This story is currently undergoing editing. Changes might be made to this story over time.
Disclaimer: The Power Rangers are the property of Saban Brands. Nash Bridges and related characters are property of Carleton Cuse Productions. The Daleks are property of the estate of Terry Nation and are regularly seen on the series Doctor Who created by Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman. Samantha Jones is also a character from the Doctor Who Universe owned by the BBC. Dark Range Platform was created by William Shatner and appears in his Star Trek Novel 'The Ashes of Eden'. The Pegasus is from the series Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider are created by Glen A. Larson. The Organization and all related characters are based on descriptions given by David Knight. Firefly/Serenity is the creation of Joss Whedon. There is also a reference to the book Han Solo's Revenge, which is part of the Star Wars Universe created by George Lucas. References to the Cyberdyne are from the Terminator movie series. Quantum Leap is the creation of Donald P. Bellisario
Live by the sword...
By The Q Team
By The Q Team
Dark Range Platform
No one knows who built Dark Range platform, and most of all no one cared.
The station was a complete mystery, built thousands of years ago by a race long gone. Located between the borders of the Galactic Council and the UAE with neither side laying claim to it.
However, it had been a station of neutral sanctuary. Villains and heroes alike had been seen on Dark Range conducting one form of business or another. Some of the business was legal. Most of it However, not so much. And if the business was against the wishes of their respective empires, well... what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them.
Much of the original station that was Dark Range remained intact. However, there were add-ons from other races and species. Sections and businesses that made their mark on the mysterious station. Becoming a part of history as much as Dark Range had, and in the process adding to the mystery.
All around the station many ships awaited docking. Ships of different classes and types circled the station. Ready to do business, in whatever form it took. One such ship was very anxious to do its business. As well as unload unwanted cargo.
Cargo that was in the form of stowaways. Stowaways in the form of Power Rangers.
The ship was known as a Firefly class cargo freighter. It was named after an Earth insect that had a glowing tail, much as the ship had. However, unlike its Earth insect counterpart the tail served as the ion fusion drive for the ship allowing it to move faster than light.
Firefly class freighters had been the ship of choice by many smugglers. Once workhorses in the council fleet, they were retired due to their age. Their usefulness considered over. However, as years went on the council discovered one's junk would be another's treasure as many smugglers found themselves acquiring Firefly class ships for their own use. One such ship was the Fallen Grace, captained and crewed by a Triforian woman named Tritania.
A woman with a past. A past no smuggler would suspect, or believe. A past that came back in the form of several stowaways sitting in her ship's mess. One of them seeing a familiarity in her that she hadn't thought of in a long time.
A familiarity that was filled with memories... mostly bad.
She remembered a life differently than the one she had now.
A life of rules, of status... of royalty.
She remembered her parents. A king and a queen. Three children. A brother and two sisters. The brother was the favored son destined to be ruler of Triforia, as well as Gold Ranger. The two sisters were to be ladies in waiting married to rich suitors.
And so was she... once upon a time. Tritania was born into the royal family during a time of scandal. The king was involved in an affair with a Priestess who told the king that a fourth child needed to be born to save the royal family from a dark downfall. The king listened to the priestess and had the affair.
Nine months later Tritania was born. The priestess had died giving birth to her, but when word leaked out that the king had a child with a woman who was not the queen an outcry of outrage spread throughout the Triforian system. An outcry that was allayed when the queen announced she forgave her husband and was pleased that the first born son she was carrying would have an older sister to look up to and be inspired by.
The baby was brought into the royal family, and was brought up to be a Princess of Triforia. Hers was a life of status, royal balls, potential suitors and standards she was expected to live up to. But she had a hard time taking to the lessons and standards, as she had rebelled constantly to her tutors, servants, and statesmen with her 'undignified' ways.
Many of those undignified ways involved drinking with the guards, fights with nobles involving fists (which she won more times than not). Sometimes she was even gambling in the taverns of the Triforian lowtowns. Some nights she did well, others... well the Triforian treasury had taken a few losses at times. Losses she would recover... most of them anyway.
Tritania's rebellion soon reached a point that the royal court decided it was best to marry her off. The king and queen had the perfect man in mind. A young trusted noble named Tirol who was ascending up the political ladder. He had ideas and hopes for Triforia that were believed would take the planet into the next millennium. He also had a rebellious streak of his own as he didn't care for coercion or intimidation from politicians. Prince Trey took notice of Tirol, and he (along with Sygnus) were a trinity in their own right looking for Triforia's future.
Tritania also admired Tirol as she and he had played some drinking games in the past. Games SHE had won most times. After spending much time together they decided they were in love. But when they decided love, the council decided on marriage.
Soon it was arranged that Tritania would marry Tirol. But when the day of the wedding came Tritania didn't walk the aisle. She left Triforia leaving Tirol a note saying she was leaving Triforia forever, and told him not to come after her. Tirol respected the wish, as he felt he knew why Tritania had left.
She was not marrying Tirol for love. She was being asked to marry to keep some stodgy old men, and women, happy.
And when Tritania left Triforia she took none of the treasure with her as she wanted to make her own life. A life through her own blood, sweat and tears. She moved around doing odd jobs across the star systems. Jobs that involved honest work, and not selling her body to traders wanting a night of free sex. Despite what the Triforian elders had said Tritania did follow by a code of rules. A code she followed diligently.
Most work came from crewing freighters, working loadlifters, sometimes even fighting in arenas as she was trained to fight as a member of the Triforian Guard. Fights she won most times as she always looked to expand her fighting style. She continued to work in these regards until she came across enough money to buy her own ship. A ship she could call her own.
That ship was a beat up, junked, Firefly class cargo hauler. A ship Tritania restored over the years and making repairs when she needed to. She had done many jobs with her ship. Jobs where she was based out of Dark Range. A station she was returning to, and called home.
"Approach Control this is Fallen Grace. Ready for docking maneuver." Tritania said contacting the central control tower. The tower then responded with "Fallen Grace is cleared to dock at platform E 462."
"Affirmative locking on systems." Tritania then activated the computer controls that would allow the tower to direct the ship to its dock. When she found that the tower had linked with her system Tritania then answered "Dark Range you have control."
"Affirmative Fallen Grace. Enjoy the ride." Tritania nodded and said "Fallen Grace confirms." The ship then followed the computer controlled course and kept the umbilical and gravitational support beams on. Tritania then got up from her seat allowing the docking to be done on automatic. She usually preferred manual docking, but she went for automatic as she had several matters that demanded her attention.
Those matters were several stowaways she had in the ship's mess. Held at gunpoint.
Inside the mess hall sat the members of the renegade Ranger team called 'the Outsiders'. A team that currently consisted of Jamie Zedden, Lillian O'Neil, Christina Collins, Katarina Petronov, Tyler Oliver, Nate Oliver, Theresa Jones, and the sister of Red Zeo Chelsea Oliver. Their other member, Nathan Oliver, was presumably on the Pegasus looking for a way to resume the battle with Aisha's help.
A team that would be right, even if they were unaware of it at the time.
A team that had no choice but to sit where they were as they had been secured to the mess table with energy binders. Also there was a laser musket in the doorway that threatened to fire if any of the Outsiders broke the bonds somehow.
Tritania saw the morphers on the Outsiders' wrists and believed them to be Rangers somehow. She figured a laser musket would be a good weapon to use as they were considered 'messy', not to mention primitive. She hated putting Rangers at the business end of a weapon but she learned a long time ago how rare trust was, even if they wore Ranger colors. But whether Tritania had any regret when she stated her reasons for securing the Outsiders the Outsiders didn't hear it.
And for the moment their main concern was getting free and getting back to the Pegasus. Everyone was running with ideas.
"I could cut these bonds with my sword. I know I can." Jamie said. "Then we can take the ship and get back to the Pegasus."
"The only problem is how do you reach your sword to use it?" Lillian asked. Christina also sighed as she added "I wish telekinesis was a power I had as well as telepathy. Or that I had telepathy right now."
"Can't always get what we want." Katarina added. "Especially with the psi blocker she activated before she left." Nate nodded in agreement of what Katarina had said and even added "We have limited options."
"Or maybe not." Chelsea then said. Tyler looked at Chelsea and realized what she was getting at. "You still believe there is a resemblance to Trey in this woman?"
"I'm not sure." Chelsea then said. "Trey said he only had two sisters, and they were all killed during Terr's attack along with the rest of the family. Trey's the only one left, and he's stuck in a cryo tube."
"Where a third of him is dead." Nate then said citing Trey's condition. "Prime Minister Tirol is ruling in King Trey's absence. A formidable ruler. Yet considered to be in a caretaker position of leadership until Trey's eventual return."
"If he returns." Lillian then said. Chelsea shot Lillian a look that said she did not appreciate dire news about the man she loved, even if he was in cryo stasis. Tyler then said "Enough. Trey's condition is not the issue here."
"It is if she's related to him." Chelsea then said. Jamie then asked "And if he's not?"
Chelsea did not answer the question. She knew she should not get her hopes up, but the possibility was just as high that the girl holding them was not connected to Trey or his family.
"We wait until our host returns" Tyler said. "We will then either know if she is an illegitimate royal, or if she plans to even free us." Everyone nodded at what Tyler said just as the door opened and Tritania walked in. To the Outsiders Tritania was a mystery, yet Christina seemed to sense the faintest of power auras about her. A golden aura.
Like Prince Trey's.
Tritania looked over her captives as the first thing she had done before addressing the Outsiders was deactivate the laser musket. She However, kept the binders on for the moment leaving the Outsiders bound to the wall for the time being.
"Of all the ships in the galaxy you had to stow away on mine." Tritania said not expecting to have the 'guests' she had on her ship. Chelsea listened to Tritania and asked "Since when do you watch old Earth movies?".
Tritania gave Chelsea a look and asked "What do you mean by that?"
"That line. It's from the movie Casablanca." Chelsea then said. "Didn't think you went to Earth."
"I don't." Tritania answered. "But you Earthers have been sending out your broadcast signals into space for years. I probably have old Earth entertainments you had destroyed in the 1960's period in my computer library."
"You could probably make a fortune with the BBC with what you have." Theresa then said. Tritania looked over the prisoners she had and sensed something about them. Looking at their wrists she found her suspicions confirmed. Power Rangers.
"Rangers right?" Tritania asked. The Outsiders all nodded. "Sensed your power auras."
"Then you know we're telling the truth." Christina said. "That we're trying to get back to our ship."
"Doesn't matter if I believe you or not. You're stowaways and I have my cargo." She saw Nate move in the corner of her eye and fired a shot with her musket as he looked to be reaching for a morpher.
"Don't think about morphing." Tritania said. "I can drop you faster than you can get out your morphing call."
"You know you are a real big woman with that gun." Theresa said as if taunting Tritania hoping it would get her to drop the gun. Tritania smiled, catching what Theresa was looking to do and keeping a death grip on the laser musket. "Yeah I am." Tritania said in admission keeping the musket trained on her 'guests'. "Now don't you go thinking you can get me to drop it so you can rush me. Not gonna happen."
"Look. All we want is to get back to our own ship." Tyler said. "Our friends are in trouble on Aquitar. Fellow Rangers that tried to free the planet. Rangers that are prisoners now."
Tritania heard the emotion in Tyler's voice, and knew he was being sincere. But the sincerity wasn't enough for her to change her mind. "Not my problem. I've got cargo to deliver."
"Cargo?" Christina asked. "You're putting cargo over people's lives? Not just Ranger lives, but the lives of the people on the planet?" Tritania shrugged as if indicating indifference. "Cargo delivery pays the bills. I try not to get into the politics of things."
"What is your cargo?" Katarina asked trying to get more information. "Do you even know?"
"I try not to ask." Tritania said catching on Katarina's attempt to goad her into information. "I just take what they give me, go from point A to point B. and if it's illegal I just either feign ignorance or try to lose the IGPF when they come after me. Whatever strikes my fancy and keeps me from spending too much time on a Penal Planet."
"And what about Aquitar?" Lillian asked. "What about the people that didn't ask to be conquered? Don't you know what's happening? Do you even care?"
"I'm too busy trying to keep my own head above water. Just like everyone else living their lives on hundreds of other planets." Tritania said. "I'm already in hock when it comes to repairs on this thing. I can't afford to pick and choose my jobs."
"Your family must be real proud of you." Jamie replied as if disgusted by what Tritania had said. Tritania looked ready to speak until she paused for a moment as she heard Jamie's words. Her mind turning back to memories of her family. Memories of pain and disappointment leaving her saddened. "Parents stopped being proud of me a long time ago. Why should they think any different now?"
"What about your brother?" Chelsea then asked. This gave Tritania a moment of pause before a signal device sounded indicating final docking procedures were underway.
"I've got to dock this ship. Don't any of you go anywhere." Tritania said as got up to leave. Once she was outside she closed the door behind her leaving her prisoners alone.
"Quite the queen bee huh?" Theresa asked. "All tough and that."
"Remind you of someone?" Lillian asked. Theresa just rolled her eyes. Tyler then went to Chelsea and asked "You still think she has a relation to Trey?"
"Stranger things have happened." Chelsea said. Theresa However, asked "But if she really is Trey's sister, why didn't Trey mention her? I thought all his family were killed by Terr."
"Those we knew about." Chelsea said. "And maybe Trey didn't know either. Remember the manipulations the Q did. Who's to say someone didn't manipulate time ensuring Trey would have a fourth sister?"
"You think that's what this is about?" Lillian asked. "Someone playing 'God' again? Only they are being nicer about it?"
"It's possible." Chelsea said. "I read somewhere that some could consider 'good' to be a greater threat than evil. Remember the old saying 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions?" Everyone looked at each other and nodded, but Christina asked "How can being 'good' be worse than 'evil?' I don't understand."
"Stow philosophy 101 Chris." Katarina said. "I think we have proof this girl is part of Trey's family." Chelsea wondered what Katarina was talking about when she pointed to a picture on the table by the wall. Chelsea stared at the picture wondering what Katarina meant looking for any sign of familiarity.
The people in the picture looked to be some kind of family. A family that looked like it was elegant and regal. Dressed in gowns or military regalia reflecting a sort of status. In the center looked to be what looked to be the mother and father, both wearing crowns reflecting royal standing. Surrounding the elders looked to be six kids. Three boys and three girls. Chelsea looked at the picture and thought she saw Tirol, the current Prime Minister of Triforia as well as the Triforian Ambassador, Sygnus.
"Okay so... " Chelsea was about to say until she caught sight of what looked to be Tritania, dressed in a golden ball gown with a golden scabbard by her side. Chelsea was amazed by the sight before her compared to the girl that captained the ship they were on now. "Guys look at this." She said motioning everyone to step forward. Everyone came and couldn't believe what they saw.
"Whoa." Katarina said looking at Tritania. "How does one go from this" pointing to the picture. "To that?" pointing to the door Tritania exited.
"I don't know but look over here." Christina said as she pointed to another figure. A figure Chelsea knew well.
Chelsea could have sworn one of the people in the picture was Trey. Confirming that there was a definite connection between smuggler Tritania and Prince Trey.
Hopefully the connection was familial
Back on Aquitar the Daleks plan was about to come to fruition. In their section of the Capital the Dalek Supreme made its way to the manufacturing lab where Science Daleks were laboring to create their newest weapons.
Those weapons being a new race of Daleks.
The Dalek Supreme took in all the sights as it entered the main manufacturing lab. He saw twenty casings almost in final assembly stage. Off to the side mutant embryos floated in the Eternal Falls water ready to be implanted in the new casings. When the Dalek Supreme came to the chief Science Dalek the Dalek Supreme wanted answers. "REPORT!!!"
The Chief Science Dalek delivered its report. "THE FIRST TWENTY CASINGS ARE ASSEMBLED!!! THE FIRST TWENTY EMBRYOS ARE READY TO BE IMPLANTED!!!" If anyone was listening some might have thought there was a sense of pride in the Science Dalek's answer. But Daleks said they didn't have pride. They just lived to conquer and destroy.
But then if not pride, then maybe satisfaction. Yes, extreme satisfaction. The new reign of the Daleks was about to begin.
"PROCEED!!!" the Dalek Supreme ordered. It looked at what was to be the first of a new breed of Dalek. Built to be the ultimate survivor. To withstand anything that came its way. To exterminate all that was before it in the name of Dalek Supremacy.
The Dalek Supreme allowed itself a moment of reflection. Remembering the story in the Dalek archives about the birth of the first Daleks millennia ago on their home planet Skaro. Their creator Davros sought to create the ultimate survivor that would win the war against the Thal people for the Kaled race. However, Davros saw to it the Kaleds were exterminated in a deal with the Thals, save all but a few loyal to him.
In the end However, the Daleks exterminated the last of the Kaled people, and thought they exterminated Davros as well. But Davros had proven over time that he was, in his own words, 'very hard to kill'.
The Dalek Supreme looked at what would be the first of a new breed of Dalek. Built to regenerate from any weapon fire. Built to withstand any sort of viral attack. A life cycle far longer than any Dalek to where it may see the end of the universe.
For a moment the Dalek Supreme wondered if he was no longer part of the 'Superior' race. That instead they created the 'Superior' race. And that his generation of Daleks had been supplanted. The Dalek Supreme dismissed the notion by stating that only 'superior' beings could create 'superior' beings. And since it was his Daleks that created the new version then the Daleks still were superior.
But for a moment the Dalek Supreme asked 'What does that make Davros? Is he superior in that he created the superior race that was the Daleks? Is the circle turning anew?
The Dalek Supreme paid such concerns no mind. Davros was an inferior member of the Kaled race. The Kaleds were long dead. The Daleks lived now.
The Daleks would continue to live. To survive. To conquer.
Final docking was underway to the Fallen Grace as crews were attaching the umbilical and gravitational support systems to the ship. Tritania sat on the bridge after enjoying the ride the tractor beams provided to her dock.
Once she arrived at her dock Tritania then remembered she had to pay her docking fees to the station harbormaster. One more late payment and she would have had to find another station to dock at, which would have been difficult as she had quarters on Dark Range.
"Stand by Fallen Grace." the harbormaster said as the systems connected to Tritania's ship. "Systems will be attached in 10 microns." Tritania said "Fallen Grace confirms." as the automated docking systems took hold. Once the systems began their work Tritania started to think about her 'guests'. Especially the one who mentioned Trey.
Her mind went back to the 'royal' days of Triforia and how Trey never sought to force any expectations on her. For one thing she was still an 'older' sister and on many planets, in many cultures, younger siblings had to look up to the older sister... or brother, as long as they didn't try to enslave the younger siblings of the family, or treat them as a servant, which was seen as an abuse. To her credit, Tritania never sought to force Trey to do anything.
Trey tried to make Tritania feel welcome in the palace many times. He even brought her into Trey's 'gang of three' with him, Sygnus and Tirol. The three boys seemed like Tom Sawyer with two Huckleberry Finns leaving Tritania to be the Becky Thatcher of the group, if her grasp on Earth literature was any indication.
Tritania had never visited Earth. It was considered a primitive backwater and held no appeal to many of the Galactic Council. It was only because Zordon of Eltar and the UAE were fighting over it that the Council got involved. Trey However, wondered about Earth, and how a planet could be so noisy, not to mention drive back many UAE warlords that moved against it. One day he said he would visit the planet.
And he had, of course she had listened to UAE transmissions to find out. Reports of a Gold Ranger driving back King Mondo of the Machine Empire. Tritania figured it was Trey holding them at bay. The fighting style mentioned reflected Triforian styles she was taught, along with Trey and their youngest sister Trialia.
She trained with Trey and Trialia to be the Gold Ranger. Trey brought in Trialia because he wanted company, and she had felt neglected in the royal hierarchy. Tritania was encouraged to take part in hopes she would learn some discipline. Not that Trey had much in terms of discipline. Many times he had been deemed as unconventional in his role as heir to the kingdom of Triforia.
Tritania then thought of the girl Chelsea. She looked like someone Trey would have been with. Was Trey with her? Was she to be his bride at one point? The thought complicated the quandary she was in even further.
By all rights she should have turned her stowaways over to the Harbormaster and let him handle them, or he might send them off to the Council and make them their headache. But something in their voices told them that the Council were the last people they wanted to contact. And if the Rangers on Aquitar were not there by Council Order, what were they doing there?
Tritania remembered a story about a fellow smuggler. One who had been desperate for cash after his plan to open a holo theater on a primitive planet ended with him starting a religion. He took a job that offered high pay, but had him transporting slaves. An absolute 'no no' in his book. Once the slaves were freed he looked for the slavers hoping to shut down their operation, and get the money he believed they owed him. For transporting 'special cargo' and an 'advance payment' for 'vague details'.
For a brief moment Tritania wondered if she was not walking into that same deal with the water. And did they know Trey? She had not seen him in years, and wondered if perhaps he was okay. The ones in the hold could answer those questions.
But she couldn't get those answers if they were in a cell in Dark Range. With their Ranger status they would have been targets within hours. So not only would she have to explain their presence, but their purpose on her ship.
Tritania had a plan to explain the Outsiders being on their ship. She just hoped they would go along with it.
In the mess hall the Outsiders were wondering about their next move when Tritania burst into the room. She was in no mood for back talk, so she kept her speech short, to the point, and very VERY direct.
"Okay here's how it goes." Tritania said. "You follow my lead. You do what I say and then we go someplace safe to talk. You obviously have questions for me, and I think I may have some for you."
The other Outsiders looked at each other then noticed their energy links were deactivated. A sign of trust on Tritania's part. Tyler decided rushing Tritania after such a gesture was not in their best interests. The other Outsiders agreed.
"Agreed." Tyler said in regard to Tritania's directions. "So what do we do?"
Tritania paused for a moment and added "Get your space legs together. You've just joined my crew."
Once all the moorings were in Tritania disembarked with the Outsiders. First to greet Tritania was the docking crew and the Harbor Master, who came to see if he could collect past due docking fees she owed. Immediately Tritania had to do some smooth talking to sweet talk the Harbor Master.
"Yeah." Tritania said. "You see I've had to get some additional help for this last run. These guys needed some work and I provided."
"Since when do you travel with a crew Tri." The Harbor Master asked.
"New kids. Looking to get their first space legs." Tritania said. "Most of my docking fee money went into paying them." The Harbor Master looked at Tritania and the Outsiders suspiciously which led to Tritania forking out a small bag of UAE Zanibatars to hand to the Harbor Master. As the Harbor Master looked at the money he looked at Tritania with disapproval. "How do you expect me to pay my harbor crews if this is all you provide me with?"
"Lower my on shore quarters rent and we'll talk." Tritania then said. The Harbor Master then sighed and turned to the Outsiders giving them one last look over. "Hope you break them in good Tri." The harbor master said as he turned to leave. Tritania then turned to the Outsiders and said "This way. My quarters are not far." The Outsiders then followed Tritania to her place of residence... clear on the other side of the platform.
As they walked through the corridors and promenades of Dark Range the Outsiders saw so many different shops, cultures and businesses (some legal, some questionable... at best if the ad for the Zybrian strip show was any indication). Representatives of many civilizations seemed to be make Dark Range their home. Representatives that dwelled on a station as alien to the aliens on the station as much as it was to the Outsiders. For while the architecture was different than anything seen on any planet. No one knew where it came from, or who. No planet could identify it.
"This place... it's not like any world I've seen before." Nate had said. "And I have knowledge of many worlds known to the Galactic Council, and some to the UAE."
"And yet, there are worlds we know surrounded by one we don't." Chelsea added. "The stories that could be told here."
"We can guess about them later." Tyler had said as the Outsiders continued their journey to what they believed to be Tritania's quarters. It did not look all that impressive from the station architecture. If anything it looked like an apartment found in any other complex. Tritania opened the door and motioned the Outsiders inside. Theresa looked around and said sarcastically "Nice flat."
Tritania paid the comment no mind as she crossed over to the living room as the apartment door closed behind her. "Lock." She called out securing the door so the Outsiders could not escape. She then turned to face the renegade Rangers and stared at them before speaking. "All right, run it by me again. What were you doing on my ship?"
"We're part of a Ranger team trying to free Aquitar." Tyler said keeping things short and to the point. "We were betrayed. Most of us got captured. We're trying to regroup to plan our next move."
"And you saw my ship as an escape?" Tritania.asked. "What made me so special?"
"Actually I picked the ship." Christina said. "I'm good at detecting... potential allies." Christina kept her telepathic abilities vague as she wasn't sure she should tell all she was capable of. "I could tell you were a Triforian and that Triforians were allies in the past of Rangers."
"Not all of them." Tritania said in a deadpan way. "Just because a planet is an ally of yours doesn't mean everyone is part of that alliance. Some may decide to pursue their own views that go against the alliances made. For all you knew I could be one that was not an ally." This was something the Outsiders had to agree on. They remembered the rise of King Terr. "Kind of like the Triforian Guardsmen?" Chelsea asked.
The mention of the Triforian Guardsmen took Tritania by surprise. How could humans know of the evil order from Triforia's history. "Why do you mention that ancient order? I wouldn't think people of Earth would know of the Triforian Order."
"We became familiar with the order." Chelsea said as she detected the undertone in her voice. As if she hadn't known of their rise under the rule of King Terr. Chelsea looked at the Outsiders and then looked at Tritania to try a different approach. Chelsea looked at Tritania and then asked "So have you been kept in contact with what's going on on Triforia?"
"No." Tritania said sounding indifferent to the mention of her home planet. "I haven't heard from them in yahrens." Looking Chelsea in the eye she then added. "And I don't want to either."
"What?" Chelsea asked as she wondered how out of touch Tritania might be. Or how much she might not care.
"Triforia is dead to me." Tritania explained. "It wanted nothing to do with me. So I turn away from it. Any news on it I turn off or look away."
"So you don't know what happened?" Chelsea asked before she dropped her bombshell. "With Trey?"
This time it was Tritania's turn to be shocked as her eyes went wide with her mind picking up something in Chelsea's voice. A sadness of some sort that indicated something terrible had happened to him. Was he?... Summoning up her courage she then asked "What happened with Trey?"
"I thought you weren't interested." Lillian stated echoing Tritania's earlier words. "Isn't Triforia dead to you?"
"I'm concerned about Trey, that's different." Tritania said noting the irony of her words, but she knew this was not the time to get into a fight about it. "What happened? Is he all right?" Chelsea looked at Tritania's face and saw genuine concern. Concern for Trey.
Chelsea felt a glimmer of hope in her being. Hope for Trey. Tritania may not have cared about Triforia, but she was definitely concerned about Trey. Perhaps she still did care a bit. "What we have to say we can only say once." Chelsea then said. "You may want to sit down for this. How far are your quarters?"
Tritania stopped in front of a door and looked at the Outsiders. "We're here." she then said opening the door motioning them to enter. Once inside they took in the quarters Tritania lived in.
Once inside the Outsiders took in the small apartment/flat she called 'home' when she was not on her ship. In comparison the ship was far more accommodating than her apartment was. It looked like a room with a bed, chairs, a couch and table. All of which had seen better days, and the room looked very unkempt. If Tritania wanted to distance herself from being a royal, the disaster of a room she lived in was a good indicator she had succeeded. All there was inside was enough to live in, and the mess all around it. "Pull up a chair. Have a seat. Whatever." The Outsiders looked around and grabbed whatever seats they could find. Katarina and Christina However, sat on the floor with Chelsea remaining standing to study Tritania, and her reactions. Taking a final look outside Tritania then pressed the door activator to close the door to the apartment.
Once the door was shut Tritania faced the Outsiders and then went to the point "All right. Now I'm going to ask again. What happened to Trey? Is he all right?" Everyone picked up the tone in Tritania's voice. She wanted answers about Trey and she wanted them now.
Chelsea sighed for a moment then began the story of Terr's uprising, and Trey's fate. The whole time stating that Trey was DEFINITELY NOT alright.
In the Dalek Central Command Malice walked in as the Supreme Dalek was overseeing defense nets and any incoming invaders. "Expecting anyone?" Malice asked.
The Dalek Supreme turned its dome to study Malice before answering her question. "WE ARE AT A THRESHHOLD OF EVOLUTION!!! THERE CAN BE NO DISRUPTIONS TO OUR OBJECTIVES!!!"
"A threshold of evolution?" Malice asked amused. "I never thought Daleks waxed poetic."
"IT IS MERELY A FACT!!!" the Dalek Supreme said. "YOUR ORGANIZATION IS BUILDING IT'S WEALTH!!! THE RULERS OF THE PLANET ARE BUILDING THEIR KINGDOM!!! ONE IS BUILDING HER OWN SENSE OF POWER!!! AND WE ARE BUILDING A NEW DALEK RACE!!! NOTHING CAN STOP US FROM OUR GOALS!!! WE CAN NOT PERMIT IT!!!"
"And here we are again back to being single minded." Malice said as an alarm sounded. The Dalek Supreme turned to a Dalek at a sensor monitor and demanded "REPORT!!!"
"ATTACKING VESSEL HAS ENTERED AQUITAR SPACE!!!" a tech Dalek answered. "IT IS ESTIMATED FIVE TERRAN MILES LONG AND MASSIVE FIREPOWER OF A BATTLESHIP!!!"
"The Pegasus." Malice said amused. "So the Rangers got the Pegasus." She then turned to leave as the Daleks activated their defences.
"DALEK FORCES TO THEIR SHIPS!!!" the Dalek Supreme ordered. "INTRUDERS ARE ENTERING AQUITAR SYSTEM!!! EXTERMINATE ATTACKERS!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!! EXTERMINATE!!!"
Back on Aquitar the splinter Ranger force led by Andros tried to keep their heads together, all the while evading Daleks, Robo Aquatians, Shadow Troopers, any form of sentry they could find as they tried to make their way to the central control tower to where they could find their fellow Rangers and work to free them.
"Man." Zack had said as he jumped down into a trench where the other Rangers were hiding evading a Dalek patrol. "Really having to do some moves to lose these guys."
"Maybe, but we have to keep losing them." Sabrina said. "We need to get to a computer center to see about the best way to shut these monsters down."
"You sure there's one in this tower?" Carlos asked Andros. Andros nodded saying "If it's on par to Dalek design it will be in the center. They like having a sense of uniformity in their designs."
"And in their way of thinking." Samantha added. "Anything that doesn't fit with that thinking they kill it."
"Or make it into a horror." David then added remembering the vacant gaze in the Robo Aquatians. They were people once, but when one looked into their eyes one could tell that the person that Robo Aquatian had been, was not there anymore. They were walking dead turned into cannon fodder. Nothing more.
Those were horrors that needed to end. Everyone knew it. David especially.
"All right. On my command we sprint to the door and make our way in. We wait until the guard change when the security net is low. Everyone nodded as they waited for Andros to give the word. Turning to Cassidy Andros decided to see if she needed any additional attention. Especially as she held the SPD badge given to her.
"You okay?" Andros asked Cassidy as she kept holding the SPD badge. Her mind still turning to the person she had killed, and the time she traveled to Vietnam to meet with her uncle Bobby. Despite never having known him she knew him due to how her father and grandfather had talked about him. And that sense of family her uncle provided helped her through the ordeal.
But now she was on another planet. Her family was not there. Not her father. Not her mother. Not her grandfather. Not even her uncle. She felt so alone. She didn't have the comfort of family when she needed it most.
But she did have the comfort of friends. They had her back, and she was going to have theirs. The SPD badge also helped as it reminded her of her father in a way. Even though SPD was planned to be a space police agency, it was still a police agency. And the connection of police gave Cassidy a sense of comfort. As did the company of friends.
Pocketing the badge Cassidy said "I'll get by. We have friends we need to help." Andros smiled as he took her hand and brought her to the point where the security door was in place. Soon the new guard came to relieve the old guard to where their attention was not on the door.
"Now's our chance go!" Andros ordered as his Rangers sprinted across the grounds staying out of guard sight, then entering inside. Once Carlos had been in the door shut behind them sealing them inside. "That was close." Carlos had said.
"But worth it." Cassidy added as she realized they made it into the complex. Now they needed to find the central computer terminal. Samantha asked "Is there some kind of central core shaft we can use to get there?"
"Even if there was we still don't know where the computer center is." Sabrina added. "Unless." She thought for a moment about the feasibility of the idea in her mind and figured it would be the most logical place to place the central core. Upper levels were too unprotected, while sub basements were more fortified.
"It will be at the bottom of the core. We need to go down" .Andros nodded for everyone to follow Sabrina's lead. Everyone did so, but Zack still felt some apprehension about listening to the former Scorpina. But he had his friends to find, and he couldn't find them alone. He needed help.
So he decided he would trust Sabrina... .for now.
Quickly they found something of a core shaft tube leading down to the lower levels. A long ladder was their means down. All the Rangers with Andros climbed down the ladder until they found a Shadow Trooper at the bottom. When it started to look up Carlos shouted "LOOK OUT!!!" as he drew his Astro blaster. When the Trooper squeezed off a round to fire Carlos squeezed off a shot. The blaster shot hit dead center sending the Trooper down to the ground dead.
The rest of the Rangers climbed down to see the dead guard that Carlos had shot. All eyes were on him. Including Cassidy's. Here was someone put into the same situation she was in, and he had just been put in a position to kill a person.
And she saw him wrestling with the same emotions she was. The same fears. The same anxieties. The knowledge of what he had become capable of. And what that may mean for him in the future.
But there was one thing he knew for sure. He was not a 'kid' anymore. He figured there was no going back to that time of innocence of youth. Not for him. Not for his friends. Not for ANY of the other Rangers.
He looked at Cassidy and held her shoulder. "You're not alone." He said as if telling her that her terrible experience was now his as well. Cassidy looked at Carlos and said "Thank you." She knew he understood what she was going through, and the inner turmoil inside him. Turmoil she had been going through. She then asked "What's keeping you from being a basketcase?"
"My friends." Carlos said. "They need me."
"And me too." Cassidy added. "So let's do this. We can fall apart later." Carlos said "Deal." As they followed Andros, Sabrina, Samantha, David and Zack to where they thought the computer center was. Soon enough they found it.
"Computer coded." Andros said. "Can anyone open it?" Samantha stepped forward and tried to wire the computer code key. "You learn this from the Doctor too?" Sabrina asked.
"Sometimes he has to work without his sonic." Samantha had said. As Samantha tinkered with the code key the door then sprung open with everyone entering and trying to determine which computer would help find the other Rangers and where they were held.
"We need to figure out where to go." Andros said. "Where the Rangers are being held." He saw a computer screen not far away and asked "Anyone know about computers?"
"Not me." Zack said.
"Sorry Andros." Carlos said.
"I was too busy fighting to learn." Sabrina said.
"'fraid not." Samantha added.
"Nope." Cassidy said
"Got me." David said.
Andros sighed. He went over to the terminal to try to activate it himself. In the back of his mind he almost thought of his teammates being 'stone age primitives' but mentally kicked himself for thinking such a thought. He had to know that there were even some on the Space Ranger team that didn't know everything about computers. Infowebs were still in their infancy on the planet Earth. They didn't have powerful computers like DECA on the Astro Megaship, at least not in regular use.
He had only heard of two computers like DECA. One was said to be in a vehicle developed by the Knight Foundation used to prevent criminal acts. Another was said to be connected to a fledging time travel experiment involving time travel through one's own lifetime. Cyberdyne Industries were developing a similar system but terrorist attacks shut research of the program down. The Knight Foundation was said to have another version of their 'miracle car' computer that was considered a prototype before their final version, but that too had proven to be as much a danger as Cyberdyne's computer and was destroyed.
Andros knew Earth humans still had a ways to go technologically, but he resolved to see that they had the chance to progress. Quickly taking the programming keys he soon found the prison area where some Rangers were being held. He found a holding area where most of them were. Rangers like Jason, Rocky, Adam and T, J. but there was something else.
"Found some of the Morphin and Zeo Rangers." Andros said. "They are in a holding area for now."
"What about Adam?" Sabrina asked. Andros and Zack looked at her curiously and they could have sworn she blushed slightly at the mentioning. "Just concerned." She said.
"He's in the holding area with Jason and some of the others." Adam said. "Apparently they had been in 'endurance tests' of a sort if you know what I mean." Sabrina nodded in understanding. Cassidy then asked "You said 'some of the Rangers were in holding. What about others? Where's Zhane and Alison?" Andros turned to look at the computer and his eyes went wide as he saw the answers.
The Rangers not in the holding area were being taken for experimentation or special tortures. Some of them on Andros's Ranger team like Cassie and Alison. Zack saw Trini, Kimberly and Billy being held elsewhere. Cassidy saw Alison being taken for 'combat experimentation' but she also saw the Daleks experimenting on Zhane for some reason. Everyone was afraid of what was happening to their friends. One especially gave Andros a scare. It was the name of the Earth woman he had fallen in love with.
"Ashley." Andros said under his breath as his mind turned to what horrors they might have been doing to her. "What are they doing to you?"
"We'll have to figure that out later." Sabrina said taking charge and allowing Andros time to get his mind together. "Right now we have to get them out." Andros then looked at Sabrina and nodded. Looking at the rest of those in his Ranger party they too were ready to go rescue their friends.
"Andros look." Carlos said as he looked at another monitor. Everyone turned to see what was happening outside. What they saw terrified everyone. But the sight also got them wondering.
Row after row of ships were launching. Saucer like ships that Andros knew had to be Dalek. "That's a lot of ships." Carlos said.
"But they are going into space." Cassidy said. "They are going after something there, not on the planet. But... ." Cassidy didn't finish her sentence as she knew what the answer was. An answer everyone else knew as well.
The Daleks were looking to destroy the Pegasus. The Rangers ship away from Aquitar.
Away from the nightmare they found themselves in.
On board the command ship a Red Dalek commander communicated with the Dalek Supreme. "DALEK ATTACK FLEET LAUNCHED!!! MOVING TO INTERCEPT ATTACKING VESSEL!!!"
The Dalek Supreme addressed the Dalek Fleet Captain. "LONG RANGE SENSORS INDICATE THE SHIP IS OF A BATTLESHIP CLASS!!! IT IS BELIEVED TO BE ARMED AND HAVE FIGHTER COMPLIMENTS!!! READY DALEK FORCES ACCORDINGLY!!!"
"I OBEY!!!" said the Dalek Fleet Captain as he cut off the transmission. Soon enough sensor contact with the Pegasus was made. "DALEK SPACE FORCES PROCEED TO YOUR HOVER PLATFORMS!!! PREPARE FOR FIGHTER COMBAT!!!"
At that command Daleks boarded a series of hover platforms making ready to do battle with the massive Battlestar that was approaching. Daleks had the ability to fly and fight without the platforms, but the platforms provided the Daleks with added firepower and allowed them to stay in the air longer. So in massive campaigns the hover platforms were often used. And in every cargo bay the platforms were being loaded to the fullest. Dalek pilots, more powerful weaponry. What they were expecting was war, and war they would get when facing the Pegasus.
Once boarded the Dalek Captain gave its order. "LAUNCH!!!" The Daleks wasted no time obeying that order. There were attackers to be exterminated.
On board the Pegasus Kinwon, Dimetria and Tykwa all stood wondering what was happening. There was no word from the Ranger teams, and the worst was being thought. Aisha, the Carrier Ranger, and Nathan, the Salamander Ninjetti, had launched the Delta Megaship to Aquitar, but so far there had been no indication that any fireworks had gone off, so to speak.
"Any word from the Carrier Ranger or Mr. Oliver?" Kinwon asked. Operatives in the communications bunker just nodded. There was no word, and Kinwon was losing patience. "The twelve Earth hours are not up yet. They may still contact us and rescue their friends."
"The Carrier Ranger and Nathan Oliver have not made their decisions rashly." Dimetria had stated. "And while we have not heard word from them, we have also not heard any enemy communications saying that she had been destroyed either. So we can assume the Delta Megaship is flying under the defense net."
"All the same Dimetria, I'm half tempted to take this ship in and tear that planet apart until I find them." Kinwon said. While he respected Dimetria's position as Morphin Master and mentor to the Astro Rangers, along with the wisdom a mentor position, Kinwon wanted to bring the attack to the planet. Tykwa tried to keep him balanced by saying "We don't know all the defenses. We could meet the same fate as the Rangers."
Kinwon nodded knowing he still had to play the waiting game further. He had to wait for a sign from the Rangers, or from their enemies. The scan comm then called up from the communications suite and said "We have ships coming from the surface." Kinwon, feeling a wave of exhilaration run through him, said "Let's see them."
On his command screen came hundreds and hundreds of saucer like ships. Dimetria knew the ships well. "Daleks."
Kinwon felt the exhilaration die a quick death as he looked at Dimetria with horror. There was no possible way the UAE would ally themselves with that race. Would they? "You can't mean THE Daleks? The name that is a nightmare to even UAE warlords?"
"The very ones." Dimetria said remembering all she had learned during her stay on Gallifrey. The council had ordered a permanent quarantine placed around the whole star system of Skaro, as well as the Seriphia galaxy where the Daleks made their base. No ship went in. Ironically the UAE had a similar policy, due to Dark Specter sending an envoy to make first contact with the Daleks.
The envoy returned... .dead. Along with a Dalek squad that massacred many UAE soldiers. Even though Dark Specter won the victory was costly. He had yet to recover those losses fully, even after all the time that had passed. To that end Dark Specter decided no further contact to Skaro would be made. Nor would any ships enter the Seriphia galaxy. The galaxy was kept under quarantine and observation.
Kinwon thought that Skaro and Seriphia was the one thing the Alliance and the UAE could agree upon.
"Ships on intercept course." The aide said as objects seemed to come from the ships themselves. Once magnified on Kinwon's command screen eyes went wide with horror.
From the ships came thousands and thousands of Daleks on their hover platforms. All ready to attack. All ready for war. Kinwon made his choice.
"Launch all vipers."
In the launch bays the Viper craft heard the order and launched were into the starlit blackness of space. A blackness that soon erupted into explosions as the Daleks launched their first attack. The first Dalek blast fired destroyed a Viper as it just flew out of the launch tube. The first destroyed Viper sent in play a chain of events as the other Vipers tried to fight back with their blasters lighting up the sky looking for a target.
Pilots in the Vipers tried to lock onto the Daleks but the Dalek shells were smaller compared to the Viper craft making them difficult to hit, even though they were on their hoverbouts. Sometimes Daleks separated from their hoverbouts to appear small enough for the targeting computers to lock onto. These moments of separation allowed the Daleks to lock onto a Viper and attack it. Some may have been able to dodge the fire, but other Vipers had exploded in fireballs. The Viper numbers were being whittled down and whittled down quickly.
The Daleks exploited the Viper's weakness ruthlessly. They may have been fast, but they were bigger than the Daleks, even with hoverbouts and easier to hit. And the Daleks scored some lethal shots.
The Vipers fought the Daleks tooth and nail. This fight would not be for the faint of heart. The squadron commanders ordered the Vipers to regroup and try a new approach to defending the Pegasus.
On the bridge Dimetria saw the terrible battle and silently gave a blessing in Aisha's direction. A blessing that her mission would be successful, and that she and the captured Rangers would have a home to return to.
As Aisha and Nathan navigated the Delta Megaship through the space battle they both quickly found they could have used Dimetria's blessing, as well as a few others.
Explosions rocked the massive Zord as it had to move through the battle without being detected. There were almost moments where it seemed the Zord would have taken critical damage whether by friendly, or hostile, fire. But as Aisha looked on it seemed like hostile fire was quickly overtaking friendly. She thought for a moment offering help in the battle, but she and Nathan both had to get down to the surface of Aquitar. The Rangers needed them both, and Kinwon assured them that the Pegasus would survive.
"This is going well." Nathan had said as he gripped a console nearby. Aisha just smiled as she thought Nathan was trying to navigate hostile attackers and explosions while keeping a sense of humor.
"The best is yet to come." She added as she continued to fly the Delta Megaship. With help from the Megaship itself she had successfully navigated through the Dalek air net without them detecting her and Nathan.
"Now comes the hard part." Nathan said as the planet approached. The next second alarms went off indicating multiple targeting locks. Looking at the screens she knew what was targeting them. "Blast!" she said, almost cursing.
"And here I was trying not to jinx anything." Nathan sighed as the Megaship continued towards the planet. "What defenses do we have coming?"
"A big number." Aisha said as the Megaship was coming up on the ground based defenses. Most of them activated and locked in on their position. Immediately Aisha went into action as she called for Nathan.
"Take the wheel. Keep it steady." Aisha ordered. Nathan took the helm as Aisha called out "It's Morphin time!"
"CARRIER RANGER POWER!!!" The Carrier Ranger stood on the bridge of the Delta Megaship. Immediately she called for one of the carriers in her command.
"I need Titanus Power now!" Sure enough Titanus came to the rescue as Aisha teleported out and into the control center of Titanus. Like before she took the helm and called forth the weapons ready to plow a field with Titanus allowing the Delta Megaship to follow behind.
Nathan called out "Do you want the Delta Megazord to merge?"
"No. Not yet." Carrier Ranger answered. "Keep following. Back up us, and keep us in view." She said over the comm. Nathan answered sarcastically "Yes ma'am."
Titanus then moved towards the planet, weapons blazing. The Ultrazord knew there was a war happening. But there were also friends to save.
"Maintain course!" Nathan had ordered. "Keep Titanus in view. Cover as best we can."
"Affirmative." Came the voice of DECA as she connected to the Delta Megaship's computer. DECA scanned the stars and came across energy spikes indicating incoming fire "Arm weapons! Lock on! FIRE!!!"
The Delta Megaship dropped down from the sky and came in guns blazing destroying the automated gun turrets that came from the ground. Titanus also did so firing its weapons at the Daleks and their hoverbouts. Some tried to pierce the Megaship's armor but only managed to score a few dents, at best. Still the Megaship had taken quite a pounding. Aisha considered calling down Tor, but the turtle like Shuttlezord would have been too slow to move despite his durability.
Both Aisha and Nathan would wait until there was a position to defend before bringing the big Zords into battle. Besides they still needed to reach the citadel, where their friends were being held. In the meantime they had to continue to fly down to the surface fighting the whole way. The whole time hoping there would still be carrier Zords to fight with.
The actions of Aisha and Nathan However, did not go unnoticed. The Daleks were monitoring the attack. Not just from Aisha, but from the Pegasus as well.
"DALEK SQUADRONS HAVE ENGAGED WARSHIP IN AQUATIAN ORBIT!!!" a Drone Dalek had said. "SURFACE STATIONS IN EAST QUADRANT ALSO UNDER ATTACK!!!"
"FORTIFY CENTRAL LOCATIONS!!!" the command Dalek ordered. "SUMMON THE RULING COUNCIL!!!"
"I OBEY!!!" the Dalek ordered trying to call the council together, despite the personal pleasures they were undergoing. Especially Cestria.
Inside a medical bay Kimberly and Katherine lay beaten. Gashes and bruises appeared throughout their bodies, but they were immediately healing.
"Did we win or lose?" Kim asked thinking about Scorpina's round of tortures.
"I think we won." Kat then said. "But I don't feel like a winner."
The two Pink Rangers lay in their beds waiting to heal, and hoping Billy was okay. The door opened and soon a figure walked in. It was one of Scorpina's Guard Commanders. A Guard Commander that was once Delphine the White Aquatian Ranger. looked at the bodies of the Pink Morphin Ranger and Pink Zeo Ranger. Demorphed, and badly injured. Victims of Scorpina's evil assault. By her side were two Robo Aquatians who were giving their analysis thanks to the implants in them.
"Report." 'Delphine' said. "Prognosis?"
"Both are injured greatly." The first Aquatian said with a voice like death. "Pink Morphin has suffered massive blood loss. Even with her Ranger healing she will need a transfusion of blood."
"Do we have any human blood of her type?" Delphine asked.
"Affirmative. The Pink Zeo has the same blood type. There is a problem However, ."
"There is an anomaly in Pink Zeo's blood. It is dormant now, but it appears this anomaly has been passed on to Pink Morphin as well. It is dormant as it is in Pink Zeo, but it is there." Delphine listened to the observation and then asked "Can the anomaly be removed?"
"No, it has bonded on a molecular level. In both females."
_An intriguing prospect._</I> Delphine thought. There was more to Pink Zeo than met the eye, and there was a possibility that this could be shared with Pink Morphin. On the other hand nothing could happen at all. All that would happen was that the Pink Morphin Ranger got a blood transfusion from a compatible donor. Delphine then made her choice.
"Begin the Transfusion. Scorpina wants them ready. They can't be ready if they are dead."
"I obey." The Robo Aquatian said as the bodies of Kim and Kat were carried off to a medical center for preparation. Kimberly and Katherine also listened to the discussion wondering what they meant. "Wait, what anomaly?" Kim asked.
"And what do you mean dormant?" Kat asked. The guard then looked at Pink Zeo and answered "Something that triggers transformation of some kind. Into an animal."
"My cat transformations?" Kat asked. "But I haven't been able to do those. I don't have the power. Besides I was under Rita Repulsa's spell when I had done those."
"But the anomaly that makes it happen is still there." the Aquatian medic said. "And we are seeing if perhaps we can see if your fellow Pink Ranger can take in the anomaly as well." Kim and Kat looked at each other and Kim shook her head. "What? You are wanting to see if I'll turn into a cat too? Kat doesn't have the power anymore."
"She may in the future." the scientist said. "And if she does, perhaps you will too. We shall see as we scan power frequencies to determine which one will activate the transformations." Immediately the Aquatian scientist began the procedure to infuse blood into the Pink Rangers and then transfer the blood so that they shared the same. "Warning, this may hurt."
True enough, it had. The screams of the Pink Rangers filled the torture chamber as it seemed like their bodies were being taken apart and rearranged cell by cell, molecule by molecule. All the while in pain as the forced changes seemed to continue.
The scientists ordered no concern about the pain Kim and Kat were experiencing. Scorpina had also ordered that the recordings of the procedure be made... for entertainment purposes.
The Delta Megaship and Titanus dove into the atmosphere coming onto the ground hard until Nathan and Carrier Ranger pulled up on the controls bringing their zords to a low level flight just under the sensor net. Titanus had set down safe, but maintained its distance.
"Nice landing." Nathan had said as he landed the Delta Megaship next to Titanus.
"Thanks." Carrier Ranger said as she was checking the sensors looking for the central defense hub the other Rangers were looking to take out. If one could be taken out it would disrupt the coordinated Dalek efforts against the Pegasus. Sure enough the hub was in sight.
"Think you can get a shot off at the shield and weaken it?" Carrier Ranger asked Nathan.
"I'll give it a try." Nathan said as he ordered D.E.C.A. to lock onto the hub's shield. "Target locked. Ready to fire." D.E.C.A. had said.
Nathan then brought the Delta Megaship's weapons to bear and fired at the energy shield of the hub hoping to weaken it. The shields were weakened, but only slightly. "Shield's still up. Now what?" Nathan asked.
"Need to save power for a kill shot." Carrier Ranger said. "Titanus. Take that shield out." Sure enough Titanus brought all his weapons to bear and the shield erupted like a quivering mess of thin jello. After a lot of punishment a weak spot in the defenses was available. Carrier Ranger then brought the weapons forth for a kill shot and fired a concentrated burst from the Delta Megaship's main cannon. The hub then exploded in a series of flames.
"Yeah. Got it!" Carrier Ranger shouted. Nathan also nodded pleased with what seemed to have happened.
"One down. Several to... " Nathan didn't get to complete his sentence as a stray gun turret left over from the hub defenses fired on the Delta Megaship scoring a shot. "My stabilizers took a hit." Nathan then shouted.
"Is it bad?" Carrier Ranger asked. Nathan seemed to shake his head. "Damage doesn't look too serious. But we need to recalibrate the systems before pressing on.
"Move I'll cover you." Carrier Ranger said as the Delta Megaship veered away from the central hub damaged. Carrier Ranger followed with Titanus and hoped the damage she inflicted would be enough for the Pegasus, which had launched its squadrons.
In the arena Scorpina was pursuing some pleasures of her own as she fought Cassie and Trini, with the power and armor of Scorpina. Power and armor she was using with lethal precision, despite Cassie and Trini putting their differences aside.
What they weren't aware of However, was she was also using the Dark Heart of Aquitar to anticipate their moves and allowing her to counter the moves before they could use them.
Alison found herself still in pain from the tortures that were being given to Ashley. A pain that was causing her to be unable to move, and unable to fight back. Every muscle and nerve screamed in agony. An agony that wasn't her own, yet might as well have been her own.
Trini and Cassie tried to use hand strikes as much as possible but Scorpina had shown to be proficient with the Scorpion Stinger landing several strikes and slashes to her adversaries. They had even morphed in hopes to bring her down, but even that was to no avail.
"Is that the best you can do?" Scorpina sneered looking at her opponents. "Your so called 'ki' power seems to be nothing compared to my newfound ability and power. Power Selina discarded combined with the Dark Heart of Aquitar. Your 'ki' power is nothing compared to mine." Cassie looked at Scorpina and spoke at her with distain in her voice. "You don't know our power. If you did, you will wish we hadn't."
Scorpina continued her tirade. "Because if you had you would realize how puny it is compared to mine? Come on. Use your power. See the truth about your 'abilities'. See how weak they truly are."
"You don't want us to use our ki ability." Trini added. "And I'm asking, please don't make us use it."
Scorpina seemed to look astonished in a mocking way. "Are you begging me not to want you to use your powers? Are you truly begging me?" Trini and Cassie looked at each other and Trini said "Yes, we are begging you Scorpina. Don't make us use our power."
"You may release something worse if you continue to goad us like this." Cassie said. "Releasing a force you can't control." Scorpina sneered in disbelief. "Oh I'm scared. Your vaunted power. Beg some more. Beg for it not to be used."
"You treat this like a joke?" Cassie asked surprised. "Do you not know the horror our power has? How corruptible it is?" Trini felt a chill as Cassie mentioned the corruption her Yagami power had, how intoxicating it was, and how Cestria was dismissing the concerns as if they were nothing. If anything Scorpina laughed at them, and their fears.
Cassie looked at Trini and both shared a look as a wave of anger filled them. A wave brought forth by Scorpina's laughter. "You want to shut this bitch up?" Trini nodded and brought their respective powers to bear.
Cassie glowed in Crimson fire. Trini glowed in purple fire. Both ready to unleash their ultimate attack. "OROCHINAGI!!!"
Blasts of crimson and purple shot Scorpina's way. Scorpina looked to have been enveloped since when the flame passed no trace of her remained.
"Did we vaporize her?" Trini asked showing very little remorse. This got a look from Cassie as Trini realized that she was giving in to her darker nature. Trini turned to see her reflection in a glass not far away and saw the purple glint in her eyes. A glint that also reflected a madness. A madness that scared and terrified her. _NO!!!!_ she thought. _Calm. Must regain calm. Find peace. Find my center._ Trini turned her mind to the spirits of the Mantis, the Griffin and the Tiger to calm her spirit hoping they would hear her. They seemed to have done so as Trini felt the madness in her mind slip back into dark recesses. Her mind was back in the light again.
Trini then took a deep breath and regained her bearings completely. Cassie looked on concerned fearing the Yagamin darkness was going to overtake her. "Are you okay?" Cassie asked.
"Yeah fine." Trini said with a touch of agitation in her voice. _Like she needs to ask me if I am okay._ she thought. Realizing the thought, and fearing the Yagami darkness was creeping back into her mind she tried to focus on the calm within her again. "Just need a minute to regain my center." After meditating for a few moments Trini found her center of calm and sent the darkness within her back into retreat. "Back to normal." she said.
But in the back of her mind a darker spirit seemed to whisper words to her. A darker spirit that sought to be Trini's destiny and future. The words were _For now._
Cassie smiled as Trini regained her control over herself seemingly not succumbing to the darkness of her Orochi power. Trini However, didn't mention that the regaining of her center had been difficult, and seemed to be getting more difficult as time went on. It was only the memory of Kali and her newly discovered cousin Iori that brought her back into control, combined with the wish to not give in to the madness that had claimed them. "The power is pretty incredible isn't it?"
Trini couldn't help but nod, still she felt envy to Cassie for having the uncorrupted crimson powers compared to the dark purple flames of the Yagami. Dark flames that corrupted a person to their very soul. Trini tried to put the thoughts and memories out of her mind when Cassie let out a shout.
"Oww what the?" Cassie asked as she then found something strike her in the foot. A strike that felt like something had stung her. Looking down Cassie found it gone and briefly wondered what it was, before she felt dizzy and fell to the ground.
"CASSIE!" Trini said as she rushed to her side. Suddenly Trini felt the same sting in her foot as well and quickly collapsed along with her rival. From her position Alison saw a Scorpion walking away from the fallen girls. A scorpion that transformed into Scorpina.
"Selina was a fool to give up this power." Scorpina said looking down at the fallen bodies of Trini and Cassie. "Now what to do with you."
From her position on the ground all Alison could do was watch.
Up above Billy watched the battle. He saw Trini and Cassie fall to the ground and Scorpina stand tall. "No. Trini." he said whispered. He also looked at Cassie who had fallen and felt himself caring for her too. Not just as a Ranger, but perhaps as something more.
He saw differences in Cassie and Trini. Trini he had known all her life, but there was something that attracted him to Cassie. Something he saw in Kimberly and Katherine, and not just because they were Pink Rangers. It was a radiance of life, if there was any way to describe what he was feeling. It was as if Cassie wanted to bring life to people and places by just being around them.
Perhaps Cassie was the healer. _Perhaps that's what I find attractive about Cassie just as I find Trini's intellect attractive._ Before Billy could come to a conclusion Mature of the Organization had come in wondering if Billy was enjoying the 'festivities'.
Billy took notice of the mysterious woman and barely acknowledged her. "What's the matter? Tired of torturing Bulk?"
"I am taking a break from unlocking the secrets of your Gold Zeo." Mature said. "I was fascinated by your two beauties, and wanted to see how they fared against your wife."
"She's not my wife." Billy said looking at the woman who had gone from Cestria of Aquitar to the new Scorpina. "She's not the woman I married. Not anymore."
"Perhaps not. But she is a queen. With loyal subjects." Billy seethed as he remembered the Rangers of Aquitar. Under the control of Cestria _No not Cestria. Scorpina. She is the new Scorpina now._ he thought with complete despair. The woman he knew as Cestria, the woman who was his wife, no longer existed.
A stranger had taken her place. A stranger who was a villain. A villain who had joined with Squatt, Baboo, the Organization and the Daleks to rule Aquitar with an evil hand. Thinking about her evil allies Billy then asked "How loyal are those 'subjects' really? How long will those loyalties lie?" Stopping he then said "Don't answer that. I know the answer."
"Enlighten me." Mature said in a mocking taunt as she waited for Billy's answer as he then spoke. "They are only as loyal as long as their interests are provided for." Mature smirked as if Billy had just answered a question a Kindergartener could have answered.
"True." Mature had said. "But our strength grows individually as long as our shared strength stays." Looking down at Cassie, Trini and Alison Mature then added "Even with their vaunted power they still could not free this world. None of you Rangers could. The promise you had made to your Ailen Rangers of Aquitar... broken."
Billy felt Mature strike a dagger in his heart as he remembered the promise he made to the Rangers of Aquitar, that he would come back and free the people. People he considered his friends. And yet while Billy had returned he had been unable to free the people of Aquitar, and his Ranger friends had joined the rest of the planet in captivity and torture.
His Aquatian Ranger friends had joined his Earth Ranger friends in captivity in a way. Their minds were captive to Scorpina's will. With Mature mocking him about it the whole time. He needed to get them free, especially if he was going to help Trini, Cassie and Alison. It was then that Mature made an offer that seemed to be out of the blue.
"You could challenge her you know." Mature then said. "Offer yourself to fight her in exchange for the safety of your friends." Billy listened to Mature's statement and wondered if there wasn't something underlying what she had said. Some message in the subtext of her speech.
_Only one way to find out._ Billy thought as he called Scorpina from the balcony, using her former Aquatian name. "CESTRIA! I challenge you."
Scorpina heard Billy's voice just before her sword strike had come down. When she heard Billy's challenge, as well as her former name, she paused wondering if she hadn't heard something totally ridiculous. "What? What did you say?" she asked looking up at Billy in disbelief.
"I want to fight in your arena." Billy said emphasizing his challenge. "As the Blue Ranger." Mature had an intrigued look about them as she hoped Scorpina would take Billy's challenge. Scorpina had also smiled at the thought. But her ideas for Billy's challenge took a more sinister direction.
"Agreed 'husband.'" Scorpina said adding a mocking emphasis on her last word, "But only if I choose your opponents." Billy then asked "You choose my opponents? Why not let me face you myself?"
"What is it that you Earthlings always say?" Scorpina asked. "Oh yes, you have to earn the right to beat me. You beat the opponents I have selected for you and then you and I will fight one another.
Billy considered Scorpina's words. He figured Scorpina would hold off facing him for one reason or another, and true enough she was not disappointing him. Now if the rest of his plan worked... "And who are these opponents?" Billy then asked.
"None other than my Commanders of the Guard." Scorpina said sneering. "I'm sure you know them. Those that were formerly the Alien Rangers of Aquitar."
Billy heard Scorpina's declaration and thought for a moment. _Perfect._ he thought trying to hide the smile he wanted to give.
Scanning the grounds not far from the destroyed hub Aisha and Nathan found a mountain clearing she could set down in. The rock face also provided her with a sense of cover to shield her from any overhead scouts. Not that there would have been as Titanus was not far away standing guard.
Once down Carrier Ranger demorphed and helped Nathan begin a scan of the Delta Megaship systems. "Great." Nathan said as he looked at the scan readout. "The stabilizer's damaged."
"Can't self-repair take care of it?" Aisha asked. Nathan shook his head. "From the looks of things we need to do external repairs before the self-repair can start the internal ones."
Aisha sighed. "All right hold on." She then got out of her seat and grabbed a set of tools. Once she had what she needed she went outside to join Nathan who stood outside the Delta Megaship with a book in his hand.
"What's that?" she asked.
"D.E.C.A. said it was called an E.S.B. Short for Emergency Schematic Blueprint." Nathan explained. "Guess she figured we could use it to fix the stabilizer. Aisha took the book and looked at it. She was not a mechanic or engineer like Billy was, but right now all Aisha had was her own two hands, Nathan and a sort of guidebook. She would make them work. "Let's get started."
Coming to the damaged area Aisha and Nathan consulted the ESB to see how the circuits interacted. Bringing forth the laser probe she tried to reset the settings with Nathan providing what he could. As they worked Nathan heard movement outside. "What was that?" he asked his senses looking around the are.
Aisha was also looking around she tried to determine who was with them. Her eyes then came across a lone Aquatian. Unrobotized, and seemingly unlobotomized. Still, plenty scared.
"Don't move. We won't hurt you." Aisha said. But an additional disturbance caused her and Nathan to look around. All along the rock face Aquatians came out of hiding. Armed Aquatians. Nathan took a defensive stance but Aisha asked him to wait. "Let's see where diplomacy gets us."
Nathan sighed as he took a relaxed stance but he said he would fight back if they did anything threatening. Aisha then addressed the approaching Aquatians. "We won't hurt any of you. We just want to fix our Zord ship and get out of here."
"You are our prisoners." the lead Aquatian said. "Your ship is hereby confiscated in the name of the Aquitar Liberation Force." Nathan shot a look as if asking quietly "How's diplomacy going so far?" Aisha ignored the look and asked "Aquatian Liberation Force?"
"We are committed to overthrowing the evil leadership of the UAE and the traitor Cestria." the leader said. "You will follow us to our leader." Aisha and Nathan then shared a look and smiled slightly. Apparently there was a resistance movement on the planet, and that they might be of help.
"No problem." Aisha said as she looked at the Aquatians before her. They may have had their weapons trained on her and Nathan both, but she found something that gave them hope.
But what did they mean about Cestria becoming a traitor. She was a Ranger. Wasn't she?"
Inside the torture chamber placed inside the palace one of several torture devices was seeing action. In the minds of some it was a device that could be as punishing as a punisher on the other end.
The Variable Voltage Harness. An abandoned device deemed extreme by the council members that frowned on interrogation methods that fell dangerously close to U.A.E. standards. The harness was one such device deemed as a punisher that delivered punishment that kept on punishing. Ordered disassembled by council order, there were a few harnesses that were conveniently 'lost'. Or some had made poor copies of the device.
Scorpina did not want to deal with imitations. She wanted use of the real thing. The Organization had one such device on hand, and Scorpina made use of it... to torture Ashley Hammond. Her pain added to Alison's pain, and vice versa. Scorpina had paid a few visits to Ashley's torture sessions and smiled as she thought of 'twin pain'. _Some things should always be shared._ Scorpina had thought as she tuned into the bond the two Hammond girls shared. She heard the screams of both girls echoing through one another's hearts.
And Ashley and Alison knew this too. Their thoughts, memories, and emotions were an open book that Scorpina was looking in on and laughing at. Memories of Terry, Andy, Joe and Mai. Memories of cheerleading and of Andros. Scorpina was laughing at the memories of the twins as if she was seeing a comedy video instead of people in actual suffering. Ashley and Alison thought venom at Scorpina as her violation of their bond was a major intrusion in their very souls. An intrusion they would make sure Scorpina paid for... when the time was right.
But when that time would come was another question. A question that had no ready answer.
Ashley lost track of how long she had been suspended in the harness. Shocks and pain coursing through her body as she lost track of how long she had screamed. Lost track of how long she was in pain. Pain she knew her sister was feeling. For a few seconds she could picture Alison in the ring with Cassie and Trini, and Alison in excruciating agony. An agony that became Ashley's agony as well as she felt Alison's punishment as well as her own torturous pain while in the harness.
She also lost track of the involuntary twitching her body was undergoing as Scorpina introduced electro shocks to induce twitching in hopes of causing psychological damage as well, Eroding her sanity as the mind endured tortures along with the body and soul. Scorpina seemed to have a vendetta against the girl Rangers and was indulging it to the fullest.
_Couldn't she find a date to the prom?_ Ashley thought as her mouth was dry and she sweat no end, yet she would hold onto her sense of humor. Despite maintaining her spirits However, Ashley hoped someone would come and rescue her. In her mind she could imagine Alison goading her about being a damsel in distress.
Ashley understood how Alison, and other girl Rangers would have felt. But she would also have said that she wanted rescuing not because of some belief that she had to be a damsel in distress, but rather because she felt she would be unable to stand if by some miracle she got out of the harness. She imagined the girl Rangers understanding when she heard the door open.
When Ashley turned to the door she hoped her fellow Rangers were there. Her hopes died when she saw a squad of Robo Aquatians come instead. Ashley was too hurt to fight back as she felt her mind become heavy with her mind slumping into unconsciousness.
She was barely aware as one of the Robo Aquatians proceeded to open the harness. Once the harness was opened Ashley fell to the ground unable to stand as unconsciousness overtook her. The pain and torture taking their toll.
She barely felt cold hands lift her up to drag her body away to another destination. Scorpina had a surprise to prepare for.
Back in the arena Billy stood waiting for his opponents to enter. Off to the side Cassie, Trini and Alison sat watching. Alison However, was barely conscious as she felt the pain of Ashley being tortured. She knew Ashley had fallen into unconsciousness but Alison learned how to keep herself focused and driven due to all the battles she had taken part of.
All the attention was on Billy as he looked at the door the Guard Commanders would enter. Billy would not have long to wait as the door entered and the former Rangers of Aquitar entered. Looking up at the balcony Billy saw Scorpina looking down smiling at what was to come.
Billy took a look at the Rangers that were his friends. All of them armed and ready for combat. Eyes vacant as if the traces of who they were had been erased from their minds leaving only unthinking, ruthless, obedient drones that would kill on Scorpina's command.
But Billy believed there was still a trace of his friends in the drones Scorpina had made them into. He just had to get through to them somehow.
"This will be amusing." Scorpina sneered. "The Ranger with the brains takes part in a fight. Usually it is other Rangers that do your fighting unless you're part of the team."
"I can fight if I have to." Billy said as he brought forth his Blue Ranger morpher and called forth his power. Trini and Cassie looking on hoping Billy knew what he was doing. "It's Morphin time!"
"Blue Ranger Power!"
The Blue Morphin Ranger now stood as he looked at his five opponents. Former friends, now drones of Scorpina. He hoped he was right about his theory, and that his friends were still in there somewhere.
In a series of subterranean corridors Aquatians lived, worked and prepared to fight. Or at least hoped they would prepare to fight. Which was what Admiral Finn hoped they would be able to do.
He remembered when Aquitar had been overrun. The fight of the Aquatian Rangers who lost. The subjugation of its people and planet. Its natural beauty stripped away. He was off planet at the time, doing a survey nearby. But when he reentered Aquatian space he saw the Emergency Powers act reactivated ceding him official authority in matters of Aquitar and its people. An authority the UAE would not recognize, but then Admiral Finn didn't answer to the UAE.
Then there were the Ranger attacks. For a moment it seemed like there would have been hope in Aquitar's freedom in the Earth bound Rangers. But then they were captured, and if reports were right, tortured under Scorpina's command. The thought of the traitor made Admiral Finn angry beyond reason.
However, that did not mean he thought any better of the Earth bound Rangers. Admiral Finn thought Squatt and Baboo's involvement was Earth problems carrying over, and Aquitar paying the price. He did not understand why the Aquatian Rangers went to Earth to answer their distress call. They owed the backwater world nothing.
And now Earth's problems had left the planet Aquitar with nothing. No freedom. No hope. Despite all that Admiral Finn worked to build a resistance as much as he could. He knew a signal would be sent to get people to underground shelters. And from those shelters were resources and people to be used to free the planet.
Admiral Finn began emergency training for the shelter inhabitants. Civilians were conscripted into the military under Finn's order. Their freedom lost by invaders, guns put into their hands to fight invaders.
And through it all Admiral Finn could not help but blame one world for Aquitar's woes. A planet where two Carrier Zords, as well as their Ranger, were from. The planet Earth.
And while the resistance had the zords and their Ranger Finn couldn't help but feel like he had something, and someone, to blame for Aquitar's troubles. Turning around he went into the area set up as an interrogation room, where the Carrier Ranger Aisha Campbell and Salamander Ninjetti Nathan Oliver sat... under armed guard and demorphed.
Aisha had hoped demorphing to the other Aquatians would be a sign of trust on her part, and she was partly right. They hadn't opened fire on her or Nathan, but she saw a look in their eyes that indicated the Aquatian rebels didn't want her on Aquitar anymore than they wanted the ruling council on Aquitar. When they were taken to the holding cell they was told to wait for their leader to arrive. Before leaving a guard said "We are not restraining you, but if you try to escape we will gun you down. And if you are still alive we will put you in restraints."
"Thanks, I think." Aisha had said. The guard then turned to leave. When in the doorway he said "Admiral Finn will be with you soon." Leaving the interrogation room Aisha and Nathan waited for Admiral Finn to arrive. "So." Nathan asked. "How's diplomacy going?"
"Very well actually." Aisha said with a smile. "We're about to meet the resistance leader."
"After getting taken prisoner, thrown in a cell, and enduring a lot of hate filled glares." Nathan had said. "Somehow I get the feeling these Aquatians don't want us here than they want Squatt or Baboo."
"Or any of the ruling council." A voice said from the cell door. Turning to look they saw an older looking Aquatian with a military bearing about him. His poise was upright, shoulders broad and he looked fit enough. "Admiral Finn I presume?" Aisha asked.
"Correct." Admiral Finn said as he opened the cell door and entered the room. For a moment he studied Aisha and Nathan. He saw Aisha as a capable woman and warrior. She had to be if she was to attain the rank of Carrier Ranger. Nathan was a mystery However, . Finn didn't know what all he was capable of, and he wasn't one who liked unanswered questions all that much. Nevertheless he also saw someone who was a capable warrior as well.
But he also saw both of them as a people to blame for all of Aquitar's troubles, and he had a hard time hiding that resentment. So he didn't try to hide it. Nevertheless he did keep his tone civil.
"I don't know what to say to you." Admiral Finn had said to Aisha and Nathan. "Right now you are not welcome on this planet."
"I know." Aisha answered. "Cestria, Squatt, Baboo and their goons made that clear" Aisha stated. Finn However, shook his head and gave an answer Aisha was not expecting. "No, not just them. It is also me and the people of this base that don't want you here."
"What?!" Nathan looked up at Finn as if not believing what he had heard. "What do you mean by that?"
"What I mean is that this conquest of our world was done by your villains. Villains that sought to conquer your world." Finn said. "When our Rangers aided you to hold back the advances of Lord Zedd, Rita Repulsa and Master Vile when you were unable to fight our world was made a target for their revenge. And in that revenge we paid a terrible price. A price we are now paying."
"We needed help." Aisha said as if trying to appeal to Finn's better nature. "We were trapped as children. We couldn't call upon our powers."
"And did the option of 'retreat' cross the minds of your team before you were transformed?" Finn then asked with a hint of anger in his voice. "To pull back to a safe haven, regroup, reorganize and counter attack?" Aisha was stunned to hear the word 'retreat' come from Finn's mouth. She looked at Finn as if a dirty word had been said. Finn smirked as if amused by Aisha's reaction. Then he continued to berate her."
"No, it didn't." Finn said with a mocking smile. "'Retreat' is such an ugly word for you Earthers. It is equivalent to 'running away'. 'Cowardice' and the like. Villains retreat. They run away. Heroes don't. They stand their ground even as the steamroller is coming their way to crush them underneath its weight. That's how it is isn't it?"
"Where could we have retreated to?" Aisha asked in defense. "We were to protect Earth. We had nowhere else to go."
"Not protecting it now are you?" Finn asked continuing the mockery. Nathan, deciding he had enough of Finn's tone, looked in Finn's eye then said "No, we are here to return the favor your Rangers did for us. Help save their world like they saved ours."
"Save our world?" Finn asked as if hearing a big joke. "There's nothing left of our world to save. All the water is herded. Rationed just enough for our people to survive in a labor camp. Our seas have now become deserts."
"Not all of you are slaves." Aisha said joining. "You have people down here, in these caves of yours."
"People just looking to survive." Finn said. "Not to fight a war. We do not have enough soldiers for that." Aisha looked at Finn in disbelief. "Are you giving up?"
"Give up what?" Finn asked. "A fight that's already lost? A world that died when your enemies attacked us? What do we have to give up that hasn't been taken?"
"Your freedom?" Nathan then said as if it was a statement of fact. "You have people still not taken by Cestria's forces. And with that freedom comes hope." Finn was about to respond, but Aisha kept speaking.
"And me and my friends? We haven't given up." Aisha said to Admiral Finn. Sure most of us are captured, but we're not surrendering."
"It is hard to fight while you are in a prison." Finn said. Aisha responded with "But you can still fight. Is that not what you are looking to do? You and your rebels here?"
"Rebels? We're survivors." Finn answered. "Just trying to stay alive."
"But for what purpose?" Nathan then asked. "I don't think you got a handful of survivors together just to live underground like moles. I think you are looking to free Aquitar yourself. And you think with Titanus and the Delta Megaship you finally have a shot. But you need our help to get them running. Am I right, or am I right?" Finn heard Nathan's words and admitted he was right.
"You are correct. We need something to get behind, as we also need a powerful weapon to press our offense." Finn said. "Not just a weapon, but a symbol. Your zords can be both. But we need you to relinquish control of them."
"I can't do that." Aisha said. "The Carrier Zords only respond to the commands of the Carrier Ranger, which is me." Finn felt anger rise in him as he shouted "Without those Zords we'll be fighting a losing battle. Our forces will be nothing more than cannon fodder to Cestria's forces."
"I know." Aisha answered. "But I can't relinquish the Zords to anyone. They are tied to the powers of the Carrier Ranger. Which means they are tied to me. I can't give them to anyone else. I can't surrender control."
"What about him?" Finn asked. "He operated one."
"That didn't mean she surrendered control." Nathan had said. "She just allowed me to operate it." Finn shook his head asking "What's the difference?"
"The difference is I remained in control even if Nathan did the operating. I'm still tied to the zords." Aisha responded. "I can't turn them over and not have them tied to me. Finn felt his frustration boiling but then Aisha said one more thing.
"That doesn't mean I won't help though. We came here to free this planet, and that's what we're going to do." Aisha said. "And that also means I can allow others to use the Carrier Zords without surrendering them. And if you need their use that I can do." Admiral Finn considered Aisha's words and nodded at her show of spirit.
"Thank you. I accept your offer." Finn now had an ally to free his world. Now he had to tell the rest of his people.
Aquatians had a limited telepath ability, but it was enough to allow for telepathic communication, whether it was with one Aquatian or a collective group if it was necessary. In Admiral Finn's opinion everyone of the survivors needed to hear what he had to say.
_My people. Please come to the main cave. We stand at a point where we must shape our future._ All the Aquatian survivors heard Finn's words in their minds, and knew the urgency in them. They made for the main cave, as he asked them to, to hear what he had to say.
The people herded in every entrance to the main central cave. At the main entrance of the cave, which stood at an elevated level to the rest of the ground stood Admiral Finn along with Aisha and Nathan. Finn looked at all those assembled, and smiled as he saw the turnout. None of them had to come to his call, but he was happy to see so many turn up to take action to secure the freedom of their planet.
Aisha and Nathan looked at those assembled and hoped the people in this main cave could be made into a rebel force. They looked to be a diverse group from all walks of life. Farmers, workers, parents. Not many in the caves were soldiers. People who took oaths to defend the people of their planet. Most in the caves WERE the people of their planet, or what was left of them.
But whether they were soldiers or not they all wanted Aquitar free from the rule of the ruling council. And in that goal they were willing to listen to Admiral Finn.
The Aquatians looked up to see Finn get ready to speak. "People. Hear me." he called. The assembled Aquatians heard their leader. Finn considered his words and looked for those that did not have animosity towards Earth Rangers. He tried to look for hope as that was what the Earth Rangers hoped to bring to benefit the liberation of the planet.
"People. What happened was a tragedy to our people. Many of us have taken to shelters. But the day is at hand where Aquitar will finally be free." Cheers filled the hollowed out room but there was curiosity as well.
"The Earth Rangers came to free us. Granted most are captured, but not all." Finn then stood back and introduced Aisha saying "Allow me to present the Carrier Ranger of Earth and her partner the Salamander Ninjetti." Aisha and Nathan stepped forth not hearing a response from the audience.
"Quiet aren't they?" Nathan asked whispering to Aisha.
"It's not because of your name either." Aisha said as she noticed the crowd of Aquatians. They seemed to be cold to Aisha and Nathan, as if they blamed Earth for Aquitar's fall as much as Finn did. Despite the hard feelings in the room Aisha started to speak.
"There are those who believe in free will. And there are those who believe in destiny." Aisha then said. "The Rangers of Earth came here because they believed in free will, and felt you of Aquitar deserved that great gift. Cestria, Squatt, Baboo and their allies believe in destiny, but it's a belief of convenience. They only believe in destiny when they benefit from it. When destiny does not go their way they wonder what went wrong. What went wrong was they tried to suppress the free will of the people of Aquitar. A will that is not easily oppressed."
"But our Aquatian Rangers fell." one said from the audience. "Their wills were broken."
"Not without giving a final gift to the Earth Ranger Billy to ensure our return to freedom." Finn then said. "A gift that must not be wasted. The Earth Rangers have been taken by Cestria. Now it falls to us to ensure Cestria's efforts end in failure.
"We must stop just being a band of survivors." Finn said continuing. "We must be a force of rebellion. A force that says we will not fall to the yoke of Cestria's will. We will not let her be the only one to have the gift of free will leaving the rest of us as mindless robots or broken souls. We must be people. People of freedom. THE PEOPLE OF AQUITAR!!!" A roar of approval came from the crowd.
"The time has come to stop running, and take back our sacred homeland." Finn then said. The band of rebels also felt their spirits rise as they felt they now had a chance to free their world. But Finn felt they should have a choice so he then asked "Are you ready to lay down your lives in freedom so the Aquatian race can survive once again?!" The roar of approval from the crowd indicated the rebels of Aquitar were ready to fight, and if necessary die, for their home and freedom.
"THEN LET'S DO IT!!!" Finn then shouted. Immediately the Rebels began to do whatever was needed to begin their act of resistance. Aisha went to Finn's side and said "Nice speech."
"You helped." Finn then said. Nathan then asked "What made you change your mind?
"You reminded me of something. Cestria, Squatt, Baboo and the others are not part of the ruling council. Not the one I served." Finn said. "With them killed in the initial attack I declared Martial Law and tried to save as many as possible before the final siege was underway."
"You never did answer. How did you survive? The initial attack?" Aisha asked. Admiral Finn then explained.
"An old policy that was all but forgotten by the ruling council." Finn said. "Centuries ago the council sponsored the construction of a series of Ark Shelters where people could hide in the event of a coming cataclysm. We sent out a signal to as many as we could to report to the co-ordinates specified and tried to get as many as we could into the shelters." Finn then let out a tone of regret as he then added "We couldn't save everyone though. Some had to be turned away when the shelters exceeded capacity."
"So you had to let some of your people die in the invasion?" Nathan asked horrified. Finn looked at Nathan as if slightly glaring. "Hard decisions had to be made. Decisions you Rangers have never had to make."
"Oh I don't know about that." Aisha said. "I think me and my friends have had to make some hard calls, especially lately." She remembered the attacks of Minion, the I.D. War, the Cylons, Kali. A lot of hard decisions had to be made in her opinion. The ideal solution seemed to get further away from the Rangers whenever they tried to find one.
"This was our plan in the event of what you humans would call an ELE." Aisha looked at Finn confused as she had never heard of the term, even if it came from Earth. Looking at Finn she then asked "ELE? I don't know that term." Nathan sighed as he remembered the term, and remembered the meaning, as he had lived through an ELE of his own prompting his and Nate's voyage to the past.
Finn looked at Aisha surprised. "You do not know a term on your own world? I thought everyone on their planet knew the expressions of other members of their race." Aisha shrugged her shoulders and then said "Just because I'm from Earth doesn't mean I know all the slang. What is an ELE?"
Nathan then answered Aisha's question. "ELE is short for 'Extinction Level Event'." Finn then asked "Does Earth not have plans for such an event?
Aisha heard the expression and couldn't believe someone would consider such an event happening on Earth. She always thought there would be someone who would prevent the end of everything on Earth. Even if it was the Rangers. Even at their darkest none of the Rangers could believe such an event could happen, so they never considered plans for one. No one on Earth did. Aisha looked at Admiral Finn dead in the eye and sadly answered "No Admiral Finn. We don't."
The answer from Aisha stunned Admiral Finn. "You mean, if someone attacks Earth that will be it for your people? If someone annihilates you there is no hope for survival? No select few that will continue the species?"
Aisha considered Finn's words and decided the best answer to give. "Yeah." Aisha said. "It's do or die for us humans. And in order to free your people it's going to be do or die here. We have a world to free." Admiral Finn took the words to heart and immediately went to rally his troops.
"The Carrier Ranger and Salamander Ninjetti need their Zords checked out. Especially the weapons. Check everything from top to bottom. Make sure any, and all, damage is repaired." The junior tech acknowledged and began work.
First on the list, repair the Delta Megaship. Second, get ready to storm the gates of the Council Citadel with the Delta Megaship... and Titanus.
Inside the castle Andros and his party found their way to the door where the computer in the central core indicated the Rangers were being held. A guard was on the other end to insure no one got in to rescue the captured Rangers, and that none of the captured Rangers escaped. "This it Andros?" Zack asked. Andros nodded.
"How are we doing this?" Cassidy asked as she looked at the blaster she had with her wondering about pulling the weapon again. Taking another life. Looking at Samantha Cassidy saw the look of sympathy across her face. Samantha once told her the Doctor had hated guns. That they were too messy. Cassidy had been taught how to use a gun by her father, but it was only now that she realized how dangerous the weapon truly was.
The blaster was a sign that Cassidy was no longer a kid. She had 'grown up' after her first kill, and she was trying to reconcile it.
Her grandfather Nick once said how a rebel group consisted of kids was holding off a German advance in their town. They had to use weapons, and they had to kill the attacking soldiers. The reactions after the battle were ranged from excitement to horror as some felt the thrill of battle while others felt the horror. No matter which way one stood the battle was lost, and Nick knew those kids could never go back to being kids again.
Cassidy knew she couldn't go back to being a kid again. All the Rangers knew this now, especially Carlos who had taken a life himself. As if on instinct Cassidy reached for her blaster ready to draw if she had to.
Fortunately Cassidy didn't have to use a gun as Sabrina placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Easy kid. I got this." Sabrina said as she stepped out of the corner to confront the guard in front her.
"Hi, I'm a tourist formerly of Onyx." Sabrina said. "Is this the way to the treasury?" Before the guard could answer Sabrina delivered a side kick to the guard and then delivered a move that no one could have seen or believed. A spinning kick that looked like it was out of 'the Matrix'. Next second the guard was out. Unconscious.
"He'll live." Sabrina said. Everyone else was wondering where they could learn moves like her. Carlos then grabbed the keys and opened the door. Sure enough the Rangers were on the other side. Including Emily. All of them looked up surprised.
"What? Don't you know a prison break when you see one?" Andros asked. "Come on." Soon every Ranger was on their feet ready to leave, or trying to get on their feet. As Andros scouted the Rangers that were leaving he knew some were missing, one in particular. "Where's Ashley?" Andros asked.
"And Alison?" Cassidy asked concerned for her friend. She almost asked about Zhane but Jason answered the question about Alison and Ashley first, despite his wounds. "Cestria took them. Special treatment. She also has Cassie, Trini, Billy, Kim and Kat."
"I'd hate to say how special." Carlos said as Tommy sat up and held his ribs in pain. Andros asked how Tommy was doing and Tommy answered "I definitely could be better. As could a lot of us I guess. Squatt and Baboo have been collecting... old debts."
"What about Zhane?" Andros then asked. "Is he with Cestria?
"No." Adam answered. "The Daleks took him for research. Trying to see how they could disrupt Ranger powers. To see if they could kill us easier." Andros looked wide eyed at the thought of his best friend being tortured by the Daleks. He needed to help his best friend, but the woman he loved was in trouble as well.
Cassidy decided to relieve Andros of the burden of decision. "I've got Zhane. You get Ashley and Alison back." Andros nodded glad for Cassidy's volunteering.
"What does Cestria want with the Ranger girls?" Zack asked. "Is she jealous of them?" Jason shrugged. "Could well be."
Off to the side Skull saw Emily huddled in a corner. Jason looked in her direction and sighed. "She hasn't been the same since the AP was broken. Afraid we don't trust her."
"Well don't you?" Samantha asked. Jason and Tommy looked down silently answering Samantha's question. "I want to. We all do."
"Then I'll just look in and see." Andros said as he walked over to Emily. The Purple Zeo Ranger sat curled up in a ball lost in memories and fears. Memories of what Rita and Zedd had done to her, and fears about what the Rangers thought of her. She barely noticed Andros touch her hand until she heard him call her name. "Emily?"
Emily barely made out Andros calling her name. But she lifted up her head and saw Andros looking at her. He smiled as he saw her become aware of him. A well of sadness was rising up in her again and it was all she had to keep from falling back into the well of despair again.
"I turned on them." Emily had said. "I told them we were coming."
"It wasn't you. You know that." Andros said as he decided looked into her eyes trying to recall an old Kerovan healing technique for those that had undergone extreme mental and spiritual violations. Looking at Emily he saw that she had undergone an extreme violation.
_Listen to me._ Andros said as he spoke to Emily in her mind. _We shall go on a journey together. We shall heal you from what Rita had done to you._ Emily then felt the real world fall away as Anrdos's eyes looked into her own. Eyes that looked at her as if burrowing into her soul. For a moment her mind turned to thoughts of Rita and Zedd, but Andros provided a more calming and reassuring presence than the evil warlords ever did.
As Andros looked through Emily's mind he saw her thoughts, her mind, her own cerebral world that looked as if it had been destroyed. Rubble all through the corners where there were once towers of strength. Towers that had been memories of love, of family, of friends. She thought of Jason, the boy she loved when he was the Gold Ranger. A love that wasn't to be as he found happiness with Jamie Zedden. A memory that had been a tower of strength to her. A tower that had been toppled by Rita to make the AP.
As Andros scanned Emily's mind he saw others toppled. Her friends replaced by the bad crowd she had run with before she found Jason. Jobs lost before she found her job at Ernie's which represented a new start for her. Towers of joy toppled replaced by towers of darkness using the old towers as parts.
Those dark towers in her mind would soon find themselves destroyed. Destroyed by Rita's violation and burial of the real Emily St. John. All there was left in her mind was wreckage. Wreckage of who she was, both light and dark.
Yet Andros saw the real Emily in the center of the wreckage. The person the Rangers knew and regarded as their friend. One who was not held down by the will of the artificial personality implanted by Rita and Zedd, but its specter still remained. A specter that was casting a shadow over the soul of Emily St. John.
"Emily." Andros said in her mind. Emily then looked up. She saw Andros standing before him looking amidst the shattered mindscape that represented Emily's mind. Her memories. Her personality. All of it looked to be in pieces. Memories of her time in the gang. Memories of her time with Jason. Memories of what Rita and Zedd had done.
"You must rebuild yourself." Andros said. "I will help you." Closing his eyes he took Emily's hand and asked her to do the same. "Think with your heart." Andros said. "Let your heart determine the real and the fake." Emily did so as she let her heart reach out to determine the real her, and the one Rita and Zedd had created.
Immediately the aspects of memory had rearranged themselves to where Emily's old personality had been reshaped. What Rita and Zedd had done would always be part of her memory, and would haunt her for some time, but it would not dominate her life. She was the Purple Zeo Ranger. Rangers overcame all the obstacles thrown at them.
She would remember that. And in that memory the light of her soul shone once again. A light that formed a wave that filled her mindscape bringing Emily back from the brink. She soon found herself back in the real world, in the prisons of Aquitar. Andros by her side.
Looking around Emily saw her friends. The ones she betrayed and hurt. Andros continued to stand by her side supporting her until she finally regained her bearings. "She's clean. And she's sorry." Andros said with certainty.
"How can you tell?" Richie asked not sure if he could trust Emily. Emily herself looked scared as she felt the eyes of those she unwillingly betrayed on her, unsure if they could ever trust her again. She felt happy that Andros was by her side vouching for her. His presence was a bedrock she felt she could build upon within herself.
Andros looked at Richie and answered his question with all the conviction he had. "The eyes don't lie. I looked into hers and I saw sorrow, and shame. Those emotions you can't fake." Richie heard Andros's words as he looked at Emily. He looked at her face, then looked into her eyes hoping she could see what Andros had.
What he saw was pain, sadness and regret. Nothing of the Emily that had betrayed them. An Emily that seemed condescending and rude... at best.
Emily looked into Richie's eyes as she said her peace hoping to reassure Ritchie and the others. "Rita and Zedd made me betray you. The real me was buried under a false me, and that false me almost destroyed my very soul. But not any more."
Richie looked at Emily not sure he could trust her. He wanted to, but he wasn't sure what else Rita and Zedd had done. _Or maybe Cestria had done something else to her. To all of us. Can we trust any of us?_ Rocky then stepped forward saying "I trust her."
"As do I." Adam added. T.J. then said "Ditto."
Tommy then spoke saying "We know what happened was not your fault. It was Rita and Zedd. And when we get back we are going to make sure they pay for what they did to you... .and us." Emily smiled glad that the Rangers were giving her a second chance... for now.
"We have a planet to free." Andros said turning the focus back to the Ranger's mission. "That hasn't changed."
"You're right it hasn't." Jason then said. "We didn't come here to fail. We're going to free this planet no matter what is thrown at us."
"Now we take the fight to Cestria." Tanya said. Everyone seemed ready to go after the ruling council but Jason held the others back looking to be the voice of reason. "We have to get our morphers first. We need something to fight back with, and for that we need our morphers."
Tommy nodded at Jason's assessment. "Yeah, and we'll need the healing properties of the morphers to get some of us back to fighting strength. Cestria, Squatt and Baboo did a number on a lot of us."
"They let us have the morphers for 'sport'." Adam had said. "Letting us have them when we are in a ring or something." Dan then added "Then they take them back when we are too beaten down to fight back and they are placed back in storage until we are strong enough to 'fight' again'."
"Anyone know where the morphers are now?" Skull asked. Zack spoke saying they were in a lab adjacent to the prison. "Saw them as we were making our way here. They had some which I assumed were ours. Others might have been missing and in the hands of those not in the cells. Probably for their own 'sport'." Zack did not hide his distain for the word 'sport' as he figured the 'sport' of the ruling council was anything but 'sporting'.
Carlos then asked "Wonder why they kept them so close." Samoht answered the question. "Probably to taunt us. Our powers so close, yet so far away."
"Yeah well, those powers just got a lot closer." Sabrina said as she took the lead to go find the morphers. Jason and Tommy shared a look and shrugged shoulders as if saying 'Why not?' and followed her. After Jason and Tommy left the other Rangers also followed Sabrina's lead. Soon everyone left the prison level to head to where the morphers and zeonizers were being kept.
In the adjacent lab three Daleks and two Robo Aquatians guarded the morphers that were being kept under force lock and key. Around the corner Andros's team had morphed believing they would need their powers to get the remaining morphers free.
"How do we want to do this?" Black Morphin then asked. Silver Zeo grabbed the chair she kept on her jacket and unhooked it answering "As quickly as possible." Then she went forward to attack the Daleks, that had turned around just as she was about to strike.
"HALT!!!" one Dalek had said. But Silver Zeo was too far into her attack to stop. The chain was unhooked and she was bringing it to bear. Like a dancer that was into her routine she had to finish the last dance step. Only this dance was to be a dance of death for the Daleks.
Silver Zeo brought forth her chain and clocked the Daleks in the eyestalks blinding them causing them to go hysterical and blast everything around them. "MY VISION IS IMPAIRED!!! I CANNOT SEE!!!" they all said as the Robo Aquatians and force field generator exploded in the Daleks' panicked blaster fire. Soon their blasters struck each other and the three Daleks all exploded. Once the room was secure the Rangers went to the rack where their morphers sat in a force cage. "Anyone have a key to open this?" Yellow Zeo then asked trying to input codes to unlock the force screen. Silently she wished she had the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver on hand.
"Just one." Silver Zeo said as she brought out her pistol and blasted the lock. In a shower of sparks the force wall came down. The morphers were there for the Rangers to reclaim. Jason's Red Morpher. David's White Morpher. Samoht's Green Morpher. Tanya's Purple Morpher. Tommy's Red Zeonizer. Rocky's Blue Zeonizer. Adam's Green Zeonizer. Skull's White Zeonizer. Ritchie's Black Zeonizer. Emily grabbed her Purple Zeonizer while T.J. grabbed his Blue Astro Morpher. Dan grabbed his White Astro Morpher.
The Pink and Yellow Morphers were gone, presumably with Kimberly and Trini. The Pink Zeonizer was gone-Kat had that still. Ashley, Alison and Cassie had their Yellow, Green and Pink Astro Morphers respectively. Billy had his Blue Morpher. Zhane had the Silver Astro Morpher, but Silver Zeo felt something wrong with Zhane's powers.
Silver Zeo looked up and said "Zhane's powers are in danger of failing. I have to go and help him." Andros didn't hide the concern for his friend as he asked "Cassidy are you sure?"
Nodding Cassidy then explained "Zhane's powers have been in danger of failing ever since getting out of cryo sleep. If the Daleks succeed in shutting his powers down they could find a way to shut down ALL our Ranger powers."
"Which would leave us vulnerable to Dalek firepower." Samantha added. "Where one shot could finish us all off." Andros, Jason and Tommy all agreed. "Can you find where he's at?" Tommy asked.
Cassidy nodded. "I know where he is. I can spring him and stop what the Daleks are doing." Andros looked at Cassidy afraid she might fall into her state again, but she seemed to have a purpose. The tone in Cassidy's voice indicated she was not going to fall into that state again. Not until the mission was over at least.
Cassidy wasn't the only one that needed to bring about a rescue. He saw the Gold Zeo Morpher missing and he figured his friend Bulk was still being tortured. "I gotta go." Skull said. "I have to find Bulk. That guy Lord Malice will kill him or worse to get his immortality."
Jason and Tommy looked at each other and both nodded. Skull's relationship with Bulk was much like the brotherly relationship Jason and Tommy had with each other. "Get going." Jason said. "Save him." Skull smiled and then took off. He was going to look for where Bulk was being held.
"I'm going to see if I can find where the others are being held." Andros said. "Cestria is torturing them somehow, and I have to stop it." Richie then said "We could find Cestria and force her to tell us."
"That won't guarantee we'll find them. Who knows what we'd have to face if we faced Cestria first." Andros stated. Sabrina agreed and added "We'd have a better chance with as many Rangers as we can. Cestria won't tell where they are right off the bat."
"No she won't." Adam said agreeing with Sabrina. Turning to Andros he said "Get going. Catch up when you can." Andros nodded and left to find Billy and the other girls. One of them was a girl he loved. Jason and Tommy looked at each other and Jason said "Guess we're it."
"We'll manage." Tommy said. Soon, the other Rangers made for the center to find Cestria/Scorpina and the Ruling council.
Even if the confrontation was to be a final confrontation.
Dark Range Platform
The Outsiders followed Tritania through the corridors and promenades of Dark Range, amazed by the labyrinth of corridors and the mismash of cultures throughout the station. Finally they came to the door to Tritania's quarters, which did not look that impressive. Just a bulkhead door that seemed to be on so many different ships.
"Don't expect a pleasure planet once you're inside." Tritania said as she opened the door. Sure enough the room did not have much of an appeal. There was a bed, a nightstand, and very little possessions scattered around. The only other pieces of furniture in the room was a dresser to put changes of clothes in, and a monitor that seemed to be for communication and the station's television equipment.
"Here we are. All the comforts of home. That is if you like living in a one bedroom hovel." The Outsiders all looked around the place that didn't seem all that impressive. Jamie looked at the screen and asked "What channels have you got?"
"Some council. Some UAE dramas and propaganda films. The rest comes off as homemade porn. Not much news out here." Tritania said. "But that's not why you're here is it?"
"You watch nothing from Triforia?" Chelsea asked not being subtle. "No news? No dramas? No comedies? Shook her head not sure where Chelsea's line of questioning was going. Tritania asked "Why should I?" clearly annoyed with Chelsea.
Chelsea then got down to business. "You're Triforian aren't you?" Chelsea asked. Tritania got defensive and asked "And if I am? What of it?"
"I saw a picture of you on your ship." Chelsea then said. "A picture where it looked like you were with the Royal Family." Tritania then turned to glare at Chelsea, and ran right to her to look her in the eye.
"You saw nothing." Tritania said with a growl in her voice. "You saw no picture of me with the royal family. That family doesn't exist for me. Triforia doesn't exist to me."
"But it's your home." Chelsea said trying to stir up a feeling inside her. And while succeeding the feeling Chelsea was stirring was not one of warmth of home."
"Dark Range is my home. My ship is my home. Nowhere else." Tritania said as if driving home a point. She then continued speaking as if reliving bad memories.
"Let me tell you something. I was the child nobody wanted. They wanted my little sister Trialia more than they wanted me, and she was the furthest away from the throne. I was the eldest, but Trey was the favored. He was going to be king. My parents just wanted to pawn me off to the next elite shirt to get married to then have me out of their hair. So I stood up the wedding that was arranged from me, and I left Triforia, never to return. Never wanting to know ANYTHING about what happened there. Triforia is dead to me. And my family is dead to me too."
"Your family is dead." Chelsea finally said in a deadpan way that through Tritania off guard. "Literally. Your father, your mother, and your sisters, including Trialia."
Tritania heard Chelsea's words, but couldn't believe them. "Wh... wh... what?" she asked trying to comprehend what Chelsea had said.
"Your family is dead." Chelsea said again. "Murdered. All of them."
Tritania was speechless as she visualized her family. Once lively in her memory, memories both good and bad. However, it only now seemed the good memories were rising to the forefront of her memories. Memories of the family she hadn't spoken to for years. The family that gave her grief more often than not was dead and gone. "How?" Tritania asked.
Chelsea gave Tritania her answer. "Terr killed them."
Upon hearing Terr's name Tritania felt as if her heart stopped, rose up in her throat and had nearly gagged her. Her family was gone. Her father, stepmother, her sisters, her brother, all of them gone. And at the mention of the name Terr Tritania's hand clenched into a fist as her mind filled with anger and hate. She knew of Terr. All too well.
She remembered a night in the Triforian Gardens where Terr had been present. There was a palace ball taking place, one of several the Royal family had attended. Terr had been drinking heavily and was starting to become an embarrassment to the party. The king and queen asked Tristan to escort Terr outside to get his head together and soon Terr found himself out in the gardens as the party continued. His mind swirling from the different liquors from different planets.
Tritania walked out into the gardens trying to escape the stuffiness of the party. She hated wearing the ball gowns and tiaras that always had to fit her station. She may have been a princess, but she hated dressing like one. She thought they made her look like a jeweled ball of fluff that couldn't do much of anything except pass out decrees, giggle at bad jokes and look pretty. Tritania always thought she could do more, and strived to when a moment presented itself. But at the party no such moments came, and she felt she had to leave before the party atmosphere killed her entire flock of brain cells.
She then took leave onto the balcony when saw Terr in a drunken stupor. She thought of going to his side to see if he was alright, but held back. She always felt at odds with Terr. There was something scary about her cousin. A fear that grew when saw a look in his eyes. A look that showed he had more 'appetites' than that for the liquor.
Terr saw Tritania and immediately started undressing her in his mind. Ripping off the skirts of her gown, then ripping off the corset so he could study her perfectly curved body and then break her very spirit as he envisioned a night of debauchery with her. Terr then decided he didn't want a drink anymore.
He wanted Tritania, and Tritania knew it. The feeling left her afraid and angry at the same time. Deciding to act on his feelings Terr reached forward seeking to rip off the very skirts he envisioned ripping off and have his way with her. Tritania herself screaming in pain as he felt Terr enter her very being. Breaking her body, and breaking her spirit.
Tritania However, had other plans as she had also been trained in hand to hand combat by the royal guard. Putting the training to use she made sure Terr regretted his advances towards her. Painfully regretted. He had several broken ribs, and his 'favorite part' hurt for days.
He spent a night in the dungeon that night until he sobered up. Hovever, despite the sobering up, he didn't wise up. Many times he still lusted after her. And many times he was rebuffed, painfully.
Tritania's mind then went to the present as she thought of Triforia under Terr's rule. Her family all dead. Herself not there. "What happened?" she finally asked in a weak voice.
"Terr arranged a coup." Chelsea explained. " He allied with the Triforian Guardsmen and killed the Royal Family with a special blade. No one survived. Not even Trialia." Tritania remembered the Triforian Guardsmen. They were a myth as far as she knew, and seemed grateful that they were. Horror stories of the Guardsmen were told to remind people of their evil, and what paths in life to avoid. For them to be a reality, and Terr be responsible for their resurrection was a horror Tritania did not want to think of. Yet, now had no choice to think of now that her family was gone. Tritania imagined Trialia being hunted and killed. She was only a child, even in Triforian standards.
"And Trey?" Tritania asked, afraid of the answer. Was he dead as well?.
"In a cryotube on Earth." Chelsea said. "One of his aspects was killed."
"One third dead." Tritania said as she remembered the partial death state Triforians had been known to suffer from where one aspect is killed while the remaining two are left lingering alive. She had heard of such stories about partial Triforian death caught between the realm of the living and the afterlife. How Triforians went mad as they were existing between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead. There had been moment where Triforians caught in the one third dead state couldn't tell between family that loved them and the Gods of Death that awaited them for their final journey.
Triforians caught in one third dead state often wished for death as the state was seen as a hell for Triforians to undergo. A hell that would not be wished upon anyone. _Well almost_ she thought as she thought Terr deserved such a fate, a state for madness that would consume him until death finally claimed him. And sent him to the dark afterlife where monsters waited to torment his soul. "And Terr?" Tritania asked hoping the answer was the right one.
"All dead." Chelsea said giving Tritania the answer she hoped for. Tritania nodded as she then took a moment to offer her silent condemnations of Terr. She imagined him in one of the seven Triforian Hells undergoing eternal punishment for the deaths he had brought in his own greed and lust for power. Wishing to turn to happier possibilities her mind then turned to Trey, the brother who would be leader of his people, ruler of his world. A wise and noble king... trapped between life and death. Tritania then asked "How is it Trey hasn't died completely yet?".
Chelsea then answered Tritania's question. "Trey's in cryo as we try to find a way to treat his condition." Looking at Chelsea Tritania had a feeling that she was the one who ordered Trey into cryo, trapping him in the maddening state between life and death. "How could you have him endure that hell?" she asked Chelsea with a hint of anger in her voice. Chelsea, to her credit, didn't back down.
"Because I love him." Chelsea answered. "I want him to have the live he should have had, and he can't do that if he's dead. He may be one third dead, but he's also two thirds alive. And I am going to do everything possible to make sure he's three thirds alive." Tritania heard Chelsea's words and the conviction she had in them. She wanted Trey to live. On that belief Tritania agreed with Chelsea.
Tritania also had an idea what that 'treatment' to save Trey would entail, but she did not want to go into details. There would be time enough to think of that. Changing the subject she then asked "Who's running Triforia now? Especially with Terr gone."
"Prime Minister Tirol." Chelsea answered. Tritania flinched as she heard Chelsea say the name of Tirol. Chelsea caught notice of Tritania's reaction as if she knew the name from somewhere. "Do you know him?"
"Yeah I knew him." Tritania said. "Great guy. I take it he led the overthrow of Terr?" Chelsea nodded. "There weren't many left who could. And Tirol ended Terr himself."
"Sounds like something he'd do." Tritania said. She then began to think of Tirol. Memories of another time. A time that was supposed to be joyous to most, but it wasn't to others, at least it wasn't to Tritania. _Another story for another time._ she thought. Right now she did not want to think of Trey, Terr or Triforia. Right now Aquitar was the world that was the topic at hand. And the Outsiders deserved to know the truth. A truth that could hopefully benefit Trey.
Tritania then decided to try to change the subject at hand. "Are you sure you're doing right by getting involved with Aquitar? That maybe what's happening could be a benefit to many in the universe right now? Perhaps even Trey?"
"The conquering of Aquitar by UAE overlords is a good thing?" Tyler asked. "Are you smoking some planetary herb that is diminishing your capacity for reason?" Tritania then began to explain her reasoning for the cargo runs she had been doing.
"It's been said that the cargo is water from the Eternal Falls, being sold on the open market." Tritania confessed. "To worlds that need its healing properties and rejuvenating effects to stave off diseases and terminal sickness. The water helps people in need that weren't able to be helped before due to some belief that the waters could produce a form of immortality that could leave one living a living death than eternal life. But now the waters are saving lives. Lives that could have been saved earlier if the old Aquatian Guard hadn't insisted on keeping restrictions in place." The Outsiders looked at each other stunned by the admission. The Eternal Falls was a great healing resource on Aquitar. They had helped Billy when he was rapidly aging. And now an evil alliance had control over them. An alliance Tritania was helping.
"You're okay with that?" Tyler asked. "A planet conquered so the water could be used as a medicine?"
"A medicine that wasn't available before." Tritania said. "A medicine that could help millions throughout the universe. The falls always seemed to be an exclusive right that Aquitar kept for themselves. Why shouldn't they be shared?"
"One, because the people of Aquitar are paying the price for this 'distribution of medicine." Theresa said. "The government of Aquitar may have kept the falls to themselves, but the civilization did not need to pay the price for their government's decision." Pausing for a second she added "And they are paying for it."
"Also those that need the waters of the Eternal Falls most won't get it." Lillian said. "It will go to some crime lord or some UAE monster. Never a family in need. Unless maybe it's a crime family, or a royal family looking to pay big."
"You don't know that." Tritania said trying to keep her rationale, but found herself faltering. "There would be smuggling networks willing to smuggle the water to council planets."
"Not at the price that would be asked." Christina added. "And they wouldn't be set up enough to get the water out for long. Many more would die before even a sliver of the water reached the tiniest fraction of those who would really need it."
"A figure that would be more like one in five billion." Nate added. Nodding at Nate's estimate Christina pushed the last question. "Is the money you're getting from the Eternal Falls water worth your soul? Or the souls of the people of Aquitar?"
"My ship is worth the price." Tritania had said, an air of defeat in her voice as she realized what all she had left. "Without that I have nothing."
"No. You still have your brother." Chelsea added. "And he needs help. Help from his sister." Right then Tritania knew Chelsea had pushed the right button. Trey, the last member of her family. The hope for Triforia. A hope Tritania held in her hands.
Right away Tritania's priorities had changed. She didn't want to go back to Triforia again, to relive a life of a misfit royal. She loved her freedom. To choose her own path. But if what the Outsiders said was true her freedom may come at the cost of the population of an entire planetary civilization. A civilization coming to the point of extinction if it wasn't freed.
"Maybe only one would be saved compared to the billions more that would die if the Ruling Council continues to control Aquitar." Katarina had said pushing forth the final point. Tritania heard the final words of Katarina and turned to face the Outsiders. Her decision made.
"We leave for Aquitar within the hour." Tritania had said. With that they made their way to the Fallen Grace. The Outsiders smiling as they seemed to gain a new ally, and a possible means to help Trey.
Inside a grotto that served as a temporary Zord repair bay work had begun on Titanus and the Delta Megaship. There would be a major offensive on the central hub and what little resources remained would serve to ensure their new 'big guns' were at peak efficiency.
Nathan watched the repairs being done outside making sure everything went smoothly. He even assisted in repairing some of the systems that needed the most work. Aisha entertained Admiral Finn who was looking at the Zord control centers wanting to see how they had worked.
Admiral Finn marveled at the seldom used control center of Titanus as he stood in the center. Clearly it was an impressive machine. More powerful than any zord he knew of. "Amazing." he said looking at the controls.
"Yeah." Aisha said looking around. "I never needed to come in here. None of the Rangers did. Titanus seemed to act well on his own with no Ranger to be partnered with."
"Until now?" Finn asked. Aisha nodded. "When I got the Carrier Ranger powers I got Titanus, Tor, and apparently the Delta Megaship from the Astro Rangers, although I've been letting Nathan operate that one for right now. I could probably control Pyramidas as well, but I think the Triforians may have an issue with that."
"I can understand that." Finn said. "Pyramidas has been part of Triforia for so long, despite its carrier status." Looking out the window Finn also saw the Aquatian survivors arming themselves. They would be boarding Titanus as ground troops Finn would be commanding while Nathan would be commanding the Delta Megaship in an air attack. Aisha would be operating Titanus. Finn's heart went heavy at the sight of civilians becoming conscripted troops in a rebel offensive. His mission was to protect civilians not throw them in harm's way.
But all that changed when Aquitar was conquered. Now Finn had to do something about that.
Aisha picked up on Finn's feelings and offered what comfort she could to the former admiral, now rebel leader. "There's no choice is there? We have to fight."
"I'm afraid this is all we can do." Aisha said with sadness in her voice. "Cestria and her 'friends' won't surrender Aquitar. And if there's any evidence of free Aquatians anywhere she won't hesitate to subdue them. All of them."
"Further endangering the people I am sworn to protect." Finn said. However, he also knew he wasn't just a military leader anymore. He has had to grow and adapt to his new situation. But his goal was still the same, defend Aquitar and stop anyone who would seek to invade it. Turning to Aisha he then said "Cestria pays for what she has done. To Aquitar and to its people."
"Definitely." Aisha said with reassurance. She then looked at her morpher that had all the different power settings on it. One setting However, caught her eye the most-the Night Power Setting.
For a brief moment she wondered if this was the time to use the setting. She then shook her head 'no' at the idea. Despite the situation being grave and desperate for Aquitar and the Power Ranger teams, she did not believe that this was the time to use the setting. What was happening on Aquitar was something she could understand and relate to. The Night Powers given to her were best suited for something beyond comprehension to her. An evil so shattering that there was no choice but to use the powers.
For a moment Aisha wondered what that evil could be if it wasn't Cestria and the ruling council. Aisha decided to table that line of thought for now. She had to free her friends and help free the planet.
Nathan then came in and handed Aisha the data pad which had the diagnostics on the status of the Delta Megaship and Titanus. All systems looked A-OK to her with self-repair taking care of any damage the zords may have had enroute to Aquitar. "Final check is completed. Time to go." Aisha then said.
Finn nodded and telepathically ordered his rebel group to board Titanus which Aisha would be controlling. Nathan teleported to the Delta Megaship's bridge with a skeleton crew for support. A countdown commenced signaling the zords were ready to launch. When the countdown hit 'zero' both zords moved from their hiding places onto the surface of Aquitar. Bursting through the ground and the sky like avenging spirits in the names of the innocent.
Titanus was on the move ready to attack. As was the Delta Megaship. Both zords were now on the move.
Most of the freed Rangers followed Tommy to attack the central hub where the ruling council was based. With them was Zack, Samoht, David, Tanya, Rocky, Adam, Richie, Samantha, Emily and Sabrina. Tommy accepted Sabrina indicating that he trusted her. Everyone else trusted his judgment, but Richie had his reservations.
Adam However, was glad she came along. He wasn't sure why though.
Cassidy had gone off on her own as had Skull. Daniel wondered if Cassidy was going to be all right. Cassidy nodded and said she would. "There are some realities of war I've come to grips with." To herself she added _Some, but not all._, but she had to see what she could do to help Zhane. Even if it meant drawing her blaster again.
Still she hoped she wouldn't have to. Andros also wished her well and hoped she could free his best friend.
Skull also went his own way. He had to free Gold Zeo Bulk from the experiments and tortures of Lord Malice and his Organization. "You are going to find out that Bulk is my friend. Not a lab rat", he said silently as a vow to Lord Malice.
Andros went to see if he could find the missing girl Rangers, especially Ashley. Jason However, went to see if he could find Kimberly and Katherine, who were being tortured separately. Being Astro Rangers T.J., Carlos and Daniel followed. They didn't have a problem with Jason or Tommy, but they knew Andros better as he was their Red Ranger. Jason understood as he also said "If you find Billy free him too."
"Count on it." Andros said as he then led his three man rescue party. After looking at the data terminal to see where Ashley was Andros and his group immediately made tracks. Sabrina said she would look after the other Rangers as they raided the central hub then left with Tommy's group.
"You sure you know where you're going?" Daniel asked as they seemed to walk a mile worth of corridors yet coming up with nothing.
"This is where the computer said Ashley was being held." Andros said as he turned a corridor to where the system told him Ashley had been held. The system also gave the location of Alison, Cassie and the Blue Ranger Billy. When Andros told Jason where the two Pink Rangers were he set out to find them, especially as Ashley seemed to be tortured alone.
Andros knew he had to find her and took off in pursuit. He and the other Rangers blasting all that was in the way. Soon he arrived at the doorway. The other three Rangers were ready to follow. "Ready? GO!!!"
Blaster fire erupted from the room. Blaster fire the male Rangers quickly dodged. Soon the Rangers returned fire destroying the Dalek scientists that were there. With only ruined shells waiting for them Andros then went to the harness Ashley was strapped to only to find it empty.
"Where's Ashley?" Andros asked as he looked all over the lab for her.
In the experimentation lab where Kimberly and Katherine had been kept Scorpina had been going through several frequencies looking to alter Kimberly and Katherine's forms. Each frequency altered their form in one shape or another. And each transformation seemed to be more painful that the last.
Kimberly felt herself being turned into so many different things. She had been turned into an actual crane at one time. Then she had been turned into a kind of potted plant. And at one time Scorpina had turned her into a snake. Scorpina smiled as she saw Kimberly slithering on her belly in order to move.
"Hmmmm. Perhaps." Scorpina then tinkered with Katherine's form as she transformed her into several different forms as well. First she transformed Katherine into a pink feline type of creature she heard was found on Mirinoi, but it was not quite the transformation Scorpina wanted.
"Close, but not quite." Scorpina said. She then decided to continue Katherine's transformations and turned her into a ball of yarn next, and then finally as a joke Scorpina had turned Katherine into a mouse.
Scorpina then looked at Kimberly the snake and smiled. "Hungry Kimberly? You can have your friend for dinner." Referring to Katherine the mouse.
The snake that was Kimberly did not move. She only stuck out a snake like tongue at Scorpina. Katherine the mouse also stood her ground glaring at Scorpina with mouse eyes. Scorpina was disappointed the two girls weren't allowing their animal instincts to take over. She would have enjoyed seeing one friend devour another.
"So there is still something human of you after all." Scorpina said as she saw the two girls transformed so many times. "Still there's more fun to be had."
She had found old frequencies used when Kimberly was turned into a Pachinko ball and a football, and transformed her into both once again. Looking at Katherine Scorpina saw a transformation where she had been turned into a brick of concrete and transformed her into that as well.
Scorpina activated those frequencies and turned Kimberly into the Pachinko Ball and Football. She the activated the transformation turning Katherine into a brick. Then for fun she crossed their forms so that Kimberly was turned into a brick and Katherine had been turned into the Pachinko Ball and Football. While amusing they were not the forms she was looking for.
No, Scorpina wanted to unlock Kat's cat transformation. She sensed great power if that was done. Power she wanted. And if she couldn't unlock it in Katherine, she would unlock it in Kimberly, even though she had never transformed into a cat. Yet for some reason Scorpina believed the unlocking of power involved Kimberly and Katherine both. There was a destiny they needed to share. A destiny Scorpina would control, or destroy.
"Energy default." Scorpina said as she activated the next transformation for both girls. A change not into matter, but into forms of energy. Energy Scorpina couldn't believe.
Kimberly and Katherine now were locked into forms of pink energy. Energy that seemed to be a mix of gas and erupting light, much like a nebula found in space. Energy suspended in the transforming chamber. Energy with no form or shape, yet alive. But Scorpina noticed something about the energy forms which allowed her to tell which energy form was Kimberly and which was Katherine.
Kimberly's pink energy was laced with white bursts and even burst out specks of white as if trying to communicate it was in pain. Katherine's energy glowed red, and also gave the same flashes of supposed pain. The flashes were like lightning in a thunderstorm with Kimberly and Katherine both as the clouds. Clouds of pink energy representing their life forces.
"Impressive." Scorpina had said. "You almost remind me of two of the nebulae in the Ten nebulas belt." She had remembered the string of nebulae interconnected to form one of the universes natural wonders, and how Kimberly and Katherine now resembled parts of a beautiful universal wonder.
"Even in different forms you are still seen as beauties." Scorpina glared. "No matter. Next frequency."
Scorpina then sent another wave of transformation energy through Kimberly and Katherine's energy forms. Their forms flashed as their bodies were hit by another energy bolt intending to see what could cause them to change forms. For Kat, it would be back into a cat for certain. For Kim, it was anyone's guess but Scorpina was sure Kim could turn into a cat as well.
_Those transformations unlock their hidden power. I shall have that power._ Scorpina thought. She would also have fun seeing them scream through the flashes of lightning given through their energy forms.
But Scorpina was intent on finding the right transformation frequency. And if she didn't... well she couldn't say she didn't have fun seeing the Pink Rangers scream through lightning flashes.
The Pink Morphin and Pink Zeo Rangers had been twisted, turned and molded for hours on end. And in some cases she had even diverted some of the energy of the girls into one another so they seemed interconnected with each other. One energy stream that was Kimberly was sharing energy with Katherine and Katherine's energy was being shared with Kimberly, as if the two girls were being linked together. In mind, body and, Scorpina hoped, soul.
It seemed like more than just blood and life force was being shared between them. It was almost like chromosomes were being swapped between the two Pink Rangers. Taking from one to see if it fit to the other. All the while their bodies were twisting and shaping in unusual contortions and solid states. And even though they were in energy states the process was no less painful.
Finally the splitting stopped and Kimberly and Katherine were respectively in one piece again, as well as human forms, more or less. Kimberly and Katherine took a breath waiting for what would happen next. Looking at each other they saw everything they were was back together. Legs, faces, hands, legs, nothing was missing... yet.
"I'd wonder what else she'd do." Kimberly said referring to Scorpina. "But I'd hate to give her ideas."
"She may not need ideas from us." Katherine added. "I think the Daleks have given her some nasty tricks."
Scorpina had arranged for Kimberly and Katherine to be put through and endless array of scientific tortures. Blood transfusion, cellular splicing, matter/energy conversion-which they just finished. The girls were hurt in more ways than one, but they were not going to give Scorpina the satisfaction of begging. They would remain defiant of her. The glares they shot Scorpina's way were proof of that.
Scorpina gave no intimidation at her captives as she stood like someone who held all the cards. Not until the next second when a door opened and a pair of Robo Aquatians walked in. "Release them." Scorpina said ordering the two Robos to undo the bonds holding down Kimberly and Katherine.
"Who are you?" Kat asked her and Kimberly's supposed rescuers. The Robos didn't answer as one deactivated the locking mechanism causing the bonds restraining Kim and Kat to be released. Sitting up the girls felt their wrists as they seemed to be freed from Scorpina's experiments, but they were too hurt to try to escape. This fact was proven when both girls tried to get off the table only for their legs to give out from under them.
The Robo Aquatians grabbed the two girls before they hit the ground with one saying "Come with us." "Where are we going?" Kim asked barely able to get the words out.
The Robo Aquatian then said "Final Experiment."
Kimberly and Katherine looked at each other wondering what the Robo Aquatian meant as they suddenly felt themselves changed again. This time they were in the form of giant Pachinko balls with their respective helmets on their faces. Kimberly's ball had her Pink Ranger helmet on while Katherine's ball had her Zeo Ranger I helmet on.
"Quite the pair aren't they?" Scorpina said as a joke. The Robo Aquation picked up the transformed girls and held them before his mistress.
"Restore them to human forms when they arrive at their destination." Scorpina ordered as the Robo Aquation had the transformed girls taken away.
If they could wonder where they were going they would find out the answer soon enough, as they were to be part of Scorpina's final revenge.
In another part of the Capital Blue Morphin was faced with his own battle. A battle with his friends who were once the Alien Rangers of Aquitar but were now part of Scorpina's Guard Command.
A Guard Command who were doing everything in their power to defeat and subdue their former friend. Blue Morphin did all he could to keep fighting his former friends, trying to evade their strikes, and fight back when he needed to. But his skills were not as polished as many of his fellow Rangers, and he had five opponents.
Yet Blue Morphin knew this. And through the fighting he had come up with a plan. _If my plan works I don't have to be a good fighter. Just bring my friends back to reality._
Jason had taught Billy once that sometimes it was not the fighter that could fight the best, but that it was the fighter that could last the longest. Billy saw evidence to that point when he was shown a boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Forman. Forman was getting the kill on Ali leading him to believe Ali was on empty. What Forman and the audience did not know was that Ali was setting Forman up for an attack in the eighth round. Forman had used up his offence leaving Ali to strike with Forman too tired to fight back.
The move was called a 'rope a dope'. And he was seeking to do the same with the Aquatian Guard Commanders. Wear them down to the point that they would hopefully wear down their conditioning as well. So far Billy had been keeping his own limited telepathic sense aware of any glimmer of consciousness from his former friends. So far there was none. All the while Billy had been dodging the incoming strikes doing a limited amount of attacks. All the while playing the waiting game hoping to wear out his friends and their conditioning so he could do his own 'rope a dope'.
But Billy wondered if at the rate he was fighting he would have exhausted himself before the Aquatian Guard Commanders were exhausted.
Finally he saw it. The small glimmer of consciousness inside the Guard Commander known as Delphine. Blue Morphin knew she was still in there somewhere. Now it was only a matter of time to help her come out, as well as the other Aquatian Rangers.
Billy had only heard of this approach. He had never done it himself. It only became known to him when he looked into Terry Bogard and his friends, and wound up looking into other alternate venues regarding ancient powers in the Martial Arts. He found many stories and legends regarding ancient powers the most dedicated of Martial Artists had unlocked. Powers of hypnosis, mental manipulation, in some cases-body transfer. In his search he found one technique that he believed could be of benefit to his friends from Aquitar.
A technique developed by the Arashikage Ninja Clan. The Arashikage Mind Set.
Billy had only heard of the technique. It had never been shown, or taught to him. He had heard of it's abilities and developed a way where he could do a version of it. He also knew there was no guarantee the Mind Set he had developed, based on his own guesswork on the technique would work as well as the one the Arashikage Ninja had developed, or that it would even work at all. But if he could pull it off he believed he had the chance to recover the minds of his Aquatian friends.
But first he needed to get the attention of one of the Guard Commanders. "DELPHINE!!!" he said shouting not just with his voice, but with his mind as well. It had been said that when using the voice of sound and the voice of mind a voice is created that none could ignore. In the case of Delphine Billy was relieved that he had struck a remainder of a nerve in her. It meant there was a chance to break through her conditioning.
"That name has no further meaning." The Guard Commander that was Delphine had said. "Your use of it is a futile gesture."
"I kind of doubt that." Billy said bringing his arms up he then formed a circle with his thumbs and adjacent fingers forming a circle. A circle where his eye was in the center of. He tried to remember the motions of the mindset. He knew that non telepaths had used this technique in the worlds of martial arts, and he hoped his own limited telepathy would fill the gaps of knowledge he might have had in performing the technique.
Those doubts were put to rest Billy looked through this circle he made and stared into the eyes of Delphine. The seemed to stare vacantly as the programming fell away from her. Memory came forth as she remembered her earlier days on Aquitar. A child playing in the oceans of their world. Swimming through the reefs under the surface. Childhood friends that would soon become Power Rangers as they were selected due to their skills to defend their world. Delphine felt honored to be a Power Ranger defending Aquitar, and excelled to where she was seen to become leader of the Aquitar Rangers.
Delphine also remembered the outcry at her selection among bureaucrats. There was talk that she should not have been leader as she wasn't selected to bear the Red Ranger powers. Others argued that while Red had been the traditional leadership color White Rangers had been known to be placed in the roles of leader in special circumstances, when a White Ranger became available.
Delphine's selection became easier when her friends supported her. Cestro, Corcus, Tideus, Aurico, Cestria. All the Aquitar Rangers gave their support to Delphine. They would have followed her to the ends of Aquitar and beyond if they needed to. Delphine vowed to never forget the friendship and loyalty her fellow Rangers had shown her.
Her memories then changed to the first call to Aquitar when the Rangers were transformed into children. The battles they had taken part in. The friendships that were formed. The goodbye they had when they left Earth. Finally the battle where Billy had left Earth to remain on Aquitar, supposedly forever.
The memories then changed to Aquitar falling, Billy being given the Aquatian Rangers power coins and escaping, Cestria then being revealed as the traitor to Aquitar. The subjugation and mental programming she underwent as her true self was stripped away and a new self put in its place according to Cestria's specifications. The shame she felt as she did actions against her nature, and her oath as a Power Ranger.
_Focus Delphine._ came a voice inside her head. _There will be time for shame and mourning later. Now it is time to return._ Delphine listened to the voice knowing it was Billy using a mind set technique she had never heard of, but was bringing her back to a reality.
Delphine then let out a howl of agony as she reached up to the top of her head to grab the latches of her helmet and proceded to rip them off so she could remove the helmet Cestria had placed on her. Once she removed the helmet she threw it as far away from her with all the anger and sorrow she could muster, and Delphine had a lot in her.
The Guard Commanders were confused by her actions. They became even more confused when she moved to stand alongside Billy. "Billy." Delphine then said. "I appreciate you helping release me from Cestria's control, but let me free my friends my own way." Billy then nodded saying "Go ahead Delphine."
_Listen my fellow Rangers._ Delphine thought to the other four Guard Commanders. _It is time to awaken again. We have been under the forced sleep of Cestria and her allies too long. We need not continue to help her shameful rule any longer. For a moment it seemed the Guard Commanders were wavering in their commitment to Cestria, but their bringing forth their weapons compelled Delphine to try something new.
"Billy, I will need that technique you had used." Billy nodded as he had an idea of what Delphine had in mind. She was going to use the focus of the mind set Billy used to focus her thoughts directed to The other Guard Commanders. They who were once the Alien Rangers of Aquitar.
And would be again if Delphine had anything to say about it. Once Delphine knew what Billy had done she was ready. "I didn't know humans were aware of the Aquatian Mind's Eye technique."
"Only a few are." Billy had said. "And they would call it the Arashikage Mind Set." Delphine just shrugged at the sound of this information and said "Regardless we must make use of it to free the others." Billy agreed and turned to the Guard Commanders who looked ready to attack. It was then that Billy and Delphine raised their hands and made the symbol of the eye that was the Mind Set. Soon the thoughts of the Guard Commanders were opened. At first they had to go through walls and walls of Cestria's conditioning. But with the combined might of Billy and Delphine the cracks in the other Guard Commanders were appearing. Cracks that grew wider. Memories coming to the fore.
The memories of the other four former Rangers were like those Delphine had. Memories of training, of friendship, of battle, of victory... .and of defeat, loss of self, and betrayal.
They saw Cestria standing over them. Cestria dressed in gold armor. Armor of Scorpina a UAE villain. What was she doing? Why did she turn to evil? They asked these questions until their awareness faded from their minds, and the personas of the robotic Guard Commanders were in place. Personas stripped away, but not without great anguish and emotional pain.
The howl across the hall was one of sadness, yet one of freedom as well. For the Guard Commanders were now gone. The Aquatian Rangers were returned, but they had wounds in the soul that Billy wondered would ever heal.
Delphine and Billy then broke the mind set as all the Aquatian Rangers had been returned to awareness. An awareness they knew they had to return to, but wished they hadn't at the same time as they relived the nightmare of being taken and reprogrammed into enforcers of Cestria's, no Scorpina's, will. They realized the person they had trusted was gone, and a new monster was put in her place.
For a moment the Aquatian Rangers wondered if ignorance was bliss and they should have remained trapped in the oblivion of their minds, but they realized that the Rangers of Aquitar would not have returned when they were needed most, which was now. "Thank you Billy." Cestro had said trying to sort out his mind, emotions, and his grief. "What was that technique you had used? It almost seemed like 'the Mind's Eye technique."
"A technique I heard a ninja clan use." Billy said. "I guessed how it was performed."
"You guessed well Billy." Delphine said. Billy then reached into his jacket vest pocket and pulled out the five power coins entrusted to him. "Figured you would want these back." The former Guard Commanders waved off the offered coins as Cestro said "There is something we need to do first." Looking at the other Aquatian Rangers they all nodded at what Cestro had in mind. Even Delphine nodded in agreement.
The five Rangers of Aquitar ripped off their guard command uniforms. The militant jackets, the gloves, all they sought to leave was tatters of the uniforms Cestria put them in. Only their undershirts, pants and boots were left on, and for the Rangers of Aquitar that was enough. Billy looked at his fellow Rangers in their state of semi undress as they then took the Power Coins Billy had been holding for them.
"We could not bear wearing the garb of the traitor any longer." Delphine said with sadness in her voice. Billy nodded as he and the Rangers of Aquitar looked to where Cestria had been seated. The 'Empress of Aquitar' was gone. As were Alison, Cassie, and Trini.
'Cestria's still loose." Billy said. "We have to find her." Delphine and the others agreed as they fitted their coins to their morphers. "It is time we wore more dignified garments." The other four Aquatian Rangers agreed.
"IT'S MORPHIN TIME!!!"
"BLUE AQUITAR RANGER POWER!!!"
"RED AQUITAR RANGER POWER!!!"
"WHITE AQUITAR RANGER POWER!!!"
"BLACK AQUITAR RANGER POWER!!!"
"YELLOW AQUITAR RANGER POWER!!!"
"BLUE RANGER POWER!!!"
Blue Morphin stood with his friends again. The tattered remains of their old uniforms left behind as if making a personal statement to anyone who came across them. Especially for Cestria. They wanted her to know especially.
The Guard Commanders were gone. The Alien Rangers of Aquitar were back.
After evading corridors of Robo Aquatians, Shadow Troopers, Daleks and a number of sentry baddies Skull found where his friend was being held. Once he found his destination, he saw his friend brutally injured and surprised he wasn't dead yet. He also saw his torturer, and her boss. The boss, known as Lord Malice that wanted Bulk's secret, and the torturer Mature doing Malice's bidding.
_So he's come out of hiding at last._ Skull thought as he saw Malice looking on as Mature tortured Bulk. A torture Skull would end if he had anything to say about it, and he vowed that he would have something to say about it and act on those words.
The Gold Zeo Ranger, known as Farkas Bulkmeyer, had taken everything that was thrown at him and still kept coming back. Killing blow after killing blow Bulk always managed to come back to life. Blows to the heart. Blaster through the chest. Impaling a limb, Mature smiled as she believes she believed Lord Malice had finally found his prize. True immortality.
To truly live forever.
And Lord Malice believed this to be true as well. He had watched from afar during his feedings at the tortures the Ranger known as Bulk, had taken. And how he had continuously come back to live. Looking at Bulk Malice was certain Bulk had the immortality he truly sought.
But there was one final test yet to administer. A test Lord Malice would administer himself. A test that would also serve as Malice's 'dessert'.
"Amazing." Mature had said as she studied Bulk. He was scarred, bloodied and beaten. But he had lost no limbs. Mature saw no point in severing a leg or arm as Bulk would not have died from such amputations. There was only one avenue left to take to determine Bulk's immortality, and she knew Bulk knew it too.
She also would not take the option. Bulk's life was not hers to take. It would be Malice's to try to take. Mature then sensed Lord Malice enter the room. Turning to face him she bowed and said "My Lord. He still lives. He has taken everything there is and he still lives. There is only one option left to take." Lord Malice knew what the option was, and knew he would be the one administer it.
"Leave." Malice had said. Mature nodded and exited the room leaving Malice and Bulk alone. Little did Malice know they wouldn't be alone for too long.
"Impressive." Malice spoke. "By all rights you should have been dead several times over. Especially as many of your injuries were to be terminal for humans. In fact, you should be dead now, yet you still live."
"I'm full of surprises." Bulk said as he struggled to get up. He was weak, but he was regaining his strength... slowly. Malice nodded adding "I am only interested in one surprise from you. The secret of how you remain alive. How you seem to live forever."
"Good luck with that." Bulk said. "Something's going to happen to you before you can find out how I am immortal."
"Oh, and what's that? My death?" Malice sneered. "That had been promised many times before."
"Maybe it's time someone delivered." A voice said from behind. Bulk and Malice turned and saw Eugene Skullovitch standing in the doorway coming out of his hiding place. Morphed into White Zeo with his Zeo Fencing Foil.
"Ah, a sword brother. How prophetic."
"You got the part right about Bulk being a 'brother' to me." White Zeo said. "He's been more of a brother than some members of my family. And we've always gone to hell and back with one another."
"And now you shall go again." Malice said as he drew his own blade. Skull drew forth his fencing foil and brought it to bear against Malice. Malice then looked at Skull and then down at Bulk. His blade close to the Gold Zeo's neck.
"He's been quite resilient you know." Malice had said. "But I believe the time has come to see just how truly immortal your brother in arms is. If his head is severed from his body, will he grow a new one back? Or is his immortality conditional on him keeping his head-thus rendering him more 'ageless' than immortal? Shall we find out?" Malice then brought his blade to Bulk's neck which caused Skull to lunge forward.
Skull stuck out his fencing foil blocking Malice's decapitating blow. Getting leverage he then moved Malice's sword away from Bulk's neck. Soon Malice and Skull stood against one another's .blades drawn ready to strike.
"So a duel between swords warriors?" Malice asked. "Interesting." Malice then drew his own blade to strike against Skull who deflected the striking blow. Pushing back Skull sent Malice flying a few feet. Soon they were facing one another.
"So, a duel? For the sake of your friend?" Skull drew forth his foil and responded "If it saves Bulk's life then I will duel you."
"Let it begin." Malice said as the two moved towards each other with their blades. Then their strikes occurred. Lunges, swipes, strikes. Each one looking to get the upper hand with their weapon.
Skull and Malice fought their duel. Bulk looked on hoping he could help... somehow.
While resistance was taking place inside they still needed help from the outside. Help that came in the form of the Delta Megazord and Titanus.
In the control center of Titanus Aisha was lauching blaster volleys against the mounted defenses. The defenses quickly fell to rubble once a blaster made contact paving the way for more resistance troops to enter the capital. But for every defense destroyed, gun turret, sentry tower, automated gun platform, there were more to handle.
But those 'more' were quickly dispatched as the Delta Megaship swooped in with a series of air strikes decimating the remaining defenses standing in the way. The combined resources of Titanus and the Delta Megazord made for a formidable combination. "Great job there Admiral." Salamander Ninjetti said from the bridge of the Delta Megaship.
"And now it is time to end this." Carrier Ranger said as she told Admiral Finn to make ready for the next phase of the attack. Finally it was time to lay in the kill shots.
The Delta Megaship then transformed into the Delta Megazord just as Titanus transformed to open his Megazord socket. Once the Delta Megazord had finished transforming Carrier Ranger set the Megazord inside. A Delta Ultrazord had now been formed.
An Ultrazord that made for a formidable fighting machine. In the main command center Carrier Ranger, Salamander Ninjetti, and Admiral Finn made ready to attack. "Delta Ultrazord. Lock on and fire!"
At Carrier Ranger, Salamander Ninjetti and Admiral Finn's command the Delta Ultrazord stormed the gates with its weapons firing taking out any hostile target that filled its sights. Daleks and Robo Aquatians scattered, or were destroyed by either the constant firepower or being crushed under the Ultrazord's wheels. Soon the Ultrazord came to the gate and Carrier Ranger directed the main cannon against the walls.
"Main cannon! Ready FIRE!!!"
One energy blast later the wall was rubble. Forces then moved in to handle the remaining forces. If anyone didn't believe the city was under attack before they did now. On board Carrier Ranger looked to Finn and Salamander Ninjetti and said "Power packs are low. The Ultrazord needs time to recharge."
"No problem. We can press on from here." Finn said as he disembarked as the ground forces came in to rush the fortress with Finn in the lead. Carrier Ranger and Salamander Ninjetti then disembarked from the Delta Megaship to focus on their own quest.
They had friends to find.
Red Zeo looked at his team, which consisted of Black Morphin, Green Morphin, White Morphin, Purple Morphin, Blue Zeo, Green Zeo, Black Zeo, Yellow Zeo, Purple Zeo and Gold Astro. So far they had only encountered light resistance, but Red Zeo was wondering when the other shoe was going to drop.
"This is nothing like when we first started." Red Zeo said thinking aloud. Green Morphin looked at Red for a moment wondering what he was thinking then coming to a realization of his own. "No, it isn't is it?"
"What are you guys getting at?" White Morphin asked. Red Zeo thought for a moment trying to express his thoughts. It seemed like the latest Ranger adventures had taken a heavier turn. Sure there were enemies to fight, and villains to beat. But it always seemed like even with the most difficult of villain the Rangers always found a way to go back to being the happy go lucky teenagers that they were. That they had always gone back to their 'default' personas no matter what challenges were thrown their way.
Now it seemed like going back to being 'normal teenagers' was getting harder and harder to do. The adventures they were having had changed them. Changed them in ways that they were becoming different people. People they weren't sure they knew, or wanted to know. They certainly would not go back to being happy go lucky teens. Silver Zeo especially.
Red Zeo thought for a moment about Silver Zeo. She had been thrown into the most extraordinary situation of her life and had gone full tilt in. Now the shock and horror was catching up with her. At first being a part of a team of super heroes defending the planet seemed like a grand adventure, but now it was becoming a series of obstacles. Obstacles that seemed harder to overcome. Not just for her, but for all the Rangers as well.
Looking at Purple Morphin Red Zeo knew she could never go back to who she was. The girl once known as Emily St. John had her mind taken apart, reorganized and then destroyed when the ruling council had no further use for her. It would be a long time before she would recover from her experience.
Blue Morphin was stinging from a shocking betrayal. The woman he loved was ruler of Aquitar and a villain who betrayed her friends leaving him betrayed himself.
Red Zeo remembered his experience as the Green Ranger, forced to go against his friends as he was turned evil by Rita. He had come back from the experience, but he also felt the experience as the Green Ranger was not as life changing as the mission to Aquitar was. Sharing a look with Green Morphin they both knew no one was coming back unchanged.
Gold Astro looked at both Red Zeo and Green Morphin and picked up what they were thinking. "Not easy is it? Growing up?"
"Growing up?" Red Zeo asked. "You call this 'growing up'?"
"As a matter of fact I do." Gold Astro said. "We grow up when the world stops making sense, and we have to adjust. We have to piece together the world when the old one shatters. Mine has shattered many times. And I've had to grow up and adapt as a result."
"Was becoming Scorpina one of those 'shatter points?'" Green Zeo asked. Gold Astro caught Green Zeo's words and nodded. "As a matter of fact it was. And it's never stopped hurting either."
"And yet we have to keep calm and carry on." Yellow Zeo said remembering the line from World War II. "No one said this would be easy." Gold Astro nodded at Yellow Zeo's words and added "But I don't think anyone expected it to be this hard."
_No we didn't._ Red Zeo thought to himself. _Even when we went to other planets we were always able to come out the other side triumphant. Now it seems the triumphs are harder and harder to come by._ Ever since Minion, the Rangers had more darker, more severe, obstacles thrown at them that some even wondered if they would even make it to the end of the mission. That they weren't just defeated. That they were... .
_No, don't think about that now._ Red Zeo thought. _The others need you._ He soon led his team to a central square where seven figures had entered. Two he knew in their blue and red Morphin Rager identities. The other he knew as fellow Rangers who saved Earth before-the Alien Rangers of Aquitar.
_Are they back?_ Red Zeo asked. There was only one way to find out.
The Rangers gathered in the central square where Blue and Red Morphin waited, with the Rangers of Aquitar. No longer were they the Ranger Guard Commanders. They were the Alien Rangers of Aquitar once again. "Billy! Cestro! Corcus! Aurico! Delphine! Tideus! How did you escape?!"
"Billy freed us." Blue Aquatian said. "He kept the coins and used his limited telepathy to focus on them. Since the coins are tied to us our own ability amplified the signal freeing us from Cestria's control."
"Cestria was gone by the time I got there." Red Morphin had said. "Don't know where she went, but she still has the girls with her."
"I met up with Billy and Jason later." Red Astro had said. His mind was turned to Ashley, Alison and Cassie, who were on his team. But also Kim, Kat and Trini. Yet it was Ashley, the Yellow Astro Ranger that filled his mind the most. Blue Zeo then asked "Anyone have the feeling we're running around in circles like rats in a maze?"
"And the maze is Cestria's?" Green Zeo asked. Taking a moment to think Green Zeo nodded and answered "Yeah I have that feeling too." Before anyone could think more on what the new Scorpina was up to a blast erupted from the side wall of the capital. The blast revealed an opening. An opening in which the Brown Carrier Ranger stood in the center.
"Aisha?" Red Morphin asked.
"Hi guys." Carrier Ranger said as she and Salamander Ninjetti walked through the opening, leaving Titanus behind and met with the rest of the assembled Rangers. "When you guys didn't respond, and Nathan was transported back to the Pegasus, we both came down and found some resistance to help out. Then we staged our rescue."
"The Pegasus is handling the Dalek patrols in orbit." Nathan added. Looking around he asked "Where's everyone else?"
"Skull's handling the Organization in hopes of finding Bulk." Red Morphin said. "Cassidy is looking for the Silver Astro Ranger."
"Squatt and Baboo we'll have to handle as well." Red Zeo answered. "But there is still one person we have to deal with first." Delphine then said the name that was like venom on her tongue. "Cestria."
Carrier Ranger nodded as she heard the name. "Couldn't believe she would turn like that. Thought she was a Ranger." Salamander Ninjetti had said. Blue Morphin then said "Not a good one apparently, if she can do this."
"She also has some of your female Rangers." Cestro added. "She's been torturing them for her own amusement and to experiment her new powers on." Looking at Gold Astro Cestro said "The power of Scorpina."
"What?!" Gold Astro asked in complete shock. "She has... .my old evil powers?!"
"Apparently." Corcus added. "And she is looking to outdo any evil you might have been." Black Morphin looked at Gold Astro wondering what kind of reaction she was going to do. As was Red Morphin, Green Zeo and Blue Morphin. Standing still for a moment Gold Astro went over to Green Zeo...
... and hugged him. The words "Thank you" forming on her lips. Green Zeo wondered what this was about and asked "Why? You've been replaced as Scorpina."
"Yes." Gold Astro had said. "I have. And as such this is the final nail in the coffin for me as Scorpina. They didn't need me anymore, so they just found a replacement."
"I believe the term 'permanent successor comes to mind." A voice said from above the square. A voice that belonged to Scorpina-the former Cestria. "Show yourself traitor!" Delphine said with anger in her voice. "Face justice for what you have done!"
"Oh, do I really?" Scorpina said all around the square. "Would it be the same kind of 'justice' as these girls have faced. An illumination shone above the Rangers compelling everyone to look up at what Scorpina had in mind. As everyone looked up Green Zeo pointed up at a sight. A sight that horrified everyone.
Strung up like flies on a web were Kim, Kat, Cassie, Trini, Alison and Ashley. Kim and Kat were back in human forms and looked very beat up as they seemed to face the worst of Scorpina's wrath. Cassie and Trini looked drugged while Ashley and Alison were in a shared state of pain.
At the base was the new Scorpina. This got shocking looks from everyone, including the Gold Astro, as it seemed to indicate the finality of Cestria's transformation. She was a new agent of evil. There was no going back. "I had hoped the power was gone." She said.
"No it just found a new bearer." Cestria said as she drew back the Scorpion Stinger and threw a bolt of energy at the Rangers knocking them back. As they reoriented themselves Scorpina walked forward, her eyes on the Gold Astro.
"I have embraced what you forsook Gold Astro." Cestria said sneering. "And now I shall use it to destroy you, and be better than you ever were!" She then cast a look at the other Rangers including the Alien Rangers of Aquitar and Blue Morphin.
"And then you, especially you... Billy."
Scorpina then drew the Scorpion Stinger back and inserted it the control podium on her gravity sled Contained in the sled was an artifact the Aquatian Rangers knew very well. Knew from legends and nightmares.
The Dark Heart of Aquitar.
The Aquatian Rangers recoiled in fear as they saw the most evil artifact in the history of Aquitar active again. "Cestria, how could you?" Delphine asked. "You know the cost of this power. The cost our whole world paid."
"A world that is now mine!" Scorpina said holding the hilt of the Stinger as it served the function of control stick for her Gravity Chariot. The Dark Heart of Aquitar pulsed an eerie dark power. A terrible menacing power that all had beheld.
"Your end is at hand Rangers. A FINAL END!!!"
And the Aquatian Rangers of Aquitar wondered if the girl they once knew as their friend Cestria, now the new Scorpina, wasn't right.
As the battles above, and in space, continued the Daleks were making ready the next level of the conflict. The part they had been waiting to unveil.
Dalek Embryos were being placed in the travel machines placed before them. These Daleks were unlike any other. They were gold cased, even though the design was similar to that of the conventional Dalek casings.
The embryos were also different. They were bathed in the eternal falls water making them theoretically invulnerable to diseases, and able to regenerate from any sort of attack. Combined with the nanotechnology in the casing that allowed them to rebuild the outer shells these Daleks seemed all but invincible.
Which is what the Science Daleks looked for their next generation of Daleks to be. Invincible, superior.
"THE FIRST OF THE NEW GENERATION OF DALEKS IS COMPLETED SUPREME DALEK!!!" the Science Dalek said. The Dalek Supreme watched from the screen as it inspected the new generation of Daleks.
"DEPLOY THE NEW DALEKS IN BATTLE!!!" the Dalek Supreme ordered. "THE ATTACKING RANGERS AND THEIR ALLIES WILL SERVE AS THE BATTLE TEST FOR THE NEW DALEK RACE!!!"
"I OBEY!!!" the Science Dalek ordered. And with that the new Dalek generation left the assembly lab seeking to enter the fray. To exterminate their enemies.
To exterminate the Power Rangers.
And if they had failed the missile aimed at Aquitar's core would exterminate the planet Aquitar itself.