Disclaimer:The Power Rangers are the property of Saban Brands. Battlestar Galactica is property of Universal Studios and created by Glen A. Larson. Cassidy Bridges is the property of Carlton Cuse Productions. Daleks are the creation of Terry Nation
By The Q Team
By The Q Team
Not far from the orbit of Aquitar sat the Battlestar Pegasus. Battlewagon of the IGPF and temporary base of the Power Rangers as they sought to liberate the captive planet that helped them in the past. A liberation that those on board would soon find had…met with difficulty.
On the Pegasus bridge Commander Kinwon sat in his seat looking out at the world of Aquitar as it sat amidst the stars. Entering the bridge came the Astro Rangers’ mentor Dimetria of Inquirus and Aisha the Carrier Ranger. They had grown tired of sitting in the Officer’s Club of the ship and came up hoping for a signal indicating that the Rangers were all right. That there was some sign.
“Anything?” Aisha asked. She was feeling agitated about being left behind, but Jason insisted that she did so. He had a bad feeling something bad was about to happen, and the silence was making Aisha wonder if Jason was not right in his guess. Kinwon shook his head no. “I’m afraid not Carrier Ranger.” Kinwon had said as he looked up. “We have received nothing but telemetry from the Sky Megazord. Telemetry that still seems to be transmitting, if that’s any comfort.”
“I fear it doesn’t Commander.” Dimetria said. “All it indicates is that the Sky Megazord is still functioning. It does not indicate the status of the Rangers themselves.” Kinwon nodded agreeing with Dimetria. “I know Dimetria. Tykwa wanted to fit them with transponders but the Red Rangers refused. They did not want any trackers used against them if something went wrong.”
“Any luck tracking that Gamma signal?” Aisha asked. Kinwon shook his head again. “No. Decoding is also taking time. But we are still working on it. We should have answers soon.”
“Hopefully the answers will not come too late for the others.” Aisha said just as a Comm tech spoke from the communications bunker. “Sir! All telemetry from the Ranger teams has ceased. I’m getting no signals from them.”
“WHAT?!” Kinwon asked as he went to the tech’s console. Dimetria and Aisha quickly followed. Their concern for the Rangers evident. “Are you sure there are no signals?” the Inquiran asked.
“Positive.” The tech answered. “All signals have gone off the grid.”
“What about the hubs?” Kinwon asked. “Have they been taken out?” The tech checked out some readings and found the hubs still giving off their signals. “Negative commander. Targets remain.”
Kinwon, Aisha and Dimetria looked at one another with fear. Something had gone horribly wrong. A fear that only escalated when a call on the ship wide comm had reached the bridge.
A bay tech had indicated that Nathan Oliver had appeared on the floor of the landing bay. Unconscious, and hurt.
Sky Megazord crash site.
After leaving a trail five miles long the Sky Megazord sat. She was badly damaged, but the ship seemed to hold together well enough.
Inside the ship wreckage seemed to be everywhere, but the computer seemed to be working to patch up the ship as best it could. As Red Morphin threw off bits of the ship that were scattered he mentally thanked Billy for devising the self-repair program for the Sky Megazord. But for the moment Red Morphin’s concern was for his team.
“Guys? You okay?” Red Morphin called out.
“A little worse for wear, but I’m standing.” Pink Morphin said standing up. Yellow and Purple Morphin also stood. Black, Green and White Morphin were fine as well. “Looks like the Ranger healing protected us from the worst of it.” Green Morphin said.
“Affirmative.” Blue Morphin said from his science/engineering station. “We seemed to have held up better than the Sky Megazord though, but she’ll pull through.”
“But how did they know we were coming?” Black Morphin asked. “I mean we were cloaked. We should have been invisible.”
“Could there haven a fault in the cloaking field?” White Morphin asked. Yellow Morphin shook her head at the recommendation. “Billy and I checked it. It was functioning at one hundred percent.”
“Could it have been sabotaged?” Purple Morphin asked. Blue answered with “I won’t know until the self-repair program is finished with its work.”
“Billy how long will that take?” Red Morphin asked. Blue Morphin took a bird’s eye view of the damage and saw the work the self-repair program was doing. The work was slow, and the Sky Megazord didn’t look like it would be ready anytime soon. But the repair program was doing its job.
“Self repair is running. But it will take a while.” Blue Morphin explained. Purple however had other thoughts as she looked at the target screen. “We may not have a while.”
Red looked at the screen and found several individual targets coming their way. These attackers looked like Aquatians, but with cybernetic implants attached to them. When sensor contact was made they seemed to be giving off minimal life signs. As if they were almost dead.
The sight of these Aquatians chilled the Rangers as they wondered what force could create such a monster out of a person. “What are those?” Purple Morphin asked not sure if she liked what she saw.
“They look like a cross between Aquatians and Frankenstein.” Pink Morphin answered showing an amount of fear in her voice she never allowed herself to show. Blue however heard Pink’s answer and said “Kim that may be what they are.”
As if on cue the Robo Aquatians fired on the ruins of the Sky Megazord, causing more damage than the ship could sustain. The Morphin Rangers took cover by the Sky Megazord as it took the brunt of the attacking army’s punishment.
“We’re going to get pulverized if we stay here.” Pink Morphin said. Red didn’t disagree as the attack wasn’t helping self-repair any. “We have to draw them away from the ship so the computer can continue repairs.”
“Where?” Black Morphin asked. “It looks like they are coming all around us.”
“Well, if they are all around us.” Green Morphin said. “It won’t matter which direction we go in, because we will meet some resistance. So I say we just pick a direction and go.”
“Agreed.” Red Morphin said as he saw which direction had the least resistance. “Looks like if we head towards the south we can find a spot to regroup and figure out what to do next. “Ready Rangers?”
“Ready!” all the Rangers said as they made ready to jump out the hatch ready to fight. They had faith in Red Morphin. He wouldn’t let them down.
“Ready. AYAHHHHH!!!” Red Morphin led the charge as the Morphin Rangers leapt out of the crashed Sky Megazord ready to face their undead attackers.
Inside the Capital hub the ruling body watched as not only the Morphin Rangers sought to fight back, but the other Rangers as well. Squatt changed the image to show Zeo Team I was already on the job fighting against the Robo Aquatians that sought to capture them. Another change in the image showed Zeo Team II doing the same.
Some smiled at the battle Zeo Team II was facing as they couldn’t wait to unveil their little surprise on that team. It would be ‘different’ than what the other Rangers were facing, but it would still make an impact to that team. _After all, they could not have the Robo Aquatians everywhere._ was the logic they had in mind.
In the meantime they watched as the other Ranger teams fought. Changing the viewing image the ruling body looked in on the Outsiders fighting as they seemed to make use of special abilities in their powers. A Head Ram, a Phoenix Blast, Psi ability, so many different powers seemed to be in with the Outsiders, as well as the Astro Rangers.
As the body changed the viewer to see the Astros they saw that Green and Pink Astro had some special powers of their own added to their Ranger powers. Abilities they hoped to diagnose and use for their own gains. And the Gold Astro, Squatt and Baboo remembered her. They hoped to have words with the woman named ‘Sabrina’.
And they hoped to have those words soon.
“Are your forces ready?” Baboo asked the Black Dalek. “WE ARE PREPARED!!” it answered in a mechanical voice.
“Good.” Squatt said. “Let the Rangers continue to fight. When they are totally tired, that’s when we’ll move.” Everyone smiled as they hoped the Rangers won, then they could take their victory away. Mature and Vice however would attack first with their forces.
The Morphins seemed to be holding their own against the Robo-Aquatians. However they did find the Robos chilling. Moreso than the Putties or Tengas they fought in the past. This was largely due to the realization that the opponents they faced were once living beings. Now they seemed like they were undead automatons. The realization left the Morphins disturbed as they wondered what mind could have devised a plan to use half dead people as controlled soldiers.
“This is so gross.” Pink Morphin said fighting off two ambushing Robos.
“Gross doesn’t begin to cover it Kim.” Yellow Morphin said. “This is ghoulish.”
“Man, what could take people and make them like this?” Black Morphin asked. Blue had his thoughts, but dismissed the possibility. He heard of only one species that used this technique, and he believed they couldn’t be here. “Can’t be them.” He said under his breath.
“Can’t be who?” Yellow Morphin asked. Blue didn’t answer the question as Red spoke up. “Guys. I’m not getting any brain activity. The machines on them are keeping them moving.”
“So they’re dead?” Green Morphin asked shocked that something so horrific would be used. “They just haven’t dropped yet?”
“Not all of them man.” Red Morphin called out as an idea came to mind. “We need to get some distance.” He looked up at the mountain and had an idea.
“POWER CANNON!!” came the command. The giant cannon then appeared before the Rangers as Pink Morphin asked “What are we doing Jase?”
“We’re going to send them scattering.” Red said. “Let an avalanche divide them so we can get clear.” Soon the Power Cannon appeared before the Morphins, and they all dropped their charges in.
The Robo Aquatians started to advance towards the Rangers. Aiming at the mountain face directly behind the attacking forces the Morphin Rangers then fired at the top destroying the top of the mountain and sending walls and mounds of debris falling towards the Robo Aquatians. As the falling rocks approached the Robos scattered trying to evade being buried by the falling rubble.
“All right guys, let’s get out of here.” Red Morphin ordered. The other Morphin Rangers agreed with Red Morphin’s order as they made tracks. They had a bigger battle to fight.
But they started to doubt if they could win the battle. And if the ruling body was capable of something as ghoulish as the Robo Aquatians what other surprises did they have in store?
Inside the central chamber the ruling council heard the news. The ambushes had gone as planned. The forces would soon move in to capture all the Ranger teams as soon as the signal was given.
“When they are all subjugated bring them here.” The ruler had stated. The Guard Commanders all nodded until they turned back to the screen the next few seconds. Baboo, not wanting to sound weak, asked “What has happened now?” While Aquitar had a ruling council, Squatt and Baboo were supposed to be the rulers. The people and their enemies had to be allowed to see that. They couldn’t have others believe there were others sharing the power of Aquitar. Not even their shadowy partner who sat on her own throne.
The Guard Commanders all reported as soon as Baboo asked his question. “The Zeo Rangers teleported away. They are not here.”
“WHAT HAS HAPPENED?!” The Black Dalek asked outraged. “EXPLAIN!! EXPLAIN!!”
“Interesting.” The shadowy figure said as if amused. “They must have suspected an information leak on board ship so they equipped the Rangers with an emergency failsafe to prevent capture. Some kind of short range teleport.”
“Short range?” Squatt asked. “How far?”
“Probably not far.” The figure said. Mature then spoke saying “My lord. There were rumors of the council developing escape teleportation as a means to avoid capture by UAE forces.”
“Yes.” Lord Malice said remembering the news he had heard from contacts in the council. “A teleport system designed to locate the nearest safe location in the event of overwhelming attack. It was based on the Hostile Action Displacement System prototypes used for council cruisers before the project was discontinued.”
“But has been repurposed for Rangers apparently.” The shadowy figure had said. “The Morphin Rangers seemed to not have one installed in their ship apparently, or it is malfunctioning in some way. Fortunately we still have means to track them.” Immediately the sensor net activated and located the whereabouts of the Zeo and Astro teams. “And our spy has not been discovered yet.”
“So this means?…” Baboo asked. The Shadowy Figure smiled as she said “Capture of the Rangers. Take 2.” Immediately afterwards the Robo Aquatians were deployed to the locations of where the Rangers had been teleported to.
“I can also debut my next surprise.” Lord Malice said as he planned to make his presence known in the subjugation of the Power Rangers.
“I guess the Emergency Failsafes kicked in.” Red Zeo said as everyone got to their feet. Green Zeo then asked “Emergency failsafes?”
“Something I asked Billy to install in our suits in case something went wrong.” Red Zeo said. “If there was a case where any team was in the position of being captured or overpowered then we would be teleported out to a nearby safe point where we could reorganize and attack again.”
“When were you going to tell us about this?” Pink Zeo asked feeling a touch of betrayal that Red Zeo had not told them of the special escape feature. “We weren’t sure we needed them, and Kinwon figured the less who knew the better.” Red Zeo then said of the coded transmission that was sent from the ship, and Kinwon’s suspicion that there was a spy on board.
“Who?” Blue Zeo asked. Red shook his head. “We don’t know. But it was agreed the escape plan would only be known to those who really needed it, and would only activate in the event of overpowering and capture. “Sadly it also leaves us with no battle plan to follow.”
“But the objective is still the same. Free this planet.” Yellow Zeo then said. Red nodded and looked to his team. “And let’s get back to that.”
“And it looks like we’re getting back to that now.” Pink Zeo then said as a new wave of Robo Aquatians came their way ready to fight. “How’d they find us so fast?”
“No time to wonder.” Red Zeo answered. “We’re just going to have to fight our way through.” Immediately Zeo Team I found themselves in battle with the sentries of Aquitar again. Sentries that were a mix of flesh and metal trapped between life and death.
The sentries looked as if they were walking dead with mechanical implants. Their eyes vacant as if indicating no life inside. No thought. No feeling. Their flesh looked as if it had been decaying but continued to move due to the bionic implants. They reminded the Rangers of the Frankenstein monster from the old horror movie marathons they watched with Rocky. The Rangers were horrified by what they saw.
“What are these?” Pink Zeo asked as she fought the half cyborg soldiers.
“I’m not sure.” Yellow Zeo added. “But I could have sworn I saw, or heard of, something like this before.”
“Was it with the Doctor?” Red Zeo asked.
“Definitely.” Yellow Zeo answered. In the back of her mind she tried to exactly place where she saw, or heard of, these undead cybernetic creatures. Her mind turned to an adventure the Doctor and her had on Skaro, and as soon as she had thought of it she suspected the truth as to who was behind the sentries.
Yellow Zeo however couldn’t believe it. _They couldn’t be involved. Could they?_ In the meantime Zeo Team I fought on.
“This is sick!” Green Zeo said “Who would allow this?”
“I don’t know man.” Blue Zeo added. “I mean I’ve seen zombie movies before, but this…” Blue Morphin couldn’t find words to describe the reality he was facing now. He definitely knew ‘cool’ was not a word he’d use. Pink Zeo stood back to back with Yellow and asked “Samantha you all right? You seem distracted.”
“I am.” Yellow Zeo said feeling like she had seen something familiar, or heard something familiar with her travels with the Doctor. There was no way THEY could be there. “I think I know who’s responsible for making the Aquatians like this.”
“Really? Who?” Red Zeo asked. Yellow just said “I’ll explain later. But right now I think we need to end this before I can give any answers.” Zeo Team I agreed and Red knew how to do it. “DEFENDER WHEEL!” he called out. On command the Defender Wheel soon appeared and Red Zeo boarded it.
“Defender Wheel activate!” Red Zeo said as activated the charge. He let the power build as the computer locked onto the Robo Aquatians. When the Defender Wheel had enough power Red Zeo made ready to launch.
“Defender Wheel, FIRE!!” Red Zeo ordered as the Defender Wheel launched from its birth and shot towards the Robo Aquatian platoon with Red Zeo escaping at the last minute. The energy was directed towards the undead cyborgs with explosive results as they exploded in a ball of flame. A moment of silence then fell among Zeo Team I. “What did we just do?” Green Zeo asked.
“I don’t know man.” Red Zeo answered, which were strange words to come out of the mouth of a Ranger leader. Usually a Ranger leader had to know what to say and do to inspire confidence among those under his command. Plus, it was easier if it was a monster that was destroyed. They knew how to deal with destroying monsters. People who were once alive and made into robots, that was another story no one had the answer to, except Yellow Zeo who said a small prayer that the Robos had found peace at last.
Following Yellow Zeo’s lead the others of Zeo Team I said a similar prayer. Then they resumed their mission.
Zeo Team II also survived their own sneak attack with the help of the teleport failsafes and found themselves in a safe spot. “What just happened?” Silver Zeo asked.
“Murphy’s Law.” Black Zeo said as he looked around and saw the Robo Aquatians surrounding Zeo Team II. “And it’s not done with us yet.”
“Great, that means more things can go wrong.” Gold Zeo then said as he saw the number of troops surrounding them. No one had time to wonder how the last battle overturned against them as they quickly found themselves in another, only more intense.
“Any ideas fearless leader?” Purple Zeo asked in a slightly mocking tone.
“Yeah, fight like you got no brain.” White Zeo answered. As if on instinct Zeo Team II quickly followed White Zeo’s order and fought back, yet they were on the defensive more so than not trying to gain an upper hand. “Man I wish I had the Defender Wheel right now.” White Zeo said as he used his Zeo Foil against a Robo Aquatian.
“Hold on Skull, I’ve got a few tricks left.” Gold Zeo said backing his friend to the hilt as an idea came to mind. While he didn’t have the Golden Power Staff he did have a sword to channel his Zeo Energy. Energy that could be used for the Gold Rush. “Everyone get ready. Cassidy, I’ll need you ready for the follow-up.” Silver Zeo nodded saying “I’ll be ready.”
“All right! It’s time for a Gold Rush!” Gold Zeo said as bolts of energy shot out of his blade and hit the Robo Aquatians in front of him. For every bolt of energy, a Robo Aquatian fell.
“Great job Bulkie. Cassidy can you even the odds a bit?” White asked. Silver Zeo nodded as she unhooked her Zeo Power chain and hooked it onto her nightstick. She then spun the chain around as projectile beams seemed to shoot out of the spinning chain causing Robo Aquatians to fall.
Purple and Black were paired up as Purple used her Zeo daggars and Black used his Zeo Lariat to fend off their own opponents. The lariat knocked down several, but one was coming from behind. Purple took the incoming Robo Aquatian down with a blaster shot.
“Great job Em.” Black Zeo said as they stood over the bodies of the Robo Aquatians, relieved that they were defeated, yet sad and horrified as to what mind could put innocent people in a horrific undead state.
“Thanks.” Purple said looking forward to what would happen next. Moreso than the rest of her teammates. The fail safe teleport might have prevented the first capture, but she knew the inevitable would only be delayed.
“Let’s get going.” White Zeo said. “We’ve been reduced to doing things the hard way, but then when haven’t we had to do things the hard way?”
“You kidding?” Gold Zeo asked. “We’ve ALWAYS had to do things the hard way, no matter how easy we wanted it.” Everyone else laughed at Gold Zeo’s remark and the truth it held. “He’s right.” Black Zeo said. “You two have always learned things the hard way.”
“And the rest of us haven’t?” Silver Zeo asked thinking of her own life as a cop’s daughter. The long nights her father was gone. The attacks by criminals that used her to get back at her father, or threatened the security of their home when they were together. Of course there was her parents’ divorce, and becoming Silver Zeo. She had her share of challenges as well. Everyone on Zeo Team II had. Purple Zeo had come from a gang, but straightened herself out. Black Zeo also came from a rough neighborhood and sought to better himself with Martial Arts and being a Power Ranger.
“Point taken Cassidy.” Black Zeo had said. “We’ve never had it easy.”
“So let’s give it to them hard.” Silver Zeo said as they resumed their march to the hub looking to take it out.
The Astros also escape teleported out after their attack had failed. “That went well.” Blue Astro said.
“What just happened?” Black Astro asked. “Everything seemed to be going good. Then we’re attacked.”
“Newsflash Carlos, we still are.” Green Astro said as Robo Aquatians came in on the attack. Red and Gold Astro took point and Red ordered “Stay close to each other. Watch each other’s backs.”
“And above all relax!” Gold Astro said as everyone looked at her funny. “We’re about to fight hand to hand and you tell us to relax?” White Astro asked.
“Doesn’t do good to fight tense.” Gold answered as the Robo Aquatians moved in on the attack.
Quickly the Astro Rangers fought against their foes as best they could. While most fought hand to hand or used Astro Blasters Green and Pink Astro used their ki abilities linked into their Ranger powers. “CRACK SHOT!!” Green shouted as her glowing foot sent three Robo Aquatians over a cliff like a right cross punch across the jaw.
Pink Astro called forth her Kusanagi flame attacks which sent many Robo Aquatians burning. Red Astro saw the hole the two girls had made through the surrounding attackers and ordered the Rangers to fight their way through. As they made their way through the ranks a Robo had targeted Yellow Astro ready to take the kill shot.
“CRACK SHOT!!” Green Astro shouted as she delivered a powerful kick that caused the Robo’s gun to explode in his face. Yellow saw what her sister did and thanked her sister.
“Thanks for the save sis.” Yellow Astro shouted to Green as a Robo Aquatian was looking to attack from behind was taken down by Green’s Crack Shot. Red Astro was glad for the power boost the girls had, but they knew they needed more to work with. “Guys, it’s time to call forth our big weapons.” Red Astro shouted.
“Guns, Andros. The term is ‘big guns’.” Blue Astro shouted. “But you’re right. Let’s bring them together.”
“Spiral Saber!” Red Astro said taking the lead.
“Quadro Blaster!” Black Astro shouted with Blue, Yellow and Pink taking his side.
“Golden Rapier!” Gold Astro said calling forth her own personal weapon. A rifle with a sword tied to the tip.
“Silver Samurizer!” Silver shouted bringing forth his own bladed gun weapon.
“White Astro Cannon!” White Astro said calling up his weapon. Green stood by White’s side adding her own power to the weapon. A third slot was next to White Astro, but since there was no Purple Astro at the time the spot remained empty. “We’ve got to get a Purple Ranger to balance the load on this.” Green Astro said.
“We’ll get one. Eventually.” White Astro said wishing there was a Purple Astro as White had to hold most of the weight. Regardless the Astro Rangers were ready to fire as they would ever be.
“All right guys. Lock on and FIRE!!” Red Astro shouted as the Robo Aquatians advanced towards them Bursts of rainbow colored energy shot forward knocking back the undead machines. As the beams struck the Zombified servitors were sent flying for miles. Peace had been found for the animated servitors as their bodies were met with the oblivion their spirits had gone to. Some Robo Aquatians still stood, but others were left staggering. “Alison, do you mind finishing up?” Red Astro asked.
“No problem Andros.” Green Astro said as she leapt up into the air to deal with the grunt troops that still stood. As she came down for a drop kick her feet glowed green radiating her own inner power.
To say that heads flew was an understatement as Green Astro seemed to decapitate several Robo Aquatians. But since the Robos were little more than walking corpses under computer control Green Astro felt better.
Soon none of the Robos stood. Only Green Astro stood victorious over the Astro Rangers’ fallen foes. Yellow Astro saw what her sister did and said “You really have to teach me that.”
“It’s something you have to work towards.” Green Astro said as the Astro Rangers stood victorious. But there were other victories to win as well. With that the Astros marched on to the capital where they hoped to end the battle before it escalated further.
The Outsiders only fought the Robos after their failed ambush. Quickly, the Renegade Ranger team regrouped and fought against the zombified troopers below. But they were hard to knock down. As soon as the Robos were struck with a move or blast they seemed to keep coming. Not stopping for anything. Never tiring.
“We need a way to bring these things down.” Zeo Shadow said after she delivered a wheel kick to several Robos surrounding her. The kick staggered the Robos, but hurt her foot more. Chelsea brought her light sword against a Robo and impaled it in the shoulder. It still didn’t fall. “Well they don’t feel pain. They haven’t yelled in agony over anything.”
“While we are hurting like crazy.” Zeo Punk added. Zeo Blade delivered a slash with her sword down a Robos chest. It still didn’t fall. “These things can be hurt right?”
“This would be a lot easier with Nathan around.” Zeo Knight had said. Zeo Ranger however explained. “As I explained the Hostile Action Displacement Spell on him had activated upon time of crash sending him back to the last safe location.”
“Which would be the Pegasus.” Zeo Phoenix said finishing Zeo Rangers’ words. “Too bad we don’t have a spell like that. Sure we had emergency teleport, but a H.A.D.S.?”
“H.A.D.S.?” Zeo Blade asked. Zeo Phoenix explained. “Hostile Action Displacement System. Samantha said it was a T.A.R.D.I.S. function to where if it was under attack it could relocate to a safe distance.”
“Wish we could do that.” Chelsea added as she delivered her own sword strike to a Robo. “But we can’t. So any ideas on how we get out of this?”
Zeo Psi then had an idea. “Let me try something. Cover me.” The Outsiders had no time to ask what their teammate had in mind as they quickly surrounded their teammate. “You know what you’re doing?” Chelsea asked.
“Yeah, I think.” Zeo Psi answered. She didn’t have time to see Chelsea’s double take as Zeo Psi opened her mind to touch those of their opponents. What she found she could not believe.
For what she found also horrified her. For what she found inside their minds…was nothing. Nothing at all.
All Zeo Psi saw inside the minds of the Robos was darkness, fog, and an obedience. An obedience to shadowy figures. Shadowy figures the Robos saw as ‘masters’.
Zeo Psi tried to make out some of the figures. Some looked like pepper pots in darkness, while others looked like monsters…except one who sat on a throne in darkness.
But, other than what Zeo Psi saw, there was no will of the Robo Aquatians. All free will had been killed leaving only the bodies behind. “Guys!” Zeo Psi shouted. “There is no brain wave activity. They are totally mindless.”
“What?” Zeo Phoenix shouted. “They’re…zombies?” Her mind tried to find the best word to describe them. Zeo Psi said “Pretty much. If zombie means can’t think for one’s self instead of ‘I want to eat your brain.'”
“That makes taking them down easier to do.” Zeo Knight said as he drew his Zeo Blade and went into a full attack. “SICK YAH!!” he shouted as he drew his blade against several of the Robos before him, cutting them down to even the odds.
Zeo Shadow had the same idea and made ready to bring her power to bear. “SHADOW RIBBONS STRIKE!!” she said as strands of dark energy protruded from her enveloping other Robos in her dark force as it encased them. Turning to Zeo Phoenix Zeo Shadow said “Your turn Katarina.”
Zeo Phoenix nodded as she called upon her own light force and directed it to the enveloped Robo Aquatians. When her power was built up well enough she then directed it towards the enveloped setting them ablaze with her power. The light force consumed the zombified warriors ensuring nothing remained of them. Still Zeo Phoenix shed a tear for what the warriors once were. Alive, with hopes and dreams that were taken away by Aquitar’s new conquerors.
The other Outsiders were not slouches either. Zeo Punk stuck to basics as she resorted to clotheslines instead of her usual head ram, wanting to save that for later. She also got in some body shots knocking them back. Zeo Blade shot out her Zeo Energy through her sword frying a lot of Robo Aquatian circuitry. Zeo Ranger and Chelsea stood back to back as they fought off their adversaries. Swords drawn driving the Robos back, as well as decapitating a few only for the bodies to continue pressing their attack.
“There’s got to be an easier way to do this.” Chelsea said feeling tired. Zeo Ranger nodded saying “This battle is becoming quickly tedious.”
“Nice thoughts guys. Any idea how we can do that?” Zeo Knight asked. Zeo Psi then said “I’ve got an idea. Give me a second.” Closing her eyes she went into the vacant minds of the Robo Aquatians. Passing through the dead thoughts and representations on machinery that were what kept the bodies going and obedient. Never questioning. Never living…ever again.
As Zeo Psi pushed forward into the minds she found what she was looking for. She reached into the area she sought, and soon all the Robo Aquatians had a simultaneous seizure before crashing down to the ground. Unmoving. “Christina.” Zeo Shadow asked. “What did you do?”
“I reached into the remains of the minds of the Robos and turned their brains ‘off’.” Zeo Psi said. “Not that there was much left, but they were joined by a hive mind, at least our group was. The rulers probably have detected the signal and cut off the others.” Zeo Knight then said “Still our threats are dealt with.”
“These at least.” Zeo Punk said. “Who knows what else there is?” Zeo Knight nodded and said “Whatever else is to come, I know it will be soon. And we don’t need mental powers to know that.”
“Agreed.” Zeo Blade said. Chelsea then said “Let’s get going then. I think Christina’s trick won’t last forever, and I’d like to be out of here fast.” Everyone agreed with Chelsea’s view and left the battlescene. Only to go into plenty others yet to come.
In the central chamber Squatt and Baboo turned to their machine ally and mocked it. “Looks like your mechanical zombies aren’t as fearsome as you thought.” Squatt sneered.
“SILENCE!” the Black Dalek said. “THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY FORCE AT OUR COMMAND!”
“True.” Lord Mature said. “Now it is our turn.” Vice then signaled for his forces to make their move. “Let’s see if their killer instincts are sharper against living adversaries.”
After fighting through several more resistance pockets that appeared through the corridors Zeo Team I made it into their central destination. A computer hub that controlled some of the security defenses. “Adam?” Red Zeo asked. “Think you can crack it?”
“I’m no Billy, but I’ll see what I can do.” Green Zeo said as he started looking the equipment over. He asked Yellow Zeo to assist and she then added her knowledge to the effort. Red Zeo then brought forth his own communicator in order to break radio silence and see how their status was. “Guys. This is Tommy. Anyone out there?”
Silence was heard on the other end of the line. Again Red Zeo tried. “Guys, are you out there? We had a surprise attack. Are you guys all right?”
After a few more minutes Red Morphin’s voice spoke on the other end. “We’re a little bruised, but standing.” Red Morphin said in his intercom. Zeo Knight, White Zeo and Red Astro gave similar reports. “We got to the hub sections. Billy’s working on shutting the computer down.” Red Morphin said.
“I’m working on my end.” Red Astro said. White Zeo said “Emily seems to be holding her own.” as Zeo Knight said “Christina’s working on her end. Sooner we can shut down the defenses we might be able to end this peacefully.”
“And be back home in time for supper.” Blue Zeo commented. Everyone chuckled as Purple Morphin said “Great Rocky, always thinking with your stomach.”
“Hey an army marches on its stomach.” Blue Zeo said as if in defense of his words…and his appetite. Next second an alert klaxon was sounding. “Rangers detected. Code 1 alert. Rangers detected. Code 1 alert. All security forces. Full sweep. Shoot to capture.”
“They must have found the guards we ran into.” Yellow Morphin said. Blue however was skeptical as he said “It would still take them time to find us…” Next second blaster fire was heard and the communications was thrown off leaving only static on the Morphin’s end.
“Jase?” Red Zeo called. “JASON?!”
“Something happened.” Red Astro shouted. “An amb-…” Soon the Astro’s comm was cut off leaving only the Outsiders and Zeo Team II on the line. “They’re picking us off. One by one.”
“We’d better find some cover before these guys throw something else at us.” White Zeo said over the comm before his line was cut as well. “Skull? Tyler?” Red Zeo called out only receiving static. Pink Zeo then asked “What happened?” as everyone in Zeo Team I turned to look at their leader.
“I have a few guesses, and I don’t like any of them.” Red Zeo said. Turning to his team he then said “Be on your guard guys. They may have a new way of tracking us.”. The next moment a voice from behind said “That is true Ranger.” Everyone turned to see a Guard Commander and a battalion of new troopers no one recognized standing behind them. For a moment Zeo Team I thought they saw the Guard Commander hesitate with his weapon but he resumed speaking ‘That knowledge however comes too late for you Rangers.”
The next thing Zeo Team I knew was the sensation of getting cut down by…nothing. When the Zeo Rangers fell they force demorphed and started to fall into unconsciousness as the guard commander stood above them. His squad of guards standing behind like a group of Stormtroopers from Star Wars. But for a moment they thought they disappeared…at least for a second.
“Too late for you. Too late for all of us.” Pink Zeo looked up at the guard commander briefly and felt she could hear something in the Guard Commander’s voice. Regret…and familiarity.
“I know you.” she whispered before unconsciousness overtook her.
From the main chamber the ruling party watched as the Rangers were attacked by what was the second wave of attack forces at their disposal. And so far they were impressed by what they had seen.
Zeo Team I had fallen. Zeo Team II was now under attack as were the other teams. The Morphin Rangers and the Astro team found themselves to be on the defensive by what seemed to be invisible assailants. Even the Outsiders were hit hard despite the warning Zeo Psi had given. While she sensed the presence of the Shadow Warriors they seemed to come from everywhere at once. The teams found themselves on the defensive with comm lines down, and each team member taking in more punishment than was being dished out.
On the monitors the ruling council saw all that was happening with each Ranger team. Each one huddled into a certain circle by shimmering figures. Mature then activated a signal ordering those shimmers to reveal. Soon the Rangers found themselves surrounded by figures in Black armor with weapons at their side. They also had two blades on their back as well as daggers on their legs. Each team knew these were no ordinary foot soldiers.
These foot soldiers carried themselves like trained mercenaries. Mercenaries equipped with personalized cloaking devices.
“My friends, may I introduce you to our Shadow Troopers.” Mature said showing off the armored mercenaries. “Soldiers that operate in cloaks of invisibility.”
Inside the main chamber the ruling council seemed impressed by what they saw, “INTERESTING!” the Black Dalek had said. “WE HAD TRIED SOMETHING SIMILAR WHEN WE SOUGHT TO CREATE AN INVISIBLE FIGHTING FORCE! ON THE PLANET SPIRIDON!!”
“Yes.” Mature said knowing what the Black Dalek was talking about. “There were reports of a species on the planet Spiridon that was said to be naturally invisible. We captured some of them in an attempt to learn their secrets, which we were capable of doing.”
“WE HAD ATTEMPTED A SIMILAR CONQUEST!” the Dalek said. Mature smiled as she added “Yes, one that ended in failure. Then I guess here is where we succeed where you failed.” The Black Dalek then shot a look at Mature as if giving her a death glare through its eyestalk. “But enough of that, let us continue to watch the punishment of the Rangers.
“Agreed.” the figure on the throne said as everyone then turned to watch the Rangers getting hammered by an invisible enemy, the Black Dalek included. As the ruling body watched Ranger after Ranger was getting surprised as the Shadow Troopers moved swiftly and deadly. The Rangers tried to fight back but the beatings they had taken were getting to the point that the Power Ranger teams could no longer stand.
All but one team, and one member.
And in that team would come the big surprise.
Zeo Team II continued to fight. They had no idea how the other teams were doing, but White Zeo believed that if they were taking as much punishment as his team was then they were doing as well as the others. Which translated to ‘not very’. “We’ll we’re doing great.” Purple Zeo said barely missing a swing that seemed to brush past and falling to the ground. “Getting our butts kicked by monsters we can’t even see. And we can’t call the other guys for help.
“If anyone has any ideas how to get these guys, I’m willing to listen.” Gold Zeo said barely standing, yet still doing all he could to fight. In the midst of the fight Black Zeo had come up with one. “Close your eyes.” Black Zeo said to his friends. “I have an idea.”
“Close our eyes?” Purple Zeo asked as the Shadow Troopers seemed to swarm around them. “Are you nuts?”
“No I get it.” White Zeo as he realized what Black had in mind. “Since we can’t see them, we’ll have to rely on our other senses to find them.” After White Zeo figured they had nothing to lose by trying they went with Black Zeo’s plan. “Okay Rangers. Stay close and close your eyes.” White Zeo ordered. The rest of Zeo Team II did what White asked as they closed their eyes and opened their minds to the presences around them, allowing them to see presences, auras.
Able to detect friend and enemy. And ability Zeo Team II was ready to use.
The power seemed to speak to Zeo Team II, alerting as to who was friend and who was foe. Their mind’s eyes were open allowing them to see. They saw the figures in black attacking, and knew how to stand against them. And stand against them they did. In a tooth and nail struggle Zeo Team II fought back getting their shots in against the invisible sentries. They may not have seen the punishment they were dishing out, but they knew they were having an effect somehow as they saw the presences in their mind’s eyes dimming. Soon the Troopers had fallen, and had become visible in their dark armored forms.
“So that’s what they look like?” Silver Zeo asked. “Nice if you want to go for the bargain basement Darth Vader look.”
“Their training wasn’t cheap though.” Gold Zeo said. “We took enough punishment to verify that.”
As everyone wondered what the next move was going to be one Shadow Trooper recovered enough to decide to go for a suicide run and decapitate White Zeo. Drawing a blade it stood and launched itself for an attack. White Zeo had his back turned and couldn’t see the approaching enemy. But Silver Zeo saw the approaching trooper, and instinctively reached for her Zeo pistol.
“SKULL GET DOWN!!” Silver Zeo shouted as if on instinct she drew out her blaster and fired striking the Organization solder in the stomach. For a few seconds the Organization soldier looked at the wound where Silver Zeo’s blaster struck. He looked at her confused as he wondered why he was dying.
“I thought Rangers…didn’t…kill…” were his last words before he fell to the ground immediately dead, like a puppet whose strings were cut. Everyone turned to see the fallen trooper and looked at Silver Zeo as she held the smoking blaster she used to kill the Shadow Trooper with.
For a moment she wondered if it was her own instincts, her Shadow Grid instinct, or the instincts of the previous Silver Zeos that led her to draw her weapon and kill the Trooper. In the end it didn’t matter. The Shadow Trooper was dead, and it was by her own hand.
Silver Zeo let her blaster fall out of her hand. Shock overcame her as she just realized she had taken a life. A life that was about to kill her friend and team leader, but a life she took nonetheless.
Silver Zeo barely heard Purple call out “Cass what did you do?” as she looked down at her blaster. A blaster that was set on maximum setting after dealing with the Robo Aquatians, and with the appearance of the Shadow Troopers left little to no awareness to take the power supply back down to stun settings. She heard Black Zeo call out, but his voice seemed a mile away. “Cass? Cass, you okay?”
“He…he’s dead.” Purple Zeo had said reflecting horror. “Cassidy, you killed him.”
“I…I…I…killed him.” Silver Zeo said stuttering out the words and looking at the Zeo pistol on the ground. A pistol that was not a cool Star Wars type blaster anymore, but like one of the many guns she saw growing up as a cop’s daughter. A weapon that killed.
A weapon Silver Zeo used. A weapon she used not against an undead monster, but used instead to kill a living enemy. “I fired guns on the target range. I knew how to use them. But...I never killed before.”
“You had no choice Cass. They were going to kill us.” Gold Zeo said trying to be reassuring, and not quite succeeding. He looked at his own blaster as it too was set at the kill setting after battling the Robo Aquatians. Black and Purple Zeo also had their blasters at the same setting. Anyone of them could have fired that kill shot at the Shadow Trooper.
_But it wasn’t anyone else._ Gold Zeo thought. _It was Cassidy._ He saw her reaction and wondered if anyone of them would have reacted in her shoes.
“But...but...” It seemed as if Silver Zeo had trouble comprehending what she had done. She knew a change had taken place inside her. A change that came fast, a change she was not sure she could deal with. One thing she knew, she could not go back to being ‘just a kid’ ever again.
“Come on Cass. No time to be a basketcase.” White Zeo said hoping to prod his teammate along. Silver Zeo thought of the times her father had come home from work, discussed his work, and the times he had to kill a perp. She had even seen him kill a perp once or twice before. She was no stranger to death.
But now that death had come from her own hands. Not her father’s. She had ended a life with a weapon. Not him.
_Daddy_ Silver Zeo thought as she focused on the memory of her father. Nights he came home feeling like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Nights where when tracking down a perp he had to draw his weapon. When it was drawn he usually shot to kill as she knew every officer would be forced to draw his weapon in the line of duty.
_This is no different._ she told herself as she tried to gather strength from the image of her father and sought to convince herself that her father probably felt the same way. _This was done in the line of duty. There was no choice._
She tried to gather her exercises in concentration she learned as an actress and tried to focus on the role she was in. Concentrating on her father and the image of strength he portrayed Silver Zeo seemed to finally shake herself out of her state. She also thought of her Uncle Bobby, and believed that he too had to have felt the way she had before. _This was nothing new._ she told herself. _Daddy and Uncle Bobby had to deal with this all the time. Dad in the police. Uncle Bobby in Vietnam. Grandpa also in World War II. They got past it, I can too._
“I…I’m a little shaken right now.” Silver said getting her focus together…barely. “But I’ll make it.” White and Gold Zeo stood by her side as a means of support with Purple and Black looking on. “Any problems let me know.” White Zeo said patting Silver’s shoulder. Silver nodded glad for the support.
But in Silver Zeo’s mind the image of that enemy soldier falling from her own blaster shot kept popping up in her mind. And it wouldn’t go away.
Like all the other Ranger teams the Astro Rangers were also cut off from contact, but that didn’t stop Green Astro from having a bad feeling about her friend. A feeling that became something of a vision. A vision of death…at the hands of her best friend.
Not hers, but another’s. Not an innocent, but a death nonetheless.
“Cass.” she whispered as she thought of her friend on Zeo Team II. So lost in her thoughts she barely noticed the Robo Aquatian coming into attack. A yellow Astro blast sent the Robo back across the landscape as Yellow Astro went to the side of Green Astro.
Once she got close to her sister Yellow sensed the emotion running through Green Astro. Emotion that caused her to freeze. Yellow then asked her sister “Alison, what’s wrong?”
“It’s Cassidy. Something’s wrong. I know it.” Green Astro said. “Call it a feeling, but I think she’s in trouble.” Silver Astro also felt something due to his connection to the Silver Powers. Looking off to Green and Yellow he ran to their side. He knew Green Astro felt something happen to her friend.
“I feel it too. Something happened with Cassidy.” He said. Green and Silver Astro feared what happened to their friend, but had no time to wonder as an explosion rocked them back across the ground. Yellow Astro also went flying close to Red Astro’s side. Red Astro gave Yellow cover so she could get back on her feet.
Gold Astro saw Silver and Green flying and came to Silver’s side. When she saw him recovering she ran to the side of Green Astro. “Snap out of it Alison. We’re in the middle of a battle right now.”
“So’s Cassidy.” Green Astro said thinking of her friend and fearing the worst. “And something went wrong. Her team’s in trouble. Trouble they shouldn’t be in. I know it.”
“So will we be if you don’t get your head back in the game.” Gold Astro said bringing her Solar Scimitar to bear giving a slash of power across several of the Shadow Troopers blasting them halfway across the square. Green Astro gave a jump high in the air and made ready to launch a ki attack to several Troopers in her path.
A burst of green energy shot out from Alison and slammed into the Troopers before heras they were sent scattering. She then landed on the ground as Gold Astro watched her back. “Nice move.” Gold said.
“Thanks.” Green said wondering for a second if Gold cared about her friend, and mentally kicked herself for asking that question. Giving a look to her teammate Gold Astro said “For what it’s worth I can guess what happened with Silver Zeo. It happened to me once.”
“What?” Green Astro asked. Gold then thought about how to answer but decided not to. “I’ll tell you later. Right now your head is needed in the game.”
“Agreed.” Red Astro said coming to Gold Astro’s side with the rest of the Astros. “Cassie, I need you to send a wide dispersal with the stunner.” Pink Astro nodded bringing her satellite stunner to bear and sent waves of sound in the direction of the Shadow Troopers. The intense sound brought the Shadow Troopers down and soon the Astro Rangers stood victorious, of the current round.
Silver Astro stood back up and went to Green Astro as he said “I know what’s wrong with Cassidy. I think she…” Green Astro looked at Silver and understood. “Oh Cass…I’m so sorry.” She said in silent mourning for her friend and what she had to do.
“There’s nothing we can do now.” Silver said. “But we can be there for her when this is over.” Green nodded and said “Well we’d better end this then.” All the Astros agreed.
“Come on. Let’s press on.” Red Astro said as he led his team to their objective hoping the ruling body would not throw anything else at them.
That hope would be in vain.
The ruling body watched as the Organization forces were losing, but they knew the Rangers were losing as well. All it took was one more force and they could make their move.
The mystery figure looked down from her throne to the machine. “Send out your forces. If they resist.” The mystery figure smiled as she wanted to relish the next words she would say.
The machine did what was asked and quickly assembled more of its kind.
At their respective battle sites the Rangers stood triumphant over the second batch of evil warriors sent their way. The fight was not easy, but they stood victorious.
At their battle site the Zeo Rangers looked up to see the Military Commander standing alone. But not intimidated. “You think you have beaten us Rangers? You are fools to think you can defeat us.”
“Fools no!” Red Zeo said. “We’re here to free this world from you and your masters. And there is nothing you can throw at us that we can’t overcome.”
The lips underneath the Guard Commander’s face twisted into a smile. “Oh really?” The Guard Commander then stepped back from the ridge looking down at the Rangers below the whole time. It was then that a new shape came forward to stand at the lip of the ridge. A shape that looked like a machine. A machine followed by several others. All of them with arms that looked like plungers at the end of them alongside blasters. The Rangers did not know the creatures but felt a wave of fear at the sight of them. Yellow Zeo’s heart however stopped as she saw what the next wave of resistance was. A wave of resistance she had seen before, and she couldn’t believe they were here now.
“Impossible.” Yellow Zeo said. “They can’t be here.”
“Samantha what are they?” Pink Zeo asked. The word left Yellow Zeo in a tone of disbelief and fear as she identified the mechanical creatures standing next to the Guard Commander.
Zeo Team II wasn’t the only one who were face to face with the Daleks. The other Ranger teams were faced with Dalek sightings as well, and Daleks ready to attack.
“I can’t believe it. Daleks.” Red Astro said looking at the monsters before him. “I thought they were just myths.”
“No they’re very real Andros.” Gold Astro said standing with her friend trying to muster her courage. Under her breath she added “And I wish they weren’t.” as if trying to hide her own fear. Even while being part of the UAE she had heard of the Daleks. There had been tales of overlords looking to establish alliances with the Daleks.
Those overlords never came back.
Red Astro looked at his fellow Ranger and could now believe all the stories that were told about them, especially when they spoke in their electronic grating voice.
“SURRENDER NOW OR YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!!”
If there was a voice of evil, the Astro Rangers believed that voice belonged to the Daleks. And they would be right…on one count.
The Morphin team looked above them as Blue Morphin saw Daleks for the first time. Cestro had told him stories of the Daleks, and the atrocities they accomplished. Blue Morphin also remembered that there was an unwritten rule somewhere in the UAE and the council both that the Daleks NEVER be mentioned in the chronicles of evil, or the tales of the Rangers.
At the sight of the Daleks Blue Morphin could see why. As the Daleks looked on the lead Dalek said “YOU WILL SURRENDER NOW OR YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!!”
Red Morphin turned to the rest of his team. A silent question hung in the air. Looking at each one they all unanimously gave their leader a nod. Red Morphin also nodded as if giving his vote. The Morphin Rangers then quickly gave their answer to the Dalek ultimatum.
They attacked. “HIYAHH!!” he shouted as he and the other Morphins took to the air to get a jump attack on the Daleks.
The Daleks were ready.
“Samantha how do you know them?” Blue Zeo asked as Zeo Team I confronted the Daleks before them. Yellow nodded slightly and answered. “The Doctor has had a few ‘run ins’ with them.”
“THE DOCTOR?” one of the Daleks said from above. “YOU KNOW OF THE DOCTOR?”
For a moment Red Zeo thought he heard something in the Dalek voice. Something registered as fear. And Red Zeo had an idea. An idea where he believed that out of that fear could come hope. Hope to save Zeo Team I, all the other Rangers, and maybe all of Aquitar.
“Yeah you walking trash cans. We know the Doctor. We are allies with him.” Red Zeo stood defiant. Yellow however wondered if challenging them was a good idea.
“IF YOU ARE ALLIES OF THE DOCTOR! THEN YOU ARE ENEMIES OF THE DALEKS! YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!!”
“Exterminate yourself. All right guys. Zeo blasters. Ready and fire!” The Zeo Rangers all fired their pistols at the Daleks blasting the bases hoping to drive them back. The Daleks stood motionless as if unfazed by the assault.
“All right Rangers. Let’s get them.” Red Zeo said ready to lead the charge. The Daleks were ready as Zeo Team I advanced.
A beam of energy shot out of the Dalek’s gun stalk and hit Red Zeo. He screamed as his body seemed to be on fire. Every cell in his body seemed to explode as he fell to the ground.
“TOMMY!!” Pink Zeo shouted as she went to her former love’s side. Quickly he demorphed as he lay still. She looked up at the Daleks and said “You didn’t have to do that!”
“EXTERMINATE!!” came the battle cry from another Dalek. Only this time Pink Zeo was struck. Like Red Pink Zeo screamed as the beam struck her. And she too fell to the ground, demorphed.
Blue Zeo looked up and said “You’re going to pay for that!” as he got ready to attack. “No!” Yellow said. “You’ll be attacked as well!”
“SURRENDER!!” the Dalek said. “SURRENDER OR YOU WILL BE DESTROYED!”
“We gotta do something!” Blue Zeo said as the Daleks surrounded Zeo Team I. They hovered like vultures ready to strike their fallen prey. Ready to take what was left of the remains. The rest of Zeo Team I turned to Yellow Zeo hoping she had some answers. She knew of the Daleks with her travels with the Doctor. “Samantha, you have any ideas?” Blue asked.
Looking at the Daleks Yellow Zeo didn’t see many options. “They have already cut down Tommy and Kat. They won’t hesitate to cut us all down if we give them a chance. We must fall back to the emergency rendezvous point.”
“Any ideas how Samantha?” Green Zeo asked. Yellow Zeo said “Aim for the eyepiece. That’s the weak spot. Hit that and get ready to run.”
The three Zeo Rangers aimed their blasters at the Dalek eyestalks hoping their idea would work. An idea other Rangers had discovered as well.
As the Morphin Rangers were facing their Dalek squad Pink Morphin fired an arrow at one Dalek’s eyepiece, and it hit dead on. “MY VISION IS IMPAIRED! I CANNOT SEE! MY VISION IS IMPARED! I CANNOT SEE!” The Dalek then went about firing wildly striking many of its fellow Daleks until one decided that it would exterminate that Dalek to save the rest of the battalion.
“DAMAGED DALEK EXTERMINATED!” The Morphin Rangers were stunned by this. “I can’t believe it! It killed one of its own!” Purple Morphin said.
The Dalek then turned to Pink Morphin and brought it’s weapon to bear. “EXTERMINATE!!” And with a bolt of energy Pink Morphin was struck by the Dalek beam, and with a scream fell to the ground, demorphing as they fell.
“KIMBERLY!!” Red Morphin shouted. “All right guys! Power Blasters! FIRE!!”
The remaining seven Rangers drew out their blasters and aimed at the Dalek eye pieces immediately in range. But when the beams started to get closer it seemed as if the beam was dissipating. Fading before reaching its target.
“YOUR ENERGY WEAPONS ARE USELESS! STAND DOWN OR YOU WILL JOIN YOUR FRIEND IN EXTERMINATION!”
“She’s not dead.” Purple Morphin said as she stood next to Kimberly and felt a pulse. “She’s still alive. I’ve got a pulse. She’s still breathing!”
“THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE! NO FORCE CAN WITHSTAND DALEK FIREPOWER!”
“Well she did!” White Morphin said with a sense of pride in his voice.
The Dalek then aimed at the demorphed Kimberly and made ready to fire. The blast struck out and White Morphin took the shot. “DAVID!! Red Morphin shouted.
A Dalek blaster struck Red Morphin. With a scream he too fell to the ground and demorphed next to Kimberly. Three Morphin Rangers lay. Blue, Black, Green, Yellow and Purple wondered what else they could do. They didn’t have long to wait as Dalek blasts cut down Billy and Tanya.
The scream of pain from Billy as every cell in his body seemed to explode from impact with the Dalek blaster shocked Yellow Morphin. She turned to the Daleks and started to glow purple. Her aura laced with purple fire.
“You’ll pay for that!” Yellow Morphin said as she glared at the Daleks. Green tried to dissuade Yellow from giving into her dark power but the scene of Billy getting shot sent her into a rage.
“Exterminate this! OROCHINAGI!!” A wave of purple fire shot out of Yellow Morphin like a tidal wave wiping out many Daleks in front of her. Purple fire consumed their outer casings as the Dalekanium skins burned and flaked off exposing the mutant creatures within. Mutants that screamed in pain as they were burned alive.
Soon the fire dissipated leaving only melted Dalek shells and burnt cellular residue. Yellow Morphin stood before the wreckage as her anger and hate grew within her. She thought she had killed them all. She would be proven wrong.
Yellow Morphin glowed with Purple fire. So focused in her rage that she didn’t see the Dalek come in behind her. “EXTERMINATE!!”
When the Dalek beam hit Trini screamed a scream of pain. A scream of an insane woman in pain. Black and Green took cover and wondered how they were going to escape, remembering the rendezvous point everyone agreed to if things went bad. Black and Green Morphin both agreed that things had just ‘gone bad’.
Green had a plan. “I should be able to protect myself from their blasts with the Dragon Shield.” Green said. “You stay close.” Green Morphin then played his Dragon Daggar causing the Dalek blasts to bounce off him thanks to his Dragon Shield. He then delivered a blast from his Dragon Daggar at a nearby Dalek as it exploded.
Suddenly the shield started to dissipate as it was taking too much punishment. A Dalek Blast hit Green Morphin taking his legs out from under him. He fell with Black by his side.
“Zack! Take my shield! Get to the rendezvous point!” Green Morphin touched Black and the shield passed on to him. “I’ll try to help the others escape.”
“But without your shield they’ll kill you!” Black Morphin said.
“Chance I have to take. Now go!” Black Morphin did so as Green was soon surrounded by Daleks. Daleks with their weapons drawn.
“EXTERMINATE!!” Green Morphin fell to the Daleks. Black kept going wondering how the others were doing.
Like with the other teams Zeo Team II found the Daleks coming their way, and immediately came in ready to kill. The battle cry of “EXTERMINATE!! EXTERMINATE!! EXTERMINATE!!” was heard all through the battle. Zeo Team II tried to fight back, but the blasts sent them scattering.
Zeo Team II tried to regroup as White Zeo asked “Is everyone okay?” Purple, Gold, and Black all said “Yeah. We’re good.” White then asked “What about Cassidy?” Everyone looked around to see where she was and were shocked to find her where she was, in the middle of the battlefield, explosions around her, her body unresponsive.
White Zeo rushed to her side to see how she was. He knew this was not a good time to go into shock with Daleks blasting, especially when they were blasting all around them. For a moment Skull wondered why they were blasting around them and not hitting them directly, but he had no time to wonder as he came to the side of Silver Zeo.
“Cassidy you okay?” White Zeo asked. Removing her helmet he saw Cassidy’s eyes. Her eyes had been glazed over as if having a concussion. White Zeo looked at Cassidy and saw all that was happening to her. She was receiving more punishment in this attack than any other Ranger.
“Bulkie cover me!” White said calling for his brother in arms. “You got it Skull.” Gold Zeo said as he came to his friend’s side bringing forth his power sword and delivered a golden slash cutting through a swath of Daleks. He then joined White Zeo as he knelt by Silver’s side. “How is she?” Gold then asked. White shook his head as if not giving a good answer. Her eyes were glazed over, and her mind seemed to be somewhere else.
“She’s no good to us like this. We have to get her out of here. Get to the rendezvous point.” White Zeo ordered putting Silver’s helmet back on. Purple Zeo stepped forward and said “I’ll take her.” as she lifted Silver up to take her off the battlefield. “Bulk and I will cover you.” White Zeo then said.
“Got it Skull.” Purple Zeo said as she picked up Silver and carried her off. Under her breath Purple muttered something, but White couldn’t make out what she said. If he did he would have heard her say “I can’t believe it’s this easy to get out of here.”
“All right Bulkie. Let em have your big guns.” White Zeo ordered. Gold nodded as he brought forth his Zeo Blade.
“GOLDEN POWER ENERGIZE!!” Gold Zeo’s Zeo Blade filled up with power and energy as if like lightning. Then with a slash Gold Zeo brought it down against a swath of Daleks in their path. This gave Zeo Team II the momentum to press forward as White, Black and Gold pressed their attack.
White shot out a lancing burst of energy destroying one Dalek. Black used his Zeo Energy Whip to decapitate another. And Gold kept firing burst after burst of energy. Up above the Guard Commander sent to confront Zeo Team II and the Red Dalek watched, and decided action had to be taken.
“DEPLOY SPECIAL OPERATIONS DALEK!!” came the order. Immediately the remaining Daleks in Zeo Team II’s path cleared away, and approaching was a Dalek that looked to be built like a giant battle tank. In the place of its weapon arm was a cannon as well as extra body armor covering it. This Dalek immediately screamed ‘danger’ to anyone facing it.
“Bulkie, do you have enough for another Gold Strike?” White Zeo asked.
“I’ll give it another shot.” Gold said as he called up the Golden Zeo Power again, but before he could strike the SO Dalek fired from its massive cannon and hit Gold Zeo dead center. He was sent flying across the ground and landed hard on the ground. The front of his uniform smoking.
When Gold Zeo tried to stand up the SO Dalek fired again knocking Gold Zeo back down again. The SO Dalek fired again and Gold Zeo was down for the count. He force demorphed unable to continue the fight.
“BULKIE!!” White Zeo screamed. But before either White or Black could react they were struck from behind by Dalek weapons. Both screamed as they fell to the ground and demorphed.
“THE RESISTANCE HAS BEEN DECIMATED!” one Dalek called out.
“NOT EXTERMINATED?” the voice of the Red Dalek called out. After scanning the fallen Rangers the scans revealed that Zeo Team II was in fact alive. One Dalek even confirmed the scans. “NEGATIVE! THESE RANGERS SEEM TO HAVE A RESISTANCE TO DALEK FIREPOWER!”
The Red Dalek found the information troubling. No force was supposed to be resistant to Dalek firepower. All life was to fall to the might of the Daleks. “BRING THE BODIES TO THE COUNCIL CHAMBER!” the Red Dalek ordered. “THE RULING COUNCIL WISHES TO SEE THEM!”
“I OBEY!” the Dalek said as he went to the fallen Rangers to carry out his orders. Another Dalek went to the Red and asked “WHAT OF THE PURPLE AND SILVER ZEO RANGERS?”
“PURPLE ZEO WILL HANDLE THE EXTERMINATION OF SILVER ZEO!” the Red Dalek said. “NOW FACILITATE THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODIES!”
“I OBEY!” the Dalek said as hover slabs came to transport the bodies of the Rangers from all the Ranger teams on Aquitar.
In the council chambers the ruling body watched as the Rangers all lay fallen. There were still some survivors, but they would be dealt with later, as some might want to have some ‘sport’.
“THE RESISTANCE HAS BEEN DECIMATED!! NOT EXTERMINATED!!” the Black Dalek said. The mysterious figure smiled and laughed. The Black Dalek looked up at the figure and asked “WHAT DO YOU FIND AMUSING?”
“That they are not dead.” The figure said. “Are you disappointed that these Power Rangers are resistant to your Dalek weaponry? That they can somehow stand against your so called ‘superior firepower?” The Black Dalek expressed agitation at the figure’s supposed arrogance. “HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! NO FORCE CAN RESIST DALEK FIREPOWER!!”
“Well the Rangers did.” the figure said. “Oh they were close to ‘extermination’ when your beam weapons struck them.” The figure seemed to sneer when she said ‘exterminated’ as if knowing it was not easy to kill a Ranger. “But their Ranger Powers protected them from the more terrible effects of your Dalek weaponry. Thus preventing you from ‘exterminating them.”
“THEN WE MUST ADVANCE OUR WEAPONRY!!” the Black Dalek said. “WE MUST NOT ALLOW ANY WEAKNESS!! THESE POWER RANGERS MUST BE EXTERMINATED!!” The figure agreed but added “True, but I think we need to exterminate their spirits, before we exterminate their bodies.”
“EXPLAIN!!” the Black Dalek demanded. The figure thought for a moment then decided on her course of action. “Bring them here. I want to see them when they realize how futile their ‘Liberation’ truly was.”
The Black Dalek relayed the command of the figure to the Dalek beside him. The Dalek said “I OBEY!”, then left. Everyone then turned to the figure to see what was going on in her mind.
“The answers will come. When our agent is finished with Silver Zeo.” the figure sneered.
Far away from the battle of Zeo Team II Purple was carrying Silver Zeo away as she continued to be lost in her own world of shock and dismay. Thinking they were far enough from the battle Purple let Silver fall to the ground in contempt as Silver mumbled.
“I killed that guy…all the explosions…my body playing ping pong…has my world gone mad?”
“Yes it has.” Purple said as she spun Silver around and placed a blaster at her chest. “Thanks to me.”
Coherence came to Silver Zeo as she heard Purple speak. The cobwebs shaking loose. “Wh…what?!”
Purple Zeo then demorphed and Silver saw the smile across the face of Emily St. John. A smile of evil and amusement. “You never saw it coming did you? The multitude of forces. The Daleks, the man you killed. Did you think freeing this planet would be a cakewalk? They knew everything.” The tone of voice out of Emily seemed like gloating. Silver Zeo looked at Emily still shocked by the betrayal from her teammate. “What...did...you...do?”
“All right. I’ll talk slow so you…can…understand…” Emily said speaking like a slow record mockingly. “I…told…the…ruling…body…the…Rangers’…plans. And…now…I’m…going…to…kill…you.”. As those last words were said Emily fired her Zeo blaster straight into Silver Zeo’s chest at close range. The blast knocked the wind out of her and sent her spiraling to the floor where she force demorphed. Her Ranger powers protected her from any serious injury but confusion and shock were still running through Cassidy’s mind as she looked up at Emily, her mocking smile looking down.
“You know, I thought better of you.” Emily said as she taunted Cassidy. “Being the daughter of a cop and all, knowing self-defense, how to shoot a gun. That instinct of yours, which I suppose led you to kill that guy I guess. I thought you’d have been some GREAT Ranger. But no. You fall to pieces like a basket case when you kill someone.”
“He...he was a living person.” Cassidy responded. As if trying to reconcile her actions still, and what was happening with Emily.
“And the monsters you destroyed weren’t? Oh yeah. They were machines. They were monsters. They were undead. None of them were ever truly alive right?” Emily then laughed as she walked forward and got in Cassidy’s face looking her dead in the eye. “Wrong. Every monster they destroy they kill. Their souls sent back to the Dark Dimension that spawned them. To their own private hell until they are reborn. But the one you killed. He won’t be reborn will he? He’s dead forever...thanks to you.”
Emily then sneered at Cassidy and continued to look her in the eye, confusion and fear still seen as the soul of Cassidy Bridges seemed to be laid bare in her own eyes. “I thought about taking you to meet the ruling council. But you know what? You’re just a waste of space to me. Hardly worth parading around as a symbol of triumph. That will be left to the Rangers with stronger wills.” She then pushed Cassidy down to the ground and drew her blaster at her.
“I guess you will be facing a firing squad…of me.” Emily sneered as she brought the gun into line with Cassidy’s forehead. “Ready…aim…”
Cassidy looked horrified at Emily until she, as if on instinct, brought up her foot and kicked Emily in the stomach. Emily doubled over in surprise at Cassidy’s response, even more so as Emily clearly felt the impact of Cassidy’s kick.
“I believe the word you’re looking for is ‘Fire’!!” Cassidy said as she quickly got up and ran down a hill hoping to escape. Emily took a few seconds to get back on her feet and shake off the effects of Cassidy’s kick. Once she was standing she quickly morphed into Purple Zeo and then did a mega leap high in the air landing in front of Cassidy on the path she had chosen to escape.
“Nowhere to run little girl.” Purple Zeo sneered as her hand grabbed her blaster in its holster. “Now take your death like a Ranger, instead of like a scared little girl.”
Cassidy, still in her fight or flight mindset, looked for an escape. Looking off to the side she saw the remains of a stream that had a little water left. Water that she wasn’t sure was deep enough for her to survive diving into. Emily looked in Cassidy’s direction and seemed to laugh. “Are you crazy? Do you really think you can survive a dive into that water? A dive like that into that water would be no different than if I killed you right here, right now.” Emily then drew her blaster at the terrified girl who continued to look at the water, believing that it might just be her only means of escape.
Cassidy made her decision as she hoped the water would be deep enough. Jumping off the ledge she dived magnificently into the stream, hitting the water with a large splash. Purple Zeo fired her blaster as Cassidy dove, but couldn’t hit the girl, especially as she hit the water as it obscured any sign of her . “The water can’t be that deep so a body can’t be seen.” Purple Zeo said looking down not certain if Cassidy was dead or not. Her mind turned to the possibilities as to why the body did not surface. There was crushing water pressure underneath. An undersea current carried the body away. Or she’s seeking to hide only to die of oxygen deprivation due to being underwater.
After a few minutes of waiting Purple Zeo decided Cassidy had to have drowned. “She has to be dead.” she said demorphing. “No one could have survived a dive like that.” Convinced of Silver Zeo’s apparent suicide Emily St. John left the ledge. Not far away, as if on cue with Emily’s departure, Cassidy’s head broke the surface taking a breath of desperately needed oxygen. She held her breath for a long time, but her lungs screamed for breath and Cassidy had to surface hoping she was underwater long enough to fool Emily.
Cassidy waded in the water that was surprisingly deep enough to allow for a dive like her’s. As she waded, grateful she didn’t hit a shallow pocket, she looked around for any sign of Emily. Looking up on the rock face, and by the nearest shoreline Cassidy saw no trace of the Purple Zeo Ranger that tried to kill her, and betrayed their friends. She then swam for the nearest shore, which wasn’t too far away, as most of the water of Aquitar was drained meaning ground was more in abundance, not to mention closer. As she approached the shore she lay half submerged in the water as she tried to comprehend all that had happened. Water rushed all around her wet clothes and matted hair, which was the least of her problems.
She killed someone, Emily was a traitor, all the other Rangers were dead. It seemed like so much had happened. _How does Alison deal with..._
_ALISON! THE OTHERS!!_ Cassidy thought as her mind jolted to awareness as her best friend and her teammates were also in danger. Were they captured too? Did they escape? Could there be survivors?_ Cassidy shook her worries out of her mind as she tried to remember what to do next. She then remembered a rendezvous point where the Rangers would meet in case something went wrong. Well something clearly did.
_I just hope I find someone there. I can’t... Her mind turned back to the soldier she had shot and killed. Her blaster squeezing off a round, and the guard falling dead. _No don’t think that. Others are depending on you._
Cassidy looked up at the ravine ledge hoping someone from Zeo Team II would appear, or that Emily would not double back and appear. No one appeared on the rock ledge. She was on her own, both to her sorrow, and relief.
She crawled out of the stream and made her way to the rendezvous point alone. Her wet clothes draped all across her body as she looked at her silver shirt covered by her uniform jacket. The shirt looked like something that could have been worn at a wet t-shirt contest, and Cassidy’s pants looked like they would fall off, even with the help of the belt she wore.
Deciding she needed more to hold up her drenched pants Cassidy took off her soaked jacket and tied it around her waist. She then walked on hoping the Aquatian sun would dry her off…enough.
On board the Pegasus Kinwon and Dimetria sat in the command quarters hoping for an update on the Ranger missions. The hiss of the door to the quarters opened and Aisha the Carrier Ranger walked in. “Anything?”
“Afraid not Carrier Ranger.” Kinwon answered. “We’ve had the communications bunker monitor any, and all, transmissions from the surface. As far as we can tell the Ranger transmissions have ceased.”
“And we have no idea what could have happened.” Dimetria added. “Although we can guess, and those guesses do not allay our fears.” Aisha looked at the two adults before her and couldn’t believe what they were saying. “Are you saying the teams are…”
“We are not certain.” Kinwon answered. “But it is a possibility we must consider.” Aisha stood at the desk digesting everything Kinwon and Dimetria were telling her just as a message from the bridge brought everyone to awareness. “Commander Kinwon here.”
A tech from the communications bunker answered saying that they had scanned for the Rangers, and found the scan readouts all dark. Aisha sat on the couch looking horrified. Her friends, her extended family, they were in trouble.
Kinwon, Aisha and Dimetria looked on concerned. What could have gone wrong?
“Continue monitoring.” Kinwon ordered. “The slightest spike of Ranger energy I want to be told immediately.” The tech acknowledged the order and signed off leaving Kinwon, Demetria and Aisha wondering not what the next move was…
…but rather, was there a next move?
After sitting in the Command Quarters for an hour Aisha took a walk around the Pegasus stopping when she came across the life station where Nathan was getting checked over. The med techs had just finished as Nathan lay in the bed. Frustrated and upset.
“I’d ask how you’re doing.” Aisha said. “But I’d say that’s a pretty stupid question right now, isn’t it?”
Nathan had given a sad smile and sighed. “Yeah, yeah it would be. I mean, here I am stuck in a safe bed on the Pegasus while my friends and family are stuck on a planet where everything has gone to pot for them. I mean, I have the DNA and skills of many of the greatest Rangers in history and I can’t use my skill because of some kind of escape spell put on me.”
“Do you wish they didn’t place that spell on you?” Aisha asked. Nathan sighed. “Right now, yeah. I hate the idea of being a Lone Ranger surviving while friends and family are dying.”
“Don’t worry.” Aisha said. “You’ll get a chance. I’ll make sure of it.” Turning to leave she stopped in the doorway and looked back. “Besides, I don’t like the idea of being a ‘Lone Ranger’ either. That might work for Daniel on the Astor Rangers, but that doesn’t work for me.”
“You like working with a team?” Nathan asked. Aisha paused for a second and then turned around. “Yeah, most of the time I do. But sometimes I look at all the teams we have, and hw we have to keep track of everybody. I guess I’d feel my voice would get lost in the din if I was part of a team, and there were other voices speaking over mine. Did you feel that way with the Outsiders?”
Nathan thought for a moment. “Yeah, maybe.” He answered. “I guess they thought me with Tyler and Nate would build up the boy quotient especially with Lillian, Jamie, Terry, Katarina and Christina. Still I felt I had to really stand out to be heard, and I wasn’t.”
“Don’t worry.” Aisha said giving Nathan a hug. “I’ll be hearing you loud and clear.”
With that Aisha left leaving Nathan to recover for a few hours. He was itching to get out of bed and help Aisha anyway he could.
He promised himself he wouldn’t have long to wait.
Next stop for her was the landing bay. The Carrier Zords Titanus and Tor sitting waiting for action. Also off to the side was the Delta Megaship, the Astro Ranger’s supplemental Zord.
Out of all the Astro Rangers’ zords the Delta Megazord was the one zord that did not have a pilot. It had been theorized that Aisha could control it, but the theory had not been proven. Aisha felt that the time to test the theory was coming. She was tempted to head down to Aquitar right now, but the words of Dimetria echoed throughout her mind.
“We cannot take any rash actions. If we act too quickly you may suffer the same fate as the other Ranger teams. We must find the best way to move before we make any offensives, or the mission here truly will be for nothing.” Kinwon was in full agreement of the Morphin Master to the Astro Rangers and advised Aisha to remain on board.
Aisha then decided to remain on board…for the time being, was the sensible thing to do. But it took every ounce of willpower in her to keep her from ordering out the Carriers and the Delta Megazord. Dimetria confirmed that Aisha would have been able to pilot it, but to leave at this time would have been folly. Looking up at the carriers she heard the growls of Titanus and Tor. Aisha sighed understanding.
“Wait a bit guys.” Aisha said. “Soon we’ll be able to rain hell. And we’ll make sure the rain comes down hard.”
And if anything happened to her friends, Aisha would make sure the conquerors of Aquitar would regret what they had done. Regret it very much.
The answer Aisha hoped for would come as the demorphed Morphin, Astro and Zeo Teams were brought forth. The Outsiders were nowhere to be seen. Neither was Andros, Sabrina, Zack, Samantha, Carlos and David. The Captured Rangers hoped those missing had escaped.
“MOVE! MOVE!!” a Dalek ordered as the Morphin Rangers and Zeo Team I passed each other. “Adam!” Tanya shouted as she was escorted by Daleks and broke away to be with him. “Let me go you tin cans. That’s my friend!”
“REMAIN IN THE PRISONER PROCESSION!!” the Dalek ordered, but Tanya ignored the Dalek and ran to her boyfriend. “Adam!”
“Tanya.” Adam shouted as Tanya made her way to him. Just when they were close enough the Daleks fired on Tanya knocking her legs out from under her. As Tanya crumpled to the ground Adam looked up at the Daleks and shouted “NO! YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO DO THAT!”
“SHE WILL LIVE!” the Dalek escorting her said. “PICK HER UP AND MOVE ALONG! BE FORTUNATE THAT YOU HAVE NOT BEEN ORDERED TO BE EXTERMINATED…AT THIS TIME!!” Adam looked at the Daleks as he went to Tanya’s side. Rocky also went to Tanya’s side saying “He’ll need help carrying her.”
“PROCEED!!” the Dalek then said. Rocky then joined Adam and Tanya and helped carry her as she couldn’t feel her legs. “MOVE!!” the Dalek then ordered.
“I can’t walk you tin cans.” Tanya said. “Thanks to you.”
“YOU WILL RECOVER IN TIME!! MOVE!!” The three Rangers looked at their captors and knew had no choice but to obey. Under his breath Rocky said “Everything Samantha said about these monsters was true.”
Soon the Rangers were brought forth to face the ruling council of Aquitar. They saw a black version of the pepperpot battle machines that had overrun them as well as a few others they couldn’t make out. But at the base of the throne in the center stood two of the rulers of Aquitar-Squatt and Baboo. The Morphin Rangers remembered the two former henchmen of Rita Repulsa well.
“Hello Rangers.” Squatt said sneering. “Looks like you’ve come down in the world while we have moved on up to having our own little world.”
“It won’t be for long Squatt.” Jason said mustering his trademark defiance in the face of adversity. “We’ll free Aquitar yet.”
“Oh but you’ve tried that didn’t you?” Baboo said sneering. “And you failed.”
“It’s not over yet.” Rocky said in added defiance. “It is for now.” the figure at the top of the throne said. Billy looked up at the throne and thought there was smoething in the voice.
Something…familiar. _No. It couldn’t be. Could it? But How?_
“Who are the rest of your little group?” Samoht asked as he saw the rest of the ruling council. The first to step forward was a being in black with golden and silver armor adorning him. A black and blue cape with gold trim that was fastened across his right shoulder like someone from an old anime comic. His face was blue skinned with fangs as if giving him a look of a space vampire. On his right hand was a claw that looked to be a cross of bone and metal. This being gave an overall look of royal and monster, and a sense of grace and fear. Fear being the prime focus.
“I am Malice.” the being said. “I am the Lord of a group called ‘The Organization’.”
“Never heard of you.” Billy said. The look of confusion from the other Rangers indicated that they had not heard of them either. Even Andros, who was the most knowledgeable about space matters, did not know of the group.
“You never heard of us? Good. We like it that way.” Malice said. “As for why we’re here. We are here to help the current rulers of Aquitar to maintain control. They do not wish the population to get too…rebellious.”
“By turning its people into the walking dead?” Kat asked. Malice shook his head and then said “An interesting process and use of…materials. One I must consider myself someday.” Malice had said horrifying the Rangers as if rationalizing using the dead as obedient soldiers and cannon fodder.
“But that was not the Organization’s doing.” Lord Malice had said. “That was the efforts to our other partners. The Daleks.”
“And what are they doing here?” Kat asked recognizing the Doctor’s arch enemies. “And why are they working for you? Last I heard Daleks work for no one.”
“THE REASONS FOR THE DALEK ALLIANCE REMAIN OUR OWN!!” the Black Dalek shouted. Kat looked at the Black Dalek and asked herself what they would be doing here. She then remembered what Samantha had said of the Daleks and tried to remember what she had said as she addressed the Black Dalek. “The Supreme beings of the Universe, allied with two bit monsters and gangsters.” It was then that Kat had the answer for their presence. “You’re not at full power are you? You’re just a small force. You need to build yourselves up more.”
“DALEKS ARE SUPREME!! DALEKS ARE SUPERIOR!!” Kat chuckled at the Dalek rhetoric and added “Yeah especially if you have more Daleks backing you up. But you don’t do you? You need more Daleks.”
“WE WILL BUILD HERE!! AND WE SHALL EXTERMINATE ALL THAT OPPOSE DALEK SUPREMACY!!” Kat asked “Including your allies?”
The Dalek Supreme did not answer Kat’s question. Smiling she then turned to look at the rest of the ruling council “Don’t be surprised when you find a Dalek Plunger at your back. Or blasted by a Dalek weapon.”
“We won’t.” Lord Malice said. “We’re not fools in thinking we, or the Daleks, have anything in common other than mutual self-interest.” Mature then spoke saying “As for us, we want our own piece of the pie that Aquitar offers. We’re just not willing to go through Black Sun to do it.”
“Ah yes, Black Sun.” Zhane said remembering the name of the REAL criminal Organization that was on the Council Watchlist. Headed by a being named Prince Xizor. Won’t he be upset you’re horning in on his action? I figured he would be the one to help…claim Aquitar.”
“We…beat him to it.” Mature then said. “Besides, a crime monopoly…would be bad for business.” Trini then asked “Xizor’s or yours?”
Mature and Lord Malice looked at each other and just smiled. “What do you think?” Malice asked as if leaving the answer open to speculation. Cassie and Trini looked at Mature and thought they saw something familiar in her. A sense of power…much like their own.
“Who’s your girlfriend?” Trini then asked making reference to Mature. Mature walked to the girls with Kusanagi and Yagami power and ignited her own hand. Golden flame seemed to erupt from her hand. Cassie and Trini looked wide eyed as they saw the flames in her hand. “Can’t be. There aren’t any of the third clan left.” Cassie had said.
“And why are you here?” Trini asked. “I would have figured you would be on Earth.”
“Certain powers thought it best if I was with Lord Malice.” Mature had answered. She then walked up to Malice’s side and stood alongside him as Malice added “And the alliance has proven fruitful thus far.
“Wait till Xizor finds out.” Billy said. “There’s another group looking to depose him. I doubt he’ll take it well.” Lord Malice just laughed as he did not intend for Xizor to ever find out. That was when the other voice spoke. The voice that sat on the high seat of command. “No, I doubt he will Billy. But you and your friends, will not be in a position to tell him.”
Billy looked up thinking the voice sounded familiar. Then, as if struck by lightning recognition…and disbelief, crossed his face. “No it couldn’t be. You died. You died to help me escape.”
“That’s what I wanted you to think.” The voice said as she stood and descended from the seat revealing her face. A face of someone believed to be dead…and good. Her clothes were different. Instead of the traditional Aquatian garb there was a golden robe covering her body. A gold crown adorned her head that the Morphin Rangers thought was familiar. A crown they had seen on someone else before.
The Rangers then noticed the smile that had crossed the face of the final member of the council, which came into view. A face that knocked the breath out of the Zeo Rangers, as they knew her. Billy however felt as if he had been punched in the gut, then kicked in the same place.
“Hello Billy.” The woman that was his Aquatian wife said. “I’m sorry that you decided to come back.”
“Wh...what are you doing here? You’re dead.” Billy tried to make sense of what he was seeing. His wife before him and standing with evil. Cestria just smiled and studied the Rangers before explaining.
“Everyone underestimated me.” Cestria said with a touch of hate in her voice. “Oh yes. The Pink Aquatian Ranger.” She had said her title with so much bitterness and venom as if she was looking at her former title with disgust. “The one you never see in battle because she’s so helpless. Her powers so weak. I wondered why they were even made at all if they were so weak.” Her eyes then turned to Kim, Kat and Cassie and her soul was filled with hatred, and envy. They had become Pink Rangers and made the title and powers mean something.
_Why couldn’t I be allowed to do what they did? Why couldn’t I shine?_ Cestria asked herself. She knew the answer to the question as soon as she asked it. Because she had weak powers and wasn’t allowed to be part of the team. She wasn’t really one of the Rangers of Aquitar. The title of Pink Ranger was a ceremonial title. A pity title.
Cestria wasn’t a Power Ranger of Aquitar. She was the Pity Ranger of Aquitar. She didn’t want pity. She wanted power. And she would get it.
Her glare turned towards Kim, Kat and Cassie. “But they let other Pink Rangers fight don’t they? They get the chance to prove themselves in battle. They get to be Rangers of Power. Not Rangers of Pity.” She kept her glare on the three Pink Rangers of Earth and knew she was going to take great pleasure in torturing them. The three Pink Rangers looked at their former Aquatian Counterpart and refused to show any intimidation.
“Is that why you turned?” Kim asked. “Because you didn’t get a chance to prove yourself as a Ranger?”
“Because if that’s the case you definitely won’t now.” Kat added. Cassie then said “The power doesn’t take kindly to traitors.”
“I’m no traitor.” Cestria said. “I am a survivor. I always have been. Would I have survived if I went into battle as that weak timid ‘Pink Ranger?’ No. I was glad to get rid of those pathetic powers, and attained greater power.”
“What greater power?” Trini asked as she studied Cestria. There was something about her aura that seemed…familiar. Cestria however did not answer Trini’s question. She wanted to keep the Rangers guessing for a while longer. Skull however decided to try another approach and asked “How did you attain your power? How did you become part of the ruling council?”
Cestria smiled at Skull’s question and said “You’re smarter than people give you credit for, but I doubt even Billy will be prepared for this answer.” Waiting a few seconds Cestria then dropped her last bombshell. “I ensured I would survive the UAE’s assault from Deathbringer, because I allowed it to happen.”
The disbelief among the captured Rangers…was indescribable. To Billy, there was no way to measure it.
“You what?” Billy went further into shock as Cestria continued to explain. “I arranged for the Defense Grid to be sabotaged. One charge and the main generators crashed. And once Aquitar was conquered I ingrained myself into the ruling body. Instead of a helpless waif, I am now ruler of a world.” The Rangers all looked on as if Cestria had lost her marbles.
“Of course one can’t rule a world without help.” Cestria said. “Hense the alliances that were made with Malice and the Daleks. As well as others to…help out.” Cestria then gave a signal for the five Guard Commanders to come forward. On cue the Guard Commanders stepped forward to face the Rangers, Cestria then spoke saying “And now Commanders, the time has come for you to reveal your identities.” Obeying Cestria’s command the Guard Commanders removed their helmets revealing faces the Rangers could never believe.
“Cestro?” Billy asked.
“Corcus?” Tommy asked in shock.
“Delphine?” asked a surprised Kat.
“Tideus?” asked Rocky in disbelief.
“Aurico” asked a stunned Adam.
“What did you do to them?” Billy asked clearly outraged by what he was seeing. His wife helped conquer a world. His friends were generals in an army of conquerors. Billy asked himself _What madworld did I come to?_.
“Mere…education.” Malice said. “They were convinced to follow the greater good of Cestria and the ruling body.”
“Traitor.” Tommy said seething. “And I mean that too. You’re no survivor of anything.” A Dalek fired bringing Tommy to his knees along with Tanya. Cestria just seemed to pass the moment by.
“Your mission was doomed from the beginning Rangers.” Cestria said. “I knew everything that was coming from the Pegasus.”
The wide eyed stares just went wider. “How could you know about the Pegasus?” T.J. asked. Cestria’s smile then grew wider like a cat that swallowed a canary. She then waved her hand over to the doorway nearby where a figure stood. A figure that stepped into the light allowing the other Rangers to see her face. A face none of them could believe.
The face of Emily St. John, Purple Zeo Ranger, with not a scratch on her body.
“Hello…my friends.” Emily then said with a bite in her last two words. She smiled as she watched the stunned reactions of the other Rangers as she walked over to where Cestria stood, and stood with her. If they were shocked when they saw Cestria, they were in complete disbelief when one of their own completely turned on them.
“EMILY? WHY?” Richie asked trying to get the words out.
“If you must know.” Emily said with a sneer. “I have been allied with the UAE since I became your Purple Zeo. I have worked for Rita and Zedd since before the I.D. War waiting the orders to betray you at your highest moment. Finally, the orders came, and I betrayed you here. Your greatest mission. Now your greatest failure.” The stunned faces on the Rangers led Emily to laugh. “You should see the looks on your faces. How easily fooled you were.”
“No.” Jason said as he saw his one-time girlfriend become a traitor. “Emily, I can’t believe this.”
“Believe it fool.” Emily said. “I betrayed you. Sold you up the river, as it were. And now with Earth without its Power Rangers…it should be simple enough to crush the remaining resistance and take the planet for ourselves.”
“Yes.” Squatt said. “The Conquest of the Earth can begin, and there is nothing you Morphin, Zeo, or Astro Rangers can do to stop it.” The Black Dalek interrupted the council saying his peace before the council could go into an evil laugh.
“THE CONQUEST OF THE EARTH SHALL BEGIN!! VICTORY FOR THE DALEKS!! VICTORY!! VICTORY!! VICTORY!!”
Soon the rest of the ruling council joined in the chant. Squatt, Baboo, Malice, even Cestria joined in the Dalek chant. “VICTORY!! VICTORY!! VICTORY!!” As the chants for ‘Victory’ continued the Rangers were then escorted to their cells where they would await the next punishment. Their spirits…battered…severly.
In a secret lab the Black Dalek rolled in to where a Blue Dalek was going over equipment. “REPORT!” the Black Dalek commanded.
“A FOREIGN ENERGY SIGNITURE WAS DETECTED IN THE BODIES OF THE RANGERS. THIS ENERGY HAS PROVEN RESISTANT TO DALEK FIREPOWER!”
“THEY WERE ABLE TO RESIST!” the Black Dalek stated more than they asked.
“YES! ALTHOUGH IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE EFFECT IS LIMITED! THAT WITH PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO DALEK FIREPOWER THAT THESE RANGERS CAN BE EXTERMINATED!”
“IT IS OF NO CONSEQUENCE! WE MUST FIND THE SECRET OF THIS MORPHIN GRID POWER!” the Black Dalek said. “THERE MUST BE NO RESISTANCE TO DALEK POWER!”
“BUT WE HAVE NO MEANS TO ASCERTAIN WHAT TYPE OF POWER IT IS.” Another said. “WE DO NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES.”
“WE DID NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES OF FIFTH DIMENSIONAL TIME TRAVEL EITHER. BUT WE CONQUERED THAT OBSTACLE. WE SHALL CONQUER THIS AS WELL. THERE SHALL BE NO SECRETS TO THE DALEKS. THOSE WE CAN’T LEARN WE DESTROY.”
“AND THE DALEKS SHALL EMERGE AS THE SUPREME RULERS OF THE UNIVERSE!”
“AND WE SHALL EXTERMINATE ALL RESISTANCE!!”
At the rendezvous point Andros stood with the only two members of his team still free, Sabrina and Carlos. His mind turning to when the Daleks ambushed the Astros.
Alison and Cassie were taken down quick, but not after they used their Morphin Energy induced ‘ki’ to take down several Daleks. But when attacked from behind the girls fell. T.J. also fell followed by Daniel, Zhane and…
The thought of her capture was too much for him to bear. Carlos reassured Andros that they would get her back, as well as the rest of them.
Andros nodded as he then turned and looked at the small team he had in front of him. Samantha Jones-Yellow Zeo, Zack Taylor-Black Morphin, Carlos Garcia-Black Galaxy, David Trueheart-White Morphin, and Cassidy Bridges-Silver Zeo.
“Is this all?” Andros asked. Sabrina nodded. “All we know of. Nothing on the Outsiders.”
“What happened?” Samantha asked. How did they know of us?”
“There must have been a traitor.” Andros said coming to the only conclusion that he could. “Someone had to have tipped them off.”
“But who?” Sabrina asked. Zack shot a hate filled glare in Sabrina’s direction and said “I don’t know. You tell me.”
“What are you implying?” Sabrina asked glaring at Zack. Zack kept his gaze even as he made his peace. “I’m implying that maybe you aren’t finished being Scorpina. After all it did seem like we were bitten by a scorpion.
“I know your anger Black Ranger. But it wasn’t me.” Sabrina said. Zack continued speaking and asked “Oh really? Who then? Who knew we were coming? Keeping up the accusation. Andros went to Sabrina’s defense and said. “I understand that your Morphin Ranger team faced Scorpina in the past, and I faced her myself when I first met her. But I trust her, and I know she is not the same person.”
“A scorpion can’t go against its nature.” Zack said. “You remember the story of the fox and the Scorpion who carried the scorpion across the lake only for it to bite him and drown?”
“Yeah I do.” Sabrina then said speaking up. “And do you know what that story failed to mention?” Zack wondered what Sabrina’s challenge was. She was too happy to answer.
“The Scorpion drowned too. In being true to its nature it destroyed itself. I have no wish to follow that same path. And if I remained as Scorpina I would have.” The tone in her voice indicated that Sabrina meant what she said, but Zack was not so certain.
“I’ll stand by that.” Carlos said taking Andros and Sabrina’s side. Zack looked around for support but no one was taking his side. David was sitting with Cassidy who looked to be lost in her own world at the moment. Her mind trying to catch up with all that had happened to her and her friends. Samantha was watching as an impartial observer.
“All right. If it was not Sabrina then who was it?” Samantha asked. Andros looked over at the Cassidy sitting off to the side. “Can you get through to her?” Carlos asked.
“I’ll try.” Andros said as he went to Cassidy’s side. Sabrina went with him and they asked David to move back and give them a few minutes.
“Cassidy.” Andros said. “Do you need to talk about something?”
“About what?” Cassidy asked.
“Like the man you killed.” Sabrina said coming to Andros’s side. Cassidy looked up and asked “How did you know?”
“First kill jitters.” Andros said. “We’ve both dealt with them.” Cassidy didn’t respond to Andros’s comment. She continued to sit and shake as she curled into a ball.
“I…I just squeezed the trigger and the shot fired.” Cassidy said. “He fell afterward…like a puppet with his strings cut. He didn’t move. Didn’t breath.”
“I know.” Sabrina said. Cassidy looked at Sabrina as if she spoke from first hand experience. Cassidy stared at Sabrina wondering what story she had to tell. A story Sabrina was willing to tell.
“Well when I was Scorpina I didn’t have to think about people I killed. I just did. Conscience wasn’t a problem for me.”
“Because of the spell?” Cassidy asked.
“It didn’t give me a lot of incentive for thinking about stuff like that.” Sabrina said lopsidedly. “The thing is...spells can wear off eventually. And you can’t hide from what you’ve done forever.”
“How…did you get past it?”
“All you can do is keep going. Make up for the lives you took by saving more than the ones that fell by your hands. That’s easy for you. You’ve only taken one life. I’ve taken many.” Andros looked on not sure if Sabrina was getting through to Cassidy, so he offered his own words.
“Look all I can say is what I was told by my first mentor. Rule number one. People die. Rule number two is ‘heroes can’t change rule number 1.'” Andros continued to speak hoping Cassidy could accept what she had done and move on with the mission.
“I can’t tell you that you won’t kill again. But what I can tell you is this. Our friends need our help. And we need yours. Can I count on you?”
Cassidy then decided. She would be a basket case later. Zhane and Alison, as well as the rest of their friends, needed her now.
She thought of her past, before becoming a Ranger. She was a typical teenage girl. She went to the mall, went to school, partied with friends, had parents (divorced), had dreams of the future. But now all that had changed.
Cassidy Bridges had changed. It wasn’t until now that she knew how much she had changed.
She thought of her father, and saw him in a new light. No longer was he the cool dad she loved so much. She was the cool dad who laid down his life to ensure the citizens of her home were safe. She thought of her grandfather, who always had a story to tell. Now she knew the reality of those stories.
And she thought of her Uncle Bobby, who left for war never to return. Yet return he did, haunted and consumed by the darkness. Unlike her father and grandfather who used the darkness to strengthen their own inner lights. Who sought to protect lives in the name of honor and justice.
Cassidy Bridges resolved to be like them. To embrace the teachings of her father and grandfather, and to apply them in her role as Silver Zeo. She stood up and turned to look at the other survivors and told them what she knew.
“It was Emily.”
Everyone turned to see Silver Zeo speak for the first time. Cassidy turned and explained. “She confessed everything. She warned the rulers from the Pegasus. They were waiting for us here.”
“Why would she do that?” Carlos asked. Cassidy shook her head saying “I don’t know.” And didn’t say anything further. Sabrina looked at Cassidy and had a good idea what the problem was, as did Andros.
“First time is never easy is it?” Andros asked. Cassidy looked up surprised at Andros’s answer. “You…killed before?”
“Had to at times. Doesn’t get any easier when you start.” Sabrina then added. “And you don’t want it to be any easier with practice. Which is not a bad thing.”
“But we are going to have to kill aren’t we?” Cassidy asked. Andros nodded and said “Yeah, it looks like we just may have to. And I don’t like it. I don’t think any of us do.”
All the assembled Rangers nodded. Seeing Cassidy made the reality hit home for them as well. This was not going to be another Ranger mission of ‘destroy the monsters and save the day’. This was a war, much like the invasion of KO-35 had been for Andros. Andros sighed as he saw the plans the Ranger teams had go up in smoke. “I had hoped this would be a simple mission.”
“Well it’s gotten to be far from simple.” Zack then said. His resentment to Sabrina extending to Andros and how they seemed to be close to each other. “So what do we do now fearless leader? How do we get our friends back?”
“Zack, cool your jets.” Samantha then said. “I don’t know what went down with you and Sabrina in the old days, but this is the here and now. And it wasn’t Sabrina that betrayed you, it was Emily.
“Yeah, how did that happen?” David then asked. Carlos added, and what do we do now?” All eyes turned to Andros as he looked at the resources he had on hand. It wasn’t much. However was unwilling to give up. This just meant his mission was going to get harder.
Aquitar would be freed. One way or another.
“We work with what we have, and we keep going.” Andros said. Zack then asked “But what about Cassidy?”
“I’ll be all right.” Cassidy said trying to stand up. “I’ll be playing hurt, but I’ll be all right. Let’s do this.” Andros stood by her side saying “I’ll help her along as we plan our next move.” The other assembled Rangers nodded and stood as everyone wondered what plan Andros had in mind.
And in truth, so did Andros.
As soon as the Rangers were taken away Emily was left alone with the ruling council. Standing, not moving a muscle. A perfect statue. Eyes vacant, staring into nothing, as if waiting for the next command to come. Squatt then walked forward looking at the still Ranger that betrayed her friends and the vacant look in her eyes. “Why is she just standing there?” the monster asked. He then asked “Can we keep her like this?”
“The program has run its course.” Cestria said. “She has helped betray the Rangers. There is nothing else for her to do.” She then turned to Squatt and then said “And no we cannot keep her like this.” The Black Dalek then spoke “THEN SHE IS TO BE EXTERMINATED?!”
Cestria considered the Black Dalek’s words. “Perhaps…but then who would do the exterminating?” The Black Dalek then asked “EXPLAIN?!”
“Patience.” Cestria said. “All in good time. What I have planned may not even be feasible. In the meantime I believe we all have our respective tasks to pursue… benefiting our own agendas.” Lord Mature then said “Yes, we have our profits to monitor.” Mentally he added _And much more._ As he looked down at his clawed hand he hoped his true cause would be served in taking the Aquitar operation from Xizor.
The cause of eternal life. A cause he would pay ANY price for.
“AND WE MUST SEE TO OUR NEW FORCES!!” the Black Dalek said. Soon all members of the ruling council left, leaving a still Emily alone with Cestria. But inside Emily’s head someone was screaming. Pounding on the walls of her own mind. Someone Cestria heard.
“I can feel you you know.” Cestria sneered as Emily stood immobile. “The real you. Pounding against the walls of your mind. Wondering what is going on. What would you do if you knew? What would your friends do?” Cestria then let out a small laugh as she walked down to where Emily sat and pulled out a sword and aimed it at Emily’s neck as if ready to behead her. If the Rangers saw the sword Cestria had they would have recognized it immediately, as it was a sword that belonged to one of their old foes.
A sword that was now in Cestria’s possession, and was being used to threaten Cestria’s life. The Scorpion Stinger. The sword of Scorpina. A sword in Cestria’s possession.
“I could kill you you know. In many ways that could be a blessing.” Emily just stood unflinching as if waiting for the strike to come. Cestria however had her own ideas as she took the blade away from Emily’s throat and sheathed it. Standing up Cestria reached out and touched the side of Emily’s forehead. Her blank expression still unmoving. Cestria however knew that was only a temporary condition, as she expected the real Emily to emerge soon, fully aware of what she had done.
And what agony that would be, even if she didn’t get the later agony from the Rangers. Agony she could enjoy.
“I free you now Emily St. John. You’ll be yourself again. And you will live with the evil that you have done to your friends.” Cestria then turned away from Emily as she was escorted from the council chamber by Organization Shadow Troopers. Her destination was her cell.
Along the way Emily flinched as the cracks in her mind became evident. The AP was being swept away and her real mind was taking over. The pain of the process: physical, mental, and emotional rushed in to her all at one time. Like a dam that burst ready to flood. Memories, emotions, feelings of shame, helplessness, and despair all rushing in at one time crushing the reawakening soul of Emily St. John that was allowed to reassert itself in her body.
Throughout the stream of corridors Emily St. John screamed. As Cestria heard the scream she sat on her throne and laughed. The Rangers’ pain was her pleasure.
And there would be more pain to come.
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