Disclaimer: I do not own Power Rangers.
Author’s note: This story is set in the Conquest of Evil Universe and takes place during the period when Lord Zedd had replaced Rita Repulsa and was focussed on destroying the Green Ranger.
What’s Tomato You?
The Power Rangers were tired. Lord Zedd had been relentless in his attacks, determined it seemed to continuingly draw them into battle, knowing that such exertion increased the strain on the powers. Zordon had had to recharge Tommy’s Power Coin several times in recent weeks and there was no denying that with each charge the coin was losing more and more power. They had tried to keep Tommy in reserve to save his strength, but Zedd it seemed would not be denied and had simply increased the ferocity of his attacks until Tommy was forced to step in.
The villain’s most recent creations had not even shown the thought that he had put into previous monsters. Zedd had just found something he could transform with his wand, cast a spell and pointed the result in the Rangers’ direction. It was crude had held little chance of conquering the planet. But they could not deny that Zedd was winning when it came to his ultimate goal of destroying the Green Ranger.
Zedd’s latest monster had been created from a pincushion and had attacked the Rangers with its pointed swords. It would have been a joke, except the pin swords were extremely sharp and the Rangers’ weapons had been unable to pierce its defences due to its thimble shield.
It had been Kimberly who had found a way around its defences, nailing the monster with arrows, which had allowed the others to move in close and break the thimble shield. After that it had been the now familiar scenario of Zedd growing his monster and the Rangers taking it down with their Megazord. It was almost lazy and easy to assume that Zedd had gone soft… until they remembered that the villain had succeeded the moment that Tommy had been forced to morph and enter the battle.
Then there was the damage that the battles were doing to Tommy himself. Although Zordon and Alpha had tried to keep it to themselves, at Tommy’s request, the constant fluctuations in his Morphin energy was starting to take a physical toll on his body. Rangers were supposed to be either morphed, unmorphed or in standby mode. The brown outs caused by his coin’s damaged connection meant Tommy’s body was sometimes trapped between those states. It was of serious concern for the Rangers and more so for Zordon who had confided to Tommy that even if there were a way to fix his coin, the damage to his health would make it far too dangerous.
In short, the Green Ranger was operating on borrowed time. Zordon and Alpha knew it, the Rangers knew it and of course Tommy understood his next battle could be his last. Most importantly though Lord Zedd was aware of how close to victory he was growing and would likely continue to step up his attacks until he got his way.
Even Bulk and Skull’s antics failed to put a smile on their faces. The two were engaged in some sort of experiment to find the identities of the Power Rangers. Exactly why they wanted to expose the secrets of those that had saved their lives on numerous occasions was unclear, but most days it provided a small distraction.
“Ladies and gentlemen behold,” Bulk proclaimed as he held up a twig. “With these dowsing rods we are going to track down and reveal the secret identities of… the POWER RANGERS!”
There followed a typical Bulk and Skull demonstration of their new equipment during which they were drawn to Ernie’s milkshake machine, the water fountain and Billy. They rapidly dismissed that last one as a false reading, declaring in the process that there was no way a geek like Billy could ever be a Power Ranger. And then they were drawn out of the door and away from the Youth Center on their newest adventure.
“Man, those guys never learn,” Zack smiled. Their antics had helped lighten the mood a little after all.
The others shared a laugh before getting down to business. Even though the fate of the world was in their hands and their friend was losing his powers, some things could not be ignored. Such as their science projects for school the next day.
“I’ve been working on a new fertiliser formulation that can help tomato plants to adapt to harsh soils,” Billy announced. “I thought maybe we could submit it as a group project.”
He didn’t mention that his first attempts had created a super-efficient weed killer that destroyed any plant it happened to touch.
The others nodded and discussed the plan. They would not be working on the formula but providing the scientific testing and documenting the results. It would be mostly a case of transferring Billy’s test plants into individual pots and keeping the control group separate from those treated with his formula.
“Good idea Billy,” Trini praised.
“We should take a look at the seedlings before we head home,” Billy urged. “”We need to have the proposals for the project in tomorrow.”
The others nodded and finished their drinks before leaving.
On the Moon, Lord Zedd alternated between being pleased that his plans were progressing and anger that despite his eventual triumph the Rangers dared to continue as if nothing was wrong. There should have been no escaping the conclusion that their friend Tommy would soon be rendered powerless and their number would be reduced to five. They should have been cowering in the knowledge that once he had finished with the embarrassment that was the Green Ranger, he would turn his attention to each of them in turn, tipping their team apart one Ranger at a time.
And how did they demonstrate this fear and understanding? They went to Billy’s garage and potted a few plants.
“If they are so interested in tomato plants then let’s see how they deal with the more aggressive variety,” he growled.
“Brilliant master,” Goldar cheered in the background.
Zeroing on the science room where Billy had left his plant alongside the remains of those that had died when he had gotten the formula wrong, and the plants that grew there, Zedd unleashed a bolt of magical energy, transforming the plants on the counter top into his newest monster: the Killer Tomato.
“Wow Billy-man, I know you said that formula was strong, but I didn’t expect this,” Zack commented as the Rangers arrived outside of the classroom.
Billy had gained special permission to use the classroom to ready his project. But the thin green roots could be seen extending under the door and up the sides of the walls had not been there when he had visited earlier.
“I don’t understand,” Billy protested. “I haven’t applied the formulation yet.”
“Guys I think we need to be careful,” Trini urged.
“Yeah I don’t like this,” Kimberly added.
Jason cautiously reached for the door handle and after opening it, pulled the door open.
“Look out!” Kimberly warned as the Rangers found themselves under attack from rotten tomatoes.
Then Tommy let out a yell as a vine wrapped itself around his foot and started to drag him into the classroom.
“Tommy!” Kimberly cried as the other Rangers raced to assist their friend, pummelling the vine with anything they could find until it let go.
Suddenly the vines stopped fighting them and retreated into the classroom, along with the other roots that had been growing up the wall.
“I have a bad feeling about this,” Zack commented, sparing a glance to where the previously thrown tomatoes had landed, corroding a hole in the walls.
The others could only nod in agreement as something growled.
“Enough playing games,” Zedd growled. “I created you to destroy those Rangers, not play with them. Now get on with it!”
He unleashed a bolt of energy that teleported his creation away from the school and into the middle of Angel Grove Park.
After checking the coast was clear, the Power Rangers decided to contact Zordon.
“Rangers, Lord Zedd’s monster has reappeared in Angel Grove Park,” Zordon told them after they filled him in on what had transpired.
“We’re on it Zordon,” Jason promised. “We need to be careful guys. I’m sure this thing can do more than just throw rotten fruit.” The others agreed with the need for caution, but it was time for action. “It’s Morphin Time!”
“Ahhh fresh water and plenty of space to grow,” Killer Tomato sighed. “What more could a growing monster need?”
He was about to find out as the Power Rangers arrived in their customary fashion. Fortunately, Lord Zedd had seen fit to send some of his Z-Putties to assist.
“Hey!” Black Ranger shouted when the team arrived, “Does Pumpkin Rapper know that you’re stealing his look?”
Killer Tomato was a humanoid monster with a large tomato for a head that looked as if the fearsome face had been carved into it. It wore a red cape and had vines trailing down the back of its head like dreadlocks.
“Ha ha, very funny,” Killer Tomato shot back. “Let’s see whose laughing after this!”
A large tomato appeared in each hand and he threw them at the Rangers. Instinctively the Rangers dodge, but the tomatoes exploded on the ground, knocking the young heroes off their feet. As they picked themselves up and resumed battling the Z-Putties, Killer Tomato lashed out with his vines, striking at the Rangers and causing their suits to spark.
“Power Axe!” Black Ranger cried before leaping at the monster.
Killer Tomato responded by spraying the incoming Ranger with tomato juice, knocking the Black Ranger away and leaving him smoking on the ground.
“Zack!” Green Ranger cried as he disposed of a Z-putty and hurried to his friend’s side. “You okay buddy?”
“That stuff is nasty,” Zack replied, looking down at the still smoking area where the juice had connected.
Red Ranger and Yellow Ranger had teamed together to fight the monster, their Power Weapons cutting through its vines. Blue and Pink Rangers had finished off the Z-Putties and were hurrying over to help. But if anything, the monster appeared to be growing stronger.
“Hey, what’s that?” Green Ranger asked, spotting a bottle on the ground. He recognised Billy’s handwriting on the label and realised this was the formula his friend had been working on. “Aw man!”
Killer Tomato threw more of his tomato bombs, knocking the Rangers down and prepared to dose them all with his corrosive tomato juice. Before he could do so, the Rangers were teleported away.
“Thanks, Zordon,” Jason gasped as the Rangers started to recover. “That monster is stronger than I thought.”
“Guys, I found this in the park,” Tommy stated, showing them the empty bottle of growth formula.
“That would explain it,” Zack commented.
“Affirmative,” Billy added.
“So, what do we do now?” Kimberly asked.
On the Viewing Globe they could see Killer Tomato walking through the park, using his powers to trap innocent civilians inside giant tomatoes.
“Alpha and I have scanned those tomatoes and have found they are similar to the bombs he used against you,” Zordon warned.
“He’s going to blow them up,” Trini realised.
While the others were watching the events unfolding, Billy was thinking of what to do. He almost wished his formula had been a failure…
“Guys, I have an idea, but I need to go back to the classroom to get something,” he told them.
“We’ll hold him off for you,” Jason promised. “Back to Action!”
Angel Grove High
“Let’s see it should be in here somewhere,” Blue Ranger remarked as he made his way into the science room and over to the remains of the desk where his tomato experiment had been. After searching through some of the various concoctions, he located the one he wanted. “This should do it.”
“I’ll be taking that Blue Ranger.” Billy looked up and groaned when he saw Goldar blocking the entrance, flanked by several Z-Putties.
In desperation Blue Ranger licked the switch on the rooms lighting rid, blinding the villains with the sudden glare. It wasn’t much but proved enough for Blue Ranger to escape.
Angel Grove Park
The battle was on once more as the five Rangers engaged with Zedd’s monster. Green and Black Ranger held him, allowing Yellow and Red Rangers to attack with their weapons before jumping clear to give Pink Ranger a shot with her Power Bow. Working together they managed to keep the monster distracted although it was too powerful to be held down and soon sent Green Ranger tumbling away.
Blue Ranger appeared in a column of light, avoiding an incoming vine as he did so.
“Guys, I’ve got it!” he proclaimed.
“All right Billy!” Red Ranger cheered, landing a boot in the monster’s midsection.
“Oh, I’m soooo scared,” Killer Tomato mocked.
“You’d better be,” Blue Ranger responded before jumping to attack, only to find himself tangled in one of Killer Tomato’s vines. “Hey, no fair!”
The other Rangers quickly found themselves in similar predicaments as Killer Tomato ensnared them with his excessive foliage.
“Oh no!” Blue Ranger called as the container he had been holding slipped from his grasp. “Guys, we need to destroy that bottle.”
“Trini!” Red Ranger cried, drawing his side arm.
Yellow Ranger looked up, realised what he had in mind and nodded her agreement. Red Ranger fired, breaking the vine that had been holding his team-mate in place. Yellow Ranger flipped free, firing her own weapon, but missing the container. Before she could try again, she was recaptured by Killer Tomato’s vines.
“Well that was a waste,” the monster remarked.
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Pink Ranger commented from where she had landed after Yellow Ranger’s shots had freed her. She held the container in her hand and as the monster moved to stop her, she held it up. “Zack!”
Black Ranger did not miss. The shot from his Blade Blaster shattered the container right as Killer Tomato moved in front of it. The result was the monster took as full face of Billy’s earlier attempt at growth formula, which had turned out to be an overly effective weed killer.
“Noooo I’m melting, I’m melting!” Killer Tomato wailed as the weed killer destroyed his super powered body.
“Okay guys, let’s finish this with the Power Blaster!” Red Ranger called.
“Power Axe!” Black Ranger called, shifting the end of the weapon into position.
“Power Bow!” Pink Ranger added as she laid her bow across the end of the Power Axe.
“Power Daggers!” Yellow Ranger cried, retracting the blades and throwing the weapons so they attached to the underside of the bow.
“Power Lance!” Blue Ranger called as he split his weapon in half and then threw both halved into position next to the daggers.
“Power Sword!” Red Ranger cried as he slipped the sword on top of the Power Axe, forming the familiar giant crossbow that was the Power Blaster.
“Dragon Dagger!” Green Ranger called, adding his own weapon to the mix as the Rangers formed the lesser used variant of the weapon. The Dragon Dagger attached below the barrel formed by the end of the Power Axe, giving the weapon a bayonet.
“Fire!” the six Rangers cried in unison, unleashing their power at the monster who exploded.
“Damn those Rangers,” Zedd fumed.
“I am sorry for your failure, my Emperor,” Goldar grovelled.
“It was not my failure you imbecile!” Zedd bellowed, causing Goldar to cower in fear. “Although my monster has been destroyed, the Green Ranger was forced into battle once more, weakening his powers. Soon his luck will run out and the embarrassment of Rita’s mistake will be erased.”
“Yes, my Emperor!” Goldar cheered.
With Killer Tomato destroyed, everything was restored to how it had been before the incident. Those trapped inside the giant tomato prisons were released unharmed and the school science room was repaired. The Rangers had managed to visit long enough to divide the plants into their test groups, although it had taken some work to come up with a replacement for Billy’s growth formula.
There was no doubt that they had gotten lucky again. Tommy’s powers had held steady during the battle and the modified Power Blaster had prevented the need for a Zord battle. But there was no doubt the Lord Zedd’s monster were growing in power and that the Rangers were finding it increasingly difficult to destroy them.
Sooner or later something would have to give. They just hoped that when it did, they would be up to the challenge.
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