The concept of the Night Rangers belongs to John Chubb and the ones here are based on those from his Night Fighters series. Parts of this chapter are set between the time that they are seen departing at the end of Crossroads of Evil and the time that they arrive back in their own universe (which for the purposes of this story should be considered an alternate version of that world). The characters of David McKallister-Keller and Sarah McKallister-Keller have been renamed as David McAllister and Sarah Keller. For the purposes of this story they are still brother and sister although how that works is not something that will be addressed here.
The Battle Between Worlds
“Why didn’t you warn me what would happen?” Drakkon demanded.
The Keeper of Knowledge remained unfazed by the younger man’s outburst. He had expected it, just as he had known that the discovery of what had happened following the death of Thomas Oliver would draw Lord Drakkon back to the Baltoxia Institute. He was aware that he was playing a dangerous game, but as the Keeper of Knowledge he had to follow the path laid out before him… right up to its unfortunate conclusion.
“Why did you not ask if there would be consequences?” he replied. “You understand your reality and this reality share a common timeline and that despite your objections on the matter, you are the possible future of the Tommy Oliver you murdered. Did it not occur to you that the consequences of shifting realities and slaughtering a man who might one day evolve into you would have dire consequences? And does it surprise you to find that existence has a mechanism to prevent such a catastrophe and contain the problem? Especially when you were in possession of the Green Chaos Crystal.”
Under normal circumstances the death of Tommy Oliver should have led to the collapse of all timelines that had branched from his reality, including Drakkon. The Keeper of Knowledge had been aware of such a possibility when he had sent Drakkon in that direction but had also been aware that there was a low chance of success. The Green Chaos Crystal had been empowered at just the right time, its link to the other constructs that managed the forces of existence had changed the nature of that reality.
The timeline had been allowed to shatter into fragmented dimensions, each representing a critical era of that timeline’s history. Left alone the dimensions would eventually collapse safely into nothingness and the damage would be negated. Except the Keeper was aware that Drakkon was unlikely to just walk away from the carnage he had caused.
“The Green Chaos Crystal distorts, twists and manipulates the power of the other Infinity Stones,” the Keeper told him. “It used its link to the other stones to alter the nature of time and space within that reality to negate the devastating paradox you created. That reality no longer has a timeline, just dimensions representing possible eras, while your existence has been secured, Lord Drakkon.”
The Keeper’s reply led to new questions, which Drakkon suspected was intentional. It also caused him to reconsider the plans he had made. The revelations the Keeper had teased him with led him to wonder whether his original plan had been ambitious enough. Either way he needed to know more.
“What are the abilities of the Green Chaos Crystal?” he enquired.
The Keeper was silent as it tried to recall the information
“The Green Chaos Crystal can draw upon the power of the other Infinity Stones allowing its user to access the powers of those stones – when it chooses to work – to increase the range of teleportation, limited movement through time and greater strength. The Green Chaos Crystal can be used to track and locate the other stones. The Green Chaos Crystal can change the laws of probability to allow the being using it to avoid harm.”
There was a pause as the Keeper clearly struggled to continue.
“The Green Chaos Crystal can also prevent others from revealing its secrets… including the Keeper of Knowledge. Its full capabilities are only known by those that deserve to learn its secrets.”
Drakkon had been busy since the return to his own reality. First there had been the coup that Scorpina had attempted in his absence. He had dealt with Scorpina decisively before sparing her life; she would make a valuable servant once he adjusted her loyalty and took steps to make certain it would never stray again. Serpenterra had been damaged during the encounter and would take time to repair. When it was completed though he planned to use it to eliminate whatever remained of his world’s resistance.
It had been during those events that he had discovered the changes to the nature of the other reality. A team of Rangers had appeared, and it had been after their eventual escape that he had realised that his actions had somehow collapsed time and space into dimensional spaces with his reality at the centre.
“You mentioned other stones,” he said. “Tell me about them. Tell me everything there is to know about the Infinity Stones.”
While Drakkon sought information, his generals were on a mission to prove themselves worthy of continued existence. Drakkon had been unimpressed with the way they had allowed his world to slip from their control during his absence and had made his displeasure clear when he had beheaded three of his senior advisers.
And so, the previous priority of securing their territories has shifted to expanding Drakkon’s influence in those few areas that still resisted. The military might of Drakkon’s forces were unleashed around the world, crushing those that opposed them and seeking out those that hid from his wrath.
Tanks equipped with weapons that could not only destroy those they targeted but also drive those hiding within their range out from under cover rolled across the land and his air force directed the search from above. Massive explosions rocked suspected underground bunkers as his ground troops carried out raids of suspected hide outs.
Nobody wanted to be accused of dereliction of duty knowing that the price of failing to carry out their assigned tasks was death. No-one wished to found slacking now that Drakkon had returned, especially when it was clear that he was in a foul mood.
The knowledge the Keeper had provided had set Drakkon on a new course. Whatever he had been scheming before paled in comparison to the power the offered by the Infinity Stones. The ability to control the characteristics of existence was something he had not considered until now. It expanded his previous ambitions. He had said before that the Power Rangers should have been gods to the people they defended. Now however he realised that a god was not limited to a single reality. With the Infinity Stones in his possession nothing would escape his sight, no being would be beyond his reach and nothing would withstand his might.
And the first step toward achieving his new goal was to locate what the Keeper had called the Space Stone.
“The Space Stone, also known as the Space Gem, Space Crystal and Nexus Crystal, was during on the Fifth Day by the First Alliance. The Space Stone originally measured four-thousand kilometres before it was altered. The Space Stone offers its wielder unlimited travel between all space, dimensions, planes, realms and realities. The Space Stone can retrieve objects from any location and alter the forces of gravity within a localised area. At full power the Space Stone can be used to create and destroy realities.” The Keeper had kept his tone monotonous as he had explained the many capabilities of the Space Stone, leaving Drakkon in no doubt that finding it was essential for his plans to progress.
“Where can I find it?” Drakkon demanded.
“After the Fifth Day, the First Alliance decided that they had accomplished everything they could achieve and disbanded,” the Keeper told him. “Their creations were divided between them to ensure that no single race could ever claim their complete power. Some remained within the Prime Reality while others could access the power of the Space Stone to move to another location where their works would be secured. The Space Stone was then offered to the junior members of the First Alliance so that they could find new homes.”
“But what became of the stone?”
“Some of those that had experienced the power of the Infinity Stones objected to their separation. After the majority of those involved had peacefully departed, an uprising occurred during which the Space Stone was seized by those seeking to use it to reunite the other stones. Instead the act led to a long war that ended with the destruction of many of those that rebelled and the imprisonment of their leader. The Space Stone, known as the Nexus Crystal, to hide its nature and power from those that had joined after the uprising, was left close to his prison where it was known to be safe. The Space Stone and the one that stole it were unreachable once the barrier between his prison and the rest of existence was raised.”
The Space Stone was essential to Drakkon’s revised plans but was beyond his reach. Or was it? Drakkon had grown to understand the Keeper of Knowledge and with that insight had come the realisation that the Keeper only gave him detailed answered while trying to avoid the truth.
“You said the Space Stone was unreachable, is it still sealed away?”
“The villain known as Lord Stygian was released from his prison by new allies he secured in another reality,” the Keeper admitted. “Upon his released Lord Stygian took possession of the Nexus Crystal and attempted to access its full potential. He was prevented from achieving his goal by a Ranger team who defeated him and kept the Nexus Crystal. The Nexus Crystal remains in the possession of those Rangers and their allies.”
“And how do I get to their reality so I can claim the Nexus Crystal?” Drakkon demanded.
“You cannot journey to their reality. Only the Space Stone would allow you to travel to a place that distant from your own. Not even the Green Chaos Crystal would permit such a journey.”
“Then tell me, Keeper of Knowledge, how do I obtain the Nexus Crystal and while you are at it, tell me of the Rangers that possess it.”
In another reality a team known as the Night Rangers had encountered and defeated the Luciferian Empire. After that epic battle they had been faced with the remnants of the empire and had swiftly dealt with them. Some of those villains had used dimension jumping technology to find their way to a place of sanctuary where they had discovered Stygian.
Those events had eventually led to the eventual defeat of Stygian and the Night Rangers acquiring the power of the Nexus Crystal, a powerful chunk of Xenomatter that had been correctly shaped to wield complete control over one of the key cosmic forces.
Drakkon had at first believed that he could use the Green Chaos Crystal to access Stygian’s prison and from there reach the world of the Night Rangers. That proved to impossible and so with advice from the Keeper of Knowledge, he had instead focussed his efforts on reaching the crossing point between realities.
Travel between realities using the Nexus Crystal could have been as simple as moving through a wall of smoke, but the somewhat construct had picked up on the personality and mood of its current master and had endeavoured to make the trip more enjoyable. And so, the four Night Rangers and their companions found themselves speeding along a roadway tunnel, aware that the entrance they had used had been bricked up the moment they had started to ride.
~Looks like the walls are repairing themselves just as we were told,~ Jeff Kincaid guessed as he opened the throttle and allowed his bike to speed up. Kenjiro Tanaka, David McAllister-Keller and his sister Sarah followed his lead, the four Night Rangers enjoying the opportunity to relax and ride without worry – for they could spend as long as they wanted in the space between worlds and would emerge on the other side having been gone for only a few seconds.
Next in their little convoy came a red and silver RV driven by to Bruce Green. Cassandra Jensen sat in the passenger seat while Kincaid’s wife, Mackenzie and his new-born child were in the back catching up on some sleep.
The tunnel opened out before them, emerging out of the side of a mountain road leading to a high bridge. It was a spectacular view of the multiverse as scene after scene flashed by. It was as if nothing could ruin their moment… which meant the inevitably something would.
The road before them exploded. Kincaid pulled on the brakes and pulled hard to the right. He managed to narrowly avoid the gaping hole that had opened before them. His fellow Night Rangers were just far enough behind him that they came to a controlled stop. Bruce slammed on the brakes as his vehicle skidded to a halt.
“Can’t we just take a ride without this sort of thing happening?” Mackenzie complained as the Night Rangers and their friends looked around.
Despite her words she was alert and searching for signs of their attacker. It didn’t take long to locate the dozen black clad warriors armed with large rifles
“No,” Cassandra answered, reaching out with her mind. “They’re not Power Rangers. They’re… something else.”
“Maybe not Rangers, but they’re close enough,” Kincaid noted.
He recognised the variation of a set of powers he had once granted to a friend. It used a single connection to the Morphin Grid, amplified and the split among multiple avatars. But while Kincaid had used the technology to unlock the power for a small number of Rangers, these warriors were clearly part of a larger army.
“There’s more of them coming in from behind,” Bruce warned.
“Kincaid…” Kenjiro warned, pointing to a dot of red light on his chest.
“Leave it to us,” Sarah told him, nodding to her brother as she palmed a smoke bomb. “Just be sure to move.”
With a silent countdown the smoke bombs were thrown, and the Rangers were on the move as sniper fire connected with the area they had previously been. It was clear that taking them alive was not a priority.
“Bruce, cover me!” Cassandra ordered before using the power of the Emerald Crystal to leave her body.
She quickly moved to where the-would-be assassins were hidden, noting that their uniforms resembled those of the original Pink Ranger. She struck out, phasing through their heads, leaving them confused before returning to her body. It was enough to stop them shooting.
“Emerald Crystal, power up!” she called, morphing first into her Emerald Ranger uniform and then into her combat armour.
“Silver Centurion Power!” Bruce bellowed.
“Let’s Rocket!” Mackenzie cried as she activated the ancient powers of the White Astro Ranger and grabbed her child. She was a mother now and for the moment protecting their child was more important than some army.
“Night Rangers, Activate!” Kincaid commanded as he and the other Night Rangers were transformed. “Evil Rangers, how unoriginal,” the distorted voice of the Red Night Ranger said.
The Black Sentries hesitated at the sound of the voice, a shiver passing down their spines. Then they seemed to shake off the effect of the Night Rangers’ powers and raised their cannons and opened fire, bombarding the Rangers from all sides. But when the smoke cleared, the Night Rangers stood unharmed, ready to strike back.
“Go!” Red Night Ranger commanded, and the Rangers sprang into action.
Lord Drakkon’s Mastodon Sentries were the least skilled brigade in Drakkon’s army but were by far the most numerous soldiers at his disposal. Of course, whenever quantity was favoured over quality the chance of success was limited. They were not the brightest or most capable combatants and it showed as they were taken apart by Kincaid and his allies.
The Sabretooth Sentries and Tyrannosaurus Sentries that followed the initial attack however were better trained and had developed more advanced teamwork than simple ganging up on their opponents. Still the Night Rangers were a group that had been through many battles together and had trained to not just combat evil, but to make it regret showing its face. They never held back as they drove their fists and feet into the opposing army, trusting that the stolen Ranger technology would protect from all but the most brutal of blows.
Still as they clashed with the various warriors, it occurred to them that something was not right. These were clearly foot-soldiers, which raised the question: where was their leader?
Drakkon had not expected his forces to last against the Night Ranger and their allies. From what he had discovered, they were a capable team and more ruthless than any he had heard of before. Fortunately, his plan did not require his forces to win or survive, just distract them long enough for him to get what he needed. Petty theft was not beneath him if it meant succeeding.
“I’m pretty sure that’s not yours…”
Obviously, the distraction had not been enough. Drakkon looked up from attempting to lift Kincaid’s discarded motorcycle to see the Silver Centurion approaching him.
“Bunch of brightly coloured attackers blow up the road and then attack us, and you just happen to be trying to boost Kincaid’s ride. Did you think we wouldn’t notice you because you’re not wearing bright colours and attacking? That might have fooled some, but we’re used to bad guys that don’t look like monsters. Now, do you want to tell me why you set all this up just to steal a motorcycle?” Bruce pressed, adjusting the template of his red and silver uniform to something more suitable. “Just so we’re clear, don’t think for a moment I don’t consider you the most dangerous person here…”
Drakkon watched as the fabric of the Silver Centurion’s costume hardened into something more like armour. He could see the glowing power source within the chest and make out the obvious weapons concealed within.
“Interesting,” he allowed, already calculating how would integrate such armour into his forces.
“Why don’t you put the bike down and surrender?” Bruce asked.
“Because that would mean accepting that you defeated me,” Drakkon replied, turning so Bruce could see his face.
“Tommy?” Bruce asked. “No, you’re not Tommy. What are you, a clone?”
“Oh, you are so right and yet you could not be more wrong,” Drakkon assured him. “I am Tommy without the weaknesses. I am Tommy Oliver as he was meant to be. I am Lord Drakkon…”
His head twisted to one side from the force of the Silver Centurion’s punch. Like the Night Rangers, Bruce was not above throwing the first blow to end the fight before it started. He blocked the next punch and aimed a kick at Silver Centurion’s torso. He unsheathed the White Tiger Sword and swung forward, causing Bruce to jump back.
“I think I’ve heard enough,” Bruce told him as he dodged another blow. He had no idea how powerful Drakkon was, but he had a feeling that the sword could damage him… It was a vicious looking blade.
Still the Silver Centurion was not without weapons and with a thought he summoned a sword and shield of his own, just two of the many weapons Bruce had stored within his armour’s template. And so, the two warriors clashed, neither holding back and Bruce aware that his opponent was slowly gaining the upper hand. Drakkon drove his sword into Silver Centurion’s shield, dodged the responding sword jab and unleashed a ball of energy up close. Bruce managed to block but doing so had left his shield out of position as Drakkon used the hidden fire power of the White Tiger Sword to knock the Silver Centurion off his feet. Then with sword raised, he prepared to finish the job….
Only to be stopped by the combined firepower to the remaining Night Rangers and their friends. He turned slowly, noting that his forces were down and, in some cases, permanently out.
“You’re outnumbered,” Red Night growled.
“Why don’t you crawl back to whichever rock you crawled out from under?” White Astro asked.
“Nothing to say?” Silver Senturion asked as he re-joined the others.
“Just thinking…” Drakkon replied. “… perhaps I should even the odds a little.”
A warning flashed through Emerald Tiger’s mind. She could hear her powers warning her of the impending danger. “No, don’t let him!”
“It’s Morphin Time!” Drakkon cried. “Black Dragon!”
And then he was upon them, fighting with a fury the Rangers had rarely encountered except when facing each other. But he was up against the Night Rangers and their allies. To be a Night Ranger required a person of incredible strength and spirit. But to be the ally of a Night Ranger and to deal with the darkness in their lives daily meant that Cassandra, Bruce and Mackenzie were even more exceptional.
Gold Night and Silver Night were trained ninjas enhanced by the powers they bore. They had proven themselves as brutal in combat and more than capable of taking on the most powerful of foes. Against Drakkon however they were having a difficult time trying to land a blow. The villain had the raw fighting skill of Tommy Oliver with a total disregard for his opponents and topped off with the powers of a newly restored link to the Morphin Grid. As he kicked his foes aside, he found Black Night blocking his path. Once again through skill, his sword, magic and shear underhandedness, Drakkon managed to down his opponent only for more Rangers to step in.
The Night Rangers were powerful, but Emerald Tiger had her mental powers on her side. Using telekinesis to strengthen her punches, she knocked the Black Dragon back a few steps, only for him to grow enraged and pummel her. At least until Red Night stepped in.
There was a difference between Red Night Ranger and those Drakkon had fought until now. They were skilled and brutal, but he was all that and unwilling to let a little thing like honour slow him down. And unlike the other Night Rangers, he was not still adapting to the role of Night Ranger. He had made the darkness his own. He was relentless with low blows and chops to the throat thrown into a well-seasoned assault.
Drakkon however was not going to lose. He sensed the moment when Red Night decided to strike and silently congratulated the Ranger for having the courage to do what was necessary to win. Unfortunately, Drakkon was just as determined that he would succeed.
When Cassandra had taken out the Pink Sentries earlier in the battle, she had allowed her mind to search for those intending to fire upon them from a distance. But Drakkon had done his homework and was aware of such a possibility. And so, a second squad had been positioned away from the fighting with orders not to attack until ordered.
And when their lord gave the order, they knew to carry out their orders exactly, bombarding everything within the target area, including Lord Drakkon.
The bridge exploded around them, the roadway collapsing out from underneath. Kincaid grabbed Emerald Tiger as she fell through the rubble. The Rangers scrambled to safety across the divide, leaving Drakkon on the far side of the chasm… with Kincaid’s motorcycle.
“Lost something?” Drakkon asked, nodding to where Kincaid’s wife and child were being held at gunpoint by a Sabretooth Sentry. Mackenzie was still in her White Astro uniform, but the child was helpless. Fortunately, it seemed the Sentry considered Mackenzie the bigger threat and had concentrated on restraining her. It had the desired effect with the Rangers appearing to stand down.
Drakkon held his hand over the fuel tank on Kincaid’s motorcycle and whispered words of ancient evil. Against the Spirits of the Night such a spell should have been useless, but the object he sought was not currently under that formidable protection and in moments he stood in possession of the Nexus Crystal. He tapped the Nexus Crystal with the Green Chaos Crystal, extending his ownership from one to the other. Now the Green Chaos Crystal was at full power and the Nexus Crystal was at his command.
“Take their morphers. If they resist, kill the White Astro Ranger.”
“Oh, come on Mackenzie, there’s no way you’re going to let him get away with that, right?” Kincaid asked.
He knew his wife and a moment later the grunt of surprise as she slammed her head back into the faceplate of her abductor before ducking low with a blow to the groin. As the Yellow Sentry fell, the Night Rangers were back on the offensive, only to be pushed back by a pulse from the Nexus Crystal.
Drakkon vanished from sight, reappearing next to White Astro and her child. He backhanded her in the face and while she was stunned reached for the cradle.
“No!” she whispered desperately. “Galaxy Glider!”
The board slammed into Drakkon’s back, knocking him away from the baby. He grabbed onto the board as it propelled him away before finding the strength to punch through the underside and deactivated its rocket engine. With a growl he leapt at White Astro, wielding the board like a club and using it to smash her across the side of her face. On the third blow she was out on her feet… and then there was the sound of something splintering and then silence.
Red Night Ranger stood with the remains of the Galaxy Glider splintered around him. And despite the helmet that hid his expressions, it was clear that he was furious.
“Enough for now,” Drakkon decided as he used the Nexus Crystal to force some distance between himself and his opponents. “You could have been an asset to me, Night Rangers. But I think you’re the ones least likely to see things my way. So, your world will have the honour of being among the first to fall.”
Suddenly Drakkon was gone, the bridge was gone and the dimension they had been travelling through had vanished, leaving them back what looked like their own world. Then there was another disturbance as more of his forces arrived with orders to subdue the planet, locate those that would serve his cause and eliminate all others.
“Sanctuary Protocol: Activate!” Kincaid ordered and his child was whisked away to relative safety as the Rangers prepared themselves for a fight.
Drakkon had messed with his motorcycle. That alone had earned the wrath of the demon powered Night Ranger. But then he had gone further. He had tried to steal his child and had dared to attack his wife. For that Drakkon was going to pay even if the Night Rangers had to hunt him. And when they were done, he would suffer the same fate as all those that found themselves deserving the attention of Jeff Kincaid and his companions. The opponents they faced had increased in number, but Drakkon had overlooked something important… here they had friends to even up the score.
Drakkon had succeeded. The Nexus Crystal now belong to him and with its power he had the means to seek out and locate the rest of the Infinity Stones. Unfortunately, not all of them would be so easy to locate – for it seemed that there were some things even the Keeper did not know. But he had time and now he had the means to get what he wanted. And in the meantime, there was always the opportunity to expand his empire.
End of Part
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