Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owner. This is a piece of fanfiction and no profit has been made or sought by its production.
Somewhere in France
Just as most children asked to draw an Indian with a background, they would probably include a totem pole and wigwam, so when asked to draw a pyramid with a background they would draw in a camel. It was not until they were older that they would learn that pyramids were not limited to Egypt. They could be found in many places around the world.
"This is the place."
The Nega Rangers had been following the writings on the ancient scrolls, seeking one of the many pyramids that had been built in France. Unlike some of the Roman pyramids, such as the one found at Falicon, near Nice, the site they were searching for was older and distinctly alien in origin.
For the scrolls, as their leader Biilly had told them several times in the last few hours, contained the legacy of a lost civilisation, space explorers from a dead world who had arrived to colonise the planet Earth, a journey that had ended hundreds of years before the Ice Age.
The scrolls told how the explorers had landed, had found the planet unsuitable, but had lacked the means to leave again - for their landing it seemed had been out of desperation - and had chosen to make the best of their situation. They had used their vast space cruiser as the raw materials for their new colony. Unfortunately their science had been unable to protect them from all threats and their civilisation had been all but wiped from the face of the Earth, leaving only a few sites of interest and a log of their activities.
"I still don't know why you're looking for this place," the thick-headed thug who had recently been defeated for the leadership of the Nega Rangers stated. "We're wasting time."
"If you had indulged your curiosity by partaking in the pursuit of knowledge through the written word instead of complaining," he replied, "you would have observed that this lost civilisation possessed everything we need. Most importantly, it holds the cure for our... condition."
The Nega Rangers were dying. Worse, they were rotting from the inside out as the magic that had been used to stabilise their bodies seeped away. They had found ways to preserve their lives, using the life energy of others to bolster themselves, but it was not enough. And as they continued to fade, they grew weaker.
Biilly pulled out what at first glance appeared to be a pair of sunglasses. In fact the stylish eyewear contained an elaborate array of sensors, cameras and readouts. He tapped the side of his visor twice, activating the alternative views he had designed to mimic the sensors within a Power Ranger's helmet. His glove, another device he had built to enhance his senses and connected via a thin cable, allowed him to see what he was feeling.
"There!" he crowed victoriously. He made it sound as if his sensors had detected something, when in reality the device had suffered a strange electronic glitch. "Some sort of background energy. What we are looking for is here."
"So what? You're not going to have us digging up old vases are you?"
Biilly sighed dramatically. "If you had read the scrolls instead of trying to convince the others of your fitness to lead them, you would have found that this pyramid was built to modify the magical properties of the underground springs. Those on the brink of death were brought here to heal and emerged healthy."
"If these springs were so powerful, why did the colonists die out?" Jaason demanded.
"There was an ice age. Even magical springs can freeze if the temperature drops enough." As she spoke, Monica was looking both her current leader and his predecessor over carefully. She was not a genius like Biilly, but she understood enough about such matters to make an educated guess. "As long as the equipment was left undamaged, it should work."
Biilly nodded. That was something he could not answer. How well the system had been designed to cope when the water froze was unclear. And given the damage that thawing water could cause, the chance was there that something had been damaged. Still that was only speculation unless they could find the entrance.
"The entrance is most likely beneath us somewhere," he commented as he continued to scan. "It will take time to find using a search pattern I devised."
"Then why not make our own?" Jaason asked. "Nega Blast!"
A ball of dark energy shot from Jaason's hands as he called forth what little of his magical energy remained. As the explosive energy connected with the ground, the other Nega Rangers were forced to shield there faces as the rock showered them with debris.
"Fool!" Biilly snapped, backhanding the exhausted Nega Ranger, putting a little power behind the blow. "Do you want Zordon to know what we are doing here? Do you want King Mondo or worse, Rita to find out about this place?"
They needed the technology within the pyramid and had no chance of fighting off the more powerful villains if they decided to claim it for themselves.
"It worked didn't it?" Jaason sneered in response.
True enough the crater that had formed where the Nega Blast had struck the ground, had revealed an entrance, albeit it not the one they had been looking for. Biilly spared him a look of contempt before descending into the newly revealed chamber, followed quickly by the others.
Inside there were few signs of the magnificent technology the scrolls had spoken of. There was however a pool of the dirtiest water they had ever seen, pouring into the circular stone pool from the mouths of four garBehemoths. It was a feature that would have garnered the interest of many a millionaire, but given the limited lighting, only gave the chamber an oppressive feel
"Obviously the mechanism was damaged," Biilly observed, turning his nose up at the smell of sulphur. Then his eyes narrowed. "Or was it?"
Faster than many could perceive, he reached out to where he knew Adaam would be standing. A creature of habit, the little creep was always near the boots he was supposed to be licking. It was a terrible example of how somebody could turn out when a bad choice was made. In Adaam's case instead of learning to stand up for himself, finding friends and gaining confidence, he had turned into a cowardly, self-serving creature, always sucking up to the biggest bully.
His hand closed and he pulled Adaam forward roughly. With a sadistic grin that he knew the others would share, he tossed him into the pool.
"Biilly, what did I do?" Adaam asked. He lacked any ability to stand up for himself against the other Nega Rangers.
Then the waters exploded, consuming the Nega Ranger in a whirlpool of liquefied energy. Electricity crackled over the surface as the pool performed its given function, restoring the degeneration of body caused by the severing of his link to Minion. Seeing that he had not been destroyed by the process, the other Nega Rangers dived in; it was unthinkable for them to allow any of the others to gain the upper hand in their fight for dominance. The renewal that Adaam had embraced moments earlier rushed through them, repairing their damaged forms.
But there was more to it than a simple restoration. The process had been designed for an alien race and set up to bring those that entered the waters as close to the physical perfection that that race possessed as possible. Repairing their artificial bodies was not enough, the process transformed the magically enhanced materials, drawing forth flesh and bone to give them new and very real bodies along with all the strengths and weaknesses such bodies possessed.
"Nega Blast!" Jaason called, suddenly feeling the increased power that came from have a body capable of handling large amounts of magical energy and the limitless pool of energy within the water. Seeing his opportunity to do away with Biilly and resume his position as leader of the Nega Rangers, he directed the burning orb of destruction at his leader's back. This time he was confident that he would triumph.
"Nega Blast!" Unfortunately for Jaason, Biilly had expected such a move and had been prepared to unleash a blocking wave of his own. And since he had the same power running through him - and just a little extra strength of his own - he managed to deflect Jaason's attempted blast. Unfortunately he did not have the power to retaliate with a single shot, so instead he allowed Monica to deliver that shot, his strength still sufficient to keep her interest. For now.
As Jaason tumbled forward, a victim of Monica's strike, the deflected blast ripped into the ceiling, destroying the structure of the pyramid, caving it in on the revitalised Nega Rangers.
"Together!" Biilly commanded.
The combined energy of the Nega Rangers ripped through the falling rubble, lighting up the sky beyond. Many hours had passed since they had descended into the pyramid and it seemed night had fallen. In the darkness the light from their combined energy wave could be seen for miles.
"We need to leave. Now!" Seb urged. His perceptions were stronger than those of the others, especially when it came to danger.
In the distance they could hear a helicopter on its way to investigate the disturbance. There was little doubt that if Zordon had not been alerted to their activities by Jaason's earlier actions, he would be now.
"Not yet," Biilly told him defiantly as he looked down at the fallen Jaason. "I want to make my position very clear first."
He reached down and easily lifted the fallen Nega Ranger up by the throat. He held him there effortlessly until Jaason's eyes started to open. Then with a cruel smile he punched the former leader in the face repeated until the blood was flowing from his broken nose. Next he kicked him in the ribs, earning a satisfying cracking noise for his efforts.
"If you ever think of trying that again," he told the wounded man as he dropped him to the ground, "I will destroy you."
Jaason looked up defiantly, but it was clear that he was defeated. He refused to meet his leader's eyes, a sign in Biilly's mind that the former leader was truly broken.
"Biilly!" Monica warned.
The Rangers looked up as the helicopter finally arrived, landing not far from their position so that five people could emerge. Clearly they were some sort of military unit if their uniforms were any indication. It was odd that there were only five of them though, unless of course the explosion had been thought an accident of some sort.
As they approached, their guns drawn, the Nega Rangers made a point of raising their hands and drawing on a little of the background magic. They were slightly taken aback when the soldiers responded by transforming into what at first appearance could have been mistaken for Power Rangers.
"What exactly do we have here?" Biilly asked, half amused at their attempt and partly angered that they had the audacity to pretend to be Rangers.
"We are ze Musketeer Taskforce," the one in red replied. "And ou might zu be?"
The five French heroes, the culmination of the French government's Taskforce Operation, stood proudly. They had been conditioned to believe that the world trusted its defence to France and had bravely sought out the forces of their enemies to meet those high expectations. For the first time they found themselves facing an enemy that had been born not just outside of their country, but in another dimension.
Biilly exchanged a look with his comrades and together they burst out laughing. He didn't know about the Taskforce Operation. He didn't care how many hours had gone into the development of the national heroes, probably because their existence was kept secret and their missions were restricted to incidents such as strange explosions in remote areas of the countryside.
"Where are my manners?" Biilly asked. "We are to be the new rulers of this planet. We are the legacy of Minion, the chosen destroyers of the Power Rangers. Our creator called us the Nega Rangers..."
"And we eat little wannabe Ranger task forces for lunch," Kaat told them.
"Now, we'll show you what the Nega Rangers can do. Charge!"
What followed was a brutal and one-sided battle. They were outnumbered and the Nega Rangers were not inclined to offer a fair fight. Even if the numbers have been even, the heroes would have been hard pressed to survive the encounter. As it happened, the Nega Rangers went to great lengths to ensure that they didn't live to tell the tale. Even without the ability to morph, it seemed they were powerful enough to scupper their opposition.
When they left, five bodies had been scattered around the remains of the helicopter, a gruesome scene that would later be used by the French government to explain the odd incident.
Zordon was concerned. Recently he had been sensing a strange echo within the Morphin Grid, a strange pattern of magical discharge that he had been unable to identify. Normally a small fluctuation, the disruption had recently registered as two large bursts of unrefined energy. To make matter worse, the signature of the energy waves had altered in a way that he could not understand. ~Almost as if it suddenly changed its entire DNA structure.~
He had been following the news in France about a helicopter crash. While that explained the explosion, it did not explain the disruption he had been detecting, nor the string of unconnected and unexplained deaths around the United States. Medical reports had been extremely confusing, seeming to indicate the victims had died of sudden and total failure of their bodies. The most recent site, a school in the northern part of Colorado, had seen over eighty victims in a single day.
However as concerned as he might have been, he did not have the time to investigate the odd occurrences. The Turbo Rangers were currently in battle against another of the mercenaries hoping to claim the reward Divatox had offered. His attention was needed to guide them. Not that they needed more guidance than their predecessors. The five young teens had taken to their new roles, with only the occasional need to call on the aid of the more experienced Rangers.
This was not such an occasion. Even now Zordon could see that the Rangers had the upper hand. Once the battle had escalated to a Zord battle, he had known the Rangers would win. But he was not about to abandon his responsibilities in favour of a mystery. And so he watched, and waited, and worried.
Breaking into the facility had never been a problem for the Nega Rangers. With their reformed bodies it had been a matter of blasting anything that stood in their way. The trouble had been caused by some of their more outspoken members, those who had refused to see any logic in leaving the building intact once they were done.
Of course Biilly had had his reasons, and they had in his mind been extremely clever. With the institute still standing after they left with some meaningless research, the real reason for their visit would remain shrouded. It was after all important that Zordon did not stop them, and the theft of the three crystals the Rangers had saved from the forces of evil in New York, would have led him to believe that the Markov Institute had been attacked by somebody with knowledge of what the crystals did.
Kaat had been especially proud of herself as the Nega Rangers had worked their way inside the facility. Sex was her primary weapon and once again it had proven an infallible means of getting whatever they needed. And when she had met the few female security guards who were immune to her charms, she had used other means to remove them.
For the time it took them to find their way to the laboratory where the crystals were being studied, the actual time it took to expose themselves to the crystals to create a Grid connection - for while the Nega Rangers had drawn power from the Morphin Grid, their connection to the massive energy source had been through Minion - was negligible. Indeed with their new bodies it appeared that they had already been made linked to the Morphin Grid. Exposure to the crystals had merely enhance, isolated and stabilised the latent connections.
When they were done they had left the way they came, taking with them a piece of research on cold fusion, something sure to leave the institute placing the blame upon the nuclear power industry instead of looking for the real cause.
Xing was impressed. He had been watching the Nega Rangers for some time, since Minion had created them. It was he who had arranged for Kaat to find the scrolls, just as he had engineered the crystals turning up in New York. And he had done so for the same reason: because relying on a single plan was a very boring way to achieve his ultimate goal, especially when he was trapped in the background.
Everything the Nega Rangers had accomplished was their own doing. He might have provided them the information, but it was their choice how that information was used. Biilly had reacted just as expected, even with Jaason adding a little unpredictability to the mix. The scroll had provided them with the knowledge needed to rebuild their bodies, at a cost they had yet to realise. The crystals had given them a link to the Morphin Grid.
Now it was time for him to interfere again, this time by providing the means for the Nega Rangers to evolve, taking advantage of their new bodies, the freewill they had developed without Minion and their recent success with the Morphin Grid. Once again such an action did not require his direct intervention, just Biilly reading the additional information contained within the scrolls.
~With each step the war escalates and as it does so the Universe takes another step towards the inevitable.~
The Neji Glass, an ancient artefact rumoured to provide all that gazed within its depths a disturbing view. Demonic in origin, the mirror twisted the Morphin Grid in impossible ways, distorting the personalities of those who dared to look. With the correct spells it could be used to create twisted clones of those whose image was trapped within. However even without an incantation it could twist the totem animal of a Power Ranger, either corrupting their souls or breaking their powers.
It was similar to the Mirror of Night, a magical item in the possession of the Night Rangers used as the starting point for those who chose to walk the shaded path. Indeed the two mirrors had been constructed from the same materials. While the Mirror of Night could never be described as anything other than dark, the Neji Glass was decidedly evil.
And it was that evil that Biilly had sought as the final step in the rebirth of the Nega Rangers. As they stared into the enchanted object, they could feel the Power warping around them, changing them in ways they had not thought possible. Their newly acquired connections to the Morphin Grid were altered as each received a more personalised and fitting animal spirit.
"And now," Biilly said, "the time of the Nega Rangers has passed. Let there be an end!"
The armour of the Nega Rangers formed around them and then shattered as he announced their passing, exploding outwards.
"And let the new age begin!"
Their bodies crackled as the power of the Morphin Grid flowed around them. They were stronger, faster and scarier than ever. Their armour was now a part of them to be called on when needed, but they were more than just mere Rangers. They were the darkness the Rangers would learn to fear.
For this was the birth of the Psycho Rangers!
In the darkness two figures watched as the manipulation f the Nega Rangers reached its conclusion.
"Will this be enough?" one asked. He was new to his role and had not yet garnered a full understanding of his destiny. That was something his mentor and and benefactor would change.
"They have everything they need to succeed," Xing commented as they watched the events unfold... "Except for guidance. Biilly will never succeed as their leader and the others are just as flawed. They will need an outsider to direct their efforts. That is where you come in."