Disclaimer: Everything Power Rangers related in this story is the propertyof Saban Entertainment. I'm just writing this series for my enjoymentand for the enjoyment of others.
Author's Notes: This is my sixteenth story in the Power Rangers Beyondseries. It comes after "The Master Puppeteer." And now on with the story!

Dark Spectre's Return: Part 1
by Marques Jeffries

"Princess Zara, the time has come to defeat those who have stood in the wayof our evil," proclaimed Dark Spectre, from within a lava filled energytube, similar to the one that had housed Zordon, many years ago.

"But, master, you have just recently regained consciousness. Are you sure itis wise to declare war on the Power Rangers, now?" the Brood princess asked.

"Yes, the Rangers' defeat has been long overdue, but we will use adifferent approach. Listen closely, and I will explain," the Grand Monarchof Evil commanded.

At the Angel Grove Youth Center, the Rangers were relaxing. The recentencounters with the Flamablizer, Blitzkoff, and the mysterious fighter Blachad worn down the teens.

Joseph, Michelle, and Nick were currently playing some arcade games, whileChris, Tim, and Stephanie were exercising.

"Ready?" Tim asked as he prepared to help Chris lift the bar off of therack.


Tim carefully lifted on the bar, while Chris pushed.

The Ranger leader did about seven bench presses, before beginning to tire.

"C'mon, Chris, three more," encouraged Tim.

The African-American teen mustered up a little more strength, and completedhis ten reps, and then Tim helped him rack the bar.

"How are you coming over there, Steph?!" Tim yelled to his girlfriend, whowas on an exercise bike.

"Pretty good. I've been at this for about fifteen minutes, andI'm not tired yet," Stephanie replied with a smile.

Just then, Chris' communicator began to beep. He motioned for theother Rangers to come over to where he and Tim were standing.

"What's up?" Chris whispered into the communicator.

"An army of Brood soldiers are attacking people in the park," replied thevoice of Billy.

"We're on our way," Chris said.

The Rangers exited the building, and dashed into a nearby alley.

Upon making sure that no one else was around, they shouted, "Let'sRocket!"

In the park, people ran in fear of the green-robed villains.

"So you guys are looking for a fight, huh," stated the White Ranger as thesix heroes arrived.

The Rangers began to fight off the soldiers, hurling the evil warriors allover the place.

"Hey, Rangers, now that you're warmed up, allow me to introducePrincess Zara's newest monster, Slimespewer," announced Blane as hestood beside a nearby tree.

From out of nowhere, slime began to erupt from the ground, and from thegeyser of slime emerged a brown and green ape-like creature, that wasdripping in slime.

"Its Slime Time!" yelled the monster, before beginning to spit slimeballs atthe Rangers.

"That is totally gross," commented the Yellow Ranger.

"I'm taking this guy down," stated Nick. "Dragontamer!" The GoldRanger began to fire flames from his blowtorch that caused the monster tosizzle and burn.

"You're making my slime hot! Take this, Gold Ranger!" The monstertossed a large slimeball at Nick, that caused sparks and flames emit fromhis suit.

"Ahhh, he's burning me!" yelled the Gold Rangers as he dropped to theground and began to roll around.

Chris rushed over to his brother, while the other Rangers summoned theirPower Weapons and blasted Slimespewer.

The blasts passed right through the monster's body.

"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Your weapons have no affect on me!" taunted theSlimspewer.

Now frustrated, each Ranger charged at the monster, throwing punches andkicks, but each teen found themselves flat on their backs, and covered inslime.

"I'll go down in history as the monster that defeated the PowerRangers," the Slimespewer proclaimed.

"Do what you want with the rest of them, but the White Ranger is mine,"snarled the Shadow Ranger.

"What are you doing here?" Blane asked.

"I heard about this fight, on the news, and decided I'd come over andfinish off the White Ranger, myself." the evil Ranger replied.

"You want me, come and get me, Simon!" Tim yelled as he rose to hisfeet.

The two Rangers began to exchange fierce punches and kicks, with neither oneof them gaining an advantage.

The other Rangers, in the meantime, were still trying to fight offSlimespewer.

Blane watched from the sidelines, with an evil smirk on his face. Everythingwas going just as Dark Spectre had planned.

At the ruins of the Power Chamber, Andros, Billy, Darion, Karone, and theother former Astro Rangers were in the process of building a new Power base.

"Boy, will the Rangers be surprised when we show them this," Cassie smiled.

"I just hope we can keep this a secret, until construction is complete,"Andros added.

"What? What?" Carlos looked around as everyone's eyes fixed on him. "Ican keep a secret."

"So, T.J., who's watching the Surf Spot for you?" Ashley inquired.

"Actually, its closed today. I'm having the inside of the placetotally redone. Some workers are there right now," T.J. replied.

Just then Karone grabbed her head. "There are evil forces heading our way,"she informed, in a worried tone.

From out of the sky, descended an army of Velocifighters. The jets began tofire on the former Rangers, below.

"This is impossible. All of those things were supposed to have beendestroyed by Zordon's Peace Wave!" yelled Zhane.

A Brood ship arrived, and Princess Zara, a few Brood soldiers, and a groupof Quantrons teleported down.

"So you're the former Power Rangers, eh," the princess smirked. "Wellyou're my prisoners now."

"You won't take us without a fight," replied Andros.

"Seize them!" yelled Zara.

The Brood soldiers and Quantrons advanced towards the former Rangers.

"Man, I wish we could morph," grumbled T.J.

Zhane was the first to strike out against the attackers, destroying aQuatron with a single superkick. The others followed his lead, and began todefend themselves.

Karone tried to contact the current Rangers, for help, but Zara blasted hercommunicator.

"Oh, no you don't," hissed Zara as she threw a punch at Karone. TheKerovan woman blocked the punch and decked Zara in the mouth, causing theBrood princess to bleed.

"Now I'm really angry!" snarled Zara as she used her hand to wipe someblood from her mouth. She dove at Karone, but the blonde slung her to theground and kicked her in the stomach.

"Give up, Zara. You're no match for me," Karone warned, standing overthe orange-haired princess.

Andros and Ashley flipped two Brood soldiers down the side of a hill. Fromout of nowhere, the Flamablizer arrived and dropped each hero with a blastfrom his hand-held laser pistol. Each person dropped to the ground, untilAndros and Karone were the only two heroes left standing.

"My pistol has only stunned them, but something much worse will happen tothem, unless the two of you surrender now," the Flamablizer warned.

With Karone's attention on the monster, Zara struck the woman in theback of the head with her staff.

"What's it going to be, former Red Ranger?" Zara asked.

"Okay I surrender, just don't hurt my friends," Andros replied. Agroup of Quantrons gathered around the fallen heroes, and chained themtogether. Two Quantrons seized Andros and teleported away with him followedby the soldiers, with the chained up former Rangers.

Zara checked Karone, and then said, "She should remain unconscious until wereach the Cimerian Planet. Thanks for you help, Flamablizer."

"Just make sure Dark Spectre gives me KO-35, when the universe isconquered." the monster replied.

"Its a deal. Now all we have to do is capture the current Rangers." Withthat Flamablizer scooped up Karone, and he and Zara teleported up to theBrood ship.

In Angel Grove Park, the Rangers were all but beaten. Nothing they threw atSlimespewer seemed to work, and now the monster had enlarged himself.

"We need Liberty Megazord Power NOW!" shouted the six teens.

The Rangers took their positions in the cockpit, and the battle began.

Slimespewer continued his attack, however, his slimeballs weren'tpenetrating the armor of the Megazord, as they had done to theRangers' armored suits.

"Now we're going to show you how the Power Rangers clean up," statedthe Red Ranger.

Slimespewer paused for a moment to see what the Rangers had up theirsleeves, a mistake that resulted in him being struck by two Mega Missiles.

"Ahhhhhh! I feel like I'm coming apart!" he screamed.

"Mega Chakram Fire!" yelled the Rangers. The flying disc left theMegazord's right hand and sliced into the monster causing slime togust back at the Megazord.

"Hey what's going on?!" yelled Nick as the temperature in the cockpitbegan to rise, and the control consoles began to catch on fire.

"Its the slime. The large quantity of it is seapping into our systems, andnow they're about to overload," stated the Blue Ranger.

"Everyone, hang on. I'm going to get us to the ocean," the Red Rangerstated.

"Yeah, maybe that'll get rid of all this slime before the Megazordexplodes," stated Michelle.

The Megazord took to the air, but was quickly attacked by a squadron ofVelocifighters.

"Velocifighters, but how can this be?!" exclaimed Tim.

"Power Rangers, prepare to meet your ends!" yelled an image of Zara, thatnow appeared in the sky.

Seconds later, Nightpaw and Blitzkoff arrived. The two monsters, in theirgiant forms, seized the Megazord, and held it tightly.

"Hey let us go!" yelled the Yellow Ranger.

The Flamablizer arrived and used his new weapon, a mighty silver sword, tosend an energy bolt at the Liberty Megazord.

"We can't break free!" Chris yelled.

On impact the Megazord exploded. Fire and singed metal now filled the park.

"So long, Rangers," hissed the Flamablizer.

From his limo nearby, Mason Hodges watched with glee. It seemed that thePower Rangers were finally out of his hair.

An army of Quantrons were sent down to sift through the wrecked Megazord,for any survivors.

The villains found the Gold, Yellow, Pink, White, and Blue Rangers in thewreckage.

The explosion had not only knocked the Rangers unconscious, but had alsodemorphed them.

"Princess Zara, we've found all of the Rangers, except for the Redone," Nightpaw spoke into a communicator.

"Teleport them up here," replied Zara's voice.

"Hold it! Hold it, right there!" yelled Tommy, as he, Kimberly, and Billyran up.

The three of them put up quite a fight, but they too were soon captured andteleported away.

Aboard the Brood ship, Zara looked at the faces behind the helmets, for thefirst time.

"Teenagers with attitude, ha," she hissed. "Blane, contact Mason Hodges andtell him that the Rangers will trouble him no longer."

"You'll never defeat us, Zara. Chris is still free, and as long as youdon't have him, we've still got a chance," Andros stated as hepulled on his chains.

"Save your breathe, Kerovan. I have a squadron of Velocifighters searchingfor him, in the air, and Nightpaw is leading a search party on the ground.Your friend will be dead by Earth's sunset." the princess replied.

Andros gazed sadly out the window. The ship was slowly distancing itselffrom Earth, and he didn't know if he'd ever see the planetagain.

In a forest, Chris lay motionless. He had somehow managed to teleport away,in the midst of the explosion, and now he felt like every bone in his bodywas broken.

Chris opened his eyes, and somehow managed to sit up. Both of his hands werecover in blood, and he knew that his right leg was broken. The formerRangers had told him that one of the benefits of the Power was rapidhealing, but since this was the first time Chris had been seriously injured,he didn't know just how rapid the healing was.

"I've got to teleport back to the basement," Chris said weakly. Helooked at his morpher, but somehow it had been smashed. "Oh no! Now how am Igoing to get out of here, or even worse, How am I going to morph?"

Just then, the Ranger leader heard the sounds of jets flying over theforests. He abruptly recognized the sounds as being the engines of theVelocifighters.

They're going to find me, soon, and there's no way I can defendmyself.

All Chris could do was crawl. He did his best to block out the pain of hisleg, and bloody hands, and crawl for his life.

The captured heroes had now regained consciousness and were being marchedthrough the corridors of the UAE's old base on the Cimerian Planet.

"I've got a bad feeling about this, Andros," Karone whispered.

"Silence," ordered Blitzkoff.

The Rangers were marched into a throne room, where they came face-to-facewith the energy tube and the Grand Monarch of Evil.

"Dark Spectre, I should have known," Andros groaned.

"How could you have known, Andros. You and your friends thought that thattraitor, Darkonda, had finished me off, but you were sadly mistaken," roaredthe lava monster.

"How did you survive?" Carlos asked.

"Do you really think a creature of my infinite evil could be destroyed, soeasily? I am not called the Grand Monarch of Evil for nothing. After theexplosion my energy returned here, where I reformed myself in this energytube. I planned to quickly recharge myself and then rejoin the war, but Islipped into a deep sleep, and didn't awaken until recently. Someonesabotaged my energy tube. Hmmm, I wonder who could have done such a thing,"Dark Spectre glanced accusingly at Karone.

"Don't you dare blame me! You're the one who made me evil again!I can't even remember what types of things I did after you andDarkonda assimilated me!" Karone protested.

"Well Finster has made some adjustments to the new assimilator, so this timeyou'll be completely loyal to me," Dark Spectre explained.

"This time?! No, I won't let you make me a borg again!" Karone brokefree of the two Quantrons that held her, and knocked them to the ground withtwo punches.

Zara quickly stopped the Kerovan with a blow to the stomach, with the WrathStaff.

"So you were Astronema. Well your position as Princess of Evil, as well asyour Wrath Staff is mine now," Zara taunted.

"You are indeed the new Princess of Evil, Zara," Dark Spectre proclaimed.

"You're going to be a black and blue princess if I get my hands onyou," Karone grumbled, clutching her stomach.

The other former Rangers tried to free themselves, but failed.

"The assimilator is ready for its first patient," Finster stated, enteringthe throne room.

"Excellent. Karone has too much spunk, so I think she needs an attitudeadjustment," the evil monarch stated.

Two Quantrons picked up Karone and carried her out of the room. "Andros!Zhane! Help me! Please don't let them make me Astronema again!"

"Karone! Karone! We'll save you somehow!" yelled Andros.

"Dark Spectre, you are a no good----," Zhane couldn't think ofanything bad enough to call Dark Spectre, so he just decided not to finishthat statement.

"Don't worry, Zhane, you'll join your precious Karone soonenough. In fact, you'll be the next person to be assimilated.. Ha, ha,ha, ha, ha!" Dark Spectre laughed.

Chris ended up in a clearing. He knew that he was now in clear view of theVelocifighters, but his body would not allow him to go any further.

"Well, well, a teenager," snarled Nightpaw. "And he's wearing red. Iwonder if he's the Red Ranger?"

"Red Ranger?! C'mon you've got to be kidding," Chris saidsheepishly.

"Nice try, Red Ranger, but your busted Power Morpher reveals your identity,"Nightpaw reached out to grab Chris before being blasted.

Nightpaw looked up to see Ecliptor standing a few feet away, with a blackand silver blaster aimed.

"The Red Ranger is mine!" the crystalline warrior stated.

"We have orders from Princess Zara, herself, to find and kill the RedRanger," Nightpaw replied.

"I don't care if you got your orders from the Keeper of Time, I have ascore to settle with the Red Ranger and you're not going to stop me."Ecliptor replied.

Nightpaw motioned to the Quantrons with him, and they all began to attackEcliptor.

Ecliptor fought like he was possessed. He smashed each of the metal robotsto smithereens with his sword, and then went one-on-one with Nightpaw.

All Chris could do was watch, and wonder what the winner would do to him.

Ecliptor easily manhandled Nightpaw. knocking the bear-like monster into alarge mud puddle.

"Some other time," Nightpaw growled, and then vanished into thin air.

"Um, thanks for saving me," Chris said.

"I didn't save you. I told you that you'd pay for killingAstronema, someday. And that day has finally arrived." Ecliptor snarled ashe pointed the blade of his sword at Chris' throat.

Andros had told all of the new Rangers about Ecliptor, and his undyingdevotion to Astronema, but Chris didn't know if Ecliptor was going togive him the chance to explain that he wasn't Andros, and thatAstronema wasn't dead.

"Farewell, Red Ranger!" yelled Ecliptor as he drove the sword towards a veryfrightened Chris.

To be continued...