Crossroads of Evil Part 1

Disclaimer: The Power Rangers have changed hands several times since this series began. They are currently owned by Saban Brands. Charmed is the property of the WB. Mr. Merlin was a TV show that appeared in the early 1980’s. CHIPS was a show created by Rick Rostner that aired from the late 70’s to the early 80’s. The WWF letters are in reference to the World Wrestling Federation owned by Titan Sports; it should be noted that WWF is a trademark of the World Wildlife Fund. Hannah Montana and related characters are property of Disney. Reference to the ‘Silent Master’ is in reference to the character of Snake-Eyes from G.I.Joe (Action Force) which is property of Hasbro. Sei Tin is from the Devil’s Due Comics version of G.I.Joe. The name Okasa was from the T.V. Series ‘The Master’ as is the name McAllister-Keller, which aired on NBC during the 1980’s for one year. Nash Bridges and related characters are created by Carleton Cuse and property of CBS and Carleton Cuse Productions. Fatal Fury/King of Fighters are owned by SNK/Capcom. ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) was a rival wrestling promotion created by Paul Heyman, the name now belongs to Titan Sports.

Minion is the property of Shadow Ranger, however it is a derived work from a character that appeared in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The song ‘Some Girls’ is sung by Rachel Stevens. The song ‘Rollin’ is sung by Limp Bizkit. ‘You don’t Know me at all’ is sung by Lillian Garcia. And ‘Never gonna stop’ is sung by Rob Zombie.Author Notes: The reference to the San Francisco Earthquake comes from the records that clearly state there was no earthquake. Although this is now regarded as a city wide insurance fraud (mot claimants stated their buildings were damaged by fire from a neighbouring building. In some cases neighbouring shops set fire to each other at the same time).Additional Note: The beginning of this chapter is from the story ‘Close Encounters of the NEGAtive Kind’. As the story progresses there will be some differences from this beginning and the rest of the story. Hopefully these differences will be explained to the reader’s satisfaction. This story is considered AU within the Conquest of Evil Multiverse and should be considered to tie directly into the Alternaverse.

Prelude to Minion’s Legacy Part 3 – Crossroads of Evil

COE: King of Fighters ’96

Special Guest Writer: John Chubb with contributions from Adam Safaran and Adam Pearlman (The Q Team)

Torture Cell A, Minion’s Island. The Past

It has been said that history can be a subjective thing. But there have been other times where history can be altered, subverted, and twisted in ways that are hard to comprehend, or imagine.

And yet, there are moments in history that while seemingly different play out like they were intended to…despite any alterations to time or reality.

Three days had passed and Minion decided it was time to see how his guests were coping. He ignored the VR Troopers and the Beetleborgs, the strange warrior known as Servo and a group of teenage hackers who had been dragged into things for some reason; the various super heroes that constituted what remained of the JLA, the Avengers and of course Spider-Man. He overlooked the injured Jesse, knowing that even if he could transform, the Masked Rider’s powers had been damaged. Dex on the other hand would still provide some entertainment. First though he had his old adversaries, the Gem Coin Rangers, to pay his respects to.

This was Minion’s favourite part of the Prison Dimension. He had altered the flow of time in the dimension so a few hours would seem like weeks to the Rangers trapped inside. All six of the Rangers he was holding in his prison were undergoing various forms of torture.

First off was Tanya. Minion had trapped her at the bottom of a long tube. Then he had sealed the sides, top and bottom of the tube so she only had a limited air supply. Then he had started to pump in a drop of water every thirty seconds. It was a slow torture. Tanya knew she could not escape and that eventually she would drown, but not before the dripping water drove her insane.

Next in line was Trey. Minion had decided to place the Lord of Triforia on a version of the rack and was gradually stretching the Gold Ranger until he was torn in half by the rack. Minion had but found the idea too unimaginative. Therefore, he had added his own subtle changes.

The rack had been modified so Trey was now seated with his hands tied to a series of pulleys. His legs and ankles were strapped to a set of bicycle pedals. The idea was that a small motor operated ropes attached to his arms would tighten the ropes and stretch the Lord of Triforia unless he pedalled fast enough to counter the effect. Minion had made an additional change. The system was now racheted so that if Trey stopped pedalling, he would be stretched, but even if he then started to pedal as fast as he could the ropes would not loosen.

It was the ultimate no-win situation. Sooner or later the Triforian would tire and when he did he would be stretched.

Adam had been strapped into a chair. On his forehead a metal device had been fastened. As Minion pressed a button, the device sent a signal to the muscles in Adam’s leg, causing it to twitch. The sensation was not painful, but after a few hours of constant twitching Adam would be driven insane. Minion had seen the evidence of what constant exposure to the device would accomplish. Even the most iron willed prisoner would crack under the strain.

The device had been created years ago for use by bounty hunters wishing to interrogate captives to find their prey. Minion had been lucky to find a working model in Zedd’s castle. Obviously Zedd had had dealings with either the Varox or the Bounty Hunters’ Guild. He was not sure which but knowing Zedd, he was willing to bet the Bounty Hunter had not been paid for his work, or lived to tell about it.

Minion had modified the next cell especially for Kat using the technology he had gained from elsewhere. The room was set to play out random dangers at random intervals, stimulating her pain receptors without the physical injury. Minion had no intention of damaging Kat’s body. He wanted Kat to be his personal slave and if she survived, he would enjoy breaking her further.

Minion planned to leave her a few more hours and then offer her a chance to end her pain. He doubted she would take him up on the offer first try, but faced with a life of pain or a life as his slave he suspected she could be persuaded to choose the latter.

Tommy’s torture was simple but effective. He had been tied with his hands above his head and had a WD-Unit punching him at regular intervals. Each blow cracked his ribs causing him to scream in agony. But Minion had programmed the machine to allow enough time between blows for the youth’s healing to take effect. For the robot it meant a few seconds of action followed by long periods of waiting. For Tommy it meant constant and nearly unbearable pain.

Travis’ torture was perhaps the cruellest. He had been secured so he had a view of all his friends being tortured. Minion had injected him with a drug to paralyse his body and bound his limbs just in case. Travis could see and hear everything, but could not move any part of his body to help or even turn away or shut his eyes. Tears ran down his face from having to watch his friends being tortured, knowing he was free to intervene but unable to help them. He continued to sob, broken at the sight of his friends suffering knowing he had failed them.

“What’s the matter Travis, can’t you stand to see your friends suffer?” Minion asked softly. “You know, you could save them. Just swear total and undying allegiance to the forces of darkness and I’ll let them go.”

“Go to hell!” Travis spat. Struggling to speak due to the effects of the drugs.

Minion did not reply. He simply turned and nodded to the WD-Unit in front of Tommy. The machine understood the unspoken command and punched Tommy in the face, cracking his skull.

“You had better not say things like that Travis,” Minion hissed. “Or I’ll instruct the WD-Unit to crush his skull. I’ll leave you to consider our offer,” Minion told the distraught Ranger. “See you soon.”

Minion walked over to where Tommy was hanging. Using some of the many fighting techniques at his disposal, he kicked Zeo Falcon several times in the chest and stomach, smiling in satisfaction as he heard the Ranger’s ribs crack. When he finished, he cut the bonds holding Tommy’s arms, then continued to kick and punch the fallen Ranger. He lifted Tommy to his feet and delivered a sharp kick to the Ranger’s neck.

“Wait six hours and then resume,” he said to the WD Unit as he teleported away.

Six hours was nowhere near enough time for Tommy to heal, but that was the idea. Minion promised himself he would return to beat Tommy a bit more when the other boy was awoke.

Minion enjoyed having so many prisoners because it gave him the opportunity to try as many forms of torture as possible before they died. They were his playthings and when they ceased to amuse him, he would toss them aside and move on to the next victim. This time he had not been creative, just brutal in his plans. He had placed the surviving members of the JLA and the Teen Titans together in the arena, surrounded by WD Units. If they defeated their opponents, he would let them go. He had no intention of allowing them to win.

He had deliberately made the stadium larger this time and provided the heroes with some cover. He mentally ran through those present and was satisfied they would be lucky to survive let alone triumph. The Flash had already proven how far Minion was willing to go; the human Masked Rider had proven that he could be merciful. What he had done to the Martian Man Hunter had shown them his vicious side, while slicing off John Stewart’s fingers had shown his intelligence.

So who was left? Batman, Wonder Woman, Hawk Girl of the JLA – for there was no way the Green Lantern could defend himself at that moment – and Robin, Starfire, Changling, Raven and Cyborg for the Teen Titans. Some of them he had allowed to remain conscious, others he had deliberately incapacitated to prevent them from using their powers. In the end he decided that Wonder Woman, Hawk Girl and Cyborg would suffice. If this worked well, he would be sure to try it again with the Avengers.

Wonder Woman looked on as the WD Units surrounded them. She already knew that they could not trust Minion to keep his word. If he wanted them dead, they would die, and if he chose to spare them it would only be exchanging death for more torment. And the villain had already taken so much.

Themyscira was gone, the civilised world of the Amazons lost forever all due to Minion’s. She remembered how his robotic army had fought their way through the island’s inhabitants. And now Diana, last surviving daughter of her race found herself pitted in one of the villain’s twisted games. She promised herself that she would not be another victim of his evil; she would not go easily, and like Wally she vowed to fight him.

Hawk Girl was angry and more than a little confused. She had once believed that she had known what evil was, her people having abandoned a dark entity long ago. But it seemed that Minion had shown her a new kind of evil, the type that from Batman and Robin’s reactions, was uncommon but not unheard of on Earth. She held her mace at the ready, vowing that the first machine to cross her path would be scrap metal. Next to her she sensed Cyborg tense. The battle was about to begin.

When the robots attacked, the three heroes went on the offensive. Hawk Girl’s energised mace smashed into the chest panel of one WD Unit as Wonder Woman used her lasso to throw one of the WD Units into its neighbouring machines. Cyborg unleashed blast after blast from his sonic cannon, using his vice like grip to wrench arms from torsos.

Minion had to admit they were an impressive combination. Wonder Woman’s strength combined with Hawk Girl’s anger and Cyborg’s strong will, which Minion had to admit was exceptional for him to have survived all the hardships he had endured, allowed them to take down a good portion of his forces before the overwhelming numbers started to catch up with them. He was amazed when he saw Cyborg rip the bladed weapon from one unit and use it to slice the head off another. He had been hoping that what he had done to the Flash would have weakened their resolve, but if anything they fought harder.

“Open fire!” he commanded.

Viventallum bullets sprayed from the units’ hands, causing Hawk Girl to cease her current tactic of lifting opponents from the ground and dropping them from higher up, and duck for cover. Cyborg and Wonder Woman worked together, she deflecting the bullets with her bracelets while he returned fire. When a WD Unit went down, it stayed down; Minion wanted to see how close they would come to victory before springing his surprise.

Batman watched the battle from his cell. There was little in his utility belt that could help them although the first aid kit had allowed them to wrap the cauterised stubs that were John’s arms. The Green Lantern was still in a bad state, Flash was comatose.

In the next cell Robin had given up trying to break free from the cell and had instead turned his attention to other opportunities to escape. Starfire was in a state of shock, whatever Minion had done to her when he had insisted on separating the aliens from the rest of the JLA and Teen Titans, she had been almost catatonic when she had returned. Exactly what they had done to the J’Onn was unclear, but while he was alive, he was definitely not conscious; Raven had not been seen since she had been taken.

“Look,” Changeling called, transforming back to his normal appearance for the first time since they had seen what had happened to the Flash. The brutality and callous nature of the attack had hit all of them, but Changling had lost somebody whom he viewed as a big brother.

“Look out, they’re changing,” Batman said as he watched the broken WD Units pool together into a new larger warrior.

“Oh no,” Robin said, eyes widening as he saw the thin tubes appear from the Centaurian’s body.

The WD Units fell back behind the larger robot and the three heroes were getting more and more nervous.

“Fire!” Minion ordered.

The many tubes unleashed a volley on miniature projectiles at its opponents, shredding anything in their path. Diana tried to block them but even her swift reactions could not avoid every projectile. As soon as the first bullet pierced her skin, the small point allowing it to easily break her skin, she started to slow. More projectiles were fired, most missing but some actually managed to strike their target. Eventually the blood loss was too much and she fell.

Cyborg had not been so lucky. His metallic parts were shredded by the tougher metal and it was only through chance that his human organs were not damaged. He continued to fire bravely, daring the machine to attack again and again.

Hawk Girl Had been hit, her wings damaged and her flight terminated. She had managed to land a single blow, which was more than her companions had accomplished. Still, like Wonder Woman and Cyborg she was beaten and as the massive metal fist made contact with her skull, it seemed the fight was no longer her problem.

“Cease!” Minion called. He didn’t want the Centaurian to kill them, the pain didn’t fade as much when he just killed them. He needed to break them first, all of them.

He walked into the arena area and made a point of examining the bodies. Hawk Girl would survive although like the Green Lantern and Masked Rider, recovery would prove difficult. Cyborg on the other hand would be lucky if he ever recovered from his injuries. Minion considered using Viventallum to repair the damage, knowing that in doing so he would have control over Cyborg. Oh the damage he could cause. Finally he came to Wonder Woman. The pile of bullets surrounding her spoke of how hard she had fought to survive. A quick scan of her aura revealed that she was alive. The pool of blood surrounding her raised questions about how long she would take to recover.

Then there was something, a flash of sensation of the very edge of his consciousness, a warning that one of the security spells he had placed had been disturbed. It took a moment for him to zero in on the distrurbance, a task made more difficult because the surrounding spells had not triggered. It was a curious impossibility that he resolved to investigate personally.

“We’ll this continue later.” Minion promised before heading toward his private chambers.

It was a disturbing thought that he was being played with, but Minion was certain that was the case. Whatever had disturbed his warding spells had waited until an instant before the door was fully opened and then vanished. The only clue had been a wheezing and grinding noise that almost sounded like an engine. He was surprised to find his chambers intact, the guards he had left there had not even been aware of the intruder. And it seemed that his visitor had left something behind.

His gaze fell on the package that now occupied a section of his desk. He moved forward to investigate, noting as he did so that somebody had been reading through his papers. ~No,~ he corrected himself as his eyes fell on the untidy scrawl, ~somebody has been marking them.~

Before he could touch it, the box opened, revealing its contents. The first thing he noticed was the strange medallion. It appeared to be of oriental origin, but his keen senses told him that the metal was not common to Earth. With that in mind he started to discount many of those he suspected were behind the intrusion. He was starting to suspect that instead of someone trying to save the prisoners, this was a fellow villain’s poor attempt at a joke, perhaps to draw his attention. His eye fell upon the second item, a note in the same style as the attempted grading of his calculations. He wondered why somebody had gone to such lengths just to deliver a letter.

Attention Minion. You are cordially invited to attend a special tournament at my behest. A tournament unlike any other. Which would involve a journey unlike any other. Your presence is requested at the San Francisco Cow Palace to attend the King of Fighters tournament in the year 1996. You will be treated to sights beyond understanding. Heroes unlike any other, and the rivals they face in the name of personal glory. Minion just smirked at the letter before him, amused by what he was reading. What interest could this tournament have for one such as him? Out of that amusement he continued reading, and was interested by what he had read.

There will be old familiar faces as well. Warriors of the power. Ranging their skills in battle.

His mind picked up on the not-so-subtle references hidden within what the writer believed to be clever word play. ‘Warriors of the power? Ranging their skills in battle?’ It was clear the writer wished him to make the connection to the Power Rangers. The question though was whether the intention was for him to dismiss the possibility and attend to find out why they had made such a poor attempt to deceive him or conclude that the note was truthful and attend to find out how it was possible? It was with great reluctance that he realised either way the note had achieved its underlying objective and captured his attention. He continued to read.

A means of transportation is available for you to attend this tournament.

Co-ordinates of its location are written below. As is a key for entry.

It is my hope you attend this tournament as it could change your perspective.


J.J.Chambers, Doctor of Law.

Proprietor, The Fun Factory. City of San Francisco.

He had to admit that the writer was clever. He had been drawn in by what had at first been amusement, but had rapidly turned to curiosity. And now it seemed that despite all the mental discipline he tried to maintain and the logic he employed, he would be forced to take the bait and find out what this was all about.

He studied the box more carefully. Until now he had been distracted by the contents and had overlooked the container. The construction was clearly alien; he knew the wood came from a planet that Rita Repulsa used when crafting her wands. That in turn implied that despite the very boring and human sounding name of ‘J.J. Chambers’, the send was either an alien or had access to alien materials. And that led him to consider the location of the tournament. What was so special about San Francisco and why would this ‘J.J. Chambers be based there?

He looked at the contents once more and studied the medallion in detail. ~Chinese if my guess is correct,~ he thought as he studied what he now believed to be the ‘key’ the letter had mentioned. A quick glance at the letter confirmed the co-ordinates where his transport was waiting. It was only then that he wondered why he would need transportation when he was capable of teleporting and he realised that the letter was suggesting that this journey would require a little bit of time travel.

Using the computers at his disposal, Minion rapidly zeroed in on the location. From the outside it appeared perfectly normal, but a closer check revealed that all was not as it first appeared. In fact beneath the deceptively normal looking building, he had found evidence that it was government owned. The evidence had been carefully hidden, but there were always a few small clues, especially since this was not a part of the United Kingdom’s forces. The funding came from an offshore account and relied on several transfers but by tracing the money he found that the originally purchaser had been a front company. And by shifting his way through the elaborate attempts to deceive him about which government the front company belonged to, he eventually found the name UNIT.

From that point it had been a matter of hacking his way into the primitive network and locating the information he needed. His goal was to find out what was so special about that building, so he completely ignored the long and very interesting history that the site revealed.

~The Black Archives,~ he thought as his eyes scanned the filed. ~A repository of extraterrestrial artefacts that were either recovered, salvaged or confiscated from areas outside of the British Empire.~

His eyes widened as he read that last part, but he dismissed it. He didn’t have time to consider the political intrigue at that moment.

~Why would my transport be left in the hands of the enemy?~ he wondered.

Several scenarios presented themselves including the possibility the his mysterious contact wished him to retrieve the property on his behalf, but decided it was just as likely that he thought that any guards would not pose a problem for one such as Minion.

Then he checked the co-ordinates again and noticed that the numbers were changing very slightly and a time had been included, which seemed to alter with each passing second.

~Ah,~ he realised as he checked the co-ordinates on the map. ~He doesn’t want me to enter the valuts, just the grounds surrounding them where this transport is being moved.~

A noise caught his attention and Minion twisted in time to see that a set of photographs had appeared.

~Somebody is playing games with me,~ he concluded. ~When I find him he had better have a good reason or else he will pay.~

At first glance the ‘transport’ reminded Minion of a Chinese Funeral Box with an obvious section that had been removed right in the centre. ~Perhaps that is where the key should go,~ he pondered.

Another glance at the co-ordinates showed that the box was moving at speed. It was now about fifty miles from its original location. He also noticed that the time had changed and by his estimates was a few minutes into the future..

~An ambush then,~ he concluded.

He was being given the time and place where he could obtain his transport, but it required him to believe that the writer knew where the transport would be at any time. That required Minion to believe that J.J.Chambers had some means of time travel or future sight. Not an impossible idea, but it made him all the more cautious. Still there was little risk when he had others to carry out the task on his behalf.

“Silvo!” Minion called.

The powerful warrior appeared and Minion gave him his instructions.

“Take some of the spare WD Units to these co-ordinates. Intercept the convoy and retrieve its cargo. Then return here.” As he spoke, Minion handed Silvo the pictures of his objective.

Silvo nodded in affirmative to his master’s commands and withdrew to gather the forces he needed. In a very short time the small force teleported to a road in England, where Minion’s ride to the King of Fighters Tournament of 1996 was waiting.

Time and reality are funny things. For the most part time travels in a single direction. A second passes into minutes, then hours, days and eventually centuries pass by. But where as time marches onwards, the events that take place are far more fluid. Every action leads to a reaction, every effect requires a cause. That need for the universe to make sense meant that while the order of events usually followed a set sequence, that order wasn’t always chronologically correct. For the most part reality shifts and changes, adapting to the new events and circumstances as they happen. It was that sort of relationship that would allow a person glimpsing the future or the Zeo Rangers to see and elderly Tommy and Katherine together one moment and Tommy as an Archaeologist the next. But sometimes an event took place that was so devastating that reality could not cope.

Such an event had happened, would happen, was taking place at that moment. The splashing currents of time shifted and fractured. Existence sought and answer and could not find one. For a moment every reality became the Prime Reality as they met with oblivion. And then the moment passed, but the fallout of such events echoed backwards through time, reshaping events and causing the impossible to happen…

People, places, dates, means and reasons shifted and clashed. Reality could not cope with such contradictory changes and so it found a way to resolve the problem. The subconscious will of reality reached out and influenced an individual. He in turn influenced two more impressionable young minds. Curiosity was raised and emotions manipulated. Competition led to disobedience and intervention where things should have been left alone. Suddenly reality was part of something greater, something that had not been there before, but had been manipulated into existence to resolve an otherwise impossible problem.

One had become many. The universe had become a multiverse. Over time many of the fractures would ties themselves together as the differences played out and reached a point of integration. Others though were just too different and would either continue for eternity or reach a dead end and simply cease.

And while some were aware of the multiverse, most remained ignorant. And of those that were aware, there were some that seemed to shift between them without even realising it. Some had even fractured with reality and existed as representations of themselves as opposed to simple alternate incarnations. And a few, a very few of those that fell into the last category, were aware of their nature and used their peers’ lack of perception wholly to their advantage.

In one such reality, there existed a being that was fully aware of the changes that had taken place, completely aware of his own nature and in the unique position of understanding the chain of events that had caused it all to happen. In that place time was more open to manipulation than in others, for this reality was one of several that could eventually surpass its point of origin and emerge as THE Prime Reality. And time had changed, multiple times, through either necessity or the whims of supposed ‘gods’. It was a reflection of a reflection of itself. Skewed and a little strange to those that could sense the changes, yet regardless of the Who, Where, When Why and How, most things remained the same.

One of those constants of the universe was the planet Eltare, headquarters of the Galactic Council: a galctic body where the ‘good’ planets of the universe rallied together to promote freedom. peace and justice for all who sought it, as well as safety and security. The latter parts however were proving difficult to attain due to constant attacks from the United Alliance of Evil. Planets had fallen, people had been taken as slaves and valuable resources that could have gone towards the benefit of many worlds went to the select few under the rule of Dark Specter. Many had taken up the fight against the UAE, be it as Rangers, a part of the Council Military or even as politicians.

One such politician was the Triforian named Sygnus. Sygnus was the appointed Council Representative of Triforia granted power by the planet’s Prime Minister Tirol after the tyrant Terr had been overthrown. Sygnus made it a personal mission of his that no further tyrants like Terr came into being again. Whether from Triforia or from a council world. The actions Sygnus had taken on the Council floor led to Triforia being seen with a newfound authority on par with that of Lord Trey, who was sadly still recovering in a cryotube on Earth. Nevertheless councillors felt Triforia was in good hands until Trey returned, whenever that would be.

In the meantime Sygnus had caught note of two councillors that he felt were ‘not on the up and up’ if he remembered the Earth expression correctly. Sygnus made it a point to know s much about Earth as he could as he figured S’Hera and Darkonda’s plan centered around the planet Zordon of Eltar set up as his base. ~But what was that plan?~ Sygnus asked himself.

He had no answer. Only S’Hera and Darkonda had those answers. As he sat at his desk he wondered about S’Hera and Darkonda’s whereabouts. Typing a series of schedules he wondered where the two ‘councillors’ were at this current moment. He was surprised when the answer came ‘Off Planet’.

Sygnus realized S’Hera and Darkonda were no longer on Eltare.

~Where have they gone?~ Sygnus was left wondering. Wherever it was he knew it couldn’t be good for Earth…. ~Or Trey~ he mentally added.

San Francisco

While it was considered an ‘All American City’, a great deal of magic and mystery contributed to San Francisco’s history. How else could they explain the massive damage the city had sustained at one point that experts had clearly stated was not an earthquake? But in recent times things had gotten stranger; the appearance of the Power Rangers a few years back had acted as a catalyst for the previously contained supernatural behaviour. As the Ley Lines had reacted to the magic being used around them, the energies had resonated outwards, creating the area known by locals as ‘the Freak Zone’.

However despite being within the geographical boundaries of the Freak Zone, San Francisco’s inclusion had been disputed by those that acknowledged such things – mainly nerds – until the Power Rangers had appeared in the city to deal with a Cylon invasion. Their battles with Kali Yagami, a former replica of Trini Kwan who had embraced her newfound identity and accepted the dark power that seemed to reside within the Kwan family line had caused the Rangers to make front page news. After that the other mostly ignored stories of magical happenings within the city had started to emerge, events surrounding three magical sisters who preferred to keep their activities secret to the point where they were considered urban legends.

There were many stories that the Rangers heard. Most were urban legends that they knew better than to simply dismiss out of hand. Others, such as tales of the wizard Merlin living as a motor mechanic somewhere within the city were dismissed outright. It wasn’t just the idea of a powerful wizard giving it all up for a life working with machines that caused their scepticism though. There were also the reports that Merlin had found tenure at one of the country’s leading universities and gained funding to further his studies of the aura.

In the end the discussion was unimportant. The Rangers were not heading to San Francisco to seek out Merlin or trios. Three of their own would be competing in the King of Fighters Tournament. Since their numbers had swelled so much, the Rangers had split up and made arrangements to travel as groups. The Morphin and Zeo teams were travelling together although Kat had stated she would travel by her own means. She hadn’t explained further and the Rangers hadn’t asked.

As the plane set down at San Francisco International Airport, Inspector Nash Bridges waited with his ex-wife Lisa in the terminal to greet the Rangers, one of whom was their daughter Cassidy – the Silver Zeo Ranger.

“You know, this is probably the only time we’ve sat somewhere quietly and not argued for a long time?” Nash asked.

“I know.” Lisa said eagerly waiting for the plane to arrive, and for their daughter to disembark. “I want to hear everything about what she’s doing. Her being away is like…”

“…something being torn out from you?” Lisa looked at her ex-husband and nodded at his choice of words. “I know. I’d love to be with her in Angel Grove. But Cassidy said she has to do this without us.”

“At least she has friends.” Lisa said. “A lot of them.”

Nash chuckled a little at Lisa’s remark as he remembered meeting all the Rangers. He had to admit, Cassidy had a lot of friends. Friends that were fellow Power Rangers and were going to be on the plane with her. He watched as the plane pulled up and docked at the gate. There was a short delay, but a few minutes later the door opened up and the passengers started to disembark. He waited patiently, watching the families on vacation, the hurried travellers eager to reach their business meetings and a large group of teenagers. He smiled as he identified some of the faces in the last group. It appeared that they had made it intact.

“San Francisco we have arrived.” Zack proclaimed excitedly as he stepped off the plane followed by the other teens in their party. They exchanged amused grins at their friend’s antics, but one of them reached forward and told him firmly to tone it down. The last thing they wanted was to be held up by security.

“Sorry Jase,” Zack responded. “But this is San Francisco! This is the city that takes everything it has to give, and still keep coming back. It’s kind of like us in a way.”

Jason considered Zack’s words and felt his friend was on to something. San Francisco did have something of a Ranger quality to it. A city that kept coming back from whatever anyone, or anything, had to throw at it.

“Yeah Zack, you’re probably right.” Jason agreed.

Many who visited the city claimed that there was a feeling of magic in the air. For the most part Jason agreed. He was not the most sensitive of the Rangers, but even he could sense the energy that seemed to flow through the city. He wondered if it was really magic or just the spirit of the people that lived there amplified through the minor Ley Line that branched throughout the area. Of course he was aware that beyond the background magic in the area, there were tales of real magicks at work within the city. Jason was certain that if those stories were true the area was as much a target for the forces of darkness as anywhere else.

~Good thing they have the Outsiders to protect them,~ he thought.

Thinking about the Outsiders caused him to think about one Jamie Zedden, member of the Outsiders and his current girlfriend.

While Jason was lost in his thoughts, Tanya was trying to deal with the odd feeling that she had come home. It was almost as if she was destined to live in San Francisco. For a moment she dismissed such thoughts, knowing that just because her cousin happened to live there along with her family didn’t make it her home. But somewhere deep inside she felt a connection to the city and knew in her heart that one day she would come back and stay.

Trini meanwhile was feeling very uneasy. Something hold her that something would happen at the King of Fighters Tournament. She didn’t know what was going to happen, but she knew it was not going to be a good thing.

“Trini?” Kim asked for the third time. “You okay?”

“Uhh, yeah Kim.” Trini said.

Billy looked in Trini’s direction and shared Kim’s concern. Since discovering her Yagami heritage and the power it offered, Billy found he worried more and more about Trini. She was after all his closest friend, and he didn’t want her to fall to darkness, especially when that darkness was already a part of her. So concerned was he about Trini that he didn’t have much of an interest in sightseeing.

Samoht wasn’t doing much sightseeing either, but for a very different reason. He knew the stories about San Francisco better than anyone. He had been there in 1903 when the alleged earthquake had happened. He had fought a monster there in a battle so fierce the whole city had shaken. He had used his magic afterward to help repair most of the damage, but he had been tired and the results had been less than perfect.

Nash and Lisa greeted the Rangers, shaking hands with those they had already met and introducing themselves to those they hadn’t.

“Did Cassidy come with you?” Nash asked. He heard they planned to drive out, but since the airlines were restored after the Cylon attack he assumed the Rangers had decided to fly instead.

“Yeah Mr. Bridges. She should be coming out shortly,” Jason assured him. “It was hard to get enough tickets to all sit together so we split up into smaller groups.”

After a short wait they were eventually joined by both Zeo teams. Another round of greetings took place before Nash drew Tommy and Skull to one side. As team leaders they were best place to answer the questions he needed answered.

“Has my daughter been taken care of?”

Skull snorted. “Sir, I’ve learned first hand that your daughter is capable of taking care of herself.” He added something about bruises, but Nash had turned his attention to Tommy.

“But that doesn’t change the fact that we will always be there to watch her back,” Tommy said. “Just as she has watched ours.”

Nash nodded. It was the sort of answer he had been hoping for.

“She is her father’s daughter,” Tommy added.

“Careful bubba. That’s not always a good thing,” Nash warned with a slight smirk just as Cassidy finally disembarked and spotted her parents.

“Hey daddy!” Cassidy cried, rushing over to her parents and wrapping them in a fond hug.

“Welcome back sweetheart,” Nash said as he hugged his daughter.

“I’m glad you’re okay sweetie,” Lisa said. “How’s Angel Grove?”

“Great,” Cassidy answered. “We still have a few monster attacks, but we’ve managed to fight them all off. One was kind of interesting…” She glanced around to make sure they were not being overheard before recounting her recent adventures with Astronema. She was very careful when she explained how the Princess of Darkness seemed intent on targeting her for some reason. Last thing she needed was for her father to go into the overprotective parent role.

She thought she had gotten away with it, shielding the danger behind her obvious enthusiasm, but it seemed Nash had simply been waiting for the story to end.

“So this villain decided to go after you personally?” Nash asked. “Did you do anything to her?”

“No, why?” Cassidy asked. Her father’s reaction seemed more curious than overly protective.

“I’ve been keeping tabs on Ranger activities since you moved there,” Nash quickly explained, realising that he really should have chosen a less public place. “According to reports, Astronema normally only attacks the Space Ranger team; Alison’s team. So why did she suddenly change tactics and go after you?”

Cassidy shrugged her shoulders, but had to admit, it was a good question. “I don’t know. To get at Alison maybe as she’s an Astro Ranger and Astronema is supposed to attack that team. I really don’t know why she’d be after me. It’s not like I stole her boyfriend, if she has one.” Cassidy was shaken out of her Astronema reverie when the other Rangers announced they had their luggage and were ready to leave the airport. Their ride was waiting.

“Cassidy, Laocorn has sent us a limo to take us to the hotel we’ll be staying at.” Kim said. “I take it you’ll be going home with your folks?”

“With my mom actually.” Cassidy said. “She still is leery of my father’s death trap.”

“Hey I resent my home being called a death trap!” Nash said.

“Well isn’t it earthquake condemned?” Lisa asked. “Isn’t it ready to fall after the next big quake?”

“They’re doing a seismic shore-up in the coming weeks.” Nash admitted. “It’s all in the waiver I signed.”

“Still I think our daughter would like to stay someplace that won’t fall in the ground tomorrow.” Lisa added.

Cassidy rolled her eyes. “Ahhh home sweet home,” she said sarcastically.

“Take care Cassidy. We’ll see you at the arena,” Samantha said.

The other Rangers smiled and left, leaving Cassidy to ride with her parents in the Cuda waiting outside.

“So where’s Alison?” Lisa asked as they travelled down the terminal. “Or is she travelling separately?”

Cassidy gave a half smile. “She’s travelling separately. VERY separately.”

A few miles outside of San Francisco six young people walked in the California heat. All were competitors in the King of Fighters tournament. Three of them were members of the Bogard family, the others were Power Rangers.

“Are we there yet?” Katherine Hillard asked as she walked in the heat sweating. She took swigs of water to keep herself cool, but she had to use it sparingly. Everyone did.

Terry told everyone this was a pilgrimage to the tournament. A journey full of hardship and sacrifice. Meant to purify the body, mind and soul for battle. Terry seemed to take the journey in stride. His brother Andy and friend Joe Higashi were having a….little bit of trouble.

“You’re enjoying this Terry aren’t you?” Andy asked.

Terry just looked at his brother and hid a smirk. “The pilgrimage to the tournament is part of the training Andy. You know that.”

“But do we have to walk?” Joe asked.

“The ancient fighters walked to their places of combat,” Cassie Chan replied.

“But we’re not ancient.” Alison said as she opened a bottled water and took a swig. “Terry, I love you to death, but I’m starting to wonder if death may not be coming a little closer to you right now… thanks to one of us.”

“Hopefully not from you Alison. You still love me right?”

Alison sighed as she realized Terry got her there.

“Hey guys, look.” Cassie Chan said pointing to a street sign. It said ‘San Francisco-20 miles’. The collective grown made it clear that the only person not upset at having so far to walk was Terry.

“Please someone. We need a cab.” Joe shouted to anyone that would hear. No one did. Not even a CHP officer. Joe even asked “Where’s Ponch and Jon when you need em?”

“Only twenty miles guys we can make it.” Terry said with a little more enthusiasm than necessary.

The walk continued, each competitor driven on by their own reasons for entering the tournament.

For Kat it it was a chance to confront her Psycho counterpart. Formerly known as Kaat, now she was known as Ivy Howard and the adopted daughter of a psycho billionaire that Terry, Andy and Joe had a history with.

For Cassie there was also a former Psycho Ranger awaiting her: a female Yagami named Kali, formerly named Triini. And ever since Triini had become Kali she had embraced her newfound identity, as well as the power and insanity that came with it. If Kali had not accepted the blood feud, if she had rejected that part of her legacy, Cassie would have been allowed to let it pass. But Kali had accepted that role and since Cassie was a part of the Kusanagi, Cassie felt it was up to her to her to deal with the threat.

But even if Kali wasn’t competing Cassie knew Kali would be there in some way shape or fashion. She also wanted to embrace her family legacy by taking part in the tournament.

Alison was a Bogard and she had a legacy to uphold. Even though she was also a Hammond now she considered the Bogard name just as important, as it was the name she grew up with. And as such she endured the training along with Cassie and Kat.

They walked a few more feet when a blue van pulled up. The door opened and the three members of Team Gorgeous came out. Blue Mary, King and Mai Shiranui Bogard stepped out. “Hey girls.” Mai called out. “Anyone need a ride?”

“YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!” Alison, Cassie and Kat said in unison as they wasted no time getting into the van. Mai, King and Mary also rushed in leaving the guys dumbfounded.

Joe however asked “Hey girls. Can we come too?”

“Sorry guys, enjoy the walk,” Alison said as she, Cassie and Kat closed the door on Blue Mary’s van and pulled away leaving Joe, Terry and Andy behind… for at least a hundred yards.

The van stopped and Mai opened the rear door. “You guys coming or not?” Andy and Joe wasted no time getting in.

“See you Terry.” Andy said. “Pilgrimages across the desert are overrated anyway.” After saying that Andy rushed into the van.

Terry sighed, realizing that he was outvoted. Following the lead of his friends and family he decided to take the ride as well. A decision Mary was glad Terry made as they rode the remaining twenty miles to San Francisco together.

Coming down yet another way, the Reid family limousine was barrelling down the I-5. Inside it were seven passengers, the Astro Power Rangers.

“Oh man I could get used to this.” T.J. said feeling the plush leather seat underneath him.

In another seat Carlos also sat back enjoying the rich comforts.

“You do get used to them.” Dan Reid, the White Astro Ranger.

Next to him sat Andros, Ashley and Sabrina, while across from them Zhane sat next to Carlos and T.J. but his mind was elsewhere. A lot of Rangers had their minds preoccupied.

Ashley was thinking of her sister Alison and their friend Cassie that were taking part in the KOF tournament. Alison had just come back into the Hammond family fold, and while their parents welcomed her back they were having concerns about Alison’s fighting lifestyle. Concerns that if Alison left she might not come back again one day. They had gotten their daughter back. They didn’t want to lose her again.

Ashley promised she’d stick with her sister like glue, and that Alison would not be alone. Her friends, or Terry, would be with her.

She had also been getting closer to Andros and hoped they could go on a date at the Embarcadero where Pier 39 was located. There were other sights in San Francisco as well she wanted to see, and hoped she and Andros could make a night out of it. Andros had slowly been coming out of his shell and Ashley wanted to encourage that.

Andros found himself becoming more and more attracted to Ashley. There was something about the Earth girl in front of him that just made him… happy. He wanted to be there for her, but he wondered if he did open up to her would there be something to take her away? Like Dark Specter took away his parents? Or how he lost Karone?

Sabrina looked out the window of the limousine and saw the sun over the Golden Gate bridge as they came to it. Its glow almost illuminating it. She never tired of seeing the sight of the bridge as the sun cast its rays on it. It truly looked like a Golden Gate. Looking off to the side she saw the spirit presence of Anne, and she nodded in agreement. Something about the Golden Gate just seemed magical.

Breaking the monotony Sabrina turned to Dan and asked “So Dan, you seem at ease with the trappings of wealth.”

“Not too at ease.” Dan said. “Dad and granddad always encouraged me not to become too dependent on the trappings of wealth. That sometimes… money doesn’t save you.”

“That’s true.” Sabrina said. “I’ve known many rich rulers and warlords. And when their kingdoms fell their wealth didn’t save them. Their fortunes were still taken and the rulers still were executed.” Dan looked wide eyed at Sabrina as he heard her say the words. As if they were from first hand experience. Like someone who had been there.

“Regardless, our family’s ‘extracurricular activities’ kept our instincts sharp. And ensured that we remained… resourceful.” Dan said the last line with a smirk.

Sabrina caught the smirk and seemed to nod. She knew Dan Reid was no pushover.

Changing the subject Dan then asked “So what does the UAE think of the KOF tournament? Do they have any thoughts on the matter?”

Sabrina sighed as she tried to think of an answer.

“The UAE always knew Earth had power, but they never really figured that humans of Earth could tap into it. At least not in a major way. So the tournament was disregarded for the most part. If any rulers caught a tournament they kept such findings to themselves. So I can’t be certain what the attitudes of UAE members could be.”

“Well Divatox’s should be easy to predict.” Andros said.

Sabrina chuckled a little as she heard Andros make a bit of a joke. She knew Divatox would only see the tournament as a beefcake show. ~Sometimes predicting Divatox is like trying to predict the weather when it’s raining.~ she thought.

“You guys talk a lot about Divatox, but I never really met her,” Ashley said

“Trust me you don’t want to.” Andros said. “But Sabrina’s right. Any major discoveries the UAE made about this tournament the members seemed to keep to themselves. Same it seems with the Council.”

“Man who do you trust?” T.J. asked as he wondered who was worse, the UAE or the Council.

Andros had an answer for that “Ourselves mostly. We’ll all need to stick together. Both here and on our way to Aquitar.”

Everyone nodded except Zhane, who was staring out the window. His mind a million miles away. Andros called to his friend as if shaking him out of his reverie.

“Sorry Andros. I was just thinking.” Zhane said.

Andros asked “About Cassidy?”

“No. Although it will be great to see her again.” Zhane thought about the hug he and Cassidy shared in Golden Gate Park and wondered if there wasn’t something there. But his mind was on someone else.

“I was just thinking about Karone.” Zhane said.

Andros nodded in understanding. “I miss her too.”

“I never even said goodbye.” Zhane wiped a tear from his eye and then rode the rest of the way in silence.

Back in Angel Grove the girl Andros and Zhane had missed was very much alive. However she was not the girl they once knew. At least not completely.

Karone Lanrydan sat at the juice bar watching the boy she had met, Leo Corbett, practice at the Angel Grove Youth Center. He was teaching a group of young students as a favour to the club manager Ernie. Ernie knew Leo and his brother Mike in passing, and had known the Corbett brothers had skills in Martial Arts. Ernie also knew of the youngest Corbett brother in the young genius program that Billy Cranston had been part of and had seen him take part in a few classes.

One day Ernie saw Leo come in and had mentioned that the regular Youth h Center Martial Arts instructor had to go out of town, and wondered if Leo or his brother Mike could fill in. Leo said he could, and invited Karone to come as well. Karone accep> pted the invitation knowing that many Rangers used the Angel Grove Youth Center as a hangout, and figured visiting the place might give her an insight into the Rangers’ mindset.

As she sat and watched Leo train some students, she sipped a smoothie Ernie had given her. Ernie looked at Karone for a few seconds before going back to business. Karone however caught Ernie’s looks and wondered what was on his mind. “Something I can help you with?” she asked.

“Sorry if I’m making you uncomfortable.” Ernie said. “It’s just that I have an eye for exceptional youths. Having known a few of them.” For a moment Karone wondered if Ernie didn’t mean the Power Rangers but she asked “And you think I could be one of them?”

“You remind me of them.” Ernie said. “But there is something different about you. Something….a little darker. And yet…”

Karone let out a small smile and said “It’s probably best you just see me as a regular smoothie customer. A customer here with a friend.” She looked in Leo’s direction and Ernie got the idea.

“You Leo’s friend?”

“Yeah. We met in San Francisco. My boyfriend left me and he… helped me deal.” Karone said as she thought of how they met.

Ernie studied the girl closely. There was just something that bothered him about her but he couldn’t tell what it was. “If someone dumped you he must have been an idiot.”

Ernie’s line got a chuckle for Karone as she took the flattery from Ernie.

“No, he’s not an idiot,” she said finally. “He just… doesn’t know any better.”

“So that’s when Leo came into the picture?” Ernie asked.

Karone nodded. “He’s been great. Just as great as he teaches this class.”

Karone watched as Leo looked at several of the students surrounding him. Some of them he knew. Nico Ramonos and Kayla Gordon were from an advanced class at the Angel Grove Youth Center. Also there was young Justin Stewart, who had recently been checked out of Angel Grove Memorial Hospital after being in an unexplained coma. Starting out Leo decided he would give a few tune up moves for the students to follow along. The students did so with ease, especially Justin.

Off to the side Karone looked on at the young kids working out dressed in a training gi with a purple belt on. Her mind turned to her training at the Ranger Academy at KO-35. The instructors there seemed to be rigid and hard lined as they put her and Andros through their paces. The logic being that the universe wasn’t all that kind, why should they be? Leo was a contradiction to those instructors. He kind and considerate, helping the students perfect their skills without coming down on them.

~Yes there are some drill instructors that would just hate Leo.~ Karone thought. Just then the new generation of Angel Grove bullies Biff Bulkmeier and Loman Skullovitch walked in carrying on like they were big shots, just like their predecessors had done.

“Well, looks like we made it to the little dweebs club.” Biff said throwing his imaginary weight around. “Where do we sign up to kick people’s heads in?”

Loman followed up with “Yeah. Where do we sign up?”

Off to the side Ernie told Karone how Biff and Loman reminded him of two kids he used to know. Of course it wasn’t hard for him to tell that Biff and Loman lacked the brains to be original and were simply emulating Bulk and Skull before the two bullies had cleaned up their acts.

Leo also knew the type of people Biff and Loman were. He and Mike had had to teach Willy how to deal with them. He looked at Biff and Loman and decided.

“All right I’ll give you a few pointers. Will one of you come to the centre please?”

“Cool. Loman, you first.” Biff said as he threw Loman in so hard that his friend hit the mat on the ground. As he quickly got u,p Loman found himself facing Leo, who launched three fakes towards Loman causing him to run from the ring and hide under a table, much to Biff’s disappointment.

All the kids were laughing, except for Biff who hissed “sissy” to his friend.

“Do you think you can do better?” Karone asked standing up from the bar and walking to the centre of the classroom. Turning to Leo she then asked “Do you mind if I interrupt?”

“Not at all Karone. I’m sure the kids would love to see you teach them what you know,” Leo answered.

“Karone?” Biff asked. “What sort of name is that?”

Karone stood her ground, looked him and the eye and enjoyed the uncertainty in his eyes as she answered: “Mine. Now are you going to come into the ring, or you going to send your friend in again?”

Biff stepped back wide eyed as he took Karone’s statement as a challenge. As he regained his composure Biff walked into the ring and looked Karone in the eye believing himself a big shot.

“You’re a girl. This shouldn’t be so tough.” Biff said arrogantly.

Karone smiled as she anticipated teaching Biff a lesson. Looking around she spotted a pair of bow staffs and picked them up. She handed one to Biff and wasted no time getting into a defence position.

“Attack!” she said at the very next second before lunging forward.

Biff started swinging his staff while Karone blocked all of Biff’s wild blows. After a while Karone knocked the end of her staff under Biff’s legs and threw him down to the mat. Biff got back up and picked up his staff again. No way was he going to get beat by a girl. ~Even if she’s hot.~ Biff added to himself.

Karone decided to throw the staff away while Biff still had his. Immediately the young bully lunged towards Karone who sidestepped the charge, grabbed the staff to make sure Biff kept going, using his momentum against him, and Biff was sent into the Pachinko machine that was closed for repairs. The youths chuckled as they saw Biff all sprawled out.

“Think you had enough training?” Karone asked.

Biff and Loman decided to run out of the Youth Center as fast as they could.

Ernie chuckled. “If they decide to take up cockroach kung fu I’m going to Bosnia.”

Leo walked over Karone’s side. “Those were good moves there. Where did you learn them?”

“I had a few good teachers.” Karone said. She then added with a little coyness “Maybe I could teach you a thing or two.”

Leo smiled. “Maybe.” As Leo and Karone got closer some of the class snickered, drawing the duo’s attention. “Short break,” Leo decided.

Before Leo went off with Karone however he noticed Justin off to the side and wanted to touch base with him. “Hey Justin, Jason and Rocky wanted me to ask how you were doing.”

“I’m getting by,” Justin said. “I do miss my dad though.”

Justin Stewart had awoken from a mysterious coma months ago. He had been abducted from his home where his stepmother had been murdered, and soon after-his father. All Justin could remember was a feeling that he had been trapped in a living nightmare that he couldn’t wake up from. And a figure looking on. An evil figure.

Then the nightmare ended, and a woman with a white porcelain mask said that Justin need not fear anything anymore. That ‘they’ would protect him. And so far no monsters came for him. For that Justin was glad, even if he didn’t know who ‘they’ were. He was released from the hospital a week or so later where he was remanded to the custody of Little Angel’s Haven children’s home. A place where he met his friends Nico and Kayla. Little by little it seemed like Justin was getting his life back, even though his dad and the rest of his family, were gone.

“I know how you feel Justin.” Leo said. “I lost my dad too.”

“I lost both my parents, and my brother.” Karone added. “I know what it’s like to lose family. But I also know what it’s like to gain one.”

The last part Karone said with a smile leaving Justin confused. Karone happily explained.

“You’re starting a new family with Nico and Kayla. As well as the other kids from Little Angel’s Haven. The friends you make become part of your new family. Bound not by blood, but by friendship.” Justin listened to Karone’s words and thought she was right. Justin was making new friends, and they were becoming part of his new family. He hoped no one would take them away like they took him away and left his family to die.

“Take care Justin.” Leo said being reassuring. “Any problems let someone know. Or me, and I’ll come running” Leo smiled giving Justin a few moments to smile at Leo’s reassurance.

Somehow he felt Leo meant what he said. He went to the changing to get dressed for the ride back. He then noticed Karone looking at a poster on the wall. A poster for a tournament in San Francisco, A tournament called ‘King of Fighters’.

“Leo do you know anything about this?” Karone asked.

Leo looked at the poster. “Only that Jason, Tommy and Rocky went to San Fran to attend. Apparently they have some friends taking part in it. That’s why I’m teaching this class, and Mike will be around to teach others.” Taking another look at the poster Leo then asked “Are you interested?”

~Dark Specter mentioned something about this,~ Karone thought. ~But none of the other council members say anything about it. It’s like… one of those topics grown ups only talk about.~

“Yes I’m interested Leo. Can we go?” Karone asked. “I’m very curious to see what this is all about.”

Leo looked at Karone and then back to the advert. He made a note of the number and walked over to the pay phone and dialled. After some time in the queue he was able to get two ringside seats for the tournament.

“Looks like we’re going back to San Fran again.” Leo said. Karone however wasn’t enthused when she heard the city of San Francisco again. The city that was home to the ‘other woman’.

“Whoopee.” Karone said with a touch of sarcasm. She didn’t have anything against San Francisco itself, but it was where she saw Zhane with that man stealing Silver Zeo Ranger. She hoped to make her pay with the Talisman of Size, but that idea had backfired and it took a lot of magic for her and Astronema to undo the after effects.

She prayed neither Zhane or Cassidy Bridges crossed her path. Regardless she and Leo got on the next available bus to San Francisco. They would see the tournament and have some fun too.

10 miles from the U.N.I.T. Black Archives.

“Skywatch to Trap 1, do you read?” the pilot asked as he completed another fly over of the transport route. It was his task to look out for possible threats to the convoy that rolled down the road beneath.

“Trap 1 to Skywatch we are receiving. Go ahead.” came the voice of the radio operator in the convoy below.

“Have completed final pass. All clear.”

“Understood Skywatch. We’ll be entering the no-flight boundary soon. You are free to return to base.”

Normally the helicopter would remain on watch until the convoy had reached its destination. However the Black Archives operated within a strict no fly area. Even UNIT’s own choppers were prevented from entering, not so much for the threat they posed to the installation, but rather the effect some of the equipment stored there could have on them.

“Roger that Trap 1. Over and out.”

With the helicopter gone, the convoy consisting of three jeeps and an armoured truck travelled the rest of the way alone. Since it was only ten miles to the archives it was believed the convoy would be safe as they could call the Archives and they could have a force deployed within minutes if there was any difficulty. Of course just because they believed they were safe didn’t mean that they were relaxed. These were difficult times and with all the recent problems UNIT wanted its artefacts secured. Therefore the guards were on full alert, ready for anything.

Unfortunately all the preparation and training they had received could not prepare them for what happened next. The lead jeep crossed a section of road and exploded as if the vehicle had rolled over a landmine. At the rear of the convoy a second explosion took out another jeep in a similar fashion.

The lead truck and the last jeep all stopped as UNIT troops disembarked. They took up positions wondering where the next attack was going to come. The answer came in the form of Minion’s WD Units led by Silvo as they approached the soldiers. The Sergeant ordered the soldiers to fire. The bullets having no effect. The WD units continued to advance.

It was clear that they would win, but Silvo decided to have a little fun with the remaining soldiers. As the last round of bullets flew towards the WD-Units, he fired an equal number of projectiles back at the soldiers. He watched in amusement as his shots ripped through the oncoming bullets before continuing on a deadly path toward the soldiers. As he turned his back he knew that the bullets had connected and that every shot had resulted in a lethal head wound. With the soldiers dead, Silvo ordered the WD Units to secure the cargo.

In the main truck was the object sought. A black cabinet with a section missing. Silvo ordered the WD Units to bring the cabinet out of the truck and then called for Minion. “Master. The object has been secured.”

“Excellent. Teleporting out now. Return at once.” Minion ordered as in a streak of black the Black Cabinet teleported away from the ruined convoy. It’s destination, Minion’s Prison Dimension. Silvo and the WD Units followed.

Minion’s Prison Dimension

~It seems so simple.~ Minion thought as he looked at the cabinet before him. ~Such a simple design, yet it’s capable of so much.~ Minion hoped the cabinet would live up to the hype J.J. Chambers’ letter said it was capable of. There were curiosities and concerns he wanted to address. This cabinet was the means to do just that.

“You may go Silvo. No one is to disturb me,” Minion said in a tone that left no doubt in Silvo’s mind that Minion wanted to be alone with his prize. A curious prize to say the least.

Silvo obeyed his master’s command and left Minion with the black cabinet J.J. Chambers wanted him to obtain.

On the outside it seemed like it was nothing special. Just an ordinary cabinet from the Far East. Minion however figured that that which looked least likely could be considered the most dangerous. Or perhaps the most powerful. ~If anything this could be more insightful.~ he thought as he looked at the key in his hand. A key that could open not just doors but possibilities as well. And Minion wanted to know what those possibilities were, and what they had to offer.

Taking the ‘key’ Minion placed it in the missing section of the black cabinet. The door opened and Minion stepped inside. Once the door closed the cabinet then the cabinet hummed with power and swirled as it seemed to disappear into a vortex that seemed to stretch into time, space and reality. Inside Minion felt reality twist, turn and reshape. As if travelling was causing massive upheaval to him. Minion didn’t mind however. He had found that pain was strength and the cabinet hummed with power. Dark power that could twist its occupants body, mind and soul. Minion however wasn’t worried about being twisted into a monster. He already was one.

He also felt a familiarity in the power. A sense that he encountered this power before. ~In the Dark Dimension perhaps?~ Minion wondered. ~Could the creators of this cabinet have harnessed the power of the Dark Dimension so they could travel in time and space?~ The possibilities did seem staggering to Minion. The Dark Dimension could well be a realm that has no limits.

Soon the cabinet settled and Minion stepped outside. He had found himself in an abandoned store in Chinatown. The sign that said ‘Going out of Business’ seemed evident that no one was present. That and the locked front door. The conclusion that he arrived in Chinatown was drawn due to the Chinese lettering also on the sign saying the same thing as it’s English counterpart, as well as the invitation saying that the tournament was in San Francisco where the most famous of Chinatowns were located.

Minion looked at the address on the invitation. The answers about who sent him and why were there, and he wanted them. Opening the door to the abandoned store and fusing the lock so no one would come after his travel cabinet he then started walking down the streets of San Francisco. As he walked Minion’s curiosity became laced with purpose. Who sent for him, and how could he benefit?

Minion would get answers to those questions as he continued walking down the street.

Outside one of the most expensive hotels in San Francisco two horse drawn carriages had pulled up and seven people had disembarked. Six of them were fighters in the upcoming tournament. The seventh was one of the fighter’s pregnant wife. On board were seven people. Six were fighters, one was a fighter’s pregnant wife. They were also Power Rangers from another reality.

Jeffrey Kincaid was the leader of a Ranger known as the Night Rangers. He had been invited to participate in the tournament along with three of his current teammates and a couple of Rangers from the loosely affiliated group known as the Nightfighters by Shadow, a being that claimed to be a guardian of the Shadow Grid, a claim Kincaid was not certain he believed. It was not that he thought Shadow was deceiving him, but rather the nature of the Shadow Grid that cause him to be sceptical. He hadn’t shared his views with either the McAllister-Kellers or Ken Tanaka. He was just grateful they had chosen to accompany him.

Shadow, the Shadow Guardian of good, had taken an interest in Kincaid it seemed. That was all well and good, but the Shadow Grid was by its definition a grey area and when approached by a being claiming to represent the good element of the Shadow Grid, Kincaid knew that the question should be: whose good? That Shadow saw Kincaid as a tool, a warrior that could deal with many important threats at least assured the Night Ranger that Shadow was honest.

But at heart Kincaid was just a man that wanted to live his life and not have to fight anymore. He had seen too much darkness and wanted a little light in his life. That was what his wife Mackenzie and their unborn child meant to him, the chance to live in the light for a while. But Shadow insisted Kincaid take part, for the exact reasons Kincaid wanted to hang up his morpher: his family.

And so Kincaid had reluctantly agreed to travel to another reality. In return Shadow had allowed his wife to accompany him, figuring that the least he could do was make Kincaid’s stay as pleasurable as possible and had put him up in the most expensive hotel in San Francisco. Kincaid had to admit he would never have expected such generous treatment from those the claimed to be purely good.

It seemed that his companions were equally blown away at the sight.

“Oh my god!” Sarah McAllister-Keller said looking at the sight of the Waldorf hotel. “How much did reservations cost?”

“Probably more than I make in twenty years.” Bruce Greene said as he took his bag off the carriage.

Cassandra Jensen seemed to agree with him “Treasure this stay guys. I think you won’t stay in a place like this again.”

“Unless you commit armed robbery and not get caught.” Ken Tanaka said. Everyone flashed Ken a look, not entirely convinced he was joking.

“Go ahead and sack out guys. I’ll catch up later,” Kincaid told them.

While his five teammates walked in to get their reservations, Kincaid went to check on his wife who still sat in the carriage taking her time to leave.

“I’d ask how you were doing, but that’s a stupid question right now isn’t it?” Kincaid asked as he sat across from Mackenzie.

Mackenzie flashed a look and said “Ya think?”

“Regardless…” Shadow said as he appeared in the seat across from Mackenzie, “I am grateful for you coming here. If I had another choice I would take it.”

Kincaid sighed when he saw Shadow appear out of nowhere without warning. Not even he could pick up the Shadow Grid guardian, even with the help of the Night Spirits; Shadow just seemed to turn up.

“This threat better be as serious as you say it is.” Kincaid said.

Shadow nodded. “I wouldn’t have asked you to come if it weren’t. Despite the ease you might feel passing between realities, keeping the path open is extremely… draining.” He looked thoughtful. “The walls between realities that opened during your battles with Dagsyxx are starting to close again. In time the shards of the Nexus Crystal that you use will not be available to you; it will once again be the gift of gods… and perhaps speedsters. Still, I asked and you came, and for that I am grateful. I realize this is inconvenient for you, so I have tried to make your stay as pleasurable as possible.”

“Hence the expensive suite?” Mackenzie asked.

Shadow again nodded. “As well as the carriages you have so you can have a romantic night before the hellish day.”

“You’re leaving us the horse drawn carriages?” Kincaid asked surprised at the gesture.

Shadow nodded seeming to show a romantic side he had not used in a long time.

“No reason you and Mackenzie can’t enjoy yourselves while you are here.” Shadow answered. He noticed his answer had not convinced them and sighed. “I’ll be at the tournament tomorrow. The carriages are paid for until tomorrow morning, so you can have a bit of a night together.”

“Because tomorrow will be tough right?” Kincaid asked.

Shadow nodded. “Very.”

Then he disappeared.

Mackenzie looked at the carriage and then at Kincaid and asked “Well?”

“I think I will need to rack out to be ready for tomorrow.” Kincaid said. He then turned and gave Mackenzie a slight smile as he touched her hand. “But I think we can spare a little time.”

Mackenzie also smiled, pleased that she had some together time with her husband. Something she hadn’t had for a long time.

With that Mackenzie and Kincaid decided to take a ride and explore San Francisco. Two hours later they joined their teammates who were already asleep.

They didn’t regret the evening they had. But Kincaid did wonder what else was going to happen at the tournament.

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Crossroads of Evil Part 2

Disclaimer: The Power Rangers have changed hands several times since this series began. They are currently owned by Saban Brands. Charmed is the property of the WB. Mr. Merlin was a TV show that appeared in the early 1980’s. CHIPS was a show created by Rick Rostner that aired from the late 70’s to the early 80’s. The WWF letters are in reference to the World Wrestling Federation owned by Titan Sports; it should be noted that WWF is a trademark of the World Wildlife Fund. Hannah Montana and related characters are property of Disney. Reference to the ‘Silent Master’ is in reference to the character of Snake-Eyes from G.I.Joe (Action Force) which is property of Hasbro. Sei Tin is from the Devil’s Due Comics version of G.I.Joe. The name Okasa was from the T.V. Series ‘The Master’ as is the name McAllister-Keller, which aired on NBC during the 1980’s for one year. Nash Bridges and related characters are created by Carleton Cuse and property of CBS and Carleton Cuse Productions. Fatal Fury/King of Fighters are owned by SNK/Capcom. ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) was a rival wrestling promotion created by Paul Heyman, the name now belongs to Titan Sports.

Minion is the property of Shadow Ranger, however it is a derived work from a character that appeared in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The song ‘Some Girls’ is sung by Rachel Stevens. The song ‘Rollin’ is sung by Limp Bizkit. ‘You don’t Know me at all’ is sung by Lillian Garcia. And ‘Never gonna stop’ is sung by Rob Zombie.Author Notes: The reference to the San Francisco Earthquake comes from the records that clearly state there was no earthquake. Although this is now regarded as a city wide insurance fraud (mot claimants stated their buildings were damaged by fire from a neighbouring building. In some cases neighbouring shops set fire to each other at the same time).Additional Notes: The Minion shown in this story is the story from Conquest of Evil and not the Minion from COE: Reckoning. There are a number of differences between the two series when it comes to Minion and his Psycho Rangers. However where the Psycho Rangers are concerned it is best explained that in Conquest of Evil, Minion created the Psycho Rangers himself uses many different means and programmed them so that the required him to exist (something that has caused them to do very little ever since). In COE: Reckoning, the Psycho Rangers were originally flesh avatars created by Zordon to cover for the Rangers while they were occupied. Minion corrupted them and turned them into his Psycho Rangers. Since Minion is not only a visitor to this reality, but is also outside of his normal timeline, he is experiencing a little psychic feedback which allows him to interpret both set of events. Confused? So is Minion.

Prelude to Minion’s Legacy Part 3 – Crossroads of Evil
COE: King of Fighters ’96
By The Q Team

After some time, Blue Mary’s van arrived in the city. There she dropped off Alison, Cassie and Kat. Terry, Andy and Joe decided to ride the rest of the way with Mary, King and Mai.

“We’ll meet you at Grandpa’s.” Alison said. “We’ll crash there and then head to the tournament.”

“Okay Alison. But be careful,” Terry said.

Alison just smiled. “Terry, this is my home town. What could go wrong?”

“The same things that could go wrong in Southtown,” Terry answered. “And that’s MY hometown.”

Alison picked up on the warning and the genuine concern. She nodded and hugged her cousin goodbye before giving a similar hug to the others.

“See you guys there,” she promised before the van drove off.

“Why’d you ask to get off here?” Cassie asked.

“Pier 39 isn’t far from here, and I want to take in a little hometown fun before heading into the tournament,” Alison explained.

“I never took you for a shopper Alison,” Kat commented wryly. “Pier 39 has been known to have quite a few shops.”

“That’s not why I go there,” Alison replied. “There’s other things there too. Games, attractions. It’s fun for me.” Pausing she added: “And if I need to go shopping, which I’m not saying that I do a lot, I go there.”

“Sure,” Cassie teased as the three girls headed down to Pier 39 to have a day of fun before training, and the tournament. Once they arrived they noticed a new shop.

“The Fun Factory?” Alison queried. “That’s odd. I know this shop is new here, but who would open up around here so soon after the Cylons attacked?”

“Alison the planet has been recovering quickly,” Kat said. “Many cities have been offering Business Support Packages to help encourage new start ups.”

Before Alison had time to reply, two elderly people came out of the shop, greeting the three young girls. “Ahhh welcome,” the gentlemen said. “Welcome to the ‘Fun Factory’.”

“Thanks Mr….uhhh.”

“Popplewick.” the man said, answering Alison’s question. “Just Mr Popplewick. This is my wife Mrs Popplewick.”

Mrs Popplewick just gave a smile and a polite nod in greeting to the three girls.

“Pleased to meet you.” Kat said.

Alison however was still having problems with the sudden appearance of the new business. Something about it didn’t seem right. She knew the way her town worked and while the scheme Kat mentioned would have been welcomed, red tape meant it would have taken much longer to start such a project. “So when did this place open, I didn’t think a business opened this quickly?”

“Normally no,” Mr Popplewick agreed. “But this project has been on the backburner for a long time and it was felt that now would be a good time to open for business.”

“And what sort of business is that?” Cassie asked. “I mean I know the sign says ‘Fun Factory’ but what ‘fun’ are we talking?”

“Why fun from all corners of the globe,” Mr Popplewick answered. “Our employer, Mr Chambers makes it his interest to teach those that come into the Fun Factory all sorts of games from all around the world. It’s really sad that despite the world coming together in many ways there are still barriers that remain closed.”

He shook his head sadly, his mouth pouting in an almost comical way.

“Mr Chambers seeks to open those barriers,” Mrs Popplewick explained. “And what better way than through fun and amusement?”

Kat, Alison and Cassie looked at each other not sure what to make of the strange couple or why they were asking so many questions. It seemed rude to just walk up to someone and demand answers, as if they were intruding on their privacy. Yet something made them feel that it was important.

“Where is Mr Chambers?” Alison asked.

The look Mr Popplewick exchanged with his wife was so quick that they almost missed it. It was the look of somebody who had to think up an answer quickly and made the Rangers teens even more suspicious.

“He has a prior engagement he’s preparing for,” Mr Popplewick explained. “I’m afraid he’ll be indisposed for the rest of the day.”

That seemed odd that the business owner was away at a time when his input would probably bee needed constantly. It was then that something occurred to Cassie.

“Are you open for business?”

Mrs Popplewick shook her head. “No, we are still a few weeks away. We just thought we’d come and test the new lighting and maybe draw a bit of interest.”

And suddenly one of the things that had been nagging them about the situation made sense. That was why there were no customers around or sounds of laughter. The Fun Factory was not open.

“Say, since you’re here, why don’t you have a look around?” Mr Popplewick offered. “Not everything is working yet, but it would be nice to get some customer feedback.”

Alison, Cassie and Kat looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. What harm could there be in just looking? As they entered the Fun Factory store, Mr and Mrs Popplewick shared a look although the girls missed the delight gleaming in their eyes.

Once the girls stepped inside the Fun Factory they saw the Mr Popplewick had been telling the truth. The room was filled with games from different countries, and some were very old.

“Is that an old Mr Do game?” Alison asked looking at a vintage arcade game off to the side.

“One of Mr Chambers’s collection,” Mr Popplewick said. “We have others besides these, but will probably be rotating them between here and storage for some time.”

Looking down the isle Alison saw that there were a number of classics on offer. Crazy Climber Crazy Climber, TRON, and its predecessor: Space Paranoids, stood out. She noticed there were a few fighting games like Mortal Kombat, Double Dragon, Street Fighter.

Kat however was distracted by a Pachinko machine off in the corner. “A Pachinko game? Where did you get this?”

“Mr Chambers is well travelled.” Mrs Popplewick said. “He obtained this from one of his Far East excursions.”

Kat studied the machine, noting a few places where it had been bumped. “Reminds me of a story a friend told me. He played Pachinko so much it got to the point where having fun was the only thing that mattered to him. Got his friends into trouble too, until they got out of it.”

“Yes these things can be very addictive,” Mrs Popplewick agreed. “Hm, perhaps something else would interest you. Ah, maybe this.”

The Popplewicks led the way to a corner, motioning the girls to follow.

“What’s this way?” Alison asked.

“A new game Mr Chambers has acquired and is testing,” Mr Popplewick explained. “It is called ‘Future Roulette’.”

“Future roulette?” Cassie asked.

Mr Popplewick elaborated. “An electronic roulette wheel where one spin can tell you your future.”

“Kind of like an electronic Magic 8 ball?” Alison asked.

“A little more accurate than that,” Mr Popplewick answered. “The roulette wheel predicts to near pinpoint accuracy. Or at least it has so far.”

“Would you like to see how your futures turn out?” Mrs Popplewick asked kindly as she motioned to a machine off to the side. It had a carnival like decoration around it, draped with curtains. But the centre of the device had a compartment that looked as if it had been shaped to fit the human hand.

Alison, Cassie and Kat looked at each other and shrugged.

“What could it hurt?” Alison asked.

“Brave words young one.” Mr Popplewick said. “It’s real simple. Stick your hand inside and the electronic wheel will reveal your future to you.”

Alison, Cassie and Kat shared another look and Alison then asked the question they were all thinking: “All right, who’s first?”

“I’ll go first.” Kat said as she put her hand on the slot.

There was a whirling noise as the section retracted into the machine, taking her hand with it.

Mrs Popplewick looked at the screen as the electronic wheel spun before her until it settled on what looked to be Kat’s future.

“You will embrace your true self.” Kat said quoting the message before her wondering what it meant.

“Think of it as a sort of fortune cookie,” Mrs Popplewick offered. “The meaning is open to interpretation until it happens. Next please?”

Next was Alison as she put in her hand. Mrs Popplewick again looked at the screen as the electronic wheel spun. When it settled the screen said, “You have seen battle. You will see more, but you will not see them alone.” Alison just shrugged as she removed her hand.

“Doesn’t sound like anything new.”

Finally it was Cassie who put her hand in the device. Mrs Popplewick looked at the screen as the wheel spun. As the wheel continued to spin Cassie then felt a sharp cut into her hand. “Owwww!” she said as she pulled her hand out. As she looked at it there seemed to be a deep gash across the top of it.

“Cassie you okay?” Alison asked.

“I think so.” Cassie said. Holding her hand.

Mrs Popplewick looked surprised that Cassie’s hand was cut. “Oh I’m so sorry my dear. Here, let me get you a first aid kit.” Cassie nodded as Mrs Popplewick left to get the first aid kit then returned as quickly as she had disappeared. “Honestly had no idea how that could have happened.” Mrs Popplewick said as she poured some antiseptic on a cloth to put on Cassie’s hand. “We’ll have to send the machine for repair. Can’t have it cutting up customers.”

Cassie nodded in thanks as she then looked at the screen to see her fortune. What she saw confused and scared her.

The message said: “One’s gift can be another’s curse.”

Cassie felt a feeling of doom overtake her as she put the thought out of her mind and looked at her hand again. Her eyes looked on in amazement as the deep cut that was on her hand before was gone. Kat and Alison looked surprised too.

“Oh, well I guess it wasn’t such a large wound after all,” Mrs Popplewick said. “Blood has a nasty habit of looking worse than it really is sometimes. I guess we won’t be needing this kit. Probably just as well. My apologies young miss. Mr Chambers will happily compensate you for any troubles.”

“Don’t mention it. I’m not interested in suing Mr Chambers,” Cassie said as she then looked at her watch. “Look, I think we’d better be going. We have a tournament to get to.”

“Well don’t let us stop you.” Mr Popplewick said. “Take care.” Soon all three girls headed for the door saying good bye, all the while Mr Popplewick saying “Perhaps you can recommend this place to your friends?”

“We’ll keep that in mind.” Kat said as the girls left the Fun Factory. The Popplewicks smiled as the three girls walked away.

When they were gone, Mr Popplewick activated the intercom. “Do you have what you need Mr Chambers?”

The voice of JJ Chambers spoke through the intercom “Yes Mr Popplewick. I have obtained all I need from Miss Chan. Now we must leave. We too have a tournament to attend.”

Minion’s first act had been to find a new set of clothes. There was nothing wrong with his appearance as far as he was concerned, but this was not his reality and there was no guarantee that people would recognise the danger he posed. All it would take was one overly brave police officer to confront him and his presence would draw further attention that he could do without.

~I didn’t come here to fight,~ he reminded himself. ~This time.~

As he entered a Goodwill store he looked for a new set of clothes to blend in with the environment as best as possible. Not that he fooled himself for a minute that changing clothes would be enough to blend in. But with the right attitude and a little magic there was a chance it would help others to ignore him. In the end he settled for a black suit with turtleneck, a black overcoat and a western ten gallon hat. All which gave him what he hoped was a ‘man in black’ look similar to what he had seen in an old Halloween movie. The huge hat and coat lapels, along with the turtleneck, obscured his face. He also selected a cheap pair of sunglasses to cover his eyes.

Before he left the store, he spared a thought for the shopkeeper he had battered into submission. He glanced down and used his magical senses to assess the damage he had caused.

“I get to take these clothes and you get to live,” he said as he repaired a few of the broken bones. “A fair trade if you ask me. Don’t get up. I’ll show myself out. I hope you appreciate the… even exchange.”

And with that small demonstration of mercy, Minion walked calmly onto the streets of San Francisco.

He had always known there was something about San Francisco that was magical. Not in the Angel Grove sense of the word, but something deeper. It was an energy that very few cities seemed to possess. It wasn’t the strength that defined it, it was the intensity. San Francisco, Tokyo, London, Geneva and Vienna shared that same feeling. New York did too, but it was smothered by the overwhelming strength of the Ley Lines. And then there were places like Cardiff where the feeling seemed to fluctuate wildly.

Minion also knew San Francisco had other qualities about it that could have been considered unusual. He knew the city had suffered a devastating earthquake at the start of the Twentieth Century and another crippling tremor less than a century earlier. Yet the city had somehow emerged seemingly unscathed and the damage could only be seen by looking in areas humans would not normally look. Vienna was a crossroads city between rival powers, a city where cultures co-mingled and where powers considered good and evil could interact briefly before rejoining their own worlds. Tokyo had its own power that made it a wonder of the world and a victim of monster attacks, which Minion suspected were more a side effect of mass exposure to magical energy and mass hysteria. London was a city of power and tradition that went back centuries. And Geneva, was known for being a world unto itself not answering to either force. There were other cities that could be described as special, but Minion foresaw days where many of those cities would fall by the wayside and the fate of the others was not clear, while the seven he had noted would live on forever.

Still despite all that, Minion wondered why had been chosen as host for the tournament. Was there going to be a major concentration of power in this location involving not just the Power Rangers?

~The answers will be at this tournament,~ Minion thought as he walked through the streets and made his way to the location of the King of Fighters tournament. Unfortunately despite his desire to remain unseen, he managed to draw the attention of a local street gang.

“Hey man it’s the Shadow!” one of the members shouted. “Yo Shad, let me hold ten dollars.”

Minion kept walking, not giving the gang members the time of day. If he had been hoping that his lack of reaction would dissuade them he was bound to be disappointed. The brush off succeeded only in angering the youths and unwilling to let somebody get away with brushing them off, the gang moved so they were blocking Minion’s path. For his part Minion remained cool although he showed no sign of backing down, in fact his body language made it clear that he considered himself superior. He was not surprised therefore when the leader pulled out a switchblade knife.

“Yo Shadowman, I told you I wanted to hold ten dollars. You gonna give me ten dollars, or am I gonna take something more?”

The gang leader looked tough, especially when backed up by his friends. Minion however had seen worse. To Minion they were nothing more than a joke, parasites that used fear, juvenile attitudes and weapons to elevate their standing in a minor area of a city. They had no drive to go anywhere else. No ambition besides ruling over an insignificant corner. It was so pitiful that he couldn’t help laughing.

“How pathetic,” Minion mused. “You rule an insignificant corner, in an insignificant city, on an insignificant planet and consider yourselves important enough to get in my way. Do you even rule this patch or are you just claiming to own it?”

“Yo, Shadow we do rule here!” the gang leader said. “The Rollers Rule!”

Minion’s smirk was hidden by the turtleneck and overcoat he wore, but he was amused, which for the moment meant he would probably let the fools live. He stepped forward and he could sense the fear around him. It was there niggling at the back of the gang members’ minds. Whether they were capable of realising it or not, on some level they had accepted that Minion was trouble.

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” Minion asked remembering the old radio tag line. “You don’t want to know.”

That had done the trick and as Minion stepped forwards, the gang tried to back away. Up close they could see the maniacal gleam in his eye, but when they were found an hour later, they were unable to say what had happened in the missing time. Paralysed by fear and in danger of dying from shock and exposure, the gang was rush to hospital for emergency treatment.

No one saw the man in black walk away from the sight. Although the words he spoke as he departed seemed to linger. “Never let it be said that Minion does not have a sense of humour.” For years to come people would swear that they could hear an eerie laugh on that corner. The gang never returned.

The venue for the King of Fighters Tournament had been been carefully selected months before the event had been advertised. The sponsors for the year had brought forth enough money for the tournament to be held at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. And while some fighters had made reservations for lodgings, others had arrived at the arena early and sat in the locker rooms to prepare for the battles to come. The organisers had gone all out to cater to their fighters’ needs. A gym had been put together for fighters to train if they did not wish to make use of the many private gymnasiums that had opened in the months leading up to the tournament.

Inside the Cow Palace Gymnasium, the team of ninjas Mirabilis had assembled for training. They had practiced, meditated, and kept their focus on their one objective: elimination of their adversaries. Focus was everything and dedication to their goal guaranteed success.

For Kane Okasa it would always be personal. The blood feud he had with the McAllister Kellers would never end until one or the other family was dead. His two partners were a means to that end.

Sei Tin merely sought to expand his influence in the ninja community. He had risen to power in the Red Ninjas, but he sought more. It grated that despite his accomplishments, he would always be eclipsed by the reputations of clans such as the Arashikage and the Koga. Nor could he rise above the academic excellence of the Hayate and Ikazuchi paths. Sei Tin heard that representatives of all four groups would be present and he longed to show what a power he was. He hoped in doing so he would receive an invitation to change his clan and become the well regarded ninja he was supposed to be.

Eiji Kisaragi also desired to make a name for himself. He had been desperate to compete in the tournament, but no one would train with him. When Mirabilis recruited him to take part as a member of her unique, team he saw it as an opportunity to have his name placed with greats like the Bogards, Joe Higashi, and even Geese Howard. For him the winning was important, being recognised as a competitor would do.

The three ceased their activities when Mirabilis entered the room.

“I trust you are ready?” she asked.

Kane nodded. “Hai.”

He made no effort to hide his eagerness for the battle to come. He would destroy the McAllister-Kellers in this tournament once and for all. If his two teammates had agendas they could fulfil them for all Kane cared. As long as the McAllister Kellers, and whoever they got to fight along side them, fell. Sei Tin bowed indicating that he too was ready to fight and expand his influence. He had promised he would help when necessary, but had promised himself that he would only risk himself if it would enhance his standing. Eiji just nodded. He had made it to the tournament and would do what was asked of him in return.

“See that your adversaries, whoever they are, do not win. Do whatever it takes. And remember: I’ll be watching.” With that Mirabilis left, leaving Kane and his team to ponder how they would beat their adversaries.

There was a lot of money to be made at the King of Fighters Tournament and the organisers had over the years learnt the best ways to ensure that as much of that money as possible went to their pockets. While there were people willing to pay a high price for first class tickets, there were some that were willing to pay far more for their own areas. Private boxes that offered every luxury possible, security and complete privacy were expensive to provide, but far more expensive for those that wanted them.

The organisers and their clients referred to them as Shadowboxes and for the right fee the organisers could provide whatever their clients needed whether it was food, drink or other less legal items. Even extra companionship could be rented for the right price. Reputations, morals and criminal records were overlooked in exchange for hard cash. In short if they could pay they could stay.

A regular attendant to the Shadowboxes was Geese Howard. Unlike some of those that booked months in advance, he had booked his space for the next decade. It showed just how rich he was and made him one of the tournament’s most influential guests. He hadn’t purchased additional companionship for the evening, preferring the two whores he had picked up on his way to the event. But before he could allow the questionable ladies to satisfy his appetites, there was business to attend to. Ivy Howard and Daniel Kane were waiting for his blessing.

“My blessings come when you win.” Geese said. “So do not fail me.”

Ivy and Daniel both nodded leaving Geese to his recreations. He smiled as he surrendered to his companions’ skills. Tonight was going to be quite a show.

Also in the Shadowboxes was another special guest to the tournament, Kali Yagami. Unlike Geese however she had to pay for her seat at the last minute. Fortunately though she had been able to arrange a last minute cancellation.

Kali took her seat and felt her belly. “Watch my child. Watch as you will see spectacles unimagined.” She smiled as she said that last line as she knew those words to be true. Her only regret was that she would not be able to take part in the tournament herself, and face her hated rival Cassie Chan.

“Oh well. Cassandra will meet her end soon enough.” Kali said as she laughed slightly to herself. A laugh that got only louder as she imagined the spectacle to come. Kali longed to see Cassie fight. She longed even more to see Cassie die.

After much walking Minion arrived at the Cow Palace. He checked his invitation and found the directions called for him to enter through the special seating entrance. Making his way through the crowds Minion arrived and was surprised when he was simply waved through, unlike the masses that still had to wait their turn. Identifying a young brunette woman, dressed in a skimpy outfit reminiscent of a Las Vegas magic act, as one of the event’s escort, he walked over and offered his ticket.

“Ah yes,” the escort said looking at Minion’s invitation. “Your box is prepared Sir, please follow me.”

If Minion had noticed the way he eyes seemed to blank when she had read his name, he didn’t comment. Instead he followed the scantily clad hostess to his seat in the private area and was shown into a room with tinted windows and drapes. He didn’t query the decoration. He figured some people just valued their privacy.

“Bullet proof,” he noticed as his magical senses scanned the room.

“Some of our guests prefer a sense of anonymity.” the hostess said. “As well as a measure of protection. The glass is tinted and bullet proof to keep attackers at bay. Some clients have made some enemies if you understand me.”

Minion understood well enough. While they were not exactly the same, he could sense the magical signatures of some of those he identified as his enemies. He also figured there were other individuals here that would make potential enemies, and something inside his being told him he didn’t want to make any new enemies for the time being. ~At least not until I return home and finish what I started.~

“If you have any requests, refreshments, company, please don’t hesitate to call.”

Minion noted the hostess was flirting with him but dismissed it as unimportant. Chances were that that was how they earned their tips. He dismissed her with a wave and took a seat on the couch to watch the tournament unfold before him. He would see for himself how much this tournament would affect his plans.

JJ Chambers had arranged it so that his Shadowbox overlooked Minion’s location. He had paid extra to have cameras placed at certain points. Not that they would catch any incriminating activity, but he would be able to observe Minion’s reactions and adapt his plans accordingly.

~Expect to see a great deal tonight my friend,~ Chambers thought. ~I’m sure you’ll find something to love and a great deal to dislike. I hope you will agree that most of it will be useful.~

He settled his gaze on the arena floor, not bothering to look up when the Popplewicks entered the Shadowbox.

“Our other guest has arrived.” he told them.

Mr Popplewick nodded his understanding. “Aren’t you going to invite him here?”

“Not right away.” Mr Chambers answered. “I want him to wet his appetite first. Let him see what is to be expected. You should do the same my friends,” JJ Chambers advised, sparing the Popplewicks a glance. “If you are going to continue to take interest in this world, you should be aware of the powers, threats and wonders you might encounter.”

Mr and Mrs Popplewick looked at each other and then turned their gazes to the tournament floor. They wondered what surprises and opportunities would present themselves.

Outside the Cow Palace, spectators lined up to gain entry. The queue extended almost a mile. Some of the spectators were fans looking for a fight unlike any other. Others however had seen a the tournaments before, or knew of them, and knew it would be a good idea to visit to see if any threats would arise that could not be dealt with.

In the line close to the doors Kanoi Watanabe and his wife Mirai waited with their son Cam.

“Are you sure of this?” Mirai asked, holding her son close as if trying to protect him from the tournament they were about to watch. “To expose Cam to this barbarism?”

“It is barbarism with power.” Kanoi said, understanding his wife’s concern. “When the Hayate Way decided to open the Wind Ninja Academy it was agreed that our students should be ready for whatever threats are to come. And to meet those threats we must be open to new techniques.” Pausing he then added. “Besides, while Cameron may never hold a weapon in combat, he still has a role that he will play. By teaching him about the world we are giving him the tools he will need to fulfil his role.”

It had been agreed very early in their son’s life that he would not be trained as a warrior. Kanoi had agreed and had instead suggested that their son should become a teacher and developer of new techniques that would enhance the Hayate Way.

“Would it not be best to ask how they are done?” Mirai asked.

Kanoi shook his head. “Most would not be willing to share their secrets. Some may even take not sharing to dangerous levels. As such we are limited by what we can see, and understand with our minds. These fighters may have secrets, but we can observe and interpret those secrets with our minds and intellects.”

Mrs Watanabe nodded hoping her husband was right.

Silently, Kanoi hoped he was right as well.

Off in the distance Kanoi saw Sensei Omano of the Thunder Ninja Academy. With his was his daughter Lee Ann and one other student. An Oriental boy. Kanoi assumed Omano was there for the same reason he was. Omano turned and gave a slight nod acknowledging Kanoi’s presence. Kanoi gave a similar nod. Relations between the Hayate and Ikazuchi Clans were uneasy at best, however both had agreed to open new academies that would provide friendly competition instead of violent feuds. And despite the frosty relationship, the two clans would always have the backs of one another if things went bad.

There were other individuals in attendance who sought to learn about the King of Fighters and the powers its fighters seemed to have. Andrew Hartford of the Hartford Foundation, along with his butler Spenser, were looking to take an interest in the tournament. Hartford had hoped to view some of the fighters in action so he could see the powers they used. He had a project in the works that involved Power Ranger abilities, and he wanted first hand observation of abilities that he could incorporate.

Also in attendance was the Silent Master of the Arashikage Ninja Clan with his own apprentice Kamakura. The Silent Master was dressed in black and wore a hood over his face. His vocal cords were damaged in a helicopter accident that destroyed his face as well leaving him unable to talk. Medicine at the time had repaired his face, but had been unable to help his speech. Despite his silence he showed phenomenal skill that allowed him to elevate to the rank of Master. It was that skill that made him the leader of the Arashikage Clan during the absence of its true leader.

The Silent Master had visited several past tournaments and had formed friendships with some of the competitors. He had brought his student along to demonstrate that there were techniques that their clan did not teach. He hoped it would force his student to look for ways to overcome them and better himself in the process.

All three parties stood in line patiently, waiting for the doors to open. It didn’t take long as as soon as they did so the crowd surged forward while those who had purchased their tickets the day before, calmly made their way into the arena. The excitement was contagious and soon the tournament was ready to begin.

The Zeo Rangers made their way to their seats to watch the ring below. The auditorium continued to fill up and Tanya wondered where the Astro Rangers would be sitting. They didn’t have long to wait as Andros and his team came to sit behind them in the stands.

“Hey Cassidy,” Ashley greeted.

“Looking forward to Alison, Cassie and Kat’s fight?” Cassidy asked.

“About as much as you I take it,” Ashley said.

Cassidy snuck a peak in Zhane’s direction and the Silver Space Ranger winked at her. Cassidy rolled her eyes and sat back down in her chair. “The game of cat and mouse continues,” she muttered.

“Yeah but there is one question.” Emily said. “Who’s the cat and who’s the mouse?”

“That’s two.” Sabrina said.

Emily raised her hand as if saying sorry.

“I guess we’ll just wait and see.” Cassidy said as she turned back towards the ring. They were ready to begin the opening festivities.

“Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the King of Fighters Tournament!” a small man with blond hair announced. The crowd cheered. “Please enjoy the show. And now, your announcer for the evening, Michael Buffer!”

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the King of Fighters Tournament,” Buffer announced to a loud cheer. “As always the preliminaries have all been taken care of. We have sixteen teams here ready to do battle but only one of them will be this year’s King of Fighters! So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… for the thousands in attendance… for the millions watching at home…” Buffer paused for a few seconds to build up the tension. “LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!”

The applause after Buffer spoke was deafening and even the Rangers found themselves caught up in the energy of the event. After a good few moments of the crowd adulation the applause died down, and Buffer started to speak again.

“And now introducing the broadcast team. First your colour commentator – Paul Heyman!” A string of boos could be heard as a fat man with a King of Fighters hat and cheap suit walked down to the ring to sit at the announcer’s table as a techno march was being played throughout the arena. Buffer then proceeded to introduce the play by play man. The Oklahoma Fight Song was heard throughout the arena. “And now, your play by play analyst, Good ol JR, Jim Ross!”

Applause was heard throughout the arena as JR made his way to the ring where the announce table was set up. Both of them ready to call the action for the people watching at home on Pay-per-View. The first King of Fighters tournament ever to be on Pay-per-view.

“Welcome everyone to the King of Fighters Tournament and its great to be here.” JR said.

“It’s great to be here… it’s great to be here?” Heyman shot. “JR do you have any idea where you are right now? Do you even KNOW what King of Fighters is all about?”

JR shot his look at Heyman. “Well personally other than the fact that its just martial art fighting, I don’t see this being any different from what I do in the World Wrestling Federation.”

“Oh the great and powerful World Wrestling Federation.” Heyman said sarcastically. “Where the BIG BOYS play.” He then looked hard at JR. “Well let me tell you something JR. The competitors in the WWF wouldn’t even last a MINUTE in fight with anyone of these fighters you are going to see here today. Even the stars of ECW would get beaten by the fighters here today.”

JR looked surprised. “I never once in my life would think you would say that in public.”

“And there is a very good reason for this. It’s because I was here last year when I, like you are right now JR and like a lot of people watching at home, had no idea what King of Fighters was all about. Like all of you, I thought it was very much like wrestling, more like my own organisation in any event, but I digress. The point I am trying to make here, and I mean this, everything that you are about see live is real. There is no play acting, there is no cheap tricks, and there are no special effects. Everything that will happen here at King of Fighters is totally real.” Paul Heyman said. “It’s not fake, fixed or scripted in any way. In fact if somebody tried to give them a script, they’d probably shove it somewhere really uncomfortable.”

And that made JR somewhat nervous. He had known Paul for years. He had been his mentor in the world of commentary. And while as characters they didn’t agree, behind the scenes they were good friends. And he could tell from the way he was talking that Heyman believed every word he said.

Minion watched as the announcers took their positions. His eyes scanned the audience, searching for familiar faces. He had zeroed in on a few in the stands already and picked out the Morphin and Zeo Rangers. He knew Katherine Hillard would be appearing at the tournament as she was listed as a competitor on the tournament program.

~Katherine competing in a tournament?~ Minion thought for a moment. ~Interesting. I would have thought Jason, Tommy or Rocky would have been more ideal choices.~

He looked at the other names on her team. Alison Bogard and Cassie Chan. He didn’t know those two, but figured they must be important. He was curious about Kat’s opponents. Team USA… he felt he should know them.

Already Minion had many questions he wanted answers to. Looking back at the stands where the Morphin and Zeo Rangers sat he saw there were other faces there he didn’t know, yet were dressed in the same mono-colour outfits that identified them as Rangers.

~New recruits?~ he wondered. ~Or new teams?~

Minion tabled the line of thought as he focused on the tournament. Or rather the opening ceremonies. Minion however was impatient. He wanted the tournament to start now, as did most of the audience present. Minion had to smile at himself for a moment. Never did he think he would have something in common with humanity, let alone something as pointless and trivial as fan anticipation. He longed to see what the King of Fighters had to offer him. For him, and his conquests.

Before the actual battles began there were always the opening ceremonies to take place. These ceremonies often involved a performer to come out and sing the National Anthem of the country that was hosting the tournament. This year was no different as Michael Buffer took to the mike to introduce the performer that was to sing.

“And now, performing America the Beautiful. Platinum album recording artist Robbie Ray!”

Coming up to the stage was a tall man with a mullet haircut. A guitar in his hand. A stool sat in the centre which Robbie Ray used to sit on. He kept the guitar on his lap getting ready to play, after he scanned the audience to find the people he most wanted to play for.

He saw them. His wife Susan, seven year old son Jackson and five year old daughter Miley. Robbie Ray smiled a small smile and started playing the guitar chord.

Oh beautiful, for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain

For purple mountains majesty

Above the fruited plains

America, America

God shed his grace on thee.

And crown thy good. With brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

Robbie Ray left the stage as a second set of music filled the arena. A tune that signified the beginning of the King of Fighters tournament, and the march of the tournament participants. As Robbie Ray was leaving he saw several of the fighters walk past him. Some of them with a great sense of menace. He thought now was a good time to get out of dodge. Gathering his family he made ready to leave quickly.

Little Miley asked where they were going. “Aren’t we going to see the fights?” she asked.

“Maybe another time Miles.” Robbie Ray said.

He escorted his wife and family to the main exit where Geese was waiting. “Going somewhere Mr Stewart?”

“Uh yeah Mr Howard.” Robbie Ray said trying to be as much of a gentleman as he could. “As glad as I was to sing America the Beautiful here, I don’t think I want to expose my kids to what might happen. I think it’s best I leave.”

Robbie Ray moved his family to leave but Geese blocked the door flanked by two security guards that could have been best described as walking walls of meat.

“I must insist you stay.”

“And I must insist I leave.” Robbie Ray said determined to get his kids out of harm’s way. Geese snapped his fingers and more intimidating guards stood behind Susan, Miley and Jackson. They didn’t even try to look menacing, everything abut them suggested they were tough and had no problems hurting children. Miley and Jackson knew this as they hugged their mother for support.

“Terms of your contract say that you stay for the duration.” Geese said. “You and those you invite, such as your family.”

Robbie Ray was furious hearing Geese’s words. “I didn’t authorize that!”

“No your agent did.” Geese said with a sneer. “He must have overlooked that little detail. Regardless, you and your family remain until the tournament’s end. Besides, my daughter would love a victory celebration after she wins her tournament battles.”

“And if I refuse?” Robbie Ray asked.

“Then you will be in breach of contract.” Geese said as he looked at Jackson and Miley. Both children immediately held their parents tighter for protection as Geese seemed to sneer at them in intimidation. “And in so much debt your children will be paying it off.”

Robbie Ray just shrugged off Geese’s threat. “If it’s about money I have more than enough.”

“Oh it’s not money I will seek Mr Stewart. It’s your life, and the lives of your children.”

“What are you saying?” he asked,y not liking what he was hearing.

Geese smiled coldly as he laid it on the line.

“Simple. One night, or the rest of your family’s lives.” Geese kept his eyes on Miley and Jackson. His mind focused on plans for their future. His plans for the Stewart children’s future. Not theirs.

“I guess we stay then.” Robbie Ray said with a growl vowing that the conversation was not over, whether it was with Geese or with Robbie’s own agent.

Geese nodded. A wise choice, but if you are thinking of severing ties with your agent you should contact the rest of your family to see how they are. Your Aunt Dolly, your mother Ruthie, your brother Bobby Ray and his family Your darling daughter Miley and son Jackson. You never know when a tragedy will strike.” Robbie Ray’s blood ran cold. But Geese didn’t let up on the threats. “Go ahead, sever ties with your agent. If you think it’s worth it.”

Robbie Ray stared hard at Geese not hiding his anger. “This isn’t over.”

Geese just smiled, not not the least bit intimidated by the entertainer’s threat. “I assure you it’s only beginning Mr Stewart. Now please allow these gentlemen to escort you to your seats.”

Reluctantly the Stewarts followed and were guided to their seats in the Shadowboxes. Both Susan and Robbie Ray held onto their children for dear life. Especially as they watched the fighters in the ring circling it. Waiting.

Miley watched the fighters circle the Shadowboxes. One she saw terrified her. “Daddy there’s a scary man over there.”

Her brother Jackson added, “Just one?”

“You know I still don’t know why seem to be so smug about this.” JR stated.

“Well the look on your face when the opening match starts will be more than enough to make my day.” Heyman replied.

Just then Buffer came back out again. “Ladies and gentlemen. It is now time to begin the Lottery.”

“The Lottery ladies and gentlemen is real simple. Inside that sphere, sixteen identifiers, each one marked specifically with one of our sixteen teams competing in the tournament.” JR stated for the audience watching at their homes. “Michael Buffer will pull them out of the cylinder one at a time. For every two he pulls out, those two teams will fight against each other in the quarter preliminaries.”

“And I eagerly await to see how the luck of the draw will affect the tournament this year.” Heyman added.

Circling the ring were the teams taking part. Some were seasoned vets. Some were newcomers. Each team took the opportunity to measure up the opposing teams to their own. Buffer then reached in and pulled out the first two identifiers.

“Our first two teams who will also fight in the opening match of the tournament, the Lonely Wolves vs Team France.” Buffer said.

Terry looked across the ring to see who his competitors were. Team France locked eyes with the Lonely Wolves. The Lonely Wolves showed no intimidation. Team France tried not to show intimidation. But the looks the teammates gave one another showed they were VERY concerned about facing the Lonely Wolves.

“Our second match shall be Team Japan vs Team Yagami.”

Kyo and Iori locked eyes. Another round in their blood feud. Each one wishing it to be the last for reasons of their own. Cassie also hoped it would be the last as she looked down from the stands. In her Shadowbox, Kali was having similar thought.

~After rivers run with Ranger and Kusanagi blood.~

“Our third match shall be Team Nightfighter against Team Destiny.”

Laocorn looked over at Kincaid, hoping to size up him and his teammates, but found that they were carrying their emotions close to the chest, Kincaid especially. Laocorn could not read him.

And Kincaid liked it that way.

“Our fourth match shall be Team Lady Wolves vs Team USA.”

The main rivalry of this team was not between its captains, but between two of its members. Kat and Ivy looked across from each other while Ivy and Cassie kept tabs on the Kane boys.

“Our fifth match shall be Team Night Ranger and Team Okasa.”

All three members of Team Night Ranger, David, Sarah and Ken locked eyes with Kane. Sei Tin and Eiji figured that he was the threat the other team knew, which meant everything depended on them being unknowns.

“Our sixth match shall be Team Gorgeous against Team Korea.”

Team Gorgeous did not look at Team Korea, but instead waved to the crowd soaking in all the applause. Team Korea vowed that Team Gorgeous would pay for treating them as if they were unworthy of their intention. And they vowed to do it with a victory, and several more to follow.

“Our seventh match shall be Team Mexico to face Team China.”

Team China and Team Mexico just stared at each other. There was no great rivalry here. But that didn’t mean that there wouldn’t be one after the first round match was over.

“Our eighth and last quarter preliminary match shall be Team Ikari vs Team Thailand.”

Like before there didn’t seem to be much blood between the teams. But the night was still young. And both teams clearly were hungry for the win.

Minion studied Kat as she stood on the tournament floor. It didn’t seem so long ago that she was being tortured in his own prison dimension. Already he was reconsidering his plans for her… and for Kimberly. Still he was curious as to why Kat was taking part. He never knew her to be the karate tournament type of person. She was more for dance. Minion wondered just what circumstances would call for her to participate in a tournament such as this?

~And what would this participation entail?~ he mentally asked himself. He was still waiting for the answer to that question, eager for an answer.

He then studied her companions. A girl with brown hair with a lock of it green adorned with a green ball cap. By her side was a young Asian girl with a pink shirt dressed in some sort of fighting uniform. He did not know these girls, but wondered if there was not some sort of Ranger connection. Immediately Minion decided he would uncover the identities of these two girls and figure out what threats they could be to him. As Rangers or something else. He then viewed their names on the program he had with him. Alison Bogard and Cassie Chan. He would remember these names, and their faces. If they existed in his reality he would take steps to make sure they couldn’t pose a threat.

As Minion sat back his eyes were drawn to the audience and locked onto a girl who looked to be a dead ringer for Alison.

~Curious,~ Minion thought. ~A twin perhaps?~

He also noticed that by the girl’s side were her friends. And they were sat close to the Zeo and Morphin Rangers. He could sense that some of those seated near her were not quite human. He rapidly concluded that there was at least one team of Rangers there that he had not met and judging by the auras he could sense, Cassie Chan was likely a part of their little group.

He committed their faces to memory, determined he would find out their names and perhaps send either his Psycho Rangers or his lieutenants to pay them a visit. Minion wanted every one of his forces to know what threats there would be to him. So far even though the show had not started, Minion was forced to admit the experience had been educational. It was clear now that given time Earth would find additional Rangers and his task would grow more difficult. He resolved to put an end to his games with the captured Rangers as soon as he returned.

He then looked at the other competitors and their names provided for him on the complimentary program. He wanted to see what other names would leap out at him. Two caught his attention: Team Nightfighter and Team Night Ranger. The word Ranger was obvious but for some reason his mind linked the fact they included the word night.

As far as Minion knew there was no mention of the Night Rangers anywhere in the Council files, nor did anyone in the Alliance of Evil mention them. If such a team existed, why hadn’t he heard about them before?

“Well there you have it ladies and gentlemen the eight quarter prelim matches.” JR said.

“And what better way to kick off King of Fighters than to have such a team as the Lonely Wolves start it up for us? The only question I have to wonder is, will they be facing Team Japan or Team Yagami in the Quarter Finals?” Heyman said.

“Excuse me Paul but they still have to make it through this opening bout first.”

Paul was incredulous. “Are you out of your mind JR? All of the fighters in this team are beyond incredible, especially Terry Bogard. A three time King of Fighters Champion mind you. This man is called the Lone Wolf for a reason and very shortly you’ll see why he has earned that name.”

“Ladies and Gentlemen, at this time I can reveal that the winning team of this year’s tournament will receive one hundred million dollars and the title of ‘The King of Fighters’.”

The crowd cheered loudly. It wasn’t the idea of their favourite stars winning a lot of money, it was the knowledge that with such a huge prize on the line the competitors were bound to fight harder than ever.”

“Did you hear that JR?” Heyman asked. “Still think this is anything like pro-wrestling?”

“There’s a lot of money to be made,” JR agreed. “Let me run down the rules for the fans at home… Firstly each competitor has been given a badge featuring the emblem of the tournament. No matter what happens they must wear that emblem throughout their match. If they don’t they will be disqualified.”

“Excuse me JR,” Heyman interrupted. “That isn’t just a pretty badge. There are sensors inside that detect the heartbeat rate and blood flow of the participant while fighting.”

“And of course for our home viewers, our computer experts will be converting those readings and using the data to calculate each competitor’s battle ability, which will show on the big screen or your television sets as the Life Bar.”

“If you see the Power Bar creep up you can bet your about to see something special,” Heyman promised. “those badges also measure adrenaline if you get my drift.”

“Rule Two: If the winning team has an injured member, they can select a substitute, but only from a team that has already been defeated.”

“Rule Three: Each competitor has signed a waiver confirming that the Management takes no responsibility for any injuries or deaths that the participants may receive during this tournament,” Heyman chipped in. “And believe me folks it’s a good thing they have that clause.”

“Now I should remind people that this arena has been specially reinforced to withstand all attacks and that the pillars around the area are used to absorb and stray energy… are you kidding me?”

“You’re starting to sound like Monsoon,” Heyman quipped.

In the arena, Buffer had finished his speech and the show was ready to begin. “Ladies and gentlemen! LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!”

The applause filled the room as JR and Heyman made ready to introduce the first match. JR spoke first. “Well we have our first opening match according to the lottery. It is the team of the Lonely Wolves vs three newcomers in Team France.”

Heyman seemed to laugh at the mention of Team France. “Oh JR I can’t help thinking Team France is going to start wishing they were somewhere else very soon. I mean, Team France? What do these kids think they are going to get?”

“Glory for their country?” JR asked. “Recognition?”

“Oh they will be recognized all right JR” Heyman said. “But let me tell you. Team France is no different than a lot of other young bucks that came this way. They think winning a King of Fighters tournament, let alone taking part in one is a big thing. What they don’t realize is that it’s not winning the tournament that’s important; it’s surviving it!”

JR felt a chill as he believed Heyman knew what he was talking about. Regardless he went back to commentary starting with Team France.

“Well looking at Team France’s roster. It consists of three members. Matthew Oulette, Colin Bauvair and their captain Francis Robain. All mixed martial arts specialist with Robain even doing a tour in the UFC.”

“Oh JR by the time Francis gets through with this fight he will wish he was back in the UFC. And he will think the UFC is a cakewalk.” Heyman said as an orchestra sound echoed throughout the arena. Three young Frenchmen stood in the doorway dressed in their national colours holding a French flag. The arena booed immediately.

“What is this the World Wrestling Federation?” Heyman asked. “Who let this circus act in here?”

JR didn’t answer as the three fighters entered the ring raking in the boos as if they were in something that came from the bowels of sports-entertainment. They then demonstrated a few martial arts moves as if showing if they had some prowess, before they waited for their opponents to come.

After a few seconds of silence the song “Fly away my hero,” filled the arena followed by a loud roar of the crowd. As the crowd went wild with applause the Lonely Wolves made their way to the ring. JR was amazed as to how much of a reaction the Lonely Wolves got. “It’s like Hulk Hogan entered this arena.” JR commented.

“Terry Bogard is light years away from Hogan.” Heyman said. “And Terry has more hair than Hogan.”

JJR nodded in agreement to that. All three Lonely Wolves were in the ring as Joe Higashi was demonstrating to the crowd, giving the audience a bit of a show. He then looked at the three Frenchmen who looked unimpressed.

~They will be very impressed after this.~ Joe thought as he went to stand with his team. “So who wants to go first?” Joe asked.

Terry looked over to his brother. “How about you start it off this time Andy.”

Andy nodded. “Good idea. Especially considering who we’ll most likely be fighting after this match.”

Joe then grimaced as he realized it really didn’t matter who won the fight between Team Japan and Team Yagami. It was going to be a fight to the finish against either of them and they needed to have Terry ready to go head to head against either Kyo or Iori.

~Put it out of your mind Bogard,~ Andy thought as he took the ring centre. ~Focus on the here and now.~

The three members of Team France talked and they decided that Francis would lead first. Francis thought he would lead by example as he destroyed Andy Bogard. Francis took the position across from Andy as the referee made ready to start the match.


Francis crossed up to Andy and launched a series of front and side kicks followed by a reverse punch. Andy blocked most of the blows, but his life bar did take a drop. Andy did not retaliate yet as he stepped back, allowing Francis to get more space.

“What’s going on?” Joe asked. “Why is Andy taking this guy’s shots?”

Terry just smiled. He had an idea what to expect from his brother. “Wait for it.”

Francis meanwhile was still giving his strikes with Andy still blocking. His bar still took some slight nudges, but nothing major. Finally Francis broke away milking the crowd as if saying “Look at me. Look at my superiority.” That was when Andy made his move.

Andy came at Francis with a series of punches that knocked Francis off his game. So hard were the punches that the life bar registered Francis as taking severe drops in energy. Andy then followed up with a side kick and a roundhouse kick before giving his final strike.

“ZAN EN KEN!” Andy struck down Francis right in his jaw and he didn’t even get up. Andy looked down in contempt at his opponent. ~Arrogant fool. Never let your guard down.~

“A NEW King of Fighters record for the fastest KO! Just over two seconds!” Heyman shouted from the announcer’s desk.

Francis was escorted from the ring as Matthew came in. Since Team France lost their leader Matthew decided he would bring glory to France. The glory was short lived as Matthew gave his own punch kick combos that were blocked by Andy. Andy then rushed Matthew delivering his own combos weakening Matthew significantly, before delivering another finishing move.

“SHO RYU DAN!” Andy took Matthew down with his flying punch. Matthew also never got up.

“What the hell?” JR shouted.

Heyman just said “And there’s still one left.”

It was Colin’s cue to enter the fight. He started by attacking with his own ki based attack.

“DRUID BEAM!” Colin shouted as it knocked Andy back. Andy took a severe blow knocking him back and allowing Colin to get in his own combos. Colin struck hard and fast knocking Andy down, but not out. Colin decided he would give Andy the Druid beam as his own KO. Then he would defeat Terry Bogard and Joe Higashi.

“DRUID BEAM!” Colin shouted as a beam came from his hand. Andy however gathered enough of his awareness to retaliate from Colin’s strike.

“HI SHO KEN!” Andy then used his own ki move to counter Colin’s Druid Beam which was negated and Colin was stunned. He tried to see just in time for Andy to handspring himself into a jumping kick to knock him back and then landed a Zan Ei Ken to finish the job.

Then, as quick as it started the match was over. Colin was KOed, and Andy stood as the victor. Terry and Joe never had to enter the ring.

“Winners… The Lonely Wolves!” Buffer said still in shock.

Heyman, feeling smug and full of himself, looked on at JR. “So NOW what do you have to say JR?”

JR was tongue-tied to say the least. “And that was only one guy. I shudder to think what the other two will do.”

“Oh you’ll find out soon enough JR. Everyone will,” Heyman said. He was smiling. And JR knew Heyman was telling the truth about that.

On the viewing monitor Kincaid, Cassandra and Bruce were watching the first round match. Bruce and Cassandra seemed awestruck by what they saw. Kincaid however kept his poker face on.

“What the bloody hell was that?” Bruce asked.

“It was a power of some sort.” Cassandra said. “I seemed to sense a powerful aura around the competitors as I was in the locker room.”

“How powerful?” Kincaid asked.

“Well for some it wasn’t that powerful, but with others it was plenty powerful. I’m not sure how we can win this thing with auras like that.” Cassandra stated.

“We’ll just have to be creative that’s all.” Kincaid said. Bruce and Cassandra both shot Kincaid a look of ‘What?’ and Kincaid quickly explained. “It’s obvious we can’t morph here. But Cassandra, you do have some civilian powers that can be used, namely your telepathy and telekinesis. You may have to be creative with them.”

Cassandra asked how ‘creative’ she had to be and Kincaid quickly explained.

“Are you sure? I’ve never used my powers in that fashion.”

“It’ll work.” Kincaid then turned to Bruce and said his peace. “You remember those special moves you were experimenting with?” Bruce went wide eyed as he understood what Kincaid was implying.

“I’ve only been experimenting with them Jeff. I haven’t had a chance to try them in actual battle, or as it would seem to be here, ‘competition.”

Kincaid understood but said, “This will be the test.”

“What about you Jeff?” Cassandra asked. “You do realize that you may have to deal with some of these ki users.”

Kincaid let out a smirk and said, “Don’t worry about me. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve yet.” With that all three Nightfighters left the viewing room and made ready to go to their first match.

There was a strange mix of surprise and awe throughout the audience. Those that had seen a tournament before were a little taken back at the speed of the battle, while those who had not witnessed such an event were shocked at the demonstration of power. While some thought it was all an illusion, other recognised the skill involved in such a fight and were suitably impressed. The Rangers were no exception; Tommy and Jason were taken aback by how what they had thought to be a simply fight tournament was turning into a real eye opener. Though clearly different there were some similarities between the techniques they had seen and the methods used by the Morphin Rangers.

“Bro, I don’t know what to make of that,” Jason said wrapping the aftermath of the battle in his mind.d.

Tommy had to think about what he had seen. But his thoughts were turned in a different direction. Was it possible that some of the Rangers could do what Terry and the Lonely Wolves had done. He remembered something similar when they had fought the Dragon Master. Could they isolate those techniques and draw on them in civilian life? Something told him it was possible.

“Don’t ask me why Jase, but I think there’s a lot more to that ‘Children of the Dragon’ prophesy than we already know. I think we need to know everything there is to know about it.”

Jason nodded in agreement. “You think the prophesy will have something to do with this tournament?”

“And us being part of it.” Tommy answered. “We need to talk to Zordon about this as soon as we can.”

Jason nodded remembering what he heard about the prophesy. How a few Rangers united by blood and friendship would band together in a show of power that would never be forgotten in a battle unlike all others. Now he felt that perhaps the tournament was where that battle would take place.

While Tommy and Jason were considering what the tournament might mean to them, the Astro Rangers were thinking about the glimpse they had been given into the world one of their teammates was now a part of. And for Ashley it was a reason to be even more concerned since not only was her friend involved, but her sister too.

“Man.” Ashley said. “I didn’t think people could do stuff like that.”

“There’s a lot of stuff humans can do,” Andros said. “But even I have not seen anything like that. Especially in regards to Earth humans.”

“Is that why villains are so hot to conquer Earth?” Carlos asked. “Because of stuff like that?”

“No, not completely,” Sabrina replied. “It’s not so much what they can do, but how much potential they have if they were to develop those powers further. And it’s not just the UAE. This sort of thing has drawn the attention of other parties.”

“Like those Q and Iblis?” TJ guessed.

“And others,” Sabrina told him. “Despite how insignificant they claim this world to be, this planet has been making a lot of noise in recent years. It might even have drawn the attention of some that we haven’t met yet.”

That gave the Astros something to think about as they waited to see what would happen next.t.

Master Mao had watched the event with interest. The powers had been raw and unrefined, but it had shown what had had long suspected, that humans could tap the Power directly. He could see from the look on his friend’s face that Master Phant had understood the importance of the last battle. His other companion, RJ, was too young to understand what he had seen, but like all present he understood that it had been spectacular.

“Whoa Master.” RJ said after a while of replaying the battle in his mind. “What skill was that?”?”

“They drew power from the life force of the planet and channelled it through their bodies,” Master Mao explained.

“Or at least one did,” Master Phant corrected. “The other was using his own life force to accomplish the same thing.”

“A powerful yet dangerous alternative.” Master Mao agreed. “If their spirit is not strong enough to endure, exhaustion would kill them.”

“Will I be able to do that?” RJ asked.

“One day, perhaps,” Master Phant said. “But our way is more refined. We do not snatch the power around us or drain ourselves, we ask nature to provide us with a spirit guide, a link that we can draw on. In time you will discover you animal guide and learn how to use it safely.”

Cam Watanabe did not think of the battle he had seen as a matter of spirits and flashing lights. He could see the energy flows as they travelled through the body and how they connected with the world around them. He was amazed by the patterns and the intensity. But it was an amazement not shared by his parents. They looked at the battle with a deep sense of concern. They had hoped that they would learn the techniques, but now they queried whether there was a set technique to what they had seen or whether the participants were making it up as they went along.

“Such power.” Mirai said. “So wonderful and terrible at the same time.”

Kanoi said nothing as he silently agreed with his wife. He did notice however Mirai holding onto Cameron for dear life.

Cameron for his part welcomed the embrace but wondered what the problem was. The Lonely Wolves won the first match. What could the problem be? Cameron would find out the problem soon enough.

“Is this really a good idea sir?” Spenser asked. He had watched the first fight and had been impressed, but couldn’t understand why his employer found it so fascinating. “I mean: how does this help us?”

Mr Hartford looked up from his laptop. “That was just an example of what people are capable of Spenser. Imagine if we could find somebody with those skills to accompany us on the quest for the Corona Aurora.”

“I can see the logic in that Sir, but I can’t help but ask: are you sure that the Corona Aurora needs to be found? It seems to be doing just fine where is is/”

Mr Hartford shook his head. It was something he had asked himself repeatedly. “I hope not, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, does it? Besides, I’ve been paying for one of these boxes for the last three years. It seems right that we actually use it.”

Spenser nodded and sat back. Despite his reservations, it was an enjoyable show so far.

“They don’t show stuff like this in Sunday School. Yee haw!” Jackson shouted.

In their own seats the Stewarts were stunned by what they saw. And it seemed that while Robbie Ray and Susan could see why this sort of thing wasn’t shown in Sunday School, Miley and Jackson considered it to be one of the coolest things ever. Robbie Ray and Susan were wide-eyed with horror. Never had they seen a sight like they had before. The show of power. The brutality. There would have been some that would have called the King of Fighters, and what it’s fighters could do unnatural.

~Unnatural or not I don’t want to get on anyone’s bad side if I can help it.~ Robbie Ray thought as he sat back down holding Miley. She seemed to be enjoying the show herself, which scared Robbie Ray. As he saw her cheer for what was happening he felt like he saw part of the little girl she was die inside her. As if the light of her soul was being replaced by a dark bloodlust, or was starting to.

Robbie Ray looked at his wife Susan and saw the same look of fear in her eyes. Fear for her children, especially Miley. They always believed it was her destiny to bring hope to the world. What hope could she bring if she embraced the darkness of the world to the point that it consumed her?

~Is this what Geese wanted?~ Robbie Ray wondered. ~To turn my kids into monsters that enjoy brutality?~

He would have left right then and there, but he caught sight of the two bruiser guards at the exit. And the sight of those guards caused him to remain in his seat. For now. Robbie Ray Stewart then decided he couldn’t wait for the tournament to end. So he could get out fast, get home, and fire his agent for setting up the King of Fighters gig.

In her Shadowbox, Kali observed the reactions of the others. Terry Bogard had won his first round battle, but then what else was new?

Kali considered what she had seen and what if any new information she had learnt.

“And just think, the tournament is only beginning,” she chuckled. “I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

It was a thoughtful Minion that stared out at the arena and tried to maintain his composure. He had seen many things during his campaign. He understood the power of the Rangers, the JLA and the other assorted heroes… but he recognised that this was something he had yet to fully comprehend. It was new, it was different and it was a humbling realisation that he not seen everything. It was also slightly unsettling to realise he didn’t know how to interpret this turn of events.

However he recognised that that it represented both a threat and maybe an opportunity. If he could learn to master the energy he had seen the gains would be sizeable, but until then there was a chance those power could be used against him. So it came down to a choice of either learning how to use the powers or finding a way to neutralise them.

His mind turned to Terry Bogard and his teammates. ~Your little demonstration has been insightful Mr Bogard. I guess in order to start a show one has to get the audience’s attention. And you DEFINITELY have Minion’s attention.~

There was much more to watch and to learn. Minion had no doubt that before he departed there would be more to learn.

Back at the announcers desk, JR was trying to find the words to explain what was just seen and what would come next. Heyman however had no shortage of words.

“Now JR if you thought the first match was off the chain, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Heyman said. “Especially with the next match to come.”

“I’m not sure I could handle another surprise.” JR said.

Heyman managed to prevent himself from laughing “You’ll have to JR because the next two teams have members that have been in a feud for a very long time. Team Yagami, and their leader Iori Yagami, have had it in for Team Japan’s Kyo Kusanagi for years. This tournament has been the latest stop on their tour. But Iori will look to make sure it’s Kusanagi’s last stop if he gets his way.”

In the corridor leading to the arena, Team Japan made their way to the ring. Off to one side team captain Kyo Kusanagi, along with his teammates Benimaru Nikaido and Goro Daimon, noticed the approach of Cassie and her teammates.

“Kyo!” Cassie said as she rushed to embrace her cousin. Kyo hugged Cassie back, wishing her luck.

Benimaru looked at Alison and nodded. “Good luck out there. This will be your first time you know.”

“First time competing. Not the first time I’ve seen a King of Fighters fight.” Alison said.

“Still be careful.” Goro said. “All of you.”

His gaze lingered on Katherine in her King of Fighters fighting gear. She looked like a fighter, but there still seemed to be a part of her that was out of place in the King of Fighters environment. He hoped it was first time jitters from Kat.

“I know.” Kat said, sensing what Goro was thinking. “I may not know this type of fighting too well, but neither does Ivy. She may have been taught by Geese, and have Billy and Daniel to back her up. But I’ve had my own teachers, and I have some good back up of my own.” She looked at Alison and Cassie.

Kyo nodded. He could sense that Kat at least believed what she was saying.

“Watch your backs, and each other’s,” he said.

All three Lady Wolves nodded indicating they would. Kyo then went to Cassie and took her hands into his own looking to say one last thing.

“Cassie whatever happens to me out there focus on only one thing: your match against Ivy. Promise me that.”

“I promise.” Cassie said hoping she could keep her word. She loved Kyo and didn’t want to see anything bad happen to him. Kyo nodded and the rest of Team Japan went to the ring ready to begin their fight. Alison put her hand on Cassie’s shoulder understanding her conflict. She had seen how battles between Kusanagi and Yagami could be, and knew Cassie had too.

“All we can do is hope,” Alison said.

“Hope will not save your cousin.”. Alison, Cassie and Kat turned and saw Iori Yagami, with his two lady teammates Mature and Vice by his side. Neither woman’s demeanour suggested they were there to make friends. Cassie had heard the stories of Mature and Vice from Kyo, so she knew they were the very definition of cruel and ruthless. That they were women just made them more eager to prove how vicious they could be. Close up, Cassie agreed with Kyo’s description.

Iori walked over to Kat and offered his hand. “I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure. My name is Iori Yagami.”

“I’ve heard of you.” Kat said placing her hand in Iori’s as Iori then kissed it like a gentleman.

“That’s probably the last civilized thing you will see Iori do,” Cassie warned.

“I am besieged by Kusanagi.” Iori said in contempt as he noticed Cassie.

“Newsflash Iori, you’re no prize either.” Alison said.

Iori glared at Alison who didn’t back down. In the end he smirked. “Bogard has taught you well. You show no intimidation.” He then looked at Cassie. “It is a shame you are of Kusanagi blood. It means when I kill Kyo I must kill you next.”

Like Alison, Cassie showed no intimidation. But her next words shocked Iori. “You’re welcome to try, if your cousin Kali doesn’t try to kill me first.”

That got Iori’s attention. He spun back around and looked at Cassie curiously. “What are you talking about? Who is this Kali and why do you call her my cousin?”

“She is a Yagami that has your power, and your insanity,” Cassie explained.

Mature and Vice shot each other a look for a second, but Iori was in disbelief. “No. Impossible. There are no female Yagami.”

“There are too Iori.” Alison said as the Lady Wolves turned and walked away leaving Iori and his teammates with much to think about.

~A female Yagami? Alive?~


“She’s around somewhere.” Alison said. “I won’t say who it is though. None of us will.”

“Why not?” Iori asked with a touch of anger in his voice. His hands enveloped in purple fire.

“You really want me to answer that?” Alison asked. “Would you tell Cassie if the situation was reversed?”

Iori snorted and then brushed off the Lady Wolves as he, Mature and Vice walked to the ring. They had to prepare for the battle.

Alison did give one last call out to Mature. “Nice knockers.”

Mature didn’t respond.

The music played as Team Japan entered the ring. Heyman introduced Kyo, Benimaru and Goro as they came to the ring. Applause filled the air as Team Japan stood in the entranceway.

All three members took in the applause as if they were gifts from their fans. Kyo smiled, taking in the love and affection. As did Benimaru and Goro as they came to the ring and turned back to the entrance. They wanted to get as much applause as they could until their opponents came out, which they knew would be soon.

Suddenly the arena then became deathly silent as Iori’s music filled the arena. Team Yagami was making its approach. Iori Yagami took the lead flanked by Mature and Vice. The expressions of Mature and Vice were all business. While Iori’s was contorted into a mask of rage and anger directed towards his adversary, Kyo Kusanagi.

His attention was diverted for a brief moment as he sensed a presence. He looked up at the audience sensing someone. Someone familiar. Someone of Yagami power. He thought he sensed someone in the shadowboxes, but couldn’t tell who. Iori continued to look around until his eyes locked with someone else in the stands.

It was Trini Kwan.

Trini and Iori locked eyes as if seeing into one another’s souls. Neither one truly understanding the bond between them. But Iori knew enough. Trini was of Yagami blood, even though she did not truly embrace her power yet. Iori then walked to the ring breaking the gaze. He laughed the rest of the way.

Back in the stands Kimberly looked at Trini concerned for her friend. “Trini, you okay?”

Trini turned to look at Kim and just looked like a deer caught in the headlights. “I don’t know Kim. I don’t know what I felt.”

Trini had a hard time putting her feelings towards the gaze into focus. It was like she was staring into the eyes of rage and madness. And the fire, Trini felt the fire burning not only in Iori, but herself as well.

And the horrifying thing about it was that Trini liked it. It was a part of her. A part calling to her.

~No. You promised your mom. That path leads only to darkness.~ Trini thought. She then turned her gaze back to the fight. Wondering what would happen next.

But for a brief moment she looked down at her own hand. For a second it glowed with purple fire. Tempting her, until she turned back to the match.

Iori and his team made it to the other side of the ring facing Kyo and Team Japan. Iori then stepped forward looking to start things out. JR mentioned that perhaps Iori had some chivalry in him as he didn’t want the women Mature and Vice to get too horribly beaten by three men.

“Chivalry JR?” Heyman all but laughed at that. “There’s nothing chivalrous about Iori. He just went first because he wants Kyo Kusanagi. And if he has to go through the rest of Team Japan to do it, he will.”

Iori stood in the fight circle. Benimaru and Goro were talking with Kyo indicating that they would start first in order to protect Kyo. Kyo shook his head no. “You don’t need to sacrifice yourself for me.”

“Won’t be much of a sacrifice if we soften him up for you.” Benimaru said as he went to the fight circle. He faced Iori looking to start things out.


“NO!!!” Iori called out as he looked at Benimaru. “I will not fight you.” Benimaru looked confused until Iori pointed at the person he wanted to fight. Kyo. “Leave the ring.” Iori said. “Get Kyo in here. Or I will not be merciful to you.”

Benimaru was about to tell Iori what to do with his orders until Kyo grabbed his shoulder.

“It’s all right Ben. I’ll do it.”

Benimaru then went back to the side as Kyo took his place facing Iori. The referee then signalled for the match to restart.


“SHIKI ONIYAKI!” Iori shouted as he leapt into the air in a spinning motion leaving a wide trail of flame following his hand. All of it directed at Kyo who ducked out of the way of the lethal flaming strike and followed it up with a simple uppercut. Iori was left flying back across the ring and landed hard on the ground at the feet of Mature and Vice.

To say that Iori felt humiliated was an understatement. Such humiliation filled his rage even more than his hatred for Kyo did alone. Iori went back to his feet only for Kyo to land in a few rapid strikes. Crosses, uppercuts, even punches no one could even think of naming. Kyo then followed it up with another ki move.

“SHIKI DOKU KAMI!” Kyo shouted as he launched straightforward flaming fists. Kyo’s fists hit Iori hard. Iori was disoriented.

Up above in the Shadowbox Kali glared at Iori. “Finish him Iori! Don’t let a Kusanagi get the better of you.”

Iori seemed to hear the words as he launched his own strike “AOI HANA” at Kyo. Soon Kyo was knocked back with two uppercuts and an axe handle blow.

Kyo and Iori then went at it neck and neck. They fought with flame powers and regular fighting skill. Each one not getting the better of the other. Each one keeping it dead even. Kyo then looked at the clock and found time was running out. Kyo decided to end the fight quickly.

“ONI-YAKI!” Kyo then struck at Iori with only a few seconds left.

Unfortunately it had been a ploy set up by Iori. He jumped back and attacked, “YAMI-BARAI!”

Kyo couldn’t defend until he landed and when he did the projectile struck him.

Iori could smell blood. “This is the end Kusanagi…” he promised as he charged up all of his power and prepared himself. “SHIKI YAOTOME!!!” He was using his Desperation Move, the Maiden Smasher. He started to savagely attack Kyo with his hands there like claws as he just kept cutting into Kyo’s body and causing injury to him until finally the attack had an explosive ending and Kyo was sent to the ground hard.

Iori just smiled down at the fallen Kusanagi. In fact, he was about ready to start his infamous laugh until Buffer announced, “Winners… Team Japan!”

Iori’s head snapped forward as he rushed Michael Buffer and grabbed him by the throat. “WHAT? WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”

“I… I don’t make the rulings… the referee did…” Buffer pointed to the one that told him the decision. Iori threw Buffer down and approached the referee.

“Time expired before your last move hit and you attacked him even after it was over. None of the damage your move caused counts. And since his bar was greater than yours, Kyo Kusanagi and his team are the winners. Now deal with it boy.”

It was then that Paul Heyman took off his hat and said a prayer for the referee. JR asked what he was doing. “Just watch for another ten seconds you’ll see why I just said a prayer.” Heyman responded.

Iori’s own anger was just over flowing at this. “How dare you… how dare you, you pathetic excuse for a man… ONI-YAKI!” Iori attacked the ref with his move and on impact he shattered four of his ribs. When the ref landed on the ground he was not moving. Iori then went over to Kyo’s body and started to kick it. “Get up! Get up and face me damn you!”

Kyo wasn’t moving.

“Our war isn’t some stupid contest Kusanagi! It has no pathetic rules like this one! How you obtained your victory so cheaply! I beat you Kyo Kusanagi! And when we fight again outside of this tournament I’ll finish the job by killing you!” Iori shouted. Vice and Mature finally came over and started to pull him away but then Iori knocked them aside and grunted before walking off.

Some people were stupid enough to try to jump him. Such as gun happy security men or crazy as hell fans. They should be thankful he only beat them with one move instead of killing them.


The area around Iori was left with bodies of security men and fans that woke up to reality. Painful reality. Iori then turned away and walked through the entrance. Watching him walk was Trini.

“You all right Trini?” Kimberly asked again.

Trini looked on at what happened in horror and disbelief. She wasn’t even sure she would ever be all right again. She saw what Iori had done. And what Iori had done was something Trini herself could do. If she allowed herself to.

~I understand Mom. I really do. I will never embrace the Yagami power in me.~

She hoped that she would be able to keep that promise.

Up in her Shadowbox however Kali looked at what Iori had done, and smiled. Yet she had also been disappointed in Iori.

“Oh Iori. Your fire could burn so much brighter. Just as bright as mine.” She then looked at her own hand as it was engulfed in purple flame. She then cast a look down in the stands to where Trini was sitting.

“Just as bright as yours will cousin.” Kali promised as she sat back in her chair and laughed. She stopped briefly as she felt another presence as she looked around the Shadowboxes. Her gaze falling on one in particular.

For a brief moment she felt a wave of fear. The next moment she resumed her hysterical laughing.

Minion saw Iori Yagami’s show. Intense was one word he would have used. Insane was another. But he noticed that Iori took notice of a voice shouting out to him. A voice Minion himself knew. ~But that cannot be. Trini is in the stands with her Ranger friends. Not in the Shadowboxes.~ Minion had his suspicions about who the voice belonged to, but he didn’t see how it could be possible. What would one of his Psycho Ranger replicas be doing here? ~Curious.~ he thought. He seemed to be thinking that a lot.

Looking around the Shadowboxes, Minion took a look at the clientele that were watching from the special balcony section. Many boxes were sealed with tainted glass, but there were a few faces he could detect. None of them seemed familiar to him though, until he saw one box in particular.

Or rather the occupant of it. He recognised the magic surrounding her even though it had clearly faded over time; it was his own.


Minion noticed the former Ranger duplicate sitting with an entourage beside her. She looked so different from the being Minion had corrupted. When he sabotaged Zordon’s flesh avatar replicas of the Power Rangers and created Triini she was created to be a dead ringer for the Yellow Morphin Ranger, but her personality had been a makeshift distortion of the original Trini Kwan. There had been no finesse, he had just ripped away the parts of her personality that resembled Trini and emphasised the negative aspects.

~No, that isn’t how it happened,~ he reminded himself. His eyes widened. It was clear he was remembering events from not only his reality, but those that had occurred here too. The Triini he had created had been a complex creation, so complex he couldn’t say which of the many methods he used had finally dominated her genetic makeup. In this reality though Triini had been a creation of Zordon corrupted by Minion based on the spell that had created him.

Trini Kwan was a smart individual who assisted Billy with experiments, translated his tech-speak for him and even loved him, albeit from afar. In his reality he had taken that love and had twisted it into lust.

Taking a look at Triini, Minion noted that she was different from either set of memories. Her hair was cut short and purple. Her eyes looked blood red and had an insane tint about them. It was clear that she had become more than he had originally intended. And as he assimilated the foreign memories into his own he realised that one of the reasons was his own failure. In his reality he had built the Psycho Rangers with himself as their primary focus, destroying the Power Rangers as a secondary purpose and survival as a close third. It seemed that his other reality counterpart had focussed on the need to destroy the Rangers as their sole priority. That meant that when they were left without his guidance, they had continued with their task and adapted to complete it.

This clearly was no longer just a flesh replica. Triini was now a whole new person. And as Minion looked on he saw the logo on her jacket, the same logo that Iori Yagami had worn, another piece of the puzzle slotted into place.

~What is the meaning of this?~ Minion asked. ~What has happened to Triini?~

As if sensing Minion’s presence and questions the replica Triini, or as she was known now, Kali, turned in Minion’s direction and smiled as she waved a glass of champagne in salute. He could see the slight mocking in the gesture. It was clear she did not consider him her master. She then brought forth her hand and ignited the purple flames that were part of her power and a part of her being.

Despite the aggravation of seeing the changes Triini had been through, Minion was intrigued by the flames that came from her hand. They were the same flames that came from Iori . It was clear that she was sending him a warning that she believed she could harm him. And as he searched his memory and found that this version of Triini did not have the spells placed on her to punish disobedience, Minion had to believe that her threat had some merit.

Still, Minion wondered if she had not inherited the madness from the fighter below, Iori Yagami. Minion then decided she must have if she broke away from the program Minion laid out. Or not. As he thought about it he realised that his creations had been programmed to act in a certain way and to serve him. But if he had somehow died? That would explain the changes. Triini hadn’t changed. She had evolved.

And with that settled for the time being, Minion started to see the possibilities.

He thought of the idea of Trini having such a dark power within her. The possibility was intriguing and unexpected. Minion always felt that if the Rangers fell from the inside it would have been Tommy that caused it. Never did anyone consider Trini as capable of such evil. He thought of his Triini and tried to compare her with the insane monster sitting not far away from him.

In the end it came down to one question: ~How did Trini come to possess such dark power?~ he asked himself.

Minion did not need to ask why if she knew about the power, Trini had never used it? He felt the answer there was obvious. But Triini would likely see it as a means to an end and happily use it to her advantage. Minion’s eyes travelled to Iori Yagami as he considered Trini and Kali. He didn’t have ALL the answers to this strange puzzle of power, but his mind was already turning as to ways of how the power could be put to use.

If Miley and Jackson thought the first match was exhilarating they were horrified after seeing the second. Especially as they saw how brutally Iori attacked Kyo. Miley then hugged her father and pleaded “Daddy take me home. I don’t want to see anymore.”

Robbie Ray held his daughter tight. He didn’t want to see anymore either, but he and his family had to stay until the end. “Patience darlin’. It’ll be over soon.” he said as if promising her.

He only hoped he could keep that promise.

Back in the ring Benimaru and Daimon were by Kyo’s side. They tried to see if he was awake and coherent. Slowly but surely he was coming to consciousness.

“Did I win?” Kyo asked with a smile.

“You don’t look like a winner, but yeah you won.” Goro said. Benimaru however was concerned about Kyo’s health. “You sure you’re okay?”

“Just let me rest for a bit.” Kyo said. “I’ll be healed enough for the next match.”

“Good luck.” Benimaru said. “That will be against Terry’s team.”

Kyo smiled. “Good, at least we get worthy opponents.”

Benimaru and Goro laughed at Kyo’s remark and knew he hadn’t lost his sense of humour. They knew he would be okay by the quarter-finals.

As Kyo was helped up by Benimaru and Daimon, he could only wonder what was to happen next. Not just in the tournament, but in his own life.

“Oh man.” Cassidy said as she looked down from the rafters.

“You’re not kidding.” Zhane said.

“Shouldn’t you be with the rest of your team or something?” Skull asked, noting Zhane’s arrival.

Zhane tried to look innocent and said, “I’m just looking for the right place to get snacks. I’m told they are good on this side.”

“That’s not the only thing on this side right?” Bulk asked sarcastically as he looked at Cassidy, and then at Zhane, who appeared to be trying to do an impression of a puppy dog. Cassidy noticed and rolled her eyes.

“Zhane now would not be a good time to flirt with me.” Cassidy said. Zhane backed away as Cassidy gave a small smile out the corner of her mouth. ~Didn’t mean I didn’t like it.~

In the seats at ringside Karone spied Cassidy and Zhane. Zhane was being his usual charming self as Karone put it and Cassidy seemed to be indifferent, but she knew Cassidy was enjoying it. ~A woman knows these things.~ Karone thought.

Especially in regards to Cassidy Bridges. Karone had unfinished business with her… or at least Artemis did.

“You okay?” Leo asked shaking Karone out of her mental state.

“Yeah Leo. Just thought I saw someone.” Karone turned her attention back to the tournament as she thought about her next plan for Cassidy. ~Turning her into a spider might not be a bad idea. Or better yet, a spider monster.~

Karone decided she would table that line of thinking for now. She was with Leo and wanted to enjoy that. The fights however were satisfying her curiosity as well.

Especially since one of the fights would feature two of her Astro Ranger adversaries.

Outside the dressing room of Team Japan, Alison and Kat stood waiting for their third team mate to exit. Few seconds later Cassie had come out of the dressing room.

How’s Kyo?” Alison asked.

“He’ll be okay.” Cassie said. “Iori worked him over good, but he’ll be up to facing Terry.”

Alison nodded hoping Kyo would be okay. Terry may have been her cousin, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t concerned about Kyo as well.

“We’d better get ready for our match.” Kat said.

Cassie and Alison agreed as they walked down a nearby hallway that led to a loading area.

As Cassie, Alison and Kat were making their way to the ladies locker room they came across Kincaid’s red motorcycle parked nearby. It closely resembled a Harley Davidson, but there was something about it that caught the attention. Cassie and Alison seemed taken in by the bike and Kat followed them.

“Wow look at this ride,” Alison said, looking over every part of the bike. “I wonder whose it is?”

Kat however seemed to recognise. For some reason it seemed familiar to her, as if she had seen it before but couldn’t place where.

“You’re right Alison, this bike is cool. I wonder who the owner is,” Cassie remarked.

A voice then came from behind. “That would be me.” Cassie and Alison both looked up while Kat turned around, her mouth dropping open when she saw who it was.

“You!” she said. “I saw your name on the roster, but I didn’t think it would actually be you.”

“I was invited,” Kincaid told her with a shrug. “The person who sent me the invitation said something was about to happen and that I needed to see what it was. These are my two teammates, Cassandra Jensen and Bruce Greene.”

Cassandra and Bruce introduced themselves and Alison and Cassie returned the greeting. Kincaid stared at Alison and Alison wondered why he was looking at her like that. “I hope you’re not thinking of doing something you’re not supposed to be doing.”

“No,” Kincaid said. “It’s just that you remind me of someone I know. Can you tell me a little about yourself? I want to compare you to the you I know.”

Alison had a puzzled look on her face as she tried to make sense of his words. But she couldn’t see any harm in answering and soon told him her life story. When she was finished Kincaid nodded.

“I guess she did turn out better here than where we came from,” Cassandra stated.

“No,” Kincaid corrected, “just different. In either case she made the best of what she had with what she was given.”

Alison looked like she was going to ask what he meant by that, but Bruce warned her not to. “Better you don’t know. Let’s just say the story Kincaid would share is not as pleasant.”

Then he and Cassandra made their way to the ramp that headed for the ring as Kincaid got on his Harley and started it.

“It was good to see you Kat,” Kincaid said. “Break a leg.”

Then he rode off towards the ramp ready to make his entrance leaving Cassie, Alison and Kat staring wide eyed.

“That is one scary guy,” Cassie said.

“You said it.” Kat added. “And believe it or not that was him when he is trying not to be scary. You should see him fight.” Kat then began to explain how she had met Kincaid and the events that had led to Jessie Belle’s death at the hands of Robert Harper, a man that had killed her for no other reason than hurting him.

“That Harper sounds like a sicko.” Alison said. “I hope the Harper isn’t related to him.”

“Your Harper is probably more well balanced than the one I saw.” Kat said. “Now let’s find the locker room. This is one fight I want to see,” Cassie and Alison all agreed and proceeded to find the girls’ locker room post-haste.

Minion sat waiting for the next match to start. As he sat he read the program looking through the names of the teams, and the names of the participants on those teams. Two of those team names captured his attention, especially as he saw the name of someone he knew who was on Team Destiny: Katherine Hillard.

His mind was still turning as to why Kat would be in one of these tournaments, let alone on a team. Could this be another show of power? This strange power seen from the Lonely Wolves and Iori Yagami? Could Kat have a similar power? As Minion continued to think about Kat and her teammates his mind turned to the team she would be facing.

“Team Lady Wolves vs. Team Destiny,” Minion said looking at the program again. He may have had questions about the teammates Kat had been allied with, but he did not know anything about the opponents. This Team USA. He saw the names on it: Ivy Howard, Daniel Kane, and Billy Kane.

He didn’t know anything about the three names on this Team USA, but he saw they may provide Kat and her suspected Ranger allies a challenge that would allow him to gauge their skill. ~And answer the question about what Kat is doing in a tournament like this,~ Minion added.

When the time came Minion would watch Kat fight very carefully. But there were other things to look at first. Other fighters who were mysteries. Mysteries Minion needed to have solved. Team Nightfighter and Team Destiny were next. It was again time to learn more.

At ringside JR and Heyman were giving their promo for the next match to come. Team Destiny vs. Team Nightfighter.

“You know Paul.” JR said. “I’ve been trying to find information on Team Nightfighter, but I can’t find any information on them. All we’ve got are names, but no records. No fight history. No nothing.”

“I know JR” Heyman said sharing JR’s confusion. “Team Nightfighter is a mystery. No one knows who these fighters are. All we do know is that they have been personally invited by the tournament sponsor for this year. We do have names though, and I was able to see the team leader Jeff Kincaid undergo his training regimen. Let me tell you, I know several ECW competitors who would run scared from this guy. And that’s saying something. He looks at you and you get chilled. Not to mention what he had done during his training session.”

“And what about the other two?” JR asked. “Cassandra Jensen and Bruce Greene?”

“Greene and Jensen are both unknowns, as is Kincaid. Which will serve to their advantage. For even though Team Destiny, led by Laocorn Gaudeamas, has amassed a record in itself, even they don’t know what Team Nightfighter is capable of. They could be going against a dangerous force, or a couple of pushovers.”

“Well we’ll know in a minute as we are greeted by Team Destiny as they make their way to the ring.”

At the conclusion of JR’s sentence the theme music for Team Destiny filled the room and Laocorn, Panni and Lyla made their way to the ring. A symphonic melody that reminded Laocorn of his sister Sulia. A song done in her memory.

Laocorn, Panni and Lyla walked to the ring with an air of confidence and integrity. They stood as symbols of strength and discipline. Even if the crowd had given them a mixed reaction. For while half the crowd cheered Team Destiny the other half booed them unmercifully.

“Some of them know.” Laocorn said.

“Not the specifics Lord.” Panni said. “But they do know that you had made some bad choices in life. Some are not that forgiving.”

“Just focus on the battle at hand Laocorn.” Lyla said. “Maybe that will win some of them over. Besides we know nothing about these guys.”

“Yes.” Laocorn said. “This Team Nightfighter is a mystery. We shall see an answer soon enough.” Laocorn however noticed a few signs in support of Team Nightfighter, even if none of the fans knew who they were either. Laocorn however believed that they were not supporting Team Nightfighter, but supporting Team Destiny’s decimation. The fans just didn’t care who decimated them.

After the music ended as well as the fanfare the three members of Team Destiny turned to see their opponents come to the ring. The music of two of the members filled the air.

“Let the bodies hit the floor. Let the bodies hit the floor. Let the bodies hit the… FLOOR!”

Bruce and Cassandra came to the ring to the music of Drowning Pool. Nothing they did gave away their secrets and they like it that way. So it appeared did Heyman as he mentioned how the team was playing up the mystery.

“Psychological warfare JR,” he guessed.

“I’m not sure it’s working yet,” JR replied. “Although it does raise the question about where the third member of their team has gotten to? Where is Jeff Kincaid?”

To be continued

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The Final Battle

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. Parts of the action and dialogue from Jeremy Ray’s Earth Crystal story were used in this chapter.

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

The Final Battle

Minion was on the brink of a mental breakdown. The Rangers had taken everything from him; his sanity, his life, his freedom and now it seemed that they had robbed him of his prisoners. He had vanished after the Morphin Rangers had shown up to save their friends and had returned to his island. He was relieved to find that the assembled heroes had not torn his base apart. To make sure, he had raised a magical barrier to prevent any more intrusions.

He was in constant agony. The pain, which he realised was a result of a microchip inserted next to his pain receptors was unending. So long as he was fighting the Rangers and winning the pain was subdued. However the moment it appeared that he was losing the battle and as a result the pain chip started stimulating his pain receptors.

“Silvo, Brasso, Bronzo!” he called. There was no response. The Rangers and their pesky friends had destroyed his servants. It seemed his WD Units were gone too, leaving him without even the most basic foot soldiers.

He was reaching the point where most villains accepted that they could not defeat the Rangers and committed themselves to sending down second-rate monsters in the hope of one day being successful. He had tried the direct approach; he had tried to use the Elemental Beasts and had even pressed his attack at the first sign of a weakness. In the end though he had failed to emerge victorious.

But Minion was different. He believed himself superior to all who opposed him and even if he could not express those thoughts of superiority in the way that he wanted to, he was incapable of settling for the mediocre existence of a failed villain. So how would he prove himself different? Simple, he would do to the Morphin Rangers what he had done to the Zeo Rangers. He would break them in the same way and then continue with the plan. And that meant the first step was to draw them out.

“The Rangers and their friends will not stop me,” he mused out loud.

The Heroes of Earth had an annoying habit of disrupting his plans despite having better things to do, such as rebuilding their bases of operation. He almost wished he could revive some of the old Earth-based villains to help him, but that was not a possibility. ~Nor,~ he thought, ~would it be a wise idea to give others an opportunity to interfere.~

“Hello Minion,” the Master said as he emerged from somewhere, disrupting the villain’s plans.

“You!” Minion snarled angrily. “You told me the Sword of Ragnarok would provide me with victory.”

“And so it shall my dear fellow, you just need to know how to use it,” the Master said softly, placating the volatile villain. He pulled out a small device, a dimensional disruptor he called it; when activated the device emitted energy on a wavelength known to disrupt the fabric between this universe and what lies beyond, collapsing local space in the process. “Just fuse this with the sword and you will find that it truly lives up to its name.”

The device was unstable, artificial entropy in a crystalline structure. When used on a small scale it could drop a city into the sea. When amplified through an universal energy field such as the Morphin Grid, its reach was unlimited. The Sword of Ragnarok with its ability to pierce the dimensional fabric and physically connect to the Morphin Grid was the perfect tool for such a purpose. For Minion it would represent victory, but for the Master who had the means to counter the effects, it was a way of disposing of Minion.

When he left, the device had been fitted to the Sword of Ragnarok and the Master had a confident smile upon his face.

JLA Watchtower, Coast City USA

Long ago when the JLA had been founded, it had been suggested that they position their headquarters in space. International tensions and a flat refusal on the part of Wonder Woman, despite Bruce Wayne’s funding, had put an end to that suggestion. Instead the Watchtower had been erected in the home city of the original Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. Shaped like a lighthouse to bring hope to the world, the tower had withstood countless disasters, even the destruction of the city it overlooked.

Today it was a mess, a reminder of how badly they had fared against Minion and his forces. The light, once a beacon of hope and an answer to the prayers of the innocent had been extinguished. And even John’s half-hearted attempt to imitate the beacon with his ring had failed.

“Home sweet home,” Wally joked again, trying to lighten the mood. It was a poor attempt and probably attributable to the pain medication he had been forced to take for phantom pains in his legs. It seemed that while some injuries were repairable, others were not.

John watched his teammate and felt a pang of sympathy. True he and Wally didn’t always see eye to eye, but they were united in their loss. His hands had reappeared, just like Wally’s legs and he felt the pain from where Minion had cut them off, just as he knew Wally suffered. But it seemed that the cursed ring that he had been forced to carry refused to let him go just because he was hurting.

What would they do now, what could they do when the moment they had been released from the VR Troopers’ ship, the JLA had split up? John could understand it to some extent, they all needed time and a chance to ensure their loved ones were safe before returning to deal with a situation that grew more and more dangerous by the moment.

J’Onn and Hawk Girl looked out over the battered city. They could see the damage, could sense the hurt that Minion had caused. They knew that despite their hopes to the contrary, Minion was still out there and needed to be dealt with. It could be denied that despite all he had done to them and the fact they had barely escaped with their lives, they would have to face the villain again. The only problem was that some of them were in no condition to fight.

“Wow,” Zack whistled.

It was amazing how quickly Alpha had been able to work seeing how he lacked a suitable body and was forced to act by the electronic possession of low technology service droids. Still with the little machine in charge the repair process was well and truly underway.

Normally the Rangers would have expressed their amazement at just how much Alpha had accomplished, but at that moment there was an uneasy silence in the Power Chamber where the Zeo Rangers had made a startling if understandable decision.

“We’re leaving,” Tommy said. He spoke not only for himself, but the whole of his team. ~Or what’s left of them.~

“Tommy, it wasn’t your fault,” Kimberly said, trying to be the voice of reason.

“She’s right man,” Jason agreed. “You shouldn’t give up. I know what Minion did hurt you, but we need you. He’s still out there and the Earth is still in danger. We need your help to stop him.”

Billy and Trini remained silent. They had feared that at least one of the Zeo Rangers would react this way when they learnt of the abuse Minion had forced their friends to endure. In all their time as Rangers his pupils had rarely lost and almost always fought back. But this was different. Minion had not only defeated them; he had done so several times in a matter of weeks. Then he had tortured all of them, some worse than others.

Billy had no doubt though that it was Travis’s death that hurt the most. The acting Blue Zeo Ranger had not been subjected to physical pain, but had been broken by watching his fellow Rangers endure everything that Minion had done to them. And then Minion had reversed the stakes and forces the Zeo Rangers to watch as he ended Travis’s existence.

Adam was in the worse state emotionally. He had been the one who had come closest to saving Travis, but his movement had been too late and his aim had been affected by his injuries. His miss had cost them all the life of a comrade and as a result the naturally shy boy had withdrawn from everybody since they had arrived in the Power Chamber following their escape. He had yet to look any of the Rangers in the eye, definitely a bad sign and today, after being allowed to return to his home, he had been slow to respond to his communicator.

Billy wanted the Zeo Rangers to remain, they were his friends after all, but knew it had to be their choice. In an attempt to ensure that they at least considered their options he made a suggestion.

“Tommy, I know you and the others have been through a lot and agree that you need time away to consider your future involvement with the Power Rangers. I would suggest that before you go, you wait for Alpha to bring Zordon back or at least talk to Lita. Maybe they can help you put things in perspective.”

It had been a good try, but the Rangers knew Tommy and the others were still too upset to be useful as Rangers. Tommy and the others knew it as well and had already decided their future.

“There is no need to surrender your powers,” Billy told them as they were about to hand back the Zeo Transformers he had restored for them. “I suggest you take time to consider your future before giving up your powers. Should you wish to return or need us, the Power Chamber is always open to you.”

“Thanks Billy,” Tommy said as the Zeo Rangers left for their separate destinations, all of them determined to do some serious thinking.

“Well guys, I guess we have work to do,” Jason said when the others had departed. “Minion’s still out there and we need a plan.”

Oliver Residence, Angel Grove

Tommy walked through the blood stained streets as he had every night since his time as Green Ranger. The dreams did not disturb him anymore because he understood they were formed partially by his guilt over what he had done under Rita’s influence and partially by the spell Rita had used after he broke free. It was a spell he only felt while asleep, a spell that ensured he would never be able to forget what he had been.

Tonight the dream was different. At first Tommy had failed to notice the lack of bodies that usually covered the ground, but then he saw he was not dressed in the Green Ranger uniform he normally wore either. He was dressed as the Red Zeo Ranger and drenched in blood, his own blood!

“Ah, there you are Tommy,” the unmistakable voice of Minion said. “I thought you might be missing some things so I brought them with me.”

Holding his hand out Minion turned slowly, revealing the dead population of Angel Grove. At the top of the pile, impaled on thick wooden stakes were the other Power Rangers.

“You did this?” It was more of a comment than a question, Tommy already knew Minion was responsible.

“Affirmative,” Minion said, starting to sound like Billy. “But I couldn’t have succeeded without the help of the Zeo Rangers. If you had fought better and shot me when you had the chance, these people would still be alive. So you see Zeo Falcon, it is your fault that these people are dead, not mine. I didn’t do this, YOU did because YOU failed.”

Tommy’s powers started to fade as Minion’s words hit home. Confidence was one of the things a Ranger needed and right now Tommy’s confidence was shattered.

“You let everyone down Tommy,” the dead body of Trini said.

“We had faith in you Bro,” Jason’s scarred and bloodied corpse said. “Look where that got us.”

“You could have saved me but you didn’t have the courage,” a younger voice said. Tommy recognised the voice, but hoped it was not true. From out of the thinning mist stepped a boy Tommy recognised as Fred Kellman. His neck was broken, causing his head to hang at an awkward angle. Minion smiled at the younger boy and placed an arm over his shoulder. “I don’t want to be a Ranger anymore, I have a new hero now.”

“Nooooooo!” Tommy cried as he saw Fred transform to become a smaller version of Minion.

“You did it Tommy,” the corpse of the Ranger known as Kimberly said. “Rita made you the Green Ranger to destroy us and as the Red Ranger you succeeded.”

The scene changed and Tommy found himself inside the original Command Center. The normally comforting Alpha Five scurried away as Tommy arrived, leaving him face to face with Zordon.

“Thomas Oliver, you have failed the people of your world, failed to protect your team of Rangers and failed to earn the trust I had in you. You have injured many with your antics as Green Ranger, you put the team constantly at risk with your failing powers and you have proven that you cannot defend the Earth. I have tried to help you, but even though you have had more sets of powers than any other Ranger, you have still failed time after time.”

Zordon stepped from his plasma tube, but Tommy could still not see his body. In his hand was the Sword of Light, which he pointed at Tommy’s chest.

“Thomas Tyler Oliver, I hereby strip you of any and all powers that you hold be they past, future or present. Never again will you be allowed to squander and abuse either the Morphin Grid or the Zeo Crystal. It is to ensure the safety of everybody that I now take you life.”

The Sword of Light pierced Tommy’s heart. He did not even have the chance to scream as he collapsed to the floor. He looked up, using the last of strength to see his killer.

“The world is better off without you, Tommy,” Zordon said. “Never forget that.”

“NO!” Tommy cried a second time, sitting bolt upright in bed. He looked down at his chest and was surprised to find it covered in blood. A small puncture wound had reopened, probably from where Minion had beaten him. Knowing he would not be able to get back to sleep Tommy walked downstairs to the family room and sat on the sofa.

It was then that he noticed he was still shaking. Whatever that dream had been it, had been too real. He heard the sounds of somebody coming downstairs. Two people in fact.

“Tommy?” his mother asked, concerned. “Are you okay?”

Tommy was still shaking too much to answer the question. His mother stopped, wondering what could have happened to cause her son to act like a scared rabbit.

“It — it’s okay, Mom. Just a nightmare,” he managed at last. He tried to force a smile, but none was forthcoming.

“Are you sure?” his father asked. He had never seen Tommy like this before. Sure in the time since moving to Angel Grove Tommy had nightmares. But nothing had ever shaken him like this.

Tommy nodded, unable to speak further. Everything the Zordon in his dream had said was true.

~They’re better off without me,~ he thought. ~I’m a liability.~

He had committed terrible crimes during his time as Green Ranger. He had worked for Rita and caused destruction throughout the city. He had been lucky not to kill somebody during his first use of the Dragonzord. He hadn’t cared about the buildings Dragonzord had damaged. All that mattered was the will of his empress. Then he had captured Jason and almost killed him. It had taken all his will power to keep from murdering the Red Ranger.

~But I did resist,~ he thought. The words offered little comfort. Had he captured Jason a day later he would have killed him without a second thought.

Then Jason had released him from Rita’s spell and given him the chance to make amends. He had become the Green Ranger under Jason’s command as a way to make up for what he had done. But he couldn’t even do that right. He had allowed Rita to light the Green Candle and steal his powers.

Instead of crawling away and hiding under a rock, Tommy had stayed on in Angel Grove and agreed to help the Rangers, thus regaining his powers. But now they were temporary and he put the team at risk every time he went into battle. Too stubborn to give up and let Jason take the powers he had squandered the remaining power and then run away.

Zordon had trusted him to become White Ranger and leader of the Power Rangers. ~But did he do it because I was a worthy candidate or because he was desperate and couldn’t find a decent White Ranger?~

Tommy’s stubbornness had led to the loss of the Thunderzords. The powers that could not be taken by evil were destroyed just because he refused to listen to reason. If it had not been for Ninjor, Earth would have been finished. Even with Ninja powers Tommy had failed to stop Rito from destroying the Power Coins. ~Another set of powers lost because I failed to protect the coins.~

As Red Zeo Ranger he had allowed Gasket to take control of his mind. He had led the Ranger into battle against Minion and caused the Zeo Crystal to be destroyed. If not for his failed leadership and blind faith in his friends, the fake Billy would not have been able to betray them. ~Jason would not have been deceived.~

And recently, with millions of people watching, he had failed to help Travis. The Triforian had perished and Tommy had done nothing. Once again his failure had cost somebody their life.

Tommy had lost count of the number of people who had died during a monster attack either because of the damage caused when the monster grew, or the innocent who was crushed when something fell on top of them. He had been to Angels Rest and had counted the number of people killed after he became a Ranger. He knew only a few of them by name – Fred Kellman had been a kid in his classes – and a few on sight, but the rest were faceless strangers he had let down.

~Maybe they would be better off without me,~ Tommy thought.

His Zeo Transformer appeared and he considered whether to simply send it back to the Power Chamber and let them select a new Red Ranger. He had no doubt the Rangers would need the Zeo powers again in the future, unless the Zeo Crystal could be repaired. Tempting as it was to walk away, part of him just couldn’t let go. With a sigh he sent the device back to where he had summoned it from, unaware that he was being watched.

Sam teleported away unseen, he knew Tommy would work things out, but he was determined to be there when Tommy felt like talking. Using his magic he cast a spell to force Tommy back to sleep and then teleported away.

Rocky lay back on his bed, trying to work through his feelings of the recent events. He felt as guilty about Travis as the others, but for a different reason. Had he fought harder or better there was a chance he would have been there instead of Travis; the Triforian had been picking up his slack. And then as a real kick in the teeth, while Travis had been killed, he had been healed. Perhaps if he had been left with a broken back he would have felt better about himself.

He should have been able to fight Minion in some way instead of lying in a bed like an idiot while his family had gathered around and brought him presents. Oh his recovery had amazed his mother, just as his sudden depression had raised a number of eyebrows. The Earth needed the Blue Zeo Ranger even if he were using the makeshift Zeo powers, of that he had no doubt. The question in his mind was, did the Zeo Rangers need Rocky DeSantos?

He needed somewhere he could go, a place where he could shout if he wanted to without attracting the attention of his siblings or his mother. One place seemed to be perfect, the family cabin. The place had been abandoned since his father’s death and was only visited by Rocky and his older brother Pedro. In a flash of blue light he teleported from his room to a storage area under the cabin.

The room was large enough to hold a small gymnasium. In the corner was a set of weights and a mat on which to practice. In the center of the room was a punching bag, perfect for what he had in mind.

Starting slowly with a few gentle kicks, Rocky allowed his anger to be released under control. He kicked the bag repeatedly until it finally split open and fell to the ground. Now he was starting to feel better Rocky was determined to work through his feelings.

He walked over to a set of old chairs the family had been meaning to burn. He laid into the furniture, reducing it to a pile of splinters. Then he moved on through tables, chairs and even the walls in places. It didn’t matter. Everything in the storage room was surplus to requirements. He tried as hard as he could to find a reason to remain a Zeo Ranger, but he couldn’t think of anything that he had left to bring to the team.

~Perhaps it is time to hand over to someone else.~

He continued his frantic workout, growing ever more emotional by the second. In his mind he knew that surrendering now would prove he was a coward.

In his mind he could imagine what his father would say if he could see him now. “You make one little mistake and then run away. No wonder you couldn’t save Travis. You’re a coward, a weak-minded fool and everybody knows it. Adam has no faith in you. He couldn’t even look you in the eye. You can’t quit and you can’t stay. You’re hopeless.”

As he finished his workout, Rocky sank to his knees, his eyes filled with tears. He had let them all down. Everybody that had had any faith in him had been let down by his actions. He tried to dry his eyes, but the tears kept coming. The last few days had finally caught up with him and no amount of exercise could prevent the inevitable breakdown.

It was then that he felt a firm hand on his shoulder. He looked around to see Jason looking down at him. He knew he could not hide the tears from the Red Ranger, but the look on Jason’s face told him he didn’t need to.

“We need to talk,” Jason said.

Gently but firmly the Red Ranger helped his friend back to his feet. He had known that the Zeo Rangers would separate and try to sort things on their own. He had also known that they would find the events of the last few days difficult to deal with. So he had instructed his team of Rangers to make themselves available should the others need them.

David and Sam would be there for Tommy if he needed them. Kimberly and Trini were there for Kat, Billy had gone to see Adam, Aisha was with Tanya and her aunt in Kenya and Zack had gone to Pyramidas to check on Trey. Somehow Jason did not see the Black Ranger being able to get through to the Gold Zeo Ranger, but Zack had taken the recovering Dex with him and Jason hoped that would be enough.

They had found their new powers and had completed the quest for the Great Power, an accomplishment that only a few could boast, but Minion was still out there and until he was finally destroyed, their quest was worthless. While he was still capable of causing damage there was no point in trying to fix the damage. And as strong as their new powers seemed to be, Jason felt confident that in the end it would take all they had to achieve victory. ~Damn, I’m starting to think like Billy.~

He had tracked Rocky down to the house and had intended to refrain from interfering, but having seen the state that Rocky was in, he decided otherwise.

Ko’s Garden, Near Angel Grove Park.

Adam sat alone in the garden, happy for the seclusion. He knew none of the other Rangers would think to look for him there, except maybe Billy. Not that he expected any of the Rangers to want to talk to him, especially the other Zeo Rangers. He had watched them as Minion had tortured them. He had seen every blow the WD Unit had inflicted on Tommy, he had heard Trey scream in agony when he had grown too exhausted to pedal. And what had they done to him? They had tickled him.

Oh sure there had been more to the Twitcher than just a feather on the end of a stick. The electrical current could be targeted on any muscle and would cause it to twitch uncontrollably. It was a continuous and unstoppable twitching that slowly went from being annoying to painful and then, maddening.

He couldn’t even bring himself to look Rocky in the eye. The other teen had been hospitalised by Minion, only to be dragged back into danger because Adam had not been brave enough to sacrifice his life. The Blue Ranger had almost been killed and despite the knowledge that he had done something that time, Adam still felt he should have done more.

His dad had always said the Power Rangers caused more problems than they solved. Adam was starting to agree with him.

“Power Coin for you thoughts,” a voice said.

Adam turned around, recognising the voice as Billy. He wondered how the Blue Ranger had known where to find him, but soon suppressed the thought. Knowing Billy as well as he did, he suspected the Blue Ranger had simply visited anywhere the Green Zeo Ranger would go for solitude.

“I don’t think they’re worth it,” Adam replied.

Billy didn’t say anything, knowing that if he pushed his shy friend too hard he would simply withdraw further into himself. In addition Billy was not sure if he wanted to talk about Minion. The idea that the enemy who had almost killed his friends was his clone was not something Billy found easy to deal with. Seriously, how many times did they have to defeat him before the villain finally stayed dead? He was starting to think there was something else keeping the villain in the Mortal Realm.

It was even more difficult for Billy to accept that Minion was really his clone because of Cestria. Minion had been responsible for her death and the death of the Aquitian Rangers. Minion had cost him his home and his friends.

They continued sitting and waiting, long into the night.

In a lone column of yellow light Aisha arrived in her own village. She made her way to where she knew her aunt would be and walked in.

“Ashala?” she asked nervously, not sure if her aunt would remember her after ten years.

“Aisha!” the older woman cried happily as she greeted her niece. “Why are you here? Have you returned to us? Is the danger over… no, something else then, what is it child?”

“It’s about Tanya,” Aisha told her.

She quickly explained the events of the last few days and the events in the Power Chamber. Ashala nodded, her expression turned grave as Aisha explained the humiliation Minion had inflicted. Finally she agreed to let Aisha talk to Tanya and pointed to the outcrop not far away where she knew Tanya would be sitting.

Aisha found Tanya sitting where Ashala had said, her head in her hands looking out over the land below. She hardly acknowledged Aisha’s presence as the other girl sat next to her and placed a hand on her shoulders.

Tanya was feeling a mixture of emotions. She felt guilty that she had been unable to help Travis, she knew that was down to fear as much as her own injuries. The reason did little to eliminate the guilt she was feeling, but she knew there was little point in letting the guilt eat away at her. She had failed, but it would never happen again. The strongest feeling she had at the moment was a feeling of isolation. She was no longer a part of a team she loved, Minion’s most heinous act had been to shatter their bonds and he had been doing so since the day he had first appeared. That hurt more than anything did.

She missed Adam and Rocky, but knew if they had Aisha back they no longer needed her. The three of them had been friends for years before Tanya had arrived and the teen knew that they would welcome their old friend back with open arms. Where then did that leave her, Aisha’s replacement?

Like the others she had been tempted to give up her Zeonisers, but she knew that was all that was tying her to the Rangers. If she gave them up, what was left?

Kat had decided there was no point in leaving the Power Chamber. Sooner or later the other Rangers would track her down and then she would have to talk to them. She was especially worried in case she ran into Kim again. Although Kimberly had broken up with Tommy and the couple had since made their peace, Kat had always felt a little guilty about attempting to date him.

It had taken a while, but eventually Kat had started to feel the attraction fade. She soon understood that what she felt for Tommy had been love, but not the type on which they could build a lasting relationship. At the time she had first met him she was under Rita’s spell. She had been attracted to the darker side of Tommy.

After she had broken the spell, the side effects had taken a while to fade. Then Tommy had received the letter and had looked so hurt she had felt drawn to him again. Only recently had she seriously started to think twice about Tommy. The appearance of David had prompted her to question whether her feelings were real. Seeing someone so like Tommy and yet so different had opened her eyes.

She had intended to sort her feelings for him later, but the fight with Minion had gotten in the way. Now everything had changed again.

She reached over to the light and turned it on. She flinched as she felt the change in heat created by the bulb. Despite her wounds being healed her nerves had been left extremely sensitive to outside stimuli. That had been why she had been unable to help Travis. Even though she had tried to help, every move was so painful she had been unable to pull the trigger.

She had been helpless, nothing more than a victim of evil as she was when Rita had controlled her. ~But when I was with Rita, I broke the spell,~ she thought. ~Why couldn’t I have found the strength to pull the trigger?~

The answer was simple and she knew it. When Rita had controlled her, she had simply had to fight against the spell. But with Minion she had not been under a spell, she had been convinced that movement was too painful. Her mind was stronger than any spell and when used against her it was a powerful weapon.


Kat looked up as somebody entered the room. In front of her, wearing a pair of white jeans and white T-shirt was David Trueheart, Tommy’s brother and the newest member of the Power Rangers.

“Are you okay?” he asked sitting down next to her.

Kat smiled weakly. She had liked David for a long time. He was a good friend and she had always been able to open up to him. He looked so much like Tommy, but was totally different emotionally. Whereas Tommy had a dark side to his nature, David had a lighter character.

Kimberly and Trini had watched over Kat for a while and then decided she needed to talk to someone else. And from the looks of things the female Rangers had the right idea as slowly she started to open up, telling him everything she was feeling. In return David did not judge or comment; he simply listened as the Pink Zeo Ranger poured her heart out.

The Power Chamber

Two Days Later

“Ai-yi-yi, this is so exciting,” Alpha exclaimed as his head was finally lowered onto his new body, the interlocks on the nick clicking into place and the wiring made contact.

“Borrowing some of Doctor Pym’s technology to speed up the repairs was a good idea,” Trini commented.

Billy and Jason nodded. The Avengers had already used their technology to restore their headquarters at Mount Rushmore and had loaned some of their more useful devices to the other heroes. In a time of war repairs were essential. Billy had even suggested unleashing the small robots on the Zeo Crystal to correct the flaws in its damaged structure. That idea had been put on hold while the computer double-checked his calculations.

“And now the Power Chamber is back, maybe we can bring Zordon back online,” Zack said.

“I can’t wait,” Kimberly said.

The others nodded. They needed their mentor back, maybe he could make the Zeo Rangers see sense.

“Alpha, start the probe,” Jason instructed.

“Co-ordinates locked in Rangers, contact has been made, awaiting response.”

“All we can do now is wait,” Billy told them.


“The time has come, the end of the Power Rangers is nigh!” Minion exclaimed, enjoying the opportunity to sound dramatic.

He had finally decided on how he was going to draw them out. It was a simple and well-tested method of sending a few monsters to distract them before making his appearance. Then he planned to crush the meddling teenagers and prove that the Earth was without hope.

~I wonder how they will die,~ he mused. ~Will they go slowly or will I be lucky and slaughter them in a few minutes?~ He shrugged. ~Oh well, either is fine.~

There were a few steps he would need to take before he could begin, first he needed a means of bringing monsters out of the Dark Dimension. Fortunately the bodies from his early attacks had yet to be cleared away as local governments took time to clean up. He used one of those corpses to bring his loyal servant Arcana back to life; as a dark wizard who was familiar with death magic, he was able to possess an animated corpse.

“Arcana, mighty wizard and servant of darkness, I command you, appeared.”

He watched as the selected corpse mutated to fit its new owner’s requirements.

“I want you to bring forth three monsters,” he said. “Use your own conduit, but make it fast.”

“Yes Minion,” Arcana slurred.

Producing a knife he sliced his arm, allowing the thick oozing blood to fall on the ground. When Minion examined it closely he was surprised to discover that it was the same slime Arcana had used to produce his duplicate of Billy.

“Arise my duplicates and take form. Eye Guy, Syren, King Sphinx, come forth and avenge your defeats.”

Power Chamber

A small buzzer sounded, warning of an incoming message. Alpha excitedly moved to the correct console and activated the restored Plasma Tube.

“Ai-yi-yi, welcome back Zordon.”

The tube bubbled and then Zordon’s head appeared, looking around the restored Power Chamber in amazement.

“Thank you, Alpha, it is good to see that you are intact. Now tell me, what has occurred in my absence?”

Alpha explained all that had happened, from the Rangers’ successful return from Phaedos, something that pleased Zordon immensely, to the Zeo Rangers’ defeat and subsequent treatment by Minion. He explained how the Rangers had returned from Phaedos and plugged him into the computer, allowing him to supervise the repairs.

Zordon was surprised by what he had heard. The Zeo Rangers had faced so much and yet they had not given up entirely. That they had made allies in the process was another surprise. While the Rangers had had a working relationship with the JLA and the Avengers in the past, they had had little contact with the VR Troopers and Beetleborgs. ~Perhaps some good will come of this,~ he mused. ~Earth has never had more protection than it does now.~

A new alarm sounded, warning that an attack was underway and reminding those present that Minion was still out there and there was still work to be done.

“Contact Jason and his team,” Zordon instructed.

“What about Tommy?” Alpha asked.

“The Zeo Rangers need time to come to terms with all that has happened. We will not call them unless necessary.”

Alpha nodded reluctantly and set about pushing the relevant buttons.

The eight Morphin Rangers had agreed to meet at the Youth Center. It was a chance to relax and discuss their concerns for their friends. They were in the middle of consuming their orders when their alarms sounded simultaneously. Ernie smiled a knowing smile to himself as he watched the teens run out of the door. ~So Jason and the others are back in the game,~ he thought. ~Good for them.~

Eight coloured streams of light streaked through the air high above Angel Grove. Just a very few seconds after leaving the Juice Bar, the teleportation beams entered the Power Chamber.

“Zordon!” Zack greeted.

“It’s good to have you back Zordon,” Jason smiled.

“Yeah, we missed you,” Kimberly added.

“Thank you, Rangers and congratulations on the successful completion of your quest,” Zordon rumbled. “I am afraid I did not call you here just to tell you that I have returned. Minion has unleashed three old monsters on Angel Grove.”

“Are you sure it’s Minion?” Trini asked. They had so many enemies now it was worth checking.

“I am afraid so,” Zordon answered. “Behold the Viewing Screen.”

“Talk about recycling,” Kimberly said.

“These guys are old,” Zack said. “But, we’ve beat them before.”

“Yes, however I sense that they are made from a different material this time, which might alter their abilities.”

“Divide and conquer,” Jason decided. “Are the other Zords ready yet?”

“All the Zords are now complete,” Alpha reported.

“Dragonzord, Titanus and Tor have been rebuilt to match your new Zords’ technology,” Zordon told them.

“I suggest we utilise our strengths and divide our attacks appropriately,” Billy said.

“Exactly Billy,” Zordon agreed. “You along with Jason, Kimberly, Zack and Trini shall pilot the Dino Megazord against Eye Guy. When you have defeated him, you will be able to help the others. Aisha and David can combine their Zords to form the Dino Stegazord. I suggest the two of you go after Syren. Sam will need to battle King Sphinx alone until you are ready to join him.

“It’s Morphin Time!” Jason called.

“White Ranger Power!”

“Green Ranger Power!”

“Purple Ranger Power!”

“Black Rangers Power!”

“Pink Ranger Power!”

“Yellow Ranger Power!”

“Blue Ranger Power!”

“Red Ranger Power!”

With an overwhelmingly loud crackle of electricity, the Rangers teleported out of the Power Chamber.

“Aye-yi-yi!” Alpha cried. “Good luck Rangers.”

“There it is,” Billy said.

“We have to be really careful,” Kimberly said. “No matter where we’re at, he can see us.”

“Just remember his weakness,” Trini said.

“His main eye,” Billy agreed.

Eye Guy suddenly turned around so that his main eye was facing the five Rangers crouched down behind the hill.

“He’s seen us!”

Who gave the warning was unclear as the ground around them started to explode.

“Attack!” Kimberly cried. With a resounding hi-ayah, the Rangers leapt into battle.

“Siek-yiah!” Sam cried. He suddenly appeared out of thin air and executed a perfect Power Kick at King Sphinx. Next he kicked him in the chin with his left foot before using a right-footed kick to the monster’s chest to give him the momentum to back flip away. As the monster shook off the attack, Sam moved around so he was behind the monster. He leapt onto the shoulders of King Sphinx, dropped back and side kicked the monster in the back. King Sphinx was forced forward and tripped over. Sam ran up to the monster, grabbed it by the shoulders, and high-kicked it.

“You’ve made a fatal mistake,” King Sphinx growled as two powerful wings unfolded from his back.

“She’s pretty,” David observed.

The pretty human looking monster with long pink hair and black dress, fishnet knee socks and carrying a small fan smiled shyly and waved at the young Ranger before blowing him a kiss.

“Men,” Aisha muttered as she pushed her teammate out of the path of the exploding kiss. “First rule of dealing with pretty monsters, keep your brain in your head and not your pants. Get down!”

David looked at her, unsure why she was panicking, but did as she said as Syren was transformed, her beautiful body replaced by that of a scaly bird that breathed fire at the Rangers.

“That’s her true form?” David asked.

“Remember your mythology,” Aisha replied, “mermaids, sirens and veela, all beautiful until they fail. Then things get ugly.”

“Anything else I should know?”

“Yeah she can…”

Aisha’s words were drowned out by the high-pitched scream that echoed down the street, shattering windows as it did so.

“… shatter things with her voice,” she finished lamely. “Follow my lead.”

Aisha flipped over the monster and side-kicked her in the chest. Before it could react, the Purple Ranger dropped down to the ground and swept her left leg beneath the monster. With an inhuman shriek, Syren hit the ground, giving Aisha time to roll away.

“Hi-yah!” David cried, leaping into the air. He landed on top of the bird-headed monster just as she climbed to her feet. David grabbed hold of her shoulders and pulled her to the ground with him. Aisha cartwheeled over to Syren and kicked her off of David.

“Thanks,” David said as she helped him to his feet.

“Not a problem,” Aisha said.

She ran up to the monster, pushed off with her left leg, and high kicked it in the chest. She landed on both feet as Syren stumbled backwards. The pretty monster tried a new tactic, shifting appearance and winking at David seductively. To Aisha she whispered, “Prepare to die!”

“Power Bow!” Kimberly cried. She jumped into the air and fired two pink arrows at Eye Guy. The two arrows pierced an eye on each of Eye Guy’s shoulders. He bellowed in pain and immediately clamped a heavy, eyelid over his main eye.

“Power Lance!” Billy shouted. Kimberly flipped out of the way as Billy ran past her. The Power Lance was held out before him like a ram. Just as the Power Lance was about to pierce the main eye, Eye Guy grabbed the weapon and flipped Billy over his head. “Whoa!” Billy cried. He let go of the Power Lance in midair and landed several feet away, in a painful pile.

“Billy!” Kimberly cried. She immediately ran to help her fallen comrade.

“Power Daggers!” Trini called, spinning the weapons in her hands. She rushed at Eye Guy, flipping into the air to position herself as s he slashed at the monster as s he passed overhead. Screaming in pain, Eye Guy tried to hit the Yellow Ranger, but Trini had learnt that speed was important in battle and made sure she was not there.

“Cosmic Cannon!” Zack shouted. He converted the Power Axe to its alternate mode. “You’re goin’ down, Eye Guy!” he taunted. He rolled to the left and then the right, allowing the monster to easily track his movements and wonder what he was up to. Then he stopped, bringing the weapon into position as he fired.

“NO!” Eye Guy screamed, both of his hands coming up to protect his center eye.

“You got his main eye!” Kimberly cried.

“I got his main eyelid,” Zack corrected.

“More than I did,” Billy said slowly, groggy from being slammed into the ground.

“Can you hit his main eye with an arrow, Kim?” Jason asked.

“One way to find out,” Kimberly said, raising the Power Bow.

Sam tumbled backwards. King Sphinx’s wings were flapping rapidly, and the Ranger was unable to roll away from his windstorm in time. “Dragon Sword!” he cried, reaching behind his back, unsheathing the Dragon Dagger and watching as it was magical altered into the larger blade. The sword grew in his grip with a flash of green light. Stabbing the blade into the street, he was able to lift himself to his feet.

“Try this for size!” he yelled, throwing the sword toward his opponent. However, the wind was pushing against it so hard, the sword barely moved.

“Okay, change of plan,” the Green Ranger decided, snatching his sword back. “Dragon Fire!” From his hunched position against the wind, he dragged himself to the upright position, moving the sword in a slashing motion as he did so. The sword glowed green as he completed the move and a ball of fire shot out of the blade. It moved through the wind with the greatest of ease and struck King Sphinx in the chest. He stopped flapping his wings and hit the ground as Sam repeated the move. However, when the monster ducked, he leapt into the air and brought his blade down in a powered slice.

King Sphinx pulled a sword out of the air and blocked the blow. He kicked Sam and slashed at the Ranger with his sword. Sam let out a yelp as the sword caused his uniform to spark. With an angry bellow, King Sphinx punched Sam, sending him rolling.

“One more time then,” Sam commented, drawing more power from the Grid and combining it with his own magic. “Siek-yah!” He unleashed the flaming ball, and watched as it made contact.

Aisha and David charged at Syren. While Aisha leapt into the air and attacked her with a knife-edge chop, David settled for a more ground-orientated assault. His Drago Sword was accurate and kept him at a safer distance than his teammate.

“Power Whip!” Aisha cried, selecting the more robust bullwhip for her attack. The whip coiled around the monster, holding her in place. “Electrify!” Aisha called and a large burst of electrical energy flowed along the length of the whip.

“Laser Arrows!” David called as he moved the Drago Sword in the appropriate motion. Six energy arrows formed, pointed just to the left of the bound monster. “Fire!”

At that moment Aisha jerked the whip, releasing the monster, but sending her spinning into David’s attack. Syren screeched, folding her wings over her head to protect herself from the attack.

“Eeeeeeyaaaaaa!” Syren screamed. With a sudden burst of energy, she ran at the Purple Ranger, grabbed her, and threw her over her head.

Aisha screamed as she flew over the monster and into her partner, knocking him to the ground.

“Yes Arcana, this is perfect,” Minion cried as he watched his monsters lose. They were doing exactly what he needed them to do and the whole area was resonated with magic. Soon he would find the desired point and then it would be the end of the Power Rangers. “Try this on for size Rangers,” he snarled. He nodded at Arcana who threw three balls of dark energy into the air.

Kimberly let the arrow fly. Eye Guy attempted to cover his main eye up. Suddenly a ball of darkness sank into his body. With a triumphant bellow, Eye Guy shot straight up into the air, hundreds of feet tall. Kimberly’s arrow hit his foot and bounced off.

“Oh no,” Kimberly said.

“We’re gonna have to go for the Megazord,” Billy said.

“Let’s do it,” Jason said.

“Mastodon Dinozord Power!”

“Pterodactyl Dinozord Power!”

“Triceratops Dinozord Power!”

“Saber-toothed Dinozord Power!”

“Tyrannosaurus Dinozord Power!”

A brilliant flash of blue light exploded in the air above them. King Sphinx landed back on the ground, but he was no longer his normal six feet.

“Oh man,” Sam muttered. “Time for Dragonzord!”

He lifted the magical blade, allowing the notes of the powerful flute to carry through the air.

“Guess we need the Zords,” Aisha commented.

David gestured for her to go first and she gratefully accepted.

“Stegazord!” For some reason it sounded better than calling out Stegosaurus

“Raptor Zord!” Again the name had changed, but it seemed to fit.

From their assembled hiding places the Zords came. Had Power Mountain been as safe as they had once believed then they would have been held in the Zord Bays. Instead the Dinozords had been hidden somewhere close to where Titanus was known to reside. Hearing the call, the machines swiftly raced to meet their operators.

“Dinozords!” the eight Rangers shouted in perfect unison, despite the fact that the three battles were occurring miles apart. “Power up!” The Rangers jumped into the air and teleported into the cockpits of their Zords.

“Those are the Dinozords?” Kimberly asked. Part of her was impressed with the more robust and dynamic appearance of the Zords, another part was a little apprehensive of the remodelled machines.

“Affirmative,” Billy told her as he watched the Triceratops charge towards him. “These Zords have been designed to fight individually as well as in Megazord mode.”

That was true, the redesign had focussed on making the Pterodactyl and Triceratops more useful. The Pterodactyl was more delicate with adjustable wings to improve mobility. The Triceratops had legs instead of just tank treads. The body frame was hinged at different points, making it as versatile as the beast it had been modelled on. The Tyrannosaurus had also undergone an overhaul. While it had always been highly mobile and capable of battling individually, the upgraded version looked more fearsome, its huge mouth ready to tear through anything that got in its way.

“This is awesome,” Zack commented. While the Mastodon was still slow and plodding, the body had undergone some minor modifications to make it easier to control, and an accelerator to aid its charge attack.

The Saber-toothed Tiger leapt forward. Like the Mastodon it had not changed that much. Like all the Zords its body was made up of multiple sections of material as opposed to single sheets of metal, allowing the machine to move more like the animal it had been based upon.

“Rangers, log on!” Jason laughed as he appeared in the cockpit of his machine. It was just how he remembered it.

“Zack here. All systems go.”

“Billy here. Let’s finish him!”

“Trini here. Ready for action.”

“Let’s get this bugeyed freak.” That was from Kimberly.

“All right Rangers, let’s show him the power of these new Zords,” Jason said before directing his machine towards Eye Guy.

The Rangers decided to try out their individual attacks. Billy led the way, charging the monster with the Zord’s horn, and then bucking the machine’s head back to pitch Eye Guy into the air. He pulled a lever on the control panel to launch the two smaller horns at the monster. The horns were attached to chains and wrapped around Eye Guy, holding him as Billy tried to charge its main eye with the large horn. Before the machine made contact, Eye Guy launched the eyes surrounding his body, breaking the chains and throwing the Triceratops off course.

The Mastodon was the next Zord to attack, using its formidable tusks to bully the monster before whacking it across the head with its trunk. Using its freezing mist, it managed to trap Eye Guy in a block of ice. Zack moved his machine away and allowed Trini to have her shot.

The Saber-toothed Tiger was more agile than Trini remembered and she used its newfound versatility to bash the frozen monster. Trini extended the Zord’s claws and swiped at Eye Guy, the ice shattered and the monster staggered back as Trini urged her Zord to sink its teeth into one of its eyes.

“Jason, he’s yours!” Trini called as she moved out of the Tyrannosaurus’s path.

The large red vicious Zord attacked, claws and teeth lashing out at its prey. When Eye Guy tried to fire an energy pulse from his main eye, Jason used his Zord’s tail to smash the monster in the face. The Tyrannosaurus Zord’s tail started to spin, drilling its opponent. Inside the Zord, Jason smiled and reached for the control. It was time to finish this.

That was when the duplicate decided to drop the illusion.

The winged monster was not doing well. Dragonzord was a powerful machine and too heavy for the monster to blow away with his wings. In desperation King Sphinx took to the air, challenging Dragonzord to follow, forgetting that the powerful machine could not fly.

Dragonzord let out an electronic roar, the lights on its chest panel alternating. It fired several rockets from its fingers, narrowly missing its target. King Sphinx dived, his sceptre in hand, but as it approached, the Zord turned, presenting the monster with the spinning end of its powerful tail.

King Sphinx gave a cry of anguish and then reverted to its slime state.

Giant Syren was all beast, with no outward sign of beauty. When she attacked, her talons were fully extended. Luckily David and Aisha were already inside their Zords and on the attack. The Stegazord charged its solar energy cells. It came to a halt in front of a mangle car, twitched its tail and sent the vehicle smashing into the monster.

The White Ranger followed up with his Zord, grabbing the monster by her shoulders and lifted it into the air, dropping it in an uninhabited area.

“Ready to finish this?” Aisha asked.

David grunted an affirmative as he moved his machine into position.

The Raptor Zord swooped from the sky, grabbed the Stegazord as it shuffled along the ground, lifted it into the air and after gaining a little momentum, released it. The Stegazord used the momentum and launched into a forward spin, its sharpened spikes ploughed into the monster, cutting the creature’s body as it did so.

Syren responded angrily by unleashing a fireball at the two Zords.

“Time for Plan B,” Aisha sighed.

“Dino Stegazord formation!” they called together.

Once again the Raptor Zord lifted the Stegazord into the air, but this time David and Aisha activated a new protocol allowing the Raptor Zord to reform around the rapidly reshaped Stegazord to form the arms and legs of a new gestalt machine with the Stegazord providing the head and the body; the head, torso and tail of the Raptor Zord formed the Stinger, one of its main weapons.

“Tail Attack!” White Ranger ordered.

The machine performed a forward flip, bringing the end of its tail around to deliver a sharp blow to Syren.

“Dino Stegalaser!” Purple Ranger commanded.

The Zord bowed its head and fired an energy beam at the ground. As it returned it head to its normal position, the laser travelled along the ground, approaching Syren and gaining in intensity. When it finally connected, Syren exploded and the Dino Stegazord set off to find the rest of the Rangers.

Red lights flashed in the Power Chamber; shrieking alarms filled the air. “Aye-yi-yi!” Alpha cried. “Zordon! Something is wrong, the computer is picking up abnormal readings from Angel Grove Park!”

“I believe Minion has used this attack as a diversion,” Zordon answered. “However, until the Rangers are finished with his monsters they will be unable to stop him.”

Things were not going well for the other Rangers. The two blobs had joined and then at Arcana’s command, taken on the shape of a giant centaur with a large helmet and carrying a powerful mace. Already it had proven its speed by racing past the Triceratops, Mastodon and Saber-toothed Tiger, knocking each Zord over as it did so. An uppercut had knocked the Dragonzord flying and its mace had almost taken a chunk out of the Tyrannosaurus’s hide.

The Pterodactyl had saved the day, the Zord’s high speed and precision allowed it to distract the monster while keeping a safe distance. It brought the other Zords enough time to recover, at which point the Rangers had decided that they needed to pool their resources.

“All right, guys, let’s bring ’em together!” Red Ranger called.

“Right!” the others responded.

A flash of lightning arced across the sky, transforming the Zords into the forms that the Rangers were familiar with. As they changed, they started to merge to form the Megazord’s Tank Mode.

The Triceratops and Saber-toothed Tiger transformed, merging with the Tyrannosaurus while the Mastodon split into head shield and cannon components before joining with Tyrannosaurus from in front and behind. Then the Pterodactyl slotted into place behind the Tyrannosaurus’s head, completing the procedure.

The Dino Tank rumbled forward, its energy cannons firing as it did so. The monster appeared to be unharmed as it batted the blasts away.

“Let’s show him some Megazord power!” Jason cried, pressing the activation buttons.

“Megazord Sequence has been initiated,” they heard the computer reply as the Pterodactyl and Mastodon head were ejected from its position. The machine pivoted, the Saber-toothed Tiger and Triceratops forming the legs and feet while the Mastodon cannons were transformed into arms. The Tyrannosaurus head folded down, allowing the Megazord’s head to replace it as the Pterodactyl formed the chest shield.

“Megazord activated!” the computer announced as the Megazord’s eyes lit up.

The Dino Megazord summoned the Power Sword and then rushed at the centaur. The Megazord slashed at the monster, but it spun aside and retaliated by firing balls of fire at the Megazord. The massive machine lurched.

“That was a serious hit!” Trini complained as a red light on the control panel before her lit up.

“Another hit like that and some of our systems will start going off-line!” Billy warned

“We have to take him out now!” Zack encouraged.

Megazord turned around and slashed at the monster again, narrowly avoiding the mace when it swung towards them.

“Mammoth Shield!” Kimberly cried, reacting to the monster’s next move before the other. The shield appeared in time to block the fireball attack.

Sam moved Dragonzord into position, taking a swing at the centaur’s head. He felt certain that the helmet protected the beast from the Megazord’s attack. The creature deflected Dragonzord’s tail attack and reared up on its hind legs to kick the Zord over again.

Dragonzord stood back up, activating its weaponry and launching a barrage of finger rockets at the monster. Then as the centaur shifted around, Sam directed his Zord to follow up with a tail drill attack along the monster’s flank.

The other Rangers activated the Power Sword, bringing it around for a devastating blow to the monster’s helmet. The headpiece exploded, splintering into pieces across the ground. They tried for a second shot, but the centaur brought its mace around to strike the Megazord’s hand, causing it to drop the Power Sword; its next shot was deflected harmlessly by the Mammoth Shield, but the opportunity had been lost for now.

Working together the two Zords battered their opponent, driving him backward as they wore down his defences. Of course their ultimate goal was to destroy his weapon before he could use it again. A blur of white and purple alerted them to the Dino Stegazord’s arrival. David and Aisha directed their Zord to grab the centaur’s tail, distracting the beast while their friends put their own plan into action.

“Mega Dragonzord mode!” they called.

The Dragonzord transformed and landed on the Megazord’s shoulders. Then as the Dino Stegazord withdrew, they fired their energy blast, ending the monster as it raised its mace for one last attack. At the last moment it shifted back to Eye Guy.

“We got it!” Zack shouted.

“No we didn’t,” Kimberly said, looking to where the slime had reshaped itself. “Main eye, remember?”

When the smoke cleared, only the center eye remained, floating above the ground. The Mega Dragonzord fired again and this time there was nothing it could do. The battle was over.

“All right!” the Rangers shouted, sharing their customary high fives.

The time was right, the Rangers had proven themselves in battle and were feeling confident in their abilities. Now was the moment when he could crush their confidence just as he had done with the Zeo Rangers. Certainly their Zords were impressive and their new uniforms were shiny, but how hard could it be to defeat another set of teenagers? He decided to use his second favourite method of drawing out the Rangers, and attacked the city himself.

Power Chamber,

The Rangers had arrived back at the Power Chamber and were celebrating their victory when the alarm sounded. They exchanged knowing looks; a stream of constant attacks was one of the tactics Minion had used against the Zeo Rangers.

“It’s Minion,” Billy said after checking the Viewing Screen.

“Let’s get out there,” Jason said. “It’s Morphin Time!”

“White Ranger Power!”

“Black Ranger Power!”

“Pink Ranger Power!”

“Blue Ranger Power!”

“Yellow Ranger Power!”

“Red Ranger Power!”

“Purple Ranger Power!”

“Green Ranger Power!”

“Teleporting now,” Alpha told them.

In eight columns of light the Rangers teleported away, heading away to avenge their friends. Before they reached their destination, the Rangers had already summoned their Power Weapons for combat.

“Power Axe!” Black Ranger called, appearing next to Minion and swiping at him with his axe in single-handed mode. “Cosmic Cannon!” he added converting his weapon and throwing it into the air.

“Power Bow!” Pink Ranger shouted. She fired two arrows and then struck Minion with her bow before throwing it into the air to join the Power Axe.

“Power Lance!” Blue Ranger said as he struck Minion in the chest. He used two more blows and then split the lance in half, jabbed Minion with both parts before throwing it into the air to join the Power Axe and Power Bow.

“Power Daggers!” Yellow Ranger said. As she threw her daggers, Purple Ranger appeared behind the villain with her weapon. “Power Whip!”

“Drago Sword!” “Power Sword!” “Dragon Blade!” White, Red and Green Rangers called.

The three Rangers attacked at the same time, forcing Minion to reach down deep and draw the power from his Dark Dimension. After blocking each blow Minion turned to face his adversaries. He could sense their strength and was impressed by their potential. For the first time he was being truly tested, so much so that he was forced to expend a large amount of power to protect himself.

“That was a nice try,” he told them, “but if you believe you can defeat me you are mistaken and I will be happy to correct your oversight. It’s time you felt the full power of Minion.”

“Finish the Power Blaster!” Red Ranger called, sliding the Power Sword into position.

Green Ranger stuck his sword onto the base of the Power Blaster’s barrel. Purple Ranger slotted the handle of her whip into place under the sword and David placed the Drago Sword at the front like a bayonet.

“Fire!” all eight Rangers called.

Eight beams of coloured light burst from the Power Blaster, but before they could touch Minion the villain moved.

“Power Cannon!” the Rangers called as the Power Blaster disassembled and the weapons were placed back in subspace. The blast had a similar effect, as the construct proved he had the sense not to challenge their power directly.

“Pathetic humans,” Minion hissed. “Do you really believe you can defeat me?”

“Power Sword!”

The Power Sword was thrust towards Minion’s chest, but deflected by the Sword of Ragnarok. The battle resembled the fight between Red Ranger and the original Green Ranger a few years before. Jason remembered how he had defeated Tommy on that occasion and tried the same trick with Minion. The plan worked in disarming Minion, but Jason found the Sword of Ragnarok impossible to destroy.

“Fool, the sword is an instrument of destruction, it cannot be destroyed!” Minion crowed.

From a distance Purple Ranger attacked, using her Power Whip to strike Minion in the small of his back. White Ranger was already airborne, using his momentum to bicycle kick Minion. As he landed, he used the Drago Sword to cause more damage.

Yellow Ranger handed her Power Daggers to Pink Ranger and Black Ranger handed his Power Axe to Blue Ranger. As Pink Ranger fired the Power Daggers, Blue Ranger fired the Cosmic Cannon. Black Ranger had taken Blue Ranger’s Power Lance and used it to fight Minion at close range.

“Thunder Clap!” Black Ranger called.

“Rolling Thunder!” Yellow Ranger called.

Once again Minion was engulfed in lightning, this time with the added noise of thunder. Minion dropped to the ground from the assault. As he regained his footing, he failed to notice Green Ranger moving into position under his knees. Red Ranger delivered yet another punch and sent Minion over the Green Ranger.

“Surround him!” Red Ranger called. “Blade Blasters up!”

Surrounding Minion on all sides, the Rangers fired. Their blasts ripped into the villain. After their first try to destroy him failed, Red Ranger realised they needed a new plan.

“Time for…”

“No!” Minion interrupted. He had underestimated the Rangers, he could see that now. They were dangerous, far too risky to play with. He needed to destroy them quickly. Perhaps it was time to reconsider his goal of conquering the Earth. After all, there was the rest of the Universe at his disposal. “I have given you all a chance to take your best shots, but now I am tired of playing with you. It’s time to grow up!”

Minion suddenly grew to full size and drew the Sword of Ragnarok once again. He made a slicing motion and moved the sword in a small circle. He drove the large blade into the ground until only the handle of the blade could be seen. The device he had been given shattered as the ripped through the physical world and then the dimensional barriers. Minion’s magic poured into the sword helping it to cleanly cleave its way through the barriers. But it was his rage and hatred that gave the sword its purpose to destroy everything.

As Minion fed his power into the sword, it bled into the Ley Lines that crisscrossed the planet and into the Morphin Grid. The sword was now connected to two vast energy conduits, one of which extended through all reality. As the device shattered the destructive power it contained was sent throughout reality, overloading the conduits and exploding out through tears in the very fabric of time and space.

Meanwhile the cuts Minion had made before plunging the sword into the planet had opened.

“What have you done?” Billy queried.

“I have put an end to this battle one way or the other,” Minion told them, his voice echoing over the city. “Allow me to introduce you to the source of my power, the Dark Dimension, right here on Earth.”

“But the Dark Dimension is too large to exist here,” Billy protested.

Minion laughed as he imagined the look on Billy’s face as he realised what that meant. The Dark Dimension had a greater density and therefore a greater gravity than the Earth. And for every moment it was open the Dark Dimension drew more of the Rangers’ world into itself. And in the process, the pull of the gravity would rip the planet to pieces.

“There is no way for you to win,” Minion continued. “Should you fall in battle I win; should by some miracle you manage to defeat me, the Earth will be ripped to pieces as it is sucked into the Dark Dimension where I rule supreme. Either way, I win.”

“Or we can stop you and close that rift,” Jason yelled back.

Raising his sword Minion prepared to crush the Rangers. He was prevented from doing so as a charging Dinozord lifted him off his feet. The Triceratops shook its head, jamming its horn further into Minion’s side.

“When did we summon the Zords?” Red Ranger asked as the other Dinozords arrived, Dragonzord bringing up the rear due to its bulk.

“Zordon must have sent them,” Trini guessed.

“Alright Zordon,” Jason cheered. “Rangers, let’s go!”

Even in his weakened state Minion still managed to hold his own against the Zords. He summoned the Sword of Darkness from the Dark Dimension and used it in place of the Sword of Ragnarok.

Billy had quickly decided that the horn on Minion’s wolf mask was an energy conductor and as such, a possible weakness. The Rangers tried to zero in on that target.

Minion managed to free himself from the Triceratops’s horn, only to find himself on the wrong end of the Pterodactyl’s talons. The Saber-toothed and Mastodon were close behind as the Stegazord moved into position to trip the villain as the yellow Zord pounced. Minion blasted the three Zords away as the Raptor Zord swooped in and pulled him into the sky.

David allowed the Power to guide him as he directed his Zord to circle while gaining altitude. When he reached the desired height he made the Zord swoop toward the ground, picked up speed before releasing Minion and then pulled out of the dive. While he was skilled enough to roll away from the villain’s blast, he failed to dodge a building, grounding his machine in the process.

The Dragonzord lurched forward, combining the experience of the Green Ranger and the machine he had been created to pilot. The fight with Minion moved back and forth as it had on previous occasions. Sam activated one of his machine’s rarely used attacks, firing a boomerang shaped bolt of energy from the Dragonzord’s forehead. Shortly after that he remembered why he didn’t like that weapon as Minion batted it back at him.

~Why did I bother?~ Sam wondered. He wasn’t sure that attack had ever worked.

While Dragonzord tried to recover from its own attack, the Tyrannosaurus closed the distance, mauling Minion with its claws and teeth.

“Take this!” Minion growled, throwing a ball of dark energy. Dragonzord, returning the favour from earlier, intercepted the shot and sent it hurtling back at the villain.

“Time to turn this up a notch,” Jason observed.

A flash of lightning transformed the Zords, making them ready to merge.

“Not this time,” Minion warned.

He drove a glowing fist into the side of the Mastodon and struck the Stegazord across the back with his elbow. While the machines’ self-repair programs would deal with any damage, not that the new Dinozords were that easy to damage, but the shock rendered both machines immobile.

“So was there a point to that?” Kimberly asked.

“Of course there was a point, foolish girl,” Minion answered. He could sense the small tear he had created between the Rangers’ plane and the Dark Dimension growing. Soon they would see the reason he was guaranteed to triumph and the Earth would be lucky to survive. “The Mastodon Zord is essential for either the Dino Megazord or Dragonzord Battle Mode. Without the Stegazord there is no Dino Stegazord formation. With two blows I have robbed you of your ability to merge your powers.

“Switch back!” Jason ordered.

Following his orders the Saber-toothed Tiger, Triceratops and Pterodactyl reverted to their new forms, making them more effective in individual combat. Meanwhile the Tyrannosaurus had engaged Minion in battle again, using its tail to stand on while it kicked the villain in the chest. Minion staggered back as the Zord followed up with a head butt, never noticing as Dragonzord moved in from behind with a powerful tail smash.

Minion tried to fight back, bringing all the power and techniques he had mastered into play. The Rangers controlled their Zords expertly, compensating for their lack of a Megazord by coordinating their individual attacks. And as they did so they allowed the damaged Zords a chance to rejoin the battle.

The Raptor Zord swooped, plucking the Saber-toothed Tiger from the ground. With Trini operating her Zord’s teeth and claws, and David using the Raptor Zord to keep the yellow Zord in the air as it attacked. David pulled the lever, allowing the Saber-toothed Tiger to drop onto the villain, mauling him as they fell to the ground.

“Mastodon, back online!” Zack reported.

“Ground Breath Attack!” Jason called, shifting a slider on his control panel to the right.

The Tyrannosaurus shot a burst of yellow energy from its mouth into the ground, causing a line of smoke to explode upward from the ground toward Minion. A purple energy screen appeared in front of the villain, protecting him from an attack that had in the past seen the end of Shell shock and Rita’s Giant.

“While he’s distracted, let’s bring them together, Battle Mode!”

The Rangers formed the Megazord, this time foregoing the Dino Tank stage. Instead the Mastodon formed the arms immediately, the Saber-toothed Tiger and Triceratops moved into position as legs, and the Pterodactyl slotted into place as the chest; the Megazord’s head was already in position as the machine came to a stop and stood upright.

“Power Punch Missiles!” the Rangers called.

The Megazord lurched forward, launching a fist from the end of its arm, which flew toward Minion and exploded against his chest. The fist then regenerated on the Megazord’s arm, ready to continue the battle.

“Power Sword!” the Rangers called, preparing to finish the battle.

The Megazord swung its sword, slicing through Minion’s horn, just as they had hoped. His armour started to spark, having lost its ability to regulate the Morphin Energy that Minion had used to create it. With an angry growl, Minion turned and vanished with a swirl of his cloak.

“Rangers, return to the Power Chamber at once,” Zordon ordered before they could celebrate. The Rangers exchange worried glances and teleported away.

It had started on Aquitar; a few small tremors marked the beginning of the destruction, but just minutes later there was panic as the planet started to shake itself apart. The seas boiled as great chunks of the planet were swallowed by a black void that had appeared in the sky.

On Triforia the Royal Advisors tried to organise a mass evacuation of the Triforian System. The system’s suns had disappeared, throwing the planets into chaos. Trent tried to send a message to Trey on Earth before it was too late. The planet was destroyed before the message could be sent.

On Onyx the Executive Council of the UAE had decided to meet to put an end to Minion and the impostor who had boasted of his success. Some of the assembled villains seemed to sense what was to come; Lord Zedd even tried to escape before it happened, but in the end they too were swallowed by the void.

The devastation continued, ripping its way through worlds, whole star systems and even galaxies without slowing. Only Earth seemed unaffected by the devastation that had been unleashed by Minion. Far away from Earth, the Master was busy, still seeking the answer to the puzzle box that for some reason evaded him.

A beeping noise alerted him that something was wrong. He checked the readings, frowned and then started flipping controls. The destruction that Minion had unleashed was running away from him; it should never have become self-sustaining. It seemed that he had miscalculated, but no matter, with the energy he had already collected he was capable of shifting outside of time and space; regardless of what happened, he would be safe. His smile of victory vanished when his ship started to disintegrate.

After the Rangers teleported into the Power Chamber, they simultaneously pulled their helmets off.

“Rangers,” Alpha said. “You are safe.”

“Zordon, what’s going on?” Jason asked. The message had sounded urgent.

“During you battle Alpha and I were checking Minion’s boast,” Zordon explained. “What we found was deeply disturbing. Alpha, enlarge the image for the Rangers.”

“What is that?” Kimberly asked when the computer focussed in on the white reflective globe mounted on the handle.

“The computer has failed to identify it,” Alpha told them. “However it is agitating the sword and accelerating the damage.”

“Somebody has assembled this device and given it to Minion,” Zordon continued in a concerned tone. “It is beyond the technical knowledge of his known allies.” ~I hope.~

“Couldn’t Minion have built it?” Trini asked.

“Minion has not had the time to do so, nor does he have the knowledge to tune such a device.”

“So either Minion found somebody to do it for him,” Zack suggested.

“Or somebody decided to help him,” Aisha finished. “Who?”

“Not Rita or Zedd, that’s for sure,” Zack noted.

“Quite true Zachary. I believe that whoever has been aiding Minion has done so to further their own scheme. I do not believe those motives involve conquering the planet. I also believe that Minion’s benefactor expected Earth to be the first casualty.”

There was silence.

“Zordon, what has happened?”

“Behold the Viewing Screen,” Zordon told them. “What you are seeing is a map of this galaxy.”

The Rangers stared as the lights representing planets and stars started to disappear.

“No way,” Zack breathed.

“The device was used on Earth with the Sword of Ragnarok; Minion clearly expected the rift he opened between this universe and the Dark Dimension to cause the destruction of the Earth. Minion did not know that the Earth’s natural magic would resist his attempts, reflecting the energy waves into Morphin Grid, and in the process amplifying it. The result is that similar rifts have opened on worlds throughout the galaxy and possibly beyond.”

“Ai-yi-yi, the process is growing faster,” Alpha complained.

“For every world and star consumed, the Dark Dimension can feed more power through the sword and into the device.”

“So how do we stop it?” Sam wanted to know.

“I am afraid it is too late to stop,” Zordon said. “It would seem that Minion has won.”

“Zordon, you can’t mean that,” Aisha said.

“I am afraid that it is true Aisha, the destruction has become self-sustaining.”

“Couldn’t we use the Great Power?” Trini asked.

“The Great Power can only repair the damage that has been caused, it cannot stop the destruction from occurring,” Zordon explained.

“What if we destroyed the sword?”

“The sword cannot be destroyed,” Alpha wailed. “It is made of an unknown material that is immune to our weapons.”

“The destruction is moving beyond our galaxy,” Billy observed. It wouldn’t be long in his estimation before the effects turned inwards and the Earth fell victim.

“What’s going to happen, Zordon?” Tanya asked fearfully.

“Minion’s intention was to drive the Earth into the Dark Dimension,” Zordon explained. “As it does so the magic of the planet will turn the Earth against itself. The worst disturbances will probably begin close to the sword. However, because Minion’s aims were not the same as the one who aided him, they have provided us with a solution. Should the Sword of Ragnarok be sucked into Dark Dimension, it will lose its ability to draw from the Earth’s power and its connection to the Morphin Grid. It would then be possible to attempt to seal the rift and repair the damage it has caused.

“But the sword cannot be moved,” Zack guessed.

“Affirmative,” Billy agreed, looking over a printout. “The device is bound to the sword, the sword is buried in the Earth and protected by a barrier Minion put in place.”

“So we need to destroy Minion,” Kimberly said.

“Just one problem,” Zack observed, looking at the world map. “We can’t find him.”

“We have to do something,” David protested.

“First we need to make sure everyone stays safe?” Jason said. “Alpha, contact Tommy and the others; we need them here.”

“Yes Jason, right away.” Alpha activated the signal to the Gem Coin Rangers.

In his home, Tommy heard the beep of his communicator and ignored it. His mind was already made up that the Rangers were better off without him.

In Ko’s Garden Adam had the same thought. He was determined he would never let a Ranger down again and the way to do that was to surrender his powers.

In Pyramidas Trey heard the call to action and struggled with his conscience about the best course of action. He knew he couldn’t give up, but part of him just wanted to go home.

Rocky was still on the bed where Jason had left him. The Red Ranger had understood when Rocky did not want to answer the call, Rocky was sure he would understand if he stayed away.

Kat and Tanya also chose not to answer their communicators. Both were certain they did not belong to the Rangers and both were scared of what morphing again would mean.

“No response Zordon,” Alpha said.

“Alpha, teleport them here. The Earth needs them and I am afraid we have no choice.”

In six flashes of light the former Zeo Rangers and Trey appeared. None of them looked pleased to be back.

“I realise you have been through a great deal,” their mentor rumbled. “Were it within my power I would ensure you never experience such torment again and Travis would be here with us. But that is not within my capabilities. The Earth needs you now and I ask you to look within and find the courage to fulfil your duties. You must first travel to Dimension Z, a place closely connected to this world and retrieve the Orb of Hope.”

The six Rangers nodded and teleported away on their quest.

“Orb of Hope?” Aisha asked when they had gone.

“Trust me Aisha,” Zordon replied. “It is for the best. Alpha, tell the Orb Keeper to expect the Rangers and to unleash Harmonia upon their arrival.”

“Ai-yi-yi,” Alpha muttered as he did what he was told.

“Oh no, look!” Kimberly cried.

The Viewing Screen was starting to show disasters breaking out all over the world, early signs that the planet was being drawn into the Dark Dimension.

“There must be something more we can do,” Trini said.

“We can warn people,” Jason said. “Encourage people to get in their basements or something.”

It would make very little difference to the outcome, but at least they were doing something. Anything, no matter how small a gesture it seemed was better then nothing.

“That is an excellent suggestion,” Zordon said. “First you must morph and go warn various television studios. If you go and extend the warning in person, it will carry more weight than if I were to warn them through our radio systems. Then you should go help in Angel Grove as much as you can while I try to find a solution.”

“Let’s go guys,” Jason said. Eight bursts of light floated out of the Power Chamber. “It’s Morphin Time!”

“White Ranger Power!”

“Green Ranger Power!”

“Purple Ranger Power!”

“Black Ranger Power!”

“Pink Ranger Power!”

“Blue Ranger Power!”

“Yellow Ranger Power!”

“Red Ranger Power!”

The Rangers teleported to Alpha’s coordinates, leaving the robot to worry. “Ai-yi-yi, Zordon,” Alpha said. “What should I do?”

“Begin a scan for Minion. Finding and destroying him is the only way this destruction can be stopped.”

Dimension Z

The six Rangers appeared in a dimension filled with lush green forest. Tommy found this surprising since he had assumed Dimension Z belonged to Lord Zedd. Slowly they made their way through the jungle, avoiding the obvious traps until they reached a tall temple.

“Shall we?” Rocky asked.

The others nodded and together they started to climb the steps. At first the climb was easy, but as they got higher it became more difficult to climb. They could have morphed, but the Rangers did not feel they deserved the Power anymore.

“That’s far enough, strangers!” Looking up the Rangers could see a woman in a long white gown looking at them. “I am Harmonia, protector of the Orb of Hope. Identify yourselves or face my wrath.”

“Zordon sent us,” Tommy said simply.

“So, you are Rangers?”

Although they all shook their heads, Harmonia could see they were silently thinking they were. “Why are you here?”

“Zordon sent us to collect the Orb of Hope,” Trey told her.

“To collect the Orb you must each prove yourselves worthy,” she told him. “First morph and then enter the temple one at a time.”

“It’s Morphin Time,” Tommy said without enthusiasm.

“Zeo Ranger I – Crane.”

“Zeo Ranger II – Bear.”

“Zeo Ranger III – Ape.”

“Zeo Ranger V – Falcon.”

“Gold Ranger Power.”

In five columns the Rangers were teleported into the temple leaving Adam outside, still struggling over whether to morph or nor. Harmonia sighed. “At least five of them are willing to morph.” Adam was going to be a problem, but she had ways to get him into the temple.

“Billy and I will go to the Juice Bar,” Kimberly said after the Rangers had finished their news broadcast. It would be relayed out to multiple organisations and shown as soon as possible.

“I’ll go to Angel Grove Hospital,” Zack said.

“I’ll go with you,” Trini offered. The two teens took off running.

“The wind is really starting to pick up,” Aisha observed. The sky was a sickeningly shade of grey, and heavy, ominous thunderclouds sat just above the city. “We have to hurry.”

“David, there are some nursing homes near here,” Jason said. “Let’s go warn them.”

“Right,” he agreed.

“I’ll go see if I can help at the high school,” Aisha said.

“We’ll meet up with you later,” Kimberly said. She and Billy promptly took off for Ernie’s.

Dimension Z

Tommy found himself teleported into a room similar to the place where Minion had held Travis. As he looked around, he realised he was on the floor with a blaster in front of him.

“Five!” Tommy recognised Minion’s voice. Sure enough, as he looked up he could see Minion holding Travis in the hold he had before. He reached for the blaster and then remembered that the blaster was only set to half power.

~This is an illusion, ~ he thought. ~There is no way to change what happened, so give up now and let him die. ~

That was an easy option for Tommy. For a moment he even considered doing just that and allowing his friend to die.

“No,” he said as much to himself as anybody else. “I won’t let somebody else die because I failed.”

“You failed last time,” Minion said.

“Last time I was hurt, I had not powers and I was scared,” Tommy admitted. “But I will never let anybody do what you did to me ever again. I am Zeo Ranger V – Red and you’re history!”

Red Zeo leapt at Minion, careful to avoid striking Travis in the process. The Zeo V Power Sword made contact and Minion vanished into red smoke. The captive changed and Tommy realised it was not Travis. For a moment he had been willing to let another innocent die, but he had conquered his fear and now he knew what he had to do. Touching his belt, he teleported away.

Kimberly and Billy had just stepped into Ernie’s when a powerful boom of thunder shook the entire building. There was no rain, but plenty of thunder and lightning. They had demorphed to avoid a panic.

“Ernie!” Kimberly shouted, running up to the bar. “You have to get everybody in the basement.”

“What?” he asked, still wiping the counter down.

“There’s a major storm headed this way,” Billy said. “They expect it to level everything in Angel Grove.”

“They who?” Ernie asked. “They haven’t said anything about it on the news.”

“The Power Rangers, that’s who,” Kimberly said. “And they haven’t aired it yet because the Power Rangers haven’t got to the television studios yet.”

Ernie’s face suddenly went pale. “You got it,” he said. “Hey! Everybody! We have to go in the basement! Come on!”

“What do we do Billy?” Kimberly asked. “Where do we go?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I guess we should go and warn people in the streets.”

Ernie ran back up to the bar. “You guys,” Ernie said, “be careful.” He smiled a knowing smile and followed the crowd of teens to the basement.

In a flash of pink and blue light, their Ranger armour moulded itself around the body of the two teens, increasing their muscularity, reflexes, strength, and fighting ability. “Let’s go,” Kimberly said. They ran out into the rapidly increasing storm.

“The wind’s really picking up!” Billy shouted.

“Billy! Look!” Kimberly screamed, pointing to the left.

They both watched in terrified awe as a heavy, black funnel cloud lowered itself to the Earth.

Aisha ran down the halls of Angel Grove High. Class was still in session, as sixth period had yet to end. She wondered briefly if she should handle the problem in her civilian guise. “Aisha,” she thought to herself, “you are supposed to be in Africa. They are going to have questions as to why you’re here. Save yourself the trouble and remain morphed.”

The Purple Ranger hurried into the main office, startling the secretary. “Can I help you?” she asked.

“Yes,” Aisha said. “A major storm is about to hit Angel Grove. You need to warn the students.” Suddenly, the entire building began to shake. “Or an earthquake,” Aisha added.

“The Rangers are on the move, master,” Arcana reported.

“They should have given up by now,” Minion snarled.

He reached out to the Moon and the Machine Sky Base, grabbing as many of his competitors’ forces as possible. He would stop the Rangers, one way or the other.

Kimberly and Billy watched as the tornado slowly melted away. Its damage, however, had already been done. Several blocks of suburbia were destroyed, along with countless innocent lives. “Oh my God, Billy,” Kimberly sighed.

Just as suddenly as it came, the rain stopped. The lightning remained, but the torrential downpour ceased.

“Destroy — the — Power Rangers,” a robotic voice said.

Billy and Kimberly turned around to see an army marching toward them. Cogs on the front line, Tengas behind, Putties and Super Putties close behind.

“This day just keeps going from bad to worse,” Kimberly said.

“This is Billy. Kimberly and I need help. We’ve got an entire army about to attack on the north side of Angel Grove,” he said into his wrist. “Can anybody hear us?” Billy asked frantically. “Hello?”

“It’s not working!” Kimberly cried. “Zordon! Alpha!”

“Looks like we’re on our own,” Billy said.

“Well, if anybody can do it,” Kimberly began.

“We can,” Billy finished.

“Ai-yi-yi Zordon!” Alpha cried. “I don’t think those are ordinary earthquakes! And people are dying by the thousands! Ai-yi-yi Zordon! What are we going to do! Population has already dropped to 3.6 billion! Ai-yi-yi yi-yi-yi-yi!”

“Calm yourself, Alpha Five,” Zordon said. “We are doing all that we can do. Check the temperature of the Earth below Angel Grove.”

“Right Zordon,” Alpha said, hustling over to a nearby console. The scan took only a few moments. “Ai-yi-yi! Temperature has already risen forty-seven point three degrees! Molten rock is being forced up to the surface! We’re doomed!”

“Is the molten rock coming up from beneath Power Mountain?” Zordon asked, his voice very calm.

“No, Zordon,” Alpha said. “Fortunately, the spell you cast ten thousand years ago is still holding. This mountain is rock solid.”

“Then there is still hope.”

“I certainly hope so,” Alpha said woefully.

“Dear God,” Zack said.

He and Trini stood at the mouth of the Hospital Parking Lot. They were both soaked to the skin, but that really didn’t seem to matter at the moment. The two teens just stared at the smoking pile of rubble that had once been Angel Grove Memorial.

“Those poor people,” Trini muttered in a very small voice. She fought back the tears that tried to break free.

Suddenly, a terrible crack of thunder deafened them both. A multi-forked lightning bolt struck the rubble. Trini dropped to her knees with both hands over her ears. A raging inferno sprang to life almost immediately.

“There’s probably severed gas mains around here,” Zack said.

“Let’s get out of here,” Trini said, jumping to her feet. A giant red fireball exploded behind them.

Aisha screamed as the office split down the middle. She watched in stunned horror as the receptionist and her desk full into the gaping chasm that formed right down the middle of the office. The Purple Ranger lunged at the falling woman, but it was too late.

“No!” Aisha screeched. She crawled away from the gaping schism in the Earth as molten fire began to bubble out of it.

Jason and David stopped two blocks away from the nursing home. “We’re too late,” David said as the tornado continued its path of destruction. Jason turned away from the horrific site, dropped to his knees, and vomited up everything he had eaten that day.

He suddenly felt so useless. He had become a Ranger to save the planet, and then left for the Peace Conference to continue helping, just in a different way. And all for what? Just to have everyone in Angel Grove die. His mother, father. Emily. “No,” Jason said. “No. It can’t end like this.”

“Jason,” David said. “We’re too late. Now pull yourself together and maybe we can help somebody else.” David spoke with a tone of voice he never would have dreamed he would use on anyone, certainly not Jason. But he was the White Ranger, he who led the charge against the darkness and despite David’s quiet nature and his preference for letting the Red Ranger command, circumstances forced him to step up to the plate.

“You’re right,” Jason breathed. He wiped his forearm across his mouth and stood up. “You’re right. Sorry for losin’ it.”

“It’s okay,” David muttered. “There’s no use following the tornado’s path. I doubt we’ll find any signs of life that way.”

“You’re right,” Jason said yet again. “We’ll head the other way.”

The positions reversed, the normal roles were resumed, Jason as the field commander and David as the quiet follower.

Jason turned around just in time to see the well-defined boundary of rain. The rain seemed to form a solid wall, and it was slowly creeping its way into Angel Grove. “Hurricane,” he whispered.

“I can’t take the time to fight any one of these guys,” Billy thought to himself. “Just launch a full assault on as many as you can.”

“Power Lance!” he shouted. He held the Lance in both hands before him and ran into the army of warriors.

Billy reached the middle of the group and stopped. He began to spin his Lance all around him, producing sparks from the Cogs, and screams from the Tengas.

Kimberly stood slightly back, picking off the Z-Putties and Tengas alike with her arrows. Her aim was precise, every shot hitting the Z on the Putties chests or a tender spot on the Tengas.

Dimension Z

The other four Zeo Rangers had been through a similar test, concentrating on their different responses to what had happened in Minion’s Sub-dimension. Tanya had been in the room on her own until she realised that her friends would never leave her. Trey had finally conquered his conflicting emotions surrounding Travis sufficiently to stabilise and draw on his full power. Rocky had made peace with his conscience and felt better and Kat had determined to resolve her problems with Tommy as soon as she got home.

Now all that was left was for Adam to join them. Then they could get the Orb and leave. They waited for a while until it became obvious Adam was not coming.

Kat was the first to hear the sound of something falling, but it did little to help as a cage formed around them. Their powers seemed to fade making it impossible to break out and poisoned gas started to pump into the chamber.

“I think we’re in trouble,” Rocky said as the ceiling started to fall towards them.

“You okay girl?” Zack asked, running out of the flaming inferno.

“I’ve been better,” Trini said, “but yeah. I’m okay. Where do we go now? What do we do, Zack?”

“I don’t know,” he stammered. The ground began to crack beneath their feet.

“What now?” Trini cried. The two Rangers jumped out of the way as the pavement began to disintegrate. Suddenly, red lava began to spew out of the numerous spiderweb cracks.

Before Trini and Zack could even comprehend the volcano that was forming beneath Angel Grove, the hurricane was upon them.

David wrapped his arms around a lamppost. “This isn’t good!” Jason shouted over the roar of the wind. David nodded in agreement. He pulled his right hand closer to his face. Concentrating, he tried to redirect the wind around them. He let go of the lamppost and found that the wind scarcely had an effect on him at all.

“Zordon,” Jason said into his wrist. “Alpha. Jason to Power Chamber. Jason to Power Chamber.”

“Why isn’t it working?” David asked.

“I don’t know,” Jason said, noticing that their suits seemed to change in brightness “The rift is affecting the Morphin Grid. Hold on. I’m going to try to teleport.” He put his hands on his Morpher Buckle and squeezed the sides, signalling a teleport. However, nothing happened. “Lord help us all,” Jason thought to himself.

“I don’t know what to do!” Aisha screamed over the roar of the wind and crackle of fire. The school was about to be overwhelmed with molten lava, yet she couldn’t lead the students outside because of the hurricane. As it turned out, it didn’t matter. Just a few seconds later, the school collapsed in on itself.

“There’s no one left to help, Zack!” Trini cried. “I’m going back to the Power Chamber.”

“I know,” Zack said. The two Rangers stopped and attempted to teleport.

“Wha?” Trini asked. She attempted to teleport again.

“Man, now the Power Chamber,” Zack said. “This day just keeps going from bad to worse!”

Billy landed on his back beside Kimberly. He quickly shuffled away from the approaching army. “Billy,” Kimberly said, “we can’t handle all these guys. People are dying by the thousands all around us. What more harm can they do? I say we get out of here!”

“You’re right,” he said. They started to run, when the ground began to rumble beneath them.

“Earthquakes and hurricanes?” Kimberly asked sarcastically.

Suddenly, she realized that it was no Earthquake. A large section of the street fell straight down. Billy flipped away from the trouble, but Kimberly was too late.

Part of the street fell with them, while another part got wedged against some various pipes. It did not fall completely, but it was slanted nearly sixty degrees. Screaming, Kimberly slid down this slanted section of broken asphalt. At the last second, she grabbed a water pipe. The chunk of asphalt finally broke free, plunging into the lava stream far below.

“Billy!” Kimberly screamed. The pipe began to bend, lowering her inch by inch to her doom.

“Hold on Kimberly!” he cried. However, he had no idea how to save his comrade. She couldn’t teleport, and in a matter of seconds, she would fall into the lava far below. She could certainly survive the fall in her uniform. She could even survive the scorching river of fire. However, it was moving fast, and he had no idea where it would carry her.

“Thank you very much,” Sam said to the producer at WKTP in New York City. He pushed his belt buckle and waited for the teleport. Nothing. He tried once more. Nothing. “Teleportation is off-line?” Sam asked himself in horror.

“Help me Billy!” Kimberly screamed as the pipe dropped an extra five feet.

“I’m hurrying!” Billy called down to her in an equally frantic voice.

He glanced all about him, looking for anything he could use to help Kimberly. He saw a fallen power line and got an idea. Billy pulled his Blade Blaster from its holster and fired at the thick wire. The blue laser sliced clean through it. He promptly shot the wire again at a distance about fifty feet from the first nick. “I’ve got an idea!” he shouted down to Kimberly. “Just hold on!”

“This pipe isn’t going to hold much longer!” she cried.

Billy ran up to her and, holding tight to one end, tossed the power line down to Kimberly. As soon as it swung past her, she latched hold of the wire and held on for dear life. In just a few moments, he had her pulled to safety. She hugged Billy tightly, not wanting to let go. Despite the hurricane raging around them, he just held her in return.

Aisha ran into David. “David!” she cried. “Jason! The school is gone! It collapsed while I was inside it! There’s nothing left!”

“That’s what all of Angel Grove is like,” David answered sadly. “Nursing homes, suburbs. Business district.”

“It’s all levelled,” Jason said. “And if that isn’t bad enough, teleportation and communications are offline.”

“Let’s find the others,” Aisha said. “Maybe Billy knows some way to get back to the Power Chamber.”

“Sounds like a good idea,” Jason agreed.

Dimension Z

Adam sat alone on the steps of the temple. He had wanted to go with the others, but he was scared of being helpless to save his fellow Rangers again.


~That sounds like Rocky, ~ he thought.


Every part of Adam wanted to morph and help his friends, but his mind kept returning to the sight of seeing Travis being killed by Minion and knowing there was no way for him to help.

“I have my powers,” he said to himself, trying to find a reason to help.

~I couldn’t help last time. Why would this time be any different? ~

But Adam already knew the answer. This time would be different because this time he would not fail.

“Zeo Ranger IV – Green!”

In a flash of green he teleported into the temple, ready to help. He arrived just in time to free his companions and for them to get out of the trap.

“So,” Harmonia hissed. “You have passed the test of the temple. Now you have only to defeat me.”

As she spoke a katana like sword appeared in her hand. Her white gown became black as her hair turned into a mass of green snakelike creatures.

“Zeo Power Weapons,” Red Zeo said to his companions. “Let’s show her why you don’t mess with the Zeo Rangers.”

Now with the power of the Zeo Crystal flowing through their bodies the Zeo Rangers attacked and discovered they had some new abilities.

“Zeo Power Shield!” Pink Zeo called.

After blocking a blow from Harmonia, Pink Zeo jumped away and threw her disklike shield. The disk flew through the air, missing Harmonia on the first pass, but rebounding to strike her from behind.

“Now, Zeo I Power Disk!”

Grabbing hold of the shield, Kat was propelled into Harmonia. The monster fell to the ground, as Kat was teleported back to her friends. With the Zeo power, the Rangers had gained greater control over their teleportation abilities. Kat had seen the greatest increase since she was able to change course in mid teleport.

“Zeo III Hammer Punch!”

Blue Zeo started to spin as he had in the when using his Power Punch. This time as he reached top speed he lifted off the ground, aimed for Harmonia’s head and delivered a double axe handle type blow to the head.

“You’ll pay for that,” Harmonia screeched, reminding the Rangers of Rita Repulsa.

Harmonia’s hair reached out and wrapped around Blue Zeo, pulling him towards her.

“Zeo V Power Blast!”

After raising his sword so the star-shaped hilt was level with his helmet, Red Zeo fed the power from his Zeo Shard into a single blast. Harmonia’s hair was ripped apart as Red Zeo followed up.

“Zeo V Power Kick!”

“Zeo V Power Sword!”

A quick kick knocked Harmonia off balance as the Power Sword sliced her in half. The monster exploded, leaving the Rangers victorious.

“You have past the test Rangers,” the Keeper said as he walked in. “Here is the object you seek.”

Pulling back a white shroud the Keeper revealed a large crystal. All the Rangers recognised it at once.

“That’s the Zeo Crystal,” Rocky said.

“Correct,” the Keeper said. “You all past the test and proven yourselves worthy of the Zeo Crystal. While you have been here, the Crystal has been regenerating. Soon it will be ready for you to use again. Harmonia never wanted to stop you, but she was under instructions to make you realise you were Rangers.”

“Then this isn’t Zedd’s Dimension?” Tommy asked.

“Zedd? Is that what he led you to believe? That sly old dog. This dimension is the personal domain of Zordon. It has no other master. Remember Titanus young Panther.”

Tommy groaned as he remembered the first time he had met Titanus. The mighty dinosaur had tried to prevent Tommy and Jason from getting some new weapons until they learnt to work as a team. In the end it had turned out to be a test by Zordon to ensure the two Rangers could work together.

“Now, I believe you have a world that needs saving,” the Keeper continued. “The others are trying to warn people of the danger, perhaps you can help them.”

As he spoke the Rangers’ uniforms vanished and they realised they needed to morph properly.

“Zeo Ranger I – Crane!”

“Zeo Ranger II – Bear!”

“Zeo Ranger III – Ape!”

“Zeo Ranger IV – Frog!”

“Zeo Ranger V – Falcon!”

“Gold Ranger Power!”

As the Rangers vanished, so did the temple along with the Keeper.

New York

The young mother covered her head and screamed as the building fell towards her. Car brakes squealed as drivers desperately tried to regain control of their vehicles. The earthquake or whatever it was that was causing the shaking was causing chaos across America. The boats on the river were trying to navigate through a full force hurricane as a massive tidal wave swept through Manhattan.

Just as the woman was about to be squashed, a thick glob of webbing grabbed her from its path. Spider-Man lifted her away from the danger; glad he could save a life, saddened at the ten or so workers who had perished in the building’s collapse.

“What is going on?” he wondered after setting the damsel down. He had seen storms before, earthquakes, and even his fair share of towering infernos. He had never seen them all occur simultaneously with a few blocks of a volcano.

The building he had been resting against gave way, plunging him into the street; he fired a web line and swung to safety only for the line to break. He found himself plummeting into a pool of lava.

Zack and Trini found Billy and Kimberly. “It’s all gone,” Trini said woodenly. “All of Angel Grove.”

“The Power Chamber might be gone,” Billy said. “We have no way of knowing.”

“How will we get back?” Zack asked.

“We can try calling on a Zord,” Billy said. “At least that way we can travel out to the Power Chamber.”

“HEY!” a strong voice shouted. “You guys!”

“It’s Jason,” Zack said. “With Aisha and David.”

The seven Rangers joined up a few seconds later. Billy quickly explained his plan for getting back to the Power Chamber.

“David, do the honours.”

“Right,” he said. “Raptor Zord, power up!”

From its hiding place the Raptor Zord emerged and flew into the wind.

“I see it!” Trini shouted. The white Zord flew toward them, despite the lightning, wind, and torrential downpour of rain. “David, just get us back to Power Mountain, we should be able to teleport from there. Everybody else, we have to line-of-sight teleport into the empty area in the Zord’s belly.”

“Will that work?” Zack asked. “With the teleportation system off-line?”

“It should,” Billy said. “Line-of-sight is activated by the Zords, not from the normal teleport unit in the Power Chamber.

“We’re about to see if you’re right,” David said. The seven Rangers jumped into the air and teleported into the Zord.

“Rangers!” Alpha cried when they finally arrived in the Power Chamber. “I am so glad you are safe!”

“Why is the teleportation unit off-line?” Billy asked, setting his helmet on a computer console. He immediately began to search for the problem.

“We weren’t aware that it was,” Zordon said.

“Well, I’ve found the problem,” Billy said. “It was accidentally forced off-line when all hell broke lose up there. The computers are trying to keep track of human lives, and the numerous hurricanes, tornadoes, et cetera.”

“Oh no,” Trini said, moving over to Zordon’s tube. There was a large, rectangular screen just to the left of it. There was a flat map of the entire globe. Red hurricanes, tiny blips representing hurricanes, and numerous other horrific anomalies covered the entire map. But what terrified her was the population display.

“Two point seven billion,” Trini said quietly. “Nearly half of the planet has died.”

“I will set to work getting the teleportation and communication systems on line immediately,” Alpha said. “Ai-yi-yi, Tommy and the others are still out there!”

“How long will it take?” Jason asked.

“The better part of an hour I’m afraid,” the robot said.

“That’s too long,” Billy said.

“Adam is in Argentina, Tommy in Paris, Kat in Australia, and Tanya in Tokyo,” Kimberly said. “Rocky is in Britain and Trey is in Moscow.”

“We’ll just have to hope they can hold on,” Jason said. “There is no way we can get to them.”

“Zordon, what about the Zords?” Trini asked. The Rangers did not know exactly where their machines were held between battles, but with the entire planet under threat, they didn’t want to take the risk.

“I have already activated the emergency protocols,” Zordon answered. “Your Zords had retreated into the Morphin Grid and will emerge only in answer to your call or when the danger has passed.”

That was a good thing. The Rangers continued to watch, helpless as the world came closer and closer to the point of no return

An hour or so later

A few tendrils of green light wafted into the Power Chamber. “This is a slow teleport,” Aisha observed.

After about fifteen seconds, a column of green light had collected. It immediately turned into the Green Zeo Ranger. “That was weird,” Adam said.

“Here comes Katherine and Rocky,” Aisha said. She slammed her hand on the button. A temporary flash of pink light appeared, and Katherine was suddenly dropped from the Power Chamber’s ceiling. Fortunately, her pink armour protected her from harm. Rocky teleported into the Power Chamber at a forty-five degrees and slammed into Katherine.

“Are you sure the teleporter is working right?” Kimberly asked.

Alpha glanced up at Zordon as if asking permission to reply. Seeing no objection he did so.

“We are losing power, Rangers,” Alpha explained.

“How do you mean?”

“The Power is an energy field that is revitalised by living beings. As the number of lifeforms diminishes, so does the Power, and I’m afraid, so does the Morphin Grid. ”

“You mean that the longer this goes on the less power we’ll have to counter it?”

“Yes. However your individual powers will last longer because they are linked to your life energies. Teleportation however will gradually weaken.”

With a powerful flash of red, Tommy was literally thrown into the Power Chamber. He slammed into the glass case that housed the White Ranger’s costume. “That was a weird teleport,” he said slowly.

Yellow light suddenly filled the Power Chamber, temporarily blinding those present. A huge mound of rocks lay in the Power Chamber. “Tanya?” Adam asked.

“I’m in here someplace,” she said.

“Uhm, Alpha,” Aisha said warily. “Zordon.”

“What is it Aisha?” Zordon asked.

“I can’t find Sam or Trey. Their last know locations are under water.”

Trey had been lucky enough to call on Pyramidas when he noticed the monsoon heading in his direction. The large Zord had proven itself capable of standing up to a mere storm. Realising that something was wrong with the Power Chamber’s teleportation system, he had taken it upon himself to try to locate as many stragglers as possible.

After collecting Sam from New York, along with a very soggy Spider-man, he moved across the country, picking up as many of their newfound allies as possible. For some reason he believed they would need the help.

“Coming up on Mount Rushmore,” he told Sam, remembering that this was the headquarters of the Avengers.

“Oh man, what happened to it?” Sam asked.

The mountainside was gone, crumbled into a pile of molten sand and red-hot geysers. Locking on to whatever life signs he could detect, Trey teleported the survivors aboard and headed for Coast City, home of the JLA.

“Zordon, how long do we have?” Trini asked.

It was a question they had all wanted to ask and one they feared the answer to. They needed to defeat Minion to save the Universe, but if the Earth was destroyed, then all hope was lost.

“The Earth will survive for a few days after the collapse of the localised Morphin Grid,” Zordon told them. “Alpha and I are redirecting energy from the Power Chamber to reinforce the planet’s magic, but this is creating a massive drain on our resources.”

“Zordon, can we use the Zeo Crystal?” Tommy asked.

“That is a good idea,” Zordon said. “The energy from the Zeo Crystal cannot be used to power a team of Rangers, but it can stabilise and when needed purify the planet’s magic.”

“Any luck in finding Minion?”

“None,” Zordon answered solemnly. “I will keep searching, but you require rest. “Alpha, please show the Rangers to their quarters.”

“Our quarters?” Rocky asked.

“Look at the map. Angel Grove is gone,” Kimberly said. “So is most of America.”

“Our families,” Rocky said woodenly.

“Trey and Sam?” Kat asked.

“Do not be alarmed, Rangers,” Zordon said. “If being Rangers has taught you nothing else, it has taught you to never give up hope.”

The Rangers nodded, not fully understanding what he meant, but too tired and depressed to press him for more details. “Do not worry, Rangers,” Zordon thought to himself. “We will find a way, we must.”

The rooms had been designed before Minion had decided to destroy the universe and were intended to serve the Rangers during a prolonged attack. Zordon had apparently thought to allow the Rangers to either mix together or divide according to gender or team.

The teens arrived in what Alpha dubbed the common room. It was a large chamber with the entertainment and refreshments they would no doubt need. Four staircases rose from the room, one to the girls’ area, one to the boys’ lounge, one to the Morphin Rangers’ common area and one to the Zeo Rangers’ chamber. Descending were another set of staircases that led to the Rangers’ private rooms.

Elsewhere in the area they discovered the shower facilities Zordon had installed and the machines they could use to create clean clothing.

“This is really cool, Alpha,” Adam observed as he checked out his room, decorated entirely in shades of green.

“I can’t believe my parents are dead,” Rocky said sadly.

“I don’t even know why we bother anymore,” Jason moaned. “The planet is dying. We don’t have anything left to protect.”

“Ai-yi-yi!” Alpha said excitedly. He wished he could tell the Rangers everything would be all right, but he couldn’t be certain and he didn’t want to mislead them in any way.

“Good morning beautiful,” Zack said, giving Aisha a quick peck on the lips.

“Mmmmm,” Aisha purred. “Are we an official item yet?” She curled up on the couch beside him.

“I’d like to think so,” Zack said.

“Good,” Aisha said, snuggling up against his body.

“Good morning Billy,” Katherine greeted, stretching her sleep-sore muscles.

“Good morning Katherine,” he answered. “Sleep well?”

“I guess so,” she answered. “That was a strange bed.”

Billy nodded in agreement.

“No, they were not supposed to stay in their headquarters!” Minion fumed. “How can I destroy them if they won’t come out?” He ignored the obvious possibility of making a personal appearance to draw them out. “I need a monster, a special token of my esteem. Hm, I wonder if Finster or Klank had anything worth taking?”

He teleported to the almost abandoned Machine Sky Base. With Onyx wiped out he no longer had to worry about Mondo and his rust bucket family.

“What’s this?” he wondered as he found a set of plans. “RoboPunch? Those machines have no imagination when it comes to naming things.”

A series of alarms suddenly went off, drawing the Rangers back to the command room. “Ai-yi-yi!” Alpha cried. He hurried over to the console and began to analyse the information. “It’s from the Machine Empire! The beast is known as RoboPunch. It is about to attack New York City.”

“Is there anything left of New York?” Zack asked.

“Some parts of the city are intact, and there are pockets of survivors,” Alpha said. “But you will have to hurry. A hurricane is rapidly approaching from the Atlantic.”

“Then why don’t we just let the hurricane destroy the monster?” Rocky asked. The others glared at him. “Okay, fine.”

“It’s Morphin Time!”

“Man,” Rocky griped. “Out here saving a dead world in my underwear.”

“Just hope you don’t demorph,” Tanya said.

RoboPunch was nowhere to be found. The Rangers had broken up into two groups to find it.

“This place is trashed,” Zack said. He ran out onto a hardened slick of lava.

“He’s sure to be around here someplace guys,” Tommy said. “Let’s hurry and find this beast.”

“Zordon, we can’t see anything,” Jason reported.

“Alpha, reconfigure the Gem Coin helmets to enable scanning,” Zordon instructed.

“Done Zordon,” Alpha reported.

“Tommy, your teams’ helmets have been enhanced with a new range of functions. Tanya and Kat now possess the ability to generate light beams from their helmets while Adam and Rocky can use their new scanning abilities. Your helmet will allow you enhanced vision.”

“Right Zordon,” Tommy confirmed. “Let’s do it guys.”

“Power Scan!” Rocky and Adam shouted in unison.

“Power Beams!” Tanya and Kat followed. It was around ten o’clock, but the clouds that covered the sky prevented any light from getting through.

“Tommy,” Rocky said. “I’m getting readings from the east.”

“Power Vision!” Tommy turned his gaze to the east. Immediately, data began to scroll across his field of vision.

The Rangers began to walk toward the supposed monster.

“There it is!” Adam shouted.

“Guys, we found him!” Tommy shouted into his wrist. The Rangers had split up to cover more ground. “He’s in what’s left of Central Park!”

“We’re on our way!” Rocky answered. He and Kat had gone with one group while Tommy, Adam and Tanya had gone with the others.

RoboPunch was as wide as he was tall. He had two powerful arms, whose hands were covered with numerous spikes and claws. His eyes were wide and red, gathering information and determining its attackers’ weak points.

The Rangers quickly gathered into a circle around the machine.

“What’s this?” it thought. “I was designed to fight five, maybe six, Rangers. Not twelve. Ah well, it’ll just be more of a challenge.”

Adam high-kicked RoboPunch, deftly avoiding his dangerous hands. He immediately jumped backwards, landed on his hands, and quickly kicked the machine with his feet.

Kimberly pulled back on her Power Bow. A shimmering pink arrow floated in the bow. She was waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike one of RoboPunch’s computerized eyes.

Aisha slowly circled RoboPunch with her Power Whip, in horse crop mode, held out before her. Zack circled in the opposite direction with his Power Axe. RoboPunch fighting style was very different from any previous monster. When a group attacked him, he just freaked out and started swinging his hands everywhere, injuring everyone. The Rangers were attacking one at a time, rapid fire.

Adam jumped away, and Billy darted in.

That was when RoboPunch managed to grow.

“RoboPunch is bringing out the big guns!” Rocky cried. He pointed at the now-gigantic machine.

“Then so will we,” Jason answered. “We need Ninjazord Power…”

“Now!” the other Morphin Rangers affirmed.

Just a few seconds later, the eight Zords were flying toward New York.

“Let’s get out of their way,” Tommy said to the Gem Coin Rangers.

“Bring them together,” Red Ranger said. “Ninja MegaFalconzord!”

“Ninja Battlezord!” Purple Ranger called. The Panther was operating under remote control.

The Crane started to fold to form the head while at the same time the Frog transformed to become the legs and the Bear converted to become the Ninja MegaFalconzord’s upper body. The already modified Ape and Wolf joined onto the Bear to form the arms as the Crane linked on to become the head. Then the whole upper body joined onto the Frog as the Falcon Zord linked onto the back. Hands formed over the Ape and Wolf’s heads.

The Panther Zord transformed to stand upright on its hind legs. The head rotated downwards to become the chest and the front paws became the arms. The Hawk Zord’s wings and head folded into the body as the Hawk Zord joined onto the shoulders of the Panther to become the head of the Ninja Battlezord. The Panther’s tail converted into a Power Sword as Purple Ranger slid into the cockpit ready for action.

“Battle Strike!” Purple Ranger called.

The Ninja Battlezord gave a short spin and drove its Power Sword into the machine’s chest. As it stopped spinning the Zord ducked out of the way as the Ninja MegaFalconzord descended using its double power punch. RoboPunch exploded as the Zords celebrated their victory.

The Rangers ripped their helmets off and started their ritual congratulations celebration.

“That was awesome,” Aisha said eagerly. “RoboPunch never stood a chance.”

“Well, now that the monster is destroyed, I’m going to shave, shower, and get dressed,” Rocky said.

Trini leaned against Billy’s chest. He had his arms wrapped around her. “We still have a chance,” Trini sighed. “At everything.”

“At a life together,” Billy said happily, willing to let go of his fears for a moment. Trini was only the second person he had ever felt a true emotional attachment with. She was only the third person he had ever kissed. But he knew that Trini was the one person meant for him. The fact that she was an Earthling was icing on the cake.

“Would you like that?” Trini asked. “A life together?”

“Do you?” Billy asked nervously.

“I sure do,” Trini answered.

“Good,” Billy said, smiling all over himself.

RoboPunch had failed, but then it was one of Mondo’s creations and naturally inferior to anything he could have designed. Still it left him with a problem that he needed a new means to attack the Rangers. He needed to draw them out before they found a way to use the Great Power to ruin his plans. Oh he knew they had the ability to foil his scheme, they had done it to so many villains before it was just in their nature to mess things up.

He looked around critically and his eyes rested on Arcana and then upon his Nega Rangers. Yes, that was it, the perfect idea and he already had all the ingredients he needed; he had the Nega Rangers as raw material, the Dark Dimension to provide the souls and Arcana to bring the two together.

“It’s time for a change.”


Arcana was chanting. The Sword of Darkness was gripped firmly in his hands as he searched the Dark Dimension for the spirits that Minion desired.

“Found them,” he said at last. “Now Minion, bring them through and I will merge them.”

Minion jumped to his feet, thought a few choice words, and pointed both hands at the sword and his Nega Rangers. Blue light flew from his fingertips.

“Will it work?” Arcana asked, intrigued by the display.

“Just wait,” Minion said. A ball of darkness formed and from the ball shot beams of multicoloured light, each striking a Nega Ranger. Minion could sense the struggle as his creations and the souls he had summoned fought for dominance. In the end the newcomers emerged victorious, admiring their new bodies.

“Welcome my young friends,” Minion greeted, “welcome to a second chance.”

“Who are you?” Nega Pink demanded, her voice similar to Kimberly’s. Her bow was raised and Minion was impressed to see that she had already loaded a Nega Arrow.

“I am called Minion, and in this dimension, I am the one who calls the shots,” he told her. “I brought you here from the Dark Dimension. You remember that place don’t you?”

They nodded hesitantly. These creatures had once been Rangers and all had at some stage turned their back on their beliefs and embraced the darkness. Though they were from different universes, their shared experiences had made them kindred spirits. In the end it had required their former allies and in some cases the
Grid Masters to destroy them.

“Why did you bring us here?” Kimberly asked.

“To serve me.” It was the truth and as far as Minion was concerned and he stated his belief in a way that left no doubt about who was in control.

“I don’t follow anyone,” Nega Blue growled.

Minion clicked his fingers, turning on the pain enhancers he had included in the Nega Rangers’ bodies.

“The bodies you occupy were sculpted from my genetic material. You are echoes, I am the source.” he replied. “You would do well to remember that your lives are dependent upon me. Welcome to your new home, if all goes to plan, it will not be here much longer. Now, enough talk, go and introduce yourselves.”

Sixteen beams of light descended through the atmosphere and landed in the remains of Angel Grove. There were no buildings or vegetation anywhere. The entire city had been covered with lava. Smooth silvery rock stretched for almost as far as the eye could see.

“So this is Angel Grove?” one asked.

“Not much to do, is there?” Aisha asked bitterly.

“We just wait?” Adam asked.

“This is so weird,” Tommy said. “I can’t believe Tommy Oliver could be good in any universe.”

“I can’t believe there are universes where we didn’t turn evil,” Trini said. “Are we that ignorant here?”

The Rangers looked at the sixteen evil Rangers through the Viewing Screen. “This is unreal,” Tanya whispered.

“Sixteen, how did they get that many?” Rocky asked.

“They are serious,” Trini said.

“I’m afraid it is a very likely scenario,” Zordon told them. “On more than one occasion spells and other factors have turned you evil for a short time. These are Rangers who never managed to break free from that influence. I believe Minion has drawn them from the Dark Dimension, however, they probably originate from a whole collection of alternate universes.”

“This is making so little sense,” Tommy said.

“All you need to remember is that they are your enemies,” Zordon said.

“Here they come,” Kat said. Twelve streams descended to the Earth and materialized, producing twelve teenagers. The two teams stared at each other for a moment.

“So you all are our good counterparts?” Tommy asked.

“I suppose so,” Tommy answered.

“No good can come from this,” the two Tanyas said in unison.

“If you all are our opposites,” Adam mused, “then you defend.”

“We attack,” Trini growled.

Suddenly, the evil doppelgangers attacked. Evil-Aisha clawed at Zack before punching Aisha in the face. Aisha retaliated with a sidekick.

Evil-Tommy ran up to Kimberly. “Did you dump me on this world too?” he asked. He immediately shot both arms forward and clenched his hands around her throat. With a strangled croak, he picked her up off of the ground by her neck.

Evil-Kimberly and Evil-Katherine ran up to Tommy. “Hello Thomas,” they both purred. Both females suddenly high-kicked Tommy.

Katherine and Billy backed away from Evil-Trini and Evil-Adam. “Two geeks who probably couldn’t defend themselves if their lives depended on it,” Evil-Adam said.

“Actually, your lives do depend on it,” Evil-Trini growled. She suddenly lashed out and kicked Billy in the chest before either of them could react.

Katherine high-kicked Evil-Trini before she could react. She ducked Evil-Trini’s punch, but she kicked Kat in the ribs before she had gotten back to her feet.

Jason hit the ground in a painful heap. He wasn’t used to fighting someone as big as him that could actually fight. Tommy was matched in skill, but even he didn’t have the bulk strength that Jason suddenly realized he apparently had.

Tanya was thrown head over heels by Evil-Tanya. “Looks like someone has been giving her lessons too,” Tanya thought painfully.

Rocky successfully blocked Evil-Zack’s punch. With a sudden swipe of his leg, he brought Evil-Zack to the ground. He didn’t have time to relish in his accomplishments, though, as Evil-Rocky threw Zack at him.

Evil-Billy grabbed Trini in a bear hug before she could react. “Billy,” Trini muttered. “Don’t do this.”

“You fight for good,” Evil-Billy growled. “You are an enemy.” He hurled her at the ground in disgust.

Kimberly barked a hoarse cough as she fell from Evil-Tommy’s stranglehold and hit the ground.

“We can’t fight ourselves!” Jason cried.

“That’s because you’re too big a wimp to fight dirty,” Evil-Jason taunted. He jumped at Jason with both feet, but Jason rolled away.

“Guys,” Evil-Tommy said, “let’s have some real fun.”

“Right,” the doppelgangers agreed.

“Dark Ranger Power!” the evil counterparts of Tommy, Kat, Rocky, Adam, and Rocky called.

“Nega Ranger Power!” dark versions of Jason, Billy, Aisha, Kimberly, Trini, Zack and David called.

The Rangers noticed that some of the evil teens were happy just to stand back, allowing their allies to do all the work. “Let’s do this,” Jason growled. With a cacophony of morphing cries, the Rangers morphed.

In civilian form they were similar, but when morphed the difference in their natures was obvious. The Dark Rangers wore all-black costumes with only a little colour on their helmets. They each wore a coin, but it was covered from view. The Nega Rangers wore the more familiar almost demonic armour that the Rangers remembered.

For a brief moment, neither side moved. A second later, the battle began.

Minion watched the battle as it progressed and was pleased to see that his Rangers were holding their own in combat. In fact they seemed to have the upper hand against the Gem Coin Rangers while the Morphin Rangers proved more difficult to defeat.

He winced as they pulled out the heavier weapons only to find themselves perfectly matched. It seemed the Evil Ranger powers he had created were too close to the original template. That was something he would have to rectify in future, assuming there was ever a need.

“The time has come my servants, your powers give you abilities unknown to any other group of Rangers. The time has come to take this to a new lever, transform and unite!”

“What are we going to do now?” Kimberly asked, staring up at the giant before them.

Minion had been correct, the Rangers had never seen this particular power before. At his command the evil Rangers’ bodies started to twist in impossible ways as heavy metal armour attached to their suits. They were stretched in all directions as they continued to change, taking on forms that were eerily familiar.

“Zords for armour, no way!” Zack remarked as he noticed the other evil Rangers who until now had remained out of the battle started to join their allies.

“Does Gasket know someone’s stolen his idea?” Tanya remarked as she looked up at the fleet of Zord-Armoured Rangers.

Before them stood the machines that the Rangers had come to rely on in battle: the Dino Megazord, Thunder Megazord, Ninja Megazord, Shogun Megazord; Sky Megazord, Defender Megazord, Techno Megazord, Zeo Megazord and Super Zeo Megazord; White Tiger Zord, Dragon Zord, White Falcon Zord, Red Battle Zord; and the Warrior Wheel, Titanus and finally Tor.

“We need Di… wait, what are they doing?” Jason was confused.

“Surprised Rangers?” Nega Red asked. “We are full of surprises, and this is just the beginning. Zord-Armour Rangers, unite!”

The Shogun Megazord folded itself into the upper half of ZAR’s chest, while the Dino Megazord composed the bottom half. The Ninja Megazord produced another part of the lower torso. The Warrior Wheel twisted and contorted itself until it was only a third of its original size. It floated to the top of the assembling ZAR and formed the head. The Super Zeo Megazord formed the upper right arm, and the Zeo Megazord formed the right forearm. The Red Battlezord and Sky Megazord produced the left arm. Dragonzord folded in on itself and finished the last of the torso, clamping on just below the Ninja Megazord. Tigerzord and the Techno Megazord quickly produced the left leg, and the Thunder Megazord along with the Defender Megazord formed the right. As the last part locked into place the entire machine was briefly transformed into energy, restructuring the bulk so that while it was less cumbersome, it was just as powerful.

The Rangers were shocked. They had not expected a group of evil Rangers to turn into Megazords and then unite into something even bigger. While the result wasn’t much taller than a regular Megazord, they could sense its power.

~Thank goodness their Zords were based on our old machines and new the new ones,~ Trini thought.

“Time to show them what real Zords can do,” Tommy suggested.

“Without Sam?”

“Did somebody call?” the Green Ranger asked.

They turned to find Gold Ranger and Green Ranger walking towards them.

Jason shrugged. “We need Dinozord power, now!”

The Rangers quickly assembled the Dino Megazord and the Dino Stegazord. They looked out over the barren wasteland that had once been Angel Grove. Suddenly, the ground shook and the ZAR landed.

The Dino Megazord stepped back a few steps.

“What’s a matter, Rangers?” the monster asked, its voice a mixture of the evil Rangers. “Scared?”

“Of you?” Trini replied. “Never.”

ZAR kicked the Megazord in the chest. The Megazord grabbed ZAR’s foot and flipped the evil creature.

ZAR quickly gained control and brought its arm blades down across the Megazord in two broad swipes. The Zord stumbled backwards and hit the ground. ZAR took several long strides and stood beside the fallen machine. “Gee,” it said sarcastically. “I would have thought even you would last longer than that.”

ZAR rubbed its two arm blades together, raining sparks down on the Zord. It gave a wicked growl and stabbed at the fallen machine, only to find its way blocked by the Dino Stegazord. ZAR’s eyes widened as the Dragonzord’s tail smashed into its chest.

Trini rolled the Megazord out of the way. ZAR’s arm blades struck the ground. The Zord, still lying on its back, kicked out with a leg, knocking the evil creature to the ground as well.

The Megazord rolled back on its shoulders and flipped to a standing position, a move no Megazord should be able to do.

“Looks like it’s Rangers one, monster zero,” Zack cried.

Dragonzord stepped before ZAR.

ZAR lowered its head and rammed Dragonzord. Red lights lit up in Sam’s cockpit. “Hull damaged, five percent,” Sam said as he frantically pushed buttons that signified he acknowledged the damage. The alarms went off and reset themselves for any further damage.

With a mighty whir, the Tail Drill started. Sam turned his Zord around and plunged the tail at ZAR. The monster screamed in rage as he was damaged. ZAR grabbed the Dragonzord’s tail. ZAR spun in a circle, lifting Dragonzord off of the ground. ZAR let go off the tail, and Dragonzord flew sideways.

ZAR suddenly spread its arms wide. The curved horn atop its head began to fire red lasers. They struck the ground at ZAR’s feet and began to move toward Dino Stegazord. The machine responded by jumping over the attack and whipping its tail around as a counter.

ZAR slashed at the Zord with its arm blades. The Dino Stegazord cartwheeled away. Upon landing on its feet, the Zord distracted ZAR until the Megazord could land its next punch.

ZAR jumped onto the Dino Stegazord’s back, effectively immobilizing it. ZAR lifted its leg up and slammed it into the Zord’s back. The Zord tucked its head and rolled with the attack. The Rangers quickly brought the Zord to its feet and gave ZAR a quick roundhouse kick, pivoting on its anchored leg.

Kimberly brought all of the Zord’s weight on the back leg. Once she was firmly planted, she made the Megazord kick ZAR several times in rapid succession.

“I’ve had it with this!” Zack shouted. “Let’s show this thing what teamwork is all about.”

“Right!” Jason agreed. “Super Dragonzord formation!”

The Dino Stegazord broke into its component parts as the Dragonzord merged with the Megazord. Then as the Stegazord opened to form a circular platform with sharp points around the edge, The Raptor Zord attached itself to the Mega Dragonzord’s back.

“Titanus, front and center!” the eight Rangers called from their combined cockpit.

“Whoa!” Rocky cried. The Gem Coin Rangers had returned to the Power Chamber. “When did Titanus get so big?”

“Alpha and I took the opportunity to upgrade Titanus to handle eight Zords instead of six,” Zordon told him.

The Brachiosaur-based mecha that marched across the wasteland was much bigger than they remembered. Several compartments had been added to his back. In addition it seemed he had been given a new paint job so that instead of just grey, he was now a dull shade of silver mixed with gold highlights.

“Look, they’re going for the big one,” Tommy speculated.

Zordon smiled, knowing that Tommy was in for a shock when he discovered that this was but a hint of the Morphin Rangers’ arsenal.

“Super Dragonzord, slide attack!” the Morphin Rangers cried.

Titanus had opened in the usual way, but once the Super Dragonzord was in place it had closed again. Then as Titanus’s neck had craned to the correct angle, the Super Dragonzord had been raised to the top of its back.

“Go!” the Rangers called, launching their machine down the length of the Carrier Zord’s neck. The Stegazord component started to spin as the chest and shoulders glowed with power. Then, as the Zord leaned forward, it tore through the air, colliding with ZAR and destroying the monster on contact.

“Now what,” Kimberly pondered.

“Now you die,” a loud voice bellowed. A flash of red suddenly streaked before them.

Minion landed in front of the Zord, and before it could react, blasted it with dark energy. The Dino Superzord fell back, smoke billowing from its chest.

“Oh this isn’t over yet,” Aisha promised.

“Shogun Zords, power up!”

Minion was surprised. He knew the Rangers had the Ninja Zords and the Dino Zords, but Shogun Zords? How many machines did he have to destroy?

As the new fleet of Zords came into view, he wondered if perhaps he had miscalculated. The Shogun Zords were equal to him in height and were armed with large versions of their Power Weapons. It didn’t take him more than a few blows to realise that the Rangers were serious.

“We have to finish this,” Jason said. “With Minion gone we can destroy the device and restore the planet.”

And so the battle was on.

Billy’s Zord slashed at his foe with his Power Lance, but Minion hit the ground in a full split. He rolled into a somersault and jumped to his feet. He jumped into the air and slammed both of his feet into Yellow Shogun Zord, slamming it into Purple Shogun Zord. Minion leapt into the air and executed a perfect spin kick, downing Green Shogun Zord in the process. He planted himself firmly on his left leg and kicked White Shogun Zord in the chest with his right, knocking the Zord over. He then stepped on the fallen Zord’s back, and using it as a springboard, launched himself at Red Shogun Zord. He punched Jason’s Zord once, and then grabbed it by the arms and flung it into Black Shogun Zord, taking Pink down in the process.

Minion took a deep breath and stood in the midst of his carnage. “Man, that was fun,” he breathed. “And this time, stay down.” He spread his hands wide. Blue tendrils of light jumped from each blood-red fingernail. The tendrils of light pinned the Zords to the ground, though only temporarily.

“I am here to make you a proposition,” Minion said. “Surrender, now; if you do, I will spare your lives when I reshape this wretched little reality. And I will also bring your families back.”

“Why would we make deals with you?” Rocky yelled.

“Why should we believe you?” Trini asked.

“There is a planet on the far outskirts of the Universe,” Minion said. “Very similar to Earth in climate, but no intelligent life. I will let you and your families live there. I will control the rest of the Universe, so I can spare a single world.”

Rocky quickly crossed himself and began to pray, frantically.

“What’s it gonna be, Rangers?” he asked.

“We’re Rangers,” Jason said, before the villain could continue. “Do you even need to ask? Trey, do it!”

The Zords vanished as the Gem Coin Rangers joined the Morphin Rangers.

“I brought a few friends along,” Trey commented, gesturing to the allies he had rescued. “Hope you do not mind.”

“By the power of Triforia, make us grow!” the Lord of Triforia cried.

This time there was no holding back on either side as the Rangers and their allies joined forces against Minion’s evil. The villain fought back, the Sword of Darkness earning its names as it cut down Zeo Ape. Still, when all was said and done, neither side had enough strength to vanquish the other and luck as always reared its ugly head.

The planet beneath them cracked, revealing a pool of lava that none of them could withstand. Minion leapt from one side of the crack to the other and blasted the ground on which the heroes were standing, sending them into the molten gulf. Overhead they could feel the rift to the Dark Dimension consuming their world. The planet was breaking up as the two sides continued to fight.

“Laser Lance Command!”

“Lightning Fist Command!”

The two surviving VR Troopers combined their attacks, taking the villain by surprise. Robin landed a solid kick to the villain’s chest as Hawkeye fired a cable arrow, entangling the construct’s feet.

“Now!” Rocky cried, leading the charge as he and the majority of the assembled heroes fell upon the villain, plunging him and themselves into the fiery cauldron.

“Rider Kick!” Jesse cried, driving his feet into the villain’s head as he tried to drag himself free and sacrificing himself in the process. There were few left now, but they were the planet’s last hope; as Tommy summoned the Zeo Crystal, Power Mountain was consumed by the darkness.

The Earth trembled, the last of its Ley Lines drained, its magic exhausted. The pressure was building deep inside the planet’s core, and when it finally blew, it would tear the planet apart.

“Teleport!” Tommy cried. He made it to Pyramidas just in time, most of the others did not as the ground they were standing on was washed away.

A volcano had appeared beneath them, spewing molten lava in their direction. It was stopped by a wall of energy as Green Lantern threw his protection Pyramidas.

The remaining heroes of Earth, the last representatives of their world, now stood on the elongated platform that served the Zord while in Carrier mode. There wasn’t any solid ground left on the planet as it approached the final stage of its destruction and before long the Zord would have to land upon the molten surface to allow the Ranger to work. At that point the Zord would be unprotected.

The poisonous fumes had already taken their toll on those who did not have the comfort of a helmet or built in breathing apparatus. Minion was gone, but the danger would continue until the damage was reverse. The problem was that they only had one shot at healing the wounds Minion had inflicted.

“Are you sure about this?” Tommy asked again.

They nodded. They were without doubt heroes. They had quickly discovered a flaw with their plan in that the barrier protecting the sword was feeding off the Earth’s energy and not Minion’s. As it turned out only a native of Earth without the benefit of the Power could reach through the barrier and snatch the blade. Since they limited in their choices and needed all the Rangers, it had fallen to Vision and Servo, as the last active members of the Avengers and VR Troopers to perform the task.

“This is it guys,” Jason told them. “When they pull the sword, we’ll use the Zeo Crystal to destroy it and cleanse the Ley Lines. Then we’ll use the Great Power to restore things to how they should be.”

“The disruptor and the Sword of Ragnarok need to be disposed of before the process can become permanent,” Billy warned. He looked at John. “You know what that means.”

The Green Lantern nodded although he did not look happy about it. Still, he was dedicated to his duty as a Green Lantern.

“Good luck guys, see you on the other side,” Tommy offered. “And may the Power protect us.”

With that Vision and Servo descended to the small volcanic hill where the hilt of the Sword of Ragnarok could still be seen.

Vision strained to remove the sword. Next to him he was aware that Servo was also suffering from the intense heat.

There was an explosion of molten rock as he continued pulling. Vision shifted position, shielding him from the flaming rock. Servo did not fare so well and was washed under the surface by the attack. He pooled his remaining strength and with a final tug, managed to drag the blade free. At that point the flames that licked their way up his body overcame him. With his final act, he threw the Sword of Ragnarok and the device into the rift, sealing it just as Zordon had predicted.

The last Zeo Ranger moved into position over the hole where the sword had been embedded. There he could see the dark energy crackling inside, the poisoned remnants of the Earth’s own magic.

Pyramidas settled on the lava, its shielded hull peeling under the intense heat; Green Lantern had built a bubble to keep Jason and his fellow Morphin Rangers from harm. They would be needed for the next stage.

“Zeo Crystal!” Tommy cried. “Deliver this world from evil!”

Billy’s analysis had revealed that while the crystal was damaged and incapable of supporting a Ranger team, its purifying properties were still intact. The Rangers were going to use it not to redeem a villain, but to purge the Ley Nexus and give the Great Power an opportunity to work.

Light burst from the crystal as the Ranger held it in position. Red, yellow, pink, green, blue, gold, silver, purple, white and black energy streamed into the hole. In places where the coloured energy mixed he could make out shades of cyan, magenta, crimson, navy and orange. The Earth seemed to tremble as the corrupted magic within was forcibly ejected by the Zeo energy. Pyramidas rocked, as its hull grew thin. Before long it would disappear and if the Rangers were unsuccessful, so would they.

“Keep going,” Tommy encouraged. “Need to give this — everything I’ve got.”

He poured his soul into the crystal and was amazed when the energy increased. But despite his best efforts, the corruptive energy of the Sword of Ragnarok remained, kept in check by the Zeo Crystal’s power, but capable of destroying the planet as soon as they relented.

“It’s Time for a Gold Rush!” he heard Trey call, before a burst of golden light joined the power from the Zeo Crystal and chased the darkness from the Earth’s depths.

“Jason, they’re weakening,” Trini said.

Jason nodded. He had hoped they would be able to wait until the Earth was totally cleansed before using the Great Power to reignite the planet’s failing energy. Now though they didn’t have a choice, the planet was too close to death to delay further. With luck they would finish before the Earth exploded. Otherwise, their actions would prove futile.

“Now is the time,” David said. As White Ranger he knew when it was his time to take control. “Let our powers be one.”

They clasped hands, allowing the Great Power to flow through them. They didn’t need to direct it, the magic was sentient and knew what it had to do. As their hands glowed their respective colours, lines of energy emerged, linking them together, forming a golden ball of light at the very center of their circle.

“Go,” Jason whispered and the ball shot into the Earth.

For a moment there was no change, then slowly the lava seemed to calm and the quaking planet quietened. The Great Power and the Zeo Crystal worked in unison, restoring the shattered and corrupted lines of magic with new life bringing energy.

“It’s not enough!” Aisha realised after the changes ceased.

All the power they could imagine and it was not enough to fix the damage. Every time it crossed with the power placed there by the Sword of Ragnarok, it was corrupted by the destructive energy. The Zeo Crystal was proving incapable of purging all the darkness so long as the sword remained intact.

“Jase, the Zord!” Zack warned.

The Red Ranger looked down in time to see a hole open from beneath the once mighty Pyramidas and he knew it would not be long before all hope was lost. They could not morph; to do so would negate their efforts. Instead he accepted that since the Great Power was working, their part was done. The others needed help to complete their parts and sadly that meant that John had to be free to assist them.

“Do it,” he ordered the ring bearing hero.

John nodded solemnly and placed the Rangers on the surface of the Carrier Zord, releasing them from his protection. Then he aimed his power at the crystal, adding the last of his strength to the mix.

“This is it guys,” Jason said as the Rangers and their allies gathered around the Zeo Crystal. Pyramidas was sinking; they had perhaps a minute to live. “One last time. We call on all our powers combined:”

The others had all powered down, the energy from Green Lantern’s ring now heading directly into the Zeo Crystal, his hands disappearing in the process.

“Red Ranger!”

“White Ranger!”

“Green Ranger!”

“Yellow Ranger!”

“Purple Ranger!”

“Blue Ranger!”

“Black Ranger!”

“Pink Ranger!”

“Zeo Ranger V – Red!”

“Gold Ranger Power!”

“Green Lantern Light!” As John spoke the words he felt the full power that he had always feared would corrupt him rushing to the fore. Years of forced denial were over as the power burst from the ring, adding to the powers already flowing into the Earth. The powers merged with those of the Zeo Crystal, removing all impurities from the Ley Lines as the Zord finally succumbed to the environment and they were plunged into a molten tomb as energy they had fed into the Earth erupted, inside the Dark Dimension.

The End?

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Light in the Distance

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to the respective copyright owner. No money is being made from this piece of writing.

Light in the Distance


She couldn’t take much more. Just like Travis she had been forced to watch others being tortured. But whereas Travis had only been forced to see his teammates suffer, she had been forced to watch as Minion had first beaten her teammates. There had been no turning away from the things he had done to some of the female heroes he had captured. And after he had sliced off Flash’s legs, he had thrown them into the invisible bubble where she resided, watching all the action.

She was on the verge of a mental breakdown; the only thing keeping her from losing control was the threat her powers posed should that happen.

“Release them,” Minion said, gesturing to the various devices the Rangers had been strapped to.

Bronzo did as he was told, throwing the Rangers to the ground at his master’s feet. Minion waited for the Rangers to recover enough to hear his words.

“For the last few days I have tortured you all and enjoyed every moment of it. But now, I think to myself ‘am I being fair?’ I’ve had many opportunities to harm you and I have not allowed any of you to take a single shot at me.”

Reaching into subspace, he pulled out a collection of fully charged blasters. He threw them to the ground in front of the Rangers.

“For a count of six I will drop my defences and allow you to take as many shots at me as you wish. I should warn you one would be enough to kill me. Should you succeed you will be teleported back to Angel Grove and from there you can go wherever you wish.”

“I can see you all need a little encouragement. Travis here will do. Here’s the deal, when I reach six either you will have shot me or this poor Triforian.”

She regarded the Rangers on the ground. They were teenagers, barely out of high school if she guessed correctly. And here Minion expected them to attack him after all they had been through? No, she quickly realised that was not what he had in mind at all. Minion knew they would not attack, was counting on their experience proving sufficient to stop them from lifting a finger to aid Travis. He wanted them to see their friend’s death and know that there had been a chance to save him.

“No,” Tommy begged. “Don’t do it.”

Silently she echoed the Red Gem Coin Ranger’s plea.

“One…” Adam stared stupidly at the weapon in front of him.

“Two…” Trey reached out to the blaster. He wondered why everything was suddenly moving in slow motion.

“Three…” Kat’s fingers touched his blaster and stayed there, unmoving. He wondered suddenly why he’d put them there.

“Four…” Tommy tried to reason it out. He had the blaster in his hand; all he had to do was shoot. So why couldn’t he?

“Five…” Tanya realised she was terrified, afraid of failing, afraid of dying. Sobbing, she let the gun fall.

She sensed that Minion had not lied to the Rangers. A single shot would be enough to kill him. All the Rangers had to do was fire. But there was the problem, after all they had endured and at such a young age, they lacked the enormous act of will to keep fighting.

Just as the blade made contact with Travis’s skin, Adam managed to pull himself together enough to start to raise his blaster and fire. The other Rangers spurred on by his lead aimed their weapons as well, but it was too late. As he reached six, Minion extended his hand toward the Rangers, allowing the black tendrils that stretched from his fingers to surround them, preventing them from firing. Then with utmost glee he drew the dagger across Travis’s throat, laughing as Travis collapsed to the ground.

Blood pooled across the ground, the Rangers watched in horror as their friend was brutalised while they were incapable of helping him. They struggled against their magical restraints, trying desperately to keep Minion from causing further harm, assuming it was not too late. Minion reached down and picked up his dagger, taking a moment to sample the blood. Standing back up, he drove the Sword of Ragnarok through the fallen Triforian’s abdomen, more innocent blood coating the deadly blade.

She was speechless. She had seen many criminals in the past, but this was just cruelty. Magic was one thing, but to kill so coldly and with his own hand on the weapon, spoke of the horrors Minion would inflict on the Earth once he was finished with the Rangers.

“Bastard,” she hissed, struggling to maintain a grasp on her emotions, knowing that only Minion would hear her.

“Now, now,” Minion warned, focussing his words directly to her. He mentally tightened the magical grip around her; “if you don’t have anything nice to say,” and here he sent a surge of dark energy through the tendril that held her in place, “DON’T SAY ANYTHING!”

He moved to strike her and stopped, realising that if he killed her then his plans would fail. He needed her out of control and as powerful as she could be. When he was done here, he planned to give her to some of Rita’s underlings and once Goldar had enjoyed her for a few days and assuming she survived, she would be ready for the grand finale.

“One down, five to go,” he said, watching the Rangers’ faces. Yes, he could see their pain. It seemed that whatever tortures he inflicted upon them physically, it was nothing compared to how he could hurt them mentally. “Tomorrow we will try again with a special guest,” he promised. “Silvo, take them to the cells. And you witch, have a date with a monkey.”

Reefside Next Day

Eight columns of light heralded the arrival of Jason, Sam, Billy, Trini, Kimberly, Zack, Aisha and David, all freshly returned from their successful quests for new powers. They had been expecting some sort of welcome home, but instead found the fall back Operations Center deserted.

“What happened here?” Jason asked as he studied a monitor that showed Minion’s forces were roaming through most of the world’s largest cities.

“Looks as if our friends may have experienced odds they were unable to compete against and as a result paid the inevitable price,” Billy said.

“In other words, they lost a battle and Minion won,” Trini translated.

“All right,” Jason said, taking charge. “We need information. Billy, you take Trini, Zack and Aisha. Go to the Power Chamber and see if you can get Alpha and Zordon on line.” During their time in the various temples, the Rangers had learnt that Zordon was alive. “The rest of us will head to Angel Grove and see what we can learn.”

“How much further Billy?” Trini asked as the four Rangers dropped into another service shaft.

So far they had discovered that when Zordon had redesigned Power Mountain to use the teleportation system instead of relying on doors and long corridors he had failed to foresee a time when the teleportation system might be offline. Given that the various rooms were now inaccessible except by squeezing through a number of small passages, the decision was proving inconvenient.

This meant in order to get to the power generators the Rangers first had to trek through two miles of service ducts, climb down a ladder and then trek another quarter of a mile to the lower control room. After that they still had to find their way down another six miles to the bottom of the mountain.

There was a rapid descent device designed for Alpha to use, but none of the Rangers liked the idea of falling feet first down a tube for seven miles with only a cargo net at the bottom to stop them. Especially when they knew that the tube had been designed for Alpha and was therefore covered with oil on the inside. Billy could not imagine that Alpha enjoyed the idea of falling that far either. Therefore he assumed the little android had found an alternative method.

Finally they found their way into the lower control room. Billy, surprised to find the room intact and operational, quickly checked the computer to see if there were any other areas that could be used.

After a short time Aisha and Trini had managed to isolate one of the hefty power cables, no doubt planning for when they tried to restore the Power Chamber. With the use of the seemingly independent power supply, they managed to restore some of the basic Power Chamber functions such as internal communications. Billy took the opportunity to advise Jason on their progress.

“Short range teleport is still offline, but we have scanners back. We can start a search now and transmit the results. We should all be able to stay in touch now.”

“Understood,” Jason replied.

“At last,” Minion stated, looking at the broken teens before him. “Your friends have returned,” he told Tommy, prodding the boy with his foot, enjoying the whimper as his toes touched against a broken rib.

The Red Gem Coin Ranger looked up at him, his expression a beautiful mix of relief and suspicion. Minion smiled to himself, he was the one responsible for the Rangers doubting themselves. Surely they had felt the massive surge of magical energy that had heralded Jason’s arrival.

“Since your friends are back ahead of schedule we’ll have to move ahead with the timetable,” he announced. “You have two hours to decide who will be the next to die, or I will choose.”

With that he walked out.

“Okay Billy, give it a try,” Trini called as she finished working on Alpha’s damaged circuitry.

“Powering up now,” Billy replied from the console that he had jury-rigged to repair the small droid.

Alpha had been so badly damaged during the destruction of the Power Chamber that the Rangers had been unable to attempt repair. Now with a desperate need to access the computer systems, they had patched his databanks into the Power Chamber’s computer system.

“1010101010 1001 001001” the computer said as it slowly powered up and interfaced with Alpha.

Billy adjusted the controls and tried again. This time the results were more favourable.

“Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi, Rangers!” Alpha cried. “You’re safe!”

“Alpha, are you okay?” Kimberly asked.

“I don’t…” Alpha went quiet as if trying to recall what had been going on. “Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi, my body is malfunctioning.”

“Um Alpha, your body was kind of destroyed,” Kimberly explained.

“Alpha, we need to know what’s been happening on Earth,” Jason said, interrupting the discussion. They would worry about Alpha’s body later. “Can you access any of Zordon’s satellites?”

It took a while because Minion’s forces had damaged most of the White Master’s observation satellites. In the end the android was forced to tap into local news computers and pull out any stories concerning the Power Rangers. “Oh no, Travis!” he called as he attempted to feed the footage into the small monitor.

“How could they just lie there?” Zack asked, noticing that the other Rangers had barely lifted a finger to help.

“After all they’ve been through I would suspect Minion surmised a lack of aggression on their part,” Billy explained. “This was just another phase of the process. They watched him kill a comrade, imagine how they feel.”

The others didn’t need to imagine. For Jason and Billy knew Trey quite well. The Red Ranger had spent time with Travis after the Tri-union had failed, and while there were differences, Travis had proven himself every bit as noble as Trent and Trey.

~What happened to him when he died? ~ Jason wondered. ~Did he go to an afterlife or did his essence simply return to Trey? ~

“We don’t know that he died,” Aisha pointed out. That was true, the transmission had ended before the scene had played out. Did Travis survive? Somehow the other doubted it.

“Alpha, was there anything else?” Jason asked.

“I’m just checking the police computers,” Alpha replied. “Oh, ai-yi-yi-yi-yi, somebody broke into the Angel Grove Hospital and kidnapped a patient.”

“Rocky,” Kimberly realised.

David had yet to say anything, he was staring at the image of his brother, clearly hurting, urging him to move.

Minion sensed that the time was right. The Rangers had returned from their quests and now he had his opportunity to crush them just as he had the Gem Coin Rangers. He knew that fully powered Rangers combined with their Gem Coin wielding friends had a slight chance of defeating him. It was not something he wanted to happen. Minion knew the answer was to make an immediate strike and that would mean he had to reserve as much power as possible.

“Silvo, Brasso, come here!”

His two servants appeared before him as always. He looked them over; both were strong and capable warriors and he had no doubt each would give the Rangers a fight to remember. But Minion also knew the Rangers would defeat them.

“Lower all the barriers apart from Stone Henge. It’s time to send the Rangers a little welcome home present. Shi’nom, Elder of Darkness, I summon you.”

“Yes, my lord,” Brasso and Silvo replied, both vanishing to complete their next mission.

“Who is that?” David asked.

The alarm had sounded, warning the Rangers that Minion was aware of their presence. On the screen a humanoid giant with a brown cloak and blue markings around his eyes, was storming his way through a Canadian city.

“Rangers, this is Shi’nom, an Elder of Darkness trained by Master Vile,” Alpha explained.

On the screen giant Shi’nom was walking through buildings, happily trashing anything in his way. Lightning bolts from his staff levelled tall buildings while the people ran for cover.

“We need to take care of Shi’nom before he trashes the city,” Jason said. “It’s Morphin Time!”

“White Ranger Power!”

“Black Ranger Power!”

“Pink Ranger Power!”

“Blue Ranger Power!”

“Yellow Ranger Power!”

“Red Ranger Power!”

“Purple Ranger Power!”

“Green Ranger Power!”

This was the first time that they had morphed as a team, the first time they would discover their new uniforms. They were pleasantly surprised. Their costumes retained the dinosaur theme of the original Rangers of Earth, but their boots and gloves remained in their Ranger colours. Their helmets were identical in shape despite their varying colours, each shaped to resembled that of the original Red Ranger’s helmet. The diamonds on their chests were white, or black in the White Ranger’s case, and held a gold circle in the center where their chosen animal appeared. A series of smaller diamonds ran up the outside of their arms and legs. The tops of their boots, edge of their gauntleted gloves and belts were gold and they each wore a Blade Blaster on the right-hand side of their belts.

Green Ranger kept his traditional shield and protective bands, White Ranger had a similar shield and the diamonds on his arms and legs were slightly sharper. Both Rangers had a sheath on their backs, Green to hold his Dragon Dagger and White to contain his weapon, which he had called the Drago Sword.

It was then Pink Ranger asked the question the others had not considered. “Guys, we have like four sets of Zords and one monster. Which set do we use?”

“Well technically the only Zords we have are the Ninja Zords,” Blue Ranger replied. “The Thunder and Dino Zords will take time to be recreated and Shogun Zords and Battle Borgs need to be redesigned.”

“Okay,” Red Ranger said. “We need Ninja Zord power, now!”

A beam of light shone from each Ranger’s chest into the sky, combining at a distant point and calling forth the Ninja Zords from the Temple of Ninja Powers. In the sky above eight Zords appeared, not the prototype Ninja Zords the Gem Coin Rangers had been forced to use, these were the fully functional Ninja Zords that the original Ninja Rangers of Earth had used. The Rangers felt themselves being teleported into their Zords.

“All right Rangers log on,” Red Ranger said.

“This Zack, back in black and ready to attack,” Black Ranger said from inside the Frog.

“Billy here, all systems nominal,” Blue Ranger reported, glad to be back in the Wolf again.

“Bear Zord powered up and ready,” Yellow Ranger called in.

“Hey, who put this Michael Bolton tape in this Zords stereo?” Pink Ranger said from inside the Crane, realising she shouted “Kat, why?!”

“Hawk Zord ready for action,” Purple Ranger called.

“Panther Zord online.” The Green Ranger’s comment was more to himself than to the Red Ranger.

“Whoa!” The shout came from David who was the only Ranger who had never operated a Zord before. As a result he was finding it difficult to keep control of the Falcon.

“David relax and let the Power guide you,” Yellow Ranger advised.

White Ranger did as he was told and found he was able to regain control. “White Ranger back in control, Falcon Zord ready for action.”

“Bring them together,” Red Ranger said. “Ninja MegaFalconzord!”

“Ninja Battlezord!” Green Ranger called.

The Crane started to fold to form the head while at the same time the Frog transformed to become the legs and the Bear converted to become the Ninja MegaFalconzord’s upper body. The already modified Ape and Wolf joined onto the Bear to form the arms as the Crane linked on to become the head. Then the whole upper body joined onto the Frog as the Falcon Zord linked onto the back. Hands formed over the Ape and Wolf’s heads.

The Panther Zord transformed to stand upright on its hind legs. The head rotated downwards to become the chest and the front paws became the arms. The Hawk Zord’s wings and head folded into the body as the Hawk Zord joined onto the shoulders of the Panther to become the head of the Ninja Battlezord. The Panther’s tail converted into a Power Sword as Purple and Green Rangers slid into the cockpit ready for action.

What followed was a fast paced high impact battle. The Ninja MegaFalconzord held Shi’nom’s staff to one side allowing the Battlezord to use its sword. With a cry of pain Shi’nom struck back with an assault of lightning bolts. It took a while for the Rangers to shake off the effects of Shi’nom’s attack as he charged them.

“Battle Strike!” Green and Purple Rangers called.

The Ninja Battlezord gave a short spin and drove its Power Sword into Shi’nom’s chest. As it stopped spinning the Zord ducked out of the way as the Ninja MegaFalconzord descended using its double power punch. Shi’nom exploded as the Zords celebrated their victory.

Devils End, England.

The Master stood over the altar hidden in the caverns under the old church. Once before he had tried to use the power within the caverns to gain control over a being of near infinite power. He had failed. This time, the Master had taken no chances. He had found an object that would allow him to access the demons of a distant realm and turn them to his bidding. Now if he could just solve the box’s puzzle.

Power Chamber

The alarm sounded as it detected yet another disturbance in Angel Grove. Alpha adjusted the monitor view, using the subroutine he had developed during the last few hours. Although the android wanted his body back, the direct link to the computer made things much easier. On the monitor Billy and Kimberly stared at the familiar figure running from a pack of metallic hounds.

“Its Dex!” Alpha cried, recognising his creator’s grandson.

“Alpha, can we teleport him here?” Trini asked.

“What’s going on?” Jason asked. He had been arranging the rebuilding work with Billy.

“Who is that?” Zack asked.

“Dex,” Kimberly and Billy said together.

“Dex is the rightful Prince of Edenoi and holder of the Masked Rider powers,” Billy explained. “We met him a few years ago and helped him to fight off an attack from his uncle.”

“And now he needs your help again,” Alpha said. “Please Rangers, I owe Lexian so much.”

“Of course,” Jason agreed. “It’s Morphin Time!”

“White Ranger Power!”

“Black Ranger Power!”

“Pink Ranger Power!”

“Blue Ranger Power!”

“Yellow Ranger Power!”

“Red Ranger Power!”

“Purple Ranger Power!”

“Green Ranger Power!”

In eight columns of coloured light the Rangers teleported to save the alien who would prove to be a valuable ally in the future. As they directed themselves to surround the Masked Rider, they appeared and burst into action.

Pink and Blue Ranger stayed with the weakened Prince whilst Red and Green Rangers battled the now humanoid hound and Yellow, Purple, White and Black Rangers battled the WD Units that had appeared.

“Billy, how do we beat these guys?” Yellow Ranger shouted.

“Try the weapon I have been working on,” Blue Ranger suggested.

Yellow Ranger did as her friend suggested and a silver pistol appeared in her hand. Not sure what to do, she pulled the trigger and was thrown backwards by the force of the shot. Orange powder covered the WD Units, leaving a trail of red dots on the Viventallum skin.

“Strike three dots and they’re down,” Blue Ranger called.

At first Black Ranger was going to ask whether it was that simple, but when he looked at the Troopers in front of him he realised the dots were in different places on each Trooper.

“Let’s improve the odds Rangers,” Red Ranger called, noting they were outnumbered, especially with two Rangers covering Dex. “Billy, Kim, get him out of here.”

In columns of pink, blue and clear the two Rangers teleported their friend to the safety of the Power Chamber.

“Power Sword!” Red Ranger called.

The more powerful version of his original weapon appeared at his command. Although Jason had lost some of his impulsiveness during his time at the Peace Conference and as Gold Ranger, the Red Ranger had lost none of his skill with a sword. As he attacked the hound, Green Ranger waited for an opportunity before calling on his own sword.

“Dragon Fire!” he called as he pointed the sword towards the henchman. A ball of green fire emerged from the tip of the sword engulfing Brasso.

“Black Ranger Thunder Clap!” Black Ranger called.

As he kept three WD Units away using his unique fighting style black clouds started to form over the Troopers’ heads. Lightning bolts shot from the cloud, striking multiple points on each Trooper’s body. As three dots were hit a chunk of metal fell away from the Trooper, leaving it deactivated.

“Power Daggers!” Yellow Ranger called. The sharp and deadly daggers appeared in her hands.

Aiming carefully she threw them at two of the WD Units advancing on her. The daggers bounced off the metallic skin and returned to her hand. She threw them again with similar results. The third time she threw them her plan became evident. With three spots hit the WD Units shut down.

“Rolling Thunder!” she called.

Yellow clouds surrounded the WD Units and as she brought her hands together the clouds released their full power. The WD Units crumbled from the head to toe.

Purple Ranger meanwhile was making use of her distance attacks. Striking out with her Power Whip she ensured none of the WD Units could get close enough to use their superior strength. She still had to duck when one of the Troopers decided to use a javelin against her. Drawing her Blade Blaster she targeted the dots on each Trooper and fired. One by one the Troopers shut down.

White Ranger had quickly discovered the hidden abilities of his sword. After making a series of movements, it generated a collection of magically charged arrows, which shot toward the waiting targets.

Brasso had appeared sometime after the fighting had started. He prided himself on his skills with his personal weapon. So far he had used it to block, trip and stab the Green Ranger. Despite their improved battle skills they were no-match for him. In a flash of silver Silvo appeared beside his fellow soldier.

“I didn’t think I’d be seeing you again Green Ranger,” Silvo said.

Sam winced as he remembered the last time they had face each other. But this time he was a full Ranger and he had the advantage. The Green Ranger was in full control and soon Silvo realised that he was defeated.

Stronger and now impervious to Brasso’s spear, Red Ranger still maintained his speed advantage over the Viventallum henchman. As Brasso lunged forward with his spear Red Ranger moved to the side, lifted his opponent into the air and let him drop to the ground. The Power naturally enhanced each punch or kick he landed. As he lashed out with a thrust kick, Brasso was sent flying into the back of Silvo.

“No!” Minion shouted. “They shall not win. Silvo, Brasso, use the hound as raw material and grow!”

Black light surrounded Brasso and Silvo as they started to grow larger. The fallen WD Units vanished as the two henchmen tried to flatten the Rangers with their feet.

“Billy, Kimberly, we’re going to need you,” Red Ranger called. “We need Ninja Zord power, now!”

As Blue and Pink Rangers reappeared next to their fellow Rangers a beam of light shot from their chests. In the sky above the eight Ninja Zords appeared, answering the calls of their respective Rangers.

“Okay Rangers, bring them together,” Red Ranger instructed. “Ninja MegaFalconzord!”

“Ninja Battlezord!” Green Ranger called.

The Crane started to fold to form the head while at the same time the Frog transformed to become the legs and the Bear converted to become the Ninja MegaFalconzord’s upper body. The already modified Ape and Wolf joined onto the Bear to form the arms as the Crane linked on to become the head. Then the whole upper body joined onto the Frog as the Falcon Zord linked onto the back. Hands formed over the Ape and Wolf’s heads.

The Panther Zord transformed to stand upright on its hind legs. The head rotated downwards to become the chest and the front paws became the arms. The Hawk Zord’s wings and head folded into the body as the Hawk Zord joined onto the shoulders of the Panther to become the head of the Ninja Battlezord. The Panther’s tail converted into a Power Sword as Purple and Green Rangers slid into the cockpit ready for action.

Green and Purple Ranger insisted they be allowed to take on Silvo. Both had been on the receiving end of his strikes in the past and enjoyed the opportunity to get even. That left the Ninja MegaFalconzord to deal with Brasso.

Brasso charged the large Zord with his spear, hoping the run it through with a single blow. The MegaFalconzord responded by lifting off the ground, extending its left leg out fully and performing a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree spin. The spin caught Brasso in the side of the head, throwing the henchman to the ground.

The Battlezord and Silvo were equally matched in size. As Silvo tried to slip his sword beneath the Battlezord’s defences the Zord responded with a punch to Silvo’s chest.

“Battle Strike!” Green and Purple Rangers called.

Silvo had seen the effects of the Battlezord’s attack and wanted no part of it. In a flash of silver he left the area, leaving Brasso alone against two powerful Zords.

Brasso knew he was outnumbered and decided a change of tactic was required. The metal skin appeared to melt as it transformed. Spikes appeared around the shoulders and knees. The spear in his hand transformed into a trident, which he threw at the rapidly approaching Zords.

The trident struck the Ninja MegaFalconzord in the chest producing a shower of sparks. Blue Ranger checked and reported they had suffered slight damage, but not enough to slow them. Brasso followed up by firing the spikes on his shoulders at the Battlezord.

“Take us airborne,” Red Ranger said.

Pink Ranger took control of the Ninja MegaFalconzord and launched the Zord into the air and acted to divert Brasso’s attention, allowing the Battlezord to attack.

“Battle Strike!” the Green and Purple Rangers called a second time.

As Brasso looked back towards the Battlezord the other Rangers took the opportunity to move in from behind and grab hold of his arms. Now locked in position Brasso fell victim to the Battlezord’s sword. As he staggered away the MegaFalconzord launched into the air to finish its opponent, driving both fists into the henchman’s body to destroy the Brasso.

Power Chamber, A few hours later

After securing Dex in the medical bay at Reefside, the Rangers had contacted the Stewart family in Leewood to tell them he was safe. Dex rarely stayed there, but it gave him an address to use while on Earth. Billy had gone to find a way to coat any future WD Units they encountered with the chemical to highlight their weaknesses. Jason, Sam and Zack had gone to try the Simulation Deck elsewhere in the Reefside building, leaving David, Aisha, Kim and Trini together. Trini excused herself saying something about tracking Billy down. David and the others hung around the Power Chamber for a while before leaving for their homes.

With the Rangers gone the rebuilding of the Power Chamber continued. Alpha used the opportunity to transmit a signal to guide the other Zords to Earth. He just hoped they would not be needed.

Minion’s Island Two Days Later

He was behind schedule and Minion was getting impatient. He had refrained from attacking the Rangers for a couple of days, giving them a chance to come to terms with their victory over his WD Units. At the same time he had slowed the torture of the Gem Coin Rangers in case he needed them. The loss of Brasso had been a severe blow and highlighted a need to deal with the new Rangers quickly.

~Or at least their Zords,~ he thought. ~Yes, Zords make the Rangers. Take the Zords and the Rangers will fall.~

“Silvo, come here!”

“Yes master?” Silvo asked.

“Go to London; I want the city levelled. Take eight Nega Rangers with you, and if the Rangers dare to show up, let them experience what the Nega Rangers can do.”

“As you wish,” Silvo said as he vanished.

Minion’s mind returned to more pleasant tasks, such as breaking the former Zeo Rangers. Killing them was still not enough. Minion wanted them to suffer more and to go on suffering long after he had finished with them. Perhaps it was time to test them again.


“Yes Minion?” Bronzo asked as he appeared.

“Recover the remains of Brasso.”

“As you command,” Bronzo said disappearing.

Silvo led the Nega Rangers on a firelight tour of London. Making their way toward the Houses of Parliament, they took the opportunity to destroy some local landmarks. Their activities did not go undetected by Alpha who sent the Rangers into action.

“Hold it right there!” Red Ranger ordered.

“What do you want?” Nega Red asked. “We already beat your friends.”

“You beat a team of half-powered Rangers,” Blue Ranger shot back.

“And now you get to face the real thing,” Black Ranger added.

“Because you have no idea who we are,” Yellow Ranger stated.

“We’re the Power Rangers,” Pink Ranger told them.

“And you are history,” White Ranger finished.

Green Ranger didn’t need to say anything. He drew his blade Blaster and waited for the uncertain Nega Rangers to attack. After a moment’s hesitation the Nega Rangers moved.

At first the battle was similar to the first fight between the Gem Coin Rangers and the Nega Rangers. Then the Rangers started to fight back, shifting the battle in their favour.

“Power Sword!” Red Ranger called.

After a brief battle with Nega Red he took his opponent of his feet and drove the Power Sword into Nega Red’s armour. Nega Red collapsed to the ground; the Power Sword still embedded in his chest. Before Red Ranger could celebrate Nega Red pulled the sword clear and threw it to the ground before striking his enemy with a backhand.

Yellow Ranger and Nega Yellow circled each other cautiously, trying to figure out the other’s skill and range of attack. Whilst Yellow Ranger relied on Kung Fu, Nega Yellow swift strikes to throw the Yellow Ranger around. As Nega Yellow grabbed her though, Trini teleported away. Seconds later she kicked Nega Yellow in the back of the head.

White Ranger was the most inexperienced on the battlefield and was having trouble fighting against Nega White. When the battle changed from strength to mental powers, David realised just how much he needed to learn.

“Concentrate White Ranger.” David had been struck so hard by Nega White’s barrage he had forgotten what Dulcea had taught him. “Just let the Power guide you. See your enemy’s power and deflect it with your mind.”

White Ranger did as he was told, imagining a circle of white light protecting him from Nega White’s attack. With a slight nudge he sent the power flowing the other way.

White Ranger looked around as he heard the shouts of Green Ranger fighting his Nega Ranger counterpart. Nega Green had drawn a weapon resembling the Dragon Dagger and was swiping wildly at Green Ranger. The Green Ranger responded by using his magic powers to strike the Nega Ranger with electricity. Both of them performed a flying drop kick, striking each other in mid air. Both fell to the ground, neither one moving.

Somehow Black Ranger had been driven back towards the Thames. He knew that was not a good idea, especially if there were more Nega Rangers lurking around.

“Power Axe!”

Using his dance moves to keep the Nega Ranger guessing Black Ranger finally attacked, striking Nega Black in the hip. Converting to Cosmic Cannon mode he opened fire.

Nega Black laughed as he pulled out his own axe and swung at Black Ranger. Zack ducked, grateful that his armour was stronger than the original Ranger uniforms. A second blow from Nega Black almost decapitated him. As the Nega Ranger prepared for a third attempt Black Ranger used his powers to summon a new attack of his own.

“Black Ranger Thunder Clap!”

Black Ranger used the disruption caused by his attack to open fire with his Cosmic Cannon a second time. This time Nega Black fell down.

“We have to keep them away from the Parliament,” Blue Ranger shouted as Purple and Pink Rangers moved to his side.

For Blue and Pink Ranger it was a team they had perfected during their early days as Rangers. Purple Ranger complemented the team by following Blue Ranger’s lead. Together they provided cover against Nega Blue, Purple and Pink’s assaults, allowing Pink Ranger to aim and fire her arrows.

Nega Blue and Purple copied their counterparts whilst Nega Pink returned fire. It became obvious the Nega Rangers were not as seasoned as the Power Rangers were. Although they were able to work together, they had not mastered being able to read each other’s moves. The result was Nega Pink being struck when Nega Purple failed to cover her.

“Enough playing,” Nega Blue said, his voice sounding like Rocky. “Nega Guns!”

Together the Nega Rangers charged; their blaster shots burning into the Rangers’ armour. Launching into the air, the Nega Rangers pounced on their Ranger counterparts.

Pink Ranger discovered that at close range Nega Pink was the better fight. Nothing she did seemed to penetrate the Nega Ranger’s defences. Nega Pink casually dismissed Pink Ranger with a flick of her wrist.

Purple Ranger and Nega Purple were involved in a match of whip versus Nunchuks, both of them aware of the other’s intentions. Purple Ranger remembered that Nunchuks were used as a bludgeon for close attacks. If Nega Purple got close enough and decided to use the weapon in that way, Purple Ranger would not be able to defend herself.

Nega Purple was equally aware of the threat from Purple Ranger’s whip. Twisting the handle of her weapon, she revealed a set of spikes set into the handle. With the blades fully revealed they resembled a small chain mace.

Purple Ranger saw what was coming, but it was already too late to react. The chain mace cut into her armour allowing Nega Purple to disarm her opponent.


Blue Ranger drove his shoulder into Nega Purple, driving her away from Purple Ranger and giving his teammate time to recover. Noticing that Nega Blue was in pursuit Billy decided that a change of uniform was in order.

“Ninja Ranger Power!”

Once in his ninja outfit Billy called on his ninja powers to help him. After Earth Swimming to a position under Nega Blue he emerged, Power Lance in hand. Spinning the lance as he emerged caused Nega Blue to collapse to the ground.

Nega Blue punched Billy in the stomach as he got to his feet. “We’re not done yet Blue Ranger,” he promised. “We’re going to have a lot of fun together you and I. Right before I finish you.”

“Not today you won’t,” a voice said.

Nega Blue turned to see the other Rangers with their Blade Blaster drawn and ready to fire.

“Nega Blue, withdraw,” Silvo ordered as he vanished along with the other Nega Rangers.

“I’ll be back Billy,” Nega Blue said as he vanished. “You can bet on it.”

This was not how Minion had planned things, the Rangers were not supposed to win their first battle, let alone a fight against his Nega Rangers. He had made the mistake of allowing the prisoners to watch the battles and could see a glimmer of hope in their expressions. Even when he had strung the body of Travis in front of them, he had been met with looks that promised payback instead of the despair he had hoped for. It was becoming obvious that they still believed that he could be stopped even if they died in the process. Perhaps it was time to remind them of how brutal he could be.

“I hope you’re watching all this,” he said to his captive. He could feel her lack of control, made obvious as the hairs on his neck stood on end. This would push her over the edge and then the Rangers would pay. Then his pain would end.

“And now we return to our earlier discussion,” he told the captive Rangers. “Have you made your decision? Any of you willing to give up their life so the rest can live for an extra day or two?”

They didn’t answer, he could see the determination in their eyes as they stared up at him. Tanya was scowling at him in disgust; Trey looked murderous.

“Why can’t you just give up Rangers?” he asked. “Why do you force me to take such actions? Does it make you feel better to know that I have to torture another innocent just to make the might Tommy Oliver admit defeat?” He turned to Silvo. “Bring them!”

With the Rangers in tow Minion teleported to Stone Henge. It was night there, the moon was high, offering the only illumination. For Minion the atmosphere created by the darkness would only add to their despair as he used magic to light selected areas of the ancient monument most notable a large stone altar he had erected.

“You refused to choose, so I chose for you,” he told them, gesturing to the large stone where Rocky had been place, his arms and legs bound to the rock. He tossed a blaster in front of each of the Gem Coin Rangers. “I trust you remember the routine here. I count to six and then I kill your little friend, unless of course you shoot me first. I suggest you don’t make me waste my efforts in repairing his previous injuries.”

It had not taken much effort to repair the damage to Rocky’s back, a tiny burst of magic had been sufficient to jump-start his Ranger healing. He hoped that seeing their friend in good health would make it even harder for them when he died.

He summoned the Sword of Ragnarok and pulled his smaller dagger from its hiding place. As he started to count it occurred to him that this time the Rangers didn’t appear scared. If anything they appeared determined. Still, it was too late to reconsider.

“One…” He watched as the Rangers showed little sign of moving.

“Two…” Adam twitched, a slight movement that seem insignificant.

“Three…” Adam’s movement was shown as he shifted his weight and fired. The other Rangers joined in, their shots targeted directly for his head and chest.

“No more deaths,” Trey said coldly as he levelled his blaster and fired again.

Had Minion been an honourable creature he would have been dead. Fortunately for him his word meant nothing and while freely given, he had shown time and again that he would break his promise at a moment’s notice. Just before the energy bolts reached him, a dome of Viventallum appeared, absorbing the shots before disappearing back into the ground.

“I had hoped for more,” he said dismissively. The dome disappeared, replaced by WD Units that gripped the Rangers’ arms and held them in place as Minion moved to the stone.

“Not this time!” Tommy growled. “Zeo Ranger V – Falcon!”

His Gem Coin Transformer had been lost, destroyed by Minion within hours of their captivity. Yet somehow Tommy managed to draw on the Power once more, shaping it with his will to form his uniform and Gem Coin Blaster, which he rapidly aimed and fired.

The others followed suit, calling on their powers, much to Minion’s dismay. Trey concentrated on the Golden Power Staff and was relieved when it appeared in his waiting hand.

“Zeo Ranger I – Crane!”

“Zeo Ranger II – Bear!” As soon as she had transformed, she blasted the bonds holding Rocky, Allowing him to join the action. If they were going to die, they would go down fighting

“Zeo Ranger III – Ape!” He didn’t know what his friends had been through. He wasn’t even aware of what had happened to Travis. He was just fighting to stop Minion.

“Zeo Ranger IV – Frog!”

“Gold Ranger Power!” Trey called. He was doing this for Travis. The death had had a deep effect on him, but now was not the time to break down. He was probably the one who realised that they would all need a lot of help was it was all over.

Minion couldn’t believe they were fighting back. They were not supposed to be able to fight back. They had been weakened, humiliated and tortured beyond compare. So why did they keep coming back?

Once again the Rangers were acting as a team and overcoming the odds in order to fight him. Despite their exhaustion their anger drove them onward. They seemed immune to his powers as they attacked with both their Gem Coin Blasters and their swords. Realising he was losing and suffering from the pain in his head, Minion was growing desperate.

“Silvo, Bronzo, WD Units, destroy them.”

The henchmen attacked as Minion tried to gain control over the pain. The Rangers were free, their friends had returned and if he didn’t do something the Earth would soon be saved from his invading forces. He cried out as that last thought sent a wave of agony through his body. His sanity, questionable to begin with, seemed to take a holiday as he was transformed into the unicorn-horned wolf-headed armour that he had worn when claiming the Sword of Ragnarok.

Yes, the sword, it was time to reveal that weapon’s greatest and final power. When he was done, the Rangers would never challenge him again. A flash of light signalled the arrival of Jason and the others, but his concentration was elsewhere as he teleported once again, this time to Angel Grove Park.

When Alpha had detected the sudden surge of energy, the Rangers had been astounded to see their allies fighting back against Minion. They had teleported immediately, ready to help them as necessary. As they arrived, Minion had retreated, robbing them of the chance to destroy him. But with Silvo, Bronzo and the WD Units on the scene the battle was far from over.

“Billy, do it!” Red Ranger instructed as he summoned the Power Sword and charged into battle.

Blue Ranger produced a small ball of glass and threw it at the Viventallum-based warriors. The glass exploded, covering those involved in the battle with red dust that ate away the protective oxide layer and left behind the exposed and potentially brittle Viventallum. Drawing his Blade Blaster he fired three shots and put his first WD Unit down. That was the signal for the others to become involved.

“Hit three dots and they’re deactivated,” Zack told the Gem Coin Rangers.

With that the battle was joined.

Jason and Tommy found themselves facing Silvo, the more powerful machine having designated the Red Rangers as the most important targets. The red gas had affected Silvo just as it had the WD Units, meaning that once they hit three of the exposed weak points, he too would shut down.

Tommy selected a flame pellet, which exploded on impact and no matter how Silvo tried, it could not be extinguished. Meanwhile Jason’s Power Sword kept the Viventallum warrior from fighting back. He tossed Tommy his Blade Blaster and ducked as the Red Gem Coin Ranger fired.

Bronzo was a coward, there was no denying that fact since it was an essential part of his personality program. So when it appeared that the Rangers had the upper hand, he had wisely chosen to duck out of the conflict. But before he did so he had ensured that he had a reason to retreat and collected a sample of the dust. Then he would develop a counter measure and the Rangers’ new attack would prove useless.

He teleported back to Minion’s island and was surprised to find that his master had gone to Angel Grove instead. However there was someone on the island, an unwelcome guest in the cellblock.

Figuring he could handle one intruder, Bronzo summoned the island’s remaining WD Units to assist him and set off to seize the trespasser.

The Master was frustrated. The puzzle was a complex mathematical structure, but at times it seemed as if it made itself more difficult for him to solve. The first face had been simple, but the fourth was causing him serious problems. There was another way to reach the other side of the doorway that the box represented, and that was to force Minion to continue with his suicidal scheme. And the way to do that was to tip the odds in the Rangers’ favour.

“I have a proposition for you,” he stated, not bothering to introduce himself. “I can restore you, all of you – well most of you,” even he couldn’t help the dead or the seriously injured, “if you agree to fight Minion and his forces.”

They nodded, some eagerly while others had to force themselves to acknowledge his offer. Upon their agreement they were bathed in pink light as their bodies were healed. At first he had wanted to reverse the damage, but healing it proved a less stressful approach.

He was finished just in time as Bronzo entered to find a collection of angry super heroes all itching for a fight.

“Let’s do this,” Batman growled. The revitalised JLA charged forward, Flash leading the way with his freshly regenerated legs.

The Master laughed as he watched them go. Soon they would discover that there was no quick fix for the injuries they had suffered. The Flash’s legs, like Green Lantern’s hands were gone, the replacements the Master had provided were temporary at best, but would last long enough to put pressure on Minion.

“Titans go!” Robin cried. This was the first time they had a crack at Minion’s forces.

“Beetle Bonders, Beetle Blast!” Jo, Roland and Drew called.

“Ectophase Activate!” Jesse yelled.

“Trooper Transform!” JB, Ryan and Kaitlyn called. Servo was on his feet, his circuit damage repaired.

“Avengers Assemble!” Captain America bellowed, leading his team ready for the attack.

The other prisoners stayed back, their willingness to fight diminished by their ordeal. Minion it seemed had managed to break some of Earth’s heroes.

Hawk Girl’s mace crackled with energy as she slammed it into the nearest WD Unit. While she chose to take them down one or two at a time, the Flash raced around the machines, creating a vortex that threw them into the air. Green Lantern generated a scythe that he used to slice his way through the opposition. Woman Woman’s lasso turned one of the WD Units into a spinning weapon.

Starfire had learnt early on that her powers could not harm the Viventallum-based warriors directly. However that did not stop her from aiming at the surrounding area and using the environment to damage the machines. Changling changed rapidly between oversized rhinoceros and a large bird capable of lifting the machines into the air. Cyborg with his repaired body used his sonic blasts to scatter the WD Units out, making them easier targets. With his staff at the ready, Robin pitched the WD Units into Changling’s path.

Batman found himself in a bad position as two WD Units had transformed their hands into axes and were attempting to cleave him in two. An electrified Batarang took care of one unit and he managed to use one of its axes against the second. The third however had aimed for his back.

“Not so fast, chrome dome,” Spider-Man drawled as he threw a ball of impact webbing at the machine. “Try a little web in the eye.”

The web slinging hero tied the machine’s feet together and with a little help from Batman, it toppled over.

Dr Henry Pym pressed a button on his wrist, injecting himself with a growth chemical. When Lord Zedd had first attacked the Earth, one of his bombs had failed to explode. Henry had taken the container, analysed its contents and then found a way to alter the effects to allow the subject to either increase or decrease in size. Although it worked as a gas, he preferred to use it as a potion injected into his arm. The result was that Pym could grow through the use of a potion, transforming himself into the ten-foot tall Goliath. Although he could grow taller, he needed all his strength for the fighting.

Janet Pym refrained from using her variant of her Pym’s original formula. She did however activate her bio-electric generator, creating a field of energy that allowed her to produce wings and emit a powerful sting effect. Although ineffective against WD Units and less potent when she was human size, she managed to get the robots’ attention.

Then they attacked together. She switched between sizes and acted as a distraction while his greater strength and size allowed him to smash his way through the robots.

Iron Man drove a fist into one WD Unit’s head, breaking both the robot’s skull and his hand in the process. The energy emitters in his gauntlets cut through the machines’ outer shells. Tony was feeling vengeful, knowing that for all those prisoners who had broken free, there were others who were in dire straits on other parts of the island.

“Watch your back, big shot,” Hawkeye warned as one of his acid-filled arrows pierced the chest of a WD Unit that had been sneaking up on the Avengers’ paymaster.

As the two hardheaded heroes bantered back and forth, they layed waste to any robots that dared to cross their path. Vision and the Martian Manhunter had formed a different sort of partnership, phasing through the WD Units, shorting their circuitry as they went. Then as Vision altered his density to that of hard diamond, J’Onn used his impressive strength to leave a hole in one of the Viventallum unit’s chest.

Captain America, first generation super soldier and, if the government could actually prove his origin, wanted fugitive, threw his mighty shield. The Adamantium disk didn’t cut into the Viventallum, but the weight of the spinning shield helped to clear a path in much the same way that Robin had done.

“Lightning Fist Command!” Servo called, energising the plasma cells in his hand. His punches left holes in any WD Units he touched. And this time there was no surprise villain to attack him from behind.

Blue Trooper summoned his sword and attacked Bronzo. Blue Beetleborg was hot on his heels. Together the two warriors pressed in on the leader of Minion’s forces.

“Laser Ray!” White Trooper snapped. She fired off as many shots as possible, covering JB as he shifted into position.

Green and Red Beetleborg were helping by forcing the WD Units into range, using their weapons to cause as much damage as possible.

“VR Techno Bazooka!” JB called.

He fired off a shot, which ripped through the WD Units. He and White Trooper joined Red and Green Beetleborg and their Masked Rider comrade to destroy the rest of the machines.

“Stinger Drill!” Blue Beetleborg bellowed as he and Blue Trooper finished Bronzo, ending the battle.

“Skybase Command!” JB called. It was time to get out of there.

The assorted heroes were transferred to the ship and relative safety.


“I’m online Ryan, it is good to see the four of you are safe.”

“We need a trace on Minion,” Servo stated. The professor complied. Then they set course for Angel Grove and a final showdown with Minion.

Minion could sense the odds were against him. Somehow Silvo and Bronzo had fallen and from what he could tell, most of his Viventallum Troops had either been deactivated by the Rangers or buried when the VR Troopers had destroyed his beloved island.

“It doesn’t matter,” he tried to convince himself. “Nothing matters, this is the end of the Power Rangers, the end of all this silly resistance. I hope you survived Tommy-boy because everything you value is about to come to an end.”

To be continued

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Close Encounters of the NEGAtive Kind

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.

Close Encounters of the NEGAtive Kind

Minion was feeling playful as he circled his opponent. He realised that the human despite wielding the powers of a Masked Rider was inexperienced and at the end of the day, only human. Unlike Dex, who was a skilled combatant regardless of whether he was wearing his armour or just dressed in his civilian clothing, Jesse was still learning and relied a great deal on his Combat Cycle. Currently he was without his motorcycle and slowed by the heavy brace he wore around his leg.

“No tricks, no super powers to save you, isn’t this nice?” Minion asked, the Sword of Ragnarok poised in readiness to strike.

In the time following the disappearance of Jason and the other he had been attempting to wear the Gem Coin Rangers down, grinding them into the ground with his constant attacks. And while the Rangers were being distracted, his forces were securing other places of power around the globe. But now his plans for the Rangers had taken on a new sense of urgency as he had sensed a shift in the Morphin Grid. New Rangers had arisen somewhere with powers on a level he could not believe. In his heart, the twisted organ that shifted the black sludge that passed as blood through his veins, he knew that it had something to do with Jason and the others that had disappeared. His priorities had shifted from simply humiliating the Rangers to ensuring that when Jason and his friends returned, there would be nothing left for them to protect.

He lunged forward and smiled when Jesse sidestepped and rolled forward before trying to catch him with a backhand. The boy had spirit and refused to just accept death. Minion spun around and Jesse ducked, allowing the blade to move over his head. With a dismissive wave of his fingers he blasted the human across the length of their make shift arena. He almost laughed at the look of surprise on his opponent’s face.

“I’m a villain, I cheat,” he explained as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Now, transform so there can have a real battle.”

Jesse’s hands moved to his Ecto-Accelerator, triggering the release mechanism as he did so. “Ecto-phase, Activate!” The buckle flipped open, unleashing a thick tar like substance that swirled around him before coating his body in the resistant material. His armour was not as solid as Dex’s because he lacked the Edenite’s insect heritage. Instead he was dressed in a black rider’s outfit with a dark visor that helped protect his face.

“Very good,” Minion mocked, clapping as he walked around the helmeted warrior. “Now your opponent… WD-Unit 16.”

The Viventallum-based robot took its place in the makeshift arena, waiting for instructions.

“Now for the added touches,” Minion said. He lifted his arms and started chanting, creating a small breach in the barrier with the Dark Dimension as he summoned the memory of his champion.

“No,” he heard the Masked Rider whisper as the Viventallum soldier was transformed. “We destroyed him.”

“I brought him back,” Minion answered. “Just to destroy you. You should feel honoured.”

Before him stood a black machine with an orange pattern on its chest. It had a cone shaped head and a white cloak. Most importantly for Jesse, it carried a serrated disk the size of a motorcycle tyre that could slice through a target with ease.

“Cykill,” Jesse breathed, remembering the problems the machine had caused him less than a year before. It had been Cykill that could claim responsibility for Jesse becoming a Masked Rider, as well as his damaged leg. He recalled how Dex had finally destroyed the evil chopper using Super Gold to shatter the protective plating.

“Win and live, fail and die,” Minion told him.

Jesse moved cautiously, trying to hit and run. But Cykill was too fast for him and his blows proved more than the junior Masked Rider could manage.

“Rider Kick!”

Energy flowed through Jesse’s leg, taking advantage of the extra bulk provided by his leg brace. He back flipped, catching the machine with his energised foot. Cykill’s head was snapped back by the impact.

“Stealth mode!”

His armour shifted, phasing to fit in with the background as he tried to circle and attack his foe.

“Er where’d he go?” Cykill asked, confused.

“He used his stealth-mode you fool,” Minion answered. “He’s invisible!”

“Oh,” Cykill said. A plume of noxious smoke filled the area and when he heard the Masked Rider cough, he threw the disk in the Rider’s direction.

“Aargh!” Jesse cried, his stealth mode proving useless as blood poured from his severed arm.

“Cease!” Minion commanded, moving swiftly to stop the blood pouring from the Mask Rider’s arm. He didn’t want the youth to die just yet. “Your purpose here is over,” he told Cykill. At once the WD-Unit resumed its original appearance and returned to its previous duties.

Jesse was going into shock, even with his powers he had not been able to handle Cykill and yet another part of his humanity had been taken. But he was alive and even in his dazed state he was recalling all the training that Dex had given him. He looked around even as his armour failed, searching for a way out in case the opportunity arose.

“Take him back to his cell,” Minion said, dismissing the human as having no further value. Some of those he had collected had already been auctioned off to other factions, those who were looking for ways to take advantage of a situation. “Oh, and do something about his arm.”

As he stared at the blood on the floor, he imagined that it belonged to Tommy and friends. But then reality asserted itself and he had to settle for the thought that soon he would have a chance to make that fantasy a fact. He looked at the Sword of Ragnarok, admiring the blood he had taken from the Rangers during their last confrontation. That along with Arcana’s dying creations gave him a fresh idea to humiliate Tommy all the more.

“Maybe Arcana’s plan can work, with a few adjustments.”

Angel Grove

“Ah, you’ve come at last, Power Rangers,” Minion observed. “And it only took half the street to draw you out.”

When he had appeared, Minion had used a shockwave to lay waste to the street, which now resembled the aftermath of a gas explosion. The shop windows had been shattered, but the buildings were for the moment still standing. It was a token gesture on his part, but guaranteed to draw the Rangers out from wherever they were hiding.

“We’re going to stop you Minion,” Tommy warned.

“You and what army, Tommy?” the villain sneered. “Or did you mean the little friends who ran off with Ninjor? Oh yes, I know about them, they’ve done well to regain their powers.” He smirked that he had surprised Tommy with that observation and his obvious dismissal. “By the time they return this little world and everybody on it will be gone,” he promised. “Unless you stop me.”

“Don’t bet on it,” Tanya warned. “We’re the Power Rangers and you’re going down.”

“I never lose a bet,” Minion told them.

That was the end of the conversation as he attacked with a ball of dark fire. Zeo Frog jumped, surprised at the sudden power in his lower legs that propelled him out of its path.

“Caught you napping Adam, not a good sign.”

Then he was attacking again, his energy blasts striking every time as he somehow seemed to know where they were.

“Adam, fallback!” Zeo Falcon ordered, moving in to cover his friend’s retreat. His sword was already swinging although it never landed. Minion blocked the blow and with a brutal kick, sent him crashing into the rest of his team.

“That worked real well,” Zeo Bear grimaced, helping her leader to his feet.

“To think, I once considered you a threat,” Minion growled as he regarded them. “You even managed to hurt me once. Speaking of which…” he paused, sidestepped left and swung his sword just above the ground. The Golden Wave that had been heading in his direction shot off into the air. “How is Trey?”

The Gold Ranger tumbled forward, rolling to regain control of his fall before springing back to his feet. Minion was waiting for him as he came back to the vertical, sword connecting with his armoured chest plate. Sparks flew as the Gold Ranger was thrown aside.

“So much for Earth’s greatest defenders,” Minion mocked. “Your days are over and like every other person on this planet, you will soon welcome death.”

He changed his grip on his sword, never taking his eyes off the Rangers as he did so.

“One chance Rangers, surrender and I will make this quick.”

In answer the four Gem Coin Rangers raised their swords and Gold Ranger readied his Golden Power Staff.

“Have it your way,” the villain said as they charged forward.

Even as the Rangers were starting to move, he had fired off five balls of dark energy, knocking them in all directions.

“Pistols!” Zeo Falcon yelled. “Four point formation.”

The Rangers fought bravely, but they were underpowered and Minion with his more brutal approach, seemed to have no problem throwing them aside. Zeo Bear managed to get close enough to use a piece of chain she had found as a weapon. The metal linked closed around his sword and with a short jerk she managed to disarm him as he cuffed her. The Sword of Ragnarok slid across the ground as he threw her into the wall of a building. As Adam had proven during a previous battle, their new powers were not as suited to physical impact and as a result, she stayed down.

“NO!” Zeo Frog cried, firing shot after shot at Minion’s head. He was disappointed though as the villain held his palm up and shots were absorbed into his body. Before Adam could fire again, Minion unleashed the captured energy and sent him hurtling into another wall.

Dodging Zeo Crane’s energy bolts; Minion picked the girl up and threw her into a lamppost. The impact snapped the metal as only Zeo Falcon and Gold Ranger remained.

“It’s time for a Gold Rush!” Gold Ranger cried.

“Not this time,” Minion said. Black tendrils shot from his fingers, grabbing the Ranger as he moved forward. As Minion closed his hands, Trey was thrown around before plunging into the asphalt. Laughing coldly, Minion turned towards the last Ranger.

Taking a deep breath, Zeo Falcon gripped both his own sword and the one he had picked up from where Tanya had dropped it and fought the growing sense of unease. Minion was playing with them, but it seemed likely that he had something else in mind besides taunting.

“It’s over Tommy,” Minion said. “Once I destroy you, this planet will be next on my list. By the time Jason leads his little friends back here, it’ll all be over. Give it up now and maybe I’ll make it quick.”

“Not a chance, Minion. Rangers NEVER give up.”

“If that’s your choice,” Minion conceded, “die with it.”

Suddenly Minion was on the attack, producing a small dagger from somewhere that he tried to skewer through Zeo Falcon’s chest. Panicked the Red Ranger used both his swords to block, leaving himself open as Minion unleashed a burst of dark lightning and knocked Zeo Falcon through the remains of the sidewalk.

“And now, the real fun begins,” he said.

“Guys we have to keep trying,” Tommy said. “If we fail, Minion will take over the planet. Are you with me?”

The others groaned in response. Adam and Tanya were barely coherent; Trey and Kat were not in much better shape and even Tommy had to admit that battling Minion in their condition would be suicide.

“As amusing as that would be, I have a better idea,” Minion commented as he looked at the Rangers. He had thought that faced with their destruction they would just give up. He placed his palms together, fingers pointing toward the sky. When he pulled his hands apart, a black ball of energy appeared, splitting into six multicoloured crystals.

“I was going to save this for the next world I conquered,” he admitted. “But we’ll see how you like them. As you can see I’ve taken Arcana’s little scheme one step further, combining it with the blood you have shed in our previous encounters and a spell I learnt from the Wizard of Deception – oh I see you remember him Tommy – to create my own little team of Rangers. You can thank Arcana’s Billy-clone for his fine research while inside the Power Chamber. The uniform templates he stole from the computer have proven invaluable. But I assure you these Rangers are all mine.”

Not quite true. He had thrown in the Wizard of Deception’s spell to keep the Rangers off balance, but in truth these Rangers had not been created using that spell. They were not even Rangers, well not really. They were a gift from his master, the souls of the Rangers’ counterparts in universes where they had succumbed to the darkness, harvested at the moment of death and transferred to Minion’s possession. With the application of a little genetic engineering he had managed to provide new bodies for the twisted souls to possess. Even the clones that he had used to capture Billy, and the duplicates he had used to replace him, had been destroyed and replaced with his improved constructs.

“We need to morph,” Tommy said. The others nodded their agreement, retreat was no an option. “It’s Morphin Time!”

“Zeo Ranger I – Crane!”

“Zeo Ranger II – Bear!”

“Zeo Ranger IV – Frog!”

“Zeo Ranger V – Falcon!”

There was an unmistakable pause as Trey readied himself. “Gold Ranger Power!”

They moved to attack again, but stopped as the light from the crystals became blinding.

“Yes, it would be sad for this world not to have one last glimpse of its heroes before they die,” Minion said as the light faded, revealing six very human shapes. “Now say hello to my little friends.”

The light finally faded and the Rangers’ jaws dropped. Before them stood what appeared to be five Zeo Rangers and the Gold Ranger. They were almost identical to the costumes the Rangers remembered except instead of gold, they had silver highlights.

“Enjoy Rangers,” Minion called before vanishing. Neither side was certain whom he had been addressing.

“Well well well, what do we have here?” the Red impostor asked. Its voice sounded distorted, almost computerised.

“I can’t believe it,” Zeo Bear said before taking a step backwards.

“They look just like…” Zeo Frog started, trying to make sense of what was happening.

“But they can’t be,” Zeo Falcon said.

“Ah, but we are Rangers,” Blue said.

“And we’re here for one reason and one reason only,” Yellow continued.

“To destroy you!” Gold said pointing to the Gem Coin Rangers.

“Attack!” Red commanded.

The fake Rangers charged the Gem Coin Rangers. Soon they were able to spread the Rangers out so they could not help each other. They stood face to face with their Ranger counterpart, except for Blue who stood next to Gold, head cocked thoughtfully as he sized up Trey.

As Pink traded blows with Zeo Crane; it was obvious that the imitation Rangers had the edge. She punched Zeo Crane in the chest several times, before following up with kicks to the lower abdomen and a punch to the face.

Zeo Crane fought back, aiming her pistol and firing. Pink laughed as she faded out of sight.

“Where’d she go?” Zeo Crane asked out loud.

“Here,” Pink said appearing behind her opponent and unleashing an energy arrow. Zeo Crane was thrown to the ground as the arrow made contact.

Zeo Bear faced off against her opponent, each exchanging and blocking the other’s blows. Although they were evenly matched in skill, the impostor had the advantage in terms of strength. Suddenly Yellow jumped onto Zeo Bear’s shoulder, using it as a springboard to leap inside a warehouse and onto a pile of oil drums.

“Gem Coin Blaster,” Zeo Bear called drawing the slightly heavier weapon.

She managed to squeeze off six shots before noticing they were having no effect. Her opponent responded by drawing her Zeo Pistol and firing. The shots struck the ground surrounding Zeo Bear throwing her to the floor.

Gold Ranger and his counterpart had already started using their weapons, Golden Power Staff against the massive golden hammer that his opposite number had summoned from somewhere. Gold ducked Trey’s blow, back handing him with his hammer, allowing Blue to move in from behind. Gold Ranger rolled back to a distance where he could use his weapon effectively.

“Time for a Gold Rush!” he called.

Bursts of gold energy struck the impostors causing them to pull away slightly. Trey kept firing until he was sure nothing could have survived.

“Not bad Gold Ranger,” Gold said from behind. He smashed his hammer into Trey’s chest just as Blue unleashed a burst of energy. They paused, enjoying the sparks and then attacked again, Zeo Swords sparking on the Gold Ranger’s back.

Zeo Frog found himself facing off against Green, both masters of their art. Zeo Frog ducked a kick and attempted a low leg sweep. The duplicate was taken off his feet, but managed to perform a move similar to break dancing to spin back to his feet again.

In the duplicate’s hand a double-sided axe appeared. Zeo Frog drew his Gem Coin sword and the two enemies recommenced their battle. Zeo Frog found it increasingly difficult to counter his opponent’s blows. The look-alike was able to use both blades on his axe effectively, drawing Zeo Frog’s sword aside with one stroke and then slashing the open chest with the back swing.

The duplicate made a quick movement converting his axe to a version of the Cosmic Cannon and fired. Zeo Frog was thrown through the air to land in the warehouse next to the fallen Zeo Bear.

Of all the Rangers Zeo Falcon was the only one who was managing to hold his own. He had fought his duplicate using both unarmed combat techniques and his sword. Tommy realised that maybe the time he had had to fight against Sam had given him the experience to know how to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses. Of course Zeo Falcon knew that would only last as long as the duplicate chose to fight fair. Red was fresh to the fight and seemed stronger. Tommy knew he would weaken before the duplicate, but that thought gave him all the more desire to beat his opponent quickly.

Red drew its version of the Zeo V Power Sword. The sword looked almost identical to how Zeo Falcon remembered it, except heavily armoured and black. The duplicate used the dark sword’s to blast Zeo Falcon. While Zeo Falcon struggled to defend himself from one blast, the duplicate drew its Zeo Pistol and fired.

“Regroup,” Zeo Falcon called as he moved away from the advancing duplicate.

The other Gem Coin Rangers joined him, each in various states of injury. Zeo Frog and Zeo Bear were struggling to stand and Zeo Crane was holding her arm, which had been injured by her duplicate.

“You were right before,” Red said as his fellow duplicates joined him. “We’re not Rangers.”

“Then who are you?” Zeo Falcon demanded.

“Oh you’ll find out soon enough,” Red told him.

To emphasise the point the six impostors raised their hands to the sky. Blue lightning struck each duplicate transforming them into their true forms. The uniforms turned black and converted into alien-looking suits. Metal plating formed over the body in their Ranger colours. Each Ranger had white gloves and boots with black hands and feet. On their belts were golden N insignias. On the top of their helmets were black spaces each showing a different coloured crystal. Each helmet had flared sides giving them an almost demonic appearance. On their chests were golden coins.

“We’re the Nega Rangers,” Nega Red told them.

“We’re faster than you,” Nega Green said.

“Smarter than you…” Nega Blue said.

“Stronger than you…” Nega Yellow told them.

“But we’re evil!” Nega Pink finished.

“Now we’ll show you what a Nega Ranger can do!” Nega Gold called.

The Nega Rangers drew their weapons and attacked again. This time there was no messing about. The Nega Rangers brutalised the Gem Coin Rangers, knocking them about, trying to destroy them. Zeo Falcon picked himself up off the ground in time to be hit by yet another blow from Nega Red.

Once all the Gem Coin Rangers were grounded the Negas placed their hands on the Rangers’ heads. Slowly at first but quickly speeding up they began to drain the Rangers’ power.

“Now,” Nega Red told the fallen Rangers as he raised his sword ready to impale Tommy, “we finish this.”

Travis had not accompanied the Rangers despite being able to use Rocky’s Gem Coin Transformer. Instead he had stayed in their Reefside fallback command post or Ranger Ops as Adam had dubbed it. He had witnessed the ease with which Minion had trashed the Rangers

Then he had lost sight of the others when Minion had teleported them. He had been confused when the image had cleared to reveal the Gem Coin Rangers fighting what appeared to be the Zeo Rangers. At that point he knew he had to do something because whoever these new Rangers were, they were about to destroy his friends.

Joining the battle as a Ranger was not an option. The Rangers were losing badly and by the time he arrived… there was no way that he could fight six of them even if he used Rocky’s powers. So this was not a matter of joining his friends in combat, it was a retrieval mission.

“Pyramidas, online!”

The sword descended toward Tommy at the same time that the other Nega Rangers delivered what should have been the final blow to their intended targets. Gold lightning rained down on them before they could make contact, forcing the Nega Rangers to pull away from their targets. The Gem Coin Rangers barely had time to appreciate the reprieve before they were teleported away leaving six angry Nega Rangers in their place.

Prison Section, Minion’s Island

Minion walked through the corridors gloating over his little trophy collection. The energy drain was complete; the residual magic in their bodies had been removed. The genetic neutralisers had suppressed any mutant abilities. They were as human as they were going to get. Now they were both his guests and more importantly, his playthings.

The first set of cells contained the young heroes known to the world as the Beetleborgs. They had been drained of their powers along with most of their life force; there was a good chance that even if they survived they would never be able to fight again, even the abilities that they showed in their civilian lives. Minion had been tempted to let the machine finish them. The idea of seeing every cell in their bodies drained of life until their frail human bodies were reduced to piles of dust was almost too good to resist, but not quite.

Minion had left them alone as they were drained, choosing to pick on his other guests instead. They were currently held in a cell, their hands and ankles bound and their armoured suits were held in safekeeping. The cold stone floor was far from comfortable, but compared to what some of his prisoners were going through, they were lucky.

Moving on to the next part of the cells, Minion smiled. This cell contained the VR Troopers and the first generation Metal Hero Servo, from whom their powers were derived. Each Trooper had been drugged and when they awoke, Minion planned to try out some modifications on their Virtualisers. Several relays in Servo’s energy circuits had been removed preventing him from breaking free.

Ryan Steele awoke to find himself in chains. Barely able to stay awake he mentally ran through a check of his body. All his limbs were present and accounted for and he had only slight trouble breathing. Trying to stand Ryan winced as his ribs twinged with pain. In his mind he recalled the powerful mutant that had defeated them and the sting as the monster’s tail had struck him.

Ryan spent a few minutes resting while he tried to assess his situation. He was chained and somehow his Trooper armour had been deactivated. A crystal had also been positioned near to his chest and was starting to glow a dull blue. .

To his left lay Kaitlyn and JB, both unconscious and neither showing signs of coming around soon. In front of him was their captor, dressed in black with glowing red eyes.

“Well well,” the black masked being said. “We have a live one. I’ll be back later to play.”

Minion continued on his way, leaving Ryan to wonder what was going on. The next set of cells contained heroes his forces had taken from around the world. Iron Man and his Avenger allies, Spider-Man cocooned in his own webbing, a group of leather clad school females and several others he wouldn’t bother to identify. He smirked when he passed the cells containing the remnants of the JLA and the Teen Titans, they had never really been a threat to him. Of course in all cases he ensured his prisoners were secured in such a way that they could not break free. Ensnaring Wonder Woman with her own lasso had been a nice touch in his opinion and far more merciful that what his servants had done to the rest of her people.

He punched in a code and opened the cells on the far side of the room. Inside were his favourite trophies, the former Zeo Rangers. This was Minion’s favourite part of the Prison.


He turned to see the Nega Rangers, his creations. Looking at them up close he was pleased with his creativity. Their twisted appearance would only help to instil fear in any who faced them.

“So you succeeded,” he said after he was finished studying them. “Did they scream?”

“They escaped,” Nega Gold admitted.

“Fools!” Minion snapped, his enjoyment forgotten at the thought of the Rangers surviving.

“They ran like cowards,” Nega Blue told him. “Rocky didn’t even show up.”

A volley of dark lightning dealt with the outspoken Ranger. “Idiot, Rocky has already been dealt with, I only asked you to destroy five Rangers and you had superior numbers. How dare you fail me?”

He watched for a while as they suffered before ending the punishment. Seeing his own creations suffer was not as fun as torturing his prisoners.

“Enough. Seek out the Rangers and this time… finish them. Now go, find them.”

He almost laughed as they blurred away. It was good to see that despite their outward appearance, they feared him.

“Perhaps a little more power will make up for your lack of intellect.”

The Nega Rangers glowed as Minion poured his energy into them, changing them and extending their awareness of the world around them. Right now they were simply extensions of his magic, created from a a sample of his unusual genetic material, reshaped to mimic that of the humans they were modelled upon. For his protection he had bound their existence to his own. They would not be able to destroy him, but if they performed the tasks he had given them, they would be allowed to steal what they needed from their defeated foes. As an added bonus he had calculated that they only needed to feed on the residual energy of one Ranger each. Maybe it was time he told them that and gave them something to aim for.

“I release you,” he said. The effect was immediate as the energy flow behind him and the Nega Rangers ceased. At the same time they dropped to their knees as their bodies were ravaged by an energy backlash. “Do you feel that Nega Rangers, the sudden pain? You are dying, very very slowly. The pain you feel is an echo of the stress that you are placing on the Morphin Grid, the only reason you have not been destroyed is because you are protected by the Earth’s magic.”

“What would you have us do master?” Nega Gold asked. There had to be a way to survive.

“Nega Gold or Gold Ranger… to the Morphin Grid you are one and the same, but the Grid can only sustain one. Gold Ranger has the stronger bond, so if left to fate, you will be the one to fade away. Same goes for the rest of you: vanquish the Rangers or be destroyed.”

Minion looked down at his creation. Like all the Nega Rangers, Nega Gold did not have a gender and could appear as either male or female. At the moment Minion could detect an air of masculinity about the Nega Ranger, probably due to its link to Trey. If and when it destroyed the Lord of Triforia it would be able to choose. There were other Nega Rangers that had yet to define their identity. When the time came they would make a fine army.

“Already you know that you can drain the Rangers’ energy,” Minion continued. “When you destroy your chosen Ranger their power will be yours and your pain will end.”

~And so will mine,~ he thought, remembering that so long as the Rangers survived he would be forced to endure untold torment.

“Go and draw out the Rangers. Attack their homes if you have to,” Minion replied. The Negas knew who the Rangers were and Minion decided he would take advantage of the situation.

Minion waited for the Nega to disappear before turning his attention to more important tasks. He had allowed himself to be distracted by the Nega Rangers and needed to turn his attention to more important matters. He looked at the sword in his hand and resolved to do some research. If his prediction was correct, then the Power Rangers would be returning to a ball of ash.

Mindless carnage. It was something the Nega Rangers were starting to enjoy. Having decided that threatening innocent humans, would encourage the Rangers to make an appearance they had raided Angel Grove High School, taking the few students who had not been kept home, hostage.

“Rangers!” Nega Pink called, holding a young girl in front of her. “Either you show up by the count of ten or we start killing one of these pathetic humans every ten seconds.”

Nothing happened and for a moment he thought maybe the Rangers had seen sense and realised just how futile fighting the Nega Rangers would be.

“One!” .

Nega Red finished his rounds of the school ensuring every human was accounted for. He stepped into the classroom where Miss Appleby used to teach the Rangers English. He could sense the laughter from some of the lessons over the years. He could feel the good in the room from a teacher whose love was teaching and her students.

Growling angrily Nega Red summoned his Nega Sword and began to trash the room. He did not stop until the room was levelled. “Now that’s a classroom,” he said looking at the scorched hole he had made in the blackboard with his sword.


Nega Yellow found her way into the Principal’s office. She summoned her Nega Daggers and began redecorating the room. The five knifelike blades slashed into the walls and furniture as she took out her aggression on the office.


“It’s done,” Adam said, not sounding at all confident.

Reconfiguring their powers was a job that needed Billy or preferably Zordon and Alpha to work. The Gem Coin Rangers had had to make do and even now he couldn’t guarantee that the changes would work. Still as he pressed the button and activated the new weapons’ program they heard an affirmative beep from the computer, telling them that the process was a success.

The Rangers exchanged looks and teleported into battle.

At that moment, Wally West, the super hero known as the Flash, was in trouble. It had been a seemingly simple challenge, or so Wally had believed. A chance for freedom had been offered and he was willing to take the opportunity, secretly planning to somehow free his companions and then make Minion pay for all that he had done. Exactly why the villain had turned from manic rage to playful captor was unclear, although the Teen Titan, Raven, had suggested it had something to do with his desire to humiliate Earth’s heroes; apparently Raven had taken to reading more and more books about the human psyche in the hopes of controlling her emotional problems.

So he had agreed to the speed test as Minion had called it, despite warnings from the Martian Manhunter. But then Wally had never been the most cautious of men. The test was relatively straightforward: all he had to do was avoid the laser beams for half an hour and then he would be allowed to walk away.

“Begin,” Minion had said as Wally had rashly accepted the challenge.

And only then as the arena had appeared around him had he realised that Minion had not revealed all of the challenge. For one thing the lasers were mounted to the arms of WD Unit as well as the walls and ceiling. Secondly, they did not all fire one at a time and there was a randomness to their pattern that made it difficult to evade all the shots.

He had started out well, using his speed to create a whirlwind of force that sucked the WD-Units together and then threw them out again. Even when the machines reformed, they were no longer armed; the lasers were more vulnerable to heat, and were lost as the molten metal knitted itself back together.

He continued to move, avoiding the laser blasts while leading the robots into danger. It seemed no matter how badly they were damaged the machines were capable of repairing themselves. At least that was the impression he got until one of them was cleaved completely in half. At that point both halves remained inert.

Outside the arena, Minion adjusted the controls. He wanted to break his prisoners, to let them see the fate he had planned for them. At his command the WD Units returned to a state of inactivity as he focussed on the room’s mounted lasers. To begin with he used multiple shots to direct the hero to where he wanted him and then over a few minutes, reduced the arena to the size of a long tunnel and positioned all the lasers at one end.

“I could be ruthless about this,” Minion said, making a show of powering all the weapons at the same time. “But I won’t do that.” At the press of a button the emitters shifted to so they ran up the left-hand wall and along the ceiling.

Wally knew what was coming when the first emitter was activated, producing a solid beam of energy from floor to ceiling that would chop anything in its path in two. Then the beam started moving toward him and Wally had to squeeze to the left in order to avoid it. A second beam, this time stretching left to right followed and soon the other emitters followed, alternating between one orientation and the other. When they had all passed him, they returned from the other end, Minion having shortened the beam and sent two emitters at the same time.

This continued for ten minutes until Minion grew tired of playing. The Flash was good, but had not escaped unharmed. He was covered with small cuts where speed had not been enough to avoid the cutting beams. He looked at the clock and saw that half an hour had elapsed.

“Time’s up,” Flash noted. “You promised I could walk away.”

“Actually,” Minion replied, adjusting the controls so all the emitters were activated, creating a grid of obliterating energy. “I said you would be set free. Alas, in either case I lied. You will not walk away and freedom is not even a remote possibility.”

He pushed the button, sending the grid speeding along the corridor. Flash turned and started to run in the opposite direction, not that he had far to go before he collided with the wall. He turned, hoping to find a way out of his predicament. But as he soon discovered, there was no way out.

“Stop this,” Captain America cried as he saw the beams get nearer and nearer their target.

“But of course,” Minion said, stopping the movement and then cutting all but one of the beams. The amassed heroes looked on in confusion until that beam finished slicing through Wally’s legs. “No Wally West, you will not run away. In fact, you’ll never walk under your own power again.”

“Don’t worry about him too much,” Minion warned. “He will soon be out of his misery and you will join him.”


Nega Red’s count was interrupted when he found himself on the receiving end of the Gem Coin Cannon’s blast from behind. A microsecond after he sensed the blast his hostage was teleported to safety.

“So, you came,” Nega Pink said turning towards his attackers. “Now the fun begins.”

“Not today,” Zeo Falcon replied.

Six Gem Coin Rangers stood ready for action. Six? Nega Red counted again wondering where Zeo Ape had come from. So far as he knew Rocky was still in hospital under the watchful eye of Lita Kino, the Rangers’ Psychologist. He shrugged when he realised it was Travis using Rocky’s powers; it didn’t matter. Now it was time for a rematch.

“Get them!” Nega Red called.

What followed was almost a repeat performance of the last encounter between the Gem Coin Rangers and the Nega Rangers. The two sides fought back and forth, through the classroom and into the open air. All the time the Ranger kept careful watch of where their opponents were in relation to each other.

“Now!” Zeo Falcon called. “Plan A.”

Minion watched the events taking place and was quickly able to see what the Rangers had in mind. They had worked to separate the Nega Rangers then teleported to a place where they could use teamwork to take out one opponent at a time.

~Not very sporting,~ Minion mused. ~Still it is within the rules and does make a sound strategy.~ “Nega Rangers, play along with the Rangers’ plans.”

The Rangers’ strategy seemed to be working. Already they had separated and apparently destroyed the Pink and Green Nega Rangers. Pink had put up a good fight, managing to keep all the Rangers at bay until Zeo Frog managed a lucky shot with his hand-held cannon. She had screamed loudly and dissolved into a puff of smoke.

Nega Green put up an even better defence, managing to injure Zeo Ape in the fight. An arrow from Zeo Crane’s bow caught him in the neck, apparently damaging his breathing to the point where he destroyed himself.

“Oh Rangers,” Minion called as his image appeared in the sky. He had decided that this game had gone on long enough. “My Rangers have a big surprise for you.” His head turned as the ground shook.

The Rangers stumbled as a new Zord made from Viventallum stomped across the city.

“Cyclopsis,” Zeo Falcon breathed.

“Do you know what that thing is?” Kat asked.

Tommy considered his answer for a moment before nodding. “Not as well as Jason might. Cyclopsis was Goldar’s War Zord. Rita resurrected shortly after I lost my powers the first time. Rita sent the population of Angel Grove into another. Cyclopsis came close to beating the others that day. If Alpha had not discovered the Zord’s weakness, the Rangers may have been lost.”

“I have heard of Cyclopsis,” Trey said. “If Minion has truly resurrected him, we may have a problem.”

“Enough discussion.” Minion’s face appeared on the Viewing Screen. “You have five minutes to defeat Cyclopsis, or I will instruct the Nega Rangers to level Angel Grove building by building.”

“Can you remember how to defeat Cyclopsis?” Tanya asked.

“They just switched modes until the computer locked up. Then they called in the Ultrazord.”

“We don’t have multiple modes,” Zeo Bear pointed out.

“We don’t have an Ultrazord either,” Tommy replied, “We’ll have to improvise. Attack Bikes, Power Up!”

As the bikes skidded to a halt the five Rangers climbed on. Zeo Ape climbed into the sidecar of Zeo Crane’s bike and prepared himself for whatever Zeo Falcon was planning.

“Switch to Sentinel Mode!” Zeo Falcon instructed.

Using the multiple weapons that Zordon had stored in a secret vault Alpha had managed to design some humanoid shaped robots using the weapons and attack bikes. Weapons and bikes combined to form a single giant robot, slightly smaller than a Megazord. With Zeo Falcon in the center each Ranger felt a strange connection to the machine.

“The autopilot should keep Cyclopsis busy for a while,” Zeo Falcon said. “Let’s get the Ninja activated.”

“We need the Ninja, now!” .

“Stick to single attacks,” Gold advised.

The remote Wolf Zord moved so fast that Cyclopsis didn’t see it coming until it was too late. The powerful hind legs drove the Zord into the air where it made contact with Cyclopsis arm. The Zord’s jaws clamped shut around Cyclopsis.

Zeo Frog guided his Zord forward and directed it to open its mouth. The Frog’s tongue wrapped around Cyclopsis allowing Zeo Frog to direct a burst of electrical energy into the War Zord’s body. Starting the recall system, he used the tongue to pull Cyclopsis towards the Zord. .

The combined assault allowed Zeo Ape a chance to get close. The mighty machine leapt onto the War Zord’s back, wrapping its arms around the neck. The machine summoned both of its swords and stabbed them into the back of the War Zord’s neck.

“Hold him steady,” Zeo Crane called.

Bolts of pink energy struck the War Zord in the chest causing it to fall over. The Crane flew around to move in for a second assault. Once again Zeo Crane armed her lasers and prepared to fire.

Zeo Bear had moved her machine behind Cyclopsis’s body. As the Crane fired again it knocked the War Zord over the Bear and onto its back.

The Falcon Zord dived; its talons extended outwards. Mini missiles fired from the wings, striking the War Zord in the chest and shoulders. While the missiles did no real damage, they distracted Cyclopsis long enough for the Falcon to sink its talons into the metal warrior and lift it into the air. .

“Fire!” Zeo Falcon ordered pressing the button on his control stick.

It took Zeo Falcon a moment too long to realise something was wrong. Cyclopsis had used its telekinetic powers to trigger the torpedoes inside the Zord. As they exploded, the Falcon dropped the War Zord to the ground as Zeo Falcon attempted to regain control.

“I’m down,” Zeo Falcon reported, shaking his head to clear the cobwebs.

“You can join us later,” Zeo Crane told him over the communicator.

“Ninja mode!” the Rangers called.

The arms and legs of the Ape detached from the body, the legs of the Bear split away from the body and legs and head of the Wolf retracted into the body. The bodies of the Ape, Bear and Wolf joined together to form the upper torso and arms of the Ninja. The legs of the Ape joined and connected to the base of the upper torso to complete the main body.

Meanwhile the Frog had transformed into a pair of legs, joining with the Bear’s legs, which had transformed to make two feet, to form the lower body. The arms of the Ape had converted into fists, which connected to the arms. .

Finally the body and arms merged with the legs, allowing the Crane to slide into place as the head. The fully charged Power Sword appeared in the Megazord’s hand. In a single movement the Power Sword moved across Cyclopsis’s body carving a diagonal slash in its body.

While the Ninja was forming, the remote Sentinel was using every weapon at its disposal to keep Cyclopsis off balance, a strategy that seemed to be working. As long as the War Zord was trying to stay upright, it could not fight back. Then the operator gained control slamming the Sentinel to the ground and crushing it underfoot. The Ninja arrived in time to prevent too much damage being done.

Cyclopsis responded by extending a blade from each arm and attacking the Megazord. Combining the energy weapons with his blade Cyclopsis parried the machines’ attacks. With a quick movement it disarmed the Ninja and moved to make a killing blow.

With a loud screech the Falcon descended on Cyclopsis, its weapons firing to push it away from the Ninja. Cyclopsis rolled away to allow the Megazord to stand up again.

“Docking now,” Zeo Falcon said, activating his Gem Coin.

“Ninja full power!” the Rangers called as Zeo Falcon appeared in the control room and took his position.

Thrusters fired on the back of the Megazord’s back, flying into the air, Power Sword in hand. Cyclopsis responded by firing the cannons positioned beneath its breastplate. It then fired its wrists on the end of solid steel cables, which wrapped around the machine’s body in a similar way to what the Frog had done earlier. High voltage electricity pulsed through the cables, into the hands and finally into the machine.

Turning to the right Cyclopsis released the Ninja at the peak of its spin, throwing the Ninja to the ground with a crash. Energy bolts shot from various points on Cyclopsis’s body, causing further damage to the mechanoid.

“Pyramidas fire!” Gold Ranger called from inside his personal Zord.

The Ninja flew into the air and landed on the apex of the Pyramid where it could channel the large machine’s energy. Already charging its power cells, Zeo Ape braced himself for the attack ahead.

“Make it look good,” Minion told the three pilots of Cyclopsis just before the Rangers’ machines fired.

The three pilots did not respond verbally, but nodded to show they understood. Cutting the shielding to minimum power, the pilots braced themselves to take the blast. As the blasts stuck the War Zord, its shielding collapsed, causing Cyclopsis to explode.

Watching from his island, Minion smiled behind his mask. He had seen the power behind the Rangers’ last attack and suspected the blast drained Gem Coins of all but a small portion of their power. Now it was time to show the Rangers what happened to those who failed to anticipate Minion’s moves.

“Cyclopsis, reactivate and finish those ridiculous Zords!”

Slowly the Viventallum drained away and reformed to become a more powerful version of Cyclopsis. Inside the cockpit the three operators reappeared, ready to finish the Rangers.

The two blades slid out from the arms ready to strike again. The chest panels slid down to reveal the rows of cannons and the hip compartments opened, ready to fire the enhanced missiles Minion had constructed. A ball of energy formed on its horns and was fired as a single sphere of fire.

With its first strike Cyclopsis destroyed the Ninja. Missiles and energy bolts ripped the machine to pieces. As Pyramidas hovered in place, a Viventallum blade chopped through the armour. The machine was slow to react having used all its power in the barrage. Piece by piece it was chipped away by the War Zord’s blades. Trey at that point made the decision to dislodge his attacker and order Pyramidas to retreat. He teleported to join the other Rangers, who had ejected before the Ninja was destroyed.

“What happened?” Zeo Ape asked as the remains of the Ninja started to disappear.

“Automatic recall,” Zeo Falcon explained. “It’s to stop the Zords destruction from shutting down the Morphin Grid. First time they used it was when Cyclopsis nearly destroyed the Dinozords.”

“Shame you can’t teleport away Tommy,” Minion scoffed. “Now you’re going have to meet the three pilots of Cyclopsis. I take it you remember Nega Green and Nega Pink.”

The two supposedly deceased Nega Rangers stepped forward. Both were laughing as they imagined what they were going to do to the now Zord-less Rangers.

“And of course where would they be without the other Nega Rangers?” Minion asked.

The Rangers watched as Nega Red, Nega Yellow, Nega Gold and Nega Blue joined with their comrades. The Nega Rangers drew their weapons and prepared to finish their weakened opponents.

“The Zeo Crystal is gone, the Zords are gone, the friends who left on a quest for new powers are dead, you have no way to get back to Power Chamber and even if you could Zordon cannot help you.” Minion seemed to grow more confident with every passing second. “I’ll give you one chance to surrender before I order my servants to do it the hard way.”

“We’ll never surrender,” Zeo Falcon replied angrily. “We’ll either defeat you or die trying.”

“You won’t have to defeat me, Thomas,” Minion replied. “This isn’t a fight anymore, it’s now a slaughter.”

As he spoke, he pointed to a group of figures floating above the Rangers. They could not see their faces because of the bright light behind them.

“Now!” Minion ordered.

The figures dropped from the sky, one of them driving both feet into Zeo Crane’s head. Another swung on one foot to catch Zeo Bear with a back kick and punch to the chin. The third ducked to avoid a kick from Zeo Ape before he swept the legs out from him and drove his elbow into the Ranger’s face. After trading blows with Gold Ranger he delivered a kick to the Ranger’s, winding him while the last one and concentrated on Zeo Falcon.

“Hello Tommy,” the dark red uniformed warrior said. He wore the uniform that Jason had worn when he had first wielded the power of a Ranger.

“Do you like my newest creations, Tommy?” Minion asked. “Seven new evil Rangers to complete my Nega Rangers.”

The two warriors started to fight, Tommy powered only by his reserve energy from the Morphin Grid and his opponent powered by the dark side of the Morphin Grid. Although not as skilled or powerful as the real Jason, Tommy’s opponent used his anger to fuel his punches.

“You don’t want to do this,” Zeo Falcon said. “Don’t let Minion use you.”

“Minion is not using me,” the other replied as he knocked the Gem Coin Ranger down again.

“You obviously weren’t listening when we told you the first time,” Nega Red said as he walked forward. The two evil Red Rangers joined hands, combining their powers. Tommy looked around to see that the Gem Coin Rangers were surrounded.

“We’re faster than you,” Nega Green said.

“Smarter than you…” Nega Gold said.

“Stronger than you…” Nega Yellow told them.

“But we’re evil!” Nega Pink finished.

“Yeah?” Tommy asked preparing to make their task as difficult as possible.

“Yeah,” Nega Red replied, imitating the voice.

The evil Rangers fired as the other Red Ranger that delivered the final word on the subject: “and we cheat.”

“Stand down,” Minion called as he arrived, stepping over the now demorphed Rangers. With a gesture he summoned their Gem Coin Transformers and crushed them. He summoned the Golden Power Staff, but being unable to use it, discarded it. He never noticed when it disappeared back into Trey’s subspace pocket. “You have done well.”

Raising his hand lines of energy flowed from the fallen Rangers into his creations, recharging their bodies.

“Silvo!” Minion boomed. “Take these fallen Rangers to the cells and make them comfortable.”

Silvo appeared in a flash of silver, picked up the fallen Rangers and left.


Dulcea looked up from the fire as she sensed some sort of disaster on the planet Earth. Could it be that those left to protect the planet had fallen? She hoped not. Jason, David, Sam, Kimberly, Aisha, Trini, Zack and Billy were ready to seek the Great Power and would begin their trek to the monolith the next morning. She could only hope they reached it in time because if the sensations she was receiving were an indication, at this rate they were not going to have a world to return to.

She shivered as she thought about Minion. In many ways he reminded her of some of the villains that she had fought against before taking on the role of Master Warrior. He didn’t really care about the conquest of worlds. He was an evil creature who would never find the satisfaction in conquest that he would gain by destroying planet after planet. Stopping him soon was the only way they could prevent countless deaths.

“Sleep well Rangers,” she whispered as she stared across the flames at her sleeping charges. She hoped that with the Great Power on their side the Rangers would be able to undo all the harm Minion had caused. Somehow she doubted it because the only way to guarantee such a drastic reversal would be to destroy Minion completely. She knew in her heart that none of the Rangers she had met would be able to commit what amounted to ruthless murder. Yet if they didn’t, she doubted the Earth would survive.

Torture Cell A, Minion’s Island

Three days had passed and Minion decided it was time to see how his guests were coping. He ignored the VR Troopers and the Beetleborgs, the strange warrior known as Servo and a group of teenage hackers who had been dragged into things for some reason; the various super heroes that constituted what remained of the JLA, the Avengers and of course Spider-Man. He overlooked the injured Jesse, knowing that even if he could transform, the Masked Rider’s powers had been damaged. Dex on the other hand would still provide some entertainment. First though he had his old adversaries, the Gem Coin Rangers, to pay his respects to.

This was Minion’s favourite part of the Prison Dimension. He had altered the flow of time in the dimension so a few hours would seem like weeks to the Rangers trapped inside. All six of the Rangers he was holding in his prison were undergoing various forms of torture.

First off was Tanya. Minion had trapped her at the bottom of a long tube. Then he had sealed the sides, top and bottom of the tube so she only had a limited air supply. Then he had started to pump in a drop of water every thirty seconds. It was a slow torture. Tanya knew she could not escape and that eventually she would drown, but not before the dripping water drove her insane.

Next in line was Trey. Minion had decided to place the Lord of Triforia on a version of the rack and was gradually stretching the Gold Ranger until he was torn in half by the rack. Minion had but found the idea too unimaginative. Therefore, he had added his own subtle changes. .

The rack had been modified so Trey was now seated with his hands tied to a series of pulleys. His legs and ankles were strapped to a set of bicycle pedals. The idea was that a small motor operated ropes attached to his arms would tighten the ropes and stretch the Lord of Triforia unless he pedalled fast enough to counter the effect. Minion had made an additional change. The system was now racheted so that if Trey stopped pedalling, he would be stretched, but even if he then started to pedal as fast as he could the ropes would not loosen.

It was the ultimate no-win situation. Sooner or later the Triforian would tire and when he did he would be stretched.

Adam had been strapped into a chair. On his forehead a metal device had been fastened. As Minion pressed a button, the device sent a signal to the muscles in Adam’s leg, causing it to twitch. The sensation was not painful, but after a few hours of constant twitching Adam would be driven insane. Minion had seen the evidence of what constant exposure to the device would accomplish. Even the most iron willed prisoner would crack under the strain.

The device had been created years ago for use by bounty hunters wishing to interrogate captives to find their prey. Minion had been lucky to find a working model in Zedd’s castle. Obviously Zedd had had dealings with either the Varox or the Bounty Hunters’ Guild. He was not sure which but knowing Zedd, he was willing to beat the Bounty Hunter had not been paid for his work, or lived to tell about it.

Minion had modified the next cell especially for Kat using the technology he had gained from elsewhere. The room was set to play out random dangers at random intervals, stimulating her pain receptors without the physical injury. Minion had no intention of damaging Kat’s body. He wanted Kat to be his personal slave and if she survived, he would enjoy breaking her further.

Minion planned to leave her a few more hours and then offer her a chance to end her pain. He doubted she would take him up on the offer first try, but faced with a life of pain or a life as his slave he suspected she could be persuaded to choose the latter.

Tommy’s torture was simple but effective. He had been tied with his hands above his head and had a WD-Unit punching him at regular intervals. Each blow cracked his ribs causing him to scream in agony. But Minion had programmed the machine to allow enough time between blows for the youth’s healing to take effect. For the robot it meant a few seconds of action followed by long periods of waiting. For Tommy it meant constant and nearly unbearable pain.

Travis’s torture was perhaps the cruellest. He had been secured so he had a view of all his friends being tortured. Minion had injected him with a drug to paralyse his body and bound his limbs just in case. Travis could see and hear everything, but could not move any part of his body to help or even turn away or shut his eyes. Tears ran down his face from having to watch his friends being tortured, knowing he was free to intervene but unable to help them. He continued to sob, broken at the sight of his friends suffering knowing he had failed them.

“What’s the matter Travis, can’t you stand to see your friends suffer?” Minion asked softly. “You know, you could save them. Just swear total and undying allegiance to the forces of darkness and I’ll let them go.”

“Go to hell!” Travis spat. Struggling to speak due to the effects of the drugs.

Minion did not reply. He simply turned and nodded to the WD-Unit in front of Tommy. The machine understood the unspoken command and punched Tommy in the face, cracking his skull.

“You had better not say things like that Travis,” Minion hissed. “Or I’ll instruct the WD-Unit to crush his skull. I’ll leave you to consider our offer,” Minion told the distraught Ranger. “See you soon.”

Minion walked over to where Tommy was hanging. Using some of the many fighting techniques at his disposal, he kicked Zeo Falcon several times in the chest and stomach, smiling in satisfaction as he heard the Ranger’s ribs crack. When he finished, he cut the bonds holding Tommy’s arms, then continued to kick and punch the fallen Ranger. He lifted Tommy to his feet and delivered a sharp kick to the Ranger’s neck.

“Wait six hours and then resume,” he said to the WD Unit as he teleported away.

Six hours was nowhere near enough time for Tommy to heal, but that was the idea. Minion promised himself he would return to beat Tommy a bit more when the other boy was awoke.

Minion enjoyed having so many prisoners because it gave him the opportunity to try as many forms of torture as possible before they died. They were his playthings and when they ceased to amuse him, he would toss them aside and move on to the next victim. This time he had not been creative, just brutal in his plans. He had placed the surviving members of the JLA and the Teen Titans together in the arena, surrounded by WD Units. If they defeated their opponents, he would let them go. He had no intention of allowing them to win.

He had deliberately made the stadium larger this time and provided the heroes with some cover. He mentally ran through those present and was satisfied they would be lucky to survive let alone triumph. The Flash had already proven how far Minion was willing to go; the human Masked Rider had proven that he could be merciful. What he had done to the Martian Man Hunter had shown them his vicious side, while slicing off John Stewart’s fingers had shown his intelligence.

So who was left? Batman, Wonder Woman, Hawk Girl of the JLA – for there was no way the Green Lantern could defend himself at that moment – and Robin, Starfire, Changling, Raven and Cyborg for the Teen Titans. Some of them he had allowed to remain conscious, others he had deliberately incapacitated to prevent them from using their powers. In the end he decided that Wonder Woman, Hawk Girl and Cyborg would suffice. If this worked well, he would be sure to try it again with the Avengers.

Wonder Woman looked on as the WD Units surrounded them. She already knew that they could not trust Minion to keep his word. If he wanted them dead, they would die, and if he chose to spare them it would only be exchanging death for more torment. And the villain had already taken so much.

Themyscira was gone, the civilised world of the Amazons lost forever all due to Minion’s actions. She remembered how his robotic army had fought their way through the island’s inhabitants. And now Diana, last surviving daughter of her race found herself pitted in one of the villain’s twisted games. She promised herself that she would not be another victim of his evil; she would not go easily, and like Wally she vowed to fight him.

Hawk Girl was angry and more than a little confused. She had once believed that she had known what evil was, her people having abandoned a dark entity long ago. But it seemed that Minion had shown her a new kind of evil, the type that from Batman and Robin’s reactions, was uncommon but not unheard of on Earth. She held her mace at the ready, vowing that the first machine to cross her path would be scrap metal. Next to her she sensed Cyborg tense. The battle was about to begin.

When the robots attacked, the three heroes went on the offensive. Hawk Girl’s energised mace smashed into the chest panel of one WD Unit as Wonder Woman used her lasso to throw one of the WD Units into its neighbouring machines. Cyborg unleashed blast after blast from his sonic cannon, using his vice like grip to wrench arms from torsos.

Minion had to admit they were an impressive combination. Wonder Woman’s strength combined with Hawk Girl’s anger and Cyborg’s strong will, which Minion had to admit was exceptional for him to have survived all the hardships he had endured, allowed them to take down a good portion of his forces before the overwhelming numbers started to catch up with them. He was amazed when he saw Cyborg rip the bladed weapon from one unit and use it to slice the head off another. He had been hoping that what he had done to the Flash would have weakened their resolve, but if anything they fought harder.

“Open fire!” he commanded.

Viventallum bullets sprayed from the units’ hands, causing Hawk Girl to cease her current tactic of lifting opponents from the ground and dropping them from higher up, and duck for cover. Cyborg and Wonder Woman worked together, she deflecting the bullets with her bracelets while he returned fire. When a WD Unit went down, it stayed down; Minion wanted to see how close they would come to victory before springing his surprise.

Batman watched the battle from his cell. There was little in his utility belt that could help them although the first aid kit had allowed them to wrap the cauterised stubs that were John’s arms. The Green Lantern was still in a bad state, Flash was comatose.

In the next cell Robin had given up trying to break free from the cell and had instead turned his attention to other opportunities to escape. Starfire was in a state of shock, whatever Minion had done to her when he had insisted on separating the aliens from the rest of the JLA and Teen Titans, she had been almost catatonic when she had returned. Exactly what they had done to the J’Onn was unclear, but while he was alive, he was definitely not conscious; Raven had not been seen since she had been taken.

“Look,” Changling called, transforming back to his normal appearance for the first time since they had seen what had happened to the Flash. The brutality and callous nature of the attack had hit all of them, but Changling had lost somebody whom he viewed as a big brother.

“Look out, they’re changing,” Batman said as he watched the broken WD Units pool together into a new larger warrior.

“Oh no,” Robin said, eyes widening as he saw the thin tubes appear from the Centaurian’s body.

The WD Units fell back behind the larger robot and the three heroes were getting more and more nervous.

“Fire!” Minion ordered.

The many tubes unleashed a volley on miniature projectiles at its opponents, shredding anything in their path. Diana tried to block them but even her swift reactions could not avoid every projectile. As soon as the first bullet pierced her skin, the small point allowing it to easily break her skin, she started to slow. More projectiles were fired, most missing but some actually managed to strike their target. Eventually the blood loss was too much and she fell.

Cyborg had not been so lucky. His metallic parts were shredded by the tougher metal and it was only through chance that his human organs were not damaged. He continued to fire bravely, daring the machine to attack again and again.

Hawk Girl Had been hit, her wings damaged and her flight terminated. She had managed to land a single blow, which was more than her companions had accomplished. Still, like Wonder Woman and Cyborg she was beaten and as the massive metal fist made contact with her skull, it seemed the fight was no longer her problem.

“Cease!” Minion called. He didn’t want the Centaurian to kill them, the pain didn’t fade as much when he just killed them. He needed to break them first, all of them.

He walked into the arena area and made a point of examining the bodies. Hawk Girl would survive although like the Green Lantern and Masked Rider, recovery would prove difficult. Cyborg on the other hand would be lucky if he ever recovered from his injuries. Minion considered using Viventallum to repair the damage, knowing that in doing so he would have control over Cyborg. Oh the damage he could cause. Finally he came to Wonder Woman. The pile of bullets surrounding her spoke of how hard she had fought to survive. A quick scan of her aura revealed that she was alive. The pool of blood surrounding her raised questions about how long she would take to recover.


Minion looked inside and was pleased with the results. Katherine, Trey and Tanya had been removed from their various tortures and strapped to tables. Minion wanted them to regain some strength before the torture resumed. Adam had been left attached to a machine referred to as the Twitcher.

Minion moved over and studied the boy’s face. Adam’s left leg had been twitching relentlessly due to the stimulation provided by the machine. The constant movement was causing continuous discomfort, preventing the former Ranger from concentrating on anything but the pain.

Next Minion moved on to where Tommy was still suspended and undergoing the continued care of a WD-Unit. Minion studied the boy’s wounds and could tell the Ranger’s healing was starting to fail.

“Is it painful Tommy?” Minion asked.

Taking his finger, he traced the still bloodied wound from where the robot had switched from fists to spiked blades. Soon if there was no let up Tommy would be crippled for the rest of his life. Minion nodded to the WD-Unit to intensify his assault. If Tommy survived another hour Minion decided, he would stop the torture. But, he doubted Tommy would live that long.

Finally Minion moved to where Travis was sitting, still drugged and unable to help his friends. Minion looked at the Triforian and could see he was broken. Tears streaked down his face caused by the hopelessness of his situation.

“Don’t worry Travis,” Minion told him. “Soon it will end, for all of you.”

Turning around he left the cells and once again entered the arena, which had been set up to act as a training area, it still looked similar to the theatres used in Ancient Rome. Lined up in the center of the zone stood the Nega Rangers. Minion walked along the line of troops, carefully inspecting them to ensure they were ready for action. All the Nega Rangers had been training; ready for what Minion had promised would be their toughest test so far.

“Bring in the next one,” Minion ordered.

Silvo appeared, dragging Dex, the veteran Masked Rider behind him. Dex was perhaps the most dangerous captive that Minion had taken; Masked Riders were troubleshooters, commandoes and trained to an exceptional level. As such Dex was dangerous before he used his powers and more so when he activated his armour. Since he had already taken steps to ensure Dex’s fellow Rider had been sidelined, he decided on a similar fate for the Edenite. He injected the former Prince of Edenoi with a stimulant to revive him. Minion knew Dex would prove resistant to torture due to the make up of his powers and training. For that reason he had not bothered, deciding to simply drain his life force. Now though he had a different idea. Minion was going to use him to test his Nega Rangers.

For Dex it was an opportunity to escape. He didn’t stand a chance in a fight against more than one Nega Ranger. Dex knew that and felt no shame in the fact. Being able to recognise and work with his limitations had allowed the Masked Rider to triumph in the past. He simply solved those things within his control and found alternatives to those he could not. Right now escape was a priority.

Once free he would summon help, but first he needed to get away from Minion.

“Now, transform into Masked Rider,” Minion said.

Dex knew better than to help Minion with his plan, but he also knew that his powers would give him a better chance of escape. His assessment of the area was such that he was confident that he could escape. He refused to end up like Jesse at the hands of this madman. Thinking of the kid upset him, he could only hope he was still alive, somewhere.

“Ectophase Activate!”

Green energy sparked from Dex’s belt buckle, focussing the power of the Morphin Grid through a crystal. Following a small prickling sensation, which reassured him that the process was working as it checked his blood to ensure he was the correct avatar, the buckle seemed to fly off. Even as the energies used Dex’s insect-like heritage to charge forms from civilian to warrior, the buckle became his mask and joined with his flesh, forming the green armoured exoskeleton and the antenna-crested helmet of the Masked Rider.

“Nega Red, Nega Green, attack!”

Masked Rider knew he could not outmatch two of Minion’s Nega Rangers. He had seen them in action and had a fair idea of what they could do. As he started to move around, he wondered if maybe he could outsmart them. Jumping, diving and turning to avoid each blow, Dex waited until Nega Red was open and Nega Green was in the wrong side to help.

“Rider Kick!” he called, focussing all his energy into a missile like drop kick. Normally he would aim for the head or chest. Knowing these areas would be protected, he decided to aim lower. His feet glowing red, the Masked Rider slammed into Nega Red’s groin, hoping that Minion had thought to retain some semblance of human anatomy in his creations. He rolled to the side as Nega Green attempted to cleave him with his Nega Axe. With nothing to hit the weapon continued to head downwards until it connected with Nega Red.

“Electro Saber, activate!” Masked Rider called.

From the buckle-like box on his belt he drew the Electro Saber. The glowing blade seemed to hum as he made a downward arc through Nega Green’s shoulder, causing him to scream as the blade tore through the top layer of his armour.

“Masked Rider Super Blue!”

His buckle started to glow as the Masked Rider costume turned blue, giving him the ability to turn to liquid at will. He knew Minion had predicted this action, but hoped he had overlooked the next possible action. Transforming to a liquid, he pretended to head towards Nega Red. At the last possible moment he veered off and directed himself toward Minion.

The irresistible force of Masked Rider Super Blue collided with the immovable object known as Minion and the immovable object won. Super Blue bounced away from his opponent, hoping that the attempt had convinced Minion of his intentions. It had worked; Minion thought Super Blue that was trying to destroy him and was unprepared when Super Blue headed into one of the air ducts and freedom.

“Unleash the hounds!” Minion shouted angrily as he watched Dex emerge on the island. There were no Rangers to help the Masked Rider this time. Minion was certain that Dex had just forfeited his life. He watched as three of the WD-Units took on canine forms and after howling, they ran off in pursuit of their master’s foe.

Minion turned back to where Nega Red was helping Nega Green to stand, having knocked him away in anger. The symbol of the Vulture on his chest glowed red as his leg regenerated. The Toad on Nega Green’s chest glowed as his shoulder was restored to normal.


It was time to end this game. The other Rangers would be returning soon and he wanted to be ready for them. That meant that first he needed to ensure the Gem Coin Rangers were truly broken. He walked past most of the prisoners. Their time would come later.

“Release them,” Minion said, gesturing to the various devices the Rangers had been strapped to.

Bronzo did as he was told, throwing the Rangers to the ground at his master’s feet. Minion waited for the Rangers to recover enough to hear his words.

“For the last few days I have tortured you all and enjoyed every moment of it. But now, I think to myself am I being fair? I’ve had many opportunities to kill you and I have not allowed any of you to take a single shot at me.”

Reaching into subspace, he pulled out a collection of fully charged blasters. He threw them to the ground in front of the Rangers.

“For a count of six I will drop my defences and allow you to take as many shots at me as you wish. I should warn you one would be enough to kill me. Should you succeed you will be teleported back to Angel Grove and from there you can go wherever you wish.”

He looked at the Rangers lying on the floor, each displaying various states of comprehension. Travis’s face was a blank. The boy – for at that moment any man who had been forced to witness the acts committed against his friends would be reduced to a whimpering child – had withdrawn so far into himself Minion doubted anything would draw him out again. Tommy simply stared, his face filled with a mixture of fear and hatred.

“I can see you all need a little encouragement. Travis here will do. Here’s the deal, when I reach six either you will have shot me or this poor Triforian.”

“No,” Tommy begged. “Don’t do it.”

“One…” Adam stared stupidly at the weapon in front of him.

“Two…” Trey reached out to the blaster. He wondered why everything was suddenly moving in slow motion.

“Three…” Kat’s fingers touched his blaster and stayed there, unmoving. He wondered suddenly why he’d put them there.

“Four…” Tommy tried to reason things out. He had the blaster in his hand; all he had to do was shoot. So why couldn’t he?”

“Five…” Tanya realised she was terrified, afraid of failing, afraid of dying. Sobbing, she let the gun fall.

Minion had not lied to the Rangers. A single shot would be enough to kill him. All the Rangers had to do was fire. ~I hope I have not underestimated them,~ he thought as he reached six. The Rangers only had second left. A simple movement and it would all be over.

Around the world the people watched the events unfolding inside Minion’s sub-dimension. The images formed in the sky, on computer and television screens. The people of Earth watched as their former heroes the Gem Coin Rangers were subjected to their most crushing blow ever. Although to the viewers elsewhere the teens were still morphed, their faces and names obscured.

The signal Minion sent out was transmitted to the various villains attacking Earth. On Eltare and the other council worlds the officials looked on as the story started to unfold.

In front of their very eyes, people around the universe watched the Gem Coin Rangers valiantly fight against Minion. They saw the Rangers lose in battle thanks to overwhelming odds. They even saw the torture the Rangers had been forced to go through.

Then to the horror of those watching from outside, Minion changed his tactics once again. Deciding that death was not a suitable punishment for the Rangers, he decided to leave them as mere shells of the once proud protectors of Earth and sworn enemies of evil.

The images showed Minion walking past his prisoners. He ignored various heroes, who were disguised to protect their identities and moved to where the Rangers were being held.

“Bronzo, release them,” Minion said, gesturing to the various devices the Rangers had been strapped to.

As the people watched Bronzo did as he was told, throwing the Rangers to the ground at his master’s feet. They watched as Minion waited for the Rangers to recover enough to hear his words. At the same time he allowed the audience to see what had been done to their heroes.

On Triforia the Trent, Trey’s family and his subjects watched as their beloved Gold Ranger was tortured on the rack, resisting the urge to scream in agony until his limbs were almost ripped from their joints.

Jed Danielson watched the red clad youth being constantly punched in the ribs, his bones cracking from the impact. He noticed the grey clad youth sitting on the floor, his hands secured so he was unable to help his friends. While Jed did not like the Power Rangers – for he was an educated man who understood just how much power that particular group of show-off college students held and feared what would happen if they turned against the people they appeared to protect – he would never wish such treatment upon anybody.

Chelsea Oliver however knew she was watching her brother being beaten. She broke into tears as she saw the WD-Unit strike him repeatedly. She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked round to see Ernie standing behind her. From the tear in his eye she could tell he was as worried about the Rangers as she was.

“For the last few days I have tortured you all and enjoyed every moment of it,” Minion was saying. “But now, I think to myself am I being fair? I’ve had ample opportunity to kill you and I have not allowed any of you to take a single shot at me.”

Reaching into subspace, he pulled out a collection of fully charged blasters. He threw them to the ground in front of the Rangers.

“For a count of six I will drop my defences and allow you to take as many shots at me as you wish. I should warn you one would be enough to kill me. Should you succeed you will be teleported back to Angel Grove.”

He stopped talking; apparently trying to see whether the Rangers would respond to his offer. When there was no reply he seemed to grow irritated.

“I can see you all need a little encouragement. Your friend here will do. Here’s the deal, when I reach six either you will have shot me or this poor Triforian will be dead.”

“No,” the Red Ranger begged. “Don’t do it.”

It seemed so weird to see the proud and noble leader of the Power Rangers begging. The outrage felt by millions was concentrated on one being and his name was Minion.

“One…” The Green Ranger seemed to move and then change his mind.

“Two…” The Gold Ranger reached out to the blaster. Trent, watching from Triforia could see he straining to prevent himself from sinking into despair.

“Three…” Pink Ranger’s fingers touched her blaster and stayed there, unmoving.

“Four…” Red Ranger held the gun in his hand, his finger on the verge of pulling the trigger.

In Angel Grove Hospital, Rocky watched as his friends seemed unable to fight back. Could Minion really have hurt them so badly that they were incapable of fighting back? It sure looked that way. ~Come on guys,~ he prayed, ~you have to snap out of it.~

“Five…” The Yellow Ranger dropped her ground. Those who could see her face were able to see the tears. Those who could see only her mask could hear the sobbing noises behind.


Just as the population of thousands of world throughout the universe were about to write the Gem Coin Rangers off, the Green Ranger raised his blaster and took careful aim. The other Rangers followed his lead and aimed their weapons as well. People throughout the world watched anxiously as they wondered whether their heroes could beat the odds.

Minion pushed the former Gold Ranger’s head forward and placed his small dagger close to Travis’s throat. One quick jerk of his arm and it would all be over. His eyes glowed brightly as he made his viewers wait to find out what would happen.

A flash of light, the sound of blaster fire and it was all over. The images faded leaving billions of living beings wondering exactly what happened.

To be Continued

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The Final Quest

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 with an alternate time line.

The Final Quest


Dulcea, the Master Warrior of Phaedos, stood proudly watching their eight teens as they sparred together, building the skills and trust that every team needed. She had been impressed at how quickly the group had merged after spending most of their training divided into pairs under a single tutor. She could see the way that the more experienced Rangers acted to protect David, the newest and most vulnerable Ranger. She swelled with pride as once David’s skills became evident, the others allowed him to share the burden.

Alas their training was not yet complete and time had run out. The night before she had sensed a dangerous shift in the balance of power. Something had happened on Earth and those left to defend the planet√ʬ€¬¶ she could sense that something tragic had occurred.

She stepped around the fire and at once the sparring stopped. The Rangers stood before her, dressed in the uniforms she had instructed them to wear for their trek into the jungle. They were simple garments made of cloth with hard soles around the boots. By wearing them the Rangers were reminded of their focus for the task ahead and more importantly, were limited only to the Power Disks they had formed on completion of their earlier quests. In the past she had known groups enter armed with all manner of weapons; the armaments had not helped and she had been forced to remove the remains afterward to avoid polluting the jungle.

“You have come far in such a short period of time,” she said. “Zordon would be proud of you, rest assured that Ninjor, Saurian, Thalian and I couldn’t be prouder. And now the time has come though you have much to learn, for you to enter the jungle and seek the ancient monolith, and the Great Power. Then you will return to Earth and Power willing, put an end to Minion’s evil.”

“The journey is harsh and not without danger,” Thalian warned. “Though you may opt not to enter the jungle, once you do so you will need to survive if you wish to exit again.”

“If you choose to give up, we can retrieve you from danger,” Ninjor advised, “but you will forfeit all access to the Power and will never again be Rangers.”

“At the monolith you will face a test of your worthiness,” Saurian told them. “Pass and the Great Power will be yours, fail and death is all that awaits you.”

“Knowing this, do you wish to go?” Dulcea asked.

The Rangers exchanged nods and as one turned to their mentors. It was Jason who spoke, once again assuming the role of commander, a role he had been born for. “You bet we do,” he told her, “Tommy and the others need us.”

Dulcea nodded, even more confident that they had made the correct choice.

They started on their journey. Jason led with Billy and Trini close behind, Zack and Kimberly followed, and then came David; Aisha and Sam stayed at the back, alert for any ambush. The trip seemed uneventful. Actually, it was boring.

Billy was nervous. He had studied all the information he could find on Phaedos and the quest for the Great Power. Unfortunately there had not been much information to hand. Very little was known about the quest because only a few had lived to tell the tale. He was certain though that Dulcea would not have told them the journey would be dangerous just to test their courage.

Trini seemed to sense his thoughts. “This is too easy.”

Since they had trained together in Ninjor’s temple the bond between the two had deepened and although Billy tried to rationalise his feelings, there was something more than friendship about the way he looked at her.

“Affirmative,” he muttered back.

“When do you think the attack will come?” she asked.

The Rangers were not naive enough to take the peace for granted.

“From what I was able to read, there are many trials on the quest and they change each time. Dulcea told me there have never been eight people questing at the same time, at least not together.”

“This place is alive,” Sam commented. “I can feel the magic.”

“How much further to the Monolith?” Kimberly asked.

Billy studied a map. “Two, maybe three hours at this pace.” He paused as the map changed. “Although it appears that can change at any time.”

In a few more minutes, the six Rangers came to a clearing, with a cave sunk into a rocky promontory, and a flat, treeless area in front of the opening. Suddenly Zack stopped. “Do you hear that?” he whispered.

Kimberly shook her head. “I don’t hear anything.”

“That’s just the point,” Billy realized, his eyes narrowed. “No birds, no insects, no nothing.”

Sam nodded. “There’s something here.”

In unison, the teens turned towards the cave opening, as a low, breathy hiss became audible. Then, slowly, a huge snake slithered into the light. It had a head the size of any one of the Rangers, and a body thick as a tree-trunk. Sizing up the Rangers with cold red eyes, it seemingly licked its lips. Billy swallowed.

“Snakes,” he muttered. “Why did it have to be snakes?” Suddenly the creature lunged at David, who barely escaped as it tried to encircle him in its coils.

The snake struck again, and this time David was not fast enough to escape. Once it had him in its grasp, the creature began to apply pressure.

“Hiyahh!” Jason wound up, launching a kick into the snake’s side. The reptile ignored him, however, concentrating solely on its prey as Zack and Aisha joined in with their own kicks.

“We can’t make a dent in this thing!” Kimberly cried as she bounced off its scaly skin.

“We have to keep on trying!” Trini responded, wishing that she had her Power Daggers to hand. Beating at the snake’s head with a tree branch seemed to have little effect, even when Sam joined in.

Meanwhile, Billy was frantically scanning the area for anything he could use against the snake. Suddenly he saw something glimmering inside the cave. Entering the cavern, the teen genius examined the crystal stalagmite carefully. “Some sort of clear crystal,” he mused. Touching the point, he let out a muffled cry. “Sharp, too,” he added, sucking on his finger.

Billy grabbed the sides of the spire carefully.

“It’s not part of the floor– that’s a weaker granite-type rock,” he realised. “Got to– shift it.” He began to pull at the rock.

“Somebody– get me out of here!” Zack yelled. “I think I– heard my ribs creak!”

“Got it!” Billy cried, as the stalagmite cracked into his hands. Holding it by the base, he ran and leaped onto the back of the snake. “Lights– out!” Billy puffed, bringing the spire down, piercing the snake’s skin at the back of the neck. The diamond tip cut through the scales, and the snake fell dead, releasing Zack.

Taking a few deep breaths, the Black Ranger looked up at his best friend. “Thanks, man,” he drawled. “Next time, why don’t you see if you can’t cut it a little closer?”

Billy laughed, and hauled his friend to his feet, careful not to jar his friend’s bruised ribs. “Come on,” he said to the group. “One down, one to go.”

“We’re almost there,” Sam told them a while later. He could sense the magic.

“Through those trees.” Billy agreed after checking the map.

The Rangers entered the clearing which held the entrance to the Monolith. They slowly spread out while walking towards it.

Standing in front of them were eight stone gargoyles, their bodies shaped to appear roughly humanoid. David eyed them cautiously, noting the obvious theme as he did so. One was a falcon, the next a crane, a third a bear and the fourth a panther; fifth a chameleon, sixth an ape, seventh a frog and finally a wolf.

The gargoyles moved in on the Rangers. The crane leapt into the air and flew over Kimberly, landed and then kicked her in the back. The ape rolled forward until it was right beneath Jason’s feet, grabbed his ankles and then used its feet to grab Jason’s neck and letting go of his ankles, threw Jason into the pool beneath the waterfall.

The falcon rushed David, who managed pull himself out of its attack and land a solid kick to its back. Sadly he was kicking stone and the attack proved less than successful. The gargoyle slid into his legs, knocking him down. Quickly gaining its feet, the falcon reared its leg back and kicked David in the torso. The frog, in a series of quick bounds, moved on Zack. Springing into a series of roundhouse kicks it caught Zack in the side of the head, but before it could follow up it was hit by the chameleon. Zack looked around to see Aisha watching as the two stone monsters smashed. Nodding in agreement, the two took off to help David.

The bear quickly closed on Trini. She sidestepped its rush and stuck her leg out, tripping the bear. The bear rolled forward and turned, then rushed her again. She stood her ground and waited for the bear to come to her. When it got close enough, she grabbed its lead arm and using its momentum swung the bear into the ground. Next to the waterfall she could see Jason fighting back against the ape, using brute force to knock his opponent about.

Billy and Sam switched opponents, each using their knowledge of their teammate to out think their new opponent. When Billy leapt over his opponent, he managed to grab the figure’s hood and brought its face down into the dirt. He stayed down as the panther stood in time to be on the receiving end of Sam’s flying kick. He rolled back to his feet in time to intercept the wolf.

Together the Rangers surrounded the surviving gargoyles and together the eight of them attacked as one, vanquishing their opponents and completing their quest.

The Rangers turned when they heard a grinding noise coming from the entrance of the Monolith. A bright light appeared and then eight beams of light streaked out and went towards the Rangers. The Rangers were then enveloped by the lights.

When the lightshow ended, the Rangers found themselves in their Ranger uniforms, finally united as a team. They could feel the new power coursing through them, so similar to their morphing powers yet separate.

“I feel amazing,” Zack managed after a while. The experience was too much for him to sum up in just a few words. It was too much for any of them to describe.

“Congratulations Rangers,” Dulcea said as she emerged with Ninjor, Saurian and Thalian.

The eight fully powered Rangers gathered at the ancient ruins. Before them were Saurian, Thalian and Ninjor, all dressed in their battle armour.

“Congratulations indeed,” Ninjor said. “Now that you have all gained your powers the team has been unified. I feel this is going to be the beginning of something truly special.”

“What about Zords?” Jason asked.

“I can answer that,” Saurian told him. “When you first became Rangers your Zords were second hand. Now they have been specially built, for you. The Dino, Thunder Shogun and Ninja Zords have been distributed to you. In addition you will find that sometimes it is not necessary to call on the Zords.”

Thalian nudged him, silencing the powerful warrior with a glare. “They’re meant to figure that out for themselves, remember?”

Saurian sniffed and continued. “If you need to use more than one set of Zords, then Sam and Jason will control all the Dino Zords, Kimberly and Zack will control the Thunder Zords, Trini and Billy will control the Ninja Zords and David and Aisha will command the Shogun Zords or Battle Borgs.”

“In addition, I will be on call should you need us,” Ninjor told them. “Now Rangers it is time for you to return to your world and help out those who have been covering for you.”

“One thing before we go guys,” Jason said holding out his hand. One by one the other Rangers placed their hand on top, Sam in the center and David on top of the pile. Together they all started to chant, “Go, go, go√ʬ€¬¶”

The chant increased in speed as their arms moved up and down. Finally they all cried out, “Power Rangers!”

The quests were over, it was time for the new heroes of Earth to return home.

To be Continued

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The Quest for Power Part 5: Trial of Worth

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to the respective copyright owner. No money is being made from this piece of writing.

The Quest for Power Part 5 – Trial of Worth


While three weeks had passed for Ninjor, Saurian and Thalian’s trainees, for David and Aisha it had been much longer. While their friends trained in areas that altered the flow of time, on Phaedos the ancient ruins that extended for miles had been enchanted to distort time while they were inside its influence. Therefore they had more time to train and in Dulcea’s opinion they needed every moment of it. Dulcea had drilled them constantly, forcing them to reach beyond their limits before she allowed them to embrace the Power.

“You have both trained hard over the last few weeks,” Dulcea told them. “You have covered many of the subjects that you need to know, but time has run out. If you spend any longer in this place without the protection of the Power, you will be unable to leave. So before I can teach you further you must prove yourself worthy of the powers. Then we can join the others on Juruyella.

You will be teleported to the Maze of Shilratha. From there your task is to reach the center. When both of your trials are completed, you will be teleported to your final task.”

The landscape around them changed. Aisha was teleported to one end of the maze while David was sent to the other end.

David ran off along his path, following the markers.

David ran along lightly, it would be a long run so he was pacing himself. He jumped a couple of hurdles and dodged a patch in the path he thought might have had a pit under a thin covering of branches and dirt. The path was by no means smooth; he jumped fallen logs and had to be careful of branches and roots. Finally he came to the first real obstacle, the bank of a lake. There was a light purple kayak on the bank with a paddle and life vest. David put on the vest, grabbed the paddle and jumped into the kayak. He knew how to paddle from a short group of lessons. The one time his father had taken him overseas they had gone kayaking. The experience was one of David’s favourite memories. As he paddled, he wondered how large the maze could be if it had room for a river?

David reached the far side and dragged the kayak up a bit onto the land. He had had to battle with the current and pass many logs, but he’d made it over. He took off the vest and ran off again along the path. Suddenly a gigantic spider leaped at him from its hiding spot beside the path. David dove and rolled under it, without thinking he picked up a fallen branch. David gripped it in his right hand, found his inner calm, becoming one with the weapon as Dulcea had taught him. Then he attacked, the branch jamming into the spider’s open mouth and down its throat. He didn’t need to do more as the spider was suddenly more concerned with the obstruction in its throat than catching the human. David backed away from the thing and began running again, dropping the branch as he ran.

David had only run for a bit when he saw something odd ahead; he ran up and stopped. A plant lay in the path, and David had to dodge as it reached its tentacles towards him. Instead of panicking though he looked deep inside, summoning the fire as Dulcea had taught him. Fire erupted around him and David ran on as the plant cringed back quickly, leaving a wide path clear.

Eventually David reached another body of water. He’d had to scale one wall of the maze only to find that the ravine on the far side was an illusion. He had crossed a raging river by using stepping stones hidden under the surface, fought and beaten a number of natural predators. Now it appeared that he had to sail across. David jumped in the boat, fixed a hole in the bottom, and angled the sail so that it caught the wind and set off on the next part of his quest.

Everything was going fine until a long tentacle shot out of the water beside the boat. David reacted by burning it quickly. He’d been expecting something, but not this. The kraken slapped at him with another tentacle, David picked up one of the oars he had found and shoved it under the water, hard into the beast. The tentacle didn’t even flinch away; he tried again, same result. Another tentacle rose from the water, soon followed by what looked like the kraken’s dark brown back. The entire beast turned until one huge grey and black-eye looked up at David.

“Hello there, I mean you no harm.”

It blinked once and stirred its tentacles.

“Please, let me pass,” David said hoping it would let him alone. He wasn’t sure if the Power’s ability to translate other languages extended to animals.

The kraken rolled again, now the other eye peered at him. Then David noticed a great slash near the eye, and what looked like a spear in it. David understood instantly what the kraken wanted. He pulled on the weapon and waited while the spear rose out of the cut and dropped down into the water. The cut healed quickly and the gash was replaced with a pinkish scar. The kraken shifted again and slowly a tentacle curled around the boat. David held on tight as he and the sailboat were raised high above the water and lifted across the lake where they were set down again on the shore.

“Thanks!” David called and the tip of a tentacle waved idly and David waved back before hurrying on.

It was dark; the high hedges formed a canopy blocking out most of the sun. The trail was narrow and rough, just when he was beginning to wonder if he’d missed the next obstacle David saw a small clearing up ahead. He sprinted towards it but didn’t enter, he cautiously looked around and a glimmer of gold to his left caught his eye. Looking closely David could make out the form of a horse in the trees, no, horses didn’t grow that big; it could only be a unicorn. Smiling grimly David ran into the sunlight, keeping to the left side of the clearing. Just as he reached the center, the unicorn leaped out from hiding with a shrill neigh. A jet of light shot from its horn, David ducked and the blast knocked over the tree behind him. The unicorn turned and kicked, flicking out its tail of flames. A hoof struck out, David dived and rolled, and coming to his feet he saw the unicorn rear, screaming angrily it tilted its head down and dove at him, intending to spear him on its horn. David dodged again and jumped away from its flying mane of golden fire. The unicorn pivoted with amazing speed and kicked with both hind legs, turning its neck and an angle to shoot another jet of power at him. David dodged the kick and ran, the unicorn in close pursuit. He remembered a place not far way where there was a patch of quick sand. As he approached, he leapt into the air and watched, as the unicorn kept moving.

The ground beneath its hooves turned gave way and in moments the unicorn was up to its neck in the stuff. David stopped it from going farther under but left it in the quicksand. He let the unicorn thrash itself to exhaustion. David waited calmly, catching his breath, knowing that it would take a long time to tire it. Surprisingly though before the unicorn reached the point of desperation, it started to float out of the sand, using its horn. Finally it was standing again, panting, exhausted from fighting the quicksand. David waited, knowing there was no point in running now he had tricked it once. Finally it lifted its head a bit, looked at him for a moment, and then charged.

David waited until it was a few feet away then he brought up his right hand, palm forward. The unicorn stopped in a shower of dried leaves, dirt, and hot breath and sank the tip of its horn deep into his hand his hand. David gasped in pain but forced himself to stay still. For what seemed like hours but really just minutes David waited, scarcely daring to breathe, time seemed to stand still. How long they stood like that David didn’t know, but suddenly the unicorn stepped back and lifted its head to look him right in the eye. As the horn slid out of his palm the cut healed, leaving only a tiny scar so small David couldn’t see what it really looked like in his palm. All he could see was a small white dot, no bigger then the tip of a quill.

“I won’t hurt you, I just want to pass.” David said softly, now that he really got a good look at it he could see that it was a very young unicorn, though it was very large for its age. It couldn’t have been long away from its mother. The fact that it was alone probably meant it was a stallion, chased away from its herd by a stronger, older, stallion. David continued to murmur encouraging things to it as he walked forward and petted it lightly on the shoulder. He could feel the unicorn tense under his hand, ready to kill him in a second. David gave it a last rub and walked on, he knew if he ran it might chase him and it could run a lot faster then he. He left the clearing and walked on through the woods, suddenly he heard hoof beats and the unicorn trotted up beside him. David sped up a bit, so did the unicorn, he reached out and rested a hand on its shoulder and broke into a run. They ran along the dark path for nearly twenty minutes, sliding down steep slopes and jumping logs and wading across small streams. David slowed as he saw another area where the maze grew wider. Only no light penetrated this one so he couldn’t really see what might be lurking about. The unicorn stopped and moved off the trail, hiding itself in the bushes, stamping about nervously. David looked around carefully, if the unicorn was nervous it meant something bad was here.

Peering through the underbrush David saw a large cave, the path led right in. He nervously walked in. Instantly three wolves came around behind him. David could tell that there were more, the rest were hiding in the shadows, not approaching him in the light because he could see them. He knelt at the end of the pool of light, right where it met the shadows and waited. David let his eyes adjust and saw a small pup, no doubt the youngest in the cave, its mother licking it as the pup whined and yelped. David looked around, besides the pup and its mother there were nine adult wolves and four other pups. David waited; slowly the mother rose and approached him, and sat a few feet in front of him. The pup ran around her and sat just in front of her on her front paws. Copying its mother. A large light grey wolf rose from its position lying in the back. It came up to David sniffed his hand when David held it out. The other adults slowly came forward to do the same, tails slowly began to wag, and David reached out and stroked the large grey. This was the pack leader and he wanted to be friendly to him. The pups ran forwards and jumped about their elders’ feet, yipping at David.

For the first time David appreciated the lessons his father had given him. He felt an affinity with the wolves just as he had with the unicorn, but it was not as equals. In some ways he admired them but there was an overwhelming sense that they were looking to him to make the first move as troops waited for their commander to give an order. David finally stood and walked towards the back of the cave, four of the wolves followed, the leader, the pup he’d noticed, its mother and another, a small black wolf, well, as small as an adult wolf got. Certainly a bit bigger than any normal wolf.

David got up and made his way through the cave, following a trail of small red flags that glowed. He had to squeeze through small spaces and get across a river all the while the wolves followed him. But they stopped once they entered the chamber that the river ran through, and they refused to go farther. David glanced at the river, it was about twenty feet wide, and the water looked black, obscuring the bottom so that David had no idea how deep it was. He found a long pole, ten feet long, and leaning out over the river, dipped it in. The whole thing went under.

David jerked back as he felt the pole shake and jump in his grip, as if something had grabbed it. He tossed in a leaf that was swept away in seconds. The current on the surface was about ten-mph, to fast for him to swim, and probably faster deeper down. David looked up and down the river, edging back nervously. Some creature in there had ripped off the bottom foot of his pole. No bang from an underwater rock left tooth marks and could have splintered the wood like that.

“What do I do? What’s in there?” He asked the wolves, kneeling beside them. The black wolf lay down and dragged itself along the floor on its belly. Then it stood and came back. David thought hard, what animal dragged itself with its front paws? He looked hard at the track in the mud the wolf had made. Then it hit him, a snake; a large water snake could make a track like that. The wolf had been imitating a water snake as best it knew how. He examined the pole and found that near the bite mark the wood looked like it had been sprinkled with acid, it was greenish and flimsy, pitted in places.

David’s mind jumped at the thought of a snake that contained a poison, which could damage wood, his stomach churned with fear and cold dread. He thanked the wolves, and they turned back the way they had come. The pup stopped to lick his hand before following its mother. Leaving David to deal with this dilemma on his own.

Finally David stood and examined the surrounding area. Dulcea would not have given him an impossible task, just a difficult one. The water was deep and fast flowing so he could not make progress through it. And vaulting over to the far side was not an answer since the snake seemed to have an appetite for anything that moved beneath the surface. He looked at the maze itself. If he followed the bank far enough he would find the edge of the maze, but that would take time. Then he looked up and realised that the bushes that had made up the walls of the maze still existed above him. There the branches intertwined to create a canopy, but would not hold his weight if he tried to use it to cross. The branches did give him an idea though. He could tie them together to form a bridge, using an axe crafted from a stone he found near the water.

With part of the obstacle conquered he made his way across the tree, the axe grasped firmly in his hand. He stopped halfway across when he noticed a movement just beneath the surface. He braced himself as the snake emerged from the water, his axe already swinging towards the creature’s head. Then as the head was sliced off he started to run again, not looking back until he was clear of the obstacle.

Thirty minutes, one wooden sword fight with a faceless figure and an archery contest with the same figure, a walk across a bridge made with one rope for his feet and one for each hand, a climb down a tree, for the cliff face was made of smooth ice and parachute drop off another cliff to land in a field, and David finally saw the end of the test. The red flags abruptly ended not too far ahead. Then a misted figure appeared ten feet ahead and solidified into one of creatures David had seen during his time as Mondo’s captive. David reacted without thinking, confident that he could triumph after all he had been through. He summoned all his inner strength and forced it into a single punch. It was not until the figure collapsed that he realised he had not used his fist, only his mind.

David glanced around; a red line ran cross the ground, he’d emerged at a right angle to where he’d started, along the edge of the maze. He turned and looked at the maze, realising that it was not just a hedgerow, as he had first believed. The walls had been made from different materials, even stone. He ran towards the line and the maze vanished behind him while he waited for Aisha.

The towering hedges cast black shadows across the path, and, whether because they were so tall and thick or because they had been enchanted, the sound of the surrounding area was silenced the moment she entered the maze. She tried jumping up to look over the tops of the hedges, but when she did so they simply grew taller and beyond her reach.

After about fifty yards, she reached a fork. “Here goes,” Aisha said, and she took the left one.

Aisha sped up. Her chosen path seemed completely deserted. She turned right, and hurried on until she reached a sword in a stone. She reached out and pulled it from the rock before moving on. She kept looking behind her. The old feeling that she was being watched was upon her. The maze was growing darker with every passing minute as the sky overhead deepened to navy. She reached a second fork.

“Let’s see,” she whispered to herself. She pulled a coin from her pocket and then flipped it. The coin landed heads up meaning that she had to take the left path since somehow she knew the center was to the Northwest. She took the left fork but intended to go right again as soon as possible.

The path ahead was empty too, and when Aisha reached a right turn and took it, she again found her way unblocked. Aisha didn’t know why, but the lack of obstacles was unnerving her. Surely she should have met something by now? It felt as though the maze were luring her into a false sense of security. Then she heard movement right behind her. She turned but there was nothing there, a thick hedge had grown in her path, blocking her retreat. She shook his head and dived out of sight, along another path.

She hurried off again. Then, as she turned a corner, she saw … a figure gliding toward her. Twelve feet tall, its face hidden by its hood, its rotting, scabbed hands outstretched, it advanced, sensing its way blindly toward her. Aisha could hear its rattling breath; she felt clammy coldness stealing over her, but knew what she had to do….

She couldn’t run so instead she turned to fight, holding her sword at the ready. The creature was making her feel depressed as it moved closer, but she was too stubborn and summoned the happiest thought she could. The sword glowed as she advanced towards the creature, her happiness unbearable for a dark creature.

There was a loud crack, and the figure exploded in a wisp of smoke. Aisha wished the happy feeling could have stayed, she could have used the confidence…but she moved on, quickly and quietly as possible, listening hard, her sword ready to strike.

Left … right… left again . . . Twice she found herself facing dead ends. She somehow knew that she was going too far east. She turned back, took a right turn, and saw an odd golden mist floating ahead of her.

Aisha approached it cautiously, pointing the sword at it. This looked like some kind of enchantment. She wondered whether it was dangerous. What would happen if she walked through the mist? Was it worth chancing it, or should she double back?

There was silence. She stared all around her. She took a deep breath and ran through the enchanted mist.

The world turned upside down. Aisha was hanging from the ground, with her hair on end. It felt as though her feet were glued to the grass, which had now become the ceiling. Below her the dark, star-spangled heavens stretched endlessly. ~When did it become night? How long have I been here?~ She felt as though if she tried to move one of her feet, she would fall away from the earth completely.

~Think,~ she told herself, as all the blood rushed to her head, ~think. . .~ But not one of the skills she had practised had been designed to combat a sudden reversal of ground and sky. Did she dare move her foot? She could hear the blood pounding in her ears. She had two choices – try and move, or stay, and get rescued and disqualified from the task.

She shut her eyes, so she wouldn’t be able to see the view of endless space below her, and pulled her right foot as hard as she could away from the grassy ceiling. Immediately, the world righted itself. Aisha fell forward onto her knees onto the wonderfully solid ground. She felt temporarily limp with shock. She took a deep, steadying breath, then got up again and hurried forward, looking back over her shoulder as she ran away from the golden mist, which twinkled innocently at her in the moonlight.

She paused at a junction of two paths and looked around for some sign of the finish . . The end was somewhere close by, and then she would find her powers and become a Ranger once more. Then she would help the others ensure that Minion paid for his crimes.

She met nothing for ten minutes, but kept running into dead ends. Twice she took the same wrong turning. Finally, she found a new route and started to jog along it, the moonlight waving, making her shadow flicker and distort on the hedge walls. Then she rounded another corner and found herself facing another beast. It was enormous. Ten feet long, it looked more like a giant scorpion than anything. Its long sting was curled over its back. Its thick armour glinted in the light from Aisha’s sword, which she pointed at it.


The blade hit the beast’s armour and rebounded; Aisha ducked just in time, but could smell burning hair; the acidic blade had singed the top of her head. The beast issued a blast of fire from its end and flew forward toward her.

Aisha yelled. The sword hit the beast’s armour again and ricocheted off; Aisha staggered back a few paces and fell over.

She tried again. The creature was inches from her when it froze – she had managed to strike it on its fleshy, shell-less underside. Panting, Aisha pushed herself away from it and ran, hard, in the opposite direction – the damage was not permanent and it would take too long to kill it. She expected it to would be regaining the use of its legs at any moment.

She took a left path and hit a dead end, a right, and hit another; forcing herself to stop, heart hammering, she concentrated on the center again, picturing it in her mind’s eye, backtracked, and chose a path that would take her Northwest.

She had been hurrying along the new path for a few minutes, when she heard something in the path running parallel to her own that made her stop dead. She waited and then moved on, continuing to use her mind to pinpoint the center, making sure she was moving in the right direction. It was just a matter of time now. Her desire to reach the end was now burning stronger than ever, but she could hardly believe what she’d had to face to get this far. Aisha sped up. Every so often she hit more dead ends, but the increasing darkness made her feel sure she was getting near the heart of the maze. Then, as she strode down a long, straight path, she saw movement once again, and the moonlight hit an extraordinary creature.

It was a sphinx. It had the body of an overlarge lion: great clawed paws and a long yellowish tail ending in a brown tuft. Its head, however, was that of a woman. She turned her long, almond-shaped eyes upon Aisha as she approached. She raised her sword, hesitating. She was not crouching as if to spring, but pacing from side to side of the path, blocking his progress. Then she spoke, in a deep, hoarse voice.

“You are very near your goal. The quickest way is past me.”

“So … so will you move, please?” said Aisha, knowing what the answer was going to be.

“No,” she said, continuing to pace. “Not unless you can answer my riddle. Answer on your first guess – I let you pass. Answer wrongly – I attack. Remain silent – I will let you walk away from me unscathed.”

Aisha’s stomach slipped several notches. It was Billy who was good at this sort of thing, not her. She weighed her chances. If the riddle was too hard, she could keep silent, get away from the sphinx unharmed, and try and find an alternative route to the center.

“Okay,” she said. “Can I hear the riddle?”

The sphinx sat upon her hind legs, in the very middle of the path, and recited:

“In my life I bring light and warmth;

yet in death I take both.

What am I?”

“A star,” said Aisha, pacing up and down.

The sphinx smiled broadly. She got up, stretched her front legs, and then moved aside for her to pass.

“Thanks!” said Aisha, and, amazed at her own brilliance, she dashed forward.

She had to be close now, she had to be. … Her mind was telling her she was bang on course; as long as she didn’t meet anything too horrible, she might have a chance. . . .

Aisha broke into a run. She had a choice of paths up ahead. “Where?” she whispered again, wondering why she couldn’t see the end anymore. She dashed up the path to the left and saw light ahead.

At the end was a statue, gleaming on a plinth a hundred yards away. Suddenly a dark figure hurtled out onto the path in front of her.

She was shocked when it attacked her and dropped her sword. She blocked the many punches he threw at her, finally shifting her weight so that he flew passed. She turned and saw something immense over a hedge to his left, moving quickly along a path that intersected with his own; it was moving so fast her opponent couldn’t move in time – “Look out!” Aisha bellowed. “On your left!”

Her attacker looked around just in time to hurl himself past the thing and avoid colliding with it, but in his haste, he tripped. Aisha saw his weapon fly out of his hand as a gigantic spider stepped into the path and began to bear down upon him. She was tempted to leave him to his fate, but somewhere deep inside she knew that was not the right thing to do.

“Hey!” she yelled; the sword hit the spider’s gigantic, hairy black body, but for all the good it did, she might as well have thrown a stone at it; the spider jerked, scuttled around, and ran at Aisha instead.

She tried again and again, but it was no use – the spider was either so large, or so magical, that the weapons were doing no more than aggravating it. Aisha had one horrifying glimpse of eight shining black eyes and razor-sharp pincers before it was upon her.

She was lifted into the air in its front legs; struggling madly, she tried to kick it; his leg connected with the pincers and next moment she was in excruciating pain. She could hear her former attacker yelling something too and realised that he was egging the creature on. She regretted helping him, but knew in her heart she would do it again if needs be; she was not the sort of person to abandon someone to that fate. She raised her sword as the spider opened its pincers once more and sliced across its face.

It worked – the pain she caused made the spider drop her, but that meant that Aisha fell twelve feet onto her already injured leg, which crumpled beneath her. Without pausing to think, she aimed high at the spider’s underbelly, as she had done with the beast, and threw her sword over arm. She had no doubt that her weapon would kill the beast, even if it left her defenceless. The spider keeled over sideways, flattening a nearby hedge, and strewing the path with a tangle of hairy legs.

She waited for the attacker to return. She was too hurt to fight and had lost her only weapon. But no attack came since the spider had crushed her other attacker when it collapsed. He was alive but helpless. Soon both he and the spider vanished and revealed the finish.

She stood, just barely and staggered towards the statue. As she touched it her wounds were healed and she was dragged back to the start of the maze where David was waiting.

“What do we do now?” Aisha asked after they had both rested.

“How about leaving this place while you still can?” a voice asked.

They turned and David’s mouth dropped at the sight of a bikini-clad female holding a long staff. She twirled the stick dangerously, her eyes never leaving the would-be Rangers.

“We’re here on a quest,” Aisha explained, unsure who they were talking to, but under the impression that this was a good planet.

“I do not care about your quests,” the woman snapped, her accent faintly familiar. “Leave now before it is too late, this is your final warning.”

“We’re the Power Rangers, sort of,” David tried.

The woman’s response was to attack them, catching both teenagers off guard. Her foot landed in David’s chest, knocking him to the ground while she fought Aisha. As such Aisha was forced on the defence against an aggressive opponent, who seemed intent upon hurting her. The woman’s staff hooked the back of Aisha’s knee and took her down to the ground. Aisha looked up to find the tip of the staff heading towards her throat.

David stayed down while Aisha kept their opponent busy, as he caught his breath he studied their fighting techniques and waited for the right time to attack again. When it appeared Aisha was in danger though he threw himself into action, grabbing the staff as he flipped over and attempted to wrestle it from her grasp. Aisha rolled aside as he kicked the center of the staff and broke it in half. But instead of dropping the weapons, she used both halves to batter the two Rangers.

“I’ll distract her,” David suggested.

Aisha nodded and started to circle around their opponent while David caused the distraction, in this case the distraction was getting beaten by a pair of sticks. When she was in position Aisha, jumped on the woman’s back, locked her legs around the woman’s knees and her arms around her chest. The woman tried to throw her, by Aisha’s grip was firm. The distraction allowed David to lunge forward with a speed he had not shown before. He gripped both sticks and twisted, throwing their opponent to the ground.

They both hesitated, trying to reason with their attacker rather than continue fighting. Each time she attacked they tried to restrain her without causing injury. They sensed she was not evil and they had no intention of taking a life without good cause. She took advantage, disarming David and then knocking both Rangers to the ground. They moaned from the impact and tried to negotiate again.

“I have seen enough,” the woman said. “You pass.”

At once a sense of calm passed over the two Rangers as they were transported back to their starting point. The woman was transported with them and while they didn’t know when her features changed, she now looked like the Dulcea they knew.

“Well-done Rangers,” she said. “I believe you have earned the name.”

David and Aisha nodded, but waited for their former attacker to finish.

“You have both shown the fighting skills and intellect needed to become a Ranger. Neither of you could best me, yet you did not yield, nor did you attempt to kill. You have both shown the characteristics needed to protect their planet and were you not Rangers, I would take you as my apprentices.”

“So you’re not a Grid Master then?” Aisha asked.

It had been confusing that while Dulcea mentioned the Power many times, she rarely related it to being a Ranger.

“I am a follower of the Power, the Master Warrior of Phaedos and protector of the Great Power,” she answered. “By
the standards of today I would not be considered a Grid Master, but by those of
more enlightened times, yes I would have held the title of Morphin Master. I am more than qualified to train you to become Rangers. That is why you were not expected to win our battle. The test was only to see if you would surrender or attempt a killing blow. You showed great character and will make excellent Rangers.”

Later that day Dulcea, David and Aisha gathered inside the ruins of the sacred grounds. Dulcea smiled as she regarded her young students. Both had come a long way in a short time and she knew the hardest part of their journey lay ahead of them in the future.

“You have both taken the tests required to decide your worthiness for the Ranger powers and you have both passed. As the Master Warrior, I grant you the powers of the White and Purple Rangers.”

She turned to the fire and poured a bag of golden dust into the flames. In the heat David could see a golden ball form, surrounded by creatures resembling the Wing Raptor, Tiger and Falcon.

“David Trueheart, you have proven yourself as part of a team and as an individual. You have shown honour and determination, but have never taken a life where you could avoid it. You showed intelligence by figuring out your options before moving and then striking with a decisive blow. You have faced danger head on where many might have waited for assistance and shown the determination to overcome such obstacles. Finally you showed that you were willing to sacrifice yourself for your teammates, knowing that to do so would ensure a victory. The Winged Raptor, Tiger and Falcon will serve you well. Reach into the flames and seize your destiny.”

David reached forward quickly; remembering what he had learnt and grabbed the ball. The fire did not burn or cause any inconvenience. As he pulled the ball out, he opened his palm and looked at the images engraved upon it. The Falcon, Tiger and Winged Raptor were pictured, along with the image of his face.

Next Dulcea turned her attention to Aisha. “Aisha Campbell, although you have not faced the same tests, the maze you braved was an equal challenge. You have shown yourself capable of logic and reasoning. In your tests you did not fear or question your instincts as they guided you to your destination. In the final combat you showed great determination and teamwork. In your time as a Ranger on Earth you have shown yourself to be a team player, capable of acting and thinking as necessary. I grant you the powers of the Purple Ranger.”

Once again Dulcea poured the contents of a small bag into the fire. The flames licked around the dust, melting it into a new form. As the flames danced Aisha could see the Stegosaurus, Medusa and Chameleon.

“Reach forward and accept your destiny,” Dulcea prompted.

Aisha reached into the flames and pulled out her ball. Opening her palm, she could make out the images of the Stegosaurus, Medusa and Chameleon, with her face on the reverse side.

“Now it is time to accept your powers and make the metamorphosis. It’s Morphin Time!”

“White Ranger Power!” David called.

“Purple Ranger Power!” Aisha called.

Having never been a full Morphin Ranger, David was surprised by the flow of energy through his bodies. Aisha had experienced the rush before, but this felt stronger. Whether it was the time, she had spent without the Power that added the boost or whether it was because she was finally in her correct colour she would never know.

“It has been my honour to train you, Rangers,” Dulcea continued, “but it is time to move to the next stage of your training. We will travel to Juruyella to reunite you with your friends. Then the eight of you will begin the last quest: for the Great Power.”

Thanking Dulcea for her help the two newest Rangers join their teacher as they left Phaedos.

End of Part

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The Quest for Power Part 4: Trial of Spirit

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to the respective copyright owner. No money is being made from this piece of writing.

The Quest for Power Part 4 – Trial of Spirit

Temple of Ninja Powers

In three columns of light Billy, Trini and Ninjor appeared inside the grounds of the temple. They were tired and dirty having spent the last three days on one of Ninjor’s nature hikes. Ninjor had removed his battle armour and now appeared before them as a deep tanned American with long black hair. This was not his true form, but like any other master his powers allowed him to appear in a form comfortable for humans to look at.

Billy and Trini were both wearing black uniforms made from some sort of animal hide. Billy’s had a small badge on the left breast, a leftover from the previous owner.

For Trini it was a chance to once again back up her words with actions. The Peace Conference had been important to her and she had learnt about a wide variety of countries and people. But there had been times when she understood how Jason had felt. More often than not debates broke down into deadlocked arguments requiring hours or days of negotiation for even simple compromises.

“Congratulations Billy and Trini, you have excellent training during your time here,” Ninjor said in his unique voice; without his armour he sounded even more bizarre. “Jason, Kimberly, Zack and Sam have already taken their tests, and have passed. I felt that you needed to learn a little more, before subjecting you to my tests, but now it is time. To gain your new powers you must simply repeat the journey Billy and his friends took when they first came to this place, with a few minor changes to keep things fair of course.”

“I am afraid that you must each face the challenges ahead alone and unaided. Billy has already walked through the Desert of Despair and would find the path too easy. Therefore, I will send Trini to the Desert of Despair to prove herself worthy of the Power. And for you Billy, I believe the Caves of Self will provide a more interesting challenge.”

In two columns of yellow and blue light the two hopeful Rangers left for destinations unknown. If either Billy or Trini had been upset by the fact they were to be separated, then they his it well from Ninjor. Billy had looked almost relieved that he would be alone. Ninjor assumed that even after all the time he had had to think, the former Blue Ranger was still feeling responsible for the destruction of Aquitar. ~It’s a natural enough reaction,~ he thought. Billy’s grief was still influencing the boy’s decisions and would be something Billy would either deal with or be consumed by.

Trini had seemed slightly nervous at being alone, but that was also to be expected. The Rangers had always been a team and this was the first time Trini would not have her friends to turn to. Ninjor knew that Trini would be strong enough to cope. After all, she had been with the Rangers when they had started. She had probably witnessed some of Rita Repulsa’s scariest creations and remained as a Ranger. He knew Trini would soon discover that no Ranger is ever truly alone.

When the lights had disappeared, Ninjor returned his attention to playing his part in the final test. The Rangers could pass some of the other tests providing they had the strength of character and determination to pass his test. Having ensured his props were ready Ninjor decided it was time to learn his lines. “To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows…. Wrong part, ah here we are… Be gone, I have no time to deal with outsid…”

Despite his sacred duty to protect the Temple of Ninja Power, Ninjor was not the type to allow himself to become a workaholic, at least not anymore, and he was still capable of being witty when he wanted. Life inside the Temple was lonely and Ninjor was used to making himself laugh. Whether anybody else would find him funny was a question he had never even considered asking himself.

~Good luck Rangers,~ Ninjor thought. ~Power willing you will soon be returning to Earth and putting and end to evil.~

Billy appeared outside the Caves of Self and looked around. On the ground in front of him were the remains of several creatures, nonhuman in origin. ~This isn’t going to be easy,~ Billy thought as he entered the cave.

The first thing that Billy noticed was the darkness of the cave, or rather the lack of darkness. The cave seemed to be illuminated by small crystals hidden within the cave all. Somehow they managed to illuminate the way ahead, giving Billy a clear view of the way ahead. The crystals also allowed him to pick out the jagged edges of the floor, causing him to tread carefully.

As he moved slowly forward, he kept his eyes open, searching for any sign of the first test. He stopped abruptly as the ground ahead opened into a wide chasm. Warily he looked for some way across and found none.

~This is illogical,~ he thought as he kept searching. ~There has to be some way across or there would be an alternative route.~

Trini had heard the Rangers tell of their experiences in the Desert of Despair and believed she knew what to expect when she arrived. She quickly dismissed that thought when she arrived and found the real Desert of Despair to be a whole lot worse. The cold wind howled with the sound of a thousand lost souls.

She could feel the heat of the sand even through her uniform’s boots. The sun beat down causing her to sweat and she had not even begun her journey. Deciding it was better to keep moving than be roasted by the hot sun Trini began her trek through the desert towards the Temple of Ninja Powers. She had no idea where the temple was, but somehow felt compelled to follow the sun.

Slowly trekking across the sand, she found her progressed slowed by the sand under foot. The dry thin powdered grains caused his feet to sink below the surface. The wind whipped her eyes, blowing sand into her face. Nevertheless, she struggled onwards into the sandstorm determined to reach her destination.

Billy examined his surroundings. There was no evidence of concealed doorways or secret controls to activate a bridge. The ceiling and walls had no notches carved into them. Billy wondered if perhaps the chasm in front of him was as deep as it looked. Gathering some small stones, he threw them into the gap. The first few stones disappeared into the darkness with no evidence of hitting a surface below. The fourth stone however seemed to float in the air.

~There’s something down there,~ he thought to himself as he tried to get a better view. Billy reached out and touched the stone as it hovered in space. Then he moved his hand to one side and could still make out a solid surface. ~This can’t be real,~ he thought.

No sooner had the thought entered his head than the effect was felt. The stone, which had until that time been hovering in the air, fell into the chasm below. The hardness below Billy’s hand was also gone and he realised the bridge was real as long as he believed it was real. ~So to cross this chasm, I must have faith in myself that I can cross and faith that the bridge will support me,~ he thought, ~Almost a leap of faith.~

“I can do this!” he shouted, more to himself than anybody who might be listening. Taking a small run up he leapt into the air, landing safely on the invisible bridge and kept running until he could see the ground beneath him again. He turned back to see the way he had just journeyed and could just make out the path barely visible against the darkness below.

Once he was rested, Billy resumed his journey, deeper into the cave, knowing that he had to complete his quest or die in the attempt.

*But death is such a tempting option, isn’t it?* Billy was not sure how he heard the voice. It might have been telepathy or even empathy. Either way he was forced to listen as it continued to speak. *Just think, if you die you can be with Cestria again. Why live without her when you can join her now? Just give up and you will be free.*

It took a lot of effort, but Billy was able to overcome the temptation and continue his quest. It worried him he had come so close to giving in when his journey had barely even begun.

For Trini it was impossible to tell how far she had travelled or even where she had stepped just seconds before. The sand beneath her moved almost as soon as she did, covering her footsteps and leaving no evidence she was ever there. ~How long am I going to be here?~ She wondered.

*Forever,* an unknown voice said. Trini looked around, but could find nobody and knew the voice was in her head. *No single person has ever crossed the Desert of Despair. Only a team can complete the journey, but nobody wanted to come with you.*

Trini pressed on, realising that the voice was trying to slow her. *Even on Earth nobody wants to be with you. Why else do you think Zordon banished you to the Peace Conference? Why else do you think Jason left you there and returned to Angel Grove? Why else would Billy leave for another planet? It’s because you drove them to do so. You are weak, Trini Kwan, weak and useless. Nobody wants you back, but they had to send you along so they could say they tried, but even if you succeed, Zordon will take your powers away again as soon as he can.*

The words were having an affect not only on Trini, but also on her environment. The Sand became watery and less substantial. It was no longer able to support her weight, causing Trini to start to sink. All the time the voice kept talking to her, telling her how useless she was and how she should just give up. Trini stopped moving. Not because every movement drove her deeper into the sand, but because she started to lose the will to complete her mission.

*Give it up,* the voice insisted. *You don’t need the Rangers and they definitely do not need you!*

Images started to flash through her mind, showing all the times she had been in trouble in battle, waiting for her team-mates to help her out, all the times she had fallen victim to a monster attack or let her fears overcome her. The picture of her disappearing from the Island of Illusion drove her deeper into despair.

*Why not just let yourself sink into the sand and disappear, like you did on the Island?*

~But I didn’t disappear on the Island of Illusion,~ she thought. ~Quagmire helped me remember when I faced my fears and I was able to overcome them.~

The thought helped to filter out the voice for a short time, long enough to form her defences. “That’s enough!” she shouted angrily. “Zordon did not send me to the Peace Conference just because he did not want me around. He knew I could make the world a better place in more ways than just being a Ranger. And Jason did not leave me there because he hated me; he did so because Tommy needed him and he would do anything to help a friend. And Billy left for Aquitar so he could live. If once he was there, he found love then that was the way it was meant to be.”

As she spoke, Trini could feel herself lifting from the sand. “And so what if I get the Power and Zordon takes it away. If he believes I am not capable of being a Ranger I would not put the team at risk by arguing. If he believes the situation no longer requires the Yellow Morphin Ranger then my job is done. Either way, I am going to do my best until evil is defeated or Zordon takes my power. And no doubts are going to stop me!”

When she was at last able to move forward, Trini did so as quickly as possible, determined she would not stop until she was clear of the danger.

In his temple, Ninjor had finished preparing the last of the Power Coins. With each Ranger requiring four different coins, each of which needed to be able to form together to create their morphers, Ninjor had been severely tested in regards to his skills. But making Power Coins and morphers was what Ninjor excelled at. He had tried to become an active fighter again, but since the Rangers had moved to the Zeo Powers he had felt obsolete.

He turned from his work and studied the small Viewing Globe that allowed him to check the progress of those attempting to reach him. Both Billy and Trini had completed their first test. Billy had opened his mind to accept that the bridge was there and Trini had come to terms with her own feelings of isolation. So far both were well on track to once again becoming Rangers. Of course for Billy the test was just starting. Now he had to face not only his fears, but his own anger as well.

The shift in the Morphin Grid was phenomenal. Never had Ninjor felt so much good power in such a small area. He knew that if successful Trini and Billy would soon be joining their friends.

Billy found the cave ahead of him was starting to show signs of life. Along the walls tree roots were sticking out and in some places blocking his route. Algae and Moss were growing; suggesting the ground must be water based and open to sunlight at some point during the day. The scientific analysis allowed him to keep his mind off the voices in his head.

They had given up telling him to quit and were not trying to build his anger concerning Cestria’s death along with various other matters. Although he tried not to let the voices get to him, some of the things they said made sense. Who had been responsible for the death of Cestria? He had a strong suspicion it was Minion.

As he grew angrier, Billy noticed a faint blue glow in front of him. He reached out and gripped something solid. As he pulled it back, he found it was a silver cylinder approximately twelve inches in length. On the top were three buttons. Tentatively Billy pressed the first button and a blue beam of light shot from the top of the cylinder to form a blade of light almost as long as Billy’s arm.

~It’s a Lightsaber,~ Billy thought in amazement. Carefully at first, but gaining confidence all the time Billy practised a few simple strokes. He could feel the power behind the blade, which was not hot, just deadly.

He pressed the middle button and felt the cylinder grow longer to allow a firm two-handed grip. It was the final button that shocked him. As he pressed it a second beam of light shot from the base of the weapon forming a second blade. Billy tried a few practice swings and was surprised at how easy it was to use the blade. He then deactivated the weapon and placed it into his subspace pocket.

He carried on deeper into the cave. He stopped as he sensed an overwhelming presence in front of him. Although he had only a little skill, Billy’s telepathy told him that the thing in front was evil. However, being a Ranger meant Billy could not destroy somebody for that reason only. If he did, he was no better than those he fought against.

Billy walked further into the cave until he could make out a pair of red specks in the darkness. He recognised them as the eyes of his most hated enemy. Although he had never fought Minion properly, Billy felt he knew him and had reason to hate him. A deep red light came into being and Billy knew Minion also had a Lightsaber.

*Go, kill him!* the voice said. *He killed those you love. He deserves to die. Kill him now!*

Billy buried the thoughts deep inside and activated his own weapon. He had no intention of killing unless he had to. Personally he hoped he would be forced to do so.

Without warning Minion charged forward, his weapon striking the stone walls where Billy had been just moments before. Billy brought his own blade around to block and started to fight back. He used his anger to power his blows, forcing Minion back. Suddenly he felt compelled to activate his second blade, swinging it in a wide arc to slice through Minion’s weapon. But Billy was not finished. He used his blade to force Minion to his knees. Then he switched to single blade mode and brought it upward ready to make the killing blow.

*Do it,* the voice urged. *He killed your wife. Kill him and be at peace.*

“No!” Billy shouted. “Cestria would never want me to murder somebody just for revenge. He is defeated and I will not become a murderer.”

*So be it,* the voice said. *But if you won’t kill him, he must kill you.*

Minion’s weapon suddenly reappeared fully restored. He jumped to his feet and lashed out at the former Blue Ranger. Billy ducked under the blade, bringing his own blade upward to slice off the creature’s head.

“I said I would not murder him, but you forced me to do so. I regret having to kill anyone even Minion, but I would do it again.”

The voice fell silent knowing that Billy had gained control of his rage and the fear of losing control. He had passed the second test and now it was the time for him to prove being a Ranger was not all he cared about.

Trini could see the temple not far in front of her. She ran forward as fast as she could, hardly daring to hope she had finally escaped from the desert. As she got closer, she heard someone calling for help. The door of the temple opened as the cries got louder.

Trini found herself torn between her desire to gain her powers and the cries for help. If she got the powers, she could go back and help. She would only be a short time and then she could help. The powers would make her stronger, giving her a chance to help. And if came down to a choice between one cry for help and the chance to help save her planet, surely the needs of the many would outweigh the needs of the few, wouldn’t they?

“No,” she told herself. She spoke out loud, trying to make herself listen to reason. “I cannot justify omitting to help someone just because there’s a chance I might be able to help everybody else. The ends do not justify the means.”

That said she turned and ran towards the source of the cry for help. She arrived to find a young girl sinking into the sand.

“Grab my hand,” she called.

The girl did so and was pulled to safety. Then, she disappeared as if she was never there. Trini shrugged and returned to the temple. The doors were once again closed, but this time she ignored them. The temple was an illusion designed to test. Now she refused to believe it and walked through and into the final test.

Ninjor sensed both Billy and Trini approaching. He was pleased that Billy had managed to control his anger. It would probably take time for him to come to terms with Cestria’s death, but at least he would not break the rules in her name. Ninjor was glad; such an act would not only have serious repercussions for Billy, but would dishonour Cestria’s memory.

Now it was time for Ninjor to ensure that Billy and Trini would be able to fight as Rangers. The task was simple enough: create a few attackers and get the Rangers to fight them. Last time Billy had been to the temple, Rita and Zedd had saved Ninjor the trouble of creating some foot soldiers by sending the Tengas.

Still, there was nothing he could do but go ahead with his plan and hope that the Rangers were as good as he thought they were.

Billy and Trini reunited in a rocky valley. Together they started searching for the temple entrance. “Typical,” Billy said. “Where’s a good butt kicking when you need one?” Seeing the look on Trini’s face he explained that the first time they had found the temple because the Tengas had been kicking their butts and one of them happened to stumble on the right place.

As if on call a bunch of blue skinned ninjas appeared. “You asked for it,” Trini told him. Billy’s reply went unheard as he threw himself into battle.

After a few minutes both Rangers were tired. The attackers were armed with wooden clubs and it was difficult to get close enough to fight them. It was then that Billy remembered he still had the Lightsaber from earlier.

“Trini, duck,” he called as he activated both blades and started to wade through the attackers. Their bodies crumbled as quickly as their clubs and soon enough they retreated altogether.

“Congratulations,” Ninjor said, stepping out of the rocks. “You have both proven yourselves worthy of the Power. Rest now and then we shall finish the ceremony.”

Billy and Trini took the invitation and collapsed to the ground to rest.

Ninjor stood before his two young Rangers. Both had succeeded in passing the tests, as he had known they would. Now all that remained was to give them their powers.

“Trini Kwan, you have overcome your own doubts and were willing to give up the power in order to save a life. You understood that the ends never justify the means and have proven yourself a worthy fight. It is due to this that I grant you the power of the Saber-toothed Tiger, Griffin and Bear. You are now and forever the Yellow Ranger.”

When Ninjor finished speaking, he placed four coins in her hands. Four of them showed her animal guides. The last coin showed the image of the Yellow Ranger. Instinctively she closed her hand and felt them change into a single ball. When she opened her hand again, she found it bore the images of all her powers. Concentrating, she summoned her morpher and placed the ball inside where it resembled a singe Power Coin.

“Now for you William,” Ninjor said. “You have once again proven yourself worthy of the Ninja Powers. You controlled your anger in battle, had the foresight to use a different weapon when the need dictated and you showed you are able to trust your instincts. I restore to you the powers of the Wolf, along with the Triceratops and Unicorn. You are once again the Blue Ranger.”

As he had done with Trini, Ninjor placed the four Power Coins into Billy’s palm. Billy closed his hand around the coins and then reopened it to reveal his Power Ball. Once again a morpher formed around the ball.

“Okay,” Ninjor said. “Let’s morph and then we can start the real training. It’s Morphin Time!”

“Blue Ranger Power!” Billy called.

“Yellow Ranger Power!” Trini called.

“Wolf!” Ninjor called, activating his battle armour. “Right, let’s train,” he said as he led them into the temple.

End of Part

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The Quest for Power Part 3: Trial of the Mind

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to the respective copyright owner. No money is being made from this piece of writing.

The Quest for Power Part 3 – Trial of the Mind

Thalian’s Temple, Dairon

“Today you will have the opportunity to do something new,” Thalian promised as he regarded his two pupils. They had trained hard over the last three weeks in the shadow of the temple. “Today you will take the challenge of the North Challenge. If you succeed, you will be deemed worthy of the Power and gain entrance to the Temple of the Mind’s Eye,” Thalian said. The bright sun reflected off his shoulder armour.

“I still say it looks more like a castle than a temple,” Kimberly noted.

Thalian smiled, not the forced smile of a teacher trying to deal with a child who shouts out during class, but a deep friendly smile that spread all the way to his eyes. “Of course you do.” He had learnt over their time together that Kimberly could be very set in her opinions. He was looking forward to seeing her reaction when she got her first look at the temple after being inside. “I meant of course the Castle of the Mind’s Eye. All you have to do to pass your tests, is reach the main chamber inside the tower.”

Unlike the rest of the temple, which was large and impressive, complete with stone pillars and long steps, the tower was made of dull grey stones; it was tall and square walled without decoration. Behind the spot where Thalian stood, was a simple doorway. To each side of the entrance was a moat, filled with green ooze.

A map appeared in his hand showing a picture of the temple. “Those who into the tower would go must choose above, between or below.”

“What does that mean?” Zack asked.

“There are three entrances,” Thalian explained. “One is on the roof, one is below the moat and one is behind me. Each will lead to the main chamber and each has its own challenges. The question is which will you choose?”

Without saying another word Thalian disappeared, leaving Zack and Kimberly to find their own ways in. If they were true Rangers it would take them a while, but they would eventually find the answer. Deciding to help them on their way, he had left them with was a small clue. “This task is as simple or as difficult as you decide it should be.”

Finding no obvious entrances or secret methods of opening the temple door Kimberly and Zack had split up to see if they could find any entrances elsewhere. Thalian watched from the temple entrance. He had expected nothing less from two of Zordon’s chosen. They had been taught to assume that the obvious way was wrong, meaning they had not followed him through the middle door.

He had no question they were worthy of the Power. He had watched them during their training and had been amazed at how they’d adapted to his teachings. He had watched them during the time they had used the Power of Thunder. He had seen them both grow wiser. If it had been his choice, he would have given the power to all of them without testing. Well, nearly all of them.

There was one whom Zordon had sent who caused Thalian concern. The feeling was weak, but no less evil and strangely familiar. He had watched over Kimberly, Zack, Billy, Jason and Trini, and he knew them to be pure. That meant that the problem was with one of Zordon’s other choices.

David had never been a Ranger, but Thalian could sense a level of purity within him equal to Zordon. Tanya had been chosen to replace one of the Rangers and Thalian knew the Morphin Powers would not accept anyone unsuitable. Sam was another matter. Thalian had seen the trouble the Clone of the Green Dragon Ranger had caused when Rita and Zedd had created him. He secretly wondered whether Sam had truly conquered his dark side.

~Stay alert,~ he told himself. He had expected the Rangers to miss the easy option and to go searching for a way in. Now he needed to check they passed the three tests they were required to fulfil. ~Good luck Rangers,~ he thought. ~You might need it.~

“Great, just great!” Kimberly muttered as she climbed her way up the side of the tower. She had soon realised how little Thalian’s advice had helped. Walking around the side of the tower, she had noticed a set of footholds carefully carved into the walls. She had started to climb as quickly as possible, knowing the climb was going to be a long one.

As she reached what should have been the halfway point she looked up to see how much further she needed to climb. ~That’s impossible,~ she thought to herself as she saw how far she still needed to climb. Despite climbing as quickly as possible she had hardly covered an eighth of the wall. Sighing she resumed her climb, hoping that she had enough energy to keep climbing.

~I’m not going to make it,~ she thought to herself. She looked up again and noticed how much further the top seemed to be. *So give up now,* a voice in her head said. *Why do something when you KNOW you will fail?*

Kim ignored the voiced and kept climbing. Despite the wall becoming steeper and the footholds smaller she kept going. She knew the others were relying on her. She had missed being a Ranger and having her friends around her. Especially Tommy. She had known almost as soon as she arrived at Gunther Schmidt’s compound that she had made the wrong choice. She had left the man she loved and the friends who meant more to her than anything behind, just for a chance at a dream that might never happen.

After a few months she had sent Tommy the letter, not having the nerve to face him herself. There had been no new boyfriend, Kimberly had simply noticed how Kat had been attracted to him and did not have the heart to come between them. ~Why should he have to wait for me, when there’s already somebody he could be happy with?~ Once the letter had been written Kimberly soon realised it was a good decision.

Being away from Tommy had made her realise that they had never really had a future together. Tommy could be fun and friendly and he was one of the gentlest people she knew, but there was always a shadow in the back of his eyes. A secret darkness that kept him held back always scared to get close in case he hurt her.

~For Tommy,~ she thought as she kept going, moving faster. The climb seemed to become easier, the footholds closer together as though her determination was helping her.

~The top has got to be within reach,~ she thought, knowing she had already climbed a long way. She looked up and noticed how close the top she was. ~Almost there.~ She looked a second time and noticed that the top had moved even closer.

Zack climbed down the stairwell that had appeared. It was obvious he would be trying to enter from below. At the bottom of the ladder he found himself confronted by a blank wall. Looking around he found a button and pushed it. The wall moved to reveal a room at the end of, which was written the word ENTRANCE next to a small door at the right far right-hand side.

Zack’s first impulse was to run across the floor as fast as possible to reach the temple. With an effort he suppressed that urge, deciding instead to try the cautious approach. On the ground he noticed some stones and he began throwing them on the floor ahead, which had suddenly transformed into a chessboard pattern.

The first stone had no noticeable effect. The second was equally disappointing, only creating a hollow thud. He tried the third and fourth rows, once again nothing happened and he was almost tempted to go ahead and cross. He had one last stone in his hand and without thinking threw it across the floor. As it hit, a laser beam blasted the floor from above in rapid fire, destroying the stones as it did so.

With a low grinding sound a stone rose from the ground next to him. Zack carefully read the words engraved on the stone: IF YOU ARE READING THIS YOU HAVE ALREADY SHOWN YOUR INTELLIGENCE BY NOT GETTING KILLED. TO CROSS SAFELY FOLLOW THE PATH OF THE BLACK KNIGHT, EVER FORWARD FOUR TIMES.

Figuring the riddle referred to chess, Zack quickly found his way to the black square on the right-hand side. ~Two forward, one across,~ he thought. Slowly he moved across the board, somehow knowing he could only go forward and could only move four times. ~This is too easy,~ he thought. ~Something must happen soon.~


As if on cue a loud noise sounded behind him. Zack turned around to see the floor he had just stepped on collapse into a pit. On the wall was carved: YOU DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD BE THAT EASY, DID YOU?

From the corner of his eye Zack noticed a black Knight moving towards him, sword drawn, ready for action. He rolled forward as it struck the floor, cautious in case the floor gave way. Forgetting the words on the stone, Zack ran for the exit. The knight was in fast pursuit. As Zack reached the exit, a wall of flames rose from the floor, the heat causing him to retreat.


The words were now scorched into the floor beneath him and the knight was still closing. ~Zack,~ he thought to himself, ~you need to find a new day job.~

Ducking the knight’s charge, Zack ran around the board, trying to shake his pursuer. ~Come on Zackman, he’s not so tough.~ He looked around and was surprised to see the knight had shrunk. It was no longer as fierce and seemed to be moving slower.

~This will never work,~ Zack thought as he attempted to distract the knight with his dance steps. For a moment the knight followed his steps, then it attacked.

“Okay, new strategy,” Zack said to himself. He looked around trying to find a weapon or anything he could use as a lever. All he saw was the stone on which his original challenge had been written. ~That’s it.~

“Hey ugly!” Zack called, drawing the knight towards the back of the board, making sure he was on a white square. “Let the challenge resume.”

He quickly followed the move a knight would make in a chess game. He moved forward two squares and one to the left. As he had expected the floor behind him gave way, as did the floor to his left. The knight who had been chasing him fell into the chasm, allowing Zack to complete the test and enter the next room.

Kim finally made it to the top of the temple and climbed over the battlements. She rolled onto the cold hard floor happy to be one step closer to her new powers. In front of her she could see the small wooden door leading inside the tower. Carved into the wood were the words: YOU DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD BE THAT EASY, DID YOU?

The door creaked as it changed to form a face. It seemed to snarl at her. Kimberly took a step back, just to be on the safe side. A dark shadow appeared over the roof, taking the form of a pterodactyl with white specks for eyes.

“Cease,” the door creature said. “To enter you must get past me, by answering my questions three.”

Kim took a deep breath. “I can do this,” she told herself. “Go ahead,” she told the face.

“In the morning I move on four legs, in the afternoon I walk on two legs and in the evening I walk on three legs. Tell me now, what am I?”

“You’re a human,” Kimberly said. “In the morning of its life a human crawls on four legs. Later it is able to walk upright on two legs. And in the evening of its life, a human walks with the help of a cane, the third leg.”

“Correct!” the door said. Behind her the shape was becoming more solid and changing to a link pink colour. “Unfortunately one won’t do, so answer for me riddle two. How many sides has a circle?”

Kim was tempted so say “none,” remembering from the maths that Billy had taught her that a circle had a circumference. Then she thought about the question, visualising the circle in her mind. “Two,” she said at last. “An inside and an outside.”

“Correct!” the pterodactyl, said, now a bright pink. “Speak one more true and you may walk through.”

~This one will be difficult,~ Kim thought. ~I don’t know if I can do this.~

“What is Kedjenr of Finra’s famous recipe for ice?”

Kimberly’s face went blank as she struggled to understand the riddle. She had no idea what he had said. At least she assumed the door was male. She had no idea who Kedjenr of Finra was or what he put in his ice.

The pterodactyl swooped at her, knocking her face down to the floor. She looked down at the floor below her, just making out the words written on the stone: YOU DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD BE THAT EASY, DID YOU?

~Come on Kimberly, think! What do you use to make ice?~ The answer was so simple she almost dismissed it outright. ~But what else could it be? It has to be right!~

“Water!” she shouted, knowing he would have to accept the answer.

“I am forced to accept that as a correct answer,” the face said. “Three answers have you, you may go through.”

Kimberly turned to look at the pterodactyl as it flew into her head.

Thalian had known Kimberly would find the answer. In fact there was no such creature as Kedjenr of Finra. The whole thing had been a test of Kimberly’s confidence. He hoped she had learnt the lesson ready for the next test.

Zack had also impressed him. He had not been sure whether the Black Ranger would be able to beat his first test, but as soon as Zack decided he could beat it, he had to succeed.

With the first test complete, now came the more difficult tests to beat. Both Rangers had emotional baggage that the tower would attempt to use against them. They could fight against it, but first they had to realise it was part of the test. Their faith in their friends and their believe in themselves were al they needed. Thalian hoped they would figure that out themselves.

Zack walked along the plain grey walled corridors, constantly on the look out for the next challenge. He seemed to be in a maze that did not follow the rules a student at the Peace Conference had taught him. Compared to the corridor the long hours of protocol and research seemed exciting.

But he had been called back to action. Back to the friends he had missed in Geneva and the family he had never wanted to leave. Zordon had not given him a chance to choose whether or not he left for Geneva. Instead he had been sent with the others to retrieve the Sword of Light and pass on his powers.

For a time everything had been all right. Zack had thrown himself into his work for the Peace Conference determined to make the best of a bad situation. Then Jason had left and Zack had never felt more alone and jealous in his life. Why did Jason get to be a Ranger again when he had wanted it just as much? When Zordon had asked him to return, Zack had jumped at the chance.

And now he was trapped in a seemingly endless maze. He used his intelligence and stopped walking, deciding to work out how far he had walked. Once he had the answer, he came to the conclusion the exit was around the next corner. He wasn’t sure how he knew, he just knew that when he rounded the corner he would have passed the test.

Standing up Zack walked around the corner and exited the maze. Before him was another wooden door, the entrance to the third and final test.

“Hey, where are you going?” a familiar voice asked.

Zack turned to see Jason, Billy, Sam, Kimberly, David, Tanya and Trini all decked out in their new Ranger uniforms. Each of them had removed their helmets and placed them under their arms.

“Yeah, we have all the powers we need Zack,” Trini told him. “There’s no need for you to finish the test. We can all just return to Earth and you can go back to the Peace Conference”

“But what about my powers?” Zack asked.

“We don’t need you Zack!” Billy shouted. “The Rangers have never needed you. The only reason you stayed around was because you were in the Youth Center at the same time as us. Otherwise, there would only have been four Rangers.”

Zack choked back the tears, trying hard not to believe what Billy was saying. This had been his worst nightmare since being called back.

“You were never one of us,” Jason said.

“Yeah,” Kimberly agreed. “Give it up and go home.”

“No!” Zack said firmly. “I came here to get some new powers to protect my world from the forces of evil. Now if you won’t have me, that’s fine. But I’m going to complete this quest.”

Zack moved towards the door. As expected Jason moved to intercept and Zack found himself eye to eye with his former leader. ~This isn’t happening. Jason is my friend!~

“You’re not Jason,” Zack suddenly realised. “And if you’re not Jason then I can fight you and win.”

A loud banshee like a scream filled the room as Jason and the other disappeared. Zack took a final look around before walking through the door and into an even worse nightmare.

The second test for Kimberly was a long empty corridor. On the far wall she could make out the words: YOU DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD BE THAT EASY, DID YOU?

Now she knew there was a trap set for her. She looked carefully at the walls and could make out the thin outlines of laser emitters, not powerful enough to shoot at her, but evidence of a trigger mechanism. Above them she could see a series of holes possibly indicating where something could be released.

“There’s got to be another way,” she said out loud, knowing that if she had to her gymnastics would allow her to avoid the lasers, ~If I could only see them.~

Kimberly looked up at the roof and spotted a set of rungs sunk into the concrete. ~I can make that jump,~ she thought. Lowering herself to the ground, she sprang upwards, reaching out to grab the first rung. Swinging hand over hand, she moved across the ceiling, using all her strength to take up as little space as possible.

About halfway over she detected a movement. Without warning the rung she was holding broke away, threatening to throw her to the floor. Kimberly acted quickly, hooking her foot around the nearest rung and hanging upside down. Her hair passed through one of the lasers, causing the room to shake. As she looked down the lower parts of the wall closed together. Then at high speed they opened again revealing an empty space where the floor had once been.

~Time to stop hanging around,~ Kim thought.

Reaching backwards she grabbed the next rails and recommenced her journey across the ceiling. Finally she reached the end of the corridor and landed on the floor. The wooden door was right next to her and she reached out to open it.


Kim turned around towards the new voice. On the platform just behind her stood Tommy. He fixed her with his puppy dog eyes and gave her the smile that had melted her heart so long ago.

“Hey beautiful,” he said, running his hand through her hair.

“T-tommy, what are you doing here?” Kim asked.

“I’ve come to take you home Kim,” Tommy told her. “I never loved Kat, I just missed you. Come home and we’ll find a place to settle down.”

“What about the Rangers?” Kim asked, taken aback by the way her dreams were coming true. She had hoped she still had a chance with Tommy.

“They can manage,” Tommy said. “As long as we’re together, nothing else matters. Let’s go.” He attempted to kiss her, but Kim pulled away sharply.

“Who are you?” she demanded. “I know Tommy Oliver and he is devoted to his duty as a Ranger. He would never give up being a Ranger for his own selfish reasons.”

The Tommy look alike retreated slightly as Kimberly looked at him sternly. “Please Kim, don’t go!”

Kimberly opened the door and walked through, realising that she no longer loved Tommy Oliver. That he had been a small piece of her life. They might be friends forever, but they could never be together. He was devoted to his duty, but she needed somebody who would not need to close her out on a regular basis.

~Two down, one to go,~ Thalian thought. Both Rangers had come to terms with some of their feelings. Zack had realised his friends would never turn their backs on him. Hopefully one day Zordon would reveal the true reason why he insisted Zack, Jason and Trini had gone to Geneva. Kimberly on the other hand was starting to understand her feelings for Tommy. She still had some way to go, but had at least admitted the truth to herself.

Now the Rangers would need to show they could cope if they were to lose something valuable to both of them. The tower had discovered what made both of them special and was about to take advantage of it as part of the test.

~Be strong Rangers,~ Thalian thought. ~The Power will be yours if you are true to yourselves.~

~I’m old!~ Zack realised as he walked into the room. His skin had shrivelled like an old prune, his eyesight had grown poor and every move hurt due to arthritis.

He looked around at his surroundings and found himself in a nursing home. He caught the attention of a young nurse who walked over to him.

“There you are Mr Taylor, we’ve all been worried about you. What with the monster alarms.”

“You know me?” Zack asked, confused.

“Of course we do Mr Taylor,” the nurse said cheerfully. “Don’t you remember? The others brought you here when you failed your quest for the new powers.”


“Yes Tommy and Jason. They were very concerned about you and told us you were once a Power Ranger.” The nurse looked around to ensure nobody could overhear them. “Of course, apart from the director and myself nobody is aware of this small fact. Your secret is safe and I am sure the others will be able to save you once again.”

“Thank you,” Zack said as the nurse helped him sit down. “Is Minion still on the loose then?”

“Of course not Mr Taylor. The others dealt with him as soon as they got back. I don’t think you need to worry about him again.” As she spoke the nurse wheeled Zack around the nursing home towards his room. Normally Zack might have noticed that he had not been in a wheelchair when he had sat down. Right now, Zack was too scared to think straight.

Of all the things Zack had valued, his youth and ability to have fun had been one of them. His time as a Ranger had made him even more aware of how precious life was. Now it was gone. He was too old to help his friends, have fun or even remember what it had been like to do so.

As the nurse entered Zack’s room she made a quick check to ensure everything was as it should be. She caught sight of the tape player Zack had stored in one corner, a collection of his favourite music nearby in a neat pile.

“Now Mr Taylor, you have been warned that policy forbids the playing of loud music of any type. I suppose your friends smuggled this in?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Zack replied.

“Well I’m sorry, Mr Taylor, no music allowed.” That said the nurse turned and left the room, leaving Zack alone with his thoughts.

Angel Grove High School had always been the place where Kimberly was the center of attention. She had many admirers who would watch her closely when she was in the hallways. Today though nobody seemed to be looking at her. In fact, most of the students were going out of their way to avoid looking at her.

“Miss Hart,” Mr Caplan called from down the hall. “Haven’t you forgotten something?”

Seeing the blank look he received, the principal reached into his pocket and produced a brown paper bag. He handed it to Kimberly who looked at it questionably.

“For your head,” Caplan explained. “Put it on.”

“You must be joking,” Kim retorted.

“Young Lady, put that bag over your head or you will be removed from the premises.”

Kimberly looked at the bag again; thinking it was a prank and put it over her head. Around the corridor students sighed in relief.

“Thank you, Miss Hart,” Caplan said. “You may go to your lessons now.”

Kimberly did as she was told, leaving the lockers and heading to the girls’ toilets where she could see what was on the bag. Once inside she looked in the mirror and was amazed to find it was nothing more than a bag.

“I tell you, if Mr Caplan hadn’t stepped in with that bag I could have vomited.”

Kimberly ducked into a cubicle as two of her classmates entered. One was Aisha and the other was Trini. They were talking about someone and for a moment Kimberly was tempted to join in. Until that was, she realised they were referring to her.

“I can’t help feeling sorry for her,” Trini said. “I mean, if it hadn’t been for that accident during the quest to Dairon, she would still have her looks.”

“I know,” Aisha replied. “I just can’t bring myself to talk to her. Do you think she remembers what happened?”

“I doubt it,” Trini replied. “Zordon made sure she had no recollection of the events that happened. Unfortunately it means we have to leave her alone or she might start to remember.”

“It’s just that she looks…”

Kimberly lost the rest of the conversation as Trini and Aisha left. Gingerly Kimberly walked outside and looked in the mirror. Taking a deep breath she lifted the bag, looked in the mirror and fainted.

*You’re old,* a voice said, waking Zack from his sleep. *You’re weak. Why don’t you give up now and go back home. It’s not too late. Zordon can turn back time so you never took the test. All you have to do is agree.*

~No,~ Zack replied.

*Why not?* the voice asked. *You gave up your youth to become a Ranger. You served well and held Rita and Zedd at bay for a long time. And how does Zordon say thank you? He sends you away from your home and your friends without even asking what you wanted.*

~Zordon had his reasons,~ Zack thought, trying to convince himself.

*Face it Zack, you’re washed up, yesterday’s Ranger, ready for the scrap heap.*

Zack thought about everything that being a Ranger had cost him. The fact he had to lie to his parents and friends, constantly worrying when the next strike would come. And even when Rita didn’t attack, he still had to deal with growing up. Except every time he had a problem somebody would create a monster to make it worse.

Then Zack thought about what he had gained. As a Ranger he had learnt to have confidence in himself. Jason had even taught him karate to help him in battle. Billy had helped him with his homework. Kim and Trini were always there when he needed someone to talk to or cheer him up. In fact, being a Ranger had secured him five of the closest friends he had ever had. Before becoming a Ranger he had had a strong friendship with Jason, Kimberly, Trini and Billy, but as Rangers that friendship became stronger.

Then Tommy had joined them and he had another friend. The six of them had been inseparable over their time as Rangers both in fighting and in the other aspects of their lives. And now when he had had a chance to become a Ranger again, he had failed.

~Wait a minute! If Zordon can arrange for me to travel back before I took the test, I could still help the others without powers.~

*Why?* the voice asked. *You’re old.*

~I’m as old as I feel,~ Zack thought. The idea of shouting with his thoughts was a new notion and Zack was amazed how forceful he could be.

Zack noticed that as he started to become positive, so he started to get younger. His mind started to work overtime, calculating why this had happened. Then he realised, ~Failing and not being able to be a Ranger is my worst fear.~

Suddenly things started to make sense. Throughout his journey, things had gotten more difficult every time he had been negative about his quest. The chessboard had been a test of his ability to think quickly. His confrontation with the others had been based around his fear of rejection. And this was based on his fear of failure.

“I haven’t failed!” he cried out loud. “And I’m not going to fail.”

He watched as his body reverted to its previous form. In front of him the room change and a door appeared in the far wall. On top of the door were the words: IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT!

Zack turned the handle, opened the door and walked into the main chamber. Inside he saw Kimberly arrive through the other side. She too was smiling. Thalian appeared in the center of the room and looked at both of them, nodding happily.

~I’m hideous,~ Kim thought as she regained consciousness. Her face was horribly disfigured and twisted. She began to wonder what had happened to her that made her so ugly.

*But you’ve always been ugly,* a voice said. *Why else would Tommy have left you for Kat?*

Kim knew it was true. Although she had written the letter, it had been as a precaution against Tommy dumping her. She knew Kat had been desperately trying to get her hands on Tommy since the day she arrived in Angel Grove. Kat was tall and blonde, while she was a short brunette. She seriously doubted had it come down to a choice that Tommy would have chosen Kat.

~No,~ Kim thought. ~You left Tommy because you didn’t want him be lonely.~

*Yeah right,* the voice said. *You knew you’d lose him because you’re nothing but an ugly, worthless piece of human excrement.*

Kimberly sank to the floor as the word ate away at her. She knew they were true and nothing she could do would change that.

~Crap!~ She thought. ~Come on Kim, you know that looks are not everything. And if you lost them trying to help the others, so what?~

She started to think more clearly; suddenly realising this was one of her deepest fears. She had always been known for her looks and although a fine athlete, it would have been her face she was judged by. In that moment of time Kimberly understood what had been happening. The three riddles had been a test. She could have given any answer ass long as she believed it was true. The image of Tommy had been based on her desires and she had conquered them. Now the tower was testing her abilities to conquer her fears.

~I am not ugly!~ She thought. ~And if I am, then I am not going to let my looks rule my life.~

In the mirror Kimberly saw her face revert to its normal appearance. The room changed into an empty room with the familiar door. Above the door were the words: IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT!

Kimberly walked through the door to see Zack already they’re waiting for her. Thalian appeared and seemed to smile as he gestured for them both to come closer.

Kimberly and Zack had recovered from their ordeals and had spent the last hour talking with Thalian. It turned out the Temple of the Mind’s Eye chose their tests by selecting either fears or desires they may be carrying as well as a simple test of will. Thalian also revealed that had they walked through the middle door, they would have been in the main chamber without testing.

“Of course if that had happened you would not have received your powers,” Thalian explained. “A true Rangers knows the obvious is usually either a trap or the path to evil. You were true to yourselves.”

“Now, it is time to receive your powers,” Thalian told them.

“Stop!” a deep voice boomed. “Do not take the Ranger powers. Come to me and I will give you all the power you could want.” An old man in a long red robe stood before him.

“No, come to me and I will give you the power to crush Minion without endangering your friends,” a light female voice called.

Zack and Kimberly exchange looks and then looked at Thalian. The Morphin Master shrugged, suggesting it was their choice whether they accepted or not.

“I don’t want power,” Kimberly said. “All I need is the power to protect my planet. And as for you,” she said pointing at the woman.

“Rangers are a team,” Zack finished.

“Good choice, you have overcome temptation and proved yourself worthy avatars of the Power,” Thalian told them. “Now step forward and claim that which is yours.”

Zack watched as Thalian flipped four coins into the air. For a moment they moved around. Then they stopped as though waiting for Thalian to tell them what to do. “Zachary Taylor, you have proven yourself to be the embodiment of the Black Ranger. You have overcome your fears and shown that you are capable of studying an opponent before acting. Because of this I grant you the power of the Black Ranger.”

On the four coins images started to engrave themselves. On the first coin appeared the Mastodon; on the second coin appeared the Lion; and on the third a picture of the Frog appeared. The three coins joined, waiting for the final coin to join them. On that coin a picture of Zack appeared. It grew larger and thinner. Before too long it was able to fold around the other three coins to form a small golden ball. As Zack held out his hand, the coin landed in his palm. Zack examined it and could make out all four Aspects.

“Kimberly Ann Hart,” Thalian said next. “You have proven yourself to be true to yourself even when the truth is unpleasant. You are the confident heart of the team, willing if necessary to fight whatever the cost. From this day forth you will be the Pink Ranger.”

Kimberly found herself surrounded by the animal spirits of the Pterodactyl, Firebird and Crane. As one they flew into her chest, emerging again as a coin formed in front of her. As they hit the coin, their features became engraved on the surface. Then Kimberly’s face was etched into the coin’s surface. In a flash the coin was transformed into a golden ball and came to rest in her hand.

“You are both now and forever Power Rangers,” Thalian told them. “Now I sense Jason and Sam have both succeeded as well. We should return to the Juruyella and join them in training. It’s Morphin Time!”

“Black Ranger Power!” Zack called.

“Pink Ranger Power!” Kimberly called.

“Griffin!” Thalian called. Silver armour grew around him to make him appear similar to Ninjor. Then the armour changed colour to yellow.

End of Part

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The Quest for Power Part 1: The Trials Begin

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to the respective copyright owner. No money is being made from this piece of writing.

The Quest for Power Part 1 – The Trials Begin


“Wow, this place is amazing,” Zack whispered as he took in his surroundings.

“Affirmative,” Billy agreed. “A fully configured architectural configuration within a magical base.”

“He means he can sense the Power,” Trini guessed.

David silently nodded. The power within the walls was easy to sense.

“Are you surprised to find such power here, in a place that was obviously built as a conduit to the Morphin Grid?” Dulcea asked.

“I guess not,” Billy answered as he continued to study the runes carved into the wall.

“You are a wise man Billy, but be careful not to allow your mind to completely dominate your actions. Sometimes the greatest power is found deep with your heart.”

“Now Dulcea, Billy is young and naturally curious. It is only right that he asks questions and tries to learn as much as possible. He is a natural Blue,” Thalian reminded her, a slight teasing tone in his voice.

“Perhaps if we stopped standing around and actually showed them why we came here first, we could get on with this thing,” Saurian growled.

“Yes, you’re right of course,” Ninjor interceded. Only the Rangers heard him add: “for once.” There was a pause, a clearing of throats as the mentors realised they were supposed to be the adults. “We have a surprise for you, Rangers. This temple is extremely receptive when it comes to the power of the Morphin Grid, it allows communication with others bound to the Power.”

“I don’t understand,” Kimberly admitted. “That just went over my head.”

“I believe Kimberly that Ninjor means that in this temple, I may speak with you.”

“Zordon?” Jason, Billy, Zack, Trini and Kimberly responded.

For David, Aisha and Sam the voice was familiar, but for the others who had been there the day Kimberly and Billy had been turned into punks, this was the Zordon they had seen in the Viewing Globe. This was not the head that could only be seen through a Plasma Tube, this was Zordon, the noble
Grid Master.

“Yes Rangers, I am here. In these temples I am able to leave my time warp for brief periods,” he explained.

“It is good to see you again, Zordon,” Dulcea said. “I have missed you.” The moment passed, the emotion lost as she returned to business. “Take a seat guys, we have a great deal to discuss.”

“Allow me,” Thalian offered. He placed a finger to his forehead and eight chairs appeared in front of Zordon.

“Thank you, my friend. You have come here, Rangers, to seek out new powers and then the Great Power to reverse the damage Minion caused. But first you must know what you are seeking, so I ask you Rangers, how much do you know about the Ranger Powers?” Zordon asked.

“Only that the powers take the form of either a set of Power Coins or the Zeo Crystal,” Jason answered. The others nodded although Billy looked as if he wanted to add something.

Zordon sighed; there was obviously a lot he would need to teach his Rangers in the future, especially if they succeeded in this plan.

“In that case, your minds will be open enough to accept what I am about to tell you,” Zordon said. “The Ranger Powers you are used to have been drawn by Power Coins and the Zeo Crystal. However, despite the differences in the powers and the ways they have been used, all Ranger powers come from the same source: an extra-dimensional pool of energy that seeps into this universe through a universal energy field that links all things together. Over the last few years you have come to know this Morphin Grid.

All the powers you have held regardless of whether they originated with the brute force of dinosaurs, the grace and skill ninja, the raw power of the Zeo Crystal, or even the mixture of sources used for the Gem Coins, came from that extra-dimensional pool via the Morphin Grid.”

“So this extra-dimensional magic, what is it exactly?” Trini asked.

“Many refer to it as the Power and on some worlds it is even a religion. On Earth, I believe the word magic would prove adequate even though on your world the majority of the population cannot touch the Power naturally; I have heard it manifests itself as miracles and unexplained phenomenon such as telekinesis and telepathy.”

“Why are we unable to touch the Power?” Jason asked.

“In a way you can,” Zordon explained. “Earth is a unique planet. The planet itself contains great power and magic. It also contains a high percentage of Iron, which counters the effects of magic. As a result magic is overlooked in the day to day lives of humans and is not taught in the ways as it is on other worlds.”

“When I first picked my Rangers I had a number of requirements,” he continued. “Firstly, they had to be willing to accept the rules of the Power. There were others on Earth who would have been able to hold the Power, but might have abused the Power. Secondly, they needed to be able to form and act as a team. When I first ordered Alpha to find you, the computer searched for a group of friends. Finally, I required teenagers who had the potential to touch the power.”

Aisha took the opportunity to ask the question she had been wondering about since the day that she had first become a Ranger. “Zordon, why did you choose teenagers to be Rangers?”

Zordon smiled. He knew the other Rangers had often discussed the issue, but none of them had yet come to the right conclusion. “The first reason is that as I said I needed humans with the potential to touch the Power whose minds were not closed to the possibilities of doing so. In addition it was important that those I selected were old enough to understand the responsibility the role of Ranger entailed. By selecting teenagers I not only fulfilled both of those requirements, but also found a group whose lives would be able to help when needed and not get stuck in other activities.”

“To go back to my original point,” Zordon continued. “The power within the Morphin Grid is often subdivided according to how it is used; the Power of course is ultimately neutral and had never been proven to have its own intelligence. The two dominant divisions are often recognised as the Light Side and the Dark Side. They are both the equal and the opposite of each other although I believe that the Dark Side cannot exist without the light to cast it.”

“So when Tommy was under Rita’s spell he drew energy from the Dark Side?” Jason asked.

“No,” Zordon replied. “Although Rita’s spell made him evil, he was still using the Light Side powers through his Power Coin. If he had been truly evil, the Ranger Powers would have left him. The energies from the different sides of the Grid can only focus through certain materials. The gold used in the forging of Power Coins can only channel the Light Side energies. I have heard that Zedd once found a similar substance that acts only in the presence of Dark Side energy.”

“What’s the third division?” Trini asked, realising Zordon had not mentioned it.

“The third division is perhaps the most complex,” Zordon explained. “At its simplest it is plain magic unaffected by the impurities of emotion or desire. Those who draw from it are either neutral in their allegiances or calling upon powers that cannot be strictly classed as either good or evil.” Zordon explained. “There are many who use the Shadow Side without realising that that is where the power comes from. As far as I know only one race has ever been able to successfully wield the full power of the Shadow Grid to the extent where they could be called Masters.”

As always what went unsaid was as important as the information Zordon gave to his students. The Shadow Side of the Morphin Grid actually overlapped the Light and Dark Sides of the Morphin Grid. There were many shades of shadow and while some of its practitioners could be as evil as Master Vile, others could be as pious as Ninjor.

Zordon noticed that the Rangers were hooked on his every word, but also realised he needed to get to the point if they were to succeed before it was too late. “What I am going to tell you now is a little known secret about the Ranger Powers. You are aware that in the past the Rangers have used the Dino, Thunder and Ninja powers. What you have now come to realise is that these different powers are all variants of the same power, each representing a different aspect of the Power. The Dino powers represented the body and relied on brute force. You will remember no doubt that the first time you used those powers you felt as though you could move mountains. The Thunder powers represent the mind. They are the mystical powers that rely as much on out thinking the enemy as they do on overpowering him. The Ninja Ranger powers use skill and speed as opposed to brute force. The Ninja powers set traps and confuse the enemy to win. And Zeo? Zeo represents a more technological side of the Power as opposed to the mystical.

Dino, Thunder and Ninja are aspects and as you know, each aspect is often further divided into colours.” The time had come for revelation number two. “There are an infinite number of colours available and each means something dependent upon the philosophy of the Power and the world on which the powers are used; Neon Green is often a sign that the race has difficulty with understanding colours. In the case of the Dino, Thunder and Ninja powers drawn through Power Coins, there are nine colours.

Each colour of the Grid is often associated with a spirit animal. Although there are unlimited spirit animals and colour is not a limiting factor, it is not unusual to find that most colours fit one of three spirit animals.

Jason and Rocky were suited to the Red colour. Although many assume that red is the colour of the leader, it is mainly the colour that represents a team player. The Red spirits are the Tyrannosaurus, Dragon and Ape. Jason is the Tyrannosaurus, a powerful leader who is able to work with his team. He also tends to tackle his opponents head on Rocky however is a Dragon. As such he was the center, around which the team is formed. Rocky preferred to think things out before attacking.”

“Billy was drawn to the Blue colour. Blue represents a creative and powerful mind, not just in terms of knowledge, but also in terms of mental powers. Blue spirits also have a desire to belong although sometimes have difficulty relating to others. The Triceratops, Unicorn and Wolf represent the Blue Powers. Billy is the Wolf aspect of the Blue Power. He prefers to study his enemies and determine their weaknesses before charging in.”

“Trini was suited to the Yellow Power. She could have managed either the Sabre-toothed Tiger, Griffin or Bear. As the Yellow Ranger she was the peacemaker, looking out for the weaker members of the team. However like Billy, she prefers to study her problems first and would have been at her best if linked to the Bear.”

“What about me?” Aisha asked.

“I will get to you in a moment,” Zordon promised, before continuing with his lecture. “Zack and Adam are both natural users of the Black Powers. Both possess a joyful spirit and seek to lighten their team’s mood in battle. For Zack this is due to his own personality, but Adam does so because of his shy nature. The Mastodon, Lion and Frog represent the Black Power. Zack is the Lion, a playful and slightly wild spirit, whilst Adam is the more reserved Frog.”

“Kimberly and Kat were Pink Spirits, the colour of a nursing spirit that is protective of all those around and pure of mind and body. The Pterodactyl, Firebird and Crane all represent the Pink Power. Whilst Kimberly is more likely to think and then act, Kat will study her opponents in the same was as Billy and Trini. That is why Kim excelled as the Firebird and Kat was able to slip into her role as the Crane.”

“The White Ranger represents the healer,” Zordon explained. “Although Tommy has held the White Power, he did so only to access the powers of a Ranger. The White Rangers normally possess a pure spirit and are immune to spells. In addition they can heal their fellow Rangers and possess certain extra mental abilities. The White Powers are represented by the winged flying dinosaur known as the Winged Raptor or Drago, Tiger and Falcon.”

“Sam and Tommy are both Green Spirits. The Green Power is at the opposite end of the Light Side,” Zordon explained “Those with a Green Spirit constantly feel the pull of both sides of the Morphin Grid. That is why both Tommy and Sam were able to be place under Rita’s spell. The Dragon, Minotaur and Panther represent the Green Power. Sam is Dragon, whereas Tommy is closer to the Light and is therefore the Panther.”

“Finally, there is the Purple Spirit. Purple is the colour of unity. Those with the Purple Powers are able to combine the various attributes of the other Rangers. Aisha is a Purple Spirit. She is pure of heart; capable of acting on her own when she needs to; and has a protective attitude towards her fellow Rangers. The Stegosaurus, Spider and Hawk represent purple.”

Zordon looked at his young students. He knew his lecture had raised many questions in their minds and he intended to answer them.

“I know you have some questions, so allow me to explain. Firstly, the ninth colour is undefined, often posing as one of the other colours. It is hidden deep within the Morphin Grid and will only be revealed when eight Rangers reach their full potential and need the power of a ninth. It is the power of the Trickster, mimicking the other Spirits and hiding amongst them. I know you will wonder why if there were nine colours there were only ever six Rangers at a time. As I have already mentioned, one of the colours is unknown, but the others are simply related to not having the coins. The original Purple Coin was lost, the White Coin was mine to create and I did so only to allow Tommy to become a Ranger again. With the Green Coin in the hands of Rita and then sabotaged, I never got to create a Green Ranger.”

Jason had listened to everything Zordon had said. He had allowed the others to ask questions when he felt they were necessary and now understood the inside workings of the Ranger Powers. What he needed to know was why Zordon felt the need to tell them all this. “Zordon, why are we here?”

“Jason, Kimberly, Aisha, Trini, David, Sam, Zack and Billy, you are here because I believe that the eight of you will prove successful in the task I am about to set. Seven of you have proven yourselves exceptional Rangers and David has shown signs that he too would be a successful avatar of the Power. I have revealed to you the truth about the Morphin Grid and explained to you the aspects. Now I ask that you accept that although these aspects are individually powerful, it is only when unified that they will allow the true power of a Ranger to be unlocked.

Very few have ever held all three aspects of the Power. Most have been given their correct spirit early on and have never changed. On Earth though Billy, Kimberly and Aisha have used all three levels to some extent. Zack, Trini and Jason have touched two aspects even if one was only in passing. There is therefore a high chance that this group could integrate all three aspects to unlock the true Ranger powers.”

“How do we get them?” Jason asked.

“First, you must realise that you will be a team. The Power Rangers have always been a team and this is perhaps your greatest strength,” Zordon explained. “And secondly, you will be divided, trained and tested to find and recognise the different aspects of the Power within you. Then you will be taught to direct and use your new powers before being tested to prove yourselves worthy of your new Power Coins. I would never force you to do anything that you feel uncomfortable doing. But, if you are prepared to accept the powers, please step forward.”

“Excellent,” Thalian declared as the Rangers took a step forward. “Take the rest of the day to really get to know yourselves and each other. We will resume early tomorrow. Oh and Ranger, be sure to rest.”

Saurian’s Temple, Juruyella

Eight hopeful humans stood awaiting their first test. Saurian had warned them that the training they would receive was intended to make up for the gaps in their training and then to stretch them to the peak of their abilities. It would be at that time that they would be able to tell whether or not the Rangers had what was needed to succeed. Their days would be long and tedious, but during time they would learn whether they were deserving of the powers they sought.

“We shall begin the training soon, but first you must be divided,” Saurian told them. “Some of you are connected to one aspect of the Morphin Grid already and your training will take place with those aspects in mind.”

Thalian stepped forward to look at the hopeful Rangers in front of him. “Zachary Taylor and Kimberly Hart, you two will accompany me to Dairon.” He held out his hand to both of the former Rangers. Kimberly and Zack took his hand and vanished.

“Trini Kwan and William Cranston, you are both to accompany me to the Desert of Despair,” Ninjor said. Billy and Trini stepped forward and vanished.

“Sam Revilo and Jason Lee-Scott, you will remain here with me,” Saurian said. Above him a door opened in the temple and the two boys followed him in.

“And that just leaves us,” Dulcea said to David and Aisha. “Since both of you have only recently discovered your true colours I will teach you together?” She smiled at them and held out her hand. “Come on, let’s go.”

“Where are we going?” David asked.

“To Phaedos,” Dulcea replied. “Relax David, no harm will come to you so long as you are under my care.”

In a flash they all disappeared.

End of Part

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