Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to the respective copyright owner. No money is being made from this piece of writing.
World Peace Conference Switzerland
Trini had known this would not be a good day. She had felt it the moment she had woken up and as the morning had progressed she had felt worse. At present, she was sitting at the reception desk to the university's information center, the place where students and lecturers could go to study and communicate with their families. To teach the importance of communication, students were required to spend a week on the reception desk dealing with queries. This week it was Trini's turn.
Trini enjoyed her time at the Peace Conference even when it appeared that they were making little progress. She had always been a patient person and rarely fought unless she had a good reason. When she had left the Rangers, she had been lucky that her new role seemed to make her feel complete once more.
"Pardon moi, parle vous Anglais?" a voice asked, startling her back to the real world.
She hadn't heard the man approach even though he seemed quite large. A brown hood hid his face.
"Yes sir, how may I help?" she asked politely.
"I am looking for Trini Kwan. I need to deliver a message," he told her, his cold eyes never leaving the desk.
"You've found her," Trini smiled.
"I know." He pulled down his hood to reveal a head of black hair. He was handsome, but for some reason his smile put her on edge.
Trini's right hand moved to her left wrist instead of the panic button. For some reason the answer had made her think like a Ranger instead of a civilian. She backed away from the desk slightly, taking in the number of visitors who were staring at the man's back. What was going on?
"Your friends wouldn't make it in time," he told her. "They'll be on their way as we speak to ask for your help. I want you former Rangers to understand that if you interfere, your friends, your family and your lives will be forfeit."
"I -- I don't know what you mean," she insisted, now backing away from the desk.
"I think you do Yellow Ranger. No, not anymore -- you were replaced by Aisha weren't you? No matter, you can still serve my purposes." He stepped forward, swatting the desk aside as he advanced on her. "Stay!" he commanded as Trini turned to run. His hand closed around her neck, he was so close now she could smell his breath. "I think you will be the message," he commented before bursting into laughter.
A high pitch whine filled the room causing the occupants to cover their ears just moments before the area burst into flames. Trini didn't need to be told twice as she started running towards the dormitory where delegates from the United States were gathered, wishing as moved that she still wore her communicator instead of the watch she had been frantically tapping in hope of escape.
Zack groaned and rolled over, wishing his roommate would learn to keep his music down. It was just his luck that Jason's replacement enjoyed talk shows first thing in the morning. By the sound of it, this was one of those shows where the guests didn't stop yelling long enough to start the discussion. He had been up the previous night working on a presentation with some friends. His first class was in two hours and he wanted to get as much sleep as possible. He rolled over and covered his head with his pillow.
That was all he could stand, deciding to have a serious talk with his roommate later on, Zack managed to drag himself out of bed and into the bathroom. After a quick shower and shave he returned to his room and groaned. The argument was still going and seemed louder. He exited his bedroom again into the communal lounge and was surprised to find the room empty. He looked around, searching for the source of the disturbance and realised it was outside -- an argument in progress. He opened the door to the hallway slightly and peered through the gap.
Five men stood in the room talking to one of the hall wardens. Two of them were in the front and the other three were in the back. Zack didn't recognise them, but there was something suspicious about the way they spoke and moved. Their speech patterns were sluggish. He closed the door and acting on instinct, made his way to his bedside cabinet.
"... Last chance," a voice outside could be heard shouting.
Zack started to look frantically through his drawers, hoping that he could find his communicator. For some reason he knew he would feel safer once he was wearing the last remaining symbol of his days as a defender of his planet. A bright flash caused him to look at the door. There was a muffled bang and the smell of burning flesh, followed by a dull thud.
Zack looked up as the door handle rattled. He didn't know who it was, but instinct told him to run. He silently wished that there was some power in his communicator; Zordon had cut the link to the communicators worn by Jason, Trini, Zack and Kimberly when they had finished their time as active Rangers even though that function had been Billy's discovery and did not rely on the Command Center. For some reason though the White Master had not asked for the devices to be returned.
He heard a loud crack and look over to wear the door was starting to splinter. Another few kicks and the door had been removed from its hinges. The men he had spotted earlier entered the room, but two of them had let their disguises drop; they were obviously Putties. The three in the back he didn't recognize however. They wore black trench coats, black baggy jeans, and red or black T-shirts. One of them even had a hat worn backwards on his head. If Zack didn't know any better, he'd say that they were just normal humans. ~What would humans be doing with Putties?~ he wondered. ~Why would Putties be here without Goldar or Rito?~
Then a different thought came to him, an exciting realisation that for some reason he had been pushed back into the world of the Power Rangers. Until now, Rita and Zedd had left the former Rangers alone, unwilling to face the wrath of a group of former heroes. His thoughts turned to one Zordon of Eltare, Grid Master and his one time mentor. When Zack had left the Power Rangers along with Jason and Zack, he had been told that when they would return more rounded individuals who would bring more experience to the team. Jason had already returned, but Zack and Trini had chosen to remain within the Peace Conference during its extension period. There had been more work to finish before they could head back to Angel Grove.
But he had missed the old life and the thought that he would have a chance to fight evil one more time excited him. Still he wondered how the Putties had been able to appear without Zordon sending in a team of Rangers to fight them. The three strangers also caused him to wonder what was going on.
The man with the backwards hat moved the Putties out of the way so he could get in front. It was then Zack noticed the horns sticking out of the top of their heads, fiery tails sticking out of their jeans, and long eyebrows that stuck out and curved. Zack felt his stomach clench in fear. Were these Demons? No, they couldn't be. The closest things to demons that Zack had ever seen were Lord Zedd and Lokar, but neither resembled these creatures in physicality. ~If they're not Demons, what the heck are they?~
Whatever they were, Zack knew that they were powerful and that he was in trouble. He could feel a large amount of power coming from somewhere, like a huge wave of energy had suddenly forces its way into his body. It was the strangest sensation Zack had ever felt in his life, only the first time he had called on the Mastodon could compare.
The man looked at first Zack, then the unconscious security guard and finally the two very nervous Putties, an irritated expression on his face, "I thought your master said this was where we could find that Zack Taylor guy," the man growled. The Putties backed away, appearing very nervous in their comrade's presence. "If I wanted to kill a kid, I would've stopped by the adoption agency." The man pulled out a crimson red sword from his trench coat.
"N-n-now there's... no need for... violence g-g-guys," Zack stammered, hoping his voice sounded sufficiently fearful. A way out had been provided and he was going to take it. "I c-c-can go and g-g-get him for... you."
The man rolled his eyes, clearly annoyed by Zack's interruption, but something in his body language suggested he was considering Zack's offer. "Get him, bring him here and maybe I'll let you live. Cross me boy and I'll barbeque yo butt." He gestured his sword to the side of the room where there was a window. A ball of flame engulfed the frame, blowing the glass out over the campus.
Zack glared at the demon. ~Pathetic, You'd think he'd at least make a convincing attempt to scare me.~ Right now though, he needed to figure out a way out of there, before things got out of control.
"Go and get him," the man yelled.
The Putties made aggravated noises at the man's ignorance, but Zack was already through the door and heading down the corridor.
"He said that is Zack Taylor," said one of the man's companions, gesturing to a shaky looking Putty. At that Zack accelerated his escape, not so willing for a fight.
"What are you doing?" There was no doubt that growl belonged to Goldar. "Get him." Zack ran ever faster as he heard Goldar complain: "I'm beginning to think that these Packspawn hunters are highly overrated, especially their intelligence level." The 'Packspawn' as Goldar called it, narrowed his eyes into slits and swivelled his sword at the titan's neck.
"You know, you are really startin to work my nerves," The Packspawn cocked his head to the side. He looked as if he were seriously considering chopping off the henchman's head, and unless Goldar could shout out an apology in about a split second he was probably going to.
It was then that another Packspawn strode forward. This one was about a head shorter than the other Packspawn. He had no horns and his eyebrows were normal, his blondish brown hair was done in corn rolls and black sunglasses rested on his head. The only thing that identified him as a Packspawn was the long tail with the fiery tip at the end.
He stepped in between the titan and Packspawn, forcefully pushing the sword to the aggressor's side. "Let the monkey talk mess Boogah," he said casually, "we're here for Taylor; when we finish that then we can deal with this clown." The other' voice was disturbingly calm, the way he handled his taller companion and how he visibly threatened the titan in front of them was remarkable, especially since he had no weapons of his own.
Boogah nodded his head reluctantly, "A'ite Roma, whatever you say." He pretended to step in front of Goldar, making him flinch. "Yeah, betta watch yo self."
Roma shook his head and turned his attention to Zack, who by now had exited the corridor and was on his way to the lobby. He allowed himself a smile when he saw what was blocking the former Black Ranger's escape up ahead; Trini was looking very vulnerable, standing alone by the lift, catching her breath as her pursuer slowly caught up.
"Let's get him." Roma said coldly.
Trini had decided that discretion was the best course of action and had taken off in the direction of her dormitory. It was only later during discussions she would realise her main concern at the time had been Zack. She reached the elevator just as her pursuer came around the corner. The door closed before he could grab her.
After an eternity, the door opened and she burst into the corridor, heading towards her friend's room. She stopped abruptly when Zack burst through the other doors, running towards her with Putties in hot pursuit. She turned and almost screamed when her attacker emerged from the stairway. They were trapped.
Instead of the usual impending doom most people would feel given the situation, Trini and Zack felt something strange embrace them. It was not a sensation they remembered, but seemed familiar. It definitely wasn't fear, it was...more like a sense of readiness. Already knowing what to expect from the Putties, and Goldar should he choose to interfere, and waiting to study how these Packspawn worked. That was why it felt so weird, despite the time they had been away from active duty, they actually felt truly prepared. It was as if they actually knew what to expect from his enemies and yet they didn't know. It was confusing.
"Bring it on," Zack told them. While he was talking tough though his eyes were searching for a way out. "You don't scare me."
Roma didn't falter at Zack's statement. He raised an eyebrow, soon a small grin spread across his face. Zack didn't see anything funny about it though. "In that case, ya'll can take care of this." He stepped backward to let the man who had been chasing Trini, now revealed as a very babbly Putty, do the dirty work.
"Get them!" Goldar ordered and the three Putties attacked.
Trini narrowed her eyes as she felt anger cut though her, a pride she'd usually stamp out because she knew she couldn't defend it was damaged slightly. She'd run from a Putty, she'd never live that down. She'd show them all right. ~What am I talking about?~ she thought suddenly. ~I don't even want to show them!~
Boogah chuckled to himself and followed Roma to the back. "The boss really exaggerated on this one. Don't underestimate them my butt, that's just a pair of little kids, wastin our time by escortin these fools to beat on kids." Boogah kept on muttering until Roma knocked him upside the head with the back of his hand.
"Keep yo damn mouth shut and watch," Roma said quietly while folding his arms across his chest.
"Sorry boss, I'm shuttin up, won't hear a peep from me, quiet as mouse and stuff like that..." He trailed off as Roma gave him an irritated stare.
"What did I just say?" he said, raising his hand again.
Boogah responded by putting his fingers to his lips and pretending to zip them.
The Putties closed the gap between them and lunged at Zack, ignoring Trini. Zack did a quick back flip, silently thanking whoever had convinced him to take up gymnastics as a way of complementing his fighting technique. His feet and fists lashed out, taking down two of the Putties in rapid succession. The third one had already fallen to Trini deadly moves. Without questioning how they had just defeated their enemies so quickly without their Ranger enhanced sense, Zack and Trini did the first and most important thing that mattered at the moment.
"Run!" Zack shouted.
"Where?" was Trini's reply.
Zack stopped short. Trini was right; if they ran back to their rooms they would endanger the other delegates, but to get to the lift meant hoping they could get past Goldar and his companions. They had no choice but to stay and fight.
"What's this all about Goldar?" Zack asked.
"Lord Zedd has decreed you will not be allowed to aid your former comrades," Goldar growled. "So he sent us to make sure you were taken care off."
That said Goldar attacked. This time Zack jumped up high into the air to avoid the titan while Trini ducked low and delivered a very painful punch that had the gold monkey keeled over. Zack flipped and landed lightly next to his teammate. Pushing off from the rail to give him more momentum, Zack twisted in the air and stretched his leg out in a sideways kick. One of the Putties was starting to stand up and had enough sense to duck out of the way of Zack's careening foot, but the other two weren't so lucky and instead got the foot in their faces. Trini moved in on the surviving Putties, unleashing a few well directed blows until they had enough and retreated. Goldar recovered and charged, but Trini and Zack were already countering, laughing as the titan flew back several feet and crashed into the closed stairwell, bits of rubble and debris fell from inside of it, covering him like a blanket.
Zack, who had landed in a crouching position, slowly stood up. He smiled at the handy work he had just caused, 'Maybe this might not be so bad after all.' He had to admit, even though it had seemed rather barbaric to inflict so much pain on such simple creatures.
The sound of clapping made him snap his head to the side, alert and ready for anything. Beside him he felt Trini tense.
He saw that Roma was slowly applauding them, a large malicious grin on his face. "Bravo," he congratulated, his tail swinging to the rhythm of his clapping. "Not bad for a kid and a girl. Guess old Zedd wasn't exaggerating after all."
Zack smiled at the so-called compliment Roma gave him. He laughed slightly, staring up at the remaining three men with absolutely no humour in his expression.
"Why don't you just leave now, and save yourselves from getting a butt kicking," Trini asked, her voice cold and so menacing that it even surprised her.
Roma gave a harsh laugh that sounded like choking. "Oh okay, so we gotta cocky little b..."
"Don't say it!" Trini warned.
"...to handle now huh." He looked from Boogah to the other Packspawn without hearing her words. "Sorry kid, but I'm gonna have to turn down yo offer."
"A'ite then boys," he snapped his fingers; the two Packspawn instantly stepped forward and drew their swords out, both glowing red in the light. "Why don't you two handle this, but don't go over board, I wants them alive for fun."
"Heh, heh, time to turn yo cute little behind into chop suey," said Boogah, his eyes gleaming with an insane sort of anticipation. Trini didn't respond. She silently got into a ready position, holding out his arm and gesturing his hand for the Packspawn to 'just bring it.'
Boogah growled, charging at her with a speed Trini was astonished she could follow. She sidestepped, attempting to slice him with his sword horizontally. Trini dodged it by jumping backwards and then back flipped to provide some distance. Boogah came at her again a second after his feet touched the ground.
Zack heard Roma smack his forehead in frustration, "Did I or did I not just say not to kill her?" he muttered.
Ignoring Roma, Boogah, this time, swung his sword at her vertically and Trini had to spin behind him to dodge it, but Boogah followed her move by turning slightly, then quickly swinging it horizontally again, hoping to catch her off guard. Trini bent all the way back, feeling a breeze pass her as the sword sliced the air across her face and body. She let her hands touch the floor doing a sort of curved handstand. She bent her elbows in, and with all her might she pushed upward and kicked Boogah in the face with both her feet, before he could cleave her down the middle. As Boogah flew backwards, Trini landed forward in a crouching position.
Trini watched as Boogah slid down the wall, hit and land on the floor in a heap. He blinked in confusion and rubbed his jaw. He gaped at Trini, opening and closing his mouth without any words coming out. "What the hell..." he finally muttered. He shook his head, "Dwanin, don't just stand there like a dummy! Help me!"
Zack sensed more then heard Dwanin's movements, as the other Packspawn ran towards him. He grabbed the Packspawn's wrist, just as he was about to slice Zack vertically down the middle from behind. Zack flipped him over his shoulder, where he landed on the floor hard on his back, his black trench coat streaming downward like a waterfall. Zack delivered a high axe kick aiming for the Packspawn's head. Dwanin rolled out of the way just in time, instead Zack hit the floor, pieces of wood and concrete unearthed from the blow flew around everywhere.
But before Dwanin could compose himself and counter, Zack had already yanked his foot out of the floor, doing a back round house kick, hitting Dwanin in the face. Like Boogah, and in the same direction, Dwanin went flying back in the air. Unfortunately though, this was around the time that Boogah had righted himself and stood up, dusting off his trench coat. He looked up to see Dwanin's body coming at full speed towards him.
His eyes widened, "Oh crap." Dwanin landed on top of Boogah, a couple of cracks suggested that Dwanin had broken a few bones, his and Boogah's.
"I knew we should have come in our true forms," Boogah said thickly. Gaining his senses, Boogah vehemently pushed Dwanin off of him, "Get offa me!"
Dwanin rolled back to his feet muttering a quick, "My bad."
"Okay, wanna play rough now do ya?" said Boogah, raising sword in front of him. "Alright then, I can play dirty to. Come on Dwanin let's double team them." Dwanin complied by raising his own sword at the ready as well.
Trini and Zack backed up, unsure what to do. So far they had allowed their instincts to dictate their movements. Both had already gotten used to the instant karate thing, and even though they were out numbered, they knew that together they had the upper hand.
The Packspawns had obviously underestimated them, so - either they were extremely stupid or they were just being lazy -- their fighting skills were sluggish and slow. It wouldn't be too hard to beat them up enough to make an escape. But still, there was still an understated sense of power about them that made Zack and Trini cautious. It would have been a lot easier if they had had a weapon or something, a working communicator would have been a great asset.
Zack was silently wishing that he had his Power Axe or even a Blade Blaster to hand. He wasn't ashamed to admit that they were facing creatures that most humans would rather die than confront, and so far they had been lucky. Zack had never trusted in luck to the extent that it made him overconfident. Well, maybe when it came to trying to impress Angela.
Trini was thinking along similar lines, remembering how many serious injuries her uniform had protected her from serious injury. She recalled the Power Dagger, sleek and deadly -- a match for many of the monsters Rita had thrown at them.
The two Packspawn charged at the Ranger with their swords pointed in front of them, Zack ducked and swept both of their legs from under their feet. Trini tumble-rolled over the fallen bodies and with Zack close behind, ran through the doors to the delegates' rooms. Through the door, they kept moving, hoping to find something they could use. Trini smashed the case on the fire alarms, knowing that the few delegates still there would hurry out the fire escape, thus avoiding more casualties.
Boogah, gaining his footing, got back up and ran through the door, changed direction and ploughed at Zack with his sword pointed in front of him.
"Didn't your mother ever tell you not to run around with sharp objects?" Zack said mockingly.
This only infuriated Boogah more, making his aim even less accurate. He attempted to cleave Zack, unbeknownst to him making it all the more easy to dodge. Zack jumped up, twisting in midair; he landed a few feet behind Boogah. Just as he sliced one of the conference benches in half -- not a complicated task given how sharp the blade was.
Trini sensed Dwanin trying to sneak up from behind her again. She grabbed a mop from an abandoned bucket and twisted it around, she hit Dwanin upside the head. Dwanin spun and then fell to the ground with a thud.
Boogah abruptly ceased attacking Zack and tried to sneak up on her, hoping that she was distracted with Dwanin. But Zack saw his intentions and shouted a warning, which Trini heard before she noticed the Packspawn from the corner of her eye. She twirled the mop, and then jabbed the handle into Boogah's stomach. Hearing him exhale in pain, Zack grabbed a broom and flipped it up to hit Boogah hard in the face with the bristles. Boogah's head snapped back, with his hands on his face he staggered backwards and almost tripped.
Trini and Zack heard a growl coming from one side, suggesting that Dwanin had recovered. Boogah was also shaking off the recent blows they had given him. They were on either side of the two humans and nothing short of expert timing could aid them. If they timed this one just right, then maybe they would be able to fully knock their two attackers out.
The creature came running at them at full speed, both vertically swung their swords at the same time. Zack jumped to avoid one and then jabbed the broom handle down hard on the blade while Trini did the same with her mop, locking them in place. Using the broom as a crutch to pull himself up, Zack did a rising split kick and caught both of the Packspawn in the chin. Both of them flew back, their swords wrenched out of their hands.
Zack slid down the wall, landing straight up on the floor. Trini was next to him, both exhausted from their ordeal. Suddenly Trini sensed something coming towards them really fast from behind. She managed to get half the warning out, but there was no time to dodge it. Zack put his arms up in an attempt to block whatever was coming at him while Trini adopted a low stance, hoping to remain upright. Neither attempt succeeded; both teens were hit at full force. The impact caused them to go flying back, crashing into one of the canteens and landing hard on the concrete floor.
Zack moaned as pain exploded in his back and arms. The wind had been knocked out of him, a few moments passed and he was finally able to breathe. It took a few more moments for Zack to register what had happened. As if to answer his unasked question, Roma, with a sinister smirk on his face, appeared in the mangled entryway. He cracked his head from side to side, "If you want something done right," Roma said while cracking his knuckles, "you gotta do it yourself."
Roma flexed his arms out, cracking more muscles. He set his eyes upon Zack with menacing mirth. "Guess it's just you and me Zacky boy." Zack's eyes widened as Roma gestured to where Trini laid unmoving, blood visible on the floor. Roma stretched out his right arm and rolled up his sleeve. It glowed a deep blood red before his dark brown skin morphed into a silvery sword. He sliced the air a bit, testing his new limb out. He smiled at the shocked look Zack had on his face.
"Cool huh?" was all he said, before he jumped high into the air and did a flip. He hovered over Zack, his sword arm swinging down aimed for his head. Zack rolled out of the way. Roma stabbed the ground instead; his body crouched down in the crater he had created. Zack scrambled to his feet. Roma looked at him, pulling out his sword arm from the tiled kitchen floor.
"Why don't you be a good little boy and let Uncle Roma gut you like a fish?" He lunged at Zack with a barrage of complicated sword manoeuvres, which Zack of course couldn't possibly counter, the former Black Ranger was only human and Roma was much faster then the other two Packspawn. The Putties and Goldar weren't even worth a comparison. Zack tried to dodge the strikes as best he could, but eventually Roma got through his defence.
The Packspawn feinted a punch with his real hand, and did a roundhouse kick which hit Zack hard in the sternum. He went flying backward his body smashing into the serving hatch, a dent curved around him from the collision. Pain wracked through his chest, he must have landed on one of the fixed shelves. All he could see was red. He wiped his eyes and found blood smeared on the back of his hand.
Just as Zack had cleared his vision, Roma was already bounding towards him. Zack twisted out of the way, as Roma attempted to stab him again. His arm sword struck the hatchway instead. Roma went for a snap kick at Zack's head, even though his arm was still stuck. Zack actually managed to throw the blow aside, but was not quick enough to catch the knee that followed.
Roma grinned evilly as he lifted his entire leg up, with Zack still attached. He bent in his leg and then snapped it out as hard as he could, sending Zack flying back smack into the wall.
Zack slid painfully down the wall, landing on the ground with a heavy thud. He stayed down, trying to catch his breath but also thinking of a way to stop this nutcase. Fighting mindlessly was definitely out; he actually needed a plan now. His time to think expired though as Roma closed in for the kill. So unable to make a rational choice, Zack did something unexpected and wasteful.
"Mastodon!" he cried as he held up his hands to block the final blow.
It was a painful experience for Zack as his subconscious recalled the methods it had used to draw on the Power during his days as a Ranger. He lacked a Power Coin, having transferred it to Adam during the Power Transfer, but had retained his Power Morpher. At his call the Morpher had appeared in his hand, though without the Power Coin to help regulate the process, the energy ran rampant through every cell in his body, limited only by the established pathways that now acted to direct the overload.
Roma backed off as Zack started to convulse with black light. The boy's aura started to become more discernable as his cries grew louder. He swept the blade down, determined to kill the boy before anything else happened, but the weapon could not approach the screaming human, the energy rippling around him prevented such an attack.
Zack's eyes opened suddenly and he watched as Roma took a step back. He looked down at himself and saw his clothes had changed. Without a Power Coin to contain the template, the Power had searched for a suitable form. Thus he found himself wearing a loose black top, somewhat reminiscent of the outfits worn by the Ninja Rangers, and a pair of loose pants. In one hand was a long handled wooden battle-axe.
Trini heard the clink of metal on metal as Roma and Zack fought. She looked up and stared as her friend drove the blunt end of the axe handle into his opponent. Sparks flew as the weapon's keen edge made contact with Roma's blade.
Roma quickly retreated and studied his blade, making sure that its perfect frame wasn't damaged or scratched.
"What's the matter, giving up already?" Zack asked. He wasn't eager to fight, but wanted to keep the advantage he had gained. Not to mention that while Roma was focussed on him, Trini was safe.
Trini climbed back to her feet more slowly than she would've liked. There was a pounding in her head, and she felt like Bulk was sitting on her chest. She brought her hand up to her mouth and wiped the blood that was trickling down her chin. Finally, while spitting some more blood out with the turn of her head, she was able to take in the battle as it progressed.
Roma though, didn't even grimace at Zack's challenge. His calm demeanour was extremely unnerving, but Zack tried to keep his cool on the outside, no matter how shaky he was on the inside. Roma smirked and bent his knees in, like a wild beast would do when getting ready to pounce on their prey. ~Close enough,~ Zack thought. After all, he did feel like Roma's prey and Roma, despite his appearance, fit the part of a carnivorous beast perfectly.
"Hold up Roma, I got this covered." Roma stood back up startled. Once seeing that it was Boogah, he immediately calmed down and changed his expression to that of annoyance.
"Boogah, what are you doing?" Roma asked lazily, as if knowing that his answer was going to something stupid.
Boogah pulled a wicked-looking scythe from his trench coat. He smiled eagerly at Roma, "I'm fixin to finish these kids off so we can hurry up and leave." Boogah raised the weapon and turned it so Roma could see the transparent edge. Roma's face fell.
Boogah looked pointedly at Zack, "what's with the change of clothes?"
As he spoke, he was subconsciously turning the tool just enough for Trini to see the blade. It was sparking gently in the air and although almost invisible, she could sense how sharp the blade was. There were words etched in another language along the weapon's length, but after about a few seconds of studying them, Trini deciphered what it meant. Her eyes widened and all the colour drained from her face.
Boogah smiled with superiority, thinking that Trini was suddenly frightened for a completely different reason. "Pretty smart huh? It was hard to find it in the storeroom, but I finally found this little beauty." Both Roma and Trini flinched as Boogah swiped the blade through the air, but for very different reasons. Zack looked at them with confusion in his eyes.
"What's wrong?" Boogah asked Roma urgently. It was a rare thing indeed when Roma ever looked worried about something.
Roma swallowed, he morphed his sword back into his arm. "D-d-Boogah," he stammered nervously. "Which storeroom did you get that out of?"
"The blue one," he said slowly. "Why?"
Roma's face suddenly turned the shade of off-white, "This wouldn't happen to be the one that had 'Do Not Enter' engraved on it, would it?"
Boogah raised an eyebrow, "Well yeah," he said plainly. "But you know how people only put that up there to keep thieves away."
Noticing that Zack was silently ebbing away and Trini followed suit. But whereas he would likely survive what was to come, she predicted her death was now a good possibility.
Roma's expression suddenly turned to that of anger, "Boogah are you out of your mind!?" he yelled. "That's not our storeroom! That was Jas' storeroom, and you know how protective she is about her things!"
Boogah furrowed his eyebrows and scratched his head with his free hand. "If she didn't want me to use it, why did she leave it lying around?"
"She didn't you great pudding! She left it locked in her storeroom where anyone who entered is hunted down and destroyed" There was a brief silence following the statement, the new information sinking in to Boogah's particularly thick skull.
"She won't mind if I borrows it?" Boogah gasped. He looked down at the scythe with a fear that was meant for being trapped in a pit of lions, a fate he would have preferred compared to the anger of the scythe's rightful owner. He yelled out, "Holy sweet mother of Javius! Get this thing away from me!" Boogah juggled with the scythe, jogging in place and looking frantic.
Roma, still in a silent panic himself, tried to calm his idiotic gang member, "Boogah, stop moving around and send it back to the storeroom before she realises and kills us all... again! That thing was not built just to destroy mortals you know. That's an Angel Buster!"
Boogah ignored him and continued to toss the object from one hand to the other, like it was something really hot that he couldn't keep in his grasp. Finally Boogah reached a conclusion that if he could at least kill his target he would have a bargaining chip. He directed the blade in a lazy arc towards Trini's retreating form. Things seemed to go in slow motion as the tiny blade cut through the air.
Then her old Morpher was in her hand and Trini practically screamed the words she had thought she would never hear again: "Saber-toothed Tiger!"
The tip of the scythe cut into the floor, but Trini was already gone, whisked away by her renewed instincts. She was dressed in a uniform very similar to Zack's costume, except hers was yellow. As the weapon moved towards her again, it was met with the firm resistance of two crystal daggers. Using one to pin the weapon in place, she used the other to slice easily through the scythe's wooden handle.
"She's goin to kill me!" Boogah screamed as he realised what had happened.
Boogah's rage was unleashed, clearing the hallway as Zack, Trini, Dwanin and Roma were thrown savagely through the air, outside the building and onto the ground below. Shards of glass from the windows, fire, and debris went flying around everywhere. Both Zack and Roma slid down and landed on their backs in the dewy grass. Trini rubbed her head as she landed, still dazed by the explosion. She saw the flames engulf half of the building and wondered how they would explain such destruction to the conference organisers.
Zack was not feeling optimistic as he picked himself up. He could see his parents' reactions. He inwardly groaned, "Mum and Dad are going to kill me," he muttered. There was no way in hell he could explain this one.
"Not before I do," he heard Roma say next to him. He was already to his feet, his arm morphed back into the silvery sword. His silhouette was even more menacing in the firelight. He may not have been a demon, but with his fiery tail swinging in back of him, and his arm sword glinting in the light, certainly made him look like something that had to have originated from hell.
Zack scooted back as Roma pointed his sword at his neck. "Make it easier for the both of us, and just come along quietly," he said as if closing the matter. Zack needed to think of something fast if he was going to go with the plan he had earlier. He glanced up; as if asking the heavens for an idea. About two stories up, he noticed that his room's window was slightly ajar.
Zack widened his eyes in fear and pointed a trembling finger towards the burning house, "Uh, your friend Boogah looks like he needs some help!" Zack yelled urgently.
Roma twisted around, "Boogah you little..." he stopped in mid-sentence. Seeing nothing but flames behind him. That was Zack's cue to hop to his feet and then jump up to the window. It was a lot less complicated then he thought, - his room was about two stories high - all he had to do was crouch down and push his feet upward. He grabbed the windowsill, looking down he saw Roma turn his head from side to side and scratch it in confusion. Zack decided to give him a little hint.
He whistled. Roma shot his head up, trying to find the source of the sound. Zack smiled down at him, "Yoohoo! Looking for somebody goat boy!?" Zack called at Roma. Before Roma could respond Zack sat himself on the sill, and hurriedly opened the window so he could fit through it.
The floor boards felt warm under his feet, pretty soon the fire that had started in the kitchen would rise and burn the through it completely. Zack didn't linger. He ran for his door and swung it open, smoke filtering in from the hallway. He heard some glass shattering. Out of reflex he turned around to see Roma breaking through the window and slipping in.
"Come here boy!" he shouted insanely. "You ain't goin no where!"
Zack ran out of the room, swinging the door shut behind him. It was a simple act of stalling, knowing fully well that Roma could bust through the wood in a matter of seconds. Which he did of course, using his sword arm to slice it diagonally and a quick kick to knock the two remaining pieces away. Zack was already at the end of the hallway by the time that happened. He tugged on a string that was stung up in the ceiling. A grey ladder slid down from it and Zack quickly climbed up it to the upper maintenance room. Zack heard footsteps from below as he pulled the latter back up and slammed the door down.
"Oh where the hell did the boy go? Oh where the hell could he be?" He heard Roma's muffled voice from below sing. "Come out come out wherever you are! You wouldn't want to make Uncle Roma mad now would you? Otherwise he might end up doing things that he's not sure he doesn't want to do to poor helpless Trini."
Zack disregarded Roma's chanting and rummaged around the attic. There wasn't very much space, so Zack had to hunch slightly to walk around. ~Now let's see what we have here?~ he thought as sifted through some boxes, silently wishing he had Trini or better still Adam with him. He was looking for the lubricants the janitors used on the elevators. ~Bingo!~ It wasn't what he wanted, but it would do. Zack opened the box marked: Fireworks. Rockets, poppers, firecrackers, sparklers, and pinwheels were placed jumbled together. Zack had his eye on a particularly large rocket. Zack pulled out some string and wire, wrapping it around his hand.
An explosion sounded, making Zack stumble into the fireworks and the pile of toilet rolls one of the cleaners that had been stored for easy access. Zack cautiously turned around. His eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as he scooted backwards, automatically wanting to distance himself. Coming from the entrance into the room was a beam of pure reddish orange fire, spiralling upward through the roof and endlessly into the sky. Zack's uniform flailed about uncontrollably in front of him, obscuring his vision slightly. The beam was like a black hole; Zack tried to keep a grip on something so as not to be pulled into its fiery depths. The fire twisted into itself and then disappeared, small flames detached from it and easily spread throughout the wooden room.
Soon after the show of fire, two hands clasped on the frayed edges of the attic's entryway, followed by the menacing face of Roma. "Heeeeeere's Johnny!" he said as he pushed the rest of his self in.
Zack stood to his feet, getting ready to put his plan into the action. ~I hope this works.~ Zack quickly sprinted fowards, making it look like he was going to fight him head on.
Roma bought it and rubbed his hands together, ready for another easy victory. "So we're going to start that mess again. A'ite boy, show me what you got." With that, Roma charged at Zack, full speed.
Zack measured his distance between them, he waited until they were about a couple of feet apart before he dropped and did a sideways slide on the floor. Taken by surprise, Roma stopped in his place. His legs were open just wide enough for Zack to slide through them and then quickly hopped back to his feet. Roma bent over and looked at Zack from between his legs, upside down, his tail swishing back and forth. "What the hell is wrong wit you?" Roma asked him clearly confused.
Zack simply smiled evilly. Suddenly, all Roma knew was pain as Zack grasped his tail firmly in his hand. Roma straightened up rigidly, turning towards Zack with his face scrunched up in pain. "Why you lousy little moth... leggo of my tail!" he yelled. If anything, Zack's grin grew even more evil.
"If you say so," Zack said casually, a little too casually. He let go of Roma's tail, but didn't stop there. While Roma snatched his tail back and caressed it in his hand trying to straighten out the flame, Zack did a snap kick that hit Roma in the back.
Roma landed head first in the clutter of boxes and junk. Ropes, wires, and strings wrapped around him as he fruitlessly tried to get himself out of it. He jerked an old birdcage off his head and through it to the side. He stared up at Zack with an expression of absolute fury on his face.
"You've done gone too far, home boy! You mess wit the tail and it's over!"
Zack's grin widened. Roma stared at him confused for a moment until finally, he noticed the string he was toying with in his hand. His eyes slowly followed the string, which led down to Zack's feet, and then led a pathway that ended inside of some boxes with a whole bunch of fireworks entangled in them... the same box he was entangled in! Roma looked back up at Zack with panic as realization dawned on him. He saw that Zack now had a piece of wood that was lit from the fire he had caused. He was twirling it around in his fingers whistling while he did so. Zack fooled around with the string and the fire, pretending to light it, but pulling it away at the last second.
Roma gulped, "You wouldn't dare," he said, almost pleadingly, "would you?"
Zack's grin spread wider, then he cleared his throat and sounded his voice as if he were a flight attendant. "You are now attending Zack Potter airlines, please keep all remaining appendages together before you take flight, in case of an emergency, you can use your pants as a flotation device." Zack laughed as the colour faded from Roma's face as he desperately tried to disentangle himself from his bindings.
"Launching in t-minus five, four, three, two, one and...." He lit the string, not even a split second passed before it quickly slithered down the path to its target. "Give my regards to Riddle," he hissed, before diving behind some junk.
The sound of blasting off filled Zack's ears. He brought his knees to his chest and braced himself. There was a huge explosion, followed by Roma's screams of "I'ma get you! You're gonna pay for this!" Zack looked up to see that his roof was gone. It was shooting upward, along with the spark that was Roma, into the sky. It swivelled on and on endlessly, until finally, it seemed to stop in midair and completely blow up in a show of beautiful colours that painted the dark night sky. Zack stared on in awe at the colourful lights above, ignoring the strong gusts of wind from the newly open wound in the building.
Zack was rudely snapped out of his trance as a support beam fell only two inches away from him, the wood wrapped in fire. The blast, as Zack had predicted would happen earlier, had caused a fire that was already surrounding him from all sides. He stayed to the ground, smoke was rising steadily and eating the remaining oxygen in the room. More explosions from below suggested that the fire had spread throughout the lower floor.
Fire and smoke clouded his vision, everything down stairs was likely on fire, and more fire was licking through the floor. This was a very bad situation to be in right now. Zack desperately needed to figure out how to get out of this mess, before the smoke fogged up his mind, and the fire finally overwhelmed him as well as the conference center.
Dwanin had awakened expecting to find an easy target, but instead discovered Trini, armed and looking decidedly dangerous. She twirled her daggers in her hand, daring him to attack. Without Boogah there, Dwanin did the sensible thing and retreated.
Trini stared after him for a moment before turning her attention to the upper storey, just in time to see Roma fly through the window. The fire was catching though and from the looks of it Zack was having difficulty getting free.
Using line-of-sight, she teleported to where her teammate was and tried to drag him out. The floor gave way just as both Rangers were enveloped by light and teleported to the relative safety of the Power Chamber.
"Sire, the Rangers have teleported two humans to their headquarters," Klank reported.
"So the Rangers are seeking backup," Mondo mused. "Who were the humans?"
"Trini Kwan and Zack Taylor, both reported by Rita Repulsa as Zordon's first Rangers."
"I bet he's trying to recruit them again Daddy," Sprocket said.
"A brilliant observation my son," Mondo told the pint-sized machine. "And if Zordon was willing to find two former Rangers, he might seek out the others. Klank, I want all former Rangers destroyed."
"It shall be done Sire," Klank replied before shuffling away.
Somewhere in Kenya
Sometimes you can be comfortable in a place without realising that you don't belong there. Sometimes it can take an unexpected event to open your eyes to reality. For one teenager events were about to move beyond her control and leave her with the option of going along for the ride or losing her grip on reality as the strain became too much. Aisha Campbell had never been one to back down from any situation.
Aisha closed her eyes, tipping her face up to the cloudless sky above. It was a beautiful day, with the sun shining down on the savannah and the usual summer heat lifted by a cool breeze. It was days like this that made a girl glad to be alive. Dropping her face from the morning sky, Aisha scanned her surroundings, a wistful look in her dark eyes. She loved Africa, and loved working with animals, and nothing would ever change that. But -- somehow it didn't seem like she belonged here anymore.
When she had been sent into the past she had known it was right for her to remain and help the animals. It had been a long and tortuous time trying to find a cure for the plague, but something told her she was close. Since the plague had subsided, she had felt differently.
Part of the reason for her feelings was the withdrawal symptoms from the loss of her powers. While the others had been able to deal with the side effects, Master Vile's time distortion had changed her body's metabolism, meaning that the Power had taken longer to drain from her body. It had been over a year before the symptoms had appeared and they had lasted for quite some time. That combined with the emotional turmoil of losing her friends and the mental strain of having two sets of memories concerning her childhood, had caused her to question whether she belonged in Kenya.
Aisha sighed again. It was true, she really missed her friends in Angel Grove. Zordon had allowed her to keep her communicator when she had left on the Zeo Quest, but it had never been reactivated when time had been set back to normal.
~They can manage without me, they already have a Yellow Zeo Ranger and plenty of replacements if anything happens to Tanya,~ she thought with slightly more bitterness than she expected.
Of course the chances of returning to America were slim and she knew it. Her mother loved her work with the tribe and her father was a renowned doctor. In the ten years they had been there, her parents had helped to ensure the plague had not spread to the human population.
With their help the tribe had grown and developed - using the grants the Campbells obtained to improve the quality of life for all of the tribe. They now had fresh wells and a school in which to educate the children. Their stand-in teacher Joe Armstrong had left a month ago, saying something about personal business. Although during his time there he had remained aloof, she had trained with him on a few occasions and almost beaten him, a feat that was very rare according to his friend. In return Joe had taught her new meditation katas to allow her body and mind to become a single weapon.
"Something's wrong!" She was not sure how she knew, but suddenly a feeling of darkness had closed in around her. Looking down she noticed the red beam of light reflecting off her clothing. With a squeal she jumped to her feet and dove for cover. She may not have been an expert, but she knew a targeting beam when she saw one. Hunters on Earth rarely used them, but they were, according to the brief conversations she had with Billy since his return, all the rage on other worlds. The fact that such a beam had been highlighting her right arm made her suspicious and she decided to hide until she knew what was going on.
"Well?" King Mondo asked as his latest creation returned.
"She is reactive and smart. She chose to remain hidden when many organics might have attempted to tackle me. I don't believe I will find her much of a challenge, I predict less than one percent likelihood of failure."
The metal monarch nodded. After fighting the Rangers for a while, he had decided to review his tactics to figure out why his plans had failed on Earth. He had come to a conclusion about the failure to conquer Earth. First, he realised he had failed, as had the other villains, to recognise the dedication the Rangers felt to their planet and each other. The human species was on the whole illogical and over emotional. This was a common trait although on Earth it was even stronger. The Machine Empire had underestimated the Rangers and that was a mistake. Luckily such mistakes could be eliminated with the right programming.
The seek-and-destroy mission he had set for his new creation was as much for research as it was to prevent Aisha's retrieval. He had used one of Klank's rejected designs and programmed it to behave like a human bounty hunter. Of course it was also equipped with state of the art weaponry.
Now Mondo looked at his creation. Currently she had removed all her hunting costume and stood before him in the plain green flight suit she wore during recharging periods. Her long black hair had been tied into a single ponytail, in the end of which a blade had been inserted. Her eyes burned with an intensity the robot had not seen in a while. She was seductive and deadly, but most importantly she was a machine.
Synthetic flesh allowed her to resemble a human female, but beneath the fake skin, blood and muscle, was a cold killing machine with a super fast processor. In some ways she was more advanced than the Royal House of Gadgetry's leaders, but that was only at first glance. No matter how advanced her components were, they were obsolete compared to Mondo.
Mondo did not know why she chose her current guise, she could in fact alter her skin tone and hair colour to meet her needs; chemical processors contained in her chest cavity allowed her to manipulate her body's bone structure and fat content as well. She had no limitation on the body she could assume -- height, weight and even gender were not a factor. The ability to confuse was one of his creation's greatest powers. The second greatest was the triple phased power core that maintained her energies. The core boosted all of her powers, but had a failsafe so if on the brink of defeat, she could overload it and self-destruct, taking her prey with her.
"I believe you will be successful. I have programmed you with all the skills you will require to attain victory. Now leave and do not return without a former Ranger."
"I will get you your Ranger, King Mondo," the robot stated.
Raising her left arm to tap in the activation code for her weapon systems. A loud beep signalled that her systems were powered up. She then tapped in two-seven-six, activating all of Mondo's programming.
Silver plating attached to cover the knees, elbows, chest, throat and back. The suit she was wearing thickened and a helmet appeared to cover her head. A black visor slid down to cover the eyes. Black gloves and boots finished the armour. All this was an elaborate hoax, all that really changed was the position of the metal plates that made up the majority of her body.
After slinging the hunting rifle onto her back and securing the strap over her shoulder, she nodded to her master. Mondo returned the nod and pointed his staff at her, opening one of the transport corridors he relied on for moving his troops. She stepped through and the doorway closed. Her next stop would be Earth.
Aisha had already decided that waiting around was not in her best interest. Her first thought was to return to the village and talk things through with her aunt. Maybe Ashalla would have some idea about contacting Zordon. Aisha didn't know who had been targeting her, but she had a bad feeling and that was enough to put her on alert.
"Alpha, Zordon," she said, activating her communicator on the off chance it had been reconnected without her knowing it. Sometimes Zordon's gift of prescience caused him to make preparations without telling his students. She sighed when the device remained silent. "No such luck."
~I wish I had my powers, then at least if I was in trouble I could morph,~ she thought. ~Providing of course it's not poachers.~
The thought that it might be game hunters made her feel a little better. But she was still on guard as she made her way back towards the village. She stopped when she heard a faint click followed by a soft whine like an engine powering up. She saw a movement just ahead of her and recognised the barrel of a gun in the bushes.
Aisha ducked to the ground as a laser bolt flew over her head. That answered any doubts she had. She was under attack. Forcing herself to remain calm Aisha followed the process she had learnt when she first became a Ranger. After checking to ensure there were no civilians nearby she looked around for the nearest cover. Carefully calculating the odds, she took off, hoping to get into the undergrowth.
A sharp pain caught Aisha in the shoulder seconds before she ducked into cover. Looking down she could see the fabric of her clothes still smoking from the shot. Obviously whoever or whatever was out there was aiming for her. Aisha was never more thankful that she had maintained her training during her time in Kenya and for the thick foliage, which now allowed her to remain hidden. She was also thankful the weapon had been set to kill. Kill bolts only worked on direct hits, otherwise they just caused injury. Stun blasts however only needed a glancing blow and would have dropped her like a rock.
Peering over the top of the bushes, she looked for the shooter. She could see nothing except the red targeting beam, which gave her an idea. Keeping the red beam in her sights at all times, she was able to move around her attacker.
Aisha jumped as a torrent of blaster fire ripped through her hiding place. Landing on the ground, she found herself rolling away from the shooter who was trying to hit her.
*Look out, right!*
Aisha shifted her attention to the right and saw a small metallic ball lying in her path. She tried to stop rolling, but it was too late. The ball exploded, revealing the miniature Cogs that had been placed inside. On exposure to the open air they rapidly grew to their full size. Instinctively Aisha ducked into a defensive stance, unsure of how to combat this new threat and hoping the shooter would not take advantage of the distraction.
The Cogs moved swiftly towards her, their robotic hands attempting to grab her as they drew near. She tried fighting, but after hurting her hand on the cold metal, she decided it was better to rely on her speed and to dodge the robots.
*Back of the knees!*
~How do I know that?~ Aisha wondered as she ducked another fist before kicking her opponent in the back of the knee. It made sense in hindsight. Regardless of materials used, the back of the knees was a common weakness since they could not be reinforced without restricting movement.
Guri swore in machine code. She had been programmed with some of Mondo's more colourful language, namely the words he used beyond the range of Sprocket's audio receptors. She had hoped the Cogs would manage to slow her prey, but some things had to be dealt with personally.
*Look out! To you left!*
Aisha looked a moment too late as a figure in green leapt at her. Her ninja training took over and she rolled through depositing her opponent on his or her back. Quickly she got back to her feet looking for some way to escape her attacker.
"You won't get away from me that quickly Ranger," the green figure said. "I am Guri, master of my art."
Although her eyes were fixed on the blaster carbine trained on her chest, Aisha's mind was searching for the quick escape or any alternative to combat.
"Surrender to the power of King Mondo, now!" Guri demanded.
Aisha quickly weighed up her chances of being able to attack before Guri could fire. She decided there was no chance of doing so especially if she also wanted a chance to get away. There seemed to be no way out, Mondo had won. ~Who the hell is Mondo?~
The command was so compelling that she had to obey even though she knew that her Power Coin had been destroyed and her powers had been passed to Tanya along with the Zeo Crystal. But maybe they hadn't been, after all the Sword of Light had not been used and her morpher had not changed hands. ~And didn't Zordon say our powers were joined to our bodies?~ Her morpher was in her hand before she realised it.
Yellow light exploded around her for a brief second before it was replaced by purple. Aisha found herself wearing a Ninja costume, which while purple to begin with soon faded to match the background. Aisha sighed, somehow she knew she should have seen this coming.
"No!" Guri shouted. "You shall not escape me, Yellow Ranger. Mondo has ordered that you will not be allowed to aid your former teammates."
Guri opened fire and Aisha stopped dead in her tracks. A sudden fear washed over her. If she ran back towards her village, she would endanger her parents and friends. That was something she could not allow.
"I'm not the Yellow Ranger," she announced. "I'm the Purple Ranger." ~Since when has there been a Purple Ranger?~
Running into the undergrowth she looked for anywhere she could hide. Whoever Mondo was, he had sent Guri to prevent her interference. That he anticipated her involvement and the fact the Rangers had not shown up meant they were in trouble of some sort. She intended to lay low and hope she could work out some type of trap. ~Of course if she doesn't see me she can still find me in other ways,~ she thought. ~I need an advantage.~
She pushed her way deeper into the thick bushes all the time aware of Guri stalking not far behind and that she was starting to catch up.
*Study your enemy*
The words made sense and she recognised that it had been the Power that had been talking to her the whole time. But the powers she had held previously had never offered strategic advice. The instructions had always been empathic and nowhere near as blatant. Perhaps the change of colour had awakened something she had missed before. Still the advice was sound and Aisha found herself doing just that.
She could see her opponent moving toward her and noticed for the first time Guri's reliance on a device strapped to her wrist. As Aisha watched Guri punched in the combination three-five-nine and floated into the air. Obviously Mondo had used that device so Guri could control her functions.
~I've got to get undercover quickly,~ Aisha thought, well aware that Guri would spot her from the air.
Lightning bolts crackled from Guri's gauntlets and struck the ground as Guri attempted to shock her out of hiding. Aisha crouched as low to the ground as she could, hoping there was a way to distract her opponent. She looked around and noticed the leaves of a nearby bush or more importantly the berries.
~These berries react with acid,~ she thought, remembering the lessons Billy had given her and what the tribe had said. She had at one point wondered if the combination of acid rain and the berries were poisoning the animals, but she decided against it when she noted the berries were not poisonous. ~Still, that reaction could buy me some time.~
She ripped a strip from her costume and was pleased to see the area grow back. Obviously whatever these powers were, they retained some of the properties of her Ninja Ranger powers. She took the torn strip and gathered as many berries as possible she bundled them together. Next she found the equipment she had dropped while morphing and opened her water bottle, then poured its contents into the bundle. Before doing so she opened her lunch satchel and carefully removed the sour lemon she had bought along. The plan was simple, draw Guri over, make her shoot at the small package Aisha had prepared and hope the water in her top combined with the lemon would make an acidic reaction.
Standing up she looked for Guri, ducking again as a blaster bolt grace her left leg. Playing on the injury, she cried out, hoping Guri would come to investigate. Guri did and as soon as she was within range Aisha threw her package. Guri fired and paid the price. As the top disintegrated a fiery red mist exploded into her face, burning the exposed skin and blinding her scanners.
Aisha saw her chance not only to escape but maybe to remove Guri's advantage. Pushing her to the ground Aisha struggled and eventually succeeded in ripping the bracelet off Guri's arm. Guri responded by opening fire again. Aisha threw the bracelet into the air and watched it explode. She watched as the mist continued to eat away at the synthetic flesh until only metal remained.
The robot seemed to recover and grabbed at Aisha's neck. The teen fought back, but her powers seemed ineffective as steel hands closed around her throat. Then a tingling sensation filled her body as she was teleported away, leaving Guri groping at the ground.
"Very good Miss Hart, but remember to extend your arms. And smile, big smile!" the coach called.
Kimberly struggled to smile as she resumed her exercise.
"Excuse me, I was wondering if you could advise me of the whereabouts of Kimberly Hart."
"Billy?" Kimberly cried, noticing her friend.
The former Blue Ranger smiled at her as she ran into his arms.
"Well, Miss Hart," the coach chuckled. "I think your training had better be put on hold for today. You will make it up tomorrow."
Kimberly giggled as she went back to hugging her friend.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"We came to get you," Billy told her.
"We?" she asked, noticing the two friends he had with him. Jason she recognised immediately, but the other looked just like... "Tommy?"
"Kind of," Sam answered.
"Hey Kim," Jason greeted his friend and stooping to give her a hug.
"Okay, not that I didn't want to see you guys, but this isn't a social call, is it?"
"Affirmative," Billy told her. His voice dropped to a whisper. "How would you like to be a Ranger again?" The giggle of delight gave them their answer. Billy frowned. "I was afraid you would say that."
"Billy, what's wrong?" Kim asked, suddenly nervous.
"You should have said no, Pink Ranger," the one who looked like Tommy said. "It would have made this so much easier."
Kimberly backed up, around her the other students were watching as Jason reached up and ripped off his face.
"Surprise!" Rito cried. "Bet ya never thought you'd see me again right."
"What do you want Rito?" Kimberly asked as Rito's companions revealed themselves as Tengas.
"What do I want, right... I know this one... now what was it?... Oh yeah, Rita and Ed told me to kidnap you. Gee I knew I'd get it."
At the sight of Rito the others had exited the gym, leaving Kimberly alone.
"Get her," he told his companions and the two Tengas attacked.
How her morpher had gotten into her hand Kimberly would never know, but she had soon transformed into a slightly familiar costume. The two birds were easily defeated, but then she felt herself facing Rito's sword.
Instead of panicking though Kimberly closed her eyes and remembered the sensation of teleporting. In a column of pink she was gone.
"They're on their way Zordon," Alpha reported.
"Excellent Alpha," Zordon boomed.
Zordon allowed himself a smile as he thought what this union would mean. This crisis could be one of the best things to happen to the Rangers.
"Call Jason, Billy and Sam, they should be here when their friends arrive."
"We're here Zordon, what happened?" Jason asked as he appeared with Sam and Billy not far behind.
A moment later there was a pink flash and a familiar cry.
"Jason, Billy? Is it really you guys this time?" Kimberly asked, still suspicious after her run in with Rito. Noticing, Alpha helped to convince her it was not a hoax.
"Kimberly!" Billy cried, happy to see his former teammate. The three Rangers embraced before Billy noted a black and yellow flash. His mouth dropped open. "Trini?"
"Zack!" Jason called excitedly as the Power Chamber became the scene of another reunion.
A purple flash signalled Aisha's arrival and Billy greeted her as David Trueheart rounded off the arrivals.
"Now we are all here, we can begin," Zordon said.
A chair appeared next to each person for him or her to use, suggesting that this might be a long conversation. Alpha Five was scurrying around on the other side of the Power Chamber, apparently trying to talk to someone.
"I am sorry my young friends that I have had to call you here without notice. Perhaps those who are unknown to the majority of you should identify themselves." Sam and David introduced themselves. Even though some of the others were not familiar with each other as they had been during their times as Rangers, they knew each other's name. "First, welcome back Rangers to Power Mountain. And welcome to you, David Trueheart. I am glad to meet you in person after so long. While I am afraid there is little time to explain why we have called you all here, I can tell you that the Rangers need your help before a dangerous situation becomes worse."
"We're ready to help Zordon," Jason said after the teens exchanged glances. Their trust in Zordon never faltered, even David, who had never met the White Master before.
"Yesterday night, Kat dreamt that a destructive force known as the Elemental Beasts would be unleashed upon the Earth unless the Rangers could destroy them before they hyperlock units were ready to open."
"And you want us to deal with those egg things," Zack interjected.
"You are correct Zachary," Zordon boomed. "Jason, Billy and Sam have been given the means to penetrate the shells, but with the extra protection Rita and company have provided, it will take all eight of you to penetrate each site."
"We have our powers, don't we?" Kimberly asked.
Zordon laughed. "I would never send you out there without some protection Kimberly. I am afraid it is not as much as I would like. Each of you by now has experienced the residual power from your links to the Morphin Grid. These links have been intensified with the use of a Power Coin that Billy obtained on Aquitar and Sam's own Power Coin. You each share an equal portion of the energies within those coins. While you are without a Power Coin, I am afraid that is the full extent of your capabilities, these powers will provide you some protection; David, although you have never been a Ranger, your link to Tommy will allow you to tap the Grid without the use of a Power Coin."
"I thought we needed a coin to be a Ranger," Kimberly commented.
Zordon sighed; there was obviously a lot he would need to teach his Rangers in the future, especially if they succeeded in completing his plan.
"You are partially correct Kimberly," Zordon said. "The links you have to the Power require a Power Coin to regulate the dangerous energies you wield. Without a Power Coin the energies would eventually consume you. That is why when Trini and the others morphed recently their uniforms changed. You have become Grid Warriors, partially powered Rangers. When your current mission is complete, a more permanent solution will be found."
"The Ranger Powers you are used to have been drawn by Power Coins and the Zeo Crystal. However, only those who have held the powers of the Morphin Grid would be accepted as Rangers on another world. As White Master I had the right to name the Zeo holders as Rangers, a role they have fulfilled with honour, courage and great skill."
"So what exactly is the Morphin Grid?" Jason asked. Of all the Rangers, only Billy had ever done any real research on their powers.
"The Morphin Grid is a source of energy created from some of the magical energy which seeped into our universe when it was first formed. The power of the Morphin Grid is one of a number of concentrations of magic that somehow divided itself. On some worlds all the people can use magic, on others such as Earth, many members of the population are unable to touch the magic naturally. Instead, the planet is rich in Psychic energy with a few hot spots where people can use non-grid magic."
"I thought the Grid was magic," Trini commented.
"As I said, the Morphin Grid is only a portion of all the magic in the Universe. Every planet, even Earth has its own small amount of magic, but due to the vast quantities of Iron on this world, few humans have enough potential to safely utilise such magic. Those I chose as Rangers were fortunate that they each had a small amount of potential that left them open to the magic of the Grid even though they were immune to the power of their planet." Zordon explained. "I'm certain you realise that Earth is surrounded by lines of natural magic. In places they congregate to form nexus points. Angel Grove is situated on one such Ley Nexus where the magic spread throughout the Universe can manifest. There is a second network of Ley Lines that would allow those with potential to learn the ways of natural magic. I know of only a few places where people are open enough for such power to be seen."
"So wizards and witches are not powered by the Grid," Zack realised.
"That is correct in the case of this planet," Zordon said. "Although for on other worlds witches have learnt to tap the Morphin Grid."
"That is why Rita would never attack an Earth Wizard," Alpha said. "Compared to her powers they are unworthy of the attention."
"When I first picked my Rangers I had a number of requirements," Zordon continued. "Firstly they had to be willing to accept the rules of the Power. There were others on Earth who would have been able to hold the Power, but might have abused the Power. Secondly, they needed to be able to form and act as a team. When I first ordered Alpha to find you, the computer searched for a group of friends. Finally, I required teenagers who had the potential to touch the Grid."
Aisha took the opportunity to ask the question she had been wondering about since the day that she had first become a Ranger. "Zordon, why did you choose teenagers to be Rangers?"
Zordon smiled. He knew the other Rangers had often discussed the issue, but none of them had yet come to the right conclusion. "The first reason is because as I said I needed humans with the potential to touch the Power whose minds were not closed to the possibilities of doing so. In addition it was important that those I selected were old enough to understand the responsibility the role of Ranger entailed. By selecting teenagers I not only fulfilled both of those requirements, but also found a group whose lives would be able to help when needed and not get stuck in other activities."
"To go back to my original point," Zordon said. "The power of the Morphin Grid is divided into light and darkness, just as most magic is polarised to either good or evil. The Light and Dark sides of the Grid are equal and opposite of each other. It is possible for someone with the ability to touch one side of the Grid to also touch the other; to wield the Light just as easily as they do the Darkness. It is the intention of those using the energy that determines where the power comes from."
"So when Tommy was under Rita's spell he drew energy from the Dark side?" Jason asked.
"No," Zordon replied. "Although Rita's spell made him evil, he was still using the Light sided powers through his Power Coin. If he had been truly evil, the Ranger Powers would have left him. Only the Light can create Rangers, the Dark side relies instead on creating outer forms for its users. That is why Lord Zedd looks the way he does."
Zordon noticed that the Rangers were hooked on his every word, but also realised he needed to get to the point if his plan was to succeed before it was too late. "You are all aware that in the past the Rangers have used the Dino, Thunder and Ninja powers. What you may not have known is that these are different versions of the same power, each representing a different aspect of the Power, just as the colour represents the personality of the Ranger."
"Jason and Rocky were suited to the Red colour. Although many assume that red is the colour of the leader, it is mainly the colour that represents a team player. The Red spirits are the Tyrannosaurus, Dragon and Ape. Jason is the Tyrannosaurus, a powerful leader who is able to work with his team. He also tends to tackle his opponents head on Rocky however is a Dragon. As such he was the center, around which the team is formed. Rocky preferred to think things out before attacking."
"Billy was drawn to the Blue colour. Blue represents a creative and powerful mind, not just in terms of knowledge, but also in terms of mental powers. Blue spirits also have a desire to belong although sometimes have difficulty relating to others. The Triceratops, Unicorn and Wolf represent the Blue Powers. Billy is the Wolf aspect of the Blue Power. He prefers to study his enemies and determine their weaknesses before charging in."
"Trini was suited to the Yellow Power. She could have managed either the Sabre-toothed Tiger, Griffin or Bear. As the Yellow Ranger she was the peacemaker, looking out for the weaker members of the team. However like Billy, she prefers to study her problems first and would have been at her best if linked to the Bear."
"Zack and Adam are both natural users of the Black Powers. Both possess a joyful spirit and seek to lighten their team's mood in battle. For Zack this is due to his own personality, but Adam does so because of his shy nature. The Mastodon, Lion and Frog represent the Black Power. Zack is the Lion, a playful and slightly wild spirit, whilst Adam is the more reserved Frog."
"Both Kimberly and Kat were Pink Spirits, the colour of a nursing spirit that is protective of all those around and pure of mind and body. The Pterodactyl, Firebird and Crane all represent the Pink Power. Whilst Kimberly is more likely to think and then act, Kat will study her opponents in the same was as Billy and Trini. That is why Kim excelled as the Firebird and Kat was able to slip into her role as the Crane."
"The White Ranger represents the healer," Zordon explained. "Although Tommy has held the White power, he did so only to access the powers of a Ranger. The White Rangers normally possess a pure spirit and are immune to spells. In addition they can heal their fellow Rangers and possess certain extra mental abilities. The White Powers are represented by the Raptor, Tiger and Falcon."
"Sam and Tommy are both Green Spirits. The Green Power is at the opposite end of the Light side," Zordon explained "Those with a Green Spirit constantly feel the pull of both sides of the Morphin Grid. That is why both Tommy and Sam were able to be place under Rita's spell. The Dragon, Minotaur and Panther represent the Green Power. Sam is Dragon, whereas Tommy is closer to the Light and is therefore the Panther."
Strangely enough Zordon remembered that in the ancient tales of the Power, the Basilisk had been the spirit that represented the Green power. The legends spoke of a battle between the Basilisk and the Minotaur. Eventually the Basilisk had slithered aside on the understanding that those the Minotaur though the Minotaur would represent the majority who held the Green powers at that level, there would always be a few best suited to the Basilisk. Then again the Pink power had at one time been represented by the Fairy and another spirit had once represent the Yellow power. Of course when the Masters had formalised things such nuances of the Power had been forgotten.
"Finally, there is the Purple Spirit. Purple is the colour of unity. Those with the Purple Powers are able to combine the various attributes of the other Rangers and are usually peaceful. They are also skilled warriors. Aisha is a Purple Spirit. The Stegosaurus, Spider and Hawk represent the purple powers."
Zordon looked at his two young students. He knew his lecture had raised many questions in their minds and he intended to answer them.
"I know you have some questions, so allow me to explain. There is a ninth colour, but it is only a legend. It is hidden deep within the Morphin Grid and has never been revealed. I know you will wonder why if there were nine colours there were only ever six Rangers at a time. As I have already mentioned, one of the colours is unknown, but the others are simply related to not having the coins. The Purple Coin was lost, the White Coin was mine to create and I did so only to allow Tommy to become a Ranger again. With the Green Coin in the hands of Rita and then sabotaged, I never got to create a Green Ranger."
~Now for the difficult bit,~ Zordon thought.
Jason had listened to everything Zordon had said. He had asked question when he felt they were necessary and now understood the inside workings of the Ranger Powers. Now he needed to know what Zordon really wanted. "Zordon, why are you telling us this?"
"Although the Grid Warrior transformation is the limit at the moment, there is no reason why you will not be able to exceed that level at a later date. First though, you must be a team," Zordon said. "Jason, Kimberly, Zack, Trini and Billy, you have proven yourselves in the past to be worthy to be Power Rangers; I ask you to resume those roles with immediate effect. Sam, you are already the Green Ranger. I ask you allow us to aid you in restoring your powers to where they should be." He turned to the newcomer to the group. "David, you are as worthy as Tommy to hold the powers of a Ranger. I realise you never wanted to be a Ranger, but ask you use your skills and potential to help us."
David looked at Zordon. Finally, he nodded.
"Thank you, Rangers. Observe the Viewing Globe." The image appeared, showing the eggs Kat had discovered. "These eggs are hyperlock containment units and are currently used to store the Elemental Beasts and must be destroyed. Unfortunately the Zeo Rangers are needed to protect the planet from other threats that will no-doubt distract them and the urgency of the matter means we cannot wait. The eight of you will need to work together to destroy them. Go and may the Power protect you."
"Let's go and find you some equipment," Jason offered as they walked off.
To Zordon this was a signal that things were about to change. The Power Rangers were a step closer to reaching their full potential. Now he just hoped that both teams would be able to complete their missions before time ran out. While he wanted to lie to his Rangers, he had not been entirely honest on a number of points. Most importantly was that despite what researcher had discovered, he felt with all of his being that the Morphin Grid was greater than a mere pool of energy, it was a universal energy force that permeated all existence. Furthermore he believed that all the powers the Rangers had used, be they Morphin, Zeo or Gem Coin, had come from this universal Morphin Grid. And while the colours and animals he had quoted had been correct, there was no reason not to have a Yellow Pterodactyl or a Red Lion. Anything was possible where the Power was concerned.
What Zordon had failed to notice was that during the last few hours, Billy had been moving from one position to the next, manufacturing strange devices and then teleporting between sections of Power Mountain.
It had taken weeks for Trey to recover from the injuries he had suffered and then search for Travis. It had then been a matter of waiting while the healing capsule had done its job; the loss of his family was a wound that would take far longer to heal. He knew the damage Terr had done, had been there every step of the way as his world had suffered.
By the time he had arrived, the threat was over and now the people of Triforia would need to set their affairs in order. The cannon would have to be investigated and all planets checked to ensure there were no other surprises hidden there. They would also need to change the laws to allow Trent to rule Triforia in his place.
The queen and his sisters had greeted him tearfully and taken him to his father's grave. It was with a heavy heart he realised that now he was technically the king. He wanted to stay and help his people, but Trey had responsibilities elsewhere. When communications with the rest of the Universe had been established, he had learnt of the new attack on Earth and the loss of their Zords. He needed to get back to help them before it was too late. Still, as he looked at his once beautiful kingdom and thought of how they would make it great once more, at least he was home.
To be Continued