Kathy and Carter shook hands glad to see each other again. Tanya and Richie had introduced her to the other rangers there but Kathy's eyes fell on two in particular, Katherine Hillard and Kimberly Hart.
Both Kat and Kim looked at Kathy as well and sensed something about her as well. After a good few seconds of staring Kat asked, "Who are you?"
"Her name is Kathy Hart," Christina said. "And I think I know whose DNA was used to create her too." The other outsiders looked on in surprise for a few seconds but then turned to the main viewer.
Masked Rider was still climbing the mountain of madness making his way to the pollen plants at the top. "I don't get it," David had said. "Why is Dex climbing the mountain?"
"The pollen plants at the top of the mountain are known for their healing properties," Zordon explained. "It is most likely that Dex is looking for them so he can heal someone of a serious illness."
"Who?" Rocky asked. "Is it one of the Stewarts?"
"Observe the Viewing Globe," Zordon ordered and everyone turned to see Hal, Barbara, Molly, Albee, and Ferbus trying to help some sort of monster get comfortable. Confusion ran among the rangers, but Carter and Kathy knew who it was on the spot.
"Lillith?" Kathy and Carter said looking at the demoness laying on the Stewart's couch being attended to by members of the family. Everyone turned to give both Carter and Kathy weird looks.
"You know that thing?" Emily said.
"She was a member of our team," Carter explained. "She was supposed to check out Leawood for the matrix signal there."
"Most likely another dry well," the Doctor said.
"I'm afraid the Doctor is correct," Alpha replied. "I've locked on to the signal that Carter and Kathy were tracing and I've found it's just another echo of the matrix."
"So it was there one time but it's not there now," Skull said narrowing the explanation down. "But the question still remains. Where is this 'matrix' now?"
"Perhaps we should worry about that later," Kathy had said. "Right now Lillith is in trouble."
"Agreed," Nathan Oliver answered. "Perhaps she should be brought over to the Power Chamber."
"I agree with you Nathan," Zordon said. "Perhaps someone should go to the Stewart home and bring Lillith here."
"I'll go," Tommy volunteered. Lillian then stepped forward ready to go as well. Kathy joined up also as well as Christina and David who as White Rangers were well versed in healing arts and whose knowledge could be useful in helping Lillith. All five teleported to the Stewart home. Jason however turned back towards the viewing globe which focused back on Masked Rider.
"What about Dex?" Jason asked.
"For now we wait," Zordon answered. "If Dex needs us we shall be there to help him.
Masked Rider continued on up the mountain until he came across a clearing near a rocky summit. As he looked down he saw billions and billions of people being put to work under the most grueling conditions. Rider recognized the guards as more of Dregon's plague patrol and realized he was looing at a Dregonite Slave camp
How did I get here? , Rider thought looking down at the camp when he had been climbing the Mountain of Madness only a second before. Regardless Masked Rider looked at the slaves in the camp and found they weren't just Edenites being put to work, but many species from all over the galaxy. Rider had even noticed a few humans working as well under the eye of the plague patrol.
Rider then demorphed into Dex and made his way into the camp. Putting on a robe left over he was allowed to move inconspicuously among the slaves. Dex saw so much suffering and pain his heart went out to each and every one as he vowed to free them all.
His gaze fell on one tent where a group of humans were nursing a sick little boy. Dex walked closer to see if he could help. "Is there anything I can do?" he asked the humans.
"Yes," came the voice Dex could have sworn sounded like Hal Stewart. "You can turn around and walk away."
Dex looked on confused. "Dad?"
The human turned and removed his hood revealing the face of Hal Stewart. His face was all scarred and he looked much slimmer than before. The other humans removed their hoods revealing Barbara, Molly, and Patsy. When they moved away from the boy Dex got a good look and saw that it was Albee.
"What's going on?" Dex asked. "Who are these people?"
"They're the people you couldn't save Masked Rider," the Plague leader said standing behind Dex. Dex recognized him as the plage leader from before who had Sharana and Donaeis. "All you had to do was surrender your powers and they would have been safe. But you had to be the noble hero, and millions upon millions suffered because of you."
"We paid for your decision," Hal said.
"You couldn't just give up," Molly said.
"I'm dying because of you," Albee said. A chorus of voices rang. All persecuting Dex for not surrendering. All persecuting Dex for what they said was his ego.
Dex walked out of the tent and saw more people persecuting him. Telling them that he should have surrendered. Some even resorted to throwing stones at the Prince of Edenoi giving the idea for others to do the same. Dex found himself lost in a world of angry voices and pain as stones were thrown at him in all directions.
"How long do we have to look at this?" Katarina asked looking at Dex with his hands to his head being driven insane by the illusion. "Isn't there anything we can do?"
"This is all in his mind," Zordon said sadly. "Dex must find his own way to inner order."
But a little help is always appreciated. , a voice said from around the chamber. The rangers looked around the room to see where it had come from then a ball of energy had appeared and solidified into the form of King Lexian. "Lexian old friend. What brings you here?" Zordon asked.
"I received a call from an old friend of ours saying that my grandson was in trouble," Lexian turned towards the direction of the TARDIS where the Doctor stood by the doorway.
"Telepathic box," the Doctor said holding up six small cards. "I figured Dex could use the hand."
The rangers looked confused until Samantha explained, "Those cards are used to hold mental messages. All one has to do is direct the message you want to send then mentally have the cards go around it and send it on its merry way." Samantha had learned much from her travels with the Doctor even though a lot of what the Doctor knew was too much for her, or any other human, to comprehend.
"Thank you Doctor," Lexian said. "Now to begin." Lexian then brought the gem on his forehead to bear and he focused his mental energy through the gem hoping to give Dex the help he needed to come through the maddening illusions.
Dex was still lost in the maddening voices screaming for retribution against him for not giving up the powers of the Masked Rider until a voice rose up to speak to him. My grandson. Hear me!
The voice seemed so kind and noble, and it drowned out the angry voices. Dex lifted his head up to hear recoginizing the person who spoke. "Grandfather?" he called out. King Lexian appeared before Dex as the world seemed to freeze around them. "Yes grandson. It is I."
Dex looked around seeing the people frozen but their anger still evident in their faces. "Grandfather.... these are..."
Lexian raised his hand as if telling Dex not to say anymore, for he knew himself all too well. "These are manifestations of those you may not be able to save? Is that it?" Dex nodded.
"I've always strived to do good with the Masked Rider powers," Dex had said. "To help free our people on Edenoi, and to stop Dregon from conquering Earth in the process. And I was confronted by a dilema where if I gave up the powers then my friends and family would be spared."
"You didn't did you?" Lexian asked.
"No Grandfather. But all of this..," he motioned to the whole slave camp standing frozen. "... is because I was unable to save them. Since I didn't give up the Masked Rider powers, my friends and family suffered. As well as millions of people that I couldn't save."
Lexian took everything his grandson had been saying in. He himself remembered this dilema having gone through it himself. "Dex, did you consider what would happen if you had given up the Masked Rider powers?"
Dex had and answered, "Yes Grandfather. I believed that Dregon would not have kept his word and he would have used the powers anyway to enslave and destroy."
"And it was the correct choice," Lexian had said. "Once before when it was to be determined who would possess the Masked Rider powers your father and Dregon were given two sets of training powers to determine who the worthy choice would be. The belief was that the true powers were split so that both your father and Dregon would think that they held the Masked Rider powers. While both had excelled at fighting and training Dregon had decided that he would take all the powers and he ordered your father to give up his share. If he didn't then Dregon would destroy some Edenites he had taken captive."
Dex never heard this story before. "What did father do?"
"He decided to give up the powers he had held to Dregon, and Dregon destroyed the hostages he held anyway. Dregon then went on to the next town and destroyed everything there and would have continued on hadn't your father not stopped to defeat him. It was in this battle that Dregon had gotten his scars which is why he wears a helmet to this day. But regardless of that your father did not believe that he was worthy of the powers since he could not save the hostages Dregon had taken or the villiagers Dregon had killed.
"But despite all this, your father was chosen to take on the powers. He disagreed of course believing that he couldn't stop Dregon's rampage, but the council stated that your father had tried to do good to right the wrongs that Dregon had done. He had taken responsibility for his actions and to make amends for what had happened. That was the mark of a true hero in the council's eyes."
"But Dad couldn't save everyone," Dex countered. "And I can't either."
Lexian nodded down in understanding. "I know grandson. That is one of the harshest realities one has to face. A hero cannot save everyone, but that doesn't mean that he can't stop trying. Or at least try to save as many as he can. But as long as that person tries to do what is right and good for all their efforts will be rewarded."
"But what about those that can't be saved?" Dex asked.
"We allow their spirits to drive us onward," Lexian said bravely. "Their memories pushing us onward so others can be saved, and we suceed in overthrowing the evils that plague us."
Dex seemed to take comfort in his wise grandfather's words and turned to face the plague patrollers again. "Maybe I can't save everyone, but if I gave Dregon the Masked Rider powers then I wouldn't be saving anyone."
The patrol leader looked down at Dex. "Then meet the end of your existance." He brought up his sword ready to strike down the Edenite prince, but Dex rolled away.
Getting back into a battle pose Dex called out "ECTOPHASE ACTIVATE!!!" and Masked Rider stood again.
The patrol advanced towards Masked Rider who took them out with blows lethal and lightning fast as he advanced towards the Plague Patrol leader. "ELECTRO SABER ACTIVATE!!!"
Bringing up the saber Masked Rider struck down the patrol leader as the crown cherred their liberator. The terrain then quickly changed back to the previous green vegitation and the cheers grew silent. Masked Rider then continued on up the mountain on his quest to reach the pollen plants unaware that Dregon was waiting.
Five teleport streaks had arrived inside the Stewart home. Barbara turned up to see Tommy, Kathy, Christina, Lillian and David standing beside the couch. Tommy raised his hand trying to reassure the Stewarts.
"Don't be alarmed, we're friends of Dex's." Barbara Stewart then backed away allowing David and Christina to get a better look at Lilith. Christina felt the healing light within her as she tried to stop the deadly poison infecting the demoness's system.
"This poison is strong," Christina said. "I can keep it a bay for a little while but I can't cure it. She needs the cure provided for it and she will need it soon."
"Do what you can Chris," Lillian told her friend and Christina closed her eyes and allowed her Zeo power to fill her being and come through her hands as she touched Lillith's unconscious form.
"David I could use some help from you as well." Christina took her hand and offered it to David. David took her hand and his White Morphin power joined with Christina's White Zeo Psi power to form a healing energy that filled Lillith's being. Christina and David saw in their mind's eyes the poison being driven back but also the stubborness it was displaying in not going away completely. While both David and Christina would have loved to destroy the poison in Lillith they did not have enough power for that task, but they did suceed in sending the poison into temporary remission giving the rogue demoness a little more time than she had previously.
Hold on Lillith. Hold on! , Kathy thought towards the rogue. Her eyes fluttering as the healing light went through her body but wasn't regaining consciousness.
"Okay, that's done," Christina said releasing David's hand and putting her own down. "All we can do now is take her to the Power Chamber and hope Dex returns with the antidote in time."
"Good thing we're checking up on him," Tommy said. "If he needs help we'll be sure to be there when he needs it."
Hal Stewart interrupted after that. "Uhmmm. Excuse me. But we're a little concerned about Dex also. Plus we still feel responsible for taking care of..."
"Lillith," Kathy said. Hal picked up on it and nodded. "So do you mind if we came along to see how Dex is doing?"
Tommy and Lillian both nodded and the rangers and the Stewarts all teleported over to the Power Chamber in hopes of seeing how Dex was faring.
Kennede had watched on the viewer as his Armor Rangers flew on tracking the convoy that held the 'artifact' as it was being called. The path the convoy was apparently following led straight to Arcadia Academy, just as he anticipated. Setting the controls of his ship to follow Kennede took to the sky to rendezvous with his Rangers.
As he flew his memories turned to a time in his life where he felt truly alive with his wife and family by his side. His son and daughter were learning to be tournament fighters ready to fight in the name of honor and glory, helping others reach their full potential. Kennede looked on with pride at his children. They were both good and would have promising futures he knew.
But then they had been taken from him by a strange individual who had fed on their life energy and turned them into servants of hers. Kennede could only watch in horror as the woman garbed in white with evil red eyes laughed as she took his children's life essences making them monsters loyal to her.
Kennede then vowed to do whatever it took to find and destroy the monster who had taken his children. He had heard about a place called Arcadia Academy where strange things occured, and where the strange woman in white was. Kennede managed to get onto the teaching staff, and soon found himself instructing the gym courses there.
But then he had found out about the hidden levels, after a few months when higher ups determined that he could be trusted with the secret research there. It was in the special projects that he met Oscar Barrett, Daniel Nelson, Tina Croft, Sandy Sinclair, Scott Baker, and Lee Jones. The head of the special projects division, as well as the head of the university-Dr. Ranitime ordered Kennede to train them in a 'special course'.
Armor was revealed and handed off to each of the six teens. Ranitime read Kennede's file and knew he was fluent in several arts of specialty fighting ranging from special forces to zero-g due to his military survival training as well as extensive 'special' martial arts training when he did a tour of duty in Japan. Ranitime wanted to be absolutely sure the kids knew everything he knew and vice versa. But he was still in the dark about other things.
As Kennede taught and talked to the kids he learned they were taken from their homes and used to power the Psycho Rangers in their quest to destroy the Power Rangers. The technique used was the same one the white woman with yellow eyes had used to turn his children into monsters. Tina had told Kennede that the woman in white was called the Queen of the Crown, who had taken life forces from people to empower or create monsters. They didn't know where the queen was currently but Kennede had a feeling the Rani knew. All he had to do was find out.
Soon Queen of the Crown. Soon I shall pay you back for the pain you caused me. For the pain you caused my children.
Inside a strange room Dana Mitchell lay strapped to a gurney as she had come into consciousness. Dr. Ranitime was standing before her. "I am pleased you have awaken Miss Mitchell."
Dana tried to move but couldn't since the straps held her securely in place. She however was able to look down at her left wrist to see if her morpher was there. It was not. "What's going on here?" Dana asked confused but showing her spirit as her tone reflected the fact that she did not like her current predicament. "Why am I in this position?"
"Patience Miss Mitchell. I will get to that soon enough. But first I think there is something you might want to see." Ranitime moved away from Dana's field of vision allowing her to see a transparent wall and an object that glowed an amazing bright light. The glass wall had a filter to it allowing the light to be tinted to anyone viewing it, but even through the transparent wall everyone could feel the power of the Matrix of Spirit radiating outward.
"Is this what you've come for?" Ranitime asked. Dana said nothing but stared at the matrix as if mezmerized by it. When Ranitime saw Dana staring at it as if in a trance she immediately walked over and slapped Dana awake.
"When I speak I expect you to listen," Ranitime glared at Dana. "Now as I was saying, is this what you seek?" Dana nodded yes.
"Good. I'm glad we're developing a rapport. Now then can you tell me what it is?" Dana decided to go ahead and answer Ranitime's question.
"It's called the Matrix of Spirit. It was sent to this reality and I'm here to find it." Ranitime then turned around to look behind a corner. "Does this correspond with what you have been told?" Stepping out of the corner was Biilly and Zanzibar.
"Yes Rani, I'd say that this is what our friend was searching for." Members of the Motley Crew then came wheeling out a gurney with an oriental young man out unconscious. "And I hope you will enjoy the specimen that has been provided for you."
"I'm certain I will," Ranitime had said motioning for the Motley Crew to move Dana to another area. Dana looked on at the exchange in confusion so Ranitime then turned towards the pink Lightspeed ranger.
"I suppose some explanations are in order. First off my name is not Ranitime, but rather my name is the Rani. I am a member of a race of species called the Time Lords who had cast me out due to what they deemed to be 'improper scientific experiments'. However, the Time Lords could not stop me from continuing my experiments on... lesser creatures." Dana felt a wave of fear rise up within her as the Rani approached her.
"Which brings me to you my dear. I have an experiment I wish to conduct based on what an old... acquaintance of mine had done. For you see, I am nearing the end of my twelfth regeneration. After that I can regenerate no further. In that regard, for my continued survival I will have to find an alternative body for my consciousness to reside in."
Dana felt more afraid as it dawned on her what the Rani was intending. She was going to take over Dana's body. "You'll never take my body Rani! My friends will stop you!"
"Stop you? They don't even know where you are," Rani laughed. "And besides, your form isn't exactly sufficient to hold a Time Lord's life essence due to it not being able to regenerate. But that will not be a problem." Rani then went over to a terminal and pulled out a scroll all in black which was layered out amoung several others.
"These are the black scrolls of Rassilon. Knowledge from the dark age of Gallifrey that was deemed forbidden for countless millenia. Knowledge I have appropriated and found for my uses very... enlightening. For inside these scrolls is the research used to create a virus that will allow a percentage of humans to become Time Lords like myself. A process I intend to use on you."
Dana glared at Rani. "You said that only a percentage would become Time Lords. What about the rest?"
"Well if they aren't Time Lord material then they must be of inferior genetic breed is all," Biilly had said. "But Rani seems to think you are of, how should I say... 'good stock'. So I think you'll go through the change pretty well."
"But what of her mind?" Zanzibar asked. "Won't that be a problem if you try to possess her body?"
"I considered that," Rani said. "When my... associate tried the possession process he was able to drive the original consciousness out and send it to its death, but in Miss Mitchell's case, it might be prudent for it to remain intact. So I called forth someone who can help in that capacity."
Rani beckoned for someone to come forth from the shadows and the white robed form of the Queen of the Crown stepped forward looking down at Dana. A gem in her hand. Dana felt her fear sky rocket as the queen came forward.
"Not quite yet your highness," Rani said waving the queen back. "The experiment will take a while to prepare and I may have need of her consciousness to be in the body while the process is taking place."
"Very well," the queen said as she stepped back. Rani then went out towards a computer to begin her calculations. Zanzibar and the Motley Crew left to rejoin the Horror guard while Biilly looked down at Dana.
"Congratulations. You are about to bring about a new step in human evolution," Biilly sneered and left the lab leaving Dana alone for now.
Somehow I don't feel to proud. , Dana mentally thought towards Biilly. Biilly however had another idea in mind that he wanted to share with the Rani.
"Rani, have you ever in all your research dealt with drugs that control anger?"
The Rani thought for a moment and answered, "I did meddle in a drug that suppressed negative emotions in order to make subjects more... succeptable to me. Nothing to break wills mind you, but something that can be... addictive. Why do you ask?"
Biilly smiled his evil smile. "I have an idea for an experiment I'd like to run by you."
The specimen, Ken Tanaka, had started to stir as the Motley Crew were wheeling him into what appeared to be an arena. One of them had injected Ken with a hypospray of a strange compound that he did not know of, but made him feel very relaxed as the Motley Crew released the straps holding Ken down.
The crew then threw Ken off the gurney onto the floor where he picked himself up off of the ground. He managed to get to his feet with ease but he didn't feel the anger within him anymore. It was if something had layered it with a heavy blanket of snow and it wouldn't be until months before it would have thawed out. On top of a balcony Biilly, Rani and Zanzibar looked down at Ken. Biilly was holding Ken's pill prescription.
"Looking for these Mr. Tanaka?" Biilly asked. "Well due to a compound produced by the Rani you won't need these as much as you did now."
Ken looked up at Biilly curious and only slightly agitated. "What did you do to me?" he asked.
Biilly gave a look of mock surprise. "Why Mr. Tanaka, all we did was give you what you wanted, control over your dark side. Of course there is no way to know how long the compound we injected you with will last."
"But the longer it lasts the more you'll probably crave it once it wears off," Rani stated. Zanzibar and Biilly just smiled at Ken's predicament imagining him crawling to them for more of Rani's drug. Ken realized this too and the thought of drug dependency became horribly real for him.
"But for now we would like you and a... friend to participate in a 'human nature' study. Evaluating order vs. chaos," Zanzibar said. "You Ken will represent order while a... volunteer will paritcipate as chaos."
A door on the other side of the arena opened after Zanzibar spoke and a figure stepped through the opening. His black leather jacket was all torn and dirty. His jeans riped and a wild-eyed look shone through the long unkept hair of a young oriental man who looked a lot like Ken but seemed twisted in his soul.
"Night Ranger Ken Tanaka I'm sure you know Keen Tanaka the Night Terror. Your power replica."
The Night Terror-Keen Tanaka stood ready for battle. A tower of power and rage unlike any Ken had ever faced. Zanzibar and Biilly looked on with the Rani as they sat down to enjoy the 'experiment'. Zanzibar also fondled with a data crystal that held information about Biilly's replication process and the information gathered from the duplication of Ken. This will come in handy for the future. , Zanzibar thought as he turned back to the arena to watch Ken and Taanaka.
Ken looked at Zanzibar, Biilly and Rani then turned to look at the twisted reflection of himself and truly felt afraid.
For the world and for himself.
Dregon had arrived on the top of the mountain standing in the path of where Dex had to go and to the pollen plants behind him. Cyclopter, Nefaria and Vypra stood with a heard of Batlings and Maggots. Two monsters also appeared. One Insectavore named Vegisect, and one Demon Monster named Voragon.
"Soon," Dregon said. "Soon my nephew will come here expecting us to be another illusion. Little will he realize that this illusion will be deadly real"
Dregon laughed into the sky awaiting his triumph unaware that he was being watched, by those he considered friends and family.
In the Power Chamber the rangers, Outsiders, the Stewarts, Carter and Kathy watched as Dregon set up his ambush. "Ai, yi, yi! Dex is in trouble! He may not be able to handle all those monsters!"
Richie looked at the Viewing Globe to see who the monsters were. Looking through ranger archives he knew the rangers had at least one encounter with Dregon and his henchmutants, but the one with the wings eluded him. "Who's that?" he asked pointing to her.
"Vypra," Carter said. "And she's brought some batlings with her."
"The numbers alone would be enough to overwhelm Dex," Jamie contemplated. "And who knows what those monsters can do."
Zordon spoke up next. "I'm afraid I have no data on the other monster with this... Vypra. But I do know of the Insectavore who's with Dregon. He is called Vegisect. He can control all plant and vegitation within his immediate radius."
"Sounds like someone I can take on," Kathy said. "But what about the other one?"
Zordon couldn't offer optimistic advice in dealing with the demon monster. "I'm afraid I can offer no strategy on how to deal with him. You will have to figure that one out on your own."
"So I guess we keep our eyes open and if there's a weak spot that becomes available we go for it?" Jessica asked. Everyone nodded.
"Okay who's all going?" Tommy asked. Kathy and Carter stepped forward along with Terry, Katarina, Christina and Lillian of the Outsiders. Jessica, Skull, Samantha, Emily and Tommy represented the Zeos. While Jason, Kim, Trini, David and Billy were representatives of the Morphin team. Nathan also stepped forward and stood next to Kathy indicating he wanted to go as well.
Molly Stewart stepped forward and addressed the rangers. "I'd ask if there was anything we could do, but I think we're used to there being nothing we can do."
"Don't sell yourself short," Richie said touching Molly's shoulder. "Now and then there comes a time where doing very little can make a major impact on things." Molly took reasurance at Richie's words and nodded before going back to the Stewarts.
"All right. It's Morphin Time!" Jason called out.
"Red Ranger Power!"
"Pink Ranger Power!"
"Yellow Ranger Power!"
"White Ranger Power!"
"Blue Ranger Power!"
"Zeo Ranger II-Yellow!"
"Zeo Ranger V-Red!"
"Zeo Ranger VI-Purple!"
"Zeo Ranger VII-Silver!"
"Zeo Ranger IX-White!"
"Zeo Shadow Power!"
"Zeo Psi Power!"
"Zeo Punk Power!"
"Power of Night, Show your light!"
Five Morphin Rangers, five Zeo Rangers, four Outsiders, Nathan, a Lightspeed Ranger and a Night Ranger all left to help out Dex by getting rid of Dregon and his goons. While the Stewarts and those who stayed behind watched on the viewing globe.