The five Aquitian Rangers stood in a row, with Delphine in the center. "Its Morphin Time!" she cried, "White Aquitar Ranger Power!"
"Blue Aquitar Ranger Power!" bellowed Cestro.
"Red Aquitar Ranger Power!" yelled Aurico.
"Black Aquitar Ranger Power!" called Corcus.
"Yellow Aquitar Ranger Power!" shouted Tideus.
The five Aquitian Rangers instantly morphed, and the Blue Ranger turned to Cestria, his cousin. "We shall teleport directly into the Battle Borgs," he said.
"But, you always pilot the Battle Borgs telepathically!" she said in surprise.
"True," said Tideus, "but we cannot properly control the Battle Borgs at so great a distance as outer space. And that is where Divatox is presently."
"But, you have never fought from within the Borgs!"
"That is why I am asking you to monitor us," said Cestro, "If anything goes wrong, teleport us back to Triton."
"I shall," she said. The five rangers then vanished in five bright beams of light. Cestria turned on her monitor, and watched as the five humanoid Battle Borgs launched from within the seafloor, and quickly shot through the deep ocean towards outer space. She sighed deeply, and then turned to another screen, which showed the entire sphere of Aquitar. The water levels were continuing to recede. Cestria chewed on her lower lip nervously.
At least the water isn't completely gone, Cestria thought, Scans show that the atmosphere is becoming saturated. I deduce that the spell first evaporates all the water, and somehow prevents the clouds from raining. Then, the clouds somehow disperse into outer space, leaving the planet desolate. There must be a way to force the rainclouds to shower. But how--?
* * *
Meanwhile, the five Battle Borgs race into outer space. The White Battle Borg flies in the front, with the Blue Borg bringing up the rear. The White Ranger turns on the intership communications relay, so she can speak to the other Aquitian Rangers.
"Rangers," she said, "we are approaching the bronze Space Submarine. Prepare all weapons for firing."
^I read, Delphine,^ said the Red Ranger.
^Weapons locked,^ said the Black Ranger.
^Affirmative,^ said the Yellow Ranger.
^Delphine,^ said the Blue Ranger, ^I'm having difficulty maintaining a target lock, as well as communications...^
"What's the matter Cestro?"
^The Blue Borg is low on energy!^ he said in surprise, ^The stored energy is down to sixty percent, and still dropping!^
^Could there be a leak somewhere in the energy pathway?^ suggested the Yellow Ranger.
^Negative, Tideus. There shows no malfunction in any system... just a lack of power.^
"Perhaps you should return to Aquitar, Cestro," suggested Delphine, "You can determine exactly what is wrong with the Blue Borg. I'd rather not risk it."
^Very well,^ said Cestro, turning around. The four remaining Battle Borgs continued to the space submarine.
"Prepare to fire at the wings of the ship, to disable it," ordered Delphine, "On my mark--!"
* * *
Inside the space submarine, inside a large silver chamber, is Divatox. She is sitting cross-legged on her large bed, her eyes squeezed tightly. In front of her is an ancient book of spells. She had finished casting the first stage of the dehydration spell, which causes all the water to evaporate into clouds that would not recycle the water into rain. The second phase of the spell is when the clouds containing all the water pass through the planet's atmosphere, forever leaving the planet. Divatox is busy studying the ancient encantation, to make sure she recites it flawlessly. She would begin casting the second phase of the spell shortly.
"Soon," she whispered, opening her ice-blue eyes, "it shall be time to cast the second phase of the spell. Then, Aquitar's fate is eternally sealed! I think I'll approach Phaemon once again, just in case he has the Tympanus Sword for me. That'll make it much easier than if I have to go find it myself. That is only a last resort."
Suddenly, the entire ship began to quake violently. Divatox fell off her bed, and landed unceremonially on the carpetted floor. She scowled angrily and sat up, flinging her long ponytail out of her face.
"ELGAR!!!!" she roared furiously, rising to her feet. Moments later, the navigator appeared at her chamber door.
"You roared, Auntie D?"
"What's going on?" she asked, straightening her velvet cape.
"Four zords have flown through the Aquitian atmosphere, and are attacking us. The first volley damaged the ship's wings."
"The Aquitian Rangers just don't know when to quit, eh?" she said with a wicked smile, "Well, I'll show them not to mess with the Queen of the Galaxy!"
Divatox stormed out of her room, with Elgar at her heels. She marched right onto the bridge of the ship, and stood with her hands on her hips in front of her chair.
"Damage report!" she bellowed. Rygog cringed, and then read off the screen.
"Um, left wing inoperational," he said, "but right wing has sustained minimal damage."
"Fire the acid torpedos!"
Rygog nodded, and looked down at the weapons console. There were four colored buttons-- red, blue, yellow and green. The red button sent out the torpedos that magically made creatures grow. The blue button launched explosive torpedos. The yellow button launched the new experimental drill torpedo. Finally, the green button launched acid torpedos.
"Firing torpedos!" Rygog called, launching two torpedos. They both converged, and flew at the White Borg at blinding speeds. Delphine managed to destroy one torpedo with her sword, but the other struck the zord in the stomach.
"Rangers!" Delphine cried hysterically, "The acid is eating its way through my Borg's outer hull!"
* * *
Inside the undersea city Triton, Cestria gasps in horror as the White Borg is half coated with a glowing green substance. It was plain to see the Borg was damaged seriously. Suddenly, a flash of blue light heralds the arrival of Cestro, the Blue Aquitian Ranger.
"What is the matter?" asked Cestria, turning to face her cousin.
"I was sent back because of a malfunction in the Blue Borg," Cestro explained, removing his helmet, "I piloted it back to the hangar, and did a thorough diagnostic. The water supply within the Borg has been nearly completely depleted!"
"Of course!" said Cestria, "All five Battle Borgs are powered by an element-- water, fire, wind, earth, and light. Each Borg converts these elements into raw energy, which is used to operate all the Borg's functions. In your case, the depletion of water means that even the water energy that runs the Blue Borg has evaporated. Is it competely inoperable?"
"Negative. However, the energy readings continue to recede at an alarming rate. It would be extremely dangerous to use the Borg in battle, because it is impossible to predict how long it can last."
Cestro walked to Cestria's side, and glanced at the computer screen showing the planet's condition.
"The water supply still decreases," he muttered.
"Yes, but I discovered something interesting," Cestria began, "The water takes the form of clouds, but for some reason, the clouds do not reach a maximum amount of water, and burst. However, the clouds do not disappear, or in any way leave the planet's atmosphere. If we can discover a way to force the clouds to rain, Aquitar is saved!"
"It is most difficult to fight magic with science," Cestro said, rubbing his chin in thought, "mostly because magic breaks all the laws of science. Aquitar is a planet of scientific achievement, not witchcraft. The only magical power here is that of the Power Rangers."
"As well as the Sword of Tympanus," Cestria added.
"Do you think it can reverse the spell Divatox cast?"
"I do not know, but it is a creation meant for healing. Perhaps it is within its power to negate evil magic, and heal on a greater level."
"Have you heard anything from William?" Cestro asked.
"Not yet," Cestria sighed.
"Very well," said Cestro, snapping his helmet back on, "I shall make sure the Prince is safe. You monitor the battle, as well as see keep an ear out for William and the Earth Rangers. Once I have determined Phaemon is safe, I shall return, and together we can study the spell Divatox cast. Perhaps we can find a scientific means of breaking her enchantment."
Cestria nodded and watched as her cousin ran out of the laboratory, to check on the monarch. Cestria then turned back to the screen, and watched the battle taking place above. She cringed when she saw the Red Borg knocked back by an exploding torpedo. The force of the blast pushed the Red Borg into the Yellow Borg, causing both to spin uncontrollably towards Aquitar. The White Borg was still a little slow, and it had a gaping hole in its abdomen. But, at least it was still functioning. The Black Borg opened fire on the submarine, and the sub sustained some damage. However, strange metallic tentacles stretched forth from the sub, and wrapped around the Black Borg before it had a chance to move. Cestria could see the bright light of thousands of volts of electricity flow through the tentacles and into the Black Borg. The White Borg tried to break the sub's grip by slashing the bronze tentacles, but it only caused the electicity to also pour into the White Borg through the sword. Both the White and Black Borgs were powerless, and the Red and Yellow Borgs finally regained control, before falling completely through Aquitar's atmosphere. Cestria sighed deeply.
"The rangers cannot keep this up much longer," she decided, "I must bring them back to base."
* * *
Meanwhile a small silver submarine lands on the sea floor in front of the largest mountain in the Azure Mountain Range. Inside this small craft is Billy Mitchell, who is busy strapping on his oxygen tanks. Since Aquitar doesn't have any species who cannot live under water, they have no technology for such ones to breathe underwater. Therefore, simple Earth scuba equipment is his only means of surviving outside Triton itself. Although it is difficult to don the heavy equipment by himself, he manages expertly. After all, he has gone scuba-diving dozens of times with his friends back home before even coming to Aquitar.
"Now, its time for the quest to really begin," he said to himself, putting on his goggles. In one hand, he carries a harpoon gun, which is the only weapon he has that can fire underwater. In the other hand he holds a large, fist-sized pearl. Once all his equipment was in place, Billy closed and sealed the door of the cockpit, preventing flooding. He then put in his mouthpiece, and pressed another button, slowly filling the small chamber he was in with ocean water. Once the chamber was filled, the door opened, and Billy swam out. He turned on the flashlight on his waist, which filled the dark waters with bright white light. He surveyed the slopes of the Azure Mountains with his eyes, and then swam up off the ocean floor, where his sub was parked. He floated in front of the rocks, and held out the small pearl. Once again, a black hole appeared on its surface, and light shone from the hole, pointing to the base of the mountain. Billy followed the light beam, and touched the spot on the rock where the light hit. He traced his fingers along the surface, and found a small crevice, about the size of a penny. He placed his index finger into the crevice, and he felt a jolt of energy. Billy backed away in surprise when the crevice grew larger, until it was about the size of a porthole. Billy tried to squeeze in, but his oxygen tanks made him too large to fit through.
I only have one option, he decided, taking a deep breath, and its certainly a risk!
Billy unstrapped the oxygen tanks, and turned the valve off. He let them sink to the ocean floor, and then squeezed through the hole in the mountain. He found himself in a pool of clear fresh water, with a light source above. Billy followed the light source, and was surprised to break out of the water. He gratefully took a breath, and looked around the strange chamber he found himself in. It was made of stone, which seemed to be covered in a silver metal. The source of light was a large torch, flickering with orange-yellow flames, which was attached to the wall beside a flight of stairs. Billy climbed out of the water, and took off his goggles to get a better look.
"Its strange that the water from outside didn't flow into this chamber and flood it," he mused aloud, "The only possibility is some kind of force-field that let me through, but kept the ocean water out. That would keep this fresh water unpolluted by salt water. Amazing."
Billy walked over to the stair case, and noticed that they led upwards, into an all-consuming darkness. In fact, the only source of light was the bright flames of the silver torch. Billy looked down at his waist, and frowned when he noticed his flashlight wasn't working. He tried to turn it on again, but it wouldn't light.
"I suppose I am to bring the torch with me," he said, glancing at his hands. In one hand he carried the Eye of Tympanus, which served as the compass to find this amazing chamber within the collosal mountain. In the other hand was his harpoon gun, his only source of protection against whatever may be awaiting him. He had to leave one behind to carry the torch.
"The Eye has brought me this far," Billy decided aloud, putting his harpoon gun on the silver floor, "and from the look of things, I'm not meant to be armed while going through this mission."
Billy took the torch in his free hand, and slowly climbed the massive, narrow staircase.
* * *
Cestria slammed her fist against the computer console in exhasperation. The four Battle Borgs were faring miserably against Divatox's heavily armmed submarine, and with the Blue Battle Borg out of the fight, there was no way they'd gain the upper hand. Also, the Power Rangers of Earth, who offered to come to Aquitar's assistance, were still light years away. It would take hours for them to reach Aquitar, even at warp speed. Cestria knew the Aquitian Rangers couldn't hold the fight for that long.
"They entrusted me to teleport them back to Triton if their chances seemed bleak," she recalled out loud, activating the communicator, "Delphine. Tideus. Corcus. Aurico. This is Cestria. Do you read me?"
^Yes,^ answered Delphine.
^Affirmative,^ said Tideus.
^Barely,^ commented Corcus.
^Go ahead, Cestria,^ said Aurico.
"Aquitian Rangers, you cannot last against Divatox's submarine for much longer. The longer you remain in battle, the more serious damage is done to your Battle Borgs. I must insist you return to Aquitar immediately. Prepare for emergency teleport."
Cestria typed in a few commands, and watched the screen. The four Zords vanished from the battle scene, circling Aquitar in outer space. Soon, four bright flashes of light heralded the arrival of the Red, White, Black, and Yellow Aquitian Rangers. The four simultaneously removed their helmets, and joined Cestria at the computer screen.
"Where is Cestro?" asked Delphine.
"He went to insure Prince Phaemon's safety," answered Cestria.
"That is an excellent idea," said Tideus, "however, he is the expert on the Battle Borgs. He must aid in their repair. We must be at full power when the Earth Rangers arrive. They will need our help to defeat Divatox."
"I agree," said Corcus, "but we cannot leave the Prince unguarded. Now that no one is battling Divatox, she may strike Triton. Or the Prince specifically."
"Very well," said Delphine, "Aurico and I shall guard the Prince and the rest of the council. Tideus and Corcus shall assist Cestro in the repair of the Battle Borgs. Cestria--"
"I would like to remain here, Delphine," interrupted the young physician, "The laboratory is the only place on Triton with a communications system advanced enough to reach Zordon as well as the Earth Rangers in transit. Also, I would like to keep an ear out for Billy."
"You should go somewhere safe," said Aurico, "This laboratory is the highest dome in Triton. It is an easy target, if Divatox should attack."
"Then I shall take the chance," said Cestria defiantly, "Someone must remain here. Besides, I am trying to figure out a way to negate the dehydration spell Divatox cast."
"I shall stay with you, then," said Tideus, "I can be of more assistance to you than to Cestro and Corcus."
"Let's be off, then," said Delphine, as the White, Red, and Black Rangers vanished in streaks of bright light.
* * *
Divatox laughs triumphantly, and rises to her feet. "Viva la Diva!" she declares, throwing her hands up, "The Aquitian Rangers have called it quits! Now, no one stands in my way!"
"So, what are ya gonna do now, Auntie D?" asked Elgar.
"Finish casting the second phase of the dehydration spell," she said simply, standing up, "Everyone, remain on standby. Contact me as soon as anything happens."
"Aye, Captain!" all three henchmen said. Divatox nodded her approval, and left the bridge, heading for her bed chamber. Once she reached her room, she looked around in disgust. All her neatly arranged beauty products that lined her vanity were strewn about randomly, and all her clothing and other belongings were in disarray. Divatox growled.
"The fight with the rangers caused the ship to shake, throwing all my stuff around," she snarled, throwing her pillows to the ground, "Where is the spell book--?"
Her eyes widened when she saw the ancient text on the floor, underneath a economy sized bottle of nail polish remover. Her fists tightened when she picked up the bottle, which was now empty. The entire contents of the bottle spilled on the spellbook, smearing the text into an illegible mess.
"NO!" she barked, "I can't cast the rest of the spell! I don't remember the exact words!"
Divatox snatched up the spellbook, and hurried back to the bridge. This is the only copy of the dehydration spell in existence! I must salvage this book!
She steps through the gate, and marches right to Porto, the brains of her operation.
"Back so soon?" he asked.
"Shut up and tell me if you can restore the text in this book," she ordered, handing him the smeared text. Porto leafed through the pages, shaking his head.
"I can run a restoration program on the computer, and print you a new copy--"
"Fine," Divatox interrupted, "Hop to it then!"
"--but, it'll take several weeks to complete the process."
"Several weeks ?!"
"Well, it is a rather large book, Captain."
"Just restore these three pages," Divatox said, tearing the dehydration spell out of the leather-bound volume, "and make it snappy. The longer we delay, the more likely the Fish Rangers will launch another attack. I want to destroy that planet, get the Sword of Tympanus, and get outta here."
"Computer restoration is a very delicate process," Porto explained, "Even though only three pages are here, the computer has to hypothesize the words that were originally present, and run various syntax and semantic tests to make sure the hypthesized words make sense--"
"Please get to the point," Divatox growled.
"I'll need at least five hours to make sure the spell is perfect."
Divatox rolled her eyes, and folded her arms. "Fine. You have five hours, and not a minute more. Now, get going! And don't speak to me until you're done."
"Yes, Captain," said Porto, turning back to his station, "I can do it here, if you'd like."
"Fine," she said, sitting back on her captain's chair. Porto immediately got to work, feeding the three pages into the computer.
"Five hours," Divatox muttered, tapping her chin, "We need to buy ourselves time. Rygog!"
"Fire the torpedos!"
"Where?" he asked, shrugging.
"Good question," Divatox said, twirling her ponytail over her index finger, "Where would a torpedo have the most devestating affect? Elgar, bring up a visual of Triton on the main viewer."
"You got it, Auntie D," he replied, typing a list of commands into the main computer. Divatox stepped toward the screen and studied the layout of the underwater capital. She walked right up to the screen, and touched her index finger to the highest pod in the complex.
"Here is your target," she said finally, "the main laboratory. Its the highest dome, which means it'll sustain damage easier, and if we're lucky, we'll be able to pick off some of Aquitar's head scientists, and maybe even a ranger or two. Also, its the communications hub of the entire planet. If the Aquitians do intend to call for help, they can't do it from here. Fire at will."
Elgar turned to his aunt in confusion. "Who's W--"
"DON'T even say it!" she yelled, her ice blue eyes flashing. Elgar cringed and remained silent. Rygog shook his head in disbelief, and turned to the weapons display.
"Torpedos away," he said, pressing the blue button. Two sleek bronze torpedoes streaked from the space submarine, aimed for their target.
* * *
Inside the laboratory, Cestria continues to study the data of the planet's atmosphere, taken from satellites surrounding the planet.
"Nearly 48% of the ocean has evaporated," she read off the screen, "and the entire percentage is accounted for in the cloud cover around the planet. This means Divatox has not yet dispersed the clouds."
"So, there is still time," said Tideus, the Yellow Aquitian Ranger, "The spell is not yet irreversible."
"But how do we make the clouds rain? They are magical in nature, so--"
Suddenly, red lights flash around the laboratory. Cestria gasps, and switches the view on the main screen.
"What is happening?" asked Tideus.
"The alarms have sounded," Cestria said, "We are under attack! Look!"
On the viewscreen, two small bronze cylinders quickly approached the underwater complex. Tideus frowned, and strapped his helmet back on.
"The torpedos are heading directly for us!" he yelled, "We must leave immediately."
Cestria nodded, and the two hurried across the spacious laboratory. But, they didn't reach the exit in time. One of the torpedoes exploded beneath them, destroying the pillars that held the elevated pod nearly a kilometer above the sea floor. The dome quickly began sinking, shaking everything inside, and causing both the Yellow Ranger and Cestria to fall helplessly. The second torpedo smashed into the lab itself, punching a hole in the ceiling, sending tons of salt water into the chamber.
"We've got to get out of here!" yelled Tideus, "The water will short out the computers! They weren't meant to be submerged!"
Cestria tried to rise to her feet, but the main computer exploded, throwing the young scientist into the concrete wall on the other end of the lab. Tideus waded through the rising water to Cestria's side. She was face down in the water, unmoving.
"Cestria! Do you hear me?" he called, lifting her into his arms. She didn't respond. Tideus frowned under his helmet, and looked out the wall window. He gasped in horror as he saw the seafloor getting dangerously close.
"If we remain here, we will certainly be crushed on impact," he said aloud, "Our only chance is to swim for it!"
Tideus threw a mighty kick at the glass, shattering it with his enhanced strength. He mustered all his strength, and fought against the water pressure, swimming outside of the dome while still carrying the unconscious Cestria. He swam upwards, and watched as the laboratory crashed into the seafloor.
Our best chance is to get back inside Triton via the Battle Borg hangar, he thought, swimming across the complex to the bunker under the seafloor. He removed his glove, and touched his hand to the fingerprint scanner. His identity was verified, and the small gate opened, allowing Tideus and Cestria access to the underground facility. He peaked up in a pool of water, where he saw the five gargantuan Battle Borgs standing. He swam to the edge of the pool, and pulled himself and Cestria out of the water. Tideus breathed heavily, and saw Cestro and Corcus standing on a hoverpad, welding a gash in the upper leg of the Red Battle Borg.
"Cestro!" Tideus called, "Corcus!"
Both Aquitian Rangers turned around, and their eyes widened when they saw their teammate and Cestria down by the main computer console.
"Tideus," said Cestro, programming the hoverpad to descend, "what happened?"
"Divatox destroyed the laboratory," Tideus explained, "We've been cut off from long-range communications, as well as teleportation. Fortunately, we still have the zord hangar."
"Cestria has serious wounds, including a broken leg, deep cuts, and a concussion," Cestro said solemnly, "She needs medical assistance."
"Teleport her to the medical wing," suggested Corcus.
"We can't," said Cestro, "We have to reserve power, so I cut off all systems to divert power to the repair of the zords. It'll take some time to turn the teleporter back on."
"You should turn it on anyway," said Tideus, "Now that the laboratory has been destroyed, this teleporter is the only one remaining in Triton. I shall take her to the medical wing."
"Thank you," said Cestro, as the Yellow Ranger gently picked up Cestria, and hurried out of the hangar. Cestro immediately activated the teleportation system, and began rerouting energy to that system. "I shall contact Delphine," said Corcus, "Now that Divatox has attacked Triton, nowhere is safe above the sea floor. She must bring Prince Phaemon and the rest of the court here. Also, we must regroup."
* * *
On Earth's Moon, Lord Zedd sits upon his throne. Scorpina, Goldar, and Rito Revolto wait patiently before the throne, and over a dozen Tenga Warriors squawk and shuffle about behind them. Rita stands beside Zedd's throne, tapping her foot impatiently.
"What on Earth are you waiting for, Zeddie?" she shrieked angrily, "Send the troops!"
"Patience, Rita," he said calmly, "Finster's preparing a little surprise for Earth."
As if on cue, Finster walked into the throne room. He bowed to Zedd and Rita, and stepped beside the entrance.
"Okay, boys, you may come in," he called. Dozens of Finster's famous Putty Patrolers marched into the room. Each was a dark grey, with black stripes on their shoulders and chests. Rita's eyebrow rose skeptically, and she rolled her eyes.
"I can't believe you are sending those things to Earth!" she barked, "The Power Rangers were able to defeat them without even morphin! Just because the Zeo Rangers are away on a mission doesn't mean the rest of the planet is comprised of push-overs!"
"That is true," said Finster, "but my Putty Patrolers are the only troops we have at our disposal that we have in unlimited supply, my Queen. Lord Zedd's Putties may be more durable than my original batches, but they deplete his magical energy. Also, they have a weak spot that can be easily exploited. Finally, these aren't ordinary Putties. I found a wad of Super Putty remaining in my laboratory. It wasn't enough to make a full batch of Super Putties, so I mixed it in with the standard putty. These Putties are stronger than Zedd's Putties, as well as more durable."
"Don't you think we should send a monster?" asked Rita.
"Why? I think Goldar, Rito, and Scorpina, aided by legions of Putties and Tengas, are quite capable of destroying Angel Grove. Especially considering the Power Rangers are gone. We will raze their beloved home to the ground, capture their loved ones, and eliminate the Command Center. We'll start by destroying Angel Grove itself, and hording the citizens as captives. Goldar!"
"You are in charge of this operation. Try to keep casualties to a minimum, but destruction to a maximum."
"As you wish," growled Goldar.
* * *
In the Power Chamber, the Venusian Guardians-- Renee Ryan, Dalal, Sophia, and Jezebel, patiently wait for something to happen. Their leader Kimberly, on the other hand, is pacing around the Power Chamber nervously, with her hands clenched behind her back.
"Zordon," she said, "why hasn't Tommy contacted us?"
"PERHAPS HE DOESN'T FEEL IT IS NECESSARY," said Zordon, "WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP TRACK OF THE ZEO RANGERS' TRAVEL, AND SO FAR THEY HAVE NOT ENCOUNTERED ANY DANGER."
"Its been hours !" moaned Kimberly, stretching her arms.
"It has been exactly nineteen hours, thirty-eight minutes, and twelve seconds since the Zeo Rangers departed," said Alpha 5.
"So, how much longer will it be 'til they reach Aquitar?"
"APPROXIMATELY FOUR MORE HOURS. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD REST, KIMBERLY. IF LORD ZEDD SHOULD ATTACK, YOU AND YOUR TROOPS SHOULD BE WELL-RESTED."
"I'm too worried to sleep," Kimberly muttered, a frown crossing her face, "My friends have a big challenge ahead of them..."
"I'm sure the Power Rangers have fought aliens tons of times," said Renee reassuringly, "They can take care of themselves. Why worry?"
"Firstly, the Megazord wasn't designed for battle either in the ocean or in outer space," Kim said, "It has always been used on land. The rangers aren't used to fighting in the environment they are going to, and they are fighting Divatox. She has destroyed planets, including her own. No one could be as wicked as that. And I can't help but feel something horrible has happened."
"But the rangers haven't even gotten to Aquitar yet!" said Alpha.
"I know, but still... I just can't shake the feeling..."
"Zordon," said Sophia, standing up, "perhaps we should contact the Aquitians, to ease Her Majesty's mind?"
"AN EXCELLENT IDEA," said Zordon, "ALPHA, SEND OUT A SIGNAL TO AQUITAR."
"You got it Zordon," said Alpha, "I'll patch it into the Viewing Globe."
Kimberly turned to the globe, and frowned when the only thing coming through was static. She turned back to Zordon.
"What does that mean?"
"THE AQUITIANS ARE NOT ACCEPTING THE COMMUNIQUE."
"That can't be good news," Jezebel said quietly.
"ALPHA, SEND A MESSAGE TO THE ZEO MEGAZORD. PERHAPS THEY ARE BETTER ABLE TO CONTACT THE AQUITIANS, SINCE THEY ARE MUCH CLOSER."
"Good idea, Zordon," said Alpha, typing in the commands. The image of static gave way to view of the cockpit of the Super Zeo Megazord, with the Red, Green, Pink, Yellow, and Blue Rangers all at their posts.
^What's up, Zordon?^ asked the Red Ranger.
"TOMMY, WE ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY SENDING A MESSAGE TO THE AQUITIAN RANGERS. HAVE YOU HAD THE SAME PROBLEM?"
^We haven't sent them a message in a few hours,^ said Tanya, ^but I can try to page them now.^
Everyone waited as Tanya turned sent a message to the Aquitian Rangers on Triton. No one answered the beacon.
^No answer,^ she said quietly.
^That's bad,^ said Adam, ^Even if the Aquitian Rangers are fighting Divatox, Cestria and Billy should be around to answer the call.^
^Is there anything we can do, Zordon?^ asked Katherine.
"NO. JUST CONTINUE TO AQUITAR. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE SPELL DIVATOX CAST ON THE PLANET IS AFFECTING LONG-DISTANCE COMMUNICATIONS. PERHAPS WHEN YOU ARE CLOSER, YOU WILL GET THROUGH."
^Let's hope so,^ said Rocky.
^So, have you guys heard anything from Zedd and Rita yet?^ asked Tanya.
"Nope," said Kimberly, "things've been pretty quiet around here."
^Good,^ said Tommy, ^and hopefully, they'll stay that way. Megazord out.^
The screen went blank, and Kimberly ran a hand through her caramel locks. "Now I'm really starting to worry about Billy," she sighed.
Suddenly, the alarms scream to life. All five Guardians stand in a row, and look up to Zordon.
"What is happening?" asked Dalal.
"THE SENSORS SHOW THAT AN ARMY OF LORD ZEDD AND RITA REPULSA'S SERVANTS HAVE ARRIVED IN DOWNTOWN ANGEL GROVE."
"Excuse me," said Renee, "but did you say an army ?!"
"Aye yi yi!" shrieked Alpha.
"AN ARMY. TURN YOUR ATTENTION TO THE VIEWING GLOBE."
The five women and Alpha turn around, and witness Scorpina, Goldar, and Rito Revolto guiding a legion of Tengas and Putty Patrolers through the crowded streets. The villains laugh maniacally while the populace runs and screams in panic at the invasion. Kimberly's face hardens, and she puts her hands on her hips.
"Zedd must be planning on taking over the entire world while the rangers are gone!" she cried. "Starting with Angel Grove," said Jezebel.
"How many creatures are there, Zordon?" asked Sophia.
"THE SCANNERS SHOW FOURTEEN TENGA WARRIORS, AND SIXTY-SEVEN PUTTY PATROLERS."
"You can be sure there're more where those came from," said Renee quietly.
"Well, ladies, let's get going," said Kimberly, "Zedd's counting on the fact that there's no one left to protect Angel Grove. We're going to prove him wrong."
"Right!" said the four Guardians, and all five women vanished from the Power Chamber in streaks of pink, orange, gold, turquoise, and lavender light.
* * *
Inside the Azure Mountain Range beneath the receeding oceans of Aquitar, Billy continues to climb the narrow staircase. He is sweating profusely in his insulated wetsuit, since he has been ascending the stairs for over an hour, and the air has gotten increasingly hot and humid.
"I wonder if this is some kind of test of my stamina," Billy mused aloud, wiping the sweat off his forehead. He sat down on the step to catch his breath, when suddenly, he felt a breeze. His head perked up, and he gazed into the darkness before him.
"There must be an exit up there somewhere," he said, resuming his climb with newfound strength. As he suspected, a small, dim light was at the end of the staircase, and once he reached it, he found a small hole, about two feet in diameter.
"Whoever built this chamber must be extremely small," Billy muttered, squeezing his body through the hole. He found himself inside a large chamber of rock. The far wall was a rather jagged wall, and there was an open window at the very top of the wall. Billy frowned as he estimated the height of the wall.
"At least thirty meters," he whispered to himself, "and there is no rope to help me scale the wall. I guess I'll have to climb up without help."
Billy blew out the torch, tucked the Eye of Tympanus under his chin, and by the dim light of the chamber, began to climb the wall by grabbing onto the rocks that were sticking out slightly. After he climbed about two meters, he felt his pulse quicken, and his palms sweat.
Fear of heights has always plagued Trini, not me, he thought, More likely, I am experiencing a fear of the fact that I have no idea what awaits me atop this cliff.
As Billy ascended, the wall got smoother and smoother, and he had difficulty grabbing hold of the wall. Once Billy was about halfway up the cliff, he made the mistake of looking down. To his shock, the floor that was beneath him previously separated down the middle, revealing a pool of molten lava. Billy chewed his lower lip as he watched the floor disappear completely, leaving only the bubbling magma beneath him. The magma filled the chamber with intense heat, flickering red light, and powerful fumes that made Billy's stomach churn. He cast his eyes back to the wall he was climbing , and took a deep breath. One mistake could mean doom, and he realized that. He also realized that everyone was counting on him. Cestria was counting on him. As he climbed, instead of thinking about the pool of lava that bubbled beneath him, he focussed on everything he loves. Everything he's willing to fight for. Before he knew it, Billy had reached the open window. He released the breath he didn't realize he was holding, and squeezed through the window. He found himself on a small ledge overlooking another deep, flaming pit of lava. There was a small rope bridge leading from the ledge to a floating silver tiled platform. Standing on the platform, on the side furthest away from Billy, stood a six foot tall warrior, clad in a suit of gleaming silver armor, and holding a shimmering silver sword. Billy stood erect, holding the eye with both hands, and watching the warrior.
"So, you are the one the prophecy spoke of?" said the warrior in a deep voice.
"Affirmative," Billy responded.
"A human, correct? A former Power Ranger who absorbed negative-proton particles? Who lived both as a young and an old man?"
"Well, welcome to the Azure Mountains. This will either be the place of your empowerment, or your grave! In either case, it is your destiny. Approach me."
Billy walked across the rope bridge, and as soon as his feet touched the silver platform, the rope ignited, and burned to ash. Billy was trapped on the platform, about fifteen yards by fifteen yards, with a masked warrior.
"In order to win the Sword of Tympanus, you must prove your worth," the warrior explained, "You have come this far, so you are certainly resourceful, intelligent, and determined. Now, for the final test. You must defeat me in single combat."
With that, the warrior raised his sword into the air.
"Am I to fight bare handed?" Billy asked, not flinching.
"No. The Eye of Tympanus will transform into whatever non-projectile weapon you desire. Just close your eyes, and envision the weapon you feel most comfortable with."
Billy looked at the warrior distrustingly.
"I will not attack you until you are ready, Human. I fight fairly."
Billy closed his eyes, and he felt the fist sized pearl shift its shape. It stretched into a long, thin pole. When Billy opened his eyes, he saw and impressive, pearly white lance, much like the Power Lance he mastered during his tenure as the Blue Power Ranger. He held his weapon in both hands, and balanced himself.
"Ready?" asked the warrior.
"Then as they say on your planet, have at thee!"