Countdown to Destruction

Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, Justice League, Avengers or any other property. They belong to their respective copyright holders and are used without permission. Parts of this chapter were borrowed from Ellen Brand’s Final Frontier. Thanks Ellen.

From Out of Nowhere Part One

The time was fast approaching. The pieces had been placed, the targets had been identified and prioritised. Her vessels had been deployed in such a way that they formed and intricate network of support and cover fire. The drop ships, which now they had finished travelling could be seen to resmble large winged animals, were primed, and the foot-soldiers gathered from not only Dark Specter’s finest but also from his lesser known allies, were prepared. All that remained was to give the word and begin the invasion.

The heroes and protectors of the planet Earth had been identified from a distance. They had been watched and, in some cases, tested to gauge the threat they posed. Their territory had been clearly marked along with suggested weaknesses that they could take advantage of later. It was a strategy that called upon the invading force to divide the heroes and tire them out.

Astronema reviewed the position of the ships in lower orbit, noting with satisfaction that they covered more ground than the planet’s defenders could hope to protect. They were going to be forced to make choices that would place them at a tactical disadvantage and still force them to leave much of the invasion fleet uncontested.

"We are ready," Ecliptor reported.

"And the Power Chamber?"

"Zordon’s protection will stop us from placing a ship above it," Ecliptor told her. He checked something and then added: "Or close by."

Astronema nodded, realising that Dark Specter’s plan had required that the defenders of the planet were aware of the presence if not the strength and capability of their forces. Perhaps the easiest way to get their attention was to launch an attack on Zordon directly. There was no way the old fool would ignore such a threat.

"Deploy one of the Harvesters!" she ordered as she pulled out a data card.

While Dark Specter had chosen to allow his failed experiments to live, there was no way that Astronema trusted them enough to allow them to wander freely around her command ship. She was aware that Dark Specter had instilled in her the desire to be his most valuable lieutenant. She had no doubt that he had given Astronoma, Andromeda and Artemis the same urges. And if they were unable to achieve that position fairly, they were similar enough to her to eliminate their competition.

Unfortunately for them she had no intention of losing her position and had the loyalty of Ecliptor. Together they had found a way to keep the three servants available without giving them the opportunity to attack her.

"Activate Astronoma," she instructed as she placed the card into the reader.

The servants assigned to act as system operators obeyed her command and she watched as the holographic avatar of the woman known as Astronoma appeared. Astronema had made certain that while she had kept the data of Dark Specter’s attempts to create an evil bride, she had stripped out any trace of ambition and independence. They were extensions of herself intended to be used when she had other matters to attend to. Sadly, their loyalty to her was not absolute; Dark Specter remained their absolute master.

"Breach the Power Chamber and bring me Zordon," Astronema instructed. "If any of his Rangers get in your way… DESTROY THEM!"

"Yes Astronema," Astronoma replied, a small spark flickering across the circuitry on her face.

"And now, we will begin."

Very few knew the truth about Dark Specter and his position as a Dark God. He had kept that knowledge hidden while making it clear that the avatar he used to portray himself was powerful in its own right. But the Dark Specter most the universe saw was a watered down charade that gave them a twisted view of his true self. The being he allowed them to see was incredibly old, unbelievably powerful and possessed some knowledge in the ways of evil that could not be rivalled by many. He was a smooth-talking politician that had managed to build an alliance as much through carefully the use of carefully chosen words as through fear of what he would do to those that refused him.

Among the UAE the senior members bowed to his wishes because he awed them with his power or because they were kept off balance enough by his displays of power to make them question a direct attack on his position. The lesser members though were where he truly worked his magic, granting small favours that ultimately worked to his advantage while placing them further into his debt and binding them to the hierarchy of the UAE.

Some of those relationships had been formed so long ago that the junior partners could no longer recall a time when they had not been in Dark Specter’s debt for some reason or another. And since he never called those favours in, instead asking them only to complete the tasks he would assign in his role as leader, their loyalty to him grew stronger with each passing year.

It was through such debts that Dark Specter had acquired his best scientists and magic users, all dedicated to furthering his aims. Worlds that had been a part of his empire for generations had willingly sent their sons and daughters to be converted into Quantrons to swell the ranks of the UAE’s military. But not all those sent to answer his call had been converted into Quantrons. Some had been modified to improve their prowess and kept as special units for the later stages of Dark Specter’s conquest. Placed under the command of his lieutenants, they were about to march into battle for the first time.

The Harvesters were another example of his ability to identify potential uses for things before his rivals. The first of their kind had been developed by one of his underlings as a means of controlling a small kingdom. Dark Specter had seen the full potential of the technology and had confiscated it along with the plans to make more. Now the giant machines were a key part of his planet stripping operations, striding across worlds and tearing them pieces while searching for the elusive crystal fragments he desired.

On Earth, not only would the Harvester get the attention of the planet’s protectors, but it also offered the opportunity to remove one of their priority targets early on.

The Harvester was a monstrous piece of engineering, although not as big as some of the machines Dark Specter had commissioned the Machine Empire and Dianthe Pirates to manufacture for his cause. It was easily the size of a Megazord and capable of growing larger as it added the materials it consumed to its bulk. And it was tough. So tough that when Astronema had ordered that a Harvester be deployed there had been no careful loading of the behemoth into a ship to be lowered carefully to the ground. The Quantron had pulled a lever removing a section of the flooring beneath one of the machines and it had plummeted to the ground. If Astronema had wanted to get somebody’s attention the concussive force of such a large object colliding with the ground was sufficient.

After its less-than-graceful landing on a building project near the outskirts of Angel Grove, the Harvester quickly righted itself, snatching up nearby machinery to repair anything that had been damaged during the landing. It was soon back on its feet and let out a mechanical growl that could be heard for miles around.

The Harvester was a walking factory that inhaled through the gravity generators installed its massive maw and shredded by the high-speed grinder made up of super sharp metal teeth rotating in a vortex of destructive power. And then what was left was dumped into a plasma core where it was smelted down and separated into useful materials and refuse. With the correct programming the Harvester could be used to manufacture anything its owners required. Lacking instructions, it used the materials it inhaled to build itself into a larger and more effective engine of destruction.

From the moment it hauled itself to its feet and placed one powerful leg in front of the other, it was leaving a trail of destruction as it tore its way through the desert in the direction of the Power Chamber. As it trudged forward, the weapons mounted across its structure fired at any structures it detected, collapsing buildings that it then inhaled on its path of devastation. With a gout of flame as it consumed a fuel truck and the screech of metal on metal as its grinding wheels shredded everything it inhaled, it continued on its path.

Angel Grove High School

"And so, when you have a right triangle, what formula is used to describe the cosine of the angle." Mrs. Finn surveyed her classroom, eyes narrowed. "Moose!"

The heavyset boy startled, almost falling out of his chair. "What?"

"Can you tell me the formula used to determine the cosine of an angle in a right triangle?"

"Uhh- baby formula?" the bully replied. Most of the class giggled.

"No." Mrs. Finn scanned the room. "Fred Kelman. Can you answer the question?"

"Um, – no, ma’am," Fred replied. The teacher sighed.

"Justin Stewart." It wasn’t a question. The blue-clad genius looked up from his notebook.

"Adjacent over hypotenuse."

"Correct." Mrs. Finn turned back to the board when a strange sound caught her ear. It was a musical 6-note melody, sounding like something played on a synthesizer. Turning around, she saw Fred and Justin grimacing. Suddenly Justin made a queasy face.

"Mrs. Finn, I don’t feel very well. Can I go to the bathroom?"

"Certainly, Justin. Do you need someone to walk you there?"

Kris Thomas, who sat next to Justin in every class possible, started to volunteer, but Fred beat her to it.

"I’ll take him to the bathroom," the Red Turbo Ranger replied, getting to his feet. Quickly, the two of them rushed out of the room.

"I think Kris has a crush on you," Fred grinned, as the two of them ran through the halls. Justin grimaced.

"Don’t remind me. Everywhere I go, she’s all over me. Tasha’s about ready to kill her."

"So, you two really have a thing going?" Any answer was forestalled by their arrival at the bathrooms, the Turbo Rangers’ meeting-place for in-school calls. Franklin and Rosa were already there, and soon Tasha ran up as well. Looking both ways, Fred tapped his communicator.

"We read you, Zordon," he whispered.

"Ai-yi-yi, Rangers! Teleport to the Power Chamber," Alpha’s voice replied. "We have a major emergency!"

"We’re on our way," Justin replied. "Tash, are we clear?"

The Yellow Turbo Ranger looked in both directions. "Yeah, we’re clear." Tapping their communicators, the team transported out.

"What’s the matter, Zordon?" Fred asked.

"Yeah, Alpha sounded more upset than usual," Tasha added.

"Behold the Viewing Screen," Zordon instructed. He sounded extremely grim. The screen shown a massive machine inhaling a building at one of the mining compounds outside of Angel Grove. "This is a Harvester, a machine developed by Dark Specter to strip mine the worlds he has conquered."

"We’re going to need the Zords for this," Fred realised as he took in the size of the machine. "Actually, we might more than just the Turbo Zords."

"Oh no," Justin groaned. He’d been watching the machine’s progress on a nearby map. "Guys, it’s not going to be bothering miners outside of the city much longer. Somebody just dropped it there to get our attention."

"Then where’s it going?" Tasha wanted to know.

"Here," Justin told her. "Whoever is controlling that thing has set it walking in the direction of Power Mountain."

"We need to stop that thing before it gets too close," Fred declared. "If it takes out the Power Chamber, we’re in big trouble."

The others readily agreed.


The Turbo Zords raced across the desert, closing the gap to intercept the Harvester. For such a big machine it could move extremely fast and its suction system was powerful enough to stir up a huge windstorm ahead of them.

"All right guys, he’s bigger but we should be harder to hit if we keep moving," Red Turbo instructed. "So, try to get in close and hit him with everything we have. And then stay behind him."

"Fred, I don’t think this was such a good idea," Pink Turbo complained as the Harvester’s head swivelled in her direction, dragging her Zord off the ground.

She pressed the button on her control panel, the one usually used when forming the Turbo Megazord, to split her machine in half. Luckily, the force created when separating was enough to throw both halves of the machine out of the machine’s range. With a push of another button the Zord returned to normal, but now Pink Turbo was busy avoiding the gun emplacements on the Harvester’s back that had managed to target her.

"I agree," Green Turbo added. "We need to change tactics… or Zords."

"Right!" Red Turbo agreed. "Switch to the Turbo Rescue Zords."

Since their encounter with the alien Dappu, the Turbo Rangers and Lightspeed Ranger had found that some of their Zords were interchangeable, something that Billy Cranston had determined was due to the Lightspeed Ranger powers drawing indirectly from the same energy source as the Turbo Rangers. And while arguments over proprietary ownership and patents prevented them from using all Lightspeed’s equipment, the Turbo Rescue Zords were an exception since they had been a gift from the Rangers of Earth in the first place.

The Turbo Rescue Zords had been modified when Dappu had repaired them and now incorporated several hidden weapons. However, it was their ability to quickly switch between vehicles forms and humanoid forms that the Rangers called High Stance Mode, that made them useful. The five Zords were not as big and powerful as a Megazord, but against the Harvester they had the ability to move in at speed before shifting form and attacking up close, and then reverting to their vehicle forms to make an escape.

"Fred, if we can get under its body it has nothing it can hit us with," Green Turbo advised.

"Okay, head between the legs guys," Red Turbo ordered.

The Zords raced forward again, this time on a course that would buy them time and relative safety.

"Oh no, guys!" Blue Turbo called out.

Siren Blaster had been caught in the Harvester’s suction wave and despite changing back to humanoid mode, there was nothing the Blue Turbo Rescue Zord could do to hang on. Its grip on the ground slipped and the blue Zord was pulled into the grinding jaws of the monstrous machine.

"Justin!" Yellow Turbo cried as her best friend vanished into the machine’s maw. "Oh, you are so dead!" she told the Harvester before resuming the attack.

The other Turbo Rangers joined her, driven by loss and vengeance for their fallen comrade.

"Guys we need a plan," Red Turbo insisted as they hit the huge machine with every trick in their arsenal. "Frank?"

"I’m working on it," Green Turbo replied as he tipped a collection of giant ball bearings in the Harvester’s path. "Okay, got it! Alpha, I need you to transport Red Lightning and Wind Chaser to these coordinates. Fred, Rosa… I need you to drive them to these coordinates. The Tasha and I will get that thing into position and keep it there."

"Understood," Red Turbo agreed, "Lightning Fire Tamer set to automatic."

"Hold in there guys," Pink Turbo added as she teleported away.

"Now we’re going to hurt this thing!" Yellow Turbo growled.

Justin had been her best friend. The two had endured Little Angels Children Home together. And now he was gone and for the moment all she could feel was anger.

"Tasha, you need focus," Green Turbo warned. "We need to get this thing in place or Fred and Rosa are going to be wasting their time."

Working together the two Rangers were able to keep the machine’s attention, drawing it into position. But once it was there it seemed that stopping it from moving away was far more difficult.

"Hey, what’s going on?" Yellow Turbo asked when the Harvester stopped moving, its turbines ceasing to inhale. Its head twitched violently as the metal on one side of its head distorted. Then there was an explosion as a large blue object flew from the side of its neck, covered with flames. "Justin?!"

Siren Blaster crashed onto the desert floor, switching between if vehicle and High Stance Mode as it tried desperately to put out the flames that engulfed its legs. Lightning Fire Tamer moved in and helped the fallen Zord. It was clear the machine had seen better days.

"I don’t want to do that again," Blue Turbo complained, gripping the console of his Zord only to recoil from the heat,

"Justin, get your butt out of there!" Yellow Turbo urged.

Blue Turbo did not need to be told twice and teleported away, leaving his Zord behind just as the Harvester recovered and reactivated its suction drive. The remains of the Blue Zord were swept back into its mouth along with Lightning Fire Tamer and Wind Rescue.

"Fred, I’m sending you a beacon now!" Green Turbo advised, activating a device on his Zord’s control panel before he abandoned the machine.

Yellow Turbo joined him moments later as bother their Zords were dragged into the Harvester’s mouth.

"Got it!" they heard Red Turbo reply. "Red Lightning at full speed, locked on and ready."

While the others had been keeping the Harvester busy, Pink and Red Turbo had been racing their machines back toward the battle, building up speed as they did so. Now with the Harvester in position and a handy cliff to leap from the two Zords torpedoes their way into the side of the brute’s head, ripping out its neck and vital control systems.

"I don’t think that will buff out easily," Tasha remarked as they saw the battered form of Red Lightning turn back toward them.

"We’ll worry about that later," Red Turbo told them. "Justin, you ready?"

"As I’ll ever be," Blue Turbo replied. They could hear the discomfort in his voice. He had not escaped the jaws of death unscathed.

"All right, Turbo Megazord!"

It was not an easy formation. Wind Chaser and Red Lightning had been mangled by their previous attack. But with some perseverance and brute force, the Rangers managed to complete the formation.

"Okay, let’s finish this!" Red Turbo announced. "Turbo Megazord Spinout!"

The Turbo Megazord raced forward, sword in hand, entering the Harvester through its broken mouth before starting to spin. Its energised blade ripped a path through the fallen machine, tearing it to pieces as it burst out from the rear of the fallen brute, slicing apart the extinguished plasma core in the process.

To its credit the Harvester did not explode. It twitched for a few moments before all signs of life faded and it lay still upon the ground as the Turbo Megazord or the mangled machine that had been the Megazord, tried to look victorious.

"The Turbo Zords are undergoing repairs now, it might take a while to hammer out some of the dents in Red Lightning," Fred reported.

"Alpha was able to lock onto the Turbo Rescue Zords before they were destroyed," Zordon advised.

They would require extensive repairs, especially Siren Blaster, which had lost most of its rear end to the Harvester’s plasma core. Luckily, it seemed that whatever magic or science Dappu had used previous was still in effect as both sets of Zords appeared to be repairing themselves or at least helping the process along.

"Well the Harvester is gone," Franklin commented. "Now we just need to find out who sent it, and why?"

"Unfortunately, Rangers, I already have the answer to one of those questions. Alpha and I detected an unknown energy spike after the Harvester was destroyed. Upon investigation we discovered the spike was the result of a feedback loop designed to hide something from our sensors. When the Harvester was destroyed it sent a command to deactivate the feedback loop and reveal what it had been hiding. Behold…"

A large saucer appeared on the screen. It was one of the largest vessels the Turbo Rangers had seen.

"The ship matches the design of those used by Dark Specter," Alpha explained.

Suddenly the reason for Zordon’s grimmer than usual appearance was clear.

"So, is it a spy ship?" Tasha asked. It was highly unlikely given the size, but it seemed an odd place for a lone ship to suddenly appear.

"I’m afraid not, Tasha," Zordon replied. "Alpha used the readings detected before the ship was revealed and adjusted our scanners accordingly. When he did so…"

The Viewing Screen had been showing a map of the Earth’s surface, but as Zordon spoke, many contacts appeared on the screen.

"As you can see, this ship was not alone. You should also know that in recent days Dark Specter has withdrawn his forces from several worlds and that the location of those ships was unknown. I can only conclude that Dark Specter deployed them to Earth."

"We’re going to need more Rangers," Franklin murmured as he mentally counted the number of ships Zordon had detected. "We’re going to need everybody we can get."

"Alpha and I have already started to summon the other Rangers," Zordon assured him. "Lightspeed Rescue has also been contacted along with the GSA and NASADA. It is my hope that they will bring in additional forces."

The Global Security Agency was an umbrella organisation that fed into some of the better-known security agencies, sharing information with those national and international bodies responsible for defence. As well as acting as liaisons between governments, they also allowed secret organisations to interact without exposing their existence.

NASADA despite the abandonment of space exploration following the release of Rita Repulsa, was still a major force in monitoring the skies and reporting their observations to national governments. Their research into low orbit flight had also seen some major engine developments.

"Earth’s military have been placed on full alert," Alpha advised. "All special forces are being deployed."

The military were indeed being deployed although their leaders were uncertain of the enemy’s location. Still in the face of an attack they would not be caught completely unawares.

"Is there any way we can show them where those ships are?" Fred asked.

"Alpha has already sent the frequencies needed to detect the attack ships," Zordon told them. "I am concerned however that this is not Dark Specter’s usual method of invasion."

"What do you mean?" Rosa asked.

"Normally Dark Specter only sends his ships to attack from orbit," Alpha told them. "These ships are too low."

"They’re troop carriers," Franklin realised. "Alpha, show us the map again with the locations of each ship. Now can you highlight the names of each location?"

Alpha did as he was asked, highlighting what the Rangers had already suspected.

"They’re trying to cover every major capital," Franklin confirmed before adding, "and some other key areas."

"Angel Grove, Mariner Bay, Leewood, Charterville, Crossworld City and New York," Tasha read, "Metroplolis, Washington DC, Paris…"

"There’s no way we can cover all those cities," Rosa declared.

Fred agreed with her. "Even calling every Ranger we have we could cover that much ground."

"I agree Fred," Zordon said. "Which is why I have contacted some of our old allies and informed them of the situation. The Power Rangers will cover the areas that we can and will rely on the help of the earth’s heroes to cover the rest."

By the time, the message had been sent to the Justice League, they had already been alerted to the situation. The same held true with the Avengers, Titans and countless other groups the Rangers had encountered. For the first time since Minion’s assault the heroes of Earth were joining forces to defeat a common foe.

"So, what do we do?" Fred asked.

The response was Jason and Tommy teleporting in from wherever they had been. Both were wearing their Ranger uniforms, so Fred assumed they had been away on business.

"The Turbo Rangers will remain in Angel Grove to protect its citizens," Zordon announced.

"The Zeo and Morphin teams can deploy to other cities," Jason declared.

"Right," Tommy agreed, reading though the list.

"That still leaves a lot uncovered," Rosa noted.

The others agreed, but there was little they could do. Normally the villains they encountered chose a single location to conquer and then moved onto the next. This sort of all-out assault was something the Rangers rarely dealt with.

"The Justice League will be calling in the reserves," Jason told them. "Dark Specter might not deploy everything he has at once, but if he does, we’ll just have to do the best we can."

It still wouldn’t come close to giving them the manpower needed to protect every city but combined with the rest of the forces Alpha and Zordon had contacted, they at least covered some of the targets. It wasn’t enough, but it would have to do until they could find something better.

Astronoma emerged from the broken mouth of the Harvester. The insides were not a pretty sight. When the Rangers had destroyed the plasma core, the super-heated energy had poured through the machine’s innards. Its control rooms and power units were ruined, its internal structure obliterated. There was not a single functioning system left intact according to her scanners.

She smiled. The plan had worked just as they had anticipated.

"Begin the repairs," she instructed as she reached out and opened the doorway to a small cockpit.

The Rangers had no idea what was heading their way.

End of Part

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