Chapter Three: Dawn of Darkness
"This is intolerable!" Minion shouted. "You told me they were ready!"
Finster cowered towards the back of his lab, stumbling over the melted remains of the warriors he had created for Minion. He knew that if Minion decided to kill him he would not be able to escape.
"I had planned to use those for a flash victory over the Rangers!" Minion shouted. "It is bad enough they were somehow able to steal Serpenterra, now I have nothing to throw at them."
"Hey," Rito shouted as he entered the lab. "You're starting to sound like Ed."
Without warning Minion lashed out at Rito, the back of his hand made contact with Rito's chin resulting in a sickening crack. Turning to face Rita Repulsa's brother, Minion hit the skeleton in the chest with the palm of his hand. Rito's breast bone shattered as Minion drove his hand through. When it reach the other side, Minion grabbed backbone and used it to lift Rito off the ground.
For a moment Minion seemed to enjoy the cries of pain he could hear emanating from Rito. Then he grew tired with the demonstration and threw Rito to the ground.
"I am going to tell you once and only once," Minion hissed as Rito spasmed on the floor. "If you ever interrupt me again, I will pull you apart, bone by bone."
To emphasise his point Minion stomped on Rito's skull. "And his name is Zedd, not Ed!"
Finster watched the display with ever increasing fear. If he was lucky then Minion would take out all his aggression on Rito. If however attacking Rito made Minion feel too good, the villain might decide to attack him as well. Finster knew Rito could recover, but he doubted he would be able to take that sort of abuse.
"Finster!" Minion shouted.
"Yes Minion?" Finster replied nervously.
For a moment Minion had been tempted to kill the monster maker. _But that would be a waste of a good mind,_ he thought.
"Take that thing," he said pointing to Rito, "And leave for Onyx immediately. I will deal with the Rangers myself."
In his mind Finster considered arguing. Rita and Zedd were in charge after all and they had told him to remain. On the hand, if Minion really wanted him out of the way, he could execute him and tell Rita and Zedd some story about Finster betraying them.
"As you wish," Finster said.
As Finster moved over to where Rito was lying, Minion summoned the Sword of Darkness and used it to send the two fools to join their family.
"Alpha, have you found anything yet?" Zordon asked.
"Negative Zordon," Alpha replied. "I can find no trace of Rita, Zedd, their servants or the Machine Empire."
"Have you detected any abnormal readings from the Moon?" Zordon asked after a moment's thought.
"Somebody is using magic Zordon," Alpha replied. "But they are only using it for teleportation."
Zordon was silent as he considered the recent events. First Rita and Zedd had sent down a weak monster to attack the Rangers and it had almost beaten them. Then the Green Dragon Ranger had reappeared and vanished again after helping them. Zordon still did not know who the mysterious Ranger was, but he hoped he was on their side and not part of some game.
To make things even stranger, the forces of evil on the Moon had vanished. Zordon had also detected Count Dregon's ship leave orbit and a severe drop in the levels of evil energy in Charterville and Crossworld City. Zordon could feel something evil was involved, but could not decide what. The fact the Rangers had managed to capture Serpenterra and were even now melting the giant Zord down made Zordon even more suspicious. As a rule villains did not allow their enemies to steal their property.
Finally there had been the fatal attack on Aquitar. Zordon's heart went out to Billy, who after finding happiness had had it taken from him by the forces of evil. Billy had refused to come home, mentioning some preparation for a new evil that would be arriving soon. Zordon knew Billy was with Ninjor and was certain that between them the Blue Morphin Master and Blue Ranger would accomplish their task.
It was not the attack on Aquitar that concerned Zordon; it was the reason for the attack. At first it had appeared to be an attempt at conquest, but from Billy's report Zordon gained the impression that the attackers had deliberately killed the entire population, for reason unknown. Furthermore, two new villains who resembled Squatt and Baboo helped slaughter the HydroHog.
After careful thought Zordon decided he had no idea what was going on and promised himself he would find out.
Minion pointed at his new henchmen and gave them life. Both made of a living metal called Validium, Minion had coloured one of them silver and the other a dull metallic orange.
"You are Silvo," Minion said to the silver henchmen.
Silvo was solid metal, forged to resemble of muscular humanoid. In his right hand a silver sword appeared briefly before vanishing.
"You will be the leader of my army," Minion told his creation. "You are more than a match for any mere Ranger, and with my foot soldiers to back you up you cannot fail."
Behind Silvo a set of Minion's foot soldiers appeared. Also made of Validium, they had blank plates over their faces and no seams in their bodies. Every time they moved their bodies reformed, thus eliminating the need for muscles or motors to move. Minion decided that the best way to judge the weapons he had provided for his troops was to send them into battle.
"Robo Troopers," Minion said. "You will obey Silvo's orders unless I command you otherwise."
As the foot soldiers nodded their understanding, Minion turned his attention to his second henchman. "You are Brasso, second in command of my army. You are responsible for sending my creations to Earth."
Brasso bowed to his new master. Brasso was identical to Silvo in every way except for his colour. In his hand a staff appeared. After testing the weight he put it away and returned his attention to Minion.
Finally Minion turned to his other creation. With Finster gone Minion decided he was in need of a monster builder. He had decided to create someone with the combined knowledge of Finster and Klank and the imagination of a human. He had come to realise that this was part of the reason why they were able to succeed so often.
The result was a human body with cybernetic implants. Minion had already selected the memories his creation would possess and had implanted all the knowledge necessary. The parts of the brain dealing with emotion had been removed, creating the second most evil mind on the Moon, ever. Finally Minion connected his creation to the castle's computer. The result was a lethal killer who was forever tied to the computer and could never turn against its master.
"Bronzo, you are my monster maker. Use whatever you need and find a way to defeat the Rangers."
"Yes master," Bronzo replied, immediately leaving to start work on his first project.
"Sam, why do you hide from them?" the voice asked.
"I thought I'd heard the last of you," Sam said angrily.
"You know I cannot leave you," the voice replied.
"But, I accepted who I am," Sam protested.
"No," the voice replied. "You accepted you are the clone of Thomas Oliver. You have accepted that you are the Green Ranger. But you have not accepted your true role in the Rangers' lives. The Green Ranger is not destined to remain an outsider who hides when the battle is over. He is a comrade they know they can rely on."
"They don't need me," Sam said. "They have the Green Ranger to back them up and they have Sam as a friend. They don't need me."
"So you have not learnt," the voice said. "You are still scared of being rejected. They will need you soon."
Sam's morpher appeared in front of him. "Morph!" the voice commanded.
Sam did as he was told. "Dragonzord!"
"Good," the voice said. The image of the Green Ranger appeared as it had a few days before. "Hold out your sword, Sam. It is time you witnessed your future."
Sam summoned his sword, noticing the head of the dragon was glowing green and held it out towards the image. The image reached out a grabbed the sword, sending a blast of energy into Sam's body, accompanied by flashes of unwinding events. Sam collapsed to the floor.
"Ow," Sam muttered as the blast caused him to wake from his dream state.
He was in his house in Angel Grove. Downstairs he could hear his imaginary family moving about, living their made up lives. Sighing, he decided to get up, all the time remembering the vision he had had just before waking.
The dark comander sends his soldiers of silver to fight. The Rangers fall to him leaving only the Dragon. The former Dragon needs help. Only a sacrifice can save his life and gain the Dragon a real home.
Shaking his head, Sam decided to go to the Youth Centre. At least there he could keep an eye on things in case he was needed.
Minion sat cross-legged on the floor, his two glowing eyes closed. He was in a deep trance, using his mental powers to touch the minds of his enemies.
One by one he felt their presence. Tommy the often guilt ridden leader, so close to losing it yet able to draw strength from his friends to hold on. Rocky the fun loving goofball, a deadly adversary and one of the most pure Rangers. Katherine Hillard once Rita's pawn against the Rangers. Minion could feel so much good in her he seriously doubted Rita's spell ever had a chance. Tanya Young the most inexperienced Ranger. Minion considered her for a moment. Although she had a strong will she was the weak link among the Rangers. Finally, Adam Park a warrior with a strong sense of honour and skill.
Every one of them was going to fight to the end, but that did not concern Minion. The end would come for them soon.
Reaching out further Minion searched for the other Rangers who might be able to help them. Trini Kwan and Zachary Taylor, both skilled fighters were in Geneva, unaware of the danger their friends were in. Kimberly Hart was currently training for the Olympics. Minion checked and discovered Angel Grove was a long way from her thoughts. Billy Cranston was beyond his reach, a situation he promised to remedy as soon as possible. Lord Trey of Triforia was in Space again. Minion sent a mental message to the nearest bounty hunter to destroy the Gold Ranger. All the Rangers friends were either unaware of the fate their friends were about to endure, or were unable to do anything about it.
That left two minds for Minion to check. The first was Jason Lee-Scott. If anybody could help the Rangers it was him. Minion sensed the strong body and spirit he had always felt when around the boy. Upon closer inspection he dismissed Jason as a minor threat. True the boy was strong, but his power was almost gone. A brief morph and it would all be over for the former leader of the Rangers.
It was the second mind, which concerned Minion. He knew the Green Dragon Ranger was on Earth, but had no idea who it was. Without that information he could not touch the Ranger's mind. There was something else about that Ranger. A feeling he had had once before, but could not place.
Dismissing the thought as irrelevant he summoned Silvo. "Send a batch of Robo Troopers to Earth, now!"
Silvo bowed low and gestured to the nearest Trooper. A portal opened and the Robo Trooper stepped through.
"Heads up Tommy," Rocky called, throwing the Frisbee towards his friend.
Tommy jumped into the air, spinning as he caught the Frisbee and threw it towards Tanya. "Nice throw," he said as he landed.
Jason sat back against the tree, watching his friends having fun. Normally he would have joined them, but today he was too tired to play. At first they were going to hang out at the Youth Centre, but when Rocky turned up with his siblings and their friends in tow it had been decided to go to the park instead. Eventually what had started off as a meeting between seven friends had been transformed into a small party.
"Is this a private party or can anybody join?" Kat asked as she sat down next to him.
"Please," Jason replied, indicating a spot.
Kat sat down next to her friend. While he continued watching the game of Frisbee she chose to watch Sam and David Trueheart sparring. Surprisingly neither of them were able to gain the upper hand. _It's like watching David and Tommy,_ she thought. Under his brother's supervision David had improved his skills and was now as good a fighter as any Ranger.
Over the time she had grown to know him Kat had been amazed by how different David was. While Tommy always seemed to have a darkness within him David was filled with light. _Stop thinking like that,_ she told herself. _You're meant to be Tommy's girlfriend.
"David's good," Jason noted, startling her back to reality.
Kat was about to reply when a silver spear struck the tree, just missing her head. As quickly as possible the two teens were on their feet, searching for the source of the spear. Another five spears hit the ground not far from where she was standing.
In the sky over Angel Grove a black masked face appeared. In the background were three metal beings. One was silver and the other two were bronze and brass. Tommy's eyes went wide as the image grew larger, revealing the Sword of Darkness in his hand.
"Citizens of Earth, I am Minion your new ruler. I shall expect a quick and efficient surrender. Resistance shall result in termination."
The image faded and Jason once again looked around, trying to spot the source of the spear. He soon found it, twenty silver soldiers had appeared in a circle around the park, cutting off any route that the Rangers might have used to escape.
"We're going to have to fight," Jason said. He had tried his communicator and found the teleport function jammed. "Let's go."
"Right," Kat agreed.
While Tommy, Kat, Adam, Jason, Tanya, Sam and David formed into a circle defending the younger children, Rocky was searching for a way to get the innocents clear.
"When I say now, run," he told Chelsea Oliver.
Tommy's sister nodded her understanding, catching hold of the younger De Santos children. Next to her Franklin Park and her younger brother Teddy had managed to organise the others so the strongest fighters were on the outside, protecting the younger children.
"Can't you just teleport us out?" Chelsea asked.
For a moment Rocky considered arguing with her, but decided against it. Now was not the time. Instead he whispered back, "Jammed."
Chelsea nodded, grateful for not having to argue with the Ranger. She watched as the circle of friends moved outwards, drawing their attackers towards them.
"Now!" Rocky shouted as he saw the break in the soldiers.
Chelsea and the others ran as fast as they could. As soon as they were clear of the Robo Troopers they were teleported to the monster shelter.
"You and Sam go next," Tommy told his brother.
"No way," Sam said. "We all go together."
"He's right," David agreed. "You guys are going to need all the help you can get." He waited until Sam had turned away before adding to Tommy, "At least until I can get Sam clear so you can morph."
"Look out, here they come!" Jason shouted.
Zordon and Alpha had been watching the events unfold from the time Minion appeared. Despite Alpha's best attempts he had been unable to teleport David and the human known as Sam to safety.
"Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi, Zordon I can't beam the Rangers out either," Alpha reported.
"Alpha 5 calm down!" Zordon boomed. "Tell the Rangers to morph. Minion's forces are too powerful to face without their powers."
Alpha looked at the Viewing Globe, noticing the extra human in the area. "Zordon, there's someone with the Rangers."
"Tel them to morph Alpha," Zordon commanded. "We can limit the damage afterwards. Their lives are more important than any secret." _Besides,_ Zordon thought to himself, _David might be able to cover for the Rangers so they can morph without their other friend finding out." In his heart Zordon knew it was a long shot, but still worth hoping for.
"Rangers, this is Alpha, you need to morph."
Alpha's voice came over the communicator loud and clear. The Rangers and Sam had formed a circle and were trying to keep the attackers at bay. David was inside the circle, protecting an injured Kat from further harm.
"I'll be okay," she assured him. "Accelerated healing is kicking in. But I don't think I'll be able to fight."
David carefully examined her leg. Even though he wasn't a trained doctor it was obvious that it was broken.
"Take this," Kat whispered, handing David her Zeoniser.
David took the Zeoniser and strapped onto his wrist. Immediately he felt the power telling him what to do. Standing up he joined Tommy and the others.
"We'll explain later," Tommy promised Sam. Morphing in front of a civilian was not something he wanted to do, but with one team-mate down he wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. "It's Morphin Time!"
"Zeo Ranger I - Pink!"
"Zeo Ranger II - Yellow!"
"Zeo Ranger III - Blue!"
"Zeo Ranger IV - Green!"
"Zeo Ranger V- Red!"
"Gold Ranger Power!" Jason called.
The Rangers looked round in time to see Sam morph into the Dragon Ranger. As his sword appeared Dragon Ranger let loose a battle cry and tried to hack the nearest Robo Trooper's head off.
"Well that solves that problem," Gold Ranger said to his leader as they drew their own Power Sword and charge in after him.
"David," Blue Zeo shouted as he joined the fight. "Cover Kat and try to stay under cover."
The acting Pink Zeo Ranger nodded in agreement, drawing his Zeo Laser Pistol just in case. He was glad he did not have to fight, even with powers. He was also relieved because although his uniform was determined by the Power and not by him, unlike Jason, at least the Zeo Crystal had adapted for the fact he was male and removed the skirt.
David turned towards the source of the noise and saw two of the machines holding the Gold Ranger while a third pummelled him with punches. There was a loud crack and David could see Jason demorphing, his powers exhausted.
"No!" Pink Zeo shouted, summoning the Zeo I Power Shield.
As the three machines turned to face David he threw the disk like shield at them. Sparks flew as it made contact with their metallic bodies before bouncing harmlessly away. The Green Zeo Ranger had used the diversion to attack all three Robo Troopers with his Zeo IV Power Hatchets. Although the attack failed to cause any real damage it managed to convince the machines to attack him instead of his fallen comrade.
Minion watched the battle below. The fight had barely started and already two of the Rangers were out of action with a third untrained Ranger trying to defend them. In addition the Gold Ranger had exhausted his powers and Minion now knew the identity of the Green Dragon Ranger.
"Bronzo, begin a background check on Samoht Revilo," he instructed.
Bronzo bowed and hurried away to do his master's bidding.
Minion then checked on his own troops. So far none of them had fallen in battle despite the Rangers' best efforts. If this kept up he would soon have an easy victory.
"Silvo, tell your soldiers to increase their attack to full power," Minion instructed.
Adam was desperately outnumbered. Even if all the Rangers were available three to one odds would have been difficult to beat. With Jason and Kat out of the fight and David looking after them Adam found himself fighting five Robo Troopers. He barely ducked as one of the robots fired a weapon at him. He looked at the ground where the object had landed and realised it was a spear, at least as long as his arm.
"Tommy," Green Zeo called to his leader. "Those spears are inside them."
The Red Zeo Ranger nodded, taking his attention off his opponents long enough to nod. That was all the time the Robo Trooper needed. It moulded its hands into sharp edged blades and slashed at the Red Ranger.
As Adam was distracted seeing his leader fall he failed to notice the Robo Trooper sneak up behind him. Before he could react it punched him to the back of the neck. The Green Zeo Ranger looked up to see the Robo Trooper preparing to fire another spear, this time at his head.
Yellow Zeo had summoned her Nunchuks and had started to bludgeon the nearest opponent. Then after freeing one end of the weapon she struck out, using the chain to increase the momentum. As the solid club struck the Robo Trooper's neck Yellow Zeo drew her Zeo Pistol and fired. The machine fell backwards, stunned by the attack.
As Yellow Zeo prepared for the next target it grabbed her from behind. Tanya found herself deposited on the back of her neck, the Zeo suit absorbing some but not all of the shock. She looked up, unable to move as another Robo Trooper prepared to hit her.
"Any bright ideas?" Blue Zeo asked.
"Yeah," Dragon Ranger replied from his position at Rocky's back. "Teleport out of here as quickly as possible.
In back to back formation they had managed to hold their own against the machines, but were fading fast. Looking around Rocky saw Tanya being driven into the ground.
"Duck!" Blue Zeo shouted.
As the Dragon Ranger moved to obey his blue companion leapt over his back, driving his Zeo Power Axe into the Robo Trooper's chest. As he pulled away Dragon Ranger pushed his Blade Blaster into the damaged patch and fired. The Robo Trooper collapsed as the Blade Blaster's energy ripped through to emerge from all directions, effectively slicing it in half.
"I don't believe it!" Blue Zeo complained as he noticed the Robo Trooper still moving, despite being cut in half. AS he watched the two halves rejoined.
A silver spear struck the Blue Zeo Ranger in the shoulder, allowing more Troopers to fall on him. _This is bad,_ he thought as his helmet cracked under the constant pounding.
"Enough!" Minion shouted.
Before him was a scene many villains had only ever dreamed of. The Power Rangers were almost all beaten. The only exception was a newcomer, who Minion intended to humiliate before killing.
"Silvo, call back the Robo Troopers," he ordered. "Then go to Angel Grove and destroy the Green Ranger."
Silvo looked at the screen. All the other Rangers had been beaten down, leaving only the Green Ranger facing twenty Robo Troopers. The machines fell on top of the Ranger, punching and kicking him into submission. An evil smile formed on Silvo's lips.
"As you wish master," he said as he left.
Minion couldn't help smiling under his mask. He had known what Silvo was thinking and was pleased his henchmen were intelligent enough to know when they had an advantage. Whether Silvo could use that advantage remained to be seen.
"Robo Troopers, dismissed!" Silvo shouted as he appeared.
As the silver soldiers moved to obey Silvo stalked the Green Dragon Ranger, grabbing him by the neck and throwing him into the centre of the park, away from his friends. As Silvo moved away from the area Zordon was able to lock onto the fallen Rangers and teleport them back to the Power Chamber.
Sam forced himself awake. Silvo's initial assault had injured him more than the Robo Troopers and he could already sense his attacker getting near.
Silvo waited until the Dragon Ranger got back to his feet before kicking him in the stomach and power bombing him into the ground. Lifting the Ranger by the neck he started to choke the Ranger in unconsciousness.
"Fireball!" Sam shouted.
His hand erupted with green fire, catching Silvo off guard. Instead of dropping the Ranger however, Silvo drove him into the ground. With the Ranger down he continued to pummel him until Silvo could see blood seeping from a hole in the Ranger's armour. Kneeling next to the Ranger, Silvo opened Sam's helmet exposing the boy's face. Drawing his fist back he awaited Minion's permission to proceed.
A portal opened a Minion stepped through. Silvo bowed to his master and taking the hint disappeared.
"ZORDON!" Minion shouted.
Zordon turned his attention Viewing Globe. When Alpha had managed to teleport the Rangers back to the Power Chamber, Alpha had sprung into action. Thanks to the little droid's actions the injured Rangers had all been demorphed and stabilised. Most were suffering from broken bones, although in one case Zordon had had to use his powers to help heal internal damage.
"ZORDON!" the voice boomed a second time. "I know you can here me, Zordon!"
"I am here Minion," Zordon replied. "What do you want?"
"Your little Power Pukes left something behind," Minion sneered. Reaching down he pulled up the battered Green Dragon Ranger, now bleeding from several wounds. Sam's helmet had been destroyed, placing the armour into standby mode. Minion placed the Sword of Darkness across Sam's neck.
"What do you want Minion?" Zordon asked.
"A simple trade," Minion replied. "You give me the Zeo Crystal and I'll give you this piece of trash."
Zordon thought for a moment. Every part of him wanted to send the Rangers back out to destroy Minion, but he did not have that option. In addition he doubted they would be able to either beat Minion or free their friend. Faced with an impossible choice Zordon did the only thing possible under the circumstances. _I cannot sacrifice someone just to hold onto a power,_ Zordon thought. _If I do, then I don't deserve to hold it anymore."
"Very well Minion," Zordon said. "Alpha will bring the Zeo Crystal to you. But be warned, if you harm either Alpha or Sam, you will be destroyed."
"As you wish Zordon," Minion hissed with a mock bow. "As you wish."
Alpha appeared in Angel Grove Park five minutes later carrying the Zeo Crystal in his hand. Making his way over towards Minion, he placed the crystal on the ground and stepped back.
"Very good Alpha," Minion said. "Now come here."
"That's not part of the arrangement," Alpha replied.
"Alpha Five, CPU L98485, access function B109 and come here!" Minion said a bit louder.
When King Lexian had built Alpha he had included a few special features, the most important of which was the ability of the owner to implant commands deep in a part of the droid's CPU that even Alpha was unaware of. Although these functions could only be accessed once, they had been used on the first two Alphas to activate self-destruct features. The second feature Lexian had designed was the method to activate the function and avoid accidental use. In the case of Alpha 5 no function had been implanted at default, so Lexian had programmed the command to activate when Alpha's full designation was quoted.
When Billy had first met Alpha he had discovered the function and as part of an afternoon's experiment he had programmed that upon hearing the function B109 Alpha would obey the speaker's command even if it contradicted his other programming.
"End function B109," Minion said as Alpha walked over to him.
Alpha returned to normal operating status to find himself kneeling on the ground with Minion standing over him. Next to him the form of the Green Dragon Ranger lay motionless.
"Zordon," Minion said, knowing the White Master could here him. "I now have two prisoners. But instead of killing them, you can have them back."
In a flash of green and white light the two prisoners were gone. Minion allowed himself to smile. While Zordon was busy caring for the injured Green Ranger, he would ensure the Ranger's were even less of a threat. He had taken their powers, now he intended to take their Zords.
Alpha ran the medical scanner over Sam's unconscious form. He had tried several times to monitor the young Ranger, but although Alpha was able to heal some of the wounds, the scanners refused to detect the Green Ranger's presence. To make matters worse, Zordon had been unable to force demorph the Ranger.
"Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi, nothing is working Zordon," Alpha reported.
"Keep trying," Zordon instructed.
"Yes Zordon," Alpha replied, returning to his work.
A small alarm sounded in the Power Chamber causing both Zordon and Alpha to investigate. The control panel, which the Rangers used to control the Zeo Launcher, was operating by itself. Already the Zeo Megazord, Super Zeo Megazord and Warrior Wheel had been loaded for launch.
"Alpha, eject the Zeo Launcher before the Red Battlezord is lost as well!" Zordon boomed. As he spoke he noticed the other Zords had already been launched.
Alpha pushed the buttons on the console, causing the Zeo Launcher to eject from the Zord Holding Bay and explode near the bottom of the mountain. Zordon realised the Rangers would probably never use those Zords again. _The Rangers will probably never use the Zeo Crystal again,_ he thought.
"Sam, wake up!"
Sam opened his eyes to find himself hovering over the medical table in the Power Chamber. As he looked down he could see the battered the remains of his body and Alpha desperately trying to help him.
"Am I dead?" Sam asked.
"No," the familiar voice said. "But if Zordon and Alpha cannot heal you, you will be."
"Why are they not healing me then?" Sam asked.
"Because you do not want them too," the voice replied. "They want to help you but cannot do so while you are hiding from them. Only you can save you life, and to do so you will need stop hiding and reveal yourself."
Sam thought about the choice he faced. If he removed the spell that hid him from the Ranger and everybody else then he would survive. But if he did remove the spell he risked losing the people he cared most about and being alone again. For a moment he was tempted to just keep the spell and die, but what then. The Green Powers would be lost and the Rangers would be in even worse shape than they were now.
_I caused Zordon to give up the Zeo Crystal,_ he thought. _How can I quit before I have made amends._
"At last you have seen sense," the voice said, once again taking the form of the Green Ranger. The voice changed to resemble someone Sam had come to respect over the years. The image flew into the Plasma Tube causing its inhabitant to smile, "Welcome back Sam."
"Ah, there you are," Minion said as the three large Zords appeared.
The Zeo Crystal had given him full command of anything connected with the power. He had ordered all the Zords to launch, but surmised Zordon had managed to prevent the Red Battlezord from being lost. For what he had in mind though, it did not matter.
"Fight me!" Minion commanded, using his powers to give the Zords life. After teleporting the Zeo Crystal to a safe place Minion prepared himself to destroy the Rangers' prize weapons.
Before any of the three Zords could react, Minion rushed them with his sword. Using the power blade he knocked the Warrior Wheel, attacking in robot-mode, to the ground.
Minion had spent time studying the Zords the Rangers had used since Zordon first recruited them. After watching their battles he had managed to determine the weaknesses of each of the Megazords.
The Dino Megazord had been quick and had been able to take abuse well, but lacked the strength and firepower of the future Zords. The Dragonzord had been more powerful, but lacked any finishing manoeuvres. Ultimately they had been destroyed not through the act of an enemy, but because Zordon had failed to enhance them.
The Thunder Megazord had the raw power, but was unable to survive a sustained attack. The Tigerzord was powerful, but was reliant on the co-operation between Ranger and Saba. In the end it had been their lack of endurance, which had drained them to the point where Rito had been able to defeat them. Minion wondered what would have happened if Zordon had given the Rangers access to the real Thunder powers, instead of allowing them to draw the power through their Dinocoins.
The Ninja Megazord and Ninja MegaFalconzord were the most agile of the Zords, but neither Zord was unable to defend itself against swords. The Shogun Megazord and Shogun MegaFalconzord were powerful and heavily armoured, but lacked the speed to defeat the faster monsters. Together they had made a good set of Zords, complementing each other well. Unfortunately the Ninja Zords' reliance on the Falcon Zord meant that when Zedd had stolen it all the Ninja Zords had been disabled.
Then came his current opponents. It was easy to find the weakness with the Zeo Megazord or the Red Battlezord. Both had been added to the Ranger's arsenal after they had gained their powers. As a result they only drew part of the power from the Zeo Crystal. If Minion had had the opportunity to face the Red Battlezord, he would have simply aimed for the cockpit. The machine was designed for Tommy only and a quick laser bolt through the glass cockpit would have ended the Zord's attack. The Megazord was at least a challenge, but Minion knew all he had to do was ground the Zord and it would be as good as scrap.
The Warrior Wheel was vulnerable when switching between modes. Minion had already damaged it, but now he planned to take advantage of its other weakness. While the Zord was down he intended to ensure he knocked out the other two Megazords, thus eliminating its finisher. The Warrior Wheel did not have an effective solo assault.
As he was analysing his opponents the Zeo Megazord and Super Zeo Megazord had already moved into attack. The Zeo Megazord had activated its Battle Helmets. Minion had laughed as he was hit by the various assaults; even the Zeo Megazord Sabre had barely scratched him.
"Zeo Cannon!" Minion called, bracing himself as the cannon attached itself to his shoulder.
Minion fired the weapon once, blast a hole in the Zeo Megazord's chest. As the Zord collapsed Minion aimed the cannon again, this time channelling the full power of the Zeo Crystal into the blast and fired. The Megazord exploded, its parts being teleported back to the Power Chamber.
Twisting around to face the Super Zeo Megazord, Minion fired again. The blast caused some damage but the Super Zeo Megazord had been created to take more than the Zeo Cannon could give. In disgust Minion smashed the Zeo Cannon into the Super Zeo Megazord's head.
Minion had spent a long time studying the Super Zeo Megazord. It had a number of weaknesses, but none Minion could exploit to their full extent. Instead he had looked at the Zord's weapon and had discovered the combined swords generated too much power for even its wielder to use at full power.
He laughed as the Megazord struck him the first time, gesturing for it to try full power. The Zord complied and Minion saw his chance. Grabbing hold of the blade he pushed it back towards the Zord until it made contact with the Megazord's head. Minion continued to push, slicing through the Megazord. Gradually the sword cut through the body, emerging at the base of the body.
As the Super Zeo Megazord fell to the ground in two halves, Minion picked up the combined sword and used it to shop away the Zord's arms and legs. Finally he drove the sword into the head of the Megazord. As the Super Zeo Megazord was reclaimed to the Super Zeo Gems from which it was first formed, the sword disappeared with it.
"Just you and me then," Minion said as the Warrior Wheel got to its feet again, beckoning him to attack with his hand.
Faster than Minion expected the Warrior Wheel launched at him. A series of fists connected with Minion's chin. Minion laughed as he took all the punishment the Zord could dish out.
"My turn," he said.
Minion snap kicked the Warrior Wheel's knee, following up with several punches of his own. Lifting the Zord over his head in military press, Minion jerked his arms back to his sides. He threw the top part of the Warrior Wheel onto the ground in front of him, before dumping the legs on top.
He raised his hands in victory as he watched the remains of the Warrior Wheel disappear. "ZORDON! If I'd known it was going to be this easy I'd have attacked before!"
Reaching out Minion summoned the Zeo Crystal and placed it on the ground. With a mere thought he tapped the power of the Dark Dimension, feeding its energy into the Zeo Crystal. The crystal started to glow, changing colours rapidly. Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Pink, Silver, White, Gold, Black and finally Purple shapes appeared inside the crystal. Sparks started to fly as the crystal pulsed with more power than it was ever intended to contain. As the pulsing reached fever pitch Minion drove his fist into the Zeo crystal, absorbing its energy and causing it to disintegrate.
Leaving the shattered crystal on the ground Minion teleported away. Time was now on his side and that was all he needed.
When Tommy awoke Zordon asked him to join David and the others in the main chamber. As he entered the room Tommy was glad to see his team was still alive. The Rangers healing powers had taken care of the worst of their injuries. And with a little help from David and Alpha they had all regained consciousness.
Conspicuous by his absence was Sam. At first Tommy thought maybe the Green Ranger had left. Then, he noticed the blocked off area of the chamber where the medical table was located.
"Zordon, where is Sam?" Jason asked.
"Rangers, I have some bad news for all of you," Zordon said. "When you were teleported here Minion assaulted Sam and used him to gain control of the Zeo Crystal. He has since destroyed all the Zeo Zords with the exception of the Red Battlezord and has damaged the Zeo Crystal so it cannot be used."
"The good news," Zordon continued, "Is that Sam is going to be alright and that we have today gained a powerful and wise ally."
The blocked area of the chamber vanished, revealing Sam in his civilian clothes. By dropping his power he had allowed Zordon to discover his true identity, but at the same time had managed to conquer his fear of discovery.
"Samoht Revilo, will you please reveal your true identity to the Rangers?" Zordon asked. If Sam refused then Zordon had no intention to tell them. He hoped that his reaction had helped.
Sam placed his hands over his face and slowly moved them aware. As he did so the other Rangers gasped. Sam's face became that of Thomas Oliver when he had first arrived in Angel Grove.
"Hi," Sam said sheepishly, "Remember me, your clone?"
For a moment nobody said anything. Most of them were too shocked to say anything; Tanya just didn't understand what was happening. None of the Rangers had ever thought to fill her in on their history and although she knew Tommy had once been the Green Ranger she had never been made aware that he had a clone.
Finally, Tommy spoke. "How can you be here? I left you in 1795."
"More to the point," Adam stated, "I thought two Tommy Olivers in one time would damage the Morphin Grid."
"I can answer both questions," Sam said, returning to his usual look. "I am the clone you left in 1795. I have not aged in all that time."
"Since Sam has not returned to this timezone, but has instead lived for the last two hundred years the effects on the Morphin Grid no longer apply," Alpha explained.
"What about your disguise?" Rocky asked.
"I can answer that," Zordon said. "Tommy has always contained a natural reserve of magical energy. It was this power that caused Rita to select him as the Green Ranger. Over the time Sam has been alive that magic has magnified to the point where it has merged with his Morphin Powers."
"In other words," Sam said, "I am now one with the Power Coin. In fact I am now literally the Green Ranger."
"Ai-yi-yi, I got it!" Alpha cried excitedly.
"Got what?" Rocky asked.
He was answered when a pile of blackened glass appeared on the console. It took everyone a minute to realise that what they were seeing was not glass. Instead it was all that remained of their powers. Lifeless and dark the Zeo Crystal was still smoking from where Minion had stolen its power.
"Aw man," Tommy said. "It's ruined."
"Rangers, I am afraid there is nothing more you can do here," Zordon said. "I suggest you all go and get some rest. I have a feeling you will need you strength soon."
As he watched the Rangers leave Zordon turned to his assistant. "Alpha 5, begin Plan B."
"Yes Zordon," Alpha said, hurrying to complete his task.
While Billy worked Zordon started to plan for what was to come. Minion had in the space of a day managed to hand the Rangers their first defeat. For some reason the new villain had not continued to attack, deciding to retreat. Zordon reached out with his mind, touching each of the Rangers. _Rest easy my Rangers,_ he thought, _I fear the worst is yet to come._