Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers; they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic. Parts of the action and dialogue from Jeremy Ray's Earth Crystal story were used in this chapter.
Authors Note: This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate timeline.
The Final Battle
Minion was on the brink of a mental breakdown. The Rangers had taken everything from him; his sanity, his life, his freedom and now it seemed that they had robbed him of his prisoners. He had vanished after the Morphin Rangers had shown up to save their friends and had returned to his island. He was relieved to find that the assembled heroes had not torn his base apart. To make sure, he had raised a magical barrier to prevent any more intrusions.
He was in constant agony. The pain, which he realised was a result of a microchip inserted next to his pain receptors was unending. So long as he was fighting the Rangers and winning the pain was subdued. However the moment it appeared that he was losing the battle and as a result the pain chip started stimulating his pain receptors.
"Silvo, Brasso, Bronzo!" he called. There was no response. The Rangers and their pesky friends had destroyed his servants. It seemed his WD Units were gone too, leaving him without even the most basic foot soldiers.
He was reaching the point where most villains accepted that they could not defeat the Rangers and committed themselves to sending down second-rate monsters in the hope of one day being successful. He had tried the direct approach; he had tried to use the Elemental Beasts and had even pressed his attack at the first sign of a weakness. In the end though he had failed to emerge victorious.
But Minion was different. He believed himself superior to all who opposed him and even if he could not express those thoughts of superiority in the way that he wanted to, he was incapable of settling for the mediocre existence of a failed villain. So how would he prove himself different? Simple, he would do to the Morphin Rangers what he had done to the Zeo Rangers. He would break them in the same way and then continue with the plan. And that meant the first step was to draw them out.
"The Rangers and their friends will not stop me," he mused out loud.
The Heroes of Earth had an annoying habit of disrupting his plans despite having better things to do, such as rebuilding their bases of operation. He almost wished he could revive some of the old Earth-based villains to help him, but that was not a possibility. ~Nor,~ he thought, ~would it be a wise idea to give others an opportunity to interfere.~
"Hello Minion," the Master said as he emerged from somewhere, disrupting the villain's plans.
"You!" Minion snarled angrily. "You told me the Sword of Ragnarok would provide me with victory."
"And so it shall my dear fellow, you just need to know how to use it," the Master said softly, placating the volatile villain. He pulled out a small device, a dimensional disruptor he called it; when activated the device emitted energy on a wavelength known to disrupt the fabric between this universe and what lies beyond, collapsing local space in the process. "Just fuse this with the sword and you will find that it truly lives up to its name."
The device was unstable, artificial entropy in a crystalline structure. When used on a small scale it could drop a city into the sea. When amplified through an universal energy field such as the Morphin Grid, its reach was unlimited. The Sword of Ragnarok with its ability to pierce the dimensional fabric and physically connect to the Morphin Grid was the perfect tool for such a purpose. For Minion it would represent victory, but for the Master who had the means to counter the effects, it was a way of disposing of Minion.
When he left, the device had been fitted to the Sword of Ragnarok and the Master had a confident smile upon his face.
JLA Watchtower, Coast City USA
Long ago when the JLA had been founded, it had been suggested that they position their headquarters in space. International tensions and a flat refusal on the part of Wonder Woman, despite Bruce Wayne's funding, had put an end to that suggestion. Instead the Watchtower had been erected in the home city of the original Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. Shaped like a lighthouse to bring hope to the world, the tower had withstood countless disasters, even the destruction of the city it overlooked.
Today it was a mess, a reminder of how badly they had fared against Minion and his forces. The light, once a beacon of hope and an answer to the prayers of the innocent had been extinguished. And even John's half-hearted attempt to imitate the beacon with his ring had failed.
"Home sweet home," Wally joked again, trying to lighten the mood. It was a poor attempt and probably attributable to the pain medication he had been forced to take for phantom pains in his legs. It seemed that while some injuries were repairable, others were not.
John watched his teammate and felt a pang of sympathy. True he and Wally didn't always see eye to eye, but they were united in their loss. His hands had reappeared, just like Wally's legs and he felt the pain from where Minion had cut them off, just as he knew Wally suffered. But it seemed that the cursed ring that he had been forced to carry refused to let him go just because he was hurting.
What would they do now, what could they do when the moment they had been released from the VR Troopers' ship, the JLA had split up? John could understand it to some extent, they all needed time and a chance to ensure their loved ones were safe before returning to deal with a situation that grew more and more dangerous by the moment.
J'Onn and Hawk Girl looked out over the battered city. They could see the damage, could sense the hurt that Minion had caused. They knew that despite their hopes to the contrary, Minion was still out there and needed to be dealt with. It could be denied that despite all he had done to them and the fact they had barely escaped with their lives, they would have to face the villain again. The only problem was that some of them were in no condition to fight.
"Wow," Zack whistled.
It was amazing how quickly Alpha had been able to work seeing how he lacked a suitable body and was forced to act by the electronic possession of low technology service droids. Still with the little machine in charge the repair process was well and truly underway.
Normally the Rangers would have expressed their amazement at just how much Alpha had accomplished, but at that moment there was an uneasy silence in the Power Chamber where the Zeo Rangers had made a startling if understandable decision.
"We're leaving," Tommy said. He spoke not only for himself, but the whole of his team. ~Or what's left of them.~
"Tommy, it wasn't your fault," Kimberly said, trying to be the voice of reason.
"She's right man," Jason agreed. "You shouldn't give up. I know what Minion did hurt you, but we need you. He's still out there and the Earth is still in danger. We need your help to stop him."
Billy and Trini remained silent. They had feared that at least one of the Zeo Rangers would react this way when they learnt of the abuse Minion had forced their friends to endure. In all their time as Rangers his pupils had rarely lost and almost always fought back. But this was different. Minion had not only defeated them; he had done so several times in a matter of weeks. Then he had tortured all of them, some worse than others.
Billy had no doubt though that it was Travis's death that hurt the most. The acting Blue Zeo Ranger had not been subjected to physical pain, but had been broken by watching his fellow Rangers endure everything that Minion had done to them. And then Minion had reversed the stakes and forces the Zeo Rangers to watch as he ended Travis's existence.
Adam was in the worse state emotionally. He had been the one who had come closest to saving Travis, but his movement had been too late and his aim had been affected by his injuries. His miss had cost them all the life of a comrade and as a result the naturally shy boy had withdrawn from everybody since they had arrived in the Power Chamber following their escape. He had yet to look any of the Rangers in the eye, definitely a bad sign and today, after being allowed to return to his home, he had been slow to respond to his communicator.
Billy wanted the Zeo Rangers to remain, they were his friends after all, but knew it had to be their choice. In an attempt to ensure that they at least considered their options he made a suggestion.
"Tommy, I know you and the others have been through a lot and agree that you need time away to consider your future involvement with the Power Rangers. I would suggest that before you go, you wait for Alpha to bring Zordon back or at least talk to Lita. Maybe they can help you put things in perspective."
It had been a good try, but the Rangers knew Tommy and the others were still too upset to be useful as Rangers. Tommy and the others knew it as well and had already decided their future.
"There is no need to surrender your powers," Billy told them as they were about to hand back the Zeo Transformers he had restored for them. "I suggest you take time to consider your future before giving up your powers. Should you wish to return or need us, the Power Chamber is always open to you."
"Thanks Billy," Tommy said as the Zeo Rangers left for their separate destinations, all of them determined to do some serious thinking.
"Well guys, I guess we have work to do," Jason said when the others had departed. "Minion's still out there and we need a plan."
Oliver Residence, Angel Grove
Tommy walked through the blood stained streets as he had every night since his time as Green Ranger. The dreams did not disturb him anymore because he understood they were formed partially by his guilt over what he had done under Rita's influence and partially by the spell Rita had used after he broke free. It was a spell he only felt while asleep, a spell that ensured he would never be able to forget what he had been.
Tonight the dream was different. At first Tommy had failed to notice the lack of bodies that usually covered the ground, but then he saw he was not dressed in the Green Ranger uniform he normally wore either. He was dressed as the Red Zeo Ranger and drenched in blood, his own blood!
"Ah, there you are Tommy," the unmistakable voice of Minion said. "I thought you might be missing some things so I brought them with me."
Holding his hand out Minion turned slowly, revealing the dead population of Angel Grove. At the top of the pile, impaled on thick wooden stakes were the other Power Rangers.
"You did this?" It was more of a comment than a question, Tommy already knew Minion was responsible.
"Affirmative," Minion said, starting to sound like Billy. "But I couldn't have succeeded without the help of the Zeo Rangers. If you had fought better and shot me when you had the chance, these people would still be alive. So you see Zeo Falcon, it is your fault that these people are dead, not mine. I didn't do this, YOU did because YOU failed."
Tommy's powers started to fade as Minion's words hit home. Confidence was one of the things a Ranger needed and right now Tommy's confidence was shattered.
"You let everyone down Tommy," the dead body of Trini said.
"We had faith in you Bro," Jason's scarred and bloodied corpse said. "Look where that got us."
"You could have saved me but you didn't have the courage," a younger voice said. Tommy recognised the voice, but hoped it was not true. From out of the thinning mist stepped a boy Tommy recognised as Fred Kellman. His neck was broken, causing his head to hang at an awkward angle. Minion smiled at the younger boy and placed an arm over his shoulder. "I don't want to be a Ranger anymore, I have a new hero now."
"Nooooooo!" Tommy cried as he saw Fred transform to become a smaller version of Minion.
"You did it Tommy," the corpse of the Ranger known as Kimberly said. "Rita made you the Green Ranger to destroy us and as the Red Ranger you succeeded."
The scene changed and Tommy found himself inside the original Command Center. The normally comforting Alpha Five scurried away as Tommy arrived, leaving him face to face with Zordon.
"Thomas Oliver, you have failed the people of your world, failed to protect your team of Rangers and failed to earn the trust I had in you. You have injured many with your antics as Green Ranger, you put the team constantly at risk with your failing powers and you have proven that you cannot defend the Earth. I have tried to help you, but even though you have had more sets of powers than any other Ranger, you have still failed time after time."
Zordon stepped from his plasma tube, but Tommy could still not see his body. In his hand was the Sword of Light, which he pointed at Tommy's chest.
"Thomas Tyler Oliver, I hereby strip you of any and all powers that you hold be they past, future or present. Never again will you be allowed to squander and abuse either the Morphin Grid or the Zeo Crystal. It is to ensure the safety of everybody that I now take you life."
The Sword of Light pierced Tommy's heart. He did not even have the chance to scream as he collapsed to the floor. He looked up, using the last of strength to see his killer.
"The world is better off without you, Tommy," Zordon said. "Never forget that."
"NO!" Tommy cried a second time, sitting bolt upright in bed. He looked down at his chest and was surprised to find it covered in blood. A small puncture wound had reopened, probably from where Minion had beaten him. Knowing he would not be able to get back to sleep Tommy walked downstairs to the family room and sat on the sofa.
It was then that he noticed he was still shaking. Whatever that dream had been it, had been too real. He heard the sounds of somebody coming downstairs. Two people in fact.
"Tommy?" his mother asked, concerned. "Are you okay?"
Tommy was still shaking too much to answer the question. His mother stopped, wondering what could have happened to cause her son to act like a scared rabbit.
"It -- it's okay, Mom. Just a nightmare," he managed at last. He tried to force a smile, but none was forthcoming.
"Are you sure?" his father asked. He had never seen Tommy like this before. Sure in the time since moving to Angel Grove Tommy had nightmares. But nothing had ever shaken him like this.
Tommy nodded, unable to speak further. Everything the Zordon in his dream had said was true.
~They're better off without me,~ he thought. ~I'm a liability.~
He had committed terrible crimes during his time as Green Ranger. He had worked for Rita and caused destruction throughout the city. He had been lucky not to kill somebody during his first use of the Dragonzord. He hadn't cared about the buildings Dragonzord had damaged. All that mattered was the will of his empress. Then he had captured Jason and almost killed him. It had taken all his will power to keep from murdering the Red Ranger.
~But I did resist,~ he thought. The words offered little comfort. Had he captured Jason a day later he would have killed him without a second thought.
Then Jason had released him from Rita's spell and given him the chance to make amends. He had become the Green Ranger under Jason's command as a way to make up for what he had done. But he couldn't even do that right. He had allowed Rita to light the Green Candle and steal his powers.
Instead of crawling away and hiding under a rock, Tommy had stayed on in Angel Grove and agreed to help the Rangers, thus regaining his powers. But now they were temporary and he put the team at risk every time he went into battle. Too stubborn to give up and let Jason take the powers he had squandered the remaining power and then run away.
Zordon had trusted him to become White Ranger and leader of the Power Rangers. ~But did he do it because I was a worthy candidate or because he was desperate and couldn't find a decent White Ranger?~
Tommy's stubbornness had led to the loss of the Thunderzords. The powers that could not be taken by evil were destroyed just because he refused to listen to reason. If it had not been for Ninjor, Earth would have been finished. Even with Ninja powers Tommy had failed to stop Rito from destroying the Power Coins. ~Another set of powers lost because I failed to protect the coins.~
As Red Zeo Ranger he had allowed Gasket to take control of his mind. He had led the Ranger into battle against Minion and caused the Zeo Crystal to be destroyed. If not for his failed leadership and blind faith in his friends, the fake Billy would not have been able to betray them. ~Jason would not have been deceived.~
And recently, with millions of people watching, he had failed to help Travis. The Triforian had perished and Tommy had done nothing. Once again his failure had cost somebody their life.
Tommy had lost count of the number of people who had died during a monster attack either because of the damage caused when the monster grew, or the innocent who was crushed when something fell on top of them. He had been to Angels Rest and had counted the number of people killed after he became a Ranger. He knew only a few of them by name - Fred Kellman had been a kid in his classes - and a few on sight, but the rest were faceless strangers he had let down.
~Maybe they would be better off without me,~ Tommy thought.
His Zeo Transformer appeared and he considered whether to simply send it back to the Power Chamber and let them select a new Red Ranger. He had no doubt the Rangers would need the Zeo powers again in the future, unless the Zeo Crystal could be repaired. Tempting as it was to walk away, part of him just couldn't let go. With a sigh he sent the device back to where he had summoned it from, unaware that he was being watched.
Sam teleported away unseen, he knew Tommy would work things out, but he was determined to be there when Tommy felt like talking. Using his magic he cast a spell to force Tommy back to sleep and then teleported away.
Rocky lay back on his bed, trying to work through his feelings of the recent events. He felt as guilty about Travis as the others, but for a different reason. Had he fought harder or better there was a chance he would have been there instead of Travis; the Triforian had been picking up his slack. And then as a real kick in the teeth, while Travis had been killed, he had been healed. Perhaps if he had been left with a broken back he would have felt better about himself.
He should have been able to fight Minion in some way instead of lying in a bed like an idiot while his family had gathered around and brought him presents. Oh his recovery had amazed his mother, just as his sudden depression had raised a number of eyebrows. The Earth needed the Blue Zeo Ranger even if he were using the makeshift Zeo powers, of that he had no doubt. The question in his mind was, did the Zeo Rangers need Rocky DeSantos?
He needed somewhere he could go, a place where he could shout if he wanted to without attracting the attention of his siblings or his mother. One place seemed to be perfect, the family cabin. The place had been abandoned since his father's death and was only visited by Rocky and his older brother Pedro. In a flash of blue light he teleported from his room to a storage area under the cabin.
The room was large enough to hold a small gymnasium. In the corner was a set of weights and a mat on which to practice. In the center of the room was a punching bag, perfect for what he had in mind.
Starting slowly with a few gentle kicks, Rocky allowed his anger to be released under control. He kicked the bag repeatedly until it finally split open and fell to the ground. Now he was starting to feel better Rocky was determined to work through his feelings.
He walked over to a set of old chairs the family had been meaning to burn. He laid into the furniture, reducing it to a pile of splinters. Then he moved on through tables, chairs and even the walls in places. It didn't matter. Everything in the storage room was surplus to requirements. He tried as hard as he could to find a reason to remain a Zeo Ranger, but he couldn't think of anything that he had left to bring to the team.
~Perhaps it is time to hand over to someone else.~
He continued his frantic workout, growing ever more emotional by the second. In his mind he knew that surrendering now would prove he was a coward.
In his mind he could imagine what his father would say if he could see him now. "You make one little mistake and then run away. No wonder you couldn't save Travis. You're a coward, a weak-minded fool and everybody knows it. Adam has no faith in you. He couldn't even look you in the eye. You can't quit and you can't stay. You're hopeless."
As he finished his workout, Rocky sank to his knees, his eyes filled with tears. He had let them all down. Everybody that had had any faith in him had been let down by his actions. He tried to dry his eyes, but the tears kept coming. The last few days had finally caught up with him and no amount of exercise could prevent the inevitable breakdown.
It was then that he felt a firm hand on his shoulder. He looked around to see Jason looking down at him. He knew he could not hide the tears from the Red Ranger, but the look on Jason's face told him he didn't need to.
"We need to talk," Jason said.
Gently but firmly the Red Ranger helped his friend back to his feet. He had known that the Zeo Rangers would separate and try to sort things on their own. He had also known that they would find the events of the last few days difficult to deal with. So he had instructed his team of Rangers to make themselves available should the others need them.
David and Sam would be there for Tommy if he needed them. Kimberly and Trini were there for Kat, Billy had gone to see Adam, Aisha was with Tanya and her aunt in Kenya and Zack had gone to Pyramidas to check on Trey. Somehow Jason did not see the Black Ranger being able to get through to the Gold Zeo Ranger, but Zack had taken the recovering Dex with him and Jason hoped that would be enough.
They had found their new powers and had completed the quest for the Great Power, an accomplishment that only a few could boast, but Minion was still out there and until he was finally destroyed, their quest was worthless. While he was still capable of causing damage there was no point in trying to fix the damage. And as strong as their new powers seemed to be, Jason felt confident that in the end it would take all they had to achieve victory. ~Damn, I'm starting to think like Billy.~
He had tracked Rocky down to the house and had intended to refrain from interfering, but having seen the state that Rocky was in, he decided otherwise.
Ko's Garden, Near Angel Grove Park.
Adam sat alone in the garden, happy for the seclusion. He knew none of the other Rangers would think to look for him there, except maybe Billy. Not that he expected any of the Rangers to want to talk to him, especially the other Zeo Rangers. He had watched them as Minion had tortured them. He had seen every blow the WD Unit had inflicted on Tommy, he had heard Trey scream in agony when he had grown too exhausted to pedal. And what had they done to him? They had tickled him.
Oh sure there had been more to the Twitcher than just a feather on the end of a stick. The electrical current could be targeted on any muscle and would cause it to twitch uncontrollably. It was a continuous and unstoppable twitching that slowly went from being annoying to painful and then, maddening.
He couldn't even bring himself to look Rocky in the eye. The other teen had been hospitalised by Minion, only to be dragged back into danger because Adam had not been brave enough to sacrifice his life. The Blue Ranger had almost been killed and despite the knowledge that he had done something that time, Adam still felt he should have done more.
His dad had always said the Power Rangers caused more problems than they solved. Adam was starting to agree with him.
"Power Coin for you thoughts," a voice said.
Adam turned around, recognising the voice as Billy. He wondered how the Blue Ranger had known where to find him, but soon suppressed the thought. Knowing Billy as well as he did, he suspected the Blue Ranger had simply visited anywhere the Green Zeo Ranger would go for solitude.
"I don't think they're worth it," Adam replied.
Billy didn't say anything, knowing that if he pushed his shy friend too hard he would simply withdraw further into himself. In addition Billy was not sure if he wanted to talk about Minion. The idea that the enemy who had almost killed his friends was his clone was not something Billy found easy to deal with. Seriously, how many times did they have to defeat him before the villain finally stayed dead? He was starting to think there was something else keeping the villain in the Mortal Realm.
It was even more difficult for Billy to accept that Minion was really his clone because of Cestria. Minion had been responsible for her death and the death of the Aquitian Rangers. Minion had cost him his home and his friends.
They continued sitting and waiting, long into the night.
In a lone column of yellow light Aisha arrived in her own village. She made her way to where she knew her aunt would be and walked in.
"Ashala?" she asked nervously, not sure if her aunt would remember her after ten years.
"Aisha!" the older woman cried happily as she greeted her niece. "Why are you here? Have you returned to us? Is the danger over... no, something else then, what is it child?"
"It's about Tanya," Aisha told her.
She quickly explained the events of the last few days and the events in the Power Chamber. Ashala nodded, her expression turned grave as Aisha explained the humiliation Minion had inflicted. Finally she agreed to let Aisha talk to Tanya and pointed to the outcrop not far away where she knew Tanya would be sitting.
Aisha found Tanya sitting where Ashala had said, her head in her hands looking out over the land below. She hardly acknowledged Aisha's presence as the other girl sat next to her and placed a hand on her shoulders.
Tanya was feeling a mixture of emotions. She felt guilty that she had been unable to help Travis, she knew that was down to fear as much as her own injuries. The reason did little to eliminate the guilt she was feeling, but she knew there was little point in letting the guilt eat away at her. She had failed, but it would never happen again. The strongest feeling she had at the moment was a feeling of isolation. She was no longer a part of a team she loved, Minion's most heinous act had been to shatter their bonds and he had been doing so since the day he had first appeared. That hurt more than anything did.
She missed Adam and Rocky, but knew if they had Aisha back they no longer needed her. The three of them had been friends for years before Tanya had arrived and the teen knew that they would welcome their old friend back with open arms. Where then did that leave her, Aisha's replacement?
Like the others she had been tempted to give up her Zeonisers, but she knew that was all that was tying her to the Rangers. If she gave them up, what was left?
Kat had decided there was no point in leaving the Power Chamber. Sooner or later the other Rangers would track her down and then she would have to talk to them. She was especially worried in case she ran into Kim again. Although Kimberly had broken up with Tommy and the couple had since made their peace, Kat had always felt a little guilty about attempting to date him.
It had taken a while, but eventually Kat had started to feel the attraction fade. She soon understood that what she felt for Tommy had been love, but not the type on which they could build a lasting relationship. At the time she had first met him she was under Rita's spell. She had been attracted to the darker side of Tommy.
After she had broken the spell, the side effects had taken a while to fade. Then Tommy had received the letter and had looked so hurt she had felt drawn to him again. Only recently had she seriously started to think twice about Tommy. The appearance of David had prompted her to question whether her feelings were real. Seeing someone so like Tommy and yet so different had opened her eyes.
She had intended to sort her feelings for him later, but the fight with Minion had gotten in the way. Now everything had changed again.
She reached over to the light and turned it on. She flinched as she felt the change in heat created by the bulb. Despite her wounds being healed her nerves had been left extremely sensitive to outside stimuli. That had been why she had been unable to help Travis. Even though she had tried to help, every move was so painful she had been unable to pull the trigger.
She had been helpless, nothing more than a victim of evil as she was when Rita had controlled her. ~But when I was with Rita, I broke the spell,~ she thought. ~Why couldn't I have found the strength to pull the trigger?~
The answer was simple and she knew it. When Rita had controlled her, she had simply had to fight against the spell. But with Minion she had not been under a spell, she had been convinced that movement was too painful. Her mind was stronger than any spell and when used against her it was a powerful weapon.
Kat looked up as somebody entered the room. In front of her, wearing a pair of white jeans and white T-shirt was David Trueheart, Tommy's brother and the newest member of the Power Rangers.
"Are you okay?" he asked sitting down next to her.
Kat smiled weakly. She had liked David for a long time. He was a good friend and she had always been able to open up to him. He looked so much like Tommy, but was totally different emotionally. Whereas Tommy had a dark side to his nature, David had a lighter character.
Kimberly and Trini had watched over Kat for a while and then decided she needed to talk to someone else. And from the looks of things the female Rangers had the right idea as slowly she started to open up, telling him everything she was feeling. In return David did not judge or comment; he simply listened as the Pink Zeo Ranger poured her heart out.
The Power Chamber
Two Days Later
"Ai-yi-yi, this is so exciting," Alpha exclaimed as his head was finally lowered onto his new body, the interlocks on the nick clicking into place and the wiring made contact.
"Borrowing some of Doctor Pym's technology to speed up the repairs was a good idea," Trini commented.
Billy and Jason nodded. The Avengers had already used their technology to restore their headquarters at Mount Rushmore and had loaned some of their more useful devices to the other heroes. In a time of war repairs were essential. Billy had even suggested unleashing the small robots on the Zeo Crystal to correct the flaws in its damaged structure. That idea had been put on hold while the computer double-checked his calculations.
"And now the Power Chamber is back, maybe we can bring Zordon back online," Zack said.
"I can't wait," Kimberly said.
The others nodded. They needed their mentor back, maybe he could make the Zeo Rangers see sense.
"Alpha, start the probe," Jason instructed.
"Co-ordinates locked in Rangers, contact has been made, awaiting response."
"All we can do now is wait," Billy told them.
"The time has come, the end of the Power Rangers is nigh!" Minion exclaimed, enjoying the opportunity to sound dramatic.
He had finally decided on how he was going to draw them out. It was a simple and well-tested method of sending a few monsters to distract them before making his appearance. Then he planned to crush the meddling teenagers and prove that the Earth was without hope.
~I wonder how they will die,~ he mused. ~Will they go slowly or will I be lucky and slaughter them in a few minutes?~ He shrugged. ~Oh well, either is fine.~
There were a few steps he would need to take before he could begin, first he needed a means of bringing monsters out of the Dark Dimension. Fortunately the bodies from his early attacks had yet to be cleared away as local governments took time to clean up. He used one of those corpses to bring his loyal servant Arcana back to life; as a dark wizard who was familiar with death magic, he was able to possess an animated corpse.
"Arcana, mighty wizard and servant of darkness, I command you, appeared."
He watched as the selected corpse mutated to fit its new owner's requirements.
"I want you to bring forth three monsters," he said. "Use your own conduit, but make it fast."
"Yes Minion," Arcana slurred.
Producing a knife he sliced his arm, allowing the thick oozing blood to fall on the ground. When Minion examined it closely he was surprised to discover that it was the same slime Arcana had used to produce his duplicate of Billy.
"Arise my duplicates and take form. Eye Guy, Syren, King Sphinx, come forth and avenge your defeats."
A small buzzer sounded, warning of an incoming message. Alpha excitedly moved to the correct console and activated the restored Plasma Tube.
"Ai-yi-yi, welcome back Zordon."
The tube bubbled and then Zordon's head appeared, looking around the restored Power Chamber in amazement.
"Thank you, Alpha, it is good to see that you are intact. Now tell me, what has occurred in my absence?"
Alpha explained all that had happened, from the Rangers' successful return from Phaedos, something that pleased Zordon immensely, to the Zeo Rangers' defeat and subsequent treatment by Minion. He explained how the Rangers had returned from Phaedos and plugged him into the computer, allowing him to supervise the repairs.
Zordon was surprised by what he had heard. The Zeo Rangers had faced so much and yet they had not given up entirely. That they had made allies in the process was another surprise. While the Rangers had had a working relationship with the JLA and the Avengers in the past, they had had little contact with the VR Troopers and Beetleborgs. ~Perhaps some good will come of this,~ he mused. ~Earth has never had more protection than it does now.~
A new alarm sounded, warning that an attack was underway and reminding those present that Minion was still out there and there was still work to be done.
"Contact Jason and his team," Zordon instructed.
"What about Tommy?" Alpha asked.
"The Zeo Rangers need time to come to terms with all that has happened. We will not call them unless necessary."
Alpha nodded reluctantly and set about pushing the relevant buttons.
The eight Morphin Rangers had agreed to meet at the Youth Center. It was a chance to relax and discuss their concerns for their friends. They were in the middle of consuming their orders when their alarms sounded simultaneously. Ernie smiled a knowing smile to himself as he watched the teens run out of the door. ~So Jason and the others are back in the game,~ he thought. ~Good for them.~
Eight coloured streams of light streaked through the air high above Angel Grove. Just a very few seconds after leaving the Juice Bar, the teleportation beams entered the Power Chamber.
"Zordon!" Zack greeted.
"It's good to have you back Zordon," Jason smiled.
"Yeah, we missed you," Kimberly added.
"Thank you, Rangers and congratulations on the successful completion of your quest," Zordon rumbled. "I am afraid I did not call you here just to tell you that I have returned. Minion has unleashed three old monsters on Angel Grove."
"Are you sure it's Minion?" Trini asked. They had so many enemies now it was worth checking.
"I am afraid so," Zordon answered. "Behold the Viewing Screen."
"Talk about recycling," Kimberly said.
"These guys are old," Zack said. "But, we've beat them before."
"Yes, however I sense that they are made from a different material this time, which might alter their abilities."
"Divide and conquer," Jason decided. "Are the other Zords ready yet?"
"All the Zords are now complete," Alpha reported.
"Dragonzord, Titanus and Tor have been rebuilt to match your new Zords' technology," Zordon told them.
"I suggest we utilise our strengths and divide our attacks appropriately," Billy said.
"Exactly Billy," Zordon agreed. "You along with Jason, Kimberly, Zack and Trini shall pilot the Dino Megazord against Eye Guy. When you have defeated him, you will be able to help the others. Aisha and David can combine their Zords to form the Dino Stegazord. I suggest the two of you go after Syren. Sam will need to battle King Sphinx alone until you are ready to join him.
"It's Morphin Time!" Jason called.
"White Ranger Power!"
"Green Ranger Power!"
"Purple Ranger Power!"
"Black Rangers Power!"
"Pink Ranger Power!"
"Yellow Ranger Power!"
"Blue Ranger Power!"
"Red Ranger Power!"
With an overwhelmingly loud crackle of electricity, the Rangers teleported out of the Power Chamber.
"Aye-yi-yi!" Alpha cried. "Good luck Rangers."
"There it is," Billy said.
"We have to be really careful," Kimberly said. "No matter where we're at, he can see us."
"Just remember his weakness," Trini said.
"His main eye," Billy agreed.
Eye Guy suddenly turned around so that his main eye was facing the five Rangers crouched down behind the hill.
"He's seen us!"
Who gave the warning was unclear as the ground around them started to explode.
"Attack!" Kimberly cried. With a resounding hi-ayah, the Rangers leapt into battle.
"Siek-yiah!" Sam cried. He suddenly appeared out of thin air and executed a perfect Power Kick at King Sphinx. Next he kicked him in the chin with his left foot before using a right-footed kick to the monster's chest to give him the momentum to back flip away. As the monster shook off the attack, Sam moved around so he was behind the monster. He leapt onto the shoulders of King Sphinx, dropped back and side kicked the monster in the back. King Sphinx was forced forward and tripped over. Sam ran up to the monster, grabbed it by the shoulders, and high-kicked it.
"You've made a fatal mistake," King Sphinx growled as two powerful wings unfolded from his back.
"She's pretty," David observed.
The pretty human looking monster with long pink hair and black dress, fishnet knee socks and carrying a small fan smiled shyly and waved at the young Ranger before blowing him a kiss.
"Men," Aisha muttered as she pushed her teammate out of the path of the exploding kiss. "First rule of dealing with pretty monsters, keep your brain in your head and not your pants. Get down!"
David looked at her, unsure why she was panicking, but did as she said as Syren was transformed, her beautiful body replaced by that of a scaly bird that breathed fire at the Rangers.
"That's her true form?" David asked.
"Remember your mythology," Aisha replied, "mermaids, sirens and veela, all beautiful until they fail. Then things get ugly."
"Anything else I should know?"
"Yeah she can..."
Aisha's words were drowned out by the high-pitched scream that echoed down the street, shattering windows as it did so.
"... shatter things with her voice," she finished lamely. "Follow my lead."
Aisha flipped over the monster and side-kicked her in the chest. Before it could react, the Purple Ranger dropped down to the ground and swept her left leg beneath the monster. With an inhuman shriek, Syren hit the ground, giving Aisha time to roll away.
"Hi-yah!" David cried, leaping into the air. He landed on top of the bird-headed monster just as she climbed to her feet. David grabbed hold of her shoulders and pulled her to the ground with him. Aisha cartwheeled over to Syren and kicked her off of David.
"Thanks," David said as she helped him to his feet.
"Not a problem," Aisha said.
She ran up to the monster, pushed off with her left leg, and high kicked it in the chest. She landed on both feet as Syren stumbled backwards. The pretty monster tried a new tactic, shifting appearance and winking at David seductively. To Aisha she whispered, "Prepare to die!"
"Power Bow!" Kimberly cried. She jumped into the air and fired two pink arrows at Eye Guy. The two arrows pierced an eye on each of Eye Guy's shoulders. He bellowed in pain and immediately clamped a heavy, eyelid over his main eye.
"Power Lance!" Billy shouted. Kimberly flipped out of the way as Billy ran past her. The Power Lance was held out before him like a ram. Just as the Power Lance was about to pierce the main eye, Eye Guy grabbed the weapon and flipped Billy over his head. "Whoa!" Billy cried. He let go of the Power Lance in midair and landed several feet away, in a painful pile.
"Billy!" Kimberly cried. She immediately ran to help her fallen comrade.
"Power Daggers!" Trini called, spinning the weapons in her hands. She rushed at Eye Guy, flipping into the air to position herself as s he slashed at the monster as s he passed overhead. Screaming in pain, Eye Guy tried to hit the Yellow Ranger, but Trini had learnt that speed was important in battle and made sure she was not there.
"Cosmic Cannon!" Zack shouted. He converted the Power Axe to its alternate mode. "You're goin' down, Eye Guy!" he taunted. He rolled to the left and then the right, allowing the monster to easily track his movements and wonder what he was up to. Then he stopped, bringing the weapon into position as he fired.
"NO!" Eye Guy screamed, both of his hands coming up to protect his center eye.
"You got his main eye!" Kimberly cried.
"I got his main eyelid," Zack corrected.
"More than I did," Billy said slowly, groggy from being slammed into the ground.
"Can you hit his main eye with an arrow, Kim?" Jason asked.
"One way to find out," Kimberly said, raising the Power Bow.
Sam tumbled backwards. King Sphinx's wings were flapping rapidly, and the Ranger was unable to roll away from his windstorm in time. "Dragon Sword!" he cried, reaching behind his back, unsheathing the Dragon Dagger and watching as it was magical altered into the larger blade. The sword grew in his grip with a flash of green light. Stabbing the blade into the street, he was able to lift himself to his feet.
"Try this for size!" he yelled, throwing the sword toward his opponent. However, the wind was pushing against it so hard, the sword barely moved.
"Okay, change of plan," the Green Ranger decided, snatching his sword back. "Dragon Fire!" From his hunched position against the wind, he dragged himself to the upright position, moving the sword in a slashing motion as he did so. The sword glowed green as he completed the move and a ball of fire shot out of the blade. It moved through the wind with the greatest of ease and struck King Sphinx in the chest. He stopped flapping his wings and hit the ground as Sam repeated the move. However, when the monster ducked, he leapt into the air and brought his blade down in a powered slice.
King Sphinx pulled a sword out of the air and blocked the blow. He kicked Sam and slashed at the Ranger with his sword. Sam let out a yelp as the sword caused his uniform to spark. With an angry bellow, King Sphinx punched Sam, sending him rolling.
"One more time then," Sam commented, drawing more power from the Grid and combining it with his own magic. "Siek-yah!" He unleashed the flaming ball, and watched as it made contact.
Aisha and David charged at Syren. While Aisha leapt into the air and attacked her with a knife-edge chop, David settled for a more ground-orientated assault. His Drago Sword was accurate and kept him at a safer distance than his teammate.
"Power Whip!" Aisha cried, selecting the more robust bullwhip for her attack. The whip coiled around the monster, holding her in place. "Electrify!" Aisha called and a large burst of electrical energy flowed along the length of the whip.
"Laser Arrows!" David called as he moved the Drago Sword in the appropriate motion. Six energy arrows formed, pointed just to the left of the bound monster. "Fire!"
At that moment Aisha jerked the whip, releasing the monster, but sending her spinning into David's attack. Syren screeched, folding her wings over her head to protect herself from the attack.
"Eeeeeeyaaaaaa!" Syren screamed. With a sudden burst of energy, she ran at the Purple Ranger, grabbed her, and threw her over her head.
Aisha screamed as she flew over the monster and into her partner, knocking him to the ground.
"Yes Arcana, this is perfect," Minion cried as he watched his monsters lose. They were doing exactly what he needed them to do and the whole area was resonated with magic. Soon he would find the desired point and then it would be the end of the Power Rangers. "Try this on for size Rangers," he snarled. He nodded at Arcana who threw three balls of dark energy into the air.
Kimberly let the arrow fly. Eye Guy attempted to cover his main eye up. Suddenly a ball of darkness sank into his body. With a triumphant bellow, Eye Guy shot straight up into the air, hundreds of feet tall. Kimberly's arrow hit his foot and bounced off.
"Oh no," Kimberly said.
"We're gonna have to go for the Megazord," Billy said.
"Let's do it," Jason said.
"Mastodon Dinozord Power!"
"Pterodactyl Dinozord Power!"
"Triceratops Dinozord Power!"
"Saber-toothed Dinozord Power!"
"Tyrannosaurus Dinozord Power!"
A brilliant flash of blue light exploded in the air above them. King Sphinx landed back on the ground, but he was no longer his normal six feet.
"Oh man," Sam muttered. "Time for Dragonzord!"
He lifted the magical blade, allowing the notes of the powerful flute to carry through the air.
"Guess we need the Zords," Aisha commented.
David gestured for her to go first and she gratefully accepted.
"Stegazord!" For some reason it sounded better than calling out Stegosaurus
"Raptor Zord!" Again the name had changed, but it seemed to fit.
From their assembled hiding places the Zords came. Had Power Mountain been as safe as they had once believed then they would have been held in the Zord Bays. Instead the Dinozords had been hidden somewhere close to where Titanus was known to reside. Hearing the call, the machines swiftly raced to meet their operators.
"Dinozords!" the eight Rangers shouted in perfect unison, despite the fact that the three battles were occurring miles apart. "Power up!" The Rangers jumped into the air and teleported into the cockpits of their Zords.
"Those are the Dinozords?" Kimberly asked. Part of her was impressed with the more robust and dynamic appearance of the Zords, another part was a little apprehensive of the remodelled machines.
"Affirmative," Billy told her as he watched the Triceratops charge towards him. "These Zords have been designed to fight individually as well as in Megazord mode."
That was true, the redesign had focussed on making the Pterodactyl and Triceratops more useful. The Pterodactyl was more delicate with adjustable wings to improve mobility. The Triceratops had legs instead of just tank treads. The body frame was hinged at different points, making it as versatile as the beast it had been modelled on. The Tyrannosaurus had also undergone an overhaul. While it had always been highly mobile and capable of battling individually, the upgraded version looked more fearsome, its huge mouth ready to tear through anything that got in its way.
"This is awesome," Zack commented. While the Mastodon was still slow and plodding, the body had undergone some minor modifications to make it easier to control, and an accelerator to aid its charge attack.
The Saber-toothed Tiger leapt forward. Like the Mastodon it had not changed that much. Like all the Zords its body was made up of multiple sections of material as opposed to single sheets of metal, allowing the machine to move more like the animal it had been based upon.
"Rangers, log on!" Jason laughed as he appeared in the cockpit of his machine. It was just how he remembered it.
"Zack here. All systems go."
"Billy here. Let's finish him!"
"Trini here. Ready for action."
"Let's get this bugeyed freak." That was from Kimberly.
"All right Rangers, let's show him the power of these new Zords," Jason said before directing his machine towards Eye Guy.
The Rangers decided to try out their individual attacks. Billy led the way, charging the monster with the Zord's horn, and then bucking the machine's head back to pitch Eye Guy into the air. He pulled a lever on the control panel to launch the two smaller horns at the monster. The horns were attached to chains and wrapped around Eye Guy, holding him as Billy tried to charge its main eye with the large horn. Before the machine made contact, Eye Guy launched the eyes surrounding his body, breaking the chains and throwing the Triceratops off course.
The Mastodon was the next Zord to attack, using its formidable tusks to bully the monster before whacking it across the head with its trunk. Using its freezing mist, it managed to trap Eye Guy in a block of ice. Zack moved his machine away and allowed Trini to have her shot.
The Saber-toothed Tiger was more agile than Trini remembered and she used its newfound versatility to bash the frozen monster. Trini extended the Zord's claws and swiped at Eye Guy, the ice shattered and the monster staggered back as Trini urged her Zord to sink its teeth into one of its eyes.
"Jason, he's yours!" Trini called as she moved out of the Tyrannosaurus's path.
The large red vicious Zord attacked, claws and teeth lashing out at its prey. When Eye Guy tried to fire an energy pulse from his main eye, Jason used his Zord's tail to smash the monster in the face. The Tyrannosaurus Zord's tail started to spin, drilling its opponent. Inside the Zord, Jason smiled and reached for the control. It was time to finish this.
That was when the duplicate decided to drop the illusion.
The winged monster was not doing well. Dragonzord was a powerful machine and too heavy for the monster to blow away with his wings. In desperation King Sphinx took to the air, challenging Dragonzord to follow, forgetting that the powerful machine could not fly.
Dragonzord let out an electronic roar, the lights on its chest panel alternating. It fired several rockets from its fingers, narrowly missing its target. King Sphinx dived, his sceptre in hand, but as it approached, the Zord turned, presenting the monster with the spinning end of its powerful tail.
King Sphinx gave a cry of anguish and then reverted to its slime state.
Giant Syren was all beast, with no outward sign of beauty. When she attacked, her talons were fully extended. Luckily David and Aisha were already inside their Zords and on the attack. The Stegazord charged its solar energy cells. It came to a halt in front of a mangle car, twitched its tail and sent the vehicle smashing into the monster.
The White Ranger followed up with his Zord, grabbing the monster by her shoulders and lifted it into the air, dropping it in an uninhabited area.
"Ready to finish this?" Aisha asked.
David grunted an affirmative as he moved his machine into position.
The Raptor Zord swooped from the sky, grabbed the Stegazord as it shuffled along the ground, lifted it into the air and after gaining a little momentum, released it. The Stegazord used the momentum and launched into a forward spin, its sharpened spikes ploughed into the monster, cutting the creature's body as it did so.
Syren responded angrily by unleashing a fireball at the two Zords.
"Time for Plan B," Aisha sighed.
"Dino Stegazord formation!" they called together.
Once again the Raptor Zord lifted the Stegazord into the air, but this time David and Aisha activated a new protocol allowing the Raptor Zord to reform around the rapidly reshaped Stegazord to form the arms and legs of a new gestalt machine with the Stegazord providing the head and the body; the head, torso and tail of the Raptor Zord formed the Stinger, one of its main weapons.
"Tail Attack!" White Ranger ordered.
The machine performed a forward flip, bringing the end of its tail around to deliver a sharp blow to Syren.
"Dino Stegalaser!" Purple Ranger commanded.
The Zord bowed its head and fired an energy beam at the ground. As it returned it head to its normal position, the laser travelled along the ground, approaching Syren and gaining in intensity. When it finally connected, Syren exploded and the Dino Stegazord set off to find the rest of the Rangers.
Red lights flashed in the Power Chamber; shrieking alarms filled the air. "Aye-yi-yi!" Alpha cried. "Zordon! Something is wrong, the computer is picking up abnormal readings from Angel Grove Park!"
"I believe Minion has used this attack as a diversion," Zordon answered. "However, until the Rangers are finished with his monsters they will be unable to stop him."
Things were not going well for the other Rangers. The two blobs had joined and then at Arcana's command, taken on the shape of a giant centaur with a large helmet and carrying a powerful mace. Already it had proven its speed by racing past the Triceratops, Mastodon and Saber-toothed Tiger, knocking each Zord over as it did so. An uppercut had knocked the Dragonzord flying and its mace had almost taken a chunk out of the Tyrannosaurus's hide.
The Pterodactyl had saved the day, the Zord's high speed and precision allowed it to distract the monster while keeping a safe distance. It brought the other Zords enough time to recover, at which point the Rangers had decided that they needed to pool their resources.
"All right, guys, let's bring 'em together!" Red Ranger called.
"Right!" the others responded.
A flash of lightning arced across the sky, transforming the Zords into the forms that the Rangers were familiar with. As they changed, they started to merge to form the Megazord's Tank Mode.
The Triceratops and Saber-toothed Tiger transformed, merging with the Tyrannosaurus while the Mastodon split into head shield and cannon components before joining with Tyrannosaurus from in front and behind. Then the Pterodactyl slotted into place behind the Tyrannosaurus's head, completing the procedure.
The Dino Tank rumbled forward, its energy cannons firing as it did so. The monster appeared to be unharmed as it batted the blasts away.
"Let's show him some Megazord power!" Jason cried, pressing the activation buttons.
"Megazord Sequence has been initiated," they heard the computer reply as the Pterodactyl and Mastodon head were ejected from its position. The machine pivoted, the Saber-toothed Tiger and Triceratops forming the legs and feet while the Mastodon cannons were transformed into arms. The Tyrannosaurus head folded down, allowing the Megazord's head to replace it as the Pterodactyl formed the chest shield.
"Megazord activated!" the computer announced as the Megazord's eyes lit up.
The Dino Megazord summoned the Power Sword and then rushed at the centaur. The Megazord slashed at the monster, but it spun aside and retaliated by firing balls of fire at the Megazord. The massive machine lurched.
"That was a serious hit!" Trini complained as a red light on the control panel before her lit up.
"Another hit like that and some of our systems will start going off-line!" Billy warned
"We have to take him out now!" Zack encouraged.
Megazord turned around and slashed at the monster again, narrowly avoiding the mace when it swung towards them.
"Mammoth Shield!" Kimberly cried, reacting to the monster's next move before the other. The shield appeared in time to block the fireball attack.
Sam moved Dragonzord into position, taking a swing at the centaur's head. He felt certain that the helmet protected the beast from the Megazord's attack. The creature deflected Dragonzord's tail attack and reared up on its hind legs to kick the Zord over again.
Dragonzord stood back up, activating its weaponry and launching a barrage of finger rockets at the monster. Then as the centaur shifted around, Sam directed his Zord to follow up with a tail drill attack along the monster's flank.
The other Rangers activated the Power Sword, bringing it around for a devastating blow to the monster's helmet. The headpiece exploded, splintering into pieces across the ground. They tried for a second shot, but the centaur brought its mace around to strike the Megazord's hand, causing it to drop the Power Sword; its next shot was deflected harmlessly by the Mammoth Shield, but the opportunity had been lost for now.
Working together the two Zords battered their opponent, driving him backward as they wore down his defences. Of course their ultimate goal was to destroy his weapon before he could use it again. A blur of white and purple alerted them to the Dino Stegazord's arrival. David and Aisha directed their Zord to grab the centaur's tail, distracting the beast while their friends put their own plan into action.
"Mega Dragonzord mode!" they called.
The Dragonzord transformed and landed on the Megazord's shoulders. Then as the Dino Stegazord withdrew, they fired their energy blast, ending the monster as it raised its mace for one last attack. At the last moment it shifted back to Eye Guy.
"We got it!" Zack shouted.
"No we didn't," Kimberly said, looking to where the slime had reshaped itself. "Main eye, remember?"
When the smoke cleared, only the center eye remained, floating above the ground. The Mega Dragonzord fired again and this time there was nothing it could do. The battle was over.
"All right!" the Rangers shouted, sharing their customary high fives.
The time was right, the Rangers had proven themselves in battle and were feeling confident in their abilities. Now was the moment when he could crush their confidence just as he had done with the Zeo Rangers. Certainly their Zords were impressive and their new uniforms were shiny, but how hard could it be to defeat another set of teenagers? He decided to use his second favourite method of drawing out the Rangers, and attacked the city himself.
The Rangers had arrived back at the Power Chamber and were celebrating their victory when the alarm sounded. They exchanged knowing looks; a stream of constant attacks was one of the tactics Minion had used against the Zeo Rangers.
"It's Minion," Billy said after checking the Viewing Screen.
"Let's get out there," Jason said. "It's Morphin Time!"
"White Ranger Power!"
"Black Ranger Power!"
"Pink Ranger Power!"
"Blue Ranger Power!"
"Yellow Ranger Power!"
"Red Ranger Power!"
"Purple Ranger Power!"
"Green Ranger Power!"
"Teleporting now," Alpha told them.
In eight columns of light the Rangers teleported away, heading away to avenge their friends. Before they reached their destination, the Rangers had already summoned their Power Weapons for combat.
"Power Axe!" Black Ranger called, appearing next to Minion and swiping at him with his axe in single-handed mode. "Cosmic Cannon!" he added converting his weapon and throwing it into the air.
"Power Bow!" Pink Ranger shouted. She fired two arrows and then struck Minion with her bow before throwing it into the air to join the Power Axe.
"Power Lance!" Blue Ranger said as he struck Minion in the chest. He used two more blows and then split the lance in half, jabbed Minion with both parts before throwing it into the air to join the Power Axe and Power Bow.
"Power Daggers!" Yellow Ranger said. As she threw her daggers, Purple Ranger appeared behind the villain with her weapon. "Power Whip!"
"Drago Sword!" "Power Sword!" "Dragon Blade!" White, Red and Green Rangers called.
The three Rangers attacked at the same time, forcing Minion to reach down deep and draw the power from his Dark Dimension. After blocking each blow Minion turned to face his adversaries. He could sense their strength and was impressed by their potential. For the first time he was being truly tested, so much so that he was forced to expend a large amount of power to protect himself.
"That was a nice try," he told them, "but if you believe you can defeat me you are mistaken and I will be happy to correct your oversight. It's time you felt the full power of Minion."
"Finish the Power Blaster!" Red Ranger called, sliding the Power Sword into position.
Green Ranger stuck his sword onto the base of the Power Blaster's barrel. Purple Ranger slotted the handle of her whip into place under the sword and David placed the Drago Sword at the front like a bayonet.
"Fire!" all eight Rangers called.
Eight beams of coloured light burst from the Power Blaster, but before they could touch Minion the villain moved.
"Power Cannon!" the Rangers called as the Power Blaster disassembled and the weapons were placed back in subspace. The blast had a similar effect, as the construct proved he had the sense not to challenge their power directly.
"Pathetic humans," Minion hissed. "Do you really believe you can defeat me?"
The Power Sword was thrust towards Minion's chest, but deflected by the Sword of Ragnarok. The battle resembled the fight between Red Ranger and the original Green Ranger a few years before. Jason remembered how he had defeated Tommy on that occasion and tried the same trick with Minion. The plan worked in disarming Minion, but Jason found the Sword of Ragnarok impossible to destroy.
"Fool, the sword is an instrument of destruction, it cannot be destroyed!" Minion crowed.
From a distance Purple Ranger attacked, using her Power Whip to strike Minion in the small of his back. White Ranger was already airborne, using his momentum to bicycle kick Minion. As he landed, he used the Drago Sword to cause more damage.
Yellow Ranger handed her Power Daggers to Pink Ranger and Black Ranger handed his Power Axe to Blue Ranger. As Pink Ranger fired the Power Daggers, Blue Ranger fired the Cosmic Cannon. Black Ranger had taken Blue Ranger's Power Lance and used it to fight Minion at close range.
"Thunder Clap!" Black Ranger called.
"Rolling Thunder!" Yellow Ranger called.
Once again Minion was engulfed in lightning, this time with the added noise of thunder. Minion dropped to the ground from the assault. As he regained his footing, he failed to notice Green Ranger moving into position under his knees. Red Ranger delivered yet another punch and sent Minion over the Green Ranger.
"Surround him!" Red Ranger called. "Blade Blasters up!"
Surrounding Minion on all sides, the Rangers fired. Their blasts ripped into the villain. After their first try to destroy him failed, Red Ranger realised they needed a new plan.
"No!" Minion interrupted. He had underestimated the Rangers, he could see that now. They were dangerous, far too risky to play with. He needed to destroy them quickly. Perhaps it was time to reconsider his goal of conquering the Earth. After all, there was the rest of the Universe at his disposal. "I have given you all a chance to take your best shots, but now I am tired of playing with you. It's time to grow up!"
Minion suddenly grew to full size and drew the Sword of Ragnarok once again. He made a slicing motion and moved the sword in a small circle. He drove the large blade into the ground until only the handle of the blade could be seen. The device he had been given shattered as the ripped through the physical world and then the dimensional barriers. Minion's magic poured into the sword helping it to cleanly cleave its way through the barriers. But it was his rage and hatred that gave the sword its purpose to destroy everything.
As Minion fed his power into the sword, it bled into the Ley Lines that crisscrossed the planet and into the Morphin Grid. The sword was now connected to two vast energy conduits, one of which extended through all reality. As the device shattered the destructive power it contained was sent throughout reality, overloading the conduits and exploding out through tears in the very fabric of time and space.
Meanwhile the cuts Minion had made before plunging the sword into the planet had opened.
"What have you done?" Billy queried.
"I have put an end to this battle one way or the other," Minion told them, his voice echoing over the city. "Allow me to introduce you to the source of my power, the Dark Dimension, right here on Earth."
"But the Dark Dimension is too large to exist here," Billy protested.
Minion laughed as he imagined the look on Billy's face as he realised what that meant. The Dark Dimension had a greater density and therefore a greater gravity than the Earth. And for every moment it was open the Dark Dimension drew more of the Rangers' world into itself. And in the process, the pull of the gravity would rip the planet to pieces.
"There is no way for you to win," Minion continued. "Should you fall in battle I win; should by some miracle you manage to defeat me, the Earth will be ripped to pieces as it is sucked into the Dark Dimension where I rule supreme. Either way, I win."
"Or we can stop you and close that rift," Jason yelled back.
Raising his sword Minion prepared to crush the Rangers. He was prevented from doing so as a charging Dinozord lifted him off his feet. The Triceratops shook its head, jamming its horn further into Minion's side.
"When did we summon the Zords?" Red Ranger asked as the other Dinozords arrived, Dragonzord bringing up the rear due to its bulk.
"Zordon must have sent them," Trini guessed.
"Alright Zordon," Jason cheered. "Rangers, let's go!"
Even in his weakened state Minion still managed to hold his own against the Zords. He summoned the Sword of Darkness from the Dark Dimension and used it in place of the Sword of Ragnarok.
Billy had quickly decided that the horn on Minion's wolf mask was an energy conductor and as such, a possible weakness. The Rangers tried to zero in on that target.
Minion managed to free himself from the Triceratops's horn, only to find himself on the wrong end of the Pterodactyl's talons. The Saber-toothed and Mastodon were close behind as the Stegazord moved into position to trip the villain as the yellow Zord pounced. Minion blasted the three Zords away as the Raptor Zord swooped in and pulled him into the sky.
David allowed the Power to guide him as he directed his Zord to circle while gaining altitude. When he reached the desired height he made the Zord swoop toward the ground, picked up speed before releasing Minion and then pulled out of the dive. While he was skilled enough to roll away from the villain's blast, he failed to dodge a building, grounding his machine in the process.
The Dragonzord lurched forward, combining the experience of the Green Ranger and the machine he had been created to pilot. The fight with Minion moved back and forth as it had on previous occasions. Sam activated one of his machine's rarely used attacks, firing a boomerang shaped bolt of energy from the Dragonzord's forehead. Shortly after that he remembered why he didn't like that weapon as Minion batted it back at him.
~Why did I bother?~ Sam wondered. He wasn't sure that attack had ever worked.
While Dragonzord tried to recover from its own attack, the Tyrannosaurus closed the distance, mauling Minion with its claws and teeth.
"Take this!" Minion growled, throwing a ball of dark energy. Dragonzord, returning the favour from earlier, intercepted the shot and sent it hurtling back at the villain.
"Time to turn this up a notch," Jason observed.
A flash of lightning transformed the Zords, making them ready to merge.
"Not this time," Minion warned.
He drove a glowing fist into the side of the Mastodon and struck the Stegazord across the back with his elbow. While the machines' self-repair programs would deal with any damage, not that the new Dinozords were that easy to damage, but the shock rendered both machines immobile.
"So was there a point to that?" Kimberly asked.
"Of course there was a point, foolish girl," Minion answered. He could sense the small tear he had created between the Rangers' plane and the Dark Dimension growing. Soon they would see the reason he was guaranteed to triumph and the Earth would be lucky to survive. "The Mastodon Zord is essential for either the Dino Megazord or Dragonzord Battle Mode. Without the Stegazord there is no Dino Stegazord formation. With two blows I have robbed you of your ability to merge your powers.
"Switch back!" Jason ordered.
Following his orders the Saber-toothed Tiger, Triceratops and Pterodactyl reverted to their new forms, making them more effective in individual combat. Meanwhile the Tyrannosaurus had engaged Minion in battle again, using its tail to stand on while it kicked the villain in the chest. Minion staggered back as the Zord followed up with a head butt, never noticing as Dragonzord moved in from behind with a powerful tail smash.
Minion tried to fight back, bringing all the power and techniques he had mastered into play. The Rangers controlled their Zords expertly, compensating for their lack of a Megazord by coordinating their individual attacks. And as they did so they allowed the damaged Zords a chance to rejoin the battle.
The Raptor Zord swooped, plucking the Saber-toothed Tiger from the ground. With Trini operating her Zord's teeth and claws, and David using the Raptor Zord to keep the yellow Zord in the air as it attacked. David pulled the lever, allowing the Saber-toothed Tiger to drop onto the villain, mauling him as they fell to the ground.
"Mastodon, back online!" Zack reported.
"Ground Breath Attack!" Jason called, shifting a slider on his control panel to the right.
The Tyrannosaurus shot a burst of yellow energy from its mouth into the ground, causing a line of smoke to explode upward from the ground toward Minion. A purple energy screen appeared in front of the villain, protecting him from an attack that had in the past seen the end of Shell shock and Rita's Giant.
"While he's distracted, let's bring them together, Battle Mode!"
The Rangers formed the Megazord, this time foregoing the Dino Tank stage. Instead the Mastodon formed the arms immediately, the Saber-toothed Tiger and Triceratops moved into position as legs, and the Pterodactyl slotted into place as the chest; the Megazord's head was already in position as the machine came to a stop and stood upright.
"Power Punch Missiles!" the Rangers called.
The Megazord lurched forward, launching a fist from the end of its arm, which flew toward Minion and exploded against his chest. The fist then regenerated on the Megazord's arm, ready to continue the battle.
"Power Sword!" the Rangers called, preparing to finish the battle.
The Megazord swung its sword, slicing through Minion's horn, just as they had hoped. His armour started to spark, having lost its ability to regulate the Morphin Energy that Minion had used to create it. With an angry growl, Minion turned and vanished with a swirl of his cloak.
"Rangers, return to the Power Chamber at once," Zordon ordered before they could celebrate. The Rangers exchange worried glances and teleported away.
It had started on Aquitar; a few small tremors marked the beginning of the destruction, but just minutes later there was panic as the planet started to shake itself apart. The seas boiled as great chunks of the planet were swallowed by a black void that had appeared in the sky.
On Triforia the Royal Advisors tried to organise a mass evacuation of the Triforian System. The system's suns had disappeared, throwing the planets into chaos. Trent tried to send a message to Trey on Earth before it was too late. The planet was destroyed before the message could be sent.
On Onyx the Executive Council of the UAE had decided to meet to put an end to Minion and the impostor who had boasted of his success. Some of the assembled villains seemed to sense what was to come; Lord Zedd even tried to escape before it happened, but in the end they too were swallowed by the void.
The devastation continued, ripping its way through worlds, whole star systems and even galaxies without slowing. Only Earth seemed unaffected by the devastation that had been unleashed by Minion. Far away from Earth, the Master was busy, still seeking the answer to the puzzle box that for some reason evaded him.
A beeping noise alerted him that something was wrong. He checked the readings, frowned and then started flipping controls. The destruction that Minion had unleashed was running away from him; it should never have become self-sustaining. It seemed that he had miscalculated, but no matter, with the energy he had already collected he was capable of shifting outside of time and space; regardless of what happened, he would be safe. His smile of victory vanished when his ship started to disintegrate.
After the Rangers teleported into the Power Chamber, they simultaneously pulled their helmets off.
"Rangers," Alpha said. "You are safe."
"Zordon, what's going on?" Jason asked. The message had sounded urgent.
"During you battle Alpha and I were checking Minion's boast," Zordon explained. "What we found was deeply disturbing. Alpha, enlarge the image for the Rangers."
"What is that?" Kimberly asked when the computer focussed in on the white reflective globe mounted on the handle.
"The computer has failed to identify it," Alpha told them. "However it is agitating the sword and accelerating the damage."
"Somebody has assembled this device and given it to Minion," Zordon continued in a concerned tone. "It is beyond the technical knowledge of his known allies." ~I hope.~
"Couldn't Minion have built it?" Trini asked.
"Minion has not had the time to do so, nor does he have the knowledge to tune such a device."
"So either Minion found somebody to do it for him," Zack suggested.
"Or somebody decided to help him," Aisha finished. "Who?"
"Not Rita or Zedd, that's for sure," Zack noted.
"Quite true Zachary. I believe that whoever has been aiding Minion has done so to further their own scheme. I do not believe those motives involve conquering the planet. I also believe that Minion's benefactor expected Earth to be the first casualty."
There was silence.
"Zordon, what has happened?"
"Behold the Viewing Screen," Zordon told them. "What you are seeing is a map of this galaxy."
The Rangers stared as the lights representing planets and stars started to disappear.
"No way," Zack breathed.
"The device was used on Earth with the Sword of Ragnarok; Minion clearly expected the rift he opened between this universe and the Dark Dimension to cause the destruction of the Earth. Minion did not know that the Earth's natural magic would resist his attempts, reflecting the energy waves into Morphin Grid, and in the process amplifying it. The result is that similar rifts have opened on worlds throughout the galaxy and possibly beyond."
"Ai-yi-yi, the process is growing faster," Alpha complained.
"For every world and star consumed, the Dark Dimension can feed more power through the sword and into the device."
"So how do we stop it?" Sam wanted to know.
"I am afraid it is too late to stop," Zordon said. "It would seem that Minion has won."
"Zordon, you can't mean that," Aisha said.
"I am afraid that it is true Aisha, the destruction has become self-sustaining."
"Couldn't we use the Great Power?" Trini asked.
"The Great Power can only repair the damage that has been caused, it cannot stop the destruction from occurring," Zordon explained.
"What if we destroyed the sword?"
"The sword cannot be destroyed," Alpha wailed. "It is made of an unknown material that is immune to our weapons."
"The destruction is moving beyond our galaxy," Billy observed. It wouldn't be long in his estimation before the effects turned inwards and the Earth fell victim.
"What's going to happen, Zordon?" Tanya asked fearfully.
"Minion's intention was to drive the Earth into the Dark Dimension," Zordon explained. "As it does so the magic of the planet will turn the Earth against itself. The worst disturbances will probably begin close to the sword. However, because Minion's aims were not the same as the one who aided him, they have provided us with a solution. Should the Sword of Ragnarok be sucked into Dark Dimension, it will lose its ability to draw from the Earth's power and its connection to the Morphin Grid. It would then be possible to attempt to seal the rift and repair the damage it has caused.
"But the sword cannot be moved," Zack guessed.
"Affirmative," Billy agreed, looking over a printout. "The device is bound to the sword, the sword is buried in the Earth and protected by a barrier Minion put in place."
"So we need to destroy Minion," Kimberly said.
"Just one problem," Zack observed, looking at the world map. "We can't find him."
"We have to do something," David protested.
"First we need to make sure everyone stays safe?" Jason said. "Alpha, contact Tommy and the others; we need them here."
"Yes Jason, right away." Alpha activated the signal to the Gem Coin Rangers.
In his home, Tommy heard the beep of his communicator and ignored it. His mind was already made up that the Rangers were better off without him.
In Ko's Garden Adam had the same thought. He was determined he would never let a Ranger down again and the way to do that was to surrender his powers.
In Pyramidas Trey heard the call to action and struggled with his conscience about the best course of action. He knew he couldn't give up, but part of him just wanted to go home.
Rocky was still on the bed where Jason had left him. The Red Ranger had understood when Rocky did not want to answer the call, Rocky was sure he would understand if he stayed away.
Kat and Tanya also chose not to answer their communicators. Both were certain they did not belong to the Rangers and both were scared of what morphing again would mean.
"No response Zordon," Alpha said.
"Alpha, teleport them here. The Earth needs them and I am afraid we have no choice."
In six flashes of light the former Zeo Rangers and Trey appeared. None of them looked pleased to be back.
"I realise you have been through a great deal," their mentor rumbled. "Were it within my power I would ensure you never experience such torment again and Travis would be here with us. But that is not within my capabilities. The Earth needs you now and I ask you to look within and find the courage to fulfil your duties. You must first travel to Dimension Z, a place closely connected to this world and retrieve the Orb of Hope."
The six Rangers nodded and teleported away on their quest.
"Orb of Hope?" Aisha asked when they had gone.
"Trust me Aisha," Zordon replied. "It is for the best. Alpha, tell the Orb Keeper to expect the Rangers and to unleash Harmonia upon their arrival."
"Ai-yi-yi," Alpha muttered as he did what he was told.
"Oh no, look!" Kimberly cried.
The Viewing Screen was starting to show disasters breaking out all over the world, early signs that the planet was being drawn into the Dark Dimension.
"There must be something more we can do," Trini said.
"We can warn people," Jason said. "Encourage people to get in their basements or something."
It would make very little difference to the outcome, but at least they were doing something. Anything, no matter how small a gesture it seemed was better then nothing.
"That is an excellent suggestion," Zordon said. "First you must morph and go warn various television studios. If you go and extend the warning in person, it will carry more weight than if I were to warn them through our radio systems. Then you should go help in Angel Grove as much as you can while I try to find a solution."
"Let's go guys," Jason said. Eight bursts of light floated out of the Power Chamber. "It's Morphin Time!"
"White Ranger Power!"
"Green Ranger Power!"
"Purple Ranger Power!"
"Black Ranger Power!"
"Pink Ranger Power!"
"Blue Ranger Power!"
"Yellow Ranger Power!"
"Red Ranger Power!"
The Rangers teleported to Alpha's coordinates, leaving the robot to worry. "Ai-yi-yi, Zordon," Alpha said. "What should I do?"
"Begin a scan for Minion. Finding and destroying him is the only way this destruction can be stopped."
The six Rangers appeared in a dimension filled with lush green forest. Tommy found this surprising since he had assumed Dimension Z belonged to Lord Zedd. Slowly they made their way through the jungle, avoiding the obvious traps until they reached a tall temple.
"Shall we?" Rocky asked.
The others nodded and together they started to climb the steps. At first the climb was easy, but as they got higher it became more difficult to climb. They could have morphed, but the Rangers did not feel they deserved the Power anymore.
"That's far enough, strangers!" Looking up the Rangers could see a woman in a long white gown looking at them. "I am Harmonia, protector of the Orb of Hope. Identify yourselves or face my wrath."
"Zordon sent us," Tommy said simply.
"So, you are Rangers?"
Although they all shook their heads, Harmonia could see they were silently thinking they were. "Why are you here?"
"Zordon sent us to collect the Orb of Hope," Trey told her.
"To collect the Orb you must each prove yourselves worthy," she told him. "First morph and then enter the temple one at a time."
"It's Morphin Time," Tommy said without enthusiasm.
"Zeo Ranger I - Crane."
"Zeo Ranger II - Bear."
"Zeo Ranger III - Ape."
"Zeo Ranger V - Falcon."
"Gold Ranger Power."
In five columns the Rangers were teleported into the temple leaving Adam outside, still struggling over whether to morph or nor. Harmonia sighed. "At least five of them are willing to morph." Adam was going to be a problem, but she had ways to get him into the temple.
"Billy and I will go to the Juice Bar," Kimberly said after the Rangers had finished their news broadcast. It would be relayed out to multiple organisations and shown as soon as possible.
"I'll go to Angel Grove Hospital," Zack said.
"I'll go with you," Trini offered. The two teens took off running.
"The wind is really starting to pick up," Aisha observed. The sky was a sickeningly shade of grey, and heavy, ominous thunderclouds sat just above the city. "We have to hurry."
"David, there are some nursing homes near here," Jason said. "Let's go warn them."
"Right," he agreed.
"I'll go see if I can help at the high school," Aisha said.
"We'll meet up with you later," Kimberly said. She and Billy promptly took off for Ernie's.
Tommy found himself teleported into a room similar to the place where Minion had held Travis. As he looked around, he realised he was on the floor with a blaster in front of him.
"Five!" Tommy recognised Minion's voice. Sure enough, as he looked up he could see Minion holding Travis in the hold he had before. He reached for the blaster and then remembered that the blaster was only set to half power.
~This is an illusion, ~ he thought. ~There is no way to change what happened, so give up now and let him die. ~
That was an easy option for Tommy. For a moment he even considered doing just that and allowing his friend to die.
"No," he said as much to himself as anybody else. "I won't let somebody else die because I failed."
"You failed last time," Minion said.
"Last time I was hurt, I had not powers and I was scared," Tommy admitted. "But I will never let anybody do what you did to me ever again. I am Zeo Ranger V - Red and you're history!"
Red Zeo leapt at Minion, careful to avoid striking Travis in the process. The Zeo V Power Sword made contact and Minion vanished into red smoke. The captive changed and Tommy realised it was not Travis. For a moment he had been willing to let another innocent die, but he had conquered his fear and now he knew what he had to do. Touching his belt, he teleported away.
Kimberly and Billy had just stepped into Ernie's when a powerful boom of thunder shook the entire building. There was no rain, but plenty of thunder and lightning. They had demorphed to avoid a panic.
"Ernie!" Kimberly shouted, running up to the bar. "You have to get everybody in the basement."
"What?" he asked, still wiping the counter down.
"There's a major storm headed this way," Billy said. "They expect it to level everything in Angel Grove."
"They who?" Ernie asked. "They haven't said anything about it on the news."
"The Power Rangers, that's who," Kimberly said. "And they haven't aired it yet because the Power Rangers haven't got to the television studios yet."
Ernie's face suddenly went pale. "You got it," he said. "Hey! Everybody! We have to go in the basement! Come on!"
"What do we do Billy?" Kimberly asked. "Where do we go?"
"I don't know," he said. "I guess we should go and warn people in the streets."
Ernie ran back up to the bar. "You guys," Ernie said, "be careful." He smiled a knowing smile and followed the crowd of teens to the basement.
In a flash of pink and blue light, their Ranger armour moulded itself around the body of the two teens, increasing their muscularity, reflexes, strength, and fighting ability. "Let's go," Kimberly said. They ran out into the rapidly increasing storm.
"The wind's really picking up!" Billy shouted.
"Billy! Look!" Kimberly screamed, pointing to the left.
They both watched in terrified awe as a heavy, black funnel cloud lowered itself to the Earth.
Aisha ran down the halls of Angel Grove High. Class was still in session, as sixth period had yet to end. She wondered briefly if she should handle the problem in her civilian guise. "Aisha," she thought to herself, "you are supposed to be in Africa. They are going to have questions as to why you're here. Save yourself the trouble and remain morphed."
The Purple Ranger hurried into the main office, startling the secretary. "Can I help you?" she asked.
"Yes," Aisha said. "A major storm is about to hit Angel Grove. You need to warn the students." Suddenly, the entire building began to shake. "Or an earthquake," Aisha added.
"The Rangers are on the move, master," Arcana reported.
"They should have given up by now," Minion snarled.
He reached out to the Moon and the Machine Sky Base, grabbing as many of his competitors' forces as possible. He would stop the Rangers, one way or the other.
Kimberly and Billy watched as the tornado slowly melted away. Its damage, however, had already been done. Several blocks of suburbia were destroyed, along with countless innocent lives. "Oh my God, Billy," Kimberly sighed.
Just as suddenly as it came, the rain stopped. The lightning remained, but the torrential downpour ceased.
"Destroy -- the -- Power Rangers," a robotic voice said.
Billy and Kimberly turned around to see an army marching toward them. Cogs on the front line, Tengas behind, Putties and Super Putties close behind.
"This day just keeps going from bad to worse," Kimberly said.
"This is Billy. Kimberly and I need help. We've got an entire army about to attack on the north side of Angel Grove," he said into his wrist. "Can anybody hear us?" Billy asked frantically. "Hello?"
"It's not working!" Kimberly cried. "Zordon! Alpha!"
"Looks like we're on our own," Billy said.
"Well, if anybody can do it," Kimberly began.
"We can," Billy finished.
"Ai-yi-yi Zordon!" Alpha cried. "I don't think those are ordinary earthquakes! And people are dying by the thousands! Ai-yi-yi Zordon! What are we going to do! Population has already dropped to 3.6 billion! Ai-yi-yi yi-yi-yi-yi!"
"Calm yourself, Alpha Five," Zordon said. "We are doing all that we can do. Check the temperature of the Earth below Angel Grove."
"Right Zordon," Alpha said, hustling over to a nearby console. The scan took only a few moments. "Ai-yi-yi! Temperature has already risen forty-seven point three degrees! Molten rock is being forced up to the surface! We're doomed!"
"Is the molten rock coming up from beneath Power Mountain?" Zordon asked, his voice very calm.
"No, Zordon," Alpha said. "Fortunately, the spell you cast ten thousand years ago is still holding. This mountain is rock solid."
"Then there is still hope."
"I certainly hope so," Alpha said woefully.
"Dear God," Zack said.
He and Trini stood at the mouth of the Hospital Parking Lot. They were both soaked to the skin, but that really didn't seem to matter at the moment. The two teens just stared at the smoking pile of rubble that had once been Angel Grove Memorial.
"Those poor people," Trini muttered in a very small voice. She fought back the tears that tried to break free.
Suddenly, a terrible crack of thunder deafened them both. A multi-forked lightning bolt struck the rubble. Trini dropped to her knees with both hands over her ears. A raging inferno sprang to life almost immediately.
"There's probably severed gas mains around here," Zack said.
"Let's get out of here," Trini said, jumping to her feet. A giant red fireball exploded behind them.
Aisha screamed as the office split down the middle. She watched in stunned horror as the receptionist and her desk full into the gaping chasm that formed right down the middle of the office. The Purple Ranger lunged at the falling woman, but it was too late.
"No!" Aisha screeched. She crawled away from the gaping schism in the Earth as molten fire began to bubble out of it.
Jason and David stopped two blocks away from the nursing home. "We're too late," David said as the tornado continued its path of destruction. Jason turned away from the horrific site, dropped to his knees, and vomited up everything he had eaten that day.
He suddenly felt so useless. He had become a Ranger to save the planet, and then left for the Peace Conference to continue helping, just in a different way. And all for what? Just to have everyone in Angel Grove die. His mother, father. Emily. "No," Jason said. "No. It can't end like this."
"Jason," David said. "We're too late. Now pull yourself together and maybe we can help somebody else." David spoke with a tone of voice he never would have dreamed he would use on anyone, certainly not Jason. But he was the White Ranger, he who led the charge against the darkness and despite David's quiet nature and his preference for letting the Red Ranger command, circumstances forced him to step up to the plate.
"You're right," Jason breathed. He wiped his forearm across his mouth and stood up. "You're right. Sorry for losin' it."
"It's okay," David muttered. "There's no use following the tornado's path. I doubt we'll find any signs of life that way."
"You're right," Jason said yet again. "We'll head the other way."
The positions reversed, the normal roles were resumed, Jason as the field commander and David as the quiet follower.
Jason turned around just in time to see the well-defined boundary of rain. The rain seemed to form a solid wall, and it was slowly creeping its way into Angel Grove. "Hurricane," he whispered.
"I can't take the time to fight any one of these guys," Billy thought to himself. "Just launch a full assault on as many as you can."
"Power Lance!" he shouted. He held the Lance in both hands before him and ran into the army of warriors.
Billy reached the middle of the group and stopped. He began to spin his Lance all around him, producing sparks from the Cogs, and screams from the Tengas.
Kimberly stood slightly back, picking off the Z-Putties and Tengas alike with her arrows. Her aim was precise, every shot hitting the Z on the Putties chests or a tender spot on the Tengas.
The other four Zeo Rangers had been through a similar test, concentrating on their different responses to what had happened in Minion's Sub-dimension. Tanya had been in the room on her own until she realised that her friends would never leave her. Trey had finally conquered his conflicting emotions surrounding Travis sufficiently to stabilise and draw on his full power. Rocky had made peace with his conscience and felt better and Kat had determined to resolve her problems with Tommy as soon as she got home.
Now all that was left was for Adam to join them. Then they could get the Orb and leave. They waited for a while until it became obvious Adam was not coming.
Kat was the first to hear the sound of something falling, but it did little to help as a cage formed around them. Their powers seemed to fade making it impossible to break out and poisoned gas started to pump into the chamber.
"I think we're in trouble," Rocky said as the ceiling started to fall towards them.
"You okay girl?" Zack asked, running out of the flaming inferno.
"I've been better," Trini said, "but yeah. I'm okay. Where do we go now? What do we do, Zack?"
"I don't know," he stammered. The ground began to crack beneath their feet.
"What now?" Trini cried. The two Rangers jumped out of the way as the pavement began to disintegrate. Suddenly, red lava began to spew out of the numerous spiderweb cracks.
Before Trini and Zack could even comprehend the volcano that was forming beneath Angel Grove, the hurricane was upon them.
David wrapped his arms around a lamppost. "This isn't good!" Jason shouted over the roar of the wind. David nodded in agreement. He pulled his right hand closer to his face. Concentrating, he tried to redirect the wind around them. He let go of the lamppost and found that the wind scarcely had an effect on him at all.
"Zordon," Jason said into his wrist. "Alpha. Jason to Power Chamber. Jason to Power Chamber."
"Why isn't it working?" David asked.
"I don't know," Jason said, noticing that their suits seemed to change in brightness "The rift is affecting the Morphin Grid. Hold on. I'm going to try to teleport." He put his hands on his Morpher Buckle and squeezed the sides, signalling a teleport. However, nothing happened. "Lord help us all," Jason thought to himself.
"I don't know what to do!" Aisha screamed over the roar of the wind and crackle of fire. The school was about to be overwhelmed with molten lava, yet she couldn't lead the students outside because of the hurricane. As it turned out, it didn't matter. Just a few seconds later, the school collapsed in on itself.
"There's no one left to help, Zack!" Trini cried. "I'm going back to the Power Chamber."
"I know," Zack said. The two Rangers stopped and attempted to teleport.
"Wha?" Trini asked. She attempted to teleport again.
"Man, now the Power Chamber," Zack said. "This day just keeps going from bad to worse!"
Billy landed on his back beside Kimberly. He quickly shuffled away from the approaching army. "Billy," Kimberly said, "we can't handle all these guys. People are dying by the thousands all around us. What more harm can they do? I say we get out of here!"
"You're right," he said. They started to run, when the ground began to rumble beneath them.
"Earthquakes and hurricanes?" Kimberly asked sarcastically.
Suddenly, she realized that it was no Earthquake. A large section of the street fell straight down. Billy flipped away from the trouble, but Kimberly was too late.
Part of the street fell with them, while another part got wedged against some various pipes. It did not fall completely, but it was slanted nearly sixty degrees. Screaming, Kimberly slid down this slanted section of broken asphalt. At the last second, she grabbed a water pipe. The chunk of asphalt finally broke free, plunging into the lava stream far below.
"Billy!" Kimberly screamed. The pipe began to bend, lowering her inch by inch to her doom.
"Hold on Kimberly!" he cried. However, he had no idea how to save his comrade. She couldn't teleport, and in a matter of seconds, she would fall into the lava far below. She could certainly survive the fall in her uniform. She could even survive the scorching river of fire. However, it was moving fast, and he had no idea where it would carry her.
"Thank you very much," Sam said to the producer at WKTP in New York City. He pushed his belt buckle and waited for the teleport. Nothing. He tried once more. Nothing. "Teleportation is off-line?" Sam asked himself in horror.
"Help me Billy!" Kimberly screamed as the pipe dropped an extra five feet.
"I'm hurrying!" Billy called down to her in an equally frantic voice.
He glanced all about him, looking for anything he could use to help Kimberly. He saw a fallen power line and got an idea. Billy pulled his Blade Blaster from its holster and fired at the thick wire. The blue laser sliced clean through it. He promptly shot the wire again at a distance about fifty feet from the first nick. "I've got an idea!" he shouted down to Kimberly. "Just hold on!"
"This pipe isn't going to hold much longer!" she cried.
Billy ran up to her and, holding tight to one end, tossed the power line down to Kimberly. As soon as it swung past her, she latched hold of the wire and held on for dear life. In just a few moments, he had her pulled to safety. She hugged Billy tightly, not wanting to let go. Despite the hurricane raging around them, he just held her in return.
Aisha ran into David. "David!" she cried. "Jason! The school is gone! It collapsed while I was inside it! There's nothing left!"
"That's what all of Angel Grove is like," David answered sadly. "Nursing homes, suburbs. Business district."
"It's all levelled," Jason said. "And if that isn't bad enough, teleportation and communications are offline."
"Let's find the others," Aisha said. "Maybe Billy knows some way to get back to the Power Chamber."
"Sounds like a good idea," Jason agreed.
Adam sat alone on the steps of the temple. He had wanted to go with the others, but he was scared of being helpless to save his fellow Rangers again.
~That sounds like Rocky, ~ he thought.
Every part of Adam wanted to morph and help his friends, but his mind kept returning to the sight of seeing Travis being killed by Minion and knowing there was no way for him to help.
"I have my powers," he said to himself, trying to find a reason to help.
~I couldn't help last time. Why would this time be any different? ~
But Adam already knew the answer. This time would be different because this time he would not fail.
"Zeo Ranger IV - Green!"
In a flash of green he teleported into the temple, ready to help. He arrived just in time to free his companions and for them to get out of the trap.
"So," Harmonia hissed. "You have passed the test of the temple. Now you have only to defeat me."
As she spoke a katana like sword appeared in her hand. Her white gown became black as her hair turned into a mass of green snakelike creatures.
"Zeo Power Weapons," Red Zeo said to his companions. "Let's show her why you don't mess with the Zeo Rangers."
Now with the power of the Zeo Crystal flowing through their bodies the Zeo Rangers attacked and discovered they had some new abilities.
"Zeo Power Shield!" Pink Zeo called.
After blocking a blow from Harmonia, Pink Zeo jumped away and threw her disklike shield. The disk flew through the air, missing Harmonia on the first pass, but rebounding to strike her from behind.
"Now, Zeo I Power Disk!"
Grabbing hold of the shield, Kat was propelled into Harmonia. The monster fell to the ground, as Kat was teleported back to her friends. With the Zeo power, the Rangers had gained greater control over their teleportation abilities. Kat had seen the greatest increase since she was able to change course in mid teleport.
"Zeo III Hammer Punch!"
Blue Zeo started to spin as he had in the when using his Power Punch. This time as he reached top speed he lifted off the ground, aimed for Harmonia's head and delivered a double axe handle type blow to the head.
"You'll pay for that," Harmonia screeched, reminding the Rangers of Rita Repulsa.
Harmonia's hair reached out and wrapped around Blue Zeo, pulling him towards her.
"Zeo V Power Blast!"
After raising his sword so the star-shaped hilt was level with his helmet, Red Zeo fed the power from his Zeo Shard into a single blast. Harmonia's hair was ripped apart as Red Zeo followed up.
"Zeo V Power Kick!"
"Zeo V Power Sword!"
A quick kick knocked Harmonia off balance as the Power Sword sliced her in half. The monster exploded, leaving the Rangers victorious.
"You have past the test Rangers," the Keeper said as he walked in. "Here is the object you seek."
Pulling back a white shroud the Keeper revealed a large crystal. All the Rangers recognised it at once.
"That's the Zeo Crystal," Rocky said.
"Correct," the Keeper said. "You all past the test and proven yourselves worthy of the Zeo Crystal. While you have been here, the Crystal has been regenerating. Soon it will be ready for you to use again. Harmonia never wanted to stop you, but she was under instructions to make you realise you were Rangers."
"Then this isn't Zedd's Dimension?" Tommy asked.
"Zedd? Is that what he led you to believe? That sly old dog. This dimension is the personal domain of Zordon. It has no other master. Remember Titanus young Panther."
Tommy groaned as he remembered the first time he had met Titanus. The mighty dinosaur had tried to prevent Tommy and Jason from getting some new weapons until they learnt to work as a team. In the end it had turned out to be a test by Zordon to ensure the two Rangers could work together.
"Now, I believe you have a world that needs saving," the Keeper continued. "The others are trying to warn people of the danger, perhaps you can help them."
As he spoke the Rangers' uniforms vanished and they realised they needed to morph properly.
"Zeo Ranger I - Crane!"
"Zeo Ranger II - Bear!"
"Zeo Ranger III - Ape!"
"Zeo Ranger IV - Frog!"
"Zeo Ranger V - Falcon!"
"Gold Ranger Power!"
As the Rangers vanished, so did the temple along with the Keeper.
The young mother covered her head and screamed as the building fell towards her. Car brakes squealed as drivers desperately tried to regain control of their vehicles. The earthquake or whatever it was that was causing the shaking was causing chaos across America. The boats on the river were trying to navigate through a full force hurricane as a massive tidal wave swept through Manhattan.
Just as the woman was about to be squashed, a thick glob of webbing grabbed her from its path. Spider-Man lifted her away from the danger; glad he could save a life, saddened at the ten or so workers who had perished in the building's collapse.
"What is going on?" he wondered after setting the damsel down. He had seen storms before, earthquakes, and even his fair share of towering infernos. He had never seen them all occur simultaneously with a few blocks of a volcano.
The building he had been resting against gave way, plunging him into the street; he fired a web line and swung to safety only for the line to break. He found himself plummeting into a pool of lava.
Zack and Trini found Billy and Kimberly. "It's all gone," Trini said woodenly. "All of Angel Grove."
"The Power Chamber might be gone," Billy said. "We have no way of knowing."
"How will we get back?" Zack asked.
"We can try calling on a Zord," Billy said. "At least that way we can travel out to the Power Chamber."
"HEY!" a strong voice shouted. "You guys!"
"It's Jason," Zack said. "With Aisha and David."
The seven Rangers joined up a few seconds later. Billy quickly explained his plan for getting back to the Power Chamber.
"David, do the honours."
"Right," he said. "Raptor Zord, power up!"
From its hiding place the Raptor Zord emerged and flew into the wind.
"I see it!" Trini shouted. The white Zord flew toward them, despite the lightning, wind, and torrential downpour of rain. "David, just get us back to Power Mountain, we should be able to teleport from there. Everybody else, we have to line-of-sight teleport into the empty area in the Zord's belly."
"Will that work?" Zack asked. "With the teleportation system off-line?"
"It should," Billy said. "Line-of-sight is activated by the Zords, not from the normal teleport unit in the Power Chamber.
"We're about to see if you're right," David said. The seven Rangers jumped into the air and teleported into the Zord.
"Rangers!" Alpha cried when they finally arrived in the Power Chamber. "I am so glad you are safe!"
"Why is the teleportation unit off-line?" Billy asked, setting his helmet on a computer console. He immediately began to search for the problem.
"We weren't aware that it was," Zordon said.
"Well, I've found the problem," Billy said. "It was accidentally forced off-line when all hell broke lose up there. The computers are trying to keep track of human lives, and the numerous hurricanes, tornadoes, et cetera."
"Oh no," Trini said, moving over to Zordon's tube. There was a large, rectangular screen just to the left of it. There was a flat map of the entire globe. Red hurricanes, tiny blips representing hurricanes, and numerous other horrific anomalies covered the entire map. But what terrified her was the population display.
"Two point seven billion," Trini said quietly. "Nearly half of the planet has died."
"I will set to work getting the teleportation and communication systems on line immediately," Alpha said. "Ai-yi-yi, Tommy and the others are still out there!"
"How long will it take?" Jason asked.
"The better part of an hour I'm afraid," the robot said.
"That's too long," Billy said.
"Adam is in Argentina, Tommy in Paris, Kat in Australia, and Tanya in Tokyo," Kimberly said. "Rocky is in Britain and Trey is in Moscow."
"We'll just have to hope they can hold on," Jason said. "There is no way we can get to them."
"Zordon, what about the Zords?" Trini asked. The Rangers did not know exactly where their machines were held between battles, but with the entire planet under threat, they didn't want to take the risk.
"I have already activated the emergency protocols," Zordon answered. "Your Zords had retreated into the Morphin Grid and will emerge only in answer to your call or when the danger has passed."
That was a good thing. The Rangers continued to watch, helpless as the world came closer and closer to the point of no return
An hour or so later
A few tendrils of green light wafted into the Power Chamber. "This is a slow teleport," Aisha observed.
After about fifteen seconds, a column of green light had collected. It immediately turned into the Green Zeo Ranger. "That was weird," Adam said.
"Here comes Katherine and Rocky," Aisha said. She slammed her hand on the button. A temporary flash of pink light appeared, and Katherine was suddenly dropped from the Power Chamber's ceiling. Fortunately, her pink armour protected her from harm. Rocky teleported into the Power Chamber at a forty-five degrees and slammed into Katherine.
"Are you sure the teleporter is working right?" Kimberly asked.
Alpha glanced up at Zordon as if asking permission to reply. Seeing no objection he did so.
"We are losing power, Rangers," Alpha explained.
"How do you mean?"
"The Power is an energy field that is revitalised by living beings. As the number of lifeforms diminishes, so does the Power, and I'm afraid, so does the Morphin Grid. "
"You mean that the longer this goes on the less power we'll have to counter it?"
"Yes. However your individual powers will last longer because they are linked to your life energies. Teleportation however will gradually weaken."
With a powerful flash of red, Tommy was literally thrown into the Power Chamber. He slammed into the glass case that housed the White Ranger's costume. "That was a weird teleport," he said slowly.
Yellow light suddenly filled the Power Chamber, temporarily blinding those present. A huge mound of rocks lay in the Power Chamber. "Tanya?" Adam asked.
"I'm in here someplace," she said.
"Uhm, Alpha," Aisha said warily. "Zordon."
"What is it Aisha?" Zordon asked.
"I can't find Sam or Trey. Their last know locations are under water."
Trey had been lucky enough to call on Pyramidas when he noticed the monsoon heading in his direction. The large Zord had proven itself capable of standing up to a mere storm. Realising that something was wrong with the Power Chamber's teleportation system, he had taken it upon himself to try to locate as many stragglers as possible.
After collecting Sam from New York, along with a very soggy Spider-man, he moved across the country, picking up as many of their newfound allies as possible. For some reason he believed they would need the help.
"Coming up on Mount Rushmore," he told Sam, remembering that this was the headquarters of the Avengers.
"Oh man, what happened to it?" Sam asked.
The mountainside was gone, crumbled into a pile of molten sand and red-hot geysers. Locking on to whatever life signs he could detect, Trey teleported the survivors aboard and headed for Coast City, home of the JLA.
"Zordon, how long do we have?" Trini asked.
It was a question they had all wanted to ask and one they feared the answer to. They needed to defeat Minion to save the Universe, but if the Earth was destroyed, then all hope was lost.
"The Earth will survive for a few days after the collapse of the localised Morphin Grid," Zordon told them. "Alpha and I are redirecting energy from the Power Chamber to reinforce the planet's magic, but this is creating a massive drain on our resources."
"Zordon, can we use the Zeo Crystal?" Tommy asked.
"That is a good idea," Zordon said. "The energy from the Zeo Crystal cannot be used to power a team of Rangers, but it can stabilise and when needed purify the planet's magic."
"Any luck in finding Minion?"
"None," Zordon answered solemnly. "I will keep searching, but you require rest. "Alpha, please show the Rangers to their quarters."
"Our quarters?" Rocky asked.
"Look at the map. Angel Grove is gone," Kimberly said. "So is most of America."
"Our families," Rocky said woodenly.
"Trey and Sam?" Kat asked.
"Do not be alarmed, Rangers," Zordon said. "If being Rangers has taught you nothing else, it has taught you to never give up hope."
The Rangers nodded, not fully understanding what he meant, but too tired and depressed to press him for more details. "Do not worry, Rangers," Zordon thought to himself. "We will find a way, we must."
The rooms had been designed before Minion had decided to destroy the universe and were intended to serve the Rangers during a prolonged attack. Zordon had apparently thought to allow the Rangers to either mix together or divide according to gender or team.
The teens arrived in what Alpha dubbed the common room. It was a large chamber with the entertainment and refreshments they would no doubt need. Four staircases rose from the room, one to the girls' area, one to the boys' lounge, one to the Morphin Rangers' common area and one to the Zeo Rangers' chamber. Descending were another set of staircases that led to the Rangers' private rooms.
Elsewhere in the area they discovered the shower facilities Zordon had installed and the machines they could use to create clean clothing.
"This is really cool, Alpha," Adam observed as he checked out his room, decorated entirely in shades of green.
"I can't believe my parents are dead," Rocky said sadly.
"I don't even know why we bother anymore," Jason moaned. "The planet is dying. We don't have anything left to protect."
"Ai-yi-yi!" Alpha said excitedly. He wished he could tell the Rangers everything would be all right, but he couldn't be certain and he didn't want to mislead them in any way.
"Good morning beautiful," Zack said, giving Aisha a quick peck on the lips.
"Mmmmm," Aisha purred. "Are we an official item yet?" She curled up on the couch beside him.
"I'd like to think so," Zack said.
"Good," Aisha said, snuggling up against his body.
"Good morning Billy," Katherine greeted, stretching her sleep-sore muscles.
"Good morning Katherine," he answered. "Sleep well?"
"I guess so," she answered. "That was a strange bed."
Billy nodded in agreement.
"No, they were not supposed to stay in their headquarters!" Minion fumed. "How can I destroy them if they won't come out?" He ignored the obvious possibility of making a personal appearance to draw them out. "I need a monster, a special token of my esteem. Hm, I wonder if Finster or Klank had anything worth taking?"
He teleported to the almost abandoned Machine Sky Base. With Onyx wiped out he no longer had to worry about Mondo and his rust bucket family.
"What's this?" he wondered as he found a set of plans. "RoboPunch? Those machines have no imagination when it comes to naming things."
A series of alarms suddenly went off, drawing the Rangers back to the command room. "Ai-yi-yi!" Alpha cried. He hurried over to the console and began to analyse the information. "It's from the Machine Empire! The beast is known as RoboPunch. It is about to attack New York City."
"Is there anything left of New York?" Zack asked.
"Some parts of the city are intact, and there are pockets of survivors," Alpha said. "But you will have to hurry. A hurricane is rapidly approaching from the Atlantic."
"Then why don't we just let the hurricane destroy the monster?" Rocky asked. The others glared at him. "Okay, fine."
"It's Morphin Time!"
"Man," Rocky griped. "Out here saving a dead world in my underwear."
"Just hope you don't demorph," Tanya said.
RoboPunch was nowhere to be found. The Rangers had broken up into two groups to find it.
"This place is trashed," Zack said. He ran out onto a hardened slick of lava.
"He's sure to be around here someplace guys," Tommy said. "Let's hurry and find this beast."
"Zordon, we can't see anything," Jason reported.
"Alpha, reconfigure the Gem Coin helmets to enable scanning," Zordon instructed.
"Done Zordon," Alpha reported.
"Tommy, your teams' helmets have been enhanced with a new range of functions. Tanya and Kat now possess the ability to generate light beams from their helmets while Adam and Rocky can use their new scanning abilities. Your helmet will allow you enhanced vision."
"Right Zordon," Tommy confirmed. "Let's do it guys."
"Power Scan!" Rocky and Adam shouted in unison.
"Power Beams!" Tanya and Kat followed. It was around ten o'clock, but the clouds that covered the sky prevented any light from getting through.
"Tommy," Rocky said. "I'm getting readings from the east."
"Power Vision!" Tommy turned his gaze to the east. Immediately, data began to scroll across his field of vision.
The Rangers began to walk toward the supposed monster.
"There it is!" Adam shouted.
"Guys, we found him!" Tommy shouted into his wrist. The Rangers had split up to cover more ground. "He's in what's left of Central Park!"
"We're on our way!" Rocky answered. He and Kat had gone with one group while Tommy, Adam and Tanya had gone with the others.
RoboPunch was as wide as he was tall. He had two powerful arms, whose hands were covered with numerous spikes and claws. His eyes were wide and red, gathering information and determining its attackers' weak points.
The Rangers quickly gathered into a circle around the machine.
"What's this?" it thought. "I was designed to fight five, maybe six, Rangers. Not twelve. Ah well, it'll just be more of a challenge."
Adam high-kicked RoboPunch, deftly avoiding his dangerous hands. He immediately jumped backwards, landed on his hands, and quickly kicked the machine with his feet.
Kimberly pulled back on her Power Bow. A shimmering pink arrow floated in the bow. She was waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike one of RoboPunch's computerized eyes.
Aisha slowly circled RoboPunch with her Power Whip, in horse crop mode, held out before her. Zack circled in the opposite direction with his Power Axe. RoboPunch fighting style was very different from any previous monster. When a group attacked him, he just freaked out and started swinging his hands everywhere, injuring everyone. The Rangers were attacking one at a time, rapid fire.
Adam jumped away, and Billy darted in.
That was when RoboPunch managed to grow.
"RoboPunch is bringing out the big guns!" Rocky cried. He pointed at the now-gigantic machine.
"Then so will we," Jason answered. "We need Ninjazord Power..."
"Now!" the other Morphin Rangers affirmed.
Just a few seconds later, the eight Zords were flying toward New York.
"Let's get out of their way," Tommy said to the Gem Coin Rangers.
"Bring them together," Red Ranger said. "Ninja MegaFalconzord!"
"Ninja Battlezord!" Purple Ranger called. The Panther was operating under remote control.
The Crane started to fold to form the head while at the same time the Frog transformed to become the legs and the Bear converted to become the Ninja MegaFalconzord's upper body. The already modified Ape and Wolf joined onto the Bear to form the arms as the Crane linked on to become the head. Then the whole upper body joined onto the Frog as the Falcon Zord linked onto the back. Hands formed over the Ape and Wolf's heads.
The Panther Zord transformed to stand upright on its hind legs. The head rotated downwards to become the chest and the front paws became the arms. The Hawk Zord's wings and head folded into the body as the Hawk Zord joined onto the shoulders of the Panther to become the head of the Ninja Battlezord. The Panther's tail converted into a Power Sword as Purple Ranger slid into the cockpit ready for action.
"Battle Strike!" Purple Ranger called.
The Ninja Battlezord gave a short spin and drove its Power Sword into the machine's chest. As it stopped spinning the Zord ducked out of the way as the Ninja MegaFalconzord descended using its double power punch. RoboPunch exploded as the Zords celebrated their victory.
The Rangers ripped their helmets off and started their ritual congratulations celebration.
"That was awesome," Aisha said eagerly. "RoboPunch never stood a chance."
"Well, now that the monster is destroyed, I'm going to shave, shower, and get dressed," Rocky said.
Trini leaned against Billy's chest. He had his arms wrapped around her. "We still have a chance," Trini sighed. "At everything."
"At a life together," Billy said happily, willing to let go of his fears for a moment. Trini was only the second person he had ever felt a true emotional attachment with. She was only the third person he had ever kissed. But he knew that Trini was the one person meant for him. The fact that she was an Earthling was icing on the cake.
"Would you like that?" Trini asked. "A life together?"
"Do you?" Billy asked nervously.
"I sure do," Trini answered.
"Good," Billy said, smiling all over himself.
RoboPunch had failed, but then it was one of Mondo's creations and naturally inferior to anything he could have designed. Still it left him with a problem that he needed a new means to attack the Rangers. He needed to draw them out before they found a way to use the Great Power to ruin his plans. Oh he knew they had the ability to foil his scheme, they had done it to so many villains before it was just in their nature to mess things up.
He looked around critically and his eyes rested on Arcana and then upon his Nega Rangers. Yes, that was it, the perfect idea and he already had all the ingredients he needed; he had the Nega Rangers as raw material, the Dark Dimension to provide the souls and Arcana to bring the two together.
"It's time for a change."
Arcana was chanting. The Sword of Darkness was gripped firmly in his hands as he searched the Dark Dimension for the spirits that Minion desired.
"Found them," he said at last. "Now Minion, bring them through and I will merge them."
Minion jumped to his feet, thought a few choice words, and pointed both hands at the sword and his Nega Rangers. Blue light flew from his fingertips.
"Will it work?" Arcana asked, intrigued by the display.
"Just wait," Minion said. A ball of darkness formed and from the ball shot beams of multicoloured light, each striking a Nega Ranger. Minion could sense the struggle as his creations and the souls he had summoned fought for dominance. In the end the newcomers emerged victorious, admiring their new bodies.
"Welcome my young friends," Minion greeted, "welcome to a second chance."
"Who are you?" Nega Pink demanded, her voice similar to Kimberly's. Her bow was raised and Minion was impressed to see that she had already loaded a Nega Arrow.
"I am called Minion, and in this dimension, I am the one who calls the shots," he told her. "I brought you here from the Dark Dimension. You remember that place don't you?"
They nodded hesitantly. These creatures had once been Rangers and all had at some stage turned their back on their beliefs and embraced the darkness. Though they were from different universes, their shared experiences had made them kindred spirits. In the end it had required their former allies and in some cases the Grid Masters to destroy them.
"Why did you bring us here?" Kimberly asked.
"To serve me." It was the truth and as far as Minion was concerned and he stated his belief in a way that left no doubt about who was in control.
"I don't follow anyone," Nega Blue growled.
Minion clicked his fingers, turning on the pain enhancers he had included in the Nega Rangers' bodies.
"The bodies you occupy were sculpted from my genetic material. You are echoes, I am the source." he replied. "You would do well to remember that your lives are dependent upon me. Welcome to your new home, if all goes to plan, it will not be here much longer. Now, enough talk, go and introduce yourselves."
Sixteen beams of light descended through the atmosphere and landed in the remains of Angel Grove. There were no buildings or vegetation anywhere. The entire city had been covered with lava. Smooth silvery rock stretched for almost as far as the eye could see.
"So this is Angel Grove?" one asked.
"Not much to do, is there?" Aisha asked bitterly.
"We just wait?" Adam asked.
"This is so weird," Tommy said. "I can't believe Tommy Oliver could be good in any universe."
"I can't believe there are universes where we didn't turn evil," Trini said. "Are we that ignorant here?"
The Rangers looked at the sixteen evil Rangers through the Viewing Screen. "This is unreal," Tanya whispered.
"Sixteen, how did they get that many?" Rocky asked.
"They are serious," Trini said.
"I'm afraid it is a very likely scenario," Zordon told them. "On more than one occasion spells and other factors have turned you evil for a short time. These are Rangers who never managed to break free from that influence. I believe Minion has drawn them from the Dark Dimension, however, they probably originate from a whole collection of alternate universes."
"This is making so little sense," Tommy said.
"All you need to remember is that they are your enemies," Zordon said.
"Here they come," Kat said. Twelve streams descended to the Earth and materialized, producing twelve teenagers. The two teams stared at each other for a moment.
"So you all are our good counterparts?" Tommy asked.
"I suppose so," Tommy answered.
"No good can come from this," the two Tanyas said in unison.
"If you all are our opposites," Adam mused, "then you defend."
"We attack," Trini growled.
Suddenly, the evil doppelgangers attacked. Evil-Aisha clawed at Zack before punching Aisha in the face. Aisha retaliated with a sidekick.
Evil-Tommy ran up to Kimberly. "Did you dump me on this world too?" he asked. He immediately shot both arms forward and clenched his hands around her throat. With a strangled croak, he picked her up off of the ground by her neck.
Evil-Kimberly and Evil-Katherine ran up to Tommy. "Hello Thomas," they both purred. Both females suddenly high-kicked Tommy.
Katherine and Billy backed away from Evil-Trini and Evil-Adam. "Two geeks who probably couldn't defend themselves if their lives depended on it," Evil-Adam said.
"Actually, your lives do depend on it," Evil-Trini growled. She suddenly lashed out and kicked Billy in the chest before either of them could react.
Katherine high-kicked Evil-Trini before she could react. She ducked Evil-Trini's punch, but she kicked Kat in the ribs before she had gotten back to her feet.
Jason hit the ground in a painful heap. He wasn't used to fighting someone as big as him that could actually fight. Tommy was matched in skill, but even he didn't have the bulk strength that Jason suddenly realized he apparently had.
Tanya was thrown head over heels by Evil-Tanya. "Looks like someone has been giving her lessons too," Tanya thought painfully.
Rocky successfully blocked Evil-Zack's punch. With a sudden swipe of his leg, he brought Evil-Zack to the ground. He didn't have time to relish in his accomplishments, though, as Evil-Rocky threw Zack at him.
Evil-Billy grabbed Trini in a bear hug before she could react. "Billy," Trini muttered. "Don't do this."
"You fight for good," Evil-Billy growled. "You are an enemy." He hurled her at the ground in disgust.
Kimberly barked a hoarse cough as she fell from Evil-Tommy's stranglehold and hit the ground.
"We can't fight ourselves!" Jason cried.
"That's because you're too big a wimp to fight dirty," Evil-Jason taunted. He jumped at Jason with both feet, but Jason rolled away.
"Guys," Evil-Tommy said, "let's have some real fun."
"Right," the doppelgangers agreed.
"Dark Ranger Power!" the evil counterparts of Tommy, Kat, Rocky, Adam, and Rocky called.
"Nega Ranger Power!" dark versions of Jason, Billy, Aisha, Kimberly, Trini, Zack and David called.
The Rangers noticed that some of the evil teens were happy just to stand back, allowing their allies to do all the work. "Let's do this," Jason growled. With a cacophony of morphing cries, the Rangers morphed.
In civilian form they were similar, but when morphed the difference in their natures was obvious. The Dark Rangers wore all-black costumes with only a little colour on their helmets. They each wore a coin, but it was covered from view. The Nega Rangers wore the more familiar almost demonic armour that the Rangers remembered.
For a brief moment, neither side moved. A second later, the battle began.
Minion watched the battle as it progressed and was pleased to see that his Rangers were holding their own in combat. In fact they seemed to have the upper hand against the Gem Coin Rangers while the Morphin Rangers proved more difficult to defeat.
He winced as they pulled out the heavier weapons only to find themselves perfectly matched. It seemed the Evil Ranger powers he had created were too close to the original template. That was something he would have to rectify in future, assuming there was ever a need.
"The time has come my servants, your powers give you abilities unknown to any other group of Rangers. The time has come to take this to a new lever, transform and unite!"
"What are we going to do now?" Kimberly asked, staring up at the giant before them.
Minion had been correct, the Rangers had never seen this particular power before. At his command the evil Rangers' bodies started to twist in impossible ways as heavy metal armour attached to their suits. They were stretched in all directions as they continued to change, taking on forms that were eerily familiar.
"Zords for armour, no way!" Zack remarked as he noticed the other evil Rangers who until now had remained out of the battle started to join their allies.
"Does Gasket know someone's stolen his idea?" Tanya remarked as she looked up at the fleet of Zord-Armoured Rangers.
Before them stood the machines that the Rangers had come to rely on in battle: the Dino Megazord, Thunder Megazord, Ninja Megazord, Shogun Megazord; Sky Megazord, Defender Megazord, Techno Megazord, Zeo Megazord and Super Zeo Megazord; White Tiger Zord, Dragon Zord, White Falcon Zord, Red Battle Zord; and the Warrior Wheel, Titanus and finally Tor.
"We need Di... wait, what are they doing?" Jason was confused.
"Surprised Rangers?" Nega Red asked. "We are full of surprises, and this is just the beginning. Zord-Armour Rangers, unite!"
The Shogun Megazord folded itself into the upper half of ZAR's chest, while the Dino Megazord composed the bottom half. The Ninja Megazord produced another part of the lower torso. The Warrior Wheel twisted and contorted itself until it was only a third of its original size. It floated to the top of the assembling ZAR and formed the head. The Super Zeo Megazord formed the upper right arm, and the Zeo Megazord formed the right forearm. The Red Battlezord and Sky Megazord produced the left arm. Dragonzord folded in on itself and finished the last of the torso, clamping on just below the Ninja Megazord. Tigerzord and the Techno Megazord quickly produced the left leg, and the Thunder Megazord along with the Defender Megazord formed the right. As the last part locked into place the entire machine was briefly transformed into energy, restructuring the bulk so that while it was less cumbersome, it was just as powerful.
The Rangers were shocked. They had not expected a group of evil Rangers to turn into Megazords and then unite into something even bigger. While the result wasn't much taller than a regular Megazord, they could sense its power.
~Thank goodness their Zords were based on our old machines and new the new ones,~ Trini thought.
"Time to show them what real Zords can do," Tommy suggested.
"Did somebody call?" the Green Ranger asked.
They turned to find Gold Ranger and Green Ranger walking towards them.
Jason shrugged. "We need Dinozord power, now!"
The Rangers quickly assembled the Dino Megazord and the Dino Stegazord. They looked out over the barren wasteland that had once been Angel Grove. Suddenly, the ground shook and the ZAR landed.
The Dino Megazord stepped back a few steps.
"What's a matter, Rangers?" the monster asked, its voice a mixture of the evil Rangers. "Scared?"
"Of you?" Trini replied. "Never."
ZAR kicked the Megazord in the chest. The Megazord grabbed ZAR's foot and flipped the evil creature.
ZAR quickly gained control and brought its arm blades down across the Megazord in two broad swipes. The Zord stumbled backwards and hit the ground. ZAR took several long strides and stood beside the fallen machine. "Gee," it said sarcastically. "I would have thought even you would last longer than that."
ZAR rubbed its two arm blades together, raining sparks down on the Zord. It gave a wicked growl and stabbed at the fallen machine, only to find its way blocked by the Dino Stegazord. ZAR's eyes widened as the Dragonzord's tail smashed into its chest.
Trini rolled the Megazord out of the way. ZAR's arm blades struck the ground. The Zord, still lying on its back, kicked out with a leg, knocking the evil creature to the ground as well.
The Megazord rolled back on its shoulders and flipped to a standing position, a move no Megazord should be able to do.
"Looks like it's Rangers one, monster zero," Zack cried.
Dragonzord stepped before ZAR.
ZAR lowered its head and rammed Dragonzord. Red lights lit up in Sam's cockpit. "Hull damaged, five percent," Sam said as he frantically pushed buttons that signified he acknowledged the damage. The alarms went off and reset themselves for any further damage.
With a mighty whir, the Tail Drill started. Sam turned his Zord around and plunged the tail at ZAR. The monster screamed in rage as he was damaged. ZAR grabbed the Dragonzord's tail. ZAR spun in a circle, lifting Dragonzord off of the ground. ZAR let go off the tail, and Dragonzord flew sideways.
ZAR suddenly spread its arms wide. The curved horn atop its head began to fire red lasers. They struck the ground at ZAR's feet and began to move toward Dino Stegazord. The machine responded by jumping over the attack and whipping its tail around as a counter.
ZAR slashed at the Zord with its arm blades. The Dino Stegazord cartwheeled away. Upon landing on its feet, the Zord distracted ZAR until the Megazord could land its next punch.
ZAR jumped onto the Dino Stegazord's back, effectively immobilizing it. ZAR lifted its leg up and slammed it into the Zord's back. The Zord tucked its head and rolled with the attack. The Rangers quickly brought the Zord to its feet and gave ZAR a quick roundhouse kick, pivoting on its anchored leg.
Kimberly brought all of the Zord's weight on the back leg. Once she was firmly planted, she made the Megazord kick ZAR several times in rapid succession.
"I've had it with this!" Zack shouted. "Let's show this thing what teamwork is all about."
"Right!" Jason agreed. "Super Dragonzord formation!"
The Dino Stegazord broke into its component parts as the Dragonzord merged with the Megazord. Then as the Stegazord opened to form a circular platform with sharp points around the edge, The Raptor Zord attached itself to the Mega Dragonzord's back.
"Titanus, front and center!" the eight Rangers called from their combined cockpit.
"Whoa!" Rocky cried. The Gem Coin Rangers had returned to the Power Chamber. "When did Titanus get so big?"
"Alpha and I took the opportunity to upgrade Titanus to handle eight Zords instead of six," Zordon told him.
The Brachiosaur-based mecha that marched across the wasteland was much bigger than they remembered. Several compartments had been added to his back. In addition it seemed he had been given a new paint job so that instead of just grey, he was now a dull shade of silver mixed with gold highlights.
"Look, they're going for the big one," Tommy speculated.
Zordon smiled, knowing that Tommy was in for a shock when he discovered that this was but a hint of the Morphin Rangers' arsenal.
"Super Dragonzord, slide attack!" the Morphin Rangers cried.
Titanus had opened in the usual way, but once the Super Dragonzord was in place it had closed again. Then as Titanus's neck had craned to the correct angle, the Super Dragonzord had been raised to the top of its back.
"Go!" the Rangers called, launching their machine down the length of the Carrier Zord's neck. The Stegazord component started to spin as the chest and shoulders glowed with power. Then, as the Zord leaned forward, it tore through the air, colliding with ZAR and destroying the monster on contact.
"Now what," Kimberly pondered.
"Now you die," a loud voice bellowed. A flash of red suddenly streaked before them.
Minion landed in front of the Zord, and before it could react, blasted it with dark energy. The Dino Superzord fell back, smoke billowing from its chest.
"Oh this isn't over yet," Aisha promised.
"Shogun Zords, power up!"
Minion was surprised. He knew the Rangers had the Ninja Zords and the Dino Zords, but Shogun Zords? How many machines did he have to destroy?
As the new fleet of Zords came into view, he wondered if perhaps he had miscalculated. The Shogun Zords were equal to him in height and were armed with large versions of their Power Weapons. It didn't take him more than a few blows to realise that the Rangers were serious.
"We have to finish this," Jason said. "With Minion gone we can destroy the device and restore the planet."
And so the battle was on.
Billy's Zord slashed at his foe with his Power Lance, but Minion hit the ground in a full split. He rolled into a somersault and jumped to his feet. He jumped into the air and slammed both of his feet into Yellow Shogun Zord, slamming it into Purple Shogun Zord. Minion leapt into the air and executed a perfect spin kick, downing Green Shogun Zord in the process. He planted himself firmly on his left leg and kicked White Shogun Zord in the chest with his right, knocking the Zord over. He then stepped on the fallen Zord's back, and using it as a springboard, launched himself at Red Shogun Zord. He punched Jason's Zord once, and then grabbed it by the arms and flung it into Black Shogun Zord, taking Pink down in the process.
Minion took a deep breath and stood in the midst of his carnage. "Man, that was fun," he breathed. "And this time, stay down." He spread his hands wide. Blue tendrils of light jumped from each blood-red fingernail. The tendrils of light pinned the Zords to the ground, though only temporarily.
"I am here to make you a proposition," Minion said. "Surrender, now; if you do, I will spare your lives when I reshape this wretched little reality. And I will also bring your families back."
"Why would we make deals with you?" Rocky yelled.
"Why should we believe you?" Trini asked.
"There is a planet on the far outskirts of the Universe," Minion said. "Very similar to Earth in climate, but no intelligent life. I will let you and your families live there. I will control the rest of the Universe, so I can spare a single world."
Rocky quickly crossed himself and began to pray, frantically.
"What's it gonna be, Rangers?" he asked.
"We're Rangers," Jason said, before the villain could continue. "Do you even need to ask? Trey, do it!"
The Zords vanished as the Gem Coin Rangers joined the Morphin Rangers.
"I brought a few friends along," Trey commented, gesturing to the allies he had rescued. "Hope you do not mind."
"By the power of Triforia, make us grow!" the Lord of Triforia cried.
This time there was no holding back on either side as the Rangers and their allies joined forces against Minion's evil. The villain fought back, the Sword of Darkness earning its names as it cut down Zeo Ape. Still, when all was said and done, neither side had enough strength to vanquish the other and luck as always reared its ugly head.
The planet beneath them cracked, revealing a pool of lava that none of them could withstand. Minion leapt from one side of the crack to the other and blasted the ground on which the heroes were standing, sending them into the molten gulf. Overhead they could feel the rift to the Dark Dimension consuming their world. The planet was breaking up as the two sides continued to fight.
"Laser Lance Command!"
"Lightning Fist Command!"
The two surviving VR Troopers combined their attacks, taking the villain by surprise. Robin landed a solid kick to the villain's chest as Hawkeye fired a cable arrow, entangling the construct's feet.
"Now!" Rocky cried, leading the charge as he and the majority of the assembled heroes fell upon the villain, plunging him and themselves into the fiery cauldron.
"Rider Kick!" Jesse cried, driving his feet into the villain's head as he tried to drag himself free and sacrificing himself in the process. There were few left now, but they were the planet's last hope; as Tommy summoned the Zeo Crystal, Power Mountain was consumed by the darkness.
The Earth trembled, the last of its Ley Lines drained, its magic exhausted. The pressure was building deep inside the planet's core, and when it finally blew, it would tear the planet apart.
"Teleport!" Tommy cried. He made it to Pyramidas just in time, most of the others did not as the ground they were standing on was washed away.
A volcano had appeared beneath them, spewing molten lava in their direction. It was stopped by a wall of energy as Green Lantern threw his protection Pyramidas.
The remaining heroes of Earth, the last representatives of their world, now stood on the elongated platform that served the Zord while in Carrier mode. There wasn't any solid ground left on the planet as it approached the final stage of its destruction and before long the Zord would have to land upon the molten surface to allow the Ranger to work. At that point the Zord would be unprotected.
The poisonous fumes had already taken their toll on those who did not have the comfort of a helmet or built in breathing apparatus. Minion was gone, but the danger would continue until the damage was reverse. The problem was that they only had one shot at healing the wounds Minion had inflicted.
"Are you sure about this?" Tommy asked again.
They nodded. They were without doubt heroes. They had quickly discovered a flaw with their plan in that the barrier protecting the sword was feeding off the Earth's energy and not Minion's. As it turned out only a native of Earth without the benefit of the Power could reach through the barrier and snatch the blade. Since they limited in their choices and needed all the Rangers, it had fallen to Vision and Servo, as the last active members of the Avengers and VR Troopers to perform the task.
"This is it guys," Jason told them. "When they pull the sword, we'll use the Zeo Crystal to destroy it and cleanse the Ley Lines. Then we'll use the Great Power to restore things to how they should be."
"The disruptor and the Sword of Ragnarok need to be disposed of before the process can become permanent," Billy warned. He looked at John. "You know what that means."
The Green Lantern nodded although he did not look happy about it. Still, he was dedicated to his duty as a Green Lantern.
"Good luck guys, see you on the other side," Tommy offered. "And may the Power protect us."
With that Vision and Servo descended to the small volcanic hill where the hilt of the Sword of Ragnarok could still be seen.
Vision strained to remove the sword. Next to him he was aware that Servo was also suffering from the intense heat.
There was an explosion of molten rock as he continued pulling. Vision shifted position, shielding him from the flaming rock. Servo did not fare so well and was washed under the surface by the attack. He pooled his remaining strength and with a final tug, managed to drag the blade free. At that point the flames that licked their way up his body overcame him. With his final act, he threw the Sword of Ragnarok and the device into the rift, sealing it just as Zordon had predicted.
The last Zeo Ranger moved into position over the hole where the sword had been embedded. There he could see the dark energy crackling inside, the poisoned remnants of the Earth's own magic.
Pyramidas settled on the lava, its shielded hull peeling under the intense heat; Green Lantern had built a bubble to keep Jason and his fellow Morphin Rangers from harm. They would be needed for the next stage.
"Zeo Crystal!" Tommy cried. "Deliver this world from evil!"
Billy's analysis had revealed that while the crystal was damaged and incapable of supporting a Ranger team, its purifying properties were still intact. The Rangers were going to use it not to redeem a villain, but to purge the Ley Nexus and give the Great Power an opportunity to work.
Light burst from the crystal as the Ranger held it in position. Red, yellow, pink, green, blue, gold, silver, purple, white and black energy streamed into the hole. In places where the coloured energy mixed he could make out shades of cyan, magenta, crimson, navy and orange. The Earth seemed to tremble as the corrupted magic within was forcibly ejected by the Zeo energy. Pyramidas rocked, as its hull grew thin. Before long it would disappear and if the Rangers were unsuccessful, so would they.
"Keep going," Tommy encouraged. "Need to give this -- everything I've got."
He poured his soul into the crystal and was amazed when the energy increased. But despite his best efforts, the corruptive energy of the Sword of Ragnarok remained, kept in check by the Zeo Crystal's power, but capable of destroying the planet as soon as they relented.
"It's Time for a Gold Rush!" he heard Trey call, before a burst of golden light joined the power from the Zeo Crystal and chased the darkness from the Earth's depths.
"Jason, they're weakening," Trini said.
Jason nodded. He had hoped they would be able to wait until the Earth was totally cleansed before using the Great Power to reignite the planet's failing energy. Now though they didn't have a choice, the planet was too close to death to delay further. With luck they would finish before the Earth exploded. Otherwise, their actions would prove futile.
"Now is the time," David said. As White Ranger he knew when it was his time to take control. "Let our powers be one."
They clasped hands, allowing the Great Power to flow through them. They didn't need to direct it, the magic was sentient and knew what it had to do. As their hands glowed their respective colours, lines of energy emerged, linking them together, forming a golden ball of light at the very center of their circle.
"Go," Jason whispered and the ball shot into the Earth.
For a moment there was no change, then slowly the lava seemed to calm and the quaking planet quietened. The Great Power and the Zeo Crystal worked in unison, restoring the shattered and corrupted lines of magic with new life bringing energy.
"It's not enough!" Aisha realised after the changes ceased.
All the power they could imagine and it was not enough to fix the damage. Every time it crossed with the power placed there by the Sword of Ragnarok, it was corrupted by the destructive energy. The Zeo Crystal was proving incapable of purging all the darkness so long as the sword remained intact.
"Jase, the Zord!" Zack warned.
The Red Ranger looked down in time to see a hole open from beneath the once mighty Pyramidas and he knew it would not be long before all hope was lost. They could not morph; to do so would negate their efforts. Instead he accepted that since the Great Power was working, their part was done. The others needed help to complete their parts and sadly that meant that John had to be free to assist them.
"Do it," he ordered the ring bearing hero.
John nodded solemnly and placed the Rangers on the surface of the Carrier Zord, releasing them from his protection. Then he aimed his power at the crystal, adding the last of his strength to the mix.
"This is it guys," Jason said as the Rangers and their allies gathered around the Zeo Crystal. Pyramidas was sinking; they had perhaps a minute to live. "One last time. We call on all our powers combined:"
The others had all powered down, the energy from Green Lantern's ring now heading directly into the Zeo Crystal, his hands disappearing in the process.
"Zeo Ranger V - Red!"
"Gold Ranger Power!"
"Green Lantern Light!" As John spoke the words he felt the full power that he had always feared would corrupt him rushing to the fore. Years of forced denial were over as the power burst from the ring, adding to the powers already flowing into the Earth. The powers merged with those of the Zeo Crystal, removing all impurities from the Ley Lines as the Zord finally succumbed to the environment and they were plunged into a molten tomb as energy they had fed into the Earth erupted, inside the Dark Dimension.