Cassandra stood over the rim of the cliff staring out over the mountain range of Hades. 'For a dark and barren planet it sure is full of life.' she thought.
Yes my child., said the voice of Serena, Cassandra's spirit guide.
Due to the powers of the emerald crystal Cassandra was given telepathy as well as a keen insight into the realm of the spirit. When she looked out over the horizon she saw spirits flying around moving freely like the living would. It almost seemed like they were going about their business like they were still alive.
Cassandra could see and hear them as they flew past. She found the whole experience amazing.
Her attention then turned towards where a group of spirits were flying around a certain area. Serena what's over there?, Cassandra mentally asked.
After a long pause Serena spoke Nothing that needs concern you now child. Those spirits are fighting a battle we cannot interfere in...yet.
And with that Cassandra turned back towards the safehouse which was illuminating some sort of power aura.
"All systems up and running. The new luminescence shield is functioning well.", said Bruce.
"Good.", said Kincaid. "The new improvements are in place?"
"Yep. There's no way anyone can break through this time."
"I hope so.", said Kincaid. The recall of the collapse of the last shield still fresh in his mind. "Now, what other trouble can we get into?"
"Ashley's handling that right now.", said Bruce. "She's trying to get leads on her missing friends."
"You gave her some information on that right?", Kincaid asked. Bruce nodded.
"Let's see how she's doing.", Kincaid said as he and Bruce went to check on her.
Ashley was filtering through the recon reports that Bruce had given her on the computer screen in front of her. The reports seemed to be accurate, but the problem that she was facing was who to rescue first.
Some of the information contained information about the other Astro rangers(lightstars), but she just couldn't pick one out of personal bias. Especially since other rangers were in as much dire straits as the Astros were now. There was only one answer to the problem, and part of that answer walked in to the lab in the forms of Kincaid and Bruce.
"Hey Ashley. How's it going?", asked Bruce.
"Well I'm trying to choose a ranger rescue mission.", said Ashley. "The only problem is 'how do I be fair about it?' And I think I found an answer when you guys walked in."
"What's your answer?", asked Kincaid.
"I'm going to have the computer randomly select a mission. It'll be first come first serve.And since you guys are here you'll be reassured that I'm not choosing one out of favoritism to the Astro rangers."
"No problem Ashley. We'll support whatever decision will be made.", Kincaid said. Then Ashley activated the randomizer function.
The computer went through all the files until it stopped on one. Ashley, Kincaid and Bruce were surprised.
The capital palace on the harem world of Vega 9 was reminiscent of an old palace out of stories about genies and their magic lamps. Walls were ornated with fantastic draperies and furnishings laced with gold and silver. The whole palace looked like the owner had money to burn. And when the ruler was allied with the Luciferian empire sometimes one did.
Lord Eros sat on his throne being attended to by his servants as he had two cats sitting with him. He had recently heard about the downfall, and apparent demise, of Lord Crucible. Also the apparent nomination of General Savrod to the vacant post. Eros knew Savrod was a shrewd opponent. It wouldn't be long before the rebels were on the ropes again.
But for now Eros wanted amusement so he put his two cats down on the ground. They walked and turned to face the throne. Then they started to transform and where two cats once stood before Eros now stood two girls in their later teens.
The first one was tall and blonde with a light complection. The other was kind of a contradiction to the tall blond as she was short and had brown hair but what the girls both had in common was an aura of beauty and goodness that people couldn't help but take notice of. But the fire and spirit seemed as if it had been shut off as they showed no ounce of resistance, or at least none that could be detected.
But the two girls were aware of their surroundings and their predicament. No spell was used to control their minds. It was more the bodies that obeyed Eros's commands and the girls screamed mentally for a release.
Eros looked at the girls and said. "Amuse me."
And Katherine Hillard and Kimberly Hart began to perform whatever Eros asked of them...much to their shame.
Tommy arrived on Hades and met up with Cassandra. "What's up Cassandra. I got a call from Kincaid saying to come here quick. That there was something I would be interested in."
"There is. But I'll let Kincaid explain it.", said Cassandra as they made their way to the briefing room. Kincaid stood at the head of the table, flanked by Bruce and the chair that Cassandra later took. Mackenzie and Justin took the left side while Adam and Ashley took the right. Tommy took the chair next to Ashley.
Kincaid greeted Tommy. "Good to see you again Tommy. And now that you're here we can get started."
Ashley spoke first. "With the help of Bruce I have begun a project where the Nightfighters would be looking to free the rangers held in captivity. The first one up were these two."
Kincaid activated a viewscreen and the images of Katherine Hillard and Kimberly Hart appeared on the screen. Tommy was speechless. "Kat and Kim?"
Kincaid nodded. "They are on a planet called Vega 9 which looks like a throwback to Ali Baba and the forty thieves. They are classed as 'entertainers' to Lord Eros the planet administrator. Don't ask what kind of entertainment."
"I won't.", said Tommy. "So what's the game plan?"
"Well for starters we're going to have a small four person team go in for a rescue. We're also going to have to do it in a way that will throw Eros off guard." Kincaid then turned to Ashley. "I assume you'll want to Ashley?"
"Absolutely.", said Ashley
He then faced Tommy. "I had a feeling that you'd want to go Tommy."
"You know that.", Tommy said.
"So who's the fourth one?", asked Mackenzie.
Kincaid then turned to Mackenzie and said. "Oh thanks for volunteering." Mackenzie then had a look that said 'what's going on here?'.
"Okay what's the plan?", asked Ashley.
Kincaid then smiled as an idea came to him. "Well Eros likes entertainment, so let's give him something to entertain him with."
Hardrive spoke through the computer link-up and said "I love it when a plan comes together."
After their stint "entertaining" Eros Katherine and Kimberly were sent down to the dungeon that was called home to them. They were briused and some of the little clothing that they wore were torn. The guard then ordered the girls to sit down while he left a new set of loincloths and bras for them to wear then he walked out of the cell. The girls sat there until the guard waived his hands which released them from the spell that they were under.
Kat and Kim were allowed to move, and express themselves freely. And as they had so many times before after giving Eros his "entertainment" they embraced each other in a hug and cried out their shame.
"I can't do this anymore Kat.", said Kim between sobs. "I can't be his puppet anymore."
"I know Kim.", said Kat crying as well. "Death would be preferable than being his puppet again."
"I wish Tommy was here.", said Kim. "He'd know how to get these control spells off of us." Kat nodded.
They continued to hug as the two friends drew strength from each other, unaware that Eros was watching them from his chamber.
A shuttle flew away from the safehouse on Hades. Kincaid, Ashley, Tommy and Mackenzie were on board. "How long before we get there?", asked Tommy.
"It's a three day journey.", said Kincaid in the pilot seat. Ashley sat in the co-pilot seat. "We still have a ways to go."
Tommy sighed. He wished that he could get there sooner. He and Kat were close, and Kim was someone he realized he would always have feelings for, despite the letter. He couldn't stand to see either one of them hurting. Kincaid empathized, he thought that Tommy and Kat had some sort of connection together. And even though he had never formally met Kimberly Hart, he knew just by looking at her that she was someone special as well.
After a 12 hours of flying Ashley got a little tired and needed to take a break. Mackenzie took over her spot on the co-pilot seat next to Kincaid. Ashley then left to see how Tommy was faring who left to practice his katas.
"So how are you holding up?", asked Mackenzie.
"What do you mean?", responded Kincaid.
"Well you just told all of us how your team was destroyed, and after that you just defeated a villian who was once your leader. I was just wondering how you were feeling."
Kincaid was silent for a while then turned to face Mackenzie. "To be honest, I don't really feel anything. When I took out Crucible, I didn't jump for joy over beating him. I didn't feel sorrow for sending him crashing onto Hades surface. It was just something that had to be done. It kind of scares me."
"Scares you? How so?"
"Mackenzie, I've spent a good part of my life alone. I've more or less been the outsider looking in. Part of this is because I've had a lot of bad experiences interacting with other people. Experiences that have caused me to keep people at a distance. I had happiness for a few times, but it never lasted, so I figured why bother."
Mackenzie sighed. She understood all too well what Kincaid was saying having gone through much of the same things herself. "Believe it or not I do know where you're coming from." she said.
Kincaid then turned to look at Makenzie and the look on her face told him that she was being sincere. He then took hold of her hand as a gesture of thanks and held it.
Both Kincaid and Mackenzie felt something when their hands touched, like some sort of connection with their souls. They then looked into each others eyes and they knew that they had no sectets from one another. As Kincaid looked into Mackenzie's eyes he saw her soul. It was kind, gentle and loving that had a firey spirit behind it. He also saw a lot of hard living in her as well and how it shaped her.
Mackenzie looked into Kincaid's deep blue eyes and felt like she could lose herself in them. She saw everything that he was. Who he was. How he became what he was. The experiences life gave him and how they molded Kincaid into who he was today. No secrets were kept from her about him.
What they felt was a feeling beyond comprehension, almost as if two seperate electrical charges had come togehter to form one mighty charge. And as if in unison Kincaid and Mackenzie went closer to one another and kissed.
It was a soft kiss but it held a lot of feeling and tenderness behind it. When they backed away all Mackenzie could say was "Wow."
Kincaid then went on the com-link and asked Ashley and Tommy to come to the bridge. When they arrived Kincaid asked. "Could you two take over for a while?"
Ashley and Tommy took the pilot seats as Kincaid and Mackenzie got out. When Ashley turned to see them leave she couldn't believe what she saw--Kincaid and Mackenzie leaving hand in hand.
"Don't do anything I wouldn't do.", Ashley called back. "Besides, we're still two days away."
Kincaid and Mackenzie turned and smiled. "Ha, ha." they said sarcastically.
Kincaid and Mackenzie stopped at the simudeck where he entered in a program called 'ballroom 1.' "You know if we were back in the safehouse we could do this there. The 'muppet ballroom' as you call it would have been perfect.", Kincaid said.
"I don't mind.", Mackenzie said. "Besides the ballroom doesn't provide you with fancy clothes when dancing."
"No it doesn't. So what would you prefer? Something in satin?"
Mackenzie went to the computer and entered in her choice. Kincaid entered his and they both walked into the simudeck together.
When they entered Kincaid was dressed in a black tuxedo with red cumberbun and bow tie. Mackenzie entered in a white evening dress made of satin. The ballroom environment was empty.
"May I have this dance madam?", Kincaid asked like a perfect gentleman.
"I'd be honored sir.", said Mackenzie as she offered Kincaid her hand. He led her down to the center of the dance floor as the music began to play. The song was 'Light in your eyes by Blessed Union of Souls.
"Kincaid can I ask you something?", asked Mackenzie as they were dancing.
"I've heard this song before. Why are we dancing to a song about a relationship ending?"
Kincaid smiled. "When I hear the song, I don't think of the words. I just dance to the music itself."
"Have you danced to this song before?", Mackenzie asked.
"Only in my dreams.", said Kincaid. "And only with a dream girl.
"So am I your dream girl?", she asked with a smile.
Kincaid answered with a twirl and took her back in his arms. "What do you think?", he asked.
Mackenzie smiled as the music continued playing.
Mackenzie felt like she was flying. She had to admit that Kincaid was a good dancer. Very graceful and elegant. As she looked into his deep blue eyes she felt like she could lose herself in them forever.
Kincaid looked into Mackenzie's eyes and felt the same way. As she brought her head to his shoulder Kincaid took her head into his hand and softly carressed it as they continued to waltz.
And after the song ended Mackenzie and Kincaid parted their lips and brought their mouths together for a kiss that was deep, long and passionate.
Kim and Kat however were doing a dance themselves after Eros activated the slave spells and brought them back out again for more 'entertainment'.
As he was getting into the show he caught notice of a shuttle flying overhead. He turned Kim and Kat back into cats as he looked up into the sky. He saw a parachute come out of a shuttlecraft. It looked like it was going to land near the center of the capital square.
"Guardsmen bring me that jumper.", he ordered two of his guardsmen. The two cats were picked up and put onto Eros's lap. No way was he going to lose his favorite 'toys'.
When the guardsmen returned they saw a figure in a lizard suit before him. "Identify yourself."
"How do you do sir. I'm Leo the Lizard.", said the voice in the lizard costume.
The human aspect of Katherine Hillard could have sworn that Leo the Lizard's voice sounded familiar. Then the realization hit her.
Jeff is that you? she thought.
"He's in.", said Ashley.
Tommy was a little confused. "Doesn't Kincaid know that this idea came from an old A-Team episode?"
"Yeah.", said Mackenzie. "That's what happens when you hang around a computer that watches too much T.V. It tends to rub off on you."
Tommy just shook his head and said "Whatever." Then he went and got ready.
Mackenzie looked at Ashley and said "He doesn't get it." Ashley sadly nodded.
"What brings you here lizard?", demanded Eros to the ranger wearing the lizard suit.
"Well my pilot was going to drop me at a kiddie province not far from the royal palace when he must have made a mistake and landed me at the wrong spot. I really need to get back there your highness. There are hundreds of little ones waiting too see Leo the Lizard."
Inside the lizard suit Kincaid couldn't help but smile a bit. He really was hamming it up in front of Eros and was enjoying every minute of it. Eros however was not since he liked being the center of attention so he sat up to confront the lizard. The two cats jumped off and skulked in corners near the door that led out.
As Eros looked into the eyes of the mask Kincaid was wearing Kincaid said "Would you like me to sing you a song?"
"GUARDSMEN!!!TAKE THIS LIZARD DOWN TO THE DUNGEON!!!", Eros screamed. As the guardsmen were leading the still costumed Kincaid away the ranger cats decided to make a break for it and go out the door. Eros waived his hand and the two cats were sent flying back towards him. When they landed he changed the two cats back into Kat and Kim.
"Have you been trying to escape again? You know that's impossible. The spells prevent that." He then ordered the guardsmen to take the two girls down with 'Leo'. He then turned to look at the ranger in the lizard costume and said, "I will check out this province. If the children are expecting you you will be returned to them. If not you will be exectued."
The guardsmen then led the ranger girls and the lizard away to the dungeon...and Kincaid couldn't be happier.
"Hey easy on the suit will ya?" 'Leo' said as he was thrown in. Kat and Kim were thrown in next. The lizard then looked around the cell. He waved his hand to the girls telling them not to speak. Then 'Leo' pulled out a rod shaped device and activated it. It would send static to whoever was watching and listening.
'Leo' then removed his lizard mask to reveal the face of Jeffrey Kincaid. "Kincaid it's so good to see you.", Kat said as she hugged the red Night Ranger. Kim looked on stunned wondering who the guy was.
"Oh Kim, this is Jeff Kincaid. He was one of the Night Rangers.", before Kim could say anymore Kat explained the story of how she and Tommy met Kincaid and faced Lord Crucible for the first time as he was getting out of the lizard suit.
"Unfortunately he came back after that. But I took care of him later.", Kincaid said. "How'd you get here?"
Kim spoke first. "I was doing final competition for the Pan-Global games when Crucible's forces hit. They knew that I was a Power Ranger and focused their attack on me when they entered the gym. Then the robots took me and I met up with Kat."
Kat spoke next. "I was doing ballet in London when the guardsmen came for me. Then I was herded to where I met Kim again. We were put on display for some royalty and generals and later they...bid on us."
"A slave auction.", Kincaid was disgusted.
"Eros bought both of us.", Kat said. "He then scanned me and found I had been placed under a spell that allowed me to turn into a cat. He had a witch that could duplicate that spell and put me back under it."
"He had the same spell put on me.", said Kim. "He also put us under a puppeteer's spell that allowed him to put us under his control. He had us do...things to entertain him. Don't ask what."
Kincaid didn't and finished getting his lizard suit off. He then reached into his costume and pulled out two things. One was the book of Zordon, "for spellbreaking." Kincaid said.
The other was the red Night Ranger morpher, "for fighting our way out of here.", the girls smiled.
At the palace gates a red sports car came rolling in. When it stopped a guy in a white suit and a sobbing girl stepped out. Inside was a petite girl in white sitting on a computer.
"OHHHH Mackie are you sure these are the right co-ordinates?", said the guy in white who looked suspiciously like Tommy Oliver.
'Mackie' was playing on the keys of a lap top saying "Confirmed...reconfirmed. This is the place or my name ain't Betty Joe Mackie."
The gentleman then went up to the guardsman and started ranting. "Do you know how much this is costing me? I've got kids screaming going 'When's Leo the Lizard coming? When's Leo the Lizard coming?' I've run out of slushie treats, ice cream bars, milk chocolate candies trying to keep those kids happy. I've got Leo's wife here wondering where her husband is.", he said making reference to the crying girl who bore a 'striking' resemblence to Ashley Hammond.
The young man then continued his ranting "Do you know how many kids are so dissapointed when the go to see Leo the Lizard and he doesn't show up? This is too much for me. NOW I WANT TO SEE THE ROYAL MAGISTRATE ABOUT MY LOST LIZARD!!!"
Eros was looking at a screen of nothing but static when a guardsman showed up. "An individual is here sir. He is searching for his lizard."
"Have they beeen searched?", Eros asked.
"They have no weapons sir.", said the guardsman
"Bring him forward.", Eros ordered.
After a few seconds the man in white and the sobbing girl walked in. They paused to kneel before Eros as a symbol of respect.
"So you are the ones who handle the...lizard?", Eros said.
The girl let out a wail of a sob into her kerchief. "Oh my Leo", she said hamming it up as well.
The gentleman in white consoled the girl. "There there now." He then turned to Eros. "Where might Leo be?"
"He's in the dungeon with two of my concubines.", Eros said. "Guardsmen, bring forth...the lizard." The two guardsmen left leaving the gentleman with the sobbing girl.
He took no notice of the White Astro ranger hovering on her galaxy glider outside his window.
As the guardsmen opened the door to the cell they saw Kat and Kim sitting cuddling up to the Leo costume. As they approached the girls they found themselves attacked from behind. When they were knocked down Kincaid went up and twisted the neck of the guardsmen deactivating them.
"You know what to do?", Kincaid said to the two girls.
"We'll be fine.", said Kat as she and Kim looked at the book of Zordon. Kincaid then went up the stairs towards the throne room.
Kat and Kim looked at the book as if it was communicating with them. It told them what to say and what to do, and they did it willingly. Soon they began to recite. Kat started first.
"Spirits of the Night. Free us from our bondage. Release us from evil's grip. Dakor cha'bwe neechoo'hah."
Kim spoke next. "Restore that which has been taken from us. And allow us to strike back at those who have enslaved us. Cho'hee neetoo ka'"
Then in unison. "Deliver us from evil. And grant us our freedom. Kho'deh Sha'la Zo'an"
Then they felt the power eminate from the book and two bursts of energy erupted from it and filled Kat and Kim purifying them from the evil energies that controlled them. When the spell was done they turned to see the dark magic scatter into space where it would do no harm. Then they too left the cell with Kat keeping the book in hand.
Eros sat on his throne. "What's keeping those guardsmen?"
"They ran into an accident.", said a voice in the hall. He turned to se the red Night Ranger standing in the hallway. Shock was on Eros's face.
"Mackenzie your turn." At Kincaid's command Mackenzie flew into the throne room and jumped off her galaxy glider. "REPULSOR KICK!!" she said. Her two feet impacted on Eros knocking him to the ground. "I hope you like onions.", said the girl who was Ashley Hammond and she tossed her hankerchief that had an onion in it.
Eros didn't have time to register the gentleman as Tommy Oliver when he saw him and Ashley get on the galaxy glider and fly off. Mackenzie then brought her hands together as if they were in prayer again for a few seconds. Eros wondered what was going on when he heard "WHITE ASTRO SHOCKWAVE!!!"
The next thing Eros knew was flying through the air and landing hard as a good quarter of his palace was vaporized.
When Eros got to his feet he saw the Red Night Ranger, the White Astro, a third ranger who wore black and gold and Tommy Oliver coming towards him. They were later joined by Kat and Kim. What's worse was he realized night had fallen.
"I could have gone a lot more damage to your castle than I did.", said Mackenzie who was leaning on the BlackGold Ranger.
"I'll do worse to you. Slaves attend to me."
Kat and Kim just stood there doing nothing then they said. "Drop dead Bozo."
Eros was incensed as he activated his armor. It was a dark pink and black suit that had a menacing look to it and appeared to have power to match.
"Nice, but I can do one better.", said Kincaid then he raised his hands. Spirirs of the Night FILL ME WITH YOUR POWER!!!" And he was then transformed into his full Night Ranger armor. Kincaid then raised his arms to the sky and lightning began to form. The red ranger then dropped his arms down and soon lightning bolts began to lash out all across the palace square. Towers were destroyed. Fortifications were torn down. Anything splendorous was being trashed.
Kincaid then took notice of little fires scattered around the compound. He then looked at those fires and they started to burn hotter until there were blazes all over the place. His gaze then turned to the slave quarters. one glance and the doors burst open. Slaves ran out into the night and to freedom. Any guard or guardsman who tried to stop a slave got a wallop from a night spirit.
Eros wouldn't have anymore. He brought his power to bear on Kincaid when Ashley fired a gold talon into the area of Eros where the sun doesn't shine.
Kincaid then decided that it was time for a grand finale. The thought of a tornado tearing through the palace compound and not before long a tornado appeared and the whole palace was destroyed.
"Whoa!", said Mackenzie as she looked at all the damage.
"God in Heaven!", said a shocked Ashley.
Tommy, Kat and Kim couldn't say a word. All three were speechless after witnessing what appeared to be the full power of a Night Ranger. Kat and Kim then saw Eros on his knees. His suit in ruins and his powers stripped.
As they stood over the fallen ruler, no words were said. No needed to be said since the looks in their eyes said everything. Here was the great ruler brought to his knees. He looked, and was, pathetic.
"Let's get out of here.", said Kincaid. And the whole group turned and walked away.
The shuttle then flew away from Vega 9 making its way to Hades. In one of the crew compartments Ashley and Mackenzie were talking.
"Are Kat and Kim okay?", Mackenzie asked.
"Yeah. They'll be going back with Tommy to the resistance camps. They're really anxious to help free Earth.", Ashley said. Then Ashley asked a question of her own.
"So tell me about Kincaid."
Mackenzie looked up and said, "A lady never tells."