Conquest of Evil

Age Of Legend

How did it all start? Where did the war between good and evil begin? How did an existence at the point of oblivion pass into the creation of a new reality, a reborn creator and the start of a new war? Just how was the universe formed, what role did the Power play and what of those that tried to tame it?

The Age of Legend is the period during which all those questions are answered as existence emerged from the darkness and begins anew.

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Clash of Honour

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers; they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.
Authors Note: This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate timeline.

Clash of Honour

The Moon, Prime Reality

Inside the lunar palace Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa were engaging in the favourite marital activity: arguing: Lord Zedd was just about to strike out with a particularly nasty barb back when the palace started to shake.

“What is that?” Zedd demanded, not used to having his tirades interrupted before they were started.

In answer to his question there was a sudden burst of flame accompanied by a pleasant yet sickly smell. Smoke enveloped the area before lifting like curtains to reveal the new arrival. She was tall with long black hair, which trailed behind like a cloak with emerald strands showing. In some places the dying spell had yet to take place and the black looked decidedly grey. Her eyes were cold and conveyed very little as she looked around the room before her gaze settled on Rita and Zedd.

“So this is what happened to you,” she said after a short time, looking at Rita critically.

“Who is this woman?” Zedd demanded, pointing his staff at the intruder and ignoring his wife’s desperate warnings not to. "How dare you invade my domain!"

“Zeddy,” she squeaked, noting that Goldar and the rest of her former henchmen had decided to kneel. The clone had followed suit, deciding to play it safe and maybe live a while longer. “This is my mother, The Mistress Repugna.”

“Your mother?” Zedd asked, clearly confused before he growled. “Great, just what we need, a useless member of your family to leach off us.”

“How dare you? I am Monastra Repugna, Mistress of the Dark Cosmos and sworn enemy of all that is good,” Monastra announced proudly. Her cold eyes fixed on Zedd’s staff, which he now lowered. “And you’re the man, who married my beloved daughter,” she said thoughtfully, “I don’t think her father will approve. He prefers suitors with their own skull.”

“Daddy disowned you, you’re not even connected to him anymore,” Rita pointed out. "So it doesn’t matter what you say."

“Oh Rita, my poor ignorant daughter. How we could have neglected your education so much that you would even think to talk to your mother like this. Do you really think that your father disowning me means that our relationship has ended? Your father and I have been friends, lovers, enemies and so much more since before you were born. And for many years after you were born for that matter. Your father has things to me you would never believe, both good and bad. Why I remember the time he flayed me within an inch of my life and then set off an explosion, knowing it would kill me but lacking the desire to do the deed himself. And then after all that he got bored of whatever dregs he found to entertain himself and had me resurrected as something suitable to be his dark queen. That… creature, had a servant summon my spirit from the afterlife, shred it to remove any trace of decency and then used his magic to shape the darkness that remained into what you see before you. So don’t think for a moment that your father and I do not share a special connection. He wouldn’t let me escape him through death, why would him banishing me would make a difference?"

She laughed at the thought of the things he had allowed his servant to do to her to transform the noble being she had once been into the villain she had become. And she vowed not for the first time that one day she would show him how much she appreciated his efforts… by returning the favour.

"The truth is that while your father is an extraordinarily evil creature, he cannot be expected to give me his full attention while running an empire. And without him to entertain me, I grew bored of his court and decided I would travel and perhaps build a small empire of my own; a few centuries domination of the M-51 Galaxy can be so dull. We still speak of course and though our paths have taken us in different directions, he will Your father and I still speak though. One day he will tire of my absence and call me back to his side. And depending on my mood I will either return willingly… or we shall re-enact our courtship as he tries to force me. Would he succeed? I honestly don’t know; we’ve both had out little… changes. But you on the other hand have not changed. The least you could have done was to restyle your hair.”

“Enough!” Zedd boomed. “I don’t care about my wife’s imbecilic family. What are you doing here in my palace?”

“Oh I’m just passing by and thought I’d drop in on my favourite daughter,” Monastra responded. She continued, apparently ignoring Zedd’s tirade. “As I said, I’m planning on starting my own little empire in the far corner of this little Galaxy. You needed worry though, I’ll allow you to keep this planet, if you can ever conquer it that is.”

Zedd snorted, earning him a disapproving look. He seriously disliked this woman who had invaded his home without an invitation. He couldn’t stand the idea of relatives turning up and refusing to leave.

“So Rita, what have you been up since the last time I saw you?”

“She got trapped in a Dumpster,” Goldar blurted out, earning a sharp look from Monastra and a look of absolute hatred from Rita. He shied away from the first and returned the second with his own look of disgust.

“Quiet monkey brains,” Rita ordered. “I might have been put in a Dumpster, but I did trap Zordon.”

"Oh yes, I remember now," Monastra said with a touch of emotion showing. “I remember how proud I was when I heard the news that you had put an end to dear old Zordon. I was distracted at the time or I would have come to congratulate you in person. Afterwards the thought just slipped my mind… I’m not sure why." There was a pause before she shrugged and offered her daughter a rare smile. "Well done."

She owed Zordon so much for the kindness he had showed her before Master Vile had located her. And she had longed to show him just how much she appreciated his actions, as she cursed him into oblivion. But it seemed her daughter had gotten there first and that not only filled her with pride, but also caused her to ponder the horror on Zordon’s face when he realised the monster Rita had become.

"And now you are stuck here on this rock attacking some backward planet, why?”

“Zordon is down there,” Rita answered. "I thought I killed him, but he survived."

Internally she smiled at the look on her mother’s face. If they played this right, then maybe her mother would help them.

“Besides, Earth is not an easy planet to conquer,” Zedd interjected. He was keen to save face. “They have Power Rangers.”

“All planets worth conquering have Rangers of some sort,” Monastra answered. “Powered or not, the presence of a Ranger team is no excuse for incompetence. If you cannot handle things, step aside and someone else can deal with it.”

“You arrive here — in my palace — telling me how to deal with those Rangers?” Zedd was furious. “Putties, remove her.”

“Putties?” There was amusement in her voice as she asked. “You use Putties? Oh my, you really went all out to create your own forces Zedd,” she added sarcastically as she took in his poorly modified Z-Putties. “Please, tell me these are not your normal foot-soldiers.”

“Of course they’re not!” Zedd snapped. This woman knew she was annoying him and seemed to enjoy making him twitch angrily.

Still, he wasn’t angry enough to stop his Z-Putties from advancing on the wretched woman. Against Rangers they were practically useless, something Zedd had come to expect. However against a witch like Monastra, a woman not used to the trials of regular combat, he expected them to prove useful. They advanced on her while she watched with interest. Only when they pounced, did she act, turning to look at Rita.

“Didn’t you teach your husband that these Putties are little more than golems with a few spells to grant them limited intelligence?” she asked.

“I know that,” Zedd snorted as the first Z-Putty made contact with her arm. He had never really wanted to use Putties at all, but had been determined to prove that he could succeed with the resources Rita had been forced to rely upon.

“Then you should have foreseen the outcome,” she told him.

The first putty solidified as it touched her, the shell breaking down rapidly as it crumbled into dust. A second stepped towards her only to start bubbling rapidly as she forced it to boil.

“To the unskilled general, like my beloved daughter, these Putties are a useful resource. Loyal, numerous and ultimately expendable. Anybody can create a Putty given the right tools; Monster-matic, energy from a staff, it’s the same thing in the end. Both methods make equally inferior Putties.”

She reached down and scooped some of the molten clay that had been the second Super Putty. She closed her fist, squashing the clay into a deformed ball.

“Now a real witch who knows what she is doing can accomplish so much more. Rita learnt how to make Putties from her father, but he only learnt the skills in passing. Her brother lacked the skills to learn the arts of golem making altogether. I however, learnt from the best: my grandmother. Rita can use clay to make Putty Patrollers and perhaps the odd monster. In my hands, this clay can do anything. Watch…”

The rough ball bubbled into a perfect sphere, which came to life in her palm. It rolled to the ground and started to spin like a top. Suddenly, it jumped into the air and formed a giant blade, which severed one of the heads from the closest Z-Putties. When it landed, it leaped again, although this time it nearly split in two. Two smaller balls formed with blades of their own, joined by a very fine fibre of material connecting the two. Two more Putties were cut in half by the smaller spheres, and then the balls spun around each other, hitting some more. After reforming quickly, the ball then threw a projectile about the size of a golf ball, at incredible speeds at dense group of the Z-Putties, striking the “z” spot with ease. Several were destroyed in this way as the projectile ricocheted around, and Monastra seemed to smile ever more gleefully as the sphere mercilessly slaughtered the few remaining foot soldiers.

As she turned her hand, the ball reformed back into a perfect sphere and calmly rolled back to her waiting palm. Around her she could sense Rita and Zedd’s unease at the power she had displayed. Although it took all her willpower not to show the effect such a display of power had on her. Magic was exhausting, creating golems even more so. Still it had probably made Zedd aware that she was not to be fooled with.

Rita looked over the crumbled remains of the Z-Putties wondering why she had never learnt to use her skills to this level. With that sort of power, her battles against Zordon would have turned out far differently.

“Mistress Repugna!” a cheerful voice called as Scorpina entered the chamber, skilfully avoiding the kneeling henchmen until she was level with the female villain. She bowed, the smile never leaving her face.

“Scorpina dear,” Monastra greeted as a genuine smile appeared on her face. “If I had known you were here I would have visited before.”

Mistress Repugna had always had a soft spot for Scorpina. In fact of all her daughter’s so-called servants, Scorpina was the only one she would attempt to start a real conversation with. Scorpina was a fine warrior and although never trained in magic, a skill Monastra believed could have benefited the female Edenite, she was underhanded, deceptive, cruel… all the things a good warrior should be.

“I must admit that with you on her side, I am surprised Rita has taken so long to conquer this little world.” She emphasised the word little, not believing that Earth was a worthy target. After all, its population was primitive and weak. As slave labour they would be useless. As far as materials went there was very little of value to be found on Earth, at least to a powerful witch like herself.

“She has been as useless as the rest of these fools,” Zedd complained.

“And how often has she been allowed to act alone?”

“Once,” Goldar answered, “and she failed, just like Rita did.”

“And how many were you allowed to try Goldar?” she asked, displeased by the underling’s continued interruptions. In hear mind servants should be seen and not heard until invited.

“If… if you please Mistress Repugna,” Finster managed. “We have all been unlucky.”

“Ah yes, Finster,” Monastra drawled. “Ever the practical one. How are your monsters?”

“Not good my lady,” Finster answered honestly. “The Power Rangers have an extraordinary amount of luck when it comes to my creations.”

“I see. That is to be expected. You are an artist Finster, a creator of beautifully monstrous beings. As a monster maker you far surpass my skills. But you were not born a conqueror. Your monsters, like you, lack the desire to triumph, not the skill. And Squatt and Baboo, how are my favourite potion maker and warlock?”

“Hey, great to see you,” Baboo greeted.

Monastra sighed. “I suppose even the best villains have to endure incompetence at some point. In your case Rita, it would seem to be since your release. Or perhaps” she looked at Zedd, “perhaps I should say since your marriage.”

“If you think you can do a better job be my guest,” Zedd snapped and immediately regretted his words. He disliked this woman and wanted her gone as quickly as possible. Now because of his big mouth he had practically invited her to move in.

“Sorry Zedd," she said quietly, flashing him a brilliant smile. "I have better things to do than sort out my daughter’s mess. I’m sure the two of you can work something out if you put you heads together… Then again, I’m sure my new prince would love the opportunity to test his skills and prove his worth."

And as she spoke, her newest lover appeared. His features were hidden by a dark green cloak, but Rita could sense that he had power.

"But of course, my Queen," he said, his voice sounding strangely familiar. And the two shared a deep kiss that caused Rita to look away.

Lord Zedd scowled as he watched the display, certain that the pair were doing only to aggravate him. By now he was convinced that the Mistress Repugna was special. She had certainly set a new record with him. Usually Zedd didn’t make up his mind until he met someone for the third or fourth time. But Rita’s mother was different because although he had only known her for a few minutes, Zedd thoroughly loathed the old witch.

“I fail to see how those Rangers could have defeated you so often,” she announced crossly. The left side of her face twitched she attempted to sneer at her son-in-law. With her magically altered face though it looked more like she was winking at him. Zedd recoiled in disgust; Mistress Repugna was old enough to be his grandmother. She ignored his reaction and continued. “Powered or not they are still humans. You have the power to destroy this planet, you have more monsters than is healthy and regardless of how you act, you seem to be a powerful wizard… for a halfwit. With the right plan, Zedd, you have everything you need to ensure victory.”

“Then why does he keep on failing?” Rita whined.

“Some are born to be great villains Rita,” she said. “Some are born to be losers. Sadly you married the wrong sort.”

“Why you…”

“Quiet Zeddy, getting worked up will not help,” Rita crooned.

“No, if I do all the work for you, you’ll never learn,” Mistress Repugna said, sliding her hands over her lover’s chest. “I’ll tell you what. If by the time I visit you have thought up a sufficiently evil scheme, I’ll lend you my little killing machine here to carry it out. If not… I might just have to try running things myself just to show how it is done. Have fun kids.” She disappeared in a column of flame, resuming her search for her brother. Her lover seemed to look around for a bit before the flames reappeared and a very feminine hand dragged him away by the neck.

“Well, what did she give you?” Zedd asked while looking at the box Monastra had thrown to his wife.

“Us Zeddy, she gave it to us,” Rita corrected nervously. In her palm she held a small box, which opened to reveal a figurine of a silver cat.

Zedd snorted in disgust and turned his attention back to ensuring that the wretched woman had left the Moon and was not lurking nearby. He was relieved to discover that she was gone and had apparently taken Scorpina with her. Neither woman would be missed in a hurry.

Meanwhile Rita was looking at the figurine with great interest. The silvery object had given her a new plan, one that would take time to come to fruition. She would need to find a suitable candidate and a spell. But then with luck she would have the means to draw all the Power Rangers into a trap. Especially that pesky traitor Tommy.

The Moon,
Months Later

It had been a busy time for Rita and Zedd. And while they could not claim to have achieved complete or even near victory, they had certainly not lost the war. In all fairness they had been on the brink of conquering Earth when the Machine Empire had arrived and evicted them. Now with Mondo gone it was their chance to retake control.

In the time before they had fled the Moon, they had been close to victory. True, the Power Rangers had managed to steal the Shogun Zords away from Rita and rescued Kimberly Hart despite Zedd’s plan to use her as a hostage, but they had not won the war. Zedd still had held the Falcon Zord that Katherine had captured for weeks because they were designed to act as a united force, he had incapacitated the collective Ninja Zords. As an added plus, they had managed to capture the great Ninjor and had used him to further their plans. That miserable maker of power coins had soon started to wish that he had stayed inside his temple.

His favourite memory of that period would always be his confrontation with Tommy. Though he had lost, he had still managed to outfight the famous Tommy Oliver. The boy had been inches away from death and had it not been for that blasted magical sword, Zedd would have emerged the victor. Still, that fight had been worthwhile and months after the event he planned to put the knowledge he had gained to use. He had already enjoyed Rita’s appreciation of his talents. His wife was quite the little dynamo when given the right inspiration.


Lord Zedd and his forces were celebrating. Not only had the Rangers been beaten, they were about to be humiliated in front of all those they had sworn to protect. At long last Tommy would be working for him, as he should have been all along. Who would have thought that a simple coin, the very source of the Rangers’ powers could bring them to their knees?

“Three cheers for Lord Zedd!” Goldar cried.

Zedd pretended to acknowledge the cheer; in truth he had little respect for Goldar. He wished that the gold armoured monkey would stop creeping and start fighting like the fierce warrior the titan had once been. Still he laughed, gloating over the defeat of his enemies.

“I’d better check on those Rangers,” he muttered. Their surrender had been a little bit too fast for his liking. “What? They’re trying to rescue Kimberly! Tengas, destroy them!"

Tommy appeared in the cave where Kimberly had been left, strapped helplessly to a table. The rotation made it difficult for him to see if she was moving. He hoped she was; they stood a better chance of escape if she could move on her own. If Zedd had immobilised her with magic, escape could prove impossible.

“Hold on Kim,” he said as he swiftly crossed the cave. “I’m getting you out of here.”

“Wrong, White Ranger.”

Tommy turned, knowing full well what he would find waiting for him. Lord Zedd in all his evil glory held his staff at the ready and Tommy’s confidence plummeted further. Few Rangers had faced Lord Zedd in one-on-one combat and lived to tell about it. Zedd’s introduction to the Power Rangers of Earth had almost ended with their deaths, and would have seen Tommy destroyed had it not been for an emergency teleport. Zordon had revealed in the days following Zedd’s arrival that the villain was more than capable of fighting his own battles and had been responsible for the deaths of many of Zordon’s allies. Tommy often wondered why Zedd didn’t take matters into his own hands, especially given Goldar’s record.

“You dare to double-cross me? For that you, and your precious Pink Princess will perish…together.”

Zedd’s laughter filled the cave. Tommy frowned. He had only a short time before the portal closed again. Fighting with Zedd was not something he had planned on, but it was now necessary. He would need to make it quick and hope that the Power would indeed protect him… this time.

“Back off, Zedd. I’m getting Kimberly outta here. It’s Morphin Time!” He was surprised that Zedd hadn’t tried to stop him. It would have been very easy to unleash an energy blast before the White Ranger had finished his transformation. But instead Zedd remained silent, waiting for his challenger. It was one of those strange things about Lord Zedd that as evil as he chose to be, he had some twisted sense of honour. “Okay, Zedd, I’m ready for you.”

Zedd laughed mockingly. “I’m far more powerful than you can ever handle, White Ranger.”

Tommy gulped. He had a feeling that Zedd was speaking the truth. Outwardly though he tried to portray a confident appearance. “Well, we’ll have to see about that, won’t we. Hiya!”

“Is that really necessary?” Zedd inquired. “Here I’ll do some: whoa, whoa, come and get me.”

Tommy realised by the third blow that Zedd was as dangerous as he had been during their first confrontation. Without dropping his staff, the dark master had effectively blocked his first two punches. If anything Zedd’s staff was an extension of his body, showing a degree of competency that could only have been achieved through regular practice and hours of training.

Zedd went on the offensive for a short time; showing that whoever had taught him to use the weapon had drummed into him the importance of using the whole weapon. Zedd’s attack used the length of the staff, the edge and points of the razor sharp ‘z’ at the top of his staff, and the rounded butt of the staff. Tommy was forced to dodge most of the blows since blocking them risked breaking a bone.

As the staff hooked towards his right knee, Tommy sidestepped and moved in close. He attempted a punch, but Zedd anticipated the move and caught the White Ranger’s fist. With a firm shove he threw Tommy backwards.

“Ah, you missed me,” Zedd taunted. He tried to drive the staff into Tommy’s mid-section; something Tommy was easily able to avoid.

“Is that the best you can do?” Tommy asked, sensing that Zedd was getting angry.

“You’re going to be sorry you said that,” Zedd growled in response. Energy shot from the end of his staff and enveloped the surprised human. With a jerk of the staff, the White Ranger was sent hurtling from side to side, bouncing painfully off the walls as he went. Then Zedd pointed at the ground and Tommy was deposited in front of him as Zedd sent a shockwave of black electricity into his opponent.

Tommy was desperate and flailed wildly as he tried to take Zedd by surprise, but his clumsy attack was easily blocked and countered.

“At last White Ranger, you will appreciate just how powerful I am. Such a shame it will be the last thing you learn. But just wait until I tell your pink friend how much courage you had at the end.”

Zedd fired his staff at Tommy, which causes him to writhe painfully on the floor.

“It … it doesn’t matter what happens to me, Zedd. Kimberly and I may not get out of here, but you’ll never be allowed to win.”

“Brave words, White Ranger, but alas… just words.” Zedd lifted his staff for another blast.

Tommy knew he had to move. If he was caught again, the chances were that he would not escape with his own life, let alone Kimberly’s. He rolled as the tip of Zedd’s staff glowed and continued to move. He ducked each blast, desperately trying to lead Zedd on without endangering his girlfriend. ‘This is it,’ Tommy thought as he finally moved into position. Zedd fired and Tommy once again moved aside, this time exposing the controls that held Kimberly in place. He smiled under his helmet as they exploded and Zordon teleported the Pink Ranger to safety. Now whatever happened, his fellow Power Rangers would not be forced to pilot Zedd’s ancient machines.

“This is over Zedd,” Tommy stated, drawing Saba ready for action, using the blade to deflect another one of Zedd’s blasts.

Zedd snorted and attacked, disarming Tommy with a decisive swipe of his staff. More energy drove the White Ranger to his knees as he prepared to deliver the finishing blow.

But Zedd had forgotten that Saba was not a normal sword. He had been enchanted to aid the White Ranger in combat and had gained some abilities of his own in the process. When he had been sent flying away, Saba had levitated him into a position where he could help and had waited for the opportunity. Then faced with Tommy dying if he didn’t act, the sword had sailed through the air, hoping to destroy Zedd in the process.

Zedd heard the sword approach and twisted rapidly. His staff was in position to block before Saba could change course. However Zedd’s staff could not withstand the touch of the enchanted blade and was transfigured into a snake before Zedd could argue.

Tommy remained on the floor, dazed from the blows he had taken and terrified by the man who had come so close to killing him. He raised his hand to intercept Saba and teleported away, leaving Rita and Zedd to rant about losing their bargaining chip. Regardless of who had won or lost that battle, Tommy had found a new level of respect for Zedd. While Goldar had grown easier to defeat in combat over time, Zedd was as dangerous as ever and despite his reliance on magic; he was a capable combatant with a weapon.


Zedd walked into the lower levels of the motor home he had acquired as a temporary headquarters and enchanted so it was linked to a limitless number of pocket dimensions, searching for Rito and Goldar. When he found them, he groaned to himself. He was the supposed conqueror of Earth and his two most powerful warriors were morons.

“Did you watch the battle?” he asked, not waiting for pleasantries. There had been a monster attack earlier that day by what was left of the Machine Empire, and the Rangers had triumphed yet again. But this time Zedd had kept a close eye on the fighting hoping to glean some vital information from the Rangers’ triumph and the machines’ failure. The chamber’s occupants nodded. “What did you learn?”

In between the meaningless banter of Goldar and Rito, Zedd was pleased to learn that somebody had been paying attention.

“The time has come to crush those humans,” he said. “And with the fate of their world on the line, I doubt those pesky brats will be able to ignore my offer.”


“Hold him still you fools,” Zedd yelled as he watched Rito land on his back yet again, while Goldar could only moan from his place on the back of this bucking bronco.

Rita watched from the sidelines, feeling a mixture of glee at her husband’s inability to perform even the simplest of tasks and anxiety that their prisoner was about to escape.

“We’re trying Ed,” Rito protested.

“That’s Zedd, you fool. My name is Lord Zedd!”

“Lord Zedd, got it. Sure thing Ed.”

“You’ll never hold me, you villains,” Ninjor proclaimed as he wriggled free of Goldar’s grip only to be set upon by Putties. “I have the power of good on my side. For I am Ninja.”

This made Rita Repulsa even more irritated; furious would be a better word to explain her mood as she saw yet another scheme about to fail. But this time the plan would flop before it had a chance to get started. For their scheme to stand a chance they needed the coin smith to work for them and that meant he had to remain their captive.

“Hurry up and get those bracelets on him,” she snapped at her husband, brother and anyone else who would listen. “Move it, monkey boy!”

Goldar glared at her, baring his teeth in an attempt to look threatening. It didn’t work, Goldar seemed impressive and awe inspiring when you first met him, but after ten thousand years in a Dumpster, he was next to useless.

She decided she would have to act personally if she wanted to avoid losing this most important pawn in her plan. But first she would need to distract Ninjor.

“Well, it’s been a long time, are you ready Baboo?”

Rita frowned, she didn’t remember telling Squatt and Baboo to join in. ‘just what I needed: two more imbeciles in the mix.’


Rita watched in stunned silence as Baboo launched himself through the air, claws outstretched. Ninjor stiff-armed and blocked Baboo’s attack while throwing Rito aside, but didn’t notice Squatt hurling himself like a living cannonball right into his chest. Ninjor struggled to stay on his feet only to be grabbed from behind by Rito and a growling Goldar. Ninjor hooked his leg behind Rito’s knee sending both Goldar and Rito to the ground. He quickly found his balance and tried to draw his sword.

Baboo and Squatt were not as dumb as they looked though and knew what came next. Not wasting any time Baboo got to his feet and kicked Ninjor in the back of the knees, forcing him into a backwards roll as Rita and Zedd’s foot soldiers piled onto the suddenly prone Ninja master.

“Now!” Zedd boomed, aiming his staff at the fallen coin smith.

Rita followed suit, conjuring the power binding bracelets into place around Ninjor’s forearms, filling them with her own dark energy. As she ceased her assault she looked to where her husband was casting the next portion of the spell. Chains of energy linked the bracelets while Goldar and Rito snapped heavier chains wrought of Cold Iron into place as an additional safeguard.

“We did it,” Zedd told her as the chains repelled his attack. He gestured to the Tengas and they hauled Ninjor back to his feet. “Not so eager to fight now, are you Ninjor?” he sneered.

It was pathetic in some ways to see the might Ninjor brought to his knees so easily. But there again, Ninjor had been resisting Rita and Zedd since he had been captured. In that time he had exhausted himself beyond his physical limitations and had been drawing heavily from the Morphin Grid to renew his energy. With the Cold Iron in place and the power binders blocking his Ninja talents, he was just a normal man in armour, armour that now weighed heavily on his unpowered shoulders.

“Maybe I should get Finster to build me a can opener,” Zedd quipped as he ran the tip of his staff over the Ninja master’s armour, producing only a small number of sparks and a significant cut in the metal plating.

“Brilliant Zeddy,” Rita cried as she joined her husband. “Now we can use him in our plans without the risk of him escaping.”

“I will never help you villains,” Ninjor said defiantly.

“You won’t have a choice,” Zedd answered.

“Brilliant!” Goldar proclaimed. Rita shot him a look and he shut up.

Angel Grove

“And here we have a statement from a witness who claims to have seen the stranger just appear from nowhere,” the tour guide toned as she pointed to a stone statue, which despite the damage caused by pollution and Angel Grove’s weather patterns, had survived the last century or two.

And it is said the stranger did emerge from the heavens
Bearing little more than the clothes ‘pon his back
And as his companion in white returned to the swirling gateway
Ne’er again to return
Did he decree: “Aw man.”

Tommy smiled as he read the words carved into the base of the stone statue of a very familiar figure. The statue had been a mystery to local historians, who wondered what the colonists had seen that day. Only in recent years had it been suggested that perhaps, just perhaps they had been talking about a Power Ranger.

“There are very few hints about whom this figure is or how he was significant to Angel Grove. Remember that this was a British colony in an area the Spanish had already claimed. Tensions were high for many years and at some points it appeared likely that either the foreign or native colonies would wipe out the colony. It is likely that this tribute is to one of the many people who worked tirelessly to bring about a peaceful outcome to such negotiations.”

Tommy knew and from the looks on his friends faces, they were also well aware of whom that statue represented. It was Tom Oliver, the clone Rita and Zedd had created from a lock of his hair. The same clone that had chosen to remain in Colonial Angel Grove rather than risk disrupting the Morphin Grid. Tommy had personally left the clone in the past, using the Wizard of Deception’s wand to return to the present, convincing himself that in doing so he had left behind the darkness within his soul.

The day Tommy had said goodbye to Tom had been the day the Green Ranger had vanished. Not only had the Evil Green Ranger had been laid to rest that day, the other Green Ranger had disappeared from Tommy’s life as well. He wasn’t sure which he hated more, the personification of the evil within him or the reminder of just how weak and useless he had been without his dark side in control; the good guy Green Ranger had been a pathetic joke.

But in recent times Tommy had found himself wondering whether dissociating himself with those incarnations of his personality had been wise. Near death experiences have a way of grabbing people’s attention and the battle between himself and Zedd a few weeks back had been a real eye opener.

That was what the Green Ranger represented. It was cautious, thoughtful, and slow to anger; it didn’t rush headlong into a situation and then improvise a way out. The Green Ranger didn’t strike head on. He used strategy. Even while he had been under Rita’s spell Tommy had felt the need to plan his next move, relying on cooperation with Rita to ensure that the plan continued as desired.

As White Ranger though Tommy had been keen to distance himself from both the good and the evil Green Rangers. He wanted the White Ranger to represent power and purity, not weakness or worse, evil. This had continued over the course of his time as the White Ranger. Cooperation had been thrown out of the window as the need to prove himself had surfaced again and again. He was aware of it, so were the others. He remembered Rocky once remarking that they could all retire and let Tommy handle things.

Then Rito had arrived and Tommy had received a wake-up call. The powers that evil could not take had been stolen away by his own stupidity. It had been a sobering moment to stand in Angel Grove surrounded by the remains of the Thunderzords.

But the real shock had washed away all Tommy’s illusions of invulnerability. When he had faced Lord Zedd alone, he had realised just how deluded he had become. Zedd had taken everything Tommy could throw at him and had kept coming. His staff had almost shredded Tommy’s uniform. Had it not been for Saba, Tommy might have died. That event while not fatal had led Tommy to rethink his approach to battle. And now as Red Zeo, he had been able to control himself to a greater degree, but the urge to charge recklessly was still there. He was just better at suppressing his urges.

The truth of the matter was that Tommy’s recklessness had been a facade to hide his fear. His days as the near powerless Green Ranger had been torture for him as Zedd had singled him out time and again. At first it had been an attempt to erase what Zedd saw as Rita’s greatest mistake, but over time he had seen the benefit of having Tommy as an ally. From then onwards the attacks had become even more personal as Zedd had made it clear that the only power Tommy would be allowed was power granted to him in the service of Lord Zedd.

He shook his head, not wanting Zedd to ruin his day. At the moment, everything was going well for Tommy. Kimberly had left and he missed her, but they had gained Katherine and he had discovered his brother. All that and Jason was back.

“Now, if you’ll all follow me, we can continue this tour.” The silky voice of the tour guide interrupted his thoughts, or maybe it was the sharp nudge Tanya gave him.

“Tommy, are you okay?” Kat asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said. “Just distracted.”

“I believe you might find it beneficial to discuss your problems,” Billy said.

Tommy chuckled. “It’s nothing guys, I was just wondering what happened to Tom?”

The others were silent; unable to give their friend the answer he sought. The friends continued their tour; each distracted from what should have been an enjoyable day.

Cranston residence

Professor David Cranston crossed the study and parted the heavy drapes to reveal a clear crisp night sky filled with multitude of twinkling stars. He thoroughly enjoyed evenings like this — as long as he was indoors. The fireplace contained a few quietly burning logs that filled the room with warmth as well a golden glow that always had such a relaxing effect on him. The house had taken years of work to get to the point where he felt it was perfect for both himself and his son, Billy. The perfect environment to sit and enjoy a new book that he had recently purchased; the background material for the project his wife was undertaking in Oregon.

He placed his hand on the windowpane, which revealed something else about this evening, it was extremely cold — unusually so. Angel Grove did not suffer from abnormally cold weather even in the heart of winter — in spring such conditions were almost unheard of. Of course nothing in Angel Grove could be described as normal anymore. Since the Power Rangers first arrived on the scene, life in Angel Grove had taken a definite turn for the bizarre.

As he glanced across the great lawn of his detached residence, he noticed a thin cloud of smoke rising from just behind the shrubs marking the property’s boundary. He quickly looked down see that it was not smoke at all but steam that was coming off some late night joggers.

He closed the drapes and left them to their exercise, it made him cold just to watch. He was glad that Billy was sensible enough to exercise indoors when the weather turned chilly. He was also glad that his son had friends who ensured that he was active instead of sitting in the garage all day. It not for his friendship with Jason and the others, David wondered how his son might have turned out.

Out of instinct he walked into the hall and looked at the distribution board. No real surprise there. Billy was home and downstairs in the garage, working on some new project. What he was working on David didn’t know, but he was sure that if Billy was involved he would find it truly remarkable. He had a very remarkable son; how else could you describe a boy who had visited another planet?

Rocky DeSantos burst into the Cranstons’ garage, a copy of ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ in one hand and a large jelly sandwich in the other. He gave a short nod to the room’s only other occupant before flopping down on the battered sofa in to back corner.

Billy raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. No doubt Rocky would say what he wanted when he was done reading, dozing or eating. Whichever it was he was doing at that point in time. At one time Rocky’s antics would have annoyed the Power Rangers’ resident genius, but just like Tanya’s awkwardness and Adam’s long periods of silence, Rocky’s exuberance had grown on him.

Billy continued his work and didn’t appear to notice that Rocky had even entered the room. Not the result the Red Ranger had been seeking.

“So that’s how it’s going to be Billy. I am not going away until you say yes.”

“You have yet to pose a question,” Billy mumbled, his head deep inside a strange box of assorted wires.

“Oh so there is someone alive in there,” Rocky laughed. “Let me cut to the chase. Tommy Adam and me are heading down to the beach tomorrow for a day out. We need four people to play beach volleyball and you are cordially invited.”

“I have too much work to accomplish this weekend, Rocky,” Billy said without glancing up. “I have to realign the vertical lift on Zeo Zord I and determine a way to integrate the Super Zeo and Zeo Megazords so they can work in unison.” He paused for thought. “Another time perhaps?”

“Bull!” Rocky exclaimed. “We’re not stupid Billy. We all know what’s going on, whom you’re avoiding. We’re a team Billy, you need to get these things out, discuss them and at least make it so you can be in the same room as…”

“I am well aware of your concerns. I assure you my personal issues will not affect the cohesive functioning of the team.”

Though he spoke the words quietly, it was easy for Rocky to hear the venom behind each syllable. That was not good, Billy was more upset than he was letting on and Rocky was unsure about how to help him.

“I’m sorry Billy,” Rocky said quietly. “I just thought that you needed a break,” he went on nervously. “We’ve all had a busy time of it lately and now that Mondo is gone… I just think you should take some time out while you can, look at what happened to Kim when she overworked herself.”

Billy sighed. “Rocky, please forgive me and accept my sincerest apology,” his voice already tinged with regret. “My frustration level with all my ineffectual attempts to replace Pyramidas has reached an all-time high. Everything I’ve tried has been a dismal failure. My anger has nothing to do with you and is inexcusable.” A small smile crossed his face as he added: “Nor is any other member of the team responsible for my mood. Perhaps some beach volleyball would make an interesting diversion. It would be beneficial to forget about Machina and Sprocket, Rita and Zedd for a short time.”

“Then I am sorry to disappoint you.”

The chillingly familiar voice startled both Billy and Rocky. They spun around and were horrified to see Lord Zedd step out of the shadows of the garage, where he had been watching them for some time, enjoying the small signs of dissension amongst the team. As the seconds ticked by, Rocky overcame his initial shock and his training took over. He began to move while simultaneously summoning his Zeonisers into the ready position. Tommy and Jason had constantly drilled it into Rocky, Adam and Tanya after the power transfer to never present an opponent with a stationary target, move immediately. Even seasoned fighters often ignored this seemingly obvious bit of advice. Jason had once told Rocky as a piece of parting advice that it was the very first few seconds that almost invariably determined the outcome of any fight.

With just a casual wave of his staff, Zedd enveloped Rocky in a faintly glowing pink sphere, which literally froze him in place. Rocky was conscious but unable to move. His mouth was frozen in the middle of calling on his power. The ease in which Rocky was rendered harmless actually stopped Billy in mid-stride from triggering the alarm he had installed after giving up the role of an active Ranger. What also stopped him was the impassive manner with which Zedd now greeted them.

“Enough! I assure you, I mean you no harm, yet. All I am here for is to deliver a message, a challenge if you will. And since I cannot just appear in the park and read a declaration, I decided a captive audience would prove beneficial.” Zedd delivered this seemingly benign little speech with his hands folded innocuously in front of him; staff leaning casually against his shoulder, attempting to dilute the natural menace he exuded.

Although Billy, like many of the other Power Rangers, had an almost intrinsic fear of Zedd – the Emperor of the Dark Galaxy had seemed unstoppable during the early days of his attempts to conquer the Earth and had practically defeated the Power Rangers single-handedly-, Zedd’s logic did not escape him. It would have been easy for him to have destroyed both the Blue Zeo Ranger and Billy before they could react.

Billy shuddered. Yes, perhaps their greatest and most insidious enemy had somehow easily bypassed the protective scans Zordon maintained on all the Rangers’ homes, possibly the most advanced security system on the planet, and was standing in the middle of his garage completely unhampered, currently free to wreak havoc and do as he pleased, but he had not done so, yet.

If recent events had shown anything, it was that the Rangers had more reason to fear Zedd than ever. When Tommy had gone to retrieve Kimberly from captivity, he had been lucky to escape with his life. Zedd had nearly killed him that day. Tommy hadn’t been quite so cocky since that incident.

The subtle change in Billy’s demeanour as he recalled the events Tommy had described did not go unnoticed by Zedd. “Your comrades have no idea that I am here so no one will be coming to your aid, nor will you require any. I will deliver my challenge and then leave you and your friends to discuss it.”

“Release Rocky as a show of good faith and I will hear your challenge,” Billy demanded with as much false bravado as he could muster stalling for time.

“Obtain his promise that he will not attempt to attack me, what little good it would do, and he will be released. But rest assured, should he break his promise, I will employ the same spell I have just demonstrated in tandem, and your friend will find his head and abdomen in two vastly different locations.” Rocky understood that this was no idle threat especially when Zedd punctuated his remark with an intimidating stare.

“As long as you don’t try to harm us, I won’t do a thing” Rocky managed to croak trying to sound as confident as possible considering his situation, but was unable to meet Zedd’s gaze. No doubt the Blue Zeo Ranger would be experiencing plenty of nightmares over this turn of events.

“Then we are in agreement and can converse in a civilised manner.” The pink sphere surrounding Rocky disappeared and he was able to move again.

Unhurried, Zedd slowly approached Billy, his gait a mixture of grace and strength, innate confidence and power oozing with every step. Billy had to consciously fight back the urge to run and managed to hold his ground, quoting equations to steady his nerves. Zedd towered over Billy, his terrifying visage now within a few feet of his own face. His elaborate costume, if one could call it a costume, with metal piping seeming to hold the otherwise formless flesh in place.

“State your challenge,” Billy said.

“A simple contest of solo combat,” Zedd replied. “One of your Power Rangers versus a combatant of my choosing. When my champion wins you will surrender your powers and Zords to me and they will then be dealt with as I see fit. Should your candidate triumph, I will release the Ranger that Rita and I captured during our time away from Earth and then leave this galaxy forever. Should you not accept the challenge: I will leave here peacefully and you will witness the death of a fellow Ranger knowing that you refused a chance to at least try to prevent his death."

“How can we trust you?” Rocky asked. “I haven’t heard of any kidnapped Rangers and besides… you could just snatch him away again regardless of the outcome.”

“And here you see the reason why I approached Billy and not your esteemed leader,” Zedd answered, unaffected by Rocky’s question. “Had I approached Tommy with my challenge he would have dismissed it outright. Rocky at least offers me the chance to prove I am genuine. Now, what about you Billy?”

“You obviously have some method of reassuring me that your intentions are honourable,” Billy said after some thought. "Otherwise you would not have offered."

“I will prepare a container for the prize and arrange to teleport it into the possession of Zordon if your combatant wins and remove them to the Moon should my champion triumph. I will surrender control of the container until a victor is declared, on the condition that no attempt is made to open it. Of course Zordon is welcome to check the spell is in place. He will be familiar with it.”

Billy’s eyes widened, recalling historical accounts of such battles. Once initiated neither party could meddle with the prize unless they won. He found himself automatically nodding and Rocky was looking at him in shock.

“Do you swear on the power of the Morphin Grid that you will honour the outcome of this challenge should the Rangers accept regardless of whether it turns out in your favour?”

“I will,” Zedd answered, shaking Billy’s hand.

“Billy?” Rocky asked, clearly confused.

“Later,” Billy told him.

“I will need to speak with Zordon and the other regarding your offer,” Billy told the chrome-lined tyrant.

“Very well, you have until tomorrow to decide. After that I will dispose of the prize in any way I see fit.”

Billy nodded and Zedd promptly vanished, leaving two shaken teenagers wondering just when he had stopped trying to kill them.

“We need to speak to Zordon,” Billy said after a while. Both boys had flopped down onto the sofa when Zedd had vanished, relief temporarily causing them to forget what had occurred.

Rocky nodded absently, still unsettled at the ease with which Zedd had neutralised them. Was this a new power on the part of the villain, or had he been toying with them all that time before the Machine Empire had shown up? Rocky couldn’t be sure, but the caution the older Rangers had always shown when Zedd was around made him think that perhaps he had taken the villain lightly.

“Come on,” Billy smiled encouragingly, noting the way his friend’s hand shook briefly.

In twin columns of blue and white light they were gone.

The next morning found Billy Cranston in the Command Center adjusting the communication console to transmit directly to the Moon. The discussion the night before had been heated with Tommy insisting they could not trust Zedd and even going as far as suggesting they use the opportunity to double-cross Zedd.

Billy shook his head, realising that Tommy would never understand why Zedd could be trusted. Billy had tried to talk him around, but Tommy was convinced it was a trap.

But then Adam had intervened. While Billy and Tommy could argue all day about the best way to approach the problem, Adam was quick to point out that Zedd was not the main point of concern. A life was on the line and if they didn’t accept the challenge, Zedd’s prisoner would be executed. They really didn’t have a choice.

That decided the whole team had discussed their best chance for victory. Of course Tommy had elected himself as their champion and had been quick to start discussing contingency plans for when he won. Billy had managed to bite back the remark about if he lost; Tommy could be an annoyance sometimes.

“It would help if we knew who Zedd had chosen,” Tanya had said.

Ever the practical one, her comments had made sense and led to speculation.

“As long as it’s not Rito Revolto,” Kat had joked. “I mean, ew, he stinks!”

That had caused the Rangers some amusement. In the end though it had seemed logical that Zedd would choose either Rito or Goldar. Zordon had pointed out that Zedd would no doubt attempt to strengthen his champion with a super strength potion of some type.

“I am sending the message now Zordon,” Billy said.

“Very well Billy,” Zordon replied.

Billy pressed the buttons and the deed was done. Now battle could commence.

Angel Grove Quarry

The Rangers appeared in columns of light shortly before their villainous opponents. Zedd and Rita were easy to recognise, Goldar and Rito likewise stood to one side.

Baboo, Squatt and Finster could be seen in the background. Finster looked slightly miffed at the idea of having to play the role of cheerleader yet again. Baboo and Squatt on the other hand seemed delighted with their new roles and actively waves their pom-poms around.

“I guess Rita brought the whole gang,” Rocky commented.

Billy didn’t answer though; his eyes were fixed on the two figures standing to one side. The first was a moderately attractive woman while the other was difficult to see due to the cloak he wore.

“Zordon, who is that?” Billy asked.

“That is the Mistress Repugna, Rita’s mother and one of the most evil villains the universe has ever known. At one time, she was one of my closest allies and dearest friends."

Back then Monastra Repugna had been known by another name and a title that had elevated her to the top of Master Vile’s list of enemies. She was recognised for her ability to channel a type of energy that originated within the Morphin Grid known as the Mystic Force. With that power she had protected the planet of Magitopia until she had been called away to aid Zordon in his fight against evil. It was at that time that she had been seduced by Master Vile, albeit it briefly and while unaware of his true identity. And although she had escaped his clutches, he had been unwilling to let her escape his clutches. He later recaptured her and although Zordon was not aware of the whole story, he knew Master Vile had done something terrible in order to corrupt her to his side. He had destroyed the beautiful being Zordon had once known and turned her to her into something worthy of being his bride.

Now Zordon doubted there was anything left of his old friend beyond a waning physical resemblance, just as the lovely daughter she had loved so much had been corrupted to become the evil witch Rita Repulsa. The only positive was that the moment Mistress Repugna had turned from the light, her ability to access the Mystic Force had been diminished; that particular power required certain qualities that Repugna now lacked. He could only imagine how angry Master Vile would have been when he discovered that little side-effect.

“Is she dangerous?”

“Mistress Repugna is one of the most dangerous beings you will ever encounter. Before she turned to evil, she was trained as a practitioner of battle magic. And although she lacked the experience of her daughter and son-in-law, she is still cunning and capable of manipulating others.”

It was true. Despite her earlier boasts, she was not a schemer like her husband. She preferred to crush her enemies rather than playing games with them. She rarely had ulterior motives to her schemes, meaning that when she succeeded it was normally a large victory and when she lost, she walked away with nothing.

“Okay, we need to be extra careful here guys,” Tommy said as they waited for Zedd to approach. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Rangers of Earth, I challenge you to one on one combat in this place. Should your fighter succeed, I shall release my prisoner to you. Should my champion triumph,” at this point Goldar laughed and said something about it being a certainty, “you will surrender your powers and control of your Zords.”

“As Red Zeo Ranger, I accept your challenge – after you vow to abide by this agreement regardless of the outcome.” Tommy’s words were forced. He really did not want to be doing this, he knew Zedd had something planned.

“I swear upon the power of the Morphin Grid that I will abide by our agreement, regardless of the outcome of this battle. I further swear that neither I, nor my allies will seek to intervene in the battle and that my champion will fight only until he attains victory.”

“I accept your word, Lord Zedd,” Tommy said. “Let’s fight.”

“Patience, you insolent pest,” Zedd snapped. “First, you Rangers must swear on the Power that you will abide by the decision and not seek to intervene in the battle.”

The Rangers nodded, but it was Tommy who voiced their answer. “We swear it.”

Rita cackled and the Rangers wondered just what they had let themselves in for. Zedd also seemed pleased as Goldar made a show of inspecting his sword.

“Name your champion,” Rita challenged.

“I will fight,” Tommy answered. From the look on Rita’s face she had not expected any other answer. She seemed pleased. “And you?”

“Our champion will defeat you without breaking a sweat, Red Zeo Ranger,” Zedd boasted.

Goldar stepped forward upon hearing his master’s words.

“Where are you going, Monkey Boy?” Rita asked. Goldar looked at her with a mixture of rage and confusion. Then Rita burst out laughing. “What, you think Zedd meant you?” She sounded amazed.

“As if,” Zedd growled. “We intend to win this battle today. And winning is something you seem to find impossible when dealing with Earthlings. Get back in line.”

Goldar dejectedly did as he was told.

‘Is Goldar sulking?’ Adam wondered as he focussed on the titanic warrior.

“Hey Ed, does that mean I get to fight? Puh-lease,” Rito begged.

“NO!” Rita snapped. “You’d mess up worse than the monkey.”

“And my name is Zedd, LORD ZEDD!” Zedd added.

“Zedd, gotcha, sorry Ed.”

“Enough!” Zedd snapped, his skin sparking with angry red energy that extended all the way to the tip of his staff and back. “Here is my champion, Red Ranger. I’m sure after meeting him you will learn to appreciate his abilities. This is Lorrigan, the Impactor."

The Rangers had been taken by surprise. Rito or Goldar they had been expecting. Pudgy Pig would have been less of a shock, but to hear that Zedd had found a warrior that claimed to hold Ranger powers and was willingly evil, and had convinced him to fight, was a shock.

“I think we broke them Zeddy,” Rita cackled.

“Don’t look so worried, Red Ranger, I promise he will not kill you… Although when this is over you may wish for death. The fight will take place on the quarry floor,” Zedd stated. “All non-participants will watch from the sides. Once the battle begins, observers may not intervene or teleport away. Those who are here at the start are compelled to stay until the end.”

The participants nodded, the observers moved to their places and silence fell over the makeshift arena.

“Oh I so enjoy moments like this. This is going to be too easy,” Lorrigan said.

“I wouldn’t bet on it,” Tommy shot back as the two circled each other.

Lorrigan attacked with a lightning-fast crescent kick to Tommy’s head, but Tommy ducked it by dropping into a split. Then he retaliated with a fist to the groin. However, Lorrigan pivoted out of the way and snapped a front kick at Tommy’s head. Tommy rolled away from Lorrigan’s kick, leaping upright. Lorrigan turned sharply, trying to jab his elbow into his opponent’s side. Tommy allowed his momentum to carry him through, extending his leg outwards to knock the elbow aside before trying to decapitate Lorrigan with another blow, which Lorrigan promptly blocked.

The fight continued in this way, physical attacks interspersed with periods of waiting. While they were both the same size, and equally matched in their skills, Tommy was getting the worst of the physical battle. Lorrigan’s technique was complicated and unpredictable. The aggressive style had caught him unawares. He had received a black eye and split lip from a series of strikes to his face. Still, he refused to surrender.

“I’m disappointed,” Lorrigan stated as he backhanded Tommy. “I expected you to fight, not surrender in the first few minutes of this battle.”

That was enough to draw Tommy back into the fight. A flare of rage shot through Tommy’s mind, instantly clearing his senses. He recalled how his sensei had once told him to focus his emotions to bring himself extra strength. By learning to channel his anger, Tommy had learnt to use his emotion in fighting, instead of allowing his anger to blind him.

Lorrigan was taken aback at Tommy’s sudden rage, and was unprepared when Tommy launched an attack using all his skills. In quick succession, Tommy had blacked both of Lorrigan’s eyes, split his lip, and cracked him in the stomach. Backing away from his berserk opponent, Lorrigan allowed a look of pleasant surprise to cover his features.

“So you do have some fight in you,” he said, wiping the blood aside from his lip. “Why don’t we take this little fight up a notch?”

“You’re on,” Tommy replied confidently.

“Zeo Ranger V – Red!” Tommy called. Lorrigan closed his eyes and waited for a black ball to appear in his right hand, a telltale sign of the powers he possessed.

“I can’t believe he can use that sort of power against us,” Rocky said, desperately watching the two fighters transform.

Tommy was soon in his usual costume, ready to fight. His was face hidden by his helmet making him as difficult to read. Lorrigan’s mask helped to hide his expression. His gloves and boots had thickened into a firmer layer of black felt.

“Now we shall see who is the more capable,” Lorrigan announced.

They shook hands, marking the beginning of this new phase of the battle. Tendrils of energy ran between them as their powers flared wildly. Both opponents tried to intensify their grip, but only one was successful in doing so. With an almost careless twist, Lorrigan sent Tommy tumbling away. The Red Ranger landed on his back, scraping along the quarry floor until he finally stopped. He lay there for a moment, wondering just how much power Lorrigan had put into that first throw.

Tommy flipped back to his feet and the two warriors met in a flurry of kicks and punches. Before they had been fast, but boosted by their respective powers, their blows became almost invisible. Tommy dodged a left punch, ducked quickly into a prayer position and then launched himself upright with a sharp uppercut. He had some satisfaction in watching Lorrigan’s head rolled to one side with the force of the punch, before he felt the sharp thrust kick to his stomach. Both combatants fell back to the ground.

“Come on Tommy!” Kat shouted from where the five remaining Rangers had chosen to view the contest.

As Lorrigan came charging in for a new assault, Tommy used his abilities to teleport out of range. Lorrigan retaliated by using his own skills, and as Tommy delivered what should have been a devastating punch, the Ranger found himself holding only empty clothing.

“Hey pip-squeak!” Lorrigan boomed from above, where he had used his armour’s power to enlarge his body.

Tommy closed his eyes and focussed his senses. He drew his Zeo Pistol and snapped off a series of shots that hit Lorrigan between the eyes. Then his giant opponent swung with a double axe-handled blow to the Ranger’s head and Tommy was glad he was now so much smaller he could duck easily.

“Yeah!” Rito cheered as he watched Lorrigan’s attempts to squash Tommy like a bug.

“Fool!” Goldar grumbled; well aware that if he was too successful, Lorrigan would become Rita and Zedd’s new henchman while he and Rito were relegated to the pitiful tasks Baboo and Squatt were called on to perform. ~What do those two do anyway?~

Lorrigan didn’t waste much time. He shrank back to his normal size and as soon as he did so he was attacking his opponent once more. He unleashed a burst of power, which struck the Ranger on his right side. Tommy struggled against the beam as it forced him down, concentrating on channelling the evil energy away from his chest. From the pain in his side he guessed the assault had cracked at least a rib despite his uniform. Not a good start.

Lorrigan was somewhat surprised when Tommy managed to return to a standing position; the beam of energy now focussed on the Ranger’s arm. He could tell it was still painful for the Rangers’ leader to endure such an intense beam, but his ability to divert it meant Tommy had more control over his powers than Lorrigan had given him credit for.

“My turn,” Tommy grunted, forcing the power of the Zeo Crystal into a ball, which he then threw at Zedd’s champion.

“Go Tommy!” Tanya cheered from the sidelines.

“Be careful,” Kat called, noticing that Lorrigan was already recovering.

The ball exploded on impact, causing only minor discomfort. It did however cut short Lorrigan’s energy beam. Lorrigan took a step back before returning fire with a set of discus blades. They exploded on impact, tossing Tommy to the ground again.

“Oh no,” Billy said softly.

“What is it?” Adam asked.

“Lorrigan’s going to try to finish the contest,” Jason replied.

Sure enough Lorrigan was building a huge ball of fire, ready to shoot at his prone opponent.

“Tommy, look out!” Rocky cried.

Tommy’s head spun around as Lorrigan released the flaming ball. He stayed low, bringing all his will to bear against the fire. With a grunt he stood and batted the fireball aside, not really worrying about where it landed. An explosion rocked the quarry as the ball caused a small rockslide.

“Very good,” Lorrigan commended. “You’re better than I thought. But then I haven’t had a worthy opponent for centuries, so I doubt you have any real skill.”

Tommy growled and attacked, discharging energy bolts from his Zeo Pistol, that Lorrigan deftly avoided. The few that got past the clone’s defences seemed to bounce off randomly.

“You can’t hit what you can’t see,” Lorrigan told his opponent as he raised his hands to the side of his head, palms facing his foe and fingers spread outwards. A faint glow appeared around his head and it took Tommy a moment too long to realise what was happening.

“Tommy, he’s trying to turn himself into a mirror!” Billy warned, just as Lorrigan accomplished his goal.

Catching the sunlight as it fell on his forehead; Lorrigan redirected it as a concentrated stream of light. Straight into Tommy’s eyes. He had the satisfaction of watching Tommy grope helplessly at his helmet, trying to reach his burning pupils, shaking his head in the hopes of clearing the pain.

“Or hear.”

Lorrigan’s body twisted as he forced an object to fly towards Tommy at just past the speed of sound. It narrowly missed the Ranger, but the noise was enough to leave Tommy deafened. He had now lost two of his senses.

Lorrigan used the opportunity to transform his clothing into armour while Tommy was incapacitated. He was now at a level beyond that of a normal Ranger while Tommy was helpless. In desperation the Red Zeo Ranger tore off his helmet, unheard of in battle. Lorrigan didn’t intend to give the Ranger a chance to catch up.

“Tommy!” Kat cried frantically.

She wanted to help her boyfriend, they all did. But the rules of the contest prevented them from interfering in anyway. Billy’s earlier shout had almost been grounds for disqualification.

“Don’t worry Kat,” Tanya said. “He can do this.” Only Rocky heard her add: “I hope.”

Lorrigan stalked the suddenly vulnerable Ranger. Tommy’s senses had recovered to the point where he could make out shapes and hear loud noises. Fully powered, Lorrigan made just enough noise for Tommy to pick up on. He attacked, catching Lorrigan by surprise. However the attack was short-lived as Lorrigan gripped the Ranger’s shoulder and tossed him aside. Tommy landed on his feet, but Lorrigan drove a fist into the ground, creating a chasm that swallowed the Zeo Ranger whole.

“Now that is how to fight a battle,” Lorrigan gloated.

“It’s not over yet,” Zedd pointed out, spotting Tommy’s gloved-hand as it gripped at the flaking soil.

“Back to Action!” Tommy called, using the time it took to recall his helmet and bring his powers out of standby mode. He also took the opportunity to teleport away from the chasm.

Now they were fighting man to man, both determined to triumph. There was something important on the line in this battle: pride. Tommy was drawing every erg of power he could from the Zeo Crystal, using a technique usually reserved for special moves. He used his enhanced strength to lift a large chunk of rock from the ground and threw it at his opponent. Lorrigan teleported away before it crashed to the ground. Tommy though knew where his enemy was and tackled him around the waist before Lorrigan could regain his bearings.

The clashed again, this time their punches glowing with the power that they siphoned from their respective power sources. The Zeo V Power Sword clashed with Lorrigan’s short sword, neither able to break through the other’s defences. A lucky blow from Tommy breached Lorrigan’s guard, allowing Tommy to deliver two more blows across the shoulder, followed by a blast from his helmet that struck Lorrigan in the chest. Then glowing with energy, his sword was drawn through Lorrigan’s side, cutting upwards until it emerged through the shoulder blade. Lorrigan dropped his sword; it should have been the end of the match.

“He did it!” Rocky proclaimed loudly.

“I don’t believe it,” Zedd hissed angrily. He turned on Monastra. “I thought you said he would win. I thought your beloved Lorrigan was supposed to be among the elite of evil warriors.”

“Oh he will win Lord Zedd. Trust me: the powers of an Impactor are very special. Just watch!”

As she spoke, Lorrigan’s armour was already starting to heal his wounds, regrowing his lost arm in the process, much to the shock of the Rangers.

“Aw man,” Tommy exclaimed as he watched Lorrigan reform.

“I can’t believe it,” Adam said softly to the others.

“Neither can I,” Billy agreed. “I didn’t think even the Morphin Grid could heal such a wound.”

“Guys, Tommy’s in trouble,” Kat pointed out.

That was true. The battle had taken a lot out of the Ranger. He had put a great deal of his strength behind that final cut, and it had been for nought.

“Now it’s my turn,” Lorrigan mocked. “Maybe you should surrender, nobody would think any less of you. How could they?”

Tommy braced himself as Lorrigan charged. The two collided, and for the first time it was a battle between the undeniable force of Lorrigan and the immovable object that was Tommy. Waves of surplus energy exploded outwards, causing their audience to take cover. Both warriors had dropped their swords in the collision and it was clear that Tommy had taken the worst of the impact.

“Zeo Power Blaster!” Tommy called, hoping that he could summon the Rangers’ joint arsenal.

The powerful weapon appeared and he lifted it into position. He hoped it would be enough; he doubted he had the strength to call forth the Zeo Cannon.


“Wow, I never thought he’d be able to use it,” Rocky said.

Lorrigan however was not impressed. The blast of pure energy engulfed him, burning away the evil power that kept his armour intact. Flames consumed him, but his will was strong and he survived.

“Oh man,” Rocky moaned. “This isn’t good.”

Tommy had dropped the blaster back into its storage place, retrieving the Zeo V Power Sword as he did so. He watched as Lorrigan battled to shake off the effects. It was clear he was succeeding.

“I believe I said it was my turn,” Lorrigan said coldly as the last of the flames faded, leaving him in his charred armour. “First, I will clear the air.”

He threw his arms into the air and power erupted around him. A gold and black aura formed around him, cloaking him in its power and as he stretched, the aura exploded outward.

“What was that?” Tanya asked as Tommy was thrown off his feet.

“A manifestation of Lorrigan’s power,” Billy replied. “It would appear he has chosen to wield the energy directly against Tommy without a conduit.”

“Now, for the special feature,” Lorrigan grinned as he looked down at Tommy.

He raised his right hand and extended his index and middle fingers from the clenched fist. A tiny ball of black energy formed around the extended fingers. Electricity crackled around his hand as he pressed the fingers to the top of his helmet. The energy around his fingers grew in size.

Tommy stood slowly, a look of shock registering on his face. He could sense the power Lorrigan wielded and wasn’t sure whether or not he would be able to avoid it. He certainly did not want to test his uniform against such power.

“Hiyah!” Lorrigan cried as he fired a ball of black fire at his opponent.

Tommy jumped aside as more and more blasts came towards him.

“What is he doing?” Zedd demanded.

“Stay still,” Lorrigan, cried as Tommy continued to dodge, seeking a way through.

“Never!” Tommy returned defiantly.

“Oh but you will,” Lorrigan told him in an amused tone. “Because if you try and dodge this attack, it will strike your friends. And since they cannot morph, I’d wager they would suffer far more than you would.”

“You wouldn’t,” Tommy claimed. “The rules.”

“The rules only say that the observers cannot interfere,” Lorrigan answered. “I’m aiming at you, it’s not my fault if they get hit because you moved.”

He was caught and Tommy knew it. If he moved his friends were finished, while if he stayed still, the battle would be over.

“Time to make up your mind, Tommy,” Lorrigan said. “Because here it comes!”

The world seemed to move in slow motion as Lorrigan drew his fingers away from his head, focussing the massive energy now trapped inside those fingers. He pointed at Tommy, knowing he would not miss; the civilian Rangers would not survive and morphing was out of the question. He locked onto his target and relaxed the safeguards he had used to prevent the energy from dissipating. “Destructo Beam!” he cried.

“Tommy, no!” Kat cried. Adam and Jason grabbed her shoulders, turning her away. Billy didn’t have the presence of mind to turn his head. Just like a serious road accident, the events that followed captured the attention of those nearby.

Rocky’s mouth opened and closed, but no words came out. His eyes widened as the twisting beam of energy rocketed its way towards his friend. He wanted to close his eyes and look away. He was tempted to transform and pull Tommy out of harm’s way. He did neither. It was too late.

Rocky and Tanya were on their feet as Tommy took a defiant stance and waited for the inevitable. They looked across to where the villains were seated and scowled at the delight evident on Rita’s face.

“That’s more like it,” Rita said, her voice subdued by the cheering of Baboo and Squatt. Zedd was speechless and Finster was rubbing his eyes to make sure they weren’t deluding him.

The beam tore directly through Tommy’s right shoulder, spinning him around like a rag doll. Smoke hissed from the gaping wound as he tried to stay upright. The pain was incredible and had it not been for the adrenaline already flowing, it would have been far worse. He doubled over, catching his breath and trying to gather enough sense to make a comeback.

“Did you enjoy that?”

He looked up. Lorrigan was stood in front of him, hand outstretched palm first. The face that now confronted him was smiling.

“I knew you wouldn’t let me hurt them Tommy. You hero types are way too predictable.”

“The match is over,” Goldar cried from his position.

“This match ends when I say it ends,” Lorrigan snarled. For once Goldar had the sense not to pick a fight. He drove his knee into Tommy’s gut and then smashed both fists down upon the boy’s back. As he saw the Ranger’s power start to fade, he fired another blast that carried Tommy across the base of the quarry. “Now it’s over.” Tommy’s powers faded at that moment, no doubt agreeing with what had been said.

Everything turned dark as Lorrigan raised his hand to the sky one more time, this time to dissolve his costume and return the powers he had summoned. As the Rangers and villains around the edge of the quarry looked on, they saw Lorrigan standing unscathed surrounded by scorched earth. Across from him Tommy lay unmoving.

“Stop!” Rocky warned as he saw Lorrigan march towards his leader. “We had a deal Zedd.”

“Yes we did,” Lorrigan agreed. Effortlessly, he lifted Tommy from the ground. “I’m only collecting my prize. Hand it to me, and he lives.”

The others reluctantly complied, handing him the Super Zeo Zords, Golden Power Staff, their Zeonisers and the Zeo Crystal, which Billy summoned from the Power Chamber.

“You know,” Billy said as he held the crystal out. “This doesn’t mean we can’t attempt to get them back again.”

Lorrigan’s face curled into a grin. “I look forward to seeing you try.”

He aimed his Golden Power Staff at the Super Zeo Zords, returning them to the Super Zeo Gems. The Rangers fell to the ground, feeling as if their hearts had been torn out as the remnants of the Zeo powers were sucked from their bodies.

“Now we are done here,” Lorrigan said.

The villains teleported away, leaving the Rangers lying in the quarry, too shocked by the attack to move.

To be continued

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Seeking Thunder

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to whoever owns the copyright at the time of reading.

Seeking Thunder

“Ai-yi-yi, Zordon. Communication has been established.”

“Good work Alpha, open the transmission channel.” The Viewing Globe flickered as the long-distance communication systems stabilised the signal. But when it cleared Zordon was pleased to see a familiar, friendly face. “Greetings Gosei, it has been a long time.”

“Master Zordon,” came a formal response. “It’s a pleasure to hear from you.”

“I have read your reports with interest and commend your dedication to your task,” Zordon continued.

Shortly after the defeat of Rita Repulsa, Zordon and Gosei had realised that the war had taken its toll of Ranger teams. Some had been destroyed, others had been lost or had hidden their powers to protect them from evil. Zordon had sent Gosei out into the cosmos to seek out the lost powers, collecting those that were unprotected while leaving those that had been secured alone. It had been Zordon’s hope that should the forces of darkness return there would be the means to fight them.

“Thank you, Master Zordon. You should know that I have located the fate of one of the Great Stars. It has been installed in a temple as an energy source the locals refer to as the White Light. They have taken steps to secure it from evil and have even installed a guardian. I have spoken with the guardian and believe it would be best to leave the power undisturbed for now.”

“As with the Temple of Ninja Power, I agree with your decision to leave it alone,” Zordon told him. “Although I ask that you record its location. I am contacting you about another matter: Lord Zedd has arrived and has replaced Rita Repulsa. The war has entered a new stage my friend and I need your assistance.”

“Do you wish me to return to Earth and aid your Rangers?” Gosei enquired. He was not without resources.

“No,” was the firm response. “I am aware that Zedd is one of many threats the Rangers will face in the years to come. It is essential that they rise to this new challenge as they have done repeatedly in the past.”

“Then why did you contact me?” he asked, confused.

“While I am certain they will defeat Lord Zedd, they can only do so if they are able to call upon their Zords. Lord Zedd has used a monster to gain control of the Dinozords and I fear that even if the Rangers can release them from that control, the Zords will remain a liability now they have been in Zedd’s possession. I believe the time has come to upgrade their Zords to combat the threat Zedd poses.”

There was silence as Zordon turned to watch the Rangers fighting Zedd’s monster. They were on the defensive but showed no signs of surrendering. It made him confident he had chosen wisely.

“I understand that when you located the White Light, you also located the powers of the other Squadron Rangers.”

The Squadron Rangers were just one of many teams that had fallen during the war with Rita Repulsa. They drew their power through the Morphin Grid using a set of powerful crystals called the Stars of Heaven, although Gosei suspected they too might have been found and used as religious icons. Their team had also been known as the Thunder Squadron due to their use of the Thunderzords.

“Mostly rumours of their fate,” Gosei corrected. “I did find the resting place of the Thunderzords when I located the White Tiger Zord. I have not located any of the other powers.” There was a long pause as Gosei made the mental connections and realised what his master had in mind. “You wanted to use the power of the Thunder Squadron to augment your Rangers, didn’t you?”

“I had hoped that the power of the Squadron Rangers would serve as additional power if needed,” Zordon agreed. “However, at this time I would seek to use the Thunderzords as templates and reformat their existing Zords.”

Gosei considered the plan and realised that what his mentor suggested would work. The Thunderzords would provide a physical template while the energy from the Rangers’ existing Zords would allow for reformatting within the Morphin Grid. It would take a great deal of work to recalibrate the Zords and would rely upon the Command Center to control the mixture of energies.

“You realise that should the Thunderzords fail they could damage the Command Center and your link to Earth?”

“I do,” Zordon agreed.

Much of the Command Center’s systems would need to be tied into regulating the dangerous high energy fields needed to maintain such a transformation. Too much strain and there was a chance the backlash could destroy the Rangers, their powers and the Command Center. But it was a risk they had to take.

“I fear there is very little time to complete this task,” Zordon rumbled.

Indeed, if they were lucky, they would be able to connect the Red Dragon Thunderzord to the Command Center’s systems. But linking the other Zords would take too long to complete. The best they could hope for was a limited connection and would have to accept that the resulting upgrades would lack many of the features of the original Thunderzords. At least they would benefit from the increased durability.

As Gosei worked on his end and Alpha Five made the changes to the Command Center’s power core, the Power Rangers managed to release their Zords from Zedd’s control, only to see the villain cast them into the molten Earth. If anything, that made the task easier as now they were working with just the energies within the Morphin Grid.

“The Red Dragon Thunderzord’s energy matrix is fully engaged,” Gosei reported as the machine started to respond to the Red Ranger’s call.

It was saddening to see the Thunderzords teleported away, knowing that in order to integrate them with his Rangers’ powers, Zordon would need to break the might machines down and then allow the Power to rebuild them again. Alas that was the price to keep Lord Zedd from conquering the Earth.

And now it was time for Gosei to resume his mission, seeking out the lost powers of the past and ensuring they were beyond the reach of those that would abuse them. He had built a sizeable collection of the many thousands of years since Zordon’s victory. But there was more to find and if Zordon was correct that Lord Zedd was the first in a growing number of threats, perhaps they would be needed all the sooner.


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What’s Tomato You?

Disclaimer: I do not own Power Rangers.
Author’s note: This story is set in the Conquest of Evil Universe and takes place during the period when Lord Zedd had replaced Rita Repulsa and was focussed on destroying the Green Ranger.

What’s Tomato You?

The Power Rangers were tired. Lord Zedd had been relentless in his attacks, determined it seemed to continuingly draw them into battle, knowing that such exertion increased the strain on the powers. Zordon had had to recharge Tommy’s Power Coin several times in recent weeks and there was no denying that with each charge the coin was losing more and more power. They had tried to keep Tommy in reserve to save his strength, but Zedd it seemed would not be denied and had simply increased the ferocity of his attacks until Tommy was forced to step in.

The villain’s most recent creations had not even shown the thought that he had put into previous monsters. Zedd had just found something he could transform with his wand, cast a spell and pointed the result in the Rangers’ direction. It was crude had held little chance of conquering the planet. But they could not deny that Zedd was winning when it came to his ultimate goal of destroying the Green Ranger.

Zedd’s latest monster had been created from a pincushion and had attacked the Rangers with its pointed swords. It would have been a joke, except the pin swords were extremely sharp and the Rangers’ weapons had been unable to pierce its defences due to its thimble shield.

It had been Kimberly who had found a way around its defences, nailing the monster with arrows, which had allowed the others to move in close and break the thimble shield. After that it had been the now familiar scenario of Zedd growing his monster and the Rangers taking it down with their Megazord. It was almost lazy and easy to assume that Zedd had gone soft… until they remembered that the villain had succeeded the moment that Tommy had been forced to morph and enter the battle.

Then there was the damage that the battles were doing to Tommy himself. Although Zordon and Alpha had tried to keep it to themselves, at Tommy’s request, the constant fluctuations in his Morphin energy was starting to take a physical toll on his body. Rangers were supposed to be either morphed, unmorphed or in standby mode. The brown outs caused by his coin’s damaged connection meant Tommy’s body was sometimes trapped between those states. It was of serious concern for the Rangers and more so for Zordon who had confided to Tommy that even if there were a way to fix his coin, the damage to his health would make it far too dangerous.

In short, the Green Ranger was operating on borrowed time. Zordon and Alpha knew it, the Rangers knew it and of course Tommy understood his next battle could be his last. Most importantly though Lord Zedd was aware of how close to victory he was growing and would likely continue to step up his attacks until he got his way.

Even Bulk and Skull’s antics failed to put a smile on their faces. The two were engaged in some sort of experiment to find the identities of the Power Rangers. Exactly why they wanted to expose the secrets of those that had saved their lives on numerous occasions was unclear, but most days it provided a small distraction.

“Ladies and gentlemen behold,” Bulk proclaimed as he held up a twig. “With these dowsing rods we are going to track down and reveal the secret identities of… the POWER RANGERS!”

There followed a typical Bulk and Skull demonstration of their new equipment during which they were drawn to Ernie’s milkshake machine, the water fountain and Billy. They rapidly dismissed that last one as a false reading, declaring in the process that there was no way a geek like Billy could ever be a Power Ranger. And then they were drawn out of the door and away from the Youth Center on their newest adventure.

“Man, those guys never learn,” Zack smiled. Their antics had helped lighten the mood a little after all.

The others shared a laugh before getting down to business. Even though the fate of the world was in their hands and their friend was losing his powers, some things could not be ignored. Such as their science projects for school the next day.

“I’ve been working on a new fertiliser formulation that can help tomato plants to adapt to harsh soils,” Billy announced. “I thought maybe we could submit it as a group project.”

He didn’t mention that his first attempts had created a super-efficient weed killer that destroyed any plant it happened to touch.

The others nodded and discussed the plan. They would not be working on the formula but providing the scientific testing and documenting the results. It would be mostly a case of transferring Billy’s test plants into individual pots and keeping the control group separate from those treated with his formula.

“Good idea Billy,” Trini praised.

“We should take a look at the seedlings before we head home,” Billy urged. “”We need to have the proposals for the project in tomorrow.”

The others nodded and finished their drinks before leaving.


On the Moon, Lord Zedd alternated between being pleased that his plans were progressing and anger that despite his eventual triumph the Rangers dared to continue as if nothing was wrong. There should have been no escaping the conclusion that their friend Tommy would soon be rendered powerless and their number would be reduced to five. They should have been cowering in the knowledge that once he had finished with the embarrassment that was the Green Ranger, he would turn his attention to each of them in turn, tipping their team apart one Ranger at a time.

And how did they demonstrate this fear and understanding? They went to Billy’s garage and potted a few plants.

“If they are so interested in tomato plants then let’s see how they deal with the more aggressive variety,” he growled.

“Brilliant master,” Goldar cheered in the background.

Zeroing on the science room where Billy had left his plant alongside the remains of those that had died when he had gotten the formula wrong, and the plants that grew there, Zedd unleashed a bolt of magical energy, transforming the plants on the counter top into his newest monster: the Killer Tomato.


“Wow Billy-man, I know you said that formula was strong, but I didn’t expect this,” Zack commented as the Rangers arrived outside of the classroom.

Billy had gained special permission to use the classroom to ready his project. But the thin green roots could be seen extending under the door and up the sides of the walls had not been there when he had visited earlier.

“I don’t understand,” Billy protested. “I haven’t applied the formulation yet.”

“Guys I think we need to be careful,” Trini urged.

“Yeah I don’t like this,” Kimberly added.

Jason cautiously reached for the door handle and after opening it, pulled the door open.

“Look out!” Kimberly warned as the Rangers found themselves under attack from rotten tomatoes.

Then Tommy let out a yell as a vine wrapped itself around his foot and started to drag him into the classroom.

“Tommy!” Kimberly cried as the other Rangers raced to assist their friend, pummelling the vine with anything they could find until it let go.

Suddenly the vines stopped fighting them and retreated into the classroom, along with the other roots that had been growing up the wall.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Zack commented, sparing a glance to where the previously thrown tomatoes had landed, corroding a hole in the walls.

The others could only nod in agreement as something growled.


“Enough playing games,” Zedd growled. “I created you to destroy those Rangers, not play with them. Now get on with it!”

He unleashed a bolt of energy that teleported his creation away from the school and into the middle of Angel Grove Park.


After checking the coast was clear, the Power Rangers decided to contact Zordon.

“Rangers, Lord Zedd’s monster has reappeared in Angel Grove Park,” Zordon told them after they filled him in on what had transpired.

“We’re on it Zordon,” Jason promised. “We need to be careful guys. I’m sure this thing can do more than just throw rotten fruit.” The others agreed with the need for caution, but it was time for action. “It’s Morphin Time!”





“Sabre-toothed Tiger!”


“Ahhh fresh water and plenty of space to grow,” Killer Tomato sighed. “What more could a growing monster need?”

He was about to find out as the Power Rangers arrived in their customary fashion. Fortunately, Lord Zedd had seen fit to send some of his Z-Putties to assist.

“Hey!” Black Ranger shouted when the team arrived, “Does Pumpkin Rapper know that you’re stealing his look?”

Killer Tomato was a humanoid monster with a large tomato for a head that looked as if the fearsome face had been carved into it. It wore a red cape and had vines trailing down the back of its head like dreadlocks.

“Ha ha, very funny,” Killer Tomato shot back. “Let’s see whose laughing after this!”

A large tomato appeared in each hand and he threw them at the Rangers. Instinctively the Rangers dodge, but the tomatoes exploded on the ground, knocking the young heroes off their feet. As they picked themselves up and resumed battling the Z-Putties, Killer Tomato lashed out with his vines, striking at the Rangers and causing their suits to spark.

“Power Axe!” Black Ranger cried before leaping at the monster.

Killer Tomato responded by spraying the incoming Ranger with tomato juice, knocking the Black Ranger away and leaving him smoking on the ground.

“Zack!” Green Ranger cried as he disposed of a Z-putty and hurried to his friend’s side. “You okay buddy?”

“That stuff is nasty,” Zack replied, looking down at the still smoking area where the juice had connected.

Red Ranger and Yellow Ranger had teamed together to fight the monster, their Power Weapons cutting through its vines. Blue and Pink Rangers had finished off the Z-Putties and were hurrying over to help. But if anything, the monster appeared to be growing stronger.

“Hey, what’s that?” Green Ranger asked, spotting a bottle on the ground. He recognised Billy’s handwriting on the label and realised this was the formula his friend had been working on. “Aw man!”

Killer Tomato threw more of his tomato bombs, knocking the Rangers down and prepared to dose them all with his corrosive tomato juice. Before he could do so, the Rangers were teleported away.

Power Chamber

“Thanks, Zordon,” Jason gasped as the Rangers started to recover. “That monster is stronger than I thought.”

“Guys, I found this in the park,” Tommy stated, showing them the empty bottle of growth formula.

“That would explain it,” Zack commented.

“Affirmative,” Billy added.

“So, what do we do now?” Kimberly asked.

On the Viewing Globe they could see Killer Tomato walking through the park, using his powers to trap innocent civilians inside giant tomatoes.

“Alpha and I have scanned those tomatoes and have found they are similar to the bombs he used against you,” Zordon warned.

“He’s going to blow them up,” Trini realised.

While the others were watching the events unfolding, Billy was thinking of what to do. He almost wished his formula had been a failure…

“Guys, I have an idea, but I need to go back to the classroom to get something,” he told them.

“We’ll hold him off for you,” Jason promised. “Back to Action!”


Angel Grove High

“Let’s see it should be in here somewhere,” Blue Ranger remarked as he made his way into the science room and over to the remains of the desk where his tomato experiment had been. After searching through some of the various concoctions, he located the one he wanted. “This should do it.”

“I’ll be taking that Blue Ranger.” Billy looked up and groaned when he saw Goldar blocking the entrance, flanked by several Z-Putties.

In desperation Blue Ranger licked the switch on the rooms lighting rid, blinding the villains with the sudden glare. It wasn’t much but proved enough for Blue Ranger to escape.


Angel Grove Park

The battle was on once more as the five Rangers engaged with Zedd’s monster. Green and Black Ranger held him, allowing Yellow and Red Rangers to attack with their weapons before jumping clear to give Pink Ranger a shot with her Power Bow. Working together they managed to keep the monster distracted although it was too powerful to be held down and soon sent Green Ranger tumbling away.

Blue Ranger appeared in a column of light, avoiding an incoming vine as he did so.

“Guys, I’ve got it!” he proclaimed.

“All right Billy!” Red Ranger cheered, landing a boot in the monster’s midsection.

“Oh, I’m soooo scared,” Killer Tomato mocked.

“You’d better be,” Blue Ranger responded before jumping to attack, only to find himself tangled in one of Killer Tomato’s vines. “Hey, no fair!”

The other Rangers quickly found themselves in similar predicaments as Killer Tomato ensnared them with his excessive foliage.

“Oh no!” Blue Ranger called as the container he had been holding slipped from his grasp. “Guys, we need to destroy that bottle.”

“Trini!” Red Ranger cried, drawing his side arm.

Yellow Ranger looked up, realised what he had in mind and nodded her agreement. Red Ranger fired, breaking the vine that had been holding his team-mate in place. Yellow Ranger flipped free, firing her own weapon, but missing the container. Before she could try again, she was recaptured by Killer Tomato’s vines.

“Well that was a waste,” the monster remarked.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Pink Ranger commented from where she had landed after Yellow Ranger’s shots had freed her. She held the container in her hand and as the monster moved to stop her, she held it up. “Zack!”

Black Ranger did not miss. The shot from his Blade Blaster shattered the container right as Killer Tomato moved in front of it. The result was the monster took as full face of Billy’s earlier attempt at growth formula, which had turned out to be an overly effective weed killer.

“Noooo I’m melting, I’m melting!” Killer Tomato wailed as the weed killer destroyed his super powered body.

“Okay guys, let’s finish this with the Power Blaster!” Red Ranger called.

“Power Axe!” Black Ranger called, shifting the end of the weapon into position.

“Power Bow!” Pink Ranger added as she laid her bow across the end of the Power Axe.

“Power Daggers!” Yellow Ranger cried, retracting the blades and throwing the weapons so they attached to the underside of the bow.

“Power Lance!” Blue Ranger called as he split his weapon in half and then threw both halved into position next to the daggers.

“Power Sword!” Red Ranger cried as he slipped the sword on top of the Power Axe, forming the familiar giant crossbow that was the Power Blaster.

“Dragon Dagger!” Green Ranger called, adding his own weapon to the mix as the Rangers formed the lesser used variant of the weapon. The Dragon Dagger attached below the barrel formed by the end of the Power Axe, giving the weapon a bayonet.

“Fire!” the six Rangers cried in unison, unleashing their power at the monster who exploded.


“Damn those Rangers,” Zedd fumed.

“I am sorry for your failure, my Emperor,” Goldar grovelled.

“It was not my failure you imbecile!” Zedd bellowed, causing Goldar to cower in fear. “Although my monster has been destroyed, the Green Ranger was forced into battle once more, weakening his powers. Soon his luck will run out and the embarrassment of Rita’s mistake will be erased.”

“Yes, my Emperor!” Goldar cheered.


With Killer Tomato destroyed, everything was restored to how it had been before the incident. Those trapped inside the giant tomato prisons were released unharmed and the school science room was repaired. The Rangers had managed to visit long enough to divide the plants into their test groups, although it had taken some work to come up with a replacement for Billy’s growth formula.

There was no doubt that they had gotten lucky again. Tommy’s powers had held steady during the battle and the modified Power Blaster had prevented the need for a Zord battle. But there was no doubt the Lord Zedd’s monster were growing in power and that the Rangers were finding it increasingly difficult to destroy them.

Sooner or later something would have to give. They just hoped that when it did, they would be up to the challenge.

The End

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The Lost Knight

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers or Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog; they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.

Authors Note: This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate timeline.

The Lost Knight

It seemed odd to Trey, to have been on Earth for such a short time and yet he had been so at home that it had taken time for him to get used to travelling again. Fortunately this was only a test flight to ensure Pyramidas was capable of making the trip back to Triforia. Once around the solar system and back again. He had just passed Saturn and directed the large Zord to take a detour through one of the outer rings. There he had decided to check that the vessel’s large sensor array was operating properly, resulting in an almost overwhelming stream of data. For deep space journeys, where normally harmless objects such as dust could prove deadly, such sensor logs were priceless. After spending months on Earth without the need to worry about such things, they suddenly seemed tedious.

Pyramidas was not limited to just optical assessment of the planet; its vast array of detectors allowed it to analyse its surroundings in detail, a useful tool when Trey needed to find fuel during long trips. It was one such detector that drew Trey’s attention to an unusual energy reading. It was not a powerful emission, more likely a beacon that had been left on for some reason. Still Trey was curious to discover the source and concerned when the computer suggested it was a distress signal.

He changed course to intercept and once within range, teleported to the surface of what at first glance was just another large rock obscured from Earth by Saturn’s rings. Seconds later he was on the surface and had discovered to his surprise that the rock had a breathable atmosphere and some semblance of gravity. Using a handheld scanner to pinpoint the faint signal he followed the transmission to its origin point, which appeared to be a dead end. He knelt down, placing a gleaming hand on the ground below.

~The rock is fake,~ he thought. ~There is some sort of containment unit buried within this ground!~ With that, he stepped back and tried to teleport, but unsurprisingly found he could not. Whatever had drawn him there wanted him to explore, not retreat. It wasn’t that much of a stretch of the imagine to suspect that this was a plot by the Machine Empire.

“Whatever this is I need to find out if it poses a threat!” he said forcefully. “Gold Ranger Power!”

It was not the words or the actions that caused the ground began to quiver; it was the excessive power of his morph, which in turn created a disruptive aura around the area. Slowly the ground beneath him crumbled to dust, which floated harmlessly away, revealing the area for what it was. When the cloud cleared the area where there had been lush fields had vanished, revealing the dull metal surface.

Trey surveyed the newly revealed surface. “So it was not a rock, it is a vessel of some kind,” he mused. “The atmosphere must have been part of a forcefield and the signal must originate from inside, but there doesn’t seem to be an opening. Perhaps it’s hidden as part of the defences” With that he started to search for a way in.

Ancient eyes watched the stranger as he explored, chuckling with gleeful anticipation at what would occur. The Triforian’s appearance was unexpected, but the old Ranger appeared powerful enough and had so far been easy enough to manipulate. The signal that had been transmitted would never be found meaning the Ranger’s claims would be proven false. Along with the spells cast on the vessel’s occupant, it was a tragedy waiting to happen.

“Oh but to kill an innocent or force that innocent to destroy you, I wonder which will occur?” he pondered. “Either way I win.”

However as he watched the Gold Ranger stumble around he grew impatient to witness what happened when the fool triggered the trap. The Gold Ranger was too cautious to just blunder upon the trigger. A little help was needed. Fortunately he could provide just the help needed.

Trey had spent time examining his surroundings, but before he could find a way in, he found himself under attack. A large beast had pounced upon him and only his quick reactions had prevented it from killing him. With a set of vicious claws and incredible speed, the beast had proven difficult for the Gold Ranger to overcome. Eventually though Trey gained the upper hand and a blast from the Golden Power Staff blew it to pieces. Unfortunately for Trey the exploding creature covered him in gore causing him to miss the crack that suddenly appeared in the metal.

With a snort of disgust he cleaned the gunk from his uniform and checked for signs of another attack. As he did so he spotted a small section of the metal plating that he assumed had been damaged during the fight. He decided to take advantage of the weakness to create his own entrance. He focused a tight beam of energy from his Golden Power Staff on the damaged section of the hull. The resulting hole was just large enough for him to slip inside through.

Once inside the ship, he made his way through the darkened corridors, using the scanner inside his helmet to direct him toward a single life sign. He entered the room, recognising it as a modified medical bay. The machines had been damaged at some point and powerful magic had been invoked to duplicate their functions. Many layers of spells had been placed, but so far as he could tell they were not there to heal the occupant of the coffin-like stasis pod, but rather to ensure that he remained in hibernation after his wounds had healed. Several more pods were scattered through the room. There appeared to have been some sort of battle and from the dust, he guessed it had happened a long time ago.

He also noticed that some force within the ship was capable of blocking energy from entering or leaving the area. Unfortunately that included Trey’s Gold Ranger powers, which had started to flicker when he had entered the room.

“It would be best,” he thought aloud, “if I find my answers and exit immediately. Of course, I do not know what I am looking for, but let’s see what I find.”

He continued to look around, seeking any evidence of the mysterious occupant’s identity. It occurred to him as he did so that he was either a rescuer or an invader depending on whom the ship belonged to. Unwilling to risk freeing something without Zordon’s advice, he returned the way he had entered, only to find that the hull had sealed in his absence.

He was trapped, and as his flickering costume revealed, the energy jamming force had extended its influence. When he caught sight of a red flashing light he realised that he had disturbed the enchantments and had awakened the ship’s occupant. Not knowing if they were friend or foe, victim or dangerous criminal, he decided to try and reopen the hole he had created earlier, and return later with assistance.

The discharge that occurred when the containment spells collapsed was unexpected. The wave of disruptive energy swept outward and through the hull, shorting out the Gold Ranger’s powers in the process. Since arriving on Earth, Trey’s powers had been adapted to work with the other Rangers. A side effect of those changes was the addition of a forty-five second timeout to protect the powers in an event of a forced power down. That meant that for now, Trey could not transform again. And by the sound of it the ship’s occupant had awoken and was not in a good mood.

“Fiend! Monster!” came a distant cry of outrage that Trey could only assume belonged to the now revived occupant of the stasis pod.

He held the Golden Power Staff at the ready, and began burning another hole in the shell. Slowly the alien metal gave way although he was careful to keep the hull from breaking away until he was certain he could morph again. He didn’t want to risk the possibility that the atmosphere had been deactivated when the spells had faded.. When at last it was wide enough to squeeze through, he started to clamber out. He was halfway to completing the� hole when something struck him in the back, causing him to stumble. Something grabbed his neck and jerked him against the hull.

“Unhand me!” he yelled, instinctively using the Golden Power Staff to knock his attacker aside. “Gold Ranger Power!”

He aimed for the broken hull and unleashed a burst of golden energy. The hull was evaporated by the heat and without conscious thought, he pulled himself through the gap. Fingers clamped his ankle before he had cleared the exterior of the ship. He struggled but couldn’t escape the steely grip. Reluctantly, the Gold Ranger turned and faced his antagonist.

The being looked human although Trey knew that appearances meant very little; the Lord of Triforia looked human, but had physiological differences that went beyond first impressions. He was of Asian descent and despite a few scars, he was probably no older than twenty-six in Earth years. Of course depending on his planet of origin that could mean he was anywhere from eighteen to seven thousand years old and that excluded whatever time he had spent in stasis. Most of his clothing was obscured by a dark robe with metal plates at the tops of the shoulders.

His stance marked him as a warrior, ready to attack. In his left hand he held a sheathed sword with the hilt resting on his right hand; it was a beautifully decorated scabbard. However Trey had difficulty recalling a fighting style that required such a starting stance that the first strike would be severely hampered by his footing.

Trey was about to speak when his attacker moved, shifting the sword to rest at his left side while he fished into the pocket of his robe with his right hand and drew out a device Trey recognised as an old scanner. Green light shot from the device, encircling Trey and then changing colour as it reacted to him. The man’s demeanour immediately shifted from uncertain to determined.

“Coward, do you lack the courage to fight me face to face? Did you think after murdering my comrades you could just return here and attempt to destroy me? You should have destroyed me while you had the chance, for now there is no escape. Your kind may have slaughtered the others, but I survived and even weakened by slumber I am more than a match for likes of you.” With that, he deactivated the scanning field that circled the Gold Ranger and resumed his former stance, sword at the ready.

“We do not have to fight,” Trey told him. “I am not your enemy.”

“Do you really think me foolish enough to take the word of a Temran?” was the harsh response. “I am a Mystech Knight, sworn to eradicate your kind… Demon spawn!”

“I am not a demon, I am the Lord of Triforia,” Trey reasoned.

“You cannot deceive me, my scanner revealed your nature,” he was told.

“It is strange though, I have never met one that tried to avoid fighting once you revealed its nature,” a voice interrupted.

For the first time Trey noticed the the carving on the end of his attacker’s sword. As a Ranger he was aware that some weapons were enchanted to assist in combat. It looked familiar, something he had seen in one of his history books perhaps. Unfortunately he couldn’t remember what it meant and that didn’t make his position any less dangerous.

“We’ve never met one powerful enough to break into our vessel or bold enough to possess one of our comrades and attack us while we were sleeping. This one was clever enough to trap me so that a replacement could not be called to take my place,” the warrior replied. “His actions have robbed our comrades of not only myself, but the armour I wear.”

“I’ve never known a Temran beast hide his face,” the voice countered.

“He’s a coward,” the Mystech Knight decided. “Since he insists on attempting to deceive me with that costume instead of revealing his true form, I’ll have to use my own armour.”

He raised his still sheathed sword to above his head, speaking in a foreign tongue as he did so. Although the Gold Ranger powers allowed Trey to understand parts of his speech, the majority was unrecognisable. It was enough for him to recognise the words as an oath similar to the one used by Rangers before they settled on simpler methods of calling their powers. “Spirits of Kells, guide this soul! God Horn, be my strength!”

It was a complicated method of transforming, far more complex than the simple invocation of the elements that the leaders used. But they were the true knights while he was just a soldier who had been promoted to knighthood. His armour had been forged long after the great war between Kells and Temra when the need for knights had forced the gods of Tir Na Nog to gift the Smiths of Kells with the knowledge of how to create new warriors.

The sword glowed and was answered by a pulse of energy from overhead. As Trey looked on, the knight transformed, although not into the recognisable uniform of a Power Ranger. Instead the thick armour formed around him, a strange combination of magic and technology. His sword was transformed from a long thin blade into a long thick blade that was the same dark colour as his armour. He looked up at Trey, pulled back slightly, sword gripped firmly in both hands; the odd stance made far more sense when the weapon was in its larger form. The tip began to glow as he charged forward.

“The time has come again for you to face my wrath!” he declared. “This is God Horn, the sword that cut down thousands of your brethren. Remember that and prepare to meet your end.”

“Wait!” shouted Trey, as he hastily fell back. “I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else. I am not a demon and I am not Temran, I am the Gold Ranger and Lord of Triforia. Who are you?”

“As if you didn’t know,” came the reply as the powerful sword was deflected by the Golden Power Staff. “I am Duncan, Mystech Knight of Lava; sworn enemy of the Horde, slayer of Terrors, destroyer of Horrors and the last foe you will ever face.”

It had taken a while, but the computer inside his helmet had finally translated the words the knights words and located the world of Kells. “Impossible!” Trey was outraged. “The war between Kells and Temra ended millennia ago when Kells destroyed the source of Temra’s power. The Mystech Knights are a legend. How dare you make such an outrageous claim; do you take me for an fool? No mere Knight of Kells could live that long and you are certainly not one of the Chosen Five.”

Again their weapons clashed and the Gold Ranger was forced to give ground to his opponent’s anger-fuelled volley. It seemed that his attacker was not concerned about the damage he was causing to his own ship, although Trey was very much aware that a wrong move could break the ancient vessel.

“I know not what sort of demon you are for I have never met one who would dare belittle the Mystech Knights. You may call yourself a Ranger, but your blood does not lie: you are Temran! Now, enough talk! Whatever deception you are attempting, your nature is exposed and I will end your vile existence.” He energised the blade and thrust it mercilessly toward the Gold Ranger.

“Golden Flash!” Gold Ranger bellowed, using the blinding light as a distraction to slip aside.

He wanted to attack, every instinct he had told him to strike while his opponent was disabled, but his honour wouldn’t let him just attack and despite all the evidence to the contrary he couldn’t see this so-called Mystech Knight as an enemy. At least not yet.

The knight – for his armour was certain heavier than that of any Ranger that Trey had met before – was not prepared to give up though. He had just awakened from a forced sleep, the deaths of his comrades still fresh in his mind. And since in his mind Trey was responsible for their demise, his determination to destroy the Gold Ranger knew no bounds. Unwilling to harm him, Trey was at a severe disadvantage, and was soon forced to adopt a defensive strategy.

Trey hissed as the large sword tore into his uniform. ~Liar or not, this Duncan has powers that rival those of a Ranger, but who is he and why does he believe that I am his enemy?~ He didn’t understand. The Mystech Knights of Kells had disbanded their order after the war with Temra had ended. Only five suits of armour were still worn. The rest had been locked away until needed.

Trey had heard of the war between Kells and Temra. It had been a simple war between neighbouring worlds until the Gods of Tir Na Nog had involved themselves. The dark aliens had gifted the leaders of Temra magical powers that had bolstered their armies. The leaders of Kells had been desperate when the good gods had offered them armour to defeat their foes. It had led to a war of magic and technology against dark magic and sorcery. In the end the Knights of Kells had triumphed and peace had returned to their solar system.

~But Kells never built ships to journey further than their neighbouring worlds,~ Trey recalled. ~So how did this ship end up so far away?~

He was starting to suspect there was something more sinister at work than he originally thought.

~Why would he think I am a demon?~ Trey wondered. ~And why does he think that Temran’s are demons? Other forces must be at play here!~

This didn’t make sense. The Mystech Knights were supposed to be able to know whether they were facing a magical creature or just another soldier. And the scanner the knight had used earlier had been to confirm that suspicion. For some reason it had decided that he was a pure demon, something that was impossible. One thing was clear: in order to survive he had to make his opponent see sense, and in order to do that he would have to make sure he was made to listen.

“It’s Time for a Gold Rush!”

Power flowing he thrust forward, striking the other as hard as possible, counting on his foe’s armour to turn a fatal charge into something less dangerous. When the Knight of Lava staggered, Trey took advantage and swung his Golden Power Staff like a club. A few more strikes and his opponent was down.

“I do not wish to fight you,” he said again as he stood over the injured warrior, “but I will defend myself.”

“I am at your mercy,” Duncan replied. “Finish me if you must but end this charade.”

“Power Down!” It was a risky move, but necessary if he wanted to survive. Besides, he had a feeling that he had made the right choice. “I won’t fight you anymore. You are being deceived; check your scanner again.”

“It would not hurt to make certain,” God Horn said. “Check again.”

“So be it,” Duncan agreed. “But if you are lying to me, I will never stop fighting you.”

He pulled out the scanner that he had used before and reactivated the identity field. This time the results were very different.

“I – I do not understand.”

Trey however now realised the truth, that the gore that had covered him earlier had made him appear to be a demon. The entire fight had been little more than a deception to take advantage of Duncan’s desire for revenge.

“Listen to me; you have been tricked! The creature I fought earlier sprayed me with a chemical to make me appear as a demon so you would think that I am your enemy when I am actually a Ranger, an ally in the fight against evil!”

“This cannot be, it must be a deception.” He flew towards the Gold Ranger, sword once again ready to strike.

“Enough!” cried Trey, and spread his arms wide. The Knight of Lava was suddenly encased in a glowing ball of golden energy, his inability to understand his enemy preventing him from breaking the sphere. “The Gold Ranger powers will defend me in many ways. Right now, they protect you too. Neither of us will harm the other until we have spoken to Zordon.”

“Very well, perhaps you do speak the truth. Take me to this Zordon and if I find him to be worthy, I will listen.”

Trey nodded.

The Mystech Knight’s vessel was indeed a planet hopper, intended to journey only a short distance between worlds. Its limited range, obvious damage and questionable age meant it was safer to travel in Pyramidas. Moments later the golden pyramid took off towards Earth.

Duncan spent nearly a day reviewing the Power Chamber’s historical texts before meeting with Zordon. After meeting and recognising the building as being a Command Center – for the stories of the
Grid Masters and their adventures had reached Kells during his time. He had learned of what had happened during his absence, the Power Rangers of Earth and their struggles. He also shared a few stories of the Mystech Knights and their crusade to preserve the harmony of their little star system against the interfering space gods that threatened their peace of their planetary union.

There had been some surprise to discover that the Kells had never participated in the Grid Wars. The planet was deemed unimportant by the forces of darkness and too isolated by the Galactic Council.

Finally he had turned to face the Gold Ranger. “It appears that I allowed myself to be deceived, Lord Trey.” He fumbled for words. He rose from his chair and bent down on one knee. “Forgive me, my friend.”

“Of course,” smiled the Gold Ranger as he led his companion to where Zordon waited, “even the best of us make mistakes.”

“Master Zordon, I thank you for the use of your library,” Duncan said as he bowed low in greeting. Although the
Grid Masters had very little contact with Kells, there had been a few that had chosen to visit over the centuries. Zordon had never made the trip himself, but he had read the reports of the society that had mostly found peace.

“I am pleased that I was able to assist you,” Zordon said in return. “While Kells has never been an active member of the Galactic Council, their leaders are considered to be strong allies and a shining example of how a society can return to unity after war. I am sorry to learn of the deaths of your fellow knights, but King Rohan was delighted to hear of your survival; not knowing what became of your vessel has been a terrible burden for your people.”

“King Rohan still lives?” Duncan asked eagerly.

“He and the rest of the Chosen Five continue their wise rule,” Zordon told him. “Whatever plot necessitated your entrapment failed to materialise. The Mystech Knights are no longer active, but their legacy remains.”

Duncan’s vessel had been declared missing when one of his crew had been possessed and had turned on his comrades. The ship had been in transit between worlds at the time with all but a few members of the crew in stasis. And with only a few members of the command crew awake at the time, they had been slaughtered before they could awaken the slumbering knight or their comrades. Then the suspension capsules had been destroyed, killing those inside. Duncan had been awakened, but a powerful spell had prevented him from opening his capsule and fighting back. He had been forced to watch helplessly as the ship’s crew had been destroyed before his unit had been reactivated, throwing him back into stasis.

“This plan was beyond the normal schemes of Temra,” Duncan concluded.

“You are correct,” Zordon agreed. “Shortly after your disappearance, Queen Maeve ordered a fresh strike against Kells. It could be she planned to use you as her own knight.”

“I will speak to King Rohan when I return, but if Maeve is truly gone, perhaps we need not worry.”

“Very well,” Zordon said after a short pause. “Trey will return you to your ship and transport you to the rendezvous point. I have arranged for another vessel to transport you home.”

“Thank you, Master Zordon.”

“My pleasure, Duncan, Knight of Lava.”

“It was an honour to meet you, Trey. I can see that Earth is safe in the care of the Power Rangers. I believe the universe needs all the heroes it can get.”

“The honour was mine,” Trey replied. “So I guess we have some arrangements to make if you want to get back to your vessel.”

Duncan smiled as Zordon and Alpha started to organise the equipment that would be needed for the Mystech Knight’s journey.

His plan had failed, but it didn’t matter. Playing with the lost knight had just been a distraction. The sudden reintroduction of Duncan to Kells would cause the upheaval needed to elevate the tensions that still existed between Kells at the remnants of Maeve’s forces on Temra. Perhaps with a nudge those loyal to her cause would even visit the tiny world where Maeve had lived since her defeat and return her to the throne of Temra.

And then he would guide the army of Temra to victory using his power, before allowing Maeve to assist him in overthrowing the so-called gods of Tir Na Nog. And then all would remember the power of Mider the Dark God.


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Birdcage Bandit

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers; they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.

Authors Note: This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate time line.

The Birdcage Bandit

It had been a quiet day, something that should have worried the Rangers. The Rangers had gathered, along with Jason and were enjoying the afternoon spent with friends in a quiet place. Quiet that is until the door flew open and Ernie, the portly yet cheerful owner of the Juice Bar entered, carrying an oversized brown box that threatened to fall over at any moment. The top had already been opened and packing material was spilling out onto the normally clean floors.

“Hey Ernie,” Kat greeted as she stepped up to support one corner of the box and guiding it towards one of the tables.

“Let us help you with that,” Tommy offered, taking another corner.

Ernie nodded his thanks and ordered the teens a round of drinks on the house as he settled down to open the boxes.

“I think I know what you’re missing, Ernie,” Rocky joked to the owner of the Juice Bar a few minutes later. “There’s supposed to be a bird in one of those!”

Ernie grinned back and put the large brass bird cage, which he had just removed from one of the huge boxes that still seemed to be spilling packing peanuts, onto the counter in front of the group of teenagers. “Very funny, Rocky” Ernie said, “but it’s a birthday present for my great-aunt Meryl.”

“It certainly looks pretty” Katherine said, as she carefully traced a finger along the swirls and bird designs that had been formed in parts of the metal frame, “and fairly old too, wherever did you find it?”

“I have a friend who was over in Mexico, and he knew I have a weakness for these sort of things,” Ernie said, as he himself looked at all the swirls and gesturing to the other boxes and their odd contents. “This is an El Tweeto original, he was a very famous maker of bird cages ages ago, and they are all highly detailed.”

“Has your great-aunt got a lot of birds, Ernie?” Adam asked.

“Only a few, but she has a Mexican blue-wing that would really like this” Ernie replied, “I just need to get it polished up”.

“Can we help?” Kat asked her, eyes perky. Beside her Adam smiled towards Ernie.

“Sure, that would be great!” Ernie replied, handing the cage to Rocky while he went out back to find the necessary cleaning materials.

“Eep!” squeaked Rocky, and everybody turned to see that the spring on the cage door had snapped back to catch his finger.

The red-tinted image played out, showing Adam, Katherine and Rocky carefully polishing an ornate bird cage, sitting together in a corner of the Juice Bar while their friends were otherwise engaged. A vocal “Hmm” sounded over the image, it belonged to Lord Zedd who was viewing the scene through the visor of his mask while reclining lazily on his throne. His staff lay haphazardly to one side.

“Did you call Lord Zedd?” Finster asked, sticking his large nose around the door before entering, a small vial in his hand. He approached his master, bowed and offered the vial. “It is a small Energiser Potion,” he explained.

“Perfect,” Zedd sighed once he had drained the contents. “Have you shared this with Rita and those other buffoons?”

Finster nodded.

“Good, in that case tell Goldar to take some Putties bring me that bird cage,” he ordered, expanding the vision so Finster could see it.

“At once Lord Zedd,” Finster said as he hurried away. “I will recover the Molecular Scrambler for you too.”

In a corner of the Juice Bar, the birdcage that Rocky, Adam and Katherine had spent hours on was really starting to gleam. “So, I meant to ask, how did you first trip to Careers Guidance go?” Katherine asked, as she dabbed her cloth once more into the pot of polish.

Tommy and Jason had gone off somewhere, mentioning something about a bet that Tanya had been quick to volunteer as judge.

“Not bad,” Adam replied, “though I think it’s strange that Rocky, Tommy and I were all told in the initial interview about jobs in the new NASADA complex.”

“Yeah” Rocky added, jokingly “It’s like there’s some sort of government conspiracy to get us recruited”

Adam grinned, leaned in conspiratorially and whispered: “Maybe they’ve uncovered our secret. Now they want to duplicate the powers to help out on 911 calls.”

The teens’ laughter carried across the room, down the hallway and into the changing rooms, where it mingled with the sound of warbling from putties.

“Quiet!” Goldar ordered as he emerged along with a collection of Putties. Any attempt at stealth was abandoned as the first human spotted them and screams. Goldar groaned and then shrugged “Let’s go!”

“Watch your backs” Katherine called out as the last of the patrons of the Juice Bar ran through the doors, leaving only Katherine, Adam and Rocky to halt Goldar and his company of Putties.

The three teens drew close and assumed a fighting stance. “I don’t know what you’re up to,” Rocky said, pointing at Goldar, “but we’re going to put a stop to it anyway!”

Goldar simply grunted, while the putties grouped around him, preparing to strike. “Foolish humans,” he replied.

“Putties attack them.” Three Putties charged forward, and swung punches towards the teens, who defensively blocked and landed their own blows. Immediately several more Putty Patrollers responded, charging forward.

Katherine dived across a tabletop, and swung around on the far edge to kick up into a Putties chest, sending it flipping backwards, before she hopped off the table.

Reacting with his usual speed, Rocky blocked a Putty’s kick, while simultaneously dodging another’s punch. Still holding the Putties leg, the Blue Zeo Ranger rolled to the ground, pulling the putty over and causing its back to hit its fellow Putties vulnerable Z spot as it tripped. As the first Putty exploded Rocky swung around to deliver a critical punch to the second.

Meanwhile, Adam sent a heavy kick into a Putty, sending it stumbling backwards, allowing him to launch forward with a jumping sidekick that landed an obliterating blow. As he landed, another Putty tackled him from behind and bought the teen crashing in, and through, one of the Juice Bar’s table.

Rocky charged towards Goldar, ducking a swipe from the warrior and straightening up to deliver a quick kick to the ribs. Rocky delivered a chop to Goldar’s plated chest, before being forced backwards by a swing of Goldar’s fist. From across the room, where Katherine and Adam were still defeating Zedd’s putties, a warbled cry carried over, Goldar looked over and saw one of his patrollers waving the birdcage in the air.

Goldar roared with laughter.

“I could destroy you now, Rangers” Goldar growled.

“But Lord Zedd has better plans for you.” With that he tapped a fist to his chest and, along with the remaining putties, was enveloped in flames as they teleported away.

Power Chamber

“And then Goldar tapped his chest and they teleported away,” Adam explained.

After the attack the three Rangers had contacted Zordon and the other Rangers before teleporting to the Power Chamber and telling their tale. That Goldar had left after stealing the birdcage was both a clue and a warning to be on alert. It had been some time since they had dealt with one of Rita and Zedd’s transmogrified monsters.

“This is indeed bad news Rangers,” Zordon said. “I dread to think what Lord Zedd might attempt.”

“I am afraid Alpha that Lord Zedd is far more powerful than that. I am certain that even weakened he will find a way to accomplish his aims. However, I do not believe that Zedd will be able to create a monster from the bird cage using his magic.”

“He’s right,” Jason said. “I remember Zedd, he usually needed something living to work with.”

“Hey that’s right,” Tommy agreed.

“So then why did he take it?”

“Rita can bring objects to life, so can Zedd,” Kat told them. She should know; the transformation she had undergone in recent times had left her feeling more confident, but had also opened up forgotten memories along with her suppressed abilities. The training she had received from the Rangers’ allies had helped her.

“Oh ai-yi-yi, why can’t anything be simple?” Alpha moaned.

“Ready when you are Lord Zedd,” Finster said, holding the empty birdcage to one side.

“Not even Zeddy can mess this up,” Rita commented.

“Silence woman,” Zedd snapped. “I am more than capable of aiming.”

Rita muttered something as Zedd lifted the device, which resembled a heavily modified super shooter and fired.

“I thought you were making a monster,” Rita said as she laid eyes of the result. “What do you call this, a Bird Cage Bandit?”

Zedd just laughed.

The alarms in the Power Chamber sounded, alerting the Rangers of a new threat. The Viewing Screen conveniently showed the monster as it made its way through the city of Angel Grove, assaulting the innocent citizens.

“Lord Zedd has unleashed the Bird Cage Bandit on Angel Grove,” Zordon boomed. How he knew the monster’s name was anybody’s guess.

“It’s Morphin Time!”

“Zeo Ranger I – Pink!”

“Zeo Ranger II – Yellow!”

“Zeo Ranger III – Blue!”

“Zeo Ranger IV – Green!”

“Zeo Ranger V – Red!”

Alpha pushed a button and the Power Chamber transported them to where the Bird Cage Bandit was rampaging.

“That was not supposed to happen, was it?” Blue Zeo asked as he and his leader recovered from the shock of losing three teammates inside the first minute of a battle. They had arrived ready for battle, but had been caught off guard by their opponent’s special power. ~Or maybe it was his goofy accent.~

The Blue and Red Zeo Rangers stood before Zedd’s newest monster, a sombrero-adorned creature with a rusty birdcage where its head and torso should have been, and wearing a large curtain of garish fabric along its back and sides. Inside the cage were several small figures, including miniature versions of the Green, Pink and Yellow Zeo Rangers.

“It’s over, Bird Cage Bandit!” Red Ranger shouted, pointing straight at the monster, “Release our friends!” That was so Tommy, total confidence even when the most uninformed bystander could tell that the monster had the upper hand.

“No way, senor!” Bandit squawked back, and charged forward, knocking into the two Rangers and causing them to stumble away.

Rocky was first up and leapt towards Bird Cage Bandit, connecting with a powerful punch that sent the monster sprawling. Tommy got to his feet and started swinging punches and kicks, knocking the already troubled monster back to the ground.

The Bird Cage Bandit swung an ill-placed punch, and Tommy jumped back out of the way, clearing it easily. As Tommy and Rocky regrouped, the Bandit rolled backwards and, wobbling, got to its feet.

Without another word, the two Zeo Rangers charged forward. The monster swung its fist towards Tommy. Seeing it coming, the Red Ranger ducked, leaving an opening for Rocky to deliver a dropkick to the Bandit’s cage, which knocked the monster backwards. Rocky scrambled over the monster and pulled open the little door in the monsters’ side. As he did so several beams of light shot out, and when they landed formed the shapes of the previously trapped Zeo Rangers and members of the public.

“Run!” Pink Ranger shouted to the recently removed citizens, then clenching a fist to her chest added “We’ll take care of him from here!”

“Zeo Cannon!” they called, unifying their collective powers as the heavy-duty weapon appeared and they went through the usual loading routine. “Fire!”

“I told you this was a bad idea!” Rita shrieked.

“Silence woman,” Zedd snarled, “my monster is more than up to the task; he just needs to grow a bit!”

He lazily tossed a bomb out off the balcony and watched as it was guided to target. Bird Cage Bandit grabbed the metallic bomb and tossed it on the ground, releasing the growth spell in the process.

“We need Zeo Zord power, now!” the Rangers called.

They waited as their mighty battle machines rode and flew into action. But they were not the only ones waiting. When he saw the Rangers preparing to teleport, the monster had activated his new abilities, trapping the five battle machines inside a magical cage. The Zeo Megazord formed, but could not reach beyond the bars and with the Rangers unable to teleport in, it lacked the intellect to find a way around the trap.

“Zordon, we need the Super Zeo Zords instead,” Adam called.

“Wait, I have an idea,” Tanya said.

Usually strategy fell to the Green and Red Rangers, but that in no way meant Tanya was not smart enough to think of something. Switching to a private channel she told the others her idea.

“Good plan,” Tommy agreed.

“Yeah,” Rocky agreed. “We’ll distract him with the Super Zeo Megazord and Warrior Wheel while Tommy uses the Red Battlezord to break that cage open.”

“Rocky!” Kat hissed. “Don’t tell everybody.”

“Let’s do it guys!” Tommy called. “Red Battlezord!”

“Warrior Wheel!” the others cried before teleporting to the Super Zeo Megazord while Tommy transferred to his personal one man-punching machine.

“Oh no you don’t amigo!” Bird Cage Bandit announced, extending the cage to capture the Red Battlezord.

The monster and Super Zeo Megazord faced off, the latter seeming to take more of a beating than normal. In a surprising move, the monster threw its sombrero at the large robot and completely engulfed its head.

“See if you like my cuckoo punch, senor!” it said as its fist flew at the Zord on the end of a large spring. Sparks flew as the fist returned to its starting position ready to strike again. “I think I have outsmarted you.”

“I think you’re wrong,” Tanya answered. “Or have you been watching your cage?”

Bird Cage Bandit turned suddenly and was confronted by the fully formed Mega Battlezord. The twin shoulder cannons pumped out bolt after bolt of destructive energy, trashing the cage.

“Disengage!” Tommy ordered.

The Mega Battlezord disassembled as the three Megazords took up a triangle formation and started throwing the Warrior Wheel between them.

“No way José!” the monster wailed, throwing his sombrero over the Warrior Wheel and then blasting both the Super Zeo Megazord and the Red Battlezord.

The Zeo Megazord fell back into its battle stance, as the giant-sized Bird Cage Bandit charged towards them. The Bandit lunged, striking down with a heavy chop and forcing the Megazord to the ground. Inside the Megazord warning lights flashed as the alarms sounded.

The Bandit once again reached to its side and opened the small door. A fastball of light shot out and circled in the air before forming into a giant, fiery bird. As the Zeo Megazord got to its feet, the bird swooped and hit the Megazord in the chest, erupting in sparks.

“Finish it!” Tommy yelled as the Zeo Megazord collapsed.

The other Rangers seemed to agree with his order because mere seconds later their combined blades sliced through the Bird Cage Bandit, cleaving it in half. It exploded, leaving the four battle machines to regain their balance and bask in a moment of victory.

“Here you go, Ernie” Katherine said cheerfully, handing over the sparkling clean birdcage. It had taken all the Rangers, and Alpha’s, help to get all the dents and grime off it following the battle, but now it gleamed.

“Wow, good job guys!” Ernie exclaimed, then looked solemn “it’s amazing how something can be so beaten up, but still be fixed quickly”

Rocky merely grinned as he said “You have no idea, Ernie”. With that all five teens began chuckling.


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Warriors in the Shadows

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic. Thanks go out to Ellen Brand for allowing me to use parts from Shadow Dancers and a little from Personality Conflicts for this story.

Authors Note: This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate timeline. In relation to the show, this would take place between the end of Zeo and the start of Turbo.

Warriors in the Shadows

On Earth, the teenagers known as the Power Rangers were enjoying a rare moment of Saturday relaxation with their friends. The Rangers, Tommy’s adopted sister Chelsea Oliver, the former Gold Ranger Jason Scott, Rocky’s girlfriend, Jennifer Collins, and Tommy’s brother, David Trueheart, were all in their bathing suits, lying on the sands by the lake, not far from Ernie’s Beach Club.

“Mmm,” Tommy sighed. “This is the life. No monsters, no alarms, nothing but peace and quiet, right, Jase?” His question was answered by a soft snore. Lifting his head, Tommy realized that his best friend had dozed off in the warm sun. Gesturing to the others not to wake him, Tommy moved down the beach to join his friends, a few paces away from the slumbering Jason.

“Is it me,” Chelsea asked worriedly, “or does Jason sleep a lot nowadays?”

Rocky DeSantos, the Blue Ranger, shrugged. “Well, you know, losing the Gold Powers took a lot out of him. He’s going to need time to recover.”

Chelsea sighed. “I know. It’s just so hard for me to see him like this. I remember Jason as this incredibly energetic guy, who could stay up all night without a problem and who could outlast everyone at a party. Now he’s so tired and washed out that it’s scary.”

The current Gold Ranger, Trey of Triforia, put an arm around his girlfriend. “Don’t worry about it, Chelse. Jason’s tough. He’ll be just fine.”

“I’m asleep, not dead,” Jason groused, never opening his eyes. “Do you think you could keep it down?”

“I think you’ve slept long enough,” Tanya Sloan grinned. The Yellow Ranger shot a mischievous glance at Adam Park, her boyfriend. The Green Ranger nodded his approval and moved into position. Tanya took Jason’s ankles while Adam took his shoulders. Lifting him, they threw the bigger boy into the chilly lake.

“Whoof!” Jason spluttered, surging to his feet. “I’m going to get you for that!” Grinning, he swept a huge splash towards the shore, drenching everyone. Katherine Hillard, the Pink Ranger, shrieked and promptly charged into the water to give Jason a ducking. The resulting water war was so fierce that Tanya had to charge into the water to save her friend. Rocky promptly dived in to back up Jason. Tommy was watching from the sand and laughing when his communicator toned.

“Cut it out, you guys. Zordon’s calling.” Luckily, everyone on the beach knew that the six teens were the Power Rangers. “We read you, Zordon,” Tommy sighed as the others gathered around him.

“Rangers, you must teleport to the Power Chamber, Zordon rumbled. “I have just received an incoming transmission from Aquitar, and it appears to be a matter of some importance.”

The Rangers regarded each other worriedly. “Chelse, you should head home. Dave, Jen, you’d better come to the Power Chamber with us. We don’t want Mondo or Zedd getting any ideas while we’re gone, right?” The other three teens nodded, and the whole group teleported out.

When they reached the Power Chamber, the Rangers were somewhat startled to see a very worried Delphine on the viewing globe. “Delphine, what’s the matter?” Tommy cried.

The Aquitian sighed. “Rangers of Earth, I am afraid I have some very bad news. Aquitar has been invaded by an evil organization known as The Shadow Empire. Unfortunately, they were able to slip through our sensors completely undetected. We did not even know of their presence until they kidnapped Billy.”

“They what!” Jason cried, his jaw plummeting. “When? Is he all right?”

Delphine shook her head. “He was fixing a sensor array on one of the islands in the Nebian Sea when he was attacked by a wave of darkness. It fell on him and apparently carried him off.”

“Delphine,” Adam asked, “how do you know this? Was somebody with him?”

“No, Adam. You see, when Aquitians are in love, they share a telepathic bond. Billy and Cestria also have this bond, for despite the fact that he is human, he is also a gifted telepath. He simply repressed his ability because it would have been considered freakish by other humans. Cestria experienced everything that Billy felt through that bond, but now the bond seems to have been cut off. Cestria fears the worst; she has gone to her room and will neither eat or sleep.”

“Well, we’re not going to write him off so easily,” Rocky replied grimly. “Do you know where he is?”

“Yes. On Sharia, the largest of our three continents, an inexplicable anomaly has arisen, a castle made entirely of obsidian. We could not sense it until just recently.”

“Why were you unable to rescue him?” Trey asked, his eyes narrowed. As Lord of Triforia, he had had first-hand experience with the skill and courage of Aquitian warriors.

“The Shadows have somehow surrounded the castle with a desert, not a very big one, but too dry for any Aquitian to pass.”

“But not for a human,” Tommy finished, smiling.

“Indeed, but they have also planned for that. An energy-blocking field surrounds the castle. The barrier requires a link to the Morphin Grid, but had been designed to block Ranger powers, Morphin and Zeo.”

“But we don’t have a link to the Morphin power,” Kat protested. “Our Power Coins were destroyed.”

Delphine smiled. “Katherine, you may be unable to morph, but you still possess the Morphin energy. Once given, it never leaves your spirit. Unfortunately, your Zeo powers will not pass the barriers around the castle. We are at loose ends, Rangers of Earth. I hope that you can help us.” With those words, Delphine signed off.

“Hmm,” Tommy mused. “We need someone who has held the Morphin power, but not a Zeo Ranger.” In unison, everyone turned to look at Jason.

“No, Rangers,” Zordon boomed. “I am afraid that Jason is still simply too weak from his brush with the Gold Ranger powers. He would not survive this encounter.”

“Then there’s only one answer,” Tommy declared. “I’m going.”

“No way!” Rocky yelled. “You’ve got Zeo powers, remember?”

“So I’ll give them to someone else.”

“Tommy, let me go,” Adam broke in. “We can’t risk losing you.”

Tommy shook his head. “Adam, I’m the leader. This is my responsibility. I chose to take it almost eighteen months ago, when I accepted Zordon’s appointing me as White Ranger and leader of the team. Billy may no longer be on Earth, he may no longer wield a power, but he is still my teammate, and I owe it to him to go.” He turned to his brother, stripping off his Zeonisers, “David…”

David’s mouth fell open. “ME?” he shouted, jumping up. “I wouldn’t even know what to do!”

“It’s not hard, Dave.” Tommy assured him. “You’re already a martial artist, and the powers teach you everything you need to know about handling them. Just follow Adam’s orders and you’ll do fine.”

David raised an eyebrow. “Adam’s your second-in-command?”

“Yeah, why?”

“No reason. I just always thought it was Rocky.”

Rocky snorted. “No thanks. I have enough hassle looking after my sibs.” He walked up, forcing David to meet his eyes. “For what it’s worth, I think Tommy’s right. You can do this.”

David nodded, swallowing the lump in his throat. “All right, I’m in. Listen, bro, don’t get yourself killed out there, okay? I couldn’t handle the responsibility.”

Tommy smiled at his brother. “Don’t worry, Dave. I’ll be fine.” He then turned to his sister, who was biting her lip in an effort to keep from crying. “Make my excuses to everyone. I’ll be back soon, promise.” Then he turned back to Zordon. “All right, Zordon, I’m ready.”

“Then prepare to teleport, and good luck, Tommy.” As the teleportation system took over, Tommy’s form faded into a crackle of white light. Tanya’s eyes narrowed. Was it her imagination, or was that white light faintly tinged with green?

Tommy’s first sight as he reformed on Aquitar was five very worried Aquitian Rangers. Cestro in particular seemed upset, probably because he was closest to Billy and was very worried about Cestria, his niece. As he looked around, Tommy was mildly surprised to find himself in the Zord Holding Bay. He felt a slight twinge of loss as his eyes took in the sight of the old Shogunzords he remembered from from their Ninja days – straying for a moment on White Shogunzord – the Aquitians’ signature Battle Borgs and their equivalent of the Thunderzords, The Sea Zords, the most recent addition to their arsenal and – Tommy remembered – one of Billy’s designs.

As his vision cleared completely, he saw a familiar humanoid man in an odd white and black tracksuit. He stood in a corner, watching him in obvious bemusement.

“Tommy!” Delphine cried. “I am glad that you are here. But who then is serving as the Red Zeo Ranger?”

“My twin brother David. We met not too long ago. Adam’s leader while I’m away anyway.” He turned to the figure. “Dex? What are you doing here?”

“I was taking a respite from hunting down Dregon’s forces,” Dex told him, grinning slightly. “It is good to see you again, Tommy.”

“You two have met?” Aurico asked.

“Back when Zordon’s Rangers used the power of Thunder to upgrade their Zords, Tommy and most of his team came to Edenoi after receiving a distress signal.” Dex said. “There were some… misunderstandings at first, but we parted as allies.”

“You still haven’t told me why you’re here, Dex.” Tommy put in. “I thought only Morphin Energy could get through the barrier.”

Dex nodded. “Yes, though I took the liberty of trying for myself. I could not get through the barrier, even with Super Blue. Only pure Morphin Energy will do, my Ecto-accelerator alters it too much, I guess. So instead of trying to save the day, I have been filling the Aquitian Rangers in on what I know about the Shadow Empire, but with that desert in place there’s little they can do.”

“But I can get through the barrier.” Tommy declared “So, let’s sit and you brief me about these suckers, okay?” Dex nodded, a slight smile on his face. He waved his friend over to a chair at a nearby table and the two sat down.

“All right. The Shadow Empire is what you would call a criminal organization. They’re responsible for many crimes around the galaxy, robberies, assassinations, you name it. Nobody knows exactly what they are. Some people speculate that they’re an evolutionary dead end, some theorize that they were created by a wizard’s spell gone wrong — or worse yet, gone too right. All anyone can agree on is that they are basically living shadows.

“They have a particularly nasty way of killing people. They reach inside you and absorb your spirit. Not your soul, but the energy that powers your life-force, which makes you live. I believe on your planet, it is called it Ki. Once the spirit is gone, the body is just a lifeless husk. Very nasty; I’ve heard it hurts like hell.

“They’re solid, thank goodness, so they can’t ooze through walls. However, they’re amorphous, taking any form they want, as long as it’s the same size. Not even the Shadows can violate conservation of mass. And, somehow, when they take someone’s spirit energy, they can reach inside them. The solidity doesn’t seem to matter.”

Tommy bit his lip. “Anything else?”

“Yes. They are difficult to kill. Energy bolts do not even faze them. I would suggest a non energy bladed weapon if you’re going in there. If worst comes to worst, you can chop the things apart. That should stop them. Do you know how to use a knife?”

He grinned. “Actually, yes. My sister taught me. Her martial arts class covered knives.”

Delphine joined them. “Tommy, everything is in readiness for your trip to the castle. It’s time to get going.”

Tommy stood up. “Thanks for the information, Dex. Now let’s see if I listened well enough to keep my skin intact.”

“Good luck, my friend.” Dex told him. “May the Power protect you.”

In the newly formed Sharian desert, a mile or so away from the Castle of Shadows, Tommy Oliver appeared. Unfortunately, this was as close as the Aqutians’ teleportation system could drop him without setting off the Shadows’ sensors. Sighing, he checked his supplies and began to walk.

Not long afterwards, he came into sight of the castle and stopped, appalled. It was tall and jet-black, with twisted spires everywhere, a complete monument to evil. Staring at the desolation around him, Tommy suddenly remembered a line from the poem “Ozymandias,” which he had read in English not long before. “And round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch away.” Shivering, he grinned slightly. “Looks like Rocky is rubbing off on me,” he muttered. Continuing his walk, he soon found his way to the castle wall, but could find no door. After hunting around for a while, he found a black portal into the stone. Gingerly, he reached out and put his hand into it. The blackness was cold, but yielding. Gathering his courage, he stepped through and found himself inside the castle.

Tommy was surprised to find that the hallway he had entered was well lit with what appeared to be burning torches. “Makes sense,” he muttered. “You can’t have a shadow without some light to cast it.” Stealthily, he crept down the black corridor, noting with some apprehension the dark, warped versions of himself reflected in the polished obsidian walls.

Despite his furtiveness, luck was not with Tommy. Rounding a corner, he came face to face with a sentry. It would be hard to say who was more surprised, Tommy or the Shadow. Tommy recovered first, however, pulling his knife from the sheath on his belt. His adversary was completely jet black, about the size of an orangutan, with a vaguely humanoid body structure. There all similarity to a human being ended, however. The creature’s fingers and toes were tipped with extremely sharp talons and its head resembled that of a dragon, with empty pits for eyes, pits that seemed even blacker than the rest of it, if possible. Completing the picture was a long, whip-like, wickedly barbed tail. All in all, the Shadow had taken a form designed almost perfectly for fighting.

Recovering its aplomb, the Shadow launched itself at Tommy, loosing an inhuman screech. Faster than the eye could follow, Tommy struck with the knife, scoring a nasty slash along the thing’s ribs. Although the cut was deep and did not disappear, nothing – neither blood nor ichor – leaked out of the wound.

~Damn!~ Tommy thought. ~These things don’t bleed! Unfortunately, I do!~

Even as he thought this, the Shadow struck out with its claw-tipped hand, catching Tommy along the thigh. Even as the pain of the strike burned through him, Tommy was conscious of an intense cold beginning to radiate from the wound site.

~The cold of deep space,~ he thought incoherently, ~of shadows that have never known the sun.~

Shaking his head to clear it, he pulled himself back to the battle, but too late. Leaping from the ground, the Shadow struck Tommy in the chest. Its weight bore him crashing down to the flagstone floor. Unable to rise with the Shadow sitting on his chest, Tommy could only watch as the creature reached towards his heart, preparing to drink his spirit. Chittering obscenely to itself, the creature reached out and slipped its hand effortlessly into Tommy’s chest. Tommy felt a piercing cold begin to spread through his body. The Shadow laughed triumphantly, began to absorb Tommy’s spirit…

And howled. Not a howl of triumph, or ecstasy, but one of pure pain. Lying on the floor, looking up at the creature, Tommy tried to figure out what was happening. Suddenly, there was a bright flash, and the Shadow popped out of existence. Tommy was reminded of the way light bulbs expire. A brilliant burst of light, and then nothing.

Groggily, Tommy shook his head and picked himself up off of the floor. ~What in the world happened?~ he asked himself. Grinning, he answered his own question. ~I think I gave it indigestion.~ Sighing, he moved off along the corridor again. He had a friend to find, and if his recent dinner guest had managed to get off an alarm, he didn’t have much time to do it.

Billy slowly swam to consciousness, only to discover that he couldn’t move. As he came fully awake, he realized why. He had been completely encased in some kind of crystal. ~Interesting,~ he mused to himself, ~I don’t seem to need to breathe. I wonder if this crystal is supplying my bodily needs? A crystalline life-support system.~ He kept his mind occupied with this for quite some time. It was certainly better than dwelling on what the situation was doing to his rampant claustrophobia. It was strange, but ever since he was a child, he had been uncomfortable in tight spaces. The only cramped area that had never made him at least slightly uneasy had been the cockpit of his Zord. ~Of course, in the Zords, you had a definite distraction,~ he thought wryly. ~Monsters were good for keeping your mind off of your fears.~ When the Rangers had brought Jason to the Power Chamber after he had been turned to gold by the Midas Hound, however, he had been so sickened at the thought of being frozen that he had almost been unable to help. His trips to and from Aquitar in those spaceships had been pure torture. ~Billy,~ he asked himself with a mental shake of the head, ~what is a guy who can’t stand tight spaces doing on a water world when he can’t breathe water?~ Sometimes he wondered about that decision. Love alone wasn’t enough to explain it.

Outside the crystal, the Shadows were still running around, chittering at him occasionally. Now and then, one of the larger ones went past. One of those, around the size and general shape of a human, approached him now, and laid a hand on the wall of his prison. “Hello, Billy,” it hissed. The Shadow’s voice was cold and menacing, the type of sound you might hear if radio static could talk.

~How am I hearing him?~ Billy wondered. ~Does the crystal send vibrations to my ears? Or is it some sort of telepathic communication?~

The Shadow made a low, breathy sound that Billy realized, with some horror, was a laugh. “Something like that. I can hear you very well, at any rate. Oh, but don’t expect your Aquitian girlfriend to be able to trace you here. The crystal prevents telepathic contact with anyone not touching it.”

*What do you want?* Billy sent defiantly.

“Oh, Billy, you cannot begin to understand your usefulness to us. You are our hostage; with you in our possession, the Aquitian Rangers will not dare attack us. Your brain will also be a very great prize. Once we have absorbed your intellect, we will possess not only your incredible intelligence, but your telepathic skill as well! The Shadows will be able to enter any mind, any place, think through anything! We will reign supreme and sweep all lesser creatures from our path!”

*Oh, yeah, I’ve heard that one before,* came the sarcastic reply, accompanied by images of Zedd, Rita, and Mondo. The Shadow chuckled.

“You have a sense of humour. Most engaging. It will be most enjoyable when your essence has been absorbed into our beings.”

Suddenly, the Shadow’s head snapped up. “Oh, now this is interesting. A Morphin energy signature has just entered the castle. It looks as though your Aquitian friends are trying a rescue after all. I’m sure that their spirits will feed our hunger immensely.” Suddenly, a howl cut through the castle, the sound of a creature in excruciating pain. “What was that!” the Shadow cried, its black eyes flashing. “That was no Aquitian! That spirit — hmm. Perhaps we can turn such a one to our advantage. Step up the treatment!” it called. “I want this one totally separated as quickly as possible!”

With those instructions ringing in his ears, Billy’s consciousness swam back down into darkness. One thought followed him into oblivion: who had come to rescue him?

Some time later, Tommy made his way into the chamber where Billy was being kept. Upon seeing the crystal prison his friend was being kept in, he let out a strangled shout and ran across the room. “Oh, Billy,” he sighed, heedless of the Shadows filling the room behind him. “Man, you’ve got to be spazzing out in there.” Tommy had only seen his friend’s reaction to confined spaces once or twice, but that was all it took. Billy’s claustrophobia was not something to be taken lightly.

“Gee, Tommy, someone might almost think you were worried about me,” Billy’s voice drawled from behind him. Tommy turned, the hint of malice in the voice tipping him off that it would not be his friend he was facing. Behind him stood what appeared to be Billy, but his normally warm green eyes were ice blue and seemed to glow with an inner light. Plus, Billy’s warm and open features were twisted into a mask of malice and disdain.

“Who are you?” Tommy asked suspiciously, staring at the figure before him.

“I’m Billy, just as much as that lump of meat in that crystal over there. I would have thought you’d know all about this sort of thing, Tommy, considering your never-ending troubles of the same sort.”

Now Tommy understood what he was looking at. Somehow, the Shadows had distilled all the anger and pain in Billy to create the creature he was facing. Standing before him was Billy’s dark side made flesh, and he was big trouble.

“Billy, I know you can hear me. I know you’re in there somewhere, so listen to me. I’m here to help you, but I can’t do it alone. You’re going to have to help me. Billy, do you hear me?”

Shadow Billy’s eyes flashed and in three quick strides, he crossed to face Tommy. “Oh, I hear you. The question is, why would I ever do what you say? You’ve always treated me like a second-class citizen. Well, I’m the one with the power now, and I’m finally going to use it.” So saying, he back-fisted Tommy across the face, knocking the other boy to the ground. Raising his hand to his cheek, Tommy was not overly surprised to find a spot of freezing cold. Slowly, he lifted himself to his feet.

“Billy, listen to me. We are friends. I said a lot of things I shouldn’t have, things I didn’t mean, and things I know now aren’t true. I was wrong to say those things, and I admit it. They’re not true, Billy. That’s why I want you to fight this. Not for me, but for you. Is this really what you want out of life? To be a Shadow?”

Shadow Billy’s lip trembled. Sounding far more like Billy usually did, he sighed. “Shadows don’t feel fear, Tommy. I’m so tired of being afraid, waiting for some villain to drop his monster of the day on me or my friends. I just want it to end.”

“Billy, it’s all right to be afraid. It’s normal. The trick is not to let your fear control you. You never have. Shadows don’t feel fear, true, but they don’t feel pleasure, or love, or friendship, either. Are you going to run away from all your feelings just because you don’t want to be afraid?”

“SHUT UP!” Shadow Billy cried, lunging at Tommy. Neatly catching the other by his wrists, Tommy swung his assailant around and pinned him against a wall. Ignoring the burning cold in his hands, moving himself so that he could look into Shadow Billy’s eyes, he began to speak again.

“I know you’re afraid of the dark side of yourself. The evil we’re capable of is a scary thing. You’re thinking, why not let the Shadows have it? But you can’t do that, Billy. You can’t separate the good and evil aspects of your personality. I tried to deny the dark side of myself once, and it almost ended up tearing me apart. The same thing will happen to you. ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ Remember when we learned that in Freshman History?”

“Lincoln,” Shadow Billy mumbled. “Abraham Lincoln said that.”

“That’s right. If you try to divide your spirit into good and evil, you’ll collapse. You have to look at your darkness and accept it. Say ‘That’s what I can become, but I won’t. I don’t have to be the worst I can.’ Look at yourself, Billy. You’re not perfect, you’re human. But is that really so bad?”

Shadow Billy stared into Tommy’s eyes for a long moment, and then began to dissolve. Soon there was nothing left of him. That was when three things happened at once.

Tommy’s hands, cold-burned by the contact with Shadow Billy, began to hurt in earnest.

The Shadows, who up until now had ringed the room, began to close in, chittering menacingly.

And the crystal which held Billy prisoner gave a shattering crack, and Billy tumbled free.

Tommy moved back to stand by the unconscious Billy, wondering how on Earth he was going to get them out of this one. He might be immune to the Shadows’ spirit-drinking touches, but he very much doubted that the same could be said of Billy. Besides, the things still had very sharp talons and weren’t afraid to use them. Desperate, he racked his brains looking for a solution.

Suddenly, things that other people had said to him came back in a rush.

Ninjor – Your animal spirits are a part of you.

Zordon – Ninjor has linked your Power Coins with your human energies.

Delphine – You still possess the Morphin energy. Once given, it never leaves your spirit.

“That’s it!” he cried aloud. “The powers are still a part of us! Maybe I can call on mine!” Which left him with the question of which power to call? Only one color, White or Green, had bonded to his spirit and would respond to his call. The way the Shadows were advancing, he’d only get one shot at it. Time to find out which it was.

Closing his eyes, Tommy tuned out all external distractions, reaching inside himself for the energy he knew was there. When he found the core, he allowed it to flow through him. Now all that remained was to call it by name.


With a deafening reptillan roar, a flash of green light filled the room. When it cleared, Tommy stood garbed all in green. Loose green pants, a green tunic top, green split-toed ninja boots, and a green headband. In his hand was a green-handled katana. Set into the middle of the chest of his uniform was a large golden coin, emblazoned with the symbol of the Panther. Smiling wickedly, Tommy, now the Green Morphin Warrior, turned towards the Shadows and hefted his katana. “Let’s rock.” The Shadows charged him, and the fight was on.

Billy slowly awoke to the sounds of chittering and “sie-kyuh!” “That must be Tommy,” he mumbled, pushing himself off of the floor. “He’s the only person I know who says ‘sie-kyuh,’ instead of ‘ki-yah.'” As his vision cleared, Billy looked up to see Tommy clad in a strange green uniform. It somewhat resembled the uniforms that the team had worn as Ninja Rangers, but Tommy’s face was completely visible. ~It looks like a Ninjetti uniform,~ Billy thought to himself, having read legends about the warrior race that once protected the Great Power. Even as he rose to his feet, Billy saw Tommy looking back at him.

“Nice of you to wake up,” Tommy grinned, slicing through yet another shadow that had leapt at him. The two halves of the creature fell to the ground and disappeared. “I was wondering, do you think you could give me a hand with these guys? I don’t think I can hold them off all by myself.”

“What am I supposed to do,” Billy asked sarcastically. “Beat them over the head with a pocket calculator? I don’t have any powers, remember?”

“Yes, you do! Remember how Zordon told us both, the various times we lost our powers, that we would always be Rangers?” Tommy asked, never pausing in his battle.

“Yeah, so?”

“He didn’t mean just in an honorary sense. Billy, the Power is still part of us, and we can still morph! All you have to do is reach down inside yourself and call on your power.”

Billy thought about this for a long moment, while Tommy hacked and slashed, keeping the Shadows at bay. Then he reached down inside himself, looking for the core of Blue energy inside him. Suddenly, a long, liquid howl burst from Billy’s throat. It sounded so frightening and wolf-like that the Shadows backed away in fear. A burst of brilliant sapphire light filled the room, and when it faded, Billy was the Blue Morphin Warrior.

His outfit was different from Tommy’s. Billy wore a solid blue bodysuit somewhat like the uniform he had worn as Blue Ranger. His knee-high boots were a darker blue, as was the vest of an almost Kevlar-like material that covered his torso from shoulder to waist. Set into the center of the vest was a golden coin on which was emblazoned the symbol of the wolf. On a belt, he wore a laser pistol, and covering his eyes was a light blue visor.

“Nice outfit,” Tommy grinned.

“Shut up and fight,” Billy shot back, stifling his own smile. Pulling his pistol out of his belt, he aimed at the press of Shadows homing in on them.

“Um, Billy, I don’t think a laser pistol’s going to be much good against these guys. They eat laser bolts for breakfast.”

“Just watch,” Billy smirked. He pulled the trigger and a blue beam of light shot out. Where it touched the Shadows, it produced a zone of absolute zero. Even the Shadows could not survive total molecular stasis. The unlucky ones struck by the beam instantly disintegrated.

“Wow,” Tommy managed, suitably impressed.

“What now?” asked Billy. “We fight our way out of here?”

Tommy shook his head. “We blow this place sky high. Find me the power center of this castle. Your visor can do that, can’t it?”

Billy nodded, and began scanning. “Out that door!” he pointed.

“Then let’s go!”

Billy thought later that even if he lived to be a thousand, he would never forget the two of them making their way down the hall. He shot at everything that moved, unless it was green. Shadow after Shadow was destroyed, but there seemed to be no end to them. Tommy seemed to be everywhere at once, slicing, thrusting, and wearing a berserker’s grin. As for the Shadows, they seemed to have no strategy at all, simply attempting to bear the two boys down under the weight of their numbers. Billy realized that the intelligent ones, like the one who had spoken to him earlier, must be keeping well back from the fray, sending what amounted to drones after the two Rangers. Finally, the boys reached a barred door which Billy’s visor told them was the computer room. Two quick shots with Billy’s pistol, and the door was history. They ran inside, and oddly enough, the Shadows did not follow.

Once in, Tommy and Billy both stopped dead. They couldn’t help it. Towering above them was the biggest Shadow they had yet seen, a huge amorphous blot of darkness which twisted and writhed constantly. Billy looked away, nauseated, but Tommy could not tear his eyes from it. It sickened him, but it fascinated him, too.

Yesssss, the thing hissed, in the most awful voice Billy had ever heard. It somehow conjured up images of nails on a chalkboard, screams of pain, and Lord Zedd’s mocking laughter. I see you are a mighty warrior, young Shadow. With a horrified start, Billy realized that the thing was addressing Tommy.

“I’m not a Shadow,” Tommy replied, but his voice lacked conviction.

Of course you are, my child. Look into your heart. The light in there is equal to the darkness, no more, no less. It has always been thus with those of the Green Morphin Power, and some of those swell our ranks. Come to us. Join with us. I know that you are tired of struggle, tired of fighting. Come to us, and be at peace.

“No…” Tommy shook his head, but more in confusion than in denial. “I have to fight. I — owe it to my friends.”

What friends? Those Rangers back on Earth? The girl who deserted you? The inexperienced child with no conception of who you have been? The silent Adam, who watches you with such disdain? Rocky, who could never be smart enough to comprehend what you have experienced? Perhaps you mean Jason, who was quite content as leader of the Rangers — before you came along. Or perhaps – and here the thing’s voice began to drip malice – you are referring to the genius behind you, who mistakenly blames you for all the failures in his life. None of these are your friends. They laugh at you, they have no conception of your abilities. They would all be happier without you, and tell yourself the truth, Tommy. Wouldn’t you be happier without them?

“No…” By now, Tommy’s voice was almost nonexistent, and his eyes were dead and despairing. Billy could see how close he was to crossing over.

“Tommy!” he shouted. “Don’t listen to it! It’s lying to you. You know Adam respects you, and Rocky’s not that stupid. Naive, yes, but not stupid. Tanya already thinks you’re one step away from perfection; she didn’t need to know you very long for that. And Katherine? You were dating her on the rebound anyway, neither of you deserve that, but she still loves you. Jason, well, Jason might miss being in charge, but he doesn’t resent you for that. When Gasket had you, Jason was the one pushing to find you. He could have stepped into your shoes as leader then, but he didn’t.

“As for me,” and here Billy’s voice grew quieter, “I don’t blame you for the failures in my life. I don’t blame anybody. Time spent in that crystal gave me time to think. I’ve had bad luck, with women and life in general. You risked your life and spirit to save me. How could I hate you after that? We’ve been best friends before, and I would hate to see that go. C’mon, Tommy. Fight it.”

“I — I –” Tommy looked confused. Sensing that it was losing its prey, the Shadow switched tactics.

What do these friends of yours know of your weariness, of the fear and pain you feel? You are Shadow, always walking the thin line between dark and light. To fall in either direction will cost you yourself. Come to us, and the fighting will stop. No dark, no light, only twilight and eternal shadow. Pulling from the part of Billy’s mind that it had absorbed, the Shadow began to quote. “What pleasure can we have to war with evil? Let us alone. Time hurries onward fast. All things are taken from us and become part and parcel of the dreadful past.” Come to us, Tommy, and all your pain will cease.

“‘Why should we only toil, who are the roof and crown of things.'” Billy whispered, quoting from the same poem. “Tommy, I know you’re tired of walking a tightrope, but falling to the Shadows is not a solution. Remember what you said to me? Shadows don’t feel pain, but they don’t feel anything else, either. Can you live without love?”

You don’t have to, the Shadow crooned. Come to us, and we can give you what you really want. A girl stepped out, 5’2″, with auburn hair and brown eyes. Tommy gasped. The form the Shadow had chosen was that of Kimberly Hart.

“Tommy?” she asked, mimicking Kim’s voice perfectly. “I want you to come with me. I miss you.”

“Kimberly,” Tommy croaked.

“Yes, Tommy. I’m sorry I hurt you so badly. Can’t we kiss and make up?” She smiled, a perfect copy of Kimberly’s smile. Billy felt sick. She was Kimberly down to the last detail — except her eyes. They were cold and flat, the eyes of an animal. Would Tommy see? He hoped so, but he couldn’t interfere. And distraction now might snap Tommy’s tenuous resistance to the Shadow’s lure.

Tommy smiled shyly. “I’d like that, Kim,” he replied, his voice full of meaning. Smiling again, she crossed towards him, ready to take him in her arms and kiss him into oblivion — literally.

Except when she came within arms’ length, Tommy’s katana whipped out, cutting her deeply across the chest. Looking into the gaping wound, the two boys could see nothing. No blood, no bone. This Kimberly was definitely not human. Her eyes burning, the Kimberly-thing lost all colour and definition, becoming yet another Shadow.

“You’re not Kimberly. Kim would never willingly serve a monster. It’s one of the things I love about her,” Tommy declared coldly. “You almost had me there, but showing me Kimberly reminded me how much I love my friends and family. I’m not such a coward as to give up when I get tired. Nice try.” He turned back to Billy. “Thanks, man.”

Billy smiled at his friend. “Hey, no problem. What are friends for?”

Tommy grinned. “Great. Find me that power core and we can blow this pop stand.”

Billy swallowed. “Um, Tommy? My readings show that giant shadow is the power core.”

Smiling nastily, Tommy cracked his knuckles. “Well, then, Billy, take some of these charges and plant them. I don’t think that thing can attack us; if it could have, it wouldn’t have wasted any time trying to convert us.”

“What about the little ones?” Billy asked nervously, a little frightened by the vengeful expression on Tommy’s face.

“Shoot ’em.”

What followed was straight out of a nightmare. Billy thought that he was going to be pulled down by a horde of the little Shadows, but somehow he managed to plant all the charges. He signalled to Tommy, who had just finished planting his last one.

“Okay, let’s go!” The two boys rushed out of the castle, little Shadows at their heels. Behind them, they could hear the explosions start, ripping through the castle like a kid on Christmas morning. They vaulted out of the portal, only seconds ahead of a huge fireball which fried all of their pursuers. Tommy and Billy lay on the sand for a moment, stunned. Then Billy picked himself up and looked at his friend.

“Well, that was fun, Tommy. But what are we going to do next weekend?” The two boys burst into giggles. They were still laughing when the dry weather pattern that the Shadows had instituted to create their desert broke up. The sudden downpour of rain only made them laugh harder, ecstatic with the knowledge that the fight was finally over. When the Aquitian Rangers teleported in to see what had happened, they found the two Rangers soaked to the skin, laughing uncontrollably in the gentle rain.

Upon their return to the Alien Ranger’s headquarters, Cestria ran to Billy and threw herself into his sodden arms. “Billy! You’re alive!”

Billy, still in his Morphin Warrior costume, wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. “Yeah. Thanks to Tommy.”

“And I see,” Delphine broke in with a smile, “that the two of you have discovered your Morphin Warrior powers. These powers have bonded with you, making you stronger. While you are not so powerful as true Rangers, you should have the ability to defend yourself against most threats.”

“Delphine, I don’t understand something,” Tommy frowned. “Why didn’t Zordon tell us about this when we lost our Power Coins?”

“Because, Tommy, the Morphin Warrior powers do not provide you with the strength or durability that you need to fight Zedd’s monsters. You see, no Ranger can tap the Morphin Grid without a transformation artefact. The power needed to make a Ranger is simply too strong to be fed into a living being without some sort of filter. Now you are drawing unfiltered Morphin power, and therefore can draw only about half of what your coins would provide. Most users of this power would be lucky to draw a tenth of that.”

Tommy nodded. “I see. We couldn’t have faced Mondo with our old powers, much less partial strength ones. The Zeo crystal was necessary to be strong enough to fight the Machine Empire. One thing that still puzzles me, though is why that Shadow couldn’t absorb my spirit. It reached inside my chest and then went poof!”

“I can answer that,” replied Dex, coming to the front of the gathering. “From your outfit, Tommy, it would appear that you are a Green Warrior, right?”

“According to what the Power’s telling me.” Tommy agreed.

“Well, every power of light must have a shadow. The Green Power is the shadow of the Morphin spectrum. The Green Rangers have all walked the line between dark and light. The Shadows couldn’t absorb a shadowed spirit, and it was like you or me biting into an iron file hidden in a loaf of bread.”

“I think it was more than the Green Power doing that,” Billy interjected, startling them all. “When you integrated your personalities after Mondo tried to turn you into his mind slave, it resulted in a total integration of darkness and light, making you pure shadow.”

Chewing on his lower lip, Tommy considered that. “I get it. Thanks, Billy.”

Billy smiled. “No problem, man. It’s what I’m here for.”

Tommy shook his head. “You’re here for more than that, Billy. You’ll always be a Ranger, and I’ll always be proud to have you on my team.”

After a few more explanations and a round of goodbyes, Tommy was teleported back to Earth. The desert, he was assured, would soon return to its former rain forest state under Aquitian ecological management.

Some time later, Tommy watched the stars appear, tracing the old, familiar patterns with the ease of long acquaintance. He didn’t even look away as another boy slid down the desert slope next to him. “Hey, man,” Rocky DeSantos called quietly. “What are you looking for?”

Tommy chuckled. “Nothing, really. Just looking. Rocky, do you ever think about those stars? How they’re a part of us? People used to navigate by them, and use them to tell time, did that for hundreds of centuries. They hardly seem to change, so you’re seeing what your ancestors saw a hundred or a thousand years ago. Through our stars, we’re connected. But Billy’s on Aquitar, looking at stars no human has ever seen. I was just thinking how lonely that must be.”

“Hmm,” Rocky mused, coming to sit by Tommy. “You miss him, don’t you?”

“Yeah. I didn’t think I would at first. When he left, I figured it’d heal over, like losing Jason, Trini, Zack, and — and Kim. It didn’t. It still hurts. I guess — he was my last link to the past, like Lita said. With him gone, I’m sort of adrift. Jason’s great, but he’s not part of the team, and he seems so distant now. I miss Billy, a lot.”

“Did you work things out between you? I mean you two have had your differences.”

“Oh, yeah we did. That probably saved our lives. If I hadn’t forgiven him, he would have stayed a Shadow, and if he hadn’t forgiven me, I would have been one. I never realized how much of a rock Billy was, always. He was calm, he was rational, even when the rest of us were freaking out. I didn’t know how much I needed it until he was gone.”

Rocky put a comforting hand on his friend’s shoulder. “He’s still alive man, and he’s still our friend. No distance – no amount of stars between us – can change that.”

Tommy smiled. “You’re right, Rocky. Thanks.”

“No problem, amigo. De nada.” The two boys fell silent then, staring up at the desert sky for many hours, thinking of friendships lost and found. Above them, the stars shone on.

End of Part

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The Day of the Luddites

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers; they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.

Authors Note: This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate timeline. This part marks the end of the current storyline and should be considered as this series version of Good as Gold. Warning character deaths ahead.

The Day of the Luddites

Jennifer was in trouble. She had a problem that she couldn’t share with her friends. Not only was she worried about how they would react; she was also physically unable to tell them. It had started the day the Rangers had fought against one of the odd villains who drifted into Angel Grove from time to time only to vanish afterwards.

During the confrontation she had been a noncombatant who had been targeted out of cruelty. She had been hit with a curse that was supposed to kill, yet she had survived without injury; later she had discovered that her forearm had been burnt by the spell. It was then that she had discovered a terrifying fact.

Since then she had tried to avoid the Rangers, even her boyfriend Rocky. She was confused and scared, yet unable to ask for the help that she so desperately needed. Recently previously unknown memories, which she was certain were not her own had started to surface. She needed time to think and to come to terms with what she had discovered in a short period of time.

She looked down at her right wrist where the burn was still covered with a simple bandage, knowing there was only one way to discover if she had imagined what lay beneath, and whether her life until now had been a lie. She felt like a normal teenager. Was it possible that she had only been brought to life a few months before?

According to the knowledge she now possessed, Jennifer Belle had died earlier in the year, before she ever learnt the identities of the Power Rangers. She had been a victim of Gasket’s attempt to steal the Pulse device. A backup plan in case the attempt failed. The Jen that Rocky and the Zeo Rangers had come to know since that time was a creation of Gasket’s, physically and mentally identical with all the memories and emotions Gasket had extracted from the human Jen before disposing of her.

This Jennifer, the android as she had come to refer to herself in the past few minutes, was an example of Gasket’s strategic genius at work. She was manufactured from a special alloy that remained semi-liquid when exposed to temperatures above zero Celsius. It had the durability of hardened metals but a relatively low density allowing her the freedom of movement a human would enjoy. Electrodes carried by wires throughout her body fire impulses that caused the liquid metal to move like human body; instead of blood, chemicals were pumped around her body to regulate the heat of the metal and to carry miniature machines to maintain her body functions. Gasket had even given her the means to consume food and water, which merely passed through her system and removed in an organic way.

And then he had used the same miniature machines that inhabited her body to replicate human skin and hair. The most obvious places such as the arms, legs and head were covered with this quality synthetic while the remainder had been allowed to grow artificially. Pigmenting agents had been introduced to give her the skin tone, eye and hair colour of the original.

Finally before being unleashed, Gasket had in a masterstroke hidden from her the knowledge that she was a machine. As far as Jennifer was concerned she was human and really had befriended the Rangers. A trigger in her mind would grant her the true information only when Gasket wished to spring his trap or if she was somehow damaged, which to Gasket meant her true origin had been discovered. Those memories had been restored when the blast had damaged her arm.

Jen was not alive, which was why the attack had failed. But when the energy had hit and the damage had been caused, the girl Rocky had fallen for, had ceased to exist in her eyes. Gasket’s programming had tried to take control the moment it had entered her memory, but robot or human, Jen possessed a strong will and was able to fight the alien control. It was a losing battle though and in a few more minutes she knew that the evil programming would erase what remained of her humanity. A few minutes and the core of her programming would be firmly in place, compelling her to betray her friends.


She turned around, filled with electronically enhanced rage.

“Get away,” she warned, laying eyes on Rocky. He had been trying to speak to her all morning, but she was sure she had left him behind at the Juice Bar. “Why did you follow me?”

“I was worried,” he told her apologetically. “Your sister asked me to find out what’s bothering you, since you managed to scare her when she asked.”

Tears were running down her face now as she fought back the urge to harm him.

“Jen, what’s wrong?” he asked.

“Please, I don’t want to hurt you,” she begged.

Rocky just looked confused and took a step towards her.

“Don’t,” she said firmly. “Don’t touch me, Rocky. Just stay away!”

“Jen please, I just want to help,” her boyfriend insisted.

“I can’t have a boyfriend, I can’t love; I’m a machine!” came the reply. “Look!”

She held up her forearm revealing the wiring and circuitry she had become aware of moments before.

“Jennifer’s dead,” she clarified. “I’m just meant to look like her, think like her and believe that I am her.”

“You’re a machine?” Rocky asked dumbly, confused by her actions. “How?”

This was the girl he had fallen for in computer class, the one who had unknowingly aided Mondo by designing a program he later used in his Silo monster. She had aided the Rangers several times along with her sister. How could she be a machine?

“Foolish organic,” Mondo boomed as he appeared through a Cog portal. “That she fooled you is proof of how superior our technology has become. The girl you knew is dead. My son killed her months ago. This” he gestured to Jennifer “is a machine built to resemble her in every way; an impersonation so perfect, even she believed she was the real Jennifer Belle.”

“What do you want Mondo?” Rocky demanded.

“I want to fulfil my son’s plan,” Mondo answered. “Despite his impertinence and treachery, it is an inspired scheme. Now Jennifer, destroy the Blue Zeo Ranger.”

Jennifer’s eyes had glazed over, the once warm windows to her soul now cold orbs focussed upon death and carnage. The programming Gasket had implanted now took over from her previous personality, uploading the skills possessed by his Cyber Spy. The command had been given, the methods of exterminating the two humans raced before her eyes.

“No, I won’t,” she finally answered defiantly. Living as a human had had a strange effect on her. She had evolved without noticing until she the time when she not only imitated Jennifer Belle, she became Jennifer Belle.

“You will obey me,” Mondo ordered, knowing that a command from a member of the Royal House of Gadgetry could override any other programming. “Now, summon a weapon and kill him.”

This time Jen did obey, summoning a powerful whip that crackled as she flicked it through the air. She turned toward her supposed victim with an unreadable face. In response to a silent command from Mondo, Cogs appeared, preventing Rocky from leaving the area.

“Don’t do this Jen,” Rocky begged. “This isn’t you, you know that.” He added quietly: “I love you.”

Jennifer didn’t hear him though and continued advancing, the whip trailing sparks as she flicked it gently on the ground.

“Snap out of it Jenny,” Rocky cried as the droid closed in on him.

The whip sliced through the air, cutting Rocky across the cheek and drawing a small amount of blood. She backhanded him before repeating the motion. Rocky grabbed her leg and she spun around, kicking him in the chin. She looped the whip around his neck, one pull away from ending her boyfriend’s life. She came to an abrupt halt when she looked into his eyes.

“What are you waiting for?” Mondo demanded. “Kill him!”

“No!” she shouted defiantly, overcoming her programming. “I won’t do it.”

“I am Mondo, you will obey,” the metal monarch boomed. She remained still, refusing to move. “Fine, I will have Orbus remove this glitch in your programming. Cogs, take her and then dispose of the Ranger.”

As their king departed, the Cogs moved in and the fight was on. Jennifer was putting her newly discovered robotic strength to good use by tearing holes in Cog armour and leaving the robotic foot soldiers on the ground. Rocky struggled to keep up, unable to take the time to morph as he was outnumbered.

Eventually though the Cogs gained the upper hand. Jen despite her new strength was unable to attack when her boyfriend’s life was threatened. The Cogs forced both the Ranger and his girlfriend to stop while a few of their number grabbed Jennifer by the arms and dragged her through a Cog portal. Then before Rocky could recover, the battle resumed and this time it was very one-sided.

Rocky tried to summon his Zeonisers, but before he could do so the Cogs had pulled his arms apart.

A faint burning sensation across the gash Jennifer had made in his cheek was all that greeted Rocky when he awoke. His eyes squinted open and as they grew used to the light he was relieved to see Alpha moving a medical device over his cheek. He tried to sit up, wincing at the aching muscles at various points across his body.

“Easy Rocky,” Tommy warned. “Those Cogs did a really good job. You’re lucky we arrived before they could finish the job.”

“What happened?” Rocky asked as with the help of Tanya and Adam, who had appeared behind him, he managed to sit up.

“Mondo took Jennifer, and left the Cogs to turn you into a corpse,” Tanya answered as Alpha continued to check him for signs of permanent injury.

“Jen!” Rocky started. “She’s…” He couldn’t bring himself to say that she had turned on him or accept that he had lost her, permanently at least; that she was just a machine, a trick to gain the trust of the Rangers and then deliver them to Gasket. He knew somewhere in his heart that was because he had not fallen in love with the original Jennifer Belle. Certainly there had been an attraction, but they had never gotten to know each other properly until the incident with the Pulse Bomb. Only when he had come to know her had physical attraction turned to love. And the person he loved was the machine that had replaced her, a being that had had no knowledge of what she was before today and who when ordered to kill had refused.

“We know, she’s one of Gasket’s creations,” Adam said quietly. “Zordon showed us.”

“I need to get her back,” Rocky said, his voice determined.

The others exchanged glances, unsure how they should respond. The idea that their ranks had been infiltrated by one of Gasket’s creations had terrified them to the point where even now Jason was busy double-checking every room of the Power Chamber in case Jen had left any surprises. Still it seemed that Rocky had yet to accept what he had learnt and the consequences of such a discovery.

“What?” he asked, irritated by their reluctance.

“Rocky, we don’t know for certain which side she’ll be on when we rescue her or if there’s a chance we can remove Gasket’s programming,” Adam told him quietly.

“We’re not going to leave her there,” Tommy added, “but you need to know that if he has done anything to her, she might not be the Jen you knew.”

Neither of them suggested that they should abandon her. Jen was their friend and in their eyes had done nothing wrong. She had never asked to be a robot. At the same time though they knew that should Mondo manage to gain control of her as he had almost done before, they would need to decide between their friend and their need to protect innocents.

For Tommy the need to get her out of there was almost overwhelming. He remembered his time as a ‘guest’ of the Machine Empire and the attempts made to turn him into a mindless slave. He would not allow that to happen to anyone else.

“We need to be cautious,” Kat told him. “Just in case. If he knows how much we care about her, he could use her to draw us into a trap.”

“I won’t give up on her,” Rocky whispered.

“Rocky, we’re not asking you to,” Tommy said firmly. “But we need to do this as a team.”

“At least we know where he took her,” Adam commented. They gave him a questioning look and he pointed to a monitor. “She’s still wearing her communicator. We can’t lock on to teleport her out, but the signal is coming from the Sky Base.”

The alarm sounded and the Rangers groaned. “What now?” Tanya demanded.

Adam shrugged in return.

The image appeared on the Viewing Screen, relayed by a combination of different satellites within the Earth’s orbit. In the Command Center, Zordon had used a crystal ball based Viewing Globe to show the cause of any alerts. In the days of Zeo though magic had been replaced with technology. The Rangers stared at the structure, standing on a field of ice somewhere, no doubt a drilling rig given the shape. A large crane had been positioned, created from four Quadra-fighters that had been wielded together.

“What are they doing?” Adam asked.

“Aw man, they’re trying to fish Grommet out of the water,” Tommy commented as he saw the battered and corroded frame of the Zeo Jet Megazord lifted from the ice field, Grommet’s hand still wrapped around its legs.

“That thing is rusty,” Tanya commented.

“It’s the high levels of salt in the water,” Adam told her.

“They’ll be lucky if Grommet is in any better shape,” was the reply.

They could see the machines struggling to haul the remains of Prince Grommet into the air, carrying it back to a more hospitable climate. A Cog portal appeared before them and the transport vanished.

Time passed, a few seconds at most and then the alarms sounded again, this time focussing on a steel mill somewhere in Angel Grove.

“Ai-yi-yi, Mondo has transported the Megazord and Grommet to the Sky Base.”

“You know, I just had a really, really bad thought,” Adam said. “What if Mondo can access Jen’s memories? He might learn how to repair the Zords or worse, make her repair Grommet.”

“I believe Grommet will prove beyond Jennifer’s capabilities,” Zordon said. “However, should Mondo learn a way to repair the Megazord or activate the Zeo Jet Zords’ individual combat modes, they would pose a terrible threat.”

“Just one more reason to get her back,” Jason said.

“Alpha and I will begin working on a way to penetrate the Sky Base’s shielding,” Zordon told them. “In the meantime, I suggest somebody tells the Belles what has happened.”

The Rangers nodded and teleported away, trusting their mentor to come up with something.

It was late night when the black clad figure reached the bottom of the mountain, using one of Zordon’s satellites to find his exact position in relation to the Power Chamber’s lower service point. He approached cautiously, avoiding the camera as it made a sweep of the area and punched in a quick numeric code. He waited for the click and then pushed the door open. He looked around and sneaked inside.

As quietly as he could, he ascended the stairs to the Zordon Storage Bay and the Zord Launch Cannon. It was a long climb and he could have teleported up, but he didn’t want to disturb any of Zordon’s energy detection devices. He didn’t want anyone trying to stop him; this was something he had to do. He reached the console and after using the limited knowledge he had gleaned from watching Adam working, he disconnected the status feed to the Power Chamber’s main computer. As quietly as he could, he pressed a couple of buttons preparing the cannon for firing as soon as it emerged from the mountainside. He was so busy, he jumped when he heard a quiet voice from behind him.

“Going somewhere?” Rocky turned around to see Adam leaning against the doorway.

“I didn’t think anyone would be here,” he admitted.

Adam smiled. “The others haven’t known you as long as I have. They’ve never seen just how far you would go for someone you cared about. I have.”

Rocky sighed. “I don’t suppose I could persuade you to go back to your home and go to sleep?” he offered weakly.

“Obviously you don’t know me very well,” was the reply.

Rocky laughed humourlessly. “I think I do, you wouldn’t let me go alone any more than I would let Jen stay there longer than I had to.”

“I suppose you wouldn’t let me call the others?”

“No!” said Rocky, “If you call the others up here Zordon will detect us and you know he wouldn’t sanction this.”

Adam looked at his communicator and nodded. “Fine, then just the two of us will go.”

“Umm Adam, you don’t have to…” Rocky looked at Adam’s face. There was a look of grim determination and Rocky knew that nothing he said would keep his friend from aiding him. “Fine, help me load the launch protocols.”

Adam grinned; they always worked better as a team. He quickly caught onto what Rocky had in mind and after shifting the aim to a less obvious point, he pressed the activation button and waited for the cannon to extend to maximum height.

“What are you planning to use?” he asked, needing to load the appropriate Zord.

“Billy’s database called it the Mole,” Rocky replied, handing his friend a data pad.

Adam read the details, surprised that Billy had decided to build a machine based upon a mole machine. While three times the size of a convention machine, it was certainly not a Zord.

“Where did he get the idea?” he wondered aloud.

“He didn’t,” Rocky replied. “Zordon’s been in communication with the government for almost four decades. This is some sort of leftover from a failed venture during the sixties; some ex-astronaut tried to design his own range of aircraft. He was declared bankrupt for tax evasion and Zordon claimed some of the equipment and a tropical island that had served as a research area.”

“And they just gave it to him?”

“The government was more interested in nuclear warheads than the possibility of long range space travel. Zordon gave them the basics they need to develop safer technology and in return they gave him the things he considered too dangerous for them to handle. And of course, when they discovered a crashed space craft in Oregon ten years ago, he convinced them to hand over the contents in return for more technology. I don’t know why he kept some pieces and dumped the rest, but Billy said they were natural Zords.”

“And he didn’t think maybe that would be unfair?”

Rocky grinned. “Of course he did, but seeing as he came to the same deal with Japan, China and Russia, nobody noticed.”

“We’ll need to add some sort of propulsion,” Adam said. “Although if this doesn’t work the first time, we’re dead.”

“Then let’s make sure it works,” Rocky urged.

After loading the machine, they boarded and Adam triggered the launch sequence. They were relying on the cannon to launch them beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and into space.

“Go!” Adam cried.

“Rangers in SPACE!” Rocky joked as they left the Earth behind, his personality showing through in spite of his concern for Jen.

As the cannon fired, both Alpha and Zordon were alerted.

“Ai-yi-yi, what happened?” Alpha asked as he shuffled over to a console. He pushed a few buttons as Zordon appeared through the dimensional link of his Plasma Tube.

“What has happened Alpha?”

“Somebody has accessed the Zord Launch Cannon and stolen the Mole.”

Zordon was silent, piecing together what he knew and trying to deduce the reasoning behind such a theft.

“Alpha, analyse the trajectory of the Mole.”

Alpha clicked a few controls while scribbling numbers on a sheet of paper. “They’re heading for the Machine Sky Base.”

“Very well Alpha, I believe you will find that one of the intruders was Rocky, his feelings for Jennifer have led him to take a foolish risk. The other is no doubt Adam.”

Alpha was replaying the camera feeds as Zordon was talking. Sure enough he saw the two Rangers working in the launch area.

“You’re right Zordon.”

Zordon sighed, not at all happy with this situation. Today had been trying enough without the fear of losing two more humans to the maniacal Mondo and his twisted family.

“Alpha contact the others at once.”

The flight had been rapid and the Mole was soon approaching the Sky Base. As they drew near, Adam started the Mole’s nosecone drill, ripping its way in like a missile. As it tore into one of the lesser service corridors, a small energy field helped to trap a small atmosphere around the breach.

“Ready?” Adam asked.

His friend nodded. “It’s Morphin Time; Zeo Ranger III – Blue!”

“Zeo Ranger IV – Green!”

As soon as the other Rangers, Jason and Josie entered the main room the questions began flowing.

“Have you found a way to get to Jen?”

“Is she okay?”

“Where’s Rocky?”

“… And Adam?”

“Rangers please, be quiet.” As the Rangers quieted down Zordon continued. “Adam and Rocky have stolen the Mole and used it to attack the fortress. They did so in such a fashion as to break in undetected and without triggering the shields.”

“So what do we do?” asked Jason.

“There is nothing we can do until Alpha finds a way to teleport through the shields. I believe Adam and Rocky will need your assistance.”

“Why can’t we go through the same way they did?” Tommy was practically bouncing on his toes. The others looked at him questioningly and he explained. “We can use one of the Megazords in the same way as they used the Mole.”

“What you are suggesting would be too dangerous,” Zordon answered. “Mondo will have set his base’s weapons to recognise a Zord and fire immediately.”

“But Zordon –” started Kat.

“Enough! I will not put the rest of you into this kind of danger unless absolutely necessary. I may have just lost two Rangers and Jennifer, I will not lose more!” Kat jumped back, and the others were all startled at the anger in Zordon’s voice. Sighing he looked down at his warriors, his children in every way but name. “We will monitor the two, if they are in serious danger we will use Tommy’s suggestion. Alpha, begin working on a way to transfer the power of the Zeo Zords to the Super Zeo Zords. I believe that the increase in power will allow them to breach the shields.”

The superheated plating of the Sky Base’s inner bulkhead slowly disappeared from view as a green helmeted head peered out, checking both ways before disappearing again. There was a shuffling noise and then two figures emerged, one in green, one in blue.

“Looks clear,” said Green Zeo.

“Keep alert,” replied Blue Zeo, glancing both ways. “Which way do you think we ought to go?”

“Your guess is as good as mine, if we can find a computer room or something we can probably find out where Jen is.”

Blue Zeo nodded. “We’ll need to find the docking bay as well if we want a way out.”

“Just mind you don’t set off any alarms,” Green Zeo warned as they started down the corridor. They ran off down the hall, looking for either a prison or a computer.

“There’s some sort of communication station ahead,” Adam commented as his helmet picked up on various transmissions.

“Hey, I think we’ve hit the jackpot!” exclaimed Rocky as he saw the computer console mounted to the wall outside the room.

Before he could attempt to access it though, Green Zeo placed a hand on his shoulder, shaking his head, he gestured to a small droid the size of a remote-controlled car. As they watched, more of the little machines whizzed in different directions.

“Service droids,” Adam mouthed.

Rocky nodded, realising that if one of the small machines noticed them, they would be caught easily.

“Any ideas?”

Adam nodded and drew his Zeo Pistol. Using a low power setting, he fired at the bulkhead at the end of another corridor. Sure enough as the droids became aware of the damage, they sped off to repair it.

“Good thing there weren’t any where we made our entrance or we would have been caught by now.”

Rocky silently agreed as the made their way to the computer and accessed the Sky Base’s schematics.

“She’s in a detention block,” Adam said as he looked up the route. “Uh oh.” He saw Rocky cock his head questioningly and pointed to a warning light. “The main computer has sounded an alert, too many event flags for it to ignore.”

“So we’re as good as dead?” Rocky half-asked. His teammate nodded. “Fine, then we don’t need to worry about making a noise.”

“Good thing too, because we’ve been found.” Green Zeo looked down the hallway to see a platoon of Cogs headed their way. “You find Jen, I’ll hold them off.” At Rocky’s nod Green Zeo pulled his laser pistol and fired at the now charging Cogs. A loud alarm began to sound.

“We are ready Sire,” Klank promised.

“Very good Klank, perhaps you are not as useless as I thought,” Mondo replied.

Father — is that you? the disembodied voice asked.

“Yes Grommet,” Mondo answered. “We have retrieved you from your frozen prison.”

…I cannot — detect any hardware father… Grommet stated.

“Your body was damaged beyond repair,” Klank explained.

As he spoke, he silently instructed Orbus to reconnect the junior prince’s optical sensors. It had taken careful cutting to salvage the prince’s cranial unit from the remains of his body. As part of the work to prevent further deterioration of the internal components, a clear tank filled with a mixture of antifreeze and de-ionised water served as his temporary accommodation.

…How… long…?

“Klank and Orbus are already working on a new body for you,” Mondo assured his son. “Then we can discuss your new role in the Royal House of Gadgetry, a post that makes greater use of your planning capabilities.”

…Thank you… Father…

Klank flicked the switch, powering down the prince’s circuits before he could overload.

“I will begin work immediately Sire,” he promised.

“There is no rush, you have other duties to fulfil. Grommet will not know how much time has passed.” Mondo walked from the room, not seeing the faint glow of his son’s eyes narrow behind him. “Now, onto more important issues, has she been prepared?”

“Aye Sire, we just finished the conversion,” Klank advised as they walked towards a detention cell.

Mondo snorted and stepped inside, stopping when he saw the room’s occupant had indeed been prepared to his specifications. If he had been capable of doing so, Mondo would have smiled.

Jennifer had been stripped of all traces of humanity, a fitting punishment for a droid who had allowed herself to become human. Her skin and hair had been stripped away by a corrosive mixture of boiling Cog Oil and bacteria. Her features once so expressive were now similar to Archerina’s, and while retaining the hints of femininity there was no doubt that she was a product of the Royal House of Gadgetry. Even so, the process had not dampened her spirit. She strained angrily against her restraints and the piercing glare she gave Mondo as he entered could be considered loathing if she had still resembled her former self.

“Now perhaps you will remember your place,” Mondo practically bellowed as he shuffled into the cell.

Her bonds had vanished when he entered and she wasted no time in attacking him. It was a lazy backhand from Mondo that sent her sprawling back into the wall.

“You will learn some respect,” Mondo told her, gesturing to Klank. “If she does not become servile in the next few hours, begin the memory wipe.”

Just then the alarm sounded. The cell slammed shut as Mondo and Klank exited, leaving her trapped inside. A small contingent of Cogs stomped into the holding area, but it was the remote for the door that Mondo placed on a table, which caught her eye.

“The way out is so close my little slave,” Mondo mocked. “But you won’t get out until Klank has finished with you.”

“I’ll never fight for you Mondo,” Jen snarled, hardly recognising her voice.

“Not willingly of course. Do you really believe I don’t know that? I have ways of ensuring your obedience. Those foolish Rangers who are on their way to rescue you for example.”

“You’ll regret this Mondo,” Jen whispered. With all traces of humanity gone she was starting to think like a machine. And that in turn meant she had access to options previously hidden from her. “Oh you will regret it,” she repeated as her self-repair functions highlighted a new weapon. The alarm continued to sound throughout the fortress.

“She’s in detention cell thirteen, low security.” Green Zeo stepped away from the computer and joined in the fight, adding his own fire to Blue Zeo’s. Rocky had barely made it to the door when the Cogs had moved in. Now they had to fight them off before moving further.

“Great,” said Blue Zeo while Adam continued hacking at Cogs left and right with his hatchets. “How do we get there?”

“Follow me.” Green Zeo fired a barrage at the remaining Cogs’ legs.

Turning he ran the opposite direction down the corridor with Blue Zeo close behind him. They ran up metal grate stairs and down metal-floored hallways for about ten minutes.

“You know,” said Green Zeo, “we haven’t run into a Cog since we started running. This could be a trap.”

“Yeah,” replied Blue Zeo, “We always seem to be walking into someone’s traps. But we haven’t any choice.”

“However since we suspect that it is a trap, we can be prepared for it.”

The Blue Ranger nodded and slowed as they neared a door. “This is the door to the detention center.”

Green Zeo reached out to the panel that opened the door and pushed it. With a whisper of machinery the door slid upward and the two warriors entered the room carefully. There was a main room and about seven Cogs were working on various consoles.

Immediately the two Rangers drew their Zeo Pistols and opened fire on the clueless Cogs. Looking up Green Zeo blasted a few surveillance cameras. As soon as the Cogs were down, Rocky rushed into the hall opposite the entrance, where the cells were.

Green Zeo was about to follow when he heard a voice coming from one of the control panels. “What’s goin’ on down the’? Someone repurt.” It was Klank, Mondo’s Scottish accented footman.

“Everything’s fine, we’re okay, how are you?” Adam winced, “that’s not how a Cog would have responded.”

“We’ve had repurt of a disturbance, whut’s going on? Have the intruders arrived?”

“No, no… We’ve uh… had a slight weapons malfunction.”

“I’m sending a troop of Cogs,” Klank informed him.

“No! There’s a reactor leak, very dangerous, give us some time to lock it down.”

“Whe are ya’?” Klank was beginning to grow suspicious. “What’s your serial number?”

“Eh…” Unable to come up with a satisfactory answer Adam drew his blaster and fired at the communications panel. “Boring conversation anyway. Rocky! We’re gonna’ have company!” Turning Green Zeo followed his friend down the cell hall.

At the end of the hall Blue Zeo was finishing two Cogs who had been guarding a cell. Adam looked around. There was a small metal table, and sitting on it was a small black device he guessed was a key to the cells.

There was a crash and Adam looked up to see that Rock had smashed open the lock to the cell with his Arm Blades.

“Not stupid, arrogant,” Adam corrected as his friend helped Jennifer to her feet, hardly noticing her now purely robotic appearance. “Well, now to get out of here.”

Jen looked up, shocked out of her thoughts. “You shouldn’t have come, I’m not worth it.”

“Of course you’re worth it,” Rocky assured her. “I love you.”

“Rocky, I’m a machine.”

“Well nobody’s perfect,” Rocky quipped, adding quickly: “but you’re as close as I want. I fell in love with who you are, not what you are.”

“You don’t understand,” she told him. She really wanted to cry, but Klank had disabled all her human functions. “Gasket built me to destroy the Rangers, it’s part of my programming. There’s a bomb inside me, set to explode the next time I’m in the Power Chamber.”

“Then we won’t take you to the Power Chamber,” Rocky reasoned.

There was a mechanical sigh. “The Power Chamber will teleport me there. Gasket already found a way to bypass the computer and have it do so without someone activating it.”

“We’ll find a way,” Rocky promised.

“How touching.”

An electrical field activated as Mondo spoke, shocking Adam who was stood in the doorway and preventing the Rangers’ escape.

“Kill them,” he ordered, looking at Jen.

“I won’t,” she replied, Rocky’s words had strengthened her resistance.

“You will obey,” Mondo insisted. Jen convulsed as her circuits exploded with pain. “A result of the neural feedback generator Gasket designed. I had Klank install a remote receiver while he removed that ridiculous flesh. Since you want to be human to the point of treason, you can suffer like a human. I believe that given enough pain, you will come to understand who is the king around here and that your function should be absolute obedience.”

“Leave her alone, Mondo!” Rocky growled, bringing his Zeo Pistol to firing position.

“Whut d’ you think yoor doin’ Ranger?” Klank asked.

“Yes Rocky, what are you going to do… without your powers.”

The barrier across the door grew brighter and both Rocky and the still stunned Adam were demorphed.

“You didn’t think I would allow you to break into my Space Base unless I had a brilliant scheme to neutralise you, did you? My computations and the information downloaded by my virus monster allowed me to download Zordon’s schematics for your powers. A jamming field designed to block the energy of the Zeo Crystal protects this entire station. I surmise your bracelets carry some form of backup charge in case of temporary loss, but now that too, has ended.”

“Zeo Ranger III – Blue!” Rocky called.

Nothing happened.

“This force field operates on a frequency of three-six-zero-zero hertz,” Mondo told the boy. “The exact frequency needed to deactivate your powers.”

Rocky had given up trying to morph and was instead trying to protect both Adam and Jen.

“Now all you have to do is wait for your friends to show up, or for my slave to come to her senses and destroy you both. Either way I compute a one-hundred percent chance of victory.”

He walked off regally, allowing the Ranger to ponder his fate.

“We have to go, Zordon,” Kat insisted when the computer lost contact with Rocky and Adam.

“I agree, Katherine, but I cannot allow you to teleport onto the Space Base,” Zordon boomed.

“If Mondo detects you he could scatter the teleportation beam,” Alpha explained.

“How about the Mole?” Tanya asked. “Couldn’t we use the same idea.”

“Mondo would be ready for you this time,” Jason answered.

There was a column of white light as Josie teleported into the Power Chamber.

“Have you found her?” she demanded, to which Tommy nodded.

“Mondo has her on his Sky Base, but we can’t get to her. He has Adam and Rocky too.”

Her anger dissipated when she heard her sister was not the only one in danger.

“Hey, what if we teleport into the Mole?” Tommy asked, looking at Zordon.

“Mondo has not shielded the machine,” Zordon agreed. “Although I suspect that the only reason he has not done so, is to draw you into his trap.”

The Rangers nodded. It was too easy and machines of Mondo’s quality did not make such obvious mistakes without a good reason. Still he was providing them with an opportunity, and the Rangers could not afford to pass up the chance.

“I’m coming with you,” Josie said. Tommy appeared to want to argue, but she cut him off quickly. “Look, that’s my sister and I’m not waiting here while you attempt to rescue her. I’m going to make sure you succeed. Besides, I have better control of my emotions than you and I know how machines work. Who better than me to tell you what Mondo has planned than I?”

There was silence and then Tommy nodded. “I don’t like it, but if Mondo can affect our powers, we need all the help we can get.”

“Alpha, prepare some of the Survival Packs,” Zordon instructed.

After the Rangers had lost their powers due to Master Vile, Zordon had taken the initiative of preparing a way for them to fight without their powers or more importantly, survive in hostile environments long enough to seek out new powers. The result was a small backpack containing a range of useful gadgets and tools along with protective suits that while not providing protection from broken bones could prevent small cuts.

“I have the teleport booster ready Zordon,” Alpha announced.

“Switch that off,” Josie told him. “If Mondo planned ahead, he’d have calculated the chance we found some means of boosting the teleport and will be scanning for the frequency.”

“Just like he did with Rocky and Adam’s powers,” Tanya said quietly.

“Ai-yi-yi, she’s right!” Alpha realised.

“Now, tell me what we’re going to do and I’ll tell you how Mondo will have prepared for it. Then you can come up with a way around it.”

There were five of them in their party and they all arrived safely aboard the Mole. Jason, Tommy, Tanya and Kat were wearing their backpacks, the boys armed with some old Blade Blasters that Alpha had found, set in blade mode; Tanya and Kat held similar weapons but had decided the blast function suited them better. Josie was not armed since she had never fired such a weapon before, had no combat skills and had proven unable to lift the backpack, let alone wear it. Alpha had given her a small scanner and a pouch filled with bits and pieces. Not enough to make a weapon, but he had assured her the contents would prove useful.

“We’ve been detected,” Tanya said. She was in direct contact with Alpha and Zordon. “Mondo has teleported the Mole to a docking bay.”

“Face masks,” Tommy ordered as Cogs fired smoke pellets into the large drilling machine.

“Josie?” Kat asked after a while.

“Mondo just ordered all Cogs to take up positions surrounding the Mole, but not to attack.”

“See if you can get a schematic of this place,” Tommy told her. “Tanya, find out if the Mole is still operational.”

Meanwhile Jason had shifted towards the back of the vehicle, where its low base should have been in contact with the floor of the hangar; from the exterior view it had become evident that the hangars were above and below more vital areas of the Machine Base. Tommy and Jason were hoping they had ended up in one of the top bays.

“Hey, we have power” Tanya proclaimed.

They had assumed Mondo would disconnect the vehicle’s power source when they had realised he would use it to trap them. Obviously he had not considered that a logical course of attack.

“Okay, program it to run drill through the hangars and take out as many Quadra-fighters as possible,” Tommy told her, then wait here for our signal.

“Right,” the Yellow Zeo Ranger agreed.


“Mind your eyes,” the former Gold Ranger warned as he flicked a switch on the modified Blade Blaster, causing the blade to become super heated. He plunged the blade into the base of the Mole, quickly cutting away a section to reveal the floor of the hangar. After a quick check around, he started to cut into the floor.

“Remember to angle it,” Tanya called back to her friend. “Even Klank would notice a whole in the ceiling.”

Jason grunted a response and continued his work.

Meanwhile Kat and Tommy had rigged up a pulley and clamp to lift the heavy decking up. As soon as Jason was through, they did so.

Supported by her ankles, Kat hung down into the corridor and fired at one of the surveillance cameras that were fortunately facing away from her. She was also grateful that her weapon had been adapted to use high frequency energy and not the noisy laser fire they normally possessed.

“We’re clear,” she told them as she flipped into to the ground and moved to the nearest corner, watching out for patrols.

“Let’s go,” Tommy whispered as Jason sat on the still warm metal and lowered himself into the corridor below.

Tommy followed and then he and Jason helped Josie down.

“There’s a control room up ahead,” Josie whispered as Tommy led the way.

“How many Cogs?”


Tommy nodded and made his way to a position where he could almost see in.

“Kat, can you pick off the two immediately beyond the door?”

Kat nodded and fired, frying the machines instantly. Jason and Tommy used the distraction to get close to the doors and as the remaining Cogs moved into range, they slashed them with their blades. After ensuring the cranial links had been severed, they gestured for Josie to move forward.

“I can get us into the computer from here,” she announced.

“Good, shut down security between here and the cells.”

“She can’t,” Kat interrupted. “If she does, she’ll set off the alarms.”

“Okay, find a way to synchronise them so they turn away as we approach and back again as we pass,” Jason suggested.

“Can’t” Josie told them after typing numerous commands. “Some of the cameras are fixed, others are heat sensing. There’s no way to change their programming en mass.”

“Okay,” Tommy said after thinking for a while. “Are there any recycling centers between here and the cells?”

“You’ve been watching too many Star Wars films Bro,” Jason teased.

“There’s one not far from here, comes out two blocks away from the cells you need, but those cells are empty.” She continued typing. “No cameras are operating inside the cells.”

“So we could break through,” Tommy realised. “Okay, Josie stay here and work on the machinery. Jason, you’re her guard.”

With that said he headed down the corridor with Kat in pursuit. Avoiding the few Cogs patrolling the next corridor, they opened the door to the trash compactor and moved inside. As the door closed, they heard the series of clicks from the stepper motor as it started the compression cycle. Even Mondo recycled to some extent; even machines created waste.

“I hope she times this right,” Kat muttered as the walls started to close in and they made their way to the top of the pile. If Josie didn’t get this right, Tommy and Kat would be crushed.

They waited as the walls closed in. Two meters … one and a half … one metre…

Then they came to an abrupt halt as Josie’s programming kicked in.

“Ready?” Tommy asked.

Kat nodded and with his help, climbed onto Tommy’s shoulders. Then using the dented walls for grips, she started climbing. Within a couple of minutes she reached the top of the compactor and taking a moment to catch her breath, converted her Blade Blaster to blade mode and drove it into the wall. She attached a small winch to the handle and lower a rope to her boyfriend.

Tommy gripped the rope and let the winch pull him up as Kat found her way into the maintenance shaft. She pulled herself along the shaft to the grill at the end where she could watch the comings and goings.

“Hurry up,” she called back, startled when she heard the machinery moving once more.

“Oh no!” Josie cried as the screen went blank.

“What happened?” Jason asked.

“Somebody took notice of the change in routine,” she answered. She looked down at her scanner. “We have Cogs incoming!”

Jason moved to the doorway, taking down the first Cog as it approached, severing it across the waist. He switched over to blaster rapidly, using the weapon to shoot out the floor so attackers could only approach from one direction. Then he crouched down and continued to fire, knowing that he could hit his opponents before they could get too close.

There was a crash at the back of the room and he heard Josie cry out a warning. He turned, as Cogs started to pour in from the back of the room. Josie was at his side and he shielded her from the onrushing forces. He blasted one, noting his blaster’s battery was running low, converted it to blade mode and chopped another Cog’s head off. He turned to stop attackers from the other side as a sharp blow caught him across the back of head. He looked up into the cold metallic face as a sharp boot rendered him unconscious and he was dragged away with Josie being dragged close behind.

Tommy was three quarters of the way up when the walls started moving again. He turned his body as the walls started to squeeze. The room was starting to turn black and there was a loud grating in his head. Then the walls stopped again, a loud hissing as the pressure was released and he continued his assent. He pulled the Blade Blaster from the wall and tossed it to Kat.

“What happened?” he asked.

Kat smiled and pointed to the machinery she had destroyed.

“Aw man, I guess they know we’re here,” Tommy realised.

Sure enough in the cell he could see the shadows of waiting Cogs.

“Well, no point in being subtle, right?” she asked.

Tommy nodded. “It’s Morphin Time!”

“Zeo Ranger I – Pink!”

“Zeo Ranger V – Red!”

When they had discovered the truth about Mondo’s ability to jam the Zeo Crystal, Tommy and the others had altered the frequency on their Zeonisers. But to prevent him knowing they had the advantage, the Rangers had decided not to morph until they needed to. Now seemed like a good time.

“Tanya, Plan C!” Kat ordered as the two Rangers burst from the maintenance shaft Zeo Pistols drawn and firing.

“Zeo Power Punch!” Tommy cried as he started punching his way through the metal walls while Kat blasted anything that came too near. Doing things this way was risky because they were outnumbered, but with the element of surprise gone, they had nothing to lose.

“Jason, Josie?” Kat called.

There was no response.

“Tommy, I can’t reach them,” she told her leader.

“Keep trying,” Tommy told her as he impaled a Cog on the end of his Zeo V Power Sword. “We’re almost there!”

He broke down the final wall and into the wide control center containing the doorway to Jen, Adam and Rocky’s cell. It also contained a semiconscious Jason, a petrified Josie and a contingent of Mondo’s Cogs.

“Jase!” Tommy exclaimed at the sight of his friend.

“Tommy, she betrayed us,” Jason managed.

Tommy turned to the cell containing Jen, just as his uniform vanished and a laughing Mondo walked in.

“Seize them!” Mondo ordered.

Tommy and Kat ran to where Jason and Josie were being held, hoping to break their friends free. Their reward was Josie knocking them to the ground and walking to stand next to her master.

“Did it never occur to you Rangers, that my son would plant a second agent in case Jen’s programming failed? He replaced the entire family. As you can see Josie was not activated by chance and is extremely loyal.”

Josie stood proudly beside her master, ripping off the mask of fake flesh to expose her robotic self.

“And now I have all of you.” He paused, counting silently. “Where’s yellow?”

“She’s in the hangar,” Josie told him. “You’ll find a hole in the bottom of their machine. Send some Cogs in there and you’ll have her.”

“Josie, how could you? They’re our friends!” Jen was confused.

“Friends? Humans are not our friends, you little traitor. I was programmed to betray the Rangers. I can’t help it if I enjoyed it.”

“And now, I’ll give you one more chance,” Mondo said to Jennifer as he opened her cell door. “Destroy your enemies.”

Jennifer looked at Rocky, then at her sister. She loved them both, but while Rocky was her boyfriend, she was a machine. She had mere seconds to decide where to place her loyalty. She freely gave it to the Earth.

“With pleasure,” she said, her voice growing cold. “But first I want to kiss him.”

She grabbed Rocky by the neck and pulled him into a hug, kissing him on the cheek as she whispered: “I’m sorry.”

Then she lashed out at the nearest Cog, smashing it with her fist before charging her sister. The others took the opportunity and started fighting, Kat and Tommy using their Blade Blasters while Rocky, Adam and Jason fought hand to hand. In the background Jen and Josie were fighting, the two machines that had once been sisters were now bitter enemies.

Josie delivered a strong chop to Jen’s chest. Jen responded with a punch to her sister’s chin. They traded blows for a while until Jen in a move she had learnt from Rocky, rolled back and threw Josie over her. The momentum carried the machine into a waiting computer bank. Sparks flew as Josie was fried.

Before Jen could recover, she was overcome by pain. She fell to her knees and looked up to see Mondo hovering over her.

“I gave you a chance,” he told her. “But you couldn’t obey. So now I’ll deactivate you and start again.”

“Jen!” Rocky cried as Mondo blasted his girlfriend before shuffling out across the room. In an instant Rocky was at her side, cradling her battered form in his arms.

“It’s too late,” she told him.

“We can fix you,” he answered, tears filling his eyes.

“Too late,” she repeated, her eyes glowing brightly. “He destr…”

The light dimmed and went out.

“Jen!” Rocky practically howled.

Across the chamber Mondo laughed. “One down and more to go.”

Rocky was angry now, but more and more Cogs were flooding into the cellblock. He wanted to destroy the metal monarch with his bare hands, but Jason and Tommy held him back.

“Kill them!” Mondo ordered.

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” Yellow Zeo said, as the picture of the Mole appeared on the screen as it tore through the hangars.

“You think I care about a few fighter craft?” Mondo laughed. “They can be replaced.”

The camera angle widened, now showing Machina and Sprocket on the tip of the drill. “Can they?”

Mondo paused as if considering his options. “Let them go Ranger. I’ll lower the forcefield.”

Tanya seemed to agree and backed the Mole up, knowing Mondo would not dare to double-cross them now. Sure enough the shield came down and their powers were reactivated.

“Go, quickly!” Tommy shouted at the others as he and Jason grabbed a still struggling Rocky and teleported. Kat followed not far behind, Jen held firmly in her grip.

In the hangar bay Tanya took a final look around, noticing the Cogs as they attempted to gain access through the rear of the Mole. She wasn’t having any of it though and after reactivating the drill to cause as much damage as possible, she too teleported away

Power Chamber

The Rangers didn’t stop moving once they appeared in the Power Chamber. Alpha had taken Jennifer from Kat and teleported to another chamber; neither he nor Zordon had the heart to tell the Rangers that this was more to do with the threat of the bomb in Jen’s body than any hope of reviving her. The others had barely uttered a word, teleporting straight to the Zord holding bays as the alarms sounded.

“Let me see,” Jason ordered, his grief pushed to the background as he focussed on this new threat.

The Viewing Screen showed the Jet Megazord fully formed and heading towards the Power Chamber, a move the Rangers had been expecting; they had known that Mondo would not pass up the opportunity to follow up after delivering such a blow. Mondo besides being heartless was also well versed in the art of kicking an opponent when they were down. Even as the Mole tore through his launch bays, he was planning to send all his Quadra-fighters to Earth for one glorious strike.

“Zeo Zords deploy!” Tommy ordered, allowing the machines to move on remote control. Their task was simply to strike as many of Mondo’s machines from the air before they caused damage to Angel Grove. “Super Zeo Zord power!”

The arrival of the Zeo Jet Megazord was heralded by hundreds of Cogs suddenly appearing in the desert beneath the Power Chamber. The Rangers’ Zords tore down the mountainside, Zordon’s protests about escalating the battle falling on deaf ears; as far as the Rangers were concerned, the Machine Empire had escalated the battle to the point where the events of the next few hours were perfectly justified.

The Zords stomped and blasted their way through the legions of Cogs, not even stopping until every Cog had been levelled. Super Zeo Zord I and II fired energy blasts from their chests, turning the rocky ground into a pool of molten metal.

And then they faced their own Zords. If Mondo had expected them to be reluctant to damage their own equipment, he was badly mistaken. The Super Zeo Zords ganged up on the Megazord, striking where they knew the weak spots to be and never ceasing until Super Zeo Zord V’s sword sliced through its neck. Rocky used his Zord’s arm blades to puncture the chest plates, drawing them downward until they hit the secondary cockpit. As the Rangers withdrew, the Massive machine collapsed, squashing a few straggling Cogs.

But the Rangers and especially Rocky were far from done. They were angry, driven by grief and a desire for justice as they directed their machines towards orbit. In space they their Zords combined to form the Super Zeo Megazord.

Mondo had apparently worked out what the Rangers intended as he recalled his Quadra-fighters to defend the Sky Base, but that didn’t stop the Rangers. In fact it only spurred them onwards. The Zord bashed its way into the fortress, ripping through the hull with its might fists and then stomping down the corridors. The Zord was too big and too heavy to fit in a single compartment ad as they moved forward; they destroyed another four compartments in the process.

Mondo turned his base’s defences against the behemoth Zord, but until now the Sky Base had never faced a direct assault where the intention was its destruction. The weapons failed to make an impact on the Super Zeo Megazord as it summoned its twin swords and started severing the junctions between the sections of machinery.

“Rangers, whut are you doing?” Klank demanded as the mighty machine summoned its double blades and ripped whole sections apart. It punched, kicked, sliced and blasted its way through girders ad support beams, raining wreckage down upon the Moon. Tommy summoned the Warrior Wheel and they threw it repeatedly against the rapidly diminishing base, for once not caring about the rules of the Power.

“Separate!” Rocky instructed. He was in charge of this; the other didn’t have any objection to that.

They obeyed, summoning the Super Power Weapons and attacking in all directions. They tore down the mighty gears and laid waste to the workshops. Blue Zeo’s machine ripped into Grommet’s life support system, causing the prince’s operating system to crash. Then from five angles they blasted the crumbling space base, pummelling it until it broke apart, the remains drifting into orbit around the Moon. They continued to fire until they were certain there was nothing salvageable, failing to notice as Sprocket, Machina and Mondo picked their way through the scattered remains as Klank and Orbus pulled their battered bodies free of the wreckage.

Finally it was over, but the Rangers didn’t celebrate, there had been no real victory here. They teleported home.

Angel’s Rest

Month’s later

The calm breeze blew the few leaves that had fallen in his path, but he didn’t notice. His attention was as it had always been in this place, focussed on his destination and not on anything that might cause a distraction. He looked uncomfortable in the tailored blue suit that seemed too tight or too warm for the normally free spirit trapped within. In his hand he held a bunch of roses he hoped the recipient would appreciate, not that he would know if she liked them or not.

He took a deep breath as he approached, fighting as he always did the urge to flee and deny the truth mark so clearly on the stone cold face. Around him others bore the flowers of their loved ones making the place seem brighter than it would otherwise. Previous time when he had come to visit her he had given in to his urges and fled, leaving her there alone. But not this time. After almost six months it was time to face her.

Jennifer Sarah Belle

Taken from us

Missed by Mother, Father

Beloved Sister

Rest In Peace

The words on the black gravestone didn’t say enough in Rocky’s opinion. How would people feel if they knew that she had died because she had dared to disobey Mondo? In his mind, Rocky could still see the pained expression as she fell to the floor. There had been no blood or burning, no outwardly physical sign of the pain she had felt. Mondo had stripped away her human appearance and yet she had shown more humanity than anyone he had ever met. And her eyes…. The memory was still too strong for him to dwell on them, so he didn’t. His fellow Rangers had helped him, but the pain was still a part of him. It didn’t get much easier with time.

At first there had been anger. Rocky and his fellow Rangers had destroyed the Machine Empire that day. They had devastated the Machine Sky Base with their Zords and although Mondo had survived and was even now trying to rebuild, his forces were a joke among Galactic Society.

Zordon had been disappointed in them that day although he told them long before he expressed his feelings that he had never been prouder of them. They had done what others had never dreamed of and had triumphed. But it had been a hollow victory.

In hindsight he had done Rita and Zedd a favour when he had almost obliterated Mondo and his family. But Rocky had not been a killer and revenge was not a reason to kill. Even when he discovered that Mondo had survived he had managed to restrain himself from going off and trying again. A few days later Mondo and Machina had tried to counterattack by growing to giant size and marching through Angel Grove. The Rangers had been there and thanks to an old wand of Rita’s, which they had managed to find in the Power Chamber’s vast storage locker, they had grown to meet both the Machine army and Rita and Zedd’s forces in combat. The Rangers had triumphed and just hours later Mondo and his family had been blown up by a booby-trapped present.

And then just like that the crutch he had been using to control his emotions had crumbled. Jennifer had been buried after Zordon and Alpha had confirmed that her memory had been wiped during the power loss. Her sister Josie had still been in the service of the Machine Empire when Rita had blown them up. Her grave was empty. Their parents had returned overseas after the Rangers had ensured they were not machines using a bio magnetic scanner that Alpha had rigged.

It had been a downhill slide from there, a mixture of self-loathing and a need to escape. He had shut his friends out, even Adam. After a few weeks he had stopped even responding to Zordon when Rita or Zedd attacked. The Rangers had managed as a group of four, despite Rita and Zedd’s best attempts to take advantage of their loss. Jason had helped out when they needed a Zord, but without a permanent power source he was unsuitable to small-scale battles. Nobody had even suggested Jason take over as Blue Zeo. It was Rocky’s post and one they had decided to relieve him of only if he asked or he proved dangerous.

Rocky had turned to drink. It had been unnoticeable at first, but the Rangers had soon realised that something other than grief was causing his strange behaviour. Then his mother had found him drunk and he had received a real wake-up call. Mrs DeSantos had made him promise never to turn to the bottle again and he had given his word. Because he had only been drunk a few times, the habit had been easier to break with the help of these around him. He had been sent to see Lita Kino, the psychologist who had helped Tommy after his experience at the hands of Mondo. She had been there for the rest of the team too.

She had helped him with his feelings and for a time had concentrated purely on getting back on his feet. Surprisingly the hurt did not seem so unbearable.

And now he was back on active duty, facing down Rita and Zedd whenever they attacked, but so far the Machine Empire had not dared to show its face. And with the aid of his friends, Rocky had finally come to terms with his grief. That had been three months ago and even though the memory hurt, it no longer consumed him. Now he had one more hurdle to face.

“Hi Jenny,” Rocky said as he pulled the few weeds of the otherwise empty gravestone. “Sorry I haven’t been here for a while, things… I’m sorry Jen, I couldn’t face this place knowing what happened.”

He placed the flowers in the vase and removed the dead ones that had dried up in the sun. Jennifer’s parents had placed them there before they had left and they had not been back since.

“I know you can hear me Jennifer,” Rocky said. “Somehow I know you’re watching over us from a better place. I’m sorry you got caught up in the fight, that Mondo chose to use you as his pawn. I promise it won’t happen to anybody else.”

Overhead the clouds parted just enough for the sun to reflect off the gravestone and into Rocky’s eyes. A feeling of great calm filled him and for the first time since entering the cemetery he felt at ease. He couldn’t hear the words but he was certain he could feel their meaning. Rocky had always been sensitive in the ways of the spirit. He was realistic enough to understand he was probably reading too much into a natural event, but he was certain it was Jennifer’s way of saying: “I love you.”

A tear rolled down his cheek as the sun continued to shine and the breeze dropped. The cemetery was filled with silence as Rocky allowed his emotions to flow. He took his time, telling Jen the things that had happened in his life since he had last seen her, about his friends and his life. Throughout his very one-way conversation, the sun continued to shine on the gravestone. When he was done, he stood and took a final look at the grave.

“I’ll come back soon Jennifer, I promise.”

As he walked away, he knew that he would be back soon. He owed it to Jennifer to go on with his life. He wouldn’t let her down again.

The End

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Accepting the Dark

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers; they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic.

Authors Note: This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate time line.

Accepting the Dark

“NOOOO!” Tommy cried, sitting bolt upright in bed. His eyes darted around the room, trying to reassure himself that there was no black tide getting ready to close over him. He dropped his sweat-slick face into his hands with an inarticulate moan, just as his family ran in.

“Tommy, what happened,” his mother asked, concerned.

“It– it’s okay, Mom. Just a nightmare,” he managed, smiling sickly at her.

“Tommy, this is the sixth night in a row that you’ve woken up screaming,” his father told him. “This is the last straw. First thing in the morning, I’m making you an appointment to see a psychiatrist.”

“Dad!” Tommy wailed. “I’m not crazy!”

“No one said you were, Tommy. Psychiatrists are trained to listen and help with problems, though, and I think you need that. You– we can’t go on like this.” With that, his parents turned and walked out of the room, leaving him with his sister and brother.

“Scoot over, Tommy,” Chelsea ordered her “twin.” He obeyed, and she hopped up on the bed to sit next to them. “Okay, spill your guts. What did you dream about?”

“Just your ordinary Angel Grove nightmare,” he lied. “Monsters chasing me all over the place.”

“Shyea, right,” scoffed Teddy. The ten-year-old regarded him with scepticism. “We really believe that.”

“Should we tell him?” Chelsea asked.

Teddy nodded. “It’s the only way we’ll get the truth out of him.”

Chelsea turned back to Tommy. “Okay, mi hermano, we know. We know you’re a Power Ranger.”

“WHAT?” Tommy spluttered. “I mean, what are you talking about. Me, a Power Ranger? Get real.”

Rolling his eyes, Teddy shook his head. “Duh, Tommy. Give us credit for some intelligence. You disappear all the time, you wear a weird-looking watch, you have all these unexplained bruises, and your girlfriend has an Australian accent just like the Pink Ranger!” Tommy closed his eyes in pain and Teddy winced. “Ex-girlfriend. Sorry…” he muttered, wishing he hadn’t said anything.

Taking up the litany, Chelsea continued. “When we first moved here, you suddenly became very cold, just when the Green Ranger appeared. When he joined the other Rangers, you suddenly had five very good friends. When he left the team, you became very depressed and stopped seeing your friends. Then the White Ranger appeared and you were happy as a clam, radiating energy. Every time one of your friends leaves, a Power Ranger gets taller or shorter, and their voices change. Plus, Green Ranger, White Ranger and Zeo Ranger V all have the same fighting style, your style. Remember, fighting styles are like fingerprints, and I’ve been trained to recognize them. I know you’re a Ranger, and Teddy does too. Tell us what’s wrong.”

Tommy sighed. Lying was not one of his strengths, at least not while he was in control. When his dark side took over… He shook his head, trying to clear it enough to deal with the immediate problem. “Okay, you got me. Yes, I’m a Power Ranger, but no one’s supposed to know about that. Can you two keep that secret?”

“Of course,” Chelsea scoffed. “Now, what did you dream about?”

Tommy smiled. “To tell you the truth, I don’t remember,” he lied. He trusted Chelsea and Teddy implicitly, but he just didn’t feel ready to tell anyone about his dream. “You know what Mom says. I’ve got a brain like a sieve.”

“Bull,” Teddy said quietly. “Tommy, just because you were adopted and we weren’t, doesn’t mean that we don’t care about you. Please, let us in.”

Tommy regarded his little brother with some surprise. He kept forgetting that Teddy was much wiser than his ten years would suggest. It was funny, in a way, how alike Tommy and Teddy were, despite the fact that they were not blood relatives. Both had long dark hair, melted-caramel-coloured puppy dog eyes, and the sharp hawk like features that had every girl in the school trailing after Tommy. Even at ten, Teddy had the promise of height to equal his brother’s, and was beginning to develop the fluid muscle tone of a martial artist. Teddy also had the same lopsided smile that melted any female heart it was turned on.

Tommy then turned to look at his sister. She too had the colouring, sharp features, and height that marked her brothers, and David Trueheart, Tommy’s brother-by-blood. Unlike them, however, Chelsea wore her hair cropped close in a sensible cut. Like David, she shared Tommy’s age and birthday, which is why she and Tommy had always considered themselves twins. Also a martial artist, she was a kung fu student, rather than taking karate like her brothers. As a result of the difference in style, she was more smoothly muscled. Most of her opponents thought that meant that she was not as strong. It was a mistake people only made once.

Tommy smiled. These two might not be his blood relatives, but they were his family all the same. He owed them the truth, but he didn’t want to discuss his dream with anyone yet. “Guys, I can’t talk about it. Maybe later, okay?”

Teddy grumbled and went back to his own room. Chelsea regarded her “twin” for a second. “Thomas Tyler Oliver, you are the most exasperating person I know. If you won’t talk to me, talk to somebody, all right?”

He smiled. “Yes, Mother. Go back to bed, Chelse.” Reluctantly, she did as she was told. Tommy flopped back down to the bed. It was going to be a long night.

King Mondo was not a happy machine, but then given that most machines couldn’t feel emotion, that hardly seemed important. He had been gone for too long, that much was obvious given the damage that had been inflicted upon his precious Sky Base. Even with the repairs Grommet had instigated, the vast space station was not the same.

“Of all the insolent, foolhardy – how dare he ruin my Sky Base?” he fumed, causing Klank and Orbus to seek shelter elsewhere before the king’s vengeance turned on them for helping his son. “Now not only do we have to deal with the Zeo Rangers, we also have a restored Gold Ranger and more Zords than you care to count to contend with.” Sprocket squeaked and waddled to hide behind the throne as his father continued to rant. “Why is this planet such a problem to us, why is it every time we come within the grasp of victory, a new obstacle appears? KLANK!”

The metallic butler, mechanic and general dog’s body nervously looked around the doorway he had chosen for his escape, hoping that Mondo would continue to rant instead of reacting in a more physical way; it wasn’t often that the ruler of the Machine Empire resorted to physical outbursts, but when he did the results were not pleasant. Given that Mondo had only recently returned from the repair works he was bound to be cranky.

“A-aye, yer Majesty?” he asked.

“Get out here, you obsolete lay about. You have work to do.” Klank did as he was ordered, coming to stand by his king.

“Klank, I want to know everything that wayward brat Gasket did during his time on my Sky Base.” Mondo declared. “And don’t leave anything out. I want to know how many of my Cogs he has had contact with, which monsters he accessed and any parts of the factory complex he or that cyber-whore Archerina corrupted. Compile the report and then have everything named in that report sanitized.”

“An Queen Machina an wee Prince Sprocket?” Klank asked.

For a long second, it looked as if steam was going to hiss out of Mondo’s ears. Then, with a great effort, he seemed to calm himself down. Even so, when he spoke, his voice was the level of a claxon. “You mechanized misfit, how dare you accuse my wife and son of being soiled?”

“Forgive me yer Majesty,” Klank managed to stutter.

“When my Sky Base has been cleansed of any trace of Gasket, I shall have my revenge on those Zeo Rangers. No organics destroy my body and get away with it.” Mondo’s evil, metallic laughter echoed through the Sky Base as Klank rushed to do his master’s bidding.

Time passed as Cogs and servants worked with efficiency only seen in Mondo’s presence. It took hours but the job was completed, the base had been scrubbed and sterilized of Gasket’s incompetent programming.

“And why did Gasket abandon such a plan when it was clearly a success? Had he waited until Tommy was completely under his control for more than a few minutes, he would have succeeded.” Mondo had been reviewing Gasket’s efforts. One plan had seized his attention and he had had Klank explain.

“I cannae say, sire,” Klank managed.

“Of course not you half-witted toaster,” Mondo snapped. “Gasket is a prince of the Royal House of Gadgetry and you are an overrated steam iron. Still, Gasket’s plan had merit and since he saw fit to abandon it, we will pick it up from where he left off, with Tommy.”

“But we dinna huv the wee Ranger,” Klank protested.

“Then you will get him!” Mondo thundered.

Klank was too petrified to respond, he could only obey.

On Earth, the Rangers were blissfully unaware of the nefarious happenings in space. The team were enjoying their summer vacation and had arranged activities planned for the morning and the afternoon. Although it should be noted this was more to allow Tommy, Rocky and Adam to escape the curse of the girls’ shopping trips than any important activities. Tommy was at the beach, along with Trey. Both boys were keen to exercise, a side effect of using their powers and an instinctive need to practice and hone their skills. Both of them had spent most of the morning sparring and running on the beach, but they planned to continue working until noon and then relaxing during the afternoon. Trent and Travis, both of whom were adapting to their lives as individuals were there as well.

Normally Jason should have joined them, but Jason was not much in the way of company at the moment; the former Gold Ranger was going through what Zordon described as Power withdrawal, a condition Tommy knew from experience. Besides the tiredness and weakness as the body readjusted to life without the ability to morph, there were dangers of mental trauma, something Zordon was careful to monitor. It was reassuring to know that their mentor was keeping an eye on their former teammate.

“Now this I could get used to,” Travis sighed, allowing the Sun to him. “No need to worry about being attacked or asked to attend a royal banquet.” He paused as if considering. “Which was worse?”

“The banquets,” Trent answered thoughtfully. “At least you know a battle will end one way or the other.”

Suddenly a strange wind cut through the area, smelling of Cog Oil and burnt toast. In the air before them, a strange gear-shaped portal opened, dropping a fleet of Cogs in front of the teens. The group of friends exchanged looks, quickly calculating the odds.

“Uh oh,” Trent and Travis said in unison. Despite being separated, they still thought as one from time to time.

Trey and Tommy found their way to the front, dropping into fighting stances as they did so; they were capable of morphing if things got too bad. The others did likewise, falling in behind their powered friends. Then the Cogs rushed forward, and the battle was joined.

Somehow, even with all the effort the put into defending themselves, luck was against the Rangers and their comrades. The noise of battle had drawn customers from the Beach Club, preventing Tommy and Trey from transforming.

And then the Cogs pressed their advantage, pinning Rangers and Triforians alike to the ground with their sheer numbers.

Tommy groaned as darkness was replaced by piercing light. He rolled slightly, squinting against the glare while trying to get a fix on his surroundings. Next to him something moaned.

“Are you okay?” he asked, as he picked himself up off the floor where the Cogs had dumped him. For the first time he noticed the bracelets attached to each wrist, a clever way of preventing him from morphing. Not that the metal could affect his powers like it did with the Morphin Grid, but the thick iron shackles covered his forearms, effectively blocking the area where his Zeonisers would appear. Transforming is not an option then.

Finally he had a good grasp of his situation. He and his companion had been flung rather unceremoniously into a corner of the throne room, which had then been cut off with an electrified fence controlled from a box on the floor.

His companion groaned again, a good sign since it meant he was at least alive. It stood to reason that Mondo’s forces had only bothered grabbing the two active Rangers; the others although informative were unlikely to be of use in the mechanical monarch’s plans.

“Here,” he said as he offered Trey his hand. He turned as Mondo swaggered up to the force field.

“Well, well what do we have here, two of Zordon’s precious Rangers? Welcome to my home, I know one of you should find this place familiar. Isn’t that right Tommy?”

“You won’t get away with this,” Tommy threatened.

Mondo chuckled in response. “Oh but I will. You have a lot of courage Ranger considering your situation. I could have you vaporized on the spot. But then bravery is something I’ve grown to appreciate in you Rangers. That and your fighting skills.” His voice lowered. “You made a fine king, Tommy. I brought you here to give you chance to fulfil your potential; you would be King of the Earth under our guidance of course.”

“No dice, Mondo,” Tommy retorted. “I’d never work for you.”

“Really, Tommy? I believe you’ve said that before to my son. You worked for him then and you’ll work for me now. It certainly beats death.”

“We would rather die than live as your servants,” Trey stated.

“Would you?” Mondo asked. “How many times have the two of you come close to death, surviving only through force of will? I don’t believe you would just give up and die when there’s a chance your precious friends might save you.”

“I would never hurt my friends,” Tommy growled. Only Mondo’s advanced audio circuits allowed him to hear the Red Zeo Ranger add: “again.”

“The darkness is within you Tommy, I know all about you… You managed to keep that side of you subdued, but now it must be painful to remain in control every waking moment. And what happens when you sleep I wonder? Even I can sense your indecision Tommy, so maybe I should offer you a little help. KLANK!”

The royal retainer trotted into the chamber from whether he had been, possibly behind the door awaiting further instructions. He bowed stiffly. “Aye, yer Majesty?”

“Is the new Mapomatic prepared?”

“Indeed it is, yer Majesty. This wee gadget wull redirect the electrical signals in his brain, caw him into yer puppet.”

“I KNOW THAT!” Mondo bellowed. “I do not need a lesson in my own machine from you.”

“Yes yer Majesty, sorry yer Majesty. If the Cogs will just escort our subject over here, we can get started.”

At those words, the Cogs advanced, unaffected by the fence. Tommy and Trey struggled, not at all eager to cooperate with them. They used anything to hand including the heavy bands around their wrists. Trey used a forearm smash to remove one of the Cog’s heads, which he then threw at the box controlling the force field.

“Give it up Ranger. You cannae morph,” Klank, said as he approached Trey.

“You are very clever Klank,” Trey commented.

“But you forgot something,” Tommy added, wrenching a metal arm free from another Cog and using it to beat another.

“It is Morphin Time,” Trey dead panned. He held his hand out. “Golden Power Staff!” The staff appeared instantly and he swung it viciously at any Cog that dared to approach. With the fence disrupted the two Rangers had the run of the room. “I do not need Zeonisers to use my powers… Gold Ranger…”

“Seize him!” Klank screeched, his mechanical voice sounding like a failed clutch in an old Vauxhall.


With his powers activated, Trey was about to offer more resistance, but the Cogs had cut the room in half, separating him from Tommy. Still that disadvantage also allowed him to unleash the full extent of his Gold Ranger powers on those nearest him while the others’ metallic bodies shielded the Red Zeo Ranger. Still, he wished he could reach his friend and break the bonds on his wrists. Two against… he wasn’t sure how many Cogs were definitely better odds.

“Trey, get out of here!”

Trey looked up and was disappointed to see that Tommy had been subdued. He needed to help his friend, but at the same time he knew that the odds were against him. He knew Tommy would not be killed while Mondo had a chance of using him. That reassured him enough to overcome his reluctance to leave.

In a column of gold he disappeared, heading straight to the Power Chamber to warn Zordon, although he hoped by now Trent and Travis had done so by now.

As the Gold Ranger escaped, two Cogs gripped Tommy’s shoulders, pinching so firmly that any movement on his part was excruciating. This forced him to stay in place. A little more pressure and the Red Ranger was certain it would snap his shoulder blades. And then Klank approached, a spider-legged device in his hand, and Tommy felt panic take over. Every instinct told him not to let them attach that machine. He struggled, kicking and thrashing in desperation, hoping that he might connect with a lucky blow. Of course with his shoulder pinned, his actions were to no avail. Klank didn’t even notice as he ripped Tommy’s shirt open and lined the legs up. Then with a firm thrust, he watched as the leg pierced the boy’s skin.

The Cogs let go immediately, which was lucky because as his body shook it was clear that in the Cog’s vice grip he would have torn his head from his shoulders. He dropped, twitching uncontrollably as the device disrupted his nervous system. A web of metallic fibres covered the Ranger, some ends piercing the skin and two thicker threads burrowing into the base of his skull.

“And now Red Ranger, it’s time for you to remember who your masters really are,” Mondo chortled. “I hope it doesn’t hurt… too much.”

Black and white; that was all there was. No shades of grey, no subtle interpretations. Black and white, good and evil, that was all that mattered. He wanted to be good but knew in his heart he could never make that claim, he had never been pure enough even when he had donned the uniform that represented the power of light and goodness. He hated the thought that he might become evil, but believed it was only a matter of time before he returned to the darkness he had served before. And so he walked a line he didn’t believe existed between the light he felt he didn’t deserve and the dark he didn’t want. And as he walked that line, which grew thinner as he grew more and more uncertain.

His name was Tommy Oliver and at the present time, he was about to lose his mind… permanently. One moment he had been resisting Klank’s attempts to insert a nasty looking piece of plug and play into his skin, the next he had been transported somewhere worse.

He had been here before, several times in fact. Whenever he was placed under a spell or other means of control, he would appear in this place. It was a refuge for the real Tommy where he could gather his strength and regain control at the earliest opportunity. It was also a prison, a place where Tommy kept his personal demons contained fearing the results of their freedom. It was a dark place, filled with silence and a sense of death. It was always dark and silent here, a symptom no doubt of the perceived darkness Tommy had placed there.

It was to this place that Tommy was taken mentally as the Mapomatic sifted through the electrical impulses of his mind, analysing and reworking the signals to accomplish its task of creating a model soldier without a will of his own. This was where he would make his last stand in what was left of his mind.

~This isn’t good,~ he thought to himself. The landscape around him was changing rapidly as the machine transformed him into a cyborg puppet.~ I can’t do this alone. ~

And then he felt it, a sudden breeze chilled him to the bone as it rushed passed him, the sound unmistakably the deranged laughter of a mad man. Footsteps echoed over the landscape as the source of the laughter approached, but not before it was joined by more footsteps. There were at least three sets of footprints, one softer than the others. One set stopped before it got too close, forbidden by Tommy to step too close to his conscious mind.

~Not them,~ he begged the darkness, hoping it would listen and take pity on him. ~Let it be anybody except for them. ~

“We’re not going away just because you are too cowardly to turn around,” a firm yet terrifyingly familiar voice, his own, stated. “It’s time for this to stop. You can’t do this to us.”

Tommy turned, knowing what he would face and how helpless he was in their presence. They would tear his ego to shreds, crush him psychologically, analyse everything he did, and offer few compliments followed by an overabundance of criticism. And in this place where they had as much say in what happened as he did, there was no way to stop them. In the past their mutual hatred had diverted their attention, but today all were focussed on avoiding Mondo’s scheme. Because regardless of what they chose to call themselves, they were all part of the shattered psyche that was Tommy Oliver.

He closed his eyes as they came into view, blinded by their presence, not wanting to face what they represented. In truth they were nothing more than aspects of his personality he either allowed to dominate his every waking moment or tried to suppress to the point where it became a mental effort not to acknowledge it.

“You know those colours don’t look right,” the voice said. Tommy’s eyes snapped open at that remark in time to see the Green Dragon Ranger walking towards him. “Green suits you best Tommy.”


Tommy looked down in horror as his clothes morphed into the emerald costume of the Green Ranger. He clawed at the fabric; desperate to rip it away and the memories it conjured. This was the costume he had worn when he was at his weakest, when he had been helpless without Jason or Zordon and the regular top ups he received to renew his failing powers. This was the costume he had worn when Zedd had chosen him as a target and Goldar had gone out of his way to humiliate; memories of his pitiful effort against Robogoat surged through his mind. And then there was the pain he remembered so clearly, of having the Power ripped away not once but twice.

As he tore at it, he felt the tingling he could remember feeling whenever he lost his powers. He looked down, devastated as the costume shimmered and vanished, leaving him defenceless again.

“Stay away from me!” he snapped angrily.

“So we’re back to this, are we?” the Dragon Ranger asked.

“What are you talking about?” Tommy asked, genuinely confused.

“Did you forget so easily?” the green aspect of his personality asked. “I’m more than a part of you, I’m everything you used to be before you decided I was too unpleasant and shut me away.” He took his helmet off revealing a thin pale face Tommy knew well from having seen it in the mirror every day, but even at his lowest point he never imagined that he looked that bad. The short ponytail hung down his neck, his hair greying slightly at the tips. “Oh please, will you ever get over yourself?” he asked seeing the look of horror on Tommy’s face. “Everybody has weaknesses, even you. And everybody has the same choice you had: accept them, do something about them or hide them.

It’s a shame that you lacked the courage to face up to me, you could have become a much better person for it. Our flaws and how we handle them make us who we are, Tommy. So you faced weakness and humiliation, so what? That was no reason to abandon everything you believed in, to stop being a team player and a friend. You single-handedly turned every member of your team against you for no better reason than to prove you were not me.

And where did it get you? Two Megazords destroyed, near death at the hands of Lord Zedd, a team where one member would rather sacrifice his powers and another would sooner live in another country than serve under you.”

“I am not weak,” Tommy said.

“No, you never were,” Green Dragon replied. “And had you believed that we would not be having this discussion right now. The Green Ranger powers were weak due to Rita; it was a shame you made yourself weaker by trying to bury all the good things that came from those powers. Perseverance, loyalty, hard work, discipline… the Green Ranger you became once freed, was a noble man. Why did you hide me away?”

“Because the Green Ranger was evil,” Tommy said firmly.

“Evil you say, and I thought I was just a pretty face,” came a new voice. This one was cocky, had shorter spiked hair and was chewing on a toothpick, which he casually flicked at the emerald Dragon Ranger when he was in range. “And tell me Tommy, what is evil?”

“You know what evil is,” Tommy told him. “I won’t play this game with you again.”

“Oh this is more than a mere game Tommy,” both the emerald and dark Green Dragon said in unison. “This is the endgame, the moment of truth where you win or we all lose.” Tommy’s eyes widened as the dark and light portions of the personality he associated with the Green Ranger – weakness, evil, short hair – merged together. “We have a lot to discuss Tommy. Now, answer the question.”

And that’s what Tommy spent the next half a minute trying to do. But the more he thought about the question, the harder it became to find the answer.

“Evil is anger, fear, hatred, passion,” he said, recalling the things he had heard in films and read in books. The words of a green-eared puppet played over and over in his mind. He added his own: “death.”

The unified Dragon Ranger laughed and the sound was not unpleasant. As Tommy watched he realized he could not tell from one moment to the next what the person in front of him would look like. One moment it was Tommy circa his days as the Evil Green Ranger, other times Tommy towards the end of his career, sometimes he was the fully powered Green Ranger and on one occasion Tommy was sure he was looking at a humanoid dragon.

“You’ve been watching too many Star Wars films Tommy and that is why you are wrong. You are talking about forces and emotions, not evil. Fear, anger, hate and passion are the emotions that make you human, not evil. Fear tests you, it warns you of the dangers ahead. Passion drives you to overcome obstacles and beat the odds; anger when righteous and justified strengthens the resolve. Even hatred cannot be defined as evil. What if you hate evil or the crimes committed by those who aligned with evil, what if that hatred leads to change?

No Tommy, emotion is not evil, it your choices that make you evil. If hatred leads to oppression and murder, it is still the person who commits the crime that is evil. If fear causes someone to act maliciously, his or her actions are evil. Only your actions and reactions can make you evil.

And as for death, death is not evil Tommy, how can it be? Death is natural, unbiased and ultimately unstoppable. In the grand scheme of things all are equal in death. Death cannot be evil; it is just an altered state. It is the actions and motives of others that determine how people die. They can be evil, but death is completely neutral.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Tommy asked. “You want me to become you, just as you always do.”

“I want you to be yourself,” the green gestalt told him. “I am a part of you Tommy, I always will be. I cannot make you become me because you are so much more. But when you deny your dark side, you become someone else. You become him.” He pointed towards the source of the third set of footprints, revealing another Tommy; this one dressed in a white T-shirt with loose hair that was longer than it had been during his time as Green Ranger. It was the embodiment of Tommy’s time as the White Ranger, dominated by the personality he had developed during his days as the White Tiger Ranger. The less forceful White Falcon persona was there too if you knew where to look.

“And what’s so bad about that?” the newcomer asked. “At least I’m strong enough to fight my own battles without needing Jason. And I know I’ve never allowed my Zord to rampage through the city.”

“How about when you were so busy arguing with Kimberly, you lost Saba?” the green clad Tommy asked.

His white clad counterpart scowled at him, unable to think of an adequate answer. Of course he had been under a spell at the time, but to admit that would make him a hypocrite, given just how many times he had taunted the green persona about being susceptible to spells.

“If you’d listened to me more, we could have destroyed Rita and Zedd by now,” he said.

“And when would you have stopped your little purge?” was the question.

“When evil was defeated. We could have gone all the way Tommy, destroyed all the threats before they became a threat.”

“You know something,” the green clad Tommy said.

“There are very few White Power Rangers who draw their powers from dinosaurs. Do you know why? I’ll tell you then. It’s because those who possess the dinosaur powers are the most headstrong of Rangers and prefer to charge in without considering the consequences. White Rangers seek to purify the environment around them. Combine them together and you would have a walking bloodbath that tries to purify the world of those who might one day do something wrong. Is that what you want to become Tommy?”

“You’re grasping at straws,” the white persona shot back. His voice had an amused tone. “Tommy is a White Ninja, not a White Dinosaur.”

“The point remains, you need the darkness Tommy if only to contrast the light. Because I assure you that too much good is just as dangerous as too much evil. Remember: the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. You are a Green Ranger by nature Tommy, you wore the white because it meant you could return as a Ranger, but that is not your personality. Your personality cannot handle that much light, you are destined to forever walk the line between light and darkness. Fail to realise that and the world will suffer more than if you had stayed Rita’s evil Green Ranger.”

“You can’t deny me Tommy,” the white look-alike proclaimed. “If you want to be good, I’m all you need.”

“I’m not asking you to exclude him,” the green part countered. “But if I can accept that you need the light as well as the darkness, why can’t he accept that the opposite is true?”

“I need both,” Tommy said. “I need to be complete. I need the light and the darkness, the good and the not-so-good.”

“And you said he’d never get it,” green smirked before holding out his hand. Just as he had in the real world, the image merged with Tommy in mind and spirit. The white part shook his head and did likewise, fusing the boy known as Tommy together again. Just as the darkness that had been ebbing forward swallowed them.

It was easy to tell that at least one Ranger was in dire peril. It was accompanied by a definite lack of panic in the Power Chamber that could only exist because the occupants were in a state of shock. This time was no different as Zordon had summoned the Rangers only to tell them the fate that had befallen Tommy.

“We still have no idea where Tommy has gone,” Alpha commented.

“Can you lock onto their energy patterns and teleport them?” Tanya asked.

“Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi, we cannot detect them,” Alpha repeated.

“But we have a way of tracing him,” Adam pointed out. “They are linked to the Zeo Crystal.”

“Your plan has merit Trey,” Zordon interrupted. “However, there is a chance that Mondo could use Tommy’s Zeoniser to prevent the Zeo Rangers from attacking.”

“Well, if we know where he is we can at least make an attempt,” Trent pointed out.

“Teleporting back to the Machine Base would be extremely foolish,” Zordon warned.

“We do not have a choice,” Trey told him. “Tommy gave up his chance at freedom to buy me an opportunity. If we do not free him, we could have an evil Ranger on our hands. I do not need to tell you what that means.”

“I cannot stop you Trey,” Zordon conceded, his tone that of disappointment.

“I’m sorry Zordon,” Trey answered. “I have to do this.”

“We’ll come with you,” Rocky said, but Trey shook his head.

“We need you to stay here guys,” he explained, looking at each of the Rangers in turn. “Someone has to be there if we fail.”

The Rangers nodded as Trey, Trent and Travis teleported away.

Three beams of light, one gold and the other two a strange shade of off-white coalesced into three warriors, one the Gold Ranger, the other two were wearing the traditional combat suits of Triforian Special Forces.

“Nothing yet,” Trent commented, using a handheld flashlight to illuminate the shadowed corridors.

“Keep alert,” Gold Ranger warned. Trent had a tendency to let his mind wander.

“Which way do you think we ought to go?”

“Your guess is as good as mine, I didn’t get a good look last time I was here. We need to find a control room. The computer should tell us where they’re keeping him.”

“Not to interrupt such stimulating conversation,” Travis said, sounding bored. He always sounded bored in these matters. “He was observant though. “I think that little blue light means they know we’re here.

Trey nodded. “We should move then.”

They took off down the hall, looking for a control room or the torture chamber. Either would do for now.

“Look!” Travis exclaimed, pointing to a wall where a modified Cog was interrogating a computer.

“Golden Power Staff!” Trey called quietly. His next act was not so quiet as he swung for the Cog, severing the arm from its body and sending the machine sprawling across the corridor. A second swing destroyed its cranial unit.

“Can you work it,” Trent asked Travis while Trey dealt with the Cog. The remainder of the arm was the only means of accessing the console. A careful series of turns and depressions started the screen scrolling through pages of data.

“Found them,” Travis proclaimed.

“And they found us!” Trent cried in response. “Trey, we have company!”

He and Travis sank to one, their standard issue weapons drawn and pointed at the oncoming machines.

“Find Tommy, we’ll hold them off.”

Gold Ranger nodded and took off at a run.

Time was running out.

The Mapomatic was working perfectly, rewriting vast sections of the human’s mind. At least it was, until there was a bright flash of green, white and red that in turn caused the machine to malfunction. Tommy stirred, opened his eyes and wished he hadn’t. His vision swam and se was unsteady, no doubt due to spending his time having his nerves jolted with high voltage. Blinking to clear his vision he tried to stand. His body ached and he had a number of bad bruises, luckily however he didn’t seem to have any broken bones.

With considerable effort he lifted his hand to his chest and wrenched the machine loose, throwing it at a shocked Klank. Mondo stormed forward accompanied by his Cogs. Tommy braced himself for a fight, not that he could do much with his head spinning. Still the claxon that sounded throughout the chamber gave him some hope. The others had come to rescue him.

“The door is locked,” Trey reported.

After failing to make progress, they had regrouped and were now working one corridor at a time; Trey taking out any units ahead while Trent and Travis watched their backs.

“We are almost there,” Trent noted.

“Okay, when the door opens, we go in full power,” Trey instructed as he reached out to the panel that opened the door and pushed it. With a whisper of machinery the door slid upward and the three warriors entered the room carefully.

“Move!” Trey cried as Trent and Travis blasted the Cogs.

Looking up Gold Ranger used a Gold Flash to destroy the few surveillance cameras. As soon as the Cogs were down, Trent and Travis turned their attention to Tommy, while Trey kept the mechanical monarch at bay.

“Are you okay?” Travis asked, cutting the manacles free.

“I am now,” answered Tommy, his voice hoarse. He had been through more in the time he had been here than they would ever know. “Zeo Ranger V, Red!”

“I still have you Rangers,” Mondo gloated.

Trent didn’t respond. “Teleport, now…” They tried but failed.

“I lost you once Gold Ranger. That won’t happen again,” Mondo boasted.

“All right Mondo, If you want us, here we are, come and get us.” Tommy was back in his role as leader.

Mondo laughed, “Cogs… attack!”

Gold Ranger, Red Zeo Ranger and two Triforian heroes opened fire, using their respective weapons to destroy the robotic soldiers. As the Cogs began to close in Trey brought the Golden Power Staff back to the front. “Time for a Gold Rush!”

As Trent and Travis fell back, weapons trained on the doors, Tommy stood to one side – Zeo V Power Sword drawn – he fought off any Cog foolish enough to get too close.

“We can’t keep this up for long,” Trent noted. It was true, he and Travis only had limited ammunition, Trey’s Gold Rush could only last so long and Tommy was already exhausted from his ordeal.

“Aim at the floor,” Trey called. “Tommy, use your Zeo Pistol. Mondo, either let us teleport or we’ll turn this chamber into a vacuum.”

“Silly organics,” Mondo mocked. “I’m a machine, I cannot be hurt by vacuum. You humans however…”

He droned on, but Trey was not listening, he was watching Klank’s panicked reaction and spotted where the retainer looked.

“There!” he pointed. Three shots rang out, destroying the console that prevented their leaving. “Now, go!”

In four streaks of light they were gone.

A fortnight later Tommy stood alone on the mountain range outside of the Power Chamber, in the spot where years before he had seen the Thunder Zords for the first time. In his hand he held a small golden coin, which he had borrowed for a short time from the safety of its spatial pocket.

At the insistence of Zordon, his friends and members of his family who had been kept awake by nightmares, Tommy had started to seek the services of a psychologist. It had taken time to convince her he was not raving and a trip to the Power Chamber before she believed what he was saying. After that though she had started to help him deal with his issues, leading to this moment.

The time had come, decisions had been put off too long and it was important for him to move on with his life. Moving on though required him to accept certain truths that until now he had denied. It was a case of now or never, he needed to face his fears and move on with his life.

Despite all that had happened, Tommy Oliver still had his doubts about the Green Ranger powers. But he knew in his heart that the only way to conquer his fear of becoming evil the moment he touched the Power, was to face it. He had to let the power of the Green Ranger become a part of him once more.

He reached deep, knowing it was now or never, do or die. In his heart he was petrified and silently he prayed that should anything go wrong, should he be made evil again that his fellow Rangers would kill him before he harmed anybody. But despite his fears he had to do this because so long as that fear had any hold on him, he risked one villain or another using it against him. He was all for denying Rita, Zedd and Mondo any chance to turn him evil again.


The power was tremendous as for the first time in a long time, Tommy willingly transformed into the Green Ranger. And he felt good. There were no desires to rape and pillage the city, no sense of weakness or vulnerability; it felt right.

Even as he powered down again, knowing this was the last time he would transform using that coin, he felt relief. He would still need to attend his appointments, there were still things he needed to talk about with someone who would not judge him. But this was another step on the road to recovery. He was normal again, well as a Power Ranger with a tendency to become a puppet of the villain of the day could be.

He looked at the coin and then placed it back in its secure place. He didn’t need it, he had the Zeo powers. But for the first time in a long while, Tommy Oliver was complete.


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Fathers and Sons

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic. Thanks go out to Ellen Brand for allowing me to use parts from Fathers and Sons for this story. Authors Note: This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate timeline. In relation to the show, this would take place between the end of Zeo and the start of Turbo.

Fathers and Sons

“I’m telling you he’s hiding something.”

Adam sighed and tried to make himself comfortable. Sometimes he resented his father’s detective skill, although it would not take a genius to notice how different things had been recently. In recent months the combined attacks of Rita and Zedd, and the two distinct factions of the Machine Empire had had the Rangers fighting at the most inappropriate times. Their injuries had increased and the signs that they had been fighting were becoming more obvious. Often the Rangers had been forced to fight without morphing and were on the verge of physical exhaustion. That was why Zordon had suggested that they spend the next day – thankfully a non school day – relaxing.

Part of the problem was their powers. The Morphin powers they had used when they were first Rangers had had additional bonuses such as accelerating the body’s metabolism to promote better healing and development of muscles so that they were better suited for their powers. The Zeo Crystal was just energy though and did not have these unexpected but extremely welcome side effects. And as their bodies were not healing as quickly as they had before and the high they had felt when morphed was now short lived like a sudden burst of adrenaline, the regular skirmishes were taking their toll on the Rangers as their friends, school and now parents had noticed.

Adam had been unfortunate earlier in the day and had spent a few minutes on the receiving end of a collection of Putties. They had attacked his back and legs mercilessly and left him with severe bruising. Suffice to say it had limited his movement and he had to constantly mask the pain he felt when shuffling about. He had told his parents he had been sparring too hard, but it was obvious from the look on his parents’ faces they had not believed him.

He tried to turn over without groaning. His back was still painful and lying on it was all but impossible. At the same time that was the position he preferred to lie in. It was a no win situation.

“I don’t know,” he could hear his father say. “It could be a gang, or drugs, or something.”

That was his dad, suspect the worst and act accordingly. He wondered if he told them whether it would make things easier. His promise to Zordon had ruled that out, which was probably a good thing.

It didn’t help that his relationship with his father was a long way from what could be deemed perfect. They rarely talked and when they did it usually developed into a one-sided argument with Mr Park doing most of the talking. It wasn’t that Trevor Park was a bad man, far from it. He was a dedicated police officer, a kind and caring husband and a firm-but-fair father. The problem was that Adam had come to realise during his time in Angel Grove that Trevor Park would never approve of his son’s membership of a certain team of super heroes.

Not that Detective Park hated the Power Rangers. He like everybody else appreciated their efforts to save the world from those forces, he knew Angel Grove’s finest couldn’t handle. But at the same time he constantly pointed out how new villains were drawn to where the Rangers happened to be. He thought of them as hot dogging college students who practically invited further attacks with their antics.

In a way Trevor was correct. New villains did seem to favour Angel Grove, but the reason had little to do with its guardians and a lot to do with the collection of Ley Lines that ran beneath the city. The swirling mass of energy drew invaders like a candle attracts moths. And the threat of such attacks had resulted in the Power Rangers. But of course explaining that would be impossible without revealing his secret. The secret that threatened to tear their family apart.

Next day

The day had not gone well as far as Adam Park was concerned. He had spent the early part of his day on the receiving end of a lecture from his father. He wasn’t sure exactly what his father was accusing him of; Detective Park didn’t seem to know either and had jumped from subject to subject in the hope that his son would react and give something away. All it all it had been both awkward and strangely comical. By the time it was over neither was sure what had been accomplished except that Adam’s resentment of Trevor reached an all-time high.

It was late morning that both father and son were forced to leave suddenly; Adam had needed to go to practice while Detective Park had been called to a break in. Trevor made his excuses and left. After complaining bitterly, Adam soon followed.

He had half walked, half ran to the park when he was confronted by Putties. The battle escalated rapidly and Adam had been forced to morph. He hadn’t had time to contact Zordon although he did wonder why the
Grid Master had not called in the others. A sharp blade spun towards him, knocking him aside before he could reach the battle.

“I know what you’re thinking Adam, but I didn’t go to all the trouble of getting you alone just so your friends could interfere,” Scorpina told him, blade resting against his neck. “That’s what happened last time, remember?” She briefly changed into the disguise she had worn when she had attempted to seduce the then Black Ranger. Adam had only narrowly avoided her clutches, thanks to Aisha. She looked over at oversized Putty almost intelligent Putty, what she had come to think of as Captain Golem and gestured for them to switch opponents. “You’ll like him,” she confided. “Mistress Repugna made him from Rita’s Super Putty.”

She leapt into the air again, her blade at the ready, and this time there was nothing to stop it from colliding with Green Zeo’s neck. Nothing, except the Zeo Power Hatchets he raised in the nick of time to misdirect the weapon. The two continued to battle, Scorpina pressing her advantage and easily maintaining the upper hand as the sparks flying from Adam’s uniform could attest. The two of them grappled as Adam’s weapons vanished and he made a lunge for her stinger blade. All the while Captain Golem was attempting to land as many cheap shots as possible.

Finally though Scorpina teleported away from the battle, leaving Adam to struggle with the golem monster.

“Trevor, you’d better take a look at this,” Detective Park’s partner said.

Trevor sighed as he turned his attention to where Rick Winslow was standing with more excitement than he normally showed during a monster attack. He moved to the window and glanced out. He was surprised by what he saw. A Power Rangers was engaged in a battle with Scorpina and an oversized Putty. At least at first glance it resembled a Putty, but a closer look revealed it was made from darker lumps of thick clay. They were both on the defensive.

Then Scorpina and her accomplice attacked the Green Zeo Ranger and seemed to regain lost ground. Trevor frowned, was that a smile on Scorpina’s face. He had his answer moments later as she disappeared, leaving Green Zeo to his fate.

The Putty thing that he later learnt referred to itself as Captain Golem had a good right hand. His punch sent Green Zeo back to the ground with enough force that the ranger’s reactive armour had burnt away a section of ground to cushion the landing. Green Zeo stood back up shakily and Trevor was impressed that despite the blow he had taken, he seemed willing to keep fighting. Green Zeo and the Putty grappled, the latter grabbing onto the Green Ranger’s arm and holding him while winding up for another punch. Green Zeo was already reacting though, using the Putty’s grip as a counter balance as he swung his legs around to deliver a firm kick to the top of its eye socket.

Trevor groaned when the monster recovered from the sharp kick and pitched the Ranger ruthlessly across the park and into the city’s streets. The Green Zeo Ranger had not stopped flailing through the air until he had plunged through the side of a delivery van, incinerating the contents for good measure. The driver scrambled out and Trevor was relieved to see he was alive if rather confused about whether collision with a Power Ranger was acceptable on his insurance policy. The collective police force had by now moved to the end of the street and had started clearing civilians. The Ranger couldn’t seem to find which way was up as he struggled to shift the burnt remains of a toilet roll from his uniform. Trevor took all this in, but knew how dangerous things had become. The monster was now in highly a populated area of Angel Grove instead of the park.

“I think it’s going to kill him,” Rick commented as Trevor continued to watch. The monster had grabbed the fallen Ranger and had wrapped its enormous hands around his neck.

“Shit!” Trevor exclaimed, pulling his gun and racing out the door. Captain Golem had given up strangling and was standing on Green Zeo’s chest, successfully preventing him from catching his breath. As much as Trevor disliked the Power Rangers, he certainly didn’t want to see one die; he would hate to deal with the paperwork associated with such an event. Trevor raised his gun, silently praying that if the monster lacked something that he could hit with his bullet, his shot wouldn’t hit the Ranger he was trying to save.


Green Zeo heard a shot, seemingly a hundred miles away, and all at once, he could breathe again. He looked up to see his father in a classic shooter’s stance, his gun trained on the mutated Putty.

“Freeze, ugly!” Trevor yelled. “Detective Park, AGPD! You’re under arrest for attempted murder! You have the right to remain silent. If you refuse the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law!”

If his throat hadn’t hurt so much, Adam would have laughed at his father’s reading the Miranda warning to a monster. As it was, though, he worried about the monster’s reaction. Looking around, he spied Rick Winslow, his father’s partner, beating on an invisible barrier that seemed to keep him out of the way.

“Foolish human!” the monster cried, drawing Green Zeo’s attention back to it. He noticed the gaping hole where the bullet had wormed its way through, tearing out even more clay for the exit room. Had it bee one of Rita’s standard Putty Patrollers, the bullet would have stopped, but this was one had been created using Rita’s Super Putty.

The result was a hard exterior and soft center. In this case that had allowed the bullet to cause more damage. “I am above your petty human laws. And when my mistress takes over your pathetic world, those laws will cease to exist!”

At that point Adam realised that he was no longer staring at something that resembled a mutated Putty. Its body had shifted, taking on a stonier appearance and a slightly orange tinge to its pink body. He also decided that if this monster had thrown him around so easily, it would make short work of a human.

“Not if I can help it, Bub!” Adam growled, hurling himself at the monster. The impact knocked the mutant off balance and stopped him in his tracks. With the knowledge that this was indeed a Putty albeit modified by magic, Adam used what he remembered from his early days as a Ranger in battle. First he tried a kick to Captain Golem’s chest in the hope that it had been a Z-Putty with the obvious weakness. When that failed, he reverted to swift and frequent blows to encourage the cowardice Billy had once mentioned that all Putties exhibited.

“Zeo Power Punch!” he called with a blow aimed at the head.

A familiar noise left Captain Golem as its skull cracked and fell away. Beneath his helmet Adam’s eyes widened as he saw the residual magic that had been waiting for release. The monster reverted to a normal Putty and crumbled, as the spell was unleashed at the Ranger and his unsuspecting rescuer.

“You okay?” Trevor asked as he approached the exhausted Ranger.

“Yes, sir,” Green Zeo puffed, getting to his feet.

“Where are your friends?”

“That’s a good question.” Green Zeo responded. Where were the others and why hadn’t Zordon summoned them?

He looked around, wondering why the spell had failed to hurt them. Then they both felt a sudden pull as they were jerked into darkness.

Trevor Park woke up on something soft, for which he gave thanks. Taking stock of himself, he found all body parts more or less intact, and his .38 lying by his side. Beside him, the Green Zeo began to stir.

“Ohhh,” the Ranger moaned. “Where’s my stomach?”

Trevor chuckled, levering himself into a sitting position. “In about the same place as my lunch, I think. What happened to us?”

Sitting up, Green Zeo performed a quick status check on his body parts. Finding nothing broken, he looked at Trevor. “We’ve been teleported, sent through some sort of dimensional warp. We could be on another planet, or another dimension. It’s not one of Zedd’s, though,” he added thoughtfully.

“How can you tell?” Trevor asked, looking around him.

“Too much life,” Adam replied, also examining their surroundings. They had been dropped into a clearing in an incredibly lush jungle. Around them, they could hear small animals rustling in the underbrush.

“What can we expect to run into here?” Trevor asked, scanning the perimeter of the clearing. The Ranger shrugged.

“Almost anything. Remember, I don’t know where we are, and some of these other planets have some very interesting wildlife. Other than that, it’s your ordinary jungle. I don’t think it’s too different from one you’d find on Earth.” He looked at his companion and sighed. “Look, I’m sorry I dragged you into this. With your opinion of the Power Rangers, this can’t be much fun for you.”

“How’d you know about my opinion of the Rangers?” Trevor asked, his eyes narrowing.

“Everybody knows your opinion of the Power Rangers,” Adam replied. ~And everything else for that matter!~ he silently added.

Was that bitterness in he heard in the Ranger’s voice? Trevor was surprised to think that the thoughts of one man were that important.

“Hmm. Well, I wish I was home eating dinner right now, but I could have been stuck with worse. So could you, for that matter. I’m not completely inexperienced with jungle fighting.”

“Vietnam?” Green Zeo asked casually, curious. His father had never mentioned a military career before.

Trevor shook his head. “Too young. Not by much, but too young. No, when I got out of college, I spent a couple years in Delta Force. An antiterrorist unit. They trained us for almost every kind of fighting. I spent a couple years there, got out and went into the Police Academy.”

“Well, if you’ve got that kind of training, I’m glad to have you along, sir.”

Trevor’s eyes narrowed again. Something about the Ranger’s voice was bothering him. And why keep calling him “sir?” Suddenly it clicked. “You can’t be more than eighteen!” Trevor cried.

“Close. I’m seventeen.”

Trevor’s jaw dropped. This kid was Adam’s age, and he was fighting monsters? “That’s pretty young,” Trevor managed. “Are all the Rangers teenagers?”

“Yes. I’m not the oldest, but I’m close. It’s not so young, really. We can die for our country at eighteen. Why not for our planet?”

“Eighteen’s pretty young to be facing monsters.”

The Ranger laughed humourlessly. “Tell that to the kids who go to war. At least for us, the monsters look like monsters. Out there, they can wear anybody’s uniform and anybody’s face. Even your own.”

Trevor was speechless. From the news reports, he’d formed an impression of the Rangers as show-off college-age kids, hotdogging for the cameras. He had not expected a boy Adam’s age, with more wisdom than he ought to have. Sighing, he changed the subject. “Come on. We’d better get moving if we want to find out where we are. I say we follow that stream over there.”

Green Zeo nodded. “No objections here.” Rising, the two slipped silently into the underbrush and were quickly swallowed up.

After hiking through the dense jungle for a few hours, the Green Zeo Ranger suddenly noticed a column of smoke rising above the trees. “Look!” he pointed. “That means people!”

Trevor nodded, his eyes narrowing. “But are they friendly?”

Green Zeo chuckled. “The odds are pretty good. Rangers are respected throughout the galaxy. Unless we’ve landed on a world totally under some tyrant’s thumb, this Spandex suit should get us through without a problem.”

He chose not to mention that despite his uniform, he lacked the usual aura some races associated with Rangers and was unsure what anyone would think if they noticed him. He decided to keep that to himself.

Shrugging, Trevor gestured for him to lead the way. After a few more minutes, the two crested a rise and saw a village below. The houses, which seemed to be some sort of woven grass, were burning, causing the smoke that Green Zeo had sighted. Men on horseback were riding around, torching the homes, terrorising the people, and laughing uproariously.

On the ground was a woman who had been tied and forced to watch as the horrific actions continued. Suddenly, the Green Zeo Ranger stood up.

“I can’t just stand up here and watch this.”

“You’re not going to barge in there, are you?” Trevor asked. “We have no idea what’s going on.”

“I have a responsibility to protect the helpless, and these people seem to fit. You don’t have to come, but I could use your help.”

“Oh, hell,” Trevor sighed, getting to his feet as well. “If you’re going to get yourself barbecued, I might as well come along for the ride. What’s the plan?”

“Well, you’re the stealth expert, so I’ll distract them, and you take them out. There are only eight of them.”

“Only,” Trevor grumbled, but hid himself to wait for Green Zeo’s diversion.

Trevor had expected a brush fire, an animal stampede, almost anything. He had not expected the Ranger to walk directly into the middle of the camp and announce his presence. That was exactly what the kid did, however. Making his way down the main drag of the village, he yelled, “Hey!” The riders’ heads swung around, their attention fixing on Green Zeo.

Trevor could not understand what the men were saying, but one word that they kept repeating obviously meant “Ranger”. The leader silenced them with a wave of his hand. Turning back to Green Zeo, he said something that obviously translated to “What do you want?”

“As a holder of the Black Morphin Power and Green Zeo Power, and as a Ranger/Apprentice to Zordon of Eltare, I hereby order you to leave this place and these people in peace.”

The leader’s only response was a growl. It was unintelligible to Trevor, but the Ranger seemed to understand it well enough.

“If that’s the way you want things, fine. I will make you leave this village, if necessary. I challenge you to honourable combat. One on one, your men don’t interfere.” The leader seemed to consider this. “Unless you’re afraid,” the Ranger needled.

The leader’s face-hardened. He barked at his men, obviously commanding them to stay back. Then he turned back to the Ranger and dismounted, a twisted leer on his face. The two began to circle each other, looking for openings.

Trevor wasn’t worried about the kid; he knew the Green Zeo could take care of himself. It was the seven goons on horseback that held his attention. If the Green Zeo dropped the leader, the seven would attack. If not, the men would return to sacking the village. Either way, he had to take out the leader’s back up while they were preoccupied with the fight. Luckily, they had dismounted to watch more easily. He estimated that he could take out three before they spotted him. That left four that he might have to fight hand-to-hand. He could only hope some of the villagers would join in.

Making his move, Trevor sneaked up on the closest goon, quietly pulling him back into the underbrush. A few quick blows, and the man was unconscious before he could make a sound. A couple of handy lengths of vine trussed him up nicely.

Three more fell to similar tactics. Trevor was beginning to get disgusted with his enemies’ lack of alertness when one of the last three spotted him and cried an alarm. The three rushed him at once, actually doing him a favour. They were so clumsy and unable to work together that they got in each other’s way, making his job easier. He knocked out two, but found the third a much more proficient fighter. Behind him, he could hear villagers cheering, probably for Green Zeo. Finally, in a last desperate strategy, he fell to the ground in a move Adam had taught him, placing a foot into the solar plexus of his charging opponent and flipping him over. The man hit the ground and did not move.

Rising, Trevor saw that Green Zeo had also finished off his opponent, and was now tying the unconscious man up. Several villagers were binding Trevor’s sparring partners, and still more were dragging the other four out of the brush. Looking at the eight men’s dirt-spattered uniforms, Green Zeo cocked his head.

“Red, white, green, black, blue, purple, yellow, and pink. Oh man.” Kneeling, Green Zeo pulled a medallion from around the leader’s neck. Faintly, under a few years of dirt and grime, was an engraving of an ape. “They were Rangers,” he breathed. “Rogue Rangers. I think I’m going to be sick.”

Trevor stooped to untie the prisoner and then knelt near him. “How do you know they were rogues? I mean, the Green Ranger – the other one – wasn’t he put under a spell or something? I’m pretty sure I remember that from the news.”

“No,” the female prisoner said, causing Trevor and his son to look at her. “If they were enspelled, they’d still have their powers. The powers-that-be only strip Rangers of their powers when they’ve done something awful, broken the rules of their own free will. Gone rogue.”

“I don’t remember a Purple Ranger,” Trevor commented.

“We didn’t have one. Purple was the one colour coin we didn’t have. I’ll explain later. Here comes the headman of the village.” Green Zeo stood, brushing grime off his hands. Trevor could no more understand this man than the last one, but it was fairly obvious that he was thanking Green Zeo for coming to their aid. Apparently the woman also understood although she seemed to be having problems from the way she placed her hand against her right ear.

“It was my honour, sir,” Green Zeo responded. “I was glad to help.”

The man spoke further, and in reply, Green Zeo shook his head. “No thank you, sir. We can’t stay, I’m afraid. We’re lost, far from the world we live on.”

“And just what world would that be?” the woman asked.

Now he had a good chance Adam looked her over. She was dressed in a grey bodysuit, which appeared to have some extra padding. Those areas not coloured white, such as the shoulder pads were dark blue. On the right side of her chest was pinned a silver badge marked IGPF. She had retrieved a black belt complete with a weapon and had strapped it to her waist. Now she was carefully shifting through the pockets of the rogues’ leader.

“Earth,” Adam replied. “Are you looking for something?”

“Great!” she muttered and followed that with some words that Adam assumed were harsh curses while ignoring his question. “Trapped on a planet with no supplies, a group of restrained rogue Rangers, a pirate ship waiting for them to return, no supplies and only a Ranger from a back water planet for company, and a civilian.”

“Look,” Green Zeo broke in, beginning to get annoyed. “I may not be seven thousand years old, like some Rangers, and I may not be from the center of galactic society. But I have joined the Zeo Rangers in countless battles against the Machine Empire, a threat which is certainly not child’s play!” His declaration, intense but not loud, finally drew her attention. Making sure he kept it, he stepped forward, using his height to emphasise his words. “Now, I don’t know anything about these pirates, or anything except that we have to get back to our planet. I assume you’re some sort of police officer, other than that…”

She nodded, a slight smile on her face. She waved him over to a chair at a nearby table and the two sat down.

“Inter Galactic Police Force, but you can call me Lieutenant Haim. I like you…” Green Zeo jerked his head to indicate his father and a look of understanding crossed her face. “Ah, the big secrecy thing. Green — Zeo? then. You have backbone. I’m sorry that I was so rude, but you have to realise how embarrassing this is. I’m supposed to be an experience operative, and they took me down like I was a rookie.”

She finished her search and emerged with a small device.

“Aha!” she proclaimed. “With this in their possession they could have accessed any prison in the Council’s domain. I hope you’ll forgive my outburst, you’re much younger than any of the Rangers I’ve dealt with in the past. Rangering isn’t exactly for children, or even teenagers, really.”

Adam nodded. “Zordon told us once that he chose teenagers because we were old enough to be good fighters and responsible about the use of our powers, and young enough to accept new things easily. Plus, since we weren’t adults, our lives would not be as totally disrupted by the need for secrecy. That’s the one thing I’ve never understood, though. The villains all knew who we were, so why did we need to keep our identities secret? None of the other Ranger teams we’ve met or heard of had to.”

“The need for secrecy is unique to your type of world, it’s true. You see, Earth is much younger than most of the worlds in the galaxy. As a result, its culture has not developed as far as, say, Eltare’s. Exposing the people of Earth to galactic culture all at once might result in disaster. Zordon had himself posted on your world to protect it in case an evil ever threatened that was beyond your people’s ability to defend against. The posting of a Ranger team is the only interference from our culture allowed.”

Adam nodded again. “That makes sense, thanks. I don’t really know that much about the IGPF. What do you do, exactly? What separates you from Rangers?”

“Politics,” she answered. “Simply put the powers-that-be don’t trust large groups that they don’t directly control. The
Masters of the Morphin Grid while certainly dedicated to the light, do not necessarily support the Council. So other groups were formed to limit the influence of the
Grid Masters and the Council passed a whole bunch of decrees stating the separation of powers and situations in which their forces could override the authority of Rangers.

Rangers are basically military in function and are not limited to Council controlled worlds. They defend worlds against invasion and annihilation. Trying to take over the Universe is not actually against the law, so the two sides are allowed to fight to the death. The IGPF is a police force dealing with criminal activities such as piracy, slave driving, smuggling, etc. The IGPF can chase a criminal to any world within the Council’s jurisdiction. If we wanted to go outside that area, we would either need the permission of the planet’s ruling body or go under cover.”

“And the Riders are?” Trevor asked. Adam already knew the answer having met Dex during a trip to Edonoi.

“The third little group. They’re not military like Rangers and apart from their home world they don’t have a fixed location. At any one time there can be over five thousand Riders, more if you count the ones that have limited themselves to local issues. Officially there are limits due to magical and technical reasons. Each Rider is given his or her own sector of space to cover and is pretty much charged with maintaining peace, order and justice within those areas. They can fight crime or repel an invasion. They are totally independent from the Council, the Rangers and about a half dozen lesser organisations that would love to say they share the prestige of
Grid Masters and Riders.

Generally speaking though it works like this: Rangers protect, Riders hunt and the IGPF works as a legitimate police force. If either of the groups I mentioned, actually managed to capture an enemy and could find some illegal activity to charge them with, then rather than destroy him you would turn him over to us to be taken to stand trial. Otherwise you’d have to make do with war courts like Zordon used to imprison Rita. In spite of the Council’s leadership, there is great deal of cooperation among the three groups. There has to be; the universe is just too big for one group to handle alone.”

“Well I guess we should help you restrain these rogues so you can round them up later and then get you somewhere where you can call for backup,” Green Zeo suggested. He turned to the tribal chief and asked: “Is there a wizard or
Grid Master around here who might be able to help us?”

The man spoke at great length, at one point bringing a scroll from his hut and showing the Ranger something. When the Ranger nodded, the headman gave a sharp command, and two of the younger men brought out what appeared to be backpacks, stuffed with equipment.

“He says that there is a place of great power, the Maze of Shilratha, to the south of here. It’s marked on the map,” Lieutenant Haim translated. “Although their shaman senses no evil about it, no one who has entered has ever returned. This could mean that inside is a gateway to somewhere else. Maybe we can use it to get home.”

“And the packs?” Trevor asked.

“Repayment for our services,” Green Zeo told him. “They contain the food and equipment necessary to reach it. Apparently the maze is several days’ walk from here.”

“Great,” Trevor groaned. “And Eileen – that’s my wife – was going to make meatloaf!”

“She makes good meatloaf?”

“The best. You should see my sons put it away. It’s the only food that Adam can eat six servings of.”

Green Zeo chuckled and turned back to the headman to make their goodbyes. He noticed Lieutenant Haim look from him to his father and guessed she had worked out why he had been so secretive. He shrugged it off. Then, loaded with the packs, an Angel Grove policeman, IGPF officer and Green Zeo Ranger began to hike towards the Maze.

After they had hiked in silence for a while, Trevor finally decided to ask the questions that had been bothering him since they left the village. “What was all that about, the Black Morphin Power? And who or what is a
Grid Master?”

Green Zeo sighed. “The Morphin Grid is an ancient subset of the power that runs throughout the universe on a metaphysical plane. Its power can be good or evil, depending on which “side” of the grid you draw from. The Rangers drew from the light side of the grid through our coins, and used it to morph into our old forms. There never was a Purple Morphin Ranger because we never found the coin. Rita, who uses evil magic, probably draws from the dark side of the grid; Lord Zedd relies on a similar type of magic although I doubt it is really the Morphin Grid.”

“And the Machine Empire?”

“They don’t draw from the grid at all. As machines, they have no connection with the metaphysical energies of this universe. They are apart from it, and draw their strengths from other things. For this reason, we need the Zeo Power, which does not draw on the Morphin Grid. You know the old Earth legends, which state that magical power can be turned aside by cold iron? Well, that has its base in the fact that Iron alone, of all things on Earth, possesses insulating properties that allow it to deflect Morphin energy. The Zeo Crystal is not magic, strictly speaking. It’s a science of energy fields and circuits. That’s why we don’t need words to morph anymore. We still talk most of the time, simply because it’s easier for us to morph if we have words to focus our energy. The words themselves no longer trigger the transformation, though.

“The Masters of the Morphin Grid or Grid Masters as they prefer to call
themselves — they really love it when people call them Morphin Masters because
it allows them to bask in the glory of their ancestors, but they are far from
achieving that level or power or respect — are those who have mastered the arts and techniques used in the service of their colour. The different colours symbolise the different disciplines. Blue are scientists, Red are warriors, Yellow are healers, and so on. The Purple Rangers are sort of larcenous, but honourable. My colour, Black, are artists and musicians. I would have been equally at home in Black or Yellow, but certain constraints made me the Black Ranger.”

Trevor nodded. “That’s what you meant about Black Morphin Power. But if you’re a Zeo Ranger now, how do you still hold the Black Power?”

“The powers are not mutually exclusive. It’s like studying both kung fu and karate. It’s hard and time-consuming, but it can be done. Our Power Coins were destroyed in battle, destroying our ability to morph. The Power is still part of us however, and cannot be taken away by evil. I am still Black Ranger inside, even though I cannot take on the outer form.”

“So why do you have two different Ranger colours?”

“The Zeo Powers uses a different colour symbolism than the Morphin Powers. I’m Green under Zeo philosophy and Black under Morphin.”

“The way those people looked at you, it was as if you were — oh, what’s the word? My younger son, Franklin, loves sword and sorcery novels. There’s a special type of warrior — a paladin! They looked at you as if you were a holy knight, a paladin.”

Lieutenant Haim chuckled. “In a way, I suppose that’s what he is. These people recognise the Power in their lives. To them, it’s almost a religion, although that’s not quite right. It’s a principle, a philosophy, like Tao. It doesn’t really have religious connotations. Its defenders are well respected. In return, they defend the weak and helpless, no matter where or who they may be.”

Green Zeo nodded and Trevor was somewhat taken aback. He had not realised what a great responsibility being a Ranger was, or how conscious of it they were. He was beginning to suspect that he had sorely misjudged these teenagers.

“Perhaps while we’re on our way,” Lieutenant Haim said, “you could explain to me why you two are here? Last time I checked Earth was not known for its holiday packages to other worlds.”

Adam sighed and started to tell the tale about how he had arrived at the park, the attack and the trap.

“It could have happened to anyone,” Lieutenant Haim said as they neared a clearing.

Green Zeo nodded, but then held up a hand and signalled for his companions to get down. Just through the break in the trees were the pirates that had brought the rogue Rangers to the planet.

“We need to stop them from taking off,” Lieutenant Haim said. “They got the drop on me last time.”

Green Zeo looked at her thoughtfully, then his eyes fell on her weapon.

“How many are there?” he asked.

“Six,” she answered. “They set down here to refuel and sent those rogues out to pillage.”

Adam nodded and worked out a strategy. “I’ll take out the ship,” he said, “Detective Park can handle any guards… He can look after himself Lieutenant Haim… and you stun them as they come out.”

The others nodded in agreement of his plan while Adam worked on putting it into action. He charged across the ground, using his speed to avoid the shots aimed at him. When he reached the ship he flicked out his Zeo Sword and sliced off the landing skids. A few pot shots grounded the ship without rendering it beyond repair. In the meantime Trevor had subdued some of the resistance and Lieutenant Haim had stunned the captain. When they were tied and a radio had been located, the three parted company.

Lieutenant Haim could wait the few weeks it would take to get a ship, but had told them it would take too long for them to get home from where she was going. Instead Adam and Trevor decided to press on for the maze. As they did Trevor wondered just how much he had to learn about these Rangers.

“Come on,” Green Zeo called, breaking into his thoughts. “A few more miles and we’ll make camp for the night.”

Staring up at the unfamiliar stars above them, Trevor Park sighed. “My wife is going to be having a cow over my whereabouts.”

Green Zeo shook his head. “Time passes differently when you travel the dimensions. I think that time in this one is longer than time in ours. On our world, we probably won’t be missing more than a day, if that. Besides, the Rangers will tell her what happened to you, and will reassure her that they’ll bring you back. She’ll be fine.”

Trevor sighed. “I hope so. I hope I get to see her again. I’ve really got a great family — but you don’t want to listen to an old man ramble on,” he cut himself off.

Green Zeo chuckled. “Old? You’re what, forty-five? That’s hardly old. Besides, I’d like to hear about your family. You obviously love them very much.”

Smiling slightly, Trevor nodded. “Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. My wife is beautiful, smart, and tough — very tough. She had to be. Her father was the Korean equivalent of a ninja. He taught all of his children martial arts, and some of the things he had picked up from US Marines who were in the area. She’s accustomed to taking care of herself, and is deadly with almost any kind of weapon.

“My older boy, Adam, is the quiet, sensitive type. He doesn’t let anyone push him around, though. He became interested in martial arts as a young boy, when the other kids picked him on. Now he’s even teaching me a few things. Adam’s smart, but he’s so shy. Sometimes too shy for his own good. He’d known his current girlfriend for months before he asked her out. I don’t understand him at all, but I’m very proud of him

“My younger son is Franklin. His nose is always in a fantasy novel of some sort, unless he’s taking kung fu from Adam. Franklin – nobody calls him Frank except Adam – he’s the most knowledgeable authority on role-playing games in Angel Grove. He’s a good kid, but sometimes his head gets stuck in the clouds.

“Anyway, that’s my family. So what about you? Is there someone back home who’ll miss you? Not to pry or anything.”

Green Zeo laughed. “Oh yes. I have a family back home, and of course the Rangers will miss me. Still, we all knew this could happen, and we’ve all made arrangements to take care of things. If anything happens, my family will know what happened to me.”

“Y’know,” Trevor smiled, “I’m a very stubborn man. It’s hard for me to admit when I’m wrong. I’ll admit it now, though. I was wrong about you Rangers. If you were my son, I’d be very proud of you.”

“Thank you, sir,” Green Zeo replied gravely. “Your respect means a lot to me.”

Trevor chuckled, but did not respond. Still, he wasn’t very surprised. The kid reminded him a little of Adam, and Adam had always wanted and needed the respect of adults. The Green Zeo didn’t seem to be much different. Thinking about this, Trevor lay back on his bedroll and stared up at the brilliant, alien night sky.

Green Zeo and Trevor were standing outside the entrance to the Maze of Shilratha when Green Zeo’s communicator toned.

“Hello!” the wristband squawked. “Hello! Green Zeo, do you read me?” Green Zeo couldn’t believe it. He had thought he’d never hear Alpha’s voice again. Quickly he pressed the “transmit” button.

“Green Zeo here. Man, I’m glad to hear from you.”

“Is Detective Park all right? Do you know where you are?” That was Zordon.

“I wish,” Green Zeo sighed. “Detective Park is fine. He’s even revised his opinion of the Power Rangers. We’re the good guys now.”

“I apologise for not detecting the attack earlier,” Zordon told him.

There was very little to say; it was not often that someone managed to sneak an attack past Zordon’s warning system. “Listen, Zordon, do you know anything about the Maze of Shilratha?”

Zordon’s familiar voice boomed from the communicator. “Indeed I do. It was a training ground for the wielders of the Morphin power. At its center is the Eye of Shilratha, a gem of great power that will enable you to get home. First, however, you must reach it. This will not be easy, as teleporting in is impossible and the traps were made lethal when the maze was closed.”

“Why was it closed, Zordon?” Green Zeo asked.

“Because Shilratha’s Rangers were turned to Darkness and stripped of their powers. The Masters wished to make sure that no evil person could ever access the Eye again.”

Green Zeo turned to Trevor. “Are you up to this?” he asked

“Sure thing. This is the most fun I’ve had in years,” Trevor replied sourly. “Let’s go.” Slowly, the two made their way into the maze, unsure of what they might find.

Tired, Trevor leaned against a wall to catch his breath. “I feel like I’m stuck in ‘The Goonies,'” he grumbled. “Collapsing floors, falling rocks, even the occasional, extremely clichƒ© closing-in wall trick! What next?”

“Don’t ask,” Green Zeo chuckled. “You probably don’t want to know.” Silently, Green Zeo thanked whatever Powers existing that of all the people to get swept up in this adventure with him, his companion had been his father. Between the two of them, they had had the necessary skills to bypass each trap. Trevor had shot the switch that stopped the walls from closing in, Green Zeo had been able to vault off the collapsing floors before they fell, and they had both spied the trigger stones for the falling rocks. Now, the corridor before them looked clear, but neither of them was foolish enough to trust appearances.

Cautiously, Green Zeo picked up a rock and rolled it down the hallway. Nothing happened. He gingerly took a step forward, then another. Still, nothing appeared. Suddenly Trevor’s hand shot out and grabbed the Ranger’s shoulder in a vicelike grip.

“Wait. I hear something.” Picking up a somewhat larger rock, he dropped it straight down. The weight and pressure caused spikes to shoot up from under the stones. “I heard them setting themselves,” Trevor explained. “Come on. I’ll set them off and you can shoot them with that pistol thing you carry.”

In this manner, Green Zeo and Trevor managed to reach the center of the maze. There, they found the Eye of Shilratha floating in an energy field. “With that, I can power up my communicator enough to teleport us home,” Green Zeo whispered. Trevor simply nodded, awestruck by the sight of the gem. The Eye was a hunk of topaz approximately the size of a man’s head, glowing with a soft, golden light. As Green Zeo reached for it, there was a crackling noise. The two men whirled to see a woman standing behind them.

“I thought no one could teleport in here!” Trevor cried.

“She’s a hologram,” responded Green Zeo. “Who are you, what do you want?”

“I want the Eye, of course,” replied the woman. “As to who I am, surely you remember me, Green Zeo. You did incinerate me a few months ago.”

Adam’s eyes widened. This was not good; Mistress Repugna was too powerful to take on alone. ~What is she doing here? Zedd I could understand, but her?~

“You’re not going to get it,” Trevor growled. “There’s no way either of us would let a creep like you at so much power.”

“Ah, you’re so sweet, but Detective Park, I believe I have something that you’ll want to make a trade for.”

“What?” Trevor asked, in his deadly “interrogation” voice.

“This.” The hologram changed to show a scene of Adam, struggling with a vine creature. He fought bravely, but was soon overwhelmed. “The choice is yours, Detective,” her voice continued. “I can release your son, but then you would owe me a special favour. Say that gem for example.”

“Adam,” Trevor whispered in a pained voice.

Green Zeo looked at his horrified father. Repugna had hatched a truly fiendish plot this time and despite her words, the gem meant nothing. If his father agreed to her terms, he would owe her a favour. Adam didn’t like to think what paying that favour would cost them. Trevor had no way of knowing that his son was standing beside him, and according to Zordon’s rules, he couldn’t be told. She was betting that Trevor’s dislike of the Rangers and love for his son would win out over his honour. The frightening thing was that Green Zeo couldn’t be sure that the villainess was wrong.

“You can’t give her that stone,” Green Zeo said quietly.

Furious, Trevor whirled on the younger man. “That’s my son! I can’t just leave him to become bird bait!”

“Would he want you to give up that stone?”

“Yes! No — I don’t know. I only know that if I don’t, my son will die.”

Green Zeo shook his head. “No, she won’t. She isn’t holding Adam prisoner. It was an illusion.”

“And just how do you know that?”

“Because I’m right here, Dad.” Slowly, Green Zeo removed his helmet. Trevor Park gaped as his older son’s familiar face stared back at him.

“ADAM? You’re a Power Ranger?” Adam nodded. “How long has this been going on?”

Adam laughed. “A while now Dad. Right after we moved to Angel Grove.”

“Was a Power Ranger,” Repugna corrected. “This was a no win situation. Either I gained the Eye or you found out your precious son was one of the people you hate. And now he’s broken Zordon’s little rule he’s bound to be stripped of the Power.”

Trevor shook his head. “I don’t hate the Power Rangers. Yesterday that plan might have worked. But I know this Ranger and I know Adam. Besides, I could never hate my son.” He turned to Adam and grinned. “Fathers are always the last to know. I wish you hadn’t lied to me, but I understand. I’m glad you’re all right. Let’s go home.”

“And you’re wrong about me,” Adam stated. “Zordon put those rules in place because he was afraid the original Rangers would abuse their powers. He wouldn’t strip them from me for breaking a promise, especially when it was for a selfless purpose.”

Adam nodded at his father, and the two men laid their hands on the Eye. Forming their wish, they instantly disappeared and were on their way to Earth, and the Power Chamber.

“So how do we do this?” Adam asked as he walked up the path, closely followed by his father.

Detective Park smiled at his son, feeling the weight of the newly fabricated communicator on his arm. It seemed that in the days they had spent on the jungle world, which he now realised had accounted for less than eight hours on Earth, they had taken the time to talk and while there were issues to be resolved, both he and his son were prepared to work on their relationship. After all, as had been asked many times by many men in Trevor’s position: what kind of father did not support his son?

“We’re late for dinner,” he finally answered. He winked playfully. “Just leave your mother to me.”

Adam turned the handle and both men entered, neither sure whether they would rather be back on that jungle world facing who knows what. At the smell of supper cooking though both agreed they would rather be on Earth. Despite Mrs Park’s annoyance there was definitely no place like home.

End of Part

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