Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in this fanfiction. They belong to their respective copyright owners. MMPR is owned by Disney, JLA characters belong to DC Comics. The original concept and version of this story belong to Carl Turner.
Power Rangers Timeline: Post Doomsday/ Pre-Mutiny JLA Timeline: This timeline runs closest to the current television series, except Hawk and Dove joined the team shortly after their formation. Should be considered Pre-Justice League Unlimited. Note: This is a fic set in a universe that is neither the Power Rangers universe nor an established DC universe.
Heroes and Legends
Based and adapted from the work of Carl Turner
The alarms in the Command Center sounded, bringing the formidable citadel to full alert as Alpha Five, the Command Center's controller shifted from one position to the next, trying to find the source of the problem.
"Zordon!" the android sputtered, "where are you? We've got real trouble now! A group of Putties..."
"Calm down Alpha, this is not the first time Rita has attacked although I had hoped the loss of Lokar's power would make her think twice before resuming her wicked ways."
In the past Zordon would have materialised inside the citadel, his spiritual body acting as a comfort to Alpha while he worked. But those days were gone thanks to the Green Ranger's attack on the Command Center. With the precious focus crystals destroyed, Zordon could only appear in the building's Plasma Tube; the feedback from the loss of one set of crystals had destroyed the others meaning Zordon was truly isolated within his timewarp.
"It's not Rita!" Alpha explained.
That caught Zordon's attention. If Rita wasn't in charge, who was?
"Alpha, identify the Putties' leader," he instructed.
"Ai-yi-yi, they're humans!" Alpha exclaimed. "The computer identifies them as common criminals known as the Cheetah, the Riddler, Two-Face, Brainiac, Felix Faust, Major Force, Doctor Light..."
"I believe you will find these are more than common criminals," Zordon warned. "I have been monitoring Earth transmissions for a while and those criminals are among some of the most dangerous people on this planet."
"But Zordon, how did they get control of the Putties?"
Zordon looked grimmer than usual. "I do not know Alpha, but I suspect that Rita has formed some sort of allegiance with these humans. This is a very dangerous situation; contact the Power Rangers immediately!"
"But the Rangers are on a field trip."
At that moment, Zack Taylor and Kimberly Hart were helping their tutor for the day move some books into her office. When the school had suggested the visit to Angel Grove College of Science and Dentistry, some of the students had grumbled. The Power Rangers though had embraced the opportunity, relishing the opportunity to do normal school activities rather than fighting evil space aliens.
"So moving here was only a short-term assignment, but I must admit it is a major change from Lockspur," Andrea Thomas explained to the two students.
"Man, I heard the science here totally jammed, but this year it sounds awesome!" Zack commented. He wasn't an academic like Billy, but he appreciated that science was more than difficult equations and could, with the right teacher, be fun.
"I think in a few years I will have to come back," Andrea commented. When she saw their confused looks, she explained. "I think your friend Billy has a real knack for this subject and I hope I get to the opportunity to have him in my class."
She was about to say something else when the two teens' alarms went off, signalling that the Power Rangers were needed.
"Sorry, but we better be going, Ms. Thomas. Prior commitment," Kimberly told her.
"Go ahead, I'll see you later," Andrea told them. With that, Zack and Kimberly raced down the hall into a deserted lobby. Andrea watched them go, she knew the signs all to well. In the past it might have been her hurrying away. But those days were over. "Good luck kids."
"We read you Zordon, go ahead," Kimberly whispered.
Zordon's voice boomed, "Rangers, teleport to the Command Center right away. This is vital."
Zack whispered, "We're on it, Zordon." Soon, he and Kimberly faded into black and pink light and shot out of the school.
Soon, the two Rangers were joined by Jason Lee Scott, Trini Kwan, and Billy Cranston.
Zordon spoke, "Rangers, behold the viewing globe. The world's worst villains have joined forces with Rita. Whatever they have planned, it can be no good for the world."
Trini spoke up, "We have to stop them now, but why have they come together like this?"
"Yeah, after Rita got done with Joker you'd have thought they'd tell her where to go."
"That's something we have to find out as soon as possible," Jason told her. "Guys, It's Morphin Time!"
In a flash, the Rangers teleported into downtown Angel Grove. The Cheetah and another villain, Felix Faust, were about to lay waste to the entire area.
In his guise as the Black Ranger, Zack bellowed, "Hey, grandpa! Drop it! Don't make this any harder on you than it already is!"
Faust sneered, "Well, if it isn't the next generation of Teen Titans! Sorry, kiddies, you may defeat stupid monsters, but we're too much for you to handle. You can't beat us. You've already lost!"
Red Ranger snorted, "Wanna bet, has-beens?"
The Black Ranger yelled, "Come on guys, let's put these geezers back in the 'Old Villains' Home, where they belong!"
"Oh really?" Cheetah snarled. "Putties, attack!"
The Rangers made short work of the creatures. The Yellow Ranger spoke up, "You're next, kitty! Behave, and you may even get a saucer of milk!"
"Sorry, kid, I prefer mice. Ranger mice, to be precise. Shall we, Felix, hmm," Cheetah growled as she and Faust attacked the Rangers. Unfortunately, the creeps had the Rangers at their mercy. "So long, kiddies," Cheetah started.
"Oh really? We don't think so!" a voice behind her called.
Cheetah and Faust turned to see who they were facing, and both said the same two words before getting a right to the jaw. "Oh no!"
Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl looked at the villains in disgust. "Picking on children, what's next, kicking kittens?" one of them asked.
The evil twosome had six words to speak in reply: "Who the hell invited you two?!"
"No one," Wonder Woman smiled. "We decided to crash. Oh, and speaking of crashes..." She promptly threw the Cheetah into a tree. Meanwhile, Hawkgirl showed Faust that there were some things his sorcery could not effect, such as her mace. Her blow to the chin shot him into the air like a cannon. Joining him, she grabbed his leg, and sent him screaming back into the ground, as Wonder Woman sent the Cheetah into orbit. The two fiends collided in midair and crashed to the ground, unconscious.
Wonder Woman walked over to the teens. "Are you all right?"
Jason was the first to recover from the attack. Looking at the two sleeping villains and glanced around, his eyes finally falling on Isis. "I know we didn't do that."
Her attention was drawn by the Pink Ranger asking, "What were those two creepozoids doing here?"
"They, along with several other super criminals, every one too dangerous to be allowed to run amuck, have joined forces with the one you call Rita Repulsa. Our sources told us they're planning to destroy several cities throughout the United States, causing chaos that Rita can use to her advantage."
"What do they get out of it?" Trini asked.
"Rita made contact with an intermediary, someone who could bankroll the whole operation. She offered him what he wanted and he promised them what they wanted. I don't think they realise what she has in mind, but f their plans succeed, the future of America, maybe the world, is in severe jeopardy."
"We need your help, Power Rangers. Will you join forces with us?" Wonder Woman asked.
The Rangers looked to their leader, knowing that he would make the decision. Jason for his part wished that he could talk to Zordon. Still he was the Red Ranger and the others looked to him for guidance. "You've got it," he said; the others nodded in agreement.
Hours later and the Rangers found themselves at the JLA's satellite headquarters, a facility that had somehow escaped Rita's attention during her attack on the planet. Now, after interfering in her plans, they would no longer evade her wrath.
Batman, one of the founding members of the organisation briefed the group on what he had discovered in his investigation. Unfortunately he was a hero the Rangers had had the misfortune to run into during the early days of their careers.
It was an ordinary day in Angel Grove. The Rangers were enjoying a brief respite from their seemingly never-ending battle with Rita Repulsa. Since the defeat of her Nasty Knight almost a week before, she had ceased her activities. The Rangers of course being teenagers had embraced the free time and were sitting around in the Youth Center discussing what they wanted to do.
"Hey Jase, check that out," Zack said, directing his friend's attention to the counter where Ernie was in deep discussion with two black suited men. "Feds, here?"
"I doubt Rita would attract the attention of the FBI," Billy commented. All the Rangers had been disappointed to learn that while a Galactic crime, conquering the world was not actually illegal.
"They're looking for someone though," Zack argued as he watched the two men handed Ernie a small flyer.
"Hey guys, guess what?" Kimberly said as she and Trini joined their friends, the latter picking up that something was worrying them. Kim waited for them to ask what she was referring to and then showed them a flyer, similar to the one the Feds as Zack had labelled them were pointing out to Ernie. "There's a circus in town," she announced, showing them the advert for Jolly Jack's Circus featuring a show that was guaranteed to be a killer.
"That's the same flyer they're showing Ernie," Zack pointed out.
"Maybe they're worried about a crime spree linked to the circus," Trini suggested after pondering the scenario.
Ernie chose that moment to look over in their direction. Hey guys, come here a minute," he called to them. The teens exchanged nervous glances and then shrugging, walked over to see what he wanted. "I need a favour from you five. This is Special Agent Johnson and... Special Agent Johnson."
"No relation," the older one remarked. Although his voice remained serious, it made the teens grin and removed some of the tension.
"FBI," the other one, a younger black man told them, showing his id badge as he did so.
"We need you guys to get the word out to your friends and families," the older one told them.
"About what?" Billy asked.
"Look guys, they can't tell you too much, but we need you to warn your friends to stay away from the circus for the next few days while it's being set up. We don't want anybody getting hurt."
"Okay, we'll spread the word," Jason agreed.
"Thanks guys, this is why they came here, to get me to warn as many people as possible."
"Okay Ernie," Trini said softly as the teens filed away.
"Did you guys buy any of that?" Zack asked as they returned to their seats.
"Negative," Billy answered. "A circus does not take days to set up. They were obviously worried about something and wanted to ensure the minimum chance of civilian injuries by warning people off."
"Yeah, but what are they really looking for?" Zack mused.
"Um you guys, I know this is really strange, but Jolly Jack's Circus was a front for the Joker in Gotham City," Kim pointed out. She saw the surprised looks on their faces and blushed slightly. "My Uncle Steve has had an unhealthy interest in super heroes for years. He has clippings on all of them; Batman, Green Lantern, Hornet... even the Power Rangers."
"So do you think they could be after Joker?" Trini asked, feeling a shiver as she said the name.
The Rangers had been fighting Rita Repulsa for several months now, but it seemed that no matter what scheme she managed, she had yet to kill anybody just for the fun of it. The Joker was another matter entirely, although not old enough to remember some of the atrocities he had committed, the Rangers could recall some of his more recent crimes; the Joker had a way of making headline news whenever he escaped.
"It would make sense," Jason answered.
"Can they even touch him now?" Zack asked. "I read somewhere he had diplomatic immunity."
"I don't think he's an ambassador anymore," Trini told him.
Their conversation came to a halt when Ernie walked over to their table, accompanied by a tall, handsome man who looked to be in his mid to late thirties.
"Thanks for helping out guys, we just need people to stay away and let the professionals do their work without being too obvious about it."
"Not a problem Ernie," Trini replied.
"Yeah we'll let our classes know that the site is unsafe at the moment and they should stay away."
"Maybe we should add in a warning about not going off with strange clowns," Zack half-joked. He didn't fail to notice the grimace that passed across Ernie's face. His companion's expression remained the same although his eyes did narrow slightly.
"That's a good idea Zack. Repeating the messages never hurts," Ernie said. "Anyway, I'd like you to meet a friend of mine who's in town for a few days. Jason, Billy, Trini, Zack, Kim, this is Bruce Wayne, an old friend of mine."
"The Bruce Wayne?" Zack said, "As in the owner of Wayne Industries? As in one of the richest men, if not the richest man, in the world?"
"That's right," Bruce said, smiling politely at the inquisitive teenager. "Nice to meet you all." He extended his hand and shook each of theirs.
"Care to join us, Mr. Wayne?" Jason asked politely.
"No thanks," Bruce said, "I just came in to see how Ernie's doing. The Wayne Foundation has some shares in the Youth Center as part of its Outreach Program. This is just the yearly check."
Kim looked over at the entrance and saw two young men standing there. "Hey," she said, "Who're they?" She motioned over to the young men.
"Oh, that's Timothy Drake," Bruce said, "My ward, in a manner of speaking. And that's Wesley Collin, his cousin. Wesley's father and I do business together, so I said I'd bring the boys out for the day. Hey, Tim, Wes." He waved to the young men, who came over. Both Kim and Trini gave them the once over unconsciously. Zack shook his head and tried to hide a grin as he thought about the teasing he could do later.
"Hi, Bruce," Tim said, "What's up?" He noticed the gang sitting at the table, his eyes drifting to Kim. "Hi, I'm Timothy Drake. People like to call me Tim."
"Hi, Tim," Jason said, "I'm Jason." They shook hands. Jason nodded to each of his friends in turn. "This is Kimberly, Trini, Billy, and Zack."
"And I'm Wesley Collins, although only my father and school friends insist on calling me that; I prefer to be called Wes." There seemed to be some bitterness in the preppy teen's tone and they saw Tim offer him a sympathetic look.
"I'm sure your father will come around eventually," Bruce promised the upset teen. "Just remember he's only doing his best."
Bruce didn't add that Wes's father's best efforts left a great deal to be desired. Still, his lifestyle didn't win him any father of the year awards.
"Well, We've got to be going," Bruce said, "I have to check over the paperwork for a business deal and the boys have a meeting with some old teachers of mine. It was nice meeting you all."
"You too, Mr. Wayne," Trini said politely.
"And, please, call me Bruce," Bruce said, "Being called Mr. Wayne makes me feel old." They all laughed. "I'll probably be by later, Ernie. You know me, can't keep my nose out of the Center's business."
The two boys said goodbye and followed the adult out of the building.
Ernie shook his head as he watched them go. "That is one of the most confusing men I've ever met. He takes no interest in the books or receipts, but notices the punching bag is a little worn. I bet you anything I'll walk in next week and find he's replaced all the equipment."
"Tim's so cute," Kim said wistfully. The guys shook their heads and as Ernie walked away, the conversation turned to other things.
Most people would have been shocked, surprised or even terrified if they were whisked away from what they were doing and teleported to the Moon. Then to be confronted by a wand-waving witch with a painfully loud voice would have caused them to question their sanity. Not the Joker though. He was not like most people because, as he had stated on more than one occasion, he was quite certifiably insane. Oh sure he was a genius when it came to chemistry and psychology, but the fact remained that he was easily a few cards short of a pack.
Currently he was laughing at Baboo, who had stupidly taken the criminal's hand only to discover the fifty thousand volt joy buzzer he kept there.
"Smile," he taunted Rita. "All fun and no play makes Rita a very dull witch. And I hate dull people; they remind me too much of Batboy."
"You hate him?" Rita queried, trying to learn more about the man she intended to use against the Rangers. Fear was not going to be enough; she could tell he didn't have the sense to be afraid of her. And a mind control spell required a shred of sanity to adhere to. All things considered, that left negotiation. "I can get rid of him for you."
That made Joker laugh even harder. "You, kill him?" He made a show of hiding his head in the crook of his arm while leaning on Goldar. The whole time he continued laughing although he was actually studying the alien for weak points. Then abruptly, the laughter stopped and mirth was replaced by anger. "Do you have any idea how difficult it is to kill the Bat? I've tried, many times. I even killed his little partner once, but he came back; I have no idea how that kid came back. Perhaps I didn't kill him enough. And you think that you can handle him?"
"You destroy the Power Rangers for me, and I'll destroy Batman," Rita promised.
"If these Power Rangers are such a threat," Joker asked, his voice edged by suspicion, "what make you think little old me could succeed where an all powerful witch like yourself failed?" He was enjoying the chance to mock Rita's failure even though somewhere in the back of his mind, a little voice was screaming at him to be cautious.
"Silence!" Goldar bellowed, brandishing his sword and positioning it so the edge was rest just under Joker's neck. A nervous laugh and slight shifting of the criminal's collar rewarded him.
"Easy there big guy," Joker protested, back-stepping. "Somebody might get hurt, namely me."
"Goldar, put him down," Rita ordered as the armoured monkey grabbed the Clown Prince of Crime around his throat.
"Yes Empress," Goldar responded immediately.
"Yes Empress," Joker mimicked in the voice he reserved for times when he wanted to agitate Batman by sounding like a child, earning himself a look from Goldar in the process. That made him cringe; one thing he had decided about Goldar was that the giant monkey was as mean as he was ugly.
"And you," Rita screeched, pointing her wand at Rita.
"Hey, be careful!" Joker complained. "You could have somebody's eye out with that."
"Be quiet," Rita snapped, ignoring his attempts at humour. "The Earth is mine and I will rule over it."
"Geez, like I haven't heard that before. You should meet some of my friends; you have so much in common. You all want to rule the Earth and you're all nuts!"
Rita sighed. Normally she would have disposed of such an annoying person by now, but she needed his services and that meant being just a little more lenient than usual. "If you don't stop, I'll dump you into space."
"Ew, sounds nasty," Joker said, adding a few forced chuckles. "Okay, okay, I'll behave," he promised, mopping his forehead with an oversized handkerchief.
"Good, now listen carefully," Rita replied, pleased that she had made some progress, "Normally your sort of filth is beneath me. I am evil and proud of it. You're an overrated criminal. You do however have quite the reputation and the Power Rangers require your -- special touch."
"And if I get rid of these Power Rangers, you'll put an end to Batman?" Joker asked, pressing the issue. The Power Rangers were little more than a nuisance as far as he was concerned. Rather like the Gotham police force or the army. Batman however was a real menace.
"Batman!" Rita screeched, somehow transforming the name into an insult. "Batman is nothing compared to my power. I could crush him as easily as I could destroy the planet."
"Yet five little teenagers bother you. Are they wearing Spandex? Pink looks kind of cute, maybe I could have some fun with her." He heard Goldar grunt an agreement while Rita rolled her eyes in disgust.
"The Power Rangers are more likely to survive my power than their planet is," she admitted. The Morphin energies that the teens used to transform protected them from a great deal of physical damage. She didn't know if they could withstand the outright destruction of their world, but if anything could it would be either cockroaches or the Power Rangers.
"By golly, I'll do it," the Joker said, flashing her his trademark grin. "I'll pulverize them, the varmints are in for the whooping of a lifetime."
"They're at the Youth Center right now. Strike them while they're in their civilian forms and you're sure to win." She looked at him critically. "Do you have to wear that stuff?"
"Nope," the Joker said, his grin spreading as he sensed her annoyance. "It's all part of the image. Plus it intimidates the public and annoys the hell out of Batman."
"Good," Rita said, satisfied. "Those brats will never know what hit them!" She pointed her wand at the Joker and teleported him back down to Earth, near the Youth Center.
"How will you dispose of Batman, Empress?" Goldar asked.
"Batman, who cares about Batman?" Rita replied. "Once Joker is done with the Rangers, I'll terminate both him and our bargain."
"Do you think he really can destroy the Rangers?" Finster asked.
Rita thought about it for a moment. In all likelihood the Rangers would succeed, but that would leave them open to attack. She looked down at the Earth and spotted Trini with her cousin Sylvia. A plan started to form.
"Finster, make me a monster!"
Finster bowed and hurried off to obey, pleased that his queen had not forsaken his sound monster making skills in favour of hired help.
"This should be interesting," Joker chuckled as he watched the Rangers from a safe distance.
Oh Rita had been very precise when giving him orders. And he had been equally thorough in ignoring them. He was the Joker; he didn't work to other people's agendas. He was doing this more out of boredom than in hope that Rita would destroy Batman. Personally if she did kill him, she would not survive long to gloat about it.
He reached into his ridiculously deep pockets and pulled out a few of his special sponges, the ones he had been planning to use on the Boy Blunder the next time they met. ~Maybe they'll work where a crowbar and a bomb failed.~ He placed the small sponges under a nearby fire hydrant and walked away. He had always tried to be dramatic.
He pulled a small mechanical dog from his pocket and hummed a small tune as he cheerfully wound it up and set it on the sidewalk. When it reached the hydrant, it cocked its rear leg and exploded, breaking the pipe and releasing a torrent of water. "What did you expect," he asked a passing couple who started running to avoid the shower, "Tiddling Tiddles?"
As the sponges he had placed there earlier were hit by water, they started to expand, inflating to monstrous size.
"If this doesn't get their attention," Joker mused as he pulled out a remote control, "I'll have to start blowing things up."
When he pressed the button on the remote, the foam started moving forward in a slow and uncoordinated fashion. It wasn't a pretty sight, but the screams from the people told him he had the desired effect. Now he just needed to wait for the guests of honour to show up.
"We interrupt this program for an important announcement..." Trini frowned when she heard the announcement. For one thing, interruptions to regular broadcasts in Angel Grove had recently involved Rita and her crew. More importantly, she had yet to see a newscaster wearing a red and black harlequin outfit. "Giant monsters sighted in Angel Grove and if the Power Rangers don't get their butts there this instant, Mister Jay has promised some special fireworks."
"Guys," she called, turning to where the others were sparring or in Kim's case, exercising.
"What's up Trini?" Zack asked as the others joined their friend.
She gestured to the television as the camera turned to show the inflatable monsters terrorising Angel Grove.
"Oh man," Zack moaned. "Does he think we're that stupid?"
"We don't have a choice," Jason reminded him.
"She said if we didn't show, Joker will cause an explosion," Trini told them.
"We cannot use our powers against a human," Kimberly said.
"I don't think Zordon would condone our forbearance if it costs others their lives," Billy pointed out.
"We'll face the consequences later," Jason decided, leading the teens over to the alcove they used to teleport. "It's Morphin Time!"
At the Command Center, the situation had not gone unnoticed. Nor had the Rangers' response to the threat, which caused Zordon problems he could have done without. For ten thousand years he had watched the race of man evolve and grow. He had seen their proudest achievements and witnessed the terrible acts they had committed. It had left him with a great sense of confidence in the humans of Earth.
But, there had still been doubts about whether they could handle the responsibilities of becoming Power Rangers. The program Alpha had used to make the selection had been extremely complex, searching many candidates for a variety of key attributes. In the end he was certain he had made the right selection. Still, that didn't make it any easier to trust them with the responsibility. Even the most noble of races had been tempted to misuse their ability.
So unable to decide between his hope that the Rangers would not disappoint him and his fear that they would, Zordon had cheated. The powers he had given them did come through the Morphin Grid, but not directly. And while the Power Coins were genuine and had belonged to a previous team that had been the basis for his judgement of the current team, the Power Morphers had been manufactured by Alpha and linked into the Command Center's computer core. Zordon had been able to use the computer to regulate the team's power and could in an emergency strip them of their powers at short notice. In effect he had created a localised Morphin Grid.
At least that had been the original idea. Zordon had hoped that while granting the humans the status of heroes, he would be able to maintain control of both their arsenal and their powers. His plan had failed; he had underestimated the link that all Rangers developed with the Power and its way of creating new conduits for more efficient usage. First Billy had somehow discovered a way to tap into the Morphin Grid to allow teleportation. Communication had soon followed. Now the Rangers were capable of contacting him at their convenience and not when he summoned them.
It made sense when he thought about it though. Billy was a natural choice for Blue Ranger. He was intellectually gifted in his own right and the Power had helped apply discipline to those creative thoughts. And now it seemed Jason - without doubt a born leader and a natural Red Ranger - was starting to feel comfortable in his role as commander. To the extent it seemed, where Jason had taken to acting without prompting from Zordon.
~They are growing beyond my control,~ he thought solemnly.
With any other team he would have been pleased that they felt confident enough to do so, but in this case the nagging doubts remained. He wanted to believe that Jason had chosen to morph because of the ultimatum, not just because there had been a threat to the city. He had given the Rangers their powers to fight Rita, nothing more.
"Ai-yi-yi, the Joker registers the residual effects of Rita's magic," Alpha reported.
That made Zordon feel better.
"Very well Alpha, continue to monitor the situation but do not interfere."
"Ai-yi-yi-yi, yes Zordon."
When the Power Rangers had arrived, the sponges had been easily dealt with. A few blasts from their Blade Blasters had been enough to disintegrate the waterlogged foam.
"Rangers!" Joker exclaimed, flashing them his trademark grin as he stepped over the body of a police officer that had tried to arrest him. "Such an honour, really. Costumed freaks are ten-a-dozen, you to see you so young... it makes me cry." He blew his nose in his oversized handkerchief.
"What do you want Joker?" Jason demanded.
"Did Batman scare you out of Gotham?" Kim asked.
"Oh you're a feisty one, Pink Ranger. You remind me of Batgirl... before I put a bullet in her back and turned her into an even more worthless cripple." His eyes glazed over as he remembered how much fun that had been, right up until Batman had poked his nose in and used the Joker as a punching bag. "Forgive me," he said as he tried to reach for the Pink Ranger's hand, only for Black Ranger to block him. "Such a beautiful lady. Please, accept this rose as a sign of our love. Beauty and his beast so to speak."
"Look out!" Billy cried as a jet of toxic foam sprayed from the flower.
"What is that?" Joker asked, genuinely confused. He had expected a fine spray of acid, which would have eaten through their suits in a matter of minutes. Instead he managed to make Yellow Ranger spark a little.
"You're going down Joker," Jason warned.
"It's not over until the fat lady sings," Joker quipped, tossing the Red Ranger and oversized doll dressed like a fat opera singer. The Red Ranger tried to throw it away, only to find it stuck to his hand. And during that time the Joker had made a show of putting his fingers in his ears.
"Guys, cover your ears!" Billy warned as the doll started singing, its high-pitched vocals deafening the Rangers and causing the buildings around them to spray glass into the street.
"Now that wasn't supposed to happen," Joker commented. He was starting to get nervous. That doll was supposed to explode, not sing.
"Zordon, isolate our helmets' audio pathways," Billy groaned as he clutched at his helmet.
Zordon must have done so for the next moment, the noise had ceased. But Joker was no longer alone. Putties wearing clown faces had joined him.
"Get them boys!" Joker ordered, vowing to kill Rita the next time he met her.
The Putties did as they were ordered, charging the Rangers with the usual success. It did give Joker time to sneak up behind Red Ranger and pull out his oversize mallet. He swiped at the Ranger only to miss; Jason had sensed him sneaking up from behind and ducked.
"You can't fight me Ranger," Joker gloated. "I'm powerless."
"He has a point," Black Ranger commented.
Red Ranger was silent or so it seemed. In fact he was using his helmet's communicator to talk to Zordon, making arrangements.
"Zack," Jason called, passing his Power Coin to the black clad hero. His costume flicked, but remained in place. "Problem solved. Now we can fight without powers."
"Sounds good to me, Blunder Ranger," Joker remarked, lifting the mallet for another try.
Jason was young and in excellent shape. He was also trained in karate. Unfortunately, that still placed him at a disadvantage against an enemy who was clearly armed and by reputation extremely dangerous. He was playing a dangerous game and he knew it. Rita had railroaded them into a no win situation; fight without powers or run away situation and Jason didn't like it.
"What's the matter boy?" Joker asked as Jason narrowly blocked one of the blows. "Feeling hammered?"
Jason didn't reply, his eyes were locked on the mallet. When it was in just the right position, he grabbed it and twisted his body to throw Joker across his back. Now he held the weapon.
"Hey, no fair!" Joker protested before a sinister grin crossed his face. He reached into his coat and pulled out a gun. "Oh well, guess we'll have to play a new game."
He never had a chance to fire the weapon. Had the beam from Zack's Blade Blaster not superheated the weapon, causing Joker to yell, caused him to drop the gun, then the sharp tip of a Batarang thrown from the shadows did.
"Oh no, not you two. You're supposed to be in Gotham!" He protested as first Batman and then Robin made an appearance, the latter emerging from just behind Billy. "You couldn't stay away could you, followed little old me all the way to Angel Grove."
Batman grabbed the menacing jester before he could draw any more weapons, lifting him by the throat only to dump him violently on the bonnet of a nearby car.
"Chill out Batsy, you wouldn't want to give these kids a bad impression, would you?"
The response was a firm right to the side of the jaw that he responded to by blowing a raspberry.
"There's some Feds I know who really want to speak to you," Robin commented as Batman slapped a pair of heavy manacles on the criminal's wrists.
Before they could take him away though he vanished in a stream of teleportation.
"Oh man, I guess Rita did send him after all," Zack commented.
"Affirmative," Billy added.
"What were you kids thinking, taking on the Joker?" Batman demanded, turning to Jason.
"We were thinking that if we didn't turn up he was going to destroy the city," Kimberly replied.
"He could have killed you, all of you," Batman pointed out.
"We know," Yellow Ranger told him. Her voice was quiet, but her stance showed that she would not be intimidated.
"Where'd he go?" Robin asked, eager to move the conversation back onto important matters.
"If Rita was involved, probably the Moon," Billy answered. The look Batman gave him suggested that he found that a very unlikely answer.
"You're more of a fool than Goldar!" Rita screeched, poking Joker with the end of her wand.
"You never told me Batman would be there," joker fired back. "I had the little punk right where I wanted him until Batdork showed up."
"How was I supposed to know?" Rita demanded. "You said he was in Gotham City."
"That's it, I'm gone," Joker said, "maybe I can get home before the Dynamic Duo and get a head start on them."
"We had a deal!" Rita protested.
"Forget it. If those Ranger didn't kill me, your voice would! I'll take my chances with Batman and Robin; they're more fun to play with anyway. Maybe I can kill the Boy Blunder a second time. Take this, as a memento of little old me." He threw Rita a box.
"You shouldn't have," Rita said sarcastically.
"Now, if you'd be kind enough to teleport me back to Gotham," Joker said, giving her a maniac's idea of what puppy eyes were supposed to be.
Rita raised her staff and did as the Joker requested, teleported him to Gotham City. She laughed as he discovered that while he was definitely in the city, Rita had teleported him five thousand feet above the ground. Then, she opened up the box. Zordon was detecting the explosion for the next few hours, during which time the Dynamic Duo were flying home.
Batman waited until he had the Rangers' attention. He remembered his encounter with the heroes of Angel Grove, and he remembered his first opinion of their capabilities. He had been surprised when he had heard that they had succeeded and had to admit that when it came to fighting demons they were more than capable. Against the twisted evil of the human mind though he wasn't so sure. There was a good chance that the teenagers would soon find themselves out of their depth, but he hoped for their sakes they were as strong as their costumes made them appear.
"None of those criminals we have seen so far have the financial resources, brainpower or the leadership to pull this off. And we know they're not acting alone. Fortunately some of them have never heard of covering their tracks and we managed to track the money back to its source. Five guesses who is funding this whole cataclysmic endeavour?"
The Flash mused, "That of course being..."
"Lex Luthor. He is the only one with the money to pull something like this off, and pull together this type of talent. Needless to say, he's the brains behind this," Batman told everyone.
The Rangers were understandably puzzled. In their minds Lex Luthor was a humanitarian, a benefactor to various organizations that were in place solely to help people. There again they knew that appearances and impressions were not always true. And once Batman showed them the evidence, it was clear that Lex had been fooling people for a long time.
"But why would Luthor get involved?" Zack asked. He saw the looks on the JLA's faces and quickly explained his question. "I mean crime I can understand, but why let somebody take over the world. What does he gain?"
"He probably has some double cross in mind," Batman countered. "At the least he has buildings with hefty insurance figures in each of the targeted cities. So long as the plans get to the destruction stage, he stands to make a fortune."
Hawkgirl then told everyone, "We have less than 29 hours to stop this plan from becoming a reality."
"If we're going to be truly effective in stopping their plans, we'd best split into smaller teams," Wonder Woman told them. "The Pink Ranger and J'Onn are with me in Boston."
"Red Ranger, you're with myself and Hawkgirl in Gotham," Batman told him.
"Yellow Ranger, you come with me and that geek over there," Hawk said, pointing at his brother Dove.
"Flash, Black Ranger, and myself will take Angel Grove," John Stewart, the current Green Lantern told them plainly.
"That leaves Metropolis for the Blue Ranger and myself," Steel mused. "Let's get going kid."
Boston had a history of important events. The Boston Tea Party was remembered as one of the key events in America's road to independence. More recently though it had been a city that Wonder Woman had called home for the first six years of her life in man's world.
Now after moving away, she had returned along with her companions to save the city from the perilous duo of Poison Ivy and Bloodsport.
"Ooooooh, where do we start, what do we do first?" Poison Ivy snickered.
"How about 'Surrender peacefully,' how's that for an option?"
The criminals turned, surprised that they had been interrupted. Surprise turned to annoyance when they noticed that it was Wonder Woman accompanied by the Martian Manhunter and another hero. ~This must be one of those Power Rangers.~
"Hello, Ivy. Anything to say before we put an end to this?" Wonder Woman asked. "You know you can give it up and go back to jail, or we can knock you two into next week?"
Poison Ivy growled, "You really know how to kill a party, don't you Wonder Woman?"
Bloodsport shouted, "Let's just blast them to hell! All three of them!"
He started blasting away with the mega-cannon he had transported from somewhere. Wonder was ready for such a move. She promptly deflected each shot right back at him with her bracelets while Pink Ranger using her Power Bow, aimed at the creep's weapon and launched an arrow. Bloodsport promptly dropped the death-dealing item. Another shot destroyed his transportation belt, taking away any weapon access he had. She paused before firing a third time, allowing him to notice where her arrow was pointing. He wisely chose to surrender.
Meanwhile J'Onn was having problems with Poison Ivy.
"Hey there tall, green and handsome," the seductive killer said as she blew some of her pheromone dust into the alien's face. "How about you and me finish off these pesky heroes and head back to my garden for a little -- weeding?"
J'Onn was an alien, but he was also male. And while the dust did not have its usual effect on him, he was torn between obeying her wishes and doing nothing. With a huge effort he turned himself intangible, allowing the pheromones to leave his system.
Kimberly meanwhile had left Wonder Woman to deal with a now very compliant Bloodsport while she went to help J'Onn. As the Martian struggled to shake the temptress's influence, Kimberly moved in to subdue her. She skilfully avoided any and all of Poison Ivy's attacks, be they chemical, or whatever, simply by ducking and avoiding the botanical vixen until the time was right. Then she grabbed her by the wrist and slammed into the base of the Paul Revere statue, revealing the hefty mass of plastique.
"Wonder Woman, J'Onn, the bomb's here!" Pink Ranger shouted.
In seconds, the amazing Amazon was there, wrapping the statue with her magic lasso. Then, with the use of her super strength, she hurled it up into the stratosphere. There it exploded safely where it could harm no one. A later search would reveal the real statute, hidden in a storage chamber, with so many items covering it, no one would be the wiser.
"All right, we did it!" Kimberly cheered.
Wonder Woman was more cautious. "Let's hope our friends are just as successful in their efforts."
Gotham was, and always had been, a city that had seen better days. Caught in the grip of constant crime, violence, terror and despair, it was no wonder that hope was a truly rare commodity in the city. It is this reason that only Gotham City could have given birth to the Batman. Now he, Hawkgirl, and the Red Ranger, had to find the Scarecrow, the Riddler, and sixty canisters of deadly fear gas.
"I never thought I'd actually be in here," Jason marvelled. Compared to the Command Center it was nothing special, but to actually stand in the fabled Batcave... the novelty didn't last long.
"Knowing the Scarecrow's insane desire to put everyone in a state of total fear, it's most likely they would want to disperse the gas at an extremely large gathering, but where? That's what we have to find out, and soon," Batman spoke.
"Plenty of targets," Hawkgirl observed, flicking through a list. Let's see... Rock concert... Electronics and computer exhibit... boat show... football game..., it could be anywhere?"
"Wait a minute, isn't there supposed to be a major Martial Arts exhibition here in Gotham today?" Jason asked. Batman nodded but Hawkgirl looked puzzled. "If Rita's behind this then that's where they'll target."
Batman nodded, "Every martial arts school in the country will be sending representatives, plus some of the more obscure masters are invited."
"That has to be it!" Jason announced with certainty.
Hawkgirl accessed the internet, bringing up the advert for the exhibition. "We need to get to -- got it, Mazzuchelli Auditorium!"
Chicago had many names although the Windy City was perhaps the one most used. Although not as bad as Gotham, Chicago was still loaded with crime, bigotry, and strife. The city gained two guardian angels by the names of Hawk and Dove, two argumentative brothers who somehow managed to work together long enough to protect the citizens that looked up to them. Today, they had extra help in the form of the Yellow Ranger against the threat of Major Force and Two-Face.
"Sounds like they're arguing," Hawk said. "Two of them want to blow the city up, the other is demanding forty-five thousand dollars in unmarked bills not to blow it up."
"Yeah, but there's only two of them in there," Dove pointed out.
"They're dreaming. No way are we going to pay that," Hawk said. "Let's just go in there and kick some butt."
"You know we don't always have to go in there guns blazing," Dove argued. "Maybe if we offer them the chance they'll surrender."
Hawk looked at the Yellow Ranger. "Can you stand this guy, all he talks about is peace?"
"Yeah well that's better than..."
"That's enough," Trini said. She'd realised soon after meeting them that dealing with Hawk and Dove was like dealing with argumentative toddlers. "We need to stop them."
"Right!" Hawk agreed, obviously taking her interruption as support for his argument. "I'll go high, you go low and tackle those Putties." He looked at his brother. "You, see if you can keep out of trouble long enough to find that bomb."
As Hawk shot into the sky, Dove gave Trini an apologetic look before heading after the Putties, leaving her with Two-face.
The dual demon taunted, "Looky, looky. A little lady come to play. Let's put the dear woman out of her misery, shall we?" He flipped a coin and while he was awaiting the outcome, Yellow Ranger attacked.
Dove meanwhile was trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Putties, all the time skilfully avoiding their blows with his nonaggressive fighting style.
Yellow Ranger caught Two-face with a flying kick to the jaw, causing him to whirl around. She tied him to a chair securely, then went to check the hostages, to make sure they were okay.
Hawk meanwhile, soared down onto Major Force on the roof of City Hall. He swooped down low and took out the Putties who were unprepared for such a direct assault, leaving only six left to aid Major Force. The villain whirled to discover Hawk swooping down upon him, but he really couldn't do anything; It was too late for him.
"Yeah, we did it!" he yelled. Then he sobered. "Speak to me little brother, how did you do?"
"All accounted for," came the reply as Dove flew Trini up to join him.
Fifteen minutes after discovering the location of the attack, they had arrived at the auditorium.
"Spread out, and most importantly, find those canisters!" Batman instructed.
Jason teleported into the rafters above the seating area, and discovered the Riddler attaching twenty canisters to the ventilation systems.
"Put you hands up, NOW!" Red Ranger yelled.
"So, Red Ranger, is it? I've got one for you. Why are you like a baby carp?" Jason was confused. "Because you're small fry!" He swung his cane at the Ranger, who fortunately ducked out of the way and used his Power Sword to cut the pipes connecting the canisters to the ventilation system.
"Hey, Riddler, I've got one for you," Red Ranger said as he moved to block the criminal's escape. "What's the difference between a lawyer and you?"
Riddler asked, "What?"
Jason slugged him in the jaw, straining to prevent too much power from entering the blow. Regardless, he succeeded in knocking the criminal out.
"A lawyer goes before the bars of Justice... and you're going behind them."
Meanwhile, Hawkgirl encountered several Putties at the ticket booth, along with twenty more canisters of fear gas. After kicking her way into the booth, she decided to see what effect her mace had on the foot-soldiers. She waded into the putties, mace swinging, taking them out with ease, then simply disconnected the canisters.
Batman found the remaining twenty canisters under the stage. After disconnecting the valves, he confronted the Scarecrow, who chose to taunt the Dark Knight instead of escaping.
"A little present from me to you, Batman!" he sneered, tossing a plastic skull at him.
As always, Batman was prepared, snatching the skull out of the air and throwing it back at the Master of Fear. Emitting fumes, the skull had soon enveloped Scarecrow, who began to hallucinate images of bats, and tyrannosauruses, ripping him apart. The images ended when Batman knocked him out.
"That's my present, Scarecrow!"
Hawkgirl and Jason joined him with news that they had stopped their foes, and that Wonder Woman, J'Onn, and Kimberly had been successful with their mission. Batman said, "That's good to know. I wonder how the others are doing."
If Gotham was a city of crime, struggle and general unhappiness, then Angel Grove was it's exact opposite. Crime was low, the economy was strong and the only kind of trouble it usually received came in the form of Rita Repulsa. Of course to the citizens, that was more than enough.
Today wasn't much different except that Rita had attacked while the other Rangers were away. Luckily with Flash and Green Lantern as his allies, Zack was more than confident that he could handle Doctor Light, even if he was aided by a few Putties.
"Man, we need to deal with Doctor Light," Zack said.
"Leave that to me," Flash said, winking before taking off toward the criminal.
As Light continued to darken the city, potentially disabling the Rangers' Megazord, Flash burst through the door, scattering Putties in his wake.
Doctor Light was furious. "So, the little super hero wants to try to stop me, does he? Well..." But before he could do anything, Flash sped out of his vision field, changed direction and snatched his gadget-laden belt, returning Angel Grove's light and power in the processes.
"Hi!" Flash snorted and gave him a quick right hook. Quickly recovering, and having no stomach for physical confrontation, the cowardly crook began to run, crying for mercy. Flash simply ran in front of him and yelled, "BOO!"
Some distance away, the Putties were being taken out one by one.
"No... don't worry about the Rangers... the other one" Light bellowed as Green Lantern swiped the foot-soldiers aside with a large mallet he had created with his ring.
"Rita, I need help!" Light cried.
He was answered by the appearance of Rita's wand and the power to grow.
"Oh man, we don't have the other Rangers to make the Megazord," Zack groaned.
"Megazord eh," John answered. "Hey Flash, I have a job for you."
Using his ring, John summoned a green replica of the Megazord with a ramp extending from its back to the ground and directed it to fight the henchman. While this was happening Zack summoned his Cosmic Cannon and after Flash took his hand, the pair sped up the ramp towards the giant crook's head. Bursting through the chest of the green Megazord, Zack fired the Cosmic Cannon at his chest. The villain fell and having decided enough was enough, surrendered.
Metropolis was thriving in any and all aspects. Although it too had its fair share of crime, unrest, poverty, and other social ills, these were significantly lower than those of Gotham City, due to the efforts of her number citizens and a little help from heroes like Steel. Today, Superman, as some in the media had tried to call him, and the Blue Ranger were there to stop Mr Freeze from putting the downtown business district on ice, and put a permanent end to the architect of the entire scheme, Lex Luthor.
"So far, I've stopped at least ten executives from jumping to their deaths, but how in the..." He noticed Doctor Mesmerio talking to one executive. "Of course, mind control."
Steel frowned; Luthor's plan was diabolical. Doctor Mesmerio would command the executives to give Luthor power of attorney, giving him control of their companies, then they would leap to their deaths. And the entire scheme would be concealed by the flash freezing of the area.
"We're putting a stop to this, right now!" Steel shouted. He used the strength granted by his armour to bind the diminutive hypnotist before he returned to the task at hand.
Steel went to deal with Mister Freeze while Billy was left with Copperhead and the Shade, both of whom Luthor had hired as bodyguards.
"I don't understand Freeze," Steel said as he used his heat emitting Thermo Goggles against the wicked snowman's icy touch. "Why are you involved in all this?"
"Luthor promised me the biggest diamond in the world to help him," Freeze answered. "My research requires a lot of ice to keep it going."
It was a sad state of affairs. Like Two-face, Mister Freeze was as much a victim as he was a criminal. In this case the crimes he committed were out of love and not from an illness of the mind. But it didn't really matter since his crimes were about to cost hundreds of lives.
With a ferocity rarely seen, Steel tore the ice man's suit apart, leaving him exposed to the atmosphere. As a show of mercy, Steel used a few of his Rapid Freeze sprays, which he had been developing to assist plumbers, to keep the criminal stable until he could be shifted back to Gotham Prison. He turned around to find that Billy had dealt with his adversaries; it was time to get Luthor.
Lex Luthor knew that his plan had failed. He was a realist and had always assumed that there was a likelihood the criminals he had gathered would fail. But there were other schemes and the Just-sick League could not be everywhere; next time, no one would stop his schemes.
"Wait, you two can't go in there..." he heard his secretary shout.
Seconds later the heavy, oaken doors were broken down and Steel and Billy strode into his office. Lex made sure he had a weapon close by, just in case, but outwardly gave no indication that their arrival had concerned him.
"Most people knock," he remarked.
"We've finally got you, Luthor! You're going to be in jail for a long time," Steel announced.
"For what exactly?" Lex asked.
"Conspiracy to destroy several cities across the United States, for starters."
"I'm sorry, there must be some confusion," Lex answered. "I'm sure if there was such a conspiracy that I have no part in it."
"We have funding records Luthor, transfers from your accounts to dummy corporations..."
"Lex Corp is always on the lookout for new investments, if those businesses are illegal... I'll need to speak to my lawyers forthwith. In future they'll have to double-check all investments; you can't trust anybody these days."
"That's not all, we have your co-conspirators..."
"You expect the police to take the word of a few thugs over that of a legitimate businessman?" Luthor asked. "Who are these felons?" He smiled as Steel listed off the captured criminals. "All known super criminals known for among other things lying to the courts. Their word will never be enough to convict me."
"By the time we're done we'll have much more than that," Billy said. "Computer records for example."
"Hold it there young man," Luthor warned as the Blue Ranger moved toward the terminal. "Despite his belief to the contrary, Steel here is not a police officer and nor are you. I am not under arrest and you have no right to access any of my personal files. Now, if there is nothing else, I suggest you gentlemen leave."
Steel turned and stalked out of the office, followed by the Blue Ranger. Lex smiled to himself as he watched them go. His accomplices had been well paid and would not talk willingly, and now they were in police custody the Justice League would not be allowed access to them. As he watched the two heroes walk away, he couldn't resist a parting shot.
"Oh and Steel, where do I send the bill for that door?"
Rita Repulsa was not a happy witch. Lokar was gone and that meant a great deal of her power had been taken away. Worse still she had exhausted the power she had stolen from the former Green Ranger. So when the human Luthor had approached her, she had welcomed the opportunity to have someone else take care of the Rangers in return for a few Putties. His scheme had been doomed to failure from the start, but that didn't mean she couldn't get some measure of revenge.
She looked at the JLA's satellite and laughed; they couldn't reach her on the Moon, but soon they would remember the name Rita Repulsa.
One week later, the Power Rangers were teleported to the JLA satellite.
"We never gave you a tour last time you were here," J'Onn said. "We figured now would be a good time to show you around; you'll need to be able to navigate around here, especially if you accept our invitation."
Zack as the first to react, "Invitation? For what... Oh my god, you're joking, right?"
"I never Joke," Batman replied.
"Yeah Batman has no sense of humour," Flash remarked, earning him a death glare.
"What Batman and Flash meant to say is we would like you to join the JLA," Green Lantern said.
Hawk asked, "Well, how about it?"
"Jammin! This is a major groove!" Zack said.
"This is so totally awesome!" Kimberly cheered.
"Count me in!" Trini said quietly.
"All right, I'm in!" Jason agreed.
"This is most prodigious!" Billy chimed.
"Zordon told us of the three rules that you must follow as Power Rangers. We'll uphold these as well, and provide all of you access to any and all JLA files as well. Your primary responsibility will remain Rita. The League isn't really suited for her attacks. Kimberly, Zack, Trini, Jason and Billy, welcome to the JLA!" Steel smiled.
As the other Rangers got accustomed to the headquarters, Jason was deep in thought about this new situation they were in. Were they ready for this, could they handle such a responsibility? ~We will be,~ he thought. ~It might take a while, but we'll be an asset to the Justice League.~