"I cannot believe we're actually doing this!" said Katherine, "My arm feels like its about to fall off!"
"Well, get used to it, Kat," said Jason, "After all, this is only the third 'Power Ranger Day.' Now that I think of it, this is by far the most extravagant celebration they've had so far. The original 'Power Ranger Day' was really just a carnival, but this parade is amazing."
"Yeah," said Adam, "and flattering. I don't think I'm too comfortable with all these people looking at us and cheering. I mean, we usually just fight the bad guys and split."
"C'mon, man!" said Zack, "Live a little! Look, the people of Angel Grove just wanna thank us for all the work we do to keep this town on the map. They'd be insulted if we didn't attend the party."
"I wonder why they changed the date of 'Power Rangers Day' though," said Tommy, "Wasn't the original date sometime in March."
"True," said Kim, "but this year, the mayor wanted to have an extravagant parade, with massive floats made entirely of Angel Grove flowers. Now, most of the flowers grown here are in full bloom in the summer, and they continue to bloom until winter time. So, having the parade December 3rd makes sense." "Its a shame Billy, Rocky, and Tanya can't be up here," said Kat quietly, "After all, without their help, we would've been lost. Especially Billy. He's practically devoted his life to being our advisor, and he can't get any acknowledgment for his work. He must feel so-- left out."
"He was upset this morning," said Kim, "I had called him to ask where he'd be standing on the parade route, so we could at least wave to him or something, but he told me he had to work on the zords for some reason. You know how he always drowns his sorrows in work? It can't be healthy."
"Now that you mention it, we rarely see Billy out of the CAC anymore," said Zack, "We definitely have to do something about that, guys. He's our bud! We can't treat him like Zordon. He's a teenager, just like us, and he has a life outside the Central Access Complex. We should at least try to spend more time with him."
"He's been cutting himself off," said Tommy, "We can't force him to open up. Maybe if we're patient with him--"
"This'll have to wait guys," whispered Jason, "We're at City Hall."
The float upon which the rangers were standing came to a stop, and the rangers climbed up the steps of City Hall. Atop the steps was a podium, and standing behind that podium was Mayor Amelia Leighton. Once the rangers reached the top, they each shook the mayor's hand, and stood beside the podium in a row. The mayor rose her hands into the air in an attempt to quiet the audience of thousands, who were applauding and cheering excitedly.
"Today is a very special day for us. Angel Grove, a rather sleepy town throughout its existence, suddenly was shaken to its very foundation one day over two years ago, when we were first attacked by alien invaders. We surely would've been destroyed, along with the rest of the planet, if it weren't for the intervention of five brave men and women. These five constituted the team called the Power Rangers, a team that has merited our complete trust, even though they are shrouded in mystery. Day in and day out, we trust these heroes with our very lives, ladies and gentlemen, and over the years, the team has changed. The monster robots they use to defend us have changed in form and stature, and the very rangers themselves have changed in color and uniform. However, no matter what they wear, or what they drive, they shall always be the Power Rangers, and therefore they are our defenders! Now, many people outside Angel Grove believe the Power Rangers are a gimmick, or a fantasy, like the Loch Ness Monster. They feel we in Angel Grove made up these heroes, in an attempt to make our small town known to the world as a tourist attraction. But there are witnesses. Yes, my friends, each and every one of you is a witness. A witness to the selflessness, devotion, courage, wisdom, and strength that is personified in each Power Ranger that has ever served to protect our fair city. They are heroes in every sense of the word, and today, December 3, 1996, we celebrate them. Usually, the Power Rangers only show themselves to thwart evil, but today, they have agreed to show themselves to the public, so we can applaud their efforts and thank them for all the work they've done. And I, the mayor of Angel Grove, California, would like to show my appreciation, and that of this community, by presenting this team of young heroes with this, the key to the city!"
The crowds applauded thunderously as the Red Ranger stepped up and accepted the framed golden key from the mayor. She then stepped aside, allowing the Red Ranger access to the microphone. He motioned the other rangers to stand with him at the microphone, and handed the key to the Black Ranger.
"First, we'd like to thank Mayor Leighton for this thoughtful gift. It really is an honor to receive this key, as well as all this praise and recognition. But, the real honor comes from being privileged to serve and protect this city, and this planet, from intergalactic threats. I think I speak for us all when I say that we love Angel Grove, and the planet Earth, with all our hearts. That's why we dedicated our lives to protect them. No alien invasion will threaten humankind so long as the Terran Rangers are alive to defend it!"
The crowd once again applauded as the Black Ranger stepped up to the microphone. He handed the key to the Yellow Ranger and waved at the people.
"Well, the Red Ranger really said it all," he said, "We're proud to serve a community such as Angel Grove, and the rest of Crystal County. We couldn't have accomplished so much without the help of you all. Several of you have had your safety directly compromised by alien threats. Some were even held captive--"
A six tone sound erupted from all the Power Rangers' communicators, and the tone was magnified by the microphone. The rangers looked at each other worriedly and stepped back from the microphone.
"Excuse us for a moment," said the Green Ranger, joining his friends in a tight circle back from the podium.
"What's going on, Billy?" whispered Tommy, "We're kinda in the middle of something here."
^I'm well aware of that,^ said Billy, ^But something of extreme importance is afoot on the Moon! Please report to the Central Access Complex immediantly.^
Tommy shrugged and deactivated his communicator. Katherine walked over to the microphone.
"I'm afraid there's an emergency that requires our immediate attention," she announced to the crowd, "We're all sorry we can't stay for the rest of the ceremony, but we are nonetheless grateful for all the work you've put into this event. Good-bye."
She then stepped back, and joined the other rangers in a line. Simultaneously, all six Terran Power Rangers touched their belt buckles, and vanished in streaks of light, leaving behind a hushed audience. At almost the same time, the six individuals materialized in the Central Access Complex. They see Billy Mitchell, their advisor, mentor, and friend, madly pressing buttons on the large screen mainframe computer, in the corner of the vast technological hub.
"What's the emergency?" asked Tommy, removing his red helmet and walking over to Billy. Kimberly, Adam, Katherine, Jason, and Zack follow in like manner.
"Just one second," said Billy, finishing typing a command into the computer. The screen flashed to life, revealing a static blue screen. Billy turned to his friends, a serious expression on his haggard face.
"Billy!" shrieked Kimberly, "You look awful!"
Billy smiled wanely. "Well, I've been working on improving the strength of the hulls of the Terrazords for the past several hours," he explained, "That kind of manual labor is quite tiresome. But, that is not the reason I summoned you here. About five minutes ago, we received an incoming message on the Viewing Globe. The message originated from the Moon."
All six rangers looked at Billy in surprise. Jason stepped forward. "What did it say?"
"See for yourself," he said, turning back to the computer and pressing a button, "I recorded the message so you could hear it. You'll find it quite fascinating."
All present turned their attention to the large screen. The blue image vanished, revealing an image of the infamous Lord Zedd himself, cruel dictator of scores of planets, and would-be conqueror of Earth.
^Greetings, Terran Rangers,^ started the recording, ^I have decided to throw in the towel. When I first decided to add Earth to my intergalactic empire, I had no idea how formidable you teenagers can be. Now, I've thrown just about everything I could come up with at you, and you've managed to thwart every single one of my fiendish plans. To put it in other words, your puny, backwater planet isn't worth all my trouble. While I waste my time here, other planets in my empire are starting to revolt. So, I'm leaving. Good-bye, Power Rangers. You've finally won the war.^
With that, the screen returned to its blue hue, and Billy then turned off the computer and turned to his friends to examine their reactions. Tommy's eyes were wide open in shock, Jason had a frown on his face, Adam was scratching his chin in thought, Katherine wore a confused expression, Zack's mouth hung open, and finally Kimberly blinked, and then looked at Billy in disbelief.
"Its... not possible," she stammered, "Is it?"
"Of course its not!" yelled Jason, "Its a load of bull! Just how dumb does Lord Zedd think we are?!"
"But, what if he's telling the truth?" asked Katherine, "I mean, Zedd's been fighting the rangers for years, to no avail. Maybe he's seen the futility of the whole thing."
"We can't trust him!" said Zack, "What if this whole thing is a trap, just to lull us to sleep?"
"You're right, Zack," said Billy, "We can't trust him, but at the same time, we can't ignore this message. Although it is improbable, it is possible that Lord Zedd has decided to move on. There are other planets in the galaxy that would be more strategic to conquer."
"Yeah," said Adam, "He's been fighting us so long out of pride. Maybe he's learned his lesson?"
"Well, I think its too soon for us to come to any conclusion about this matter," said Tommy, "So, I think we should keep an eye on the Moon for a while, just to make sure there's no suspicious goings on. If he's really leaving, we'll witness it."
"I've already set up various computer scans to keep a visual eye on the Moon Palace. If there's any activity up there within the next twenty-four hours, the scan will pick it up."
Up on the Moon, a riotous laughter permeates the cold stone palace standing proudly on the side facing away from Earth. Of course, the rest of the dry, craterous surface of the Moon has no air to carry sound waves, so the sound of laughter dies once the atmosphere of the palace ends and that of the Moon's begins. However, if there was air throughout the emptiness of space, the sounds of horrible, maniacal laughter would be heard on the Earth herself. In the palace, standing on the balcony, stands Lord Zedd, leaning on his magical staff for support as he laughs uncontrollably. Then, he hears a shrill cry from outside the throne room, and his laughter slowly fades.
"Zeddie!" came the cry again, "ZEDD!!"
It's amazing how easily that woman can destroy my triumphant moods he mused as he stood upright, facing the door to await his queen. Sure enough, the foreboding Rita Repulsa marched towards the door, her maroon dress brushing against the stone floor. She slowed down and bent over a bit as to fit her cumbersome coned hat through the entrance, and then stood upright and frowned angrily at the emperor. She marched right up to him, pointing her index finger at him menacingly.
"Just what do you think you're doing?!" she shrieked at the top of her voice, "I heard that little message you sent to the Power Rangers! There's no way I'm leaving this Moon! Not until I have the heads of those irritating teenagers on a platter!!"
"Rita, my dear," Zedd answered calmly, "You know me better than that! After all the frustrations those rangers have put me through, there is no way I shall let them live! Trust me, I'm not giving up on Earth. In fact, I have just set my most brilliant plan into motion!"
"Whatever," said Rita, rolling her eyes. Zedd snarled at her lack of faith.
"Listen. Every ten years, the Temporal Comet comes to its perihelion, the point closest to the Sun in its orbit. What's so interesting is that the orbit is over a billion light years in diameter!"
"Temporal Comet? I've never heard of it."
"Well, the reason the comet returns to the Sun so quickly is that it travels so quickly it actually bends time! What is ten years of normal time is only mere seconds to the comet."
"Get to the point, Zeddie!"
"So, the Terran Rangers think we're leaving, and we are! You and I will magically ride the Temporal Comet when it passes Earth along its orbit. To us, it will only be a few seconds to complete the orbit and return to Earth, but ten full years would've passed in real time. The Terran Rangers will have aged ten years, and so will have been out of commission for an entire decade! And, with Zordon gone, there will be no interference. I shall plow over Earth's weak defenses, and no one shall survive my vengeful wrath!"
The days passed, and the Terran Power Rangers remained vigilant in watching for Lord Zedd to return and launch his next diabolical scheme. The days became weeks, and the weeks became months, and there was never an invasion nor an attack. Angel Grove was quiet, and the people grew accustomed to the lack of Viper Putties in the streets, and the sight of the colossal Terrazords in the rocky quarry. As for the teenagers who pledged to protect Angel Grove from evil, they also grew used to the lack of action. Also, they managed to grow apart. Some rangers still waited anxiously for Zedd to return, while still others were tired of waiting for an event that may never occur. Finally, the day of decision came. On June 19, 1997, the senior class of Angel Grove High was awarded their diplomas for four years of scholastic achievements, and then thrust out into the world. This day marked the end of an era. It marked the end of the Power Rangers. Immediately after the graduation festivities, the six Terran Rangers and their allies Rocky DeSantos, Tanya Sloan, and Billy Mitchell met in the Central Access Complex for the last time.
"Okay, everyone," said Billy, who was sitting on a stool before the main computer, "I think you guys know why I've called you here. Now that Zack, Kim, Tommy, Rocky, Tommy, and I have graduated, we can't go on like we have been these past months. I think its time to turn in the Power."
"Billy, we can't put down our guard!" cried Jason in disbelief, "Zedd's probably up on the Moon this very moment, just waiting for us to relinquish our crystals and be vulnerable."
"Then what do you propose we do, Jason?" asked Kimberly, "Look, its been over six months since Zedd sent us that message, and there hasn't been hide nor hair of him or his minions since. We have to accept that the world doesn't need the Power Rangers anymore. We can't just sit here and wait all our lives for Zedd to strike! I agree with Billy. Its time to give up the Power."
"But, how do you propose to do that?" asked Tanya.
"I've been working on a computer simulation for the past several weeks," said Billy, turning to face the computer, "As you know, the Zeo shards have been designed to work only with our specific body chemistries. So, only one who has used a Power Coin can stand the power of a Zeo crystal in his heart, and you six specifically were chosen to accommodate the crystals. However, if they are placed in a powerful magnetic field long enough, it may be possible for whatever adjustments Zordon made in the crystals to correct themselves. Zordon altered the crystals' structure so they function only with the six of you safely, but I feel I can change that, so the next generation of Power Rangers can assume the Power if necessary. If Zedd and Rita do ever strike again, the Zeo crystal will be right here in the CAC, ready for Zordon to choose six new heroes. Our time as heroes is over."
"But what if Zedd returns in the near future?" asked Adam.
"You, Katherine, Kimberly, Tommy, Jason, and Zack can take back their crystals from here, but I honestly believe Zedd is gone. We have no right to keep the Power in times of peace. These crystals were given to us so we could accomplish a goal, and that goal has been accomplished. Now, once the crystals are removed from your bodies, they shall recombine to form the whole Zeo Crystal, and I have created a storage facility for it. Behold."
Billy began to press in a command, and in the center of the CAC, the tiles of floor opened up to allow a silver sphere to float upwards. The sphere opened up, releasing gases from inside.
"This sphere is programmed to keep the Zeo Crystal safe. The only ones who can open this sphere are the nine of us, as well as Alpha 5 and Zordon. That way, if evil does return, they shall not be able to obtain the crystal. The crystal shall be safe, and we can get on with our lives."
Jason crossed his arms and glared at the sphere angrily. Tommy maintained his gaze upon Billy, his eyes slightly wide with surprise.
"Since when have you been so forceful, Billy?" he asked.
"Look, Tommy, someone had to do it," Billy said flatly, "Zordon made me the advisor, and I am advising you to give me the crystals. You've been waiting for Zedd long enough, and you've already sacrificed a good portion of your youth to the cause of protecting Earth. Don't devote your lives to protecting a planet that no longer needs your protection."
Tommy's eyes narrowed, and Billy turned around to face the leader of the Power Rangers.
"I'm the leader, Billy," Tommy said coldly, "Don't you think I have a say in this matter, or have you decided to just undermine my authority?"
"Tommy, you were the leader of the Power Rangers. I'm not a ranger any longer. You have no authority over me. Now please, give me the crystals, so we can end this."
Tommy's face curled into a frown, and he closed his eyes. A soft red glow appeared on his chest, and a small, diamond shaped crystal floated out of his skin and shirt, landing in his palm. Tommy handed the red crystal to Billy, and stepped back.
"Its all yours, Sir," Tommy snapped angrily, marching away. He activated his wrist teleporter, and vanished in a streak of white light. Kimberly watched him go and sighed slightly to herself. Jason followed Tommy's example, and handed Billy the black Zeo crystal.
"I think we're making a mistake," said Jason, "but I guess you don't want to hear my opinion either. Here, take it. The world's fate rests in your hands now."
Jason then left the room, and Kimberly quietly handed Billy the yellow shard.
"Billy, I for one think you've made the right decision. Jason and Tommy will calm down soon enough."
"I don't like having to exercise authority in that manner, but its time to end this. There is no reason for us to continue with the responsibility of protecting the planet resting on our shoulders. Its time for us to go out into the world, and live our lives. Zordon would want us to. He never expected us to sacrifice our futures, especially if its not necessary. Jason and Tommy have both become so used to being responsible for everything that they never put their own lives above their duty. That's extremely noble, but only in wartime. Peace has finally come upon us, and we should enjoy it."
"You're right, Bro," said Zack, handing him the white crystal, "Its time to move on."
"And live our lives," said Adam, holding his green crystal.
"Just like every other teenager does," said Kat, "Here's my crystal."
Billy held all six crystals in his palms and then placed them into the sphere. He then closed the sphere, and watched as it descended into the ground. Finally, the lights in the CAC went dim, and he, Rocky, Tanya, Adam, Kat, and Kimberly formed a circle in the center of the darkened chamber. In six beams of white light, they said good-bye to their underground headquarters.
About a week later, Tommy Oliver walked down the streets of Angel Grove, whistling to himself. He spent the past week thinking about Billy's actions, as well as his outburst. He realized that he was wrong to yell at Billy, and that Billy was right to force the rangers to retire, for their own good. Now, he walks to the Mitchell home, hoping to apologize to his long time friend for his outburst. He strolled up the steps, and knocked on the nay blue door. A tall, middle aged man with graying brown hair and a brown mustache opened the door.
"Good morning, Mister Mitchell," said Tommy, "Is Billy in?"
"No, he left about an hour ago. He's at Kim's house, helping her pack."
"Pack?!" said Tommy in disbelief, "Is she going somewhere?"
"I think she's going to Florida."
"Oh, well, have a nice day, Sir."
Tommy waved and hurried back onto the sidewalk. In a few minutes, he reached the peach and white house owned by Stephen Hart, Kimberly's uncle, and knocked on the door loudly. A tall blonde young woman opened the door.
"Tommy!" she gasped, "What're you doing here?"
"Kat? What's going on here? Where's Kim?"
Katherine gestured inside, and Tommy walked past her. He entered the living room, and saw cardboard boxes covering the plush carpet. Kimberly and Billy were taping boxes shut, and they both looked up at Tommy in surprise.
"Kim," stammered Tommy, "What's... happening here?"
"I... I'll put this in the car," said Billy, picking up a box and hurrying past Tommy. Katherine followed him out the door.
"I'm packing, Tommy," Kim said quietly, "I'm moving back to Florida."
"But you already missed the Pan Globals!"
"Yeah, but Coach Schmidt offered to coach me for the Olympics! It's an opportunity I just can't refuse."
"Kim, the next Olympics aren't until the year 2000! You're gonna train for three whole years?!"
"People train all their lives to be in the Olympics, Tommy! This is my chance."
"Why didn't you tell me you were going?" Tommy asked coldly, "What, were you planning on just walking out of my life, without even saying good-bye?!"
"I... I didn't want to face you. Tommy, you know I'll miss you horribly, but this is something I've got to do. I was willing to put my dreams on hold for the Power Rangers, but that's over now, and if I ever want to fulfill my dreams, it has to be now. I'm sorry, but I have to go. My plane leaves in two hours. Good-bye."
Kim stood up and lightly kissed Tommy on the cheek. She then picked up a box and walked over to the Rad Bug, where Katherine and Billy were waiting. Tommy watched as they finished packing the car, and then left the house. He walked down the sidewalk slowly, with his hands in his pockets. He then reached up and touched the spot on his cheek where Kimberly had kissed him. In his heart, he had a terrible feeling that he's lost his love. For good this time.
As the days passed, each of the rangers made important decisions. Tommy decided to devote his summer to searching for the meaning of his arrowhead, given to him by an Indian shaman during his Zeo Quest. So, for weeks he hiked the mountains outside Angel Grove, and searched for another Indian wiseman to guide him on his journey. Adam got a job as a stunt man, and as time passed his talent was noticed, and he was given a role in an upcoming action movie. Rocky decided to start his own karate dojo, so he worked diligently that summer, trying to raise funds to rent a building in Stone Canyon to convert into his business. The weeks turned into months, and Tanya's parents, two archeologists lost on an expedition, were miraculously found. Tanya moved back with them to Kenya, where they remained. Katherine returned to Australia to attend college, and she majored in Astro-physics, a topic that interested Katherine because of her trips through the stars as a Power Ranger. The months became years, and Zack's family moved to Houston Texas due to his father getting a promotion. Zack was introduced to Carl Lewis, the famous American track star from New Jersey, and he inspired Zack to become a sprinter. Kimberly won the silver medal in the all around gymnastics competition in the 2000 Olympics, as well as the gold in the individual floor and a silver on the balance beam. Then, she moved to Paris to be with her parents, and studied the world of European fashion design. Billy continued his studies of outer space, and soon he pursued a career at NASA. Jason decided to remain in Angel Grove, and he joined the Angel Grove Police Department, vowing to protect Angel Grove, as he did in his youth.
By the time a decade had passed, each of the former Power Rangers was comfortable with their lives. Thomas Oliver had become a professor at Princeton University in New Jersey, lecturing about Native American History and Civilization. William Mitchell became the most famous astronaut in history, famous for creating a rocket that can jump to speeds nearing the speed of light, making interstellar exploration a possibility. Adam Park became a mega-popular action hero, appearing in dozens of blockbuster action hits. Katherine Hillard remained in Australia, and became an astronomer working at the Anglo Australian Observatory. Kimberly Hart returned to the United States, and formed her own company, the Hart Fashion Industry. She also married a young man named Trevor Monroe, whom she met back when she practiced for the Olympic Games in Florida. Jason Lee has devoted his life to serving and protecting, and now he is the chief of police in Angel Grove. He and his wife Emily are expecting their first child in a few months. Zack Taylor now lives in Atlanta Florida, and he is famous for being the fastest man to ever live, crushing the world's record for the 200 meter sprint in the 2004 Olympics. These men and women accomplished much in the decade following the end of their careers as Power Rangers, but their lives were about to take another drastic turn on December 3, 2006, when the mysterious Temporal Comet once again passed the Earth on its orbit, and two alien beings returned to their Moon Palace after ten whole years of transit. However, to them, only a few seconds have passed since they sent a message to the Central Access Complex, telling the young heroes that they had given up on conquering the Earth. In the Moon Palace, Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa stretch their limbs, and gaze around their palace in surprise.
"Just look!" shrieked Rita, "This place is a mess! And everything's gone!"
"I don't believe this!" said Zedd angrily, looking up out of his balcony, "Rita, get over here!"
Rita walked to Zedd and looked up at the top tower on the Palace. To her surprise, she saw a large American flag perched on the very top.
"Those little Earth pests have laid claim to my castle!" she shrieked.
"No, its my castle," said Zedd, "and they won't get away with this! They must've took everything that was here! My throne, my rest chamber, everything!"
The pair looked up again, and saw a streak of light approaching. Zedd stared at it, and his eyebeams magnified the image.
"Well," said Rita impatiently, "what is it? My Repulsascope's gone, ya know!"
"It appears to be a ship, and it has markings identical to that piece of cloth atop my palace!"
"Humans are traveling at a speed approaching the speed of light?" said Rita, "Their technology has improved alot over this past decade. What do we do?"
"At this moment, we know nothing about this era, so its best for us to learn about it."
"Why don't we kidnap the astronauts aboard the space craft, Zeddie? It'll be passing the Moon any second now."
"An excellent idea, my dear," said Zedd, pointing his staff towards the approaching ship, "All I have to do is await the right moment..."
Meanwhile, aboard the spacecraft Endeavor, three NASA astronauts, William Mitchell, James Montgomery, and Natasha Slovenski prepare to return to Earth after a two week investigation of the outer planets in the Solar System. This mission is the first manned expedition to the outer planets, and is also the first manned voyage using a ship equipped with a light drive, the engine that allows the ship to travel at the speed of light. Now that the ship is nearly at Earth, its time for the commander of the ship to contact NASA headquarters in Houston Texas.
"This is commander William Mitchell of the spacecraft Endeavor. Houston, do you copy?"
^We read you loud and clear, Will.^
"Our investigation of the outer planets was a great success. We retrieved element samples from Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, and Pluto, as well as from the rings of Saturn. Now we're only a few kilometers from the Moon, so we're turning off the light-drive. Our ETA is about--"
Suddenly, a beam of energy crashed into the hull of the ship.
"Commander!" cried James, "We've been hit!"
"By what?" said Billy, "We're way past the asteroid belt! Was it space debris?"
"Impossible, sir," said Natasha, "The reading show that a hole has been burnt through the outer hull. We were hit by energy!"
"From where?!" yelled Billy, as the ship was hit again. This time, though, the energy beam smashed completely though the outer hull, creating a hole in the cockpit.
"HELP!!" screamed Natasha, as the vacuum of space pulled her out of the ship. Then, James and William also fell through the hole, their screams lost in the emptiness of space. Not far from them, the Endeavor disappeared in a violent but silent explosion, lighting up the sky. William could feel the air being sucked out of his body, and even though he was wearing a protective suit, the extreme heat of the explosion of the ship charred his skin. In only seconds, William Mitchell's world blackened into complete darkness.
"Zedd?" whispered William hoarsely, "Its not possible..."
"Oh, come now, my boy," cackled the infamous lord of evil, "A devoted scientist like yourself should be aware that anything's possible. Yes its me, and my lovely wife, Rita Repulsa."
Zedd beckoned to the other person in the room, and she also stepped into the light, a cruel smile on her face.
"But, you left Earth ages ago... about ten years I believe."
"Actually, it was exactly ten years," said Rita, "A most ingenius plan on my husband's part, sending us for a ride on the Temporal Comet, only to return to Earth ten years later."
"What do you want from me?"
"Well, here's the story," said Zedd, leaning on his staff, "Rita and I arrived back on my Moon about an hour ago, and our entire palace was ransacked. I figured you Earthlings visited my palace, and claimed it as well. Then, we saw your little spacecraft, flying at the speed of light. We realized we didn't know what has happened in the past decade, and that the only way to sucessfully conquer a world is to know all about its defenses--"
"So we decided to capture the spaceship as it flew by the palace," interrupted Rita, "And to our surprise, an old friend was aboard. Now that we have you, Mister William Mitchell, we can learn everything about the year 2006, as well as where the former Terran Rangers are now, and what they do. So, Billy, tell us abit about... the Terran Rangers."
William glared at the two evil beings, and then held his head high in defiance. "I won't say anything."
"Are you sure about that?" asked Lord Zedd, pointing his staff at William, "After all, I can make you suffer horribly with my magic."
"You'll kill me before I say a thing!"
"But my dear Billy, who said anything about killing you?" asked the emperor of evil, "I can make you suffer infinite pain, without causing you the least bit of permanent harm. That's the best kind of torture, one that doesn't allow the release of death."
"You don't frighten me in the least," said Billy, "You're no doubt as inefficient and underestimating as you were ten years ago, and so you'll never suceed."
"Fine," scoffed Zedd, "Maybe we should try another tactic to make you talk. How about... we kill your two companions? They're alive now, but they won't be if you don't speak up!"
"Jim and Tasha," he whispered, thinking about the two astronauts that accompanied him on his latest mission. He, James Montgomery, and Natasha Slovenski were friends since training, and they are the best friends he's had since he left Angel Grove nearly ten years ago. William sighed audibly, and looked up at his tormentors, defeated.
"Excellent!" said Zedd triumphantly, "Now tell me, do the rangers still have the Zeo Crystal?"
"No," whispered William, "They gave up the Power about six months after you left."
"Where's the crystal then?" asked Rita, "Tell us!"
"In the Central Access Complex," he said, "But you can't get to it. The CAC has special energy barriers that block all forms of magic and scanning, to keep its location secret from the world. Those barriers also work rather effectively against intruders. Only me, Alpha Five, Zordon, or one of the rangers could get in."
"So we can't get the Zeo Crystal!" shrieked Rita, "I guess we'll have to send you to get it for us, Billy."
"Not on your life!" William yelled angrily, fighting the restraints, "I'll never betray my friends, and my world, like that!"
"It doesn't matter," said Lord Zedd, walking to the balcony, "The Terran Rangers are helpless without the Zeo Crystal. We may not be able to destroy the CAC, but we certainly can stop the Terran Rangers from getting to it. I'll simply fill the underground tunnels leading to the complex with swarms of Viper Putties!"
Zedd pointed his staff at the planet, and a streak of lightning flew to the Earth. He then turned around and looked at his brave captive.
"Now," he said, approaching William, "what do I do with you? I could very easily kill you, you know. Without you, the rangers don't have the combined brain power to change a light bulb, much less stop me! But, if I let you live, I could use you as a hostage, so the rangers will do my bidding! Heck, I can even turn you into a monster, so the rangers will have to live with the guilt of destroying you, in case they do somehow manage to regain their powers. Oh, so many options..."
Zedd rubbed his chin, while Rita stamped her foot angrily.
"Zedd," she shrieked, "can't we deal with Billy later? Just throw him into the dungeon with his friends, and we'll keep them as prisoners to use against the rangers."
"Fine," said Zedd, "That'll do. For now, anyway."
Zedd zapped William with the energy from his staff, and William instantly appeared inside a small dark stone room, with three walls of cold stone, and one wall of iron bars. William collapsed to the floor, and the two other cellmates hurried to help him.
"Will!" said James, "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Jim," he said with a weak smile, "I'm fine."
"What's going on?" asked Natasha, "Where are we?"
"We've... been abducted by aliens," said William, "I'm afraid their hostile."
Natasha gasped and James' eyes narrowed.
"What do they want from us?" James asked.
"They want us as hostages," said William, rising to his feet and gripping the iron bars, "But don't worry, help is on the way. I hope."
The Anglo-Australian Observatory is the largest, most advanced observatory in the southern hemisphere. This observatory has teamed up with NASA in keeping an eye on the Endeavor spacecraft, which was scheduled to arrive at Cape Kennedy in less than an hour. But one young up and coming astronomer isn't looking out for the Endeavor. Rather, Doctor Katherine Hillard is busy monitoring an even more intersting phenomenon--known to us as the Temporal Comet.
I just don't get it! she though in frustration, According to the trajectory of that comet, it should take millions of years to return to its perihelion, yet I estimated 3,653 days for this unidentified comet to complete one orbit. Ten years...
"Katherine!" called an elderly Chinese man, "What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to figure out this strange comet, Doctor Wong. It just doesn't make sense-- it passed the Moon thirty seven minutes ago, and its already out of the solar system. If it weren't for our enhanced scanning technology, the comet would've passed us without anyone knowing it."
"We've got bigger problems, Kathy. NASA just contacted us. The Endeavor has cut communications, and there is no signal. They asked us to get some pictures of its last location with the Hubble."
"My God," gasped Katherine, "That's Will's ship..."
"Kathy, I know he was a friend of yours, but you've got to focus. Go downstairs and give Mark a hand. He's trying to reprogram the Hubble Space Telescope, so we can get those pictures."
"Okay," said Kat, standing up from her seat and hurrying out of the room. She soon reached the lower level, where the computers controlling the Hubble Space Telescope were located. This time of year, the Anglo-Australian Observatory gets the privilege of directly controlling the first and largest orbitting space telescope, allowing them to get instant, clearer images of space phenomena in many different wavelengths of light. She entered the computer room, and saw Doctor Mark Ellis typing in commands on the large computer keyboard. On the screen was an image of the dark side of the Moon, with several unusual lights brightening the usually grey surface.
"Mark, what's that?"
"I was scanning the Endeavor's journey for the past few hours, and I found something strange going on at the Moon. There's some kind of electro-magnetic energy eminating from the dark side, and its like nothing I've ever seen before. I decided to get some optical images, so I could see what this EM energy looks like, and there it is on the screen."
"Amazing," she whispered, gazing at the image, "I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. What kind of EM waves are they?"
"That's the mystery. They're not part of the spectrum! Usually, the wavelength is inversely proportional to the frequency, right?"
"So, they're directly proportional in these waves! This energy completely disobeys the laws of physics!"
"Can you get a closer image?" asked Katherine, standing beside Mark.
"Right now, I'm trying to get an image of the last location of the Endeavor. It should be coming up any minute now."
Seconds later, the image on the screen changed slightly, revealing shattered debris reflecting the light from the Moon. Mark's eyes widened, and Katherine gasped loudly.
"Debris?" she said quietly, "But, how?"
"Something must've destroyed the Endeavor!" cried Mark frantically, "But what? There's nothing out there!"
"Except that EM energy," said Kat, rubbing her chin, "Exactly when did you start reading this strange energy from the Moon?"
"Um... about forty minutes ago. Give or take."
"The same time the comet passed the Moon!" Katherine shrieked, pushing Mark aside. She began madly typing in commands.
"Hey!" said Mark, "What're you doing?!"
"I'm getting a closer, more recent image of the spot on the Moon where that strange light originated. I don't like the look of this..."
Katherine tapped her foot impatiently as the command slowly reached the Hubble. Mark just stared at his young collegue in surprise, and they both stared at the screen in shock when the image came up. On the screen was a distant and unclear picture, but it was unmistakably a castle, perched on the barren lunar surface.
"It... its that palace they found seven years ago!" said Mark, "But, its abandoned! What's the connection?"
"I... I'd better contact NASA," said Katherine, running her hands through her long, curly blonde hair, "They have to know what happened to the Endeavor."
"But, we still don't know what happened up there!" protested Mark.
"You keep trying to figure it out, Mark. I'll be right back."
Katherine hurried out of the room, and went to her own office, where her private computer terminal and telephone were located. She sat at her desk, and looked around warily, to make sure no one was there. Once the coast was determined clear, she unlocked her bottom drawer, and pulled out a small unmarked envelope. Inside the envelope were two small aqua-blue rings, each about the size of a palm. She snapped them onto the receiver of her telephone, and dialed a familiar number. I have to contact the guys, she thought to herself, but I can't risk insecure phone lines! I need to access the satellite Will put into orbit twelve years ago, so I need these special disks, as well as the access code.
^Welcome to the Ranger-Com, Katherine Hillard,^ said the automated voice answering the call, ^If this call is an emergency, please press one. If this is a social call, press two.^
Katherine pressed one, and waited as the recording continued.
^Since this is an emergency, the Ranger-Com system will dial all the telephone numbers listed in the system for the particular ranger you are trying to contact. Please name the ranger you wish to call.^
Thousands of miles away, in the New York City based Hart Fashion Industries skyscraper, the president of the company, Kimberly Hart-Monroe, is busy reviewing sketches for the spring fashion line-up in her spacious 80th floor office. While she examines each sketch carefully, a middle aged man with a black moustache looks over her shoulder.
"Well?" he asks with a thick French accent, "What do you think?"
"In my opinion, the pastel sundress is a classic, but it needs something different," she said, running her fingers through her golden brown hair, cropped just below the ear, "Maybe it needs more of a... flair skirt design. How does that sound, Jacques?"
"Interesting," he said, "Oh, and Madame Monroe, Ashley Olsen asks how that wedding dress you're to design for her is coming? The ceremony is in three weeks."
"I already sent her the sketches," sighed Kim, "If she wants to see the gown itself, she has to come here."
Then, her desk telephone began to ring. Kimberly sighed again and picked up the receiver.
"I'm a little busy right now--"
^Kim? Kim its me, Katherine!^
"Kat?" asked Kim in surprise, "What's going on? I'm in a meeting..."
^I'm sorry to bother you Kim, but we have an emergency! You know Will's spaceship, the Endeavor?^
"Uh, yeah," said Kim, sitting down and beckoning Jacques to leave, "Isn't that like the first manned trip to the outer planets?"
^Yes! Well, he was supposed to arrive about now, but his ship vanished from all scanners. We found it on the Hubble telescope-- in a billion pieces.^
"No," whispered Kim, "Not Will!"
^Yes, Will. Now the strange thing is, the Endeavor debris was found near the dark side of the Moon, and my collegue Mark discovered a strange radiation coming from the Moon at the same time. And guess where that energy's coming from exactly?^
"The Moon Palace," Kim said quietly, "Zedd and Rita?"
^There's no way to know for sure, but there is definitely something happening on the Moon. I think the six of us should get the Zeo Crystal, and check everything out.^
"I agree. Did you call the guys?"
^Not yet. I figure you can get in touch with Jason, Tom, Adam and Zack. I've gotta catch a plane.^
"Uh, I don't think so," said Kim, "I... uh, I think you should call Tom."
^You're not speaking to him yet?! What, its been three years? Don't you think you're being a little... childish?^
"Let's not discuss it, okay?" said Kim impatiently, "We should all meet in Angel Grove, at Jason's house, as soon as possible."
^Right. I already booked a flight to California on the internet. I'll call Tom at the airport, I guess.^
"Good. I'll see you then. Bye."
With that, Kim hung up the telephone, and then put on the intercom.
^Can I get you something, Mrs. Monroe?^ asked Kim's secretary's voice.
"Yes. Could you arrange for my plane to be ready for departure in about twenty minutes? Also, I'll need enough fuel for a cross country flight, no stops."
Kim turned off the intercom and attached two yellow disks to the telephone. Like Katherine had done, Kimberly accessed the Ranger-Com system, and dialled up the number of long-time friend Jason Scott Lee.
Its afternoon in Angel Grove, California, and Jason Lee is in his office in the Angel Grove Police Department, working on bothersome paperwork. Of course, since the 21st century began, computers have become more common, and now such work is much easier to handle. While he busily types away, his desk phone rings.
"Hello?" he asks into the receiver, still typing his report.
^Hey Honey,^ said a femenine voice, ^How's my chief of police doing today?^
"Its been a pretty slow day, Emily," Jason answered, "But, I guess almost every day is. Angel Grove isn't exactly New York City or Los Angeles, you know."
^I understand. Listen, Hon, could you please remember to pick up some pickles and sourdough bagles on your way home? Oh, and some lemon sherbert would be just fabulous!^
"You got it, Sweetie. Now, make sure not to exert yourself or anything."
^You don't need to worry about me, Jay! I'm fine. See you later.^
"Bye, Em," said Jason, hanging up the telephone. He smiled to himself.
Pregnant women always have cravings, but Emily really takes the cake! Every evening, its something different. Oh well, its not asking much, so long as she's happy.
Then, the telephone rang again. Jason smiled and picked up, expecting to hear his wife's energetic voice. He was rather surprised to hear another woman's voice, one who's all business.
^Jason, we've got a real problem.^
"Kim? What's happening?"
^Will's spaceship was destroyed by the Moon, Jason,^ said Kim sternly, ^Katherine said she saw some strange energy coming from Zedd's lunar palace.^
"I knew they'd be back!" said Jason, slamming his fist into the desk, "Okay, then, we've got to get to the CAC now."
^I know. Do you still have the special equipment Will designed ?^
"Yeah, I got it in my house. Do you have the equipment you were supposed to create?"
^Yes, I call it Project Terra. Listen, I've got a plane to catch, so could you please call Adam for me? I'll call Zack in Atlanta, and I'll call you when I'm close to the Angel Grove airport.^
"Which flight are you taking?"
^I'm flying over myself. I'll see you in about five hours.^
"Take care, Kimberly," Jason said, hanging up. He then grabbed his coat and ran out the door.
"Where're ya going, Chief?" asked a rather rotund officer, who was pouring a cup of coffee.
"There's an emergency, Farcus," said Jason, "I've gotta call it a day."
"Does it have anything to do with Will?"
"How'd you know?" asked Jason, turning to face his old friend since high school.
"Sheesh, where've ya been, Chief? Its all over the news! The Endeavor was supposed to come home awhile ago, but NASA's given a press statement that the ship's been destroyed, and the three astronauts are presumed dead. I'm sorry, Man."
"Yeah, this is really tough on everyone," sighed Jason, "I'll see ya tomorrow, Farcus."
"Right. Take care, Jay."
At a large lecture hall in the Princeton University campus in New Jersey, Professor Thomas Oliver has just finished his final Native American Studies lecture of the semester. He stands before a group of over two hundred undergraduates, outlining the final exam that they'll be taking in a week.
"Okay, gang," he said loudly, loosening his tie, "make sure to study both your class notes as well as the text for the final. It'll be two hours, and it'll consist of one-hundred multiple choice questions and two essays, so make sure to study hard this weekend. The teaching assistants will be hosting a review session Sunday evening, and the exam will be in this lecture hall at ten o'clock Monday morning. Good luck, everyone!"
With that, the group of students filed out of the lecture hall, with about a dozen or so students staying behind to ask the young professor questions.
"Okay, people," said Tom with a laugh, streaking back his short brown hair, "I know you've got questions, but I really don't have much time. We'll have to go to my office, alright?"
Tom gathered his notes into his briefcase and lead the group through the hallway to the upstairs offices. In the hallway a low chime could be heard from Tom's pocket. He picked up his beeper and read the number listed.
That code! he thought as he read off the number, That's the code to use Will's Ranger-Com system. Something must be wrong!
Tom turned around to face his students. "Guys, there's been an emergency. I'm afraid I can't review your questions at this time. I'll tell ya what. I'll schedule an hour or so over the weekend for a group review, and I'll e-mail all of you with the place and time. See ya!"
Tom hurried down the hallway, and entered his office. He was shocked to see a fellow Princeton professor, his fiance Vanessa Stevens, sitting at his desk. Her eyes were red and filled with worry.
"Vanessa?" he asked in surprise, "What happened?"
"Didn't you hear the news?" she asked, standing up and hugging him, "The Endeavor vanished about an hour ago! There's debris all over by the Moon, and the crew's presumed dead. I'm so sorry... I knew your friend Will was the captain of that mission."
"Oh my God," said Tom, taking his seat and burying his face in his hands, "I can't believe it. Will's... gone? Maybe that's what the message is about!"
"What message?" asked Vanessa.
"I got beeped by one of my friends from high school. Listen, Van, I... I really need to be alone for awhile, and I have to return this call. I'll call ya tonight, okay?"
Vanessa looked at him worriedly, and then picked up her purse and stepped to the door.
"Don't you forget to call me, Mister Oliver," she chided with a small smile tossing her ebony hair over her shoulder. Tom immediately picked up the receiver and attached two small red disks he always kept in his briefcase in case of emergency. He dialed the number of the sender, and waited patiently.
^Hello?^ came a female voice, with a noticeable Australian accent.
"Kat!" he said, "Did you hear about Will?"
^Yes! That's why I called you! Listen, I'm on my cellphone, and I'm on an airplane. Hold on a minute, I'll go to the bathroom for a bit of privacy.^
Tommy waited for a moment, twidling his thumbs anxiously.
^Okay, Tom, here's the deal. I'm the one who found the debris of the Endeavor. The odd thing is, there's some kind of strange energy coming from Zedd's lunar palace, and I think it has something to do with this strange anomaly I monitored earlier.^
"What kind of anomaly?"
^It was some kind of comet, that travelled at warp speed. I just don't understand its motion, but I think it has something to do with what happened to Will's ship. Listen, all six of us are meeting at Jason's house in Angel Grove. Get there as quickly as possible, and when we're all grouped together, I'll explain my theory.^
"Okay, Katherine," he said quietly, "I'll catch the first flight to Southern California. See ya in a few hours. By the way, where are you now?"
^The plane's somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. I called you right before we boarded, and I guess it took awhile for the Ranger-Com to access your beeper number. We've only been in the air for a couple minutes. It'll take several hours before we get across the ocean. See you at Jason's, Tom.^
"Right. Take care, Katherine," said Tom, hanging up the phone. He then grabbed his briefcase, and hurried out of his office. Just down the hall, Vanessa was waiting for him, leaning against the wall.
"Tom!" she called, "Where're you going?"
"Listen, Van, something's come up. I'm... I'm flying to Angel Grove."
"Oh, I see," she said quietly, "You wanna be with your friends during this difficult time. Okay, Tom, but remember you promised to call me."
"And I will," he said, kissing her forehead, "Thanks for understanding, Van. You're the best!"
"Right," she said quietly, waving to him. She then sighed inwardly and walked away.
In the late afternoon warmth of Atlanta, Georgia, Zack Taylor, Olympic gold medalist in track and field, is busy tearing up the track near his spacious suburbian mansion. His trainer is busy scrutinizing Zack's stride as the athlete passed.
"Zachary!" cried the elder man, "I keep telling you, you have to watch those turns! You keep slowing down too much!"
"Chill out, Reed!" said Zack, jogging over to his coach and longtime friend, "I'll get the hang of it. What am I losing, half a second? A quarter?"
"Zack, you have to take this seriously. In a year and a half, the world will expect you to win the gold. There are some very skilled kids out there, anxious to whip ya!"
"And they won't," laughed Zack, wiping his forehead with a towel, "Now, don't I have a commercial to film or something?"
"Yeah, Zack. You've got a Reebok Zack Attack running shoe to advertise, but that's not in a week. Keep focussed on your training, or someone else will become the fastest man in the world."
Zack sat down on the grass beside the track, sipping his water bottle. He heard a ringing from his gymbag.
"Telephone?" asked Reed in surprise, "I didn't know anyone had this number, besides your parents."
"Hang on a minute," said Zack, picking up the phone, "Hello?"
^Zack?^ came a voice, ^It's me, Kimberly.^
"Kim!" he said in surprise, "What's up, girl?"
"Who's Kim?" asked Reed, leaning over to hear Zack's conversation. Zack threw him a dirty look.
"Look, Reed, this is important. Can I please have a bit of privacy?"
"Fine," sighed Reed, walking towards the bleachers.
^Zack, you're not gonna believe this, but Will's ship has been destroyed by the Moon.^
"You're joking," Zack said with an insecure laugh.
^I wish I were. But, I'm dead serious. Something strange is going on up on the Moon, and the whole gang's meeting at Jason's house to come up with a plan of action.^
"Plan of action? What can we do? The Endeavor's already history! We can't save Billy!"
^There's something fishy going on in Zedd's castle. If he's come back, its our responsibility to do something about it. Get to Jason's ASAP. See ya there.^
"You got it, Kim. And thanks for the update."
Zack hung up his cellular phone and rose to his feet. He grabbed his gym bag and ran towards the street. Reed followed him as quickly as he could, but by the time he caught up, Zack had already flagged down a cab.
"Zack!" he called, "Where're ya going, boy?"
"California," he said, "Its an emergency. I'll see ya later, Reed."
Zack sat in the back seat of the taxi, and closed the door.
"To the airport," he said sternly, crossing his arms, "And step on it."
In Los Angeles, California, Adam Park, the famous martial artist/actor, is busy practicing the stunt routine for the climax of his newest film, "The Avenger Lives." This film is the third in the "Avenger" series, the superhero-action movies that catapulted young Adam into the spotlight six years ago. Adam is practicing with the stunt coordinator for the film, his friend Rocky DeSantos, inside Adam's huge Beverly Hills mansion.
"Okay, Adam," said Rocky, "Now, pretend I'm Diablo, the arch-villain. I'll perform all his moves, while you just act out your Avenger role. Ya ready, bud?"
"Always," said Adam, tying back his curly black hair in a ponytail. He then took a fighting stance.
"Remember, Adam, when we film this, you'll be wearing your Avenger uniform, which is about twenty pounds of forest green and grey rubber. So, account for that by leaping higher than you usually would."
"I got it," said Adam, "And... action!"
Adam and Rocky circled around the mat for a few moments, with Rocky twirling a wooden staff like a baton. Rocky then pointed the staff at Adam, as if he was firing an energy beam. Adam dodged and rolled along the mat, and then used his hands to spring up onto his feet, kicking Rocky lightly on the chin. Rocky threw himself back onto the mat, as if he was just dealt a devestating kick. Before Rocky could rise to his feet, there was a light knock on the open door.
"What's up, Martin?" asked Adam, helping Rocky to his feet. The man in the suit entered the room with a cordless phone.
"Telephone call for you, Sir," said Martin, "The caller is Jason Lee, and he says its an emergency."
Adam and Rocky traded worried glances, and they both jogged over to Martin. Adam took the phone, and dismissed the middle aged butler.
"Jason?" he asked into the receiver. Rocky stood beside him, watching his face.
^Adam! Sheesh, what took so long? I called five minutes ago!^
"Martin usually takes my calls, Jay. Especially when I'm training for a film."
^Well, this is an emergency. Have you heard about the Endeavor?^
"You mean the spaceship? The last thing I heard was that its supposed to arrive home today. Why? What happened?"
^The Endeavor was destroyed, Adam. Its all over the news.^
"You're not serious!" yelled Adam. Rocky stared at him worriedly.
"What?" he asked anxiously, "What's happening?"
"Will's... dead," Adam said quietly. Rocky's eyes widened.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"The ships been destroyed. There's no way Will could still be alive."
^Adam!^ called Jason, ^Adam listen. No one knows what destroyed the ship, but Kat's found something strange on the Moon! The Moon Palace is back in business.^
"No way!" said Adam, "Its been a decade..."
^I know. Listen, jump in your car, and get to my house now. The whole gang's meeting here.^
"I'm on my way," said Adam, turning off the phone. Rocky watched as Adam grabbed a towel and walked out of the gym.
"What's happening, Man?" he asked.
"I'm going to Jason's house," said Adam, turning to face his friend, "The Terran Power Rangers are regrouping."
Okay, Will, he thought, staring at the stone ceiling, its time for that amazing brain to save the day again. Zedd threatened to turn me into a monster, and have me attack my planet, and I certainly won't allow that. I can't betray my friends. I've got to get out of here... I have too much to live for.
Usually, Will is never selfish in the least, but when his thoughts turn to one particular woman, self-preservation is beginning to become a necessity.
I was so STUPID! I mean, Trini came back into my life two years ago, when she moved to Bay City. Now, I live and work in Houston, so we both live in the same area of Texas. I don't know why I couldn't just be honest with her, and tell her I've loved her since I first laid eyes on her, fourteen years ago. But no, I couldn't tell her. I couldn't even put her first in my life. I mean, I devoted my life to NASA, and spent weeks at a time working on my light-speed system, without even giving Trini a call, or even a quick e-mail! I just can't die, not without telling her what I've been afraid to tell her half my life.
At first, Will was blankly staring at the ceiling, but now, he began to study its structure.
These stones... are stuck together with mortar! Now, Zedd and Rita have been gone for over a decade, and since the Moon is a rather harsh environment, the usual upkeep of the palace has been unattended to, and the mortar may be a little weak...
Will sprang up from his cot, surprising both his cellmates, Natasha Slovensky and James Montgomery. They watched Will in confusion as he walked slowly around the cell, examining his surroundings with extreme caution.
"What're ya up to, Will?" asked James. Will just ignored him, his gaze focused on something right next to the barred wall of the chamber. An excited smile crossed his face, and he hurried over to the object, and picked it up gingerly.
"Will?" asked Natasha, "Are you alright? That water bowl is empty. I guess our captors aren't interested in keeping us alive by providing food and water."
Suddenly, Will raised the large brown water bowl high over his head, and threw it down with all his strength. The bowl shattered upon impact, and Will immediately began picking through the pieces of jagged glass. He found a rather large, sharp piece, and began examining the walls very carefully.
"Will, please tell us what you're up to!" cried Natasha desperately. Will looked at his two companions.
"This palace is withstanding the harsh environment of the Moon, which means it most likely requires upkeep. Without proper cleaning and restoration, the powerful sun rays mixed with the cold nights weaken the palace, aging it beyond its years. Even though this palace has only been here for a short time, its wear and tear is equal to Earth palaces hundreds of years old."
"So?" asked James, watching as Will once again began examining the wall.
"So, I'm guessing the mortar around these stones is rather weak. Constant temperature fluctuations are very damaging to mortar, and the Moon has no atmosphere to regulate the temperature. All we need to do is find a stone who's barely held into place, and then we can pry it out--"
"Making an exit for us!" finished James, picking up a large shard of glass for himself.
"But, then what do we do?" asked Natasha, "We're on the Moon! We can't just walk home, you know, and I doubt we can hitch a ride! We can't even leave the palace!"
"I know," said Will, "but its all we can do. We've got to get free, and search this palace inside out. There may be some sort of teleportational device, or communicator, or something to let the world know we're alive!"
"Hey!" called James, moving his cot from against the wall, "I think I've found our loose stone!"
Katherine Hillard sat in the back seat of a taxi cab, looking out the window with a type of serenity. Of course, now is no time to be at peace, not with news of three world famous astronauts gone without a trace, and their ship destroyed. And Katherine, a close friend of one of the missing astronauts, as well as the astronomer who found the remains of the space craft, should by no means be happy now. But, Katherine couldn't help it. That was the affect of Angel Grove California. Years after she moved to Australia, Angel Grove is still a sleepy, quiet, and peaceful town. She was always happy here, with her family, and even more importantly with her friends. She watched the houses go by in her window, and as the taxi passed by the Angel Grove Gym and Juice Bar, she felt a craving for one of Ernie's great strawberry shakes. Of course, Ernie doesn't work there anymore. He sold the Juice Bar ages ago. But the Juice Bar still made Kat feel nostalgic. It still made her long for the good ole days. Good ole days that are forever gone... "We're here, Miss," said the taxi driver, bringing the car to a stop in front of a comfortable white house with red brick trim. Katherine blinked and searched her purse for some money. Then, she grabbed her purse and her briefcase, and stepped out of the car. She slowly ascended the steps, and rang the doorbell. A tall woman with ashy blonde hair and twinkling eyes, not to mention a rather large stomach, opened the door.
"Kat!" she shrieked, wrapping her arms around the visitor, "Its been forever! I haven't seen you since... my wedding! That was over two years ago!"
"How are you feeling, Emily?" asked Katherine, "How far are you?"
"About seven months. I feel fantastic, though. I mean, of course everyone around here is morbid about what happened to Will, but I'm fine in a physical sense. Come on in, girl! Everyone's here!"
"Everyone?" she asked, stepping into the house. She walked into the living room, were a rather large group of people were sitting on couches, chatting quietly and snacking on crackers, cheese, and soda. Kat smiled as she scanned the group of long time friends. She was visibly surprised when she saw Trini Kwan, the original Yellow Power Ranger, sitting on the couch beside Kimberly Monroe.
"Trini?" said Kat, "When did you get here?"
"About an hour ago," said Trini, drying her eyes with a tissue, "When I found out Will's ship was destroyed, I called Kim, since we've always been close. I spoke to Trevor, and he said she flew into Angel Grove to visit Jason. So, I took the next flight over from Houston. I... I just couldn't handle this... alone."
"And Rocky's here too, huh?"
"You bet," he said, "I was with Adam when he got that phone call. I had to come also."
"Can I get anyone anything?" asked Emily, peeking into the living room.
"No thanks, Em," said Jason, "Um, could you leave us alone for a few minutes? We have some... matters to discuss."
"Well, alright, Jason," she said, closing the living room door behind her. Jason then stood up, and faced all his friends.
"Well, as you can see, the gang's all here. Since Kat flew in from Sydney, it obviously took her the longest amount of time to get here. About fifteen hours ago, Will's ship, the Endeavor, was destroyed by the Moon. Kat, since you're the astronaut who discovered the debris, you should probably take the floor."
"Right," she said, opening her briefcase. She pulled out a laptop, and placed it on the coffee table.
"I've saved the photos we got from the Hubble Space Telescope onto this laptop, so I could show you what we've found. Here is the picture of the Moon, with the ship's debris."
She turned on the computer, and all the former rangers stared at the dark picture.
"This next picture is the interesting one. A colleague of mine said he was picking up traces of some kind of EM waves, but they weren't part of the spectrum we know. They break the laws of physics in their nature. But, as you can see from this photo, this EM energy is visible to the human eye."
The photo showed the dark castle on the Moon, glowing with a surreal energy. Trini gasped when she saw the light.
"You said the light was physically impossible, right?"
"Well, Billy scanned that type of energy ages ago, back when we first became Power Rangers. He first picked it up in his lab in his garage, and he studied it further in the Command Center, kinda like a hobby of his. Its the energy signature of a very powerful spell. One of Rita's or Zedd's spells."
"So, Zedd and Rita are back!" said Zack, leaping to his feet, "C'mon gang! We've got work to do. Only the Terran Rangers can stop those creeps, and that means we've gotta get to the CAC, and get the Zeo Crystal!"
"Easy, Zack," said Tom, "if that energy signature really heralded the return of Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd, then they've been back for over fifteen hours! They surely know we don't have the Zeo Crystal, and they've probably prepared for our mission to get it back."
"Do you think maybe they didn't kill Will?" asked Trini hopefully, "Maybe they kidnapped him! Maybe he's still alive! It doesn't make sense that they'd just kill him."
"He may not be dead, Trini," said Kimberly, hugging her friend, "But, the only way to make sure is to go up to the Moon, and find out. We need the Zeo Crystal, so we can activate the Terra Zords."
"But, how do we get it back?" asked Adam, "We don't have our teleporters!"
"We'll have to walk," said Rocky, "And that means we'll have to be prepared for anything."
"You're right, Rocko," said Jason, walking to his closet and pulling out a large cardboard box, "and we have just the equipment to do so. Y'see, I was never fully convinced Zedd and Rita were gone for good, so about seven years ago, I managed to convince Will to make a set of weapons to keep with us, in case we ever have to fight evil without our Terra powers. He made these."
Jason opened up the box, and each ranger looked in. Inside were seven silver belts, seven silver shields designed to rest on the shoulders, and seven pairs of metallic armbands. "Everything here is made of a very durable nickel-silver alloy, tempered with technology from Eltar, Zordon's homeworld. These shields are designed to rest on your shoulders, and they protect the chest, shoulders, and neck. These armbands were made to resist heavy corrosives, like the venom of a Viper Putty. The belts each have a special function. Three of them contain powerful laser blasters. Two others have anti-gravity rays, and the other two each have two detonators attached to them. They all have detachable communicators, so we can keep in touch."
"Great equipment," said Zack, "But no armor?"
"That was my department," said Kimberly, carrying a suitcase, "Since I'm a fashion designer, I was entrusted with the job of creating uniforms for us. They would have to be durable, but also flexible, like our Power Rangers outfits. So, I designed seven color-coded uniforms out of an experimental polymer, that is designed to withstand both extreme heat and cold, as well as the brunt of kinetic attacks, like kicks and punches. They're not as tough as our Ranger uniforms, but they'll have to do."
She opened up the suitcase, and lifted the top uniform to show her friends. It was a dark red, full body uniform, with the image of a flame etched on the top left part of the chest area, in golden thread. A golden line traveled down the length of the uniform, starting at the base of the flame image, all the way down the left leg. She handed the uniform to Tom.
"I designed one for each of the Terran Rangers, and they're designed to fit like a glove. Each one is a little different in style. I also have one for... Will."
Kimberly pulled out a full length navy blue uniform, with the image of a triangle on the chest. She then put it to the side, and pulled out the other uniforms. Katherine, Jason, Adam, and Zack all took their uniforms, and then each reached into the cardboard box to grab a belt, shield, and armbands. Kimberly also lined up six pairs of boots of varying lengths. In a few minutes, everyone had taken their turn in the bathroom, changing into uniform. Katherine's uniform was a long-sleeved turquoise bodysuit, with a short skirt. A golden image of waves was etched on the left side, and her boots were silver, and reached her knees. Jason's uniform was a black sleeveless bodysuit, with a golden globe on his chest. His boots also were silver, and reached his knees. Tom wore his full body red suit, and his boots reached his calves. Zack's white suit was long sleeved, but the legs were short, much like his running shorts. He had a star over his chest to symbolize light, and his boots were just over his ankles. Adam's green uniform was short-sleeved, as well as short legged. His boots reached his knees, and an image of a golden cyclone decorated his chest. Kimberly's uniform was a lemon yellow long sleeved leotard, much like she wore in her gymnastics competitions. Her boots reached about mid-thigh. All six Terran Rangers stood in a row, in the living room.
"What about us?" asked Rocky, "What should we do?"
"You two stay here," said Jason, "Could you please keep an eye on Emily for me? We'll keep you informed."
"No way, Jase," said Rocky standing up, "I've been sitting on the sidelines long enough. I'm going with you."
"Well," said Kim, examining Rocky's form with her eyes, "He is about the same height and size as Will. He may be able to fit in the navy blue costume. But, I don't have a suit for Trini--"
"That's alright," said Trini with a small smile, "I've long given up fighting, and I don't think I'm in the best emotional state either, given the circumstances. I'll stay here, but contact me the second you find something."
"You got it," said Kimberly, handing her best friend her own communicator, "It'll ring in the same tone as our wrist communicators did. As soon as we reach the CAC, we'll give you a ring."
While the other rangers were talking to Trini, Rocky had dressed in his form-fitting navy blue uniform. Even though blue wasn't his color, it seemed to suit him. The uniform fit him almost as well as it would've fit Will. Once all seven men and women were ready, they snuck out the front door, and piled into Jason's minivan.
"To the Batcave!" declared Rocky, buckling his seatbelt. His attempt at humor only received cold looks from the others.
"Sorry," he said meekly, "Just trying to lighten the mood a bit."
After a short road trip, the seven costumed heroes were atop the familiar mountain where the long gone Command Center once stood. They looked around the area, maneuvering around the debris still remaining from the horrible explosion that ended their lives as Power Rangers, and started their lives as Terran Rangers.
"Wow," said Rocky, looking under a rusted metal beam, "this is some serious deja vu, gang."
"You said it," said Adam, "I remember it like it was yesterday... You, me, Tanya, Tommy, Kat, and Billy were digging through this mess, searching for the entrance to the hidden passageway leading to the Central Access Complex. If memory serves, the tunnel is near the staircase... which means this way!"
Adam led the rangers to the location of the tunnel opening. They found it just as it was over a decade ago, a lone manhole cover sticking out of the earth. Jason and Tom pulled off the cover, revealing a dark staircase.
"Funny," said Kimberly, "This all seems spookier than it did last time around."
"Okay, gang," said Tom, "we'll split up into two teams, and search for the CAC. I don't think any one of us remembers the exact layout of the underground maze, and we don't have forever to fumble around in the dark. We should divide the team in terms of who has the special equipment, so how about... me, Kimberly, Rocky, and Zack take one route, and Jason, Adam, and Katherine go the other way?"
"Sounds good to me," said Jason, "I'll go first, and Adam and Kat can follow me. We'll take the left path."
With that, Jason crawled down the ladder into the thick darkness. He waved away the hot steam from his face, and peered into the tunnel. He then pressed a button on his belt, and a wash of bright white light filled the dank tunnel. Right behind him, Katherine and Adam crawled down the ladder.
"You said the left tunnel?" asked Adam, activating his belt flashlight.
"Yep," said Jason, walking into the tunnel, "Let's go. But be careful, gang. I have a funny feeling that Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa know what we're up to."
Meanwhile, a pair of eyes watch the group from behind a crimson visor. Suddenly, the room begins to glow an even brighter shade of red, reflecting its master's red-hot anger.
"Blast!" he roared, slamming his fist into the balcony, "Those brats are in the tunnels!"
"Why didn't you stop them earlier?" asked Rita, who was busily filing her nails while sitting on Zedd's throne.
"Because I couldn't find them! Billy refused to tell us their locations, and without the Zeo shards, those annoying pests don't emit a power signature for me to track down. I've been keeping my eye on the Command Center ruins, where the CAC is buried underneath, and seven former rangers are there, ready for action. I guess a decade of inactivity didn't slow them down..."
"Nonsense," said Rita, standing up and standing beside her husband, "Those rangers have no power to protect them! There is no way they can defeat you! And even if they do find their way through that maze, there's still that squad of Viper Putties to deal with. Do you really think those pests could defeat an outnumbering group of Viper Putties, whose very saliva is a poisonous venom? I sincerely doubt it."
"But, just to be on the safe side, I think a monster is in store," said Lord Zedd, walking away from the balcony.
"Where are you going?" asked Rita.
"To the dungeon. I've finally got a use for our dear William James Mitchell."
Lord Zedd marched to the dungeon, closely followed by his not-quite-blushing bride. Soon, they were in the catacombs of the palace, where three human astronauts were imprisoned inside one stone and iron cell. Zedd walked up to the bars, expecting to be greeted by a few harsh insults from the brain of the Power Rangers. But, much to his shock, there was no one in the dungeon.
"WHAT?!?!" he roared furiously. Rita gasped when she saw the empty prison cell. She then folded her arms and tapped her foot impatiently on the stone floor.
"Great idea, locking the three of them up together," she mumbled, "I feel a headache coming on..."
"Oh, shut up!" yelled Zedd, melting the iron bars with his staff, "There must be a clue in here as to how they escaped! Start looking!"
Rita and Zedd peered at the stone wall, the stone floor, the remaining iron bars, and even under the four cots positioned in each of the four corners. Other than a shattered water bowl on the floor, there was nothing. Rita glanced at the bowl, completely disregarding it. But, she did a double take, and a sly grin crossed her face.
"Zeddie," she said, kneeling and picking up a rather large piece of jagged glass, "do you think Billy used one of these to chip at the mortar surrounding one of the stones?"
"Yes," said Zedd, examining the piece of glass, "But, which stone..."
"Let's just find the loose stone, and send a few Viper Putties to follow Billy and his friends," suggested Rita, "We don't have time to be searching ourselves, and we didn't bring any of our henchmen with us!"
"Fine," said Zedd, "But there still is the problem of the monster. I really want to send one down right now, just in case the rangers actually succeed. Besides, its about time we started pummeling Earth's civilizations, and conquering it!"
"Look," said Rita, "Why don't you look around for the loose stone, while I go to Finster's lab and find a suitable monster. I'm sure I can figure out how the Monster-Matic works."
"Very well," said Zedd, peering at the stones lining the bars, "We'll split up. Oh, and if you happen to accidentally find Billy or his friends, kill them. They're too bothersome."
Rita walked out of the dungeon, and made her way to Finster's lab on foot, which was in the tower by the throne room. She could've teleported to the lab, but this way, she can keep an eye out for Will and his two companions. However, she didn't feel a set of eyes watching her from a concealed location--behind an iron grate sealing off the ventilation system.
"I wonder where she's going," whispered Will, watching as the empress of evil passed the grate.
"Where do we go now, Will?" asked Natasha.
"You two stay here," he instructed, "I don't think those aliens will think of the ventilation system. I'll follow that one, and find out what her plan is."
"Are you sure?" asked James, "What if something happens to you?"
"Then just stay one step ahead of these aliens, until help arrives. Just don't let them find you, I doubt they'll be so merciful as to just imprison you the second time."
Natasha and James nodded quietly, and Will pried off the grate, and crawled onto the hallway floor. He immediately put the grate back on, and listened carefully. Large hallways like that one usually create an echo, so he snuck through the path as quietly as humanly possible, following Rita. After a while, he found her in Finster's lab.
Of course! he thought, quickly ducking under the lab table while Rita was busily examining a dozen or so clay statues of monsters, I should've thought of this before! Zedd and Rita use magic, but Finster is the only villain to use science! If anyone has a mechanical teleporter or communicator, it'd be Finster. As soon and Rita leaves, I search the equipment, and find a way to contact the CAC, so when the rangers retrieve their powers, they'll know I'm still alive! Maybe, if I'm really lucky, there'll be a teleportation device here too!
"Hmm," thought Rita out loud, going down a row of miniature monsters, "Lizzinator... done that, Eye Eye Guy... done that, Pudgy Pig... good lord, done too many times! Aha, here's a new one!"
Rita selected a small statue of a dinosaur, with ferocious fangs, dangerous claws, and a mighty tail.
"It kinda looks like the Dragonzord," she observed, bringing the clay monster to Finster's lab table. She placed him on the table and began to leaf through Finster's monster handbook. Billy held his breath, a chill leaping up his spine when Rita approached him.
"Now," she said, "let's see what this thing does. Hmm, there it is! Verdus, eh? 'I designed the Verdus monster out of the classic television creature Godzilla.' Well, now I know what Finster did all that time I was gone... watch television! 'Like the Earth legend, my Verdus can spit fire, ravaging all in his path. Also I integrated some of the Dragonzord's attacks, since there is an obvious likeness. Like the Dragonzord, Godzilla can create a beam of energy from the large spike atop his head, use his tail as a whip, and he also can fire his claws like missiles, and they'll slice straight through almost anything. He also has a powerful, Earth-shattering roar, which can disturb whomever he faces in combat. I thought it'd be an interesting study in human psychology to attack them with a creature familiar to them only in a purely fictional fashion. If this works, my next creature may be the Big-Foot, or Loch Ness Monster...' Well, that's enough of that."
Rita cackled and activated the Monster-Matic by pressing the large red button. She then placed Verdus on the conveyor belt, and pulled a lever, causing the machine to pull the clay monster into the furnace. Rita waited a few minutes, rubbing her hands in anticipation, and finally a six foot slimy dinosaur fell from the large pipe atop the machine. Verdus roared furiously, and saliva dripped from his vicious fangs. Rita examined her monster from head to toe, and smiled in delight.
"Not bad, for my first monster," she congratulated herself, taking her monster by his claw, "Now, come on, Verdus. I'm going to introduce you to my husband, Lord Zedd!"
Suddenly, Verdus began sniffing the air, like a hunting dog would when it catches wind of its prey. He sniffed in the direction of the lab table, and fought against Rita's grip to approach it.
"Now, now," said Rita, yanking him away from the lab table, "Aren't you anxious to do some damage! Well, first things first, my pet."
With that, both Rita and the monster vanished from the lab. Will waited for a few minutes, allowing his heart to slow down a bit from its rapid pace. Finally, he peeked his head out from behind the table cloth, and glanced around. Once he noticed that no one was around, he approached the large iron door of the lab, and peeked out into the hallway. He pulled the door closed, and bolted it tight, and then began examining all the machines in the room.
"Wow," he whispered, looking around, "Finster has a lot of inventions here. Let's see, there's a dream monitor, a love potion, a hate potion, a power absorption table... this must be what Zedd used to drain Kim's pink power from her body! Um, what else?"
Will circled around the huge lab, desperately searching for either a communicator or a teleporter. After over ten minutes, he finally found an ancient, dusty communicator.
"Yes!" he exclaimed, wiping the dust off with his hands, "I've found it! Now, I hope it works..."
Will began tampering with the device, trying to turn it on. But the communicator was lifeless.
"Maybe its out of power," he said, turning it around and prying off the panel concealing its battery. The battery was very similar to the kind used in the CAC, which in turn look like really large D batteries. He tampered around with the batteries, as well as the exposed wires, trying to piece it back together.
"Hmm," he said, "This machine is lacking insulation. The wires' metal is exposed! I need some kind of rubber, to wrap around it."
While he looked around on the cluttered lab table, something banged on the bolted door. Will jumped in surprise, and watched as the banging continued. He could see the iron bending to the force of whatever was behind the door.
"What could that be?"
Suddenly, he heard a hiss, and a small hole burned through the metallic door. A green ooze continued to slowly eat through the iron.
"Oh no!" Will gasped, "Viper Putties!"
He hurried back to the communicator, looking back to see the small hole grow from the size of a dime to the size of a baseball. Will kept searching for an insulated material.
"If I can't get this communicator to work in twenty three seconds, I'm doomed," he muttered. Finally an idea struck him, and he ripped off a piece of his space suit, that he was still wearing from the Endeavor. He wrapped the material over the copper wire, and activated the communicator. He sighed in relief as the machine flashed to life, and he immediately began to program the device to operate on the frequency the Power Rangers' communicators always did. Meanwhile, the hole in door was about the size of a watermelon.
"Hello?" he said into the microphone, "Rangers, this is Will, and I'm in the Moon Palace! Zedd and Rita kidnapped me and my companions, hoping to gain knowledge of the year 2006! They're about to send down a new Godzilla type monster!"
Will stopped talking and turned around, only to see over a dozen Viper Putties enter the cluttered lab.
There's no way I can defeat fourteen Viper Putties alone, with no weapons, nor powers! Will thought, scanning the machines surrounding him, Therefore, the only logical solution is to create a weapon on my own!
Will put down the microphone to the communicator, and backed away from the approaching monsters. He attempted to leap back, but her stumbled, due to his cumbersome space suit.
There's no way I can perform any elegant martial arts moves in this suit! And, I doubt its durable enough to withstand the Viper Putties acidic saliva.
Will picked himself up off the cold ground, and jumped out of the way of a stream of green venom. He bolted into a run, quickly grabbing a large metallic disk, resembling a satellite dish. It was obviously one of Finster's unfinished experiments. Will shielded his face with the disk as he charged through the Putties like a bull, and managed to push past all fourteen of them. But the Putties quickly recovered from Will's sudden move, and followed him towards the door, spewing deadly venom in all directions. Will thought for a moment to make a break for it, but was suddenly hit by a wave of inspiration.
"The hate-potion!" he cried, "That's it!"
Will held the metal disk like a shield, and made his way to the bolted cubboard, where he saw a few magic potions. He grabbed the one with a broken heart emblem on it, and threw the bottle at the approaching Putties. The Putties looked at each other, completely puzzled, while Will ducked behind the lab table. After a few moments of being bathed in the strange mist, the Putties suddenly began to growl at each other, and attack one another. Will smiled triumphantly and crawled out of the lab. Once he passed though the gate, he stood up, and brushed the dirt off his uniform. He then cautiously listened for any approaching noises, and quietly hurried back the way he had come. In a matter of minutes Will was once again with his two allies, Natasha Slovensky and James Montgomery, inside the ventilation system.
"What happened, Will?" asked Natasha.
"Yeah," said James, "What did you find out?"
"Those two aliens are a married couple, Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa. They're the hated enemies of the Power Rangers. They're back, and they're planning on taking over the world."
Natasha gasped, but James rolled his eyes in disbelief.
"Yeah right," he scoffed, "Them and what army?"
"An army of those green and grey creatures we saw pass by," said Natasha, "I think she called them Viper Putties."
"Yes," said Will, "They can create as many Viper Putties as they want, and also, they can create monsters. I witnessed Rita create a green lizard creature with a machine called the Monster-Matic."
"Is there anything we can do?" asked Natasha.
"Well, I managed to find a working communicator, and I sent a message to Earth, warning whoever hears it of Rita and Zedd's attack. Other than that, I really don't know what we can do."
"Then I'll tell ya what we can do!" said James, clenching his fist, "We destroy that Monster- Matic thing that woman used to create a monster! Without the machine, they can't make any more."
"Maybe later," said Will, "But we're certainly not going back to the lab anytime soon. That room is filled with Viper Putties, and I'd rather avoid a confrontation. I suggest we find the throne room, where Zedd and Rita do all their talking and planning. We may find out more vital information."
"Then let's go," said James, beginning to once again remove the metal grate. Natasha touched his shoulder gently.
"Why don't we travel through the ventilation system?" she suggested, "Its much safer, and there must be a passage leading to the throne room. That's the only way air can get in."
"Good idea," said Will, crawling into the air ducts, "I'll lead the way."
Meanwhile, not very far, Lord Zedd sits on his throne, tapping his metallic chin impatiently, while Rita explains Verdus's powers.
"Wait one minute, Rita," said Zedd, "You're telling me you created a monster based on some fictional Earth character?! What in the name of evil possessed you to do that?!"
"Because, he's a very well-designed monster, and I feel he can defeat the rangers. Besides, how hard can it be to destroy a team of rangers without any powers? Send Verdus into the underground tunnels surrounding the Central Access Complex. It ought to be interesting, to say the least."
Meanwhile, in the musty, dark caverns beneath the ruins of the Command Center, Rocky DeSantos, Kimberly Monroe, Tom Oliver, and Zack Taylor feel their way through the darkness, searching for the right path.
"It feels like we've been walking for hours," muttered Kimberly under her breath, climbing over a boulder. She ran her hand along the stone wall, so she could navigate better. Her hand touched a slimey substance, and she immediately drew it back. "Ew, gross!"
"Be quiet, Kim," snapped Tom, who was leading the group, "I think I hear something!"
"You don't have to yell at me," she snapped back, "I'm not a child!"
"Just keep it down! Listen."
Kimberly glared at the red-costumed leader, but remained silent. Rocky and Zack traded frustrated looks, and listened as well. So far, their journey has been uneventful, with the exception of Tom and Kimberly. This is the first time they've been together since Jason's wedding, and even then they managed to stay at a distance from each other. Now, the tension is high, and the two of them can't stop bickering.
"I don't hear anything," Kimberly said after nearly a minute of silence. Tom once again shushed her, and snuck ahead.
"Hey!" Kim snapped, following him, "Where are you going? Isn't this supposed to be a team effort?"
"Easy, Kim," whispered Zack, "He's just hopping into his 'over-protective leader mode.' He's probably making sure the coast is clear."
"We should still follow closely, though," said Rocky, starting to go where Tom had, "The lighting's so bad in here, we can easily get separated."
"Sic-Hyah!!" came a muffled cry from just down the tunnel. All three rangers jumped a bit.
"Tommy?!" Kim cried into the darkness, "He's in trouble! Let's go!"
Kimberly followed the sounds of battle, with Rocky and Zack right behind her. Soon, they found Tom, battling at least six of Zedd's poisonous Viper Putties all alone. He was doing well, until he let his guard down for an instant, to turn around and see his friends approaching. One Viper Putty took full advantage of Tom's distraction, and spat out a stream of corrosive venom. Tom managed to dodge most of it, but a little stained the chest area of his red uniform. A few drops was enough.
"TOMMY!!" Kimberly shrieked as she heard Tom shout and fall to the ground. She quickly ran over to him, and leapt into the air.
"Hi-ya!" she bellowed, plowing her left heel into the Putty's gut. It fell down without uttering a sound, and Kimberly immediately tended to Tom.
"Are you okay?" she asked quietly.
"I'm fine," he answered, trying to stand up, "I thought the venom would penetrate the costume, but it didn't touch my skin yet."
"That doesn't mean it won't. Quick, wash it off with the water on the ground. It may be muddy, but at least it's not a poison."
Tom began splashing the muddy water onto his costume in an effort to wash away the green slime threatening to eat him alive. While he tended to his wound, Kimberly, Zack, and Rocky managed to keep the six Putties at bay.
"Man," grunted Zack after punching a Putty in the face, "this sure was easier when we had our powers!"
"It doesn't seem so bad," commented Rocky while performing a powerful roundhouse kick, knocking back two Putties, "I kinda miss all the action. In my line of work, all the fighting is fake, ya know. Just a bunch of stunts to make a movie exciting. But there's nothing comparable to the rush ya get when you're fighting for keeps."
"Sure," said Kimberly, just managing to block a Viper Putty's attacks with her armbands, "if you like putting your life on the line."
"You can't tell me ya didn't miss this!" said Rocky, leaping back from a Putty, "This is the life!"
"Enough games," said Tom, standing up, his uniform dripping with murky water, "Let's finish these guys off. Stand back, guys!"
Kimberly, Zack, and Rocky leapt out of the way, and Tom pulled a small laser pistol from his belt. He shot powerful rays of red lasers, which managed to disintegrate the Putties. At the same time, though, the whole area began to shake.
"Tom!" yelled Zack, "Turn off the laser! You'll cause a cave-in!"
Tom released the firing button, but the shaking continued. The rangers braced themselves against the moist wall so as to not fall to the muddy ground.
"Its not me, gang," said Tom, "Something's here."
"Something big," commented Rocky, "It sounds like its... under us."
Just then, a powerful roar shook the caverns, and the rangers' eyes widened.
"That's no Putty," said Zack.
Suddenly, the floor began to crack. Kimberly managed to utter a final yelp as the floor crumbled from beneath her, and she fell into the consuming darkness.
Not far away, inside one of the other dim tunnels that constitute the underground labyrinth leading to the Central Access Complex, Jason Lee, Katherine Hillard, and Adam Park continue their own rather uneventful journey. The three walked in a grim silence, for they all had deep thoughts on their minds, first and foremost their missing friend Will Mitchell, and the impact Zedd and Rita's return will have on their already complicated lives.
"So," said Kat, trying to lighten the mood a little, "what've you been up to, Adam?"
Adam turned around, slightly surprised to hear someone talking. He shrugged, and tightened the band tying his dark, curly long locks.
"Well, I've been working on a new movie. Its actually pretty cool, since Rocky's the stunt coordinator in this film. But other than that, nothing much is going on. How about you, Kat?"
"Oh, nothing much. I'm just working at the Anglo-Australian Observatory. Though I admit, I'd like to move back to America. I kinda miss it here."
"But, what would Sheldon think about that?" asked Jason, deciding to join the conversation, "Isn't he the reason you moved back to Sydney?"
"Well, part of the reason," said Kat, blushing slightly, "but he's no longer part of the picture. We split up, about a year ago."
"Wow," said Adam, "I thought you two were so happy. What happened?"
"Sheldon and I just had irreconcilable differences," Kat said with a sigh, "It turned out we aren't so compatible. I guess its my curse-- I've never had much luck in matters of the heart."
"Me neither," said Adam, "I mean, I met the woman of my dreams when Tanya Sloan came into my life. But, she moved back to Africa before we really became close, and I guess we just lost contact. It happens."
"I didn't know how much you cared about Tanya," said Kat, slightly surprised. Now it was Adam's turn to blush.
"I didn't know either, until she left," Adam admitted, "Love is a funny thing, ya know? You don't know its there until its gone."
"We may know how to fight evil," said Jason, "but expressing love is another thing entirely. I was lucky that Emily was so patient with me. I mean, we've dated since senior year in high school, and I finally married her two years ago. Man, I don't know how she put up with me."
"Yes," said Kat, "and Zack could never seem to get over Angela, and then Kimberly and Tom split up, and Will and Trini never quite got together, and I fell in love with the wrong man. Its amazing how inept we are when it comes to relationships."
"You got that right," said Adam, continuing down the dark tunnel, "I almost wish something would happen, ya know? At least we'd know we were going in the right direction."
Suddenly, the darkened cavern mysteriously lit up, revealing thirteen deadly Viper Putties. The three heroes stepped back in surprise at the sudden attack.
"Be careful what you wish for, Adam," said Jason with a frown, striking a martial arts battle stance. Adam mimicked his movements, and the two men defended themselves against the charging Putties. Katherine, who had never mastered the art of unarmed combat, quickly pulled out her laser blaster, and fired powerful beams of blue light at any Viper Putty that dared approach her. However, the trio was quickly being drowned by Putties. Kat watched helplessly as the nine remaining Putties encircled Adam and Jason, not allowing her a clean shot. Jason looked up and noticed how the Putties almost seemed to ignore Kat.
Of course, he thought, Their strategy is to overwhelm me and Adam first, and then go after Kat! They know Kat won't dare take a shot at them so long as they're so close to me and Adam!
Jason quickly head-butted the Putty that was holding his arms behind his back, forcing the creature to let go. He then broke away from the other two Putties attacking him, and lifted a small silver sphere from his belt.
"The kid-gloves are off, Clay-Brains!" he declared, pressing the single button on the sphere, "Prepare to get blown away!"
Jason hurled the small sphere at the three Putties he was fighting, which exploded on impact, reducing all three Putties to dust. He then quickly ran over to Katherine, who was now attempting to help Adam by fighting some of the Putties aiming for him.
"Kat!" Jason called, getting her attention, "I think we're close to the CAC! That would explain the sudden attack! Keep going down the tunnel, while I help Adam take out the Putty Patrol!"
Kat nodded and broke into a run, leaving Adam and Jason to deal with the six remaining Putties.
"Thanks for the help, Jay," grunted Adam while kicking one Putty behind the knee.
"No problem," answered Jason, blocking a stream of venom with his arm bands, "Together, we can trash these things in no time!"
As soon as the duo finished off the last Putty, one dozen more materialized right before their eyes.
"I think Zedd's watching us!" yelled Jason, who immediately attacked the new Putties, "He'll probably keep sending more Viper Putties until we're dead!"
Meanwhile, just down the tunnel, Katherine stands at a fork in the road. Unfortunately, only one path can lead to the CAC, and she knows her friends need her to locate the Terran Rangers' headquarters immediately.
"Oh, if only I could remember which path was the right one!" she sighed, rubbing her chin in thought, "Well, when all else fails... eenie, meenie, minie, mo!"
Kat began to hurry down the left tunnel, when the sound of footsteps caught her attention.
"Jason?" she called, "Adam? You there?"
When no one answered, Kat listened even more carefully, stopping in her tracks.
The footsteps are coming from... behind this wall! she thought, pressing her ear against the wall on the right side of the tunnel, So, that could mean Lord Zedd sent more Putties to attack me! Now, it they're in the other tunnel, then its safe to assume they're guarding the CAC entrance! I'm going the wrong way...
Kat started to backtrack, but she then stopped again.
From the sound of the footsteps, there must be at least four Viper Putties in the other tunnel. I don't think I can beat them all by myself. But, maybe I can take them by surprise...
Katherine pulled out her laser pistol, and walked along the wall, listening carefully to the sounds of the Putties.
If I can hear the Putties' footsteps, then this wall can't be that thick. Now, once the sounds die down, I'll be far enough away from them to make a break for the CAC.
Kat stopped walking and set her laser for full force. She then fired a tight beam of blue energy directly on the stone wall, carving out a circle just large enough for her to pass through easily. Once she burned a full circle through the wall, she pushed against the rock, making a tunnel about four inches deep. She stepped through the hole, and quickly turned to see six Viper Putties running at her. She ran to the other end of the tunnel, where the gate leading to the CAC was, while at the same time recalibrating her laser pistol for the wide-beam setting. When she reached the gate, she quickly turned around and blasted the Putties with a continuous beam of powerful blue light. But, instead of destroying the Putties, the beam only managed to push them back, slowing their advance. Kat continued to fire, until a red light coming from the pistol began to flash.
Oh, no! The pistol is overloading! Its going to explode!
Kat continued firing until the red flashed turned into a constant red glow, and a shrill whistle screeched from the gun. Without thinking, Kat tossed the gun at the Putties. As soon as the lead Putty caught the gun, it exploded, destroying the front three Putties, and causing a cave in, instantly burying the remaining Putties under a ton of rock. Kat quickly turned back to the door while the ceiling fell all around her. She touched the large crystal decorating the gate, and waited while the computer system scanned her fingerprints.
"Come on already!" she shrieked as the entire tunnel caved in. The gates opened only seconds before the tunnel collapsed completely. Kat leapt through the door as soon as it opened, and looked around in awe. The gate closed behind her, and the lights automatically activated, illuminating the chamber with a soft white light.
"I made it! Now, to get Adam and Jason."
Kat hurried to one corner of the large Central Access Complex to the main computer, and activated the Viewing Globe. Her eyes widened in alarm when she witnessed her friends fighting five Viper Putties apiece.
"Zedd and Rita must've sent reinforcements!" she gasped, running to the teleporter, "Adam and Jason need help now!"
Katherine pressed a few buttons, and in two flashes of light, Adam and Jason appeared in the center of the CAC, gasping for breath.
"Great timing, Kat," said Jason walking over to her, "We couldn't hold out much longer."
"Wow," said Adam, looking around, "The Central Access Complex is even more impressive than I remembered. Maybe I can figure out how to retrieve the Zeo Crystal from storage."
"Fine," said Jason, turning to the computer, "Meanwhile, Kat and I'll search for Kim, Tom, Rocky, and Zack. Once we find them on the Viewing Globe, we can teleport them here."
Kimberly's plummet didn't last long. Only after a few seconds of terrified screams, her body was immersed in freezing water. She struggled to the surface, gasping for air.
"Kimberly?" cried a concerned voice, "KIM?!"
"Kim," said another voice, a little less frantic, "are you okay?"
"Tommy?" she responded, "Rocky? I'm... I'm fine."
"Are you hurt?" asked another voice. Kim stared up to the hole through which she fell only moments ago. It was high up, but she still managed to make out three silhouettes looking over the edge.
"I... I don't think so, Zack," she said finally. She then heard a bone-chilling roar from behind her. She froze in the water, and slowly turned around, her eyes wide with fear. Only yards away was dry land, and even though the lighting was very dim, Kimberly could make out a dark, frightening form on the land, with yellow eyes staring right at her. Kim gasped as she stared at the eyes, and then they suddenly disappeared. But, she heard water splashing, and the sound was getting closer.
"Um, guys," she managed to choke out, "There's something in here! And its coming closer!!"
"We'll get you out, Kim," said Tommy reassuringly. He then looked across the hole at his long time friend, the White Ranger, Zack Taylor.
"Zack," he said, his voice nearly shaking, "you have some kind of anti-gravity unit, right?"
"Yeah," said Zack, looking at the buttons on his belt, "But I don't think I know how--"
"Just DO IT!" Tom snapped fiercely. Zack nodded, stood up, and took a deep breath.
"Here goes nothing," he whispered, pressing the button. A beam of soft white light slowly stretched through the hole. Kimberly was bathed in the white light, and slowly was lifted up to the hole. However, the monster reached her, and leapt into the air, baring its horrific fangs and razor sharp claws at her. The monster's leap was short, however, and missed Kimberly's flesh by mere inches. Kimberly only got a glance of the monster before she was safely pulled to the surface. She shivered uncontrollably, her short golden-brown hair dripping with the ice water.
"Kim," said Tom soothingly, kneeling beside her, "are you okay? Did it touch you?"
Kim looked up into Tom's warm hazel eyes, her own red with tears. She instinctively buried herself in Tom's chest, regardless of the mud, and he wrapped his arms around her, rubbing her arms to keep her warm from the freezing water.
"It... it's been so long since... I've been so close to a monster before," she whispered, her voice still quaking, "Nothing I ever faced before... was that scary..."
"You're safe, Kim," Tom whispered, still hugging her warmly, "Its over."
"No its not!" cried Rocky, steppin away from the hole, "Look out!!"
Tom grabbed Kim and pulled her back from the hole. Zack also leapt out of the way, just in time to see a huge, green, scaly creature crash through the hole, making it three times bigger. Its sharp foot claws dug into the rock, and it cocked its head and let out a devestating roar. It then scanned its new surroundings, and focused his attention on the four color-coded humans. Tom rose to his feet, bringing Kimberly with him, and stared at the monster in shock. Kim's eyes widened with fear, and Rocky and Zack just stared at it, with their mouths hanging open.
"Its... Godzilla?!" said Zack incredulously, "I don't believe it."
"This guy is ten times scarier than those old films ever were," said Rocky, "What do we do, Tom?"
"There's no way we can fight that thing," said Tom, still holding Kim's quaking body, "We need to retreat!"
The four backed up until they were literally with their backs to the wall. Meanwhile, the monster slowly approached them.
"Its hunting us," whispered Zack, "And with the way it jumps, there's no way we can outrun it!"
"I have an idea," said Rocky, pulling out his own laser pistol, "Go guys! Through that tunnel!!"
Tom stared at Rocky as the latter charged towards the approaching monster. Rocky immediately began firing the laser at the dinosaur, even though they had little to no effect on its tough, scaly skin. Kim shrieked as the monster swatted Rocky away like a pesky gnat, throwing the blue-clad hero into another wall, on the opposite side of the chamber.
"Zack," said Kim, "can your anti-gravity beam bring Rocky here?"
"It'll have to," said Zack, "He doesn't have a prayer if it doesn't."
"Do it," said Kim sternly, "and hurry!"
Zack's beam of white light gently surrounded Rocky, and the latter was slowly pulled away from the bloodthirsty creature, towards the three other rangers, who were at the entrance to another tunnel. The monster immediately began roaring, and chased Rocky's floating form, gaining rapidly.
"I've got to slow it down," said Tom, firing his own pistol. However, instead of just firing randomly, Tom aimed for the usual weak spots, such as the eyes of the creature. Finally, Tom got a clean shot to the monster's right eye, and the monster stopped in its tracks, and roared in pain and anger. Rocky floated through the tunnel, and Zack lowered the force field.
"We need to run!" he said, "And this anti-grav thing is too slow to outrun that thing!"
"I'll carry him," said Tom, lifting Rocky over his shoulder. The trio began to run down the tunnel, with the creature gaining.
"Tom," said Zack, who was bringing up the rear, "Rocky's slowing you down! You'll never make it!"
"I'm not leaving him behind," Tom snapped.
"Keep going," said Kim, who was in front, "I think this tunnel may lead somewhere. I'll stop the creature."
"Are you sure, Kim?" asked Tom.
"I don't know if it'll work, but its the one thing we haven't tried."
Tom hesitated for a moment, but then passed Kim into the tunnel. Zack smiled at the short Yellow Ranger as he passed, and gave her a thumbs up. Kim took a deep breath, and then walked a bit in the other direction, towards the oncoming monster. In her right hand, she clutched a small silver sphere. When the monster came within view, Kim pressed the sole button on the sphere, and waited a few more seconds. Verdus slowed down when he saw the yellow- clad woman standing her ground, and sniffed at her curiously. Then, he roared tremendously, only yards from her face. Kim then siezed the opportunity, and tossed the sphere into its mouth. The confused monster swallowed the sphere, and stood up straight.
"Three..." whispered Kim, running as quickly as she could from the monster, "Two... One."
Suddenly, the monster's eyes widened, and the sphere exploded from inside it. The creature didn't blow apart, but it collapsed to the stone floor limply, its eyes devoid of life. Its mouth opened a crack on impact, and gray smoke floated out from its parted jaws. Kimberly, who was thrown back by the force of the explosion, rose to her knees and gazed at the creature, a strange nausea building in her stomach. Zack walked back into the tunnel, and offered Kimberly his hand. Kim accepted his help gratefully, and allowed him to pull her to her feet.
"Way ta go, Girl!" Zack cheered, clapping Kim on the back. She smiled wanely as they both made their way back to the other end of the tunnel, where Tommy was busily checking Rocky's arms and legs for breaks. Rocky's eyes were still shut, and there were a few minor cuts and bruises on his face.
"Well?" asked Kim quietly, "Is he gonna be okay?"
"I don't believe it," Tom admitted, looking up at Kim, who was standing behind him, "There's nothing broken! The suit absorbed almost all of the force that impacted on his body, throwing him into the wall. He's fine, just a little shaken up."
As if on cue, Rocky opened his dark brown eyes, and looked blankly up at Tom, who was leaning over him.
"What... what happened?" asked Rocky, trying to sit up. He winced and rubbed the back of his neck.
"You went toe to toe against Godzilla, and survived!" announced Zack, "You should get a T-shirt printed up!"
"Seriously, are you okay?" asked Kim, her eyes shining with concern. Rocky rolled his eyes, disregarding the question, and standing up.
"Ain't nothing gonna hold me down!" Rocky declared, raising his arms in victory. Kim giggled at him.
"Will you ever grow up?" she asked, still giggling.
"Not in this lifetime!"
Just as the group was about to start their search for the Central Access Complex again, they vanished from the scene in flashes of white light.
"Man," said Zack, sitting on the black tiles of the Central Access Complex and panting, "You guys sure have a sense of timing!"
"What happened to you guys?" asked Kat, bewildered, "You look like you've been through Hell!"
"Well, we did fight off this bloodthirsty green Godzilla knock-off!" said Rocky, rubbing a bruise on his left cheek, "Not to mention half a dozen putties."
"You guys fought a monster?" asked Jason, his eyes widening, "You're kidding!"
"Do we look like we're kidding?" asked Rocky with a sigh, "So, what happened to you guys?"
"Just about two dozen Viper Putties," said Katherine, "Not a monster, but they were enough to give us a work-out."
"Hey, guys!" called Adam, who was at the main computer controls, "I think I found something!"
"What?" asked Tom, as the six others crowded around Adam.
"There's... a recorded message here!" he said in surprise, "And it dates... today!"
"Who could send us a message?" asked Kim, "Could it be Zedd?"
"There's only one way to find out," said Jason, "Play it."
Adam nodded, and pressed the play-back button. There was no image on the screen, but a familiar voice came through the speakers.
^Hello? Rangers, this is Will, and I'm in the Moon Palace! Zedd and Rita kidnapped me and my companions, hoping to gain knowledge of the year 2006! They're about to send down a new Godzilla type monster!^
"Will!" shrieked Kim, beaming happily, "He's alive!"
"The monster he spoke about must be the one that attacked us in the tunnels," said Tom, rubbing his chin in thought. He then ran a hand nervously through his short dark hair, and started pacing. "Will's alive, and he and his friends are being held hostage on the Moon. We've got to get up there and save him. He may have been able to contact us, but I doubt he'll find a way to return to Earth. We don't have much time. Who knows how long Zedd will keep Will alive?"
"So, what do we do?" asked Katherine, "Fly up to the Moon in the Mega Terrazord?"
"Well," said Rocky, "first we contact Trini, and let her know Will's alive. She'll probably be able to help us figure out how we can safely teleport Will home."
"I doubt it," said Jason, "I don't think she's ever even been in the CAC before. How could she know how to operate these computers?"
"I wouldn't count Trini out just yet," said Kimberly, activating her communicator, "She may not be Will, but she's a smart woman, and she can figure anything out."
Only a few miles away, in the Lee family's home, Trini Kwan is sitting in the den, absently staring at the television. There's a news report about the Endeavor's disappearance, but none of the "late-breaking news" is news to her. She quietly dries the salty tears that streak down her cheeks as she stares at the screen, fearing the worst. Will's dead. End of story.
Trini sighed and glanced over beside her. On the other couch, Emily Lee, Jason's pregnant wife, is sleeping soundly, apparently tired out by today's events. Trini smiles wanely and stands up, and shuts the television off.
Enough bad news, she thought as she made her way to the kitchen. She debated treating herself to a shot of liqueor, to calm her nerves, but chooses a diet soda instead.
"Alcohol never makes a person's problems go away," she thought miserably, closing the refrigerator door, "It only confuses the person, and lets him think all's right with the world."
Trini sighed and opened up the can. As she took a long sip, a familiar six tone signal came from her pocket, and Trini nearly spit out the soda with surprise and excitement. She swallowed, put the can down, quickly made sure Emily was still asleep, and then pulled Kimberly's communicator from her pocket.
"Hello?" she whispered, "Who's there?"
^Trini?^ said Kim's voice, ^Its me, Kimberly. We've just made it to the CAC. And, we have something to show you.^
Trini couldn't help but smile when she heard Kim's cheery voice. It must be good news, or else Kim wouldn't be so bubbly! "Can you teleport me there now?"
^Where's Emily?^ asked Jason's voice, ^Is she okay?^
"Emily fell asleep about ten minutes ago," Trini whispered.
Trini turned off her communicator, and in a wash of soft yellow light, she found herself in the Central Access Complex. She gasped aloud and she circled around, taking in the view. The numerous computer systems were set up in a circle, all but the main computer, with a screen about five feet by five feet in size. In another corner was what appeared to be a hospital bed, with a few chairs near it, and a few other computer systems, all hooked up to the bed. She continued to look around, and then she turned to her friends, who were watching her from the main computer.
"This place is... amazing," she said quietly, "Its so... big!"
"Well, its a little intimidating at first," said Kim, "and its kinda eerie that Zordon and Alpha aren't here to greet ya, but you get used to it eventually."
"So," said Trini, " what did you want to show me?"
"This," said Adam, replaying the message they received. Trini's eyes widened and she covered her mouth with her palm when she heard Will's voice. A tear streaked down her cheek, but this time, it wasn't because of sadness.
"He's alive?" she asked, as if she was too afraid to believe it could be true, "Will... is alive?"
"Yes," said Rocky, beaming proudly, "Our man is tough, powers or not."
Trini considered this for a moment, and then turned once again to her friends.
"But, what about that monster he mentioned?"
"Already taken care of," said Kim, "We met Godzilla in the tunnels, and he's history now."
"So, now we go after Will?" asked Trini.
"Yep," said Jason, "But not until we retrieve the Zeo Crystal. Let's do it, gang."
Adam activated the controls, and instantly the tiles moves away from the center of the room, revealing a metallic sphere, about a yard in diameter. Kimberly, Jason, Tom, Adam, Kat, and Zack step forward, and stand together in awe as the metallic sphere rises from the tile floor. The sphere slowly opens, and white smoke pours out. Tom hesitantly steps forward, and reaches into the sphere. He holds his breath, and withdraws the complete zeo crystal from inside. The entire crystal glows with a silvery light, and it floats above Tom, and begins to spin slowly.
"Its beautiful," comments Trini, who was watching beside Rocky a bit behind the rangers.
"It is," said Jason, "And its been such a long time..."
"I do NOT believe this!" Lord Zedd fumes, slamming his staff into the balcony. He turns off his telescopic vision, and clenches his fist angrily, his scarlet rage filling the throne room.
"What?" moaned Rita, who just entered the throne room.
"Where have you been?" he roared. Rita rolled her eyes, and glared at her husband with indignation.
"Where do you think I've been? I've been going through the entire palace, floor by floor, looking for that annoying ex-Blue Ranger. That's what I've been doing. Sheesh, ya never realize how big this castle is until you have to find something in it."
"Well, in case you're interested, that baffoon creature Verdus has failed. Four rangers destroyed him, and they didn't even have the Zeo Crystal! It was a mess!"
"Is his body destroyed?" asked Rita, stepping towards the balcony.
"No," grunted Zedd, "Why?"
"Because, my little Godzilla will return. If his body hasn't been destroyed, that means all he has to do is regenerate whatever was wounded, and he'll be up in a jiffy!"
"Well," said Zedd, rather pleased, "perhaps he's not such a waste after all. But its too late to stop the rangers from reaching the Zeo Crystal. I can't find them anywhere, which means they must be inside the CAC, where my scans cannot reach them. I think I'll start trying to conquer Earth."
"Its about time," she scoffed, "So, what will you do?"
"Watch," said Zedd, creating a small crystal ball in his hand. On it was the image of a middle aged woman, with graying short ebony hair, and a blue business suit. She was sitting at a large desk, apparantly reading something.
"That is the president of the United States," said Zedd.
"So, what are you gonna do? Kidnap her?"
"No," said Zedd, "I'll send her a message, telling her to surrender the United States to me, or else Verdus will destroy the whole nation, starting with the capital. If we make Verdus grow, he'll be unstoppable!"
In the Oval Office, Amanda Davis, the first female president of the most powerful nation on the planet, is busy reading reports about the missing Endeavor. Even though there are televised reports about the Endeavor's cruel fate, it is not commonly known that a strange castle is upon the Moon, glowing with energy. President Davis stands up from her seat, and walks over in front of her desk, looking at the two couches, where her Secretary of Defense is, along with military generals and scientists.
"Okay, gentlemen," says the president, leaning on the front of the desk, "This report looks like its saying there's extra-terrestrial life on the Moon."
"That's what it says," said a scientist.
"But, why haven't we seen if before? We've been to the Moon dozens of times, and there's never been signs of life before! Then, a few years ago, an abandoned castle is found, and now you're telling me the owners have returned?!"
Before anyone can reply, the television mysteriously comes on, and everyone turns around in surprise when they hear maniacal laughter. The image on the screen is of a red man with a silver exo-skeleton, and silver face mask.
"What's going on here?!" President Davis demanded, "Someone's pirated the television frequency?"
^Not exactly,^ said the figure on the screen, ^I used magic to patch into your television, so I could communicate with you face to face, President Davis. I am Lord Zedd, the Master of the Moon, and soon to be the ruler of Earth.^
"What do you want from me?"
^I want the United States of America to surrender to me. If you don't, I'll send my pet monster Verdus to Washington DC, where he will wreak havoc. Oh, and do take me seriously. I've laid waste to a small town called Angel Grove dozens of times, and its not much. And if you somehow manage to destroy Verdus, I can magically create an infinity of monsters, who obey my every whim. You have ten minutes to decide, before Verdus is released. ^
The image faded, and President Davis snarled at the screen.
"Who does that creature think he is?" she snapped.
"Well," said one of the military generals, "Its possible that this 'Zedd' character is responsible for the disappearance of the Endeavor. After all, he did say he was the Master of the Moon, and the Moon is where the Endeavor vanished."
"You're not suggesting we take him seriously," said the President.
"Not until he can prove he's an actual threat."
Inside the ventilation system in the Moon Palace, William Mitchell, James Mitchell, and Natasha Slovensky quietly listen in on Lord Zedd's message to Earth. All three astronauts are stunned as they realize the severity of the situation.
"What do we do?" asked Natasha quietly.
"We've got to make sure President Davis doesn't surrender," said James, "If Zedd conquers America, he'll have a foothold on Earth, and from there, he can take over the entire planet."
"What do you think, Will?" asked Natasha, turning to the silent commander. James glared at him.
"Yeah, Will, what do you think? After all, you're the Power Ranger here! You should know what to do."
Will looked down at his feet glumly. Man, I had hoped they didn't hear that!
"Why didn't you tell us you're the Blue Ranger?" asked James, "I mean, I thought we were your friends! You can't trust us with your little secret?"
"James, its not about trust. Its about a promise I made over a decade ago."
"What's more important, a promise, or our lives?!" James snapped, "This is all your fault, isn't it? These two aliens wanted revenge on the Power Rangers, and me and Tasha just got caught in the middle of it!"
"Hush James," said Natasha, "They'll hear you. And besides, that's not fair. You can't blame Will for this incident. How could he have known Zedd and Rita would return, and kidnap us?"
"Besides," said Will finally, "we don't have time to argue. We have to get a message to Earth."
"To the other Power Rangers, and to the President. You're right about one thing, James. We can't surrender. If the President learns the Power Rangers are on the case, she may be able to stall, or something. And, I've got to tell my friends what Zedd's up to."
"So, how do we contact your friends?" asked Natasha.
"We'll work our way back through the tunnels," said Will, starting to crawl, "and we'll head back to the lab. Hopefully, those Viper Putties have dispersed by now, or perhaps they have destroyed themselves. The only problem is, I have to figure out how to contact the President. I already know the frequency of the Terran Rangers' communicators, but how do I reach the White House?"
The three brilliant astronauts continued their trek through the maze of tunnels, thinking silently. Finally, Natasha thinks of something.
"I've got it! Zedd said he'd contact the President in ten minutes, right?"
"Yeah," said James, "So?"
"So, maybe we can piggyback a signal! The message will probably reach the White House right after Zedd's."
"Ten minutes, eh?" said Will with a sigh, "I think we can make it, but we'd better get a move on."
In about five minutes, the three reach the grate that Will used earlier to visit the lab. One by one, they crawled out of the opening, and quietly crept to the lab. Fortunately, the Viper Putties were gone.
"The coast is clear," whispered Will, waving to his friends, who were right behind him, "Let's go."
The three entered the lab, and Natasha and James looked around curiously at the strange alien technology that surrounded them. Will went straight to the communicator, and tried to once again re-program it, this time to send a message to the President by piggybacking Zedd's signal. While he worked, Natasha and James explored the lab.
"Hey," said James, who was searching a drawer, "I think I found something useful."
"What?" asked Natasha, looking over his shoulder. James pulled out two small white pistols.
"I don't know what it does," he admitted, handing one to Natasha, "but it sure looks like a weapon to me!"
"Great," said Natasha, looking over the gun carefully, "Now if those Putties attack again, we'll be ready for them."
"Okay, gang," said Will looking up at his friends, "I think I have it. We'll be able to hear Zedd's message, and as soon as he's done, we can send a quick one to the White House. Then, I'll contact the Terran Rangers again."
In the White House, the President of the United States, along with a few staff members, anxiously watch the television, and count the seconds. Right on time, the foreboding image of Lord Zedd appears. He immediately begins to laugh triumphantly.
^Hello, again, Madame President,^ he said, ^I trust you've had enough time to make your decision. So, do you surrender?^
"No I don't," she said defiantly, "And I'll let you know, 'Zedd', that the United States of America doesn't take kindly to threats."
^Oh, is that a fact? Well then, Human, you'll soon regret this decision, once you're busy picking up the charred remains of this city from the dirt!^
Zedd's image vanished, and President Davis released the breath she was holding. In only a few seconds, a flash of bright green light heralded the arrival of Verdus, Zedd's newest monster. Those in the Oval Office had an excellent view of the new creature, and all present gasped in horror.
"Its... Godzilla?" said the President, "Send in some planes, NOW! And close off the streets! We're in a state of emergency!!"
Immediately, the staff got to work. Suddenly, her television once again turned on.
Not again she thought as she turned around. But rather than see Lord Zedd, there was only an image of static.
^President Davis?^ asked a voice coming from the television, ^This is William Mitchell of the spacecraft Endeavor. The communicator I'm using doesn't have visual capabilities, but I assure you, I am who I claim to be, and I'm in good health.^
"What happened to you, William?"
^Lord Zedd kidnapped me and my crewmates. We managed to escape the dungeon, but we cannot escape the Moon Palace. I'm contacting you to tell you not to surrender to Lord Zedd, no matter what he does.^
"But, his monsters," she said, looking out the window, "One of them's already destroying Washington!"
^I realize that. But I guarantee you, Madame President, the Terran Rangers will soon be arriving, and they can defeat Zedd's monster. They just need time.^
President Davis didn't look convinced, but she decided to give Will's Terran Rangers a chance.
"Okay, Will," she said finally, "But I don't know how long Washington can last against this kind of magic."
Rocky is surprised when he hears the communications system beep again.
"Guys!" he called, "There's another message!"
"Well, play it," said Trini excitedly, "Maybe its Will again!"
^Guys,^ said Will's voice, ^The Verdus monster I told you about has been sent to Washington DC. Zedd is attempting to conquer the Earth, starting with the capital of the United States.^
"Wow," said Zack, "This is the first time Zedd's ever attacked anything other than Angel Grove. He's really taking the offensive."
"We have to get to Washington immediately, gang," said Tom quietly, "Let's retrieve our powers."
As the Power Rangers turn away, Trini steps forward, and grabs the microphone.
"Will?" she says softly, "Will, are you alright?"
^Trini?!^ he says in an excited, but nervous voice, ^What... what are you doing in the CAC? You should be in Bay City, where its safe!^
"Oh, Will, you know me better than that! You should know I'd be the first one to try and find you."
There was an awkward silence. The kind that always seemed to come whenever Will reached a certain, sensitive topic. But rather than say what he's been dying to say for years, he once again can't utter the words.
^Although I love to hear your voice, I'm afraid I'd better get off the line. Zedd and Rita may soon discover my actions.^
"Okay," said Trini, "Just promise me something before you go."
"Come back to me. In one piece."
^I... I will,^ he said in a sure tone, ^I have too much to live for to die now.^
Trini deactivated the communicator, and looked down on the consol sadly. Rocky placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him, and Rocky noticed her deep brown eyes were puffy and red.
"He'll be back," assured Rocky, "He promised you, and if I know one thing, William Mitchell never breaks a promise. Besides, the Power Rangers are ready for action, and they never let a friend down."
Trini nodded and watched as Tom, Kimberly, Adam, Jason, Katherine, and Zack circled the hovering Zeo Crystal. The six joined hands, and watched as the gem spun faster, and fragmented into six colored pieces-- red, black, green, yellow, blue, and white. Each colored shard floated to its original owner, and shrunk down to the size of the thumb. Then, all at once, they floated into the bodies of the rangers. In a flash of bright light, the energy began to once again coarse through the bodies of the rangers. Rocky watched with a weak smile as his friends were instantly morphed into the Terran Rangers, after an entire decade of retirement. Each ranger once again wore form-fitting armor in their signature color, complete with a golden shield with oval-shaped opening on the chest, white boots and gloves with gold bands at the top, and gold trimmed helmets.
"Wow," squealed Kimberly, smoothing the wrinkles from her lemon yellow miniskirt, "It gets better each time we get our powers back!"
"You said it," said Zack, tightening his white gloves, "It feels like its been centuries since I've worn this white uniform."
"And at the same time, it feels right," said Jason, removing his black helmet, "As if this is what we were born to do."
"It feels so good to be a ranger again!" admitted Adam examining his green and gold uniform with a smile, "I had no idea how much I'd miss this."
"Guys," said Trini quietly, wringing her fingers and smiling weakly, "I hate to rush you, but Verdus is attacking Washington, and Will's still trapped on the Moon!"
"She's right," said Katherine, snapping her aqua helmet over her long blonde curls once again, "We have work to do."
"Then let's go," said Tommy, covering his short, curly brown hair with his red helmet, "Let's go to DC!"
The rangers stood in a line, and at once touched their belt buckles. They instantly vanished in six beams of light, leaving Trini and Rocky alone in the Central Access Center.
"Since we're sitting here, doing nothing, I can try to fix up your wounds," offered Trini, "Will once told me about a 'med-unit'?"
"Nah, I'm fine," said Rocky, turning on the Viewing Globe, "Besides, I don't want to miss a minute of this."
Now, as Washington begins to burn, six colored forms stand together atop the peak of the Washington Monument, where they have a unique vantage point. But, it doesn't take much to see the slimy green creature that towers over most of Washington's buildings.
"Okay, Terran Power Rangers," said the Red Ranger, clenching his gloved fist, "the enemy is in sight! Let's move! Red Phoenix!"
Each ranger lifts his/her right fist into the sky, and they begin to glow with bright light.
"Black Rhinocerous!" bellows Jason.
"Yellow Thunderbird!" cries Kimberly.
"White Cheetah!" yells Zack.
"Green Hawk!" yells Adam.
"Blue Alligator!" calls Katherine.
Out of the depths of the land, sea, and air, the six Terrazords obey the command of their owners, and materialize in mid air above the chaotic city. Each Terran Ranger leaps to the cockpit of their particular zord, and activates the thrusters and weapons systems by voice command.
"Tom Oliver--Red Ranger--Fire!" says Tom into his internal voice print scanner, "Phoenix Zord online!"
"Jason Lee--Black Ranger--Earth! Rhinocerous Zord online!"
"Kimberly Hart--Yellow Ranger--Lightning! Thunderbird Zord online!"
"Adam Park--Green Ranger--Wind! Hawk Zord online!"
"Katherine Hillard--Blue Ranger--Water! Alligator Zord online!"
Each zord fires to life, and they all hurry to the White House, where Verdus is smashing the outer wall with an uprooted tree.
"Okay, Terran Rangers," said Tom into his communicator, "we have to be extremely careful in dealing with Verdus. We can't let any bystanders be injured."
"The first thing we have to do is get Verdus' attention," suggested Adam, "That way, he'll focus his attacks on us, and leave the White House alone. I'm going in!"
The green and silver Hawk plummets from its high altitude, directed towards the towering monster. Then, the graceful zord flies only yards to the left of Verdus' head, and quickly returns to the sky. Verdus angrily roars, and builds up energy in his mouth, preparing to fire at the flying target. But before Verdus could take aim, the powerful Alligator charges the beast, and bites its lower leg with its razor sharp teeth. Verdus screams in pain, and falls over, losing his balance. Verdus tramples the Rose Garden, and nearly shakes the White House to pieces.
"Initiating Shock Absorbers!" cried Jason, pressing a sequence of buttons. The four feet of the Rhiocerous Terrazord transform into drills, and plow into the ground. Then, the computer activates, and the four feet begin absorbing the seismic energy created from Verdus falling down. This absorbs the majority of the earthquake, and prevents substantial damage to Washington.
Verdus rises to his feet, and spits fire towards the Alligator. But before the flames could come in contact with the blue Terrazord, the small red and gold Phoenix flies into the path of the mighty flames.
"Activating Hyperflame Shield!" yells Tom.
The Phoenix is surrounded with an aura of orange-red energy, making the wings appear to be on fire. The flames of the Verdus are absorbed into the aura, increasing the power supply of the Phoenix.
"Now its my turn!" yelled Zack, his Cheetah zord rearing low. It then pounced at blinding speed, and attached itself to Verdus' back with its sharp claws and mighty fangs. Verdus screeched, and tried desperately to pry the Cheetah off its back. When that didn't work, it pulled up its mighty tail, and swatted the zord off his back. The Cheetah flew into a patch of trees across the street, but managed to land on its feet.
"That smarts," said Zack bitterly, "but there's no severe damage done."
"Maybe we need to give Verdus a shock to its system!" said Kimberly from within the cockpit of the Thunderbird, "Raising Lightning Rod!"
From the head of the Thunderbird, a silver pole reaches into the sky, absorbing the electrons in the atmosphere. Once the Thunderbird was completely charged, the zord flew back down, and hovered before the towering beast.
"Initiating Thundernet!" she cried, pressing a sequence of buttons. Ribbons of electricity formed from the beak of the flying zord, completely surrounding Verdus. Then, all at once, the bolts of thunder struck Verdus, burning his moist skin severely.
"He's still getting weaker!" said Adam from his Hawk, "We should create the Mega Terrazord, and finish him off!"
"You're right," said Tom, "Let's get this over with. Initiate Megazord sequence!"
At the Red Ranger's command, the six subzords began a series of transformations. The Thunderbird and Hawk became the arms, the Rhinocerous and Alligator formed the legs, and the Cheetah transformed into the torso. Finally, the Phoenix transformed into the head, and attached itself to the shoulders of the zord. The zord stood at about the neck height of the Verdus, but the combined might of the six zords dwarfed the remaining power of the now exhausted monster.
"Jason," said Tom, "Re-channel the seismic energy the Rhino absorbed into the Megazord common power unit. I'll do the same with the Hyperflame's absorbed energy."
"You got it," said Jason from his terminal.
"Now we're ready," said Tom.
"Will!" cried Natasha from the lab table, "I think I hear something!"
"She's right," said James, holding his laser gun tightly, "Something's coming. Did you finish in there?"
"I got messages through to both the President and the Terran Rangers."
"So what are we still doing here?" asked Natasha, "We should hide in the ventilation system, until the rangers rescue us."
"It may take awhile," explained Will, "Washington is being ransacked by a monster as we speak! The Terran Rangers must first deal with that threat."
"You mean they're not coming?" said James incredulously, "I can't believe it! You're one of them, Will! Isn't saving you a priority?"
"No," said Will sternly, turning to his two companions, "saving the world is the priority. It always was, and it always shall be. That's what makes the Power Rangers heroes. The planet comes before their desires, needs, feelings, and friends."
"So, what are you doing?" asked Natasha.
"I am trying to repair this teleportation unit. It is an ancient piece of machinery, and it probably hasn't been used for years. But, I may be able to get it running. Give me a few minutes."
Suddenly, a brigade of fiersome Viper Putties crashed through the blockaded door, heading towards the astronauts while spitting streams of corosive venom. James and Natasha immediately ducked behind the lab table for cover.
"Tasha," said James, "we have to cover Will! He's our only chance of escaping with our heads!"
"You're right," she said, clutching her own weapon, "On three. One. Two."
"Three!" they both declared at once, standing up and immediately taking fire at the door. They continued firing at everything that moved, and even managed to destroy a few Viper Putties with the deadly rays. But for the most part, they only held back the army of alien creations.
"Will?!" shrieked Natasha.
"Guys!" called Will, wiping sweat from his brow, "Come here! Quick!"
Both young astronauts made a break for it, and joined Will in the back of the laboratory. Then, Will activated a sequence of buttons, and an invisible screen surrounded the trio like a bubble. Natasha and James watched in amazement as the Putties' venom was blocked by an unseen force. Will just smiled.
"There is no way I can fix the teleporter," he explained, "It will never be reliable enough to attempt so delicate a transport as three humans all the way to Earth. So, I broadened the spectrum of the energy current, and it now surrounds us, warping the molecules in a two yard radius--"
"Creating an energy field!" cried James with understanding, "You are a genius, Will!"
"Maybe," he said, "but the field won't last for much longer. Our only hope is the Power Rangers now."
"You got that right," said a frightening voice, "It won't last much longer!"
The trio looked towards the melted remains of the door, and saw the forboding Lord Zedd step into the ransacked laboratory. Immediately, the Viper Putties stepped back, leaving Lord Zedd alone with his three hostages.
"You really have been up to something!" he declared, approaching the force field, "You've managed to hide yourself from me and my queen for nearly an entire day, Billy. Not too shabby! But, the jig is up, my boy! You have nowhere to run!"
Zedd began to laugh, and fired a bolt of white energy at Will from his staff. But the force field repelled the blast, sending it back to Zedd. Zedd dodged the blast, and stared at Will curiously.
"Ah," he said, touching the field, "I see. You've somehow created a shield around you and your friends. You never cease to amaze me. But you're still mine!"
With that, Zedd pointed his staff at the bubble, and fired a continuous stream of white energy at the bubble. He began to laugh maniacally as his energy beam slowly pushed through the field.
"Its time to finish this!" declared Tom, "We'll use the Terra Sword!"
"Which energy should we charge the sword with?" asked Kimberly, controlling the hand of the Megazord.
"We'll give him a blast of electricity," Tom decided, "It worked before."
The Terra Megazord formed the mighty Terra Sword, whose silver blade crackled with electrical energy. With one mighty swing, the hot steel carved its way through Verdus' tough hide, separating the monster down the middle. The monster released the magical energy that created him in a powerful explosion of light, leaving the Megazord standing beside the White House.
"Now that that's over with," said Katherine, turning on the communications relay, "let's check up on Trini and Rocky, and see what's going on with Will. Trini? Rocky? Can you read?"
^I read,^ said Rocky's voice through the speaker.
"Did you have any luck?" asked Adam.
^No. Trini's been trying to use that Portal-Com to create a portal leading to the Moon, but she can't get it to focus. Also, we're having trouble scanning the Moon Palace with the sensors. We don't know where Will is exactly.^
"Then there's only one solution," said Tom, "We're going up to the Moon."
^Wait!^ called Trini's voice, ^I'm coming with you!^
"Trini," said Jason, "I know you're worried about Will, but--"
Just then, two columns of light pierced the relative darkness of the cockpit of the Terra Megazord, heralding the arrival of Rocky DeSantos and Trini Kwan. Rocky was still wearing his special navy blue uniform, and Trini wore her yellow T-shirt and blue jeans.
"Listen," said Trini, "Zedd and Rita won't expect us! Rocky and I can infiltrate the palace, while you guys keep them busy."
"Trini," said Zack, standing up from his station, "You can get yourself killed! Zedd and Rita are dangerous, and you don't have the Power to protect you!"
"Once a ranger, always a ranger," she said sternly, "I know how to take care of myself, and so does Rocky."
"Martial arts won't help you much against Zedd's magic," said Kimberly.
"Well, I won't let that stop me."
"At least take my uniform," said Kim, standing up. She raised her amrs to the sky, and in a flash of yellow light, she was wearing the yellow leotard she designed, with silver shield, armbands, and metallic boots. The two women left the cockpit, and in a few minutes, Trini returned, dressed in Kimberly's uniform, and beside her was the Yellow Terran Ranger.
"How does it fit?" asked Rocky.
"Its a little small," said Trini, tugging on the sleeves of the uniform, "but it'll do. Let's get going! We don't have much time!"
"Jason," said Tom, turning back to the front, "set a course for the Moon."
"You got it, Bro."
"So, what's the plan?" asked Zack.
"The CAC's sensors couldn't pick up anything," said Trini, sitting down on the bench in the back of the cockpit, "but maybe the Megazord's scanners will have better luck, once we're close to the Palace. Once we pick up human life readings, Rocky and I will go in, get Will and the others, and get out. You guys must keep Zedd and Rita occupied."
"Of course, you realize that the Palace may be filled with their henchmen," said Katherine, "Or at least a few squads of Putties."
"Its a chance we'll have to take," said Trini, staring out at outer space, "We're Will's only chance, and I refuse to let him down."
"Will," said Natasha quietly, "what do we do now?"
For once, William Mitchell, the world-renowned scientist, didn't have an answer. Slowly but surely, Lord Zedd's powerful focused beam of magical energy was cutting through the force field encasing the three American astronauts. There was nowhere to run now. James frowned angrily, and turned to his friends.
"I'm not giving up now!" he declared, clutching his laser gun tighter, "Not when we're so close!"
Will studied his friend, and his eyes focused on the laser gun.
"Quick," whispered Will, "give me the gun."
James obliged, and Will grasped the pistol. It reminded him of the laser pistols he built just a few years ago, when Jason had convinced him to create weapons in case Zedd and Rita would return. He studied the pistol, and then looked around.
"I need a piece of extremely durable metal," he said, "Or any other durable material."
"How large?" asked Natasha.
"Large enough to block the barrel of this gun," Will said, holding up the gun. The barrel had a relatively narrow opening.
"I think I have the answer," said Natasha, taking off the glove on her left hand. She took off a gold engagement ring, with a rather large diamond.
"I didn't know you were getting married," said Will, jamming the gem into the barrel.
"We're lucky Tasha has a rich fiance!" said James.
Will nodded in agreement, and pointed the weapon at Lord Zedd. Zedd stopped trying to destroy the shield, and looked at Will curiously.
"That little pop-gun won't stop me!" Zedd declared.
"Stand down, Zedd," said Will calmly, "or else I fire this blaster. In case you didn't notice, the barrel has been blocked. I calculate four seconds of firing, until the weapon overloads, and explodes. An explosion of that magnitude will destroy a good portion of your palace, and it may even put an end to your days of terror. Tell me, Zedd... are we worth it?"
"You wouldn't," said Zedd, "You'll die too!"
"But if we surrender to you," said James, "we'd be as good as dead anyway. At least this way, we'll take you with us!"
Zedd took a step back, and glared at the three humans angrily. But before he could say or do anything, the entire palace began to shake violently. Zedd balanced himself on Finster's lab table, and looked up to the ceiling.
"What the devil--?!"
Meanwhile, Rita Repulsa sits on Zedd's throne, frowning.
"That no good Zedd," she muttered angrily, "Not too long ago, this was my throne! My palace!! But now, he's the emperor, and I'm just his wife. I get absolutely no respect, either from Zedd, or his idiotic henchmen. And now, all he does is yell at me, because Goldar's not here for him to vent his anger..."
Suddenly, the palace begins to shake. Rita fell from the throne, and looks toward the balcony in shock. Standing only yards from the Palace was the mighty Terra Megazord. The Megazord easily towered above the palace, and stood defiantly on the cold dirt of the lunar surface. Rita muttered something under her breath, and rose to her feet. She marched to the balcony, and looked up at the face of the zord. She could easily see all six Terran Power Rangers inside the cockpit.
"What the devil are you doing here?!" she yelled.
^What do you think, Repulsa,^ said Jason's voice, ^We're here to take care of business. Where's Will?^
"How do you know he isn't dead already?" she smirked.
^If he is, you'll regret it,^ said Kimberly.
"What are you gonna do about it?" she laughed, "Huff, puff, and blow my Palace down?"
^Something like that,^ said Adam, ^But much worse, I assure you.^
Rita's smile fell as she saw the right arm of the Megazord rise. It swung down, and knocked the peak of the palace right off. Rita once again fell to the ground, and struggled to get up.
"I thought Zordon taught you not to escalate a battle!" she shrieked, "How dare you attack my palace?! You're breaking every rule you stand for!"
^Is that a fact?^ called Tommy's voice, ^You're the one who escalated the battle by sending that cheap Godzilla knock-off to attack Washington. We're not escalating the battle, we're just finishing it. You're going down, Repulsa! You and Lord Zedd picked the wrong planet to conquer!^
"Maybe we did," she whispered to herself, running back to the lab, "Maybe we should've stayed in 1996. At least then, the Power Rangers are innocent teenagers. Now, they fight with a vengeance. They have loved ones to take care of, and responsibilities to get back to. Ooo, Zedd has done it again!"
"What's going on here?!" Zedd shrieked in anger, steadying himself on his staff. It was the second time in one minute that the Moon Palace was shaken to its foundations, and Zedd was losing his last strain of patience.
"Its the Power Rangers!" cried Natasha happily, "It's gotta be! We're saved!"
"Not yet, my dear," said Zedd, pointing his staff and firing. The beam sliced through the remainder of the force field, and nearly hit Will in the head. It missed by merely inches, and gave the three astronauts the few seconds they needed to take cover quickly.
"You can't hide from me!" roared Zedd, "Your time is up!"
Zedd walked behind another experiment table, and Natasha leapt out from her hiding place, immediately firing her pistol. But Zedd blocked the laser beams with his silver staff, and knocked the gun from her hand. Natasha screamed as Zedd raised his staff into the air, and prepared to swing it down. But before the staff hit its target, a beam of blue light sliced through the air, and struck Zedd's hand. Zedd clutched his injured hand in pain, and turned around in surprise. Standing at the doorway to the laboratory was Rocky DeSantos, dressed in a form-fitting navy blue full length uniform, with silver wrist bands, silver shield, silver boots, and silver belt. Beside him was Trini Kwan, wearing a yellow long-sleeved leotard with the golden image of a lightning bolt over her heart, along with the silver armor pieces. Both stared menacingly at Zedd, and Rocky was holding a hand-held laser pistol, aimed for Lord Zedd's head.
"Give it up, Zedd," said Rocky, maintaining his aim, "Your days of terrorizing Earth are over."
"Really?" asked Zedd.
"Really," said Rocky, firing his pistol. Zedd managed to dodge the blast, and the energy smashed into the wall behind Zedd. The wall collapsed, burying the Emperor of Evil under a pile of stone. Once Zedd was completely buried, James and William also stepped out. Will ran to Trini, and hugged her tightly, while Rocky evacuated Natasha and James from the lab.
"So," said Natasha, "you two are Power Rangers also?"
"How did you--? Well, we used to be, but we're retired."
"Where are we going?" asked James.
"Back to the spot where Trini and I teleported to," explained Rocky, "Will! Trini! Come on!"
"Right behind you," said Will, releasing Trini. The two began walking out of the lab, but just before they stepped into the hall, a bold ofwhite energy streaked through the air, and hit Trini in the back. Will screamed as his love fell limp to the stone floor.
Will fell to his knees beside Trini, and touched her neck.
"She's alive," he whispered with relief.
"But not for long," said Zedd, climbing out of his rocky prison, "You're all dead! I've had enough of all of you!!"
"Funny," said Will, clenching his teeth and discreetly touching Trini's belt, "I was about to say the same thing!"
Will picked up the remaining spherical explosive, and threw it at Lord Zedd. It landed right at Zedd's feet before it exploded. When it did, the entire laboratory collapsed, and Zedd fell through the floor to the lower levels of the Moon Palace. Will urgently scooped Trini's unconscious body off the cold floor, and ran towards Rocky, Natasha, and James, with the floor falling apart behind him.
"Will!" cried Natasha, "What happened?"
"Zedd," Will muttered, "But I think he's learned his lesson."
"Kat!" yelled Rocky into his communicator, "We're ready for teleport!"
^I'm on it!^ said Kat's voice, and the three vanished from the Moon Palace. In seconds they rematerialized in the cockpit of the Megazord, which was already flying back to Earth.
"My God!" shrieked Kimberly, "What happened to Trini?"
"Lord Zedd got one last lick in," said Rocky, "Fortunately, the reinforced uniform saved her life. Only a fraction of the blast penetrated. But, that's enough raw energy to do... fatal damage--"
"We have to get her to the Central Access Complex," said Will, "Immediately!"
"What about your friends?" said Jason, "Shouldn't we drop them off?"
"Negative," said Will sternly, "Trini doesn't have the time to waste, and they already know about my connection with the Terran Rangers. We must go to the CAC, before we do anything else! Only the med-unit can save her now."
"Zeddie?" called Rita through the crumbling halls of the lower levels of the Moon Palace, "Zedd?!"
Rita hurried when she heard a moan of pain. She dug into a pile of rock, and pulled Zedd's barely conscious body from the wreckage.
"Brilliant plan, Zedd!" she said bitterly, "Oh sure, 'let's go to the future, so we can beat up the adult Power Rangers!' It no wonder we never win!"
Rita sighed, and teleported them both outside the palace. Rita watched from a distance as the entire palace crumbled to dust.
"I knew I should've gotten insurance," she muttered, "Well, this was a waste of time. I'm bringing us home."
"Rita," whispered Zedd, "The... the comet... is past. We... we can't go back..."
"Sure we can!" she shrieked, "All we need to do is punch a hole through the Multiverse!"
"Impossible," Zedd whispered painfully, "Could never... navigate... find our way home..."
"I have a spell that will do just that," Rita said proudly, standing up, "Hold on Zeddikins! This ride may be a bit bumpy!"
"Too... dangerous... could destroy... whole Multiverse..."
"Not my problem," said Rita with a grin, as she formed a black portal with her staff. She pushed Zedd through, and then leapt in behind him.
"Wow," said James in awe, "This is the headquarters of the legendary Power Rangers, eh? Amazing."
"Indeed," said Natasha, "You know, I always thought the Power Rangers were pure fiction."
"Nope," said Tom, taking off his helmet, "we're real. Now, you two are the only human beings alive who know the secrets of the Power Rangers, but never swore to protect the Power."
"I promise," said James, "I won't tell a soul."
"Your secrets are safe with us," said Natasha with a smile.
"I believe you," said Jason, "And since you're friends of Will, I think we can take your word. If you'd like, you can send a message to NASA, informing them of your well-being."
"That's a good idea," said Natasha, as Jason led her and James to the communications relay. On the other side of the Central Access Complex, Will desperately tries to mend Trini's extensive wounds with the advanced med-unit, which accelerates the healing process.
"What's the verdict, Will?" asked Kimberly, who was standing beside him, "Will she be okay?"
Will took a deep breath, and raised his bowed head to look at his long time friend. His blue eyes were shining with tears of frustration.
"I... I don't know," he managed to say, "The energy beam managed to penetrate Trini's uniform, throwing her into cardiac arrest. I don't know... if we got her here in time."
Kimberly also started to cry, and wrapped Will in a warm hug. Tom, Adam, Katherine, Rocky, and Zack all stood in a row behind them, looking glumly to the ground.
"Is there anything we can do?" asked Tom.
"No!" shouted Will, "There's nothing I can do! I'm supposed to be so smart, but when it comes to the woman I love, I can't even lift a finger to help her! If she dies--"
"Will," whispered a weak but gentle voice, "did anyone ever tell you that you take things way too seriously? I'm fine."
"Trini?" Will gasped, turning around. She smiled up at him.
"I'd hug you," she said, "but I can't even feel my arms yet."
The Power Rangers circled around Trini, making sure she was okay. Then, Natasha walked over to Will.
"Will," she said, "James and I managed to contact NASA. As it turns out, we're being awarded medals for our work during Zedd's invasion. The media has already dubbed it the Moon Crisis. We're to report to Washington DC, where we'll be given our medals by the President herself, on the lawn of the White House."
"I don't care," said Will, "I'm not going anywhere, until Trini is okay."
"Will, I already said I'm fine," said Trini.
"Why did you do it?" he chided softly, holding her hand in his, "Why did you go into the palace? You don't have any powers, and those suits can't hold up against Lord Zedd!"
"I know," she said weakly, "but I had to make sure you were okay."
"One of the rangers could've come after me, you know. You didn't have to put your life on the line!"
"Oh, Will," she said with a small smile, "I know you would've done the same for me. Logical or otherwise. You may have a brain as big as watermelon, but you have a heart the size of the world."
Will smiled and held her hand tighter. She smiled back.
"And its in your hands," he said, stroking her ebony hair gently and gazing deeply into her eyes, "You've owned it for half my life, and I've always been afraid to say it. I guess I was afraid-- of rejection."
"I knew you loved me," she admitted, much to Will's surprise, "Not always, but I could tell how much you cared when I moved to Switzerland. I've loved you since we met also."
"Then, why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I didn't think you were ready for a relationship. I mean, I knew you cared, but you always seemed to put other things before love. First, it was being the brains of the Power Rangers. Then, it was being the mentor of the Power Rangers. I still don't believe Zordon left you with so much responsibility on your shoulders."
"He didn't give me more than he thought I could handle," Will protested.
"True, but you were only eighteen, and you had the weight of the world on your shoulders. And once that was over, you became obsessed with your work, trying to finish school with the highest possible achievement."
"I guess I always was an achiever."
"Yes, you always were. And then, you worked so hard in training, so you could be an astronaut, and you also spent years developing that light-speed engine. And then, you took it for a test spin, and you left me behind."
"You're absolutely right," said Will, shaking his head, "All these years, I just convinced myself that I wasn't good enough for you. That I wasn't good enough for the team. That Zordon didn't think I was worthy to be a Terran Ranger. Like I failed..."
"You didn't fail anyone, Will," Trini said softly.
"I worked so hard in the CAC and then at NASA, trying to prove I was as smart as everyone believed I was. I couldn't build the nerve to be honest with you."
"So, what made you change your mind?"
"A near death experience. I realized today that I don't have forever to tell you how I feel. I realized I could die at any time, with a lot of things unsaid. But, that wasn't what finally pushed me."
"Then, what was?"
"It was when you were lingering near death. Then, I'd have to live my life knowing that the woman I loved more than anything is gone from my life, and that she didn't even know how much I loved her. I'd have to live with that pain forever. So, I decided telling you was worth the risk."
^My fellow Americans,^ said the President from a podium in front of the White House, ^Just days ago, our fair country was placed under attack. This attack was nothing like the wars against nations. Rather, it was a war waged against mankind, by an alien terrorist. We were unprepared for the attack, and we surely could never have won on our own. If it weren't for the intelligence gathered by three fine American astronauts, as well as the swift actions of the Terran Power Rangers, no doubt this capital would be in utter ruin. The buildings that were destroyed can be repaired, but if we had surrendered, the American spirit would've been damaged beyond repair. Today, I'd like to show our appreciation for their efforts above and beyond the call of duty. I'd like to present William Mitchell, Natasha Slovensky, and James Montgomery with these medals of honor! America owes you all a great debt.^
The President placed the medals around the necks of the three heroes, and they all raised their arms in victory. Then, a woman with long ebony hair ran onto the podium, and embraced William tightly. The rangers watched Will smile modestly, as he is finally recognized for a lifetime of service to the entire planet, as a Power Ranger, as a scientist, and as an astronaut.
"I'm so happy for him," said Kimberly, wiping a tear from her eyes, "He's finally appreciated! He's been working so hard all his life, but he's always been left in the background."
"He may be basking in the glory," said Jason, wrapping an arm around his wife, "but that's not why he's smiling like that. The glory means nothing compared to Trini, and now, he's got her."
"If you ask me," said Katherine, "he always had her. He just never knew it."
"You know," said Emily, "I heard that the President also wanted to reward the Power Rangers with a ceremony, but they declined."
"Maybe they have other things to take care of," said Zack.
"I suppose," said Emily, glancing at her watch and standing up, "Its time for me to get the cake out of the oven."
"I'll come help you," said Kimberly, also standing up. The two women went into the kitchen, as the others kept watching the television. Jason glanced at his best friend, and noticed that he was staring at the door where the two women entered the house. Jason shook his head, and stood up. He sat beside Tom, and put a hand on his shoulder.
"So," he said, "How's the big bad Princeton professor?"
"Not bad," he said, "I've been writing a book, about my little quest to discover more about my Native American heritage. The semester is nearly over, and during the break I plan on visiting my brother and his wife in San Francisco."
"Oh, she's fine," Tom said, "although I think she's upset because I don't spend as much time with her as she'd like. But she had to understand that I have work to do--"
"Tom," said Jason, "maybe you should learn from Will's mistake. He put work before love his whole life, and because of that, he almost lost Trini. Do you want the same thing to happen to you and Vanessa?"
"I... I don't think so. I really don't know what I want to happen between us. She really wants to start planning our wedding, but for some reason, I'm not excited about it. What's wrong with me, Bro? I mean, Van's a great woman. She's beautiful, strong, smart, independent..."
"Maybe she's not quite what you're looking for," said Jason, "I can't help you with this one, Tom. I can't read your heart, and tell you what you want. You have to figure that out for yourself."
"You're right," said Tom, "I have to figure it out. Thanks Jason."
"Anytime," said Jason, as Tom stood up and walked to the kitchen. He stood at the entrance, and watched from behind as Kimberly and Emily frosted the cake. He watched for a few moments, and then cleared his throat to gain their attention.
"Hello, Tom," said Emily with a bright smile, "Can I get you anything?"
"That's okay, Em," he said, "Uh, could I talk to Kim for a minute?"
Emily nodded, and took the cake. She smiled at both of them, and headed back outside.
"What's on your mind?" asked Kimberly, starting to wash the dishes.
"Um... how's your family?"
"Trevor and Anthony are both fine," she said, "How are you?"
"Not bad," he said, "So, everything's working out for you, eh?"
"Absolutely. And you?"
"Well, slowly but surely. Uh, Kim, I've been doing some thinking the past couple of days. Being here in Angel Grove, with you and the whole gang, really makes me miss our younger days."
"Yes," Kim said with a sigh, "I guess I'm a bit nostalgic too."
"Right. Well, I figured that we don't have to go our separate ways like we did before. There's no reason why the group of us don't stay in contact. Zedd and Rita may be gone again, but there's no guarantee that they won't be back, or maybe someone worse will show up. And even if they don't the world is still in turmoil."
"What are you saying?" asked Kim, turning around to face Tom.
"I'm saying that the Power Rangers shouldn't disband. We should keep the Power, and keep guard over the world. We are supposed to be the protectors of Earth, but that doesn't have to mean we fight only against an intergalactic threat. We can help with domestic problems as well. Well, what do you think?"
"What did the others say?"
"I don't know yet. I asked you first."
Kimberly was visibly surprised by this. "Why? I thought Jason was your best friend. And second-in-command, too."
"That's true, but you've always been my backup. Throughout our careers as Power Rangers, you were always behind me. I've come to rely on your support, even more than on Jason's."
"Really?" said Kim in total shock, "But, after what happened between us... when I left for Florida ten years ago..."
"Kim," Tom said, running his hand through his short dark hair, "I was a jerk! Instead of supporting your gymnastics career, I was selfish. And after you left, I was too proud to apologize to you, and that contributed to me losing you. But even though we're not together, we can still be friends, and partners against evil."
"You're right," said Kim with a bright smile, "but you're not completely at fault. I was the one who dumped you, without even talking to you. I was wrong to play with your feelings like that, but I was so mad that you seemed to stand between me and the gold medal. I'm so sorry, Tom. Forgiven?"
"Forgiven," said Tom, and the two immediately embraced in a warm, friendly hug. When the separated, Kimberly began to giggle.
"What?" asked Tom, starting to laugh with her.
"It took us a decade to swallow our pride, put aside our anger, and apologize! I thought we were more mature than that."
"I guess some things will always stay the same," he said, "We're both a bit pig-headed, you know."
"Come on," said Kim, taking Tom's hand and leading him out of the house, "Let's go tell the guys that the Terran Power Rangers are back in business!"