Psycho Returns – The Cure
By Shadow Ranger
By Shadow Ranger
“Are you sure about this Billy?” Tommy asked.
“Trust me,” the Blue Ranger replied. “This is the safest way to siphon off some of your excess powers.”
“But the Angel Grove power plant…”
“Is in need of an environmentally sound fuel supply. Mayor Carrington has agreed to utilize your powers as a substitute for Uranium.”
“Aw man, is that safe?” Tommy asked.
“Safer than letting you explode,” Trini commented.
Billy pulled a small scanner from his pocket and checked the readings.
“We’re clear,” he said to Trini.
“Zordon, remove cloak,” Trini said.
“At once Trini,” Alpha Five responded.
With the cloak gone the three Rangers appeared unmorphed. Billy had advised that only Tommy should use his powers, but they had needed to ensure there were no cameras in the area before losing the cloaking device.
“Place your hands here,” Billy said as he pointed to a power converter he had built with Ninjor’s help.
Tommy did as his friend suggested and felt a slight drain on his Zeo Toxin enhanced body. Billy had predicted that Tommy would not survive much longer unless they could find a way to siphon his excess energy. Now thanks to Billy they had a way of doing so that would not put the Morphin team and most of the Zeo Rangers on the injured list.
“Teleporting out,” Billy said as he and Trini vanished.
“It’s Morphin Time!” Tommy called when the others had gone. “Zeo Ranger V – Red!”
The overloaded Zeoniser discharged its power into the power plant specially altered storage tanks where it was dispersed across the nation’s power facilities.
At Biilly’s base of operation Triini was staring at the readouts she used to locate the Rangers.
“Biilly, they’re up to something,” she said.
Biilly broke off his conversation with Kaat and walked over to where his lover was waiting. He took a look at the readings from the Angel Grove Power Plant and smiled. There was only one reason he could think of for the Rangers to do this and that was to drain the effects of the toxin he had detected in Tommy’s blood.
“The process will leave Tommy vulnerable,” he said. “We could take him out quickly and he would be powerless to stop us.”
“It would eliminate the leader of the Zeo Rangers and with Nathan and Samoht out of the way, it would take out three of their most powerful warriors.”
“Let me go Biilly,” Kaat purred.
The Pink Psycho Ranger had accepted her existence as Rita’s agent had been beneficial and had managed to tap that part of her character. She had taken on many of the attributes of the animal she emulated so well. She was agile, playful and cunning. She was also a hunter who teased her prey before destroying it.
“Why not,” Triini answered. She looked at Biilly and he agreed with her judgment.
“Don’t play with him too much,” Biilly warned.
Kaat nodded and placed her Power Ring upon her finger. The dark energy embraced her twisted spirit animal and she was instantly transformed. Her costumed that of the Catwoman in Batman Returns and she carried a long whip in addition to extendible claws. A quick look around and she was gone.
“Do you think she’ll succeed?” Triini asked.
“Who cares?” Biilly answered. “If she fails she won’t be the first. Giant and Blob messed up, why should be any better?”
“You have a plan,” Triini observed.
“Aiisha had a plan,” Biilly said. “And from the look of it she’s finished.”
The door opened and Doc Tortua, formerly Aiisha Campbell entered. Behind her was a small group of foot soldiers similar to those used by the UAE. Biilly had taken the trouble to obtain samples from Lord Zedd, Rita, Mondo, Gasket, Divatox, Havoc and even Dark Specter so Doc Tortua could experiment. From the screams he had heard in her laboratory and the odd looking foot soldiers he assumed she had been successful.
“Your foot soldiers Biilly,” Doc Tortua said.
Biilly Cranston, mad scientist and heir to the legacy of Minion studied the creatures Aiisha had placed before him. There was certainly a sense of logic to the way she had handled things. She had combined different groups of foot soldiers together to create a new breed of warrior.
The Cyber Tengas and Cyber Putties were obvious hybrids from Rita, Zedd, Mondo and Gasket’s collection of foot soldiers. But Doc Tortua had varied were methods for building Cyber Putties and Cyber Tengas. Some of the Cyber Tengas were Tengas with cybernetic implants to make them smarter, but a second group of Cyber Tengas were Cogs fitted with metallic wings and beaks to make them more aggressive. Some of the Cyber Putties were clay covered by pieces of metal whilst others had solid metal bodies covered by hardened clay to increase their strength.
Aiisha had even gone so far as to fit wings to the backs of the Putties and to give Tengas clay weapons on the ends of their arms.
There were other combinations available of Piranatrons and Chromites, Quantrons and Cogs, Piranatrons and Putties, and Tengas and Piranatrons.
“Amazing,” Biilly commented.
“You excelled yourself,” Triini commented.
“I’ve only managed one of each so far,” Doc Tortua said.
“We can duplicate them now,” Biilly said.
“And then we can send them against the Rangers,” Triini said.
“They’ll never know what hit them,” Biilly smirked.
Pain flooded all of Nathan’s senses as he tried to focus on where he was. The sensation of having his body divided into three separate entities was both new and disorientating. He could feel triple the normal pain he experienced from the Techno-virus. The virus had all but conquered his body. The only battle was in his mind. He could feel something tearing its way through his conscious mind and realised that the stress of separation had created a wave of purifying energy that cleansed his mind. The force of his will wiped out the virus.
Hatchiman stood over the injured Samoht Revilo. Like all bullies he was a coward that was only too happy to prey on those he considered weak. He kicked Samoht in the head, careful not to cause the boy to lose consciousness. He did not want the Green Morphin Ranger to miss any of the pain being inflicted. He enjoyed bouncing the two hundred-year-old clone off the walls of the cell.
For his part Samoht endured everything Hatchiman dished out. His concentration was focused purely on restoring his link to the Power that Blob had temporarily severed. The Cold Iron was slowly losing its effect and Samoht was starting to feel better.
Nathan opened his eyes and looked around. His hair had returned to its normal colour and the disorientating effects of separation had passed. He found that he was staring into the eyes of his female component. She smiled at him and winked as she drew herself up to her feet. On his other side Nate stirred. He had not been as lucky as Nathan and was composed almost entirely of living metal. Yet he retained his human spirit and free will.
“It’s Morphin Time!” they said in unison.
“Ninjetti Salamander!” Nathan Oliver cried. His voice was young and excited. This was a side of Nathan few of the Rangers had seen. He had lost all the doom and gloom that had once been a burden. For the first time since Minion had infected him the Techno-virus he felt confident that he could not be beaten in combat. It wasn’t cockiness, just the kind of confidence that comes from being that good.
The Morphin Grid permeated his form and he felt better than ever. Only Cold Iron was truly immune to the power of magic, but when the Techno-virus had been present he had felt a lapse in the Grid’s presence. That had been the scariest thing of all for a guy raised to feel the Grid’s flow at all times.
When he called his power he was at once dressed in the cloth uniform the Morphin Rangers wore in Ninja mode but without the mask. His uniform was coloured green with a pink stripe around his shoulders. There were no weapons evident on his costume.
“Zeo Ranger Power!” Nate Hilliard called. His voice was flat and did not convey the emotion he felt. He looked down at himself and discovered for the first time that he was the one the Techno-virus had taken over. He searched for any part of him that was organic; he found nothing.
At his call the full Zeo Crystal that had been given to Nathan shortly after his birth. Nate’s transformation was strange. The living metal and Zeo Crystal merged and adapted so the power of the Zeo Crystal became a permanent part of him. His body changed so parts of the living metal formed armored plates. It was mostly white with green grid lines similar to the Zeo Phantom’s costume. In the centre of his chest was the familiar ten coloured crystal, but without the Power Ruby that had been the focus of the Zeo Phantom’s power. He didn’t have a helmet as such. The Power had altered his features so they provided protection and a visor so he would benefit from the helmet functions the other Rangers had.
The important thing was that Nate could not feel pain. He could be damaged and destroyed, but his only suffering was his continued existence. The Power could focus on providing weaponry because it didn’t need to worry about protection.
“Phantom Ranger Power!” Natalie Oliver called. This was the first time Nate had accepted his feminine side and allowed it to exist. Despite her looks, Natalie was every bit as dangerous as Nathan and Nate. Perhaps, even more so when she used the Power Ruby. Where Stryfe had shattered it, her will forged it back together again.
Her uniform was similar to that of the original Phantom Ranger in her dimension. Black, with silver tubing she looked like an astronaut more than a Ranger did. With a little concentration though the tubing vanished. She was dressed in an all black uniform with silver highlights running down the seams. The visor on her helmet resembled the front windscreen of a car. In the centre of her chest was the Power Ruby.
Hatchiman kicked Samoht one last time and then thrust his sword towards the Green Morphin Ranger’s chest.
“Zeo Power Beam!”
A ray of ten coloured lights struck the tip of the sword and melted it.
“So you’re back are you?” Hatchiman asked. He turned ready to face the Zeo Phantom and was shocked to find not one but three Rangers. “Who are you?”
“Not so easy when your opponents are armed is it?” Zeo Ranger asked.
Nate had discovered that since he was unique, he could simply call himself Zeo Ranger. Whether he was powered by part of the crystal or the whole thing, his metallic face would be the distinguishing feature.
Zeo Ranger fired a second blast from his Power Beam, an adapted Zeo Power Blaster. Hatchiman’s sword vanished when he dropped it. The Green Psycho Ranger once known as Adaam Park tried to intimidate the three Rangers, but they were having none of it. Nate did most of the fighting, matching Hatchiman move for move.
“My turn,” Phantom Ranger said forcefully.
Hatchiman assumed that Natalie would make an easier target. He was wrong. Natalie remembered the training Nathan had received from the Adam Park of her dimension. The former Black Ranger, Green Zeo and Green Turbo Ranger had instructed Nate on the techniques to use against a more experienced fighter. Natalie used those teachings as a way of out thinking Hatchiman. After all, he was the replica of Adam Park even if he wore a Power Ring.
When Hatchiman moved close, she kicked him away. She used her left leg as a balance pointed and kicked with the right leg. She bent her left leg to alter the angle and height of her attack. She barely needed to use her arms when attacking, but when she did her blows were precise and deadly. After she had kicked every part of his body she drew back and allowed Nate an opportunity to gain some measure of revenge.
“Blaster,” Nathan said as he held his hand open towards Zeo Ranger.
Zeo Ranger knew what Nathan planned and handed him a Blade Blaster. Nathan checked the power level, grateful for the empathic link that seemed to exist between him, Nate and Natalie.
“Take it,” he said, holding the gun so that Hatchiman could grab it. Hatchiman did as he was bid. “Shoot!”
Hatchiman didn’t need to be told twice. He pulled the trigger at near pointblank ranger and missed. He fired again without success. He stood upright and continued to fire towards the Ninjetti. Despite the fact that Nathan never moved, the barrage didn’t hit him.
Just as Nate had discovered he could call himself Zeo Ranger without fear of being mistaken for someone else, so Nathan had found the name Salamander Ninjetti to be too long for him to handle. He decided that if anyone asked he was simply Nathan. His enemies would learn to respect the name when he defeated them.
Hatchiman was shocked. Somehow Nathan had managed to bend the bolts of energy so they avoided him. But that wasn’t what happened. The more he thought about it the more he was certain the blasts had hit their target. He decided to test his theory and threw a knife at Nathan. Once again the weapon seemed to miss.
“Nobody makes a fool out of me!” Hatchiman cried.
He attacked with every move he had ever known. Nathan calmly blocked them and positioned himself ready for the next blow. He found that Adaam’s fighting style was the same as the man who had taught him and with that knowledge he was able to predict Hatchiman’s every move.
“Do something,” Hatchiman urged. “Show some honour.”
Nathan laughed. Here was a man who had betrayed the Rangers lecturing him about honour.
“Argh!” Hatchiman cried in anger. He charged towards Nathan with a new sword in hand.
“OOPS!” Nathan commented as he calmly ducked and kicked the back of Hatchiman’s knee. The villain crashed to the ground as Nathan added: “Mind the step.”
“My turn,” Samoht said, as he stood upright. The Ranger Healing had finally completed its task and Samoht was ready for some payback on Hatchiman.
“Puny threats from a powerless Ranger,” Hatchiman taunted.
“Oh please,” Natalie moaned. “Try and be original.”
“Besides,” Samoht added. “I’m not so powerless. Green Ranger Power!”
The effects of the Cold Iron had finally worn off and Samoht was able to morph once again.
“You were saying?” he asked as Hatchiman tried to back away.
“Four on one isn’t fair,” Hatchiman pointed out.
“And kicking someone when they are down is?” Nathan asked.
“Time to finish this,” Natalie said.
Samoht nodded unsure who this woman or the metal-faced stranger was. Nor did he understand why Nathan was wearing a different uniform. He did see the logic in the woman’s suggestion and summoned the Dragon Blade.
His sword clashed with Hatchiman’s weapon for a few seconds and then he shattered it. A clean blow through the stomach brought Adaam to his knees. With a quick swipe he drove the sword through Hatchiman’s neck.
“It didn’t work,” Nathan commented.
“Fools,” Hatchiman yelled as the unstable portion of Adaam’s mind took over. “The Power Ring makes me indestructible!”
“Phantom Sword!” Phantom Ranger called.
Green Ranger pulled back to allow the Phantom Ranger a chance to show her stuff. Although deadly with the feet she was no slouch with a sword. She was more than able to divert Hatchiman’s blows. The Psycho Ranger fought dirty, but she fought with everything she had ever learned. She feigned a move to the left, exposing her right side. Hatchiman took the bait and lunged for the weakness. She threw the sword into the air, kicked Hatchiman in the head and pinned his left hand to the ground. She grabbed the blade as it fell and used it to slice through the Psycho Ranger’s fingers. The Power Ring rolled free and Adaam was returned to his normal cowardly self.
“Adaam needs our help,” Taanya said as she burst into Biilly’s control room.
The Blue Psycho Ranger calmly turned on a monitor and watched the four Rangers with obvious disdain. “Who are they?” he asked.
“Nathan,” Stryfe replied. “He found a way around the Techno-virus.”
“And now Adaam will be destroyed,” Taanya said.
“Good riddance,” Triini commented. “I never liked the little twerp anyway.”
“Even so, we must ensure the Rangers are destroyed,” Biilly said. Into the microphone he said: “Adaam, put the ring on!”
Adaam did as he was told and Biilly smiled as he thought of the pain his fellow Psycho Ranger was about to endure.
“Begin the pulse wave,” he told Doc Tortua.
Aiisha nodded and did as she was told. She didn’t want to end up like Hatchiman. As she pushed a button a pulse wave was focused onto Adaam’s Power Ring. The wave reacted to the soul trapped inside the Power Ring’s jewel and caused the energy inside to over react.
“Hatchiman, finish them or do not bother to return,” Biilly ordered as the four Rangers and the Psycho Ranger were teleported into the desert outside Angel Grove where Hatchiman immediately started to grow.
Hatchiman grew to full height and as he did so his features became more human. His body was now covered in a mixture of brown armour of thick grey material. On his head he wore a horned helmet that covered the sides of his face and his nose. He held two short swords in his hands and a pair of Sais on his belt. In some ways he resembled the Thunder Megazord.
“Stay back,” Green Ranger said to his three companions. He assumed they didn’t have Zords. He was wrong.
Red Zeo heard the noise, but was unsure where it came from. The power cells had drained most of the powers from his Zeo fragment and caused him to demorph. He had been on his way out of the power plant when he had sensed something following him.
“What’s the matter Tommy?” a familiar voice asked. Something flashed before him and he felt a kick to his chest.
He looked around carefully, but the large generators blocked his view. He listened for anything that would give his attacker’s position away, but he could hear only the whirling turbines. He felt something touch the inside of his leg and turned quickly. Whatever it was gone. He moved as quietly as possible towards the door where he hoped to teleport. The turbines were jamming his communicator so he could not contact Zordon.
Another flash of black and this time he felt a sharp blow to his head. Tommy fell down and felt a weight on his chest. He could feel something cold against his chin. He managed to focus and discovered it was a PVC covered hand.
“Cat got your tongue?” Black Cat asked, her clawed fingers caressing his face.
“Kaat?” Tommy asked.
“Sooo, you remembered. How purr-fect,” she mewed softly.
“What do you want?” he asked.
“I want a scratching post,” Black Cat purred. “And your i…”
She stopped talking when she spotted some dust sparkling in the distance. Tommy took advantage and kicked her away. He scrambled to his feet and ran for the door. He was fast; she was faster and caught him with her claws. Blood ran from his left legs where she had delivered a deep cut.
The next few minutes were spent with Tommy being allowed to crawl away before Black Cat cut him off and injured him again. She was enjoying her game especially with Tommy as the mouse.
“I’m going to slice you open,” she announced as her middle claw extended fully.
“Red Ranger V – Red!” Tommy called.
“Having problems Tommy?” Black Cat asked.
Her claw descended and cut a few of the hairs on his head.
“That was a warning,” she said. “This time I won’t miss.”
Tommy looked up at the creature that had once been the replica of Katharine Hilliard. He could see little resemblance. This creature was obviously enjoyed torturing him if her tail was anything to go by.
_Tail? That’s it! _
Without warning, Tommy grabbed a hold of Black Cat’s tail. Her eyes went wide with pain and she almost jumped into the air. Tommy took the opportunity and rolled clear. He dragged himself along on his damaged leg; the blood flowed down his leg as he did so.
He felt Black Cat’s weight as she pounced on him again. This time the pain shot through his shoulders as her claws dug in deep.
“Enough games,” she hissed, all playfulness gone from her voice. “Time to die.”
Her claw descended on his throat.
“Dragonzord!” Green Ranger called.
As he thrust the Dragon Blade into the air he could hear the double tone of the two dragon flutes summoning his oldest companion. He felt the Zord approach even before he spotted it. The link between Ranger and Zord was almost as strong as the vibrations on the ground where the Zord trod. The mechanical roar let him know that the machine was within range. His hands moved to his belt and he teleported aboard.
“Dragonzord Power up!” he cried from inside as he placed the Dragon Blade in its slot.
Hatchiman had been surprised by Samoht’s choice of Zord. He had thought that the Green Shogun Zord or even the Green Battle Borg would have been a better alternative when battling a humanoid opponent. What Hatchiman failed to realise was that Samoht drew his greatest strength from the Body Aspect and had a close link to the Dragonzord. Besides which, after spending two hundred years with the Zord as his only friend, he had tuned the machine to peak performance.
In spite of Hatchiman’s doubts, the Dragonzord quickly proved a deadly opponent. Its hands and tail kept the Psycho Ranger’s swords at bay and its finger missiles knocked Hatchiman off his feet. At the pull of a lever the Zord switched to four-legged mode and unleashed a wall of flame from its mouth. Before returning to biped mode, the Zord delivered a headbutt to Hatchiman’s stomach.
“Vector Strike!” Hatchiman called. His swords moved through the air to create a ‘v’ of energy. As he sheathed the swords the ‘v’ exploded towards Dragonzord and knocked the huge machine over.
In the cockpit Samoht directed the tail drill as a crutch on which to stand upright. Once the Dragonzord was back on its feet, it swung its tail towards Hatchiman. The Psycho Ranger ducked and tried to cut the tail off with his sword.
“Shall we?” Phantom Ranger asked.
The three Rangers formerly known solely as Nathan Oliver had been talking over how to split their powers equally. The Zeo Phantom had had access to all the Zords and weapons found in his own dimension. Now they needed to share them. Ultimately it was decided that Phantom Ranger would keep all the Zords with the exception of any Nathan or Nate wished to use. She could of course provide Zords to any Ranger she felt needed one.
Nate was able to keep the trio’s weapons supply. He was the one with the heaviest shielding and therefore the one most likely to survive some of his dimension’s weapons, especially those created by Billy Cranston. The former Blue Ranger had had a tendency to put too much power into his weapons.
Nathan elected to keep the Mobile Suits Zordon his dimension’s King Lexian had designed. They were similar to Zords in some ways except that they could grow from nine foot to Megazord size at the push of a button. They were not link to any particular powers and could be used by any type of Ranger. Of all the suits developed only nine had ever been produced, each one individual.
“Let’s join in,” Nathan said. “Lizard Zord!”
The sleek green Zord appeared from the pocket dimension where it had been stored for nearly twenty years. Nathan had never used the Zord and wasn’t entirely sure what it could do, but as it drew close he could feel the connection between his powers and the Zord established themselves. The Lizard Zord was designed for the Salamander powers. When it emerged, it stood on two legs with its front limbs acting as arms. Its tail was almost three-quarters of the length of its body. The mouth was layered with rows of teeth above, which was the cockpit where Nathan could sit.
“Lizard is a-okay,” Nathan said as he logged on to the Zord he was born for.
The newly activated Zord charged towards Hatchiman. It was faster than the Dragonzord and had a slightly longer reach. But as Hatchiman quickly demonstrated it lacked power. A strike with the flat of his foot to the Lizard Zord’s jaw knocked it to the ground.
“Zeo!” Zeo Ranger called.
A large shuttle pod appeared behind the Zeo Ranger as a silver battle suit strolled into view. Zeo Ranger climbed into the pod, which then attached to the shoulders of the suit, completing the assembly. The suit grew to Megazord size as its weapons systems activated. Zeo Ranger’s living metal body integrated with the battle suit giving him greater control.
In effect the suit was a modified version of the Red Battlezord. In Nate’s dimension, the Zeo Zords were never destroyed and had been recovered from the remains of the Power Chamber after the golden wave. Billy had altered the weapon to serve as a Battle Borg for the Zeo Phantom.
For Nate it was as if he had grown up suddenly. He could feel everything the battle suit could feel. Every thought was transmitted faster than any mechanical interface. Only the Aquitian’s original links to their Battle Borgs were faster.
“Shredder Cannons!” Zeo Ranger called.
The eight barrels mounted inside each of the suits wrist panels burst into action, tearing into Hatchiman’s armour while the Lizard recovered.
“Anytime now Phantom!” Nathan commented.
Natalie took the hint and summoned a Zord. It didn’t matter which Zord since she could pilot almost anything. In the end she settled for the Robo-Racer that once belonged to her friend the Blue Senturion. In robot mode and with its handcuffs ready, it attacked.
“Nathan, hold him!” Nate instructed.
The Lizard Zord wrapped its tail around Hatchiman and lifted him off the ground. Its clawed hands grabbed the shoulders and held the arms apart.
With the monster disabled Robo Racer was able to shatter its helmet and remove its swords. It transformed to vehicle mode and as the Lizard Zord moved out of the way, the Robo Racer tore through Hatchiman.
“Finish it!” Natalie ordered.
Zeo Ranger obeyed. He transferred every shred of energy into a single blast and fired. Hatchiman’s ring was blown off his hand as the hand and arms were torn from the body. The energy sliced Adaam to pieces as the Psycho Ranger shrank back to normal size. As the ring glowed in an attempt to reunite the monster, Green Ranger guided the Dragonzord and stomped on the crystal and released the soul trapped inside.
“Consider that payback,” Samoht muttered as he returned Dragonzord to the harbor and powered down. Nathan, Natalie and Nate did likewise and the four Rangers prepared to teleport to the Power Chamber.
“Going somewhere?” a voice, asked.
The Rangers groaned as they turned and found themselves confronted by Taanya, Roocky, Stryfe and Zaack.
“Biilly doesn’t want to lose you just yet,” Stryfe said. “So we thought we’d convince you to stay. One way or another.”
In the Power Chamber three alarms sounded at once. The Viewing Screen flicked between emergencies so fast that Alpha had to slow the images to discover the problem. It showed first Tommy about to die at the hands of Black Cat, then Samoht and company fighting against the morphed Psycho Rangers, and finally Angel Grove Park where Doc Tortua was waiting with what looked like some of the ugliest foot soldiers Billy had ever seen.
“Alpha, send Adam, Rocky, Bulk and Tanya to help Sam,” Billy instructed. “Jason and Aisha can handle the park if you send Samantha as well. We’ll need Kat and David to help Tommy.”
“Right away Billy,” Alpha said.
“It’s Morphin Time!”
“Blue Ranger Power!”
“Yellow Ranger Power!”
“Good luck Rangers,” Zordon said. He had a feeling they would need it.
“Do you hear that?” Daavid asked his prisoner.
Tommy stared defiantly at his brother’s replica. Daavid had arrived to help Black Cat and together they had secured the Red Zeo Ranger to one of the generators. Tommy had no doubt that they planned to turn on the power and kill him. He had to play along.
“No,” he said.
“I can,” Black Cat purred. “That is the sound of Zordon summoning your little friends. Any minute now they’ll be here to save you. And when they do…”
“We’ll be ready,” Daavid told him.
“This is the end,” Biilly said from his control room. “The end of the Power Rangers!”
Next: The last of the replicas arrive and Toommy makes his choice.
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