she had claimed the blade that was a part of her alien heritage, the energy bolt had been unleashed. She resonated on the same frequency as the energy she had unconsciously expelled, the same energy that had bound her to her sword.
The energy bolt was in reality a concentrated release of energy from the Zeo Crystal. Not the Zeo Crystal that currently provided the power wielded by the Zeo Rangers of Earth. This power came from a different Zeo Crystal, one which had been badly damaged in its native universe and had been brought to its new home by Nate Oliver.
When Nate had fought the being that had ruined his world, he had been forced to design and build a new method of transformation. A mixture of power sources and technologies taken from former Power Rangers had been combined with some other technologies in ways their creators would never have approved; some of technologies and energies he had tapped did not even exist in his new world.
And when he had gained control of his powers, he had unwittingly caused the remainder of the hybrid energies to break down and separate as they dispersed into the individual powers and he had forged a new connection to the Morphin Grid by sheer willpower. Without the Morphin energies to bind them the laws of natural had removed the unused power from his presence. Unfortunately despite being alien to his new world, those energies were still bound by the rules of science and could not be destroyed nor contained without an outside influence.
The power of the Zeo Crystal he had used was one such example. When building the Power Box, Nate had compacted the damaged crystal to save space. It had remained compacted until the Power Box had been disassembled. At that point the Zeo Crystal had been teleported into deep space by the Power Box's safety devices where it had collided with an asteroid field and shattered. Four fragments had been deflected back into space by the impact and toward the Earth while the rest had been pulled toward another planet. Crossing over had altered the frequency of the crystal fragments so that they would not interfere with their native counterparts. And now the first of those fragments was trying to find its rightful avatar.
The day that Jamie Oliver had purchased her sword, she had also received a small ring. Until now that ring had remained untouched and ignored, the power that had resided within had been expelled when she had touched it. As the energy descended to the planet though the ring started to react, drawing it wearer's attention for the first time.
The spectacle was not lost on Rita Repulsa. She knew what Zeo energy looked like having witnessed its power in use. While she didn't understand its exact nature, its presence was enough incentive for her to take notice. It was just a matter of following the energy trail until she saw it land on the far side of the planet and she adjusted her Repulsascope to get a better view.
After much research she was able to see where it was heading. She growled, angered that it had something to do with the wretched girl who had ruined her marriage. Figuring she had no time to waste she took action.
"GOLDAR! RITO GET IN HERE!" Rita bellowed.
Goldar came in, grateful the fighting session with Rito was over. Rito was no challenge to him anymore and he needed a more worthy adversary at the moment, or a more deserving task to focus his attention on. He hoped Rita could provide one or the other.
"Yes, my queen?" Goldar detested referring to Rita by that title. But since she was the most powerful person in the palace, she had to be given the respect due to her title as Empress of Evil if nothing else. Personally Goldar thought Rita deserved no respect, but until she was deposed in some manner, Goldar could not act on what he felt.
"What's up sis? The ceiling?" Rito asked.
"NO YOU NUMBSKULL!" Rita shrieked before going over to the two mutants to give them their instructions. "Now listen and listen good. Something just fell to Earth, something powerful. I want you both to get down there and get it!"
"But sis. Won't the big giant head try to get it first?" Rito asked.
"WHICH IS WHY I'M TELLING YOU TO GO NOW!" Rita shrieked. "Both of you go and don't come back without that power, or at least the brat who has who holds it, if you can't break the bond."
"Uhhhh. Sure thing sis. Don't forget to say hi to Ed for me," Rito said before teleporting out.
Goldar rolled his eyes back and he teleported out too.
Rita however got the last word. "HIS NAME IS ZEDD! ZEDD!"
Then she called in Finster to help adjust the scope so she could better see what was going on.
"Do not worry my queen," Finster said as he tightened the adjuster.
"Just hurry all right? We may be able to have a weapon in our possession that will spell the end of those Power Rangers."
Finster nodded and continued to work as fast as he could to get the Repulsascope cleared again.
It was a warm day and Jamie Zedden had decided to find a quiet place to practice. Since she had come into possession of the Sword of Lightning, her father had been training her to use the blade to its full potential. It was not just a matter of swordsmanship, with the sword's unique properties and its ability to control lightning, her father had taught her that she was controlling multiple forms of attack.
Today she was on her own, using the trees as her opponents, learning to move in the undergrowth without losing her balance.
The arrival of a flash of gold fire broke the girl's concentration and her eyes widened as moments later the tree she had been using for practice was reduced to ashes.
"Goldar, your timing really sucks!" she grumbled as she turned to face the two villains.
Goldar didn't care what Jamie thought. Rita had given him a task and he was determined to complete it. "You have something Rita wants, girl. Turn it over and we'll leave you unharmed."
Jamie snorted. Jason and Tommy had told her enough about Goldar to know that the armoured warrior would not turn down a chance to even the score from their previous encounter. And with Rito there she was certain that the two warriors would attack her on principle.
"Since when have you hidden behind threats?" Jamie asked, recalling the last encounter she had had with Goldar.
"I don't threaten. I promise!" Goldar said as he gestured to the Putties that had he ordered to circle around her. At his command, they attacked.
"Bring it on!"
"You are making a mistake girl!" Goldar growled as he watched her tear into his soldiers. This was not the same girl he had faced before. Her movements were sharper, her blows more precise. He was starting to realise that Jamie Zedden had grown into her Zarakin heritage. And as she cleaved two Putties in half, he knew that she would provide him with a challenge.
He was vaguely aware that Rito vanished, only to return with a flock of Tenga Warriors. Jamie however seemed unconcerned when the feathered soldiers joined the battle. A bolt of lightning reduced their most of their number to a pile of feathers.
"So, how about a rematch monkey boy?" she asked, slicing a Tenga through the midsection.
"Yes!" Goldar growled, and the battle was on.
For a time it seemed that they were fighting the same battle they had fought before. Goldar started with a ringing down slice, but Jamie blocked him with ease, landing a kick for good measure. It was soon obvious that Jamie had improved and that her sword had become a part of her technique. Cuts, parries, thrusts, and slices formed a glittering web of steel as Goldar was forced to exert himself.
Jamie and her father had spent time discussing her previous battle with Goldar. Larry had taught her everything he knew about the alien's technique to help her understand the ways in which magic, the human body and a weapon could be used together. So when Goldar lost his patience and fired a large golden energy beam at her, she was ready. She dodged the blast and returned one of her own, which hit directly in his chest, knocking him back at least two yards.
"You next bone head?" Jamie asked looking directly at Rito. At some point she had started to glow purple.
The ever present grin on Rito's face seemed to grow larger. An amazing feat considering he had no skin. He drew his own sword and charged. Just like Goldar it appeared that Rito had underestimated her. Although it was perfectly possible that Rito was too scatterbrained to take her seriously.
Eventually though, around the third lightning bolt threatened to calcify his body, Rito had enough. "Hey, time to make like Napoleon and Bone Apart!"
Goldar quickly followed leaving a victorious and slightly confused Jamie studying her hands.
"Well that was interesting," Jamie said as she noticed the glow had spread to her sword. "Maybe I should talk to Zordon about this."
"And then Goldar left and I was stuck with this -- glow," Jamie concluded.
By the time she had arrived in the Power Chamber, Zordon had been aware of the recent turn of events, even though he had not witnessed the battle personally. Confronted with the strange circumstances of her arrival, he had chosen to contact a few more people to hear the tale before she could start her explanation.
Larry Zedden had been his first call. Zordon knew better than to keep a concerned parent from their child, especially when that parent had once served as Lord Zedd's body. Jason and Tommy as the leaders of the Rangers had been called, along with Billy and Adam.
"Alpha, conduct a scan of Jamie's body," Zordon instructed.
At first he too had thought that Jamie was glowing. However after a few minutes he had realised that the glow was not coming from her, but rather her pocket.
"Ow!" she complained suddenly as the scanner passed over the source of the glow. "That's the second time that's happened."
"Just before Goldar and Rito showed up, I felt something burning in my pocket. Hey, that's right! I remember now." She reached in and pulled out a small ring with a purple stone. "I got this the day I brought the sword, but never thought anymore about it. Then today I found it in my drawer and decided to take it with me. And just before Goldar appeared, it started burning."
Alpha turned the scanner to a higher setting and ran it across the ring, hoping that he could at least solve one mystery. On the Viewing Screen an image appeared, first of the ring and then of a large crystal shard. A series of numbers followed as the scanner recorded the frequency and strength of the energy waves emitted by the stone in the centre of the ring.
Billy frowned, knowing that the numbers were familiar to him. He had seen a similar set of numbers before, and if the nagging feeling in the back of his mind was anything to go by, it was recent.
"Zordon, that's... impossible," Billy whispered.
The young genius was very familiar with the energy waves that Alpha was detecting. He had worked for months to find a way to to fully integrate the Zeo Crystal into the Power Chamber's systems.
"The Zeo Crystal," Zordon confirmed.
The reaction from the other occupants ranged from shock to outright denial.
"How can there be another Zeo power?" Billy asked, he had researched the possibility at length only to conclude that it was impossible. "We found all the components of the Zeo powers: the Zeo Crystal, the Super Zeo Gems and the Golden Power Staff. There was nothing left to find."
"And yet this is a part of the Zeo Crystal," Zordon told him as Alpha made a few adjustments before scanning the ring again. This time the fragment was shown in its true, uncompressed form. With a few more adjustments, the image of the Zeo Crystal they were familiar with appeared behind the fragment. "This fragment would fit... here." Sure enough when turned in the correct way, the piece of crystal merged with the Zeo Crystal.
"A second Zeo Crystal," Billy realised. "It's been divided differently and refracts energy waves in a different pattern, hence the colour."
"Indeed Billy," Zordon said. "I believe that this Zeo Crystal is one of the artefacts that Nate carried with him to this universe. When he altered his powers to become the Brachio Ranger, he expelled the remaining components, including the Zeo Crystal from his reality. It would appear that doing so has damaged the structure. Alpha, conduct a sacan for similar energy patterns."
On the screen the Zeo Crystal broke into four parts.
"So somehow Nate's Zeo Crystal broke into four pieces and ended up in a ring?" Tommy asked. "How?"
"Maybe some of the components in the Power Box melted to form rings. Or the fragments have enough raw power to take on a useable form." As he pondered the possibilities, Billy realised there was just as much chance the fragments had attracted raw materials as they passed through space and had used the heat of re-entry the forge the rings.."
"And then somehow one of those rings ended up with the sword," Jamie guessed. "So why has it only started to glow now?"
"Safety." That was the first time Larry Zedden had spoken since hearing the story. "When the Rangers started to use the Zeo Crystal, they built machinery to help them control it. This crystal didn't have the benefit of the machinery, it had to be drawn on directly and needed time for your body to adjust."
The White Master nodded. "Too much power in one go would have been fatal, even with your ability to siphon energy. So it's been waiting for your body to reach a point where you can survive... it's been merging with you."
"And now it's decided that I've had enough time to adjusted and decided to power itself up?"
"Indeed. The ring is now fully charged and ready for use. When called upon it will infuse your body with the power of Zeo."
"In the guise of a Purple Ranger," Jamie guessed.
Jason placed his hand on her shoulder and gave her a small smile. "You don't need to morph Jamie. Nobody will force you to be a Ranger."
"Jason is correct," Zordon agreed. "The Zeo power has merged with your natural energy and cannot be removed without destroying you. However these powers are only a tool that you need never use." He didn't need to mention there was a distinct possibility that if she did transform Jamie would become something else instead of a Ranger. He had noticed that many of the components within the Power Box had been constructed using designs from Edenoi.
"How about it Jamie, will you join us?" Tommy asked. "We can help you should Rita make another play for the crystal."
"I don't think it really matters at this time," the Billy said. He had been studying the energy readings. "It doesn't look like the powers are ready to activate yet. They're still adjusting to Jamie's body."
"When the time comes you will be able to decide how you use your powers," Zordon decreed. "In the meantime you are still a valued ally to the Rangers and can call upon the others in times of trouble."
The Rangers looked at Alpha, wondering what had caused the sudden exclamation.
"Zordon, I've detected the energy from the other three fragments of the Zeo Crystal."
That caught their attention. While Zordon had mentioned that the second Zeo Crystal had broken into four parts, they had been distracted by Jamie's situation.
"Alpha, monitor those energy waves and try to locate the other fragments," Zordon instructed. Of course Alpha was already in the process of doing so.
"We need to search the other artefacts Nate brought with him as well," Billy said.
That was true, while the Power Box had drained the components used to make it, they still had the potential to be dangerous. More dangerous because if Jamie was an indication then the objects were capable of bonding directly with humans, making the possibility that they would fall into the wrong hands all the more real.
A week earlier
Another morning, the start of another day. And as usual for London, it was pouring with rain. Katarina Petronov was late for class, mainly because the bus had failed to turn up. An hour later three buses had come along and she had finally been able to make her way to the academy.
The first session had ended by the time she arrived, and after an apology to her teacher and an assurance that it would not happen again even if she had to walk there, she had decided to take a walk with her closest friend Christina Collins, enjoying the brief dry spell.
Katarina and Christina had known each other for a long time. They had attended the same dance school in Angel Grove and during monster attacks, they had frequently taken cover in the same monster shelter.
"I still don't know how you do it Katya," Christina sighed shaking her head. They had held this conversation many times and her friend had yet to give her a straight answer. "You keep the same schedule as you did back home, you manage to go out to the dance clubs and you still have time to work a small job."
Katarina laughed, her violet eyes twinkling. "Well, for one thing, you still spend more time in the practice room than any three students I know. You need to relax, enjoy life a bit. We're in England, Chris, enjoy it."
"But what about the rest of it? The kickboxing and dancing and all that?" Christina asked still amazed by Katarina's interests and where she gets the energy for them.
"I told you, kickboxing doesn't take up much more time than dancing," Katarina answered. "I admit I'm on the go a lot, but it's really a lot of fun."
"Hmmm, maybe," Christina said deep in thought. "But I don't want to run myself ragged trying to keep everything straight."
"You didn't have any problem in Angel Grove. I'm not asking you to go out of your way to meet new people, but you should take the time to see what London has to offer. It's not all work, work, work, you know. Besides, if you cut back on the practicing a little you'd still be top of the class."
"I suppose," Christina said.
"Yeah, that's the spirit," Katarina said patting her friend on the back.
Both girls were suddenly aware that they had strayed further than they had originally intended. There was a strange hum coming from nearby, which made them want to head back as quickly as possible.
"Katya, did you hear that? What is that sound?" Christina asked.
Before Katarina could answer she felt something burning in her pocket. She reached inside and pulled out a small ring with a silver stone. She looked over and saw that Christina had found a similar ring in her pocket, albeit one with a white stone. They looked at each other, surprised when they started to glow.
As the memories started to surface of how they had discovered the rings months earlier just before a confrontation with Finster, a portal opened, depositing a squad of Cogs.
The alarms had sounded, lighting the instruments on half a dozen of the computer consoles. Alpha had shuffled to find the source of the alert, but had first needed to decipher which of the scans had recorded a find.
"Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi! The system is overloaded Zordon, the computer has tracked down two fragments of the second Zeo Crystal to the same location. In London!"
"Narrow the search pattern and transfer the results to the Viewing Screen."
It had taken weeks of searching to lock onto the energy signatures. All the while as the Rangers fought Lord Zedd and then the Turbo powers changed hands, the search had continued. Obviously the energy of the first fragment had travelled faster than the remaining parts. Still with two more fragments recharged, the need to recover the remaining rings was greater than ever.
While Zordon summoned a few of the Rangers to help, Alpha had been narrowing the search to pinpoint the fragments. With Zordon's surveillance network damaged my Minion's attacks many moths before, it was still necessary to reposition the satellites to guarantee results.
"That's Christina!" Billy realised when the image appeared on the screen.
"And Katarina," Tommy added, recognising Rocky's 'sometimes' girlfriend.
"They must have found the rings before they left Angel Grove," Adam commented.
"Looks like we're not the only ones to notice," Jason warned, noticing the Cog Portal.
"Alpha, contact the other Zeo Rangers immediately."
Even though the Turbo Rangers were now the protectors of Earth, Zordon felt that the more experienced team would be needed for this mission. In Angel Grove he could retrieve the Turbo Rangers if they were in trouble. However in England there was no such guarantee.
"Quickly, grab those humans before the Rangers spot us!", Klank ordered.
Four of his Cogs moved to obey. They marched over to where the girls were standing and grabbed them by the arms.
"What do you think you're doing?" Christina asked.
"King Mondo has decided that the two of you will provide the power for his new super weapon," Klank told them.
"I don't think they're going to like that." Klank turned, recognising the voice of Red Zeo. The other Zeo Rangers had their weapons drawn, a sign that this was one fight they were not taking lightly. "So why don't you let them go and get back to the Moon?"
"This does not concern you, Ranger," Klank bellowed.
"Oh I think it does concern us," Yellow Zeo replied, levelling her Zeo Pistol. "If you think we're going to let you kidnap somebody you have another thing coming."
"Kidnap? I say this world and its inhabitants are the property of King Mondo. And if he wants them, he'll get them. Cogs ATTACK!"
The Cogs advanced on Rangers, who responded by throwing themselves into battle. The Cogs clearly hoped to win through their superior numbers, a strategy that had failed time and time again. In a very short time the Rangers had decimated the Cogs, their Zeo Pistols making short work of the machines.
Klank was not about to lose his prize and seized the two females. "That's enough Rangers. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. Either way they're coming with me."
"I'm not going anywhere with you," Katarina warned. She elbowed the machine, hard. So hard that she had expected her elbow to break from the impact. Instead there was a flash of silver and Klank was thrown sever feet away.
"The powers are starting to manifest," Green Zeo realised.
When Jamie had been confronted by Goldar, her powers were still adjusting to her body. It seemed Christina and Katarina had held their powers the same length of time and were at the point where they could channel some of the power through their limbs.
"Do not presume to strike me young one," Klank said, drawing out his broadsword. "I will not stand for it."
As the robotic retainer made to strike the insolent human, he found his path blocked by the other female. Together the two friends attacked the machine, easily avoiding his increasingly clumsy blows. The fight lasted for a while until Klank got impatient and let his anger cloud his judgement. His strikes soon became more aggressive as he tried to end the impromptu duel.
"This isn't over humans," he warned before teleporting away, leaving a very confused pair of girls looking to the Power Rangers for answers.
"If you'd like to come with us, we can help you," Pink Zeo told them.
"You told us they wouldn't come after us again," Christina pointed out.
"We didn't know about the rings at the time," Green Zeo explained. "Come with us, we have somebody who can tell you what this is all about."
"Please Katya?" Blue Zeo asked, catching the girl's attention.
Katarina remembered back to her time at Angel Grove and the discussions that had taken place about the identity of the Power Rangers. She remembered one of the suggestions and the laughter that had followed. But she also knew that voice, and if her suspicions were right then the joke was on all those people who had laughed.
Finally, they both agreed.
Christina held the white gemmed ring in her hand. She could feel the hum of it's power, and just couldn't believe that that power had bonded with her.
"Kind of overwhelming isn't it?"
Christina smiled as Billy joined her. While they had never gotten together romantically, what with Billy and Trini dating, they had become good friends.
"Being chosen, or holding the power for the first time?" she asked him.
He smiled wryly. "Both. The first few days as you become used to the energy flowing through your body is amazing. You grow used to it eventually, but for a short time it's the best feeling in the world. Second best," he amended with a slightly blush.
Fortunately Christina did not push that issue.
It had been a shock when Katarina and Christina had arrived in the Power Chamber. Their surprise had doubled as Zordon had explained about their new powers and what it meant for them. Then had come the introduction of the Power Rangers and the realisation that some of their friends had been putting their lives on the line for years.
After all that when Zordon had asked if they wished to become a part of their alliance, both girls had agreed.
"So this is why you kept leaving?" Katarina asked.
Rocky nodded. "I wanted to tell you, but the rules..."
"I understand," she smiled. "And now I guess I have to start sneaking out too."
Rocky laughed and started to tell her about some of the worst times Zordon had chosen to summon him. As he continued, Katarina felt herself relax. ~Perhaps this could work after all.~
The news over the last week had been filled with strange sightings. Across the world people had been attacked, somehow drained of their life and then left for others to find. But this was not some new terror that had decided to plague the Earth; they had been there a while. For the past few months they had operated on a rota-system, allowing each of their number to replenish their needs without drawing attention to their activities. Those attempts at secrecy had been undermined though when one of their numbers had declared that he would no longer follow the routine.
"Your stupidity might have led to our detection," argued the sandy haired man as a bead of perspiration ran down his chest, mixing with the blood oozing from one of his larger cuts and causing him to hiss when it stung.
A smell of copper permeated the air adding to the blood lust of both combatants as with a cry of rage, the larger fighter closed the distance between them. Their swords clashed again, the stronger fighter clearly the more experienced combatant as he landed another heavy slap to other swordsman's hip. Both men wanted to end the battle, wanted to go and heal their wounds, but the prize was too great for them to stand down. They understood that they were minor almost insignificant characters in the grand scheme of things, but to be the strongest, to become the leader of the mismatched group allowed the winner to hold a small sense of superiority over the others.
They were an odd group of warriors, brought together by their loathing for the Power Rangers of Earth. Each had a personal vendetta that could be best served by destroying the famed protectors of the planet and then installing their own vision of paradise. Once they had been pawns of Minion, crafted from the clay tapped from one of the Mistress Repugna's mines, which had been mixed with other chemicals and then refined to create a new form of Super Putty. The material had been shaped and given the appearance of the enemy, in this case the Power Rangers.
But Minion had not been satisfied for his creations to just look like the Power Rangers. He hadn't wanted evil replicas, he had desired truly evil Rangers. He had accomplished his goal easily enough; given the almost unlimited number of universes, it seemed obvious that there was at least one where the Power Rangers were evil. Minion had found the souls of those evil Rangers in the depths of the Dark Dimension and had infused them into his creations.
The resulting Rangers were truly evil, in some cases twisted creatures. While all had crossed the line that separated good and evil, some had only slipped a little from the path while others had walked so far into the darkness they could never return to the light.
Minion had called them the Nega Rangers and expected them to act as imitations of the Rangers they resembled. With his disappearance they had been weakened and for a long time they had barely existed. Then Nate Oliver had appeared and had unknowingly provided them with the means to survive. When the Brachio Ranger had gained control of his wayward powers, many of the objects he had been using to fuel his Power Box had been destroyed. Some however had survived, such as the Zeo Crystal from his native universe. One such object had been all that was needed for the Nega Rangers to live once more.
Unfortunately in spite of recent developments, they were still only an imitation of life. The material used to sculpt their bodies could not channel energy in the same way as real flesh and blood, and the power that had restored them had only lasted for a short time. Without a suitable source of magical energy they would erode. Faced with the option of disintegrating or stealing the life energy they needed to survive, they selfishly chose the latter.
They had spread around the world, using their minor shape-shifting talents to fit in, sometimes replacing ordinary humans to secure themselves a place. They had agreed to keep a low profile until they had found a way to stop the deterioration of their bodies. Having been discovered though they had gathered at the place where the villain Minion had once staged his operations.
Some in-fighting was bound to occur in any group, but it seemed that most of the Nega Rangers were incapable of getting along. It was mostly Minion's fault since the villain had added to the paranoia in each of the Nega Rangers to prevent them from uniting against him. Without a strong leader to guide them, they had been reduced to scavenging for the magical energy in an attempt to create new powers and stop the inevitable decline of their new bodies, which was why it was so important to be the strongest, to dominate the others and have the choice picks of whatever they could find. As with all animals the strongest got to feed first, to take the best portions of the meal before allowing the others to share. To be in charge meant survival, something that drove both men as they continued to battle.
"I don't like sneaking around, okay?" came the angry reply. "Besides, who are you to tell me what to do? Wimp!" the stronger gladiator growled, his blade swinging through the air, its weight forcing his arms downward. "Pathetic," he snorted, punching the other man's face and then sweeping the legs from under him.
"No," the first man returned, nodding to someone outside of the big man's range. "Just proving that brains are always better than brawn."
A click could be heard and the larger warrior turned just in time to see a yellow-clad female warrior activate the electronic stun gun. He dropped his sword as the current streamed through his body, causing his muscles to contract and relax uncontrollably. Had he had his powers he might have overcome the shock, but since he was as drained as the rest of the little island's occupants, he didn't have a chance. He recovered quickly and found himself looking up at the points of two swords wielded by his opponent.
"Do you yield?" came the question.
Reluctantly he nodded, promising himself that sooner or later he would pay the little geek back.
"Good, because we have work to do." The bespectacled man who could have passed for a close rather sickly relative of Billy Cranston said. "The Rangers remain ignorant of our existence despite your best attempts to announce our presence to the world." For a second he stumbled before he gathered his strength sufficiently to hold himself together.
Until now the Nega Rangers had decided to lay low while they searched for a way to recreate the powers their groups had once possessed. That had led to the discovery that they could leach the life force from humans and twist it to power their armour. Much as Tommy had constantly needed to recharge his powers from another source when Rita had severed his link to the Morphin Grid, so they needed to draw power from whatever they could find. Unfortunately even the most potent human could only power them for a few minutes.
"I'll get you for this you pencil-necked geek."
"Despite your attempts to divert our attention from the obvious, it remains clear that our bodies are starting to decay. Even magically enhanced materials can only last so long before starting to break down. It's only the energy we hold that allows us to endure, and YOU, just forced me to expend more than I wanted to. If you're not careful, we will be needing somebody to take your place.
For all your posturing, we are nothing without Minion to guide us, mere shadows compared to those that have come before, and shadows have no place inhabiting living bodies. You fight me over petty leadership? Fine, you can be leader, the moment that you think of a way to keep us alive. Well?"
"Who are you to around accusations?" the recently defeated combatant who appeared similar to Jason Lee Scott demanded. "You're not Minion, Biilly. You just look like him, as he looked before he... changed."
"Enough! Why do you boys insist on fighting when you can barely stop yourself from falling apart?" a voice asked. It seemed that Kaat had returned from her latest fling with some millionaire. "By the way, I got them."
She opened a box to reveal a dozen scrolls.
Jaason snorted derisively. "That's it? You only got a box of paper?"
"Just remember who has the power around here, big boy." Kaat remarked. Her recent recharge was evident as she knocked the arrogant bully away. "These scrolls are the result of years of research by one of Earths most renowned explorers. They detail the myths, legends and known locations of some of the most powerful artefacts dumped on this world. Imagine what we could do with that power."
Al read through one of the scrolls critically. "Though I am certain these objects possess many desirable qualities, if it had been a matter of finding suitable transformation devices, we would have acquired them by now."
It was true. The Nega Rangers had morphers, but their links to the Power had been through Minion and had been severed when he was destroyed, although for some reason they had turned to dust yet. Even if the rings allowed such transformations to take place, without a stable link they were no more use than the magical trinkets they had been stealing from museums to sustain themselves.
Hearing that she had wasted the old man for nothing, Kaat sulked. It looked as if they would need to continue the search elsewhere.
"On the other hand," he said suddenly, as his keen mind allowed him to translate some of the writings on scrolls, "this information might hold the answer to all our problems..."
Five miles from Angel Grove,
Less than seven hours ago
There were good times and bad times for new powers to manifest themselves. The middle of a drive down the highway was not a good time in Lillian O'Neil's opinion. Unlike Christina, Jamie and Katarina, she had tied the ring she had discovered on the bluff that marked the outskirts of Angel Grove, on a piece of string around her neck. So when the building powers had activated in response to the other fragments, the sudden burning in her chest had caused her to almost lose control.
She shook her head as she searched for the source of the discomfort and pulled out the ring. Her eyes narrowed, wondering why it had suddenly grown so hot. As a Chemistry student she knew about reactive metals, but she was certain that while odd, the ring was not dangerous.
Somewhere near Earth
"Another contact, Captain," Porto noted.
Since those pesky Rangers had smashed her fleet, the Pirate Queen Divatox had been unable to use the mass invasion she had originally planned. Instead she had decided to increase the bounty she had placed for the destruction of the Rangers until a better plan presented itself.
And since she was a pirate, at least a part of Divatox's plan called for the discovery of some hidden treasure. Porto had been monitoring the planet for unusual energy signatures, and it appeared that he had finally found something worthwhile.
"A human with something that holds the power of the Zeo Crystal," she mused. "Perfect! Elgar, Rygog, get me that girl!"
The Power Chamber
"It's the final fragment," Rocky exclaimed as a small alarm sounded.
Even before Alpha had a chance to make adjustments, the scanners had zeroed in on the energy spike.
"Lil?" Tommy asked.
"It makes sense," Billy told him. "We met Jamie, Christina, Katarina all around the same time. She was in Angel Grove at the time so there was every chance she'd find the final fragment."
On the monitor they noticed the large number of motorbikes heading in her direction.
"Alpha summon Fred and the others," Zordon instructed. While the Turbo Rangers had not been involved with the search for the fragments of the second Zeo Crystal, they were responsible for keeping Divatox at bay. Indeed it was a job they had excelled at.
"Not good," Lillian grumbled as she saw the motorbikes approaching and took note of their strange appearance.
She climbed back onto her bike, ignoring the black glow from her ring, which was slowly growing to cover Lillian and her bike too. No sooner had she climbed onto it than it changed, developing some sort of black armour around the handlebars. "Very cool," she chuckled to herself. No doubt it had weapons on it, too. "Let's roll."
Instinct seemed to take over as Lillian twisted the throttle. The bike roared to life as she was thrown into battle against the alien fish. At some point five more warriors joined the fight, driving their own strange vehicles, but Lillian was too caught up in her own battle to realise.
But as absorbed in the fight as she had become, she could not ignore the feeling of belonging that she felt when three new arrivals appeared. As she spared them a glance, Lillian realised that she knew all of them.
Jamie was like a pit bull as she threw herself into combat. Her knee connected with one foot-soldier's groin and was followed by a kick to the head. The Piranhatron's head bounced off her knee and he collapsed to the ground. Jamie ducked just in time to avoid two more throwaways when they attacked. A quick elbow and a fourth joined them.
Christina wasn't much of a fighter, but she was able to the techniques Jamie and Katarina had shown her to triumph. Meanwhile Katarina was making full use of her kickboxing background to take down one opponent after another.
And when the four girls met, ready to handle any stray warriors that the Turbo Rangers had not put down, they could feel the moment when their powers unlocked and they were transformed.
"Zeo Black!" Lillian called. "Power of the Shadows!"
Her body was surrounded by ribbons of shadow that merged together to form a dark cocoon. When the shell opened the metamorphosis was completed and in the place of Lillian O'Neil was a black warrior. Ranger was not quite right although as she thought about it the uniform changed to a more familiar appearance. ~Something to look into,~ she thought. Matte and gloss black added a level of depth to the costume and made her look even more imposing. The Helmet showed no obvious visor or symbol of power. At the centre of her chest was a small black crystal representing her link to the second Zeo Crystal. She held out her hand and a staff appeared.
"Zeo Purple!" Jamie called. "Power of the Blade!"
The Sword of Lightning appeared in Jamie's hand and she gripped it in both hands. Lightning struck the tip of the sword and sent waves of energy flowing up her arms. When the energy reached her feet she exploded into a burst of purple light. Her opponents were forced to shield their eyes as she stepped from the column of light ready for action.
Zeo Purple wore a costume very similar to Zeo Black's. Except that hers was purple in colour. The crystal in her chest was also mounted in the pummel of her sword. Unlike Lillian her uniform had not shown signs of an alternate form. Zordon would later explain that the the four of them together could alter their uniforms as they desired. He didn't mention that Lillian's first form had confirmed his suspicions of the contribution Edenoi technology had played in the construction of the Power Box.
"Zeo Silver!" Katarina called. "Power of the Flame!"
She disappeared as a ball of fire struck the place where she had previously been. It could have been a natural phenomenon, but none of the Rangers could remember a natural fire burning silver. The flames dimmed as the molten silver became the armour of Katarina Petronov, Silver Zeo Ranger. Katarina's costume was simply a silver version of Lillian and Jamie's.
"Zeo White!" Christina called. "Power of the Mind!"
Without ceremony she was transformed into the white version of Lillian's armour. There were no fancy effects during her transformation. She simply morphed.
"Now," Purple Zeo asked as she regarded the foot-soldiers, "who wants to play?"
The Piranhatrons clearly decided that they did not want to fight, as they promptly teleported away.
Divatox, Rita, Mondo and Zedd were not happy. They had sought to gain an advantage from the appearance of the second Zeo Crystal and had failed. Even as he watched the four villains ranting he couldn't help but smirk at their incompetence. His plans were superior and did not rely on the acquisition of the Zeo Crystal. All they required was the right timing and an opportunity to strike.
As he watched the camera feed from the Power Chamber, showing the four rings transform into their true form as the new Zeo Rangers were formally welcomed into the Power Ranger family. Nate Oliver had provided him and his associates with the opportunity to strike. And there was no time like the present.
2 October 1997
"So the four parts of the second Zeo Crystal have been found," Tommy said, finishing the story.
"Correct Tommy. Never before has a planet had so many protectors. And while Jamie, Lillian, Katarina and Christina will not be active Rangers, their willingness to help in times of need will prove a great asset."
So everything had ended well. The Turbo Rangers were the protectors of Earth, but as backup they now had the benefit of almost twenty Rangers. Yes the planet was protected and unlock the situation a few months earlier, that protection was now spread around the planet, ready to help in times of need.
There would be challenges ahead, Zordon had foreseen that a time of great conflict would soon approach. But as long as there were those willing to take up the fight, the Power would protect them all be they Ranger or perhaps Rider.