Water Runs Dry
Part One
By: Rachel D Dawson

William James Mitchell awakens to the sound of birds chirping. They sounded a great deal like the birds that always made nests in the large tree right outside his bedroom window back home in Angel Grove. But Billy knows that the sounds he's hearing aren't the birds in his backyard. Rather, its a recording, programmed to awaken the young scientist bright and early in the morning. The Aquitians have tried their best to make Billy's life on Aquitar as pleasant as possible. But, no matter how technologically advanced this oceanic planet is, there is just no way to make synthetic birdsong sound real.

Billy rose from his bed, and stretched. He then glanced out the full wall window, watching as schools of alien fish swam by. Billy is revered as a great hero here on this planet of scholars, and so when he came here to stay, Delphine, the leader of the Aquitian Rangers and powerful politician because of her rank, arranged for him to stay in one of the most elegant rooms in Triton, the capital city of Aquitar. Triton is known for its magnificent view, most significantly of the Azure Mountain Chain, the only group of mountains tall enough to actually reach above sea level, if only by a few hundred feet. Although at first the sight of these collosal mountains was breathtaking, now Billy would much rather rise to the sight of a sunrise. Its amazing how people take the inspirational beauty of a sunrise for granted, until its gone.

I wonder if that's how the rangers think of me, Billy thought silently, preparing to take a bath, I wonder if they miss me, now that I'm gone. I wonder if they even realized how they... took me for granted.

Billy isn't bitter about his lot in life. However, he cannot deny he feels short-changed. After all, he had been a Power Ranger from the beginning, fighting to preserve humanity against an invading evil. At first, he felt extremely awkward about being a superhero, but he soon grew into it, and used his role as a hero, as well as his unbreakable bond with his friends, to grow as a person. He felt he was at his peak when he, Jason, Kimberly, Trini, Zack, and Tommy fought Rita Repulsa on nearly a daily basis, and they always managed to succeed. But from there, things slowly went downhill.

First, Jason, Zack, and Trini left Angel Grove to attend the Peace Conference. This distressed Billy more than he could ever admit, because he lost three of his best friends. But they were more than friends--they saved him. Saved him from a life of solitude. They, along with Kimberly, welcomed him, a 'computer geek', for a lack of a better term, into their fold, without trying to change him, or mold him into someone he's not. They accepted him for who he was, and they respected and loved him. But without them, he couldn't help feeling alone. Rocky, Adam, and Aisha viewed Billy in a somewhat different light. They saw him as a veteran, someone to be respected from afar, or admired for his amazing intelligence. But, they weren't the closest of friends. And Kimberly and Tommy became closer and closer, and without knowing it, they managed to alienate Billy.

As time passed, things only got worse. Kimberly, Billy's closest friend for years, left Angel Grove to compete in the Pan-Global Games, and after a month or so, greater amounts of time passed between letters and phone calls. When Mastervile changed the rangers into children, Billy managed to find a way to return his body to its true age. He then began working from behind the scenes, and watched as his friends went on quests, finding meaning in their lives. But Billy didn't go on this soul quest, and so he didn't have a place on the Zeo team. Billy graciously gave his spot to Tanya, even though he knew he'd miss the Power. But, deep down, he also knew how a chasm had formed between him and his friends. They didn't see him as a friend anymore. They saw him as another Zordon, always in the Command Center, ready to come up with a solution to their problems. After a while, they began to ignore Billy completely, as if he was part of the Power Chamber. Although Billy didn't show it, he was extremely hurt by his friends' lack of sensitivity. But Kimberly, the most sensitive person he's ever known, was away in Florida. The team was different, and Billy was just a shadow of the past. A shadow in the Power Chamber.

But the Aquitians admired Billy in a different way. They weren't merely impressed by his intelligence, they also were impressed by his modesty, character, and gentleness. It was these qualities that attracted the attention of Cestria, a cousin of the Aquitian Ranger Cestro. Cestria truly cared about Billy, and it was obvious when she came to Earth as soon as she learned Billy was aging at a dangerous rate. She did everything in her power to help Billy, and it wasn't because of duty. It was out of love. And Billy soon learned that he cared a great deal for Cestria. She was special to him. She was worth leaving Angel Grove. After all, the rangers didn't seem to care much when Billy sent the message, explaining that he'd found happiness. And he was right. They never, not even once, tried to contact him after he left. Billy understood that saving the world took precedence, but that didn't mean they could just forget about him, and never leave a quick message, just to check in. It would only take a few moments.

Billy sighed and got dressed. He then walked back into his bedroom, and gazed out as the water. Maybe he could learn to love the view of the Azure mountains, and even the sound of the computer generated bird song. At least he was appreciated on Aquitar. Here, he is engaged to marry a beautiful, compassionate, respected physician, and he is also an honorary member of the Aquitian Rangers. He also is making a name for himself as a skilled computer scientist. As Billy zipped up his black and silver uniform, a soft chime rang from the door.

"Come in," Billy called, turning to face the door. The door automatically slid into the wall, and a short young woman with bright eyes and short brown hair stepped into the room, her hands clasped behind her back. She smiled warmly at Billy.

"Good morning, Billy," she said, "I trust you rested soundly?"

"Indeed, Cestria," Billy answered, "I'm slowly acclimating to the colder temperatures and lack of direct sunlight."

"I'm glad," said Cestria, "Although I admit, your home planet Earth is indeed lovely. When we visited twenty-two axis rotations ago, to attend the festivities at your former center of education, I was impressed by the warmth of the climate and beauty of the scenery. I would like to visit for longer periods of time, if only I weren't so dependent on Aquitian water."

"Perhaps in the future we'll be able to develop a way for Aquitians to survive on Earth longer."

"Meanwhile, we had best join the others for First Meal. Cestro and Corcus have returned from their mission to the Azure Peak, and they have many interesting findings to report. Shall we?"

"Let's," said Billy, taking Cestria's hand. Together, they walked down the tunnel, leading out of the residential dome, towards the larger dome, which is home to the meeting halls.

* * *

Meanwhile, not too far away from the shimmering aqua-blue planet of Aquitar, a large bronze space submarine flies through the vastness of space, quickly approaching its destination. This submarine is the vessel owned by the dreaded pirate queen Divatox. Divatox was, once upon a time, a princess of the planet Venus. But her thirst for power led her astray, to the point where she challenged her sister Naya for the throne. But Divatox's coup failed, and she was forced to leave the planet, never to return. In a blinding rage, Divatox, one of the most skilled enchantresses of the isle, cast a powerful spell, which caused all the water on the lush planet to evaporate completely. Without life-sustaining water, Venus became the dry, hot, uninhabitable planet it is today, and the Venusians were forced to leave their beloved planet. They inhabited a small, magical isle on the neighboring planet Earth, and from then on lived in relative peace. Divatox, however, never lost her lust for power, and even though she is presently feared throughout the galaxy, she isn't satisfied. And she won't be satisfied until she is absolute ruler of the Milky Way.

Presently, Divatox sits upon her captain's chair, leafing through an ancient book, written on paper made of an extremely durable Aquitian seaplant. She continues her search, twirling the end of her purple ponytail on her index finger, while her crew steers the ship.

"We're coming up to Aquitar," said Elgar, the navigator, "ETA... twenty minutes."

"Excellent," said Divatox, looking up from her book, "Soon, we'll be at the planet, with the Tympanus Sword in my hand."

"What's the Tympanus Sword, Auntie D?"

"Its only one of the most powerful weapons in existence! Eons ago, the powerful Eltarian wizard Tympanus created two mighty weapons, the Tympanus Staff and the Tympanus Sword. Both were created by powerful magic, and were given as gifts to the ruling families of Aquitar and Triforia, as part of a treaty which binded the three planets in an alliance of justice. The staff is still being used by the Triforians, and its passed down to the second child generation after generation. The eldest becomes king, while his sibling becomes the Gold Ranger, leader of the Triforian armies. But the Aquitians, being a race of peaceful scholars, had no need for such a devestating weapon. So, it was hidden somewhere on the planet, by the King's first advisor. The secret of the location of the Tympanus Sword is kept within the family line of the King's first advisor, so what we need to do is locate his closest living relative, and find out exactly where the Tympanus Sword is hidden. With that power, the universe will be mine!"

"But, what about the Aquitian Rangers?" asked Porto, the round scientist.

"I have a plan, that'll keep those annoying fish out of my hair! If all goes well, the Aquitian government will surrender the sword without a hassel, to save their pathetic lives!"

"The Aquitian Rangers have allies, Captian," continued Porto, "If you recall your last conversation with Queen Rita Repulsa, there are a team of Power Rangers in command of the legendary Zeo Crystal."

"You mean the Earth Rangers?" laughed Divatox, "Why in the name of evil would the Earth Rangers bother me? They have their own problems, with Rita and that hideous hubbie of hers. What was his name? Ed? Fred?"

"Zedd," said Porto, "He is the ruler of the Venusians, in case you forgot."

"I don't care," snapped Divatox, "If that weak Syren wants to be the pawn of some... creature, then so be it! I have plans for the rest of the universe. She can have that little rock on the Earth. Now, don't talk to me until we've arrived! I'm still searching through the first advisor's family tree!"

Elgar and Porto immediately returned to their stations, allowing the pirate queen to continue her search through her bound book. Fifteen minutes later, she finally locates the lineage she was looking for, and stands up from her throne, to begin pacing around the bridge.

"The family of Filleus," she said aloud, "according to this document, the last relative of the first minister is Ariel of Filleus. But this text is over a century old..."

"Ariel could not still be alive, Captain," said Porto, "Aquitians live to be about fifty Aquitian years, which is pretty comparable to Earth years."

"True. Ah, here we are!"

Divatox sat back down on her captain's chair, smiling as the image of Aquitar appeared on the main screen. She clasped her hands in anticipation, and turned to Elgar.

"Elgar! Bring us to the capital Triton! I have to speak with ruler of Aquitar. Steer for the Azure Mountain range. Its the only land mass above sea level, so it should be simple enough to find. Even for you."

Elgar nodded, and brought the ship down to the shimmering blue sphere.

* * *

A group of nearly twenty Aquitians stand at a rectangular table, each about a foot away from the table itself. Upon the table was an elegant spread of Aquitian delicacies, mostly various kinds of native fish, along with some sea plants, as well as the extremely rare "soil plants", which must be grown in dry green houses. At the head of the table is a young Aquitian man, with a royal purple cape and scarf wrapped around his head. To his left and right were empty spots, and beside them were Billy and Cestria, facing each other. Next in line were Delphine and Aurico. Beside Aurico was Tideus. The rest of the table was filled with distinguished aids of the young prince, as well as famed scientists and politicians. The room fell into silence as two figures entered through the large oval opening. One was dressed in a solid blue uniform, with helmet, and white boots and gloves. Beside him was another dressed in an identical black uniform. The two figures stood side by side, and simultaneously greeted the prince first, and then the other diners with the traditional Aquitian hand movements. The prince nodded his recognition, and the others returned the gesture. Then, both colored figures were immersed in blinding light. When the light faded, the colored uniforms were gone, leaving both young men donned in the loose black robes worn by Aquitian warriors. They then took their places beside the prince.

"Now that our guests of honor have arrived," said the prince, stepping towards the table, "we can begin our meal."

The other diners all stepped towards the table, and they immediately began serving themselves. Delphine, who was standing beside Billy, glanced at him curiously.

"You did not bring a seat this time," she noted aloud.

"True," said Billy, "As they say on Earth, 'when in Rome, do as the Romans'."

Delphine looked at Billy strangely, and then nodded.

"I believe I understand the phrase," she said, "Basically, since you are living amongst Aquitians, you feel it best to follow our customs--one of which being to stand at a meal table."

"We can fetch you a seat if you are uncomfortable, Billy," said Cestria. Billy smiled.

"Negative. I'll have to adjust to eating while standing sooner or later."

"So," said the prince, "how did your mission go, Cestro and Corcus?"

"Everything went smoothly, Prince Phaemon," announced Cestro, "We were unable to discover the reason for the recent tremors from the previously believed defunct volcano in the Azure Mountain Range, but we have accumulated a great amount of seismic readings and data. Now that we have returned to Triton, the geologists can study the material, and determine the cause for the recent volcanic activity."

"How long has the volcano been inactive?" asked Billy.

"Centuries," said Corcus, "Until recently, the volcano was so quiet, many young ones didn't even know that it was a volcano. But now, it is beginning to show signs of life. It is indeed peculiar."

"If the volcano does erupt, will that pose a threat to Triton, or any of the city-states?" asked the prince.

"It is uncertain," said Cestro, "Until the data is studied thoroughly, no conclusions can be reached."

Suddenly, the entire room began to quake violently. The startled Aquitians fell to the ground, and braced themselves as objects began falling from the table. Soon, the quaking ended, and the Aquitians rose to their feet.

"What was that?" asked the Prince, "Was it seismic activity, due to the volcano?"

"I... I do not think so, Majesty," said Corcus.

Billy walked over to the large window, and stared out into the vast blue ocean. He looked towards the towering Azure Mountain range, but some large object obstructed his view. He gazed at in intently.

"Cestria," he asked, "is that some kind of gargantuan fish?"

Cestria rose, and followed Billy's gaze towards the large object. She frowned.

"It is like nothing I've ever seen before," she said, "But it doesn't look like an animal. It looks more like... a machine?"

"Its turning towards us!" said Cestro, turning towards Phaemon, "The Prince must be protected at all costs!"

Billy watched in surprise as two narrow golden objects flew towards Triton from the alien craft. It was too late when he realized what they were.

"Everyone!" he cried, "Take cover!!"

Billy grabbed Cestria's arm and ducked beneath the dining table. The Aquitian Rangers surrounded the prince protectively, fearing shattering glass or falling objects would injure the monarch. Soon the two golden cylinders exploded, crushing the glass and allowing tons of water into one of the neighboring domes. Water gushed through the halls, flooding much of the city, and the dining hall itself was automatically sealed by closing doors, to keep those within safe.

"Everything shall be all right," said Aurico, trying to keep the people from panicking.

"Yes," said Delphine, "we are all okay."

"No you're not," said a low female voice. Everyone turned around, and saw a woman appear in mid air behind them. She was wearing a revealing leather dress and black leather boots to her thighs. On her face was a golden mask/crown, and her long black hair, streaked with purple, was tied back from her face in a tight ponytail. She had her hands on her hips, and smiled as she slowly descended to the floor.

"Do I know how to make an entrance, or what?" she said, walking over to the Prince. Delphine stepped in her path.

"Who are you?" she asked. The woman smiled, revealing perfect, pearly white teeth.

"Divatox," she declared, "the Pirate Queen!"

"What do you want here?" Prince Phaemon asked.

"I am looking for the Sword of Tympanus, and you're going to give it to me."

"I don't know where it is," he said, "and even if I did, I would never give such a destructive weapon to the likes of you!"

"Really?" said Divatox, her cold blue eyes beginning to glow silver, "Are you sure?"

Prince Phaemon's eyes began to glow silver as well, and his body stiffened. The rangers turned to him worriedly.

"Your Highness?!" asked Delphine in panic.

"Don't worry, Sweetie," chuckled Divatox, "he's not hurt. No man can fight off the charms of a Venusian enchantress. Not even the fish-folk on this drippy planet."

Divatox pushed Delphine aside, trying to get to the prince. The four remaining rangers moved in front of her.

"You will not lay a hand on the prince," said Cestro, folding his arms.

"But, I don't mean him any harm," she said sweetly, her eyes once again glowing silver, "I just want to talk is all."

To Delphine's horror, Aurico, Cestro, Corcus, and Tideus stepped away, allowing Divatox to come dangerously close to the reigning sovereign of the entire planet. Delphine leapt to her feet.

"It's Morphin Time!" Delphine declared, "White Aquitar Ranger Power!!"

Delphine was immersed in bright white light, and transformed into the White Ranger. She turned towards Divatox and the prince.

"Don't come to close, White Ranger," snapped Divatox, "I won't kill him. But don't press the matter!"

Delphine warily stayed back, and clenched her fist angrily. Divatox chuckled and gazed back at Phaemon.

"Are you familiar with a woman named Ariel of Filleus?" she asked him.

"No, My Queen," he answered dryly. Divatox's confident grin fell.

"Do you know anyone of the house of Filleus?!" she snapped angrily. She then turned around, allowing her icy silver stare to hypnotize every man in the room. "Does anyone here know of the house of Filleus?!"

"I do," said Cestro dully. Divatox turned away from the entranced prince, and smiled at the blue Aquitian Ranger.

"Oh, really?" he asked, "Do you know Ariel?"

"Ariel was my great-grandmother," Cestro said dully, "She died before I was born, but her son, my grandfather, told me of her."

"So, you are of the house of Filleus," said Divatox, grinning widely, "Perfect! Tell me, where is the Sword of Tympanus?"

"I do not know of the sword. It is only a legend."

Divatox snarled and pushed Cestro away from her angrily. Cestro flew back, and crashed into the dining table. Delphine siezed the opportunity to attack, and leapt at the pirate queen. But Divatox held up her hand, and Delphine was suspended in mid air. Divatox rolled her eyes and floated up, so she was eye to eye with Delphine.

"Big mistake, Fish-Girl," Divatox snarled, "No one crosses Divatox and lives."

The White Ranger fell to the ground, and Divatox continued to rise until she nearly touched the ceiling. Her eyes flashed silver, and suddenly, all the men in the room were aware.

"Hear me, Aquitians!" Divatox roared in a mind-rattling voice, "You have exactly one hour to hand over the Sword of Tympanus. If not, I will destroy this entire planet. Now, I'll give you a small taste of my powers!"

With that, Divatox vanished from the chamber. Delphine rose to her feet, and powered down. The Aquitian Rangers regrouped around the Prince, who was touching his brow.

"Are you well, Majesty?" asked Aurico.

"I am," he said, "but Divatox's threat..."

"Can she truly destroy the whole planet?" asked Corcus, "It doesn't seem like she had a fleet of warriors to aid her."

"She gave us an hour," said Delphine, "and we should use this time to find out as much as we can about Divatox."

"How?" asked Tideus, "I have never even heard of a race of beings called 'Venusian'."

"I have," said Billy, "although I don't know much about them. But, the Zeo Rangers have encountered them before, and one of my friends back home is actually part Venusian."

"Then we must make contact with Zordon of Eltar," said Cestro, "Perhaps he can help us."

"Quickly," said Aurico, "Let us make contact with Earth."

The five Aquitian Rangers hurried towards the laboratory, the only place on Triton with the technology sufficient for sending a transmission all the way to Earth, which was hundreds of light years away. Billy was about to follow them, when Cestria reached out and clasped his hand.

"Cestria?" he asked, turning around. She looked up into his eyes sadly.

"Billy," she said, "Aquitar is in great danger, and its up to me to stop it. You must come with me."