Psycho-logical Profiling

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. They belong to their respective copyright owner, which at the time of writing is Saban Brands.

Psycho-logical Profiling

He could tell what they were thinking. Their minds were open pages for him to peruse at will. He had been observing them for months, watching the arguments and the frustration build. Soon he planned to interfere and to give them a purpose. But not quite yet; he was content to observe for a while longer.

He had to admit some surprise that one of the greatest fighting forces ever created had turned out to be more successful in the world of business than it had in world domination. Multiple businesses started as fronts for military operations had continued to become successful enterprises. He could see the power of the Earth’s magic in effect, taking the dark plans and eroding the evil, channelling their efforts into less aggressive activities. From the formation of the INET Corporation, the evil replicas of the Power Rangers known collectively as the Psycho Rangers had lost their edge. Fortunately the world of business could be just as evil as the world of warfare.

And so he turned his gaze to the being that summed up the majority of the Psycho Rangers problems: Biilly.


Biilly was frustrated. He was Minion’s chosen successor, the Blue Psycho Ranger. He had led his fellow replicas on a quest that had stabilised their degrading bodies and had even found them new powers using forbidden magic. But despite all he had accomplished Biilly had found himself incapable of forming and keeping to a plot. The ideas came thick and fast. Brilliant ideas that he grasped enthusiastically and promised he would put into action. And that was when the promised arose, for try as he might his schemes always seemed to fail to materialise. There was always some niggling detail he found he had overlooked that caused him to reject the scheme, or some other idea that made him change his mind.

As much as he was prone to blame the others for distracting him, Biilly had to admit the failure to turn his plans into reality was his failure. There was a mental block that prevented him from creating the perfect plot, which he knew he was capable of concocting. And he was aware that as he grew more and more frustrated, his grip on his position as leader weakened. There were some who were more than willing to just throw themselves into battle, any battle, to end the months of tedium that had followed their return.

Oh some like Aiisha had found a hobby. Aiisha had found herself studying the works of Count Dregon and had built a sizeable collection of mutated animals. They would have made perfect warriors if only Biilly had agreed to commit them to battle. Triini had taken on the role of Biilly’s deputy and it was through her quiet administration that INET had grown so huge in just a few months. Of course the fact she had used the other Psycho Rangers to undermine rival organisations before buying them had helped a great deal. And with a new product due for release that would leave millions exposed to the Psycho Rangers’ power, she believed they were heading in the right direction.

Others like Adaam were either patient enough to wait for him to announce his grand scheme, or were too easily distracted to care. He knew that Roocky had been responsible for the kidnapping and torture of random people. Exactly how Roocky broke them was unclear, but even those that did escape his little games alive were far from intact. Zaack and Taanya meanwhile seemed to find each other a constant distraction.

And then there was Jaason, or Jacen, or Brutus, or whatever he had chosen for his new name. The replica of Jason Lee-Scott was the bane on Biilly’s existence, constantly trying to usurp his leader’s place. It annoyed Biilly that Jaason seemed incapable of learning his place or at least changing his approach. Jaason’s challenges were constant and direct without a hint of subtlety. He was too disliked to find allies to help him and too stubborn to rely on cunning. The last three challenges had seen Jaason taken down not by Biilly, but those that did not want Jaason as their leader.

The problem was that the longer Biilly remained all talk and no action, the more chance there was of a challenge from a more capable opponent. He was well aware that Kiimberly considered herself a contender for his leadership. And unlike Jaason, she was cunning enough to find a way to unite the others. So far she was willing to wait, but for how much longer? Biilly knew he needed to think of a plot and stick with it regardless of anything else that happened.

What Biilly failed to understand was that his lack of ability was a part of his design. Minion had designed Biilly to be the leader of his replicas, but he had taken steps to ensure that Biilly would always remain loyal to Minion. And so he had created weaknesses in each of the replicas, preventing them from functioning efficiently under their own leadership. Biilly was too indecisive and a perfectionist, Jaason was too much of a thuggish bully to command the loyalty of his forces, and Adaam while a strategic genius, was to shy to offer his advice let alone take a leading role. The male Rangers were too competitive to work with each other and the females were too suspicious of each other to form alliances. What it meant was that without somebody to give them a sense of direction, as a unit they were doomed to accomplish nothing.

Had Biilly known what Minion had done, he might have been able to correct the problem by removing the various spells that prohibited the Psycho Rangers from reaching their potential. Had he been aware there was a chance he could have see the other solutions such as finding a figurehead to lead them, bypassing the effects of the enchantments. Or he could have disbanded the group, allowing each individual to excel at what they did best. There was a great possibility that had he done so the Psycho Rangers would have worked together without the flaws they had previous displayed.

But he didn’t know because Minion had never told him. And so he continued vainly trying to plan the end of the Power Rangers and the conquest of the planet Earth as the Psycho Rangers’ business empire grew.


~Oh Biilly, if only that incredible mind of yours wasn’t so blinkered by Minion’s programming,~ he thought.

Each of the Psycho Rangers had been implanted with a flaw that prevented them from working with each other or alone, unless they were acting under the orders of another. They were lucky that Minion had never specified that they had to be following his orders or the whole group would have simply wasted away. And it was made worse because the flaws were linked directly to what Minion had considered their greatest strengths. Exactly why those flaws seemed less severe for the likes of Triini and Aiisha was unclear, but it seemed that Roocky at least had adapted to his personality problems instead of trying to change them.


Roocky was bored. Very bored. And when Roocky was bored it meant that his latest victim was in for a very bad time indeed. Oh Roocky knew how the others thought of him. The irresponsible thrill seeker, the constantly eating fun lover who was incapable of being serious if his existence depended on it. What they failed to understand was that Roocky was also extremely perceptive. He had known since Biilly had managed to stabilise them that there was a problem with the other Psycho Rangers. Most of them failed to spot the flaws, a few like Adaam accepted them to the point where they became exaggerated. Roocky however understood how they worked and altered his behaviour accordingly. He could accomplish anything so long as he could convince himself that it was fun.

And that was why he had designed his games, testing them on not-so-innocent civilians until he was certain that they would work. So far nobody had escaped, nobody had seen the deception he so skilfully employed. The games like Roocky were a lie. And it didn’t matter how skilled the player was, or how smart they were, or how ruthless they considered themselves, Roocky would win. Because, there was no fun in losing.


What were the Psycho Rangers anyway? As he watched them he couldn’t help but think about their construction. They had been clay constructs similar to Minion, but after their stabilisation and obtaining their new totems, he suspected they had become something else. Dark reflections perhaps? It was possible given the use of the Neji Glass during their quest for new powers, but unlikely. He suspected that while Biilly had grasped the opportunity presented by the dark artefact, he had failed to understand or had simply ignored the knowledge contained within the scrolls.

~Would he have been capable of using the Neji Glass to its full potential anyway?~ he pondered. ~Kaat could have, but I doubt Biilly could understand the magic needed for such a feat.~

Grid constructs then? Also unlikely since the Neji Glass had been used passively during the act of empowerment. It was not unknown for the darker energies of the Morphin Grid to change the nature of its wielders, but normally it required more than a simple act of looking.

~Maybe their biology became so twisted by the Neji Glass even they cannot be sure what they are anymore,~ he thought.

Of all the possibilities that one seemed to fit. He knew they were no longer clay, but it was highly possible that they had become a combination of clay and magic, or flesh and clay, or even flesh and magic. In the end did it really matter so long as they were stabilised? No, but he couldn’t hide his curiosity. It was just a part of his nature.


Nature or nurture? That was a question that had led to a great scientific debate at one time. Aiisha believed that both had their uses. Combining magic, science and the deep understanding of animals she had inherited from her original, she had dedicated herself to breeding some of the greatest monsters imaginable. Had he been open to such an idea Aiisha suspected that she could have served as an apprentice to Master Vile himself.

Alphabet Soup Research, her pride and joy, not to mention a veiled hint for those that knew the truth about her. As a subdivision of the INET Corporation her research facility was supposed to be involved in the laboratory testing of new medicines. In reality her research was more in line with the application of pain, genetic markers, magic and other technologies to create her wonderful monsters. After her research had started using humans, the breakthroughs had been even more impressive.

Which was why as she stared at her latest and greatest work, a creature covered in poisoned spikes that could be propelled to breach the armour of a Power Ranger, she felt a sense of pride in her achievement. It was a shame that like most magical produced creatures she would not be able to breed it; she wondered if she could obtain Finster’s services to produce a model.


Adaam was certain that he was alone, yet he was unable to drop the act for even a second. As far as the Psycho Rangers were concerned he was a cowardly, weak-minded fool seeking favour by kissing the boots of those that held the power. But they were wrong and that led them to underestimate him. As a dark practitioner of the Spirit level, or dark ninja as some referred to it, he excelled at using illusion and misdirection against his foes.

Biilly didn’t see him as a threat, Jaason ignored him, Kiim and Kaat treated him with contempt. Yet they allowed him to get close and dropped their guards in his presence. He had lost count of the opportunities he had had to put an end to Biilly. Yet he had held off realising that the moment he made his move the others would see him as a threat. And while taking out Jaason would probably just make Biilly and the others wary of him, attacking Biilly would expose him to Triini’s wrath; touching either Kaat or Kiim would provoke the wrath of the triplets.

And so he waited, biding his time while reaching out to Roocky, Aiisha and Taanya, his most likely allies. And he watched the others, learning how they moved ready for the time when they moved against him.


“Again!”

The three battered training droids picked themselves up and made an attempt to shift to a ready position. They had already been damaged to a point where they would need hours of panel beating to remove the larger dents.

With a growl Jaason attacked, not waiting for the droids to finish reconnecting the limbs he had previously torn off. When Triini had built the machines for him out of the scrap parts left over from some of Mondo’s Cogs, he had relished the challenge. After the third encounter he had grown tired of the easy wins he had experienced. Even unarmed he was stronger than the droids, his rage and hatred driving his powers to new heights. If he were capable of calming down enough to think of a plan, he would have had no problem defeating Biilly and claiming the leadership position he desired so much.

He punched and kicked the first droid, throwing it aside so that he could clothesline the second. The third he didn’t waste his time fighting, he simply unleashed an energy blast to turn it into molten slag, before twisting in time to slice the head off the first droid with his broadsword.

“Pathetic!”

He didn’t turn to face the second wave of droids until they were almost upon him. Triini had spent extra time programming them to adapt their technique as required. Of course Jaason realised on some level that she had programmed them to eliminate the threat he represented to her beloved leader.

One by one he fought them, never allowing their superior numbers to place him at a disadvantage. Those he could not tear apart with his bare hands or decapitate with his sword, were smelted by violent discharges of rage-fuelled fire. As he slammed, punched, kicked and stomped his way to victory, he allowed himself to imagine the faces of those he hated as the recipients of his violent actions. Those thoughts drove him onward, increasing the power of the blows he mercilessly rained down on his victims.

A burst of golden energy filled the room, knocking him aside and incinerating the droids. He looked up, shocked that he had not heard Tarran enter. The replica of Trey of Triforia was a solid warrior, cold and impassive. While Jaason liked to show his skills and charge into the fray, Tarran was detached and calculating, striking from a distance with the least amount of effort. His golden energy blast was particularly destructive, as Jaason had just witnessed. In a rare show of emotion, Tarran grinned in Jaason’s direction, causing the Red Psycho Ranger to growl angrily.

~How dare that Triforian scum interfere in my business?~ he thought angrily.

He turned to give Tarran a piece of his mind, only to find that the Gold Psycho Ranger had already departed. With another growl, Jaason drove his fist into the floor.


Magic clashed with martial arts as the three warriors unleashed their full fury against each other. Tyler, Oliver and Daavid, three replicas of the same man – for Minion had tried and failed to find a way to replicate David Trueheart. And since Samoht Revilo was the clone of Tommy Oliver, and for some reason Minion had sensed that his continued existence depended on not replicating Samoht, he had settled for three replicas of Tommy. Of course he had tried to give two of them the abilities he suspected Samoht and David possessed. So while all three were skilled combatants, Daavid had the additional mental powers of a White Ranger while Oliver had been granted the magical powers Samoht displayed. Both abilities came at some cost, especially for Daavid; although it was possible to create connection to the White powers while drawing from the Dark Side of the Morphin Grid, the nature of the White power could drive the wielder insane.

The three warriors charged, trying desperately to prove themselves superior. Swords, daggers, energy blasts and powerful kicks were exchanged as each tried to take down the others. To the other Psycho Rangers it might have appeared as a violent sparring session, but the truth was that they really were trying to destroy each other. All three believed that they were drawing from the same link to the Morphin Grid, and that whoever survived their fight to the death would gain the power of the other two.

Unfortunately there had never been a decisive winner. Most of their fights resulted in a triple knock out and on the few occasions one of them did triumph, they were interrupted before they could finish the job.

“Are you boys going to fight all day or are you up for a little fun?”

The fighting stopped immediately as the three replicas turned their attention to their new distraction. There were few things they all agreed on, but the beauty of Kiim and Kaat was one of them. Either girl was capable of making them forget all about fighting. That the two girls seemed willing to share and play with each other made the three male replicas highly protective of them.

Tyler grinned. Daavid and Oliver were already sweeping the two girls off their feet as he cleared the space to have some fun.


He moved on from observing the frolicking replicas. Their private lives were hardly his business. Well no more than he wanted them to be anyway. He had seen enough to confirm what he already knew: the Psycho Rangers were hopeless without leadership, something he would provide. In the end it was the only logical step for him to take command of the Psycho Rangers and guide them to their destiny. After all, there was nobody better suited to the task. But first there he would need a few things to set his plans in motion.


The Machine Planet

The attack by Behemoth had gone exactly as Gasket had calculated. Key areas of the planet had been devastated before the unfortunate monster had been defeated once again. This time Gasket had ordered his engineers to repair and upgrade the simple creature as much as possible before sending him back to Earth with an overwhelming desire to destroy the Power Rangers. No doubt they would win, but by that time Gasket would arrive with his new weapon.

“And King Mondo will never suspect that the damaged caused here was deliberate or the reason why it occurred until it’s too late.”

Gasket turned toward the speaker, surprised to find it was a human.

“Fear not Gasket,” Xing said, “I bring good news. I intend to keep quiet about my little discovery and all it will cost you is three of Archerina’s arrows.”

“And why should I allow myself to deal with a puny organic like you when I can just destroy you?” Gasket demanded.

“Maybe because you’ll be too busy fighting the virus I just inserted into your subroutines,” Xing replied confidently. He watched for the telltale signs that Gasket was performing a virus scan. He could tell the exact moment that Gasket inadvertently triggered the virus. “Forgive me, did I say just inserted? I meant the virus Minion installed in you and your father that would trigger when you scanned for a certain type of virus.” He could sense the machine’s panic. “Fear not Gasket, I seek only the arrows and then I will let you go.”

Gasket nodded his agreement and retrieved the arrows Xing had requested. Xing in turn kept his promise. However as Xing departed Gasket could not help but ponder how the human had known about the virus and how to trigger it. The answer was extremely disturbing.


Rita’s Palace

“Hello Rita,” Xing said as he suddenly appeared, that large of his infuriating and unsettling the witch at the same time. “Fear not, I bring good news.”

“Good news?” Rita screeched. “The last time you claimed to have good new I lost Zeddy to that human!”

“Ah but you forget, I promised you that Lord Zedd would return more powerful than ever. Have I ever lied to you Rita?”

The evil empress wanted to say yes, to throw up the lies that had led to Zedd’s demise. In truth though she realised that Xing had never been dishonest. Events might not have turned out how she expected, but his words had not been deliberately misleading.

“Well, what do you want of me?” she demanded.

“Only two things dear lady,” he stated, as he bowed and offered her another tooth-filled smile, “a vial of Lord Zedd’s rejuvenation fluid and this monster.”

Rita absently accepted the picture Xing had handed her. The first request caught her by surprise, so she didn’t spare the monster a second glance. The rejuvenation fluid was deadly to anybody apart from Zedd. In his Zarakin form she suspected it was lethal to him too. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously at the thought of providing Xing with such a weapon.

“Not the whole vial,” he said quickly, sensing her unease and revealing the arrows he had retrieved from Gasket earlier. “Just enough to coat these arrows.”

Now Rita was truly curious about what Xing had in mind. She had wondered about his real identity for a long time. She knew where the name Xing originated, but she had decided after Zedd’s defeat that it was likely misdirection. But that led to the question of who he was really and what his interest in Zedd and Rita could be.

“A debt repaid, nothing more, nothing less,” Xing told her as if reading her thoughts.

And there it was, a simple request for something Rita could provide in return for repaying some debt he believed he owed her. It seemed too simple, but if her could truly reunite her with Zedd and defeat the Power Rangers as he claimed, she was not about to argue. Reaching a decision she took the only logical step.

“Finster!”


Biilly looked at his creation and smiled, knowing that it was perfect. This was the sort of thing where he excelled, when he was able to act as Biilly the inventor rather than Biilly the leader of the Psycho Rangers. In truth he would have given up his position if only there was somebody he could trust with the role. Jaason was too hot-headed and arrogant. He was a bully who would probably end up killing his own warriors instead of leading them. Adaam was too weak, the triplets were too busy fighting amongst themselves, and the others didn’t show an interest in leading; Tarran while an admirable soldier seemed to lack that commanding presence needed to keep the others in line. And so Biilly was forced to remain in his position and to fight to maintain it however much it grated on him to do so.

The scheming and frustration of never completing a workable plan was made worthwhile when he could find the time to work on his masterpieces. Billy Cranston had had a role in designing the Zeo Zords and a part to play in the advancement of the Turbo Zords. Biilly could even see some of the young genius’ creativity when it came to the Lightspeed mecha. But where Billy had only helped design a few Zords, Biilly had built a fleet. Five Megazords so far with more to follow, each designed to take down whatever technology the Power Rangers could create.

Aiisha and her creatures, Jaason and Tarran with the warrior prowess, Kaat and Kiimberly with their — gifts; even the triplets despite their constant attempts to kill each other – for Biilly was well aware of the problem and the reason it existed, made the Psycho Rangers a formidable force. If only they could find a leader then they would be ready to take their revenge upon the Power Rangers at long last.


The Moon

“I call him Hung Horn,” Finster announced as he showed off the completed monster.

Rita nodded in approval. She had forgotten just how skilled her monster maker could be. Perhaps he could find her something to help conquer the Earth before her meeting with the Grand Monarch. It was not as if she expected Xing’s plan to succeed.

Hung Horn was an impressive creation. He resembled a large humanoid bull dressed as a bullfighter, complete with poncho and for some reason a sheriff’s star. In his right hand he held what appeared to be a pistol, although knowing Finster’s distrust of firearms, it likely served a different purpose.

“Can he do everything I required?” Xing asked.

“Oh yes, I make him to your exact requirements,” Finster replied. “I sculpted his body to be as strong as possible and to provide maximum speed.”

“And the invulnerability?”

“I made him as powerful and resistant as possible,” Finster said.

Xing nodded. Had Finster claimed that his monster was invulnerable, he wouldn’t have believed him anyway. Magic had limitations and magical creations could not exceed the powers of their creators without a connection to the Morphin Grid that was beyond Finster’s ability to grant. Still, he was sure Finster knew his craft well enough to create something worthwhile.

“Very well, send him to Earth.”

The monster wasn’t important; the lesson it was going to teach was what counted.


“Okay we try one more time and then we leave,” Justin said. He saw the disappointed look on Tasha’s face. “Look if we stay any longer we won’t have time to do what we need. If they come back and catch us they’ll add more security.”

That seemed to appease the Yellow Turbo Ranger. Neither of them wanted to have to spend the time figuring out new ways to get into the Administrator’s office. It meant less time accessing the computers and learning whatever it was that the staff had written about them. Life at Little Angel’s Haven was far easier when you were aware of the adults’ concerns and could either defect them or use them to your advantage. It was something the two Turbo Rangers had become very adept at.

“Okay so we’ve tried her maiden name’ children’s names, cat’s name…” Tasha ran through an impressive list of attempted passwords. “Could it be a phrase or saying?”

“Whatever it is I wish she’d left it as the default,” Justin complained. The two shared a look. “You don’t think?”

Tasha was already typing in the password they had learnt the year before. They were rewarded when the screen unlocked.

“She’s left it wide open!” Justin grinned.

Unfortunately before they could accomplish their snooping, their communicators beeped. The two exchanged a frustrated look.

“What’s up, Zordon?” Tasha asked.

“Rita has sent a new monster to Little China Town,” Zordon replied.

“Okay Zordon, we’re on it,” they heard Fred say.

The two nodded and after turning off the computer and checking the coast was clear, relocked the door and departed.

“Shift into Turbo!”


While the Turbo Rangers did not spot the monster as soon as they arrived, the effect his presence had was hard to miss. Hundreds of screaming civilians ran through the street, trying to avoid what ever it was that they were fleeing. A large column of dust made it difficult to see. The shouts and screams were accompanied by the sound of broken objects that along with the occasional person appeared to fly into the air. It was only when the air cleared for an instant were they able to see the monster.

“Okay one monster, no Putties, Tengas or idiots,” Yellow Turbo said, summing up what Green’s Thunder Scanner revealed.

“Then I guess we need to take the bull by the horns,” Red said, earning him a groan from his teammates. He shrugged and the five Rangers ran forward.

It seemed their presence was enough to distract Hung Horn from his current activity, namely tossing people into the air and then trying to impale them on his horns. He snorted in their direction, scraped his hoof against the ground and charged. As he reached them his horns grew larger and before the Rangers knew it, they were being carried along by the charging monster. Unfortunately for them that means that they were taking the brunt of whatever lay within the monster’s path as they were propelled through buildings and objects.

“Did anybody get the number of that bull?” Red asked as they were finally tossed unceremoniously into a heap.

They looked up as the monster pulled out it’s gun and pulled the trigger. The end lit up as a small flame and had it not been for their helmets, the Rangers would have been scratching their heads. Then the bull belched and a jet of superheated flame shot in their direction.

“Ew gross!” Yellow complained as their uniforms tried to deal with the unorthodox attack.

Then the monster attacked again. Although it exchanged blows with all of them, it was clear that it was trying to target the Red Ranger. When the others got in its way it would only fight long enough to move passed them and continue its assault. Unsurprisingly, Red was taking a pounding.

“Guys this isn’t working!” Red said after he had been tossed into the air for a third time, only to be saved from impalement by Pink Turbo’s intervention. “We need a new plan.”

“We need to hold on a bit longer,” Green told him, watching as city officials cleared the terrified civilians. He handed Red Turbo a small capsule. “When I say now, start running away from here until he catches up, then follow this device back to us. We’ll need a few minutes to get set up.”

“For what?” Red asked.

“Now!” Green ordered.

As Red Turbo started to run as fast as his Power enhanced legs would carry him, Green, Yellow, Blue and Pink charge at Hung Horn. Although their attack accomplished very little, it delayed him long enough for Red to make it a few streets before he tossed them aside and gave chase.

“Finster made him to be provoked by the colour red?” Justin asked as the monster took off. “That’s just a myth.”

“Myth or not let’s use the time to get set up,” Franklin answered.

“Before big, horned and ugly decides to come back,” Rosa added.


Red Turbo weaved his way through the streets of Angel Grove, using a constant satellite feed to avoid the areas where civilians had been gathered. The monster had caught up to hi quickly and thought of keeping him chasing were foiled when one of the horns almost pierced his suit. In desperation he had manoeuvred himself onto the monster’s back, causing Hung Horn to stop running and start trying to buck his unwelcome rider. When he decided the others had had all the time he could but them, Red Turbo kicked the monster in the head, leapt from his back and started running the course indicated by the device Green had given him.

As he ran through the streets he started to notice that he was heading down side streets and narrowed alleys with sharp corners. The device told him where his teammates would be, but he realised Hung Horn would not have that knowledge. Beneath his helmet he smirked as he realised what the others might have planned.

“Fred when you head up the next alley, make sure you hit the garbage cans,” Green urged.

Red Turbo did as he was told, dislodging the cans and sending them rolling towards the bull monster. Hung Horn was hardly slowed, but it confirmed that the others had been busy.

“Okay you’re almost here,” Pink confirmed. “As soon as you turn the corner, duck!”

Again, Red obeyed, realising that the tipped over garbage cans had gained him the precious seconds he needed. He turned the corner and ducked, covering his helmet, just as a snorting Hung Horn followed him. There was a bright flash, a loud groan and the sound of something heavy colliding with something solid. Red raised his head and looked to where Hung Horn now lay, slightly embedded in the wall of a dead end street. He turned his head and as expected saw the other Turbo Rangers with the Turbo RAM.

“Okay guys, let’s put this guy out to pasture!” Red said.

“Right!” the others responded as together the five Rangers charged the recovering monster.

Blue, Pink, Yellow and Green passed by, striking him with their swords. Red followed slightly behind and when he sensed that Hung Horn was off balance, he followed through with his Turbo Power Sword, delivering the final blow. As he sped away to join the others, Hung Horn exploded, collapsing what was left of the dead end, not that the Rangers’ attack had not already torn down most of the wall as they shot passed him.


The Moon

“Oh dear, I never expected them to outsmart him,” Finster admitted.

“Well we’ll soon fix that,” Rita said. It had been a while since she had sent down a monster. Even though he had lost he had been more successful than many of those she and Zedd had sent against the Ninja Rangers, and they had had the advantage of Goldar and Rito helping them. “Magic wand, make my monster grow!”

Xing shrugged as the wand left Rita’s hand. How the battle ended was of little concern. He was certain that he had made his point. Now it was up to his student Shinzon to carry those lessons forward.


The Psycho Rangers had noticed the monster attack and out of boredom had gathered to watch. They had been impressed by the monster’s strength although the ease with which he had been outsmarted caused many of them to roll their eyes and look at an oblivious Jaason.

“Looks like it’s all over,” Zaack observed as the Turbo Megazord started to spin.

“It was over before it began,” Biilly answered. “That monster was too stupid to notice an obvious trap.”

“And yet he managed to throw those Rangers around and almost succeeding in killing one,” Shinzon stated, appearing before the Psycho Rangers for the first time. “That is one more time than any of your monsters have managed because no matter how perfect a plan might be, it is useless if left unexecuted.”

Biilly allowed a look of anger to cross his face. “Destroy him!”

The Psycho Rangers attacked, Shinzon flashed with black energy, the Psycho Rangers were flung in all directions and stared up in shock and horror at the figure before them.

“Who are you?” Biilly demanded in a shaky voice.

It was Shinzon’s turn to show his anger, striking the Blue Psycho Ranger with a bolt of energy.

“So these are the Psycho Rangers,” he mused out loud, his disdain obvious. “I had been hoping for so much more than this. The leaders of Minion’s army reduced to squabbling like children, playing games and rotting away from inactivity. A Tenga warrior has done more than you to strike against our enemies. Do you really think that this is what Minion would want?”

“Who do you think you are coming here and trying to tell us what we should do?” Jaason demanded.

The overly large broadsword that the Red Psycho Ranger preferred to use in battle was in his hand and there was little doubt he planned to use it to cleave Shinzon in two. For his part Shinzon looked unimpressed by the weapon, easily catching the blade with his left hand while striking the wannabe leader of the Psycho Rangers away with an energy blast from his right hand.

“You really are a hot-headed thug, Jaason,” Shinzon told him. “It’s disappointing that Minion couldn’t have captured at least a little of Jason’s self-control when he create you.” A more powerful blast shot from his hand and narrowly missed the Psycho Ranger as he tried to stand. “STAY DOWN! I’m here to talk to those with half-a-brain, not waste my time incinerating you.”

Surprisingly, Jaason obeyed, although the others could not tell if he did so out of respect for an obviously more powerful for or because the first blast had injured him. Most hoped it was the latter.

“No cooperation, no real leadership, no sense of loyalty… you wouldn’t last long in a battle with the Power Rangers,” Shinzon told them. “Minion gave you all the qualities you would need to emerge victorious and instead you waste time with petty infighting. Finster’s monster was imperfect but at least he sent a monster! The Grand Monarch has called a meeting at which time he who hold the Earth will be in a position to negotiate and all others will be in a position to kiss his feet. Do you really want to become his servants? Do you want to be split up and sent into combat one after the other like common throwaways?” He saw their faces and knew that his words had gotten through to them. “Fear not Psycho Rangers, in the words of my mentor: I bring good news.”

He made an overdramatic hand gesture and the Psycho Rangers found themselves of standing again; some hadn’t realised that they had been disabled.

“I have come to solve the problems you face. You lack leadership, so I will provide a leader. You lack a united purpose, so I will give you something to unite you. You lack inspiration and so you will be given a plan.”

“So you are assuming command?” Biilly accused.

Jaason looked angry, realising that somebody else planned to take the spot he believed was his.

“I bring a choice,” Shinzon promised. “I can either take command or…” He crossed the space between them in an instant, freezing the other Psycho Rangers in place. He rested his palm on Billy’s chest, grinning sadistically as it started to glow. “Or I can take the commander.”

Biilly’s eyes widened as he stared into Shinzon’s feral features. The feeling was familiar as if he knew this being from somewhere. He couldn’t believe what his mind was screaming at him. There was no way it could be true.

“You?”

Shinzon’s smile grew as he sensed the recognition and the denial.

“It’s not possible,” Biilly whispered.

“Ah but you forget Biilly,” Shinzon replied so the others could hear him. “When dealing with the Power, the possibilities are endless.”

There staring match continued for a short time and then Biilly back down, bowing his head in submission, shocking the other Psycho Rangers. They had seen him stand up to Jaason. That he was willing to back down without a fight put them on their guard around Shinzon.

“You will always be the leader of the Psycho Rangers,” Shinzon told him. “And Jaason will always be your number two.” Both Shinzon and Biilly smirked at that. “Now the time has come for you to stop planning and act.”

He pulled out two of the arrows his master Xing had secured from Archerina earlier, dipped in Lord Zedd’s rejuvenation fluid.

“And this is what you are going to do…”


The Moon

Hung Horn had been destroyed. While disappointing Rita was not really surprised. Monster attacks rarely achieved anything on Earth. But then it was only on Earth that she had taken to using her monsters one at a time. Before she would sent multiple monsters or a legion of one sort of monster to overrun the defenders of a world she wanted. What had changed?

She knew the answer was one of focus. When she had been released she had seen Earth as an easy target. She had selected a city close to where the Rangers lived because Zordon’s recruitment had drawn her attention. She had underestimated them that day and they had defeated her forces. And after that if had become a matter of pride. She had deliberately sent her monsters one at a time to prove that she could defeat a bunch of human teenagers. She had become so focussed on their age and species that she had overlooked the fact they were Power Rangers.

But then it got worse when Zedd arrived. Somehow her obsession transferred to him. Her father had managed to resist the problem for a while by focussing on a bigger goal; the Zeo Crystal and the Orb of Doom were schemes that were too grand for a single city. But the Machine Empire, Divatox and many others had fallen into the trap of focussing too much on defeating an enemy and not on the business of conquering the planet.

~Could that be a part of the planet’s power?~ she wondered.

To redirect and focus the intentions of those that would cause the planet harm, trapping them in a cycle of defeat required powerful magic. But by doing so it would leave a villain exposed over a long period to the other effects of Earth’s magic. Over time evil intentions would diminish turning the most evil villain inept. Until eventually they would fade into insignificance.

Xing had not cured Rita of the effects of Earth. He had done very little to help Rita and Zedd and in all honesty, Rita blamed him for losing Zedd in the first place. But by losing Zedd she had become focussed on getting him back again, on reclaiming him from the Earth woman who thought she could steal Rita Repulsa’s husband. And Hung Horn had been kick she needed to start her plans. Oh she knew or at least strongly suspected that the monster had been a diversion to hide Xing’s true aim of obtaining the poison for his arrows, but he had reminded her that the machine existed. And that in turn had set a whole new plan into action.

~At this rate perhaps I will conquer the planet in time for the Grand Monarch’s meeting,~ she thought. There was much to do and little time. “Finster!” She bellowed. It was time to get building.

End of Part.


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Questions Never Asked, Answers Never Sought

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Beetleborgs, or any DC or Marvel Comics characters. They belong to their respective copyright owners. This is a fanfiction and no money is being made for this work.

Questions Never Asked, Answers Never Sought

Imagine an army of generals with no soldiers to command. Now add to that an opposing army made up of millions of soldiers willing to die as part of their war on anything they encountered. This was the problem that had presented itself and while all agreed that front line troops willing and able to destroy the enemy were more important than a room full of generals, only a few were willing to accept placement on the frontlines in the coming conflict.

And so a plan had been devised to breed an army created from the greatest warriors they could find. They ignored the obvious races that were born, bred and lived for combat, fearing that they would turn on their leaders the moment they lacked an enemy. Instead they turned their attention to the insignificant planet known as Earth, a world that had seen off countless invasions and was currently facing the combined threat of space pirates, diabolical machines and a wicked witch, if the reports were to be believed.

On closer observation it had become obvious that Earth had a vast and varied army of what they called super heroes that would make excellent soldiers and more importantly, would provide the blueprint for an army of soldiers to fight the coming war. The rights of the individual were discarded under the pretence of necessity. For what were the rights of a few humans compared with the fate of the universe at large?

The collection process had then started and over the many years it had been running, they had extracted whole groups of super-powered humans. A whole breed of what most would have considered mutants had been stolen from their homes while their families slept, the knowledge they had ever existed erased from the minds of those that had known them. But that group had proven unsuitable, their genetic makeup too unpredictable for the cloning process. Other subjects had been sought and had proven more successful, such as a super hero family that could call forth the power of gods.

Fortunately their superior technology allowed them to collect candidates from almost any point in history with the minimum of side effects. The erasure of the memories of those that had known the ‘disappeared’ helped to keep their activities a secret. In some cases they had been forced to allow the knowledge of those they had taken to exist but in a different form, such as the great detective whose cases were known throughout England, and had been turned into the creation of a drunken Irishman.

Eventually though all the avenues had been explored and the soldiers they desired had not been found. Many had come close, but they were looking to build an army with as little effort as possible on their parts. They needed their soldiers to be strong, powerful and easily controlled. Sadly the strongest they had encountered had not been easy to indoctrinate and those with the most power also seemed to be the most stubborn. They had manipulated governments, using greed to convince them to start a super powered arms race. The Task Force operation had been a partial a success with each generation providing a greater insight into the way to build their army, but it still wasn’t what they desired. In the end it had become clear to the true masterminds behind the Corps Project and the Task Force operation that their only choice was to use Power Rangers.


Arcadia Academy Research Division

Arcadia Academy was a not a building or a campus, it was a research organisation with several facilities around the world. While some developed technology, this branch was one of three dealing with biological weapons operating as part of the government’s Super Weapon Development Program. Their long held remit allowed them to seize, identify and utilise any material of an alien nature. The terms of what qualified material as alien were extremely broad and included technology and living matter. The remit also allowed those in charge of their operations to classify almost anything as alien, placing it under the jurisdiction of their operatives. Aliens, demons, mutants or super heroes, anything that was considered the slightest bit unusual could also be considered as alien. Over time such projects along with similar organisations in the United Kingdom, France, Russia and other parts of the world had become quasi-autonomous organisations only partly answerable to the governments they represented.

The military liked to think they were the driving force behind the Corps Project and Task Force operations. The truth was that those organisations had been infiltrated by aliens that sought to use their research as a means to build an army. For centuries in some cases they had manipulated those that sought to control the aliens around them into conducting research on their behalf. Their aims were not malevolent towards humans, far from it they really didn’t care about the Earth or its people, but they wanted weapons capable of fighting in an upcoming war. And to that end they had influenced the kidnap, testing and indoctrination of thousands of living beings. Over time their manipulation had spread to the entire human race, using a form of memory proofing to make people forget those that were chosen as test subjects.

The acquisition of their latest subjects had been very difficult to justify. There had been no doubt that the three humans were ordinary humans, but their use of alien technology allowed the organisation’s chief to justify their capture. Not that they would ever call it a capture. That would lead to too many questions over the legality of their treatment. Once in protective custody it was decided that they should be used to test the suitability of Power Rangers as soldiers. It was the first time that after erasing the memories of those that had known them that they had checked back repeatedly to make sure the memory wipe was still in place. It was becoming increasingly obvious that it would soon fail.

“This test has concluded. The subjects have been connected to the system and their minds have been fully mapped. They appear to have accepted the integration sequence without any negative effects. In fact it appears they were unaware of their lack of surroundings until after they defeated their enemies.”

Due to the emphasis that had been placed on their success, the researchers had an almost unlimited budget, allowing them access to the most advanced research equipment available. For just as schools had moved beyond the need to dissect animals in science classes, so the researchers had chosen to use virtual environments to test their subjects to avoid unnecessary suffering. With their bodies placed in suspended animation, the researcher used artificial bodies and computer generated illusions to test their responses.

The three humans tested were known to possess super powers and had been led to believe they were facing opponents that were both highly aggressive and extremely dangerous. Their subjects had used their powers and the scientists had taken the opportunity to discover their inner workings.

“And the analysis of their powers?” his supervisor asked.

“Still inconclusive,” he answered. “They are not magical, which means we can ‘legally’ use them. Unfortunately they defy our attempts to understand them.”

Their remit for some reason prohibited the development of an army based around magic. The Turbo Ranger powers were scientific enough to escape that classification although the phenomenon known as the Speed Force was still not fully understood.

The first subjects they had collected had been easy to understand. The heroes known as Cyborg and Vision were the creations of science. They had been extracted at a time when many had been reported missing following the events of a desperate assault on reality. Their allies had likely overlooked their failure to resurface when reality had been restored. In truth they had been taken away for research and the results had been forwarded to another project. Vision had been completely disassembled and then rebuilt, allowing a new understanding of how he worked and the creation of similar machines. Sadly those machines had not lived up to the potential of the original. Cyborg had been heavily modified and upgraded to become the prototype for their Techno Trooper design. The upgrades had failed and they had been forced to remove them, but Cyborg had at least proven useful as combat computer.

“Find a way. Time is running out and we need all the warriors we can get. Those powers might be the answer to our problems. And those three humans are the first successful transference we’ve made.”

Time was indeed running out. A war was about to be fought and soldiers were needed. Oh there were plenty of generals and tactical leaders, but this was a battle that needed troops on the front line, willing to die without question for the glory of their leaders. And that was something that did not exist within the race of generals and officers. They were bred to lead and command, and sit back waiting for news of victory. It fell to others to do the fighting.

They had experimented using all manner of heroes taken from Earth. They had extracted candidates at just the right moment and hidden their existence from the memories of those that knew them. They had intercepted several survivors of the planet Krypton before they had had a chance to settle Earth. That had represented their biggest failure since not only had they proven reluctant to fight, it seemed that with the correct weapons they could be rendered completely helpless.

As the threat of war had grown, they had extracted more and more heroes for experimentation. A whole breed of empowered humans had been stolen away without anybody noticing only to discover that their powers were too random to form a cohesive army. And that had led them to try other heroes, those the Power Rangers had fought alongside – for they had resisted the temptation to snatch a Ranger team, fearing that to do so would unleash a force they could not fully control. They had settled for the disbanded members of the JLA and Avengers, and several other groups. And in each instance they had altered the memories of those that had known them so they never existed.

~Didn’t they ever ask themselves why the heroes they had fought alongside suddenly stopped appearing in the news?~ he wondered. ~Didn’t the citizens these heroes protected never stop to consider why their cities were suddenly overrun with criminals?~

“The age of the specimens was a major factor, I’m sure. Of those we’ve tested the age of the subject seems to determine how quickly they start to question their environment. Of course this was the first time we subjected new arrivals to danger as soon as they awakened.”

“It could well be a part of the human survival instinct,” his supervisor agreed. “What about their origin point? Have their companions noticed their disappearance yet?”

A woman with tightly woven brown hair looked up from the console she was monitoring.

“Not exactly,” she reported. “It would seem that our attempt to remove them was not completely successful. A part of them was left behind and seems to be continuing their fight against what they consider the forces of evil. Their existence is tightly woven into the timeline…”

“A timeline we altered,” somebody added.

“…that reality is resisting our attempts to remove them.”

Indeed it appeared that even as he spoke the three Turbo Rangers they were testing were back on Earth once again fighting the forces of darkness. Could it be that something about the powers they had been unable to analyse was also preventing them from fully transporting their test subjects.

“Monitor the situation and speed up the testing. These humans could be the answer we’re seeking, but we can’t risk damaging the timeline; we need a stable history on which to base our predictions. Put them back as soon as you can. We will have to make do with the mind maps to answer any further questions.”

There was a war coming, a war that would be fought beyond the heavens in a way that most would be unable to imagine. And already it appeared that in the face of the coming confrontation, that the morality and neutrality of a race that presented itself as the oldest, wisest and most peaceful in existence, had been sacrificed. There was always an unknown factor, a being that would place what was right above the well being of a single race. To many he was considered a liability in the coming conflict because he would not allow them to do everything necessary to secure victory.

The supervisor turned away, his eyes roaming over the hundreds of stasis capsules they had secured within the facility. This was where the humans were tested, their minds fed into an artificial world created by technology and closely controlled to resemble the real world as closely as possible. This was not a game or a bubble universe. This was a total immersion into an artificial landscape where they could test their subjects repeatedly in as many scenarios as possible. While injury was certainly a possibility, so far they had avoided killing any of their experiments.

There was a question of how such simulations would transfer over to the real world. Even if the indoctrination process succeeded would it last when the mind was in a fully coherent state? Only time would tell, but as he watched an army of Captain Americas charge into battle, he felt strangely optimistic. This was not a war they could afford to lose. Despite those that felt it should be fought to prove their dominance over all others, the truth was that if their enemies triumphed they would not stop until all their enemies had been crushed, which for that particular race, all enemies meant every other living creature.

As he walked out he caught sight of a news broadcast. It seemed that the Power Rangers were indeed at full force. He made a note to return their subjects to a point where they would be able to take part in such a battle. After all it wouldn’t do to have them present in two places at once. That would cause all kinds of problems and the Universe was in enough trouble already.

End of Part


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Princely Scheming

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to Saban Brands. This is a fan work and not for profit.

Author’s Note: This chapter takes place after Mother Knows Best.

Princely Scheming

He stood over his fallen foe, regretting the necessity of slaughtering him. It wasn’t the act of killing, for in battle it was only logical that the enemy needed to be destroyed. No, as Prince Gasket, arguably the Heir of the Royal House of Gadgetry, stood over the defeated form of the being that had called himself Behemoth, his only regret was that he would not be able to torture the identity of his foe’s employer out of his broken corpse.

“The absolute foolishness of believing that any organic could hope to emerge victorious again a powerful machine like you,” Archerina raged.

It had been a close call, even she had to admit that. Behemoth had been a big monster, at least the size of one of the Machine Empire’s enlarged creations. He had also been extremely angry and dedicated to his task, tearing through whatever Gasket had thrown at him; their Cog reserves were absolutely exhausted following the battle to the point where there were hardly sufficient Cogs to run the factory to produce new units. The only good thing was that Behemoth had not cared whom he encountered while chasing Gasket across the planet and had taken his toll on the resistance movement as well.

“Quite my dear, but the question remains, who would be foolish enough to attack me? And why?”

Oh there were plenty on names that ran through Gasket’s electronic mind. The rebels hiring a warrior to fight on their behalf only for the plan to backfire, his father deciding to destroy him for his continued disobedience. He briefly entertained the notion that perhaps Archerina’s father or one of the other leaders of the rival factions within the Machine Empire had struck at him as some form of uprising against the Royal House of Gadgetry, but dismissed the notion. Most of those that opposed him or his father politically would have known not to send an organic creature against them. There were far better machines capable of assassination attempts… some would have had a chance of succeeding.

He moved on to consider other enemies of the Machine Empire, the so called heroes that opposed the will of the Machine Empire. There were many of them and it was true that he posed a threat to them. But even he had to admit that compared to other enemies, he was not the biggest threat.

~Besides there are very few races capable of enlarging others using light magic,~ he thought.

The Triforians could manage it but tests had proven that the effect only lasted so long at the Triforian was within range. Since the breach of their planet had been by Behemoth and Behemoth alone, that method on enlargement seemed unlikely. And since that was the most effective method of growing a being without turning to the darker powers, he was willing to rule out the Galactic Council and their members… for now.

So that left other villains. Those that were jealous of his strategic brilliance or feared his prowess in battle. Behemoth had been a strong opponent, of that there was little doubt. It had taken all of Gasket’s cunning and mechanically enhanced strength to defeat the alien warrior. Fortunately Gasket was not only programmed in the noble art of sword fighting, he was also an experienced combatant. Over the centuries he had constantly pitted himself against the finest machines his underlings could create and from time to time sullied himself by facing organic warriors in single battle. It was that practical skill that would have allowed him to wield Damocles Sword in battle where his father had failed.

But who would have the nerve to attack him, or for that matter the gall? The new Grand Monarch had issued a summons just a few days earlier and Gasket was aware of what the Messenger of Fire had done to make it clear his master mean business. Was it possible the Grand Monarch had sent another agent to make sure that they got the message? Certainly killing the Heir of the Royal House of Gadgetry would have sent the message that he was serious, but Gasket liked to think that he was too valuable to be used in such a way. Sprocket perhaps, but not Gasket.

A rival then? Yes, that made much more sense. One of the other villains wanted him out of the way so that they could grab the planet Earth before the day of the meeting. There was no question that he who claimed control of that vital planet at the time would become one of the most important figures in the hierarchy of the newly formed United Alliance of Evil. And Gasket liked to believe that he had as much chance of seizing the planet as his competitors. More in fact given his superior machine mind and willingness to embrace methods his father shied away from.

Except now he wasn’t a contender. Whether the intention had been to destroy him or injure him, the fact was Behemoth had succeeded. Gasket’s Cog forces were all but wiped out, his factories had been severely damaged and his stock of machine monsters were limited. By rampaging across the planet, Behemoth had set back Gaskets ability to play a major part in UAE by decades. Even within the Machine Empire his faction was now the weakest and he would need to be weary of competitors seeking to claim possession of Horath.

~Master Vile perhaps,~ he wondered.

The ruler of the M-51 Galaxy was certainly powerful enough to take on the might of the Machine Empire and risk its wrath. While it was true that his magic would prove extremely limited against the Cold Iron bodies of King Mondo’s forces, there were ways he could direct that power to overcome that disadvantage. Of course such an attempt would need to be swift and guaranteed to succeed, for there was no way that even a powerful magic user like Master Vile could defend himself if Mondo chose to attack.

~And Father would have been honour bound to avenge my death,~ Gasket realised. Not because there were any positive thought processes by Mondo regarding Gasket, but rather because Vile would have had the nerve to attack the Machine Empire. ~No, if Vile were to try this he would direct his attack at Father first.~ Vile would only have had one opportunity after all.

He dismissed Lord Zedd on the grounds that the villain had been destroyed. While his father had ordered a part of the Machine Planet’s runtime to determine the exact nature of Zedd’s existence, which given the amount of magic involved would likely lead to a complete failure, Gasket was a firm believer that they had seen the last of Lord Zedd. Whether that was a good thing given the former villain’s abilities he could not determine — for Gasket did acknowledge that when it came to actively conquering worlds, Zedd was a figure to be emulated.

~Rita then?~ Giant monsters were a part of her arsenal, but Behemoth was not one of her monsters constructed from clay. There was no sign of Rita’s magic wand and if she had attacked he reasoned that she would have sent the Putty Patrol along to secure the planet after Behemoth succeeded.

Then there was Count Dregon. While not the best known villain attacking the planet Earth, and considered by most to be more the sort of threat left to the Rider Corp than a serious problem, Dregon was known to capture and experiment upon specimens from the worlds he conquered. The majority of his forces employed in the attempted conquest of Earth were creatures he had collected on Edenoi. So creating a monster possessing Behemoth’s strength was not unfeasible. ~Unlikely though given his preoccupation with the Masked Rider and his problems on Edenoi.~

And finally there was Divatox. ~Would she attack me, would she even dare?~ The answer of course was yes, so long as she believed that she could get away with it. A previously unknown alien suddenly turning up and wrecking havoc on Horath would allow her to deny sending it, especially if it was a mercenary hired from outside the Dianthe Clan. ~And nobody would believe that she had done that when all her recent claims to be hiring mercenaries have turned out to be crewmen from her own fleet.~ She would never have the nerve to attack Mondo or the Machine Empire, but he was willing to be that if she saw an opportunity to get rid of a competitor and get away with it, she would.

~There was an explosion following his arrival,~ Gasket recalled.

Behemoth had plummeted through the atmosphere and mad a massive impact, but the explosions had come after he had landed. Was it possible that Divatox had launched two of her torpedoes to make him more powerful? Of course it was. It made sense that Divatox would take an opportunity on a whim without considering the consequences. While her mother was an ambitious woman and her brothers were both competent strategists, Divatox maintained her position through fear and viciousness. Whereas General Havok would have considered the fall out of such a move and the danger of making a move against the Machine Empire, Divatox would just see the opportunity.

Oh Divatox wasn’t foolish by any means. It was clear that she had made sure that while his suspicions were likely correct, they were just suspicions. There was no immediate evidence that she was behind the attack. The torpedoes were known to completely combust following their use. He was not going to mistake a lack of forward planning for foolishness or stupidity.

But there would need to be retribution. Divatox would have to be shown that attacking Prince Gasket was not something she could get away with. But payback would have to wait. Seriously short on resources and determined to secure his position in the UAE, he had more pressing concerns.

“Our assessors have completed the inventory,” Archerina announced, ending his quiet contemplation.

“And the results my darling?” Gasket asked.

“As you suspected,” she said. “Most of our factories have been destroyed, our Cogs are barely sufficient to provide security. We will not be able to rebuild your creations.”

“Have no fear my lovely wife,” Gasket assured her. “All is not lost and we have at our disposal the means to rebuild our forces.”

“How?”

How indeed? It was a risky venture and would lose him control of Horath again, but if his new plan succeeded they would have an invasion force capable of conquering the Earth.

“Tell our forces that we are leaving this world and to prepare the Space Base for flight.”

And there it was, the ultimate plan. When Gasket had conquered Horath, he had made his Space Base, which was considerably smaller than his father’s, a part of the planet. And while the factories had been devastated by the recent attack, the Space Base would still function.

“But what will we do?” Archerina pressed.

“We are going to take this Space Base and take command of the replacement troops Grandfather is building on the Machine Homeworld,” Gasket announced.

Following the arrival of the Messenger of Fire, the production plants on the Machine Homeworld had been brought to maximum capacity to fulfil Mondo’s need for an ever growing army. And while they would not be able to seize any of his father’s creations, due to the inbuilt loyalty programs, there was no reason not to secure a new legion of Cogs and begin work on their own creations.

“And when we have enough Cogs to form a work unit, we are going to set them to work converting this Space Base into the biggest Machine Monster those Rangers have ever seen. And then we will wipe out the Rangers, Rita, Divatox and my father in with a single blow.”

“Standing against your father is a dangerous idea,” Archerina commented. She would never stand in her husband’s way of course. More likely she would be there to make sure his mother didn’t interfere.

“Fear not my love,” Gasket told her, clasping her hand in a gesture of machine modulated emotion. “The true genius of this plan is that even if the Rangers destroy my creation, I will at least secure my position as Heir of the Royal House of Gadgetry.”

Their touching interaction was disturbed by a low moan as as their gaze shifted, they were surprised to find that Behemoth was starting to recover.

“Unbelievable!” Gasket proclaimed. “I was certain I had ended his existence.”

“It seems my love that whoever sent this thing realised that it would be facing Prince Gasket and tried to make it stronger.”

“Quite true my lovely princess,” Gasket agreed, considering the rapidly recovering yet still incoherent creature. “Tell me Archerina, do you still possess those arrows you modified to work on organics?”

“Of course I do,” Archerina said. “But you do recall that the effects are not the same?”

Indeed when Archerina had tried to use her arrows on organic beings in the past, they had turned insanely jealous, destroying everything around them in order to prevent the loss of their beloved Archerina. When one such experiment had destroyed some of Gasket’s heirlooms, it was agreed not to continue the experiments.

“Yes,” Gasket answered. “But consider what would happen if you used an arrow and let him loose in a place where he could only damage the enemy.”

“Such as the Machine Home World?” Archerina asked.

There was no doubt that Behemoth would be destroyed before he could wreck too much havoc, but if aimed in the right direction, not only would his assault give Gasket a reason to visit the planet to protect his interests, but it could lead to the destruction of one of the areas he had been looking to destroy himself. And with Behemoth as the responsible party, the blame would be laid at Divatox’s feet.

~Which would send Father after Divatox and allow me time to launch my attack on the Earth,~ he mused.

And once he had the opportunity to launch his attack on the planet, Gasket promised that his assault would be relentless. He had come to realise that the only way to overcome the humans was to dominate them completely. Not one monster at a time, but every weapon in his arsenal launched together to sweep aside the human defences and establish Machine superiority. It wasn’t a knew idea and he understood that his father had likely calculated the need for such an attack when he had arrived at the planet.

~But Father’s preoccupation with Sprocket has blinded him from his duty,~ he thought bitterly.

After their disagreement over his choice of bride, Mondo had removed Gasket from his position as Heir to the Machine King. He had gone further and destroyed his other potential heirs in case they too rebelled. To avoid upsetting Machina, Mondo had erased his former children’s’ names from every database within the Machine Empire and had then created Sprocket as their replacement. But the cover up had not been completely successful and Machina’s memory banks could not be completely erased. And so Mondo had reprogrammed his wife and youngest son, forcing her to dote on her young child until he grew up while restricting Sprocket’s programming so that he would mature as his body grew.

~But Sprocket’s body cannot develop,~ Gasket thought. ~Father designed him to remain the same forever so the Mother would never know what he did.~

Not that Gasket cared that Mondo had destroyed his brother and sisters. If they were still alive he would have killed them the moment he assumed the throne. But the deception was holding Mondo back, forcing him to indulge his wife’s need to teach Sprocket how to be a good conqueror like his father. And that meant that instead of creating the sort of machines that could conquer worlds, Mondo had been building a collection of toy soldiers.

~That will change now,~ Gasket calculated. ~Father will have to abandon his current approach if he wishes to beat Rita and Dregon. Mother will beĀ  most upset, but she is programmed to support Father above all else. And Sprocket will be incapable of understanding why Father is not indulging him any more.~

But Sprocket would not have time to be upset for long. For Gasket’s plans required Sprocket to grow up… in more ways than one. And then with Sprocket removed, Grommet lost and his other mechanical sibling destroyed, it would just be a matter of waiting for his father’s runtime to expire. And then he would be the rule of the Machine Empire and all would bow down to King Gasket.

~According to my calculations the future will be very interesting,” he thought. ~Speaking of which…~

“Archerina my love, I have been computing the possibilities and I have decided that it is time for us to start construction of our child.”

Archerina made a strange noise, a mix of an acknowledge and and electronic squeal of delight as she jabbed an arrow into Behemoth’s prone form and practically dragged her husband toward their private chambers, leaving a few unfortunate Cogs to put the couple’s devious plans into motion. If it were possible for Cogs to show fear, it would have been clearly evident as one nervously reached out and nudged Behemoth, just as he finally awoke. And as the noise of banging and grind from Gasket and Archerina were drowned out by the wild growls of a not-so-coherent Behemoth, other Cogs were already in the process of carrying out their ruler’s commands.

And as hours later the batter Space Base raced through space, Gasket and Archerina cuddled while enjoying a goblet of warm oil. Sometimes it was good to be a prince, but for Gasket, better things awaited.

~I just can’t wait to be King!~

End of Part


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The Titanium Tragedy

Disclaimer: I do not own or lay claim to the Power Rangers. No profit is being made from this work. Justin Hammer belongs to Marvel Comics however the references to his previous endeavours to make his weapons appear to work are based on the situations described in the film Pentagon Wars. The Hydrothermal Generator was taken from the Transformers cartoon. The Task Force Operation does indeed refer to Super Sentai shows created prior to Power Rangers but never used by Power Rangers. J-Force is a hybrid of Jetman and Gatchaman. It should be noted that Turboranger refers to the Sentai show Turboranger and not Power Rangers Turbo (even though the Earth-2 equivalent of the Power Rangers Turbo do resemble them).

The Titanium Tragedy

Throughout history the moment a discovery had been made the question raised would always revolve around its military applications. When man had found a way to fly, the generals had tried to determine if the technology could be used to spy. The splitting of the atom, radio, even the caterpillar trail were assessed for their value as weapons of war. Drugs were in production capable of curing the deadliest diseases, but could not be released until scientists found a way to counter them in case they needed to use biological weapons.

So when the Earth’s governments had found definite proof of alien existence on the planet, they had worried more about securing useable technology and weapons than they had about making peace. If Rita Repulsa had only wanted to destroy a part of the Earth there was a good chance the governments might have worked to reach a secret deal. With that in mind it was no surprise that when they had had the opportunity to capture and examine one of the aliens they had seized the chance. That the ‘visitor’ in question had given them access to technology they had not possessed beforehand made it all the better.

The Titanium Morpher represented over a decade of toil. Even though the urgency to develop the device had only increased a few years before, government agencies around the world had sought to unlock the secrets that led to its creation much earlier. When the Task Force Operation had ended due to the refusal of the project’s engineer to continue providing the much needed components, a race had begun to replace the suits that had been such an essential part of the project.

At first they had tried to convince ‘guest’ to show them how the suits worked, but he had refused. Unfortunately while he was willing to see his designs used in sometimes questionable ways, he had objected completely to the policy of purging users every twelve months and by the time he found out about the policy the Task Force Operation had been running for a number of years. Gentle persuasion had given way to methods that had he been human would have been classified as torture; there were no laws against such methods used on aliens. He had steadfastly refused to give them the secrets or explain how to reactivate the previous suits after their year of active service had expired. Once they had threatened to kill him if he did not comply and failed to follow through, there was nothing left for them to bargain with.

At that point the race to find a replacement for the suits had started. Teams of scientists from around the world worked to be the first to unlock the secrets of powered soldiers. No expense had been spare, no resource had been unavailable. Many of the old suits were destroyed in the process before they found a way around the protections that had been installed. In the end one of the American teams had taken the controversial step of using a hostile captive to decode one of the suits.. The secrets of the suit had been unravelled and used to create the Titanium Morpher. They had even managed to salvage a part of the suit’s design template and had used it as proof of their success.

For the military the completion of the Titanium Morpher represented an opportunity to place the protection of the planet into trained military control. The officer overseeing the project had nothing against Lightspeed, but the loss of a team member months earlier had motivated him to find a way to fight the threat to Mariner Bay without putting untrained personnel at risk. Since Lightspeed was at least partially outside of military control, that meant replacing the organisation completely. The Titanium Morpher combined with another project that had recently reported success would mean that a five man team could be replaced by a single operative accompanied by an automated support team.

However despite his pleasure at having developed a workable alternative to Lightspeed, he was not happy. He was a no-nonsense sort of officer. He would have preferred to be arranging the handover of responsibility for protecting Mariner Bay, but the higher-ups had decided that his current assignment required positive media saturation in order to avoid misunderstandings with the public. That he considered the project’s success essential to the protection of his country made it feel even more insulting that they had overruled his objection to this farce of an event.

He glowered as the event’s organiser took to the stage. He was a patriot, he cared about his country and the people under his command. He wanted to save lives by removing troops from danger while recognising that in any battle there was an element of risk. His aim was to reduce that risk as much as possible. The current speaker was more interested in increasing his bank balance and his public image. There was no doubt that the chance to claim a major defence contract that Stark Industries had refused to accept was a boost to the man’s ego.


“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining us today. It is a pleasure to have so many of our great leaders present and of course the esteemed members of the press. I know that many of you will find what you are about to see difficult to believe, but I promise you will be impressed. Our technicians – all of whom graduated top of their classes from our country’s fine universities – are making the final adjustments, so while they do so let me explain a little more about this project.”

Presentation was everything. Justin Hammer knew that better than most. Over the years he had sold many wonderful weapons to countries around the world, knowing that many of those weapons either didn’t work or were in some way flawed. The heat-seeking missile that had such a badly designed sensor package it had required testers to strap twenty electric fires only the side of a tank in order to make it appear as a target. Even then the missile had failed to explode properly. His biological and chemical weapons had been even more of a disaster. But as long as he continued to present those failures in a favourable light, Hammer would continue to win lucrative defence contracts that would cost many soldiers their lives.

“The world is a dangerous place,” he announced, playing a video of various trouble spots around the globe, starting out with terrorist and unfriendly governments before showing the more recent problems caused by alien invasions. “Lightspeed has gone a long way to curb the threat of these invaders, but more needs to be done. Look at Angel Grove, one threat after another because a decisive stance was not taken to deal with the problem. Such threats need to be dealt with by those focussed on the good of our great country.”

A black and white film replaced the images of carnage and destruction. It was record of a cold winter night many decades earlier.

“This is not the first time this planet has encountered visitors from beyond,” he told the audience although secretly he wasn’t sure the footage was authentic. Based on the truth? Possibly. But he suspected the film had been made much more recently. “This is the recording of an earlier arrival, aliens who crashed on our world. Our government in association with others recognised the value of these visitors and the Task Force Operation was launched. Aided by another visitor, this government bravely fielded teams of powered super heroes to protect the interests of our great nation and our allies.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of trust these magnificent suits were given only a short product life and for reasons of security, a purge protocol was authorised. This led to a misunderstanding with our visitor ally and a withdrawal of his services. The Task Force Operation was abandoned.”

Now came his moment of triumph, when he proved that allowing his personnel access to one of the nations most closely guarded prisoners had been a sensible step, especially since his attempts to reach a deal with the alien scientist responsible for the suits had been such a colossal failure. It was a moment to remember, when he could graciously accept the multi-billion dollar contracts his efforts deserved and push for several other contracts to be awarded to his corporation’s subsidiary companies.

“This was unacceptable! This nation, this planet, will not be held ransom by some alien just because we would rather see a threat dealt with than risk the lives of our loved ones. Our military personnel could escape injury and death thanks to these suits and for that, we needed to be able to create them ourselves.

“Now Lightspeed has done a fantastic job of creating its team of Rangers, but they were starting from scratch and the unfortunate death of one of their team proves that the technology has yet to be perfected. Today you will see the results of successfully unlocking the secrets of alien technology and how it has been successfully used to create a new prototype soldier. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Titanium Morpher!”

He held up the small box with a blue ‘M’ on the front. This was the the result of reverse engineering an earlier set of suits and combining the technology with the schematics ‘borrowed’ from Lightspeed. He had insisted that when used, the morpher would create a Ranger more powerful than anything Lightspeed had managed. After all, he wanted to take that contract away from them. He had not counted on the government already having a technological replacement for Lightspeed in place.

“This morpher has passed every test we could devise. Simulated testing has shown that the user will experience enhanced strength, speed and durability while being protected from most forms of weapons. In short he would be a super soldier.”

Of course there was one last test to perform and Hammer had wanted that test to be public despite the military’s misgivings. The best publicity he could hope to obtain would come from this demonstration.

“Our experts selected the best possible candidate for this test…”

And so Hammer continued to drone on about the work his company had undertaken, building up the public’s understanding of how his staff had overcome the technical difficulties they had been faced with to achieve complete success. It was just a shame that for all the simulations and computerised scenarios, there had not been a single test to make certain the results were accurate.


Hammer had managed to keep talking for at least an hour, covering every possible topic that the press could want to cover, taking the opportunity to ensure that it was understood how his company had been responsible for the success of the entire project. He had gone to great lengths to discuss the qualifications of their test subject, a man the military overseers had initially rejected. In short what was supposed to be a simple new briefing to reassure the public during the transition from a team of human Power Rangers to a single operative assisted by five robotic units, had become a farce.

“… without further ado, let me introduce you to the first part of this spectacular new force: the Cyborg Rangers!”

The spotlight shifted to highlight a collection of robots at the back corner of the stage. Five of the cyborgs stomped forward as the cameras flashed and took up position in the marked spots. Each stood around seven foot tall, had been manufactured from some of the strongest and most expensive materials that could be produced and had been programmed using the combat data of the Lightspeed Rangers. Each was equipped with advanced and powerful weapon systems that could in theory slay a demon instead of merely slowing it down and could act both independent and as directed by their lead operator. However it was the ability to alter their appearances using a combination of shifting components and electronically generated illusions that caused them to flicker and then assume the familiar forms of the Lightspeed Rangers.

“And now the moment you have all been waiting for, the first transformation of the Titanium Ranger. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome our volunteer, Earl Grier!”

The conference centre erupted into applause. The press would make this man look like a hero, a lone soldier defending Mariner Bay. They would completely overlook the sixty technicians who even now were scrambling to prepare the initial power up of their new creation.

For his part Earl managed to look dignified as he gave a polite nod to the cameramen and shook hands with the military. Of course Hammer tried to inject a bit of enthusiasm into the event, but it was clear that the volunteer was focussed on the task at hand. He calmly took the Titanium Morpher and then moved to a predetermined spot before waiting patiently as the technicians completed their part of the operation.

“Ladies and Gentlemen for the initial activation of the Titanium Morpher it is necessary to channel a great deal of high voltage electricity into the device. I assure you there is very little current present so you are all safe. However if you would all like to take a step back it would help avoid any unfortunate new hairdos.”

At long last the technicians gave the nod that their part was done and the cameras recording the experiment were double-checked to ensure the entire transformation could be reviewed at a later date. Wires had been fitted to monitor his vital signs and after a few checks he was deemed as ready as he could be. The room fell silence as Earl took a deep breath and then spoke the activation code.

“Titanium Power!”

And with that the generator came to life, and all hell broke loose.


When an army captain had chosen the location for this press conference it was doubtful he had looked into the history of the site. If he had he might have reconsidered. For over a decade the area had been a major part of secret project seeking to take advantage of alien technology; he had been able to identify the energy source and had been surprised the humans had failed to grasp such a simple technology. The site had been sealed at the end of the project, but the military had not been told that in order to empower the Titanium Morpher, scientists had found a way to tap the portal and use the energy unleashed to drive their Hydrothermal Generator.

The scientist had never really understood the nature of the energy they were trying to manipulate. They had failed to grasp that it was capable of altering the nature of anything it came into contact with. They didn’t realise that it could not be contained without a specially built Faraday Cage.

When the circuits were switched to allow the energy to flow it did so, bypassing safety cut outs and surge protectors to freely flow around the miles of electrical cable that ran through the facility. The power surge flowed into the computers and phone lines, causing no harm to the electronics. However as it passed through one of the computer hard drives it encountered a computer virus designed to log and gather information.

The computer was altered by the power surge and the virus gained a small amount of sentience. Falling back on its initial programming it took control of the computer and started to pull information from the facility’s network. It accessed huge amounted of data and spread throughout the mainframe. In seconds it was manipulating robotic arms and taking on a physical existence. In minutes it had moved onto more complicated machinery.

The inrush of data gave it a great deal of information and a limited understanding of humans. It judged them based on the information it received and compared them to its own programming. It judged them to be inferior and a threat to its continued existence. Operating more on instinct than actual intelligence, it chose to attack.

By now the virus controlled the Cyborg Rangers, the massive Zord-like machines that had been built to assist them and more importantly: the Hydrothermal Generator that powered them.


Something had gone horribly wrong.

When the Titanium Morpher had been activated it had functioned as expected. The panels had opened to reveal both the control mechanism and the charging circuitry. The morpher had flashed as it ran through its first use protocols, charging itself and then activating the latent energy feeds that would ensure it would be self-charging. The template program stored inside the morpher’s control chip was accessed as the device followed the inbuilt pattern to create the personal energy grid around which the uniform formed. The first stages in the transformation completed, the Titanium Morpher switched to the materialisation stage, pulling the suit, which had been compressed within the device, and arsenal of the Titanium Ranger and locking them into place around his body.

It was at that point that things went wrong. A computer virus had been mutated by the unstable energy used to power the complex. It seconds it had taken control of the electrical charge, the controls working the doors and even the elevators. Everything that could be operated by a computer had been overridden; only the Titanium Morpher had escaped infection due to being a closed system.

Within seconds of the Titanium Morpher activating, the generator was adjusted to increase the current, sending a potentially lethal current into Earl’s body. There was a loud scream as nearby equipment exploded from the electromagnetic pulse. Lightning flashed out of control from the morpher, striking the robotic Rangers.

Earl cried out in agony as he was electrocuted. His half-formed suit provided him with some protection, but it was nowhere near enough. His muscles clenched uncontrollably in response to current. And then the morpher detected the fault in its power sequence and closed down, leaving him fully exposed.

In the meantime the robotic Rangers had been damaged, causing them to initiate their damage control protocols, software that had been altered by the virus. The changes caused the robots to see the electrical discharge as an attack and to react accordingly, while removing the protections installed to prevent them firing upon humans. The result was the brutal slaughter of anything in their path.

And as the Cyborg Rangers wreaked havoc and the Titanium Morpher killed its chosen user, the virus spread throughout the facility. It took control of devices that gave it new abilities, allowing it to scan and digitize inorganic matter. With a constant stream of data the computer soon made improvements to the machinery, allowing it to absorb living beings as well.

Somewhere along the line it lost control of the Hydrothermal Generator causing it to enter a dangerous build up of volatile energy. If not handled safely the generator would explode and blow a hole in the planet; such a build up would take months before it reached the critical point.

And so as one of the Cyborg Rangers turned its targeting sensors on one of the soldiers and raised its arm into the firing position, the computer virus spoke for the first time.

“Humans,” it said, its voice emerging from every speaker on every computer within the complex. “This world is mine!”


Hours later

Exactly what had happened after the first shot had been fired was unclear. The guests had been evacuated and the facility had been sealed. However many of the staff had been trapped inside and their fate was unknown.

The VIPs reappeared relatively unharmed, with no recollection of what had happened beyond the shooting and a burst of light. They all remembered the voice telling them that it had taken control of their computer and would soon claim their planet. All of them would be haunted by nightmares of what had happened and the odd feeling that there was something they had forgotten that would prove disastrous.

Somehow the Titanium Morpher had been retrieved by Hammer during the chaos. It had been taken from him by Lightspeed and despite his claims that he was the authorised custodian of the device, they refused to give it back.

Fortunately for Hammer all other broadcasts from the facility had failed when the virus had taken over, so the extent of his failure was not known. That lack of information would likely save his company. It couldn’t stop him worrying about what had happened to his technology?

Because the official record of their failure was unclear, the senior figures involved in the fiasco survived with their careers intact. And the quest to unlock the secrets of Ranger technology continued.

End of Part



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Mother Knows Best

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to Saban Brands. This is a fan work and no profit is being made from it.

Mother Knows Best

Divatox’s Chamber,
Day Minus Two

Sleep was something that all beings appreciated, whether they were good or unquestionably evil. But it was not the opportunity to rest after a long day of evil deeds that most villains relished while they slept. Rather it was the dreams of glory, conquest and unimaginable rewards that they cherished. Villains like Divatox, who had chosen to have an early night and was indulging herself with dreams about turning Power Rangers into her willing and corrupted servants.

“Divatox!”

Unfortunately for the pirate her beauty sleep was not as important to some as it was to her. Zonetta Mommadee the First, Queen Mother of the Dianthe Pirate Clan had decided that her daughter’s failings required her unwelcome attention and had decided to discuss the matter in person.

“Divatox, show yourself at once!”

Divatox was a pirate, the leader of the Dianthe Clan and scourge of hundreds of worlds. She had killed millions, forced kings to pay her ransoms filled with gold and made deals with the most fearsome villains known. Yet despite all her achievements and her reputation, when she heard her mother’s voice echoing through her craft, the best she could manage was a feeble: “Yes Mom?”

“Do you know what happened to me last night?” Mommadee asked, sipping a cup of tea produce by slave labour on some unimportant world. “I had to sit with the heads of the other clans, listening to them debate how the Dianthe have become a disgrace to pirates everywhere. Do you realise how it feels to be a laughing stock? The other clans are considering ending their alliance with us to avoid being associated with failure. When we meet with the Grand Monarch we MUST be able to speak for all the clans, or else he’ll replace us.”

And so the lecture began and Divatox was forced to listen as her failings were discussed in painful detail, each new observation leading her mother to repeat everything she had already said.

“And what am I supposed to do?” Divatox asked ten minutes later, after listening to her mother harp on and on about the way she had turned their family name into a joke. “Give me some advice already. You know we’re not in the planet conquering business; we’re pirates!”

“Like you ever listen to me, you ungrateful brat,” the Queen Mother laughed sarcastically. “But since it’s clear you can’t think of anything by yourself I’ll tell you exactly what you have to do: get rid of those pesky Power Rangers and start gathering every item of value from that pathetic world. Do you know how much a Zeo Crystal would be worth to an up and coming monarch or how many worlds he could conquer with a few of those Zords? I suggest you start thinking like you are the Queen of the Pirates instead of a mere captain.”

“Yeah, yeah, easier said than done,” Divatox replied. “You know how difficult Rangers can be. That’s why we stay away from them.”

That was true, the Dianthe usually attacked unprotected worlds and made its profit from illicit activities. Occasionally they would have a run in with the odd Masked Rider or an Enforcer, but as a rule they stayed away from Ranger protected worlds.

“Well you didn’t seem to worry about that when you decided to attack the Earth now did you?”

“Oh please mother, you know I had to come here to marry Maligore…”

“…And look how that turned out! All those mercenaries you claim you’ve been sending after the little brats were some of the Dianthe’s best workers. You’ve been sending our own servants to their doom!”

“It wasn’t my fault, those Rangers ruined my plan and I had to stay and get revenge,” Divatox whined. “It’s not easy to defeat them. We plan and send down a monster to beat the little twerps and somehow they defeat it!”

There was silence as Divatox and her mother tried to find the answer to a question they didn’t realise needed answering. It was a problem they shared with other villains. Yet somehow despite the greatest minds evil had to offer, nobody was able to find a way to destroy the Power Rangers.

“Well you had better hurry up and get revenge my girl, or I’ll send someone to replace you. And you know what happens to those who get replaced, don’t you?”

A shiver passed through Divatox. Although she was the Queen of the Dianthe, it was a position that could be taken from her. No matter how fearsome a pirate was, the leadership had always been as much a vote among the clan members as it had a show of strength and cunning. Those who lost a vote of no confidence lost their rank and were often placed in positions where they would never again rise to be a threat to the new leader. Only a few knew what Divatox had done to her uncle when she had replaced him, but knowing there were some just as ruthless waiting to take her place made her tremble.

“A little more help?” Divatox asked sarcastically.

“Oh very well,” her mother agreed. “Since you seem incapable of thinking for yourself, I will tell you what to do. Get that scientist of yours to hurry up with that project you were so smug about.”

“That’s it?” Divatox asked incredulously. She had expected something a lot more complex than telling Porto to stop sleeping on the job. “I ask for your help and all you can do is tell me to give Porto orders.”

“I told you before Divatox, you’re supposed to be the Queen of the Dianthe. Act like it! Before I decide to give your brother a chance to lead. Or maybe you could try proving that you did at least inherit something from me and use magic.”

Divatox scowled. Her mother loved to point out her failings and unfortunately magic was one of them. Divatox preferred to rely on technology rather than the family’s tradition of witchcraft. Still, if her mother thought it was a good idea, she would go along with it just to stop her nagging.

“Fine, I’ll tell Porto to get a move on and when he’s done, I’ll show those Rangers a piece of magic they’ll be talking about for centuries.”

“You had better,” her mother warned. “And while your at it, maybe you should start looking for a new husband. Your reputation hasn’t been the same since Maligore met his end.”

Divatox snorted. A very unladylike sound. “And just where am I supposed to find a new husband of Maligore’s quality?” she asked.

Her mother laughed. The role of Queen Mother was an honorary role with very little power. Zonetta was luckier than some in that her daughter’s preoccupation with Earth allowed her the opportunity to command the majority of the clan. But like most of the ruling mothers – those who had been clever enough not to be killed by their children’s assassination attempts, she strived to further the Dianthe’s power through marriage.

Zonetta was also ambitious, aiming beyond the normal inter-clan weddings, preferring instead to ally her family with the darker powers. Maligore had been one such arrangement, but that had fallen through. Recent events in another part of the galaxy had given her a new option for her daughter.

“Closer than you think my daughter. And if you ask nicely he might just take care of the rest of those Power Punks and that pesky Zordon too. Have you ever heard of Ivan Ooze?”

Divatox was actually stunned into silence as her mother ended the communication. It lasted for almost half a minute before her mother reappeared.

“Never say I don’t give you anything, Divatox,” she smiled. “I know how ‘difficult’ you might find dealing with those pipsqueaks, so I’ve arranged to send you a little help. They will arrive soon,” she promised, “be sure to make them feel welcome.”

“Who?” Divatox demanded.

“You’ll see,” her mother smirked, enjoying the look of irritation on her daughter’s face. “I promise you, you will be just as surprised by this as those teenagers you want to destroy.”

Divatox pouted, but knew better than to argue with her mother, just as Mommadee knew that criticising her daughter’s childish behaviour would not accomplish anything. It was better to wait and see what the Queen Mother had in mind. But that didn’t mean she wouldn’t take her annoyance out on a suitable target.

“PORTO!”


Night turned to day although for Porto it had been a night where sleep would have meant awakening to the night image of an angry Divatox.

“Divatox I have carried out your instructions as best I could, but I’m afraid I…”

“Porto,” Divatox growled, “if you are about to tell me you failed, I’ll have you fired out of the torpedo tube and into the Sun.”

“Well not failed exactly,” Porto whimpered. “It’s just that all the features you demanded made the task almost impossible.”

“Get to the point Porto,” Divatox ordered. “I ordered you to build me a Turbo Key so I can have my own Dark Turbo Ranger. Have you done it?”

“No Divatox,” Porto admitted before pulling out three devices. “The only way to include everything you wanted was to build three Turbo Keys that your Ranger can switch between.”

“Three?”

“Yes Divatox, each one is programmed to give your Ranger their standard armour and then focus on one of the abilities you desired.”

“So instead of building one morpher, you built three? And all three work?”

“Of course they work. Your Ranger can use them in any order but will need to power down before using the next one. They won’t work well together I’m afraid.”

“Are you trying to tell me that the reason this has taken so long is because instead of building me one functional morpher, you were making three?”

“Yes!” he practically shouted. How many times did he need to repeat himself?

Divatox sighed dramatically.

“Porto, you’re an idiot,” she said finally. “Rygog, find me five humans that would be suitable Dark Turbo Rangers.”

“I only made three,” Porto protested.

“Then make two more!” she ordered. “There should always be five Rangers.”

“Yes Divatox, but maybe you should think this through. Evil Rangers are notorious for changing sides. Do you really want to risk having to tell the Grand Monarch that you’ve given the Rangers five new allies?”

“Maybe you have a point,” she groused. “Fine, we’ll try it your way Porto. Find me five humans I can use. They can share the role between them.”

That was not the answer he had been hoping for.


“Rygog is busy finding a suitable Ranger,” Porto explained. “In the meantime I would like to introduce you to Behemoth, one of the most powerful warriors in the Galaxy.”

“I’m the most powerful warrior in the Universe,” the warrior assured her. “I’ll eat those power squeaks for breakfast!”

“I’ll believe that when I see it,” Divatox responded rudely before shrugging. “Very well, go to Earth and don’t come back until those Turbo Rangers are dust.”

“Turbo Rangers? I’ll crush them all” Behemoth laughed before teleporting away.

“I’m afraid that since Behemoth is not a part of your clan, he charges ten times the normal fee,” Porto warned.

“His loss,” Divatox snorted. “Have Elgar launch the torpedoes as soon as Behemoth destroys them. Then we won’t have to pay him anything. And if he fails we’ll just send out my new Dark Turbo Ranger.”

Behemoth, a new marriage with Ivan Ooze, a team of wicked Rangers and whatever help her mother had promised just in case… The battle to conquer Earth had turned into a race that Divatox needed to win. She felt confident that victory would be hers.

Maybe mother did know best… sometimes.

“Hey Porto, what happens if you launch those torpedoes at a monster that is already big?” Elgar asked.

“If he was already weakened you would destroy him, otherwise you would make him even stronger,” Porto answered after some thought.

“So if we fire them now he’d be invincible?” the mutant pondered.

Divatox smacked her nephew around the back of the head. She was not in the mood for his idiocy, especially when she realised moments later that he had a point.

“Fire the torpedoes!” She smiled evilly as she decided on another change of plan. Perhaps instead of wasting an opportunity against the Rangers she could eliminate some of the competition. “And then send him to Horath. Maybe he can prove his worth by getting rid of the bucket of bolts Gasket.”

End of Part


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A Reason to be Thankful

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. They belong to Saban Brands. Jeff Kincaid and the Night Ranger characters are the creation of John Chubb. No profit is being made from this fan work.

Author’s note: Okay folks this is basically a retelling of the end of Thanksgiving Night. That story ended with the Turbo Rangers being whisked away for some sort of research project. This chapter tells events as they should and really happened.

A Reason to be Thankful


“What are these things?” Rosa cried as the shapes closed in on them. Slowly, the creatures stepped into the light, revealing themselves to be large reptiles. Franklin couldn’t suppress a shudder.

“Oh man, reptiles?” he muttered before his eyes widened, “no, dinosaurs!”

“Come on!” Tasha cried. “We can take these guys!”

Franklin shrugged although his face betrayed just how uneasy that idea made him. “Looks like we’re going to have to…Here they come!”

As the creatures charged, the three quickly dodged, and the fight began. “Chew on this!” Rosa snarled, kicking one in the snout. It absorbed the blow without flinching, then sending her flying into a tree with a vicious backhand.

“Tasha!” yelled Franklin, running to her side. “Are you all right?”

“Never better,” she replied weakly, allowing him to help her to her feet, realising they had left Tasha to deal with their opponents on her own.

“They’re too strong,” she informed them. “We have to morph.”

“Shift into Turbo!” the three Rangers called together.

“Wind Chaser Turbo Power!”

“Dune Star Turbo Power!”

“Desert Thunder Turbo Power!”

There was a great deal more flickering than the Rangers normally experienced during their transformation. And once it was completed they felt weaker than they had before calling on their powers. But then the feeling was gone.

“All right,” Frank grinned, slightly worried about what was happening. “Let’s take these beasts!”

After that, the fight was less one-sided, although Pink Turbo received a nasty shock when one of the reptiles spewed a stream of green venom at her. “Ewww!” she cried, dropping into a split. The venom flew over her head, striking a tree, and instantly eating all the bark off of it.

“Didn’t your mother ever tell you, it’s not polite to spit?” Green Turbo asked, wrapping a length of chain from a nearby gate around the mouth of the offending creature.

“Fangs for the workout, Kaa!” chuckled Yellow Turbo, hitting yet another snake-man in the stomach. Realizing that they were outclassed, the creatures quickly retreated into the darkness.

This left the three Turbo Rangers alone and very confused.

“Um guys, where are we?” Franklin asked as for a moment their surrounding revealed a room filled with small chambers, each containing what appeared to be a sleeping person.

As their eyes roamed over the capsules they felt a sharp pain in their heads as memories they were unaware of started to surface; memories of news reports about caped vigilantes and masked super heroes saving the world. Names they had not thought about for a long time echoed through their heads.

“What is going on here?”

As the darkness suddenly closed in around them, the capsules vanished one by one until they were confronted by just three, each containing the sleeping body of a Turbo Ranger. At that moment they realised that that was a very good question and one they could not answer.



“This experiment is ended, put them back where they belong.”

“But why? There is so much still to learn.”

“We will need to find other ways to unlock those secrets. The attempt to remove them from the memories of their friends is failing. Even when reapplied it will not hold. And if they remember, we will be exposed and this mission will be placed in jeopardy. The success of the mission must come above all other considerations.”

He didn’t need to mention the massive influx of test subjects they had recently ‘rescued’ from machines they had created. Those test subjects would just about make up for a chance to dabble with the Turbo powers.

Calculations were made, buttons were pressed in the correct sequence as history was reshaped to accommodate their needs. Normally such acts were forbidden, but since they were setting right the problems they had caused, their actions were overlooked. Time was rolled back to a key battle and then events were allowed to play out naturally.


Thanksgiving Day, Recent Past

A tickling sensation warned him when the first Power Rangers arrived. He was disappointed, but not surprised to find that Jeff Kincaid was not with them. These were the Turbo Rangers if he recalled correctly, Earth’s youngest team of Power Rangers.

“Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to play with fire?” Rosa asked.

Crucible scowled. He’d hoped for a better opening than that.

“I don’t see any fire,” he replied before extending his arm and making a flicking gesture at the Rosa.

Rosa cried out as her uniform was engulfed by flames. Around her the other Rangers tried to help their friend, but nothing they did seemed to extinguish the magical fire.

“Looks to me like you’re the one playing with fire, Rosa,” Crucible mocked.

“Stop it, now!” Fred snarled, drawing his side arm and deciding that maybe the way to help was to attack the fire at its source.

While Franklin and Tasha tried to douse the flames with water, Justin and Fred attacked. Blue Turbo fired his Hand Blasters while Red summoned the Lightning Sword. For his part Crucible just stood and allowed the blasts to strike him while the sword slid harmlessly off his armour.

“My turn,” he told them. He gave them a mental push that sent both Rangers sprawling back across the ground. As they struggled to stand, he raised his arms and they were levitated into the air. “I wonder how far a Turbo Ranger can fall without being killed or seriously injured by the impact?” he mused. “Let’s find out!”

He was distracted by a sharp pain in his side. He turned to find that Franklin and Tasha had realised they could not help Rosa until Crucible had been forced to release his fire spell. Tasha had jammed her Star Chargers into his side and had sent a jolt of Turbo energy into his armour; he had barely felt it. With a grunt he backhanded her, knocking the Ranger aside. He was so busy concentrating on her though that he almost failed to notice Franklin firing his Thunder Cannon. Almost. He batted the energy away with his hand, directing to where Blue and Red Turbo were still hovering.

“Enough!” he snarled, pushing the five Turbo Rangers into the ground with a mental shove that managed to break Franklin’s collarbone in spite of his armour. “If this is all that Zordon will send against me, if he does not value this world enough to fight me, then I will burn this city, the legendary home of the Power Rangers, to the ground.”

He wanted Kincaid. Kincaid knew that, Zordon knew that. He suspected even the Turbo Rangers were aware of it. But still they had sent him children. He was offended, angered that they had sought to fight him when it was clear that they were outmatched.

The fire was gone now, Rosa felt the pain but she had not been harmed. Blue and Red Turbo were shaken but intact and despite the broken bones they had suffered – for Tasha was certain that the blow Crucible had landed had cracked her jaw – Franklin and Tasha were back on their feet.

“Turbo Power Weapons!” Fred cried.

The five Rangers lifted their weapons and lined up. Red was on the right hand side, the green, yellow and pink with blue on the left hand side.

“Ready!” the others cried.

“Turbo Scramble Charge Attack!” Fred ordered, “Begin!”

And with that the five Turbo Rangers sped forward, using all the power they could draw from the mystical energy source known as the Speed Force through their Turbo Keys. This was an attack that used their speed to its fullest, an attack the other Rangers of Earth could not duplicate, although Gold Zeo Ranger’s Gold Rush came close. Building up speed as they approached, they veered off sharply, covering as much ground as possible, each footfall helping to build a store of energy within their suits.

Again and again they flashed passed the bemused villain, occasionally reaching out to land a not so gentle tap with their fists before moving on. As they continued they grew faster and the distance they seemed to cover before returning to land another blow grew larger, yet the time it took them between strikes never varied. Their Turbo Power Weapons started to glow as they fed the stored power into them. And then at just the right moment, Red Turbo Rangers gave the command and the Turbo Rangers landed their first real blow.



Watching from the sidelines, a considerable distance from the battle, Savrod winced. He knew that the Turbo Rangers’ strike had to hurt and he was impressed that Crucible was even standing after such a blow. Five fully energised Power Weapons wielded by five Turbo Rangers at near maximum velocity had struck Crucible simultaneously. The Wind Bow, Hand Blasters and Thunder Cannon had been passing shots as the three Rangers had kept up the momentum and sped away. Tasha had somehow reconfigured her Star Chargers into knuckle dusters and had landed a superb double-handed blow. Red Turbo’s Lightning Sword attack delivered if Savrod recalled in a style used by the team Megazord had been especially impressive. But more impressive was that having delivered their blows they had discarded the Power Weapons, pulled their Turbo Blasters and prepared to strike again.

He had been expecting them to stop after the blow they had delivered. He believed that any other team of Rangers would have decided that such an all out attack would have been sufficient. Instead the Turbo Rangers had moved away ready to strike again, not willing to take Crucible’s defeat for granted. Savrod was actually impressed.

Not that the Turbo Rangers stood a chance. Their attack had been powerful by most standards, but Crucible was a whole different level. Still as he observed the slight dents in Crucible’s armour, which rapidly corrected themselves, he had to admit he was impressed.



“Strike two!” Red Turbo ordered.

With that the five Rangers charged in, Turbo Blasters firing. Even from a distances their shots connected with enough force to throw Crucible off balance. And because they were attacking from different directions, he had to adapt to the forces applied in different areas. As one targeted his knees, another would strike at his chest. There was no way to predict where the Turbo Rangers would aim and while their shots would not harm him, Crucible was growing annoyed that they were making him look bad.

“Final pass, then switch to Turbo Swords!” Red Turbo ordered.

The others acknowledged and the five ran off into the distance and then vanished from sight. For a moment Crucible wondered if he had won. Then he dismissed the idea only to reconsider when they did not reappear. Then his eyes widened as he understood their plan. He turned around just in time to cover his eyes. The Turbo Rangers had been running so fast that in the time he had spend wondering where they were, they had managed to run across the world to attack him from behind.

This time he had been staggered by the force of their attack. With each pass they drew more energy from their Turbo Keys, allowing them to run faster. And with their Turbo Blasters discarded, the next three passes allowed them to land a series of sword slaps to his armour.

By the fifth time they raced passed him with their swords, Crucible had had enough. He tried to fight the blurs as they went passed, successfully knocking Blue Turbo hard enough to break his concentration. His punch put the Blue Turbo Ranger into a spin and he crashed into the remains of a building. His next strike caused Red Turbo to stumble. It didn’t put him down like Blue Turbo, but it slowed him so that he could not keep up with the other three. And when the came passed for their next attack, Crucible was ready for them.

“Goodbye Turbo Rangers!” he snarled before hurling a ball of blue energy at them.

The Rangers couldn’t dodge, the energy beam was too broad to avoid. And at their speed they could not duck or find cover. Their own speed drove them into the full and deadly force of Crucible’s attack. They appeared to shimmer and then turned into the tiny sparks of teleportation as they were whisked away to safety, leaving Crucible to turn his annoyance on Red Turbo.

“What did you do to them?” Red Turbo demanded.

There was a skid mark extending for over half a mile where he had been forced to brake. His boots were smoking from the friction and physically he was exhausted. Still he was in better shape the Justin, who had not moved since he hit the wall.

“What did I do?” Cruucible asked. He seemed to be offended. ” I did nothing more than create an energy sphere. They were the ones that ran into it.”

“Where are they?” Red Turbo demanded, once again holding the Lightning Sword.

Crucible Shrugged. “Who knows? I hear Tibet is nice this time of year. The middle of the Dead Sea perhaps; maybe they got thrown into space. The thing is, Red Ranger, that I don’t know where that energy pulse carried them, but if they survived they will have a real job trying to build up that much speed again in time to save you.”

“Don’t worry Fred, we have them,” Alpha reported. “Zordon teleported them out just in time.”

“Then I guess it’s down to just us,” Fred said.

“Us? You mean yourself and your little blue friend over there? I doubt he is in any condition to fight.”

“Or perhaps he meant us,” a new voice said.

And at that moment a question that had been burning in the back of Crucible’s mind was answered: where were the other Rangers? He had known that Kincaid would not make an appearance. The Night Ranger was too cowardly to fight his former friend. But Earth was known to have multiple teams and yet only the Turbo Rangers had emerged to confront him. But as he turned toward the voice and saw the gather Power Rangers waiting for him he instead wondered what had taken them so long and why was Kincaid not with them?



“And they’re off!” Hard Drive reported.

“Then so are we,” Jeff replied as he pressed the sequence of buttons that activated Defiant’s flight systems.

It had been difficult finding a way to launch the Zord without the risk of allowing Crucible to find the Power Chamber. Many villains knew where the Power Chamber was located, some had been there, but very few could actually find it. Which was why while the Turbo Rangers had done such a good job of distracting Crucible at a high cost — for a moment Jeff had been certain that Crucibles energy attack had killed three of them — the other Rangers had shifted Defiant to a new launch position and had then taken the liberty of destroying some of the ships in Crucible’s fleet.

“Launch!” he ordered as Defiant’s thrusters came to life.

“Set controls for outer space, now flying higher than ever before…” Hard Drive started.

Kincaid shook his head, he had no idea where the computer had picked up that song.

“All right, find Crucible and get ready,” Kincaid ordered. They needed Crucible to know they were leaving so that he would follow.



“Crucible,” Savrod repeated for the umpteenth time.

It seemed the Rangers of Earth had managed to outmanoeuvre their forces. While the Turbo Rangers had been fighting against Crucible, the rest of the Rangers had had other targets. The units Crucible had dispatched to cause as much death and destruction as possible, had been routed. The Power Rangers had appeared in force, fought a swift and decisive battle and then moved on, leaving the Guardsmen to the mercy of some very angry locals. The drop ships had been damaged and isolated to prevent escape and despite succeeding, even the attempt to snatch Bruce Greene had proven costly in terms of manpower.

He read another report and realised that this was not some lucky strike. Jeff Kincaid had been spotted directing the action at two of the battle zones. The Night Ranger had joined forces with the planet’s defenders in a direct breach of the Council’s rules. And it seemed the local
Masters of the Morphin Grid — for he was certain that one of the warriors he
had spotted was the legendary Ninjor — appeared to approve.



“I’m here Savrod.”

Crucible sounded annoyed, but given that a large number of Rangers had just teleported to his location, that was not surprising.

“We’ve been deceived,” Savrod told him. “While you were fighting Turbo Rangers, Kincaid has been attacking our forces all over the planet. We’re suffered an almost complete loss.”

“Kincaid’s not here,” Crucible answered after some thought. “The others just arrived, but no Kincaid.” There was a long pause. “Savrod, prepare for pursuit, he’s planning to run.”

“Are you sure?” Savrod asked.

“This whole battle has been a ploy to launch the Defiant,” Crucible told him. “Check the energy web.”

Aside from ferrying troops to cities around the globe to punish the planet for siding with Crucible’s enemies, the drop ships had been acting as transmission nodes capable of broadcasting a net of destructive energy. The intention had been to activate the net the moment Defiant had appeared, damaging the ship and allowing Crucible to find Kincaid before the Night Ranger could escape.

“There’s a hole in the network,” Savrod confirmed. “I’ll order our forces to target the hole.”

“Don’t bother,” Crucible answered. “Just order them to track him.”

It was already too late, but he was not going to give Kincaid another moment of triumph. He was certain that when they investigated later they would find that the net had been shut down to draw their attention while Jeff had another route open to him at a moment’s notice.

“In the meantime I’m going to kill as many of these Earth Rangers as possible.”



“Let’s go!” Red Zeo ordered and the army of Rangers attacked.

One thing Crucible had never lacked was confidence. When Savrod had helped to strip away the remnants of Mark Kinega’s personality, he had instilled him him the believe that there was no opponent he could not overcome. However confronted by the horde of charging Rangers, Crucible found that for the first time that he was questioning his chance of succeeding.

The Rangers attacked in a predictable manner. First they used their side arms before switching to personal weapons. Next they tried combining their weapons before shifting to their special attacks. The assault was creative and extremely powerful, but as he battered aside the Shadow Ribbons and fought off a jolt from Jamie’s Sword of Lightning, Crucible knew that this was just another distraction.

“Brachio Staff!”

He ducked the assault from the Din Thunder Rangers while blocking a swinging blow from Gold Zeo’s Golden Power Staff.

With a grunt he threw his arms up, pushing the Rangers far away and readied a blast. He stopped when he noticed that although they were back on their feet, they had not made an attempt to charge him again.

“Crucible, we’ve found him,” Savrod reported. “He’s six miles north of your location and heading towards you.”

“So he finally decided to face me,” Crucible concluded.

He couldn’t hear a reply as he was deafened by the roar of the Defiant’s engines as the huge craft came to rest above him.

“We’re detecting Defiant’s engine signature above your position. Kincaid could be on board.”

“Thank you Savrod, I am aware of that,” Crucible groused as he noticed that Defiant’s weapons and those of the surrounding Rangers were locked on his location. “Any time you feel like ordering your crew to retrieve me — before they open fire — would do,” he added. He wasn’t worried, but didn’t envision the pain caused by the combined power of so many Rangers and a giant ship as an enjoyable experience.

“Fire!” he heard the Red Rangers cry.

He felt the familiar sensation of teleportation, ten full seconds after the first blast connected with his armour.



The clean up had taken longer than normal. There had been a great deal of damage to repair both in Angel Grove and the many cities where Crucible’s forces had tried to land. The Guardsmen had not been easy to defeat and the Rangers had been forced to use some of the tactics they normal reserved for powerful monsters in order to defeat them. Lives had been lost, buildings and property had been damaged. And because Crucible and his forces were not the result of a spell, the damage they caused did not simply reverse after the battle. It had taken a great deal of work and a large number of failures to repair what damage they could and to offer comfort where possible.

But not everybody survives a monster attack. Rocky had once said that to Lita Kiino, a psychiatrist that helped the Rangers in times of stress. However the Rangers had never realised how true those words could be. The Turbo Rangers were recovering. Justin had sustained the worst injuries although the others had not been that much better off. All would be back in action before long. Of the other Rangers there had been a few injuries from the battles with Crucible’s forces and Zack had taken a nasty head blow from Savrod, but they were alive.

As Adam sat down to a late Thanksgiving dinner with his parents he was thankful that despite how bad things had seemed, the Power Rangers had emerged relatively unscathed. He glanced at Franklin on opposite him and was thankful that he had not been one of the many casualties. At the DeSantos table, Rocky paused briefly before giving thanks for his family and friends. His older brother had checked in and his younger siblings had been safely within the Monster Shelter. Rosa had recovered from her ordeal but had complained of strange dreams. He gave thanks for that they were all safe.. At the Kellman residence, Fred and his dad sat down for a modest meal, while at Little Angel’s Haven, Justin and Tasha enjoyed a meal with the other children.

Zack had once described a trial by fire, the moment a Ranger came to terms with his own mortality. Today had been the day when that message had been brought home to the planet’s youngest Ranger team. Their job was difficult and the risks were real. Success was never a certainty and a mistake could cost them their lives. All were thankful that they had learnt that lesson without losing a comrade.



“So you’re going to leave their memories intact?” Jeff asked incredulously.

The Night Rangers were the embarrassing secret of both the Grid Masters and the Galactic Council. For a whole planet to be aware of their existence would be unacceptable to most. But worse still still one of the witnesses to Jeff Kincaid’s actions had been the Lord of Triforia; there was an equal chance that Dex of Edenoi had also seen the battle that had taken place. Two powerful races were suddenly aware of a secret that the Council did not want exposed.

Zordon had already received his instructions, direct orders from the Council to swear his Rangers to secrecy and take steps to ensure that the people of Earth forgot about the Night Ranger. That was easier said than done. There was no way to wipe the memory of everybody on the planet without resorting to some very strange magic. One of the councillors had suggested adding something to the water supply, but Zordon had ignored the suggestion when he had learnt that it could cause fatalities.

“It is not my place to erase them,” Zordon told him. “Too many people saw what happened. There were news reports from Angel Grove and around the world. If I attempted to cover up there would be clues left that would rapidly expose the truth. The Council has forgotten, again, that the Earth is not a part of their jurisdiction and that they have no right to demand the people forget something that happened to them.”

“So what are you going to do?”

Jeff was not convinced Zordon would just allow things to remain as they were. There were too many unknowns in such free knowledge and Zordon was too responsible to allow such chaos.

“I instructed Alpha to make all the information that should be available about the Night Rangers available,” Zordon answered.

“But that would mean people would have access to everything without ever searching. Oh!”

“Yes Jeffrey,” Zordon agreed. “People will have full and unrestricted access to all the facts. And you know what happens when people have all the information with nothing hidden from them.”

“They forget,” Jeff concluded. “They grow bored because they don’t have to search. The grow suspicious of all the information so easily available. They start to question whether what they saw was real and then look for conspiracies to poke holes in the facts they’ve been given.”

“Exactly,” Zordon agreed. “Before long the humans will deem the Night Rangers as a myth and start looking elsewhere.”

“And the Rangers?”

“They agreed to protect your secret,” Zordon told him. “They promised before the Council demanded that I obtain their oath. The Council were displeased that instead of the formal promise they required the Rangers only gave an oath that was to the point. Where will you go from here?”

“Crucible will need time to track me down again,” Kincaid said. “He’s already left the system because he thinks I’m ahead of him. It should take a while before he catches up and discovers it’s one of his own ships. I’ll drift off in the other direction, wait a few months and then stick my head out in some backwater galaxy. By the time he hears where I am I’ll be the other side of space. I’ll keep doing it until I can find a way to defeat him. But otherwise I’ll stay low and make sure I don’t draw anybody else into this mess.”

“Jeff…”

“Don’t Zordon! Don’t you dare try and comfort me. You know what happened today and so do I. People died today because I led Crucible here. Good people, bad people… people. I won’t risk the lives of anybody else by getting involved with Crucible. He wants me, let him find me, but when he does there won’t be anybody else around to get hurt.”

With that the Night Ranger cut the communication and Defiant took off into space, leaving Zordon to hope that in his grief, Jeff Kincaid would not become a bigger monster than Crucible.



The Rangers had hurt him, but he had hurt them too. He had taken something precious and he would take more. Already he was aware that Bruce Greene was being dumped on an alien world, fully aware that Jeff Kincaid was to blame. If by some chance he survived, Crucible imagined the man would become bitter and twisted, willing to train Crucible’s Guardsmen in return for a chance at revenge against Kincaid. And that in turn would hurt Kincaid.

As for those other Rangers… One day Crucible would return and would conquer the Earth. And when he did he would take revenge on every Ranger that had dared to fire upon him. And he would take special pride in putting an end to the Turbo Rangers.

“Crucible, there is a messenger here to see you,” Savrod told him, strolling into the chamber as if he owned it. There was a good chance he did own it, Crucible had never thought to ask who paid for all the ships at his disposal.

“I’m not expecting a message,” he said after some thought.

“I’m aware of that,” Savrod told him. “I am responsible for sending most of your messages after all. This messenger demanded an audience and I would suggest you grant him one.”

“Show him in then,” Crucible sighed. The problem with being a leader was having to deal with other leaders.

“The Messenger of Fire,” Savrod announced. His voice sounded odd. Was that awe? “Ambassador for the Grand Monarch of Evil, Dark Specter.”

It was an impressive being, even Crucible had to admit that. Seven feet of billowing flame was bound to impress some. His mind briefly caught onto the memory of a story about a burning bush, but he ignored it.

“Crucible,” the messenger greeted. His voice sounded like twigs crackling on a wood stove. There was an uncertainty, as if he had wanted to add something before his name. And Crucible realised in that moment that to the Messenger this was a very odd situation because unlike others, Crucible had not given himself a title. “I come with a message and an invitation. The message is as follows: you and your followers have been accepted into the ranks of the United Alliance of Evil. Congratulations on your achievement. Acceptance is mandatory. You are instructed to accept the enclosed invitation to attend the first meeting of the United Alliance of Evil and to swear allegiance to Dark Specter, the Grand Monarch of Evil.”

“And if I say no?”

The fire seemed to grow brighter. “When others refused they were taught that my master could have them destroyed in flame.”

“I’m not like the others,” Crucible answered. “And I have no desire to follow or swear loyalty.”

“The Grand Monarch does not share,” the Messenger warned. “You are powerful, but you are untrained and not ready to challenge the Grand Monarch.”

“I would try,” Crucible warned. “I will not bow to another and I will not share.”

“You would fail, and be destroyed. But what then?” The Messenger seemed to drift off. “You are unimportant and would not be missed. But you represent is something the Grand Monarch was not meant to be. That makes you important. But the Grand Monarch cannot have an equal.”

“Perhaps a compromise then,” Savrod suggested. “You said Crucible is unimportant to your master, so why create a problem by trying to force him to do something he is unwilling to do? Crucible is still learning to become the leader his people need and until then he is only the leader in name; I am the commander of his forces, himself included. I will agree to accept this membership and give the oath. Be warn though that Crucible will not be bound by any such agreement. IS your master willing to divert his attention to fight on multiple fronts?”

“Dark Specter might have use for his services,” the Messenger of Fire claimed.

“Crucible is nobody’s lackey!” Savrod answered with a hint of anger. “Should the Grand Monarch request his aid and Crucible should feel it serves his purposes, he might oblige. But his priority is to his training and the destruction of the Night Ranger Jeff Kincaid.”

“Destroying the last Night Ranger would be of great service,” the messenger mused, reinterpreting the words to suit its needs.

The flames grew brighter and then vanished, replaced by a green skinned alien with a tall head. “Find your missing Ranger and destroy him. I shall summon you if I have need of your other skills.” the Grand Monarch ordered before vanishing. “But for the first meeting, YOU WILL ATTEND!”

Savrod nodded wordlessly as the intensity of the being he had been willing to fight sank in. He had felt Dark Specter’s power over the connection and had been staggered by its potential. Having sensed the power of all those Rangers on Earth, he knew which was the greater threat. Crucible was not ready for such a battle, yet. He would not stand against Dark Specter until Jeff Kincaid was destroyed and the power of the Mirror of Night was his once more. Perhaps one day Dark Specter would become a part of the mirror’s power too. The Messenger of Fire vanished leaving Savrod and Kincaid to plan.

“Before we deal with this, there was one more thing,” Savrod told him. He looked pleased with himself. “I remember Mark Kinega mentioned something about a young lady… Leslie? I thought you might want to show her your appreciation for the way she treated Mark, especially since it helped Crucible to emerge.”

Crucible grinned. “A fine idea Savrod, but we’re behind schedule. Have her brought to my quarters later. In the meantime, let the hunt begin.”

End



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Escape Velocity

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers. They belong to the respective copyright owners. This is a fan work and no profit is being made from it.

Escape Velocity


“Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to the most heavily anticipated race in the history of Velocistar. Today’s special Death Strike Gauntlet will see Visceron step out of his comfort zone in the speed races to take part in the special winner takes everything challenge. Can our brave champion hope to survive the gauntlet that has claimed so many other racers or will next months Baribaria Cup commence without a defending champion?”

The commentator clicked off the mike and watched the numbers soar as punters both on-planet and off-world placed their bets. The smart credits were of course made against Visceron. There had never been an instance where the challenger had survived the gauntlet, let alone won it. And for Visceron to have been entered into the Gauntlet meant that the racing star had upset somebody very important. In that case it seemed even less likely that they would recover any remains following whatever nasty accident he was involved in.

“And the competitors are line up ready to race. We have a full house today, seems everybody wants the opportunity to put Visceron in his place. All your favourite Death Strike teams are ready to race into action. And the anticipation is building with experts predicting an absolute certainty that Visceron will not finish the race. The question now is: how far will he get and which of our competitors will be the one to end his career?”

The race wasn’t fair by any means. For one thing Visceron would be racing his standard vehicle while his opponents had spent years modifying and arming their cars for the rigours of gauntlet competition. Then there was the fact that while he had to beat every other racer to win, they only had to beat him.

“And the flag is raised ready to begin this epic confrontations. The anticipation is growing, who will win this race? And there’s the flag. We’re off!”

The monitor before him showed the cars surge forward and then the majority swerved either to the left or the right in a blatant attempt to catch Visceron early on. It seemed the champion driver at least had the sense to predict such an attempt and had jammed his brakes on the moment the race had started, before directing his vehicle to avoid the massive pile up.

“Spectacular thinking on the part of Visceron to avoid a thirty, no forty car pile up that would have surely ended his chances in this competition. He swerves around the carnage and is in last place as the lead drivers reach the end of the first straight.”

What followed was a fast paced race as Visceron tried to catch and overtake the race leaders without giving them the opportunity to take him out of the competition.

“Oh my word, when did Visceron have a chance to arm his vehicle? Is Visceron even allowed to arm his vehicle?”

The other competitors were armed and dangerous, but there had never been an instance where the challenger had been allowed to even the odds.

“Visceron is fighting back. I don’t think any of our officials expected this. And wait, he’s coming up to last corner now. Spectacular move, he just shot under the racing line of his opponent and into first place. The finish line is in sight. This could be the first time a challenger has ever escaped the Death Strike Gauntlet. He slides the tail just a little, straightens up and he’s over the finishing line. Visceron has won and you can bet that there will be more on this story to come.”


Visceron was an Inquirian, a race known for their endless pursuit of knowledge and boundless curiosity. While some chose to seek their knowledge within the ancient texts of bygone eras, Visceron chose to seek out knowledge through experience. To aid him he had been upgraded with advanced recording and archiving equipment as well as technology to improve his sight and hearing.

Unfortunately Visceron was also a risk taker, willing to place himself in danger to solve whatever mystery had caught his attention. Ultimately that curiosity had drawn him to Velocistar, a racing planet rumoured to be owned by the Dianthe Clan. He had heard the rumours of the illegal betting, race fixing and other crimes that plagued the planet, but had been intrigued to find out the truth for himself.

To that end he had set himself up as a racer and had competed in many of Velocistar’s competitions. He had been crowned champion six seasons in a row and had used his fame and new found wealth to find his way into the inner workings of Velocistar’s criminal underworld. His investigation had taken him to places where he should not have gone, but he had survived and had gathered a great amount of evidence against a number of corrupt officials within the Galactic Council. But his most recent discovery had put all his previous accomplishments to shame. He had discovered how the funds the were being siphoned off were intended to be used.

He had not believed what he had seen at the time. And that was why he had still been there when security personnel had responded to the alarm he had triggered. Unable to kill him outright – for it transpired that Visceron had managed to download the entire Dianthe Database into his expanded memory, and had set it to transmit the contents should he be killed in any of the traditional ways – the Dianthe’s representative had found it amusing to put him in the Death Strike Gauntlet a perfectly legal race with an extremely high death toll. Unfortunately because the death would be as the result of his agreement to participate, albeit unwillingly given, the safety measures he had taken would not trigger.

On the other hand he was relieved to find that the stewards had not checked his car before the race and had missed the preparations he had made should he need to escape in a hurry. And now in the confusion that followed him winning the race, he switched his vehicle to space mode and soared into the sky.

Escaping Velocistar was all well and good, but it now he needed to warn somebody about his discovery. The question was who could he trust when The Galactic Council had been infiltrated by dark forces at its highest levels, the Intergalactic Police Force had enemy agents working within, and even the Rider Corps had been infiltrated if what he had heard was true?

Visceron had only one choice: Zordon. The White Master would listen to him and know how to use the evidence he provided. Maybe Zordon could warn the Council of what was about to come although he doubted even then that they would act in time to stop the poison that threatened to bring them down from the inside… years in his line of work had turned Visceron paranoid and he was constantly thinking up new conspiracy theories.

As he set the coordinates he spotted the first signs that his captors had found him and were giving chase.

He finished downloading the message into his ship’s communications device, Visceron continued to wonder just how things had gotten so bad without somebody noticing. The forces of darkness were gathering in secret, well away from those that drew attention to themselves like Rita Repulsa and Divatox. They had infiltrated the organisations responsible for stopping them and in doing so had effectively crippled the light side. Upon review he realised that he had the needed to expose the corruption of some of the most respected organisations in the galaxy. Unfortunately that discovery was bound to cost him his life.

But knowing that he would not survive only encouraged him to push more and more data into the limited transmitter. Just because he was going to die did not mean that he couldn’t warn Zordon or anybody else who would listen. The broadcast would be imprecise, but it would a chance to make sure that other were warned. Then they would have the means to defeat the threat before it grew too strong.

He only had to fly a little further, to keep the enemy at bay a little longer and then the message could be sent. But it seemed his pursuers had predicted his path accurately as demonstrated when a large vessel appeared right in his path. Suspecting that his end had come, he prepared himself for the inevitable, pulled the wheel sharply to the left and pushed his vehicle into high gear. With a squeal of breaking gears, the shuttle car lurched into high speed flight and disappeared.


Earth

As October moved slowly into November, the year continued to pass for the Power Rangers of Earth. For some now enjoying the freedom of life outside of school, the days seemed to fly by. For other less fortunate members of the elite group, Double English on a Thursday morning was proving to be an exceptionally dull affair. To be precise the five youths that made up the Turbo Rangers were sat listening to another lecture about poetry and grammatical rules. Only Justin seemed to enjoy the lesson although the others were at least more attentive than their fellow students, some of who had fallen asleep.

Was it wrong to hope for a monster attack to break up the tedium of the morning? Tasha knew the answer was yes and secretly hoped she would be forced to endure the rest of the lesson, but a part of her craved the excitement that came from saving the world. And if it would get Justin away from Kristen Parker, so much the better.

If the Turbo Rangers had been the sort to look around, like some of their fellow students, they might have noticed the odd periscope that appeared from the fish tank at the back of the class. Unfortunately for them, Kat and Tanya had taken it upon themselves to lecture them on the importance of keeping up their grades and paying absolute attention in class, so the intruder went unnoticed.


“Rygog, stop messing around with that thing, you won’t see anything new!”

Divatox was bored. Since the defeat of Cocky Roach she had sent a few Bounty Hunters to Earth, but for the most part she had seemingly given up on her plans for the planet. In reality her forces had been carrying out raids and thefts around the world to gather the needed parts for her new scheme. It was nice to return to the pirate lifestyle of stealing that she so enjoyed, but the effect was ruined because in order to prevent the Power Rangers from guessing her plan she had been unable to boast about her crooked gains.

And when all the materials had been gathered, she had been forced to sit back and wait, something that didn’t suit her personality in the slightest. It made her very unhappy and that in turn made the atmosphere on board her vessel extremely tense. So tense in fact that even Elgar was aware of it and chose not to pester his aunt.

In the engine room, Porto took some comfort that for the time being he was safe from her anger. In all honesty he was more concerned about what would happen if Rygog, Elgar or any one of the many foot-soldiers who had been unfortunate to cross her path should find him. Unfortunately as he stared down at the report in front of him he knew he would not be able to hide any longer. At least he had something to distract her with.

“Porto!” Divatox shrieked at the top of her lungs. “Porto, get in here, right now!”

Porto sighed. It seemed that no matter how hard he tried, sooner or later she would remember his existence and summon him. Dusting himself off he made his way to the bridge, hoping that this time she would at least let him answer.

“Well?” she demanded the moment he entered, fixing him with an icy stare. “Have you accomplished anything or have you just been hiding out down in the engine room again?”

“I’m sorry Divatox, I was making progress but the overnight ratings arrived,” he explained. Noticing her confused and irritated look, he elaborated: “for the races on Velocistar.”

“Oh?” she responded. As Queen of the Dianthe she enjoyed telling her underlings how she was responsible for the success of all her clan’s little ventures. But she rarely had the opportunity to involve herself directly. “How did we do?”

Porto looked nervous, hoping that he could disguise the bad new without her noticing until he had gone. “Last night saw the highest ratings of all time,” he reported. “Our agents managed to draw in almost five times their previous takings and interest in our operations have never been higher.”

“Excellent news Porto,” Divatox smiled. “With a result like that even my mother should be pleased.”

“Yes,” Porto agreed. “The only downside is that Visceron escaped and was last seen heading towards Earth.”

“WHAT?!” she screamed. “Why didn’t you tell me that first you dunderhead. We need to stop that little sneak before he has a chance to talk to Zordon.”

“We’ll need to find some new drivers too,” Porto reminded her, “Visceron managed to injure most of them while escaping.”

“When I get my hands on that spy I’m gonna…” she trailed off as an idea hit her. “Porto, start advertising the next race: a Death Strike Gauntlet with all new competitors. Then order our scouts to go out there and find me some new racers. If Visceron turns up here we’ll just deal with him and Zordon’s little pests.”

“At once,” Porto agreed.

“And Porto,” she called, “I haven’t forgotten about that task I set you. I want it done, quickly!”

Porto paled and then hurried off, leaving Divatox to smile dreamily as she envisioned herself ruling over the other villains as the one who finally put the Power Rangers in their place.

End



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Taking Control

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their legal copyright owners. This is a fan work and no profit is being made from it.

Author’s note: Astronoma and Andromeda were two misspellings that appeared in the Fox Kids UK adverts for Power Rangers in Space.

Taking Control

He marched into the office, seemingly unconcerned by the various security guards that Maxell had summoned. Behind him walked five females and Maxell quickly realised that with the exception of their hair, four of them looked very much alike. The fifth however did not wear the same sort of clothing as the others and lacked the look of determination as she was guided by two robotic looking soldiers. Maxell had to admit that it was an impressive sight.

“You are Maxell,” the man said as he stood in front of the desk. Despite the desk being on a raised platform where he could stare down at his visitors, Maxell could not fight the feeling that he was the one being looked down upon. “You are the elected Chairman of the Alliance of Evil and as such responsible for calling changes in membership and arranging meetings?”

Maxell bristled at the question. Although that was exactly his role, he prided himself on being more than a secretary, which if he were to guess would be a generous interpretation of the question. As the elected leader of the Alliance of Evil he had wealth, authority and the protection of the dozen or so major factions that battled for political superiority within the organisation. He was in charge of the administration and paperwork, a role that even some villains would argue took the definition of evil to a whole new level. He could with a stroke of his ever present pen grant or block the plans of any of the Alliance’s members, bound as they were to follow the laws laid down by the council. Only the Machine Empire had ever managed to defy the Alliance’s will as determined by Maxell – for no matter how much power they fed into the spells that governed the Alliance, machines were simply immune to magic. Just that morning Maxell had approved the membership of four new factions and their requests to invade selected planets. He had also blocked one ambitious warlord from conquering a star system that Master Vile had paid for decades before. How dare some unknown wannabe walk into his domain and insult him? Especially when the insult had been so worded that he considered himself stupid for even finding it insulting.

“I am,” he confirmed, trying to sound important and imposing, but failing. There was something about this rather ordinary looking man that made Maxell nervous. “Did you wish to apply for membership? The waiting list is rather long for full membership, and new members are required to understand that there is a hierarchy to be respected.”

The man – for despite the feeling of power he did seem to be human – laughed, shifting his form as he did so into a tall elf-like figure.

“No Maxell, I am not here to join the Alliance of Evil. I am here to disband it.”

He gave a quick nod to the females behind him and four of them leapt into action. A combination of magical attacks and honed combat skills quickly took down even the most powerful of Maxell’s security guards. The fifth female seemed to struggle, her face scrunched up in a grimace as she watched those he assumed were her sisters, rapidly slaughter the guards.

Maxell was panicking, his forces had been selected from the best unassigned henchmen that money could buy. They had been given armour crafted by some of the finest armourers in the galaxy and enchanted by some of the Alliance’s most devious wizards. And despite that, they didn’t stand a chance. He briefly saw a glimmer of hope as one of his hidden guards, too small for most people to take notice of, drew a dagger and swiped at the mysterious elf, only for the blow to be blocked as a green figure appeared and decapitated the would-be assassin.

“Ah Ecliptor,” the elf said in a tone that could have been approving, but was most likely mocking, “always on time.”

The fight was over, the four females had resumed their previous positions after stepping over what was left of the bodies of their opponents. The fifth female had stopped fighting against her guards, her head tilted in defeat.

“My sword is yours to command,” the mighty warrior replied and for the first time Maxell recognised him as Ecliptor, one of the Alliance’s much sought after warriors.

“And you my dear consort,” the elf continued, not deeming to address Ecliptor further as he turned his full attention to the defiant female. “Still so spirited after all these years, still determined that you will not accept your destiny as my queen. Still human enough to feel sympathy for those that in another life would be your enemy.” He leaned close, his features changing momentarily into something far less friendly looking. “I am growing tired of this game my dear. You have no hope of rescue; those who might have known or cared that you existed are dead, along with your world. You will never escape and one way or another, you will accept your destiny.”

She didn’t speak, but glared back at him defiantly. The stare down did not last long; he looked away first, returning his features to a more friendly appearance. Despite his words he would not destroy her and she knew it. In a way, she had beaten him.

“The Alliance of Evil has served its time,” he announced, turning to stare at Maxell. “As of now it will be reformed into the United Alliance of Evil. And the role of elected chairman shall be replaced by myself as the Grand Monarch of Evil.”

Maxell wanted to protest. He wanted to shout and threaten all kinds of retribution for the sheer arrogance of this Grand Monarch of Evil. However it seemed that the intruder’s words held enough magic within them to collapse all the spells that had been erected at the formation of the old Alliance. The protections that kept him safe in his office dissipated, making him aware of just how vulnerable he really was.

“You have served this organisation well, Maxell,” the Grand Monarch mused, “but you also tried to resist my will. You are a traitor to the United Alliance of Evil by retroactive decree. Andromeda, deal with him.”

“Of course Dark Specter,” one of the females responded. She had pink hair, so far the only thing that set her apart from the others.

Andromeda raised her staff and a ball of flame shot from the tip, engulfing Maxell. The searing flames consumed his flesh. His screams could be heard throughout the building as the magical flames did their work. When the flames finally faded, Maxell had been reduced to a charred corpse. With a second wave of her staff, Maxell’s body was transported to the entrance of the headquarters where it would serve as a potent symbol of the new regime’s power.

“Very good,” Dark Specter praised his servant.

Andromeda was only a clone, a magical copy of his soon-to-be queen. Like her sisters, she had been created to lead his armies into battle and was completely loyal to his teachings. Astronoma, Astronema and Artemis each had their own strengths, but Andromeda had been a student of Dark Specter’s finest sorcerers and her powers could reach into the depths of the Morphin Grid.

“Thank you, Dark Specter,” she replied, eyeing her master with a hungry look.

Andromeda, Astronema, Astronoma and Artemis had all been created according to Dark Specter’s will. They embodied all the things he wanted his queen to be. Among those traits he had given each of them an overwhelming desire to be his queen and to serve in his name. It made the four servants highly competitive and more than a little jealous of his intended bride.

“Now, send word to all those servants of evil that the first meeting of the United Alliance of Evil will take place soon and that their attendance is compulsory.” Over time Dark Specter had grown accustomed to completely ignoring the looks of desire on his creations’ faces.

“At once Dark Specter,” the four females responded.

“Ecliptor, escort my bride to her new quarters and ensure that she is secure,” he ordered.

Ecliptor bowed his head and turned to the captive female. “Come along, Princess,” he said, gesturing for the two foot-soldiers to lead the way.

As Ecliptor left, Dark Specter to make his way to the raised platform where Maxell had once held office. With a wave of his hand the table was gone, replaced with a throne that spoke of his power. There would be those who tried to oppose him, others who would seek to learn the secrets of his power, but in the days to come they would learn obedience. For just as he had secured an operative deep within the hierarchy of the Galactic Council, so he would now control the Alliance with an iron fist. And then the Universe would be his.


Power Chamber, Earth

“The tests are complete Zordon,” Alpha reported.

Zordon sighed. This was the moment when he would discover whether his instincts were correct. Nothing in his mind could come about without there being a price to pay. The computers had been working since events had freed him from his dimensional prison to confirm whether or not his fears were justified.

“Very well Alpha, transfer the data to the Viewing Screen,” he instructed.

The monitor filled with line upon line of scientific data and carefully compiled numbers. The Rangers would have found it difficult to understand most parts of the complex report, and almost impossible to comprehend some of the more alien tests that the computer had undertaken. Maybe Trey would have understood the full implications since as Lord of Triforia he had had his share of such examinations. And Billy with his experiences on Aquitar had a chance of recognising what some of the readings represented. The others would not know and that was the way he wanted it.

“So it s true,” he said softly. “I had hoped that this was not the case.”

“Ai-yi-yi, I’m sorry Zordon.”

Zordon smiled at the little robot. Alpha had been his companion for during his imprisonment and was extremely loyal. In fact Alpha had been with him before his confrontation with Rita, but had been damaged. In the years following the showdown, when there had been no way for Zordon to communicate with the rest of the universe, Alpha had been ignored and left to rust. It was only when Zordon had been able to reach out that Lexian had volunteered to rebuild Alpha. Over time Zordon had grown to consider Alpha a friend.

“Thank you Alpha,” he replied. “Do not concern yourself.”

“The Rangers will be so upset.”

“That is why you will not tell them,” he replied. Seeing that Alpha was about to protest he wondered if this was going to be the first time he had had to use Alpha’s override command to ensure his silence. “Please Alpha, I ask you to keep this matter between us as a favour to me.”

To his great relief Alpha agreed. The idea of using his ownership of Alpha to turn such a request into a command was something that disgusted him. Alpha had grown and developed into an individual with his own personality and perhaps after all the time he had spent within the presence of such high concentrations of magic, a soul. To reduce him back to the level of a mere machine would be an unthinkable and truly unforgivable act in Zordon’s mind. While Alpha normally did as he was told, that was more to do with him being the
Grid Master’s assistant than simple robotic slavery.

“Thank you, Alpha. Begin analysis of my Power Coin. Let us hope that we will find a solution there.”

There was much to be done and sadly, less time to do it in. Zordon hoped that his research would prove invaluable to the Rangers in their future battles against the forces of evil. If the visions he had received recently were true, then they would need all the help they could get. And perhaps armed with what he now knew it was time to put a new master plan in place.


“We’re ready, Dark Specter”

Across the universe there were many villains. Some were the lone leaders of their own organisations, while others were part of a much larger evil dynasty. Machines, tyrants, pirates, locusts and misguided fools, there was no question that evil sported a wide range different villains. And while some worked together, all were focussed on achieving their aims at the expense of anything that got in their way. And that level of selfishness meant that sometimes infighting was inevitable.

The Alliance of Evil had been a council of the most powerful villains. I was a place where disputes between different factions could be resolved before a minor disagreement turned into an all out war. Rules were in place to make sure that villains at focussed on the goal of destroying the forces of good before turning on each other. It was a place where the size of an empire was as important as the power they held.

But that had changed. Dark Specter had seen the flaws in the Alliance of Evil and had made it his first act to disband the organisation. For the first and greatest flaw of the Alliance of Evil was that membership was voluntary. Once a villain was granted membership, they could sever ties at any time. The Machine Empire had left eons ago and had no long been bound by the rules that applied to the likes of Master Vile. Infighting had become more common in recent decades and given a few more centuries and there was a chance that the Alliance would have fallen apart.

And so Dark Specter had stepped in, destroying the Alliance’s administrator and appointing himself as Grand Monarch. His decree had actually stated that the Alliance of Evil had been absorbed into his own empire and reinvented as the United Alliance of Evil, which all members of the Alliance of Evil, past and present, were required to join. He had ordered one of his underlings to send a message advising his new subjects of the change, but had decided a personal appearance would be a better idea.

Astronama, Andromeda, Astronoma and Andromeda had worked together to build a communication platform capable of transmitting Dark Specter’s image to all points of his new empire. It had been set up in such a way that for magic users he would appear as a magical projection and for the machines, he would appear as an electronic data stream. It was intended to show that that he could use their methods and not limited like some of those he wished to address.

“Excellent my dear,” Dark Specter replied. “Begin the spell.”

And with that the members of the newly formed United Alliance of Evil received the message.

“VILLAINS OF THE UNIVERSE, I AM YOUR NEW GRAND MONARCH. THE ALLIANCE OF EVIL HAS BEEN DISBANDED, REPLACED BY A NEW, STRONGER ORGANISATION THAT YOU NOW A PART OF. THE DAYS OF INFIGHTING AND EMPIRES DECLARING INDEPENDENCE ARE OVER. YOU HAVE A CHOICE: EITHER YOU ARE A PART OF THE UNITED ALLIANCE OF EVIL, OR YOU WILL BE ERADICATED AND FORGOTTEN.

ONE MONTH FROM NOW THERE WILL BE A MEETING, THE FIRST MEETING OF OUR NEW ORGANISATION. USE THE TIME BETWEEN NOW AND THEN TO DECIDE WHAT YOU WILL OFFER THE UNITED ALLIANCE OF EVIL. THOSE THAT DO NOT ATTEND WILL BE DECLARED TRAITORS, HUNTED DOWN AND BURNED.”

As he spoke, Dark Specter demonstrated his shape shifting abilities, each form growing increasingly monstrous as his tone turned more and more threatening. When he was finished he had no doubt that those that had heard him would obey his command.

End


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Space: A Tale of Unfortunate Events

Disclaimer: I do not own and make no claim of ownership to the Power Rangers. They belong to their respective copyright holders. This is a fan work and no profit is being made from it.

Timeline Note: These events take place at the same time as those in the last few stories. It should be noted that Andros is not on Earth and that a day is not necessarily the same as it would be on Earth or Kerova.

A Tale of Unfortunate Events


It seemed to Andros that luck was definitely not on his side. His journey to Onyx to find information surrounding the devastation of KO-35 had been cut short not long after it had started. The Astro Megaship’s navigation array had needed to be reconfigured following repairs and Andros had programmed in a number of small trips to align the Megaship with the makeshift space dock he had been using.

Andros had not expected to emerge in the middle of a fire fight. He had deliberately set the coordinates for an uninhabited region of space. However when the ship had re-entered normal space he had been forced to change course abruptly to avoid colliding with a large – no massive – vessel. It had not taken long to realise what he had stumbled upon. A number of small craft that had likely been launched from the larger vessel were attacking a single ship. The attacking ships were of similar design, but the larger vessel was not something he had expected to encounter, especially when it was adorned with such a distinctive flag.

“Dianthe!” Andros had moaned as he skilfully avoided an incoming vessel.

The Astro Megaship’s defences managed to lock onto the attacker and fire, blowing the craft to pieces, but drawing the attention of the other vessels. As he engaged the enemy in a vicious dog fight, Andros wished that he had another Guardian to help him; DECA’s ability to work the weapons was incredible given how much difficulty they had had when the designers had first integrated the AI into the ship’s systems, but Andros and and his teammates working together were far more capable of space combat, especially since it allowed DECA to monitor for threats.

“Project shield three meters from hull,” Andros ordered. “And then hold it at that position.”

“Projecting the shield away from the hull will reduce its effectiveness,” DECA warned, but complied anyway.

“Fire all forward weapons!” Andros ordered as he pushed the Megaship onward.

The moment the vessel emerged through its own shield, caught the pirates by surprise. Andros was annoyed that he had wasted such a move against the smaller vessels.

“Warning, incoming fire!” DECA warned, overriding pilot control long enough to evade the worst to the broadside. “Port shielding damaged.”

To his dismay Andros realised the vessel that had been under attack when he arrived had vanished. Had it been destroyed in the cross fire? He wasn’t sure but he hoped not.

“Andros, I am detecting power fluctuations from the attacking vessels,” DECA warned.

Before Andros could ask, a series of images flashed across the many screens.

“No way!”

The smaller ships had linked together and then transformed, gaining the extra parts from somewhere to turn into a giant robot similar to a Megazord.

“DECA, what are our chances?” Andros asked.

“Enemy Megazord carries a high complement of weapons. Our shielding and weapons are limited.”

“In other words: not very high,” Andros guessed. “Time to be creative then. DECA, start charging the energy cells and direct the power to the main turrets. I am taking us in.”

The Megazord shot forward, spinning in all directions to avoid the barrage the Megazord launched. As he did so Andros hoped that the machine in front of him was not a true Megazord. If it was a simple giant robot capable of turning into a pirate galleon there was a chance he could win their confrontation — for some of the Mega Ships used to defend Kerova had had a similar abilities to change modes. If however it was a true Megazord connected to an energy source like the Morphin Grid, Andros realised he had very little chance of survival.

“Energy interlocks located,” DECA reported.

“When we’re in range fire the Ion Cannons,” Andros commanded.

DECA obeyed and the Astro Megaship opened fire. The result was all Andros had hoped it would be. With the energy interlocks disrupted, key sections of the Megazord shifted back to their original form, allowing Andros to fire upon its torso component using the main guns. Two fly pasts allowed Andros to strafe the pirate vessel while it was jammed between modes.

“Warning: larger vessel has raised shields and is pursuing,” DECA said.

Until now the large ship had been a sitting target, but once it started moving, Andros was amazed at just how agile it was. And while it could not lock on to fire its weapons, DECA seemed incapable of breaching its formidable shields.

“Attacking ship has initiated tractor beam,” DECA warned. “Engines will not be able to escape.”

“Are the weapons fully charged?” Andros asked as he put the ship into a tight turn.

“Affirmative,” DECA replied. “Pirate vessel is too close to fire safely, capture is likely.”

He didn’t like it, but Andros knew what he had to do.

“DECA when I say now, dump all energy from the weapons systems into the port hull, maximum discharge. Then close down all computer systems for ten hours. If I’m not here, find the closest safe world and set down there.”

“Understood.”

Andros directed the Megaship into a climb, gaining the precious seconds he needed to put his plan into action. He turned the vessel to expose its port side to the oncoming ship, luring it in.

“Now!”

DECA obeyed, diverting the necessary runtime into a subsystem and closing off the rest of her systems while it completed the task. Electrical circuits throughout the Megaship closed down pitching the interior into darkness as even emergency power was diverted. And then when the energy readings reached maximum, a massive jolt of energy was directed through the hull into the path of the oncoming craft, just as it lowered its shields to activate its tractor beam. Andros was too busy to notice, for while he had been concentrating on the bigger threat, one of the smaller vessels had decided to initiate a capture of its own, ramming into the side of the Megaship a full speed. And as the defenceless Megaship took the full brunt of the impact, Andros was thrown into the wall and knew no more.


While his desperate tactic had accomplished all that he had expected, the Red Guardian still found himself a prisoner. As expected the discharge had severely damaged the large pirate ship. So much so that it was unlikely that they would be moving for a while. On the other hand the hull of the Megaship had been torn open by the unplanned impact, ruining his plan to escape as soon as DECA became functional. Luckily the ship was not damaged to the point where it could not repair itself. It would just take an extended period to do so. He was just relieved the pirates had left the Megaship afloat for their salvage team to plunder rather than dragging it on board.

“You broke my ship!” the vessel’s captain growled as Andros was dragged in front of him.

Andros had been hoping that the energy discharge would disable the pirates, but most appeared unaffected. Still considering that the vessel in question was almost a mile long and comprised of heavy armour, he was not surprised.

“Twice!” the captain added before backhanding the Red Guardian. “First you disrupt my wonderful giant robot, and then you almost destroy my beautiful ship. Not to mention those gun ships you destroyed. Consider yourself lucky we caught our prey in spite of your actions, or else I would make you very sorry.” He turned away abruptly and asked: “Who is he?”

“Just a Kerovian,” Fury, the ship’s Quarter Master replied, hardly deigning to look up from the cutlass he was polishing. “One of the system’s Guardians if I’m not mistaken.”

That drew the attention of a few of the other senior officers although the captain continued to look uninterested.

“Is there anything that makes him worth keeping?” There was no doubt about it, he was bored.

“He’s an escaped Astro Guardian, so he’s on the bounty list,” one of his underlings stated. “He wouldn’t fetch as much as a ‘real’ Power Ranger or anywhere near as much as the prisoner he almost helped escape, but it could be a small bonus. His ship and its computer would trade well on the scrap market. There are a few sections we cannot access that might hold treasure… or perhaps more transformation devices. The computer logs we were able to access show exclusive footage from the battle of KO-35, which somebody will pay for. Oh and he was on a shakedown run. That means he has a space dock somewhere.”

“It’s not much,” the Quarter Master conceded. “Barely enough to make it worth keeping him alive. The reward would be lower, but we could still make something by handing him in dead. Altogether he is worth far less than it will cost to replace the ships he destroyed.”

“Or we could find out what his mission was and sell that as intelligence,” a female officer countered. “You could always offer him to Crash along with the others.”

“I suppose an Astro Guardian template would be of some value too,” the captain pondered before smiling. “Seems this expedition has turned into a better opportunity than planned.”

He punched Andros again, forcing the Red Guardian off his feet and walked around him, studying the Kerovian closely. In his left hand he carried a decorated pistol and in the other he held a cutlass. Despite his human appearance, Andros suspected that this captain was alien. His eyes latched onto the cutlass as he tried to decide if his odds of survival would increase if he used his mental abilities to snatch it.

“I know what you’re thinking,” the captain said as he idly cocked his pistol. “You’re not the first to find yourself in this position. You’re wondering whether you could snatch my cutlass away and overwhelm me before I shoot you. The answer is probably yes; I get distracted and that does grant others the opportunity to take advantage. But I assure you that my crew are far more attentive than I, and if you make such an attempt, they would happily kill you the moment you tried.”

He twirled the cutlass in an intricate and elaborate pattern, allowing Andros time to reconsider his actions.

“I’m very fond of this cutlass,” the captain continued as he ran the blade over the pistol in a practiced fashion. “Most of the crew only get paid in gold, my position allows me to select my method of payment and most of the time I settle for Power Coins. A few of my crewmen have more tailored tastes and some prefer to barter for other things, but I think that’s a waste. Why negotiate a reward then have to barter with traders when you can just get what you want to begin with?

“As I said before: I prefer Power Coins and I use them to improve myself and this ship.” He leaned in close. “The hull of this vessel is coated with a layer of melted Power Coins. Our engines are powered by the energy we can draw from the hull. Our pistols are enhanced by them and even our cutlasses have a cutting edge honed by their power. And then there’s my cutlass, forged entirely from broken coins, giving it an edge that could cut through the armour of a Ranger… or just the uniform of a Guardian. Would you like to try it?”

Andros realised the captain was looking at his morpher. He also knew that transforming would take too long.

“Oh don’t worry,” the captain reassured him. “I will wait until you are fully transformed before attacking. Never let it be said that Sledge is a man without honour, ey lads?”

The crew laughed and jeered. Not that it mattered. Andros didn’t trust him, but a part of him knew that it was his only chance. Transformed there was a chance the blade could kill him; unmorphed, the blade would likely slice him in half.

“Let’s Rocket!”

He had been expecting some form of treachery, one of Sledge’s crewmen to act to stop him, Sledge to change his mind… something. Instead he was allowed to full transform before they showed any real interest in him.

“Well?” he demanded, his interest gone as he turned away..

“Got it!” one of the crewmen replied, emerging from the shadows with a datapad in hand. “It’ll take a few seconds but the template should be ready soon.”

“Do you understand yet,” the Quarter Master asked. “You were allowed to transform so that we could copy the template for your powers using this little toy, a helpful little gadget courtesy of the Power Broker.” He reached out and caught something thrown to him by the other crewman. He pulled out a device and slotted what resembled a small key into the slot. “Activate!”

There was a flash and where the pirate had stood there was now a perfect replica of the Red Guardian.

“This wonderful device allows the user to map the template of a Ranger onto a personal energy grid. Of course this is just an image, but with a bit of work, the Power Broker can use it to make an exact duplicate of those powers.”

“Boss, we have a problem,” the Red Guardian’s duplicate said as he turned to look at his captain.

“Let me guess: the template scan failed to unlock some of his abilities?” Sledge asked. He smirked when he received a curt nod. “Then we’ll have to extract those secrets the old fashioned way. Take him down!”

Andros was quick on the draw, but his opponent was faster. By the time Andros had summoned his Spiral Sabre, his opponent had already struck him three times. On the third strike he had somehow yanked Andros’ weapon from him and used it for a double blade strike. There was only so much that Andros’ powers could withstand without the constant feed from the Megaship and the final blow proved too much as he collapsed and his powers deactivated. He wasn’t sure what the really looked like — for the display in his helmet had confirmed he was using some form of electronic disguise, but he was certain now he was not human.

“Now the fun begins,” the still morphed pirate promised before stomping down on Andros’ exposed head with his boot.


Three local days following his capture and Andros knew that he had to escape. The situation had been dangerous when he had been captured, but it had grown more deadly when the pirates had discovered how much damage he had caused to their ship. It seemed the combination of the Ion Cannons and the booby trapped hull had connected with a key area and knocked out most of the flight systems, forcing Sledge to call for help. That meant the pirate would lose face when his superiors arrived and likely lose a large chunk of his bounty on the prisoners.

~Serves them right for using a stolen ship,~ Andros thought.

There was no doubt in his mind that this ship was indeed stolen. So too were the vessels that had been used to create the Megazord. They at least had been modified to take on a pirate theme, but the larger ship still retained its original shape. Andros had easily recognised it from the stories he had read as a youth. It was a Battlestar Class Warship, the type of vessel last seen during the Grid Wars, when large numbers of Power Rangers and the Grid Masters had needed to assault whole planets. It was in effect a giant aircraft carrier with a few high powered weapons of its own. Capable of high speeds and extremely manoeuvrable, he wondered how the pirates had gotten their hands on it.

Then again he remembered what he had seen while being dragged through the corridors. The vessel was in serious state of disrepair and one section looked like it had been patched together in a hurry. It was entirely possible that they had found it adrift and had somehow gotten its systems operational.

~These vessels were capable of self repair, so how badly damaged had it been before those repairs started?~

He had also learnt a little about the crew, mostly from their complaining. Sledge was not a high ranking captain in the Dianthe Fleet. In fact he was on the Queen’s bad side and had been assigned as far from the action as possible. With few worlds to plunder he had been forced to make a living as a bounty hunter, tracking down those that were even more out of favour than he and handing them over to the Dianthe hierarchy. On occasion he was able to trade a captured Ranger template with the Power Broker, which gained him a small level of respect.

The problem was that the ship was transporting some very valuable prisoners. How they had managed to get two of the highest valued enemies of the Dianthe was uncertain, but the reward for their capture was immense. And since they had sent word they had been damaged by a mere Astro Guardian, their superior had decided to send his fleet to make sure the prisoners didn’t escape. Andros would have been surprised to find that Sledge worried that they would take the prisoners and the ship, and leave him and his crew drifting in space.

And it was the identity of the help that caused Andros the most concern. For the most part the Dianthe tried to stay away from worlds protected by Rangers and Guardians. But there were some who had no choice. Their job was to track down Power Rangers and Masked Riders that crossed their path to send a message not to mess with the Dianthe. Since the Grid Masters usually ignored them and left it to the IGPF, the Dianthe leadership assumed the approach worked. And it was that group, who also dealt with other beings that got on the Dianthe Queen’s bad side, that Sledge had contacted.

The notorious Captain Crash and his Creep Squadron were vicious when it came to punishing those that angered Divatox. There were rumours that Crash was a cousin of Divatox who had fallen out of favour, and that it was only his record when it came to hunting down enemies of the Dianthe that spared him from sharing their fate. Although some also suggested he was a favourite of the Queen Mother because he continued to annoy her daughter so much.

It seemed Sledge was keen to prove to Crash that he enjoyed handing out their brand of justice just as much as they did and had taken to torturing the prisoners. Despite what they had done to him, Andros knew that the cell’s other occupants had suffered more. He had heard the sounds of suffering as each was made aware of Sledge’s displeasure. It didn’t matter if they had information that could increase their value or not, Sledge and his crew were eager to be seen as ruthless. At the time he had been unable to see his surroundings so had not realised who they were tormenting.

“You have no idea how lucky you are to be here,” one of the crew told him as he prodded him with his boot. “You, a mere Astro Guardian from a ruined world in a conquered system, are here in the brig with some of the most notorious enemies of the Dianthe!”

He pulled the Red Guardian by the hair and pointed to the wall opposite where the loudest screams had been heard the day before. He could barely make out through his still swollen eye the mangled form of another being.

“That is Visceron, the data courier who thought he could spy on the Dianthe’s allies. And then to make matter worse, he actually tried to escape from the Death Races. Naturally Divatox couldn’t just let him go, think of the message that would send to others. Not to mention the damage the information he stole would cause. I bet he wishes he’d just let them kill him in the races now.” His voice lowered. “And that’s nothing compared to what Crash will do to him when we hand him over.”

Andros could just about make out the metal shards emerging from Visceron’s battered form. He tried not imagine how they had gotten there since he was certain Visceron was not a mechanoid. It looked as if somebody had forcibly hammered them into some places and wielded them to his skin in others.

“I see you noticed the metal work,” his captor said. “It wasn’t intentional. The fool chose to press his luck in an asteroid field and crashed. Those shards stayed in place when we cut him from the wreckage. Still, Visceron always claimed his car was an extension of his body, a part of him. Now it is. But if Crash asks… we did it deliberately.”

The pirates had come across Visceron completely by accident. They hadn’t even realised he was wanted by their leaders until after he had been captured. They had assumed he was carrying treasure and was fleeing to prevent them from seizing it. Not that he was fleeing for his life.

He walked over to the corner farthest from Andros where not one but two figures had been secured to a metal frame. With an evil chuckle he went to work, lifting a hammer and smashing it repeatedly into the already broken bodies.

“You are indeed honoured to be included in such an elite gathering,” Andros was told. “Just think, you share a cell with not only the infamous Visceron, but also the mighty Phantom Ranger.”

That revelation shocked Andros. He had not expected to ever meet the Lone Wolf of Space, the legendary Ranger described by many as being indestructible. How had they managed to capture such a powerful Ranger? Then again the figure the pirate was battering hardly resembled the Phantom Ranger he had heard about.

“I know what you’re thinking,” the pirate said. “You expected the Phantom Ranger to be wearing armour. It seems that he only uses that in combat and we got the drop on him before he could activate it. You see, the Phantom Ranger has been a thorn in the side of the Dianthe for generations. Everytime he is killed he just seems to return. And he has proven a real nuisance recently. Queen Divatox was so annoyed she placed him at the top of the list after the setbacks he caused. I’m not sure if Crash is going to kill him, but I know the Queen Mother plans to toss his worthless remains into the Abyss of Doom and Suffering. Maybe that will help him stay dead.”

Another stroke of luck. The Phantom Ranger had actually been taken down by the Elite Raiders, one of the Dianthe’s most dangerous mercenary groups. He had been handed over to Sledge and his crew to transport, but then there had been an accident and the Elites had been eliminated. Sledge had shown true leadership and claimed the prize for himself and his crew.

The pirate drove the hammer repeatedly into the Phantom Ranger’s body and Andros realised that while it was likely causing very little injury, the aim was to wear down the Phantom Ranger with the persistent assault. There was only so much strain a Ranger’s healing could withstand. How long had the Phantom Ranger been forced to endure such attacks?

“He put up a pretty good fight, but in the end we had the skill and the numbers to bring him down,” the pirate said. “After the beating we gave him I doubt he would be in any condition to fight right now, but since he hasn’t powered down we have no way of knowing. And you can never be to careful with the Phantom Ranger; he’s already tried using his powers to fool us into thinking he had already escaped.” There was a brief pause. “Ah, can’t forget about the other one.”

On the floor, Andros recognised the battered carcass of an intergalactic robotic policeman used to support officers in the field. They were known to be good to have at your side during a fire fight, but were otherwise useless. They lacked the more complex artificial intelligence needed to help them solve crimes. This one had most likely been assigned to assist and more importantly observe an agent. He was surprised that the pirate actually took the time and effort to attack the machine.

“I know what you’re thinking: why are we keeping this piece of junk active? Believe it or not, he is something new, far more advanced than a normal unit. At some point it has been reprogrammed and upgraded by the nice freelancer over there, quite illegally I might add, turning him into a sidekick as opposed to a mere machine. And then, three months ago they were involved in a raid on one of the Dianthe’s spice vessels. They conducted a perfect take down on the facility, but they withdrew when this unit picked up an unknown message. We don’t know what the message contained, but it shut down every computer in the vicinity. The facility had to be abandoned due to the expense of replacing all that equipment.”

It was later discovered that the signal had deactivated computer systems of tens of worlds and crippled hundreds of passing ships. Divatox had naturally wanted to know the contents of the message and how it worked so she could duplicate the effects. Of course the Space Sheriff had been operating outside his jurisdiction and therefore had left himself open to reprisals.

“We don’t know what the message contained, but it caused this unit to further upgrade itself and then to disconnect from the IGPF’s Hub. When it decided it would seek out Zordon on Earth we intercepted it. We can’t allow Zordon to receive an unknown message, especially one that would make an outstanding weapon. So we decided to investigate.” And to charge a great many credits to whoever want to purchase their discovery.

But again he was lying. They had entered the system after receiving a primitive distress call and had plundered the vulnerable planets. It had only been the discovery of the spice ship that had prompted them to investigate.

“What little we could get from the message was enough for Divatox to demand that we keep them alive until she can investigate personally.”

He had commenced driving his hammer into the machine’s body, sometimes attaching a drill to increase the damage. As he did so Andros realised that none of those held prisoner could escape, otherwise they would have already done so. The continued torture was not to keep them in place. It was for the pirates’ own amusement.

“Amazing isn’t it?” the man asked as the hammer landed again and the broken mechanoid emitted a quiet scream. “That message made it capable of feeling pain!”

It wasn’t amazing; it was sickening. They were torturing the machine just because it could feel the pain they inflicted upon it. He was certain that torture would not allow them to extract the message.

“It won’t allow us to extract the message, but then we don’t need it’s body to do that. Just so long as the memory banks are left intact we can forcibly decode them later. However we have no guarantee that the message has been stored permanently, so we can’t turn it off.”

“Because if the message was stored in volatile memory it would be lost,” Andros realised.

The grip on Andros’ head increased causing him to cry out.

“Which leads us to you. A Red Guardian from a lost world shaking down his ship before a trip to Onyx? What did you think you would accomplish there? Spying perhaps? And then you would discover some information that could be used against the Dianthe and pose a threat… I think you understand how we deal with threats by now. Just think, we’re amateurs compared to Crash? I think you’re going to have a very short but exciting life ahead of you Andros.”

He pulled out a device similar to the one Andros had seen earlier. There was a bright flash as he activated the device, calling forth a costume without a helmet.

“Oh I’m not a Ranger,” the silver clad warrior told the confused Guardian. “If you haven’t guessed by now, this is a Pan-Morphic Transformer, a device created to allow a single being to change his armour to suit the needs of a situation. It never worked with Rangers before because the Power chooses the form of the Ranger, not the user. However thanks to the Masked Rider over there…”

Andros looked to where the silver pirate was pointing and fought the urge to vomit. While the Phantom Ranger and Visceron had remained mostly intact, the Masked Rider had seen better days. If he was still alive, and Andros doubted anyone could look that much of a mess and actually live, he was not going anywhere. The pirates had practically nailed him to the bulkhead, shattering his armour in the process. A large crack ran down the left side of his faceplate. A badly mangled Ecto-Accelerator glowed slightly, suggesting that perhaps there was some hope. The device had been ripped open and deformed by the attempts to learn its secrets.

“Altering these devices to work more like an Ecto-Accelerator was just the first step,” the pirate announced. “Building the scanners needed to identify the powers and copy the template took even longer, even with the toys the Power Broker provided. Unfortunately it only copies the obvious powers and not the special abilities locked away inside. We have to map those manually.” he grabbed hold of Andros again. “Which leads us back to you, Red Guardian. You are going to morph and demonstrate the abilities the scanner failed to unlock.”

“Just so you can use them,” Andros guessed.

“Hardly,” the pirate laughed. “The Power Broker has found a way to create a single-use version of the Pan-Morphic Transformer. When loaded with a template it will allow the user to transform and use the powers of the Ranger they are copying. As you might imagine the market for such abilities is huge. He offered us thousands of credit for each device we create. He’d pay even more to be allowed to view the raw template, he probably hopes to isolate single abilities.”

“Why are you doing this?” Andros asked, suddenly aware that the pirate no longer seemed able to read his thoughts.

“Because I am the only one who truly appreciates the powers you possess,” he claimed dreamily. “I understand how powerful they are and have become a dedicated collector… see?”

A shoulder shield and chest plate appeared and Andros recoiled in revulsion. The Mounted like trophies on his armour were the misshapen helmets of Rangers he had faced in the past. Some were still covered in blood. When he claimed to be a collector he was not kidding. His collection of Ranger corpses filled the lower decks of his ship. He giggled a little, his body swaying as he lost himself in his fantasies.

“Curio!”

Had it been anybody else Andros might have felt some relief at being interrupted. But he remembered the beating he had received from the Quarter Master and wondered whether Curio would be getting his Guardian helmet sooner than anticipated. The Quarter Master wore a blue coat with gold trim, a pair of sturdy boots complete with buckles and a pair of well worn leggings. Unlike Curio he didn’t carry a pistol, which Andros realised had been replaced by a three-pointed harpoon. However he held two swords at the ready and Andros had no doubt he could use them.

~The question is: could I morph, fight them and escape with the prisoners before their reinforcements arrive?~

The answer was obviously no. Even if he could get the drop on the newcomer, Curio would impale him before he could escape. And if he attacked Curio, the other pirate would have the time to transform and Andros knew he would be trapped in the same predicament. There was no way he could escape the pirate in his current condition.

~Maybe I should try and slow them down instead,~ he thought, a plan forming in the back of his mind.

Using the mental abilities that were common to his planet, but which the years as a Guardian had helped him develop, Andros reached out an grabbed hold of the hammer. With a mental tug he sent it spinning towards the blue coated pirate before lashing out at Curio. Curio blocked easily and rushed forward with his weapon, but despite his incredible speed, Andros managed to scramble out of the way, allowing his opponent to charge into the bulkhead. And while Curio was distracted trying to free his weapon, Andros too the opportunity to morph.

“Let’s Rocket!”

As he transformed, he tapped the side of his helmet, activating his suit’s computer system. He then fired a seemingly random volley of shots around the cell. With a mental shove he pushed himself off the bulkhead as the pirates charged in, leaving them in the cell while he was outside. He fired another shot, at which point the hull tore open and the cell depressurised, sucking the pirates into space.


How they had managed to survive was beyond Andros and he had been pretty pessimistic to begin with. The seemingly random shots and taken out key anchor points along the hull’s weakened plating, something that would not have been possible if the ship had been in prime condition, causing it to buckle. While he held on tightly and the other prisoners were firmly locked in place, the pirates had not been so lucky. The hull breach had had a cascade effect, ripping sections from the hull all over the ship. When a hole had opened in the bridge, Sledge had ordered his crew to abandon ship, escaping in a red galleon that was dwarfed by the larger ship.

The pirates had picked up their shipmates and retreated to what they had hoped would be a safe distance when the war ship exploded. Unfortunately for them, the explosion never occurred. Faced with imminent danger, the giant vessel’s computer systems finally retook command, activating a heavy metal skin that enveloped the craft completely. Then as the suddenly fully functional vessel accelerated away, it activated its security protocols, dispatching its forces to remove all intruders, Andros among them.

But Andros was unaware of his impending doom as he struggled to release the prisoners from the nearby cells, many of whom had been stored in a form of cryogenic suspension. With their help he had taken his former cellmates to a makeshift medical bay and had left them in the care of an older man. While the man lacked any medical experience, they had been able to confirm that the Phantom Ranger, Masked Rider and Visceron were still alive.

After that relief had turned to anxiety as they had found that the ship was locked down with no means of escape. And although the Astro Megaship had been hauled aboard, its systems were still unresponsive. With a growing sense of dread, those on board realised they were still prisoners and that now they didn’t have any means of escape.


“Well?” Sledge asked.

“Just as you said,” Curio replied. “As soon as he was given an opportunity he morphed and managed to escape. We now have two of the abilities we needed to map added to the template.”

“Marvellous,” Sledge declared. “Except in the process you managed to lose him and the rest of our cargo, not to mention the rest of the ship.”

Sledge’s faced showed the fury he was feeling very clearly. If Crash showed up and he didn’t have the prisoners as promised, Crash wouldn’t just kill him. If he let all his prisoners escape Crash would likely beat him to the point of death and then revive him just so Divatox could have a go.

“We need to get them back,” he snarled. “Prepare a boarding party and set course to catch them. We’re going reclaim our ship, even if it kills them.”

Curio grinned maniacally, but the others did not seem so enthused.

“Keeping these prisoners is getting too risky. It might be time to consider how much Crash would pay for them dead.”

As the crew scurried away to complete their tasks, Sledge wondered what he had done to deserve the command of such pitiful underlings. Oh he knew full well what he had done, and how angry Divatox had been. It had only been his incredible cowardice that had allowed him to continue to live working in such a broken existence.

He looked down at the transformation device in his hand, remember the fierce battle he had faced in order to remove it from the small world of Mobirartay. That had been an interesting day where he had stunned his opponents with his flamboyance and unpredictable actions. Maybe it was time to become even more infamous by doing something even Divatox would never consider and change sides.

End of Part


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Thanksgiving Night

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to whomever currently owns the copyright. This is a fan work and no profit is being made from it. Jeff Kincaid, Mark Kinega, Savrod, Crucible and the concept of the Night Rangers are based on the works of John Chubb.

Author’s Note: This is the next a story in the Conquest of Evil series. Please see the author’s note at the end of the story.

Thanksgiving Night

A message had been sent and ignored. The assorted villains across the Universe had heard the decree of the Grand Monarch and had decided it was just another upstart trying to get ahead of his peers with empty threats and boastful language. The Royal House of Gadgetry had laughed at the demand that they join the newly formed United Alliance of Evil although some of the smaller houses within the Machine Empire were prepared to do so; Mondo’s control over the Machine Empire came as a result of a power struggle between himself and rival machine kings. It was only through luck that his rivals had not seized control during the fiasco on Earth.

Master Vile had also sent back a replying, challenging the Grand Monarch to prove his power in a confrontation. Master Vile saw the opportunity to improve his own standing in the Alliance. He had heard rumours that something had happened to Maxell, but refused to believe that the man had been destroyed. He was after all protected by the power of the Alliance’s membership.

Finally there had been the response of the pirate clans with the Dianthe providing the most vocal response. They had not only refused the summons, they had openly declared that they would leave the Alliance if the so-called Grand Monarch was allowed to remain.

Three factions, all bitter enemies, united against a single threat. But that was the problem: they didn’t even consider the Grand Monarch to be a threat. They saw him as an upstart and a bad joke, a problem that they could deal with in their usual manner.

When word reached Dark Specter of their responses, he decided to prove his power. He dispatched the Messenger of Fire, a creature of living flame that he breathed from the mouth of one of his many forms. Hotter than the most powerful of Mondo’s forges, the flaming warrior destroyed one of the Royal House of Gadgetry’s key Space Bases, disrupting supplies and communication across Mondo’s empire. It was a move that cost Mondo severely, weakening his control over the Machine Empire. A later reassessment would show that member of the United Alliance of Evil was the only way to prevent his rivals or worse, Prince Gasket from making a bid for outright control.

Master Vile suffered a similar loss. His spawn worlds were essential for creating the servants he used to maintain control of his empire. The worlds were organic and the when the Messenger of Fire had chosen one, he no problems setting it ablaze. When it was done the living planet was charcoal. Being the pragmatist he was, Master Vile decided that he would attend the meeting of the United Alliance of Evil if only to learn more about the Grand Monarch and find a way to claim the villain’s powers for his own.

Perhaps the greatest loss was suffered by the pirates. While the Dianthe Clan’s fleet was smelted by the attack, the other clans did not benefit. The Messenger of Fire made the Grand Monarch’s stance on further resistance obvious. If the pirates did not join the United Alliance of Evil willingly, he would wipe them out. For Divatox the answer the answer was very simple. She would meet the Grand Monarch, charm him with her feminine wiles and marry him. The Dianthe Clan would become even more powerful with her as Queen of Evil.

And finally the Messenger returned to its creator, explaining all that it had done in his name. Dark Specter was pleased and granted it a place at his side. In future it would serve as his voice in the remote reaches of the Universe.


The Defiant was the primary transport of the Night Rangers. Officially it was a very old ship. It was much older than many of the vessels found within the Galaxy Council, IGPF, Rider Corps or even Alliance of Evil fleets. Attempts to replace the vessel with an upgraded model had been blocked at every level. The Galactic Council did not want the Night Rangers or any of their allies to have access to modern technology, fearing how that technology would be used against them should the Night Rangers turn to the dark side. Officially the Defiant was registered as a Raider-class vessel, designed for speed to deploy a low number of specialist troops and then disappear. For the most part, given that there were normally only twelve Night Rangers, the ship seemed adequate to its task.

But times had changed and the Night Rangers’ enemies had developed their own space vessels that had vastly outclassed the Defiant’s meagre defences. Even its speed was of little use when it could be picked of by a single shot. And so the Night Rangers and their allies had upgraded their ship, a move that the Council could not prevent despite their objections. An overhaul of the engines, weapons and shielding had moved the ship beyond the specifications of Raider-class vessels, transforming it into a Xantium-class ship. At some point the Defiant had spent months in a private dry dock at the KO-35, but nobody had ever revealed what upgrades had been installed during that time.

Originally the Defiant had been constructed from the same alloy used for generations of Battlestar-class vessels and later to construct Zords. The metal’s strength was greatly enhanced by the Morphin Grid, but only functioned as a strong skin. On a planet that level of protection was adequate, but in space the possibility of a breach in its metal skin left the entire crew vulnerable. Many suspected that the Night Rangers had installed a more advanced form of armour and perhaps additional shielding.

Perhaps the Defiant’s most notable feature was its computer systems. Individual computers had been installed to operate independently of each other, allowing greater processing speeds. The individual systems were controlled by the Defiant’s main computer: Hardrive. Hardrive was more advanced than most ship computers. At the core his systems were electronic, but featured a prototype synthetic neural interface, made up of organic cells linked to a soft-sided circuit module. The design allowed Hardrive to function more as an electronic brain than as a simple computer. His programming was advanced enough that where there were no commands to determine his actions, he was able to develop his own subroutines. A very advanced computer indeed, but still a machine that was slaved to its programming when the software existed – for despite the ability to rewrite his programming, he was bound to follow existing commands where they existed and his commands could be overridden by those planted within one of the other computers.

When Jeff Kincaid had escaped folling their previous encounter, Crucible had used his knowledge of the Defiant’s programming to predict where the ship would go. However before he had been transformed in Crucible, Mark Kinega had encouraged Hardrives’s quirky personality components and this combined with the nature of its systems had allowed Hardrive to become creative.

In short, while Crucible was confident that the ship’s computers would follow a set of predefined orders and Hardrive’s situational awareness would be overridden, he had dismissed the possibility that Hardrive would adapt. Hardrive knew at the moment the computers indicated Earth as the next stopping point that Crucible would guess their destination. And while Hardrive was prevented from breaking the subroutines that Mark Kinega had designed, forcing it to obey the decision reached by the other computer, it could exert limited control over other systems.

That was why in spite of its speed, the Defiant had not yet reached Earth. Hardrive could not change the destination, but his scheduling software had issued a command to the Navigation Computer to switch to test mode. Hardrive had then set up a programmed course with Earth as the final destination, but which required the ship to make an undefined number of test runs before it got there. The result was that the Navigation Computer continually changed course to adapt to the new tests Hardrive would ask it to perform, keeping the Defiant from reaching the Earth. And so the computer had programmed the most indirect route possible, jumping from one side of the galaxy to the other using marked space lanes and taking advantage of the fact that Earth was not on any of the official trade routes. And as it continued its seemingly random flight, allowing the flight computer to get locked into a cycle for a short time, Hardrive monitored the movements of the enemy.

Eventually though there was no choice but to set course for Earth. A check of Jeff Kincaid’s health showed that the Night Ranger was not healing from the wounds he had suffered in his last battle. It seemed that the Night Rangers powers could do many things in battle, but healing was a problem. Hardrive determined that the wounds would likely need the help of a Morphin Master to heal. The computer had delayed as long as possible, but the health of its operator took priority over the need to survive.

“Perhaps today is a good day to die,” Hardrive stated as the navigation systems were switched back to real time, reconnecting them to the system that was sending alert after alert that protocol was not being followed and the course to Earth was plotted.

As the vessel took off at maximum speed to make up for lost time, Hardrive calculated the most likely point where it would be ambushed and engaged its weaponry, ready for a battle. Without an operator, the Defiant’s defences were extremely limited. Without an active Ranger its armour was not at full strength and the computers though accurate took much longer to aim then they did when fired manually. Many systems could only be activated by voice command or tactile interface, limiting Hardrive’s control over key systems.

It detected the first enemy craft as it approached Mars. It seemed a small fleet had been waiting there for some time. Fortunately they were not the sort of villains that invaded worlds directly, otherwise Earth would have already been conquered.

Normally in such a battle, a vessel under computer control would have been at a severe disadvantage. But Hardrive had been around the Night Rangers for too long and had picked up a great deal of their unorthodox methods. It isolated a small section of memory and allocated it a small amount of processing time and disk capacity. It then uploaded a program to the new system and set it running before isolating the system from all other parts of the computer. Surprisingly the system was very simple. It identified a scenario and selected a matching scenario from the ship’s memory core, much the same way that Hardrive’s processor could associate a quote from a television show or movie with a conversation.

“Hardrive, shields up!”

Hardrive was aware that despite the voice sounding exactly like Mark Kinega, it was actually a computer generated recording from a previous battle. A red light on one of the many consoles indicated that the voice identification software had been declared faulty and that until further notice all voice commands would be accepted as long as Hardrive determined them to be authentic.

And with that the Defiant launched into the most unusual battle ever fought with its systems and defences under the control of a voice recorder. Yet it worked surprisingly well, mostly because the enemy had not expected the Defiant to put up a fight and did not have a plan of attack other than destroying the vessel with its shields down.

“Lock on target and fire!”

This time it was the voice of a Night Ranger who had died over fifty years earlier. Still Hardrive obeyed and the ship continued to fight its way to Earth, returning fire as needed.


It was Thanksgiving and the Power Chamber was quiet. Divatox, Rita and Mondo had not attacked and the Rangers were enjoying the holidays with their loved ones. Tommy however had felt the need to teleport to the Power Chamber. He had a feeling he would be needed.

“Tommy,” Zordon greeted. The White Morphin Master was in his tube, the best place for him to interact with the Power Chamber’s systems. “Is there a problem? Alpha and I have not detected any signs of attack.”

Tommy sighed. “No Zordon, there isn’t really a problem. I just had a feeling that something was wrong. Not Rita or Mondo, or even Divatox. Just… wrong.”

Zordon nodded sagely. When the Rangers morphed for the first time, the Power enhanced any latent gifts they possessed. Tommy was not as psychically sensitive as Billy or Rocky. His mental awareness certainly didn’t match Christina or Jamie, however being placed under numerous spells throughout his Ranger career meant that Tommy was aware of when things were not right.

“Alpha, conduct a distance scan of the Solar System and report any unusual activity.”

Alpha obeyed, setting the sensors to collect as much data as possible and feed it into the Power Chamber’s systems. Even though Zordon’s sensors lacked detail, they information the fed into the system was too much for the computer to interpret. That was where Alpha’s search routines and Zordon’s gifts came into play.

“Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi!” Alpha cried.

Zordon was quick to pick up on what the robot had spotted. His response was less panicked, but urgent.

“Alpha, prepare a Level Six shut down of the Power Chamber. Disconnect all outside communications and block any of Billy’s feeds.” He paused and looked at Tommy. “I am sorry Tommy, if I had my way you would not be involved in this, but since you are here I must ask for your word you will never reveal to the other Rangers anything that happens between now and the time Alpha releases the lockdown.”

“Of course, I promise. But Zordon, what’s happening?”

“Alpha, replay the message you received so Tommy might hear it.”

“Attention Power Chamber, this is Night Ranger vessel Defiant. Is anyone receiving? Roger me. Wilco me. Anything. Hello. Hello. Earth? Repeat this is Night Ranger vessel Defiant calling the Power Chamber is anyone receiving?”

“Alpha, confirm that the message is genuine,” Zordon instructed.

Alpha didn’t need to study the data that the computer was scrolling in front of him. There was only one ship with a computer that sounded so unprofessional.

“It’s the Defiant,” he confirmed. Then he studied the data stream being sent from one of the ships more reliable systems. “The ship is under computer control, the only Ranger on board is injured.”

“Defiant, this is Zordon. You have permission to land. Please transmit the status of your crew.” In a blur of light Zordon emerged from his tube. “Alpha, as soon as the Defiant has landed, teleport the injured Ranger to the Medical Bay. Tommy and I will meet him there.”

Alpha nodded and Zordon left, followed by Tommy.

“Zordon, what is a Night Ranger and why did you ask me to make that promise?”

“Long ago the Morphin Masters discovered that there some evils they could not fight in the traditional way. The Morphin Masters were bound by rules and morals that forced them to keep to a strict code of behaviour. For a long time it was not a problem; many villains preferred to act in the way you are used to, fighting dirty but open conflicts against the light. But there were some that did not fight in the light. They hid in the shadows, corrupting the souls of those they encountered. Their attacks were far more personal albeit on a smaller scale. However, they proved just as dangerous if not more so. A number of Morphin Master demanded a change to face this threat and in the schism that followed, they formed the Acexta Order and left.

“Later they recruited a new time of warrior, the Night Fighters and eventually found a way to grant them powers similar to Rangers. And then one day a warrior rose from their ranks and found a way to use the forces of darkness to power his morpher, turning him into a Night Ranger.”

They reached the door to the Medical Bay and Zordon placed his hand on the scanner. The locks started to click and Tommy realised this was not the normal place where the Rangers were treated for injury.

“With this discovery a new team of Rangers was created. While they drew their powers from the Light Side of the Morphin Grid, they used them in ways that the Morphin Masters would never approve of. They totally disregarded the rule to never escalate a battle, deeming that the evil they faced was too dangerous to be confronted with anything less than maximum force. It was only their own morals that prevented them from using their powers for evil.

“The Morphin Masters did not like the idea. Some even formed an organisation dedicated to destroying them, but that has since faded into obscurity. In the end it was decided that the only way the Morphin Masters could limit the damage they had the potential to cause, was to accept them as Rangers.”

“The Night Rangers,” Tommy guessed.

“Correct. The Morphin Masters tried at first to force the Night Rangers to stop referring to themselves as Rangers. They failed. Then they tried to force them conform to their beliefs. The Night Rangers told them what they thought of that idea and pledged themselves to the Acexta Order as leaders of the Night Fighters. The Night Rangers did agree to certain restrictions although it was later found that they had no choice in the matter due to other factors; their numbers were limited to thirteen, which was the maximum number of Night Morphers they managed to create; later they admitted that attempts to create more Night Morphers had failed. They also agreed not to engage in the ongoing war between Good and Evil. They agreed because they felt that should they do so their enemies would also join the conflict. Finally it was agreed that the Night Rangers would hide their identities even from other Rangers. That is why I asked for your promise. Nobody may disclose the existence of the Night Rangers to those that are not aware of their existence, except if the Night Ranger is fulfilling his duty.” He didn’t add that in recent years the Night Rangers had pretty much abandoned any pretence of following that rule; while they didn’t announce their existence, they did nothing to hide it.

The lock finally finished opening and Zordon pushed the door. Then he stopped.

“I must warn you Tommy that the Night Rangers are not like other teams. They have the capacity to drew great power, especially at night, but their powers come at a price. The Night Rangers are broken souls, good people that have been damaged by the cruelties of life. Many lack the family that other Rangers enjoy and can seem bitter and hostile. Though they freely cross the line between light and dark, they struggle constantly not to cross the line between Good and Evil.”

“What would happen if they did?” Tommy asked.

“They would become a real monster. Fortunately few Night Rangers have ever fallen so far that they cannot be redeemed.”

“Until now.” Tommy and Zordon turned to regard the young man sitting on the bed. He looked ill, his body showing the signs of a recent battle and wounds that looked to be infected.

“Jeffrey, it is good to see you again,” Zordon said as he crossed the room and laid a hand on the stranger’s should. Almost immediately the wounds didn’t look quite so bad. “What has happened to your teammates?”

“You mean you haven’t heard?” Jeffrey snorted. “I thought it would have been all over the Morphin Master grapevine by now. The big bad Night Rangers and their allies destroyed by their own leader.”

“Mark turned on you?” Zordon asked, his voice wavering.

Zordon had known Mark very well. He had mentored the Red Night Ranger and encouraged him to recruit his new team. It seemed that something had gone wrong.

“That’s putting it lightly,” Jeffrey growled. “He lured us into a trap. He didn’t even have the courage to fight us face to face. He destroyed our Zords, killed the others and destroyed everything the Night Rangers stood for. And then for good measure he destroyed the Acexta.”

“How did you get away?” Tommy asked.

“Who are you?” Jeffrey demanded.

“This is Tommy Oliver, the current Red Zeo Ranger,” Zordon answered. “Tommy, this is Jeffrey Kincaid, the Blue Night Ranger.”

“It’s Jeff!” he snapped, “and he can’t know about me. Or have you forgotten the rules?”

“Tommy was here when Defiant arrived and has sworn that he will not reveal your existence to the rest of his team,” Zordon answered. “I am willing to allow him to keep his knowledge on that basis.”

Jeff nodded, although he still looked as if he wanted to protest. In the end he just sighed, his face seeming to relax as Zordon continued healing his wounds.

“I didn’t escape, I got lucky,” he said. “Mark forgot that Defiant’s computer is loyal to the Night Rangers. When he betrayed us the computer decided he was no longer a Night Ranger and turned on him. Hardrive rescued me and we’ve been running ever since.”

“And Mark is after you?” Zordon asked.

“He’s calling himself Crucible now,” Jeff replied.

Zordon suddenly looked much older. “Then he is beyond redemption,” he sighed. He noticed that Tommy was about to speak and quickly explained. “There was a recent attack on another Ranger team by a warrior calling himself Crucible. I had heard about the powers he possessed but did not know that Mark had defected. Crucible didn’t just kill them, he slaughtered them.”

“He doesn’t even recognise Mark Kinega as a part of himself,” Jeff added. “It’s like Mark ceased to exist when Crucible appeared. We know Mark took steps before he betrayed us, little things to make it easier to destroy us. But once he turned into Crucible all traces of him were gone.”

“Perhaps he did,” Zordon said sadly.

Unlike most Rangers, the Night Rangers could not be turned evil by the use of spells. They were protected by the nature of their powers. Unfortunately that meant that when they did turn it was their own choice and they usually fell so far that they could never find their way back.

“Mark will seek to control the Pit of Night,” Zordon said after some thought.

“Already tried,” Jeff answered. “I bound the spirits but he has possession of the Mirror of Night and control of the Pit of Night; I couldn’t protect the planet. It probably belongs to him now.”

“The loss is disturbing, however as long as he is unable to fully tap the powers of the Night Rangers, Crucible will never reach his full potential. Unfortunately that means he will seek out the one that is preventing him from doing so.”

“Me,” Jeff agreed. “I barely got out of the pit alive. It won’t take long for him to find me, assuming he doesn’t know I’m here.”

“I agree,” Zordon said. “For now there is little you can do to overcome Crucible. However, the longer you can keep him from unlocking the Spirits of the Night, the more chance there is of finding a way.”

“So what do you suggest I do? Run, hide?”

“Recover,” Zordon told him. “The Night Rangers are needed as much now as they were when they were first created. I believe the Night Rangers will rise again.”

“Dimitria said the same thing,” Jeff told him. “That was before she sent me on a near suicide mission.”

“Then we must assume that since you survived, her words were true,” Zordon concluded as he finished healing the Ranger.

Jeff nodded his thanks and then seemed to realise something. “Aren’t you supposed to be stuck in a time warp?”

Tommy and Zordon laughed and started to fill the Night Ranger in on their recent history.


Kincaid was nearby, Crucible could sense him. Though the powers of the Night Rangers were beyond his reach, he had known that Hardrive would travel to Earth. It had taken longer than expected and Crucible suspected that the computer had somehow managed to extend the flight time.

~I underestimated Hardrive before and Jeff got away. Now it seems he has found a way to break my programming. When I defeat Jeff and claim his morpher, I will purge the Defiant’s computer and turn that ship into scrap.~

A polite cough drew his attention. He squashed the annoyance at being disturbed. Savrod had been the man to awaken him from the illusion that had been his life as Mark Kinega. Savrod had shown him the way to get what he wanted, what he deserved. It had cost him his friends and allies, but sacrifices had to be made to get what he desired. He was grateful for all that Savrod had done, which meant he was willing to control his temper.

“I’ve received word from the ships we stations on one of the moons of Mars,” Savrod said. “The Defiant passed through them a short time ago. Literally through them mind, there was very little left.”

“And the one who delivered this report?”

“Will be paying for his comrades’ failure for the rest of his very short life.”

Crucible nodded. It was right that the underling paid the price of failure, but he wanted him begging for death long before he was allowed to die.

“So Kincaid is on Earth then,” he guessed. <"By now it is likely he has found his way to the Power Chamber and having his wounds healed," Savrod agreed. "Perhaps we could locate his family and flush him out."

“No,” Crucible said, shaking his head. <"Why not? You can't have that much respect for your former teammate, can you?"

“Of course not,” Crucible replied. “You don’t know Kincaid as well as you claim. He hates his family with a passion; if we kidnap them he will probably wait until the deadline expires and then go to make sure they are dead.”

“He would kill them?” Savrod asked.

“No,” Crucible replied. “But the doesn’t mean he would lift a hand to save them. You’re thinking as if Kincaid was an ordinary Ranger; he’s a Night Ranger or have you forgotten?” He paused, considering the possibilities. “Access the computer files on known associates of Jeff Kincaid. He might not be willing to help his family, but I bet he would go out of his way to help a friend he respects.”

It was true. The Night Rangers were a lot darker than normal Power Rangers. They didn’t respond in the same way as other Rangers would respond. When confronted with a situation their concern was dealing with the threat rather than protecting the innocent. At most kidnapping one of their supposed loved ones would make them angry, which in turn would make them more difficult to battle.

“I already have that shoot fighting school under surveillance,” Savrod told him. He wanted to make it clear that there were very few things about Crucible’s former life that he did not know.

“Bruce Greene would be a good start,” Crucible agreed.

“I’ll order some Guardsmen to detain him,” Savrod offered.

“I hope you are not suggesting using Greene as a hostage,” Crucible said. “Because that would be a very foolish thing to do. Kincaid is a Night Ranger, not a hero. You show him a hostage and he would likely shoot the hostage just to take away any leverage you might have held. And then he would go on a rampage to find those responsible.”

Now it was Savrod’s turn to think. Crucible wanted him to keep watch on Greene, but didn’t want him taken as a hostage. He doubted Crucible planned to mount an attack to draw Kincaid out, it was more likely such an attack would draw the attention of Earth’s native heroes. So what was he up to?

“Kincaid’s first call would be to Zordon,” Crucible said softly. “He’ll need healing and seeking out Zordon is hard-coded into the Defiant’s protocols.”

Just how had Hardrive managed to delay their arrival on Earth for so long? Crucible was convinced that had Kincaid showed up when they expected him he would never have gotten passed the forces waiting for him. But he had not appeared and time had passed, and the lookout assigned to watch for the Defiant had failed to warn the rest of their unit. As a result the Defiant had made it to Earth. Deciding that he would discover the answer when Kincaid and Defiant were in his possession, at which point he would personally decrypt every byte of Hardrive’s memory to discover the answer, Crucible returned to the matter at hand.

“Can you imagine what it would be like for a Night Ranger to spend all his time around a White Morphin Master and an Alpha Unit? Even if he was introduced to the native Rangers he would have little in common and his… personality would likely drive them away. No Savrod, sooner or later Jeff Kincaid will seek some form of interaction and the only person that comes close to what he needs on this miserable planet would be Bruce Greene.”

“And when he seeks out his friend, we’ll grab him,” Savrod concluded.

Crucible nodded. There was no guarantee that the plan would succeed, but short of assaulting Zordon’s Power Chamber, it was their best option. And for some reason Crucible could no longer remember the exact location of the Power Chamber.


Three days passed and Kincaid recovered. Zordon had healed most of the damage his body had sustained while binding the creatures within the Pit of Night to himself, but his body needed time to flush the impurities from his blood. During that time he had seen plenty of activity within the Power Chamber, after Zordon had unsealed it. It seemed that all of the Rangers enemies were suddenly eager to launch their attacks against the planet. So far he had seen Rangers from multiple teams arriving before being sent off to deal with different problems. Something was happening, but he wasn’t sure what. Not that it really mattered since as a Night Ranger he was not allowed to interfere in domestic issues.

A few of the Rangers had approached him. For the most part they had regretted it soon after. The Pink and Yellow Rangers had been drawn by the pain they sensed. It was natural that as the nurturers and fixers they would try to heal him. But he was too dark for them to be around for long and he sensed that despite the hurt on their faces, they had been relieved when he had pushed them away. Not that the reactions of the Yellow and Pink Turbo Rangers had not been amusing; Tasha Young had had to be restrained by her teammates after their encounter.

Then there had been Adam Park, the Green Zeo Ranger and Justin Stewart, the Blue Turbo Ranger. They had seemed curious rather than concerned and while Adam at least was aware of his annoyance, Justin had treated him as a mystery to be unravelled and had pointedly ignored any hints of his aggravation. Worse still it appeared that no matter how hard he tried, Kincaid could not help but open up a little when Justin was around, the kid’s genuine enthusiasm was annoyingly contagious.

In the end it had taken all of his willpower not to agree to go with the group to the Angel Grove Youth Center. The place was built for happy teenagers who only had to worry about life’s minor problems, it was not the sort of place that would welcome Kincaid.


Savrod was frustrated. Crucible’s training had been proceeding well and the new villain was on his way to becoming the sort of leader that Savrod and his organisation desired. Before long Crucible would assert his authority, putting Savrod in his place and making his claim as leader clear. At that point Savrod knew would be rejoicing that the long wait was over. But it seemed for all the potential Crucible displayed, there were still areas where he was lacking.

The war between good and evil had been fought since time began, maybe earlier. The war would likely continue for a long time to come and then when evil emerged victorious there would be the power struggle to determine which faction claimed the ultimate prize. In that context a leader would have to show much more patience that Crucible possessed. The young warrior was learning, but it only took the mention of Jeff Kincaid for him to forget all that he had learnt.

~The sooner that Night Ranger is eliminated, the better,~ Savrod thought. ~From a command perspective he is bad for military discipline.~

He had considered allowing the Night Ranger to keep running, hiding and occasionally until Crucible was ready to ascend to his rightful place, but the preoccupation with Jeff Kincaid was proving a distraction.

“Perhaps a more direct approach is necessary, Crucible,” he said as he approached the villain-in-training.

“And what would you suggest?” Crucible asked. “You know monster attacks won’t work. Do we even have monsters?”

“All members of your empire are willing, living beings,” Savrod replied. “I’m certain even the humblest Guardsman has committed acts that would make him a monster. But no, we do not favour the throwaway creations used by some organisations. I’ve heard a few of your followers do have the ability to create avatars from clay… or other materials. When our forces go into battle the face they wear is a reflection of their souls. I know some have found a way to use that to transmute their entire bodies, personally I prefer the last face my enemy sees to be my own.”

“Then how can we draw him out?” Crucible demanded.

“Ah, I understand now. When I said that I meant offering him a challenge that would appeal on a more personal level,” Savrod advised, gesturing with his fingers. “Kincaid will not react to any old monster attack, but if the monster happened to be you…”

“He would charge in to stop me,” Crucible concluded.

It was likely true that Kincaid hated Crucible enough to attack him if given the opportunity. And even if that were not the case the recent loss of his teammates would make the Night Ranger determined not to lose anybody else to Crucible power.

“Or just as likely he would run to draw you away from the planet,” Savrod countered. “And given the treats Mark Kinega left behind, I think we’ll have some say in where he goes.”

Crucible nodded. He much preferred the idea of fighting Kincaid to the death – Kincaid’s death of course – but failing that just drawing him out of hiding would suffice.

“It would also prove an effective way of demonstrating your power Crucible.. Your enemies need to know how powerful you are, as do your competitors. Fight or flee, Kincaid has found refuge on Earth. The people of this world should be punished for acting against you.”

Every word was calculated, every suggestion measured to turn Crucible into the warrior, the leader that Savrod was aiming for. He wanted Crucible to continue his pursuit of Kincaid, but this was an opportunity to sever any remaining ties that Crucible had with the planet Earth. The planet had a power all of its own and Savrod was already scheming how that power could be used to extend Crucible’s influence.

“We have enough drop ships to start a small invasion,” he stated. “We couldn’t hold the planet, but we can send a message that to defy you is to invite death.”

“Do it!”

“Of course Crucible,” Savrod agreed. “And the force watching Greene?”

Crucible pondered for a moment before smiling coldly. “Tell them they have new instructions…” He paused to consider the coming confrontation. “Greene has the potential to become a vital part of our army, perhaps as a combat instructor. But first he’ll need to appreciate how much better life can be on our side or at least how harsh it could be without us. As for Kincaid, the time has come for Jeff to join the others, but his demise will be at my hand and not merely by my command.”


The Turbo Rangers had been enjoying a long weekend when their communicators had sounded. They teleported to the Power Chamber and after exchanging greetings with a very sceptical Jeff Kincaid, had discovered the reason Zordon had summoned them.

“Zordon, you can’t do this!” Jeff protested. “Crucible destroyed a team of Night Rangers, these kids will be dead in a few minutes.”

“Why?” Tasha demanded. “Because we’re humans? Or perhaps because we’re not five thousand years old like some Rangers? We’ve been protecting this planet for months, against Mondo, Rita and Divatox… or do those names not mean anything?”

“Actually they don’t,” Jeff told her calmly. “Rita, Divatox and Mondo are not the same as Crucible. They don’t fight in the same way, they don’t use the same powers… I’m not sure if Crucible is more powerful, but I suspect if I walked up to Rita and said ‘boo’, she’d run back to Gamma Vile. I doubt Crucible would do the same when confronted by the power of Turbo. And no, it’s not because you’re young and from Earth. I’m from Earth and I’ve only been doing this a little longer than you. It’s because Crucible WILL kill you, then he will kill your friends and family and then he will likely destroy this world!”

“Fine then how do we fight him?”

“You can’t, he’ll destroy you,” Jeff told them. “The best you could do is buy a few minutes and distract him. We could throw every Ranger on this planet, myself included, all your Morphin Masters, mentors and allies at him and it wouldn’t make a difference. Defiant’s sensors did some analysis of Crucible last time we met and came to the conclusion: we just can’t harm him badly enough. Why do you think I haven’t sought him out? It’s not because I’ve forgiven him. I want to make sure that when we meet I have a chance to put a stop to him once and for all. Getting myself killed won’t accomplish that and getting yourselves killed won’t help me. The best we could do is frustrate him, ruin his scheme and perhaps irritate him enough that he decides to withdraw. We could combine the maximum firepower of every Zord in your arsenal and he might decide that he won’t get anywhere and leave.”

“So there’s no way to stop him from doing… that?” Franklin asked, pointing to the screen where Crucible could be seen sending out wave after wave of destructive energy.

“Well we could stop him,” Jeff stated. “The moment he detects Defiant lifting off he will stop whatever it is he is doing and follow.”

“Indeed, Crucible’s obsession with destroying the last Night Ranger would distract him from any other plan,” Zordon agreed.

Which was fine except for the fact that Crucible’s forces were actively scanning the planet ready to shoot down the Defiant when it appeared; it was lucky that since he had turned evil, Crucible experienced the same mental block when it came to the location of the Power Chamber as most other villains, despite the fact he had visited Zordon there on many occasions.

“Yeah but he’s likely to leave his forces behind with orders to cause as much damage as possible,” Jeff pointed out. “We’d have to make sure that can’t happen.”

“I have an idea,” Franklin said after some thought.

What followed was an idea that Jeff would never consider original. The Turbo Rangers would attack and distract Crucible – Kincaid estimated they’d last less than a minute although the Turbo Rangers seemed far more confident – while every other Ranger on the planet sought to cause as much damage to the ships waiting for Kincaid as possible. Then Defiant would launch and lead Crucible away, the damaged pursuers prevented from catching the fully operational ship at least for a short time.

“Fine,” Fred agreed. “We’ll call in the reserves and then head out and keep him ‘distracted’, while you do whatever it is you’re going to do.”

Jeff frowned. These kids just weren’t getting it.

“I don’t think you understand, even if you’re just distracting him, Crucible isn’t going to hold back. I’ve been able to find out what he’s been up to and it isn’t pleasant. If you go there he will fight and he will not stop until he has defeated you or he’s been driven off. And if he catches you long enough to hit you, it will probably be a fatal blow.”

“Then it’s a good thing we’re fast,” Justin offered.

“Besides, I think I know a way that you can do this and get a good lead on him for a while,” Franklin offered.

“Zordon?”

The White Morphin Master checked one of the Power Chamber’s many systems.

“The Defiant is fully recharged and Alpha has removed all of Mark Kinega’s programming from the computers,” he answered. “You should find that all systems are back online.”

“You were going to do this anyway without help, weren’t you?” Rosa challenged. “You were just going to fly Defiant and hope they couldn’t catch you.”

“That’s still my preferred choice,” Jeff answered.

“Then it’s a shame you’re just a Blue Ranger and it’s the Red Rangers that are in charge,” Fred told him.

Jeff looked surprised. He was used to Morphin Masters and Power Rangers — those that were aware — trying to pull rank on him on the grounds that he was a Night Ranger and technically beneath even the lowest recruits, but had never experienced someone pulling rank on the grounds of colour. Not exactly sure how to respond, given that Fred’s claim to hold authority on the grounds of colour was undermined by the fact the Turbo Rangers were not truly recognised as Rangers away from Earth, but then the Night Rangers were not really recognised at all, he chose to ignore the matter and focus on Defiant. “Was I right?”

“Yes Jeffrey,” Zordon replied. “Hardrive shows no signs of tampering by Mark Kinega; the odd behaviour you have noted is consistent with all previous findings.”

“In other words Hardrive is just odd,” Jeff concluded.

“Exactly. However, every other computer on the Defiant has had a new operating system installed that requires it to act within parameters set by Mark Kinega. Only those recognised as crew can override those functions or remove them. The Defiant’s flight control system has been programmed to send out a location to the ship’s commander every time the ship moved in case it was stolen. Since the system still recognises Mark Kinega as being in command, he retains overall control.”

“Did you manage to copy the message?” Jeff demanded. He had suspected that Crucible would be able to use his status as Defiant’s rightful captain to track the ship. That was why he had not left already despite his instinct to lead Crucible away.

“Yes. Alpha has also found a way to remove all of Mark Kinega’s programming and any claim Crucible might have on the Defiant. But you as the last Night Ranger, must be the one to do it.”

“Fine,” Jeff growled. He hated being reminded that he was the last, the wounds were just a little too raw. Alpha hand him a datapad filled with instructions. Jeff read them and nodded. It seemed straight forward enough. “Hardrive, change the logs to show that Mark Kinega, Red Night Ranger is dead along with all Night Rangers except Jeffrey Kincaid.”

“Confirmed!”

“Hardrive, add Crucible to list of known threats.”

“Confirmed!”

“Hardrive, recognise transfer of all Defiant command codes to new captain.”

“Confirmed. And the million dollar question is, who is the new captain?”

Four names appeared on the datapad. Actually it was Jeff Kincaid’s name that appeared four times.

“You can call a friend or ask the audience,” Hardrive added.

“Hardrive, record the new captain of the Defiant as Hardrive!”

He knew what the computer had done, the tricks it had pulled to keep him alive. He was aware that Hardrive had at some point had to betray his own programming to preserve the last of the Night Rangers. For that reason he gave the computer sole control of the Defiant and hoped that it would remain at his side. He almost laughed at the faces the Turbo Rangers made as Hardrive gave an acceptance speech. But it was not the time for humour. There was work to be done.

“Confirmed!”

“You guys sure you want to do this?” Jeff asked.

“We don’t have much choice,” Fred answered.

“The other Rangers have been gathered and Tommy has briefed them,” Alpha advised.

Jeff sighed. There was no way he would be able to keep knowledge of the Night Rangers secret now. “Okay, let’s get this done.”

Fred nodded. “Shift into Turbo!”


There were many ways to get a Power Rangers attention. Sometimes it just involved teleporting into a populated area with an army of foot-soldiers. Crucible’s mere arrival in the Little China District of Angel Grove had likely triggered every sensor Zordon had looking for him, but he wanted to make certain he had their attention. Gathering the dark energies as his tutors had shown him, Crucible pushed his hands outwards, using his anger and hatred of Jeff Kincaid to direct the energy. The power didn’t explode, it rippled outwards, gradually expanding in a ring of destruction. As he sent a second pulse he tried to focus on the shape he desired, aware that the speed of the destructive power would not kill those it encountered on the first or even the third strike. It was a cumulative effect although to those watching from the outside it probably seemed instantaneous. He was chasing the poor citizen of Angel Grove with his twisted power and to Zordon it probably looked more like he was cutting them down where they stood.

He could almost imagine the satellite images as the ground blackened to his design, burning the symbol of the Night Rangers into the wounded ground of Angel Grove. He reduced the power of his waves, making it hot enough to scorch the earth, but not enough to fatally wound a human. He wanted the humans alive. He wanted them to suffer as he had suffered all those years that Mark Kinega had protected them.

A tickling sensation warned him when the first Power Rangers arrived. He was disappointed, but not surprised to find that Jeff Kincaid was not with them. These were the Turbo Rangers if he recalled correctly, Earth’s youngest team of Power Rangers.

“Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to play with fire?” Rosa asked.

Crucible scowled. He’d hoped for a better opening than that.

“I don’t see any fire,” he replied before extending his arm and making a flicking gesture at the Rosa.

Rosa cried out as her uniform was engulfed by flames. Around her the other Rangers tried to help their friend, but nothing they did seemed to extinguish the magical fire.

“Looks to me like you’re the one playing with fire, Rosa,” Crucible mocked.

“Stop it, now!” Fred snarled, drawing his side arm and deciding that maybe the way to help was to attack the fire at its source.

While Franklin and Tasha tried to douse the flames with water, Justin and Fred attacked. Blue Turbo fired his Hand Blasters while Red summoned the Lightning Sword. For his part Crucible just stood and allowed the blasts to strike him while the sword slid harmlessly off his armour.

“My turn,” he told them. He gave them a mental push that sent both Rangers sprawling back across the ground. As they struggled to stand, he raised his arms and they were levitated into the air. “I wonder how far a Turbo Ranger can fall without being killed or seriously injured by the impact?” he mused. “Let’s find out!”

He was distracted by a sharp pain in his side. He turned to find that Franklin and Tasha had realised they could not help Rosa until Crucible had been forced to release his fire spell. Tasha had jammed her Star Chargers into his side and had sent a jolt of Turbo energy into his armour; he had barely felt it. With a grunt he backhanded her, knocking the Ranger aside. He was so busy concentrating on her though that he almost failed to notice Franklin firing his Thunder Cannon. Almost. He batted the energy away with his hand, directing to where Blue and Red Turbo were still hovering.

“Enough!” he snarled, pushing the five Turbo Rangers into the ground with a mental shove that managed to break Franklin’s collarbone in spite of his armour. “If this is all that Zordon will send against me, if he does not value this world enough to fight me, then I will burn this city, the legendary home of the Power Rangers, to the ground.”

He wanted Kincaid. Kincaid knew that, Zordon knew that. He suspected even the Turbo Rangers were aware of it. But still they had sent him children. He was offended, angered that they had sought to fight him when it was clear that they were outmatched.

The fire was gone now, Rosa felt the pain but she had not been harmed. Blue and Red Turbo were shaken but intact and despite the broken bones they had suffered – for Tasha was certain that the blow Crucible had landed had cracked her jaw – Franklin and Tasha were back on their feet.

“Turbo Power Weapons!” Fred cried.

The five Rangers lifted their weapons and lined up. Red was on the right hand side, the green, yellow and pink with blue on the left hand side.

“Ready!” the others cried.

“Turbo Scramble Charge Attack!” Fred ordered, “Begin!”

And with that the five Turbo Rangers sped forward, using all the power they could draw from the mystical energy source known as the Speed Force through their Turbo Keys. This was an attack that used their speed to its fullest, an attack the other Rangers of Earth could not duplicate, although Gold Zeo Ranger’s Gold Rush came close. Building up speed as they approached, they veered off sharply, covering as much ground as possible, each footfall helping to build a store of energy within their suits.

Again and again they flashed passed the bemused villain, occasionally reaching out to land a not so gentle tap with their fists before moving on. As they continued they grew faster and the distance they seemed to cover before returning to land another blow grew larger, yet the time it took them between strikes never varied. Their Turbo Power Weapons started to glow as they fed the stored power into them. And then at just the right moment, Red Turbo Rangers gave the command and the Turbo Rangers landed their first real blow.


Watching from the sidelines, a considerable distance from the battle, Savrod winced. He knew that the Turbo Rangers’ strike had to hurt and he was impressed that Crucible was even standing after such a blow. Five fully energised Power Weapons wielded by five Turbo Rangers at near maximum velocity had struck Crucible simultaneously. The Wind Bow, Hand Blasters and Thunder Cannon had been passing shots as the three Rangers had kept up the momentum and sped away. Tasha had somehow reconfigured her Star Chargers into knuckle dusters and had landed a superb double-handed blow. Red Turbo’s Lightning Sword attack delivered if Savrod recalled in a style used by the team Megazord had been especially impressive. But more impressive was that having delivered their blows they had discarded the Power Weapons, pulled their Turbo Blasters and prepared to strike again.

He had been expecting them to stop after the blow they had delivered. He believed that any other team of Rangers would have decided that such an all out attack would have been sufficient. Instead the Turbo Rangers had moved away ready to strike again, not willing to take Crucible’s defeat for granted. Savrod was actually impressed.

Not that the Turbo Rangers stood a chance. Their attack had been powerful by most standards, but Crucible was a whole different level. Still as he observed the slight dents in Crucible’s armour, which rapidly corrected themselves, he had to admit he was impressed.


“Strike two!” Red Turbo ordered.

With that the five Rangers charged in, Turbo Blasters firing. Even from a distances their shots connected with enough force to throw Crucible off balance. And because they were attacking from different directions, he had to adapt to the forces applied in different areas. As one targeted his knees, another would strike at his chest. There was no way to predict where the Turbo Rangers would aim and while their shots would not harm him, Crucible was growing annoyed that they were making him look bad.

“Final pass, then switch to Turbo Swords!” Red Turbo ordered.

The others acknowledged and the five ran off into the distance and then vanished from sight. For a moment Crucible wondered if he had won. Then he dismissed the idea only to reconsider when they did not reappear. Then his eyes widened as he understood their plan. He turned around just in time to cover his eyes. The Turbo Rangers had been running so fast that in the time he had spend wondering where they were, they had managed to run across the world to attack him from behind.

This time he had been staggered by the force of their attack. With each pass they drew more energy from their Turbo Keys, allowing them to run faster. And with their Turbo Blasters discarded, the next three passes allowed them to land a series of sword slaps to his armour.

By the fifth time they raced passed him with their swords, Crucible had had enough. He tried to fight the blurs as they went passed, successfully knocking Blue Turbo hard enough to break his concentration. His punch put the Blue Turbo Ranger into a spin and he crashed into the remains of a building. His next strike caused Red Turbo to stumble. It didn’t put him down like Blue Turbo, but it slowed him so that he could not keep up with the other three. And when the came passed for their next attack, Crucible was ready for them.

“Goodbye Turbo Rangers!” he snarled before hurling a ball of blue energy at them.

The Rangers couldn’t dodge, the energy beam was too broad to avoid. And at their speed they could not duck or find cover. Their own speed drove them into the full and deadly force of Crucible’s attack. They appeared to shimmer and then turned into the tiny sparks of teleportation as they were whisked away to safety, leaving Crucible to turn his annoyance on Red Turbo.

“What did you do to them?” Red Turbo demanded.

There was a skid mark extending for over half a mile where he had been forced to brake. His boots were smoking from the friction and physically he was exhausted. Still he was in better shape the Justin, who had not moved since he hit the wall.

“I gave them a shove,” Crucible replied, sounding as if he believed that answered Red Turbo’s question completely.

“Where are they?” Red Turbo demanded, once again holding the Lightning Sword.

Crucible Shrugged. “Who knows? I hear Tibet is nice this time of year. The middle of the Dead Sea perhaps; maybe they got thrown into space. The thing is, Red Ranger, that I don’t know where that energy pulse carried them, but if they survived they will have a real job trying to build up that much speed again in time to save you.”

“Then you’ll have to go through us first.”

And at that moment a question that had been burning in the back of Crucible’s mind was answered: where were the other Rangers? He had known that Kincaid would not make an appearance. The Night Ranger was too cowardly to fight his former friend. But Earth was known to have multiple teams and yet only the Turbo Rangers had emerged to confront him. But as he turned toward the voice and saw the gathered Power Rangers waiting for him he instead wondered what had taken them so long and why was Kincaid not with them?


“And they’re off!” Hardrive reported.

“Then so are we,” Jeff replied as he pressed the sequence of buttons that activated Defiant’s flight systems.

It had been difficult finding a way to launch the Zord without the risk of allowing Crucible to find the Power Chamber. Many villains knew where the Power Chamber was located, some had been there, but very few could actually find it. Which was why while the Turbo Rangers had done such a good job of distracting Crucible at a high cost — for even Jeff was uncertain what had happened to the three Crucible had turned his last attack on — the other Rangers had shifted Defiant to a new launch position and had then taken the liberty some of ships in Crucible’s fleet.

“Launch!” he ordered as Defiant’s thrusters came to life.

“Set controls for outer space, now flying higher than ever before…” Hardrive started.

Kincaid shook his head, he had no idea where the computer had picked up that song.

“All right, find Crucible and get ready,” Kincaid ordered. They needed Crucible to know they were leaving so that he would follow.


“Crucible,” Savrod repeated for the umpteenth time.

It seemed the Rangers of Earth had managed to outmanoeuvre their forces. While the Turbo Rangers had been fighting against Crucible, it seemed the rest of the Rangers had had other targets. The units Crucible had dispatched to cause as much death and destruction as possible, had been routed. The Power Rangers had appeared in force, fought a swift and decisive battle and then moved on, leaving the Guardsmen to the mercy of some very angry locals. The drop ships had been damaged and isolated to prevent escape and despite succeeding, even the attempt to snatch Bruce Greene had proven costly in terms of manpower.

He read another report and realised that this was not some lucky strike Jeff Kincaid had been spotted directing the action at two of the battle zones. The Night Ranger had joined forces with the planet’s defenders in a direct breach of the Council’s rules. And it seemed the the local Morphin Masters — for he was certain he had spotted the legendary Ninjor out there — appeared to approve.


“I’m here Savrod.”

Crucible sounded annoyed, but given that a large number of Rangers had just teleported to his location, that was not surprising.

“We’ve been deceived,” Savrod told him. “While you were fighting Turbo Rangers, Kincaid has been attacking our forces all over the planet. We’ve suffered an almost complete loss.”

“Kincaid’s not here,” Crucible answered after some thought. “The others just arrived, but no Kincaid.” There was a long pause. “Savrod, prepare for pursuit, he’s planning to run.”

“Are you sure?” Savrod asked.

“This whole battle has been a ploy to launch the Defiant,” Crucible told him. “Check the energy web.”

Aside from ferrying troops to cities around the globe to punish the planet for siding with Crucible’s enemies, the drop ships had been acting as transmission nodes capable of broadcasting a net of destructive energy. The intention had been to activate the net the moment Defiant had appeared, damaging the ship and allowing Crucible to find Kincaid before the Night Ranger could escape.

“There’s a hole in the network,” Savrod confirmed. “I’ll order our forces to target the hole.”

“Don’t bother,” Crucible answered. “Just order them to track him.”

It was already too late, but he was not going to give Kincaid another moment of triumph. He was certain that when they investigated later they would find that the net had been shut down to draw their attention while Jeff had another route open to him at a moment’s notice.

“In the meantime I’m going to kill as many of these Earth Rangers as possible.”


“Let’s go!” Red Zeo ordered and the army of Rangers attacked.

One thing Crucible had never lacked was confidence. When Savrod had helped to strip away the remnants of Mark Kinega’s personality, he had instilled him him the believe that there was no opponent he could not overcome. However confronted by the horde of charging Rangers, Crucible found that for the first time that he was questioning his chance of succeeding.

The Rangers attacked in a predictable manner. First they used their side arms before switching to personal weapons. Next they tried combining their weapons before shifting to their special attacks. The assault was creative and extremely powerful, but as he battered aside the Shadow Ribbons and fought off a jolt from Jamie’s Sword of Lightning, Crucible knew that this was just another distraction.

“Brachio Staff!”

He ducked the assault from the Dino Thunder Rangers while blocking a swinging blow from Gold Zeo’s Golden Power Staff.

With a grunt he threw his arms up, pushing the Rangers far away and readied a blast. He stopped when he noticed that although they were back on their feet, they had not made an attempt to charge him again.

“Crucible, we’ve found him,” Savrod reported. “He’s six miles north of your location and heading towards you.”

“So he finally decided to face me,” Crucible concluded.

He couldn’t hear a reply as he was deafened by the roar of the Defiant’s engines as the huge craft came to rest above him.

“We’re detecting Defiant’s engine signature above your position. Kincaid could be on board.”

“Thank you Savrod, I am aware of that,” Crucible groused as he noticed that Defiant’s weapons and those of the surrounding Rangers were locked on his location. “Any time you feel like ordering your crew to retrieve me — before they open fire — would do,” he added. He wasn’t worried, but didn’t envision the pain caused by the combined power of so many Rangers and a giant ship as an enjoyable experience.

“Fire!” he heard the Red Rangers cry.

He felt the familiar sensation of teleportation, ten full seconds after the first blast connected with his armour.


The clean up had taken longer than normal. There had been a great deal of damage to repair both in Angel Grove and the many cities where Crucible’s forces had tried to land. The Guardsmen had not been easy to defeat and the Rangers had been forced to use some of the tactics they normal reserved for powerful monsters in order to defeat them. Lives had been lost, buildings and property had been damaged. And because Crucible and his forces were not the result of a spell, the damage they caused did not simply reverse after the battle. It had taken a great deal of work and a large number of failures to repair what damage they could and to offer comfort where possible.

But not everybody survives a monster attack. Rocky had once said that to Lita Kiino, a psychiatrist that helped the Rangers in times of stress. However the Rangers had never realised how true those words could be. The Turbo Rangers were recovering. Justin had sustained the worst injuries although Fred had not been that much better off. Both would be back in action before long. Of the other Rangers there had been a few injuries from the battles with Crucible’s forces and Zack had taken a nasty head blow from Savrod, but they were alive.

As Adam sat down to a late Thanksgiving dinner with his parents he was thankful that despite how bad things had seemed, the Power Rangers had emerged relatively unscathed. At the DeSantos table, Rocky paused briefly before giving thanks for his family and friends. His older brother had checked in and his younger siblings had been safely within the Monster Shelter. He gave thanks for the Youth Center. And at the Kellman residence, the two boys better known as the Turbo Rangers were thankful that Fred’s dad had allowed Justin to spend the night. Little Angel’s Haven was okay, but Justin never really had any good friends there.


“So you’re going to leave their memories intact?” Jeff asked incredulously.

The Night Rangers were the embarrassing secret of both the Morphin Masters and the Galactic Council. For a whole planet to be aware of their existence would be unacceptable to most. But worse still still one of the witnesses to Jeff Kincaid’s actions had been the Lord of Triforia; there was an equal chance that Dex of Edenoi had also seen the battle that had taken place. Two powerful races were suddenly aware of a secret that the Council did not want exposed.

Zordon had already received his instructions, direct orders from the Council to swear his Rangers to secrecy and take steps to ensure that the people of Earth forgot about the Night Ranger. That was easier said than done. There was no way to wipe the memory of everybody on the planet without resorting to some very strange magic. One of the councillors had suggested adding something to the water supply, but Zordon had ignored the suggestion when he had learnt that it could cause fatalities.

“It is not my place to erase them,” Zordon told him. “Too many people saw what happened. There were news reports from Angel Grove and around the world. If I attempted to cover up there would be clues left that would rapidly expose the truth. The Council has forgotten, again, that the Earth is not a part of their jurisdiction and that they have no right to demand the people forget something that happened to them.”

“So what are you going to do?”

Jeff was not convinced Zordon would just allow things to remain as they were. There were too many unknowns in such free knowledge and Zordon was too responsible to allow such chaos.

“I instructed Alpha to make all the information that should be available about the Night Rangers available,” Zordon answered.

“But that would mean people would have access to everything without ever searching. Oh!”

“Yes Jeffrey,” Zordon agreed. “People will have full and unrestricted access to all the facts. And you know what happens when people have all the information with nothing hidden from them.”

“They forget,” Jeff concluded. “They grow bored because they don’t have to search. The grow suspicious of all the information so easily available. They start to question whether what they saw was real and then look for conspiracies to poke holes in the facts they’ve been given.”

“Exactly,” Zordon agreed. “Before long the humans will deem the Night Rangers as a myth and start looking elsewhere.”

“And the Rangers, did you alter their memories?”

“They agreed to protect your secret,” Zordon told him. “They promised before the Council demanded that I obtain their oath. The Council were displeased that instead of the formal promise they required the Rangers only gave an oath that was to the point. Where will you go from here?”

“Crucible will need time to track me down again,” Kincaid said. “He’s already left the system because he thinks I’m ahead of him. It should take a while before he catches up and discovers it’s one of his own ships. I’ll drift off in the other direction, wait a few months and then stick my head out in some backwater galaxy. By the time he hears where I am I’ll be the other side of space. I’ll keep doing it until I can find a way to defeat him. But otherwise I’ll stay low and make sure I don’t draw anybody else into this mess.”

“Jeff…”

“Don’t Zordon! Don’t you dare try and comfort me. You know what happened, so do I. We both know there’s something but we just can’t say it. People died because of me today. Good people, bad people… people. I won’t risk the lives of anybody else by getting involved with Crucible. He wants me, let him find me, but when he does there won’t be anybody else around to get hurt.”

With that the Night Ranger cut the communication and Defiant took off into space, leaving Zordon to hope that in his grief, Jeff Kincaid would not become a bigger monster than Crucible.


The Rangers had hurt him, but he had hurt them too. He had taken something precious and he would take more. Already he was aware that Bruce Greene was being dumped on an alien world, fully aware that Jeff Kincaid was to blame. If by some chance he survived, Crucible imagined the man would become bitter and twisted, willing to train Crucible’s Guardsmen in return for a chance at revenge against Kincaid. And that in turn would hurt Kincaid.

As for those other Rangers… One day Crucible would return and would conquer the Earth. And when he did he would take revenge on every Ranger that had dared to fire upon him. And he would take special pride in putting an end to the Turbo Rangers. He paused and shook his head. Something was wrong there but he couldn’t tell what. Then the sensation was gone and he was back to scheming his revenge.

“Crucible, there is a messenger here to see you,” Savrod told him, strolling into the chamber as if he owned it. There was a good chance he did own it, Crucible had never thought to ask who paid for all the ships at his disposal.

“I’m not expecting a message,” he said after some thought.

“I’m aware of that,” Savrod told him. “I am responsible for sending most of your messages after all. This messenger demanded an audience and I would suggest you grant him one.”

“Show him in then,” Crucible sighed. The problem with being a leader was having to deal with other leaders.

“The Messenger of Fire,” Savrod announced. His voice sounded odd. Was that awe? “Ambassador for the Grand Monarch of Evil, Dark Specter.”

It was an impressive being, even Crucible had to admit that. Seven feet of billowing flame was bound to impress some. His mind briefly caught onto the memory of a story about a burning bush, but he ignored it.

“Crucible,” the messenger greeted. His voice sounded like twigs crackling on a wood stove. There was an uncertainty, as if he had wanted to add something before his name. And Crucible realised in that moment that to the Messenger this was a very odd situation because unlike other, Crucible had not given himself a title. “I come with a message and an invitation. The message is as follows: you and your followers have been accepted into the ranks of the United Alliance of Evil. Congratulations on your achievement. Acceptance is mandatory. You are instructed to accept the enclosed invitation to attend the first meeting of the United Alliance of Evil and to swear allegiance to Dark Specter, the Grand Monarch of Evil.”

“And if I say no?”

The fire seemed to grow brighter. “When others refused they were taught that my master could have them destroyed in flame.”

“I’m not like the others,” Crucible answered. “And I have no desire to follow or swear loyalty.”

“The Grand Monarch does not share,” the Messenger warned. “You are powerful, but you are untrained and not ready to challenge the Grand Monarch.”

“I would try,” Crucible warned.

“And you would fail, and you would be destroyed. But what then?” The Messenger seemed to drift off. “You are not important, but what you represent is something the Grand Monarch was not meant to be. That makes you important. But the Grand Monarch cannot have an equal.”

“Perhaps a compromise then,” Savrod suggested. “Crucible is still learning to become the leader his people need. Until then he is only the leader in name. I am the commander of his forces, himself included. I will agree to accept this membership and give the oath. When Crucible is ready to assume command though, he will not be bound by any such agreement.”

“Dark Specter might have use for his services,” the Messenger of Fire claimed.

“And those services would be performed,” Savrod answered smoothly. “In return Crucible will be allowed to continue to train and to seek out the Night Ranger Jeff Kincaid.”

“Yes, destroying the last Night Ranger would be of great service,” the messenger agreed.

The flames grew brighter and then vanished, replaced by a green skinned alien with a tall head. “Agreed. Find your missing Ranger and destroy him. I shall summon you if I have need of your other skills.” the Grand Monarch ordered before vanishing. “But for the first meeting, you will be there.”

Crucible nodded wordlessly as the identity of the being he had been willing to fight sank in. He had felt Dark Specter’s power up close and having felt the power of all those Rangers earlier, knew which was stronger. He would not stand against Dark Specter. At least not until Jeff Kincaid was destroyed and the power of the Mirror of Night was his once more. Perhaps one day Dark Specter would become a part of the mirror’s power too.

“There was one more thing,” Savrod told him. He looked pleased with himself. “I remember Mark Kinega mentioned something about a young lady… Leslie? I thought you might want to show her your appreciation for the way she treated Mark, especially since it helped Crucible to emerge.”

Crucible grinned. “A fine idea Savrod, but we’re behind schedule. Let the hunt begin.”

End


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