Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. This is a fan work and no profit is being made from it.
Author's Note: Okay folks, this story is basically the closure of a plot point started in Princely Scheming. There is very little story here since it covers the event as a whole and not the story behind it. That will follow at a later date.
The Empty Victory
It was a day of tragedy for the Royal House of Gadgetry. Princes Sprocket, the heir to the Machine King, had been destroyed. It had been a glorious battle, one that had seen the near destruction of the Power Rangers' Zords as the prince had used his new body to wreck havoc within the city of Angel Grove. It had been luck that had allowed the Rangers to unlock the powerful combinations that had led to Sprocket's defeat. However his demise had not been confirmed until Mondo had received word from the Machine Home World. It appeared that during a recent onslaught by Behemoth, a creation of Divatox, the backup unit responsible for retaining Sproket's personality in case of damage, had been destroyed. Without a suitable backup, Sprocket's program was deemed lost and so the Machine Empire was left without an heir.
Not that the machines were overly upset. King Mondo and Queen Machina had emotional dampeners that allowed them to emulate real emotions, but prevented them from succumbing to grief. They simply accepted the loss and vowed vengeance against the wretched humans. They also took solace in in the knowledge that their son had caused more damaged to the Rangers' prized Zord fleet than any previous villain. The sight of the Zeo Megazord's head crashing to the ground would be something they would long remember.
And while his parents were upset, Prince Gasket was unbelievably happy at the recent turn of events. With his brother removed he was once again the rightful heir to the Machine Empire, a position that allowed him to start actively planning for the removal of his father. It had been an expensive way of bringing himself closer to the throne though, the body he had stolen from the Machine Home World to house Sprocket had been an incredible piece of workmanship and its loss would be felt. On the other hand he had made plenty of notes regarding the machine that would allow him to make sure the next model would be unbeatable.
Zordon sighed as he looked over the work order for the next few days. With so many Zords damaged they needed to prioritise the repairs. The Turbo Zords were of course the highest priority. Given their state he was just grateful that the Turbo Rangers had not been killed outright during the battle. That it had been functional enough to delivering the Spin Out and end Sprocket's rampage was frankly a miracle, something that was highlighted when the Zord had almost collapsed seconds later.
Then it was a matter of restoring the Zords needed to form Megazords. The secondary Zords could wait, but the priority had to be to get as many of their larger machine operational as possible. The repairs to Tommy's Phoenix Zord would take weeks to full complete given that Sprocket had almost managed to slice it in half.
After that there were the Dino Zords, the Thunder Zords, two of the Shogun Zords and Titanus in various states of disrepair. In the case of Titanus the Rangers would likely need to recover his head before the massive Zord would ever function again.
But there had been some good news. The battle had brought the Rangers together in ways he had never imagined. The cooperation between the teams that had attacked Sprocket from the inside and those that had fought in the Zords had been amazing. The Morphin Rangers had shown why they were looked up to by the younger team and the Turbo Rangers had once again proven themselves up to the challenge. That there had not been a single fatality in Angel Grove had been due to the actions of their allies from Mariner Bay. When he was finished with the Zord repairs Zordon decided he would send the Lightspeed Rangers a special thank you gift.
And through it all Zordon could not shake the feeling that he was missing something. The resources needed to manufacture a monster on the scale Mondo had unleashed were incredible. And even though he could see Mondo calculating the cost as necessary in the event of a victory, he refused to believe the Machine King would have considered Sprocket's chances as being worth the effort. Which raised the question why he had backed such a costly scheme?
And Mondo was not the only one that seemed to be pouring more effort than usual into his schemes. Both Rita and Divatox had been growing more ambitious, more personal and more vicious in their attacks. The violence seemed to be escalating and Zordon was uncertain of the reason why. That combined with recent murmurings within the Council led Zordon to wonder if perhaps the rumours were true and a new villain was on the rise.
~But for such a being to intimidate Mondo he must be incredibly powerful,~ he thought.
It made him uneasy. In truth he had felt a little fearful of the future since he had regained his body. Nothing ever happened without a reason and Zordon somehow doubted that the Great Power had released him solely to defeat a single villain. There were greater forces at work and when the time came, Zordon was not certain he'd survive.
Far from Zordon and his ponderings, on the Dark Side of the Moon, lay the Machine Scrap Heap. This was the place where the remains of Mondo's monsters were sent to rust away. This was the place where the scrapped body of Prince Sprocket had been left to corrode into nothingness. It was a place of peace and quiet away from the demands of the Machine King and his campaign.
And within that place a light flickered in the darkness. For Prince Sprocket had survived. His body had been broken and his electronic brain had been fused, but a part of him still recalled his name and his mission to destroy the Power Rangers. That same mind detected that he was not alone.
"It has been a long time, little brother," Prince Grommet announced as he made his way towards the young prince's rusting carcass. "Father has abandoned you just as he abandoned me; just as he left all that reside in this place to rust. But we are not lost Sprocket, soon we will show Father just how useful we can be. And you brother shall lead the way."
As Grommet finished talking Sprocket became aware that something was moving. The scrap yard was alive and at Grommet's command, it started to rebuild him.
Sprocket had lost, but with Grommet's help he would return. That loss had only served to make him more determined to triumph. Zordon and the Rangers had won but the cost had been high. And Gasket... well Gasket believed that he had won, but that victory would come back to haunt him. For Sprocket was well aware that his brother had betrayed him and even as his body was being rebuilt, he promised that Gasket would pay dearly. It was no doubt Gasket's greatest moment, but it would turn out to be an empty victory.
End of Part