Chapter Seven: Dark Genes North Valley, Earth
"Run!" Sam shouted as the metal soldiers drew closer.
His two friends did not need telling twice. Both of them turned and ran as fast as they could through the smoking remains of their town. They had already tried to leave North Valley, but had found their way blocked by an unknown forcefield. Sam doubted these things were part of Kilokahn's army. He had seen footage of them on television fighting the Power Rangers. That was shortly before the attack. Afterwards there was no electricity left to run a television. The metal warriors had invaded quickly and then left only a small force to round up the towns members.
Malcum Frink ran for his life. When the attack had come Malcum's computer had been destroyed along with any chance he had for power. Now all that mattered was staying alive long enough to find a way to ingratiate himself with the new villain in town. He turned the corner, hoping that Kilokahn had managed to store himself as a backup file on his laptop. He knew some of the new guards were Cogs, highly developed robots but robots nonetheless. Robots had miniature computers to control them and that meant a way for Kilokahn to take control.
Sam stopped behind the remains of a building. His family and most of his friends were gone, but his only concern was survival. Behind him was a bright flash. Sam and his friends turned around in time to see the Queen of the Crown standing over them.
"Perfect," she said. "Humans, young and weak, you will make useful Slaver Lords."
The Queen signalled for her servants to grab the three youths and then teleported away. North Valley was not her assigned target, but a town full of much needed resources, was too good to miss. She had studied Charterville and knew the Beetleborgs would never surrender. Using her Slaver Lords though would give them no choice. Especially since Minion had given her new powers.
Sam Collins struggled briefly, but his powers would not help him since Servo did not exist outside the computer world. Soon he was over powered and held down while the Queen slipped a crystal over his head. He screamed briefly as he felt his soul being stolen by the Queen. The Queen seemed to smile in satisfaction as she retrieved the two crystals she had attached to his friends. "Three crystals, three Slaver Lords," she said.
The five Rangers teleported into the Power Chamber and promptly collapsed to the ground. Since Minion's first attack they had had little rest. Now Minion was sending monsters against them to wear them down. Zordon considered removing the Rangers from duty, but knew that was not an option. If the other Rangers did not return from their quest soon, Zordon believed there would be nothing left for them to return to.
After teleporting the Rangers to the Medical Bay so they could rest he turned his attention to another project. Despite Rocky's trick with the voice duplicator Zordon knew it would not be long before the Rangers were missed by their families. Even the Zeo Rangers would be questioned eventually and Zordon decided to take action to delay that from happening.
He remembered a conversation he had had with Sam concerning the fake family he had created to cover his true identity. He also remembered a time when the Rangers had been in danger of having their identities revealed by Rita. Although they had managed to stop her plans Billy had decided that they needed a way to explain their occasional absence or to make appearances for them to disprove they were Rangers.
As a result Billy had started construction of some artificial replicas. They were created using basic cloning techniques, placed within suspension chambers and linked directly into the teleportation system. This way whenever a Ranger teleported their memories and personalities were downloaded, along with details of physical attributes. This allowed the replicas to look and act like the original Rangers whenever needed.
Originally Billy had designed replicas of Jason, Trini, Zack, Kimberly, Tommy and himself. When Aisha, Rocky and Adam joined the team, Billy had created three more replicas, one for each of them. Finally he had added Tanya and Trey to collection during a moment of boredom. He had also created a replica of David Trueheart. This had been in case Mondo tried to kidnap him again and left one chamber empty just in case. The system had been set so that in order to clone someone all they had to do was activated a set of Rito proof controls.
Using his magic Zordon had managed to activate the replicas. He sent the copies of Jason, Zack, Trini, Kimberly, Aisha, Tanya, Rocky, Adam, Kat, David and Tommy to their respective homes. Each of them had instructions to go about their normal lives and to stay away from monster attacks. He had not bothered with a duplicate of Sam, since his family was a trick anyway or Trey, since the Lord of Triforia was currently visiting Dex in Leewood and his family was based on another planet..
The copy of Billy however presented another possibility. Zordon had scans of each Ranger's he used to create their memories and personalities. By creating a copy of Billy, Zordon provided the Rangers with a mechanic, inventor and friend.
"Zordon?" the replica of Billy asked.
"Welcome back Billy," Zordon said.
He had missed the former Blue Ranger since he had left for Aquitar. He had always known Billy was one of the most sensitive Rangers and Zordon had found himself wondering whether leaving had been purely due to his feelings for Cestria or whether he had been unhappy at losing his powers. Upon hearing of her death, Zordon had worried about Billy. He hoped that Ninjor had managed to work through the boy's feelings. The consequences if Billy used his powers to attack for revenge would be devastating.
"I'm not Billy though, am I?" Biilly asked
"No, you are one of the Facsimile Constructs Billy built some time before he left for Aquitar. I have activated you because the Rangers need your help."
"I will do anything I can to help," Biilly said. "But I am not going to be Billy. Billy was a Ranger who ended up stying in the Power Chamber and fixing machines. Now, since I doubt I was created to be a Ranger I assume you want me to be an assistant here, don't you?"
Zordon thought about what Biilly had said. Duplicating the other Rangers had been a necessity, but duplicating Billy had been his own idea. Reflecting on his reasons he realised he had indeed created Biilly to act as an assistant.
"You are correct," he said at last. "If you do not wish to be known as Billy, you may change your name."
"Thank you Zordon, I will give the matter some thought. In the meantime, why don't I take a look at these new Zords you are building."
If Billy Cranston's inventions had one major flaw, apart from being makeshift unpredictable short-term solutions to ill-defined problems, it was that they were sometimes too good. The Facsimile Constructs Billy had built had been programmed with the memories of all the Rangers up to the present time. One of the little known abilities of the teleportation system was that anybody who used it transferred their memories, personalities, feelings and physical details into a buffer. Zordon and Billy had designed their duplicate Rangers using this process, not realising it would also allow the duplicates to touch the Morphin Grid. All fourteen duplicates could touch the Power without the need for Power Coins.
Even though Zordon was unaware of that fact, Minion was. He sensed the new links to the Morphin Grid as soon as they were activated. At first he thought it was the Rangers Zordon had sent on the quest, until he discovered they were powerless. Now a plan was starting to form in Minion's twisted mind. He had seen the results of Rangers turned evil, he himself had died as a Ranger fighting for evil. In most cases the Morphin Masters on Eltare were able to strip the rogue Ranger of is or her powers before they died.
Of course if the Zeo Rangers were to become evil they would still be able to draw power. The Zeo Crystal was only partial magic and as a result it would provide power to anybody capable of using it for whatever purpose they saw fit. Minion had only ever heard of one Zeo Ranger who had used the power for evil. In the end it was only the power of the crystal itself that destroyed him. The creators of the Zeo Crystal had added a failsafe to the design: should anybody truly evil touch the power for an extended period of time, they would be consumed by their own dark power.
There was an exception to the outcomes of either the Zeo Crystal and the Morphin powers being used for evil, one even the Morphin Masters were unaware of. If an artificial life form was turned to evil and was capable of holding the power, the Morphin Masters could not strip it of those powers. In addition as soon as the Ranger was to become evil with no chance of rehabilitation, they would automatically start to draw from the Dark Ranger Grid. This was the part of the Morphin Grid where Minion had first found his powers.
Minion also knew that normally only those who were unlikely to fall to evil were linked to the Morphin Grid. The duplicates were different for two reasons. Firstly the replicas were physical copies of the Rangers and as a result shared the physical link to the Grid. Secondly, Minion knew of some sabotage that had taken place whilst the replicas were being built.
Minion remembered that there was a flaw in the system Billy and Zordon had selected for transferring memories. The teleport system failed to recognise clones as separate entities from their originals. That is why Zordon had been unable to determine which Billy was the clone. This also meant that when Zordon had been looking at the project he had not noticed the minor alterations the clone had made.
The clone had placed certain filters in the personality buffers of all but one of the duplicates to eliminate the weaker emotions such as love. Originally the clone had planned to gain control of the replicas and replace each Ranger one at a time. But he had been destroyed before he could complete his mission. However, the sabotage had not been fixed. Slowly the buffers would purge the filtered material, causing the replicas to become unpredictable. A gentle push and they would become evil. Only a blast of pure energy would cure them if used before they took the final step.
Billy had designed the duplicate Rangers to match the real Rangers almost perfectly. That was their greatest strength, and their fatal flaw. They held not only the strength and power, but also their personality flaws, desires and darker emotions. Knowing Zordon, Minion suspected the duplicates would have been programmed using the memories stored in the teleport buffers. Those memories had feelings mixed in, dark feelings which over time would have festered and grown deeper. Minion planned to use those dark emotions to create a new force able to finish the Power Rangers forever.
"Silvo, Brasso, Bronzo, come here!" Minion commanded.
His three most trusted henchmen appeared in front of him. Brasso and Bronzo bowed and took a step back while Silvo bowed and moved alongside his master.
"Brasso, there are some annoying humans outside, deal with them." Brasso bowed and vanished to do his master's bidding. " Now, Silvo and Bronzo, Zordon as made a fatal error and I intend to make sure it is the last mistake he will ever make. Find me a monster to capture the duplicate Rangers. I want them all brought back here by nightfall."
"Yes master," Silvo and Bronzo said together before leaving to work out a plan of action.
Three typically average kids walked inside a haunted house and screamed. Since becoming Beetleborgs they had seen some of the most hideous monster Vexor had been able to create. Unfortunately Vexor's monsters nowhere near as bad as the sight of the House Monsters spring cleaning Frankenbean's head.
"Hey Flabber," Drew said as they entered the house, "What's up?"
"Nothing," Flabber replied. "That's the problem. There have been no monster attacks for a while now and I'm starting to think maybe Vexor has given up."
"Isn't that good news?" Jo asked, unable to understand the reason why Flabber looked nervous.
"It's not the simple Jo," Flabber told her. "You remember when you defeated the Shadowborg, don't you?" Jo, Drew and Roland nodded. "Well the same thing is true with Vexor. If he has given up then we have no further need for Beetleborgs. It's a question of good and evil, Ying and Yang. No Ying, no Yang, no villain, no need for Beetleborgs."
"You mean we have to give up our powers?" Roland asked.
Being Beetleborgs had been the centre of their world for a long time. Now they were going to lose their powers not because of something Vexor did, but because they had won.
"Not yet," Flabber told them. "We need to find out what happened to Vexor first."
"Maybe there are some clues in the crypt," Drew said finally. "Why don't we Borg and take a look."
When the other two agreed Drew decided it was time to leave. "Beetle Bonders, Beetle Blast!" As they transformed Drew found himself hoping this was not the last time he would get to do so.
Stone Henge, England
Brasso walked through the forcefield to confront the UNIT soldiers advancing on the stone circle. Deciding to demonstrate to them why they should leave, Brasso charged toward the nearest solider.
"Brigadier, look!" Mike cried as he pulled his commanding officer to the ground. Running towards them was a brown metal warrior.
"Open fire!" the Brigadier called. "Lay down a volley of warning shots, five rounds rapid!"
The three nearest soldiers dropped to a kneeling position and opened fire, the bullets striking the ground just in front of the charging warrior. He stopped for a moment and then deliberately stepped into the volley of bullets. As the shells bounced harmlessly off his body he laughed, knowing he could not be harmed.
Something powerful struck Brasso in the back. Nowhere near powerful enough to hurt, but enough to get his attention. He turned to see another soldier holding a still smoking bazooka. From his position on the ground the Brigadier smiled. The soldier in question had served him well over the years and had finally made the rank of Captain.
"Benton, look out!" the Brigadier called as he noticed Brasso starting to move again.
Faster than they thought possible the metal warrior turned and ran towards Benton. The Captain had little time to move as he was lifted and thrown into his commanding officer.
"I think we need a new plan," the Brigadier said as he helped Captain Yates to pull Benton away from the attacking monster. "Maybe the Yanks can help."
"Or the other lot," Mike said, remembering the last time they had had this discussion.
The Queen appeared inside the crypt Vexor had once used as a base. She didn't need to come here, but she did need the essence she could only find in the place where it had been created. Concentrating on her Slave Crystal she absorbed all the life force that had once been there.
Slowly the crystal began to shimmer, a black mist rising from it like smoke. In her mind the Queen pictured the form her new Slaver Lord would take. It was an ability that thanks to Minion's power was now limited only by her imagination.
On the floor of the crypt a pool of darkness formed. Slowly it grew until it formed into a being the Beetleborgs knew well.
Youth Centre, Angel Grove
Toommy watched the scenes on the television, unimpressed by the Rangers' skills. "Those guys aren't so hot. I bet if we were to go up against them we could take them."
After teleporting to their homes and giving some excuses for where they were going the replicas had gathered together at the Youth Centre. Currently they were watching the Rangers in action against some more of Minion's resurrected monsters. They had managed to hold their own against Mutitas and Shellshock, but Gnarly Gnome had somehow managed to sneak up on them.
"You're right Bro," Jaason said. "Together we could take those wimpy Rangers."
Ernie shook his head, hardly able to believe the contempt he could hear within the lookalikes' voices. These teenagers might have looked like the group of friends he had seen in his Youth Centre over the last few years, but they were definitely different. Of course he wouldn't of noticed had they not told him.
Biilly finished his tests and turned to face Zordon. "We have a problem. The duplicates were created to resemble the Rangers. That means they are susceptible to evil as anybody else. In addition you have given them complete memories of their time as Rangers, but without the experience to handle some of the feelings those memories will generate."
"Biilly, what are you saying?" Zordon asked.
He had feared that any duplicate Rangers would never possess the hearts of their real counterparts, but had hoped they would at least pass as the Rangers in normal life.
"Zordon, we need to get the duplicates back here now," Biilly said. "There's something wrong with them. If we don't hurry they could go crazy." The console he was working at went blank and he turned to Alpha to find the little droid trying to repair a blown circuit board. Biilly grabbed Alpha, a scowl on his face. "Why am I always surrounded by incompetent idiots and forced to work with second rate junk?"
Without thinking Billy slammed his fist into Alpha's dome top head. The little droid stumbled around the Power Chamber as Biilly went on the rampage. Zordon thought quickly. It was within the powers of a White Master to heal the wounds of an injured Ranger. Zordon hoped he could help heal the mind as well as the body.
Biilly found himself bathed in a white light. Despite his first impulse to smash Zordon's tube, the light felt warm and friendly. He decided to remain within the light and slowly felt his anger and bitterness disappear. He saw the images of his mistreatment by Bulk and Skull, the Rangers taking him for granted and finally the Deathbringer killing his wife. There in the image of his wife he felt love.
Zordon finished as he noticed the change in Biilly. Now he needed to do the same to the other duplicates. First though he needed to get the Zeo Rangers to safety. After that they could deal with the other replicas.
Stone Henge, England
Minion felt the change in the duplicate Rangers. Now was the time to capture and enslave them. First though he needed to buy Silvo some time.
"Skug!" One of Grimlord's foot soldiers appeared before him. Although the Skugs had never had a victory over the VR Troopers, Minion had a plan to ensure that his Skug could not be beaten. "Go to Angel Grove monster size. Battle the Rangers until they destroy you or they surrender. Under no circumstances are you to multiply."
It was a simple plan, one Grimlord should have thought of before. Skugs were always defeated when they touched each other. A single Skug did not have that vulnerability. Minion thought it would be interesting to see how much punishment one lone Skug could take.
Malcum skulked through the remains of his town. He found it ironic that the boy he been trying to destroy for so long had been reduced to a crystal. Now he was aware of the fate in store for him should he ever be captured. There would be no negotiation, Malcum Frink was as good as dead.
Inside Malcum's laptop Kilokahn was thinking the same thing. Malcum would not last much longer. The stress had finally driven the boy over the edge and together with Kilokahn's own actions the boy was finally ready to serve his true purpose.
"Malcum, look at the screen, I have good news for you," Kilokahn said.
Malcum foolishly looked at the screen, hardly noticing the tiny flash as Kilokahn left the computer and entered his mind. Once inside the virus started to take over, building on the gradual damage he had done over the time they had worked together.
Malcum's body mutated, growing two extra arms and becoming covered in a slimy green skin. "At last, I Kilokahn, am free."
The Rangers launched themselves into battle, their prototype Megazord slashing at the Skug with their sword. Charging the sword to full power they struck, slicing the Skug from left shoulder to right hip. With a scream the Skug collapsed to the floor, before standing again to continue to fight.
A long double bladed weapon appeared in the Skug's hand and it began to hit the Megazord randomly. The odds were in the Skug's favour and it managed to damage the Zord.
"Zordon, we need help," Tommy called into his communicator.
"Here's your pizza Dex," Barbara Stewart said as she laid the plate on the table.
"Try it," Dex told his guest. "Earth food is definitely better than it looks."
Trey laughed as he relaxed on the sofa next to his old friend. They had lost touch when Dregon had attacked Edenoi, but when he had realised Dregon was attacking Leewood, Trey knew the Masked Rider would be nearby.
"I've really enjoyed seeing you, but I thinks it's time to go," Trey said.
Dex nodded just as Trey's communicator sounded. "Looks like they need you," Dex said. "Remember, if I can help you need only to call."
Trey nodded as he summoned his morpher. "Zeo Ranger X - Gold!"
"Wow, that was new," Barbara said as she watched Trey leave.
"You get used to it," Dex replied, hoping the Rangers would be alright.
Angel Grove Youth Centre,
Toommy, Jaason, Roocky, Kaat, Triini, Kiim, Adaam, Taanya, Aiisha, Zaack and Daavid left the Youth Centre, not to help the Rangers, simply to have some fun. They did not expect to step outside and come face to face with Minion's latest monster.
"Greetings Rangers," the leather clad creature said. "I am Huntron. My orders are to bring you in alive."
"Well you obviously don't know who you're dealing with," Kiimberly sneered.
"Yeah, we're the Power Rangers," Toommy said.
"Only better," Jaason added.
"Because we don't have to stick to no stinking rules," Aiisha said.
"So you can either surrender," Roocky said.
"Or we can kick your butt so hard you'll never stand upright again," Zaack finished.
"Alright, that's enough talk," Kiim said, "Let's take this moron down."
Huntron responded by shrugging off his leather trench coat to reveal a human with some type of face helmet. A set of grenades had been strung over his shoulders, a pistol was mounted on each hip and he had what resembled a hunter's rifle on his back. Instead of a monster as they had expected the Rangers realised he must be a bounty hunter.
Without a second thought Huntron threw one of his grenades towards Triini, Kiim, Kaat, Aiisha and Taanya. All five were caught in the explosion, instantly frozen in place. Before Adaam or Roocky could fight back, Huntron punched them both.
Jaason and Toommy tried to double-team him, holding his arms long enough for Daavid to strike him in the face with his foot and Zaack to connect with a move he called the ghetto blaster. Huntron shrugged off the attack, shaking Toommy and Jaason away. He drew his pistols and fired. One shot struck Daavid in the leg the other caught Zaack. Zaack and Daavid collapsed to the ground. Converting his pistols into a pair of nightstick type clubs he struck Adaam and Roocky a second time.
Jaason and Toommy were not stupid, they knew when to stay and fight and when to run and hide. In this case they chose the latter, taking off with Huntron in pursuit. As they left their fallen friends were teleported away.
Huntron chased his prey for a few minutes before deciding he had had enough. Drawing his rifle he fired a single shot. The shell whizzed past Toommy and Jaason, striking the ground ahead of them and exploding. The shock wave was enough to knock them both unconscious. Huntron pressed a button on the top of his rifle and watched as the two duplicate Rangers were teleported away.
"Ninja Ultrazord!" the Rangers called.
"Pyramidas!" Gold Zeo called.
As the golden pyramid appeared, Trey left the Zord on automatic and transferred to Super Zeo Zord X. Now with three Zords the Rangers fired again. Between them the three sets of Zords had enough power to vaporise most of Angel Grove. Therefore the rangers were less than pleased when they saw the Skug rebuild itself again.
"Any other ideas," Zeo Frog asked.
"We need another of those things," Zeo Bear noted. Aisha had seen Skugs on the news before her Zeo quest. She remembered they had a habit of eliminating each other on contact.
"I heard that," they heard Biilly say. "Reconfiguring your Power Sword now."
For a moment the Ninja Ultrazord seemed to be under its own control. Without the Rangers moving it summoned the Power Sword, stepped out of the Ultrazord mode and slash at the Skug.
"Hit it now!" Biilly shouted to Trey.
As he spoke Pyramidas released a lightning bolt, once again destroying the Skug. This time it did not stand back up.
Bronzo's Laboratory, North Valley,
Bronzo made a quick check of his subjects. Most of the population of North Valley was currently undergoing surgery to make them more productive. The remainder had been made available to any of Minion's forces ho needed spare parts. In a smaller laboratory eleven duplicates of the Power Rangers had been strapped to the wall. Each had been implanted with numerous tubes and electrodes.
Minion had insisted that the duplicates remained unharmed until he arrived. Bronzo had no idea what his master had in mind, but he knew it would be impressive.
Minion teleported into the laboratory, anxious to start work on his new project. He knew something that even Zordon did not realise about the teleportation system. When clones teleported into the Command Centre or Power Chamber their memories and feelings were recorded as though they belonged to the original. Therefore Zordon was under the impression the duplicates had been built by Billy. Instead they had been started and finished by Billy, but the clone Rita and Zedd had made of Billy had done some of the intermediate stages.
The clone had placed certain filters in the personality buffers of all but one of the duplicates to eliminate the weaker emotions such as love. Originally the clone had planned to replace each Ranger, one after the other. Now Minion planned to use them to create his own team of Dark Rangers. First though, he had to purge them of any remaining emotion.
"I found them Zordon," Alpha cried excitedly. "They're being held inside North Valley."
"We need to rescue them," Kat said.
"Or destroy them," Biilly said solemnly. " I just made a discovery I think might be important."
As the others nodded for him to proceed, Biilly surprised them all by calling out, "Triceratops!" He was instantly transformed into the Blue Dino Ranger.
"You mean these replicas can morph?" Adam asked.
"I am afraid so," Biilly said. "These powers are one a fraction of what they would be if tapped through a Power Coin, but in your weakened states that might be enough to beat you. In truth they're in a better position to fight Minion than you are."
"And if they do switch sides, Minion is sure to win," Aisha noted out loud.
"Let's go," Tommy said at last. "We have work to do."
Minion stood victorious in front of his new forces. After being let down by Finster he had at last found the bodies capable of becoming Dark Rangers. Ten of those in front of him were worthy. The last one, Taanya was a problem. He had tried every spell he knew to remove the good from her heart. In the end he concluded that Taanya was the one the clone had failed to sabotage. If it had not been for the fact he felt no capacity for evil within her he would have been convinced. Instead he made a note to do some research into Tanya Sloan as soon as he got the opportunity.
The remaining replicas had been easy to seduce. First he had cast a spell removing their skin and hair. Now the replicas had been reverted to their original forms. Humanoid in shape and size; identical in face and hair and with no way to tell they were different from each other.
Second, Minion had carefully wiped their memories, removing non-Ranger activities, altering battles to his version of events, permanently altering Zordon's rules of the Power and any morals they may once of had. With their memories gone Minion created his own rules: Obey the will of Minion and the only goal is victory. He did not need to worry about them revealing their identities because they existed only to be Dark Rangers.
The final act to seal his spell in place was to give them life through the Sword of Darkness and the Lin Kuei Crystal. He had planned to build his own Rangers using Finster to build the bodies, but Finster had failed him. Now Minion planned to use the bodies and their natural connection to the Morphin Grid to provide a channel for the Dark powers.
Opening the vortex to the Dark Dimension, Minion point his sword at his ten new servants. "Red, Black, Blue, Yellow, Pink, Green, Purple, Silver, Gold and White Psycho Rangers, arise!"
Ten streaks of light flew from the vortex, tracing their way down the sword into Minion's chest where they merged with the Lin Kuei Crystal and then back again to strike each of the replicas.
"Now the Rangers are doomed!" Minion gloated.
He knew that it would take him a short time to prepare his soldiers, so he decided kill two birds with one spell. "Huntron!"
"You called," Huntron said, amusement showing in his voice.
Minion's response was to blast the bounty hunter with energy from the Dark Dimension. Huntron transformed into the ultimate hunter. Claws started to grow from his fingertips; the joints and muscles in his legs strengthened to allow jumping; and his eyes became as keen as an eagle, enhanced by computer graphics. Wings sprouted from his back giving him the power of flight and his leather coat transformed into a thick leather skin to protect him from attack. His hunter's rifle was transformed into a bow and arrow.
"New contract," Minion told him. "I want the Rangers and their Zords finished once and for all."
"As you wish," Huntron said as he vanished.
Rocky groaned as he heard his communicator start beeping. He already knew the Minion's forces would keep attacking Angel Grove. The Rangers had spent the last couple of hours trying to break the barrier surrounding North Valley. So far every time they came close a new monster would draw them away.
"Go ahead Zordon," Rocky said.
"Rocky, I have detected a new monster in your area. Please be on your guard."
As Rocky looked around he caught sight of something moving not far away. Before he could identify what it was, the Huntron pounced on him.
"Zeo Ranger III - Ape!" Rocky called quickly, already he was rolling away from his attacker, Power Sword drawn and ready. "Tommy, we've got company!"
"On our way," he heard Tommy reply.
A moment later the Zeo Falcon landed behind Huntron, using Saba to strike him. Zeo Bear and Zeo Crane followed soon after. Zeo Crane released a volley of arrows allowing Zeo Bear to get close enough to use her Power Daggers. Zeo Frog leapt high into the air, striking with his Power Axe. Huntron block the blade by raising his bow high to block. He was unable to block the blast from the Cosmic Cannon.
Huntron fell back, cursing the Rangers. Then he made his own assault, using his speed to get past the Rangers' defences and his claws to strike them. Using his wings he launched into the air, able to fend his opponents off and attack them when it was safe.
"Time for a Gold Rush!" somebody called.
Huntron braced himself for the blast he knew would be coming, but instead he was hit from three sides. Zeo Gold had split himself into three parts and was closing in.
"Heeyah!" The Triceratops Ranger landed in front of Huntron and struck him with the Power Lance he had borrowed from Zordon.
"NO!" Minion cried. "It can't be him!"
He had been busy preparing his warriors for battle when he had sensed Billy Cranston outside. Of all the Rangers, Cranston was the most dangerous to Minion's schemes.
- Huntron, do not let Cranston near the barrier.*
He understood that in all likelihood it was the replica of Billy that was outside. The trouble was even the replica might be able to interfere with his plans.
Huntron resumed his attack, aiming for Biilly. Each time one of the other Rangers intervened he threw them aside. Triceratops Ranger found himself on the receiving end of Huntron's energy arrows. He ran for cover, hoping to draw Huntron's fire.
Huntron fired faster as he realised Biilly was heading in the wrong direction. Before he could stop him, Biilly ran into the barrier and passed through. A moment later he emerged again, recharged by the barrier.
"Form the Power Blaster!" Zeo Falcon called.
"Power Axe!" Zeo Frog cried as he threw his axe into the air where it hovered in Cosmic Cannon mode.
"Power Bow!" Zeo Crane called as she placed her weapon on top to form a crossbow type shape.
"Power Lance!" Triceratops Ranger cried, splitting his weapon in half and throwing both parts in the air where they attached to the Power Bow.
"Power Daggers!" Zeo Bear called throwing both her weapons into the air where they attached next to the Power Lance.
"Power Sword!" Zeo Ape finished. He placed his sword along the length of the Power Blaster, activating its full power.
"Saba!" Zeo Falcon called. Saba took off on his own to float next to the Power Blaster. "Power Cannon!" Without the Morphin Powers Alpha had redesigned the Cannon to draw power from Power Mountain through Zordon
"Gold Rush, Triple Attack!" A version of the Golden Power Staff appeared in each Gold Ranger's hand.
"Fire!" the Rangers called together.
Their blasts struck Huntron, giving him no chance to survive. The monster tried to shield itself by bringing its wings around to guard its face. It failed hopelessly and exploded.
"Not that easy, Rangers," Minion said. "Grow Huntron, GROW!"
Minion had many ways to make Huntron grow, but he liked to think that an order was enough without further magic. When he saw that was not the case he blasted the ashes with his sword.
"Draw them away from the barrier!"
"I think we need some Zords" Biilly noted.
"We haven't got time," Gold Zeo I replied. He nodded to his other copies and seeing them nod their approval raised his Power Staff. "Power of Triforia, make us grow!"
"Keep the Power Blaster together," Zeo Falcon instructed. "Trey and I will keep him busy."
Huntron followed his master's instructions, drawing the Rangers away from the barrier. When he was sure they were clear, he turned and fired razor sharp darts from his fingers.
Gold Zeo I, II and III, along with Zeo Falcon attacked from all sides, wearing him down until they were sure the others had a good shot.
"Now!" Zeo Falcon called.
Gold Zeo merged together again and drop kicked Huntron into position, allowing the other Rangers to open fire and destroy him.
"Let's get back to North Valley," Zeo Falcon said.
"You're too late Rangers," Minion said. The Rangers turned to see Minion's image appear in the sky. "I have already stabilised the barrier. You will not be able to walk through again."
Disheartened the Rangers returned to the Power Chamber, hoping Zordon had some good news.
Minion raised his hand in victory. At last his creations were ready. Now all he needed was a way to introduce them. To begin with he had wanted to merely conquer Earth. Now his mission had changed. Now he wanted to destroy everything the Rangers cared about, everybody they loved, everything they stood for. In short, Minion did not want to conquer Earth, he wanted to destroy it.
UNIT Temporary Headquarters, Stone Henge
"Sir," Mike shouted as he stood to attention. "Message from the Yanks sir."
"Anything useful?" the Brigadier asked.
"They're sending one of there experts, a General Norquist. They say we should wait until he arrives before trying anything else."
The Brigadier nodded. In his experience acting when advised not to do so usually made things worse.
Kilokahn sneaked past the Cog patrol, planning to take control of them with one of his Mega Virus Monsters. Now that he was one with Malcum he was able to create his own monsters without the need for a separate designer.
"You know it's not nice to take control of innocent Cogs," Minion said, appearing in a flash of black.
"Who are you?" Kilokahn asked.
"I am Minion," Minion told him. Grabbing the computerised being by the throat and lifting above his head he added, "I am giving you a choice. Join the UAE and help them rule the Universe, or die."
Kilokahn took a few moments to weigh his options and realised he had little or no choice in the matter. "Okay, I'll join." _For now,_ he added to himself, secretly planning what he needed to do to kill Minion.
"Good," Minion said. "Go to the planet Onyx, now!"
A black vortex opened, allowing Kilokahn to step through on his way to join his fellow villains. Minion watched as Kilokahn gone. Thirteen villains were now in place. If they were the right thirteen then the ancient prophecy would at last come true and the darkness would at last crush the light.