Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. They belong to their respective copyright owner, which at the time of writing is Saban Brands.
He could tell what they were thinking. Their minds were open pages for him to peruse at will. He had been observing them for months, watching the arguments and the frustration build. Soon he planned to interfere and to give them a purpose. But not quite yet; he was content to observe for a while longer.
He had to admit some surprise that one of the greatest fighting forces ever created had turned out to be more successful in the world of business than it had in world domination. Multiple businesses started as fronts for military operations had continued to become successful enterprises. He could see the power of the Earth's magic in effect, taking the dark plans and eroding the evil, channelling their efforts into less aggressive activities. From the formation of the INET Corporation, the evil replicas of the Power Rangers known collectively as the Psycho Rangers had lost their edge. Fortunately the world of business could be just as evil as the world of warfare.
And so he turned his gaze to the being that summed up the majority of the Psycho Rangers problems: Biilly.
Biilly was frustrated. He was Minion's chosen successor, the Blue Psycho Ranger. He had led his fellow replicas on a quest that had stabilised their degrading bodies and had even found them new powers using forbidden magic. But despite all he had accomplished Biilly had found himself incapable of forming and keeping to a plot. The ideas came thick and fast. Brilliant ideas that he grasped enthusiastically and promised he would put into action. And that was when the promised arose, for try as he might his schemes always seemed to fail to materialise. There was always some niggling detail he found he had overlooked that caused him to reject the scheme, or some other idea that made him change his mind.
As much as he was prone to blame the others for distracting him, Biilly had to admit the failure to turn his plans into reality was his failure. There was a mental block that prevented him from creating the perfect plot, which he knew he was capable of concocting. And he was aware that as he grew more and more frustrated, his grip on his position as leader weakened. There were some who were more than willing to just throw themselves into battle, any battle, to end the months of tedium that had followed their return.
Oh some like Aiisha had found a hobby. Aiisha had found herself studying the works of Count Dregon and had built a sizeable collection of mutated animals. They would have made perfect warriors if only Biilly had agreed to commit them to battle. Triini had taken on the role of Biilly's deputy and it was through her quiet administration that INET had grown so huge in just a few months. Of course the fact she had used the other Psycho Rangers to undermine rival organisations before buying them had helped a great deal. And with a new product due for release that would leave millions exposed to the Psycho Rangers' power, she believed they were heading in the right direction.
Others like Adaam were either patient enough to wait for him to announce his grand scheme, or were too easily distracted to care. He knew that Roocky had been responsible for the kidnapping and torture of random people. Exactly how Roocky broke them was unclear, but even those that did escape his little games alive were far from intact. Zaack and Taanya meanwhile seemed to find each other a constant distraction.
And then there was Jaason, or Jacen, or Brutus, or whatever he had chosen for his new name. The replica of Jason Lee-Scott was the bane on Biilly's existence, constantly trying to usurp his leader's place. It annoyed Biilly that Jaason seemed incapable of learning his place or at least changing his approach. Jaason's challenges were constant and direct without a hint of subtlety. He was too disliked to find allies to help him and too stubborn to rely on cunning. The last three challenges had seen Jaason taken down not by Biilly, but those that did not want Jaason as their leader.
The problem was that the longer Biilly remained all talk and no action, the more chance there was of a challenge from a more capable opponent. He was well aware that Kiimberly considered herself a contender for his leadership. And unlike Jaason, she was cunning enough to find a way to unite the others. So far she was willing to wait, but for how much longer? Biilly knew he needed to think of a plot and stick with it regardless of anything else that happened.
What Biilly failed to understand was that his lack of ability was a part of his design. Minion had designed Biilly to be the leader of his replicas, but he had taken steps to ensure that Biilly would always remain loyal to Minion. And so he had created weaknesses in each of the replicas, preventing them from functioning efficiently under their own leadership. Biilly was too indecisive and a perfectionist, Jaason was too much of a thuggish bully to command the loyalty of his forces, and Adaam while a strategic genius, was to shy to offer his advice let alone take a leading role. The male Rangers were too competitive to work with each other and the females were too suspicious of each other to form alliances. What it meant was that without somebody to give them a sense of direction, as a unit they were doomed to accomplish nothing.
Had Biilly known what Minion had done, he might have been able to correct the problem by removing the various spells that prohibited the Psycho Rangers from reaching their potential. Had he been aware there was a chance he could have see the other solutions such as finding a figurehead to lead them, bypassing the effects of the enchantments. Or he could have disbanded the group, allowing each individual to excel at what they did best. There was a great possibility that had he done so the Psycho Rangers would have worked together without the flaws they had previous displayed.
But he didn't know because Minion had never told him. And so he continued vainly trying to plan the end of the Power Rangers and the conquest of the planet Earth as the Psycho Rangers' business empire grew.
~Oh Biilly, if only that incredible mind of yours wasn't so blinkered by Minion's programming,~ he thought.
Each of the Psycho Rangers had been implanted with a flaw that prevented them from working with each other or alone, unless they were acting under the orders of another. They were lucky that Minion had never specified that they had to be following his orders or the whole group would have simply wasted away. And it was made worse because the flaws were linked directly to what Minion had considered their greatest strengths. Exactly why those flaws seemed less severe for the likes of Triini and Aiisha was unclear, but it seemed that Roocky at least had adapted to his personality problems instead of trying to change them.
Roocky was bored. Very bored. And when Roocky was bored it meant that his latest victim was in for a very bad time indeed. Oh Roocky knew how the others thought of him. The irresponsible thrill seeker, the constantly eating fun lover who was incapable of being serious if his existence depended on it. What they failed to understand was that Roocky was also extremely perceptive. He had known since Biilly had managed to stabilise them that there was a problem with the other Psycho Rangers. Most of them failed to spot the flaws, a few like Adaam accepted them to the point where they became exaggerated. Roocky however understood how they worked and altered his behaviour accordingly. He could accomplish anything so long as he could convince himself that it was fun.
And that was why he had designed his games, testing them on not-so-innocent civilians until he was certain that they would work. So far nobody had escaped, nobody had seen the deception he so skilfully employed. The games like Roocky were a lie. And it didn't matter how skilled the player was, or how smart they were, or how ruthless they considered themselves, Roocky would win. Because, there was no fun in losing.
What were the Psycho Rangers anyway? As he watched them he couldn't help but think about their construction. They had been clay constructs similar to Minion, but after their stabilisation and obtaining their new totems, he suspected they had become something else. Dark reflections perhaps? It was possible given the use of the Neji Glass during their quest for new powers, but unlikely. He suspected that while Biilly had grasped the opportunity presented by the dark artefact, he had failed to understand or had simply ignored the knowledge contained within the scrolls.
~Would he have been capable of using the Neji Glass to its full potential anyway?~ he pondered. ~Kaat could have, but I doubt Biilly could understand the magic needed for such a feat.~
Grid constructs then? Also unlikely since the Neji Glass had been used passively during the act of empowerment. It was not unknown for the darker energies of the Morphin Grid to change the nature of its wielders, but normally it required more than a simple act of looking.
~Maybe their biology became so twisted by the Neji Glass even they cannot be sure what they are anymore,~ he thought.
Of all the possibilities that one seemed to fit. He knew they were no longer clay, but it was highly possible that they had become a combination of clay and magic, or flesh and clay, or even flesh and magic. In the end did it really matter so long as they were stabilised? No, but he couldn't hide his curiosity. It was just a part of his nature.
Nature or nurture? That was a question that had led to a great scientific debate at one time. Aiisha believed that both had their uses. Combining magic, science and the deep understanding of animals she had inherited from her original, she had dedicated herself to breeding some of the greatest monsters imaginable. Had he been open to such an idea Aiisha suspected that she could have served as an apprentice to Master Vile himself.
Alphabet Soup Research, her pride and joy, not to mention a veiled hint for those that knew the truth about her. As a subdivision of the INET Corporation her research facility was supposed to be involved in the laboratory testing of new medicines. In reality her research was more in line with the application of pain, genetic markers, magic and other technologies to create her wonderful monsters. After her research had started using humans, the breakthroughs had been even more impressive.
Which was why as she stared at her latest and greatest work, a creature covered in poisoned spikes that could be propelled to breach the armour of a Power Ranger, she felt a sense of pride in her achievement. It was a shame that like most magical produced creatures she would not be able to breed it; she wondered if she could obtain Finster's services to produce a model.
Adaam was certain that he was alone, yet he was unable to drop the act for even a second. As far as the Psycho Rangers were concerned he was a cowardly, weak-minded fool seeking favour by kissing the boots of those that held the power. But they were wrong and that led them to underestimate him. As a dark practitioner of the Spirit level, or dark ninja as some referred to it, he excelled at using illusion and misdirection against his foes.
Biilly didn't see him as a threat, Jaason ignored him, Kiim and Kaat treated him with contempt. Yet they allowed him to get close and dropped their guards in his presence. He had lost count of the opportunities he had had to put an end to Biilly. Yet he had held off realising that the moment he made his move the others would see him as a threat. And while taking out Jaason would probably just make Biilly and the others wary of him, attacking Biilly would expose him to Triini's wrath; touching either Kaat or Kiim would provoke the wrath of the triplets.
And so he waited, biding his time while reaching out to Roocky, Aiisha and Taanya, his most likely allies. And he watched the others, learning how they moved ready for the time when they moved against him.
The three battered training droids picked themselves up and made an attempt to shift to a ready position. They had already been damaged to a point where they would need hours of panel beating to remove the larger dents.
With a growl Jaason attacked, not waiting for the droids to finish reconnecting the limbs he had previously torn off. When Triini had built the machines for him out of the scrap parts left over from some of Mondo's Cogs, he had relished the challenge. After the third encounter he had grown tired of the easy wins he had experienced. Even unarmed he was stronger than the droids, his rage and hatred driving his powers to new heights. If he were capable of calming down enough to think of a plan, he would have had no problem defeating Biilly and claiming the leadership position he desired so much.
He punched and kicked the first droid, throwing it aside so that he could clothesline the second. The third he didn't waste his time fighting, he simply unleashed an energy blast to turn it into molten slag, before twisting in time to slice the head off the first droid with his broadsword.
He didn't turn to face the second wave of droids until they were almost upon him. Triini had spent extra time programming them to adapt their technique as required. Of course Jaason realised on some level that she had programmed them to eliminate the threat he represented to her beloved leader.
One by one he fought them, never allowing their superior numbers to place him at a disadvantage. Those he could not tear apart with his bare hands or decapitate with his sword, were smelted by violent discharges of rage-fuelled fire. As he slammed, punched, kicked and stomped his way to victory, he allowed himself to imagine the faces of those he hated as the recipients of his violent actions. Those thoughts drove him onward, increasing the power of the blows he mercilessly rained down on his victims.
A burst of golden energy filled the room, knocking him aside and incinerating the droids. He looked up, shocked that he had not heard Tarran enter. The replica of Trey of Triforia was a solid warrior, cold and impassive. While Jaason liked to show his skills and charge into the fray, Tarran was detached and calculating, striking from a distance with the least amount of effort. His golden energy blast was particularly destructive, as Jaason had just witnessed. In a rare show of emotion, Tarran grinned in Jaason's direction, causing the Red Psycho Ranger to growl angrily.
~How dare that Triforian scum interfere in my business?~ he thought angrily.
He turned to give Tarran a piece of his mind, only to find that the Gold Psycho Ranger had already departed. With another growl, Jaason drove his fist into the floor.
Magic clashed with martial arts as the three warriors unleashed their full fury against each other. Tyler, Oliver and Daavid, three replicas of the same man - for Minion had tried and failed to find a way to replicate David Trueheart. And since Samoht Revilo was the clone of Tommy Oliver, and for some reason Minion had sensed that his continued existence depended on not replicating Samoht, he had settled for three replicas of Tommy. Of course he had tried to give two of them the abilities he suspected Samoht and David possessed. So while all three were skilled combatants, Daavid had the additional mental powers of a White Ranger while Oliver had been granted the magical powers Samoht displayed. Both abilities came at some cost, especially for Daavid; although it was possible to create connection to the White powers while drawing from the Dark Side of the Morphin Grid, the nature of the White power could drive the wielder insane.
The three warriors charged, trying desperately to prove themselves superior. Swords, daggers, energy blasts and powerful kicks were exchanged as each tried to take down the others. To the other Psycho Rangers it might have appeared as a violent sparring session, but the truth was that they really were trying to destroy each other. All three believed that they were drawing from the same link to the Morphin Grid, and that whoever survived their fight to the death would gain the power of the other two.
Unfortunately there had never been a decisive winner. Most of their fights resulted in a triple knock out and on the few occasions one of them did triumph, they were interrupted before they could finish the job.
"Are you boys going to fight all day or are you up for a little fun?"
The fighting stopped immediately as the three replicas turned their attention to their new distraction. There were few things they all agreed on, but the beauty of Kiim and Kaat was one of them. Either girl was capable of making them forget all about fighting. That the two girls seemed willing to share and play with each other made the three male replicas highly protective of them.
Tyler grinned. Daavid and Oliver were already sweeping the two girls off their feet as he cleared the space to have some fun.
He moved on from observing the frolicking replicas. Their private lives were hardly his business. Well no more than he wanted them to be anyway. He had seen enough to confirm what he already knew: the Psycho Rangers were hopeless without leadership, something he would provide. In the end it was the only logical step for him to take command of the Psycho Rangers and guide them to their destiny. After all, there was nobody better suited to the task. But first there he would need a few things to set his plans in motion.
The Machine Planet
The attack by Behemoth had gone exactly as Gasket had calculated. Key areas of the planet had been devastated before the unfortunate monster had been defeated once again. This time Gasket had ordered his engineers to repair and upgrade the simple creature as much as possible before sending him back to Earth with an overwhelming desire to destroy the Power Rangers. No doubt they would win, but by that time Gasket would arrive with his new weapon.
"And King Mondo will never suspect that the damaged caused here was deliberate or the reason why it occurred until it's too late."
Gasket turned toward the speaker, surprised to find it was a human.
"Fear not Gasket," Xing said, "I bring good news. I intend to keep quiet about my little discovery and all it will cost you is three of Archerina's arrows."
"And why should I allow myself to deal with a puny organic like you when I can just destroy you?" Gasket demanded.
"Maybe because you'll be too busy fighting the virus I just inserted into your subroutines," Xing replied confidently. He watched for the telltale signs that Gasket was performing a virus scan. He could tell the exact moment that Gasket inadvertently triggered the virus. "Forgive me, did I say just inserted? I meant the virus Minion installed in you and your father that would trigger when you scanned for a certain type of virus." He could sense the machine's panic. "Fear not Gasket, I seek only the arrows and then I will let you go."
Gasket nodded his agreement and retrieved the arrows Xing had requested. Xing in turn kept his promise. However as Xing departed Gasket could not help but ponder how the human had known about the virus and how to trigger it. The answer was extremely disturbing.
"Hello Rita," Xing said as he suddenly appeared, that large of his infuriating and unsettling the witch at the same time. "Fear not, I bring good news."
"Good news?" Rita screeched. "The last time you claimed to have good new I lost Zeddy to that human!"
"Ah but you forget, I promised you that Lord Zedd would return more powerful than ever. Have I ever lied to you Rita?"
The evil empress wanted to say yes, to throw up the lies that had led to Zedd's demise. In truth though she realised that Xing had never been dishonest. Events might not have turned out how she expected, but his words had not been deliberately misleading.
"Well, what do you want of me?" she demanded.
"Only two things dear lady," he stated, as he bowed and offered her another tooth-filled smile, "a vial of Lord Zedd's rejuvenation fluid and this monster."
Rita absently accepted the picture Xing had handed her. The first request caught her by surprise, so she didn't spare the monster a second glance. The rejuvenation fluid was deadly to anybody apart from Zedd. In his Zarakin form she suspected it was lethal to him too. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously at the thought of providing Xing with such a weapon.
"Not the whole vial," he said quickly, sensing her unease and revealing the arrows he had retrieved from Gasket earlier. "Just enough to coat these arrows."
Now Rita was truly curious about what Xing had in mind. She had wondered about his real identity for a long time. She knew where the name Xing originated, but she had decided after Zedd's defeat that it was likely misdirection. But that led to the question of who he was really and what his interest in Zedd and Rita could be.
"A debt repaid, nothing more, nothing less," Xing told her as if reading her thoughts.
And there it was, a simple request for something Rita could provide in return for repaying some debt he believed he owed her. It seemed too simple, but if her could truly reunite her with Zedd and defeat the Power Rangers as he claimed, she was not about to argue. Reaching a decision she took the only logical step.
Biilly looked at his creation and smiled, knowing that it was perfect. This was the sort of thing where he excelled, when he was able to act as Biilly the inventor rather than Biilly the leader of the Psycho Rangers. In truth he would have given up his position if only there was somebody he could trust with the role. Jaason was too hot-headed and arrogant. He was a bully who would probably end up killing his own warriors instead of leading them. Adaam was too weak, the triplets were too busy fighting amongst themselves, and the others didn't show an interest in leading; Tarran while an admirable soldier seemed to lack that commanding presence needed to keep the others in line. And so Biilly was forced to remain in his position and to fight to maintain it however much it grated on him to do so.
The scheming and frustration of never completing a workable plan was made worthwhile when he could find the time to work on his masterpieces. Billy Cranston had had a role in designing the Zeo Zords and a part to play in the advancement of the Turbo Zords. Biilly could even see some of the young genius' creativity when it came to the Lightspeed mecha. But where Billy had only helped design a few Zords, Biilly had built a fleet. Five Megazords so far with more to follow, each designed to take down whatever technology the Power Rangers could create.
Aiisha and her creatures, Jaason and Tarran with the warrior prowess, Kaat and Kiimberly with their -- gifts; even the triplets despite their constant attempts to kill each other - for Biilly was well aware of the problem and the reason it existed, made the Psycho Rangers a formidable force. If only they could find a leader then they would be ready to take their revenge upon the Power Rangers at long last.
"I call him Hung Horn," Finster announced as he showed off the completed monster.
Rita nodded in approval. She had forgotten just how skilled her monster maker could be. Perhaps he could find her something to help conquer the Earth before her meeting with the Grand Monarch. It was not as if she expected Xing's plan to succeed.
Hung Horn was an impressive creation. He resembled a large humanoid bull dressed as a bullfighter, complete with poncho and for some reason a sheriff's star. In his right hand he held what appeared to be a pistol, although knowing Finster's distrust of firearms, it likely served a different purpose.
"Can he do everything I required?" Xing asked.
"Oh yes, I make him to your exact requirements," Finster replied. "I sculpted his body to be as strong as possible and to provide maximum speed."
"And the invulnerability?"
"I made him as powerful and resistant as possible," Finster said.
Xing nodded. Had Finster claimed that his monster was invulnerable, he wouldn't have believed him anyway. Magic had limitations and magical creations could not exceed the powers of their creators without a connection to the Morphin Grid that was beyond Finster's ability to grant. Still, he was sure Finster knew his craft well enough to create something worthwhile.
"Very well, send him to Earth."
The monster wasn't important; the lesson it was going to teach was what counted.
"Okay we try one more time and then we leave," Justin said. He saw the disappointed look on Tasha's face. "Look if we stay any longer we won't have time to do what we need. If they come back and catch us they'll add more security."
That seemed to appease the Yellow Turbo Ranger. Neither of them wanted to have to spend the time figuring out new ways to get into the Administrator's office. It meant less time accessing the computers and learning whatever it was that the staff had written about them. Life at Little Angel's Haven was far easier when you were aware of the adults' concerns and could either defect them or use them to your advantage. It was something the two Turbo Rangers had become very adept at.
"Okay so we've tried her maiden name' children's names, cat's name..." Tasha ran through an impressive list of attempted passwords. "Could it be a phrase or saying?"
"Whatever it is I wish she'd left it as the default," Justin complained. The two shared a look. "You don't think?"
Tasha was already typing in the password they had learnt the year before. They were rewarded when the screen unlocked.
"She's left it wide open!" Justin grinned.
Unfortunately before they could accomplish their snooping, their communicators beeped. The two exchanged a frustrated look.
"What's up, Zordon?" Tasha asked.
"Rita has sent a new monster to Little China Town," Zordon replied.
"Okay Zordon, we're on it," they heard Fred say.
The two nodded and after turning off the computer and checking the coast was clear, relocked the door and departed.
"Shift into Turbo!"
While the Turbo Rangers did not spot the monster as soon as they arrived, the effect his presence had was hard to miss. Hundreds of screaming civilians ran through the street, trying to avoid what ever it was that they were fleeing. A large column of dust made it difficult to see. The shouts and screams were accompanied by the sound of broken objects that along with the occasional person appeared to fly into the air. It was only when the air cleared for an instant were they able to see the monster.
"Okay one monster, no Putties, Tengas or idiots," Yellow Turbo said, summing up what Green's Thunder Scanner revealed.
"Then I guess we need to take the bull by the horns," Red said, earning him a groan from his teammates. He shrugged and the five Rangers ran forward.
It seemed their presence was enough to distract Hung Horn from his current activity, namely tossing people into the air and then trying to impale them on his horns. He snorted in their direction, scraped his hoof against the ground and charged. As he reached them his horns grew larger and before the Rangers knew it, they were being carried along by the charging monster. Unfortunately for them that means that they were taking the brunt of whatever lay within the monster's path as they were propelled through buildings and objects.
"Did anybody get the number of that bull?" Red asked as they were finally tossed unceremoniously into a heap.
They looked up as the monster pulled out it's gun and pulled the trigger. The end lit up as a small flame and had it not been for their helmets, the Rangers would have been scratching their heads. Then the bull belched and a jet of superheated flame shot in their direction.
"Ew gross!" Yellow complained as their uniforms tried to deal with the unorthodox attack.
Then the monster attacked again. Although it exchanged blows with all of them, it was clear that it was trying to target the Red Ranger. When the others got in its way it would only fight long enough to move passed them and continue its assault. Unsurprisingly, Red was taking a pounding.
"Guys this isn't working!" Red said after he had been tossed into the air for a third time, only to be saved from impalement by Pink Turbo's intervention. "We need a new plan."
"We need to hold on a bit longer," Green told him, watching as city officials cleared the terrified civilians. He handed Red Turbo a small capsule. "When I say now, start running away from here until he catches up, then follow this device back to us. We'll need a few minutes to get set up."
"For what?" Red asked.
"Now!" Green ordered.
As Red Turbo started to run as fast as his Power enhanced legs would carry him, Green, Yellow, Blue and Pink charge at Hung Horn. Although their attack accomplished very little, it delayed him long enough for Red to make it a few streets before he tossed them aside and gave chase.
"Finster made him to be provoked by the colour red?" Justin asked as the monster took off. "That's just a myth."
"Myth or not let's use the time to get set up," Franklin answered.
"Before big, horned and ugly decides to come back," Rosa added.
Red Turbo weaved his way through the streets of Angel Grove, using a constant satellite feed to avoid the areas where civilians had been gathered. The monster had caught up to hi quickly and thought of keeping him chasing were foiled when one of the horns almost pierced his suit. In desperation he had manoeuvred himself onto the monster's back, causing Hung Horn to stop running and start trying to buck his unwelcome rider. When he decided the others had had all the time he could but them, Red Turbo kicked the monster in the head, leapt from his back and started running the course indicated by the device Green had given him.
As he ran through the streets he started to notice that he was heading down side streets and narrowed alleys with sharp corners. The device told him where his teammates would be, but he realised Hung Horn would not have that knowledge. Beneath his helmet he smirked as he realised what the others might have planned.
"Fred when you head up the next alley, make sure you hit the garbage cans," Green urged.
Red Turbo did as he was told, dislodging the cans and sending them rolling towards the bull monster. Hung Horn was hardly slowed, but it confirmed that the others had been busy.
"Okay you're almost here," Pink confirmed. "As soon as you turn the corner, duck!"
Again, Red obeyed, realising that the tipped over garbage cans had gained him the precious seconds he needed. He turned the corner and ducked, covering his helmet, just as a snorting Hung Horn followed him. There was a bright flash, a loud groan and the sound of something heavy colliding with something solid. Red raised his head and looked to where Hung Horn now lay, slightly embedded in the wall of a dead end street. He turned his head and as expected saw the other Turbo Rangers with the Turbo RAM.
"Okay guys, let's put this guy out to pasture!" Red said.
"Right!" the others responded as together the five Rangers charged the recovering monster.
Blue, Pink, Yellow and Green passed by, striking him with their swords. Red followed slightly behind and when he sensed that Hung Horn was off balance, he followed through with his Turbo Power Sword, delivering the final blow. As he sped away to join the others, Hung Horn exploded, collapsing what was left of the dead end, not that the Rangers' attack had not already torn down most of the wall as they shot passed him.
"Oh dear, I never expected them to outsmart him," Finster admitted.
"Well we'll soon fix that," Rita said. It had been a while since she had sent down a monster. Even though he had lost he had been more successful than many of those she and Zedd had sent against the Ninja Rangers, and they had had the advantage of Goldar and Rito helping them. "Magic wand, make my monster grow!"
Xing shrugged as the wand left Rita's hand. How the battle ended was of little concern. He was certain that he had made his point. Now it was up to his student Shinzon to carry those lessons forward.
The Psycho Rangers had noticed the monster attack and out of boredom had gathered to watch. They had been impressed by the monster's strength although the ease with which he had been outsmarted caused many of them to roll their eyes and look at an oblivious Jaason.
"Looks like it's all over," Zaack observed as the Turbo Megazord started to spin.
"It was over before it began," Biilly answered. "That monster was too stupid to notice an obvious trap."
"And yet he managed to throw those Rangers around and almost succeeding in killing one," Shinzon stated, appearing before the Psycho Rangers for the first time. "That is one more time than any of your monsters have managed because no matter how perfect a plan might be, it is useless if left unexecuted."
Biilly allowed a look of anger to cross his face. "Destroy him!"
The Psycho Rangers attacked, Shinzon flashed with black energy, the Psycho Rangers were flung in all directions and stared up in shock and horror at the figure before them.
"Who are you?" Biilly demanded in a shaky voice.
It was Shinzon's turn to show his anger, striking the Blue Psycho Ranger with a bolt of energy.
"So these are the Psycho Rangers," he mused out loud, his disdain obvious. "I had been hoping for so much more than this. The leaders of Minion's army reduced to squabbling like children, playing games and rotting away from inactivity. A Tenga warrior has done more than you to strike against our enemies. Do you really think that this is what Minion would want?"
"Who do you think you are coming here and trying to tell us what we should do?" Jaason demanded.
The overly large broadsword that the Red Psycho Ranger preferred to use in battle was in his hand and there was little doubt he planned to use it to cleave Shinzon in two. For his part Shinzon looked unimpressed by the weapon, easily catching the blade with his left hand while striking the wannabe leader of the Psycho Rangers away with an energy blast from his right hand.
"You really are a hot-headed thug, Jaason," Shinzon told him. "It's disappointing that Minion couldn't have captured at least a little of Jason's self-control when he create you." A more powerful blast shot from his hand and narrowly missed the Psycho Ranger as he tried to stand. "STAY DOWN! I'm here to talk to those with half-a-brain, not waste my time incinerating you."
Surprisingly, Jaason obeyed, although the others could not tell if he did so out of respect for an obviously more powerful for or because the first blast had injured him. Most hoped it was the latter.
"No cooperation, no real leadership, no sense of loyalty... you wouldn't last long in a battle with the Power Rangers," Shinzon told them. "Minion gave you all the qualities you would need to emerge victorious and instead you waste time with petty infighting. Finster's monster was imperfect but at least he sent a monster! The Grand Monarch has called a meeting at which time he who hold the Earth will be in a position to negotiate and all others will be in a position to kiss his feet. Do you really want to become his servants? Do you want to be split up and sent into combat one after the other like common throwaways?" He saw their faces and knew that his words had gotten through to them. "Fear not Psycho Rangers, in the words of my mentor: I bring good news."
He made an overdramatic hand gesture and the Psycho Rangers found themselves of standing again; some hadn't realised that they had been disabled.
"I have come to solve the problems you face. You lack leadership, so I will provide a leader. You lack a united purpose, so I will give you something to unite you. You lack inspiration and so you will be given a plan."
"So you are assuming command?" Biilly accused.
Jaason looked angry, realising that somebody else planned to take the spot he believed was his.
"I bring a choice," Shinzon promised. "I can either take command or..." He crossed the space between them in an instant, freezing the other Psycho Rangers in place. He rested his palm on Billy's chest, grinning sadistically as it started to glow. "Or I can take the commander."
Biilly's eyes widened as he stared into Shinzon's feral features. The feeling was familiar as if he knew this being from somewhere. He couldn't believe what his mind was screaming at him. There was no way it could be true.
Shinzon's smile grew as he sensed the recognition and the denial.
"It's not possible," Biilly whispered.
"Ah but you forget Biilly," Shinzon replied so the others could hear him. "When dealing with the Power, the possibilities are endless."
There staring match continued for a short time and then Biilly back down, bowing his head in submission, shocking the other Psycho Rangers. They had seen him stand up to Jaason. That he was willing to back down without a fight put them on their guard around Shinzon.
"You will always be the leader of the Psycho Rangers," Shinzon told him. "And Jaason will always be your number two." Both Shinzon and Biilly smirked at that. "Now the time has come for you to stop planning and act."
He pulled out two of the arrows his master Xing had secured from Archerina earlier, dipped in Lord Zedd's rejuvenation fluid.
"And this is what you are going to do..."
Hung Horn had been destroyed. While disappointing Rita was not really surprised. Monster attacks rarely achieved anything on Earth. But then it was only on Earth that she had taken to using her monsters one at a time. Before she would sent multiple monsters or a legion of one sort of monster to overrun the defenders of a world she wanted. What had changed?
She knew the answer was one of focus. When she had been released she had seen Earth as an easy target. She had selected a city close to where the Rangers lived because Zordon's recruitment had drawn her attention. She had underestimated them that day and they had defeated her forces. And after that if had become a matter of pride. She had deliberately sent her monsters one at a time to prove that she could defeat a bunch of human teenagers. She had become so focussed on their age and species that she had overlooked the fact they were Power Rangers.
But then it got worse when Zedd arrived. Somehow her obsession transferred to him. Her father had managed to resist the problem for a while by focussing on a bigger goal; the Zeo Crystal and the Orb of Doom were schemes that were too grand for a single city. But the Machine Empire, Divatox and many others had fallen into the trap of focussing too much on defeating an enemy and not on the business of conquering the planet.
~Could that be a part of the planet's power?~ she wondered.
To redirect and focus the intentions of those that would cause the planet harm, trapping them in a cycle of defeat required powerful magic. But by doing so it would leave a villain exposed over a long period to the other effects of Earth's magic. Over time evil intentions would diminish turning the most evil villain inept. Until eventually they would fade into insignificance.
Xing had not cured Rita of the effects of Earth. He had done very little to help Rita and Zedd and in all honesty, Rita blamed him for losing Zedd in the first place. But by losing Zedd she had become focussed on getting him back again, on reclaiming him from the Earth woman who thought she could steal Rita Repulsa's husband. And Hung Horn had been kick she needed to start her plans. Oh she knew or at least strongly suspected that the monster had been a diversion to hide Xing's true aim of obtaining the poison for his arrows, but he had reminded her that the machine existed. And that in turn had set a whole new plan into action.
~At this rate perhaps I will conquer the planet in time for the Grand Monarch's meeting,~ she thought. There was much to do and little time. "Finster!" She bellowed. It was time to get building.
End of Part.