As usual, its a beautiful day in Angel Grove, California. In the Youth Center, the students of Angel Grove High School enjoy some rest and relaxation, and most of them talk excitedly about the upcoming weekend's events. That weekend is the finale of the Pan-Global Games, an international sports competition second only to the Olympics. This year, the Pan-Globals are held in Orlando, Florida, and the Americans have a very strong chance of medalling in all the major competitions--track and field, swimming/diving, and gymnastics. Actually, the American gymnastics team had just won the gold in both the men's and women's competitions, and they're favorites in numerous individual events. Team USA's gymnasts are quickly becoming celebrities, and are appearing on an exclusive interview that afternoon at four. The teens at the Youth Center eagerly await the interview, mostly because one of the young stars of the women's team is a hometown heroine--Kimberly Anne Hart.
"What time is it?" called Tommy, who was preparing to break a pile of seven bricks with his hand.
"It's a quarter of, Bro," answered Jason, who was standing beside him, "We've got plenty of time. Go for it!"
Tommy took a deep breath and measured up the bricks with his eye. He then closed his eyes and raised his arm into the air. He brought it down with a mighty hi-ya, and shattered all seven bricks cleanly. He brushed off his gi from the dust of the crumbling bricks, and stepped back.
"Nice one, Tommy," said Jason, setting up another seven blocks, "Now its my turn. I see your seven--and raise ya two."
Jason added two more bricks to the pile and prepared himself physically and mentally for the exertion. Just as Tommy had done, Jason closed his eyes to clear his mind, and raised his arm high. He managed to shatter all nine bricks, and received a round of cheers from the other martial artists present.
"That's nine for me," Jason said with a smile, "Adam, its your turn."
"Uh, I think I'll pass," said Adam, shaking his head, "I've never been really fond of brick-breaking. Its one skill I haven't quite mastered."
"I'll go," said Rocky, stretching his arms, "I've always loved brick-breaking!"
While Rocky readied himself to break ten bricks, Adam moved away from the mat towards the Juice Bar itself, where his girlfriend Tanya Sloan was writing in her notebook while sipping on a banana smoothie. He set his arms on her shoulders and looked over her head at her work.
"What're ya doing?" he asked, sitting beside her. She looked up to him and smiled.
"Sociology," she responded, turning back to her notebook, "This essay is due on Monday, and since we're all flying to Florida to see the gymnastics finals on Sunday, I won't get much of a chance to do it later."
"Maybe I can help you. What's the topic?"
"Gender inequality in the ninties."
"Oh, really?" said Adam, slightly surprised, "I didn't really think there was much gender inequality nowadays. I mean, women's lib has really accomplished a lot since the sixties."
"Yeah, and there's still a lot to be done. Think about it, Adam--there has still never been a women president in the US. There has never even been a female candidate, and there are only a handful of women on the Senate or House of Representatives. There are also very few women governors or mayors, even though women make up more than half of the population. Most top executive positions are held by men, and women who have similar jobs, and similar workloads, only get a fraction of the men's salary. If you think about it, even the Power Rangers are slightly gender-biased."
"What?" asked Adam in shock, "That's not true! There have been five women Power Rangers on the team and only six guys. That sounds pretty equal."
"Well, there have never been more than two girls on the team at once, and they have never had positions of power. For example, the first team of rangers had Jason as a leader and Zack as second-in-command. Billy was the brain. So, what roles did Kim and Trini play? Also, once Zack, Trini, and Jason left, Tommy was made leader and Rocky was his second. Now, considering that Rocky was new to ranger-ing, and Kim had been a ranger for months, I would assume that she would've made an excellent second in command. I mean, you guys always said she was a great person, and a good fighter. I doubt Zordon even considered giving her a position of leadership."
"Well..." stammered Adam, "what about the Aquitians? Delphine is a woman."
"Delphine is an alien, Adam! We're talking about American society here. In other countries, women have positions of power. England has a queen, and a few years back there was a woman as Prime Minister also. Its funny-- America is built on the premise that 'all men are created equal'. What does that imply about women?"
Adam was desperately trying to find something to say. He had to admit, Tanya was mostly right. He was saved by the start of the news report on the American gymnastics team.
"The reports' on!" announced Ernie, turning up the volume on the small television. The dozens of teenagers all hurried to sit down and watch as a group of seven athletes walk out and take seats in front of Oprah Winfrey, who was doing a special Pan-Global series this whole week. Today was the culmination of her series of episodes--an exclusive interview with the six best American gymnasts right before the beginning of the individual competition.
^So, ladies and gentlemen,^ said Oprah, ^I'm thrilled to introduce to you America's Six Shining Stars--Richard Harvey, Kimberly Hart, Renee Ryan, Eric Vera, Dennis Hammond, and Patricia Armstrong! They are the American athletes competing in the individual events and all around tournaments this weekend. The guys compete tomorrow, and the girls compete on Sunday. So tell me, how does it feel to have already won medals in the team competition?^
^Its absolutely amazing!^ answered Renee, sitting up tall, ^I think this is the first time in history that the USA has won gold in both the men and the women's team competitions in the same year. The competition was tough, but we came out on top!^
^You're right, it was close,^ said Oprah, ^The Chinese men were leading through most of the events, and the Romanian women were always right on your tails, right?^
^Yep,^ said Dennis, ^The Chinese team looked like they were gonna win, and no one was shocked by this--China is known for having excellent gymnastics teams. We got lucky that the second to last guy on the bars fell on his dismount. That was the crack in the Chinese armor, and we took advantage of it.^
^What about you girls?^ asked Oprah, ^Was it really stressful to have the Romanian team just one step behind you practically the whole way?^
^Yes it was,^ answered Kimberly, ^Its fabulous to reach first place, but the challenge is to keep it. The Romanians actually passed us after the second rotation. We were on the uneven bars, and that's not really our best event. If Renee hadn't pulled a 9.9 on the bars, we would've been done for!^
^The highlight of the competition was the last rotation,^ said Patricia, ^When Kimberly pulled off a perfect ten on the balance beam. I have to admit that in all my days of competing, I have never seen a more graceful performance on the beam.^
^I just did my best for the US,^ said Kim modestly, blushing a little, ^It was a team effort though. The event that really paid off was the floor. Our entire team averaged a 9.85, which is pretty good, since Romania averaged a 9.74. That event put us ahead.^
^Yeah, but the balance beam kept us there!^ said Renee.
^You're vault got a ten also, 'Ne!^ said Kim, ^Stop trying to give me all the credit!^
^The thing is, both teams did magnificently,^ said Eric, ^and I mean teams. Every member of Team USA did their best, and their best was good enough to bring home the gold!^
^I couldn't have said it better myself,^ said Oprah, ^Now, which individual events are you competing in?^
^Horse,^ said Eric.
^Bars and floor,^ said Richard.
^Rings^, said Dennis.
^Floor and uneven bars,^ said Patricia.
^All four,^ said Renee.
^Balance beam and floor,^ said Kimberly.
^Wow Renee, you seem to be an excellent all-around gymnast,^ said Oprah.
^Well, she's competing for the gold in the all-around Sunday,^ said Dennis, ^Tonight she's gonna sweep up the gold in the individual events.^
^Everyone knows who ESPN and Sports Illustrated chose to be the winners in the all-around, but I'd like to hear your opinions.^
^I'd put my money on Rick for the silver, and that Chung guy from China for the all-around gold. He's really an amazing athlete. Bronze could either be me or Eric, or possibly that guy from Ukraine, but I forgot his name,^ said Dennis, "As for the girls, there is no doubt in my mind that Renee will get gold and Kim will come in close for silver. The bronze is up for grabs.^
^I think Rick will win gold,^ said Patricia, ^and Kin Chung will come in second. There's also an excellent Romanian gymnast that may just beat Eric to bronze. Renee will win the gold hands down, and Kim will come in either silver or bronze. I really don't know who else will medal, but the Germans had an amazingly strong team this year.^
^I'm not really sure,^ said Richard, scratching his golden blonde hair, ^Its a toss-up between Chung, me, and I think Dennis. I don't know who'll get what. As for the girls, Kim and Renee will definitely come out on top, and I honestly think Pattie has great chance for bronze.^
^I really can't say who'll win,^ said Kimberly with a shrug, ^I mean, this whole team has dedicated a good amount of their lives to these games, and they're all amazing athletes. I honestly think any one of us can get the gold.^
^You're so modest, you make me sick, Kim!" moaned Renee melodramatically.
^Look who's talking!^ said Kimberly with an smile, ^The only way for you not to get the gold is if you break a leg tonight. And you'd probably still get the gold! I mean, you twisted your ankle only two days ago, and your performance hasn't suffered at all from it!^
^Yes, Renee I was meaning to ask you about that injury. What happened?^
^Well, I was practicing my vault, and I landed wrong. I twisted my left ankle. But I'm okay now. I pushed past the pain, and now it doesn't hurt at all anymore.^
^You're dedication is truly admirable. All of you, congratulations on your gold medals, and good luck this weekend. Now, I'll open the floor to any audience questions.^
^Is it true that you six are the Power Rangers?^ asked one twelve year old boy from the stands, ^Daddy said only the Power Rangers can move like you do!^
^I can safely say that none of us are Power Rangers,^ said Richard with an amused smile, ^They're heroes, we're just athletes.^
^How did it feel to leave your families behind and move to Florida?^ asked an elderly woman, ^You're all so young!^
^I didn't have a very close relationship with my family,^ said Richard, ^so leaving wasn't that hard.^
^It was hard for me at first,^ said Renee, ^But, I talk to my mother and step-sister all the time, and its not so bad.^
^I couldn't wait to get out of my house,^ said Dennis.
^It wasn't leaving behind my family that was hardest,^ said Kim, ^It was leaving behind my closest friends that made me really think about joining Team USA.^
^I was raised with the goal of becoming a world class gymnast,^ said Patricia, ^so my parents prepared me for that kind of life.^
^It was a real challenge for me,^ said Eric, ^Since I'm an only child, my parents were kinda reluctant to let me move to Florida from New Mexico. But we talk on the phone and write each other constantly, and I'll be going home soon.^
^Is there any jealousy on the team?^ asked a teenaged girl, ^Especially between Renee and Kimberly. Both of you have been called the greatest gymnast in history, and you're competing in numerous events for the gold. Is there any animosity between you?^
^Absolutely not^ said Renee, crossing her arms over her chest, ^Kim and I are friends and roommates, and we get along fabulously together. Honestly, I'd be just as happy seeing Kim get the gold than I would being on that podium myself. We're practically sisters.^
^The same with me,^ said Kimberly, ^We're really great friends, and I'd like to think our friendship is strong enough to surmount whatever competition may exist between us. If we work together, we can sweep the medals! All of us. Its Team USA who won those gold medals the other day. It wasn't me, or Renee, Pattie, Rick, Eric, or Dennis. Or any of the other athletes. It was a team effort, and teamwork is really what is necessary for success.^
^Okay everyone,^ said Oprah, ^we have time for one more question, and then it's time for a break. Uh, the young man up front.^
^My question is, what kind of endorsements are you doing?^
^Well,^ said Richard, ^the whole mens and womens teams will be on Wheaties boxes. I think the guys are on the Wheaties Honey Gold, and the girls are on the original. I'm on a Sprite commercial myself. Or at least, I will be. I haven't actually filmed it yet.^
^I'm on a Champion commercial, as well as Gatarade,^ said Kim.
^I'll be on a Pepsi commercial, a Reebok commercial, and I'm going to guest star on a few episodes of Moesha,^ said Renee, ^I'm beyond cyked about that one!^
^I've got a Nike commercial, and a Taco Bell one also,^ said Dennis.
^McDonald's and a cover shot on TV Guide,^ said Eric.
^I'm in a commercial for the Care For Kids fund,^ said Pattie.
^Terrific,^ said Oprah, ^And its time for a break. When we get back, we'll speak to Coach Schmidt and his two assistant trainers--Trevor Monroe and Ashley Stevens.^
When the commercial came on, Ernie turned the volume back down to the normal intensity and went back into the kitchen. The crowd then dispersed, leaving behind Tanya, Adam, Tommy, Jason, and Rocky.
"Hey," said Rocky, "where's Kat anyway? She missed the interview!"
"She has a major Calculus exam on Monday," said Tommy, "and since we're all going to spend the weekend at the Pan-Globals, she won't have time to study then."
"When does the flight leave again?" asked Jason.
"Tonight at ten," said Adam, "We should get to Florida at about six in the morning Eastern Time. Kim said she'd be able to pick us up herself, since she doesn't start practice until noon. Then, she'll introduce us to the team, and we'll get breakfast or something. The guys competition starts at four, and we'll be sitting with Kim and the other gymnasts not competing in the individuals. Sounds like fun, eh?"
"So, is Kimberly coming back to Angel Grove after the Pan-Globals, or is she moving to Paris with her mother?" asked Tanya. Everyone automatically turned to Tommy for the answer.
"I...I don't know," he said, bowing his head, "I haven't spoken to her since...uh..."
"Don't worry, bro," said Jason, patting Tommy on the back, "you'll get a chance to talk to her in Florida. You have some...unfinished business."
"But that's the thing, Jay. She finished it for us. I don't know what I'd tell her. I don't even know how I'll react when I see her again. I doesn't matter anyway. She dumped me for some other guy--end of story. So, you wanna break more bricks?"
"Yeah!" said Rocky, standing up from the bar, "I believe it's your turn Tommy. I broke ten. How many will you try?"
"Twelve," said Tommy with a sly grin. With that, Tommy, Rocky, and Jason returned to the mat. Tanya returned her attention to her essay, and Adam sat with her, eating a hamburger.
Meanwhile, on the Moon, Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa watch the Power Rangers relax at the Youth Center. They also witnessed the television interview, and are obviously upset because the rangers are happy.
"We have to ruin the Pan-Global Games!" ranted Rita, stomping around the throne room, "Kimberly can't be allowed to win any more medals!"
"Why do you care so much about Kimberly?" asked Zedd, sitting on his throne, "After all, she isn't even a Power Ranger anymore! Besides, we don't have any spare power to be throwing at the rangers! We have tons of cleaning to do, after that infernal Machine Empire took over my castle. Why should I care about the former Pink Ranger?"
"There's something about her that just rubs me the wrong way," said Rita, "I don't know."
Just then, Goldar and Rito enter the throne room. Finster was right behind them.
"We've searched the entire castle for any signs of the Machines," said Goldar, "I think we've melted every last remnant of them!"
"Excellent!" said Zedd, "Now, I don't have to worry about those overrated tin cans again! Now, we have to rebuild our evil army. Rita, what happened to Scorpina anyway?"
"She took a leave of absence after our wedding," said Rita, "She returned to Venus Island. It was some kind of anniversary or something."
"I didn't know Scorpina lived on Venus Island!" said Rito, "I didn't know anyone lived there except those big man-eating plants."
"That's because you're a moron!" roared Zedd, standing up, "You don't know a thing about this Solar System's history, do you? It doesn't matter, though. Rita, I want you to send for Scorpina. I want her to be here with us. She is one of our greatest warriors, and her aid will be most beneficial. On second thought, perhaps I shall pay her a visit. After all, Venus Island is my island. Perhaps her evil sisters, the Venusians, will help us destroy the rangers!"
Venus Island is a tropical island of magic and mystery. Every so often, Venus Island appears on the map, usually out in the deep Pacific Ocean, far from any other land mass. Very few humans know of its existence. And even fewer beings know of the creators and inhabitants of the isle. In a flash of lightning, Lord Zedd appears on the sandy shores of the isle, and walks briskly up the tall mountain in the center. As he passes, the deadly venus fly-traps bow before their master, allowing him easy passage. Once Zedd reaches the summit of the mountain, he lifts his "Z" staff to the overcast sky, causing a web of lightning to surround the area. Then, a city magically appears, in the ancient style of Athens Greece, with white pillars climbing to the heavens, statues of great heroines, and strings of ivy decorating the white stone. Zedd enters the gates, and the inhabitants of the city, all beautiful women appearing to be in their twenties and wearing clothing that looked like Grecian togas, stopped whatever it was they were doing and kneeled humbly to their emperor. Zedd's visor flashed with delight as he saw the respect the women afforded him.
"You may rise, Venusians!" he roared. All the women heeded his command.
"What brings you to the peak of Mount Ambrosia, on Venus Island, my liege?" asked a young blonde woman standing near him, "It has been centuries since your last visit."
"I have come to speak to Scorpina, Dalal. I am told she has returned to her sisters. I also would like an audience with Queen Syren, immediately."
"I shall take you to the queen now," answered Dalal "and I shall send scouts to find Scorpina. She left Ambrosia earlier today. She likes to practice her magic by the shore."
Dalal lifted a sword into the air, which had been attached to her belt, and the women all formed two lines from the gate to the large white palace in the center of the city. The women all lifted their swords, creating a canopy, and Dalal and Zedd walked between the two rows to the palace. Once inside, Dalal bowed deeply to the throne, in which sat the fair Queen Syren. Syren was wearing a floor length toga, with a golden crown and matching belt. Her cherry red hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and held with a gold band. Her gray eyes twinkled and an evil smile crossed her face as she saw the menacing figure of Lord Zedd enter the room. She stood up and bowed low before the emperor of evil.
"To what do I owe the honor, m'lord Zedd?" she asked, standing upright.
"I am here to ask a favor of you, Syren," he answered, "No doubt you have heard of the Power Rangers?"
"Of course. They were here on Venus Island only a year or so ago. I ordered the Venusians not to interfere with them, since we received no order from you. I thought you had forgotten about your troop of Amazon Warriors."
"No, I merely was awaiting the right opportunity to call you into service, Syren. I want you personally to defeat the rangers. Your skills of mesmerizing men are second to none."
Syren smiled at the compliment. "I thank you for your vote of confidence, m'lord, but I must remind you that my spells render only men helpless. I may be mistaken, but two of the rangers are women."
"That is true, but the Yellow Ranger brought up a very interesting point earlier," said Zedd, "She said that the women on the team have never played key roles on the team, and that is indeed true. The men do all the fighting, the thinking, and the leading. The women who were fighters--Trini, Kimberly, and Aisha--have all retired. The two female Zeo Rangers are the least experienced, and neither of them are very accomplished as fighters. After you capture the men, it shouldn't be too difficult to destroy the women."
Just then, a young brunette in a short toga ran into the throne room.
"What is it Jezebel?" asked Syren, "I am speaking with Lord Zedd!!"
"I have brought Scorpina as you requested," said Jezebel, bowing and leaving the room. Scorpina entered the palace, also wearing a snow white toga that reached about mid thigh. She had a black onyx belt, and a golden sword in her hands. Her long ebony hair was pulled into two French braids.
"Zedd, what are you doing on Venus Island?" she asked in surprise.
"I have come to seek the aid of the mighty Venusian warriors to destroy the Power Rangers. That includes you, Scorpina."
"But Lord Zedd, I requested a leave of absence from Rita. It is of vital importance that I stay and help the queen."
"Help her do what?" asked Zedd, "What's going on here?"
"The day after tomorrow is the one-hundredth anniversary of the Naya Massacre. One hundred and twenty years ago, a group of former queen Naya's rebel Venusians escaped the dungeon, and fled the island. Dulcea managed to reach Zordon of Eltar, and he sent her to guard the Power on Phaedos. Many of them remained on Earth, hoping to save Venus Island from my tyranny. They adopted human names, and dwelled among them. Some of them even took mates and had offspring. We managed to find them all with Queen Naya twenty years later in England. They had joined together to plot to recapture Venus Island, and we stopped them. The only problem is, one of them, called Leila, managed to escape the carnage. The others were all killed. So, there now exist two free rebel Venusians--Dulcea and Leila."
"What can two women possibly do against your army of Venusian warriors?" asked Zedd.
"Well, Leila may have wed, and therefore may have had children. Venusians can only bear female offspring, because the Y chromosome cannot survive in a Venusian body. That is why we are all women. The offspring of the other Venusian turncoats will be the great-grandchildren of the Venusians, because being crossbreeds they do not inherit the immortality of their mothers. However, they do inherit the physical agility, intelligence, enhanced healing, agelessness, and beauty of the Venusians. Leila is still alive, and that means that she may have children, and a half-Venusian may have enough magical power to be a problem. The sooner Leila is killed, the sooner the rebellion will truly come to an end."
"About how many rebels were there?" asked Zedd.
"There are at least a hundred rebels still imprisoned in the catacombs of the castle. Naya led a group of her generals in an escape. There were five total--Naya herself, Leila, Dulcea, Erwina, and Avangone. Dulcea immediately went to Zordon to protect the power of Ninjetti, since she was the keeper of the Ninjetti power. Therefore, she never had children on Earth. Erwina had one daughter, but she brought her to the meeting, so she was killed as well. Avagone's two daughters each had two daughters, and three of the four grandchildren had children, making a total of four great-grandchildren. All the great grand-children still live--the youngest is twelve and the oldest is twenty-two. Two of the grandchildren still live, one being forty-seven and the other fifty three. So, there are a total of six descendents of Avagone still living. Naya had two daughters, and one of them married and had three daughters. Those three each had one daughter, and one of the three grandchildren of Naya is dead. So, there are five descendents of Naya. Since Leila is still alive, it is impossible to know whether or not she has living descendents, but there are none to my knowledge. To celebrate the anniversary, we plan to capture all the descendants of the traitors, and kill them together in a blazing fire. Leila herself shall be killed by my hand. So, we have been watching the descendents, and have a great deal of information on them."
"If you know their names and you know where they are, there shouldn't be a problem," said Lord Zedd, "Just send a few Venusians to grab them. If they are the great-grandchildren of Venusians, then they have only one-eighth of the magical powers of Venusians, and shouldn't be much of a threat."
"I have a list of the eleven descendents," said Syren, standing again from her throne and pulling out a blood red parchment, "Each of them may have limited supernatural powers. All should be inhumanly agile, extremely beautiful, fast healers, very intelligent, and should all look younger than they truly are. The list reads: from the tribe of Avagone--Elisa Manning, her daughter Janette Manning, Silvia Turner, her daughter Andrea Turner, her other daughter Elizabeth Turner, and finally Christina Hendren. From the tribe of Queen Naya--Josephine Trent, her daughter Kelly Trent, Caroline Hart, her daughter Kimberly Hart, and Courtney Davis."
Upon the mention of Kimberly's name, Scorpina's chin dropped, and Zedd's visor began to glow brightly red.
"Did you say Kimberly Hart?" asked Zedd in disbelief, "As in Kimberly Anne Hart, the gymnast in the Pan Global Games in Florida?"
"The very same," answered Syren, "Why? Do you know her?"
"Of course I know her! She was the original Pink Ranger!! So, she isn't even human, and she possesses Venusian powers. This isn't good. Syren, you must attack the Power Rangers. Immediately. If you wait until the anniversary, the rangers will be with Kimberly in Florida, and you will be unable to capture her. Get the rangers, and send a Venusian to the games at the same time. She can capture Kimberly, and you can capture the male Power Rangers. Do this for me, and you will no longer be indebted to me. Deal?"
Syren rubbed her chin. She then smirked. "Deal."
"Excellent. Scorpina, are you coming?" asked Zedd, turning to leave the castle.
"Scorpina is my greatest assassin," said Syren, "and my best tracker. If anyone can find Leila for me, it is she."
"Very well. Once you find Leila, though, I want you to return to the Moon."
"Yes, Lord Zedd," said Scorpina, bowing low.
"Things may turn out well for me after all," said Zedd with a smirk.
In Angel Grove, Katherine Hillard has locked herself in her room. The television has been unplugged ever since she saw the Oprah Winfrey show a few hours ago, and the telephone has been disconnected. Even the shades are drawn, to block out any distractions from the outside world. Katherine knows that these extreme measures are absolutely necessary; since she's spending the entire weekend in Florida with her friends, there is no way she'll get a chance to study for her Calculus midterm any other time. Although Katherine is an excellent student, her Calculus grade is slipping, since that's the class she has right after lunch, and the Machine Empire had a practically clockwork habit of sending down monsters at lunchtime. So, Katherine misses a lot of Calculus classes, and hasn't been doing well on the tests she's taken so far. Now that the Machine Empire hasn't attacked in over a week, there is no excuse for failing this test. Except for the Pan-Global Games.
Katherine has mixed feelings about her trip to Florida this weekend. Although she really misses her friend Kimberly, and is really excited about seeing her compete for Pan-Global glory, she's also a little apprehensive. After all, Tommy has only recently been showing signs of getting over Kimberly after that letter a few months ago. Tommy has even begun to show signs of affection for Katherine, much to her delight. Kat has had a serious crush on Tommy since day one, but she's way to reserved to do anything about it, and she's also too good a friend to approach Tommy while Kim was still in the picture. When Kim dumped him, Tommy was so destroyed that whatever happiness Kat felt about finally having a chance with Tommy was immediately drowned with pity for his broken heart. Many times when Tommy was sitting at the lakeside, skipping stones across the water, Kat wished that Kimberly hadn't left Tommy, since she could tell he still loved her more than anything. Eventually, though, Tommy's young heart seemed to mend, to the point where he and Kat have gone out on a handful of little dates. Of course, they weren't romantic--usually just to a movie or to grab a bite at Ernie's. No candles, no strolls in the moonlight, and absolutely no kissing. Not even close. Still, Kat is completely happy with the pseudo-relationship she and Tommy have. She is willing to be patient--to let him heal completely. First and foremost, she's Tommy's friend. Whatever else may happen between them will grow from that friendship.
But now, the trip to Florida is bringing Kimberly back into the picture. Kat really isn't sure what kind of effect this will have on Tommy, and on his feelings for Kat. After all, Kat is pretty sure that Tommy still loves Kimberly, and he will either be depressed to see her again, or happy. If they come to terms, then Tommy will feel better being with Kat, since there will no longer be any unfinished business. However, if Tommy and Kim just ignore each other, then Tommy's emotional scars will only deepen, and all the progress he's shown over the past couple months will vanish. But then again, there's always the possibility that Tommy and Kim will get back together. This is probably the scenario that Kat fears most. If Kim apologizes for dumping him, he'll forgive her, since he still loves her, and Katherine will be completely out of the picture.
"Stop it!" she said to herself, slapping her forehead, "If they get back together, then Tommy will be happy. That's all that matters. Now stop thinking about him! You have a test to study for!"
Kat once again began doing the practice exam problems Mr. Weatherspoon handed out in class that day.
"Why don't I understand derivatives? I wish Billy were still here! He's the only one who could guide me through Calculus."
Katherine's thoughts were interrupted by a familiar six-tone signal. She sighed aloud and searched in the pile of loose Calculus worksheets for her communicator. She lifted it to her mouth and pressed the button.
"Katherine here," she said into the receiver, "What is it?"
^KATHERINE, PLEASE REPORT TO THE POWER CHAMBER IMMEDIATELY. THE OTHERS ARE ALREADY HERE.^
"I'm on my way," said Kat, activating her teleporter. In a wash of bright pink light, she was in the Power Chamber with the other Zeo Rangers.
"What's going on?" she asked, "Is Mondo back?"
"NO," boomed Zordon, "THE ATTACKER IS NOT MONDO. TURN YOUR ATTENTION TO THE VIEWING GLOBE."
The rangers all turned to the globe, and there appeared a beautiful woman in golden armor, with long curly red hair and dazzling gray eyes. Rocky couldn't help but whistle, which earned irritated glares from Kat and Tanya. He only shrugged and grinned sheepishly.
"Who is she?" asked Adam, "And why is she wearing armor identical to Scorpina's?"
"HER NAME IS SYREN, AND SHE IS THE PRESENT QUEEN OF THE VENUSIANS. THE VENUSIANS ARE A RACE OF FEMALE WARRIORS AND MAGICIANS, WHO LIVE ATOP MOUNT AMBROSIA ON VENUS ISLAND."
"We didn't see anyone on Venus Island when we went there," said Jason.
"The Venusians didn't show themselves," explained Alpha, "They have been ruled by Syren for millenia, and she is ruled by Lord Zedd."
"So Zedd's back in the picture?" asked Tommy, "If its not one thing, its another!"
"So, who are the Venusians?" asked Tanya, "Are they like the Amazons of myth?"
"THEY ARE THE BAND OF WOMEN WHO SPAWNED THE LEGEND OF THE AMAZONS. THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO, THE VENUSIANS LIVED IN PEACE ON THE PLANET VENUS. THERE, QUEEN NAYA RULED THE PEOPLE, AND THERE WAS PEACE AND JOY. THEN, ONE OF THE VENUSIANS, CALLED DIVATOX, DECIDED THAT SHE WANTED TO RULE. SHE WAS THE SISTER OF THE QUEEN AND SHE DESIRED THE THRONE. SO SHE AND A BAND OF DISSIDENTS STARTED A CIVIL WAR, WHICH FORTUNATELY WAS QUELLED WITH THE HELP OF THE POWER OF NINJETTI, WHICH WAS GUARDED BY DULCEA, NAYA'S OTHER SISTER. DIVATOX AND HER ARMY WERE DEFEATED, AND AS PUNISHMENT THEY WERE EXILED FROM VENUS TO WANDER THE COSMOS. NAYA COULDN'T BRING HERSELF TO DESTROY HER SISTER. BEFORE SHE LEFT, DIVATOX CAST AN EVIL SPELL ON THE ENTIRE PLANET, CAUSING ALL THE WATER TO EVAPORATE. WITHOUT WATER, VENUS SOON BECAME UNINHABITABLE, SO THE VENUSIANS WERE FORCED TO ABANDON THEIR HOME. NAYA LED HER SUBJECTS TO EARTH, AND CREATED VENUS ISLAND, WHERE THEY ONCE AGAIN LIVED IN PEACE. IT WAS DIFFICULT, BUT AT LEAST THERE WAS WATER THERE, SO THE PEOPLE COULD SURVIVE. THIS WAS MILLENIA BEFORE MANKIND CAME INTO BEING. THEN, SYREN, ANOTHER WOULD-BE DICTATOR, SET HER SIGHTS ON THE THRONE. BUT, SHE KNEW THERE WAS NO WAY SHE WOULD BE ABLE TO DEFEAT NAYA AND DULCEA BY HERSELF, SO SHE ALLIED HERSELF WITH LORD ZEDD. TOGETHER, THEY MANAGED TO CONQUER VENUS ISLAND, AND SYREN BECAME QUEEN, WHILE STILL INDEBTED TO ZEDD. MOST OF THE VENUSIANS WERE PERSUADED TO ALLY THEMSELVES WITH SYREN AND PLEDGE LOYALTY TO ZEDD, AND THOSE WHO DID NOT WERE IMPRISONED IN THE CATACOMBS OF THE CASTLE. ZEDD ALSO HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE WHICHEVER VENUSIAN HE WANTED TO BE HIS PERSONAL ASSASSIN, AND HE CHOSE SCORPINA. THAT IS HOW SCORPINA CAME INTO ZEDD'S SERVICE."
"But why didn't they kill Naya immediately?" asked Adam.
"BECAUSE IT IS PART OF THE VENUSIAN CODE TO NEVER KILL ANOTHER VENUSIAN. SO, EVEN THOUGH SYREN WAS QUEEN, THE MAJORITY OF HER SUBJECTS WOULD HAVE REVOLTED IF SHE KILLED THE FORMER QUEEN IN COLD BLOOD. SO NAYA, DULCEA, AND THE OTHER FAITHFUL VENUSIANS WERE IMPRISONED."
"But we saw Dulcea on Phaedos," said Rocky, "She isn't anyone's prisoner."
"A LITTLE OVER A CENTURY AGO, A SMALL BAND OF VENUSIAN PRISONERS, LED BY NAYA, MANAGED TO ESCAPE VENUS ISLAND. THEY ENTERED THE WORLD OF MANKIND, AND SEPARATED IN ORDER TO HIDE THEMSELVES FROM SYREN. THERE WERE FIVE ALTOGETHER: NAYA, DULCEA, AVAGONE, ERWINA, AND LEILA. DULCEA CAME TO ME IMMEDIATELY, AND ASKED ME TO TRANSPORT HER TO A WORLD FREE OF INDUSTRIALIZATION AND POLUTION, SO SHE COULD KEEP THE SECRET OF THE NINJETTI SAFE. THE POWER RELIES ON THE SPIRITS OF FREE ANIMALS, AND THE INDUSTRIALIZATION OF THE 19TH CENTURY MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR HER TO CULTIVATE THAT POWER ON EARTH. SO, I SENT HER TO PHAEDOS, A PLANET MUCH LIKE EARTH BEFORE HUMANS CAME INTO BEING."
"Are they still alive now?" asked Katherine, "Maybe they can help us!"
"NO, NAYA, AVAGONE, AND ERWINA ARE ALL DEAD. LEILA IS STILL ALIVE, BUT IF I CALL FOR HER HELP, I WILL BE PUTTING HER LIFE IN GREAT JEOPARDY. I MAY BE ABLE TO SUMMON DULCEA, THOUGH. IN THE MEANTIME, RANGERS, YOU MUST STOP SYREN. I DO NOT KNOW WHY SHE HAS DECIDED TO ATTACK YOU NOW, BUT SHE HAS."
"What powers do Venusians have?" asked Tanya.
"VENUSIANS ARE IMMORTAL. ONLY FIRE CAN DESTROY THEM. THEY ARE ALSO SUPREMELY AGILE, AND NATURAL FIGHTERS. THEY ARE ALSO MAGICAL, AND EXTREMELY BEAUTIFUL. SOME HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHARM HUMAN MALES, SO BE CAREFUL, RANGERS."
"We can handle it, Zordon," said Tommy, "Its Morphin Time!"
"Zeo Ranger 1--PINK!!" cried Katherine.
"Zeo Ranger 2--YELLOW!!" yelled Tanya.
"Zeo Ranger 3--BLUE!!" shouted Rocky.
"Zeo Ranger 4--GREEN!!" called Adam.
"Zeo Ranger 5--RED!!" bellowed Tommy.
The five Zeo Rangers teleported to the park, where Syren was awaiting them. Jason stood by the Viewing Globe, with a scowl on his face.
"Man, I wish I could help them!" he sighed.
"JASON, THE POWERS OF THE GOLD RANGER WERE SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS FOR A HUMAN TO WIELD."
"I know, but I feel so--useless."
"HELP ALPHA FIVE ESTABLISH COMMUNICATIONS WITH PHAEDOS. PERHAPS DULCEA WILL BETTER UNDERSTAND SYREN'S ATTACK."
Jason nodded mutely and got to work.
The five current Zeo Rangers arrive at the scene, where a beautiful woman in golden armor waits patiently for them, stoking her sharp blade with her gloved hand.
"Okay Syren!" yelled Tommy, stepping forward, "What do you want here?"
"I see you already know who I am, Red Ranger," said Syren with a seductive smile, "If Zordon has informed you of my identity, he no doubt has told you of my abilities. Yet, you bravely come to face me. I am impressed."
"Zordon's told us enough about you," said Katherine, standing beside Tommy, "and we can handle whatever you throw at us!"
With that said, the Zeo Rangers all strike fighting positions. Syren stares curiously at the Pink Zeo Ranger.
"I think I'll start with you, half-breed!" cried Syren, swiftly lunging at Katherine with her sword. Syren moved so quickly that the other Zeo Rangers had no time to stop her before she was already pummeling Kat with the magical sword. Kat barely managed to deflect the sword with her shield, but she never managed to get a hit in. Soon, Syren made contact with Kat's arm, leaving a deep wound on her shoulder. Kat clutched her injury tightly, dropping her shield and looking up at Syren in horror. Syren's expression was only disappointment as she stepped away from Kat and sheathed her sword. Tommy quickly ran between Syren and Kat, holding up his sword towards the enemy.
"Kat," he said quietly, not taking his eyes off Syren, "are you okay?"
"I...I will be," Kat answered weakly, rising to her feet. Tommy stood his ground, making sure Syren didn't again try to attack Katherine. Syren only smiled at shook her head.
"Lord Zedd had said that the Pink Ranger was of Venusian blood," she said with a sigh, "but obviously he was incorrect. You are not a Venusian, Pink Ranger! If you were, you should have been able to defend yourself effectively against my sword."
Tommy swung his sword at the Venusian queen, letting his instinct take over. Syren immediately unsheathed her sword and deflected each thrust expertly. She chuckled at Tommy's attack, and with a mighty swing, disarmed him. She then lifted him by the collar with one hand and smiled up at him.
"Not bad," she mocked, "For a male that is. So, you are the valiant leader of the Power Rangers, eh? So protective of your teammates. An honorable and powerful man, but a man nonetheless--and therefore susceptible to my unique charms."
As Syren spoke, her gray eyes shimmered with unearthly golden light. Tommy's struggles against Syren's grip slowly died out, and soon he hung from her mighty grip limply. Syren cackled and turned her gaze towards the remaining Zeo Rangers, who stood helplessly and watched.
"Tommy!!" cried Katherine, touching her fingers to her mouthplate, "NO!"
"If you want your leader back, my dear," said Syren, "take him!"
Syren threw Tommy's limp body like a rag doll, bowling over the other rangers. Katherine hastily pulled Tommy's helmet off, and saw his eyes wide open and glowing gold.
"Kat!" ordered Adam, "Get Tommy to the Power Chamber and get your shoulder checked out! We'll do what we can here!"
Katherine nodded mutely as she and Tommy vanished in two columns of colored light. The Yellow, Green, and Blue Zeo Rangers all summoned their Zeo Weapons and rushed Syren. Syren managed to battle all three at once, and delivered a mightly tornado kick to Rocky's head, knocking him off his feet. She threw a sphere of golden light at the Yellow and Green Rangers as she approached Rocky, who was shaking off the last attack. She gingerly took off his helmet and smiled down at him. Rocky blushed furiously at her gaze.
"You think I'm beautiful, do you not, Blue Ranger?" asked Syren sweetly.
"Yes," answered Rocky dully, his eyes glowing gold.
"And you would do anything I ask of you?"
"Yes, my fair Queen," he answered again. Syren helped him stand up and kissed him on the cheek. She then handed him back his helmet.
"Go then, by brave blue knight, and protect your queen from these attackers," she commanded, pointing her blade at Tanya and Adam. Rocky put on his helmet and lunged at Adam, while Syren attacked Tanya.
"Rocky, snap out of it!" cried Adam, blocking each of Rocky's attacks, but never countering, "I don't want to hurt you! We're best friends!"
"Any enemy of my beloved queen is an enemy of mine!" declared Rocky, "Now fight me or DIE!"
Meanwhile, Tanya desperately defended herself against Syren's superior strength and speed. Syren smiled gleefully as she savagely struck Tanya in the gut. Tanya doubled over and fell to the ground in pain.
"You are a better fighter than the Pink Ranger," said Syren, "But you are not of Venusian blood either. You too are too slow and weak. Still, I had a good work-out. It is almost a pity to dispatch of you..."
With that, Syren slowly raised her sword in a ceremonial final strike. Adam's eyes widened as he saw Tanya sprawled out on the grass, defenseless against Syren' oncoming attack. Adam immediately delivered a mighty kick to Rocky's head, rendering the Blue Ranger unconscious. Adam then ran at Syren at full speed.
Sorry, Rocko, but I can't let anything happen to Tanya! he thought as he plowed into Syren's back. Tanya leapt to her feet to help Adam, but by the time she collected her bearings Adam was standing beside Syren, his fists clenched tightly. Tanya's eyes narrowed as she struck a defensive pose.
"Looks like you're the only one left," said Syren , approaching the lone ranger, "Who shall step in and save you now?"
As if in answer, a white owl floated down from the sky and landed on the grass between Tanya and Syren. Syren scowled angrily and readied her blade and Tanya stared in shock as the small owl transformed into a beautiful woman wearing a green bikini. The woman held a long stick and approached Syren menacingly.
"Hello, traitor," said the woman angrily, "I see you are still in command of Venus Island."
"Of course I am, Dulcea," said Syren, "After all, I destroyed the resistance. I do not know if you were aware of this, but I killed Naya and her followers a century ago. Are you on Earth to celebrate the anniversary of your sister's demise?"
Dulcea's lips curled into a snarl, but she managed to remain calm. "Yellow Zeo Ranger," she said without turning her head from her opponent, "Return to the Power Chamber, and take you enchanted companions with you. I shall deal with Syren."
"That's Queen Syren to you, Ninjetti Priestess!" cried Syren, leaping at Dulcea. The two women warriors clashed weapons furiously while Tanya spoke into her wrist communicator.
"Alpha, can you teleport Rocky and Adam to the Power Chamber?"
^Aye yi yi! Teleporting all three of you now!^
Instantly, Tanya, Rocky, and Adam vanished from the park, and rematerialized inside the Power Chamber. Tanya removed her helmet and looked at Rocky, Adam, and Tommy, who all lay still on cots. She then saw Katherine, whose shoulder was bandaged up. Tanya turned to Zordon with confusion etched on her dark face.
"Zordon, who is that woman out there fighting Syren?"
"SHE IS DULCEA, THE KEEPER OF THE POWER OF NINJETTI," explained Zordon, "JASON AND ALPHA CONTACTED HER WHILE THE ZEO RANGERS WERE FIGHTING THE VENUSIAN QUEEN. AS I HAD FEARED, SYREN HAS ENTRANCED TOMMY, ADAM, AND ROCKY."
"How do we break the spell?" asked Katherine, glancing at Tommy worriedly.
"I AM NOT VERY FAMILIAR WITH VENUSIAN SPELLS, KATHERINE. I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO REVERSE THE SPELL--PROVIDED THE SPELL CAN BE REVERSED."
Katherine sat down on a chair beside Tommy and buried her face in her palms. Tanya began pacing around the Power Chamber angrily, muttering to herself. She stopped when she saw the mannequines of the original Power Ranger costumes. Her focus turned towards the statue of the Pink Power Ranger.
"Zordon," she said, "Syren said something about the Pink Ranger being a Venusian descendent. Do you know anything about that?"
"I DO KNOW THAT SOME OF THE VENUSIAN REBELS LEFT DESCENDENTS. HOWEVER, SINCE THEY WOULD ONLY BE PART VENUSIAN, THEY WOULDN'T HAVE THE FULL POWER OF VENUSIANS. AS THE LINE PROGRESSES, EACH GENERATION WOULD HAVE LESS AND LESS VENUSIAN BLOOD, AND THEREFORE LESS AND LESS OF THEIR POWERS. I SUPPOSE KATHERINE COULD BE A VENUSIAN, THOUGH. BUT IF SHE WERE, THEN THE ATTACKS SYREN INFLICTED WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN SO SERIOUS."
"But, Syren said that I wasn't a Venusian," said Kat.
"But, you weren't always the Pink Ranger!" said Jason excitedly, "Maybe she meant Kimberly! After all, Venusians are supposed to be really agile, and Kim is one of the greatest gymnasts of all time!"
"IF KIMBERLY IS A VENUSIAN, AND SYREN KNOWS THIS, THEN SHE IS IN GREAT DANGER," said Zordon, "WE SHOULD INFORM HER OF THE SITUATION."
Just then, Dulcea appeared in the Power Chamber. She rested her staff against the computer consol and began pressing buttons furiously.
"What happened?" asked Jason.
"Syren decided to retreat," explained Dulcea, "She was never a match for me one-on-one. However, she said something about the anniversary of Naya's assassination and the descendents of Avagone, Naya, Leila, and Erwina. I haven't contacted them since I left for Phaedos, so I do not know if any still live."
"AVAGONE, NAYA, AND ERWINA WERE ALL KILLED, DULCEA." said Zordon quietly. Dulcea bowed her head in remorse.
"Then Syren spoke the truth. My sister the Queen is truly dead. There is no hope for Venus Island now. What of Leila?"
"LEILA STILL LIVES, BUT I DO NOT KNOW WHERE SHE IS. SHE LIVES AS A HUMAN, IN HIDING FROM SYREN AND HER FOLLOWERS."
"Syren is probably trying to capture Leila now. I can think of no other reason why she has come here. But why did she attack the Power Rangers? What could they possibly mean to her plan?"
"Syren said something about the Pink Ranger being a Venusian," explained Tanya, "Maybe she wanted to kill her."
Dulcea looked at Tanya in surprise, and then glanced at Katherine.
"I did not know that she knew the Pink Power Ranger is of Venusian blood," said Dulcea quietly, "Then she probably knows the identities of all the descendents of Naya and the others. This does not bode well for the rebellion."
"Aye yi yi!" cried Alpha, "You knew Kimberly was a Venusian?!"
"I did indeed. I knew it when I gave her the power of the Crane Ninjetti. The Ninjetti powers were created on Venus, and so they are most powerful with Venusians. Whereas the other Power Rangers needed the coin to become Ninjetti, Kimberly does not. She shall always be the Pink Ninjetti."
"But, when she gave me her coin, I became Ninjetti as well," said Katherine.
"You did wear the costume, but the Ninjetti powers were weak with you. Your animal guide is not the Crane, so the power wasn't with you as it was with Kimberly. You weren't able to call on the Crane for guidance, and you wouldn't have been able to pilot the Crane Ninjazord."
"What kind of Ninjetti power does Kim still have?" asked Jason.
"She can still summon the Crane to guide her, and she can transform into a Crane, just as I transform into a Snow Owl. The Snow Owl is my Ninjetti animal, and since I am Venusian, I can become an owl."
"Does Kim know she still has the Power?" asked Katherine.
"I do not think so. Although I immediately knew she was of Venusian blood, I did not tell her. I felt that the knowledge may be a burden, because if she knew, she would have used her Venusian powers, and then Syren could detect her. And since Kimberly was a Power Ranger, she would no doubt come face to face with Scorpina, and then Scorpina would inform her queen of Kimberly's existence. Apparenly though, my attempts to hide the descendent of my sister were in vain. Syren knows of Kimberly, and since Kim is a Ninjetti, she possesses powers comparable to full-blooded Venusians, even though the blood line is thinned. We must find her, as well as all the other descendents of Venus Island. They are all in life-threatening danger."
In a small town called Hillsdale New Jersey, a tall beautiful woman with auburn hair and twinkling eyes is putting away groceries. As she busily goes about her business, she watches a taped recording of that afternoon's Oprah Winfrey show. The woman smiled as she heard the voice and saw the dazzling smile of her only child--Renee Ryan, the champion gymnast. The woman is so busy with the groceries and the television program that she doesn't hear the stealth approach of a sinister assassin. Just as the assassin was about to reveal herself from the shadows, the telephone rings, and the woman hurries to answer it.
"Hello?" she asks into the receiver, still watching the program, "Hi, Ron! How are you, Honey? Yes, I taped the show. I'm watching it now. I'm so proud of our little girl! Yes, I'm fine here. When will you get back from the conference in Germany? Oh, you're going directly to Florida? I'm leaving this evening, and Diane flew in this morning directly from college. Okay, I'll see you in Florida, dear. Bye!"
As soon as Leila hung up the phone, the assassin leapt from the shadows with her sword drawn. Leila managed to dodge the attack, but the sword cut through the phone cord. Leila stood up and looked at her attacker calmly.
"Scorpina. I thought you now served only Lord Zedd. You seem to still be Syren's favorite flunkie!"
"And you seem to be just as spirited as ever, Leila," said Scorpina with an evil grin, "Now, are you coming with me peacefully to Venus Island, or will I have to use force?"
"What do you think?" asked Leila, quickly grabbing a butcher's knife from the drawer, "I admit I may be a little rusty, but I can hold my own against the likes of you!"
"You were never my equal, Leila," said Scorpina angrily, sheathing her sword and pulling out a smaller dagger, "You have no hope of defeating me!"
The two women circled each other cautiously in the spacious kitchen of the Ryan family. Leila made the first offensive move, striking at Scorpina with the sharp knife. Scorpina easily dodged the attack and delivered a high swing, which Leila managed to dodge. Scorpina drew first blood--cutting Leila accross the cheek. Almost immediately, the cut began to stop bleeding, and in a few minutes all that was left was a faint scar. Leila's eyes flashed in anger as she leapt from the tile floor and stabbed Scorpina in the chest. The blade didn't penetrate the golden armor, and Scorpina delivered a mighty kick into Leila's stomach, causing her to fall to the floor again. Before Leila could rise, Scorpina grabbed her by her auburn hair and positioned the dagger on Leila's neck, drawing a bit of blood.
"I ask you again, will you come with me, or do I have to dispose of you on the spot?"
"Your metal blade cannot finish me," said Leila, "I am full-blooded Venusian. I am immortal!"
"Almost," said Scorpina with a wicked laugh. Suddenly the blade of the small dagger began to glow with heat. Leila winced as the flame burned her neck.
"This is no ordinary blade," said Scorpina, pressing the dagger deeper into Leila's soft flesh, "It is a Hyperion Dagger, forged in magical fires. It has internalized the power of an inferno into its magical metal, and Venusians are susceptible to fire. I knew what I was doing when I came here."
Leila's face curled into a frown as she looked down at the blade. "What do you want of me, Scorpina? If you only came to take my life, I would no longer be breathing."
"Indeed. Syren wanted to kill you and the descendents of Naya and Avagone at a ceremony celebrating the one-hundredth anniversary of the Naya Massacre."
"No matter what may happen to me, the rebellion will live on! The day shall come when Dulcea will return, and Venus Island will be freed from the tyranny of Zedd and Syren."
"Not in this lifetime, 'Sister'! Oh, and one more thing--you mentioned something while you were on the telephone earlier. Something about your 'little girl'?"
Scorpina could feel Leila's entire body tense. She smiled in triumph. "So, you have a daughter, eh? Where can I find her?"
"You might as well end my life, Scorpina. I shall not help you track down the living descendents of Naya, Avagone, or myself."
"We already know of the descendents of the others. You are the only uncertainty, since you have lived in hiding for a century."
"Well, I plan to remain the uncertainty," declared Leila indignantly. Scorpina only cackled.
"Lord Zedd certainly has a magic spell capable of loosening your tongue, Leila. Telling me of your own free will shall no doubt be easier for you. In either case, the result is the same--your child shall die, along with the other hybrids!"
Leila smiled weakly as she swiftly grabbed hold of Scorpina's wrist. She held the fist holding the dagger, and lowered it to her heart.
"You are right. There is only one way I shall be able to keep my secret. You may have found me, but you know nothing about me. Therefore, you need me to get the information you need. And you shall not have it, one way or another! For the future of Venus Island!"
Leila plunged the dagger into her heart, and in a flash of fiery light, all that remained was a pile of ashes and spots of blood on the white tiles of the kitchen. Scorpina rose to her feet mutely, her fist clenched in rage.
"Blast!" she cried, "She has cheated me! It shall take me forever to find the child now! But at least I know of her existence. Mark my word, Leila, your sacrifice shall be in vain! The girl shall be found. Soon."
In the gymnasium in Florida, Kimberly, Renee, and Eric practice routines under the stern eye of Coach Schmidt and his two assistants--Trevor Monroe and Ashley Stevens. Ashley monitors Eric, while Coach Schmidt watches Renee and Trevor watches Kim. As Kimberly dismounts from the balance beam, Trevor tosses her a towel.
"Nice job, Kim," he said as she approached him, wiping her forehead with the towel, "But you really need to work on your dismount."
Kim smiled and kissed him lightly on the cheek. "Okay, but first lemme get a bottle of water."
"I can get it for you," he offered with a smirk and bowing, "Anything for my graceful angel."
Kim giggled and punched him lightly in the shoulder. "Whatever," she said, walking out of the room.
"You got five minutes, Beautiful!" he called after her, "You don't have much time left before the individuals!"
Kim nodded and jogged to the hallway. She stopped and leaned against the wall, rubbing her arms with her hands. She looked down at her feet sadly.
Oh, I HATE it when he calls me 'Beautiful'! she thought as she slowly made her way to the vending machine, It only reminds me of Tommy, and how happy we were together. We felt that nothing could ever come between us--not Rita, not Zedd, not duty, not a thing! In the end, life just led us in two separate directions.
Kim absently dropped a few coins in the machine, and waited as the bottle fell to the opening. She picked it up and took a long sip.
I still feel so guilty about that letter! I know I could have handled the situation better. Instead, I let my own insecurities take precedence over Tommy's feelings, and I selfishly sent him a letter instead of talking to him, and making him understand. Nonetheless, I know what I did was for the best. We couldn't stay together. There's just too much to come between us, and like Renee always said--long distance relationships never work. Someone always gets hurt. She was right.
Kim walked down the hall towards the gym entrance, when someone tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around to see the face of a beautiful blonde woman in a shimmering suit of gold armor. Kim gasped as the woman proceeded to punch Kimberly in the face. Kim fell to the ground, dropping her bottle of water. The bottle rolled down the hall and past the open door of the gym. Trevor, who was waiting for Kim to return, saw the bottle roll past.
"Kim?" he called, running down the hall. He stopped when he saw Kim lying on the floor, barely conscious, and a woman in golden armor standing above her with a glowing red sword. "KIM!!"
The woman glanced at Trevor and smiled wickedly. She stepped over Kim and approached the shocked young man. Trevor froze in place, as he watched the woman's green eyes turn gold.
"Trevor," cried Kim weakly, "RUN!!"
"He cannot hear you, child of Naya," said the attacker, turning back towards Kim. Kim rose to her feet and looked in horror at Trevor's still body.
"What have you done to him?" she cried angrily, "Who are you? What do you want from me?!"
"I am Dalal, Venusian warrior and enchantress. I have entranced this male with my powers. I am here to put an end to your life, Kimberly Anne Hart. Any other questions?"
Kim stared at Dalal in shock, and touched her hand to her nose. Seconds ago, her nose was bleeding profusely, but now it was completely dry of blood. Kim looked at her hand curiously.
"I see you have already healed from that punch. But you cannot heal from a Hyperion blade!"
Dalal dove at Kim at superhuman speed, but Kim managed to leap out of the way at equal speed. Kim flipped gracefully through the air, and landed a good twenty feet from her jumping off point. She blinked in surprise as she landed, and continued to dodge the energy blasts Dalal fired. All the noise attracted the attention of the other gymnasts in the building. Renee, Eric, and Coach Schmidt ran into the hall to investigate, and witnessed Kimberly's amazing flips.
"What is going on?" asked Coach Schmidt in his thick accent.
"Sorry, gentlemen," said Dalal, her eyes glowing gold, "But I don't need any complications."
Immediately, both the coach and Eric froze in place. Renee stood her ground in mute shock as she saw her friends freeze before her eyes. Dalal lifted her hand into the air, forming a sphere of energy.
"I am unable to entrance human females," she said, "so I have to deal with you in a more--permanent manner."
Dalal fired her sphere of energy at Renee, who was too surprised to move. Kimberly screamed and ran to intercept the attack, but she wasn't fast enough. The sphere of pulsing energy crashed into Renee's body, throwing the girl into the wall. Kimberly dropped to her knees and cradled the still body of her roommate, tears filling her eyes. She then glanced at the frozen bodies of her friends, and suddenly, she felt a pulse of power in her heart. Her eyes began to glow pink, and much to her surprise, she saw her hands pulse with radiant pink light. Kim gently lay Renee's head on the ground and turned her attention to Dalal. She didn't notice the blood dripping from Renee's mouth slowly dry up and vanish.
"Okay, Dalal," said Kim, clenching her fists angrily, "Now you've gone too far! Release my friends from your magic spell!"
"Surely you jest!" laughed Dalal, "You aren't even of full Venusian blood! You are by no means my equal!"
Kimberly leapt into the air, leaving a streak of pink light behind her. Kim plowed into Dalal, and Dalal heard the sound of a mighty crane screeching with rage. On impact, Dalal was thrown back into the other side of the hall, cradling her side painfully.
"You...you are Ninjetti," she whispered, "You are stronger than I thought."
"Darn straight!" cried Renee, standing up and walking over to stand beside Kimberly, "Kim here is the toughest gal I know!"
"Renee!" cried Kim in surprise. Dalal's eyes widened as she gazed at Renee.
"No human could survive such an attack," said Dalal, standing up, "You are Venusian, but not one of the descendents Syren mentioned."
"Come again?" said Renee in confusion.
"I must tell Syren," muttered Dalal, as she vanished from the hall. As soon as she disappeared, Eric, Trevor, and Coach Schmidt collapsed to the floor, waking up from their trances.
"Kim?" asked Trevor, standing up and running to her, "Are you okay?"
"I...I have to take care of something," she stammered, stepping back from Trevor, "Renee, could you come with me?"
Renee nodded and followed Kim down the hall. The two girls ran as quickly as they could to their apartment, where Kim immediately picked up the phone and dialed a familiar phone number.
"What are you doing?" asked Renee, sitting down on Kim's bed.
"I'm calling Tommy," she explained, "Something is going on here!"
After several rings, the answering machine picked up. Kim left a brief message and tried Adam and then Rocky. Then she tried Katherine, and Jason, and even Tanya. But no one was home.
"They must be on a mission or something!" she moaned angrily, hanging up the phone, "Now what do I do?"
"Well," said Renee, "you can start by telling me what the heck is going on here!"
"Its a long story," sighed Kimberly, "but I guess its okay to tell you, considering the circumstances. Y'see, before I came to Florida to train for the Pan-Globals, I was the Pink Power Ranger."
"You mean the Power Rangers are real?" Renee gasped.
"Yes. Me and my friends were chosen to protect the Earth from invading aliens. Its all true. Well anyway, I retired from the team to pursue my gymnastics career. I gave my Power Coin to another friend of mine. The coin is where the super powers come from. I guess Lord Zedd, the ruler of the invading aliens, wants me as a hostage to trap the other rangers or something. He's used that trick a dozen times before."
"So you knew that blonde woman that attacked us?"
"No, but her armor looks alot like that of an old enemy of mine. We're lucky to have escaped, 'Ne. Zedd's servants are pretty tough."
"Okay, I have one more question. How were you able to pull off those amazing flips? And when you dove at Dalal, you turned into a pink glowing bird. You said you gave your Power Coin to someone else. You're not a Power Ranger anymore, are you?"
"No, I'm not. Actually, that's the first time I exhibited super powers since I gave up my coin. That's why I wanted to contact the other rangers, but they seem to be on a mission. Okay, 'Ne, now I have a question for you. How did you survive that energy blast from Dalal? She was so shocked that you still were alive that she retreated."
"I don't know," said Renee with a shrug, "I've always been an amazingly quick healer. Mom always says I have a very efficient self-healing system, or something like that. My mother's like that too, so I guess it just runs in the family."
Suddenly, there was a flash of white light, and a small snow owl appeared above the bed. Both Kimberly and Renee looked at the small bird curiously as it flew to the ground and transformed into a tall woman in a green armored bikini. Renee raised her eyebrow and looked at the woman, while Kim got up and greeted the strange visitor.
"Dulcea!" she cried, "What're you doing here? I thought you could never leave the plateau on Phaedos!"
"It is true, one of the costs of being keeper of the Ninjetti powers is a loss of my agelessness. When I am not near the power source, I begin to age rapidly. Fortunately, Zordon has created a temporary solution to that problem--a portable time warp."
With that, Dulcea touched the silver headband she wore.
"It slows the aging process significantly, and I hope it will be enough to allow me to stay on Earth until my mission here is complete. Kimberly, I have something extremely important to tell you and your friend. I witnessed the last part of your battle against Dalal through the Viewing Globe in the Power Chamber, and I now know for certain that both of you are of Venusian blood."
"Yeah, that blonde woman said something about that," said Renee, standing up, "Now, you two seem to know each other, but I'm completely in the dark at this moment. Could you please clue me in?"
Kim smiled and turned to her friend. "Renee, Dulcea. Dulcea, Renee Ryan. Renee is my roommate here in Florida, and a fellow gymnastics champion. Dulcea is keeper of the Ninjetti powers. She is the one who gave me the power of the Crane."
Dulcea and Renee shook hands, and Dulcea began her explanation. She told both girls about the history of Venus Island, the escape of the Queen and a few subjects, the murder of the Queen, and the anniversary celebration Syren had spoken of. Both girls wore very confused expressions.
"What does that have to do with me?" asked Kimberly, "I'm not a Ninjetti anymore."
"But you are. When I gave you the power of the Crane I sensed that the animal guide bonded with you in a manner that none of the other rangers experienced. Now that the rangers are Zeo, they no longer can summon the Ninjetti powers. But you, on the other hand, are part Venusian, and the animal powers shall always be a part of you. You are still a Ninja Ranger, Kimberly, and you can still morph."
"You're saying I'm not human?!" shrieked Kimberly, "Are you sure about this?"
"Indeed. Your inner powers are much like my sister Naya's and so I am pretty sure you are one of her descendents. You are mostly human, since Naya was your great-grandmother, but since you were exposed to the Ninjetti Power at such an early age, your potential powers are equal to those of a full-blooded Venusian. That is probably why Syren saw you as an immediate threat."
"What do I have to do with any of this?" asked Renee, "I've never been a Power Ranger."
"True, but the fact that you survived Dalal's sphere of power means that you are at least part Venusian. Tell me, do you know the name of your great-grandmother on your mother's side?"
"No. My mother's an orphan, and she doesn't have any family at all. Could my father be the grandson of Venusians?"
"Impossible. Venusians are all women, and they can only bear female offspring," said Dulcea, rubbing her chin in thought, "Tell me more about your mother. Where is she from?"
"My mother is Lebanese. She lived in foster homes there until she graduated high school, and then she came to the States. She's Leila Saba, before she married my pop."
"Renee, Kimberly," said Dulcea, raising her staff to the air, "Stand beside me. We have a great deal of work to do, and we don't have a great deal of time."
Kimberly and Renee stood on either side of Dulcea, and in a flash of white light, the three women vanished.
Dalal appeared at the gates of Ambrosia on Venus Island, still clutching her side painfully. To her complete surprise, the descendant of Naya had greatly injured her, breaking numerous ribs upon impact. Dalal steadied herself on her thone and painfully walked through the gate towards the palace. With each step, the ache she felt in her body ebbed slightly, and by the time she reached the palace's ivory gates, she no longer needed to lean upon her sword. It took a long time to heal from that last attack, she thought grimly, This child of Naya is mighty indeed! She is as strong as any Venusian, since she has the power of Ninjetti added to her natural skills. And who was the dark child who stood beside her? She is also Venusian, but not one of the Venusian hybrids on Syren's list. They have all been captured! I must alert the queen immediately.
Dalal hobbled into the throne room, bowing when she saw the Queen. Syren was still wearing her golden armor, and her red tresses hung around her face in disarray. She wore a bitter scowl on her face as she stood in the corner of the throne room, surrounded by hundreds of different weapons. She glanced at Dalal, her eyebrow rising slightly as she noticed Dalal's wounded and exhausted condition. She turned to face her warrior, holding erect a shimmering katana blade decorated with blood red rubies.
"I see you haven't captured Kimberly Hart," said Syren coldly, pointing the blade at Dalal's neck. The blade began to glow crimson. "You realize of course that this is a Hyperion Blade. I should kill you on the spot for failing in your mission! KNEEL!"
Dalal obeyed the queen, dropping to one knee. She bowed her head, and Syren raised the blade high. She dropped the blade at phenomenal speed, but stopped short, with the flaming blade chillingly close to Dalal's neck. "I shall give you one chance to explain your failure. I know the Power Rangers didn't interfere, since I have already delt with them. Also, Leila and Dulcea couldn't have stopped you from obtaining your prize. Tell me, how did you fail to capture the girl, a mere hybrid, untrained in the arts of combat?"
"She may be more human than Venusian, my Queen, but she is indeed a warrior trained," whispered Dalal, not looking up, "She possesses the might of the Crane, given to her by the Great Power."
Syren withdrew the blade from Dalal's neck, and retreated to her throne. She sat down, stroking the blade with her delicate fingers. "So, not only is Kimberly Hart a former Power Ranger, she is also a Ninjetti warrior. Intriguing. Ninjetti warriors have always been the mightiest among the Venusians. Nevertheless, you should have been able to defeat the girl. You have eons of experience, and you are one of my greatest warriors. The girl has only lived for eighteen years, and she has only been a warrior for a small portion of that. Why did you retreat? Your wounds weren't inflicted by flames, so they would've healed in a short time. You could have finished the girl permanently, if you couldn't capture her as planned."
"Your Majesty, she wasn't alone. Another girl of similar age was present, and she too was of our blood."
Syren's eyes widened at this revelation. "Are you certain?" she whispered, standing from her throne, "All of the other descendents of Naya and Avagone have been captured. They now reside in the dungeon, awaiting the ceremony at dawn tomorrow, where their lives will end, along with the rebellion. The only Venusian left...Leila."
Syren briskly marched down the red carpet towards her private chambers, leaving Dalal in the throne room. She stopped at a magical full length mirror with silver frame, adorned with rubies and onyxes. She waved her hand in front of the glass, and her reflection melted away, transforming to an image of Lord Zedd himself. Syren bowed at the appearance of Zedd, who was shown sitting on his throne and clutching his staff.
"What have you to report?" he asked excitedly, "Have you destroyed the Power Rangers?"
"I have rendered the three male rangers useless," she said, holding her head up proudly, "Tommy, Rocky, and Adam are under my spell. Unfortunately, they were teleported from the battle scene before I could either capture or kill them. Dulcea showed up rather unexpectedly, and no doubt she shall try to save the rangers. However, Dulcea is a priestess, not an enchantress. She shall not be able to break my spell."
Zedd sat quietly for a moment, absorbing the information that Syren has given him. He tapped his steel chin with a steel tipped finger. "You have done well. I hadn't expected Dulcea to come to the aid of the rangers, but if what you say is true, she shall be inconsequential to my master plan. Three of the Zeo Rangers are out of commission, and the Zeo powers cannot be taken from them while they are under a spell such as yours. Are you certain Dulcea cannot break the spell you placed?"
"No, I specifically bound them with my most powerful enchantment," said Syren with an evil smile, "There are two types of Venusians--enchantresses and priestesses. The priestesses use the force of the Ninjetti in combat, and the enchantresses use magic. Only an enchantress can break an enchantment spell, and Dulcea is a priestess."
"Did Scorpina finish her mission?" asked Zedd, "Did she find Leila?"
"Leila has been killed," said Syren, "She sacrificed herself rather than come to Venus Island in shame. However, Scorpina discovered that Leila has a child. She didn't learn anything from Leila, other than that the girl may be in Florida now. She went to locate her. Dalal was sent to capture Kimberly Hart, but she failed. You didn't tell me that Kimberly was a Ninjetti."
Lord Zedd just shrugged, "She is no longer Ninjetti," he said matter-of-factly, "She gave her coin to Katherine months ago. The fact that she used to be Ninjetti isn't important."
"But it is, Zedd," said Syren, rather frustratedly, "Kimberly is of the bloodline of Naya, and Naya was a priestess. Any Venusian priestess who is exposed to the Great Power, even for a short while, will always be a mighty warrior. Kimberly will always be Ninjetti. She managed to defeat Dalal, and she was accompanied by another of Venusian descent. I believe it is the same child of Leila that Scorpina learned of."
"So," muttered Zedd, "the plot thickens. Did you send Scorpina after Kimberly and her friend? Dalal is only an enchantress, but Scorpina is a mighty warrior of the priesthood, and the greatest warrior of Venus Island at that. Scorpina has battled Kimberly many times before, and could do it again easily."
"Scorpina is in Florida now, but she reports that she cannot find Kimberly or her friend. They may have been found by Dulcea and Zordon by now."
"Fine. Don't bother looking for Kimberly anymore. No doubt she sook the aid of her former mentor the moment danger struck. Have you captured the other Venusian descendents, including Kimberly's mother and family?"
"Indeed. They all live--for now."
"Excellent. If you have Kimberly's loved ones on Venus Island, she shall no doubt come to their aid. She always prided herself in being a heroine. You've done pretty well, Syren. Don't mess it up now."
With that, Zedd's image vanished from the mirror's face. Syren sighed inwardly as she lay on her bed. Perhaps I should have told him that Leila was an enchantress she thought to herself, Most likely her daughter is one as well. If Dulcea manages to teach the girl how to use her magical powers, the male rangers may not be out of commission long. However, they shall not be able to take my island from me! They may be able to find Venus Island, and they may be able to morph here, but only Venusians can enter Ambrosia, with the exception of Zedd himself. The rangers will not be able to interfere with my plans. Once I have destroyed Dulcea, Kimberly, and the child of Leila, as well as the other cross-breeds, no one will be able to take my throne from me.
All is quiet in the Power Chamber. Tommy, Adam, and Rocky lay half-morphed and still upon three cots against the wall, while Jason and Alpha were busy monitoring scanners. Katherine sat on a chair beside Tommy's cot, holding his hand gently and silently praying that he'd be okay. Tanya stood silent vigil between the cots of Rocky and Adam, every once in a while glancing down at Adam's serene face. Each time she did, she shuddered. Its all my fault that he's like this! she lamented silently, her stoic face only hinting at the fear and pain she feels inside, If he hadn't jumped in to save my hide, Syren wouldn't have gotten to him. Oh Adam, why do you have to be so darn heroic?
"Zordon," said Tanya frustratedly, "Isn't there anything we can do? Shouldn't we be searching for a cure for the guys or something?"
"THERE IS NO CURE WE COULD ADMINISTER," said Zordon solemnly, "MY PAST EXPERIENCE WITH VENUSIAN ENCHANTRESSES HAS LED ME TO CONCLUDE THAT THE SPELL CANNOT BE BROKEN BY ANYONE OTHER THAN ANOTHER VENUSIAN WITH SIMILAR MAGICAL SKILLS."
"We can't give up," whispered Kat, her blue eyes shining with tears of frustration, "They need us! We can't stop Lord Zedd and Syren without them! What do we do?"
As if in answer, a brilliant light flashed in the center of the Power Chamber, and three women appeared. Katherine, Tanya, and Jason all turned in surprise, and they gazed upon Dulcea, Kimberly, and an unfamiliar young woman with dark skin and eyes, and long dark hair. Kim immediately jumped and gave Jason a big hug. She was indeed excited to be in the company of her friends again, even under the present circumstances.
"Kim!" said Jason, putting her down, "Are you okay? We saw you go up against a Venusian enchantress on the Viewing Globe. The transmission was disrupted when Dulcea teleported to help you."
"I'm fine," she breathed, still beaming with excitement, "I don't know exactly what happened back there, but somehow the stress of the situation forced me to use my Ninjetti powers, even though I didn't realize I had any. Cool, huh?"
Jason turned towards the wall, where the guys lay spellbound, and the Pink and Yellow Zeo Rangers stood by their sides. Kimberly gasped when she saw her friends lie deathly still. She also noted that Katherine was holding Tommy's hand. Kim slowly approached the beds, and looked down at Tommy's face. He seemed to be sleeping peacefully, except for the fact that his eyes were wide open, and they were glowing gold. Kim lightly touched his cheek with her delicate fingertips, and fought against the stream of tears that threatened to fall.
"What happened?" she asked Katherine in an unsteady voice. Katherine looked down sadly.
"We fought Syren a few hours ago, and she managed to entrance Tommy, Rocky, and Adam. Dulcea showed up and gave us the chance to retreat, but we can't find a way to break the spell."
"IT IS TRUE," said Zordon grimly, "I KNOW I CANNOT BREAK THE ENCHANTMENTS OF SYREN."
"Then, we have to go to Venus Island and force Syren to free them," said Kimberly angrily, "We have to save them."
"There is an easier way to save them," said Dulcea, placing her hand on Renee's shoulder, "This is Renee Ryan, daughter of Leila, the Venusian Enchantress."
"What do you mean?" asked Renee, looking up at Dulcea in confusion.
"Your mother is Leila, one of the five Venusians to escape Venus Island over a century ago. When Syren found and killed Naya, Leila was the only one to escape the massacre. She lived in hiding for a century, and eventually married and had a child. Your are half Venusian and half human, so your potential is great indeed. Since your mother is an enchantress, you are as well. You should be able to break the enchantment trapping the Blue, Green, and Red Rangers."
Renee nodded and approached the beds. She grinned when she passed Jason, and stuck out her hand.
"Hi," she greeted, "We haven't been introduced. I'm Renee, Kim's roommate."
"I'm Jason," he answered politely, shaking her hand, "Too bad we couldn't meet under better circumstances. I was looking forward to watching you and Kim compete at the games."
"Yeah, it looks like our weekend plans have changed," said Renee wistfully. She also introduced herself to Katherine and Tanya, as well as Alpha 5 and Zordon. She then stood at Tommy's bedside, examining his features curiously. She then nudged Kimberly, who was anxiously standing behind her.
"He's cute," she whispered to Kim, "So this is the famous Tommy, eh?"
Kim blushed furiously and elbowed Renee playfully. "Don't you start," she scolded quietly, "We have work to do."
Renee grinned and then once again turned her attention to Tommy. He stared at his golden eyes for a minute, wondering how she was supposed to help. She shrugged and turned to Dulcea. "What am I supposed to do?"
"Concentrate," Dulcea instructed, "Concentrate and reach into his mind. You must free his mind from Syren's grip."
Renee nodded, and touched her hand to Tommy's forehead. She closed her eyes, and she saw an image of Tommy dangling from Syren's deadly grip. Suddenly, the perspective changed--instead of her witnessing Tommy's dilemma, she was experiencing it from within Tommy's mind. From inside Tommy's mind, she could feel his terror of the powerful witch he was facing, as well as his helplessness. That was the key.
*Tommy* she called mentally, *Tommy, can you hear me?*
Then the scene once again changed. Now, Tommy was in his street clothes, chained to a wall. His head was bowed down in defeat. He looked up when he heard the gentle voice.
"Who's there?" he called into the darkness. Renee stepped out of the shadows, her body glowing orange.
*Tommy, I'm Renee, a friend,* she answered, kneeling in front of him to look into his eyes. He stared at her curiously.
"Do I know you?" he asked weakly. Renee grinned.
*You may have seen me on television. I'm a gymnast in the Pan Global Games. I'm Kim's roommate.*
Tommy seemed to perk up a bit at the mention of Kim's name. "Where is she? Is she okay? What about the others?"
*Well, Kim's fine, and so are the other girls. The two guys are trapped like you are. You're the leader, Tommy, you have to break free and return to your friends. I can't do it for you, I can only show you the way.* "I can't!" he groaned angrily, "I've tried. I can't get free. Syren's magic is too powerful."
*Tommy, don't think like that!* cried Renee in exasperation, *You have to be strong--*
Suddenly, a strong wind picked up, and Renee was pushed out of the dungeon trapping the Red Ranger. Before she figured out what was happening, she found herself lying on the cold floor of the Power Chamber, with Kat, Jason, Dulcea, Tanya, Kimberly, and Alpha 5 staring down at her worriedly. She sat up and rubbed the back of her head.
"What happened?" asked Kim, offering her roommate a hand up, "Did you reach Tommy?"
"I found him all right," she muttered, rising to her feet with Kim's help and then balancing herself against Tommy's cot, "But before I could really help him, some kinda wind blew me away. Next thing I knew, I was back here."
Dulcea considered this information, and walked over to Tommy's bedside. She looked deeply into his golden eyes, and shook her head in disappointment. "I didn't realize how powerful an enchantment Syren placed on them," she said, "A novice enchantress such as yourself cannot break such a masterful encantation. You need experience and guidance."
"Well, unfortunately, we don't have time for Renee to get proficient in magic," said Tanya angrily, "We really need the whole team if we're gonna be ready for whatever Zordon and Syren have planned for us."
"Wait!" cried Kim excitedly, "Dulcea, can Renee get this guidance and experience from her Ninjetti animal guide?"
"Yes," said Dulcea, "but since she is not a priestess as you and I are, her Ninjetti powers shall be limited. Still, the guidance of her animal spirit will come in handy during the upcoming battle. I doubt Syren will allow either of you to return to your lives. So long as she is in power, you and your loved ones are in grave danger. Renee Ryan, do you wish to be a Ninjetti?"
Renee thought for a moment, and then nodded solemnly, "Whatever it takes to help you guys out."
Dulcea smiled at Renee's selfless response. She took Renee's hands in hers, and both women began to glow white and slowly fade away. "You are a noble and selfless woman, Renee," commented Dulcea, "You remind me a great deal of your mother. I believe you are worthy to gain the power of Ninjetti. However, we must go to Phaedos, so that the Power can coarse through your veins and introduce you to your animal guide. We shall be back as soon as possible, Zordon."
Moments later, both women were completely gone, and the bright light faded. Katherine and Tanya returned to their places beside their boyfriends while Kim sat down at the other end of the Power Chamber, hugging herself tightly and rocking her body. Jason sat down beside her and wrapped his arm around her shoulder. "What's wrong, Kiddo?" he asked her gently.
"I don't know," admitted Kim quietly, "Its been such a weird day, and a lot of the stuff Dulcea had told me is kinda hard to swallow. I'm not even human, Jason! I'm some kinda alien!"
"Kim, you act human, and you've always felt human. You're human where it really counts--here." Jason pointed to his heart. Kim looked up at him and smiled.
"I guess. But that's not the only thing. I haven't seen any of the guys since I left for the Pan-Globals, except for you of course. So much has changed since day one. I mean, take a look around! The Command Center is different, the rangers are different, and even the costumes and power sources are different! I still don't believe Aisha moved to Africa ten years ago--it still doesn't make sense to me. And Billy actually moved to an entirely different planet! I knew all of this stuff from letters and all, but I guess it didn't seem real, until I showed up here and saw for myself that things will never be the same as they were. My best friends have left the team, and one of them has left the planet! And now Kat and Tommy--"
"I had a feeling that would bother you," said Jason, "It must be tough to see him with another girl, especially one you consider a friend."
"If Tommy's happy, then I'm happy," said Kim with a smile, "After all, I am the one who dumped him, not vice-versa. I have no right to be angry with him for finding someone else. Although I admit I'd rather it not be Kat. I don't know, it just seems to hit too close to home. Kat got my Power Coin, my zord, my place on the team, and even my boyfriend. She seemed to fill my shoes perfectly and completely."
Jason was surprised by what Kim was telling him. "Do you regret going to Florida and leaving the Power Rangers?"
"Yeah," Kim admitted, "Not always, but sometimes. Being a ranger really gave my life meaning, and it made me a member of an exclusive circle of friends. You, me, Billy, Trini, and Zack were inseparable way before Rita ever attacked Earth, but being on the same team and sharing the same guarded secret kinda cemented our bond. I got used to it, and once I moved away, I was suddenly all alone. I have friends in Florida, but its not the same. There really isn't that special bond there. You guys are all still my friends, but Kat really did take my place, for all intents and purposes. This all sounds silly, doesn't it?"
"Not in the least," said Jason, "I know the feeling of alienation too. The first couple of months at the Peace Conference were really tough on me, but at least I had Zack and Trini with me. You had no one, not even family. And considering the fact that you're so open and talkative, it must've been exceptionally tough to have no one to talk to. You managed to survive and adapt, Kim, and I'm proud of you."
Kim buried her face in Jason's chest and hugged him tightly. Jason hugged her in return, like a big brother would hug and protect his little sister. The sounds of alarms caused them both to jump in surprise, and they ran to Alpha's side, soon joined by Kat and Tanya.
"What happened?" yelled Tanya over the alarms.
"Aye yi yi!" moaned Alpha, "I managed to isolate the teleportation frequency that Syren used to teleport from Venus Island to Angel Grove, so that we would be able to follow her instead of hunt down Venus Island like we had to do last time. I just discovered that the same frequency has been used several times today!"
"You mean other than Dalal in Florida?" asked Kim.
"Yes! Other than Syren's teleport to Angel Grove and back to Venus Island, there have been 22 teleport signatures, eleven leaving Venus Island and eleven returning. All these trips have taken place within the last three hours."
"What were they doing?" asked Kat, "What could they want?"
"Well, when Dalal attacked me at the gym, she said she wanted to kill me," said Kim, stopping in her tracks and gasping loudly, "Oh my God! Could the other ten trips have been the same--to kill the other Venusian descendents?!"
"IT IS VERY POSSIBLE," boomed Zordon, "THE OTHER VICTIMS WOULD BE OTHER WOMEN, INCLUDING ANY FEMALE RELATIVES ON YOUR MOTHER'S SIDE, INCLUDING YOUR MOTHER HERSELF."
All the present teenagers gasped in horror at the thought, and Kim's eyes widened. Then, she gritted her teeth and clenched her fists. "We have to find out if they're okay," she declared, "Alpha, can you track the ten teleport signatures? Can you send us to the ten locations to see what happened?"
"Give me a minute," said Alpha, busily punching keys, "I have it! The ten teleports were directed to Angel Grove California, New York City, Seattle Washington, Oxford England, London England, Frankfurt Germany, Montreal Canada, Hillsdale New Jersey, Rome Italy, and Paris France. I will have the exact coordinates momentarily."
"Okay, guys," said Kim, turning to her three friends, 'We'll split up and check each location. We need to find out the names of the women attacked or missing, and if possible learn whether or not they are still alive. I'm going to Paris. Then I can check Rome and Frankfurt"
"I'll take care of Seattle, Montreal, and Angel Grove," said Jason.
"I'll visit New Jersey and New York," offered Tanya.
"I guess that leaves me with Oxford and London," said Kat, "Should we morph?"
"YES," said Zordon, "ANY POSSIBLE WITNESSES WILL MOST LIKELY BE MORE WILLING TO SPEAK TO THE POWER RANGERS THAN TO STRANGERS. HOWEVER, SINCE JASON CANNOT MORPH, YOU MUST GO AS YOU ARE. AND KIMBERLY, SINCE YOU ARE NO DOUBT STILL BEING HUNTED BY SYREN'S FORCES, TRY NOT TO USE YOUR NINJETTI POWERS UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. USING YOUR POWERS MAY ALERT SYREN OF YOUR LOCATION."
"We can handle it," said Kim, "Let's get going!"
"Wait a minute, Kim," said Jason, "Maybe you should stay here. Syren wants you dead, remember? If you leave the Power Chamber, it'll make it easier for her to find you. Kat, Tanya, and I will make sure your family's okay."
"I'm gonna find my mother, Jason," said Kim coldly, "And nothing will stand in my way. Clear?"
Jason stepped back from Kim, surprised at her reaction. He saw her eyes begin to glow pink. Wow, he thought, I pity the Venusian that dares take Kim on when she's this upset!
Alpha began pressing buttons again, and the four teenagers vanished in beams of hot pink, lemon yellow, bright white, and pale pink.
In a modest ranch style house in Hillsdale New Jersey, a beam of yellow light pierces the darkness of the empty house. The Yellow Ranger looks around in confusion, peering through the darkness. She stumbles around for a few minutes, until she finds the wall light switch. She pushes up the switch, and the room becomes filled with soft yellow light.
Looks like I'm in someone's kitchen, she thought, looking across the room. Hanging on the wall was a collage of photographs in a wooden frame. Tanya removes her helmet to get a better look as she takes the frame off the wall and examines the photos more closely. There were various candid shots, as well as a few portraits of unfamiliar people. Also, there were a few photos of a familiar dark girl.
"This is Renee!" Tanya declared, focussing on a photo of the entire family. There was a tall African-American man with midnight black moustache and hair, a black young woman with wire frame glasses and short dark braids, a taller young woman with flowing brown hair and an enchanting smile, and finally a deadly beautiful tan woman with auburn hair and shimmering eyes. Tanya took this one photo out of the frame and continued to look around the room. She noticed a suspicious pile of ashes on the tiles of the kitchen floor, as well as several blood stains on the floor and on a butcher's knife. Tanya also noticed that the phone cord had been severed.
"This definitely doesn't look good for Renee's family," said Tanya, passing the pile of ash and walking towards the window. The window looked like it was forced open. "Whoever was here must've broke into the house via this window and then teleported back to Venus Island from here. I don't see a body, so hopefully Renee's family was captured, and not killed. Still, that pile of dirt is really giving me a bad feeling."
Tanya shrugged and snapped her helmet back on. She tucked the photo into her belt, and held her hand out. Instantly, a small test tube appeared in her hand, and she scooped up a sample of the ashes with a teaspoon from the kitchen counter. She then activated her communicator. "Alpha," she said into her wrist, "Do you read me?"
^I read,^ responded the robot, ^Did you find anything?^
"I'm in someone's house, Alpha, and there's no one here. I think its Renee's family, since I found a few pictures here. There are signs of a fight, as well as blood stains and a pile of weird ashes. I can't find a body, though. I'm teleporting you a sample of the ash. Could you scan it and tell me what it is?"
^Certainly. Teleporting now.^
Then, the vile of ash vanished from Tanya's hand. She took one last look around, and then touched her belt buckle. "One down, one to go," she sighed, teleporting from New Jersey to New York City in a blink of an eye.
On the campus of Oxford in England, the police are investigating an abduction. A young man named Gregory Sampson called them a half hour ago, reporting that his girlfriend, Andrea Turner, was attacked by a tall, beautiful brunette wearing gold armor and spandex. The police are once again going over the victim's dorm room, which was ransacked by the fight. They hoped they'd find some clue about the crime that had taken place, but they couldn't even find a fingerprint or a strand of hair from the assailant. They were about to give up when a beam of pink light attracted their attention. The Pink Zeo Ranger materialized in the middle of the room, startling the two police officers still there.
"I say," said one of the police, "who are you, Missy?"
The Pink Ranger was surprised by this question. "I'm the Pink Zeo Ranger," she answered with an Australian accent, "Surely you've heard of the Power Rangers."
"Yeah," said the second policeman, "Cliff, remember the Power Rangers? They were on the news a few weeks ago. They're some American super heroes."
"She certainly doesn't sound American, Charles," said the first officer, "What can I do for ya, Missy?"
"I need to know what happened in here," she said, looking around at the destroyed bedroom. Cliff sighed audibly.
"Well, the report is that about an hour or so ago, two students were in here studying, and they were suddenly attacked by some woman in gold armor. She somehow hypnotized the lad, and when he snapped out of it, his girlfriend and the attacker were gone without a trace. There were no signs of forced entry, and no one in the building saw the woman in gold armor. Personally, I think the lad's daft."
"What were the names of the two students?" asked the Pink Ranger, a pink pad of paper and a pink pen appearing in a flash of pink light. The two policemen stared at the Power Ranger in a stupor, until Charles shook his head and glanced at his own note pad.
"Uh, the boy who reported the incident is Gregory Sampson, and the missing girl is Andrea Turner."
"And you're sure she was kidnapped by this Amazon?" asked the Pink Ranger.
"That's what the lad said," said Cliff. The Pink Ranger nodded while writing and when she was done the pink notepad and pen vanished.
"Thanks for your help, officers," she said, touching her belt buckle, "G'day."
With that, the Pink Ranger vanished in a streak of hot pink light. The two policemen returned to what they were doing.
"Well," said Charles, "There's something ya don't see everyday, chap."
Jason Lee appeared in the bushes near a sizeable mansion in uptown Angel Grove. He climbed out of the bushes and observed the group of police officers, an ambulance, and a number of curious spectators being held off by police lines. Jason walked over to one elderly man in the crowd and tapped him on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, Sir," he said politely, "What's going on here?"
"It looks like some burglar attacked the Trents," said the old man, "Arthur Trent is being hospitalized, and his family has vanished."
"What are the names of the missing persons?" Jason asked.
"Uh, Josephine and their daughter is Kelly. Charming young girl. Its really a shame."
With that, the old man turned away from Jason. Jason walked towards the police line, trying to get the attention of the police officers. One officer noticed Jason and walked over.
"We're really busy here, young man," said the officer irritadedly.
"Yes Sir, but I was just wondering what happened to Mister Trent."
"He's suffering from a severe loss of blood. He sustained numerous wounds, apparently inflicted by a large knife"
"Or maybe a sword," Jason whispered, rubbing his chin. "Thanks so much, Sir."
The officer nodded and got back to work. Jason pushed through the crowd and hid in the trees. Before he teleported to his next destination, he stopped to think for a minute. Kelly. That name sounds so familiar. Hmm.
Jason shrugged frustratedly and prepared to teleport. Well, at least we know they're probably still alive he thought as his body vanished in a flash of white light.
Kimberly Hart appeared in a wash of soft pink light in a small art studio. She scanned the room hurriedly, glancing briefly at the dozens of finished still lifes and portraits decorating the room. She then saw an unfinished portrait of her mother, torn and thrown on the floor viciously, as well as puddles of paint and water. Her fear began to rise substantially as she took in the frightful scene. Her step-father's art studio had been completely wrecked, and she hadn't found either her step-father or her mother. She gasped audibly when she saw a still body laying on the floor. She dashed to the person. cradling his head in her lap. Hey eyes filled with tears when she saw a streak of dark red on his neck and forehead. She gently touched the stream of red on his forehead, and then examined it closely. She smiled as she rubbed the red substance between her fingers.
"Paint," she whispered amusedly, touching her step-father's neck to detect a pulse. She sighed in relief and lifted him into her arms. She carried him to the work bench and laid him down carefully.
"Wow," she whispered to herself as she touched his forehead, "I'm a lot stronger than I look. I wonder what other powers we Venusians have. Well, I can find out some other time. I have more important thing to take care of. Pierre, are you with me?"
Kimberly shook him gently, but he didn't respond. She began to get irritated as she shook him harder. When he still didn't awaken, she stood up and searched the room. She stopped when she saw a glass of water on the table. She picked it up and ran back to her still step-father, dumping the water on his face. He coughed loudly and sat up in shock, wiping his face with his hands. He looked around the room, and smiled with relief when he saw Kimberly's smiling face. He leaned over and gave her a warm hug.
"Kimberly," he whispered in his thick French accent, "I'm glad you are here. What happened? Where is your mother?"
"I don't know," she said, "I was hoping you could answer that question for me. What happened to this place?"
"I was working on a portrait of your mother all day," he explained, touching his throbbing head, "She was sitting on the windowsill, looking out at the Louvre, as a pose, when suddenly a woman with golden armor leapt through the window and grabbed your mother by the wrist. I tried to stop her, but she struck me with the blunt end of her blade. I just awoke now."
"Did this woman say anything?" asked Kim worriedly. Pierre thought for a moment.
"She said that she was taking Caroline home," he recalled aloud, "Kimberly, do you know anything about this? Why are you in Paris anyway? Shouldn't you be at the Pan-Global Games?"
Kim remained silent for a moment, pondering what to tell her step-father. She smiled at him softly.
"Pierre, Mom's in big trouble, and I am also. I came here, hoping she's okay, but it looks like I'm too late. Now, I really have to go. I'm really sorry, but I don't have time for an explanation. Don't worry about Mom, though, she'll be okay. She's got to be."
Pierre stared at Kimberly for a moment, confusion etched all over his face. He opened his mouth to ask a question, but then promtly shut it and smiled.
"Very well," he said finally, "You're a responsible girl, so I won't question you. Just be careful, Kimberly."
Kim smiled and hugged him again. She then waved her goodbye and hurried out of the building. She looked around at the busy streets of Paris, searching for a safe spot to teleport to her next stop. She turned around quickly when a flash of golden light from a dark alleyway caught her eye. Kim glanced around quickly and then ran down the alley, searching for what looked like a Venusian warrior. As soon as she stopped at the dead end, she was hit in the back and thrown into the wall harshly. She shook off the attack and looked up, straight into the glowing onyx eyes of her attacker.
"Scorpina," she muttered, her voice laced with hatred, "What did you do to my mother?"
"Very good," said Scorpina, walking closer to Kim and placing her foot on Kim's stomach, "I didn't think you'd see me. I must admit, Paris is a really intriguing city. I'd like to see a bit more of it."
Kim scowled and grabbed Scorpina's ankle, twisting her leg and throwing her off with enchanced strength. Scorpina landed gracefully on her feet, but Kim took advantage of Scorpina's surprise and leapt to her feet to assume a fighting stance. Scorpina started to laugh.
"Please Kimberly!" she gasped, still laughing, "Just because you've learned that you are a Venusian doesn't mean you are my equal. I could destroy you with a flick of my wrist!"
"Well, why don't you?" asked Kim.
"Because, Syren wants all the Venusian descendents and Leila alive, so they can all die at a ceremony at sunrise. She's already upset because I killed Leila. She'll really get angry if I kill you as well."
Kimberly stood her ground, her face not revealing the shock and fear she felt when she heard about Leila Ryan's horrible fate. "Why are you telling me all this?" she asked Scorpina, not relaxing her fighting stance in the least, "I'm sure you've heard the phrase 'knowledge is power' before. Why give us so much knowledge?"
"Maybe I don't think it'll do you any good," answered Scorpina, unsheathing her sword, "Or maybe I wanted you to know that at the moment your mother is alive, but I don't need much convincing to end her life. After all, Leila irritated me with her spirit, and I killed her for that. If you don't cooperate, I'll just have to vent my anger on your mother, aunt, and cousins."
"Aunt Jo, Kelly, and my cousin Courtney, I presume," said Kim, "You know I won't surrender, Scorpina. I'm their only hope of surviving tomorrow."
"Then they have no hope!" roared Scorpina, leaping at Kim with her sword held out. Kim dodged Scorpina's attack, but she didn't move enough to keep the sharp sword from piercing her forearm. She clutched her wound gently, measuring how serious it was. The blood almost immediately began to dry, and before Scorpina even collected her bearings for another strike, Kim struck her with a graceful whip kick, followed by a punch to the face and a sweep. Scorpina fell back at Kimberly's lightning quick offense, and grinned mockingly at the short gymnast.
"I see you've picked up some fighting techniques from your ex,"she said, rising to her feet and promptly blocking Kim's tornado kick, "but you still aren't the fighter I am!"
Kim ducked Scorpina's sword swing and backflipped to a safe distance, striking Scorpina under the chin with her feet during the flip. Scorpina fell backwards into the wall as Kim landed on her feet, crouching to absorb the impact and touching her wrist communicator. Her body began to glow pink, and she soon vanished in a streak of pale pink light. Scorpina followed the streak of light with her eyes as it pierced through the pale orange light of dawn in Paris France. Scorpina raised her sword to the air, her eyes glowing with fury.
"How dare she run away!" cried Scorpina angrily, "She will not get away with this! I will not let her! You'll be back, Kimberly Hart! I refuse to leave Paris until I have your head on a stick!"
With that, Scorpina ran into the streets of Paris, destroying everything in her path.
Renee Ryan looked at her unusual surroundings. She stood atop a large plateau decorated with Grecian style pillars, lush green vines, and a sort of altar in the center. She sat on a boulder on the edge of the plateau and gazed in awe at the magnificent jungle below, stretching as far as the eye can see. Flocks of birds sailed on the wind, and the cries of wolves could be heard from all directions. The only thing that broke the sea of green that was Phaedos was a large mountain miles away from the plateau. This mountain caught Renee's attention. She turned around to Dulcea, who was busy starting a fire on the altar.
"Dulcea," she said, "What's that mountain over there?"
"It is the Great Monolith, where the Power Rangers charged their Power Coins after their powers were destroyed."
"Are you all alone on this planet?"
"No. Behind the Monolith is Ninjor's Temple. Ninjor is the forger of the Power Coins, and I am the keeper of the Ninja Power. Together we created the second batch of Power Coins, infused with the Ninja Power."
"Will I have to go to the Monolith to get my powers?"
"No. I would like to send you on a quest to prove your worth, but time is of the essence, and you are not going to receive a Power Coin, so you do not need to go visit Ninjor. You shall become a Ninjetti Warrior. Not like the Power Rangers were, but like all others of Venusian blood are. Are you ready to search for your animal guide, Renee?"
"Am I ever!" said Renee, hopping off the rock and standing beside Dulcea. Dulcea pointed to the fire, which flickered all the colors of the rainbow and beyond.
"Look into the fire, Little Sister, and gaze deeply for meaning. Focus on the fire and nothing but the fire, and shut your mind to any noises you may hear, or thoughts that may float in your mind. Concentrate, and close your eyes when you feel you have found the heart of the fire."
Renee looked at Dulcea questioningly, then shrugged and turned her attention to the fire. She stared at the fire, obeying Dulcea's instructions, and forced herself to calm down from the excitement and fear she's been feeling since she and Kim were attacked in Florida by Dalal. Renee searched deeply through the fire, looking for its heart. She found it--a crystal clear gem about the size of an apple, suspended in the center of the fire. She looked at it for a second, and then closed her eyes. When she did, the sparks of the flames turned from a mix of all the colors in existence to just one. The flame became completely orange, but Renee didn't notice, for she was completely oblivious to the world. Dulcea smiled and then stood across from Renee, and blew a handful of silvery powder onto the fire. The flames intensified, and the orange smoke created from the fire wrapped around Renee's body, draping her with impenetrable orange silk. Renee opened her eyes, and examined her new clothing in surprise. She was wearing an orange bikini top, orange leggings, and a black sheer cloth that fell from the black silk belt to about mid thigh, with two long slits on each side. She had on black and gold bands on her arms that nearly reached her shoulders, and short black boots with a golden stripe going down the middle. On her forehead she had an orange band with a golden circle in the middle, and on the center of her bikini top was golden coin with the design of a roaring cat etched in its face. Renee's long dark hair was pulled into a high ponytail, clasped with a gold band.
"Wow," Renee whispered, "I don't look anything like a Power Ranger."
"You aren't a Power Ranger," said Dulcea, stepping towards Renee and smiling, "You are a Venusian Warrior. You are not a Ninjetti Priestess, as I am, so you cannot communicate with your animal guide, nor can you become your animal guide. However, you gain strength, wisdom, and knowledge from your animal guide, and this will be vital in the coming battle."
"Cool," Renee said with a smile, looking intently at the badge on her chest.
"Renee Ryan, you are the Tiger, fierce and agile. Now, you should be strong enough to break Syren's spell and free the male Power Rangers. Let us hurry, it takes a while to transport to Earth from here even at the speed of light."
"Then let's hit the road," said Renee, and they vanished in streaks of white and orange light.
In the Power Chamber, Jason, Tanya, and Katherine tell Zordon and Alpha about their trips across the country and beyond, and report their findings regarding the missing people.
"Kim was right," said Jason, "Those other teleports were Venusian warriors collecting the descendants of the rebels. Two women from Angel Grove are missing, Josephine and Kelly Trent. In Montreal, Courtney Davis disappeared from her office building, and Elisa Manning was abducted in Seattle. That's a total of four women gone without a trace."
"In Oxford, the report is that Andrea Turner was abducted from her dorm room," said Katherine, reading off a pink pad of paper, "and Silvia Turner, Andrea's mother, vanished from her home in London."
"Well, Janette Manning was actually abducted en route to a class at NYU," said Tanya, "and I couldn't find the name of the person, or people, attacked in Hillsdale New Jersey, but I do have a picture."
Tanya handed the photograph of the Ryan family to Alpha Five. He glanced at the photo and jumped.
"Ay yi yi!" he cried, "That's Renee! And this woman, I've seen her before..."
"IT IS LEILA, THE LAST SURVIVOR OF THE ESCAPEES OF VENUS ISLAND," finished Zordon, "SYREN MANAGED TO FIND HER. AND THERE WAS NO SIGN OF HER IN THE HOUSE, TANYA?"
"There were blood stains throughout the kitchen, and a pile of ashes on the ground. I sent Alpha a sample to analyze."
"ALPHA, WHAT HAVE YOUR SCANS COME UP WITH? WHAT IS THE COMPOSITION OF THE ASHES?"
"According to my scans, this ash is of an organic compound, and still has traces of nitrogen and oxygen, along with the carbon. It is like a living thing, being completely burned into cinders."
"It couldn't be Leila," said Tanya quietly, "I mean, the house wasn't burned down or anything. There was no sign of fire anywhere. Not even the smell of smoke. How could a Venusian burn someone to a crisp without destroying the whole building?"
"THE ONLY THING THAT CAN KILL VENUSIANS EFFECTIVELY IS FIRE. WHEN EXPOSED TO FIRE, EVEN OF WEAK INTENSITY, THE SKIN OF A VENUSIAN IS COMPLETELY BURNED TO ASH. I BELIEVE THAT THE ASHES YOU FOUND IS INDEED THE REMAINS OF LEILA THE ENCHANTRESS."
Jason, Kat, and Tanya all bowed their heads in respect to the dead. Alpha and Zordon remained silent as well for a moment, as the severity of the situation struck them all. Syren was serious about destroying all opposition, and if they didn't act soon, the missing women will all die. Unless they are already dead. The silence was broken by a beam of soft pink light, and Kimberly Hart appeared in the center of the Power Chamber. She collapsed to her knees in exhaustion, and Jason immediately ran to help her up. She clutched her head with her hand, and looked up to Zordon.
"Scorpina grabbed my mother in Paris," Kim said quietly, "and other Venusians kidnapped Christina Hendren in Germany and Elizabeth Turner in Rome. I fought Scorpina for a bit, but I managed to get away and check the two other locations without a hitch. Scorpina said that Syren plans to kill the Venusian hybrids at dawn on Venus Island, so since its in the Pacific Ocean, the time zone is probably similar to our own, and its already midnight here. We have less than six hours to save them all."
"Kim," said Jason, "are you alright?"
"Just let me catch my breath," she said, sitting down on the chair beside the spellbound rangers, "I'll be fine in a minute. Where's Renee? She and Dulcea are still gone?"
"PHAEDOS IS VERY FAR AWAY FROM EARTH," said Zordon, "EVEN TELEPORTATION, WHICH IS AT SUPER-LIGHT SPEED, IS LIMITED BY SUCH A DISTANCE. IT WILL PROBABLY TAKE THE GREATER PART OF AN HOUR TO MAKE THE ROUND TRIP. PERHAPS MORE."
"What did you guys find out?" asked Kim, "Jason, are Kelly and Jo gone?"
Jason looked at Kim in surprise. He then slapped his forehead. "Of course! Now I remember Kelly! You taught her cheerleading ages ago, and she was kidnapped by the Lizzinator! They've both been kidnapped, and Arthur Trent has been hospitalized. Sorry.
Kim buried her face in her palms in both exhaustion and fear. Her entire family was in grave danger from Syren and Zedd, and there is nothing she could do about it that wouldn't put their lives in even greater danger. Suddenly, the Power Chamber alarms go off.
"Fantastic!" growled Tanya angrily, "Just what we need! Another retarded monster to fight!"
"No," said Alpha, reading a computer printout, "Scorpina is in Paris France, and she's terrorizing the entire city's populace. She's on her way to the Louvre."
"But, why?" asked Kat.
"She wants to keep us busy," said Kim, "and she wants to get her claws on me. We'd better get over there."
"KIMBERLY, IT WOULDN'T BE ADVISABLE FOR YOU TO PUT YOURSELF IN THE LINE OF FIRE. SYREN WANTS TO KIDNAP YOU AND KILL YOU ALONG WITH THE OTHERS, AND IF YOU JOIN THE ATTACK, SHE WILL SURELY ESCALATE THE BATTLE TO MAKE YOU SURRENDER. YOU SHOULD STAY BEHIND."
"No buts, Kim," said Tanya, twisting her wrists to activate her Zeonizers, "Kat and I can take Scorpina down. Right, girlfriend?"
"You bet," said Kat, "Its Morphin Time! Zeo Ranger One...PINK!!"
"Zeo Ranger Two...YELLOW!!"
The Yellow and Pink Zeo Rangers vanished in streaks of light, leaving Kimberly, Jason, Alpha, and Zordon to wait in the Power Chamber and keep an eye on them.
Early morning in Paris France is usually rather calm, with the exception of the crowds of people trying to get from one place to another. However, this Saturday morning, the streets of Paris are a war-zone, with hundreds of people fleeing in terror of a tall, slender woman with an Asian countenance, golden armor, and a mighty sword. Scorpina stood atop the Louvre, the historic palace which presently is a world famous museum, with priceless works of Rembrandt and even Leonardo DaVinci's "Mona Lisa". Scorpina laughs maniacally as she continues to rain her stinger rays at the helpless people. Her attention is drawn by two streaks of light--one pink and one yellow. She grins when she sees the Pink and Yellow Zeo Rangers land amongst the crowd of people below.
Well, its not Kimberly, but I'm on the right track, though Scorpina as she leapt from her perch atop the museum to the ground below, Once the last two Zeo Rangers are out of the way, Kimberly will have no choice but to face me. How difficult can it be to demolish these two?
Scorpina landed on the street and pointed her sword at the two rangers. Tanya and Katherine each struck a battle stance, first taking a quick glance around to make sure the citizens of Paris were out of the way. Scorpina chuckled.
"Well well well, if it isn't the two half-rangers," she mocked, "Do you really think you can defeat me by yourselves? You don't have a snowball's chance in--"
"I wouldn't underestimate us if I were you!" interrupted Katherine, "We're Power Rangers, and Power Rangers seem to have a knack for destroying Zedd's flunkies."
"You have never battled me, girls," said Scorpina, "so you have no idea what you're dealing with."
Scorpina smiled evilly and tossed her blade like a boomerang at the rangers. The blade began spinning, becoming a golden ring of energy, and flew at the rangers, circling them and occasionally cutting through their form fitting armor. Kat and Tanya each leapt in different directions away from the sword, and Kat held out her hand.
"Zeo I Power Disc!" she cried, and a black and pink shield appeared in her hand. She promptly held it in front of her helmet as Scorpina's sword flew at her. Sparks flew on impact, and Katherine was thrown back by the force of the collision. Tanya ran over to help her friend up, and the two girls stared at the lifeless sword. They barely rose to their feet before Scorpina began firing her Scorpion sting blasts at them. Tanya began a routine of backflips to avoid the golden beams, while Katherine blocked them with her Power Disc. Scorpina growled and leapt into the air, landing beside the Yellow Zeo Ranger. Tanya barely had enough time to draw her Zeo Blade to defend herself against Scorpina's sword. Katherine rose to her feet and collected her bearings.
What was it that Zordon had said about Venusians? she thought as she watched Tanya and Scorpina duel, Something about fire? Of course! Fire!
Kat dropped her shield and brought her hands together. She concentrated, and a pink glow formed between her palms. As time passed, the amount of energy amassed increased.
"Pink Firecloud!" she cried, throwing the energy blast at Scorpina. Scorpina tried to block the attack with her sword, but it didn't prevent the pink flames from making contact. Scorpina screamed and leapt back, away from the pink cloud. Tanya and Katherine regrouped.
"Nice going, girl!" congratulated Tanya, "Good thing you remembered Venusians' weakness."
"Yeah," said Kat with a small smile, "but the Firecloud won't be enough. I think we need real fire to finish Scorpina for good. The Firecloud burnt her, but it didn't do any permanent damage."
"Well, where are we gonna get real fire from?" asked Tanya.
Suddenly, a swarm of tall birds with black feathers and bits of purple armor appeared, surrounding the rangers. Kat and Tanya jumped in surprise as the birds squawked and shrieked.
"What're these things?!" asked Tanya, blocking a swing from one of the creatures.
"Oh my gosh!" cried Kat, "They're Tenga Warriors! Zedd must've sent them to backup Scorpina!"
While the Yellow and Pink Zeo Rangers fought the half dozen Tenga Warriors, Scorpina struggled to stand up. She balanced herself on her sword, and glared at the rangers fiercely.
"I'm not through yet, girls," she whispered, standing up tall and raising a golden badge to the sky. Engraved on the face of the circular badge was the image of a scorpion. "No mere human can battle a trained Venusian Ninjetti warrior! I summon the power of the Scorpion!"
Scorpina raised the coin high, and a flash of golden lightning struck the coin, and passed through Scorpina's body. When the light faded, a monstrous creature stood before them, glowing with golden power. Her whip-like tail slashed at the air behind her, and her mouth creased into a smile, revealing sharp fangs. Tanya and Kat stared at the creature in horror.
"What is that thing?" asked Kat.
"Scorpina's turned herself into some scorpion monster," whispered Tanya, "She's a Ninjetti, with the animal guide of a scorpion. We're in big trouble now."
The rangers stood back and watched as Scorpina grew to a colossal height, standing next to the Louvre. The Pink and Yellow Zeo Rangers stepped even further back.
"I don't think my Firecloud is gonna be much help," said Kat.
"You got that right! We need the Super Zeo Zords, now!"
Super Zeo Zord One and Two magically materialized from the sky, and the two young women boarded the humanoid shaped robot fighting machines.
"Time to kick it!" said Tanya through the intercom, activating all the zord's systems.
"I just hope two Zeo Zords will be enough," sighed Katherine.
Kimberly and Jason anxiously watch the two Super Zeo Zords fight Scorpina in the viewing globe. Jason begins to pace around the Power Chamber while Kim stands beside the globe, watching alertly.
"This is ridiculous!" yells Jason angrily, "Kat and Tanya can't fight Scorpina in the middle of one of the world's most precious cities! They'd destroy everything!"
"SCORPINA HAS PLANNED HER ATTACK WELL," said Zordon, "SHE KNEW THAT THE POWER RANGERS WOULD BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHILE FIGHTING IN THE ZORDS IN A DENSELY POPULATED CITY, FILLED WITH HISTORICAL MONUMENTS AND ARTISTIC MASTERPIECES. KATHERINE AND TANYA ARE AT A SERIOUS DISADVANTAGE."
"Is there anything we can do?" asked Kimberly, "I mean, we can' t just watch while Scorpina trashes the zords, and you know Kat and Tanya won't risk trampling Paris."
"The only way to help is to force Scorpina to shrink down to normal size," said Jason, "but how?"
"There's only one way to win," said Kim, looking up at Zordon, "I'm going to Paris. Scorpina will abandon her siege of Paris to capture me. I'm the whole reason she's even in France."
"ALTHOUGH I WOULD RATHER NOT YOU LEAVE THE POWER CHAMBER, YOU ARE CORRECT, KIMBERLY. THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE PARIS IS TO FORCE SCORPINA TO SHRINK DOWN, AND YOUR PRESENCE MOST LIKELY WILL DO SO. HOWEVER, IF YOU PLAN TO FIGHT SCORPINA, YOU MUST SUMMON YOUR FULL NINJETTI POWER. YOU MUST MORPH."
"How?" she asked, "I don't have a coin anymore."
"YOU NEED YOUR NINJETTI BADGE TO SUMMON THE POWER. IF YOU VISUALIZE THE BADGE, IT SHALL APPEAR."
Kim nodded and closed her eyes. In a flash of soft pink light, a silver badge appeared in her hand. The image of a screaming Crane was on the face of the silver coin. She looked at Zordon questioningly.
"It looks just like my Pink Ranger coin," she said, "but why is it silver?"
"BECAUSE, ACCORDING TO VENUSIAN CUSTOM, SILVER IS THE COLOR OF ROYALTY. SINCE YOU ARE A DESCENDENT OF NAYA, YOU ARE A VENUSIAN PRINCESS. THEREFORE, YOUR NINJETTI COSTUME IS TRIMMED WITH SILVER INSTEAD OF GOLD. JUST LIKE DULCEA'S."
Kim shrugged and rose the coin to the air. "I summon the power of the Crane!"
The coin began emitting pink bolts of lightning, and her body was completely immersed in the pink light. When the light faded, Kimberly was wearing the uniform of a Ninjetti warrior. But, it didn't look at all like her Pink Ninja Ranger costume. Rather, it was a long-sleeved pink leotard trimmed with black with a silver collar that connected to a silver badge of the Crane on her chest. She wore knee length black and silver boots, as well as silver wrist bands and a silver tiara. Attached to her silver collar was a flowing soft pink cape, fine and delicate, resembling a pair of elegant wings. Kim's golden brown hair tumbled loosely around her face, and the silver tiara shimmered in the pale light of the Power Chamber.
"This isn't my Ninja Ranger costume," she said, examining the cape curiously.
"THAT IS BECAUSE THIS TIME THE NINJA POWER COMES FROM INSIDE YOU, INSTEAD OF BEING MEDIATED BY A POWER COIN. ONLY A VENUSIAN CAN INTERNALIZE THE GREAT POWER IN THE FORM OF A NINJETTI WARRIOR, AND ONLY A VENUSIAN PRIESTESS CAN TRULY BECOME ONE WITH THE POWER."
"So, what kind of powers do I have?" asked Kim.
"THE CRANE WILL GUIDE YOU," said Zordon, "MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU ON YOUR MISSION, KIMBERLY."
"Thanks," said Kim with a smile. She then grabbed a corner of her cape and waved at Jason. "I'm outtie!" she called, and spun the cape over her face. She vanished from the Power Chamber in a flash of pink light.
"Good luck, Kim," whispered Jason, once again turning his attention to the viewing globe. He grimaced when he saw Scorpina trip Super Zeo Zord II with her jagged tail, and witnessed Tanya's struggle to keep the huge zord from falling onto the Louvre.
"Zordon," he said, looking up at his mentor, "Do you think Kimberly can defeat Scorpina?"
"I DO NOT KNOW," Zordon admitted, "SCORPINA AND KIMBERLY ARE BOTH PRIESTESSES, SO THEY BOTH HAVE THE SAME POWER POTENTIAL. SCORPINA HAS CENTURIES MORE EXPERIENCE, BUT KIMBERLY IS FIGHTING WITH ALL HER HEART, BECAUSE THE LIVES OF HER FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE AT STAKE."
Paris is a city of history. It has survived the French Revolution in the eighteenth century, and even the German invasion in World War II. Paris, the city of light and love, seems to be immortal. However, with three colossal forms rampaging on the Rue de Rivoli, one wonders if this classic city can survive another day.
"Kat!" yelled Tanya from within Super Zeozord II, "We have to shrink Scorpina down! NOW!!"
"I'm well aware of that, Tanya," said Katherine, struggling to block Scorpina's deadly tail while at the same time being careful not to step to close to the magnificent Louvre, "Any ideas?"
"Do you think there is some way to lure her into the Seine? The damage she creates should be limited in the river."
"True, but how can we use fire attacks when she's knee-deep in water? We need another plan!"
As the two Zeozords tried to prevent any damage to Paris, no one notices a flash of rosy pink light atop the Louvre. Kimberly Hart, a Ninjetti Priestess and Venusian princess, watches the fight down the street, the strong winds blowing her loose golden brown hair about her face. Kim allowed herself to rise into the air, her silken cape stretching to catch the wind like a pair of wings. Kim surveyed the battle carefully, her arms crossed and a slight snarl on her face.
I've got to get Scorpina as far away from the city as possible! Kim thought, lifting her silver tiara off her brow. The tiara hovered a few inches above her open palm, and began to expand. Kim sailed away from it, and watched as the tiara began to glow pink, and soon became a disk of pink light. The disk expanded, and reformed into a huge, glowing pink bird.
"The Crane, my animal guide," Kim called to the bird, "Help me in my battle against evil! Together, we must prevent Scorpina from doing any further damage to this city!"
The Crane squawked in reply, and flew towards Scorpina. Its shrill cry grabbed the attention of the two Zeo Rangers, and they watched in utter shock as the majestic pink bird grabbed Scorpina by the shoulder with its sharp talons and carried her into the air before Scorpina could respond.
"Uh, what was that?" asked Tanya quietly. Katherine remained silent. "Kat? You there?"
"Yeah, I'm here," answered Kat finally, "Its a Crane, Tanya. The Pink Ranger's animal guide. Kimberly must be here."
"I didn't know she could create a giant bird."
"Neither did I," said Kat, "Quick, Tanya, activate your thrusters! We gotta follow that Crane!"
"Aye, aye, Skipper!" said Tanya, her zord lifting off the street, "Lead the way!"
In the Power Chamber, the dark room is filled with blinding white light. Alpha shrieked in surprise and Jason shielded his eyes as two forms stepped out of the light. Jason's eyes widened as they fell upon Renee Ryan, wearing a flattering silken orange, black, and gold uniform.
"So," he said finally, "are you the Orange Ranger now, Renee?"
"Nope, I'm not a Power Ranger. I'm a Ninjetti warrior, and my costume is orange and black because it reflects my animal guide--the Tiger."
"Zordon," said Dulcea, turning to the head suspended in the tube, "what has happened while we were away?"
"THE RANGERS DETECTED VARIOUS TELEPORTATION SIGNATURES COMING FROM AND GOING TO VENUS ISLAND. THEY THEN TRAVELED TO THE LOCATIONS TO LEARN WHAT HAD HAPPENED. IT TURNS OUT THAT ELEVEN WOMEN WERE ABDUCTED BY WOMEN WARRIORS. IT IS SAFE TO CONCLUDE THAT THESE ELEVEN WOMEN WERE THE REMAINING DESCENDANTS OF THE REBEL VENUSIANS."
"Wait," said Renee, looking worried, "did anyone try to contact my mother or something? I mean, if she's a full-blooded Venusian, she's in really big trouble!"
Zordon remained silent for a few moments, and both Alpha 5 and Jason looked down at their feet uncomfortably. Renee's fear mounted as she examined everyone's expressions.
"Where's my mother?" she asked crossly. Jason stepped forward, fidgeting uncomfortably.
"Uh, Renee... your home in New Jersey was broken into a few hours ago. Tanya went to check out the situation. She found, um, a pile of ashes in the kitchen."
Renee looked at Jason questioningly, but he avoided her gaze. Dulcea then gently placed her hand on Renee's shoulder, and gazed directly into the girl's eyes.
"Child," she said quietly, "the only way for a Venusian to be injured beyond healing is fire. When flames touch a Venusian's skin, the flesh turns to ash..."
Renee's eyes widened, and she became weak in the knees. She fell to her knees, burying her face in her palms. "She's...dead, isn't she."
"YES," said Zordon as quietly as he could, "I'M VERY SORRY, BUT YOUR MOTHER WAS KILLED, AT SYREN'S ORDER, NO DOUBT."
"What about my half-sister, and father?"
"I DO NOT BELIEVE THEY ARE IN ANY DANGER. NEITHER HAS VENUSIAN BLOOD, SINCE YOUR SISTER HAS A MOTHER OTHER THAN LEILA, CORRECT?"
"Right. My dad was married once before. But still, can you please keep an eye on them? They should both be in Florida by now to see me compete. Syren may capture them to get to me or something."
"ALPHA," ordered Zordon, "CONDUCT A IMAGE SCAN, USING THE PHOTOGRAPH AS A TEMPLATE. SEE IF YOU CAN FIND THE TWO INDIVIDUALS MATCHING THE PHYSICAL APPEARANCES OF RENEE'S FATHER AND SISTER. WHAT ARE THEIR NAMES?"
"Ronald and Diane."
"Okay," said Alpha, starting a computer program, "it should take about twelve minutes to locate each."
"IN THE MEANTIME, SCORPINA IS IN FRANCE, AND THE PINK AND YELLOW ZEO RANGERS HAVE BEEN HOLDING HER OFF. KIMBERLY HAS JUST JOINED THE BATTLE AS A NINJETTI WARRIOR."
"We do not have much time," said Dulcea, "I must go to Venus Island and stop Syren from killing anyone else."
"I'm going with you!" said Renee, rising to her feet, "Look, Syren had my mother killed, and its payback time!"
Dulcea looked at Renee, and saw the fierceness in her eyes. "You are much like the Tiger, Renee, and you are much like your mother. Yes, you shall accompany me. I shall need all the help I can get. But first, you must free the male Zeo Rangers from Syren's magic. Now that you have met your animal guide, you may call on his experience to lead you through your task."
Renee nodded and walked over to the cots, where the Red, Blue, and Green Zeo Rangers lay. She placed her hand upon Tommy's forehead, and closed her eyes.
Here we go again!
The huge scorpion monster struggled against the talons of the mighty Crane. The Crane finally dropped her opponent on the grass of the French plains, miles away from Paris. Scorpina growled angrily, and watched as the Crane vanished. She then looked around, and saw much smaller pink crane, flying in her direction.
"Scorpina!" said the small crane, "You wanted me, so here I am!"
"Kimberly," said Scorpina with a smile, "I see you have learned how to transform into your animal guide, as well as how to summon your guide for help. Not bad, Little Sister."
"You're no sister of mine!" shrieked the bird, beginning to glow with pink light, "And you're gonna pay for everything you've done! You've kidnapped my family, killed Renee's mother--"
"And what are you going to do about it, Kim?" growled Scorpina, "you don't even have a zord, and your animal guide cannot last long in physical form!"
"What makes you think I don't have a zord? In case you didn't know, Scorpina, the Ninja Zords were never destroyed. Without the Power Coins, the zords cannot be operated, and the Zeo shards are of a different, incompatible technology. But, I can power my Crane, with the power of Ninjetti!"
With that, Kimberly transformed into her human form, her pink wings keeping her aloft. She then touched her badge, and a beam of light flew forth from the silver image of a crane, forming the Crane Ninjazord. Scorpina watched in surprise as Kimberly flew into the open mouth of the silver and pink zord. Then, the pink and yellow Zeozords flew over the hills, and landed on the plains. Katherine and Tanya witnessed the shimmering Crane Ninjazord soar through the air, firing missiles at the scorpion monster.
"The Crane Ninjazord!" said Kat surprisedly, "I never got a chance to see it in action. Its fantastic..."
"Let's lend a hand, Kat!" said Tanya enthusiastically, "Now that we're no longer surrounded by heavy population or architectural masterpieces, we can cut loose!"
The two Zeozords stood side by side, and at the same time, they fired energy rays from the visors. The rays pierced Scorpina in the back, and she roared in pain. Then, the Crane flew in closer, cutting Scorpina's arm with its sharp wing. Scorpina screamed again, and dropped her sword. She then began to lose energy, and slowly shrunk back to her human form, still clutching the bleeding wound on her arm. Katherine and Tanya immediately leapt from their zords, touching down on the grass beside Scorpina. Tanya drew her laser pistol, and pointed it at Scorpina menacingly.
"If you move, you're fried," she threatened. Scorpina glanced down at her wound, and noticed that it already had almost healed completely. She looked up at the Yellow Ranger and smiled.
"That pop gun fires energy rays, not fire. It cannot do any permanent damage to my body."
"Maybe not," said Katherine, "but my Firecloud can, and I can whip one up at a moment's notice."
"You haven't beaten me yet, Power Rangers," said Scorpina angrily, quickly touching her golden badge. She then vanished in a flash of gold light, leaving the two female Zeo Rangers alone on the field.
"Rats!" cried Tanya, putting away her gun, "She's gone!"
"She probably went to the Moon," sighed Kat, "There's nothing we can do."
Then, Kimberly floated down to the ground. The Crane Ninjazord transformed into a ball of light, and entered the silver Crane badge, to be called on again. Kim smiled at her two friends.
"Scorpina will be back, but not for a while. Her injuries are more severe than she believes. When she's enlarged by Zedd's magic, her healing abilities are compromised. That cut on her arm, as well as the laser burns on her back, will take time to heal completely."
"Nice outfit, Kim," said Tanya, taking off her helmet and smiling, "The wings are a nice touch."
"They're definitely a nice accessory, but I can't really fly with them. I can sorta glide on wind currents, but if I really need to fly, I have to transform into a Crane."
"Well," said Katherine, "now that Scorpina's gone, France is safe, and we can get back to the Power Chamber."
"Right," said Kim and Tanya together, and the three girls vanished in bands of yellow, hot pink, and soft pink light.
In the cold and clammy stone castle standing tall in the dark barrenness of the Moon, Rita Repulse watches the battle between Scorpina and the three heroines through her Repulsascope. Lord Zedd sits on his throne, stroking his staff impatiently.
"How long will this stupid battle last?" he asked angrily, making the entire room glow crimson, "All Scorpina had to do was capture Kimberly. How difficult can that be, given the majority of the Power Rangers are out of commission!"
"Zeddie," shrieked Rita, "maybe you should've been watching the fight. Kimberly showed up as a Venusian Ninjetti, and she even used her old Ninja Zord! She, along with Tanya and Kat have defeated Scorpina. She's on her way back to the palace."
Just then, Scorpina appeared in the throne room, before Zedd's throne. He fell to her knees and kneeled humbly, feeling the heat of his anger on her exposed flesh.
"I...I had to retreat," she stammered, "I could not battle them further. Not with the Pink Ranger's Firecloud. Fire is my weakness, My Lord."
"No excuses!" roared Zedd, standing up and shaking his fist at Scorpina, "You should've been able to destroy those two Zeo Rangers before Kimberly even showed up! And I cannot believe you couldn't defeat Kim! She may be Venusian, but you have thousands of years of experience! She's only a half-breed!"
"Yes, but the Great Power bonded with her as much as it would with any full Venusian. She is of the royal family, and so her power potential may even exceed my own. Her animal guide is more powerful than mine."
"I don't want to hear anymore!" yelled Zedd angrily, "Perhaps all is not lost. I still have the three male Zeo Rangers under an evil spell. All I need to do is create a monster, to keep the remaining Zeo Rangers occupied. Syren can take care of Kimberly and Dulcea by herself."
Zedd walked over to the balcony and peered down at the city of Paris. Although some damage was done by the towering Scorpina and the two Super Zeozords, there was no irreparable damage. Zedd scratched his exposed brain with his silver claw.
"You had a good idea, Scorpina. The rangers are very careful not to destroy Paris, because of all the priceless artwork and history found there. I wonder what would happen if I created a monster out of something they would never be able to destroy?"
"Like what?" asked Rita.
"Like a masterpiece. The Louvre is nothing but a big museum, right? If I create a monster out of one of the pieces in the Louvre, the rangers wouldn't risk destroying it. I've got it!"
Lord Zedd pointed his staff at the Louvre, and the beam of white light struck the most famous painting displayed in the museum--DaVinci's Mona Lisa. When the beam faded, the face of the portrait was forever changed. The famous smile was gone, and a wicked laugh could be heard echoing through the halls of the abandoned museum of fine art.
In the Power Chamber, Rocky, Adam, and Tommy sit up on the three cots, while Dulcea helps Renee to a seat to rest after the extreme effort she exerted to break Syren's hypnotic spell. Jason was monitoring the battle between Scorpina, Kimberly, Katherine, and Tanya in Paris on the Viewing Globe. Once he saw Scorpina vanish from the scene, he hurried over to the others.
"Guys," he said, "Paris is safe at last. The girls are on their way home."
"Kat and Tanya fought Scorpina all by themselves?" asked Adam, rubbing the back of his head, "I'm impressed. It usually takes the entire team of rangers to take on a creature as ruthless as Zedd's assassin."
"What happened exactly?" asked Rocky, looking at Dulcea, "When did you get here? Who is the girl in the orange spandex?"
"I'm Renee Ryan," explained Renee, "I'm the one who appeared in your mind while you were under Syren's spell."
"The gymnast, right?" asked Tommy.
"Indeed," said Dulcea, "but Renee is much more than an athlete. She is the daughter of Leila, the Venusian enchantress."
"Wow," said Rocky, "How'd ya figure that one out?"
"I guess I was lucky," said Renee with a shrug, "Syren's servant Dalal showed up in Florida to kill Kimberly, and I was in the right place at the right time."
"What?" asked Tommy in surprise, "Syren wanted to kill Kim? Why?"
Before anyone could answer, three beams of yellow, hot pink, and soft pink pierced the Power Chamber. Everyone smiled at greeted their friends, all except Tommy, Rocky, and Adam, who were shocked to see Kimberly in her pink and black leotard, pink wings, and silver tiara.
"Kim?" asked Adam quietly, "What happened to you?"
"Its a long story," she answered, giving him a warm hug, "I'm so glad you guys are okay! I take it Renee managed to break the spell." She then let go and hugged Rocky. "How long have you three been awake?"
"About five minutes," answered Rocky, "We're still in the dark."
Kim released Rocky and then turned to Tommy. She smiled at him and gave him a quick hug. She then stood back, standing beside Renee.
"Renee and I are two Venusian descendants. I'm from the family of Naya, and Renee is Leila's daughter. Since we're both Venusians, we can summon the power of Ninjetti. My costume is different, but I'm still the Crane. And from the look of it, Renee's animal guide is the Tiger."
Suddenly, all the alarms in the Power Chamber roared to life. Everyone present looked around worriedly.
"What's wrong now?" asked Katherine, looking up towards Zordon, "Is it another Venusian assault?"
"NO. THIS TIME, LORD ZEDD HAS REVERTED TO HIS USUAL TACTICS. HE HAS CREATED A NEW MONSTER, AND IT IS PRESENTLY INSIDE THE LOUVRE MUSEUM."
"This is not good," said Rocky, leaping off the cot, "Zedd usually creates monsters out of something. What did he use this time?"
"Aye yi yi!" shrieked Alpha 5, "There's an image on the Viewing Globe!"
Tommy, Katherine, Rocky, Adam, Tanya, Kimberly, Renee, Jason, and Dulcea circled the Viewing Globe to get a glimpse at Zedd's new monster. They saw a pair of red lips with slender white arms and legs.
"Is this a joke?" asked Tanya, "He made a monster out of a mouth?"
"NOT JUST ANY MOUTH. THIS MONSTER'S ORIGIN IS THE PAINTING 'MONA LISA', WHICH IS DISPLAYED IN THE LOUVRE."
"Can we defeat the monster without doing damage to Mona Lisa's lips?" asked Adam.
"I DO NOT KNOW. ALPHA AND I WILL CONTINUE TO ANALYZE THE MONSTER. UNTIL WE CAN DETERMINE A SOLUTION, YOU MUST SLOW THE MONSTER DOWN, ZEO RANGERS."
"Alright, rangers," said Tommy, "we've got work to do!"
The five Zeo Rangers snapped their helmets on their heads. Tanya walked over to Kimberly.
"Are you three coming to help?" she asked. Kim shook her head.
"No, we have to get to Venus Island."
"Yes," said Dulcea, holding up her staff, "The longer we delay, the less the chance we'll be able to save the descendants before sunrise. I shall teleport us to the isle."
"You'll keep in contact, right?" asked Jason.
"VENUS ISLAND IS PROTECTED BY A SHIELD OF MAGIC, MOST LIKELY MAINTAINED BY EITHER LORD ZEDD OR SYREN HERSELF. OUR COMMUNICATIONS SIGNAL WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PENETRATE, AND OUR TELEPORTATIONS MAY HAVE DIFFICULTY CUTTING THROUGH THE DISTURBANCE."
"So, we won't be able to help you three out, or bail you out if things get rough," said Tommy quietly, taking off his helmet. He looked at all three women, and held his gaze on Kimberly. "You'll be careful, right?" he asked, directing his question mainly at the young princess.
"Of course we will," answered Kim with a smile, "We'll contact you as soon as we can."
Kim and Tommy shook hands, and then Tommy rejoined the rest of the rangers, putting on his helmet.
"Back to Action!" cried the Zeo Rangers, vanishing in streaks of colored light. Dulcea then held up her staff with both hands, and Kim and Renee stood by her on either side. A pulse of white light formed from the tip of the staff and expanded, teleporting the three women out of the Power Chamber. Jason leaned against a cot while Alpha Five immediately began running scans on the lip monster.
"Man, this has been a long day!" he sighed, stretching his arms. He then joined Alpha at the computer.
In a flash of pearly white light, Renee Ryan, Kimberly Hart, and Dulcea appeared on the shores of Venus Island. The white sand was littered with sharp rocks, and the blue pacific ocean smashed into the shore with powerful waves. A few yards into the island is where a dense jungle began, with deadly Venus flytraps shooting up from the earth. Dulcea led the way, using her staff to strike the flytraps, while Renee and Kimberly followed her. Renee glanced over to the east, and noticed the faint glow on the water.
"The sun's gonna rise soon," she whispered, "We don't have much time."
"Indeed," said Dulcea, "But hopefully the festivities will have begun, and there will be minimal guard along Ambrosia. So far, I have seen no one."
"Do we have a plan of attack?" asked Kimberly.
"Here's our dilemma: there are hundreds of Venusian warriors now serving Syren. Many of them only serve her out of fear, so we may not have to face them all. Still, the best way to even up the odds is to free the Venusians trapped in the dungeon. However, centuries of imprisonment will no doubt have made them rather weak, so do not expect them to be able to defeat a vast number of Syren's troops. Now, I was Syren's prisoner for a while, so I know where the dungeon is, and how to escape. So, I shall rescue our sisters there."
"What about my mother, and the other hybrids?" asked Kimberly, "They're supposed to be sacrificed at dawn!"
"True. The only way for you to stop the sacrifice is to challenge Syren for the crown."
"Excuse me?" asked Kimberly in disbelief, "Why would she take me seriously?"
"You are the descendent of Naya, and Naya was the rightful queen. Also, you are a Ninjetti warrior, so your power is great indeed. If Syren refuses to accept your challenge, her armies may fee`l she is a coward. She shall be honorbound to battle you."
"But, can I beat her?"
"Syren isn't an extremely skilled fighter. Most likely she shall use her magic. I have faith that you can defeat her, Princess, but you must allow the Crane to guide you. Syren has centuries of experience over you, so she will try to use your impetuousness against you. Now, the duel will most likely be a fight to the death, so I leave the decision in your hands."
Kimberly thought for a moment, and then looked up at Dulcea. "If you're even recommending this tactic to me, then you think I have a chance at winning. I'll do it."
Renee looked first at Kim, and then at Duclea. "Well, what happens to me?"
"You shall come with me, Renee, to help me free the prisoners. I have a feeling Syren won't give up the throne so easily. She tends to cheat."
The trio continued up the mountain, until they reached the summit. The gates were closed, and a raging fire illuminated the courtyard.
"This is good," whispered Dulcea, "There is no guard out here, and the low lighting will make it easier for Renee and I to sneak in. Kimberly, you should just fly into the courtyard, as close to Syren as possible. If you challenge her, she should not be able to refuse.
Kimberly nodded and converted into a glowing pink Crane. She flew gracefully over the fence while Dulcea and Renee circled around the fence until they reached the rose garden behind the palace.
"The dungeon is beneath the palace," whispered Dulcea, "so if we sneak in through here, we can enter the palace from behind. Can you bend the bars with a spell?"
Renee grabbed two bars with her hands, and allowed orange energy to pulse through her hands and into the golden gate. She then pushed with all her might, forcing a gap between the bars large enough for her to sneak through. She then ducked behind a rose bush.
"Listen carefully," said Dulcea, "I shall fly into the palace as an owl, and hopefully, I shall be able to open the door for you to enter. If you see a Venusian soldier, deal with her as quietly as possible."
Renee nodded silently as Dulcea transformed into a small white Owl, and flew silently through the bars and into an open window high in the palace tower. She then sat down in the bushes and waited.
Since my animal guide is the Tiger, I gain great night vision, as well as sense of hearing, she thought to herself, I think I can handle this. I just hope Kim's okay.
Meanwhile, in the front of the castle, a huge bonfire burned menacingly in a pit surrounded by a marble stage. Suspended over that pit was an iron cage, with just enough room for one person. On the ground stood nearly every Venusian faithful to Syren, all standing before the fire in awe. Some of them were excited about the day's events, but most of them were disgusted by Syren's celebration. For them, the day Naya had died was the day hope had ended. Naya was a fair and noble leader, but when she was defeated, many Venusians agreed to serve Syren out of fear. So, they stand in the audience in silence, trying to calm their screaming consciences and the rage of anger inside on witnessing the deaths of a group of innocent women from the outer world. Venusians aren't usually bloodthirsty.
"My sisters!" called Syren from the stage, "As dawn slowly approaches, so does the beginning of a special day for us. One century ago, the traitorous Naya and a group of rebels were dealt with in order to protect the realm. However, the rebellion was not fully quelled, because they had children with human men to carry on their bloodline. Today, we finally end the rebellion by eliminating the descendants of the traitors. Naya and her beliefs end today, with the death of her living offspring. Each hybrid will be killed one at a time, starting with Naya's family. First on the list is the youngest of the tribe of Naya. Kelly Trent, step forward!"
There was a hushed silence when a young teenaged girl was forced onto the marble stage by Scorpina, Syren's most faithful warrior. Scorpina threw the screaming girl into the iron cage, and two other Venusians turned a large wheel, pulling the cage up into the air and over the pit of fire. Kelly began to cry as the hot smoke of the fire stung her eyes and choked her lungs. The cage remained suspended above the pit.
"Kelly Trent of the house of Naya," announced Syren, "You are sentenced to de--"
Before Syren could finish her declaration, a small pink bird landed on the stage opposite the Venusian Queen. All present gasped as that bird transformed into a young brunette woman with a pink and black leotard, silver tiara and badge, and a pink feathery cape. Syren smiled.
"Kimberly," she said, "I was wondering when you'd show up. You almost lost your chance to say good-bye to your little cousin here."
"Let her go," said Kim menacingly. Syren merely chuckled and gestured at Scorpina and Dalal. They each grabbed one of Kim's arms, and Syren turned to her subjects."
"My friends, this child is Kimberly Hart, of the house of Naya. She shall be the next to die by the flames of justice."
"No, Syren," said Kimberly, "I won't die by the flames. I challenge you, Syren, self-proclaimed Queen of Venus Island, to a duel for the crown."
Syren laughed cruelly, and brought a glowing blade to Kimberly's neck.
"Don't try my patience, Girl," she said quietly, "You can never take my throne. You aren't even a full-blooded Venusian."
"Sisters!" Kim cried as loudly as she could, "Syren herself has proclaimed me to be a descendent of Naya, and Naya was the true Queen of Venus Island. Also, I am a Ninjetti, so the Great Power has acknowledged my worth. My garments are trimmed with silver, and I wear a silver tiara upon my brow. Syren's jewels are gold, so she isn't even adorned as a Queen should be. I deserve the chance to fight for my birthright!"
Syren glared at Kimberly angrily, and looked out to the crowds of Venusians. She saw in their faces that they agreed with Kimberly.
"Fine," Syren said quietly, "Give it your best shot, Hybrid. But, there is no way you can ever defeat me in combat. Once I have defeated you, I shall be rightful queen. Release her."
Scorpina and Dalal released Kimberly, and Kim stood upright and glared at the taller redheaded queen.
"Scorpina!" ordered Syren, "Get that brat out of the way, and clear the stage! The only things up here are me, Kimberly, and the flames that shall claim this little Crane's very life."
Scorpina did as ordered, and took Kelly off the stage. Soon, everyone silently watched as Kimberly and Syren faced each other. Syren grinned at tossed Kimberly a sword.
"That's a Hyperion Blade, Kimberly," she said, "and I have one as well. This blade can kill a Venusian, so keep that in mind. You can't heal from a wound created by flame."
Kimberly lifted up the sword and examined it closely. She then gripped it in both hands and pointed it at Syren. The two women circled each other for a few moments, and finally Syren made the first move, diving at Kimberly with her sword thrust out. Kim managed to leap out of the way, landing behind Syren and kicking her in the small of her back. Syren fell forward, but soon recovered and turned to face Kimberly. Her gray eyes began to glow, and a ray of golden energy shot forth at Kim. She leapt into the air, allowing her wings to catch the wind and keep her in the air.
Oh boy, Kimberly thought to herself, this isn't gonna be easy!
Meanwhile, in Paris France, the five Power Rangers arrive outside the Louvre museum. As soon as they arrive, they hear crowds of people screaming and running madly away from the museum
"Well," said Rocky, "I guess its safe to assume the monster is in there."
Just then, a tall creature with snow white arms and legs stretching forth from a gargantuan pair of red lips strolled out of the Louvre. Although it had no eyes to speak of, it scanned the area, and held her gaze on the five spandex clad Power Rangers.
"Well," she said with a thick Italian accent, "I figured you would show up to stop me! Of course, all I'm doing is taking a tour of this lovely city. After all, I've lived here for ages, and all I got to see was one wing of the Louvre. Not much of a life, is it?"
"You weren't meant to live!" said Rocky, stepping forward, "You're supposed to be part of an inanimate painting! Now, we're here to send you back where you came from! Zeo III Power Axes!!"
Two triangular blades appeared on the Blue Ranger's forearms, and he then crossed his arms. Rocky stepped back, and launched himself at the creature, cutting the monster's arms superficially with the razor sharp blades. Rocky then did a double back flip, rejoining his allies, while the monster examined the injury quickly.
"Ha!" she declared, "It'll take more than that to defeat me, Blue Boy!!"
"Give it up, Lisa!" said the Green Ranger, "We don't want to hurt you!"
"First of all, I'm not the Mona Lisa! Lisa is the person that DaVinci captured on canvas centuries ago! I am Labius, the lips of that famous work! Now, although you seem to be trying to intimidate me, I know you won't hurt me! After all, I am the most famous part of the most famous painting in history! Here! Have a kiss for luck!"
With that, Labius spread her arms, and leapt into the air, soaring over the Power Rangers heads. When she was directly above them, she pursed her lips, sending a wide beam of red energy at the rangers.
"Scatter!" ordered Tommy, as the rangers leapt in varying directions to avoid the power beam. As Labius landed, the Red Ranger stood before her, clutching his Power Sword.
"Let's see how you like a taste of my energy beam!" he yelled, allowing a pulse of energy to accumulate in the handle of the sword. The energy passed into the blade, and the Red Ranger swung the blade in the air, releasing a powerful blast of energy in Labius' direction. Labius leapt to the side, allowing the beam to pass her and crash into the side of the Louvre.
"Be careful!" cried Katherine, joining Tommy, "We're in the middle of Paris! We could easily do more damage than Labius ever could if we don't watch ourselves!"
"Guys!" yelled Tanya, "She's coming around for another volley!!"
Sure enough, Kat and Tommy looked above them, and saw the monster once again purse her lips.
"I can handle this!" said Katherine, "Zeo I Power Disc!!"
The small shield appeared in the Pink Ranger's hand, and she leapt into the air, holding the disk in front of her. When Labius released the energy beam, the Power Disc deflected the energy back into Labius, knocking the monster out of the air. Katherine then landed nimbly on the street and rejoined her friends.
"Nice job, Kat," said Tommy.
"Yeah," said Rocky, "That was really quick thinking."
"What do we do about Labius?" asked Tanya, watching as the monster crashed into the pavement, "Now's our chance!"
"To do what?" asked Adam, "If we use the Zeo Power Blaster, we could destroy the lips! The Mona Lisa will be ruined!"
"Well, we can't let Labius ruin Paris instead," said Katherine. Suddenly, Labius rose to her feet and walked towards the Power Rangers. The rangers all struck fighting stances and began to circle around the monster warily.
"You've missed you chance!" said Labius, "I knew you wouldn't destroy me! Now, I'm free of that prison you humans call a masterpiece, and I have to power to do whatever I want! And the first thing I want to do is kill the five of you!"
That said, Labius drew a deep breath and then released it, creating a powerful hurricane wind. The wind knocked the Zeo Rangers off their feet, and let them fall unceremoniously into a line of garbage cans.
"Eww!" moaned Tanya, removing a banana peel from her helmet, "This is so gross! Of course we're here, battling an evil monster, on garbage pick-up day!"
"Well," said Adam, "It could've been worse. We could've landed in something alot harder than garbage. Like solid concrete!"
The rangers stood up and cleaned off their uniforms from any solid refuse.
"I am going to have to soak for a week to get this smell off me!" yelled Rocky.
"We'll worry about that later," said Tommy, once again forming his Zeo V Power Sword, "Right now, we've got a real problem. Our only option is to destroy Labius, and in the process permanently ruin the priceless Mona Lisa."
Meanwhile, Jason watches the fight between the Zeo Rangers and Labius in the Viewing Globe. He winced when the rangers crashed into the garbage, and chuckled when Tanya lifted the banana peel off her head.
"That looked like it hurt," he observed, "Alpha, any luck analyzing that monster?"
"Ay yi yi!" shrieked the small robot, "That monster seems to be completely formed out of energy, giving her an unlimited supply of energy to throw at the rangers! Paris is doomed!"
"But, if Labius is made completely from energy, then how can it be the lips of Mona Lisa?"
"THIS IS A VERY SPECIAL CASE, JASON. USUALLY, LORD ZEDD TAKES AN OBJECT AND MAGICALLY MANIPULATES IT INTO A MONSTER. WHEN THE MONSTER IS DESTROYED, USUALLY THE OBJECT IS RETURNED TO ITS PLACE OF ORIGIN UNHARMED. IN THIS CASE, THOUGH, ZEDD CREATED THE MONSTER FROM A PAIR OF PAINTED LIPS. THEY AREN'T REALLY AN OBJECT, JUST AN IMAGE ON A PIECE OF CANVAS. THE MONSTER ISN'T CREATED FROM THAT CANVAS, BUT THE IMAGE OF THE LIPS. THEREFORE, IT IS MADE OF ENERGY. ZEDD HAS LINKED THE ENERGY FROM HIS STAFF TO THE LIPS ON THE MONA LISA, CREATING THE CREATURE YOU SEE ON THE VIEWING GLOBE."
"So, the monster isn't really made from the lips?"
"NOT IN THE PHYSICAL SENSE. THE MONSTER IS MADE OF MAGICAL ENERGY."
"Okay, so if I saw the Mona Lisa this very moment, would it have lips, or not?"
"I AM NOT CERTAIN. ALPHA FIVE, PLEASE PROGRAM THE VIEWING GLOBE TO DISPLAY THE MONA LISA. IT IS INSIDE THE LOUVRE."
"I... I can't get an image inside that area of the museum!" shrieked Alpha, "There's a powerful energy barrier, and its blocking the transmission!"
"Then the guys probably should check it out," said Jason, activating the communicator, "I'll tell Tommy. Hello? Tommy, do you read me?"
^Jason?^ said Tommy's voice through the machine, ^Did you guys figure out how to stop Labius?^
"No, but I think we're onto something. There's a powerful magical barrier in the Louvre, and its blocking the Viewing Globe's image. Also, Zordon said that Labius is made completely from energy, so its not literally the lips of Mona Lisa."
^Then, the lips are safe?^
"Not exactly. Labius is linked to the painting magically, like a movie projection. You'd better check out the Mona Lisa and see what's going on."
^Okay, I'm on it. Thanks, Jay.^
"Adam!" called Tommy, "Come here!"
Adam turned around, and leapt away from Labius, leaving the Yellow, Blue, and Pink Rangers to battle the monster, mostly using martial arts so as not to damage the city further with stray energy bolts.
"What's up? Did Zordon figure out how to stop Labius?"
"Maybe. Listen, could you go into the Louvre and find the Mona Lisa? Jason said there's a strange magical energy barrier, and it may be the key to stopping Labius."
"I'll be back in a flash!" said Adam, running into the now abandoned museum. He looks back for a moment, watching all four of his friends try to gain the upper hand on the monster. Adam then turns back, and runs into the museum.
"Okay," he said aloud, "Now, how do I find the Mona Lisa?"
He looks around the entrance for a while, and sees a front desk. He leaps behind the desk, and sees a stack of tourist maps.
"Perfect," he said, opening a map and examining it closely, "The Mona Lisa is on special display, behind a glass casing, this way."
Adam folded the map and ran in the direction of the Mona Lisa. He took a few seconds to glance at the amazing masterpieces along the way.
Wow, this stuff is amazing, he thought, So much history and beauty... I gotta remember to come back here and tour this place again, when I've got the time.
Finally, Adam runs down a hallway, and sees a glass cube on a pedestal, surrounded by rope. Inside that cube is the Mona Lisa herself. However, there is more surrounding the painting than just a few feet of clear glass. A translucent bubble, shimmering in every color of the rainbow, covered the painting and the glass encasing from every angle, obscuring the view of the painting.
"This must be the barrier Tommy was talking about," Adam said, raising his wrist to his mouth, "I'd better tell him what I found. Tommy, this is Adam. Tommy, come in. Tommy?"
Adam looked at his wrist communicator, puzzled.
I guess the barrier is interfering with outside communications. So, now what do I do?
Adam cautiously reached out to touch the bubble with his gloved hand. As soon as he made contact with the magical sphere, a powerful force shoved him into the wall behind him. Adam crumpled to the ground, and then stood up painfully.
"Ouch!" he moaned, rubbing his back, "That hurt. Well, I think its safe to assume this bubble is bad news. And if Lord Zedd put it here, then we definitely don't want it here."
Adam lifted his Zeo pistol from his holster, and set it on medium power. He then pointed the pistol at the sphere.
"Hopefully, if I destroy this bubble, Zedd's magic spell will be broken," he said, firing the gun. A streak of red laser shot from the pistol, slamming into the bubble. However, the attack didn't seem to affect the bubble.
"Hmmm. Maybe a dose of full power will pop this bubble!"
Adam set his pistol to maximum, and once again fired at the bubble. He held the laser beam as long as he could, until the gun began to overheat. However, the magical sphere remained unharmed.
"Well, this isn't working," he said, putting his pistol back into the holster, "Zeo IV Power Punch!"
Ribbons of green energy cascaded around Adam's fist, and he punched the bubble with all his might. Again, as soon as his hand touched the bubble, he was thrown back into the wall by an overwhelming force.
"Oooh, better not try that again. Okay, I can't touch it, and I can't burn it... maybe I just need to hit it with more raw power. Zeo IV Power Hatchets!!"
Two powerful hatchets appeared in Adam's hands, and he held them up high. He then brought them both down in an X shape, forming two crossing streaks of green energy. The streaks plowed into the sphere, immediately crushing the colorful force bubble. The bubble exploded, filling the room with thick smoke. Adam waved the smoke away, and approached the Mona Lisa. The glass frame was undamaged, except a little dusty, and once the dust was wiped away, the Mona Lisa could be seen in all its glory, mouth included.
"Well, the Mona Lisa's back in one piece," said Adam, running back towards the entrance, "I'd better check in with the others."
Adam hurried through the museum, and in a few minutes he was back on the street. There, he saw the smoking remains of Labius, and he was greeted with four high fives.
"Great work, Adam!" said Tommy.
"Yeah!" said Tanya, hugging the Green Ranger, "Labius screamed, and then she exploded. And we didn't do anything to her! We assume you somehow broke Zedd's spell."
"Is the painting alright?" asked Katherine.
"Yeah. There was a force bubble around the painting, and every time I touched it, I was thrown into the wall. So, I used my hatchets to demolish it, and then the Mona Lisa was released from under it, mouth and all."
"Well, another one bites the dust!" announced Rocky, "Now, we can go home and rest."
"We beat Zedd's monster," said Tommy solemnly, "but the battle isn't over yet. I think maybe Zedd sent this monster here as a diversion, so we couldn't help Kim and the others on Venus Island. We have to go back to the Power Chamber, and stand ready in case Kim contacts us. This isn't over yet. All agreed?"
Adam, Katherine, Tanya, and Rocky all nodded mutely, and they vanished from the street in four beams of colored light.
On the mysterious Venus Island, a small white owl flies towards the highest tower of the palace of Mount Ambrosia, the soft orange light of dawn illuminating its silken feathers. The owl sails into the open window, and perches on a full length mirror beside the bed in the chamber. The owl looks around quickly, and then lands on the floor behind the mirror, transforming into the tall, slender form of the Venusian keeper of the Great Power-- Dulcea. Dulcea peeks out from behind the mirror.
Well, I see no one in this chamber, but that doesn't mean the palace is deserted. This room was the bedroom of my sister Naya centuries ago, when Venus Island was a peaceful, happy world. Now, the isle is under the rule of a murderous villain, but hopefully not for long.
Dulcea sneaks out and gazes at the mirror itself.
This is no ordinary mirror! It is a communication device, similar to the Viewing Globe in the Power Chamber. This can come in handy once the battle is fought.
Dulcea summoned her staff from thin air, and cautiously approached the door. She put her ear to the wooden door, listening for any noise from the other side.
I hear two voices, she thought, most likely guards. I was expecting more than merely two, though.
She quickly thrust the door open, much to the surprise of the two young women guarding the door from outside.
"Who dares intrude on the room of Queen Syren herself?" asked one of the women, holding out a sword. Dulcea looked at her curiously.
"Jezebel," she said, "A young priestess who was never taught the ways of Ninjetti. It is a pity you choose to fight me."
Jezebel thrust her sword at Dulcea, but Dulcea moved quickly and grabbed the younger girl by the wrist. She then hit her on the head, knocking her unconscious. Meanwhile, the other guard only stared at Duclea in mute awe. Dulcea looked up at her.
"I am Martia," said the girl, "another priestess never taught Ninjetti. Welcome, Dulcea, sister of Naya! I pray you are successful in saving the isle this time."
Martia hugged Dulcea, much to the latter's surprise.
"You choose not to fight me? Syren would have your head for this."
"Sha can have it, be she so bold as to come and claim it," said Martia sadly, "I grow so tired of serving such a bloodthirsty witch, and now she has chosen to further disgrace the memory of good Queen Naya by killing her descendants. Syren is no Venusian. She is corrupt and evil, like Divatox."
"Then, why do you serve her?"
"Because there is nothing I could do to stop her. Many of us revile the queen, but there is nothing we can do against her. No one here has a right to the throne, and Syren has a powerful ally in Lord Zedd. We cannot hope to win."
"Yes you can, Martia," said Dulcea with a smile, "Quickly tell me where the dungeon is. I shall free our sisters from the dungeon, and we shall storm the courtyard and finally end Syren's evil reign."
"The only way to enter the dungeon is through the throne room. Behind the curtains behind the throne is a gate, usually guarded by two Venusians. One of them has the key. Once inside, you continue down a set of stone stairs for nearly a quarter of a mile, with a Venusian guard every six yards of so. Finally, there is one locked gate, and behind that is the prison where each Venusian who refused to serve Syren is bound to the wall. Ever since you, the Queen, Avagone, Leila, and Erwina escaped, Syren has ordered an even greater amount of security. Since there is a festival, though, there may not be so many guards. Shall I come with you, Sister?"
"No. Hide Jezebel in the Queen's chamber, so that everything may seem well. If I fail, I do not want you to pay the price, Sister. Farewell."
Martia nodded as Dulcea hurried down the hall and down the stairs. Every so often, Dulcea encountered Syren's guards, but to her surprise, many of them were unwilling to fight the keeper of the Ninjetti power. By the time she reached the throne room, she had encountered over a dozen soldiers willing to help her save the prisoners. They were all told to stand there ground until the prisoners were freed, and to keep watch on the unconscious Venusians who were faithful to Syren. When Dulcea reached the throne room, she snuck past the guards and entered the gate leading to the rose garden behind the palace. Once she was outside, she quickly ducked behind a bush, so she wouldn't be seen, and cautiously glanced towards the stage. She saw Kimberly and Syren still fighting, and Syren seemed to be gaining the upper hand.
Come on, Princess,Duclea thought as she watched, Have faith in yourself, and in your animal guide!
Dulcea crept through the rose garden, and soon she encountered Renee, hiding by the gate.
"Renee," she whispered, "I have found the dungeon."
"Great!" said Renee, "I was starting to worry about you. You've been gone for a while."
"Yes. There were many guards stationed inside the palace, but many of them chose to join us in a rebellion. There may be more Venusians we can count as friends, meaning we aren't truly outnumbered."
"Fantastic! Where are they?"
"They are inside the castle, keeping watch. Two women can sneak into the dungeon more effectively than a dozen. Once we free our sisters in the dungeon, we all shall regroup here in the garden and surround the courtyard. Hopefully Kimberly shall win, but I have a feeling Syren will cheat to keep her throne. If Kimberly loses due to an unfair battle, then we must intervene."
"And if Kim loses fair and square?"
"Then there is nothing we can do to save her life. But, we can still take back Venus Island. Follow me."
Renee silently followed Dulcea through the thick garden, tilting her head to see the fight on the stage.
Oh, you better win this one, Girl. We won't be able to help you!
Upon the stage, Kimberly has reverted to a defensive tactic, trying her best to deflect Syren's powerful blows with her own sword. Syren continues to advance on the young princess, and Kimberly is constantly stepping back, keeping aware of the blazing fire behind her.
"You haven't a chance against me, Hybrid!" declared Syren, "You fight as if you've never held a blade before!"
Well, I really haven't Kim thought to herself, I always fought with my Power Bow, and occasionally I used the blaster/blade. But I really don't know how to use this sword! It's a wonder I can even keep up with Syren. She may not be much of a fighter in terms of Venusian standards, but she is still way outta my league! I better come up with something fast, or I'm toast!
As Kimberly ducked and dodged, a soft, gentle voice echoed in her mind.
*Kimberly Hart of the tribe of Naya,* said the voice, *Ninjetti warrior and princess, hear me!*
Who are you, thought Kim, And why are you in my head?!
*I am the Crane, child, your animal guide. You are fighting a battle that you can only win on your own terms.*
What do you mean?
*You have chosen to fight by Syren's rules. You use a sword, a weapon she is proficient with, that you have never mastered. You cannot beat Syren in a duel of swords. However, you can win a match of wits.*
You're right! I can win this, if I fight with my own tactics!
Kimberly then dropped the cumbersome sword, and leapt high into the air. Syren, who was caught completely unawares by Kim's sudden action, was in the middle of a powerful slice with her sword. Before she could recover her bearings, Kimberly had landed behind her, and delivered a sharp kick to the small of Syren's back. Syren fell forward, dropping her Hyperion blade into the pit of fire, and just missing the pit herself. Syren then rolled quickly to the side, and rose to her feet. However, she wasn't able duck before Kimberly fiercely whip kicked her in the face, and swept her to the ground. Syren fell on her back this time, with a thin stream of blood streaming from her lip. Kimberly then lifted her Hyperion Blade to Syren's throat, and held it on her skin. The blade began to glow with red flames, and Syren could feel its burning touch.
"Well," she said, "what are you waiting for? Kill me already!"
Kimberly continued to stare coldly into Syren's gray eyes, but she didn't deliver the final strike.
"Dulcea told me that Venusian's don't kill their own," Kim said quietly, "Even though you have betrayed us by murdering our sisters and pledging yourself to such an evil being as Lord Zedd, I can't bring myself to kill you in cold blood. Do you yield to me, and surrender your crown and your soldiers?"
"Yes," Syren whispered, "I yield."
Kimberly smiled and withdrew the blade from Syren's neck. She then looked up, and saw most of the Venusians in the crowd cheer her victory. She then looked to the sky, and saw a small white owl flying overhead.
I knew Dulcea was looking over me, she thought to herself.
Suddenly, Kim felt a sharp blade slice through her back. She fell to her knees, and everyone gasped to see the handle of a small dagger sticking out from her back.
"Nice battle, little girl," said Syren, "Too bad you managed to throw my blade into the fire. That knife in your back won't finish you, but it will certainly slow you down long enough."
Syren bent over and picked up the Hyperion Blade Kimberly had dropped. Syren raised the blade high, but before she could deliver the final blow, the white owl swooped down and grabbed the blade with its claws. Syren gasped as the bird landed on the ground, and transformed into the form of Dulcea.
"Despicable, vile traitor!" cried Dulcea, holding the sword in her hand, "How dare you stab the princess in the back! You lost the fight, and you relinquished your crown!"
Renee ran onto the stage, and helped Kimberly to her feet. Dulcea held the sword to Syren and turned to face the crowds.
"Sisters!" she cried, "You have served this evil being for long enough! Syren has murdered in cold blood, and now she dares stab Kimberly in the back, after she was merciful enough to spare her life! She has gone too far, and now her reign of terror is over!! Now is the day of reckoning! Do you stand beside Syren, or do you stand beside Kimberly, victor of the final battle, and child of Naya?"
To Syren's horror, all of the Venusians in the crowd cried for Kimberly. Syren's eyes flared with rage, and she created a powerful blast, knocking everyone besides herself off the stage. Syren rose to her feet, and ran behind the stage, where Scorpina, her most faithful warrior, waited.
"I have not lost yet!" cried Syren angrily, "Scorpina, you must go to the mirror in my bedchamber, and contact Lord Zedd. Tell him to send a monster, and help me regain my throne! I shall finish off Kimberly, once and for all!"
Scorpina nodded, and Syren snuck around the stage, cloaking herself with a spell of mist. On the ground beside the stage, Renee and Dulcea helped Kim to her feet.
"What happened?" Kim asked drearily.
"You were stabbed, Princess," said Dulcea, "But you shall soon heal. Syren and Scorpina have fled, but the other Venusians support you. Renee and I managed to free the imprisoned Venusians, and they are all here now, for you to command."
"We... we have to find Syren and Scorpina! If they try to get Zedd to help, then we're in real trouble."
Dulcea nodded, and then saw a suspicious flash of golden light. She looked up, and saw a shrouded figure running into the palace.
"Scorpina," she whispered, "She shall not escape me again! Renee, tend to Kimberly. I'll follow Scorpina!"
Dulcea ran after Scorpina, and all the other Venusians searched the grounds for Syren. Little did they know that she hid beneath the stage, waiting for her chance to attack.
"I will have my revenge!" she whispered to herself, watching as Renee removed the knife from Kimberly's back.
"You'll be fine in a few minutes, Kim," said Renee quietly, "The wound is already healing."
Kim smiled, and in the corner of her eye, she saw Syren peaking out from behind a wooden beam. She gasped.
"Renee!" she cried, "Look out!"
Renee turned around just in time to see Syren approaching menacingly. Renee's eyes glowed orange, and a snarl crossed her face.
"Oh, no you don't!" she cried, throwing her hand up, "You're finished, Creep!"
A powerful ball of orange energy flew from Renee's palm, crashing into Syren's stomach and throwing the former queen onto the stage. She rolled back helplessly on the marble, and fell into the pit of flames meant for her enemies. Her cries of agony chilled all those who heard it to the bone.
"I... oh my God!" shrieked Renee, holding her hand to her mouth, "I didn't mean to..."
"Its okay, 'Ne," said Kim quietly, sitting up, "It wasn't your fault. Syren had her chance to surrender, and she didn't take it."
"How do you feel, Kim?" asked Renee, helping the young princess to her feet.
"I'm okay," Kim said, "But I will be better once my family is free, and Scorpina is captured."
Renee and Kim walked over to the cage enclosing Kelly. Kelly was holding her knees to her chin, quaking with fear. Not far away was the larger cage, holding the other part-Venusians. Kim gestured for Renee to free them, while she unlocked the cage holding Kelly. Kelly looked up at Kimberly, her eyes shining with tears.
"Kim?" she asked quietly, "Is that really you?"
"You got it, cuz," Kim said, smiling brightly, "C'mon. Let's get you outta there."
Kim took Kelly's hand, and helped her young cousin out of the cage. Kelly then hugged Kim tightly, crying softly.
"Its okay, Kell," Kimberly whispered, holding her cousin tightly, "Its all over. Nothing's gonna happen to you now."
Kimberly looked up to the palace and sighed.
I have to talk to Dulcea. I don't know what we're gonna do now. We've defeated Syren, but will Lord Zedd show up? I hope Dulcea can stop Scorpina, before things really get outta hand.
Not far away, Scorpina hurries into Syren's bedroom in the highest tower of the castle. She quickly bolts the door behind her, and waves her hand before the reflective glass. Then the foreboding image of Lord Zedd appeared.
^Well,^ said Lord Zedd, ^are you ready to come home now, Scorpina?^
"Lord Zedd," Scorpina panted, "Syren has been beaten! She needs you help immediately, or Venus Island is lost!"
^What do I care?^ scoffed Lord Zedd, ^I'm tired of coming to that loser's aid! She swore to me that the Red, Green, and Blue Rangers were out of my hair for good, but they were certainly well enough to destroy my monster in Paris! Syren is weak, and she deserves her fate.^
"But, what of Venus Island?"
^Venus Island is lost, Scorpina. Its not important enough for me to strain myself further. Step through the looking glass, my assassin, and rejoin my ranks. This pointless battle is at an end.^
Scorpina delayed for a moment, until she heard a banging on the bolted door. She then hurriedly leapt through the glass, magically teleporting her to the Moon Palace. Seconds later, the door finally caved in, and Dulcea entered the room warily. She searched the chamber, until her eyes fell upon the magical mirror.
"Scorpina must've fled," Dulcea said to herself, "She may have escaped this day, but she will soon pay for the crimes she committed. Just like her evil mistress. This battle is over. After centuries of suffering and turmoil, the battle is finally over."
Dulcea once again transforms into a snow owl, and sails through the open window down to the stage, where Kimberly and Renee were talking to the ten other Venusian descendants. She landed on the stage, and reverted back to her true form.
"Did you find Scorpina?" asked Kimberly.
"No. I believe she has fled the isle, most likely back to Lord Zedd. But Syren is gone, so I feel we have finished the battle. I don't think Lord Zedd will try to recapture the isle. We have won."
"I can't believe Scorpina got away!" said Renee angrily, "She killed my mother!"
"Don't worry," said Kim, "She'll get hers soon enough. So, what do we do now, Dulcea?"
"The battle has been won, so now we must restore Venus Island to all her majestic beauty. Also, we need to crown a queen."
"You'll make a great queen, Dulcea," said Renee with a smile. Duclea shook her head.
"No, I must return to Phaedos and guard the Great Power. It is my destiny. Kimberly, you're the one who defeated Syren, and you are of Naya's family. You are the best choice for queen."
Kim looked at Dulcea in surprise. "I can't be queen! I have to get home! Besides, I'm more human that Venusian. I can't live here, much less rule here."
"Someone has to lead the people and rebuild the isle, and the people seem to believe in you, Kimberly. Full Venusian or not, you have the strength of character needed to rule. This isle needs a strong leader, Princess, and I feel no one could be a better monarch than you."
In the Power Chamber, the Zeo Rangers wait anxiously for any news regarding Kimberly's siege on Venus Island. Katherine sits quietly on a chair, beside her friend Tanya. Adam and Rocky stand together in silence, constantly checking the Viewing Globe to see if any visual information can be found. Jason helps Alpha Five try to recalibrate the Viewing Globe so it can receive messages from the enchanted isle. Tommy, however, had decided to leave the Power Chamber, sitting outside on the mountain and watching the Sun peacefully hover over the horizon. He stared at the Sun, and then glanced at the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
Somewhere out there, Kim's risking her life to save her family, he thought, I may never see her again. Even though I was depressed when Kim decided to leave the rangers to attend the Pan-Global Games, I took some solace in the fact that she'd be safe. Since she wouldn't be a Power Ranger, she could just live a normal life. No one would try to hurt her. Now, I'm sitting here completely helpless as the woman I loved more than anything tries to conquer impossible odds.
Tommy sighed and stood up, walking to the edge of the cliff and looking out at the sea. A weak smile crossed his bronzed face. Loved? Who am I kidding? I still love Kim, more than anything. I mean, I do love Kat, but its just not the same. Kat and I are like really close friends, but when I was with Kim, it just felt so right! Her bright smile lit up my day! I more than just loved her. I admired her. Her spirit, her energy, her courage, her beauty, her intelligence, her innocence... no one can really compare to her.
Tommy was shaken out of his reverie when he heard footsteps crossing the parched and rocky ground. He smiled and turned around, to see the face of his best friend.
"Hey, Jason," he said quietly, "Any news about Kimberly?"
"Yeah, bro," said Jason, "Alpha and I have established visual contact with Venus Island. The magical barrier blocking the island has vanished."
"That's a good sign, right?" said Tommy, walking to the Power Chamber. Jason smiled and followed.
"It should be."
As the two young men entered the dark Power Chamber, Tanya, Adam, Rocky, and Katherine were standing side by side around the Viewing Globe, looking at an image of Kimberly. Kim's full body was visible, and she was wearing her pink Ninjetti priestess leotard, complete with pearly wings and glittering tiara. Behind her was Dulcea and Renee Ryan, both wearing their uniforms.
^Hey guys,^ said Kim cheerily, ^What's up? Did you defeat that lip monster?^
"Piece of cake," said Rocky, "Labius is finished, and the lips were restored to the Mona Lisa unharmed. Everything's going great here."
^That's good,^ said Renee, ^We're in Syren's bedchamber, using her magic mirror to contact you guys.^
^Yeah,^ said Kimberly, ^Everything's fine. We managed to save the descendants, as well as free the Venusians in the dungeon. Together, we defeated Syren and retook Venus Island. Renee managed to cast a really powerful spell, canceling out the blocking spell Lord Zedd had placed around the isle to keep it masked from the Power Chamber.^
Renee shrugged modestly. ^Just doing my job, Princess.^
"Princess?" asked Rocky in surprise.
^Yes,^ said Dulcea, stepping forward, ^Kimberly is of the bloodline of Naya, and she was our queen. Since Naya is dead, one of her descendants must take the throne. Kimberly is the only one of the tribe of Naya still living to have enough potential to summon the full power of a Venusian. This is most likely because she was exposed to the Great Power at a young age.^
"So, when are you two coming back?" asked Tanya, "If you hurry, you should be able to make it in time for the Pan-Global individuals competition."
The smiles on Kim and Renee's faces fell. Kim looked up at her friends, with a serious expression.
^I...we... we're not coming back, Tanya,^ she said quietly, ^Renee and I have decided to stay on Venus Island. For good.^
The Power Chamber was silent. On the Viewing Globe, Kimberly Anne Hart, the former Pink Ranger and now Venusian Princess, has just announced that she would remain on Venus Island forever. The first person to regain his voice is Tommy, although he could feel his throat closing up.
"Why?" he managed to choke out.
^Well, Duclea said it herself. I'm a princess of Venus Island, and I'm the only one with the power potential equal to a full blooded Venusian. Plus, I'm the one who defeated Syren in one-to-one combat. The throne is my right, as well as my responsibility. I must stay and rule Venus Island as Queen.^
"Why can't Dulcea be queen?" Tommy asked desperately, "I mean, she's a full blooded Venusian, and she's Naya's sister!"
^I cannot stay on Venus Island permanently, Tommy,^ said Dulcea, ^I must return to Phaedos soon, and continue protecting the Great Power with Ninjor. I am the guardian of the Power, not a queen. Kimberly is the only candidate for the throne.^
"But, you don't know the first thing about being a queen!" said Rocky, "What're ya gonna do?"
^Dulcea has agreed to stay for as long as she can, training me in fighting, governing, as well as the observances and culture of Venus,^ said Kimberly, ^Its my duty.^
"You know we'll really miss you, Kim," said Katherine quietly. Kim's eyes shone with unshed tears, and she smiled wanely at her friends.
^What're ya talking about, Kat! It's not like I'm dying or something! I'll be here on Venus Island, and you can contact me whenever you need backup. Me and Renee will be there at a moment's notice, along with as many of my Venusian warriors you may need! Besides, I'd like you guys to come visit me. Soon.^
"You got it, Kim," said Jason, "But what about the other descendants? Are they all staying with you?"
^Not permanently,^ said Renee, ^We were planning on having a victory celebration in a couple of days, after we get this place cleaned up and organize the festivities. Kim'll be officially crowned then. Caroline Hart and the others all want to stay for the celebration, and spend a few days learning about their ancestry. Kim and I would really love it if you'd attend the celebration.^
"We'll be there," said Tommy, "You can count on it."
A few days later, the five Zeo Rangers, accompanied by the former Gold Ranger Jason Lee, materialized on the shore of Venus Island. However, the scene was nothing like Tommy or Jason remembered it. The sand was pearly white, reflecting the soft rays of the noon sun. The waters were crystal clear and as blue as the sky, with gentle waves caressing the shore. Beautiful seashells of infinite colors, shapes, and sizes decorated the shore, adding a splash of color to the white sand. The grassline began only a few yards inland, and instead of the deadly venus flytraps that sprouted, there were lovely tropical flowers spotting the lush green grass. The rest of the island was hidden in a dense jungle, all but a magnificent mountain, whose peak reached into the clouds.
"Wow," said Katherine quietly, "This place is magnificent."
"Gorgeous," said Tanya.
"Spectacular," said Adam.
"Cool," said Rocky. The others all stared at him in utter amazement. He only shrugged his shoulders sheepishly. "Okay, I admit it! I'm not a poet, okay? Sue me!"
As the rangers began to laugh, a rustling in the forest could be heard. They turned around, and saw Renee Ryan step out of the dense vegetation. She was wearing a short, silk orange toga, with three fine golden chains as straps, and a golden belt with the image of a tiger on the buckle. Her feet were wrapped in leather sandals, and her long hair tumbled loosely around her face. She smiled cheerily at her guests.
"Hey everyone! How've ya been?"
"Not bad," said Rocky, "Things've been pretty quiet since the Labius monster. I guess Zedd decided to take a break."
"Well, we have final exams in a few weeks, so I hope Zedd keeps quiet for a while," said Tanya.
"Where's Kimberly anyway?" asked Tommy, looking around expectantly, "I mean, I was under the impression that she'd meet us."
"Well, Dulcea's been working our young princess relentlessly," said Renee, gesturing towards the jungle, "So Kim asked me to come down and guide you all to Ambrosia, the city atop the mountain."
"That looks like an awful long hike," said Rocky.
"Well, its a long walk, but the scenery is great. For some reason, the only window for teleportation is the shore. I think Dulcea said something about the altitude of Mount Ambrosia interfering with the teleporter."
The rangers all followed Renee into the jungle, marvelling at the splendid array of exotic plants and animals they saw on their hike. Tommy sped up and walked side by side with Renee as the others trailed behind.
"How's Kim doing?" he asked quietly.
"She's tired, but fine," said Renee, "Dulcea wants to get back to Phaedos ASAP, so she's pushing Kim to the limit. But, Kim's always been capable of dealing with pressure. I guess that's what makes her such a great gymnast."
"Speaking of gymnasts, what's gonna happen to your careers? You and Kim are celebrities, Renee. You can't just disappear without a trace."
"I know, I know. Its probably really tough on my dad and sister, too. Kim said we can tell our loved ones what really happened to us, and maybe the Power Rangers can tell the world that Kim and I were killed in an attempt by Rita and Zedd to sabotage the Pan Global Games, or something creative like that."
"Oh," said Tommy, looking down, "So, you're definitely never coming back?"
"So long as Kim and I live on Venus Island, the magic in the air and earth will keep us immortal. Someone has to rule this island, and Kim really is perfect for the job. I'm taking the place my mother held in Naya's court. I'm the head enchantress--a general."
Tommy nodded mutely, and slowed down, falling into step with his friends. Katherine, Tanya, Adam, and Rocky were all still enthralled by the beauty of Venus Island. Jason walked beside his best friend, studying his face curiously.
Man, I sure hope he gets the nerve to talk to Kim before we leave, he thought, I haven't seen Tommy this depressed since he lost his Green Ranger power. Losing Kim to that "other guy" must've really been tough for him, but losing her to fate might be even worse. At least he had hope before, but now it looks like their relationship was just not to be.
"Okay guys!" called Renee, coming to a stop at a curtain of vines, "Welcome to Ambrosia, home of the Venusians!"
Renee smiled widely as she parted the curtain of grapevines, revealing a magnificent city of white pillars, marble statues, flowing fountains, and in the center, a pearly palace, with silver gates. The entire city was surrounded by a fine golden fence. Renee touched her hand to the keyhole at the door of the fence, and it swung open, allowing the seven teens passage into the city of myth. Dozens of beautiful women, all wearing silk gowns similar to Renee's, stopped what they were doing to greet the rangers, ask questions of them, and answer their questions. Tommy couldn't pay attention to them, though. He was too busy gazing up at the palace longingly. Katherine stopped chatting with one Venusian, and turned to follow Tommy's gaze. Her heart fell as she looked at him, and she touched his hand gently. Tommy's hand retracted from her touch, and Kat looked away sadly. Soon, the group was separated, with Tanya and Adam going off with a group of Venusians to explore more of the jungle, Rocky following another group to the kitchens where the feast was being prepared, and Katherine went to examine some of the Venusian sculptures more closely. Renee took Jason for a tour of the entire city, leaving Tommy by the fountain. He sat down on the marble edge of the fountain, staring at the water trickling from the small statue of a woman, holding a bowl of water. Tommy sighed as he stared at the statue, not knowing that a pair of doe-brown eyes was watching him from above.
"Kimberly! Will you please pay attention to me?!"
Kimberly quickly turned away from the window she was gazing out of, and turned to her mentor in surprise.
"What did you say, Dulcea?" she asked sheepishly. She then felt a sharp prick from a needle. "Ow!"
"I'm sorry, dear," said Caroline Hart, "but I can't sew this gown with you moving so much! Keep still, or we'll never have you ready for the feast tonight!"
Kim sighed quietly and stood up straight, allowing her mother and her aunt Josephine to continue sewing another layer of silver lace over her soft pink silken gown. Not far, Kim's cousin Kelly was busy polishing the jewelry Kimberly was to wear for the occasion--a silver tiara, silver wing earrings, and a choker with the emblem of the Crane skillfully etched in its face. Beside her, Dulcea was standing, holding out her staff.
"Now listen, Kimberly, this is important," said Dulcea, "You know that, as leader of Venus Island, you are in charge of battles as well. You must lead your army into battle. You may someday have to aid the Power Rangers against Lord Zedd, or even face Divatox if she may return. Now, the primary weapon of a Venusian priestess is the staff. You've seen me use it in battle before. You can use it as a shield, a weapon, or you can separate it at the center to create the twin Whistling Sticks."
Dulcea snapped her staff into two pieces, and demonstrated the whistling attack she had used on Ivan Ooze's Tenga Warriors over a year ago. Kim, Caroline, Jo, and Kelly all covered their ears desperately, trying to block out the horrible scratching sound of the sticks.
"Okay, okay!" shrieked Kim, "I get the message!"
Dulcea sighed and stopped twirling the sticks. She snapped her staff back together and approached Kimberly. "What is distracting you so, Kimberly? In only two hours, you shall be crowned queen of Venus Island, and come the dawn, I shall return to Phaedos. We must finish preparations. What could possibly be on your mind now?"
Kim sighed, and blushed a rosy pink. She then gestured out the window. Dulcea peered out the window, and her gaze fell upon Tommy, silently sitting by the fountain. Dulcea sighed loudly.
"The Red Ranger?" she asked, "Child, you have no time to be daydreaming!"
"Give her a break, Dulcea," said Caroline, sewing a silver sash just below Kimberly's waistline, "She's a young girl in love. What's the big deal?"
"The 'big deal' is that there is nothing she can do about it! Kimberly shall soon be crowned queen of Venus Island, and she shall rule this isle forever. The boy is a human, he'll be dead in fifty years or so."
All the women present gasped at the crude statement. Kimberly's eyes glassed over, and she once again lost herself as she gazed upon Tommy's depressed form. "You're right, Duclea. It wouldn't be right. I'm not even human. He deserves someone who can give her life to him, as well as her love. Tommy'll always have my heart, but I can't give him my life. Its just not mine to give."
"Oh, honey," cooed Caroline, hugging her only daughter warmly, "I'm so sorry things didn't work out between you and Tommy. Maybe you should talk to him, and tell him how you feel."
"But why?" she asked her mother, "I can't be with him, anyway! And besides, he's got Katherine now. He's happy with Kat, and so I'm happy."
"Does he look happy to you, Kim?" asked Kelly, pointing out at Tommy, "If you just talk to him, and let everything out in the open, at least you can live with yourself and move on. Who knows, Tommy might just cheer up abit if he knew you still had the hots for him."
"I don't believe this," sighed Kim, "I'm taking love advice from my fourteen year old cousin!"
"And its good advice, too!" said Kelly proudly, turning her attention back to the jewelry.
"Whatever you decide to do regarding the Red Ranger," said Dulcea, "it can wait until after the coronation ceremony. You know, you must declare to your people what your goals will be, and in which direction you shall steer our isle. Do you have anything planned?"
"Actually, I kinda do," said Kim, "But you'll have to wait until the ceremony. By the way, don't you guys have to get dressed too?"
"You're the princess, dear," said Caroline, stitching the sash, "so you come first. Here! I think its done!"
Kimberly sighed in relief and stepped down from the platform. She walked over to the full length mirror, and studied her appearance carefully. "Wow, Mom. Its fantastic," she whispered.
The gown was made of a very soft shade of pink silk. It was a strapless gown with a V neck, which hugged her slim form down to her hips, where a silver sash was wrapped. Connected to the sash was a delicate net of silver lace, stitched with images of stars that glittered in the light. The gown reached the floor, stretching out due to the layers of soft silk that composed the dress. The gown was dignified and elegant, but at the same time glamorous and flattering to her slender, athletic figure. Josephine walked over to her niece, with a sheet of translucent pink silk with silver hem. She attached the sheet to the silver choker, and snapped the choker onto Kimberly's neck. The pink silk formed a delicate, flowing cape, much like the cape of her Ninjetti uniform, that converts to wings. Kim gasped at the gown.
"You really look like a princess now, Kim," said Caroline softly, once again hugging her daughter, "I'm so proud of you."
"We all are," said Kelly, and the four women embraced in an emotional group hug. Dulcea stood against the wall, watching the family as they hugged. Kimberly is strong, but she is also very sensitive, she mused, She shall no doubt make a superb leader, and she shall only get better with time.
And sunset, the hundreds of Venusians filled the Great Hall in the palace of Ambrosia. There were dozens of tables, all set with a splendid selection of gourmet foods. There were two other tables, elevated on a podium. They were both to the side of a throne, which sat high above everything else. A red carpet stretched from the throne to the gate of the palace, and Dulcea stood before the throne, wearing a simple but nonetheless elegant white silken gown with silver trim. In her hand was a red pillow, with the silver crown seated upon it. All the seats were filled, with the exception of the two tables beside the throne, and the throne itself. Dulcea cleared her throat to gain the attention of the others.
"My sisters, today we celebrate a most joyous occasion. Only days ago, our lovely isle was freed from the tyranny and evil that gripped our sacred home for millennia. It was supposed to be the anniversary of Queen Naya's murder, but it turned out to be Venus Island's day of independence! We are no longer slaves to wicked rulers, whether it be Lord Zedd or Syren and her minions. The beauty of our home has been restored in its entirety, and we now step into a new era of peace and joy on Venus Island."
Before Dulcea could even finish her sentence, she was interrupted by applause and shouts of joy from her sisters. She laughed slightly and then raised her hand to silence them.
"The victory we celebrate today is very special, and it would never have happened had it not been for a number of dedicated servants of truth. First, allow me to present the descendants of our lost Leila, Avagone, and Queen Naya! They selflessly aided us in the rebellion against Syren, and we welcome them home."
The crowds once again cheered enthusiastically as Renee Ryan, Andrea Turner, Silvia Turner, Elisa Manning, Janette Manning, Elizabeth Turner, Christina Hendren, Jo Trent, Kelly Trent, Courtney Davis, and Caroline Hart entered the ballroom, all wearing snow white floor length togas. They waved at their sisters and took seats on the table to the right of the throne, with Renee sitting beside the throne itself.
"Our sisters here are with us today to celebrate with us, as well as to learn of the culture to which they belong. However, they shall be leaving after the celebration, with the exception of Renee, so we will always remember them, and we ask they never forget us."
The Venusians expressed their love for their sisters by cheering and applauding. The descendants were welcomed into the Venusian family, even though they were more human then Venusian. When the cheering stopped, Dulcea continued.
"As you know, we received additional help in our battle against evil. Although they did not come to the isle during the uprising, they assisted us whenever possible, and we owe them a great deal of thanks. Although they are from the world of Man, they shall always be welcomed and honored guests of Venus Island. They are the Zeo Rangers."
Then, the five Zeo Rangers and Jason Lee stepped into the ballroom, walking single file to the table in morphin order. Jason walked behind Tommy, and sat in the chair beside the throne on the left. The crowd cheered the Power Rangers, and they removed their helmets, revealing flattered and honored expressions. Then, the room became deadly silent, as footsteps could be heard from behind the gate. Dulcea fell to one knee on the floor next to the red carpet, directly in front of the throne, and the other Venusians bowed their heads in respect for the next person. The gates parted, and the rangers and descendants all watched as the new queen made her dazzling entrance. All the rangers were mute in admiration, and the descendants, especially Caroline Hart, smiled in respect and pride. Kimberly gracefully stepped across the room, her soft pink gown gently caressing the carpet as she walked. The cape trailed behind her, flowing in the soft breeze. Her hair was styled in a mass of soft, golden brown curls, held in place by two silver clasps in the shape of wings. Her earrings also were wing shaped, and they matched the clasps perfectly. The image of a Crane was etched on her choker, and it shimmered in the light. The male rangers were completely speechless at Kimberly's unsurpassed grace and beauty. Tommy was so enthralled by Kimberly's serene smile, he didn't even notice Katherine gaze at him with a sad smile on her face.
I knew this would happen, she thought grimly, not taking her eyes off Tommy, He still loves her, more than life itself. More than... than me. Well, like I said before, it doesn't matter what I feel. So long as Tommy's happy. If he loves Kim, he can never be happy with me. I saw this coming a mile away. The question is--what do I do about it? He and Kim can never be together again, not with Kim ruling Venus Island. By this time tomorrow, Kim'll be gone again. But is that what I really want, for Kim to just disappear and stop interfering with my life? No, I don't think so. I just want Tommy to be happy. That's not too much to ask, is it?
Kimberly stopped as she passed Dulcea, and nodded at her. Dulcea rose to her feet, and Kimberly sat upon the throne, between Renee and Jason. Dulcea followed her, and gently placed the crown on Kimberly's head. Dulcea then stepped down, and the crowds lifted their heads, but remained silent. They awaited their new queen to speak.
"Sisters," said Kimberly, "today is the beginning of a new era for us. Now that the inner threat has been taken care of, we can be at peace. However, the war isn't over. Lord Zedd is still out there, and so is Divatox, and countless other evil beings. We are not the defenders of Earth, though. That job belongs to the Power Rangers. However, since they helped us, I feel we should help them. So, from now on, the Power Rangers shall be our allies, and whenever they call us for assistance, we acknowledge."
The Venusians cheered in agreement to Kimberly's decree. They then quieted down to allow her to continue.
"Our culture is forever changed. Naya is no longer with us, and now I, a half-breed whose lived only seventeen Earth years, am the ruler. We can never go back to the old days. We can never replace all that is lost to us forever. To commemorate the battle fought, as well as the resistance that has spanned a century and beyond, I would like to initiate a project. We shall create a museum, with statues of the great heroines that fell in battle against evil. Also, there will be a tribute to Naya, Leila, Avagone, Erwina, and Dulcea, who took the lead in freeing our world. Although four of them didn't live to see this day, I know they'd be proud of what we have accomplished."
The Venusians once again began to cheer at Kimberly's speech. Dulcea smiled in approval of Kimberly's idea, and so did Renee, the rangers, and the descendants. Once the cheering ebbed, Kimberly cleared her throat.
"Its been centuries since the majority of you have enjoyed a feast such as this, so I won't delay any longer. Eat, drink, and celebrate our freedom!"
With that, the party began. There were exotic fruits and vegetables from all over Venus Island, and some even from other lands. Rocky looked at his plate questioningly.
"Hey, were's the beef?" he asked. Dulcea smiled at him.
"Little Ape, Venusians do not consume animal flesh."
"Okay," said Rocky, poking his fork at a pile of unidentified green leaves, "Well, I'm always up for new experiences."
Rocky raised his fork to his mouth, and cautiously chewed the green leaves. The rangers watched as his lips curled into a smile.
"This stuff is really good!" he declared, "It tastes just like chicken!"
The others shrugged and tasted their own meals. Soon, all the food was eaten, and the dancing and celebrating carried on into the night. Once the party had died down a bit, Katherine looked around the ballroom for Kimberly. She found the Venusian queen conversing with Duclea.
"Uh, Kim," she said meekly, "I hate to interrupt, but could I have a moment of your time?"
"Sure," said Kim, following Katherine into the courtyard, "What's on your mind?"
"Tommy," said Kat bluntly, leading Kim to rose garden behind the palace. Even in the darkness, both girls could see the lone red figure wandering aimlessly through the collection of bushes. Kim looked at the taller girl questioningly.
"What do you mean?" she asked. Kat sighed.
"Kim, I don't know whether you knew this or not, but Tommy's been really depressed since the Pan-Globals."
Kim looked down at her feet. "I'm really sorry about that," she whispered, "I never wanted to hurt him."
"I know," said Kat wistfully, "When you wrote that letter, he was utterly destroyed for weeks. There was nothing I could do but be there for him. Eventually, he got over it. Not because he stopped loving you, but because he's the leader of the Power Rangers, and he had to be strong, for our sakes. Kim, Tommy's never stopped loving you."
Kim stared at Katherine in utter shock. "Why are you telling me all this, Kat? I mean, I thought that you and Tommy were, you know--"
"I'll admit it, I love Tommy. I really do. When he's in pain, I feel it. When he's happy, I feel it. Now, I'd love it for Tommy to be happy with me, but that's not the case. His heart belongs to you, Kim. I know it, Jason knows it, the others know it, and I'm sure you can tell. Just by the way he looks at you."
Kimberly remained quiet, watching Tommy as he plucked a single pink rose from a bush. He examined the rose carefully, and then slowly, and painfully, he began to pluck the petals from the flower, one at a time. Kim's eyes began to well with tears.
"I really hate what I did to him," she admitted quietly, "and I regret dumping him more than anything else I've ever done. It was stupid. It was beyond stupid. But, its too late now. I'm going to be here for the rest of my life, and we can't be together. Its just not meant to be."
"Maybe you should talk to him, Kimberly. I know I can't console him. Only you can. He's been like this since he snapped out of Syren's spell, probably because he knew you were in danger. Now that the fight's over, he's lost you forever. But, just knowing that you still love him may make the pain lessen."
"How did you know--"
"Kim, you're not very good at hiding your feelings," said Kat with a small laugh, "I mean, everyone knows you still care about him deeply. The only problem is, Tommy is just so dense! He's too absorbed in self doubt to realize that you care. You need to be blunt with that one, because he'll never see the subtle signs you're throwing at him."
Kimberly smiled and gave Katherine a warm hug. "You know, Kat," she said quietly as they parted, "You really are something special. Thanks, for being-- such a good friend."
Kat smiled and watched as Kim strolled through the garden towards Tommy. Kat sighed and walked back to the ballroom. She saw Renee by the gate, a curious expression on her face.
"Why did you do that, Kat?" asked Renee.
"What else could I have done?" asked Kat with a shrug, "Pretend that Tommy loves me? I can't do that. Tommy loves Kimberly, and she loves him. They're both close friends of mine, so it hurts me to see them in pain. I could never live with myself knowing I didn't do everything in my power to alleviate their pain. That's just the way I am."
Renee smiled and shook Katherine's hand. "You know, I think I misjudged you, Kat. When Kim first told me about you, way back when she still dated Tommy, I always felt you were muscling in on her man. I was really way off, Katherine, and I'd like to say I'm sorry."
Kat smiled and hugged Renee. "People seem to have a habit of misjudging me."
"Ya wanna go back inside?" asked Renee, "Anya is performing a ceremonial Venusian dance of happiness. Its really cool."
"Give me a minute," said Kat, walking towards the fountain in front of the palace. Renee waved and went back into the ballroom. Kat sighed and sat down on the edge of the fountain, staring at her reflection. Her eyes were bloodshot, and tears streaked her face.
I did what I had to do, she assured herself, There was no other option. I had already lost him. No, scratch that, I never really had him. His heart always belonged to Kim, and I was a fool to think that he'd eventually forget about her. They're soul mates, and no matter how much I wish it could've been otherwise, it can't. Tommy will never really, truly love me. Never.
Kat sobbed quietly for a few minutes, and then splashed some fountain water on her face to wash away her tears.
Well, what's done is done, she mused, standing up, I might as well get back to the party.
With that, Kat jogged back into the palace, and watched with Rocky, Adam, Tanya, and Jason as Anya the Venusian enchantress taught Renee the dance of happiness. She tried her hardest to let the joyous spirit of the occasion lighten her mood, but it had very little effect on the deep feeling of emptiness she had inside.
Kimberly walked quietly through the vast and elegant rose garden behind the palace on Mount Ambrosia. Apparently, the previous Venusian queen, Syren, had really loved roses, and had decorated over an acre of land with bushes of roses of all the colors of nature. In the dim light, the white roses had an almost surreal glow to them, reflecting the light that hits them. The only thing in the garden that glowed brighter than the pure, white roses was Kimberly herself. The silver earrings, hair clasps, tiara, and lace on her dress made her shimmer, and the soft cape that trailed in the wind behind her made her look supernatural. She tried as hard as she could not to interrupt Tommy, who was still plucking petals off a pink rose laboriously. However, Tommy's senses have been trained by diligent karate practice and hundreds of fights against evil, so Kimberly's silent approach did not go unnoticed.
"Hello, Kim," he said quietly, not turning around. Kim stopped her approach and just looked at him.
"How'd you know it was me?" she asked.
"From the sound of your approach," Tommy explained, "The only three people I could think of that would come looking for me are you, Katherine, and Jason. Jason is a skilled marital artist, so he'd be far more quiet. Katherine may be a graceful dancer, but she's not sneaky. I would've heard her coming a mile away. You, on the other hand, are right between the two. And, you were coming really slowly, as if you weren't really sure if you wanted to."
"I... I was wondering if you'd... like to talk," Kim stammered, clasping her hands nervously.
"About what?" he asked, still not looking at her.
"Um, about what's been going on recently. I... uh... I'm really glad you and the guys came to my coronation."
"Of course we did," said Tommy, turning to her. He stood there for a few moments, gazing at her in awe. In the pale moonlight, with the silver and pink gown, she looked like an angel to him. "Uh, we're your friends, no matter what."
Kim smiled at him, even though she felt horrible inside. She had no idea how to instigate a conversation about there relationship, and she knew that Tommy wasn't the kind of person to do it for her.
"Tommy," she said quietly, "come for a walk with me?"
Tommy looked at her questioningly. Kim wracked her brain for a good reason.
"I'm really bored with these festivities, and I really just wanna get away for a few minutes. Besides, I haven't had much time to explore Venus Island. What d'ya say?"
Tommy shrugged. "Sure. Lead the way, Your Highness."
Kim paled at the title, and turned away from him, walking through the garden to the main gate of Ambrosia. Tommy followed her, snapping his helmet back on his head. Through his visor, he stared at Kimberly from behind, as if hypnotized by her sparkling dress and majestic form. His eyes watered slightly, and a sad smile crossed his face. Kimberly was crying outright, but not uttering a sound, for fear her voice would give out. She tried her best not to shudder or start sobbing, because she didn't want Tommy to see her in tears. I'm stronger than this! she thought, I have to keep composure here! Crying won't do me the least bit of good.
Soon, the silent couple was at the shore. Kimberly was surprised how quickly the long hike down the mountain passed, and she stopped at the shoreline, staring out at the sea. The gentle waves licked at her sandalled feet, and her head was tilted upwards to gaze at the stars. Tommy stood about two yards behind her, not uttering a sound. Kimberly almost began to wonder whether he was still behind her.
"Tommy," she whispered, "I'm sorry."
Her declaration was followed by nearly a full minute of uncomfortable silence.
"For what?" he answered finally.
"For being a fool. For breaking your heart. For breaking my heart."
"You mean the letter," said Tommy in a voice barely above a whisper, "Its okay. I mean, I can handle it. If you've found someone else, I'm happy for you. He's probably better for you than I could ever be. I'm just sorry I failed you. I wasn't good enough for you."
Kim spun around, tears streaming down her cheeks. Her eyes flashed with anger, and she stepped out of the water right up to Tommy.
"Are you crazy?" she shrieked, "I'm the jerk here! You never did anything but love me, and I just couldn't see it! You'd do anything for me, and I just didn't believe it!"
"What?" asked Tommy. Kim sighed.
"Look, I guess I'm a little paranoid when it comes to relationships. I mean, I've never really been in love before, and it was really a shock to my system. I don't think I realized how much you meant to me until I left Angel Grove. It really hurt not having you with me, to talk to every day, to hold me when I'm down, to lift me up when I fall. It scared me."
"But, if you loved me, why--?" Tommy stammered.
"Because long distance relationships never work. Whoever said 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' was severely mistaken. There are dozens of stories of relationships breaking up when the couple is separated. Renee broke up with her boyfriend when she moved to Florida from New Jersey, because he was cheating on her. My mother and father got divorced a year after my dad got that promotion, and was always on business trips."
"Oh, I get it," said Tommy darkly, "You just don't trust me! Is that it? You thought as soon as you boarded the plane, I'd be sneaking around behind your back! Am I right?!"
"No! That's just not it! I trust you, but... I just wanted you to be happy is all. I wasn't planning on returning to Angel Grove after the Pan-Globals. I would train for the Olympics, and then I'd move to Paris, and go to college there. It wouldn't be fair for me to ask you to wait for me, while I go off to another continent. Can you think of any relationship that could survive that amount of alienation?! You're better off with someone else. Especially now."
Kim turned away from Tommy, and covered her face with her hands. Tommy slowly took off his helmet, revealing a tear-streaked face. He gently touched her shoulders, and turned her around.
"You know I would've done it," he said softly, gazing into her eyes.
"Waited for you. We could've worked it out, figured out some way for us to be together! Not having you in my daily life was hard, but thinking you didn't love me anymore was far worse. The sting still lingers."
"I'm so sorry, Tommy. I know you must hate me for what I've done!"
"I could never hate you, Beautiful," Tommy whispered, "You mean the world to me."
"Still?" she choked, taking his hands into hers, "After all I've done to you?"
"Still. I've never stopped loving you, Kimberly Hart. Not for a moment."
"And I've always loved you, Thomas Oliver. Even though I have a lousy way of showing it."
Tommy smiled at her, and she smiled back. Ever so slowly, he leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips. They both closed their eyes, savoring the gentle touch of the other. When they parted, both of their eyes were glassy, with a mixture of happiness and sadness.
"So," said Tommy, taking Kim's hand, "what happens now?"
"I don't know," she admitted, squeezing his hand tightly, "I'm the queen of Venus Island, now. I can't stay in California with you, and you can't stay here with me. It's like we're destined to be apart."
"Not necessarily. We never know what our future may hold."
With that said, the couple began the hike back to Venus Island. Throughout their trek, their hands remained clasped together tightly, as if they were afraid to let go. Together, they strolled up the mountain, both of their faces beaming with serene happiness, as well as peace of mind and heart.