Night School

Disclaimer: I do not own Power Rangers, they belong to the current copyright owners. The Night Rangers were the creation of John Chubb.

Night School

It was another day on Daos and for Jeff Kincaid it was an introduction to the finer points of becoming a Night Ranger.

“The Night Stick,” Mark said as he held the silver cylinder so Jeff could see. “Primary weapon of the Night Fighters and the Night Rangers.” He give it a twist and a metal guard sprang out. “Night Saber mode… it’s most common configuration. The cross-guard is optional,” he explained before twisting a second time, which caused a metallic blade to emerge from one end of the cylinder. “Useful when you use it as a normal sword, but…” another flick and the sword ignited with blue energy, “not so helpful when using the energy blade.”

A quick twist caused the weapon to revert to its default form. Of course the weapon had other functions such as search light and scanner, but it was mostly suited to cutting down enemies. He tossed the weapon to Jeff and watched the teen examine it closely.

“You’ll be getting training from the elders,” Mark promised. “The powers give you an instinctive knowledge of how to fight, but practice is the best teacher.”

Actually pain was the best teaching in Mark’s opinion, but he didn’t want to scare Kincaid off too soon. It had taken far too long to recruit him in the first place.

Even though Jeff tried to follow the movements Mark made to switch the Dark Saber between its various modes, he was unable to learn everything just by watching. But by the end of the demonstration he understood that while it was called a Night Saber, the standard weapon of the Night Ranger could be transformed into a variety of weapons just be manipulating the cylinder and having a clear idea of what was needed.

Next was a dark cloak with a large hood. Although it seemed heavy when he took it from Mark, the moment he put it on the weight seemed to vanish. He pulled the hood up and was surprised to find that he could see through it.

“There a visual receptors built into the material,” Mark explained. “They allow you to see what’s going on around you even when you have the hood locked in place and help with the camouflage.”

In addition to the visual sensors there were visual projectors built into the cloak. Combined with the dark colour and light absorbing action of the material, it allowed the user to project the image of what was behind them onto the surface, making it appear that there was nothing to see. It was not a perfect method of blending in and Mark had warned him that it would likely only fool those not paying complete attention to what was going on.

“Perfect for striking at boring outposts that never get any excitement, less useful when robbing a high security vault,” Mark warned.

“Why isn’t it black?” Jeff asked.

“Because as a colour black is rarely found in nature and not much use except on parking lots. Any skilled lookout will be looking for something unusual and that would tip them off. Greys and darker tones look more natural and absorb light better… You’ll find the cloak will adjust without your input, but you can override it. In daylight, well a tatty grey cloak makes you look like the sort of person that most folks would sooner avoid, which helps ensure that people don’t bother you.”

The next item was an arm brace that Mark explained was one of the models given to Night Rangers and those leading groups of Night Fighters. In addition to an energy shield, the brace offered a communicator, mini computer and in Jeff’s case remote control system for some of the Night Rangers’ equipment.

“Which leads us to your Zord,” Mark said.

Since the Night Rangers were not recognised as Rangers, they could not ask the Morphin Masters to provide them with Zords. Instead they built their own machines and called them Zords, something that the Morphin Masters and Galactic Council fiercely protested but were powerless to prevent. Given the Night Rangers disregard for rules those protests fell on death ears. As did the concerns expressed about how big the machines were in comparison with other Zords. Mark had explained that in addition to being used in the traditional way, the Night Zords also acted as troop carriers for the Night Fighters under their command.

“The Night Rangers based their Zords upon the predators of the night,” Mark explained. “Both real and mythological… by Earth standards.”

Jeff recognised some of the machine before him. The bat, the wolf, the owl, the fox, the snake and the lion were all night time hunters on Earth, although he was quickly coming to realise that what an Earthling considered to be a lion and what the rest of the universe considered to be a lion were very different. The imposing bear, a creature Mark identified as a velociraptor, the cougar, the leopard, the tarantula, the scorpion and the tiger. There were two more Zords in the hangar: the Tasmanian wolf and something else that had only been started recently.

“Unlike other teams the Night Rangers don’t associate a Zord with a colour,” Mark told him. “You pick a Zord you want and if it hasn’t been claimed by somebody else it’s yours. If it has or if there is something you prefer well we can always ask the techs to try and build one for you; I warn you now our engineers are good but they are painfully slow when it comes to completing their work. Luckily anytime a new Zord is commissioned the old Zords are reallocated to the Night Fighters until needed again.”

Jeff studied the Zords before him. He was drawn to the incomplete machine, but something pulled him toward the wolf. It was a feral looking beast with large wings on its back. He could feel the eyes of its onboard computer watching him and as he drew near it snarled. Jeff ignore the threatening growls as he reached out and touched it. At once the machine stopped as its grey metal armour turned dark blue.

“Looks like you have a Zord,” Mark said. “Don’t worry about the colour, you can change it if you want. Just try and remember to keep it dark and stay away from hot pink.”

And finally Mark handed him a small box and told him to place it against his arm brace. He remembered he had seen Mark do the same when he had used his morpher during Jeff’s first mission as a Night Ranger, but Mark had never told him what it was for and had asked for Jeff’s morpher back before they had journeyed to Daos.

“The brace on your arm is the Blue Night Morpher. However, before it can be used by a new avatar, it needs to be unlocked. That little box contains the spells, computer code and testimony from an existing Night Ranger, needed to unlock its powers, ” Mark told him. “It’s now keyed to you personally. When you are fully connected to the Spirits of the Night you’ll be able to draw on its full power, but in the meantime, it will offer the same protection as a Night Fighter receives. I tweaked the appearance so that only those who know the difference – other Night Rangers – can tell which you are using. To activate it just say: Blue Night Ranger Activate… you can change the command to something better if you want.”

And with that Jeff was fully equipped to start his quest to become a Night Ranger. Now it was a matter of taking the challenges ahead and learning from the Elders of the Acexta to use his abilities to their fullest.

“Next stop: the Pit of Night,” Mark told him as he led the way out of the temple toward one of the known entrances. “This entrance is home to some minor spirits. Most of those wishing to become Night Fighters come here for their first time. Once inside one of the creatures will challenge you. If you defeat it, it will be bound to the service of the Night Fighters and will connect you to the Spirits of the Night. That will give you the right to try and use the Night Morpher’s full power.”

“And if I fail?” Jeff asked.

“We’ll need to find another candidate… don’t fail.”

“Any useful advice?”

Mark thought for a moment. “The more powerful you appear to be the more powerful the opponent you will face. Think about it when deciding what to do.”

Jeff considered the advice and with a shrug removed his cloak and morpher. He stashed his Night Saber in his back pocket and moved his sleeve to cover the arm brace. He noticed an approving look on Mark’s face, which quickly disappeared as he made his way to the entrance. He could see a barrier of some kind and after looking back for approval, Jeff Kincaid stepped forward to meet his destiny.


The Pit of Night as it turned out was another dimension filled with hostile spirits, minor demons and weird creatures. And in a place so barren of life, the appearance of a fresh soul drew the interest of the many occupants. Over time a hierarchy had developed within the Pit of Night that decided the order in which the denizens were allowed to attack their prey. Only when the older demons had decided that a single human was not worth their time and turned away did the smaller creatures venture forward.

There was a brief squabble and then one of the creatures stepped forward. It growled a challenge and then attacked, binding the contract with its actions.

Jeff responded to the attack with a swivel kick, bringing the creature down. He whipped out the Night Saber, earning the sudden renewed interest of the older creatures and with a single slice cut out the creatures legs. He stepped back as he had been instructed and waited for the creature to decide its fate. When it adopted a submissive posture he deactivated the Night Saber and pointed the end at the submissive creature. A leash of dark blue energy coiled around the beast’s neck, binding it to his soul.

With a nod to the angry creatures that watched him, Jeff departed.


The sensation was overwhelming as Jeff felt his connection to the Spirits of the Night, the hostile spirits bound to the will of the Night Fighters flare. He could sense them, all those creatures that had faced the challenge and been forced to submit. While hostile they no longer posed a threat and whispered words of warning in his mind.

“It’ll pass soon,” Mark promised. “After that you will only hear them if you want to.”

The priests of the Acexta actually communed with the enslaved spirits, using them to track the villains the Night Fighters sought to defeat. While reluctant they were unable to lie to their masters.

“So am I a Night Ranger now?” Jeff asked.

Mark chuckled. “You didn’t think it would be that easy did you? That was just a dweller. The spirits the power the Night Rangers are fully powered demons that have been enslaved since these morphers were first forged. Actually you will be fighting that spirit and every demon defeated by those that held it since. When you attempt to become a Night Ranger for the first time, you offer them a chance for freedom. And just so you know: they can see your soul and there is no way that they will be fooled into thinking you are harmless.”

“So what do I do?” Jeff asked.

“Now you get to train with the rest of the Night Fighters until you are ready,” Mark told him. “This is where things get painful.”


Training had been hell. Jeff had believed that when it came to a fight all was fair. His trainers had proved to him that there were still things he was unwilling to do. And when they had identified those weaknesses, they had drilled him day after day until they beat the perceived weakness from his system. They broke him emotionally, physically and mentally, driving him to the brink and then stepping back to allow him to recover.

He didn’t know how long he had suffered their brand of training – for it seemed that they were somehow able to slow the passage of time-, but it was only when he had started to fight back that he had realised that it had had a purpose. He had grown focussed and ruthless in his fighting style. He no longer pulled his punches after realising that nobody was going to go easy on him in return.

He continued to fight back and as he did his skills improved. His ability to use his weapons and his skills had grown and thanks to the constant reminders in the form of painful punishments, he had learned when to use them and when to rely on his hands and feet.

As his Night Saber rested against his foe’s neck he waited for his opponent to signal surrender. When instead of accepting the offer as he was supposed to, the opponent tried to attack, Jeff put him down hard; Jeff had learned from an earlier experience that sometimes granting mercy could only lead to his own death. The rules of engagement the Night Fighters lived by served to keep them alive. With his new found ruthlessness, Jeff had proved himself ready to take the final challenge.


The demon Jeff finally faced was not what he had been expecting. Mark had warned him of a vicious beast desperate to break free of the Night Rangers, but the demon that powered the Blue Night Morpher had come to terms with its enslavement and had subdued the other spirits as well.

Still the battle had been brutal as the blue skinned demon had refused to hold back out of respect for tradition. Jeff had used his Night Saber and his armour to dominate the unfortunate demon, not stopping until the beast was kneeling at his feet. As he bound the creature he realised that it was more than just the power of the Blue Night Morpher: over time it had become an amalgamation of those that had previously held the powers. They had changed the demon and he in turn had preserved their knowledge.

“Spirits of the Night, fill me with your power!” Jeff bellowed as he had been instructed. He felt the surge of dark energy rush through him, but he refused to let it control him, fought it as it attempted to overwhelm him and then took control. “Blue Night Ranger, Activate!”

His morpher seemed to growl as it flashed with blue light and when the light faded, the Blue Night Ranger stood, ready for action.

End of Part.


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Race to the Volcano

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers or any other show. No profit is being made from this piece of fanfiction. The next few chapters will borrow heavily from Turbo: A Power Ranger Movie.

Author’s Note: Some events in this chapter follow on from those Lerigot’s Greatest Trick.

Race to the Volcano

Subcraft

Jason and Kimberly were treading water. Their attempts to escape so far had failed, mostly due to the water pressure that prevented them from opening the hatch fully.

“Let’s try again!” Jason suggested. They were running out of air space.

Kimberly nodded, drew a deep breath and at Jason’s signal, dived beneath the surface where the two managed to force the panel open.


Ghost Galleon

The Rangers were starting to tire. Justin, the least experienced was on his back, struggling to get away from two of the monsters.

“This isn’t working,” he complained as he scurried back.

Adam swung a high kick, sending one of the monsters flying as another jumped on his back. Tommy dodged his way toward the Captain’s Room.


Subcraft

It had been a struggle, but the panel was finally opened wide enough for a body to slip through. Satisfied, Kimberly and Jason headed back up and burst through the water’s surface, gasping for air.

“Wish me luck!” Kimberly said.

“Good luck,” Jason answered with a slight smile.

Drawing a breath, the two Rangers dove beneath the surface. Kimberly wriggled through the opening but became stuck when her t-shirt snagged on a jagged piece of metal. She looked at Jason in horror as he frantically tried to free her.


The sudden inrush of water could not be ignored forever. With the bilge suddenly filled with water, the Subcraft lurched and jolted as the weight shifted. A red ‘Tilt’ sign screamed in red as Divatox and Rygog rushed to the control panel.

“We’re sinking!” Rygog cried.

“Of course we’re sinking. This is a submarine!” Divatox snapped.

“Water sensors show a serious leak in the Subcraft,” he said, correcting his earlier statement while backing away just enough to put himself outside of her range should she turn on him.


Ghost Galleon

With an intense series of acrobatic moves, Tommy manoeuvred his way toward the Captain’s deck while the other Rangers tried to keep the monsters from going after him. Just as Tommy reached the deck, a monster appeared from around the corner. Tommy greeted it with a swing kick and as the monster fell back, scrambled up and along the next deck, before he was yanked back by the pod monster, who had a fierce hold on his foot. CRASH! Another monster launched itself onto the deck and moved toward Tommy. The other Rangers noticed his plight, but were already busy battling against the remaining monsters.

“Tommy! … Hurry!” Kat cried as she was knocked to her knees.

Adam jumped into the air, avoiding a vicious attack and allowing the monster to rush headlong into a sail frame. Justin was still on the ground, having thrown one monster aside and now trying to scramble away from the second monster, which seemed intent upon embedding its fangs into his neck. Tanya swatted at a monster as she backed into an old wooden barrel and fell backwards.


Subcraft

Divatox was furious. Her prisoners had somehow managed to make a hole in the side of her ship. How dare those pests vandalise her Subcraft? If she hadn’t needed them to sacrifice to Maligore, she’d have already flayed them alive.

“It’s coming from the bilge! … Activate the emergency hatch!”

Rygog pushed a button and in the bilge, a second hatch started to slide down over the panel opening. Kimberly struggled as Jason tried to keep the second hatch from closing on her. She broke free just as the second hatch slammed shut. Jason shot up and broke the surface, his head pressed into the ceiling.

“Go for it Kim …” he whispered as Kimberly slowly swam up to the surface, releasing a trail of air bubbles.


Ghost Galleon

Tommy flopped onto his back as he tried to dislodge the pod monster from his foot. The other monster was drooling hungrily as he approached. Tommy looked up to see Adam vault overhead. Tommy screamed, knees upwards into the monster and rolled, just as Adam landed a kick to the second monster’s back. The two monsters knocked into each other and started to fight each other. Adam grabbed Tommy and hauled him up.

“Come on, buddy!”

Tommy and Adam grabbed the keys from the box, causing the ship to lurch to a stop as Tommy and Adam turned to see the monsters headed straight toward them.


Subcraft

A panel slid open to reveal a shoot covered in bars. There was a loud WHOOSH! Then the water shot out of the floodgate. Jason fells to the Bilge floor, coughing and gasping for air. The trap door flew open and Divatox glared down at him. He knew he was defeated, but he hoped Kimberly had more luck.


Something was wrong Kimberly realised as she struggled to break the water’s surface. She still didn’t feel the connection with the Morphin Grid. Maybe it was a result of being trapped in the Cold Iron cell or perhaps due to travelling through the Nemesis Triangle, but it seemed the Power was not within her grasp as she tried to keep her head above water. Soon despite her struggles she lapsed into unconsciousness and sank.


Ghost Galleon

Tommy and Adam lunged forward with a scream, battering into the two monsters and sending them flying down below. The two teens then jumped down onto the deck amidst the raging battle where the other Rangers were taking a beating.

“We gotta Morph, now!” Adam urged.

“You got it!” Tommy agreed. “Guys, over here!”

The Rangers converged to receive their keys. One by one, they inserted the Turbo Keys into the Turbo Morphers on their wrists.

“Shift into Turbo! … Red Lightning Turbo Power!”

“Desert Thunder Turbo Power!”

“Wind Chaser Turbo Power!”

“Dune Star Turbo Power!”

“Mountain Blaster Turbo Power!”

Justin cried out as his body was stretched. The powers were designed to operate best with those that met certain height and weight requirements. Since Justin was smaller than the template, the powers altered his body so that it was closer to adult size. The pain was short-lived.

“Whoa! I love being big!” he exclaimed.

“Let’s kick some furball butt!” Red Turbo chuckled. These powers felt different to those he had wielded in the past. He didn’t feel the sudden burst of extra strength to the same degree that he normally experienced. It wasn’t better or worse, just … different.

Then the five Rangers attacked the monsters with incredible force.


Kimberly slowly sank into the depths of the oceans, totally unaware when a pale white hand grabbed and pulled her toward the surface. As the two surfaced, Kimberly coughed but did not come round. Mandika the Mermaid looked at the girl to make sure it was worth saving her, and then started to swim.


The Rangers launched into an amazing martial arts battle against the monsters, enhanced by their new powers.

“How about some Auto Blaster action?” Red Turbo asked.

The Rangers pulled out their blasters and fired. The monsters’ reaction was unusual; they fell and started to shrink, rolling back into balls. Blue Turbo Rangers ran and kicked one of the balls out over the ocean.

“Yeah! I aced in Soccer!”

He turned and kicked the other ball, sending it flying. Pink Turbo Ranger rammed a wheeled cannon into a monster and sent it winging off the ship. The Rangers stopped and looked around. All the monsters were gone.

“Alright! … We did it!” Green Turbo cheered.

“Pretty awesome stuff there!” Red Turbo Ranger said as he clapped Blue Turbo Ranger on the back.

“Just doing my job! .. My dad’s been teaching me since I was a kid. I wish he coulda seen this.”


Murianthus

The water bubbled as the Subcraft emerged from the sea. They had made it. Now it was a matter of time before Divatox achieved her goal.


After the battle the Rangers had demorphed and gathered on the deck.

“It should be anytime now,” Tanya said.

“Alright!” Justin cried excitedly from the crow’s nest. “Land ahoy … I always wanted to say that!”

“Better come down now, Justin!” Kat called.

Justin scrambled back down to the deck and joined the others.

“There it is,” Adam pointed. The Island of Muiranthias loomed in the distance. Lush foliage dotted the hills as a golden mist of clouds hovered above. “Muiranthias… There’s a volcano inside a temple we have to find. That’s where they’ll be headed …”

“So will we,” Tommy said.

The Rangers turned and headed back into the ship.


Kimberly’s face pressed into the sand. A wave washed over her and she coughed, rolling onto her back. Her eyes opened groggily then snapped open with terror. Not far away, a group of ten native warriors, scowled down at her.

They were the Malikayas, almost human creatures covered from head to toe in blue clay and red dotted lines with exotic plumage in their hair. They let loose with horrible howls. Kimberly struggles to rise but was pinned by a spear.

“Out of the frying pan into the fire,” she moaned.


Divatox stood amidst the flurry of activity, watching as her underlings rushed about, preparing for their trek to the volcano.

“We must begin our trek to the Serpent’s Temple before we lose any more prisoners! Today is my wedding day and I’m already tied in knots!”

Elgar lumbered forward holding a large chain attached to a robed Jason. Divatox moved closer, sniffing.

“Elgar, you still stink. Move away from me.”

Rygog checked on Lerigot’s condition, kneeling to look into the wizard’s cage. “We must hurry. He is dying!”

Lerigot’s skin was a deathly grey and his breathing was barely detectable. Divatox knocked Rygog away.

“No! He must live long enough to gain access to the temple and become an offering to Maligore!”

At that moment the radar shrieked.

“Now what?” she demanded.

Rygog moved to the control panel.

“Impossible! The radar is detecting the same five human life forms approaching the island.”

“Yes, I knew they wouldn’t let us down!” Jason cried, only to be jerked back when Elgar yanked the chain.

“Don’t yank my chain, human.”

Divatox chose to ignore him. “Blast! The Putrapods have failed me! … Still no detection of a vessel?”

“Negative,” Rygog replied.

“I’ve got to get rid of those power gnats! She snarled before running to the control panel where she pushed a series of buttons and levers. “I say we blow the tadpoles right out of the water! … Launch the heat-seeking torpedoes!”

The ship shuddered as the torpedoes shot out of the hatch and began to rise. As the torpedoes surfaced, a small radar periscope jutted up from their back. They beeped steadily as they move forward.


On the far side of the island, the Rangers held their Power Boxes and watched the ramp emerge out into the sea. Tommy looked at his Turbo Navigator and realised something was wrong.

“I can’t get a signal on Lerigot.”

“Look, my Vehicle’s positioned out first. Why don’t I drive to the top of that cliff over there and see if I can locate the temple?” Adam suggested.

“Okay, keep in contact and we’ll get the other vehicles rolling,” Tommy agreed.

Adam exited leaving the other four to finish the preparations. His Turbo Vehicle propelled its way through the water to shore.

The four Rangers stood on the deck, watching Adam’s Turbo Vehicle made its way up the rugged trail. Suddenly, the radars on the Power Boxes started to beep.

“What’s going on?” Kat asked.

” I don’t know,” Tommy replied, checking the box.

Tanya looked at hers and punched some buttons. “Uh oh, I think our cover’s blown. Something’s coming toward us.”

“And it’s coming fast,” Tommy confirmed.

“We can’t be detected inside the Turbo Vehicles!” Kat pointed out.

“Come on!” Justin cried, suddenly sensing something was wrong. “We’ve gotta get our butts in those cars!”

The four Rangers started to run.


Adam’s Turbo Vehicle stopped atop the cliff. As he climbed out, he stuffed his Turbo Key into his pocket and put on his Power Box. He gazed upwards at the hill behind him. His eyes fixed on the mysterious and foreboding temple.

“Wow …” he said softly.

As radar started to beep, Adam adjusted his headset and walked to the cliff’s edge, gazing at the radar. He scanned the sea below then took out his Power Binoculars to peruse the rocky cove and ocean.

“Guys, I can see the temple from here … what’s with the alarm?”

“We zeroed in on something headed toward us … Can you see anything from up there?” Tommy replied.

“Checking.” In the distance he could make out the two torpedo periscopes tracking their way through the water. Adam watched as they changed their heading and travel toward the Ghost Galleons. “What? Hey Guys!”

Just seconds later the torpedoes connected with their targets, turning the Ghost Galleon into matchsticks. Adam looked on in horror, unable to believe what he was seeing. They had come all that way only to be blown out of the water.


“We did it!” Elgar proclaimed as Divatox celebrated.


The sound of engines caused Adam to look down at the remains of the ship, just in time to see the Turbo Vehicle break from the wreckage and make their way to shore.

“Whoo!” he cried, not caring who would hear him before making his way up the cliff face, seeking a way to get to the temple.


On another part of the island, Divatox and company were making their way to the volcano. Rygog dragged a robed figure while some of Divatox’s warriors pulled the cages containing Lerigot, Bethel and Yara. They had only trekked a short distance when they were confronted by a group of warriors carrying a bound Kimberly.

“Ah here’s the other Power Brat,” Divatox said as the robed figure removed his hood to reveal Jason.

Elgar was bolstered by the lack of fear in his aunt’s voice and decided to pick a fight.

No! … Wait!” Divatox ordered before the idiot could ruin everything. “These are the Malikayas, guardians of Maligore … Bring the Wizard!”

The warriors removed Lerigot from his cage and dragged him to Divatox. She removed his skull cap and then pulled the Golden Key from her cleavage and placed it in Lerigot’s hand.

“Do it wizard … spin your magic. Open the temple gate!”

Lerigot swayed, looked back at his family, and then with a shudder, took the key. The key glowed as a spark of light ricocheted wildly, and landed by the tribe, causing a small fire. The Malikayas gasp and fall to their knees.

“What a rush! Power is such a head trip! … Come on! We’re gonna spring your evil idol man!”

Lerigot stumbled forward as Divatox and the others follow.


“Adam, are you all right?” Kat asked when the teens met up.

“Yeah, but I thought you guys were goners,” Adam said. Then he grew serious. “Lerigot’s dying, … we may already be too late!”

“We gotta kick it into action!” Tommy said, using his binoculars to scan the climb to the temple. “We’ll leave the Vehicles and go for a silent approach … Let’s shift into Turbo!”

The Rangers quickly morphed and headed off. One advantage of the Turbo powers was the ability to perform a quick morph without the need for a complex sequence of movements. They moved up the hill at Turbo speed.

“Up ahead,” Red Turbo called as he passed through a bank of trees.

The Rangers rushed into the clearing and moved to an ornate temple door.

“Turbo key action!” he called, causing the five Rangers to join their keys together. A bolt of combined power rocketed into the lock and the door swung open.

“Now you’re talking!” Blue Turbo yelled before shooting through the door.

“Justin! Be careful!” Green Turbo warned as the other Rangers swiftly followed.

Unexpectedly the door slammed, casting the Rangers into darkness.

“Justin … where are you?” Yellow Turbo asked.

“Over here!” he replied, which was a pretty useless response since it was too dark to see him.

“Turbo Headlights – on!” Red Turbo commanded.

The Rangers switched on the headlights at the top of their helmets. Blue Turbo was standing in the middle of a large expanse with an oil slick lake covering the floor. Rats skittered across the ground as the Rangers moved forward. A loud booming noise echoed in the tunnel causing Justin to jump and almost slip.

“What’s that?” he asked, a little fear evident in his voice.

“Must be an underground volcano,” Green Turbo told him.

“I can feel the heat,” Pink Turbo said as she pressed her glove against the wall.

“Just watch your step and stay together,” Red Turbo instructed. “Things could get pretty slippery.”

Together the Rangers slogged their way through the oil slick.


Divatox and her cronies had been led to a vast cavernous chamber where the small group of natives looked on in awe as they lowered Kimberly’s wooden bed to the floor. Lerigot collapsed as Divatox walks to the chamber’s center and looked down into the mouth of the volcano.

Within the volcano, fire and lava roiled into a twisted stew. The glimmer of a malevolent, fiery face appeared momentarily, his mouth opening to spew a stream of lava with a deafening roar. Divatox jumped back from the lava stream, laughing that her dreams were about to come true. She clapped her hands and two warriors climbed a wall and began to turn a large metal wheel that squealed with age. Two rusty chains and hooks lowered over the volcano mouth.

“Prepare the humans first! … He can have the Liarians for dessert!”

“Come on, Divatox. Don’t you know bad guys never win,” Jason called.

Divatox laughed. “You wish power boy! You have no idea of what you’re dealing with! Rygog! Elgar! String them up!”

The chains were attached to their bonds and then at Divatox’s signal they were hauled into position over the volcano.

“Enjoying you hang time?” Divatox asked, laughing cruelly up at the captive Rangers. Jason sneaked a quick look at Kimberly, as best he could over his shoulder. She was still in the almost catatonic state she had inhabited since her recapture. She didn’t speak or respond to anything anyone said, simply stared straight ahead. Jason knew how she felt. His mind was reeling with the possibilities of what was about to happen. And none of those thoughts were good.

“You won’t get away with this, Divatox,” he told her calmly. Despite his clich├ƒ┬ę words, the cold lack of emotion in his voice made the pirate shiver.

“Oh, and why is that?” she drawled, trying to cover the momentary surge of fear his words had given her. “Who’s going to stop me? Zordon’s stuck in his tube, your Power Ranger friends are dead, and you’re chained to a rope, about to become lunch for my fianc├ƒ┬ę. What makes you think anyone is going to come to your aid?”

Jason smiled coldly. “I didn’t say that. I don’t expect to come out of this. Somehow, though, someone will stop you. It’s the way it works. Even if you kill every single Power Ranger on Earth, someone will rise up against you, and in the end, you’ll fall. Your kind always fall.”

“Spare me the melodrama,” she sighed. “We’ve got better things to do. Maligore! Great flame of destruction, come forth! I have sacrifices for you, strong and pure. Come forth! Feed upon their purity and twist their souls to evil!”

Jason struggled helplessly against his bonds as he began to lower, slowly, towards the pit. “Kim, snap out of it!” he cried. “Kim, come on!” There was no response. She simply hung there as they headed for the molten rock below.

Jason Scott was not a religious person, really. He had never seen much need for it, beyond a basic belief that something was out there, something inherently good that watched over the universe. He hadn’t been to church in three years, except for Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day. Now, however, he closed his eyes and began to pray in earnest, not only for himself, but for Kimberly and the rest of the world as well.

“Did we miss the party?” a familiar voice asked, snapping Jason out of his fear-induced stupor. Red Turbo stood in the middle of the floor, arms crossed lazily over his chest. Anger radiated from his entire body. Behind him, the rest of the Rangers, all morphed, were eyeing Divatox’s warriors warily, although the underlings were too stunned to attack at the moment.

“Tommy!” Jason cried. “Are we ever glad to see you!” Behind him, Kim began to stir.

“Tommy?” she murmured. “No. You’re dead. They said you were dead.” Tears filled her eyes as she looked at him.

Red Ranger’s voice was warm as he replied. “Now, Kim. You know me better than that. We drove ashore. There was no way a little torpedo would stop us.”

“Tommy! You’re alive!” she shouted. “Get us down from here!”

Red Turbo saluted. “Right. Let’s kick some scale!”

The scene that followed was impossible to describe, but two words came close: utter chaos. Elgar and the warriors outnumbered the rangers by about four to one, but the Rangers had experience in fighting enemies much more numerous than they. The Turbo Rangers were unstoppable, their incredible speed making up for any lack of strength. Hacking and slashing, they fought their way closer to Rygog and their friends

Blue and Pink were back-to-back, sending Divatox’s warriors, Piranhatrons as she had called them, flying in every direction. All around them, the battle raged as Red and Green Turbo were fighting to get through the Piranhatrons and reach the winch that held the chain. Yellow Turbo was still fighting with Rygog, holding her own. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get to the chain, and it was still slowly lowering into the pit.

“Let’s speed this up, shall we?” Divatox smiled. Throwing a lever that stood to one side of her, she laughed as Jason and Kim plummeted into the pit.

“No!” Red Turbo cried, throwing himself towards the edge of the pit. Suddenly a gout of flame billowed out from it, hurling him back. When the flames cleared, Jason and Kimberly were standing on the edge of the volcano.

“Kim?” Kat whispered, hardly daring to believe it. The two teens turned around, and the assembled Rangers gasped. Jason and Kimberly’s eyes were now blood red, and the expressions on their faces were cold and emotionless. Raising their hands in front of their faces, they snapped the chains holding their wrists together with ease.

“Maligore’s children, arise!” Divatox cried. “Destroy those who would threaten your master!”

With a pair of impressive flips, Jason and Kimberly leaped down from the side of the pit. “Kimberly,” Red Turbo begged, rising slowly to his feet, “you have to fight it. Fight the evil inside you!”

“Evil is like evil does,” Kimberly replied. Her voice was low and husky, different from when he’d heard it in the past. She was advancing on him, and he was backing up, unwilling to fight her. She took the decision out of his hands when she spin-kicked him, knocking him out of her way. Smiling evilly, she continued to advance on Kat.

Jason, meanwhile, didn’t change course, he targeted Red Turbo. The two of them had been engaging in friendly competition for years, ever since Tommy had joined the team. Now, under the spell, Jason’s only thought was to destroy the Ranger who could destroy him. He would prove who was the better man once and for all. The two of them fought back and forth, neither gaining the upper hand. For all Jason’s strength, Red Turbo was quicker, and the bigger boy’s powerful strikes did little good if they didn’t connect. Red Turbo was tiring, though, and it was only a matter of time before he was too slow to get out of the way.

The other Turbo Rangers were still dealing with the Piranhatrons, and it looked as if they were winning. Suddenly, though, the room began to shake as another gout of flame spat out of the pit, drawing everyone’s attention back to it. The fights were forgotten as the combatants watched in awe and terror as a wickedly clawed hand, made out of solid and molten rock, landed on the edge. Then, slowly and deliberately, Maligore pulled himself out of the volcano.

He was a terrifying sight, standing seven feet tall and almost three feet wide. Red eyes glowed in his eye sockets and his face resembled that of the sea monsters in old horror movies, except that there was no denying he was real. A set of incredibly sharp teeth completed the picture.

“At last, I am free!” Maligore cried, stretching.

Blue Turbo thought vaguely to himself that this was the last straw his sanity could take. He had expected the creature, if it could talk at all, to have a loud, rumbling voice, like an erupting volcano. Instead, Maligore’s voice was deep and rich, almost pleasant to listen to.

“Divatox, my dear, I commend you on your efforts to free me. In return, we shall be wed as soon as possible,” Maligore said. Divatox flushed and bowed. Then the molten being walked over to where Kim and Jason stood, regarding the Rangers contemptuously. “And the two of you shall have great power as well. I’m sure I can think of excellent rewards for you.” He turned to Jason. “You shall command my armies in my conquest of this planet.” Jason bowed, a cold smile on his face. “And you,” he said, turning to Kimberly, “shall have a place of great honour by my side. Not as my wife, of course, but the post of first concubine is hardly a lowly one.”

At the word “concubine,” Red Turbo had stepped forward, growling under his breath. Before anyone could stop him, Red Turbo had launched himself forward, slamming into a startled Maligore with all his strength. The volcanic monster reeled back, falling back into the volcano from which it had emerged. For a long moment, all was still.

Suddenly, with a mighty roar, Maligore leaped up out of the sea of molten rock. Slamming into Red Turbo Ranger, he knocked him to the ground, shattering his helmet against the floor. “I am not so easily defeated,” he sneered. “Power down, Rangers, or I gut your leader from throat to belly.”

The Rangers exchanged helpless looks, then as one powered down. As the Piranhatrons circled them, weapons at the ready, they slowly raised their hands.

“Power down, Red Ranger,” Maligore grinned. “Unless you’d like to see them all destroyed?”

Tommy regarded the monster coolly for a second, then returned to his normal attire. Maligore hauled him up, shoving him towards the others.

“Now, Rangers,” the molten being mused, “what shall I do with you?”

The laughter that accompanied his question promised that what he had in mind would not be pleasant.


Maligore inspected the Rangers smugly, pacing back and forth in front of the small group as they all glared. “At long last, I will have my revenge on those miserable creatures that dared imprison me in that volcano centuries ago! Now I am released, and I have found the perfect vengeance on the forces of light. And I will start with those that attempted to prevent my release!”

“Better goons than you have tried to kill us,” Tommy scoffed, “and we’re all still here.”

“Oh, but I don’t intend to kill you, Rangers,” Maligore chuckled. “At least, not all of you. I have far more entertaining plans in mind than that.” So saying, he turned to Jason and Kimberly, who still watched their imprisoned friends with those impassive red eyes. “My children, as a reward for your faithful service, you may each choose one Ranger to do with as you wish. Jason? Which Ranger is yours?”

Jason walked up and down the line of captive Rangers for a long moment. He looked at Tommy, an evil grin lighting his features, then shook his head. “No,” he rasped. “As much as I would like to destroy you, Ranger, I won’t waste my reward on so fleeting a pleasure.”

While Jason made his choice, Maligore turned to Kim. “And you, my dear. Which one do you choose?”

Her choice was made far more quickly than Jason’s. Immediately, she crossed to where Tommy was being held. “Him. I’ll take him.”

Maligore chuckled. “Yes, I think I will put him into the fire. Perhaps I will make you share him, slave to one and victim for the other. I can see the results would be… entertaining.” Turning away, he gestured to the Piranhatrons. “Separate the Red Ranger from the group.” The fish-men did so roughly, pulling Tommy out of the line. Then Maligore strolled along the line himself.

“Most of you will join my ranks,” he told them. “The pit will allow the evil in your hearts, small as it may be, to take over. Some of you, however, are not worth the effort. I’m afraid I’ll just have to kill you.” His eyes lingered on Adam and Tanya.

“You two are so much wasted effort. I’d be out of my mind to bother with you. You on the other hand, Pink Ranger, have much delicious darkness in your heart. You will be an excellent warrior for my cause.” His voice lowered, and he grabbed her chin in one clawed hand. “And you are quite lovely, as well. Perhaps I will make use of you in a more– personal sense.”

“Now, what to do with you?” Maligore mused as he studied Justin. “There’s no evil in you as there is in the Red Ranger. Given time there could be, but I’m not feeling patient. I suppose I’ll just have to destroy you. Perhaps I’ll do it myself, or better yet, have your friends do it.”

“Wait,” Divatox interrupted, stepping forward. “I have a better idea. Give him to me. He’s helpless without his powers, so we just take those away. I have some marvellous uses for him planned.” She looked him up and down, hunger evident in her gaze. Maligore regarded her for a second, then nodded. To plan to corrupt a child, this was a truly twisted woman. He had been right to reward her.

“All right, my dear, as you will.” Two more Piranhatrons grabbed Justin and Kat, hauling them over to where Tommy stood. Turning to his assorted followers, he raised his arms. “First, we bring these three Rangers over to us. Then we’ll let them destroy their friends. And finally, we will unleash them on those that would have aided them, and I will finally have my revenge!”

“I don’t think so, ugly,” Tanya growled.

While the villain had been occupied with Tommy and Kat, Adam and Tanya had managed to retrieve a few of the emergency flares from their backpacks. Together they pitched the makeshift weapons into the fire, resulting in a blinding explosion.

Tommy, realizing the confusion that now surrounded them, called out to his friends. “Shift into Turbo!”

Morphed once more, Red Turbo immediately found himself tangling with Jason once again, while Kimberly and held off Yellow and Green Turbo, both of whom were forced to pull their punches to avoid hurting their friends. As Pink Turbo went after Divatox, Blue Turbo made short work of the Piranhatrons, while Maligore looked on.

When Rygog and Elgar joined the battle, it became clear that they were outnumbered again. Blue Turbo noticed that the rope used to lower Jason and Kim into the volcano was just dangling there. Checking to make sure that it was anchored, he leaped into the air. With a Tarzan yell, he ploughed into Rygog, knocking him into Elgar. Landing lightly on his feet, he resumed battling the Piranhatrons.

Meanwhile, Jason was beating the living daylights out of Red Turbo, mainly due to Red Turbo’s desire not to hurt his best friend. The bigger boy had the Ranger backed up all the way to the edge of the volcano, but showed no desire to push him in, preferring instead to throttle him. With a cold laugh, Jason backhanded the Turbo Ranger, sending him flying across the room into a wall. He struck it hard, slid down to the floor, as Jason seemed to turn his focus toward Justin.

“Nooo!” Red Turbo yelled, charging Jason. The other was ready for this move, however, and caught the charging boy, pushing him back until they were leaning over the pit.

“Out of the frying pan, into the fire,” Jason whispered. However, he still seemed to be fighting the urge to drop Red Ranger into the volcano.

~If he drops me, it’ll seal him to evil for the rest of his life,~ Red Turbo thought. ~He won’t be able to face himself otherwise. I can’t let that happen.~

“I won’t let you blame yourself for this, Jason,” Tommy said in a low tone. “I won’t let you force me into the fire. I choose it myself.” With a mighty shove, Red Turbo hurled himself out of Jason’s grip, directly back into the volcano.

“Tommy!” Jason screamed, reaching out helplessly to his falling friend. He wasn’t quick enough, however, and Red Turbo fell by him. All the red left Jason’s eyes as he stumbled back from the pit, not wanting to watch as the other hit the magma below.

Suddenly, a huge gout of flame spurted out of the volcano and a shockwave of pure white light seemed to fill the room. Kimberly, still embroiled in her merciless attack on the Green and Yellow Turbo Rangers, stopped, shaking her head.

“Adam, Tanya?” she asked. “Oh, my God, what have I done?”

Yellow Turbo, seeing that the red light was gone from her friend’s eyes, just shook her head. “It’s over now.” Suddenly she looked over at Jason. “Wait a minute. Where’s Tommy?”

She was never answered. Maligore suddenly threw back his head and screamed. “No! The Pit of Eternal Fire! The source of my powers! Nooooo!” As the Rangers watched, his solid rock body began to liquefy and run across the floor, hissing steam as it went. Soon Maligore, the great flame of destruction, was just a little puddle of cooling basalt.

Divatox regarded the Rangers nervously. “Rygog! Elgar! Piranhatrons!” she shouted. “Let’s get out of here! I’ll deal with you another time, Rangers.”

“Yeah, we’ll be waiting, Divatox!” Green Turbo shouted back. “All of us.”

“Guys, where’s Tommy?” Justin asked. In unison, everyone turned to Jason, who wore a look of utter devastation.

“He went into the volcano. He pushed himself back, so that I wasn’t responsible for it. He sacrificed himself.” Katherine and Kimberly went up and put their arms around him, allowing him to bury his head in their shoulders. Blue Turbo walked to the edge of the pit.

“Whoa!” Blue Turbo cried. “It’s all gone cold!” It was true. All of the magma in the pit had changed to solid rock.

“But what happened to Tommy?” Kat asked.

“Someone call my name?” The Rangers whirled to see the Red Turbo Ranger standing behind them, scorched and battered, but unmistakably alive.

“Tommy!” Jason and Black Ranger cried in unison, rushing him. “You’re alive!”

“I’m not so sure of that,” he replied sardonically. “I feel like I just went through the heart of a star.”

“What happened?” Jason asked, still holding onto his friend’s shoulder. “I saw you fall. How did you get out?”

Red Turbo shrugged. “I don’t know. I blacked out before I hit the magma. Next thing I know, I was back there, listening to you all talking about me.”


The Subcraft

“Quickly Rygog, fire the torpedoes,” Divatox ordered. “We’ll trap those brats inside the volcano.”

“At once Captain!” Rygog growled before hitting the button.


The sky was suddenly filled with fire, causing the Rangers to halt.

“Hey,” Adam said, “what is that?”

“Trouble,” Tommy decided. “We have big trouble.”

Somehow instead of trapping the Rangers as she had intended, Divatox’s torpedo had pierced the frozen volcano.

Maligore erupted from the frozen volcano, standing upon the renewed flames. With the help of the volcano he had grown, filling the entire chamber with his massive frame, dripping lava over the stone floor. The Turbo Rangers froze as he roared an ugly laugh.

“Aw man, we gotta stop this!” Tommy realised. “Adam, Thunder Cannon!”

Green Turbo Ranger turned his weapon on Maligore and fired, well aware that he might as well have been using a potato gun against the lava giant. Maligore roared angrily and turned to face the Rangers.

“Whoa! He’s really fired up!” Yellow Turbo remarked.

“That barely fazed him, Tommy! What’s the plan?” Green Turbo asked.

“Right! We gotta lure that fire bug out and call on our Zords!” Red Turbo decided.

That answer pleased Justin, who had been anxious to engage in a real Zord battle.

The Rangers jumped into formation and raced across the room, their speed carrying them just inches away from Maligore. The enraged Flame of Destruction swatted at them, managing to strike Green Turbo, the last to run by. Green Turbo Ranger fell to the ground. The other Rangers reached the far side of the cave as Maligore moved toward Green Turbo Ranger menacingly.

“Adam!” Kimberly cried. “Pink Ranger Power!”

She hefted up a native spear and raced forward, using her graceful gymnastics to avoid the monster’s massive fists, she jabbed it into the back of Maligore’s foot.

´┐Ż

“How about a little acupuncture, you over grown hibachi?!”

Maligore yowled and turned as Green Turbo joined the other Rangers.

“Thanks Kim.”

“Maligore!” Divatox cried, her image appearing overhead. “Incinerate them!”

The Rangers turned to run. Red Turbo stopped and threw a look toward Kimberly, Jason, Lerigot and the others.

“Don’t worry,” Kimberly assured him, “We’ll keep an eye on them. Just go!

Red Turbo took off with Maligore in pursuit. Divatox’s evil laugh echoed across the island as she watched from the safety of her vessel. Part of the tunnel opening crumbled as Maligore tore his massive frame through the narrow opening. As he struggle free, the Ragers had disappeared. IN the distance though he could see a cloud of smoke and heard the roar of the Turbo Vehicles’s engines.

Red Turbo Ranger punched a series of buttons, activating the programming Alpha and Billy had buried deep within the machine’s processors, far beyond the reach of any viruses.

“Activating Turbo Zords!”

“Right!” the others replied, placing their Turbo Keys into a slot on the steering wheel, causing a special gear lever to appear beside them.

“Shift into Turbo!” Red Turbo called.

Collectively the Rangers grabbed the lever and pulled it, causing the five Turbo Zords begin to grow into their larger forms. Around them the car-like interiors were replaced with the sort of cockpits they expected to find inside a Megazord.

Green Turbo Ranger adjusted some of the levers in the cockpit, fine tuning his Zord. “Alright! These Zords are kickin!” He glanced down at one of the screens, now complete with the image of an angry looking Maligore.

“Let’s see what kind of damage the Turbo Megazord can do!” Justin suggested as he made a few adjustments of his own.

“With you on that!” Red Turbo called.

“Let’s get down to business!” Yellow Turbo urged. “Computer assisted controls are engaged.”

The five Turbo Zords moved closer together as they approached Maligore at high speed. It took seconds to close the distance.

“Turbo Megazord Power! … Now!”

The Rangers took their hands off the steering wheels of the Zords as they allowed the Turbo Megazord’s computer to do its work. As an angry Divatox looked on through her periscope, the five Zords merged to form the Turbo Megazord.

“Maligore! Crush them!!” Divatox pleaded, unable to pull away from the scene unfolding before her.

The two behemoths met, exchanging right hooks that caused both to stagger and spark. More punches were thrown and blocked, the Megazord gaining a crucial advantage when Maligore was knocked on his back, only to lose it seconds later when the demonic creature let loose with a burst of flame, obscuring their view.

“Where’d he go?” Red Turbo asked, scanning for any sign of their adversary.

“He can’t be far away,” Blue Turbo reasoned. “You can’t hide something that big.”

Tommy didn’t think now was the right time to point out that during a battle between large robots and super-sized lava monsters, the usual limits did not apply.

“I have him,” Pink Turbo informed him. “Heat sensors can pick him up no matter where he hides.”

“Adam, what are the weapons like on this thing?”

“We’ve got the individual Zord weapons, but they’re not intended for Megazord use,” Green Turbo reported. “It would be like going after Elgar with a toothpick. We’ve got a sword and shield online, and there are a few tricks we can use.”

“We don’t have a clear shot for the Spinout just yet,” Red Turbo sighed. “We’ll have to try something else. Damage report?”

“Shields are at 85%, and we’re running a little hot in the power room,” replied Yellow Turbo. “Something went bang during the last shot, but since we’re still standing it can wait for now.”

“Right,” Red Turbo responded grimly. “Anybody got any ideas?”

“I’ve got one,” Pink Turbo shot back. “Hit him with a light show!”

The lights on the Megazord’s chest lit up in sequence, blasting Maligore and temporarily blinding it. Unfortunately the lack of sight did not prevent it lunging wildly and swiping its claws across the Zord’s chest.

“Tyre Shield online!” Red Turbo ordered.

The wheel shaped shield appeared in the Zord’s left hand, just in time to knock another swipe aside. Then the shield started to spin, the momentum allowing it to turn the follow-up burst of flame back at Maligore.

“Hold on guys, because here he comes again!”

Shield or no shield, the Zord was rocked by the ferocity of Maligore’s assault. Even though Adam responded by sending the Megazord into a low baseball slide that caused the lava creature to crash into the forest, they didn’t want to take another of his devastating punches.

“Hey, I have an idea,” Green Turbo said. “Follow my lead and draw him towards the cliff face. Kat, get the jets ready.”

The Zord slowly backed up, allowing Maligore to think he had them on the defensive. A few swipes with the Megazord’s fists ensured that they kept its attention as they drew it up toward the top of the cliff.

“We’re running out of room Adam,” Yellow Turbo pointed out.

“Engage Mega Turbo Jets, now!” Green Turbo instructed as the Megazord took another step back and floated in the air.

The result was as expected, Maligore stopped in his tracks, trying to work out what to do next. The Megazord was already ahead of him, leapfrogging over the monster which was finding it difficult to turn in such a narrow area.

“Turbo Power Punch!” Red Ranger called.

The Megazord charged forward, waiting until it was within a few feet of the demon before spinning around and landing a right hook that knocked Maligore off balance.

“Manoeuvre into bulldoze position!” Red Turbo ordered.

Green Turbo grinned. “Coordinates locked!”

“Position secured!” Pink Turbo added. “Let’s do it!”

“This is way cool!” Justin cried, summing up the group’s feelings.

The Rangers braced themselves as Turbo Megazord blasted forward into Maligore and knocked him screaming over the cliff and into the sea below.

“Operation cool down! Yes!” Yellow Turbo exclaimed.

Maligore screamed as he plunged into the water. A loud explosion occurred from below water as Divatox’s Subcraft submerged quickly, barely missing being hit. The volcano shaking increased.

the cliffs and into the sea below where it exploded.

“Yahoo!” Blue Turbo yelled. “We did it!”

The others grinned. For a moment there they hadn’t been sure.


Subcraft

“No … Maligore … all my plans the money the jewels … the furs I want it all I deserve it all …” She paused, glancing down at the Golden Key still in her palm. “On the other hand I’ve always had the worst taste in men! Calls himself a Flame of Destruction and loses to water, pathetic. I promise you, Rygog, the Power Rangers will pay for this one day! I never accept defeat!”


The volcano rumbled ominously as the Subcraft sailed away. The Malikayas ran down the mountain, seeking cover from their god’s might. Kimberly, Jason and the Liariaris ran frantically as the tunnel crumbled around them.

“We have to get them out of here,” Adam said, as he noticed their friends. “That butane bozo was the only thing keeping this volcano in check.”

“Right!” Tommy called. “Shift out of Turbo”

The Megazord separated as the others approached. Kimberly and Jason summoned the Pink Firebird and Red Dragon Zords, and teleported themselves at the Liarians aboard before the group headed off.


Power Chamber

There was a great of celebration when the Rangers returned. The Turbo Rangers, the Morphin team, Rocky and the Liarians stood behind Alpha, listening as Tommy recanted the tales of what had occurred.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t get your key back,” the Red Turbo Ranger told the small wizard.

Lerigot made an odd noise that Alpha translated as meaning that he understood.

“I assure you Lerigot that we will do everything possible to ensure that it is removed from Divatox’s possession,” Zordon rumbled.

“Yeah that much power in her hands…” Zack shivered at the thought.

“In the meantime we will return you to your world where the atmosphere will not affect you. You will be safe there from Divatox’s forces since she would never think to look for you there. And without you to wield the Golden Key, her options will be more limited.”

“I’m really going to miss you, Lerigot,” Kat said, reaching forward to hug the small wizard.

Justin shyly approached the Liarians shyly. Lerigot, sensing his intention, held his hand to the side of the boy’s face and then nodded, pointing to Bethel.

“Can I hold her?” Justin asked.

Yara nodded and handed over the child.

“Hey, little guy. It must be great to have your whole family together again.”

Lerigot smiled sympathetically and placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder. The other Rangers exchanged glances, realising that after being thrown into action, Justin had not yet come to understand what it meant to be a part of the team.

“Justin, I know it’s not the same, but you’re part of a very special family now,” Tanya told him.

“How come, I’m not a Power Ranger anymore,” Justin pointed out.

The Rangers were confused. Of course he was a Ranger.

“What do you mean?” Adam asked.

“Rocky’s back is fixed, doesn’t he want his job back?”

“Justin, once the Turbo powers have been bestowed, they are yours and only yours. From this moment on, you are the Blue Turbo Ranger,” Zordon explained. “While it was never my intention to grant them to somebody so young, you have proven yourself worthy of the position.”

“Yeah that’s right,” Tommy told him. “Like it or not, you’re a Ranger and that’s something you can’t just walk away from. Ask Jason and the others about it some time.”

“When you’re ready, we’ll help you find others to hold the the Turbo powers,” Adam explained. “But the choice will be yours.”

“Indeed,” Zordon agreed. “For now though Tommy, Adam, Tanya and Katherine will hold the Turbo powers while keeping their Zeo powers in reserve. Listen to your fellow Rangers, Justin, and they will help you to learn more about your new role.”

“And it doesn’t matter who you choose,” Tommy assured him, “we are your family.”

“You deserve this, Justin,” Rocky assured him. “Besides, my back still needs time to heal and I have my Zeo powers if I need them.”

“I’ll make you proud Rocky. I promise.” He stopped. “I’m really hungry.”

“Alpha, perhaps you need to check to make sure the powers are the only thing Justin inherited from Rocky,” Kim suggested.

They all laughed as Tommy glanced at the clock.

“Well guys I guess there’s just one thing left to take care of. And we better rock…”


Angel Grove Arena

The crowd stood, cheering as Tommy, Adam and Jason kicked major butt in the ring. Katherine and Tanya stood with a group of children from the shelter, Justin, Kimberly and Ernie beside them. Around the stadium the other Rangers were cheering their friends on and enjoying the match.

The three guys flew into the air, swing kicking their challengers. The opposing team’s coach threw in the towel and the Referee jumped in to stop the fight. The crowd went wild as the MC took the stage, missing the outraged face of Karl Ziktor as the industrialist realised that his plans had been ruined again.

“Ladies and Gentlemen! … After seven minutes, ten seconds into the competition … the National Championship title goes to the Angel Grove Team!”

The crowd erupted as the MC handed Tommy a trophy and a check. Fans ran into the ring as Tommy handed the check to Kat.

“Looks like the shelter’s not going: to be closing anytime soon,” he smiled as he held the trophy over his head and gave a cry of triumph.

End


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The Perilous Voyage

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers or any other show. No profit is being made from this piece of fanfiction. The next few chapters will borrow heavily from Turbo: A Power Ranger Movie.

Author’s Note: Some events in this chapter follow on from those Lerigot’s Greatest Trick.

The Perilous Voyage

Divatox’s Subcraft

Yara and Bethel were not doing so well. The Subcraft’s journey to Earth meant that they had been exposed to the sun for longer than Lerigot who had only spent a few hours in the heat. Added to that, Lerigot had been given fluids to help his body cope with the environment; Yara and Bethel had been lucky if they had been spared any water at all. They lay within a hidden chamber breathing unevenly while Divatox on her throne focussed her attention on the cage was Lerigot was being held.

“Listen Lerigot! You cooperate with me and I will let you view your family from time to time. As you can see, they’re still alive… barely.”

She switched the lever on the arm of her throne and the panel slid shut.

Had he not been severely weakened, Lerigot would have fought his way to his family. In his current condition all he could do, was gaze longingly toward the spot where his family’s image was position. Placing his head in his hands, he moaned as he tried to wrench the skull cap from his head. A jolt of electricity knocked him back.


Jason bent over as he honed the edges of a crude looking weapon he’d built with a piece of shrapnel. He put down his weapon and gazed about the room. His eyes fell upon Kimberly, crouched by the wall working on her own weapon.

“Move away from the wall,” he told her.

She did so, revealing two rows of bolts that formed a small door. Jason knelt down and placed his hands along the panel. He rolled back on his heels and stared at the panel.

“What’s up, Jason?”

“Instead of making weapons … We need to concentrate on opening this panel.”

Kimberly did not appear very confident that that was the correct course of action. “Okay, I’m no rocket scientist, but wouldn’t that like… let the water in?”

Jason looked down at the large watch on his wrist. He had picked it up at the Peace Conference, and in addition to telling the time, it also featured a compass and depth gauge. At the push of a dial he discovered they were four hundred and thirty-five feet down.

“Okay listen, … According to the depth gauge on my watch, we’re travelling at four hundred and thirty-five feet below the surface … as we approach Muiranthias the submarine will start climbing upwards. Once we reach a hundred feet we open the panel and let the water in.”

“And make it up on one breath?”

“It’s our only chance,” Jason reasoned.


Power Chamber

The monitor flickered as an amazing pattern of the five Ranger colours swirled and then vanished into a ball of light. A strange alarm sounded and then changed to a long, flat tone.

“The installation of the generators is completed Zordon,” Alpha said.

“Excellent Alpha!” Zordon rumbled. “Rangers, prepare to behold the results of your hard work: the Turbo Zords!”

Morphin Rangers and Zeo Rangers alike turned as a large wall on the far side of the Power Chamber slid open. There was nothing but darkness with an occasional flash of a strobe light. A mist began to creep from the opening as Alpha decided to make the occasion extra special, by turning on the dry ice machine he had been looking to develop into a freeze ray.

Within the vast darkness, five pairs of headlights lit up. The sound of engines roaring to life filled the chamber. At that moment, the darkness transformed into a spectacular kaleidoscope of lights. The Rangers gasped in awe as the five Turbo Zords moved forward in perfect formation.

“They’re ordinary cars?” Tanya asked. She sounded disappointed at the oversized but commonplace vehicles.

“No Tanya, they are extraordinary cars!” Zordon told her firmly, “Vehicles equipped with the power and velocity of Turbo technology, using all applicable data gathered from previous Zords and the technology from Nate’s powers. With the power of Zeo compromised, this is the next evolution in the war against evil. When merged they will form the Turbo Megazord.”

The Zords flickered, growing smaller and resembling normal sized cars.

“To allow them to move more swiftly, we have given them the ability to reduce in size until required. These Turbo Vehicles are capable of incredible speed. We have coordinated them with your Ranger powers. Adam, Desert Thunder will be yours to command. Kat, behold Wind Chaser. Tanya, Dune Star is your Turbo Zord. And Tommy, Red Lightning will serve you well.”

The cars moved closer, seeming under their own command. The Rangers didn’t move a muscle though and right before the vehicles hit them, four of the machines vanished. Only the Blue Turbo Zord remained, still idling.

“What about Rocky’s Zord?” Adam asked.

“The Mountain Blaster will stay behind for now,” Zordon told them.

Alpha chose that moment to continue the briefing. “Remember, Rangers. Once within the Nemesis Triangle, all communications with the Power Chamber will be rendered inactive.”

He pushed a button and the Mountain Blaster vanished and within the dark void, five key-like devices in Ranger colours twirled in a vortex of coloured brilliance. Orbiting around them were five coloured devices that the Rangers could guess were morphers.

“The devices before you were built by Lerigot before he was forced to flee his home world,” Zordon explained. “Before he left, he entrusted them to me, knowing that we could use them to stop Divatox. With Alpha’s assistance they have been configured to work with the generators within the Turbo Zords. These are your new Turbo Keys and Turbo Morphers.”

“Does that mean we can get going?” Tommy asked.

“Affirmative,” Billy answered. “By utilising the Turbo powers you will be able to penetrate the Nemesis Triangle.”


Divatox’s Subcraft

“Rygog, no sign of Zordon’s Power Pack?” Divatox asked as the mutant watched the radar. While waiting for an answer she lovingly cradled her eel creature in her arms.

“The radar shows nothing unusual in pursuit,” Rygog replied.

Divatox squealed in delight and kissed the top of her creature’s head. “Excellent. Nothing must stop this wedding! Now Elgar, did you get that lawyer to draw up the prenuptial agreement?”

“Sure thing Auntie Divatox. Everything that is yours remains yours. And everything that is his becomes yours as well.”

“That sound fair to me. I feel like celebrating. Is that lawyer still here?”

“All loaded up an’ ready to go,” Elgar told her.

“Rygog, fire the torpedoes!” She could hear the terrified scream as the weasel-like creature she had hired to write her documents was sent hurtling into the hemisphere. “That was fun. Rygog, make a note: the first thing we do on my honeymoon is find a new lawyer.”


Power Chamber

The Zeo Rangers removed their Zeonisers, moved toward the panel and stepped into the vortex. Their hair whipped back as they claimed their individual Keys and Morphers. The vortex raged into a roaring frenzy as the Rangers’ forms melded into a blur of colour and light. Suddenly there was silence. The glow of light dissipated as the four Rangers turned, resplendent in their new Ranger uniforms. They moved out into the Power Chamber, leaving the Blue Turbo Key and Morpher to orbit forlornly.

“Quickly Alpha, inform Trey to prepare Pyramidas to act as a channel for the Zeo Crystal’s energy. As soon as the breach has been made Tommy, you and your fellow Turbo Rangers must teleport to the Valerian Desert. We will teleport your Turbo Zords there separately. “The Valerian Desert’s magnetic forces will interfere with any of Divatox’s detection devices.”

Alpha continued. “You must then follow the river in the Digathian Forest until you reach the Ghost Galleon.”

“The old phantom ship’s protective barriers, once fuelled by the power of your Turbo Keys, will set a course through the triangle and see you to Muiranthias in safety.”

Red Turbo handed an envelope to his twin.

“Will you deliver this to Coach Daniels? In case we don’t make it back, he needs to send in the second team.”

David nodded and took the envelope.

“The safety of the Universe depends upon all of you now …” Zordon said solemnly.

“Ai-yi-yi, I miss you already Rangers. Please be careful!”

“You guys be careful,” Red Turbo told those that were staying behind. “May the Power protect us.”


Divatox’s Subcraft

Kimberly and Jason worked feverishly on loosening the bolts. Kimberly noticed that her fingers were bleeding profusely.

“My manicurist is going to kill me,” she remarked.

Jason noticed the injury, tore a strip from his tank top and tied them for her.

“Kim, why didn’t you say something?” he asked.

He had been so desperate to escape that he had failed to observe the possible dangers of their plan. He was just glad he was locked in with Kimberly and not Billy, whose claustrophobia would have made it terribly uncomfortable stuck inside the confines of the bilge.

She shrugged. “I’m no weenie.”

Jason noticed the sad tone in Kimberly’s voice.

“Come on, we’ve got three already,” he urged.

“I know,” she said. Something he had said had spurred her on. “We can’t give up.”

“Hey, we’ll be there to dance in the aisles, when the guys win the competition,” he promised. “You’ll see.”

For some reason, she believed him .


Somewhere

Four powerful vehicles tore through the desert as the Power Rangers made their way to the rendezvous point. The air shimmered as the four Turbo Vehicles burst through a cloud of dust. The four streaks of Ranger teleportation split, entering each individual vehicle.

“Man this is awesome!” Tommy cheered as they made a minor course correction.

The others silently agreed.

“All right, everyone demorph!”

The others obeyed, shifting back to their civilian forms. Lacking the communication provided through their helmets, and not wishing to try and operate the Turbo Zords with one hand, the Rangers strapped themselves in and opened a box on one side of the cockpit. Removing the headset and the thin microphone contained within, they put them on.

“Adam here, Desert Thunder ready to rumble!”

The Rangers placed their Turbo Keys into the ignitions. The engines seemed to grow louder as they did so.

“This is Kat, Wind Chaser ready to howl!”

A few of the Rangers adjusted their seats. They needed to be comfortable after all.

“This is Radio Ranger, I’m your host Tanya, and Dune Star’s gonna shine!”

A few final adjustments and Tommy’s voice could be heard again.

“Red Lighting, ready to bolt!”

“Remember, no contact with the Power Chamber,” Adam warned.

“Yeah,” Tanya agreed. “I’m cutting all transmission links now. We don’t want Divatox intercepting our communications.”

“Last link broken,” Tommy told them. “We’re on our own now so let’s rip some velocity! Shift into Turbo!”

There was a collective jerk as the Rangers ripped into gear and the vehicles took off across the desert. The air resounded from the roar of the thundering Turbo Vehicle engines. The Vehicles moved in a blur of speed.


The Power Chamber

There was a lack of light as the Power Chamber split its resources between monitoring Angel Grove and its current task. Only the instrument panels glowed as Alpha worked feverishly, with Zordon looking on. In the center of the room, a shadowy figure stood on a pedestal.

“The Turbo Ranger powers are a force to be reckoned with, mightier than all others if used correctly. You must use it wisely and it will serve you well. Now step forward and claim your destiny.”

A gloved hand extended, momentarily hesitated and then grabbed the Turbo Key and Morpher that waited before him. There was a flash of light.

“You will be teleported to your Turbo Zord,” Zordon said. “Using the slipstream created by the other vehicles you will be able to catch up.”


The edge of the Digathian Forest

They had been travelling for a while, their vehicles slipping between the real world and the slipstream created by their speed. It had gotten dark outside. Night had fallen. In the light of the Turbo Vehicles’s headlights though, the road ahead was well lit.

“Okay guys … we’re heading into the forest … switch over to Turbo beams,” Tommy instructed.

The headlights of the four Turbo Vehicles switched over to a higher wattage as they entered the forest depths, not noticing the single pair of headlights that were rapidly catching them up.


The Subcraft’s Bilge

Jason and Kimberly bent over, working on the bolts. Kimberly stopped and leaned back, stretching her muscles. They were tired and cold, but they couldn’t stop working. The trap door opened and Kimberly jumped back, leaning against the panel and tried to look nonchalant. A warrior climbed down a rope ladder holding a pot.

“Dinner time,” Jason said.

The warrior set the pot on the floor. Kimberly gave a little gasp and looked down at her feet where a steady stream of water flowed from the loosened bolts. She nudged Jason. The warrior turned just as Jason slid down on his butt, putting his back to the trickle of water. He smiles innocently.

“Sure am hungry.”

Luckily the warrior was not the most intelligent of Divatox’s crew. He simply grunted and climbed back up the ladder. The trap door slammed shut and the two eyed the pot with trepidation.

“I hope it’s better than lunch was,” Kimberly remarked.

Jason opens the pot and screwed his face up as he sniffed the squirming mass of wormy soup slop.

“I’ve got news for you … it’s exactly what lunch was.”

“Gross!” Kimberly exclaimed. “I just went on a major diet.”


Digathian Forest

The Turbo Vehicles moved through the forest. Tommy stopped his Turbo Vehicle and got out. The other Rangers followed suit.

“That river’s gotta be around here somewhere,” he said.

Suddenly, a childish laugh pierced the stillness.

“That sounded like a child,” Kat decided.

The Rangers began to follow the trail of laughter. They moved through a bank of bushes and came upon the river down below.

“The river!” Adam exclaimed. Tanya however had spotted something else.

“Hey! … Over there!”

“The Rangers turned to see a beautiful young girl of about eleven. Her skin was the colour of alabaster with long blue/black hair that trailed in front of her bare chest. She sat behind a formation of river stones, lit by the moon light.

“Just stay where you are,” Adam warned.

The little girl laughed and vanished under the water.

“Hurry, she could be drowning!” Kat cried.

The Rangers began to scramble down the embankment, unaware that the headlights were getting closer. The girl emerged in another part of the river and floated lazily in the water as she gazed impishly at the Rangers.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” she told them in a strange tone before she dove and a silvery tail flipped out of the water.

“A mermaid?” Kat couldn’t believe her eyes, but then a few years earlier she would never have believed that she would be turned into a cat by a wicked witch.

The mermaid came to surface again, closer to the Rangers this time.

“My name … Mandika! Mandika knows all; follow river to guide find ship, find guide … Alpha say hi.”

She giggled and dove back down into the water.

“What do you think she meant … find guide?” Kat asked.

“Whatever the guide is, it’s too dark to look for it now,” Tommy answered.


The flickering flames of the campfire illuminate the night as the four Rangers gathered round the flames, snug inside their light weight silver sleeping bags. Time was moving faster in this place, a few hours had passed while in Angel Grove it had probably only been a matter of minutes.

“I used to be afraid of the dark,” Tommy remarked as an owl hooted nearby.

“Yeah, that’s when all the boogey men camped out under your bed,” Tanya agreed.

“And your parents could never find them,” Kat added.

Adam stared into the fire, not listening. As he continued to stare, he began to see the image of a sinister face. He blinked as the flaming face in the fire roared and snapped its mouth. Adam screamed and jumped away. Stuck in his sleeping bag, he inched and flailed like a worm.

“Adam! What is it?” Tanya demanded.

“Didn’t you see it?” Adam asked, unusually panicked. “A face in the fire!”

The other Rangers looked worried.

“It was probably nothing,” Tommy offered. “Look, I think we all could use some Zs.”

As the Rangers lay down, Adam stared uneasily into the fire once more. He unzipped his sleeping back, picked up a flashlight and stood.

“I gotta clear my head,” he explained.

“Be careful,” Kat told him sleepily.

Adam turned on the flashlight and walked through a group of trees. Mandika’s voice echoed in his head.

“Find guide … Find guide …”

An owl hooted and took to flight, startling Adam. Adam tripped and cried out as he slid down an incline and landed with the flashlight pointing up. He gave a short scream. The beam shot up upon an old skeleton in tattered rags and pirate hat, leaning against a tree with its bony arm pointing away. An old rusted anchor lay at its feet.

“The guide! It’s gotta be!” he realised.

Looking up he noticed the other Rangers looking down at him. He smiled, embarrassed.

“He doesn’t look so hot,” he told them, “but I bet he’s pointing to where the ship is.”

Tommy looked thoughtful and then nodded. “Let’s go!”

They returned to the Turbo Vehicles and drove them down the path, through a dense fog. They stopped the vehicles and exit, gathering to discuss their next move.

“Well, … I hear the ocean. But I sure don’t see it,” Tanya said.

“I’m gonna take a look up ahead,” Tommy said. He made his way slowly into the fog. As he disappeared, a loud, booming ship’s bell could be heard. “I think I found it!”

The eerie mist parted to reveal an old pirate ship docking by a rickety pier lit by the moon. A large hatch opened.

“Well Zordon said it was called The Ghost Galleon,” Kat reasoned.

A ramp slowly moved from the hatch onto the pier. At that moment, the loud roar of an engine sounded and the Rangers turned as the Mountain Blaster cleared the remaining mist and stopped. The headlights were cut as the Rangers move forward cautiously.

“Rocky?” Adam asked.

He knew that was impossible, Rocky’s back was too badly damaged for him to show up, powered or not. That left the possibility that Zordon had selected somebody else to be the Blue Turbo Ranger, but just whom would he trust with the powers, and why had he waited until now?

The door opened and two sneakered feet jumped to the ground. Wait a minute, jumped? It was true, the pilot was definitely too short to be seen over the top of the door. The confused Rangers looked on as the door shut, revealing Justin, standing next to his Turbo Vehicle and grinning like a Cheshire cat.

“Justin!” Kat exclaimed.

Tanya was equally disbelieving. “What are you doing here?”

Justin looked a little sheepish. “Rocky couldn’t make it, so they sent me.”

“What are you talking about?” Adam asked. He couldn’t believe this.

“No way!” Tommy said as the pieces fell into place.

“Guys, I’m the new Blue Ranger. Isn’t that cool?”

The response from the others was pretty spontaneous. Of all the scenarios they had envisioned, this was not one of them. In the end it was summed up in one word. “What?!”

“Man, I was afraid I wasn’t gonna make it! Alpha had to give me a crash course in driving … Good thing you don’t need a license to drive a Zord. Did you guys know that?” Justin was talking a mile a minute. He was young and had just spent hours trailing the other Rangers. He was nervous that they wouldn’t accept him and excited that he had the chance to be a Ranger.

He was interrupted as the ship’s bell tolled ominously, causing the Rangers to look up at the ship.

“Oookaay,” Tommy said, trying to gather his composure. “We’re gonna have to deal with this later, right now we’ve got to get on that ship!”

The others nodded and climbed into their Turbo Vehicles and slowly moved them into formation. They drove onto the pier and them into the ship.


Divatox’s Subcraft

She peered through her periscope, seeking any sign of pursuit, and finding none, slammed it back into the ceiling, smiling as she did so.

“No Rangers in sight … I knew Zordon would finally get it through his thick head not to mess with me!”

Elgar however was inspecting the cage where Lerigot had been secured. The small wizard was moaning softly, eyes closed as Elgar prodded him through the bars.

“He’s gonna be dead soon,” he commented.

Divatox joined Elgar and looked through the cage. Her nephew was right for once, if the laboured breathing was any indication, then he was in serious pain.

“Rygog!” she bellowed, prompting the mutant to walk in. “Do something about … that! We can’t let that wretched Liarian die before he opens the gateway to Muiranthias!”


The Ghost Galleon

“Welcome to the team,” Tommy finally said. They really didn’t have much choice. Rocky had for some reason chosen Justin to be his replacement and Zordon had approved. It was not as if they could break communications silence to complain. Like it or not, Justin was the new Blue Ranger. “Now, why don’t we check out the ship?”

The Rangers moved down a narrow deck way filled with nautical memorabilia and cob webs. A door slammed and they jumped.

“Hopefully, it’s a friendly spirit.” Kat muttered as they climbed to a high deck.

As the Rangers walked across the deck, a thick fog made it impossible for them to see the sea.

“Hey … look at this!” Justin cried excitedly.

The others gathered around a jewel encrusted box resting on top of a counter next to the ship’s wooden wheel. Kat opened the box to find a black lining with five key shaped impressions.

“We know what these are for,” she smiled.

“Let’s do it,” Tommy urged enthusiastically.

One by one, the Rangers inserted their Turbo Power Keys into the velvet grooves. Tommy was the last, and as he pulled his hand back, the ship’s bell began to clang. Adam noticed the compass navigator.

“The needle’s moving!”

Tommy and Justin joined him as Tanya and Katherine looked around, noticing how the fog had suddenly disappeared.

“The sails …”

Kat looked to where Tanya was pointing.

“They’re rising by themselves!”

The ship’s wheel steered itself as the ship lurched forward. The Rangers stood looking out to the sea as the sun rose and the ship took off across the water at incredible speed.

“I’ll say it again. This is way cool!” Justin said.

The others agreed. With the sudden speed they somehow knew they could catch up with Divatox.


The Subcraft

There was a loud thud as Elgar carelessly dropped Lerigot at Yara’s feet. Yara cooed lovingly as she placed Bethel on Lerigot’s chest. She crawled forward and stroked his face, causing Lerigot to open his eyes.

“Yara … Bethel …” Lerigot said weakly.

Yara smiled as the three Liarian heartbeats merged and filled the room with their strange song. Divatox looked disgusted.

“Lucky for us, we’re evil and have no need of such revolting tendencies. Love? Ew!”

An odd alarm sounded and Divatox rushed to her control panel, narrowing the radar screen until it focussed on their immediate area.

“At last! We are finally approaching the Nemesis Triangle! Begin our ascent. We must avoid the reefs!”


“We’re moving up, I can feel the pressure building,” Kimberly observed before grabbing her head and sitting down on the floor.

“You’ve gotta clear your ears … hold your nose and blowout gently,” Jason advised.

Kimberly tried to do as her leader instructed as Jason checked his watch.

“We’re climbing fast, we need to get the panel started

Kimberly agreed and the two made their way over to the panel. It would have been easier if they had had their powers, but the bilge was insulated against that form of energy. Still, what they lacked in power, they made up for in ingenuity and sheer determination.


The Ghost Galleon

They had made incredible progress in a short time and had almost caught up with Divatox and her cronies. Katherine and Tanya had taken lookout duty and were currently scanning the deck below.

“Do you think Justin knows what he’s facing?” Tanya asked. It was a question that been on both their minds. “He’s just a kid.”

“Justin, Tommy and Adam are on one of the lower decks sparring,” Kat replied. “Justin had some incredible moves. To be honest, this is the happiest I’ve seen him.”

Tanya nodded, remembering the match she had witnessed earlier. “I wonder where he learned those moves. He’s incredible. But still, he’s a child.”


The Subcraft

The alarm sounded, drawing the attention of all hands. Rygog manned the control panel as the warriors scrambled for battle. Elgar sat on the floor holding his ears as Divatox stormed in.

“Hell’s bells! What is going on?” she demanded.

Rygog turned away from the control panel just long enough to explain.

“It’s impossible … The radar has detected the presence of five humans, but no vessel!”

“What, are they swimming? We’re in the middle of the blasted ocean!” she pointed out.

“Whatever they’re travelling on is quite undetectable,” Rygog reasoned.

“No!” Divatox growled. “Zordon’s Power Pups no doubt! Why didn’t the radar alert us?”

Rygog was silent, as were the warriors. Eventually all eyes turned to Elgar who looked incredibly guilty.

“Well … uh … I turned down the radar surge to compensate for the aqua energizer shortage.””You what!” Rygog yelled. He prided himself on the correct operation of the Subcraft, and part of that success relied on Elgar remaining ten feet from the controls at all times. “How many times have I told you to stay away from the control panel?”

“Hey!” Elgar protested, “I was just trying to help…”

“Enough! Elgar, shut up!” Divatox snarled. Her idiot of a nephew was messing up her plans. She stalked toward her nephew, who had the sense to look incredibly nervous as she approached.

“Oh no! Not the nails… Aunt Divatox not the nails!”

She ignored his pleas. “You have been a great disappointment to me, Elgar.”

Elgar was backing as quickly as possible toward the door. “I… I know… I’m sorry… I’m a screw driver… please… not the nails…”

Divatox leaned in close to her nephew, purposely infringing on his personal space. She smiled at him, a nice smile that she reserved just for members of her family. Elgar was terrified.

“No Elgar, not the nails, Rygog… open the waste dumpster!”

Elgar wiped his hand across the top of his head, relieved that he would be spared her preferred torture before realising what she intended. “No, not the waste dumpster! Don’t send me down there, not with the cackidoodle!”

Divatox’s smile grew for a moment and then vanished. “You should feel right at home.”

Rygog covered his nose and pushed a button on the control board. A panel slid open in the floor, releasing a green vapour that caused those present to gag as the fumes spilled out. Daring to remove her fingers from her nose long enough to clap her hands, Divatox signalled two warriors to haul Elgar toward the opening.

“Noooo … please … I’ll be bad, I promise!”

The warriors held Elgar aloft over the opening but did not throw him in as Divatox pondered what to do with the idiot.

“Do you promise Elgar?” she asked. She smiled as he nodded vigorously. “Just as I thought, you don’t even have the lack of decency to lie. Drop him in!”

The two warriors seemed to take a great deal of pleasure as they dropped Elgar into the filthy mess contained within. As he sank, he tried into the sludge, he tried to scream, only to get a mouthful of disgusting refuse.

“Don’t just stand there you idiots, think of something! Oh, I’ll do it myself. We’ll just leave a little something for those Power parasites to remember me by!” Divatox declared as she rushed to her control panel and closed the hatch.

“The Putrapods?” Rygog suggested.

“Rygog, you’re a genius,” she said, grinning maliciously as she pushed a button.

At the rear of the Subcraft a metal door slid open, allowing the vessel to eject six odd looking pods that immediately floated toward the surface. The metal door shut and the vessel vanished into the depths of the ocean not waiting to witness the pods appeared on the surface as the Ghost Galleon floated into view.


Kimberly and Jason eased a small part of the panel open. Water gushed in causing them to stumble as they held on for dear life.

“We’ll have to wait till we cross through the triangle!” Jason said, raising his voice to be heard over the rushing water.

“We’d better get in and out of it soon …” Kimberly replied. The water was pouring in. The light through the port hole suddenly darkened, causing Kimberly to look around nervously. “What’s happening?”


The Subcraft shook as the repelling forces of the Nemesis Triangle tried to force it to change direction. With a cheer of triumph Divatox rose from her throne.

“It’s time!” she announced. “We are minutes away from the dimensional gateway!” She opened Lerigot’s cage and fished the Key from her cleavage. She grabbed the Liarian and thrust the Key at him. “Do it wizard! Open the gateway!”

In a sudden turn of defiance, Lerigot tossed the key away. Divatox screamed angrily and slapped him.

“Little fool!” she snarled. “Open the chamber!”

Rygog flipped the lever on her throne, opening the chamber. Yara and Bethel lay inside, rocking with the motion of the craft. Rygog moved to stand over them as Divatox leaned her face close to Lerigot, nails snapping out, her eyes glowing.

“How much do you love your family, you stupid creature? Rygog!”

Rygog rips Bethel from Yara. Yara wailed as Lerigot screamed. He cried softly and nodded, letting her know that she had won. Divatox smiled, stroking his head.

“That’s better,” she cooed, “that’s my good little Liarian.”

Divatox retrieved the key and gave it to Lerigot. Closing his eyes, he trilled erratically. The key glowed, emitting a bolt of light that ricocheted and then vanished through a port hole. The Subcraft calmed and Divatox snatched the key back.

“We’re in the Nemesis Triangle!” she crowed as the Subcraft rushed through an electric warp and passed into the Nemesis Triangle.


Ghost Galleon

The fog rolled over front of the wooden vessel, shimmering as the energy behind it lit up the suddenly darkened sky.

“There it is,” Tommy said. “The Nemesis Triangle.”

Justin nodded. “Whatever’s steering this ship, sure knows where to go.”

“Yeah, right into the heart of it,” Adam said, flatly.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kat breathed.

“Here goes nothin’!” Tanya sighed.

Night became day as the ship sliced its way through the fog bank, enfolding the Rangers within total silence. They could hardly see in front of the ship as it glided through the fog.

“Look out!” Tanya gasped. To the left, a phantom ‘ship sped toward them.

They braced for impact but the ship vanished seconds before impact. They duck for cover as an old World War II fighter jet careened down toward them, before vanishing.

“Please tell me I’m not hallucinating,” Kat pleaded.

“It’s the triangle,” Adam explained. “They’re phantom crafts.”

“Hit the Deck!” Tommy yelled. Illusion or not, he did not want to risk be hit by the UFO that shot across the deck and vanished into the fog.

“Was that a Bookala craft?” Adam asked.

Tommy shrugged.

“Man … that was a close encounter!” Justin joked. The others groaned as the ship continued its journey.


Subcraft

Inside the bilge, Kimberly and Jason, were waist-deep in water as Jason pulled on the panel.

“Anytime, Jason … the water’s rising a little too high for me!”

Jason grabbed the weapon that he been working on and jammed it down into the opening, pulling back with all his might. Time was running out.


Ghost Galleon

The ship was slowly breaking its way through the perimeter of the Nemesis Triangle. The temperature had dropped and the sea had gotten rougher. Their instincts screamed for them to alter course, but in doing so they would fall prey to the forces at work within the area.

Tommy, Adam and Tanya stood on the lower deck peering out into the fog while Katherine and Justin on a higher deck, did the same.

“Can you see anything?” Kat asked.

“Just the nose in front of my face,” Adam responded. “Barely.”

“Hey … someone turned up the chill factor here!” Tommy protested, his exclamation covering the noise of the six pods clamping themselves to the ship.

“It’s freezing,” Tanya agreed. “What’s going on?”

The ship began to pitch as the wind picked up. The ship’s steering wheel spun out of control while the sails flapped violently. Lightning crackled, sending a skittering of electricity out over the water’s surface as the violent surges of the Nemesis Triangle tried to claim its newest victims.

“We’re getting close to the gateway!” Adam yelled over the crashing waves. “We need the keys!”

“I’ll get them,” Kat offered. “I’ll meet you below!”

The Rangers sprinted toward a lower room as Katherine moved to the Captain’s deck.

The four Rangers scrambled into a small room below deck as a large wave crashed over the side of the ship. They had to leave the hatch open for Kat, which meant a small amount of freezing water flooded the room. The storm raged above as the Rangers latched onto things to maintain their balance. Lightning flashed blindingly as Kat stumble through the hatch with the keys. They grabbed their keys as the light darkened rapidly. They were well beyond the point of no return.

“Now!” ordered.

The Rangers raised their keys together as a wave struck the ship, causing it to pitch violently. A chair slammed forward into Justin, knocking him to the ground as his key slid across the floor.

“My key! I dropped my key!” he shouted as he scrambled to find it as the darkness descended in swooping motion.

“Hurry, Justin!” Tanya urged.

A bolt of electricity started to extend from the sky through the hatch toward the Rangers. Justin searched for his key.

“Justin!” Kat cried.

Justin snatched his key at the last instant, jumps up, and joins his key with the other five. The Rangers screamed as the arm of electricity hit an invisible shield blasting back into a myriad of small sparks and out the hatch. An explosion shook the ship uncontrollably, shoving the Rangers to their knees. Suddenly there was silence. Then as the light returned, the Rangers stood.

“It’s over,” Tanya sighed. “We made it through the gateway.”

“I hope our luggage did,” Adam joked.

The Rangers laughed in relief.

“We’re inside the triangle!” Justin cried excitedly. “Zordon told me all about it! Weird!”

Before he could get too excited, Tommy said, “The keys need to be back in place.”

“I’ll get us rolling again,” Kat offered.

“Yeah, do that. Kimberly and Jason can’t be that far ahead of us.”

Kat collected the keys and they all headed back to their previous positions. They were surprised when they reached the deck to find a beautiful sky and calm sea.

Kat replaced the keys and the ship lurched forward again. Then she climbed down from the Captain’s deck, glanced to the side and stopped short.

“Tommy!”

“What is it?” Tommy asked as he rushed toward her.

“How did they get there?” she asked, pointing to the six pods grouped together in the narrow walk below the Captain’s deck. Adam, Tanya and Justin joined them.

“Talk about ugly,” Justin commented. “What are they?”

“Look … that one’s breathing,” Adam indicated. He knelt down to get a closer look at the pods. “Breathing … as in alive?”

“They all are!” Kat realised.

The six pods did indeed seem to be breathing. Adam stretched his hand out to examine them, but withdrew it when he heard a strange hiss. There was a loud ‘CRACK!’ as the pods started to break open, emitting a purple mist from the jagged crevices.

“Holy moley!” Justin exclaimed.

“Everyone back!” Tommy ordered.

The others were quick to obey as one of the pods began to open, revealing a small, furry, purplish brown ball, encased in transparent slime. The other pods started to pop open, revealing the same contents. The Rangers moved further back into a defensive formation.

Then one of the fur balls moved, as a strange looking hand smashed out of the slime. A beat later, another hand emerged, then a foot and then another. The ball grew larger to form a body that dripped with slime. The six Putrapod monsters – a cross between a gorilla and a bear, covered with rough, matted fur and anteater-like heads, with small ugly faces and jagged teeth – erupted into full-grown status.

“Whoa … nasty!” Tanya exclaimed.

The pod monster closest to Justin turned and in a quick move, yanked Justin onto the deck in front of the other five pods, which quickly circled him. Tommy moved like lightning, climbing one of the ship’s masts where he grabbed hold of a rope and swung down.

“Justin!”

Justin turned and grabbed hold of Tommy’s arm as he swooped by. They landed on an upper deck as the monsters screamed shrilly, prompting the pod monsters to move toward the other Rangers on the lower deck. Tommy and Justin jumped from the upper deck, landing an incredible kick into two of the monster’s backs. That was the signal as the Rangers launched into a full force battle using whatever they could lay their hands on. Tanya heaved a barrel at a monster, sending it down for a moment as Adam picked up a plank of wood and batted a monster aside. Kat swung an old buoy over her head and let it go like a sling shot. It crashed into a monster stunning the creature for a brief moment. The Rangers held the upped hand, but were quickly tiring.

“They keep getting up again!” Kat complained.

“They’re too strong!” Tanya agreed.

The monsters closed in as the Rangers fought harder. It was starting to look like a losing battle.

To be Continued



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New Arrivals

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers or any other show. No profit is being made from this piece of fanfiction. The next few chapters will borrow heavily from Turbo: A Power Ranger Movie.

Author’s Note: Some events in this chapter follow on from those Lerigot’s Greatest Trick.

New Arrivals

Power Chamber

The four Rangers arrived.

“Welcome, Rangers … There is much to discuss,” Zordon rumbled.

The four exchanged looks. This didn’t sound good.


Klatos Seven

As her underlings scurried about the decks of the Subcraft, Divatox, seated upon her throne, was staring at Elgar as her imbecilic nephew continued to pollute the air with his stupidity.

“So Lerigot’s slipped the noose and landed on Earth … so, we might as well get back to pillaging and looting again …”

Divatox’s grip on her throne tightened as she leaned forward. Although she wasn’t quite shouting, it was clear that Elgar had annoyed her. “I’m tired of petty thievery, Elgar! Whoever heard of a famous pirate? I want to be a queen.”

She started to pace intently, causing Elgar to feel giddy as he watched her stomp up and down.

“Lerigot holds the only key to free Maligore, the great flame of destruction and … my husband to be! If we wed, I’ll be the Queen of Evil; people will bring their riches to me and beg me to take them.”

“What if your fianc├ę isn’t too hot on the idea? It’s not like you’ve seen him in the last century. And let’s face it, you ain’t gettin’ any younger!”

Divatox put her hand to her face and then glared at Elgar. The mutant had the good sense to try to talk his way out of things although it really only made things worse.

“Hey relax, they’re doing miracles with laser surgery …”

“Shut up fool!” Rygog warned, sensing that Elgar was about to feel his aunt’s wrath. “We must assure a successful reunion with Maligore.”

“We need a bridal dowry. On Earth, you Elgar, will head the capture of two humans of purity and strength.”

Rygog remained silent although he was secretly wondering whether Elgar understood the meaning of purity or strength.

“Enough! Activate the barrier shields and set a course to Earth … We’re going after Lerigot!”

“Hey, Auntie Divatox… Can we stop off and raid that Catalina place on our way? Pleeeeeeease!”

She shot him another glare, he swallowed and joined the others, working to get the ship operational. Outside the craft, the sand started to billow as the engines rumbled to life, groaning as they started the ship moving off from the lake bed. The Subcraft shot from the lake in a whirling of lights and into the sky, leaving a plume of phosphorescent radiance in its wake. Its rumble echoed into the night.


Power Chamber

After learning about Lerigot, the Rangers had prepared for a rescue mission. While Tommy and Kat had retrieved two of the special Power Boxes and had placed them on their backs, Tanya was seated in front of a computer screen while Adam accessed a nearby monitor.

“Whatever this thing is, it’s moving pretty fast towards Earth, Zordon. Adam and I better stay here.”

” Good call,” Tommy agreed.

“Yes, a wise decision, Tanya,” Zordon commended.

“Maybe we should ask Trey to take a look in Pyramidas,” Tommy suggested.

“I believe by that time we will know its intentions,” Zordon replied.

“There you go, Kat,” Alpha said. “Power Boxes are equipped with just about anything you might need in case of an emergency.”

“Thank Alpha. Make sure and let Rocky know what’s happening.”

“Tommy, you better take this,” Adam said as he walked over to Tommy and handed him a Turbo Navigator. “It’s programmed to home in on Lerigot’s life force.”

“Send my love to Africa,” Tanya told them.

Tommy and Kat moved to the center of the Chamber, took a look at the map and following a quick, “later, guys”, teleported out.


Africa

For Lerigot, time was running out. While it was night time in Angel Grove, in Africa it was daytime, and he was weak from the harsh sun, but somehow managed to enter a clearing with a circle of trees that offered some protection from the sun. He trilled uncertainly and was surprised when it echoed back to him in perfect mimicry. Suddenly on guard, he looked up.

Within the tree tops, families of monkeys peered back at him curiously. A young monkey snatched a branch and threw it toward him. A bevy of monkeys leapt from the trees, but instead of reacting and possibly scaring them, Lerigot stood perfectly still, smiling at them. They surrounded him as the head monkey cautiously touched Lerigot’s robe and jumped back. He chattered nervously to the others as Lerigot pulled out the Golden Key.

“Alpha?”

He didn’t get the response he wanted. Instead the monkeys moved forward and started to groom him. He tried again.

“Alpha?”

The head monkey scratched his head as he looked at the key and then back to Lerigot. He took Lerigot by the hand and began to lead him away. The other monkeys followed.


Tommy and Kat walked through the dense jungle. Tommy used a machete to clear a path.

“Wow … Reminds me of parts of Australia,” Kat commented.

The Turbo Navigator beeped faintly, causing them to pause while Tommy studied it.

“The signal’s coming from that direction. Let’s go and find him.”

The two continued their slog through the heavy foliage.


Power Chamber

An alarm sounded loudly, causing Alpha to rush over to where Tanya was working the computer. Adam moved to another monitor.

“That thing we’ve been tracking just passed Mars and is heading straight toward the Earth! It looks like there’s some sort of shield protecting its identity,” she said.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Adam remarked. “I hope Tommy and Kat make it back soon.”


Africa

Tommy and Kat trekked through the jungle. Their clothes were soaked with sweat and covered in grime. When they come upon a clearing, Kat sat on a log to tighten her laces.

“Just a sec, I’m all undone here …. This heat’s pretty intense.”

Tommy, ever the gallant gentleman, knelt down and pulls a cord on his Power Box. A bottle of water popped out.

“Lerigot’s signal’s getting stronger,” he remarked.

Kat swatted at a mosquito as Tommy opened his water bottle and took a swig. He froze in mid-swallow when he saw a Boa Constrictor trailing its way down from a tree, dangling above Kat’s shoulder. Tommy swallowed carefully.

“Kat, don’t move. On the count of three, dive to your right. One, two, three!”

Kat dove, just as the snake struck. Tommy lunged, grabbed the snake by the back of the head, and wrestled the giant reptile. Kat stepped back as the ground gave way, pitching her down a steep hill.

“Tommy!”

Tommy grappled with the snake, which coiled around him. He turned to see Kat as she approached a steep drop off. She hit a rock, flipped in the air, and over a cliff.

“Kat!”

Kat grabbed a protruding branch and looked down at a four hundred-foot drop off over a churning river. There was a loud crack as the branch started to give way. Tommy struggled as the snake tightened its grip. He turned to where Kat was hanging on for dear life.

“Morph, Kat! …. Do it!”

Kat tried to reach her Zeoniser but to no avail. Then the branch broke, sending Kat plummeting down. In mid air, Kat managed to grab her Zeoniser.

“Zeo Ranger I – Pink!”


Power Chamber

It had been residing deep with the processing core of the Power Chamber’s computer since Cyber Agent had planted it. A small batch of computer code intended to disrupt the Rangers at the opportune moment. The call from Gasket had never been received and it had remained a dormant process in the Power Chamber’s operating system. Until now.

It was purely coincidental that the timeout Gasket had set expired just as Kat was calling forth her powers. The virus program came online, causing as much damage as possible before the Power Chamber’s advanced protections zeroed in and erased the foreign code from its systems.

It was enough to cause a temporary close down of all systems as to prevent the virus from spreading. It meant that Kat’s call for her powers was delayed, costing her vital seconds. Then with the virus destroyed, the computer retuned to normal function.


Africa

After what seemed an eternity, Kat started to morph but the transformation only reached her knees when she hit the water hard. She struggled to maintain consciousness as the impact disrupted the transformation, leaving her demorphed. The current swept her downstream.


“Kat!”

Tommy used his concern for Kat to give him an extra surge of strength, allowing him to free himself from the snake before charging downhill. He reached the edge and dived into the river. Aided by the current he swam towards Kat as she was washed down-river. Despite the strong current, Kat stayed ahead of him and he only caught glimpses of her. Still he was able to take advantage of the fact he could consciously change his position in the river, allowing him to select a place where the water was flowing at its fastest. Eventually he was able to reach Kat and pulled a cord on her Power Box, inflating the built-in life preserver.

He breathed a sigh of relief, but it was short-lived as a giant crocodile entered the water from the far bank. Tommy struggled hard and manages to get Kat to shore only to be jerked back roughly. Beneath the surface a huge pair of jaws had latched onto Tommy’s Power Box. Tommy kicked out and managed to dislodge the jaws. He dove under and right into the face of the huge crocodile. Tommy grabbed the crocodile in an upside down bear hug pushing its jaw back with his feet. The crocodile’s tail slashed the surface as Tommy emerged for air and manoeuvred the crocodile into a shallow part of water.

Kat regained her bearings, tried to stand and screamed as her leg gave way. Tommy seized a large branch floating nearby, and lodged it into the crocodile’s jaws. The crocodile flailed angrily, giving Tommy time to swim to shore before managing to spit the branch out. It chased after Tommy.

“Look out!” Kat cried. She pushed a button on her Power Box and a small blow torch snapped out. She grabbed it and aimed at the crocodile. A flame shots out, scaring it away as Tommy rushed to her side.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Just my leg,” she winced.

“We’d better teleport back,” Tommy decided.

“No!” Kat said defiantly. “We’re too close … There’s a first aid kit in the Power Box, we can make a splint.”

At that moment the Turbo Navigator shrieked loudly.

“Lerigot’s close … Let’s take a look at that leg.”

Tommy opened his Power Box and removes a first aid kit.


Space

A loud ‘ping’ could be heard from the speaker.

“Uh oh,” Elgar said. “Auntie D, we’ve been spotted.”

“It must be Zordon,” Rygog supplied.

Divatox grimaced. “Well so much for sneaking past without him noticing. Full speed ahead boys, I haven’t come this far to turn back now.”


Africa

The two teens chopped their way through the jungle, following the signal on their scanner. Finally they found their way to a clearing where they saw a being that matched the description of Lerigot.

“Alpha?” Lerigot asked weakly.

Tommy walked slowly toward the Liarian. He didn’t want to scare the wizard more than necessary.

“Yes … Alpha … we’re here to take you to Alpha,” he promised.

Lerigot turned to the monkeys and touched them, trilling as he hugged the lead monkey before taking Tommy’s hand. Lerigot shuffled toward Kat and looked up into her eyes, assessing her with his penetrating gaze.

“Hello,” Kat said nervously.

“Hello …” Lerigot mimicked as he ran his hand over her injured leg. A glow surged from his fingertips. Lerigot let go and stepped back, allowing Kat to stand.

“He fixed my leg! Thanks Lerigot.”

Lerigot smiled weakly.

“Le … ri … got.”

“Let’s get him out of here,” Tommy suggested as Lerigot started to quiver. He looked up to the sun and collapsed in a faint. Tommy caught him as Kat placed her hand on Lerigot’s chest, and spoke into her communicator.

“Alpha, we’ve got Lerigot. Standing by for teleportation.”

“Just in time Rangers!” Alpha replied. The next voice they heard was Adam’s.

“That ship we’ve been following has just entered the atmosphere and is heading for Angel Grove.”

Not wasting any time, Tommy and Kat both grabbed hold of the unconscious Lerigot. They smiled faintly at the monkeys as they teleported out.


Angel Grove Beach

The small boat bobbed up and down on the water as the two party animals downed another can of beer. This was their weekly fishing trip and nothing would stop them from enjoying it. Except perhaps the large spaceship that crossed overhead, bathing the two with scalding light. They looked up, screaming in fear.

In a phenomenal display of thundering lights and jets, the Subcraft submerged into the water, creating huge waves that rocked the boat, tipping its occupants into the water where they remained unmoving until they drowned.


Power Chamber

After Lerigot had been rescued, there was little the Rangers could do until he recovered. The mysterious ship had landed somewhere, but its location was unknown. So with little else to do the Rangers had retired to their homes for the night, promising to return the next day and hopefully make sense of the matter.


Divatox’s Subcraft

Chaos reigned as Divatox tried to direct the flurry of movement around her.

“Set up base camp and make sure the aqua energizer is functioning!”

Things were not going as she had foreseen. The Subcraft was old and a bit sensitive. Flying through space had caused some problems. A point that was proven as steam shot out from one of the panels where Rygog stood.

“We’re losing our barrier shields due to the force of our entry!” the mutant told her.

“Don’t you dare let them fall,” she warned. “We can’t be detected! Get those shields repaired at once. Elgar!” Elgar stepped out from behind Divatox, startling her in the process. “Don’t do that! Go and find me two humans who are pure body and mind.” She shuddered at the thought. “We’ll need them as sacrifices.”


Power Chamber

A series of strange images flashed across the computer screen. They were known vessel types, which the computer compared to the energy signature of their mystery vessel. When it finally confirmed a match, an alarm sounded, drawing Adam’s attention. At the same moment Tanya’s scan was completed.

“Yes! Whatever that thing is, I found it. It’s at the bottom of the ocean!”

“Good work Tanya,” Zordon rumbled.

“The computer has identified the vessel,” Adam added.

“I will check the Galactic Registry and identify the owner,” Alpha offered.

“Meanwhile we need to have a look and see what they’re up to,” Jason decided. With Tommy and Kat visiting Rocky, he was acting as leader.

“Perhaps I can facilitate that,” Billy said. “Alpha, rollout the Aqua Power Suits!”

” Right, Billy!”

Alpha pushed a lever, causing a wall to slide away, revealing four armoured suits that split down the middle and peeled back. Adam and Tanya stepped forward and backed into their suits. Jason and Kimberly followed, stating that they were both trained as scuba divers. The suits closed, starting with the feet as metal plates snapped into place. The face shields concealed half of their faces, although Billy had installed a shield to prevent civilians from learning their identities. Each of them had a jet pack on their backs.

“Rangers, act with caution until we are able to establish of what intent this new visitor brings.”

“We will Zordon,” Adam promised.

In a blur of colour the four Rangers teleported away.


The four Rangers arrived on the shores of the beach and started to move toward the water. They stopped when Tanya caught their attention and pointed.

“Guys, that way!”

The Rangers ran into the water and enter. They vanished under the waves and swam through the water. Whatever was hiding there had not affected the abundance of marine life. Adam used a miniature radar screen to trace the unknown ship. He touched a button on his helmet.

“Radar shows the craft up ahead.”

“We’ve gotta move on it!” Tanya answered.

“Jet power – activate!” Jason commanded.

The Rangers activated their jet packs and zoomed through the water. They paused briefly to observe the ship when suddenly, a large hand reached from around the reef latching onto Jason. The others turned to encounter five huge warriors. The four heroes fought valiantly against the warriors.


Divatox was less than happy when the proximity alarm sounded. She used the periscope to watch the Rangers as they struggled with her forces.

“Rygog, who are those interlopers?” she asked.

Rygog peered through the periscope, thought for a while and then answered.

“Hmm … They must be some of those power teenagers Zordon controls.”

“Ha! … Zordon, … what a bore! Well … His little Power peons are in for quite a shock!” Divatox said as she pushed a button.


The hatch of the ship jolted open and a bolt of electrical energy was pushed through the water, sending the Rangers crashing back into a rock formation as the beings they were fighting pressed their attack. A warrior pulled out a stun laser and blasted Kimberly and Jason. Others closed in on Adam and Tanya, but not before he managed to lift his hand to his helmet.

“Alpha … teleport … now …” Adam called.

The four Rangers started to teleport just as a second burst of energy ripped through the water, the extreme current causing the Rangers suits to explode as Alpha desperately tried to teleport them to safety.


The water boiled as the energy wave struck the Rangers as they attempted to teleport. Adam and Tanya were lucky, they managed to release their underwater suits before they overloaded, allowing Alpha to lock on and teleport them. Jason and Kimberly were just a fraction slower to react, and a little too close to the ship. The blast hit them full on, destroying their suits and preventing Alpha from retrieving them. Their communicators malfunctioned, preventing them from escaping as a wire net closed around them.

“We got two of them!” Elgar proclaimed as the warriors dragged Jason and Kimberly inside. They were stripped of the remains or their armour, which was promptly sent to the ship’s scientist while Divatox appraised their prisoners. Elgar moved to join Rygog behind the throne, not liking the look on his aunt’s face. A warrior moved a scanner on top of the two and it buzzed, confirming they were still alive.

“Well that made things easier, we’ve captured two humans of sickening purity, perfect for sacrificing to Maligore! And to think I was going to send Elgar hunting. Rygog, deposit them into the bilge!”

Rygog moved to the control panel and pulled a lever. A panel in the wall slid open and the two Rangers were sucked through a tube and vanished as the panel slid shut. The bilge was specially made for holding prisoners, especially those that happened to be Rangers. The walls were made from Cold Iron, the element known to block magic, preventing them from morphing.

“Zordon and his brats could prove a problem. We’ll just need to get there ahead of them.”


Power Chamber

Things were not going well for the Rangers. Not only had they failed to identify the ship, two of their number been captured by the unidentified forces.

“And I thought things were bad when we just had an injured friend, unconscious wizard and missing friends to worry about,” Tanya moaned.

The four Zeo Rangers gathered around Lerigot who slept upon a table. A myriad of tubes were connected to his body, replenishing much needed body fluids, while Alpha ran a small device over him.

“Is he going to be all right?” Kat asked.

“He is severely dehydrated,” Alpha replied. “The fluids will restore his life force for now.”

“Guess he had a pretty close call,” Tanya said.

“So did we,” Adam reminded her. “We’ve gotta do something to get Jason and Kimberly back.”

Lerigot twitched violently, his eyes rolling back.

“What’s happening?” Tommy demanded as he moved to steady the wizard.

“Tommy, wait … He is receiving a telepathic transmission!” Alpha warned

Lerigot screamed and flailed about.

“Alpha, attach the cranial transmission scanner and connect into the Viewing Screen!” Zordon ordered.

Alpha moved to obey and while Billy opened the panel on the Viewing Screen, he placed a clear dome over Lerigot’s head. Working together they twisted the wires into one long cord that Alpha was able to connect to the Viewing Screen’s input.

“Tuning now Zordon.” Alpha twisted the dial until Divatox’s appeared before them. It was clear that she had no idea who she was looking at.

“Divatox …” Zordon said, recognising the villain. Her appearance on the Viewing Screen answered many of his questions.

“Ai-yi-yi!”

“Zordon, I know you can hear me. So, listen well. Lerigot must surrender.”

Lerigot writhed on the table. The method of contact she had chosen was not a pleasant experience for the wizard. His distress increased as Divatox moved aside, allowing those watching to see Yara and Bethel, Lerigot’s wife and child. Bethel was wearing a metal skull cap. Yara trilled frantically, as two rays of light burst from her eyes.

“Say hello to Lerigot’s family, Yara and Bethel. Amazing what telepathic transmissions can do these days…”

Lerigot’s eyes suddenly opened and he screamed incessantly.

“Make it stop, it’s hurting him!”

Divatox didn’t hear her. “Raven’s Cove at midnight. Bring him to me and as a small token of my appreciation, I’ll relinquish a couple of humans you left lying around down here!”

The image changed again as it fed the image directly from the bilge where Jason and Kimberly had been relieved of their power suits and were wearing only wetsuits.

“Kimberly … Jason!”

The image faded as a metal skull cap was placed on Yara’s head.


Divatox’s Subcraft

The two former Rangers had awakened to find themselves in the Subcraft’s bilge. After discovering that something was preventing them from morphing, they examined the walls, hoping they would find a way out. Already there was a half inch of water covering the floor and a glimpse through a small port hole showed filtered light through the water outside.

“Kim… we’re in major trouble here.”

“Kimberly didn’t answer, she was distracted by the long and slimy thing that slithered toward her through the water. It was some sort of leech, and as it crawled over her foot, Kimberly screamed.

“Get it off me!”

“Hold still!” Jason ordered.

He grabbed a piece of shrapnel and plucked the leech up.

“I think we’re in trouble,” he decided as he saw more leeches move in their direction.


Power Chamber

The Rangers and Zordon observed as Alpha and Lerigot talked. Lerigot was waving his arms, trilling pleadingly. Alpha lay his hands on Lerigot’s shoulders, shake his head and trilling back. Kat turned to Zordon.

“What is it Divatox wants from Lerigot, Zordon?”

“Many centuries ago, Lerigot exiled a profoundly vile being called Maligore upon the lost island of Muiranthias. Through the generations, Lerigot has guarded the golden key which opens the gateway to the island and to Maligore’s freedom.”

“Muiranthias? Across the Nemesis Triangle? Isn’t that a myth?” Adam asked.

“No, Adam. Once upon the island, Divatox seeks to rejoin forces with Maligore and become his bride of evil.”

“Great,” Tommy groused. “And then what?”

“Divatox is a pirate, Tommy. She is considered one of the worst of her kind, surpassed only because she does not indulge in the preferred vices of her family, such as slavery and weapon selling. Nothing in the universe will be safe if she succeeds, because for Divatox there would be no limit to her greed.”

“Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi!” Alpha exclaimed, causing the Rangers to turn toward him. “It’s no use Rangers, I’ve tried convincing him, but Lerigot insists upon giving himself up.”

“Why won’t he listen to reason?” Kat asked.

“Love,” Aisha answered. “He’d give himself up for his family. Wouldn’t you?”

“This is a no win situation!” Zack complained.

“Okay, listen,” Tommy said. “We get Kim and Jason outta there. And then we go after Divatox.”

“I just hope they’re okay,” Trini said. “Time’s running out guys.”

Indeed it was. The meeting with Divatox was not far away and if the scans they had completed so far were accurate, then the energy field created by the cloud over the city would prevent them from going anywhere other than Raven Cove.

“She’s managed to hide herself from our scanners,” Adam said. “The only choice is to follow her instructions.”

That had made sense and more importantly, they needed keep hold of Lerigot.

The Rangers turned to as a loud noise filled the Power Chamber. The Liarian was rocking to and fro, mournful keening sound emerging from his lips.

“The Liarian prayer of guidance,” Alpha told them. “Lerigot is preparing for surrender.”

Unfortunately even the most stubborn Ranger had to admit that they didn’t have a choice.


Raven’s Cove

The four Rangers and Lerigot teleported upon the rugged rocks that surrounded the sinister looking cove. They stared at the sea fifteen feet below. The ground began to shake thunderously and Kat held onto Lerigot protectively.

“Right on schedule,” Tommy remarked as Divatox’s Subcraft moved out from behind a rock formation. A hatch squealed open and an odd raft propelled by a motor was shoved out. A warrior steered the raft while Elgar sat up front. More warriors on jet skis shot out and surrounded it. Within the raft, two figures in scuba gear lay motionless.

“There they are!” Tanya cried.

The raft approached as its mechanical noises echoed throughout the cove. Elgar smiled slyly.


“There’s the little worm now!” Divatox cried as her periscope zeroed in on the raft, the Rangers, and most importantly, Lerigot.

“Now we just need this little plan to work,” Rygog rumbled.

“Trust me Rygog,” she replied. “One thing I can guarantee about good guys: their hearts override their minds.”

“You had better be right,” he muttered.


The warrior cut the motor as Elgar looked up to the rocks.

“Send Lerigot down!” he ordered.

Tommy, refused. They weren’t falling for that. “No, bring our friends closer first!”

Elgar gave an ugly laugh. “I’m afraid you don’t have much of a choice, human! This is as close as you get! Send the wizard down!”

“I don’t like it,” Adam said.

The others nodded. There was too much chance that they would be double-crossed. Unfortunately it seemed that Lerigot had other ideas and when the Rangers turned back to him, the wizard was gone.

“He’s gone! Lerigot’s gone!” she cried, drawing the others’ attention to their new problem.

Suddenly, Lerigot appeared in the raft. He gently waved at the Rangers as Elgar hauled him roughly to his knees. Kat rushed forward.

“Stop it! Don’t hurt him!”

“All right! You have what you came for,” Tommy called across. “Release our friends!”

“You want em … You got em!” Elgar said as he stood and kicked the two bodies into the water where they bobbed for a moment and then began to sink. “Arive derchi turkeys! … Hit it!”

Elgar laughed as the raft sped away, leaving the platoon of warriors on jet skies behind to watch the Rangers. The Rangers paid them no mind and dove into the water, swimming frantically toward their friends. The raft reached the Subcraft and vanished inside. The Subcraft began to submerge creating violent jets of choppy water. The Rangers struggled against the wake as Tommy dived.

Tommy grabbed hold and hoisted the smaller scuba suit upwards. Moments later Kat grabbed the other suit as Tommy emerged and together they dragged the bodies onto dry land.

“Kim?” Tommy asked.

He ripped off the face mask revealing the cold face of one of Divatox’s warriors staring at him maliciously. It cried out and kicked him in the lower body. Even though he was partially morphed, the blow hurt. Before the others could grab it, it disappeared, drawing their attention back to the retreating Elgar.

“No!” Tommy cried, realising what was happening. “Stop them!”

The other Rangers caught up with Tommy and Adam grabbed him.

“They’re gone, Tommy.”

Tommy leaned his head back in despair but not before he heard Adam ask, “is it working?”.


Divatox’s Subcraft

“At last!” Divatox cried, holding up Lerigot’s Golden Key and his pouch of magical powder as Lerigot, wearing a metal skull cap, was thrown into a cage. “You’ve cost me a great deal of time you little fur ball,” she told his as she slammed the door shut in his face. “If this key would work for me, I’d have fired you out of the torpedo tubes already. Instead I’ll have to keep you around.” She moved so that her face was directly next to the cage door. “I need you, but your family are just excess baggage. Remember that!”

Lerigot looked back mournfully. He had hoped that things would turn out differently, but had known deep down that this was the most likely outcome.

“We’ll pass through the Nemesis Triangle in less than forty-eight hours,” Rygog reported, interrupting the pirate’s threats. “Muiranthias lies on the other side.”


Inside the bilge, Kimberly was standing on Jason’s shoulders, straining to hear what was being said. They were dressed in shorts and T-shirts that Divatox had found somewhere. It made them sick to think that for a time she had considered keeping them naked for her entertainment.

“Maligore’s appetite will ignite once he sees the offerings I’ve brought him,” she heard her say. The evil laughter faded away as Kimberly jumped down.

“This is so lame,” she complained. “We go to investigate an alien space craft and end up being abducted. Now we’re in this floating outhouse on the way to someplace called Muiranthias.”

“If we had our powers, we could break out of here,” Jason said.

“Yeah, but we don’t,” Kimberly retorted, effectively ending the conversation. “I don’t suppose we could call maid service.”


Power Chamber

“Bingo!” came the slightly muffled cry as Zack watched the monitor light up. “Tracking device is working.”

“Excellent work Rangers,” Zordon commended. “The increased power of the transmitter will allow us to follow the Subcraft. Although we have lost Lerigot we can still prevent Divatox from freeing Maligore.”

“That might not be so easy Zordon,” Billy warned. “That purple cloud is creating an energy field that we cannot teleport through. Unless we ascertain a method of breaking through that barrier, we won’t be able to catch up.”

“I don’t suppose we could use the Zords?”

“No Tommy,” Zordon replied. “The Nemesis Triangle allows only the powers of Lerigot’s Golden Key to work within its confines. Once inside the Zords would be rendered powerless and could be destroyed by the forces with the Triangle.”

“The force of the triangle has mangled many power sources,” Alpha informed them. “Your Zeo Zords are not equipped to deal with this phenomenon.”

“Besides, I’ve been conducting an analysis of Tommy and Kat’s activities in Africa and can only conclude that the Zeo powers have been compromised. It might be they are no longer reliable enough to use.” As he spoke, Billy was looking at the results of yet another virus check. Although the powers came from the Zeo Crystal, they relied on the apparatus surrounding it to function properly. He looked up at Zordon for confirmation before continuing. “I have been able to establish a way to create a new generation of Zords capable of surviving within the Nemesis Triangle.”

“Indeed,” Zordon interrupted, “Working together Trini and Billy have, with Alpha’s assistance, completed the schematics; while these new Zords may be of ordinary appearances, they possess a capability and power that will carry you through this quest.”

“We’ll still need to configure them,” Billy said. “Only you guys can do that.”

“Why us?” Tommy asked.

“Because you’re the ones that will be going after her,” the young genius told him. “You’re the active team, we’re just here to hold the fort.”

“Divatox believes that she has escaped,” Zordon told them. “However it will take another forty-eight hours for her Subcraft to make the journey. Once completed, your Zords will allow you to catch up.”

Tommy finally nodded. “Let’s get to work then.”

To be continued


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The Price of Charity

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers or any other show. No profit is being made from this piece of fanfiction. The next few chapters will borrow heavily from Turbo: A Power Ranger Movie.

Author’s Note: Some events in this chapter follow on from those Lerigot’s Greatest Trick.

The Price of Charity

Klatos Seven

The tip of the arrowhead glistened in the afternoon sun as a misshapen hand drew back the bow string until it was taut, notched an arrow and realised it with practised ease. The snap of the wire was the only sound as the arrow flew through the air, driving itself into a rotten log, resulting in an explosion of light.

*Father, they found us,* Bethel cried, her panic overwhelming the mental connection among the three escapees.

Her father, Lerigot placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder before regarding the spell he had been working on. The long distance doorway he had been working to create was finished, but the arrow had prevented him from fine-tuning their destination.

*Stay here and prepare for transport,* the wizard instructed, allowing their attacker to catch a glimpse of him as he ran into the undergrowth. *I will be back when the door is fully opened.*

The furry, gnome-like creature jumped over logs, fleeing in supposed terror into the brush. The two oversized warriors pursuing him followed, one of them taking aim. The arrow crunched into a tree just inches over the fleeing wizard’s head with a resounding slam.


Earth

With a resounding slam the foot connected with the red punching bag. The filtered light gave the fighter a shadowy appearance as his sweaty body moved with practised precision. As he moved, his long hair flew out of his eyes eliciting another grunt from his muscular chest. This was a workout and from the fighter’s panting it was clear that he had been exerting himself for a while. As he moved, another fighter entered the fray, his fist making contact with the bag from an entirely different direction. There was a whoosh of air as the bag swung wildly to one side.


Klatos Seven

There was a distinct whooshing sound as the creature swung from a vine and dropped down in a roll on the ground. He rose quickly and continued through the forest of dense vegetation and shrouded mists. He could hear his pursuers not far behind him, but Lerigot knew they would not catch him. He was after all a powerful wizard.

He missed his human form, but away from his home planet he was resigned to wearing the coarse woven robe belted with twine that covered his silver and gold fur. He threw a small amount of powder from the worn leather pouch at his waist, hiding his trail for a moment longer.

There was a loud crash as the two warriors broke through the brush behind him. It was too late to catch him though as Lerigot vanished around the corner making frantic trills and clicking noises that he knew those waiting for him would understand. The powder worked its magic and though the arrows slashed the air around him, they were incapable of piercing his hide.

His pursuers were thrown for a moment, long enough for him to return to his wife and daughter. His luminous eyes peered into those of his terrified daughter as she stared into his lavender orbs. He stopped just long enough to ensure that the doorway between worlds was finally open before heading off in a different direction, once again buying time for his family.


High above the planet the Space Pirate, Divatox, watched her warriors. Her slender hands, which were encased in metal, wrapped around the sides of a periscope, tightening as she saw the arrows almost strike the fugitive wizard. With a growl she slammed the periscope up. Her ebony hair flailed, shifting the silver streaks that ran down her back.

Divatox was known for her beauty, but woe betides any man foolish enough to believe that beauty extended beneath the skin. She was a sinister nomad, a barbaric pirate who was not afraid to marry those whose wealth she wanted and then kill them.

“Fools!” she snarled as she slammed her fist on the control panel. “I want that fur ball wizard alive!”


Earth

Present, 1100hrs

The three shadows lunged at the bag, one after the other. Tommy’s hair whirled uncontrollably as he delivered a fierce punch before ducking aside to allow Rocky a chance to slam his forearm into the side and Adam to land a swift kick. With a cry of rage Tommy delivered a spin kick that threatened to tear the punch bag from its mountings.


Klatos Seven

They were far from the ritual site now and Lerigot continued to keep himself just outside the range of his pursuers. At the opportune moment he stumbled, slipping on the wet stones of the almost dry river bed. The hem of his robe snagged on a tree root and he let out a small cry of panic as he fell forward. He had lost valuable time and from the noise behind him it was clear that his had caught up.

“Say your prayers, Lerigot!” one of the warriors cried.

Lerigot’s response was to surround himself with dust, knowing it would confuse his enemies long enough for him to make the small teleport back to the clearing where he had left his wife and child.

The warriors moved their mounts forward, backing what they believed to be Lerigot into the trunk of a tree. The warrior raised his bow, aimed and then stopped.

“What are you waiting for?” the other warrior demanded.

The shooter struggled against the unseen, hypnotic effect of the glowing dust. He finally managed to loose the arrow, just as Lerigot disappeared. The arrow embedded itself within the tree.

“He’s not there!” the first exclaimed.

The other growled in agreement.


He reappeared just outside the clearing only to find it empty, the ritual site destroyed by Divatox’s forces. His wife and child were gone, his deception had failed and he didn’t have time to discover whether they had escaped or been taken because Divatox’s forces had found him again. Resolving to trust that his loved ones were safe, and planning to return as soon as he could rebuild the doorway on the other side of the gap, he reached into the leather pouch at his waist and removed his Golden Key. Using the power of the key to grab the residual energy of the doorway, he was able to create a whirling vortex.

With a final glance at his attackers he jumped into the portal and disappeared, oblivious to the angry cries of the approaching hunters as they realised their quarry had escaped them again.


Angel Grove, Earth

The little yellow bus barrelled down the road, the words Little Angel’s Haven written on its side in fading black paint. It was a sign of just how bad things had become for the shelter when they could barely keep their bus road legal. The shelter was desperately in need of funding if it was going to survive. The grant from the Wayne Foundation allowed them to cover their day-to-day costs, but the mortgage payments were behind and their bankers were on the point of foreclosing; that a major developer had been making offers to the owners of surrounding properties had made it more profitable should the bank repossess.

They had tried to keep the news from the children, not wanting them to worry about matters they could not control. Unfortunately while most had been willing to believe that everything was okay, there were a few that were just too perceptive for their own good or had too many worries of their own to join in with the singing.

Always happy to help a good cause, the teenagers known to a select few as the Power Rangers had been recruited to help in a charity drive to save the home. Rocky, Adam and Tommy had entered a competition with the promise of donating their winnings to the good cause. Tanya and Kat had volunteered to give the children a day out, which included a visit to see the boys training.

“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream…”

While Tanya led the group in a cheerful round of singing, Kat walked up and down the isle, ensuring their charges were okay. She stopped in the middle of the bus when she noticed twelve year old Justin Stewart was not taking part. She knew he had been expecting to leave the shelter to live with his father, and while she didn’t know exactly what had happened, it was well known that Dean Stewart was not the most reliable person. With the recent loss of his wife, Justin’s father had been away from home, trying to start a new life in another state. It was clear that the disappointment had had an effect on the grieving boy who currently stared sadly out of the window.

“Hey Justin,” she greeted as she sat on the seat beside him. “I know you know the words.”

“I just don’t feel like singing,” Justin replied.

“Is everything all right?” she pressed.

“Everything’s fine,” Justin told her, his tone giving away his slight irritation at the questioning. He shrugged apologetically. “It’s no big deal. I just don’t want to sing.”

Kat sighed, realising that despite wanting to help those in pain, until Justin was willing to open up there was little she could do. As the boy went back to staring out the window, Kat and Tanya exchanged a helpless look before the Pink Ranger continued her way down the bus.


Angel Grove Arena

1400hrs

They had been at it for five hours and they were growing tired. Tommy, Rocky and Adam were embroiled in a fierce training session inside a three-roped ring. They separated out as Tommy and Rocky started to spar against each other.

“No Tommy, follow it through!” Coach Jim Daniels, a commanding man instructed. Coach Daniels had taken over the duties of teaching Physical Education when Principal Caplan had been too busy to split his duties as administrator of the High School with his role as Gym teacher.

Tommy obeyed, lunging as Rocky and knocking him backwards. While Coach Daniels wasn’t into Martial Arts, there was no questioning his ability to motivate his students. He knew what Tommy, Adam and Rocky could do and had resigned himself to keeping them focussed and allowing them to adjust their techniques. Fortunately he knew a bit about Boxing.

“Rocky! Get back in there!” he shouted.

Rocky nodded once and launched a kick, which Tommy deflected with his hands.

“Good, now Adam!”

Adam ran forward and joined the other two. He twisted and jumped in the air, and landed a kick that didn’t meet its destination. His next kick was spot on target, but the coach was determined that they would get it right every time.

“Rocky, swing kick!” he ordered, “my hand!”

Rocky tried, but missed the Coach’s hand, and landed hard.

“Man! I’m giving it all I’ve got!” the Blue Ranger groaned as Adam helped him up.

“Maybe we’re trying too hard,” Adam suggested. “This isn’t a fight to the death, maybe we’re taking it too seriously.”

Rocky shrugged. “Or maybe I’m not trying hard enough … Hiya!”

He jumped toward the coach’s raised hand in a high, hard kick. He hit the target, but tripped over his own feet and landed on the mat.

“You okay Bro?” Tommy asked.

Rocky nodded as Tommy and Adam helped the bruised teen back to his feet.

“Only bruised my pride,” he quipped.

“Let’s take a break guys,” the coach said. “Start again in two hours.”

The teens nodded gratefully and made their way from the ring in time to meet Kat and Tanya as they led their group into the arena.


Kat and Tanya walked behind the group of kids as they moved toward the main area of the arena. Justin walked by himself, a bit removed from the others, something the two girls noticed.

“I wish there was a way to get through to Justin,” Kat said. “I know he wants to be a part of things. Maybe watching the guys practice will cheer him up.”

“He needs a little time to adjust,” Tanya told her. “I mean one minute he’s got a home and the next minute his mother has passed away and he’s living in a shelter. He’s a smart kid, but that’s still a lot to take in. Hopefully his father will find a job soon so they can be a family again.”

“I hope so, I think they really need each other right now,” Kat sighed. “I just wish he would understand that it’s okay for him to have fun even though he misses her.”

Kat and Tanya ushered the children into the main area of the arena. They stopped when they were met by Rocky, Tommy and Adam in tow.

“Hey guys, who wants a picnic?” Tommy asked. The trip had been intended to show the kids that there were those working hard to raise the money to keep the Shelter open, but since they had decided to take a break, Tommy thought it was a good idea to move the agenda forward.

He was met by enthusiastic nods, especially from Rocky.

“Hey, it was a great kick …” he could be heard saying to Adam. “The landing needs a little work.”

There was a mix of relieved laughter as the group moved outside.


Klatos Seven

SLAP!

It was a powerful blow that carried all of Divatox’s displeasure, something the two useless warriors could understand.

“What do you mean he got away?” she asked, towering over the warrior.

After observing the chase, Divatox had ordered her crew to direct her Subcraft to land in a large body of water, one that she knew would provide the energy to recharge the engines. Currently the large, battered submarine, nestled upon the lake bed, its systems set for minimal power usage.

And now the angry pirate stood in the middle of the chamber, surrounded by the bizarre mix of technological apparatuses and the trophies of past campaigns, facing the two warriors.

“He was too quick,” came the fearful response. “We tried but….”

“But what?” Elgar, Divatox’s turnip-brained nephew asked. “Hey Auntie Divatox, I told you those two bolt buckets weren’t up to snuff!”

“Silence!” Divatox snarled, turning her anger on her nephew. “You were supposed to be in charge of those idiots Elgar!”

Long metal nails shot from her fingers as she swung for her nephew. There was a shower of sparks as she ripped Elgar’s mechanical hand from his wrist socket. The hand flew across the room and into the waiting grasp of Rygog, Divatox’s sinister and slightly competent second in command.

“You don’t ask fools to do a mutant’s job,” he told her.

“I know that, Rygog!” she replied before her mood changed. “Not to worry boys, we’ll get to the Island of Muiranthias if it’s the last thing we do!”

“Lucky for you I’ll be here to give you a hand!” Rygog told her as he slapped the hand against Elgar’s chest.

Divatox shot him a glare, crossed the room and sat upon a throne of twisted shrapnel. A gelatinous eel poked its head from beneath Divatox’s cloak. It made a strange squealing sound as it slithered out onto her lap. Divatox stroked the creature’s head absentmindedly.

“So you got them?” she asked, her face lightening into a smile when he nodded. “Perfect! Rygog you’ve restored my faith in you dimwits.” The smile turned into a nasty grin. “Now we can lure Lerigot to us … If he wants his family back, he’ll come. Track him!”


Africa, Earth

The shockwave caused birds to scatter as a fiery orb burst through the Earth’s atmosphere, the glowing ball appearing as a small sun in the otherwise azure skyline. There was a bright flash followed by a loud bang as Lerigot ploughed into the undergrowth; the problem with emergency portals was that Lerigot never knew where he would reappear, as proven when he had materialised two miles above the jungle canopy.

The wise sage looked around, shocked by the impact, unsure of his surroundings and fearful that Divatox had his family hostage. He knew the pirate’s tastes and knew that getting his wife and daughter back alive was the best he could hope for.

A peeping sound immediately grabbed his attention and as Lerigot looked down, he noticed that he was seated inside a large bird’s nest near the tops of the trees. Three baby birds peered up at him, their mouths open as they squawked for food. Mistaking their begging for some sort of communication, Lerigot’s eyes became huge as imitated the baby birds, all the time reaching out with his telepathy for some sign of intellect. That proved to be the wrong decision as the baby birds started to peck him. He shifted in the nest and fell out. He clung to a branch for dear life as he shook his head. Luck though was against him as the branch gave way and he fell, sliding down the trunk to the ground below.

The trill that emerged from his lips could have been considered a classic line on many worlds or a slanderous insult on others. On Earth though the closest translation was “Ow!”


Ziktor Industries, Crossworld City

“… What do you mean the banks have not foreclosed?” Karl Ziktor demanded, all but shouting at the lawyer he had assigned to acquire the rights to the land on which Little Angels Haven currently stood. “Listen to me Bateman, I want that land and you told me you could persuade them… I don’t care what Mayor Carrington told them, you assured me that they would comply.”

The land was essential to his plans for the redevelopment of Angel Grove. He had spent months paying officials to get the permits he needed, had used all the political power that his position as a major industrialist allowed him to restrict funding for the shelter. Mayor Carrington had prevented him from simply taking over the site, but once the banks foreclosed, there would be little she could do.

“What fund raiser?” he asked. He had made sure that local businessmen would not make any worthwhile donations toward the shelter’s survival. “No, keep trying to convince the banks to call in the loans and find a way to stop that event. I don’t know, bribe the Fire Department to declare the building unsafe. Yes… I expect results, Bateman.”

He replaced the phone and absentmindedly stroked the back of his pet lizard. The acquisition of the building was essential and he was not about to let a group of teenagers defy him. Because unknown to the world, Karl Ziktor was in reality Grimlord, the ruler of Mivertual Real’liti, an unfortunate planet sealed within a temporal space.

“That building will be the centerpiece of my new mall development,” he told the lizard. “Those children will be gone by the end of the week, one way or another.”

His hand reached out to grasp the Transformation Orb, took a deep breath and spoke.

“Forces of Darkness, empower me! Take me back to Mivertual Real’liti!” Light flashed, and suddenly Karl Ziktor, wealthy businessman, was transformed into Grimlord, evil warlord into on extending his kingdom beyond his dimensionally disjointed world. Clad in strange metal armour, Grimlord did not appear human. Clawed hands and feet, thick scaly skin, and a tail growing from the small of his back gave him more the appearance of a demonic lizard. His eyes glowed with red energy as he scanned the mutants that awaited him.

“Colonel Icebot!” he growled, sending a beam of energy at one wall. A view screen formed, showing a white robot whose face seemed permanently formed into a sly grin. “What is the status of the Reality Wedge?”

During the final days of the villain Minion, the barrier that prevented Grimlord’s forces from escaping their distant solar system had been weakened. Colonel Icebot had been working on a way of taking advantage of that weakness, shattering the barrier and allowing the invasion of Earth to begin – for it seemed that the answer to all of Mivertual Real’liti’s problems lay in the subjugation of the only planet they could access.

“All is in readiness your Lordship!” the scientist told him. “All that is needed is the Focus Point.”

The plan required the placement of a Dimensional Vibrator on the fault line. Had that location been within the boundaries of Crossworld City, where under normal circumstances the barrier was at its weakest, Ziktor would have found a way to purchase the land. Unfortunately his Skugs had determined that the Focus Point was beneath Little Angels Haven in the city of Angel Grove.

“I want that building gone,” Grimlord stated. “General Ivar!”

“I await your order to begin!” Ivar responded.

“Very well, Icebot, I require one of your creations. Without an arena there will be no competition, no prize and most importantly, no shelter.”

“At once Grimlord!”


Angel Grove Park

The older teenagers led their charges over to the picnic area, when they were stopped by the appearance of a group of black and gold warriors, which they recognised as Skugs. Though they soon showed the alien warriors that humans were not as weak as they might have believed.

During the battle, which continued even after the Rangers had taken down the Skugs numerous time because they did not know the correct way to dispose of them, Rocky found himself isolated from the rest of the group. He found himself pitted against an overwhelming number of mutants. Before Tommy or Adam could reach him, the Skugs had hauled him into the air and slammed him through a picnic table. Then they had moved out of the way, allowing the black robot known as General Ivar to pummel the defenceless teen.

Just weeks earlier Rocky had narrowly escaped being crippled by the forces of darkness. This time it seemed that he was not going to make it out alive.

“It’s time for a Gold Rush!”

Help had arrived. The children and unmorphed Rangers watched with relief as the Power Rangers made their appearance, led by the Gold Ranger. The Skugs were tough, but no match for the combined power of the Rangers, and Ivar having determined that Rocky would not compete in any competition, decided his mission had been a success and withdrew.

“Rocky?” Adam asked, making his way over to where his friend lay. “Get an ambulance!”

He wanted to take his friend back to the Power Chamber, but there were too many civilians around and even if the Gold Ranger had offered, it would have raised too many questions.

“Kat, maybe we should get to the game,” Tanya suggested, keen to get the youngsters away from the disturbing scene.

Her teammate nodded, and leaving Adam to tend Rocky, she herded the children away from the park.


Power Chamber

“Ai-yi-yi, Zordon, Rocky is hurt and we cannot help him.”

“Patience Alpha,” Zordon replied. “Once Rocky is allowed visitors we will send something to aid his healing. Although I am afraid that some of his injuries will require time to heal.”

“Do you think he will be able to remain a Ranger this time?”

Zordon didn’t answer. In the last year, Rocky had suffered a number of injuries to his back. While most had been healed there was a serious weakness that made morphing all the more dangerous; Zordon had known Rangers on other worlds retire for less. For that matter it was rare for Rangers to remain active for more than a year at a time. He had tried to give each team some respite, but he had to admit that he had been unfair to them.

~Perhaps the time is coming when we will need to find some new candidates.~


Mivertual Real’liti

“Report Ivar!”

“One of the members of the fund-raising team has been injured my Lord,” the robot responded.

Grimlord pondered the possibilities. Without a team there was no way they could win the prize money and no way the shelter would remain open. By the end of the week the banks would foreclose and he would have the land. Then the Reality Wedge would open the tear and the invasion could begin.


Africa

The lion roared, no doubt wondering why the strange meal standing before it had not run away. Lerigot gazed at the lion, locking eyes with him and smiled serenely. He closed his eyes and reached out with his senses, humming softly as he waved his free hand over the lion’s head. The lion cocked its head and backed away. Lerigot rose and stood with his hands stretched out before him. The male lion cautiously padded forward and sniffed Lerigot’s hand. Lerigot opened the pouch at his waist, removes the key and showed it to the lion.

*Alpha?*


Angel Grove Stadium

Late afternoon

Rocky had been taken to the hospital. There was little the Rangers could do for him until they were free to visit. Still his life was not in danger, and regardless of whether the Rangers had the opportunity to help him heal or not, he would make a full recovery. With little else to do Adam had rejoined the other Zeo Rangers to help supervise the children.

And it was quite a game, highlighted by a number of home runs from the local favourites. Currently the Angel Grove All Stars were leading the Larkdale Lions. The crowd erupted as a handsome African American man in uniform took the plate and crouched into batting position. The ball was pitched, the bat swung… CRACK!

“And the ball is heading toward the stands. It’s… outta there!”

The people in the crowd jumped as a hand snatched the ball from the end. Tanya grinned as she held the ball proudly as Tommy, Adam, Kat and Ernie – for even the Juice Bar’s owner had taken time out to see the game of the season – cheered; the children from the shelter were in the front row and having a great time.

“Yeah!” Tanya cried … “Way to go, Dynamo! Here you go, Justin. Why don’t you hold onto this for me?”

Justin took the ball and for the first time he smiled a little. It was a small improvement and while Kat and Tanya realised there was a long way to go, it was a start.

“That was a tough catch, Tanya!” Tommy cried enthusiastically, catching onto the sudden change in his young friend.

“Catching that smile was even tougher,” Kat whispered to Tanya.

Ernie patted her on the back “Great work. This calls for a celebration … hot dogs anyone?”

His question was met with a resounding “Yeah!”

“I’ll give you a hand,” Adam volunteered.

“Hey Adam… why don’t you call the hospital again?” Tommy asked.

Adam nodded. “Yeah, I was going to.”


Africa

Communication had been difficult, but possible between the wizard and lion. In the end though it had accomplished very little. The lion had no idea where Alpha could be found although it had decided that Lerigot would not make a good meal while he was still alive. That was not saying much though because as he stood in the middle of the jungle, it occurred to him just how hot it had become.

*Alpha?* he called, hoping that the little android would hear him. *Zordon? … Help!*


Power Chamber

“Ah Zordon, just the person I wished to speak to.”

“Councillor,” Zordon greeted in reply, preparing himself for another round of mental chess.

“It has come to my attention that one of you ‘Rangers’ has been injured.”

“I remind you Councillor that the power of Zeo has been recognised by the Grid
Masters as an approved power source. They ARE Rangers.”

The image on the Viewing Screen did not appear pleased, but nodded anyway.

“Regardless, since DeSantos has been injured, you will be needing a new Blue Ranger. I have taken the liberty of interviewing candidates and will let you know the outcome later today.”

So that was what this was about. Unable to strip the Zeo Rangers of their powers, the Council was trying to remove the Earthlings from the team, replacing them with those they approved of.

“Your decision is most welcome,” Zordon said, “but unnecessary.”

“Unnecessary? Surely you don’t intend to leave the position vacant.” There was a hint of concern in the Councillor’s voice. Regardless of how they all looked down on Earth, the planet was too important to leave undefended.

“I meant that I have already instructed Rocky to find a successor until he can resume his role.”

It was a lie, but he did intend to tell Rocky to select somebody to fill in for him. He hoped that the announcement would keep the Council at bay for a little longer.

“Now see here Zordon, DeSantos is not a Grid Master, nor is he a recognised member of the Council. What gives him the right to decide something as important?”

“Simple Councillor,” Zordon said cordially, “the fact that only Rocky can pass on his Zeonisers.”

“You would be breaking the Council’s Decree that there should be no new Rangers created on Earth,” the other man warned.

“I would not be creating any new Rangers, Councillor,” Zordon argued back. “Rocky will pass the powers on to somebody willing to hold them for a while. When he returns to full health, he will have the choice of either resuming his role as Blue Ranger or retiring from service.”

“I fail to see a difference.”

“But there is one,” Zordon pointed out. “The Council cannot interfere in this matter.”

All pretence of polite conversation was gone now as the Councillor allowed his anger to show. “You will regret this Zordon,” he warned. “I will have your job for this.”

“Indeed you might,” Zordon said as the communication ended. “But that doesn’t mean you’ll be running things your way. Alpha, set the Power Chamber to Lockdown Stage One-”

“Ai-yi-yi, yes Zordon.”

“-and then contact Rocky. I regret the timing, but he must be told.”


Angel Grove Hospital

It was night time before the Rangers had the opportunity to visit their friend. The news from the doctors was good and he had spent the afternoon listening to his mother as she tried to decide whether to be happy that he was okay or angry that he had been foolish enough to fight monsters in the park. In the end she had settled for hugging her son and repeating how much she loved him.

When she had left, he had fallen asleep. Ranger Healing was effective, but it took a great deal of energy. That coupled with the drugs the nurses had given him had left him tired.

He didn’t notice the door handle move slowly as the door opened slightly. If he had, he would have seen Justin peek into the room. He suddenly turned to look back as he heard footsteps approaching the room. Thinking quickly, Justin rushed into the room and hid under the bed as the other four Zeo Rangers entered.

Rocky opened his eyes. “Hey … I heard we won the game.”

Tommy smiled. “Yeah we did man.” He sobered as he looked down at his injured friend. “You were really lucky, Rock. You scared the hell out of us.”

“The doctor said you’re gonna make a full recovery,” Tanya told him.

“Yeah well I had a little help there. Thanks for dropping this over Adam.” He passed the Green Ranger the healing device he had dropped off during the game. “I’m going to be as good as new, but not in time for the competition. You guys are gonna have to do it without me. The kids’ shelter is counting on that prize money to stay open.”

“We’ll let Alpha and Zordon know,” Kat started before looking at Tommy. There was an uncomfortable silence before he sighed.

“Look Rocky…”


Power Chamber

The computers had locked onto a disturbance. Actually they had detected the alien as soon as it arrived on the planet, but with the satellite network limited following Minion’s attack, it took longer to scan the entire planet.

“Ay yi yi! … Zordon?” He looked up at the giant tube only to find that Zordon was not inside. He tried again. “Zordon?”, and was rewarded when Zordon reappeared. “Hee hee hee … Another Power Nap?” he asked, his cheek covering his concern.

“No, Alpha. I apologise for worrying you. I had to reconfirm the information. Your suspicions were correct, the energy signature matches Lerigot.”

“Great!” Alpha sighed, “The Wizard of Liaria is dropping in for a visit, it took us ten months to get the fur out of the furniture last time!”

“This is not good news,” Zordon told him. “Lerigot knows the consequences to his life force by coming in such close proximity to the sun. It must be an emergency. Alert the Power Rangers!”

“Will do … Ay-yi-yi!”


At the hospital the Rangers had filled Rocky in on the need to transfer his powers and the consequences of not doing so. Rocky had agreed and together they had tried to decide on whom his successor should be.

Justin had remained out of sight the entire time, but had heard everything said. His mind was churning as he heard another noise.

“You think Zordon can read our minds?” Adam asked. He had been about to call the White
Master.

“Probably,” Tommy replied before touching his communicator. “We read you, Alpha.”

“Rangers, report to the Power Chamber at once.”

For Justin that was confirmation of the conversation he had been listening to.

“Go for it,” Rocky told the others when they looked to him for confirmation.

“We’ll let you know what’s up,” Adam promised as the others smiled.

They teleported out and Justin took the opportunity to get away. In doing so he jerked up and bumped his head. “Ow!”

“Who’s there?” Rocky demanded.

Knowing he had been caught, Justin crawled out from under the bed. He wanted to say “sorry for spying”, or perhaps explain why he was under the bed. Instead he asked, “You guys are the Power Rangers?”

For once Rocky was lost for words.

To be Continued



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Starting Anew

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners. No profit is being made from this piece of fan work.

Starting Anew

Angel Grove

After awakening from his enforced coma, and following the assistance he had given to the Rangers against Drac’cuul, it had been decided that Nate Oliver, an unwitting time traveller from a dark future, would remain at the Power Chamber long enough for Zordon and the other Ranger to determine the fate of his powers. At the time of his arrival the energies that had controlled his morphing ability had been uncontrollable, forcing the Rangers to take drastic steps to force him back into his human state. To help him understand the nature of the powers that had survived his experience, Zordon had devised a number of tests.

It was a controversial move that had drawn the attention of the Galactic Council’s most senior members. As potentially the single most powerful Ranger in existence, assuming of course that he could still use his powers, Nate’s future had been a matter of some debate. Some councillors had gone so far as to demand that the youth’s unorthodox transformation device be broken down into its component parts and that while some remained on Earth, others should be handed over to their control.

The Rangers were not taking any chances during the early stages of testing and had made a point of transporting Nate a safe distance from the Power Chamber while positioning those observing the tests inside a reinforced bunker.

“Zordon, I can stress the concern this body feels about this experiment,” somebody was saying.

“Councillor Rheina, I have assured the Council countless times that Nate is unwilling to accept your offer, has no allegiance to the Council and as a resident of the planet Earth is outside your jurisdiction.”

“Still if you ordered him, he would agree,” the councillor pointed out.

“Nor Councillor is he under my command. We do not know how he acquired his powers, but there were no
Grid Masters at that time to act as his mentors.”

“You’ve been warned Zordon,” Ommtette stated, realising there was little he could say to alter the White
Master’s stance; on Earth the Council had no authority. “If anything goes wrong, you will be held responsible.”

As the two politicians continued their discussions, the Zeo Rangers were busy positioning the last pieces of a complex metal wall in position. Built from gold, silver and other materials known to absorb the energies that Rangers wielded when morphed, it functioned as an adapted Faraday cage in case anything went wrong.

“Now that you’ve found your centre, try to draw the energy along your arm and into your hands, then allow it to return to your chest,” Zordon instructed. In the initial stages he was using meditation and focus building exercises to direct his student.

As the Grid Master continued to offer advice, Nate strained to complete the exercise. He had never been taught how to use his powers; there hadn’t been time to find ways to develop the channels needed to direct the flow of power. And since there was no way for him to summon the Power Pack without triggering at least a partial transformation, it was still unclear exactly how his powers would manifest. They couldn’t even guarantee that some of the components still functioned.

If they could force the Power Box back into reality, Nate seriously doubted that it would remain intact for long. Its nature made it too unstable as a breakdown in any one component had the potential to destabilise the complex energy matrix of the remaining pieces.

Drawing from his body’s natural energy was surprisingly simple, almost instinctive. The success was noticeable as Nate’s skin started to glow, a clear indication that his powers were on the point of igniting once more. With an effort he managed to suppress the process, keeping it from spiralling out of control, well aware that to do so would risk the overload he had suffered the last time.

“Good. Now this time, try to force the energy into a beam of light through your fingertips and merging the light into a ball.”

Nate frowned as he concentrated harder. His powers wanted to help him, to do the work for him, but he refused to let the potent energy escape his control. With a grunt he managed to force the energy through his fingertips, but his attempt was a little too forceful as the explosive beams of light punched holes in the nearby mountainside.

The burst of energy could be seen for miles around as Nate struggled to maintain control.

“Concentrate Nate,” Tommy urged. “If you can’t contain it, shape it to do what you want, what you need.”

Nate didn’t reply, his mind focussed on stopping the escalating power surge. He tried to force the Power to take a form, focussing on the Rangers he had seen in action since coming to this world. He fought to keep his thoughts in the present, desperate to quench the memories that wanted to break free at this most inappropriate of times. That didn’t stop the images from drifting through his head, diverting his attention as his demons tried to assert themselves.

“That’s it,” Tanya encouraged. “You’re almost there.”

The beacon of uncontrolled energy lit up the land, causing a few random sandstorms on the other side of the world. With a new sense of urgency Nate fought the process, bending it to his mind, his thoughts racing between the form he wanted to take and those things he remembered.

“Power Up!”

It was one of many phrases that came to mind. It didn’t fit the transformation, but at that time he was too busy to worry about that. The process was still not entirely under control. He could feel himself being pulled in different directions as the different energy types fought for dominance.

“Power Down!”

He hadn’t been certain if this would work until he tried it. The magical powers of the Morphin Grid obeyed his command, ceasing to flow almost immediately and leaving behind a golden bracelet containing eight coloured stones. The other energy sources were scientific in nature and could not be directed by willpower alone. Instead of deactivating, they tried to break away from his control, manifesting a few meters away.

“Nate, the Power Box is growing unstable,” Billy warned.

The Power Box had been designed to operate as a collective unit and could not process the multiple data streams that overwhelmed its controls. Realising that an exploding multi-morpher would likely prove more destructive than many of the world’s nuclear weapons, he used his freshly gained powers to suppress the cascading reaction and shut the powers down manually.

The smoke took a while to clear, but when it did the Rangers could see that the experiment had been a success. Nate stood unharmed, a gold coin clutched firmly in his hand remained.

“I believe that will be enough for one day,” Zordon decided.

Off to one side another observer, a Time Lord known as the Doctor watched in amusement. He found the experiments interesting. Training Nate was proving to be a challenge, which was great since he found it distracted him from his own problems, such as how he came to be in Angel Grove. This was not the Earth that he had known. History had been rewritten, causing a war that humans should have remained blissfully unaware of, to feature Earth as one of the higher value prizes. At first he had believed that this was an alternate reality or parallel universe as he preffered to think of it, which perhaps his time machine’s strange and only recently developed habit of locking onto strange upheavals had transferred them to somewhere that they shouldn’t be. However his checks had revealed that this was his universe and that the war that his people had been speaking of for hundreds of years was not far away.

Sam was all right of course and had taken their recent vacation from travelling as a chance to see America. He had however given her strict instructions not to contact her parents or travel to see them.

For now though his objective was simply to help Nate and the other Rangers to avoid a potential disaster. It didn’t matter that they were using a power source that his race would frown upon. All that mattered was that the young man had access to energy, a lot of it, potent enough to wipe out half the planet if let loose in an uncontrolled fashion; he didn’t want to think how much damage a total lack of control could cause.

It was made more difficult because not only did the boy have to channel and control more energy than the human body was intended to hold, but part of that energy was magical in nature; with powers such as Zeo, one and one would usually equal two, but with magic one and one simply equalled more than you started with. Not for the first time he wondered how Nate had been able to control such a mismatched collection of energy currents in the first place.


“Ready?”

Nate nodded, feeling the power inside of him. He had made great progress in channelling the energy that coursed through him, a feat made easier when it had been suggested that journeying through time had altered his powers. Currently he was concentrating on the Morphin energies, which required the most care and some sort of outlet to avoid an overload.

“Power Up!”

After the previous attempt, Nate had discovered an instinctive knowledge of his powers that all Rangers possessed on some level. That knowledge had allowed Zordon and Alpha to turn the bracelet and coin into an effective morpher, which channelled the power spike and using a template stored within, created the armour of Earth’s newest Power Ranger. The suit of tight fitting material was mostly dark grey; the boots were grey, the gloves were grey, and even the helmet was grey. To offset the dark appearance, the top of his boots, the end of his gauntlet gloves, belt and shoulder pads were black, as was the trim surrounding his helmet’s visor. Golden thread had been used to create a series of diamond shapes, which ran down the outside of his arms and legs. The same thread had been used to create a dinosaur foot inside a circle on his chest. A small crest rose from the front of his helmet and extended around to the back.

“Congratulations Nate, your morph is completely stable,” Zordon confirmed after Alpha had conducted a few tests.

It had taken a while to discover why the previous attempts had failed. Once it had been suggested that the problem was due to Nate lacking any real knowledge of the Morphin Grid when constructing his powers. The coins he had used to channel the Morphin energy had been those damaged by Rito Revolto, which had been originally based upon the power of Dinosaurs, but later modified to use the power of Thunder. The resulting use of such coins had caused Nate to drawn from both sources simultaneously.

“You were right Zordon, the powers combine the Body and Mind aspects of the power,” Alpha reported.

“In battle you will yield the Brachio Staff, a weapon you have proven to possess great potency and adaptability,” Zordon continued. “The staff will afford you greater protection in battle and offset the lack of a personal Zord.”

While Nate had the power to operate a Zord, his unorthodox morpher had not been configured to work with a specific machine. Since there were already plenty of Zords on Earth and more than enough Rangers to operate them, Zordon didn’t intend to alter that situation.

“Hey, whaz goin’ on?”

Nate looked for the source of the voice, eventually tracking it to the morpher on his wrist. His morpher was speaking to him. In some instances this would have been weird, but after all the things he had been through, a talking wristwatch was not that strange. A memory started to push its way to the surface, bringing with it a name.

“Tweeki?” he asked.

“How’s it goin’ boss?” the one-time Alpha unit asked. “I can’t believe we made it. No way you should ha’ survived that.”

Tweeki’s words brought back some of the memories that had been hidden from him. He remembered his world, the loss of everything he held dear and all because of a single villain. He remembered a battle, a desperate act that had led to him landing a devastating blow to a unbelievably powerful villain; he also recalled his horror moments later when he realised that his powers were out of control.

“Hey hey hey boss, wadja do to ya pow’rs? You had Power Coins, the Zeo Crystal and a Golden Power Staff in ‘ere. Where’d they go?”

As Nate with a little help from Zordon and Alpha explained what had happened, Tweeki ran a check of his Ranger’s powers. The results would take weeks to compile and would prove a cause for concern.


Sometime later

“And furthermore, it is the decision of this panel that the Ranger known as Nate Oliver not be permitted to morph until his powers have been examined by a
Grid Master that the Council has approved. Zordon, you are to demand that he hand over his morpher immediately; should he refuse he is to be dealt with as an enemy. The powers that Oliver displays are too great for a single person to hold. Should he turn rogue there is no guarantee that your current teams could stop him.”

“I will do my best Councillor Rheina,” Zordon agreed. He didn’t have much choice in the matter. The Council could not command the Rangers under his supervision to do anything, but they were technically his superiors.

“You had better Zordon. The Council has been very indulgent when it comes to your activities. The teams you have created are independent, but you are not. We can always request the
Grid Masters to replace you with a more cooperative representative.”

The communication ended and not for the first time Zordon realised that he truly despised politics. There had been no plans to include Nate in protecting the planet anyway. Training him to use his powers had been important to prevent any unfortunate accidents. Still this was the latest in a number of decrees made by the Council and aimed at interfering in the way Zordon and his Rangers operated. Since the Drac’cuul incident the Council had become more aware of what the Rangers of Earth could do and given the belief that Earth was a planet filled with primitives, those revelations had been alarming.


Chicago

2300 Hrs

They were making love in the back of his stretched limousine and she was reaching her peak, dragging her fingers down the length of his bed, leaving a thin trail of marks in their wake. She was wonderful, the best hooker that he had ever found while curb crawling through the streets of Chicago. Long blond hair and legs that seemed to go on for miles, her soft Australian accent had been the thing that had encouraged her to pay her the extra; he usually got his jollies for less than ten dollars.

“Oh baby, you’re the best,” he panted.

She remained silent, her face fixed in an expression that showed that while she seemed to be enjoying herself, it was hardly the best experience of her life.

“Tell me you want it,” he encouraged, his ego demanding some sort of response.

“Oh I want it,” she told him, running her hand over his face. “I want everything you have big boy.”

When had the glove appeared on her hand, he was certain it had not been there before. He could feel the cold metal studs as she drew them over his shoulder.

“I’ll take it all,” she told him as his body reach the height of ecstasy.

He grunted in satisfaction. She was the best prostitute he had ever had in his car. She was worth every cent he had paid for her services. She was — refusing to let go as she pulled his head into her chest.

“Relax honey,” she whispered, “this won’t take any longer than you did.”

She purred as he started to scream. She enjoyed the sex, but it was the moment she got to take everything she wanted, that she lived for. As she drained his body’s energy she started to fell more alive, it was a rush that would last for a few days before she would need to find a new victim. It was an annoyance, but the price of her continued survival.

“Say my name, Boy!” She told him, pulling back on his hair so she could look into his terrified eyes.

“Cathy!” he croaked with his dying breath.

“And don’t you forget it,” she told him as she tossed his limp body away, propelling it through the car door and into the street before picking herself up off the seat, reclaiming her clothes and shimmering away in a haze of pink.

End of Part


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Friendship beyond Death

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners. This fic takes place in the Conquest of Evil Universe

Friendship beyond Death


Paris, France

Less than a year earlier

In a deserted warehouse outside the city two figures watched as a third walked into the open.

“Bulky, I’m bored,” Skull complained from their hiding place behind some storage cans. “We’ve been watching this Ryan guy for hours. When are we going to go home?”

“Quiet Skull,” Bulk hissed. “You know the boss said this guy is dangerous. Do you want to end up dead?”

Bulk and Skull had been in Spy Training ever since coming to France. To start with their training had been mostly physical training with a lot of paperwork. Both had benefited from the training. Skull had developed a sporting physique with good definition, built for speed and strength. Bulk on the other hand had lost most of his weight and replaced it was muscle. He now resembled a football player Angel Grove High would have killed for.

In addition both had been taught to defend themselves and Skull’s Swordsmanship training had improved on the previous lessons his uncle had given him.

Both men had matured since being away from Angel Grove. They’d met new friends and colleagues and stopped fooling around. Both now bore a greater responsibility since they were able to carry guns.

Unfortunately patience was one of the things neither boy had learnt yet. Both were still eager to please Inspector Klauseau, so when he had given them their first assignment they had jumped at the chance. A number of disappearances had taken place over the last few months and two names had been constant in each report: Richard Ryan and William Kincaid.

“Hey look!” Skull said.

Looking over towards the man they had been sent to trail they noticed a tall black man standing in front of him. From their position Bulk and Skull could see the two men were trash talking and it looked as though Ryan was winning the war of words.

“Whoa!” Bulk exclaimed as he saw the larger man produce a cutlass and swipe at the youth known as Richard Ryan. “That’s Kincaid.”

“The other guy’s got one too!” Skull added noting that Ryan had drawn a military sabre.

A brief battle followed, neither opponent afraid to use under handed tactics to win. After what seemed like hours, Ryan drove his sword into his opponent’s stomach.

“He killed him,” Bulk whispered.

Skull didn’t reply. For some reason he felt compelled to watch what was happening. Ryan was standing over his opponent sword raised over his head.

Ryan yelled something but they could not make out the words as he brought the sword down, slicing through skin, muscle, blood vessels, bone, arteries, muscles and skin.

Bulk and Skull were speechless having just witnessed their first murder. Sure they had seen monsters in Angel Grove and had live with a winged monkey and living skeleton for a few months, but nothing prepared them for what they had just seen.

A strange mist seemed to float from the decapitated body and enter Ryan’s body. The head and body disappeared into the smoke.

“We need to go Bulky,” Skull said urgently. Something told him what was about to occur. “Run!”

Bright lights filled the building. Something moved in the darkness. A bolt of stray energy hit the canisters that Bulk and Skull had been using for cover igniting the chemicals inside. As the canisters exploded, both boys scrambled to escape, Bulk’s larger frame shielded his friend. Then time seemed to stop as another light engulfed them. When it lifted, Bulk was gone.

There was a noise to his right. “Bulk?” Skull asked tentatively.

There was no answer from his larger friend. Pulling himself to his feet he stumbled over to where the noise had originated and found his friend lying face down in the dirt. Skull checked his friend for injury. He didn’t need to look very far; a piece of shrapnel was lodged in the back of Bulk’s spine. A quick check and Skull knew there was no need to hurry with an ambulance. Farkus Bulkmier, known to the world as Bulk was dead.


Angel Grove

The present

“Bulkie!”

Skull’s snapped open, sweat soaking through the thin material of his T-shirt. He was shaking, trembling at the memory of his friend’s death. He had believed that he was finally moving on with his life, but the dreams just hadn’t stopped and since the resumption of hostilities by the Machine Empire and Rita Repulsa. But the nightmares had really started after he had seen Tommy and Goldar clash. For some reason that image had triggered his memory of Ryan and whomever he had killed that night.

“Maybe I should speak to Lita,” he said. “Yeah sure, like I’m not already crazy enough, now I’m talking to myself.”

Lita Kino was one of Angel Grove’s psychologists. In the past she had helped the Rangers deal with the issues that could affect their ability to fight and most recently she had been assigned as part of the Student Services Team at Angel Grove High School. He guessed that if he needed to talk to somebody about Bulk, she would be his best bet.

He didn’t notice as something moved outside his window, shuffling off to report to its master.


Miles above the Earth

“Count Dregon, the Maggots you ordered to watch Eugene Skullovitch have reported that the block we placed on the human is starting to fail,” Nefaria reported.

That was unfortunate. During his time in Angel Grove, Skullovitch had gotten close to the Power Rangers of Earth. If the block that Dregon and his subordinates had placed on his mind failed, there was a chance the Rangers or worse, the Masked Rider, would discover what they had been up to. And if that happened, then months of research would be ruined.

“Devise a strategy to remove Skullovitch before he remembers,” Dregon ordered.

He had a great deal invested in his little research project. Finding a way to deposit his forces on Earth without his nephew’s knowledge had proven difficult. Still it had been necessary for him to do so if he wanted to enslave the planet. Since the facility had been put in place, his Maggots had captured as many species of animals as possible. He planned to understand them and then to find a way to mutate them into soldiers; on Edenoi he had used the native insect-type species to enhance the collection of cybernetic and mutated specimens that made up his army.

Of course Edenoi had been one of his favourite conquests. During the invasion he had captured and married King Lexian’s daughter, securing himself a place within the Royal Family. He had then joined forces with Edenoi’s rogue elements, warlords like Scorpius, and had launched an all out assault on the planet. He had slaughtered his brother-in-law, but a confrontation with King Lexian had left him scarred. Lexian had escaped his forces and had taken his grandson with him. If Dregon had managed to capture the infant Prince Dex, he would have been the legitimate ruler of the planet.

What Dregon had not known at the time – for even now Dregon was the first to admit that he was ignorant of the various heroes operating within his territory – was that Lexian was the holder of the Masked Rider powers. They were powers Dregon could not claim because even though he could duplicate the technology, they were bound to Lexian’s lineage.

Instead Dex had been taken into hiding and he had been unable to claim the powers. He had been forced to enslave the fiercely loyal population while he searched for the fugitive king. Then the day he had feared had arrived, Prince Dex was appointed as the Masked Rider for Edenoi. Dregon had not been foolish enough to remain once Dex had motivated the King’s forces. He had decided to track down the Power Rangers that had turned up to help his nephew, and in doing so had found his way to Earth.

For two years Dregon had attempted to conquer the planet, using strategies that had worked on other planets. His nephew had thwarted his plans each time. So Dregon had decided to use the creatures of Earth to create a more powerful army that he could turn against the human population.

It had been a stealth operation, carried out while Dregon had continued to send Insectivores to Leewood. He had acquired the services of the Earth’s most prominent scientists to help him. While some worked in laboratories using knowledge he provided to break down the genetic coding of all forms of organic life on the planet, others worked to find ways to alter those genetic codes although they had not been told how their research would be used.

Additional special teams had been assembled, some dedicated to investigating mythical islands like Lemuria, Laputa and Animaria, while others had been given leave to search for useable genetic material from the creatures once known as dinosaurs. He had established contacts within the governments of the world, allowing him access to all manner of beasts; if single monster attacks would not work, he planned to bombard the planet with hundreds of mutant soldiers; animal or plant, living or deceased, native or alien, it wouldn’t matter once those he employed unlocked the secrets to life itself.

Part of his plans had required him to collect living humans as specimens. Unfortunately when he had sent the Maggots to collect test subjects, he had not specified that they should not take anybody affiliated to Angel Grove, the Power Rangers or his nephew. It should have been an obvious thought, but then Maggots were not known for their mental prowess.

So they would not attract attention, those they had taken had been snatched away from certain death, such as one Farkus Bulkmier who had been taken after being killed during a freak lightning storm. They had not noticed his friend until after the kidnapping and had been forced to alter Skullovitch’s memory of the event; kidnapping both Bulk and Skull would have drawn the interest of unwanted parties.

Since his supposed death, Bulk had been the guinea pig for some especially cruel experiments conducted by beautiful yet merciless Ms Canker. He had endured countless hours of discomfort as scientists had attempted to find ways on infusing humans with animal and plant traits before discovering that the trick was to implant plants and animals with genetic material from humans. Further work had already started on combining the properties of plants, animals and technology to form new hybrids and several papers had been produced on how the combination of technology with Org spirits could be used to create new life.

And now months later the block they had used on Skullovitch was starting to break down. Soon he would remember the real events of his friend’s kidnapping, and that in turn would lead to the involvement of the Rangers. ~I should have just had the Maggots return him and erased both their memories,~ he thought. ~still, it is Angel Grove and accidents do happen…~

“I calculate a ninety-eight percent chance of exposure if subject achieves total recall, an eighty percent risk of exposure if he achieves partial memory restoration…”

“Thank you, Fact. That will be all,” Dregon interrupted before the robot managed to reel off statistics for all the possible outcomes.

“Fact unit has further calculations available.”

“Yes well… I get the idea. Report for recharge.”

“Compliance.”

With the annoying yet extremely useful machine that was a clear masterpiece of technology upgraded by Mondo’s forces gone, Dregon tapped his mask a few times as if thinking, then smiled. “Nefaria, dear… pick an Insectivore, any Insectivore…”

“Oh, you’ve been watching the Doom Tree Saga again, haven’t you?”

Dregon laughed. “I might actually choose a few Japanese artists to join my court bards after I conquer Earth,” he said as he gestured to the shelves that held his monsters. These were his older specimens made from mutated Edenite DNA. Once he unlocked the key to human hybrids though he would replace this outdated collection.

Nefaria smiled seductively and walked over to the shelf. “Hmm… ah!” She grabbed one that looked like a fire ant walking on four of its legs and using the other two as arms. “I choose this one.”

Dregon smiled. “Ah… Inferno. I had good results using this one that little rebellion on Theadon,” he said, sending the being down to Earth. Inferno would deal with Skullovitch and the humans would be none the wiser.


Paris Mortuary,

Months Earlier

“Monsieur Skullovitch, I know this is difficult but I would ask you to look at the body in this room and tell me if it is indeed Farkus Bulkmier,” the police official said.

“Oui Monsieur,” Skull replied.

He gazed at Bulk’s body noting the peaceful look on the boy’s face. His heart sank, as he thought of life on his own.

“Au revoir, Bulky,” Skull said before allowing the morgue officials to show him out.


Angel Grove

The present

He remembered that day clearly, the image of his friend lying on the table forever etched in his memory. But something wasn’t right about the memory. He hadn’t noticed before, there had seemed nothing unusual about the proceedings, which had played out like an old television movie.

And that was a problem. His memory of events was wrong, the morgue had been wrong. As a detective he had visited the building on occasion, and had remarked to Bulk how plain the buildings appeared, certainly not the huge gothic building he had seen on television, or in his memories.

~But why would I remember the wrong building?~ he asked himself.

That thought caused him to remember the events of that fateful night. As he played them back again, he noticed how some incidents were seemed more real than others. Too real, there was a sickly and artificial feel to them.

He didn’t notice as he continued to concentrate that his body had started to glow. White and silver light surrounded him, magical energy burning through the false memories as he started to see the truth.

Skull was taken by surprised as power flared around him, locking onto the incoming threat of the Maggots as they arrived. As the light faded, Eugene Skullovitch found himself clad in a white suit with silver decorations. It was similar to the uniforms worn by the Power Rangers, although he could not recall ever seeing them wearing that particular design. It was an interesting material. While it was not solid armour, it wasn’t the thin fabric that the Power Rangers were regularly seen in. Leather was the closest description he could think of although as he stared he could see the silvery sheen moving on the surface.

Instinctively, he tried a few kicks, and found that despite the obvious weight of his new uniform, it was extremely easy for him to move. His movements were swift and with a little concentration he could feel himself lifting from the ground.

“Not bad,” he grinned, confused about what had just happened, but so used to strange things happening that he wasn’t about to panic. “I must be some sort of hero… Let’s see what I have for a weapon.” Concentrating, he felt a surge of energy and as he extended his hand, the energy coalesced into a long silver sabre. It was a cavalry sabre, approximately two and a half feet long, made of purest silver. Skull had a feeling, however, that it was a lot harder than steel. He tested its weight and heft with a few practice swings and thrusts, letting out a delighted laugh. “It’s perfect!” he grinned to himself. “Perfectly balanced. Makes sense, I guess.”

Then he remembered where he was, just as the first Maggot lunged forward.


“My Lord, Skullovitch has transformed into an unknown warrior,” Cycloptor announced, earning a glare from Nefaria, who had been enjoying the villain’s attention. “He has proven highly resistant to the efforts of your Maggots.”

“My research shows that humans are very sentimental,” Nefaria said before Dregon could respond. “Why not send his friend to retrieve him, since it is their… friendship that is causing us problems.”

“Yes, a beautiful plan Nefaria. Send in the Commandoids and instruct them to take Bulkmier with them.”


For months he had been kept in a small room. He couldn’t call it a cell. For one thing all the cells he had ever seen on television appeared far more comfortable. After his capture, Dreeg or whatever his name was, had subjected him to countless tests before deeming that he would be most useful as cannon fodder. As a result, Farkus Bulkmier had been recruited into Dregon’s small army of human slaves.

Except something had not gone to plan. Bulk had not been brainwashed as easily as the other subjects, although certain people would argue that he lacked a brain in the first place. He had kept his independence while hiding his defiance behind a mask.

Bulk was good at wearing masks. He and Skull had worn many masks over the years, mostly to cover up their feelings of loneliness, jealousy and inadequacy. They had played the roles of the bullies, the fools and on occasion the clueless. They had searched for the identity of the Power Rangers because by doing so they had put others off of doing so. They had played bullies, but had done so in such a way that nobody was allowed to bully the other students except them, and they made sure that they were not so much feared as pitied.

Still, when he was pulled from his room and told that he was to be a part of the squad sent to capture Skull, it had taken all the acting skills he possessed not to show the concern he felt. Even as he was forced into line with other conscripts, those who were already too far gone to be saved from Dregon’s programming, he was wondering what he could do to get out of the situation with his life. He was so preoccupied that he didn’t notice the faint trail of golden sparks that ran the length of his body.


Skull was outnumbered, but with his new powers he managed to overpower his attackers. His sabre made short work of any Maggots foolish enough to move within the arc of his blade. As they swarmed forward though he was unable to hold back the pushing mass of foot-soldiers. A small amount of energy flowing through the tip of the blade allowed it to slice the Maggots in half.

Then a new group of warriors arrived, wearing hockey masks. He found himself surrounded by the strange foot-soldiers and for a moment considered fleeing. That was until one of the Commandoids ploughed into his comrades with a shoulder block. Skull watched, impressed as the large man slammed into the Commandoids.

Bulk knew that he had changed a great deal during his captivity. Not only had he lost weight, the regime had added muscle to his frame. As he shoved the nearest Maggot, he was pleased with the result. His body was pulsing as the same energy that had turned Skull into a superhero, transformed him into a black and gold clad warrior. An axe appeared in his hand as instinct took over and he tore into their collective opponents.

Skull didn’t know the identity of the other combatant, but was grateful for the help as together they chopped and hacked their way through their opponents. He found the knowledge he needed miraculously appeared in his mind when he called for it.

“Power Kick!” he cried, ploughing into a group of foot-soldiers.

“Power Punch!” his ally yelled before shoving his way into the throng. “Look out!”

Skull dodged just as the Insectivore that had snuck up behind him hissed out a blast of flame.

“Surrender humans!” The monster’s voice was full of clicks and hisses.

Inferno was cut short as both warriors put their bladed weapons aside and opted for something that offered more protection. Metal plates appeared around their upper bodies, forearms and lower legs. A helmet appeared on their respective heads. Their weapons grew bulkier and gleamed as they launched themselves into battle.

“Battle Bike!” they called.

In a lockup garage in the suburbs of Angel Grove, the duo’s commands were obeyed. Before they had gone to France they had spent many an hour working on their motorcycle sidecar. And over the years it had been just as affected by the magical activity in the area as they had. So with a little prompting from the Power, the bike was teleported to its waiting masters, ready for combat.

“Wow, this thing never looked better,” Skull commented as he climbed onto the bike.

The addition of its rider promptly transformed the bike, making it more streamlined and better protected. The sidecar offered even more protection to the occupant and Bulk promptly clambered inside.

“Yeah, we could never have gotten it to look this good,” Bulk agreed.

He sensed the moment that his words sank in. Skull froze, looking at the other hero in disbelief. There was no way this could be happening, the chances were just too remote.

“Bulk?” Skull dared to ask. “BULKIE!”

There was a touching moment as the two friends embraced, each trying to tell the other how good it was to see them again. It was a moment that was interrupted when they discovered just how volatile their new armour could be, and further ruined when the Insectivore decided to attack.

“Hey!” Bulk complained as Skull was forced to rev the engine to avoid the incoming attack. “We’re having a moment here.”

“Yeah!” Skull added. “A moment… good to have you back Bulkie.”

“Good to be back Numbskull,” Bulk answered. “Now, let’s finish this guy.”

Skull directed the bike away from the Insectivore, building up a distance between them before turning back to face him. The bike lurched forward, building up speed and then stopped, launching the sidecar into the monster. The rocket propelled sidecar connected, sent Inferno rolling backwards.

” Power Sabre!”

“Power Axe!”

The Insectivore never stood a chance as two energised weapons split it down the middle. As they turned away from the explosion it suddenly occurred to them that they had been reunited… and they were super heroes.

“Oh boy,” Skull remarked as the armour withdrew. “I think we need to talk to the head.”


Power Chamber

It took a few hours for Bulk and Skull to get over their delight at being reunited and teleported to the Power Chamber, a task made difficult because Bulk had yet to be given a communicator. Once they had arrived though, Zordon and Alpha had worked tirelessly to confirm that it was indeed Bulk.

Once that had been established and Bulk had told his story, they had called the Rangers together. They had also summoned Prince Dex. Their presence was threefold: to continue scanning for the mysterious ship from the night before, to hear Bulk and Skull’s story, and to determine how to explain away Bulk’s absence.

The latter problem was solved when Skull remembered just how few people had cared about Bulk’s death, or even remembered that it had happened. They decided that given Bulk’s ability to get into trouble, they would just admit he had been abducted by aliens. The news had been acceptable to most although he had been forced to agree to meet with a scientist to discuss his experience. That done their attention turned to Dex.

For the veteran Masked Rider this turn of events had been unexpected. When his last apprentice, Jesse, had been destroyed during the Minion Crisis, Dex had thought that the powers of Earth’s Masked Rider had died with him. Now it seemed that the Power had chosen two new warriors to help put a stop to Dregon. They were not Masked Riders, but they were not Power Rangers either.

“Thank you for the information,” he said finally. “Dregon has somehow managed to avoid detection. That will stop today.”

“Zordon, what are Bulk and Skull going to do now?” Kimberly asked. She had not let go of her boyfriend since he arrived.

“I will help provide the training they need,” Dex offered. “Earth is too valuable a planet not to be protected. I am sure Bulk and Skull will prove invaluable in the fight against Dregon.”

After a while the Rangers with the exception of Kimberly had left and Dex had returned to Leewood, allowing Bulk and Skull time to speak with Zordon. There were many things to sort out and the first step was taken later that day when Bulk teleported away to meet with his family, leaving Kimberly and Skull to head to the Juice Bar for a Smoothie.

Zordon watched them go, conflicted by the recent events. He had been pleased that Bulk was alive, even though he had never met him in person. On the other hand he was a strong believer that there had to be balance in the Universe. For the forces of good to have received such a boost for Bulk’s return could only mean that there was something sinister on the horizon.


Los Angeles

Night time

He staggered into the street, right into the path of a young woman heading home after a hard day. He stooped, unable to keep his balance, indifferent to the clatter of tins as she dropped her paper shopping bag and ran to his side.

“Are you okay?” she asked, offering him a handkerchief as he continued to cough. Spots of blood-covered cotton as his body shook in another coughing fit.

“Yes, thank you,” he managed between coughs.

He looked ill, on the point of collapse if he didn’t have her to hold him up. The woman looked around, hoping there was a phone or at least somebody that could call an ambulance; she didn’t think for a moment that leaving the poor man alone would be a good idea.

“You’re very kind,” the young man told her, wiping a hand across his dark skin. “I’m sorry I have to do this.”

“What?”

She tried to pull away, but his hand gripped her wrist tightly, pulling her close despite her struggles. For the first time she noticed that he was wearing a black glove with raised metal rivets.

“I have some good news and some bad news,” he told her, flashing a charming smile as he did so. “The bad news is this will hurt like hell. The good news is that I won’t feel a thing.”

His hand moved to her throat, squeezing to stop her from catching a breath. The skin on her face grew painfully tight against her skull as her eyes bulged from the pressure. The blood pressure built in the arteries of her neck as her face was set into an agonised grimace. He watched her expression carefully and when it seemed she was on the point of passing out, he put his other hand on the top of her head.

Black energy trailed up his arm and into his chest as he fed on the bio-electrical energy in her body, draining her life into his body where he could use it to stabilise him. He grinned as she passed out and continued to drain her. He took all her energy, killing every cell as he greedily fed.

“I guess I still have that killer smile,” he smirked before shimmering away.

End of Part



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Breakout

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners. No profit is being made from this piece of fan work.

Breakout

Washington DC
More than two years ago

“As you can see gentlemen, recent months have proven interesting. The threat posed by Namor has been dealt with; steps are being taken to ensure he never resurfaces,” Nick Fury, Head of SHIELD, Presidential Advisor and one of America’s greatest war heroes said. His real name had been lost somewhere in the archives when he had assumed his current post and would only be found when he died and a new face took on the role of Nick Fury. “However there are still questions that need to be answered and unfortunately I am the person required to ask the questions and then find the solutions.”

This was not just another high level meeting. The officers, civil servants and scientists gathered in the room were part of the most elite think tank in the world. Their decisions dictated how the United States would react to a given situation and they answered only to the President in most matters; there were times when the ultimate authority rested with a politician below the rank of President, usually when the position of Head of State had been compromised. They were paid large sums of money and given a great deal of resources to identify the problems people preferred to ignore and then solve them.

“What would we do gentlemen if a more powerful hero turned on us, or was placed under a spell? Even worse, consider the entire JLA being compromised or the Power Rangers switching sides and trying to conquer the planet instead of protecting it. This country needs countermeasures, a way to ensure that should an individual or group of super humans turn rogue, we will have a means of stopping them.”

“I maintain that we should order the JLA and these Power Rangers to place themselves under military command,” General Galt said.

General Galt was a firm believer that there were military matters and civilian matters, and that just as the military was prevented by law from intervening in a civil matter, their control over military matters should be absolute. That meant that any force that dealt with defending the planet on a daily basis should be placed neatly within the chain of command and given expert oversight.

“We took that approach,” General Latima replied. “The Power Rangers ignored the order – they actually turned and walked away from armed soldiers and ignored them – and the JLA said if necessary they would change their name to just the Justice League and repeal any political affiliation.”

“Yes, we sent a team of lawyers to negotiate voluntary contracts,” General Ross agreed. “The problem is that the Justice League refuses to ally themselves with any government organisation or to provide the true identities of their roster, making monitoring a problem. These are people with resources so our offers of money are pretty much useless and given their abilities there isn’t a prison that could hold them; if we put some of them in prison we’d have never ending riots and chaos in the system.”

“That is why we are here General,” Fury interrupted. “By suppressed order of the President this committee is authorised in cooperation with similar bodies around the world to found, organise and support a new team of ‘super heroes’ to operate strictly within national boundaries. The JLA can serve the world; these groups will serve their country first. Their everyday activities will be to fight crime and protect the planet; their exploits will receive media coverage and high-ranking recognition. We’re going to make them role models for our youth and shining examples of how being hero does not mean you cannot be patriotic. However, their priority missions will be to deal with rogue super humans.”

“And what if one of these teams of politically acceptable heroes turns? The fallout could be a disaster.”

“That is why we allowed the JLA to remain. We obviously cannot be naive enough to trust these people to monitor themselves, but if one group were to act as the counter balance to the other we have failsafe that allows the JLA to operate outside of direct control. In addition the President will be request that the Justice League respects a maximum of twelve members on active service at any one time. He has allowed the Power Rangers to affiliate themselves with the Justice League should they wish, but they will no longer be considered active members. Let the others serve as individuals on a local level. We will be negotiating with them later to allow more members in times of crisis.”

He could see that most were in agreement although it would take some stronger arguments to make his case. These men were representative of the military and civil service as a whole and showed that there would be some work needed to sell the idea. But then it had taken a lot of work to convince the military of the asset Captain America could be and they’d managed it in the end.

“Doctor Furman would you take us through your proposals?”

“Certainly, Colonel Fury. We have developed a two-phase approach to this solution. Phase One will be the creation of a new team based in New York.”

“This will be an ‘over the table’ deal,” Fury warned, “so make sure those chosen are suitable.”

“Yes sir, our computer division is running background, medical and psychological evaluations on all perspective members and they have been instructed to classify them as On Record, Off Record and Unsuitable. We also have a section for those we would never consider using under any circumstances.”

“What’s about Phase Two?” Galt wanted to know.

“Phase Two will involve the expansion of a project that was previously under your command General. We intend to bring it out of mothballs and give it a new remit.”

“Just a minute Doctor Furman. Gentlemen, what you are about to be told has been classified: Most Secret. I don’t think I need to tell you what that means, but as a reminder: you will not record this information in any way shape or form and you will not repeat this information to anybody; doing so will result in the silencing of those that have been told or could have been told. I’m sure you appreciate your loved ones enough to understand how serious this is. Any questions? No? Very well Doctor, you may continue.”

“Thank you, Sir.” He clicked a button to activate a projector show a series of images. “As some of you may know, there are currently thirty or more alien races that have either visited or are currently active on Earth. Most of those that remain are non-hostile individuals and can even be found inside the ranks of the super hero teams we’ve been discussing. As such, their capture has proven difficult to justify as being within the National Interest.”

“Not to mention those boys in Geneva have constantly refused to sanction such moves. Since they are the authority on this matter, we have to leave them be,” General Alberta commented.

“Indeed. However, given that the more troublesome beings have traditionally been armies sent for the purpose of invasion it would not be worth the resources we would have to use to hunt them all down. They have always been dealt with appropriately. There are a few who have not revealed themselves and we’re inclined to not create more problems by tracking them down.”

The images changed from showing aliens and known super heroes to a black and white photograph of an odd looking device.

“What you may not know is that throughout history this planet has been a dumping ground for alien technology. Our volcanoes were once used as execution chambers by alien warlords and there have been countless examples of dangerous criminals imprisoned here to stop them escaping; most of those occurred in a period when the planet was unpopulated. Some attempted to colonise parts of the world and perished, long before humans first walked the Earth, but they left their technology behind. There is a whole treasure trove of new concepts and theories to be unlocked, as soon as our understanding allows us to do so.”

“Whenever a brilliant mind like Einstein emerges they are offered the opportunity to examine the texts in our collection,” Fury stated.

“So Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity came from an alien text?”

“No, Einstein came up with that theory before he was approached, but it did show that he was the sort of mind we were looking for and his theories gave us the key to understanding some related ideas. Certain discoveries by the Richard’s Foundation did come from those texts and serve as an example of why caution must be exercised. Unfortunately while we have had the technology we’ve never been able to speak with those that created it.”

Again the slide changed this time to what looked like a war zone.

"At the end of the Forties, a space craft crash landed on Earth. The ship had been in a serious battle and later interviews with the survivors suggested that it was a refugee ship fleeing a war zone. The ship had been severely damaged and despite managing to evade any pursuers, it was in danger of breaking up. The pilot made a decision to try and land on the nearest inhabitable world rather than risk emergency repairs. That ship made an almost safe landing in Ohio and the remains were handed over years later to research and development teams led by Muffett and Knight.”

“Were there survivors?”

“I just told you the survivors were interviewed, so yes, against the odds the majority of those on board lived. They were given sanctuary but the question quickly arose about how they should be dealt with. International Relations were strained at the time and one nation having access to so many aliens was unthinkable. For the sake of all concerned they were divided up and sent to nations around the world to be integrated into their societies. Since this was before the UN Treaty on Extraterrestrial Affairs, nations were allowed to conduct experiments upon them in the interest of future security.”

There were a few murmurs of disagreement about treating refugees as animals, but most understood the importance of knowing everything they could about a potential enemy.

“It was a different time back then and we needed to be sure that if they turned out to be some sort of stealth invasion force we had a way to fight back. During initial testing of the flight crew – who were for the record dead on arrival -, it was discovered that while they appeared human they had many physical differences from humans raised on Earth; their muscle and lung structure was different, no doubt due to gravitational anomalies between this world and wherever they came from.”

“What happened to them?”

“A few were lost during experimentation since protocol at the time required that we ensured that we had a way to kill them if necessary; the scientists found that bullets worked just fine by the way. After that they were assessed to confirm they didn’t pose a threat and then were offered a part in the Witness Protection Program. Most actually chose to live in their own communities and were offered posts in the military research divisions. Those children that were not related to the adults were placed into the adoption system – tagged of course so that they could be traced if necessary; we introduced national monitoring schemes in schools around the country just to keep an eye on their progress.”

A great deal of social development over the last few decades had been down to the integration of the refugees into society.

“Our researchers discovered that when exposed to sudden changes in temperature their bodies reacted in a similar way to humans on this planet, but when exposed to extreme cold, their bodies could be revived years later so long as the proper precautions were taken during thawing. This allowed us to store those we could not release in a form of cryogenic suspension – similar to the one used by the Soviets for their projects.”

“Thank you, Doctor Furman,” Fury said, turning to address the rest of the assembled officers. “Some of these visitors have remained as ‘guests’ of this government since their arrival – deemed too dangerous or violent to be released-, others were released and later retrieved. When Nixon came to power he was obsessed with developing weapons from alien technology. He pushed the budget for our scientists to discover as much as possible and for our military to find ways to use those discoveries.”

The image changed to show soldiers fighting.

“And that leads us what our boys in the research divisions have accomplished, gentlemen. New technology, new protection, new weapons and new ways of getting our forces to the front line. Our military have used that technology to train and a new breed of soldier, many of whom have served this country in our armed forces.”

“Just how many people are we talking about?” one of the generals asked.

“To begin with there were sixteen hundred people on board that ship,” Doctor Furman answered, “two thirds of their number were below the age of majority and ten of the older passengers were pregnant. This country retained four hundred once the last of the adults were shared out among those signed up to the UN treaty. Of the children released into society, one hundred were later recruited for use in the Task Force operation.”

“If I may Doctor Furman,” Doctor Oakum said. “We discovered from those selected for research that while frozen the visitors experienced full cellular stasis without any signs of degeneration, and more importantly: did not age. In addition their minds are highly susceptible to certain indoctrination processes, especially the Trask Method; using such techniques would be illegal but it was suggested that if they could be shown that there was a reason to serve their country they would do so. They last two volunteers, a pair of fraternal twins aged twenty were turned over to General Galt’s project six months ago.”

Furman picked up the explanation. “Of course this meant that we had a large pool of specialist recruits available for whatever projects we decided to assign them. We combined their manpower with artefacts recovered from the Oregon Dig and Super Suit technology from another source.”

“My predecessor oversaw the implementation of the Task Force operation,” Fury explained, one of the few times he acknowledged that he was not the first person to use the name in his current role. “The volunteers were divided into smaller units and granted a full training, support and leadership structure. Around eight operatives per team with a maximum of six operational members at a time. Each project was envisioned to have a three year life cycle; one year of intensive training, one year of active service against a non-governmental threat, and a one year wind down period during which scientists checked for side-effects and prepared to move on to the next project.”

“And their suits?”

Doctor Oakum chose to explain. “One of the first discoveries we made during the development of this project was a new material. It looked like metal, it was similar in conductivity and melting point to copper. However depending on the techniques used to shape it this material could be altered to resemble metal, plastic, fabric or even glass. The process is extremely complex and there is hardly any room for error. However we have been able to use this material to construct suits that are capable of bolstering the talents of our operatives.”

“What’s the real reason for the three year limit?” General Ross wanted to know.

“Officially when the Task Force operation started, operatives were to be permanently retired after the third year in case they got ideas and went rogue. For the record there has never been an instance of operatives turning rogue and that order was rescinded five years later. The real reason was that the suits only lasted twelve months before they started breaking down and the strain of using the suits meant that after a year of service they were unable to continue active service. They were then returned to civilian life.”

Not entirely true. While some did return to civilian life, many were eliminated in the National Interest.

“In addition,” Fury added, “they were provided with prototype state-of-the-art machines to help them.”

“Yes, our experts were able to adapt items recovered from dig sites in Canada, Africa and Egypt, in addition to the Oregon volcano.”

“Interesting; why haven’t we heard anything about these experiments?”

“Most of the test projects were undercover operations against possible threats and private armies. They were given cover stories and remained out of the public eye where possible; they have never been used as either black ops or front line troops in war. Project Vulcan was different because it was initiated in response to a partial alien invasion. Few know about its existence, but there were enough.”

“Okay Gentlemen. That is most of the story and all you need to know at the moment,” Fury said, “suffice to say that the President and his advisors consider these one man powered suits given to selected operatives the way forward. More importantly than their symbolic purposes, they will serve as a counter measure should the Power Rangers be deemed a threat to this nation.”

“You expect them to turn then?”

Fury looked at the other man, pondering a response.

“It’s my duty to consider such possibilities. I have to consider every angle; could the Rangers be turned by a spell, would they side with another nation in the event of conflict? I have to have all the options covered, counter measures for every threat and then redundancy measures in case those counters should turn or fail. I should tell you that we have an operative within the JLA and every other major group of super heroes, placed to take them down just in case they turn. The Avengers will have a direct government liaison and if necessary their structure will be changed according to need.

“Namor was an example of just how dangerous these ‘super humans’ can become. As a consequence, funding to Arcadia Academy and other sites in the Task Force operation will in future be directed to Project Corps. Our priority is to reverse engineer the technology and then finding a way to create it ourselves. Dismissed.”


Operation Taskforce, Vegas Facility, Research Laboratory 29, Section 18,

Eight weeks earlier

Project Techno Warrior was entering the final phase of its development. Financially the Techno Warrior project was a real money spinner. The government was eager to obtain a ready programmed, fully-trained operative equipped with reactive armour and advanced weaponry; a standalone soldier who could pose as a normal human in a civilian setting and yet packed an arsenal that rivalled that of a small country.

It was clearly the future of modern warfare, and as soon as the prototype unit passed its final tests successfully, the developers stood to gain millions for the ready-made product, spare parts and ammunition. That was nothing compared to how much they would make from selling the process to interested foreign governments.

The prototype unit had been tested at every stage of its development and the improvements to the next model would be far reaching, leading to even greater rewards in terms of upgrade packages and software patches. All things considered though the greatest problems lay not with the concept or the technology; for the most part the faults were caused by the test subject.

The young man who had been volunteered for the project should have been given the same psychological and physical testing that astronauts endured before being allowed near a space shuttle. Their test subject should have been the best of the best of the best. Instead he was a kid picked from somewhere and forced into a situation he didn’t understand by people he didn’t like.

The volunteer had endured painful alterations to his body as it was augmented. Body enhancing drugs had been administered to build strength through enforced exercise as scientists attempted to turn his less-than-perfect physique into something suited for combat. Combined with cardiovascular conditioning to improve his endurance it was a training program many athletes would have killed for.

Only when their test subject was deemed to be at his physical peak did they begin the next stage. Aside from the odd doctor to monitor his vitals signs, the medical staff were replaced by technicians. An experiment mutating virus allowed them to infuse his body with metal alloy; the Techno Warrior would not have the active defence mechanisms and rapid healing that Rangers possessed. Instead the scientists aimed to make it more difficult to damage him in the first place. It was after all in their interests to protect their investment from harm.

As his body was exposed to procedures that might have been considered torture had he been a prisoner — for his status had been clearly marked as volunteer no matter what he claimed — he received an education that only the richest parents could afford for their children. He was trained in the application and understanding of the major sciences, mathematics, geography and history. Since his initial function had been that of a demon hunter, one programmer had installed as many texts on the subjects of magic, religion and demonology as he could find.

Despite their hard work and attention to detail though, the scientists had overlooked something important. They had assumed that throughout the various procedures their test subject would lose his sense of self, becoming highly suggestible and losing his ability to act on his own initiative, unaware of the questionable things they were doing and the abuses they were forcing him to endure to make him stronger. They were wrong, while not fully conscious he was aware of everything they had done to him. He had felt every needle they had used and although they had never heard his screams, he had lived in a world of pain – for many of the alterations the virus had initiated had failed to numb the nerve endings meaning that he had felt the tearing of his body as they had reshaped it.


Operation Taskforce, Vegas Facility, Research Laboratory 29, Section 18,

Six weeks earlier

The walls of his room were bare metal, the only furnishings a cot to which he had at one point been secured. They didn’t restrain him except for a single chain around the ankle. They didn’t know that he was aware of his surroundings. Indeed they believed he was still comatose from the effects of the sedatives.

Somewhere along the line he had grown immune to the drugs. The injections didn’t put him under anymore. They did unfortunately prevent him from moving around or voicing his objection to their continued experiments. Months of enduring such abuse was bound to have had some effect on him. Indeed, an assessment of his faculties would have shown that his sanity was questionable. It was for that reason that while another person might have felt uncomfortable in such an environment, to the test subject this was just something he had to endure.

He remembered his old life, the one they had taken away and replaced with something — less real. They had done an admirable job of replacing his body, simulating his original senses so that he felt remotely human; to be able to feel pleasure and pain was quite an accomplishment given the damage they had caused to his nervous system.

In the last week they had fed him a cocktail of chemicals and drugs. The drugs were known to further enhance the strength, size and durability. In a large concentration, the super steroid led to short term enhancements, though the project’s overseers had determined that smaller doses following months of exposure to Human Growth Hormone would have a more favourable effect and possibly remain in his system for longer, although in fairness they were just the raw material that would be processed to provide immunity and other benefits.

The drugs were known to be addictive and potentially toxic. Even after such a short exposure he would suffer terrible side effects when they stopped using it. It was clear that the medical staff did not care; he guessed that they were hired for their skills, not to question the morality of their actions. If he survived to the point where the result could be tested, the various doctors and professors had been promised financial benefits that would see them living in luxury for the rest of their lives. And should he die, he knew they would have his replacement ready to start again; it would not be the first time they had needed to start over.

“This is our most recent and I am pleased to say most successful tests so far,” he heard one of the doctors say, speaking into a small dictation device that they all seemed to carry. “The decision to move away from the traditional methods of enhancement had seen this subject survive far beyond previous prospect. At the commencement the subject was injected with a self-replicating nano virus. Our ability to control the behaviour of that virus has allowed the modification of the subject’s body without surgery. The addition of drugs, hornmones and other supplements have helped stabilise those changes.

The most recent application of the virus to create muscle grafts and pore adaptation have proven successful, the micro filaments grown into his already impressive muscle mass and combined with a continuous supply of steroids, have proven effective. There appears to be minor inflammation of some areas. I would suggest treatment for possible infection or perhaps allowing any illness to take its course to provide future immunity.”

As part of his duties, it was expected that at some point he would come into contact with environments that would be considered too dangerous for a normal human. As such it was essential to improve his body’s durability. The virus had been used to weave a thin mesh of metal into his muscles, tendons and ligaments. In addition material had been taken from his hearts, lungs, liver, kidneys… practically all of his internal organs. Those samples were stored by the virus for rapid replacement and been used to produce mechanical back ups, filters to prevent poisoning and a small low use Oxygen supply for situations where he needed to shut down his normal breathing; each organ was protected by an outer shell made from the same material used to strengthen his muscles. A third application of the virus had created metal rods within his skeleton to stop bones from breaking.

The doctor removed a small instrument and tapped portions of his arms and legs watching as the muscles under the skin twitched. He repeated the test while allowing a small current to flow through the instrument, watching the resistance on a metre fastened over the bed.

“Muscle density has increased to a point within the desired range and appears responsive to stimuli. Metallic simulation has been a success; muscles reactions are increased when exposed to electrical stimulation. Computer override of nervous system is running within parameters; subject is able to resist or react to high voltage according to program settings. I recommend testing of cardiovascular bypass and adaptability to water environments at earliest opportunity.”

The doctor moved out of the way, allowing his colleague to inspect the modifications made to his senses, which had been upgraded in during the last batch of alterations. While computers and technology were capable of some amazing things, it was accepted that compared to nature they still had a lot to learn. As a result instead of replacing his ears, eyes and nose with technology, they had worked to build on what nature had provided, using electronic hearing aids and special contact lenses to extend his sight and hearing into ranges previously unavailable to him. The virus allowed them to reshape his body in any way they desired, adding metal or any other material where required. Inside his skull it had been used to create a network of micro-circuitry that allowed him to process the excess data.

However it was a different processor grown near the front of the skull that dictated how he should act and ensured that he would harm only those he was supposed to attack. This was perhaps the most controversial element of the design, since the technology had been taken from an alien crash site; it was possibly not quite as controversial as having one of their other facilities controlled by microchips taken from the remains of craft’s pilot. Countless scenarios had been programmed along with as many counter-measures as the best tactical thinkers within the Taskforce structure could calculate. Three independent uplinks allowed him to receive new instructions and situational updates. Through his connection to the database he had the tactical knowledge needed for all conceivable confrontations.

“Optical and aural implants are working within parameters and have been correctly calibrated. Computer and network systems are running correctly, data storage is at optimum level. I would recommend field testing at the earliest opportunity.” He looked up at his colleague as he said this, knowing that if the other man had his way they would be making ever more improvements and never see their pay checks. “It would also be beneficial at this point to install surge protection, but I will state again that this marks an excellent stopping point.”

“Very well gentlemen,” a commanding voice said, “shut it down for now until the others are ready, then the testing will begin.”

“If I might suggest Director,” the doctor offered, remembering that this was the head of their operation, “perhaps now would be the time to start the programming of the weapon functions.”

There was silence and for a moment the man feared for his life.

“The testing of the primary and secondary weapons have already been completed, you may install the operating software. Make sure that the limiter chip is implanted before activating. Then start working on the additional hardware. Rapid deployment is the key, gentlemen.”

“As you wish,” the doctor agreed, flipping the switch that kept the Techno Warrior online to the off position. Before doing so he leaned in close so he was inside its visual range and whispered: “You’re going to make me rich, just you wait and see.”

The eyes of the Techno Warrior never closed although they clearly lost focus the moment the switch was flipped. Emergency protocols were engaged, backup power supplies allowing the unit enough runtime to reach out and flick the power back on. For all their science and tests, the scientists had never understood the technology they were using. And therefore they didn’t realise that it wasn’t working.

Unobserved while the team leaders gave their staff directions, he reached out to the nearby keyboard and started to make his own modifications to their programming, using the fibre optic cables and various computer connections the virus had built for him to interface with his unprotected cranial computer.

It had been a simple oversight on the part of the research team that allowed the human side of the Techno Warrior to assert itself. They had given Garth the knowledge to reprogram his implants and the means to access them. If they had closed the access port, his human side would have been safely contained behind the fail-safes, instead the software intended to prevent him from turning on his masters, was slowly being set aside.

As it was the computer’s control was gone, slaved to his will instead of the other way around. Although he was far from human with all the modifications, he was no longer the product they wanted to be. Given time their experiment would walk out of the door.


Operation Taskforce Hive Facility, Cranford

It was in the early hours of a June morning when Garth heard the sound of his cell door being opened. First the sound of a swipe card being drawn through the reader. Next he heard the beeping of the buttons for the six-digit identity code, which was changed daily. Afterwards came the sound of the outer lock, the key scratching at the worn tumblers. And finally was the screech of the heavy mechanical bolt being withdrawn. He knew those sounds; he had heard them constantly during his time in the facility to the extent that he could now tell who was entering by the time it took for the door to open.

Agent Thomas was very deliberate when opening the door. He was very strict about security and every procedure had to be followed to the letter; the agent took exactly two minutes to open the door. Doctor Finch on the other hand enjoyed his work and was determined not to miss a moment of his experiment’s pain. As a result Doctor Finch would constantly open the locks whilst entering his security code so he could enter the cell in less than half a minute.

The various nurses and observers that now monitored him twenty-four hours of the day entered from a second entrance he was unable to see. Somehow it was shielded from him, but he believed that they were in the room at all times, concealed by some sort of machinery. Not that he could understand why they felt the need to hide when they supposedly deactivated him every time they exited the room.

Today he could tell it was Doctor Finch who was about to enter along with the Project Administrator. Of all those he had met, the Administrator was the worst. She didn’t care what short cuts were taken providing she achieved her results.

“What is the status of this one?” she demanded.

“Testing has proven that the enhancements have been completely successful. In addition the hardware that the Director had us design was a complete success. The clothing he is wearing is adaptive, can change shape and colour according to the situation and in no way conflicts with operations.”

“You referred to it as him,” the Administrator pointed out. “Remember it is just a subject and you cannot allow any feelings when dealing with it.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Finch replied.

“I shall call Director Charming and have him arrange a visit. You should start bringing the system online and conduct a timed run in case it is needed for more than a few hours.”

As Doctor Finch set about his morning checks of the test subject, he heard the now familiar sound of the Administrator’s secret exit.

He slapped the unit across the face. He hated this… abomination. Why should a mere machine get all the attention when his hard work was ignored?

Once Doctor Finch left Garth knew he would not see him again that day despite the woman’s instructions. Since the operation had moved to its new location, most of the work on his systems was conducted outside of the room using the base’s computer mainframe. He estimated he would not be seeing anybody for two days, the length of time needed for the Director to make his way to their location. He calculated that this would be a good opportunity to make an escape.

The longer he remained there the more chance there was that Finch would accidentally discover that their computer programs were not operating properly; the cerebral implant was under his control and all their attempts to alter its code were actually sent to a buffer area to give the appearance that he was still their project. Of course their constant requests for status updates meant that he remained connected to the computer, something that allowed him to send his own requests for information.

Search subject found the readout said. He could see the words in his mind even though they did not exist. Download?

“Yes,” he answered although the words were spoken through his uplink and probably emerged as a burst of electromagnetic noise.

Subject DH17

Name: Garth Nelson

Date of Entry: 1974

Status of Entry: List?

He considered what he had learnt. He had a name and tiniest piece of information about his past. The rest of the knowledge despite his best efforts had been stolen from him.

“Yes,” he thought in answer to the question.

Biological Organs: Replacement Complete

Sensory Enhancements: Complete

Computerised Components: Online

Operating System: Offline……….. ERASED

Motor functions: Off MMP: Scheduled

He already knew that should he escape his current cell he still had to escape the facility. As the time for the Director’s visit drew nearer, the facility would have tighter security, but maybe not as many staff. It was time to get to work. There was still one thing he needed to do before he could move. He needed to flush the sedatives from his system, which in turn meant using the drugs they had prepared for that purpose. With the sedatives in his system he was weak, but once they were gone there was nothing to stop him from escaping.

They had locked him in a cell, but this cell contained more than a bed. There were guards outside, but nobody inside. They had placed all the chemicals needed for his treatments within reach.

After taking a few deep breaths, a requirement of his human side, Garth picked up the syringe and the bottle of antidote. Without bothering to measure, he injected the mixture into his arm. The effect was immediate and painful. Strangely enough he seemed to enjoy it.

It took a good six hours for the drug to make its way through his system to the point where he could lift himself into a sitting position. That allowed him to reach and remove the chain, which had not been locked, just closed together. After removing his ankle he breathed a sigh of relief. He was free.

After taking a moment to look at his cell from a standing position, he pulled on the leather vest he was supposed to wear at all times and waited as the sensors in the material made any alterations needed for a snug fit. He left it as it was, knowing that combined with the leather jeans and baldhead nobody in their right mind would approach him. He heard a key in the lock and disappeared under the bed.

~Time to go.~

The door opened and two men walked in. Both carried weapons in case they encountered an intruder although it was just as likely that the men simply enjoyed the idea that they could inflict pain on the robot.

“He’s gone!” one of the men cried noticing the opened chain.

“Sound the alarm,” the other one instructed. “I’ll call the Director.”

They had no time to do so. Garth was moving before they could close the door, catching both men off guard. His foot connected with the first one’s head and he used that man’s weapon against the second guard. With the two guards gone he was able to move out into the corridors.

He checked his internal database and noted the security codes necessary to use the facility’s mapping system. He typed his enquiry into one of the handy computer terminals and waited for a response. Memorising the routes he needed he entered several more searches, confusing any attempts to find him based on his interaction with the computer.

Reaching the lift he bypassed the security system by removing the call button from the wall and opened the door by shorting the contacts. Setting the lift for the top floor he pulled up the carpet in the lift car and opened the access hatch underneath. As the car stopped, he dropped through the lift floor and swung to the cables behind the lift. There he remained as security noticed the hole and called an alert that he was loose somewhere in the building. He waited until most of the security detail had left to search the lower floor before climbing back into the lift and out through the doors.

Scanning the room he detected guards in their normal positions. They were watching the doors, but that was not where he was heading yet. Instead he moved to one of the workshops where the engineers had been busy working on a special power source. While he was faster and stronger than a normal human, he lacked the weapons of a Ranger; the small generator would allow him to deploy the virus as a form of armour. The suit provided him with a selection of built in weapons based on the publicly patented designs of Anthony Stark.

Fortunately it seemed the guards were so busy looking for him that they had failed to lock the laboratory. He walked in and plucked the power converter from the table and attached it to the connectors the doctor’s had thoughtful positioned outside of his body. Then he moved on to the suit of armour designed to function as a powered enhancement for his weapon systems. He placed a few commands into the suit’s computers, deactivating it and removed the control unit from the chest, knowing that that would allow him to summon the armour should he need it; there was very little he could accomplish with the bulky suit at that moment and avoiding detection in a bright yellow suit of armour was unlikely.

After removing the nearby computer’s hard-drive, he made his way back to the door and then out into the hall. From there he made his way back to the lower levels, knowing that the guards would have discovered his deception and would be heading up to the upper levels of the facility.

He played the same game with security for a few hours before finally deciding it was time to leave. By that time the guards had decided that he had left and had returned to their positions. The scientists had discovered his sabotage of their creation and were trying to discover what he had done.

As it turned out, sneaking out proved to be no problem until he reached the door. The guards appeared not to notice him, but they would notice a door opening and even though bullets would not kill him, they would make it easier to catch him.

“Attention all personnel, security measures have been activated. Do not attempt to leave the facility.”

The warning continued to sound despite the security personnel returning to their other tasks. He knew that those so-called security measures would kill the human workers within the facility. That meant there was a good chance they would either slow him down or worse, disable him long enough for a capture team to arrive.

“All personnel should note that the fire suppression system will now be tested.”

Fiends! The sudden shower of water soaked the inside of the facility and all those within its walls. Before the system cut out an electric pulse would be sent through the water in an attempt to disable his brain functions and allow them to find him. Had he not been at the front door, escape would have been impossible.

Deciding he had nothing to lose and grateful that he had decided not to use the armour, his body exploded into action, smashing through the doors and running towards freedom. What followed was a blur as he ran the gauntlet of defences intended to keep him inside. When he finally reached a road he managed to hitch a ride to the nearest town. Already he was planning where to go next.


Later

He finished reading through the reports and angrily pushed them into a drawer. The operation was a failure. Millions of dollars had been lost in the space of an afternoon and if the test subject was not recovered, the billions of dollars invested in their facility was at risk.

It would take months to begin work on a new prototype. Releasing whatever locks he had used to disable the prototype armour would require a rewrite of all its systems. More money down the drain. With Operation Lightspeed already close to going live, they could not afford this sort of disaster.

That was why he had agreed to the new contract. It wasn’t the sort of thing his company specialised in. But he had a good idea of how to accomplish the task. With the right persuasion he would convince one of the facility’s other guests to help him. After all making such deals was what he did best.

End


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Claims to Earth

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Claims to Earth


“In conclusion I move that since Minion has indeed failed and that his sponsor has either been destroyed or is too scared of this council to dare show his face, all claims made by the Master be stricken from the record.”

As Garvin, a low ranking official within the Alliance of Evil finished his speech, the assembled members nodded in agreement. It had been a lengthy enquiry into the events surrounding Minion, Maxell had been keen to ensure that there would be no further objections to his rightful control over the Alliance of Evil.

As he looked down at the assembled villains, he could tell that the vote was a certainty. It was only through deference to proper procedure that he bothered with a show of hands as the votes were counted and weighted according to the political standing of each member. He glanced at the result and noted that with a single spoiled vote, the decision had been unanimous. Earth was open for the taking again; this would be when the real arguments started.

“The vote is carried, we will now move onto the next item of business,” he stated, wishing that things could be that simple. As Master Vile rose from his seat though it was clear that nothing within the Alliance could be that straightforward.

Maxell had chosen a high table for this debate, allowing him and the senior councillors to look down on the more powerful members that made up the core of the forum. To the far left sat Master Vile, his son Rito Revolto and daughter Rita Repulsa. Rita also held the voting rights normally reserved for her not-quite-dead husband Lord Zedd; the demon was still searching for ways to regain a physical presence and was largely ignored by the proceedings. Mother D, the appointed head of the Dianthe Kingdom while he daughter Divatox was absent, was sitting close by with her son General Havok; the Dianthe Kingdom had yet to express an interest in Earth although Divatox had made a formal petition to approach the planet.

At the far-right hand side of the chamber stood – for they found it extremely difficult to sit – the Machine Empire. Mondo and Gasket each claimed to represent the Royal House of Gadgetry, Archerina was acting on behalf of her father and had agreed to vote in support of her husband. The voting powers of the Machine block and the Magic Users were almost equal. It would be the unaligned members such as Count Dregon and Scorpius who held the ultimate power.

“Before we move on, I wish to declare that the House of Vile formally declares Earth as part of its empire. Our forces led by Rita were there first and remains ready to strike under the command of her and Lord Zedd.”

Possession was nine tenths of the law, and Maxell had to concede that at the last count the majority of the forces invading the Earth belonged to Zedd, Master Vile and Rita. They had a very strong case.

“I object,” Gasket called. “The Machine Empire under my guidance made more progress where Earth is concerned than Rita, Zedd or Master Vile combined. Clearly the Earth should be marked as Machine territory.”

“Progress?” Rita sneered, “you ran away as soon as your daddy came back and we blew them up.”

“Nevertheless, the Royal House of Gadgetry did drive Rita and Zedd from Earth and made a legitimate claim. Rita and Zedd should never have returned to the planet,” Gasket told them.

“The fact remains Mondo, that my daughter and her — husband, did manage to return and still have a few forces close to Earth, something that your Machine Empire lacks.”

“But we do have a presence on Earth,” Machina interrupted, “tell them darling.”

“I have here a copy of a communication from my son Grommet. He is currently active on Earth along with numerous Infiltration Units. The Royal House of Gadgetry has already conquered the planet. We just haven’t told the natives yet. Our claim to Earth is far more logical.”

“And what would YOU suggest?” Master Vile asked. “That your own forces be allowed exclusive rights to Earth. My daughter has been attacking Earth since the Ranger problem arose. I suggest she be placed back in her original role and any conquest be attributed to the House of Vile.”

“You are a fool Vile!” Mondo shouted. “The Machine Empire came closer than anyone to conquering the Earth. We should be allowed to conquer the planet.”

“Order, Order” Maxell bellowed. “We have had this argument every time this council has met since the Machine Empire approached Earth. I will not allow this organisation to suffer because we cannot agree on such an unimportant matter.”

“With respect Maxell, Count Dregon has been in orbit around Earth during both Rita and Mondo’s attempts and is the only villain not to retreat for repair or run away due to an outside threat.”

Maxell glared at the insignificant fool that dared speak out. He wanted order, not more reason for fighting.

“Enough!” he bellowed. “This chamber remains in a state of neutrality as required by our charter. I suggest you all remember what happened to the last person who broke one of our treaties.”

He waited for the idiots around him to absorb his words before he continued. His decision on the matter would prove controversial and he expected both factions to break his ruling. Still, he needed to do something; if Mondo decided to fight, all the magic users in the room would not stop him.

“Earth will remain off limits until further notice. Since Mondo and Vile claim they have forces there to conquer the planet, those operations will continue. However, no member of this council is to approach Earth without permission. Do we have an agreement?”

“Aye!” those villains already attacking the planet cried.

“Against?”

As expected the opportunity to upset Mondo and Vile’s claims to Earth unified the council to vote against the proposal. Mutual self-interest prompted their cooperation as they fought for their rights to conquer the valuable planet.

“The Nays have it,” Maxell decided. “Earth is to be considered an open target until further notice.”

It was amazing how quickly the hall could empty as the various factions rushed off to summon their fleets and launch their attacks on the little planet that promised so much power to whoever controlled it. Master Vile and the Machine Empire stalked out, outraged that they would be forced to share their prize.

Maxell looked around. He hadn’t even called an end to the meeting, but since it was lacking a quorum, he had little choice but to suspend all business until a later date. Surprisingly he found he wasn’t annoyed by the change of plans. In fact, he welcomed the chance to be away from the imbeciles that accounted for the rest of the council.

End



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Legend of a Phantom

Disclaimer: The Power Rangers are the property of Saban Entertainment and I lay no claim to them.

Legend of a Phantom


It was finally over. Its host had reached an age where it could no longer sustain itself and had been drawing its power inward for a long time. Time was perhaps the one force that in the end could destroy all beings regardless of their size, shape or power. The same was true for matter in that eventually atoms decayed and existence failed. The war between Good and Evil was another example. Time had passed and the war had ceased. Soon the peace would break down and a new war would be fought until it was time to stop once more. Which side won the last conflict was unclear since both sides had been devastated to the point where neither side could fight on. If however the result was based on the last to perish: Evil had for the moment been conquered.

And in the void of hyperspace, trapped by a failed drive system, the lone survivor of the conflict remained. He was unbelievably old and sustained only by the power that had once made him such a great warrior. His body had weathered the passage of time, his unique nature granting him some protection. It had not been enough though and like all things his body had succumbed to old age.

He was the Phantom Ranger, a physical manifestation of the merger between a living being and the power contained within the magnificent Power Ruby, which allowed those that possessed it to access incredible power. The ruby poured its power it the being that carried it and they in turn passed a little of themselves into the ruby. Thus it retained the memories and an echo of the spirits of those that wielded its energies. They gave it consciousness and understanding while it gave them power. It was the Phantom Ruby that had sustained his failing body, not because it cared, but because without a host it would no longer have a purpose and would revert to its inert state. The Phantom Ruby was practical.

The host had long forgotten his real name. As time had passed in hyperspace the merger between living creature and ruby had been blurred. In some ways the Phantom Ruby was more aware than he was. But he understood that the end had come. A rift had formed in hyperspace, which heralded the arrival of a new vessel. It didn’t matter who it was or which side they fought for, the opening of the doorway back to the normal universe was all that was required to allow his escape from life..

“The time has come,” he announced. He took a final look around, before reaching to the Power Ruby embedded within his chest. With a quick twist the ruby was removed. He spared it a glance, wishing that he knew what would happen to it when he was gone. Then he threw it as hard as he could into the incoming vessel’s path.


Tesseron

The ship was wrecked, the majority of his family had been slaughtered or taken for sale as slaves, and his cargo had been stolen. He knew where the blame lay: the symbol of the Dianthe Pirates had been clearly displayed by the boarding party. And so he had been left alone and helpless. Well, not quite helpless. How the pirates had managed to miss the ruby in his pocket was beyond him, but it had been that ruby that had inspired him to fight back and survive when it had been his turn to die. It had been the ruby that had given him the strength to overcome his executioners and destroy their vessel.

And as he stared into the fire, mourning all that he had lost, a new desire rose within him; he wanted revenge on those that had caused him pain. He wanted revenge for everything they had done to him and others in his situation. He vowed to those that he had lost to fight the pirates wherever they went until their evil was vanquished forever. And as he spoke, the ruby glowed brightly accepting his words and its new purpose.

A flash of purple light erupted from the ruby, filling him with new strength. Instinctively he closed his eyes and allowed the energy to flow. His battered purple survival suit was repaired and modified. It was streamlined for easier movement with extra bulk to protect vulnerable places. The new material – for he was reluctant to call it metal – refracted the light that hit it, hiding itself from view, but when he moved he noticed that there was some reflection.

~It’s like I’m a ghost,~ he thought as he studied his seemingly translucent form. ~No, a phantom.~

The strange effect vanished and he was able to see his reflection clearly in the mangled remains of his ship.

“I’m a Ranger,” he whispered in awe. “A phantom Ranger.”

He placed the ruby into the slot where his suit’s battery had been. It glowed for a moment before returning to normal and he nodded in satisfaction as the power seemed to become a part of him.

“I’m the Phantom Ranger!”

A few light years away the captain of a Dianthe vessel that had come to investigate the deaths of the boarding party suddenly felt very afraid.

End



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