Author's Notes: This is my seventeenth story in the Power Rangers Beyond series. It comes after "Dark Spectre's Return: Part 1." And now on with the story!
Chris thought for a moment. How could Ecliptor have gotten him confused with Andros, afterall, they looked totally different. Chris answered his own questions when he looked at Ecliptor's eyes.
Karone had shone the current Rangers pictures of herself and Ecliptor, and in all of those pictures Ecliptor's eyes were red, however for some reason his eyes were now white.
"You're....You're blind aren't you?"
"It was Zordon's energy wave. I was kneeling beside Astronema's lifeless body, and then I heard glass shatter, and the last thing I saw was golden light."
"So how did you regain your form?" the Ranger leader inquired again.
"I'm composed of tiny nanites, which are organisms with the ability to reproduce themselves. It was my understanding that only the UAE members who had good in them would be spared, but someone or something allowed me to reform. Tell me, Red Ranger, did Andros give his sister a proper burial?"
"Ecliptor, she's not dead."
"You lie! I saw her lying on the floor, with no life in her," Ecliptor exclaimed.
"Andros started crying and his tears transformed her back into Karone, and gave her life again," Chris explained.
"Take me to her. I want to see her now," Ecliptor pleaded.
"I wish I could, but I broke my leg during a battle, and my morpher is busted," Chris explained.
"And what of your teammates?"
"I'm willing to bet that they've been captured by the Brood."
"Then there's no time to lose. We must go rescue them," Ecliptor was about to walk away, when Chris grabbed onto to his ankle.
"How is it that you are able to travel around and fight without your sight?" the Ranger leader inquired.
"I have a sixth sense, which allows me to sense when large energy sources are nearby. I awoke on the Dark Fortress and immediately decided to seek out Andros the Red Ranger. I've fought the Power Rangers so many times in the past, that I easily detected your presence and assumed that you were Andros." the warrior explained.
"Can you teleport the two of us to the Fortress. If you can, I think I might be able to repair your visual sensors."
Ecliptor scooped up the injured Ranger, and the two of them vanished in a stream of white light.
"Finster, you don't have to do this! Just let me go!" Karone pleaded as she lay strapped down to a table.
"Not to worry, blondie, in just a few short moments you'll be back to your old evil self," Finster said as he pressed a few buttons on a nearby computer console.
Karone looked up at the giant laser that now hovered over her head. All of this seemed too familiar. It was a laser just like this one that had transformed Karone into the heartless, cybernetic Princess of Evil, Astronema. From what Andros and Zhane had told her, Astronema had been virtually unstoppable, and Karone had a terrible feeling that if her alter-ego ever returned it would spell the end of the universe.
"So long Karone, Hello Astronema," smirked Finster as he pressed one final button.
All Karone could do was let out a frightening scream.
Outside of Finster's lab, Zhane had broken free from the grips of the group of Quantrons, and was now bursting into the lab.
"Hang on, Karone!" Zhane picked up a small metal object and hurled it at the laser.
"No!" yelled Finster as he charged at Zhane. The Kerovan man met the elf with a punch to the stomach.
Zhane watched as sparks emitted from the broken laser.
"Zhane, I'm okay, just get me off of this table," stated Karone.
Zhane rushed over to the table and began to push it from under the broken laser.
"Hang on, Karone, I'll unfasten those straps," Zhane unhooked the straps that held Karone down, and she hopped off the table.
"Thanks," she said.
Just then Zara's voice came over the intercom in the lab. "Finster! Finster! Have Karone and Zhane been assimilated yet?"
"Now what are we going do?" Zhane whispered.
"Cover Finster's mouth. I've got an idea," Karone replied.
Zhane grabbed the little elf and held him firmly, covering the little monster's mouth.
"Princess Zara, this is Astronema. Finster is assimilating Zhane as we speak. Tell the Quantrons to bring the next two prisoners down here," Karone stated.
"Fine. The Quantrons are on their way with Andros and Ashley," informed the Brood princess.
"Okay so what do we do when the Quantrons get here? They'll know that we haven't been assimilated just by looking at us," Zhane fretted.
"Hmm," Karone thought as she looked around. "Ah ha." Karone rushed over to an old holographic projector that sat in the corner of the lab.
"What are you going do?" Zhane inquired curiously.
Karone fumbled with the controls until an image of Astronema, complete with red hair and cyber enhancements, appeared in the center of the room.
"Go and spread the wrath of Dark Spectre!" the hologram exclaimed.
"That must've have been from the speech I gave before the war began," Karone assumed. "I'll just rewind this film and turn the volume down."
"You won't be able to fool the Quantrons with that," Finster protested.
"Hey those Quantrons were never too bright, besides we only need to fool them long enough for us to free my brother and Ashley," Karone replied.
"I hear footsteps," Zhane whispered.
Karone picked up a microphone, and she and Zhane dragged Finster behind a large crate that was in the lab.
Moments later, the Quantrons entered, shoving Andros and Ashley along.
"Ah, my loyal Quantrons," Astronema began. "It is good to have you serving me once more."
The robotic foot soldiers replied with some undistinguishable language.
"Where are Zhane and Finster?" asked Blitzkoff as he entered the room.
"Zhane and Finster? Why they're right behind you," the hologram replied.
Zhane and Karone leaped out and began to fight off the Quantrons.
"Stop them! Stop them, you metallic idiots!" yelled Blitzkoff.
In the midst of the fighting Zhane broke Andros and Ashley's chains with a small sword that he had taken from Finster.
Andros and Ashley wasted no time, and immediately began to double team Blitzkoff.
Ashley kicked the monster in the midsection, causing him to clutch his stomach. Andros then delivered a spinning kick to Blitzkoff's head that knocked the monster to the ground.
"C'mon let's get out of here before Zara sends some more troops down here," Zhane suggested.
So the four heroes rushed out of the lab, leaving Finster in a frantic state.
"Princess Zara, Ashley and the three Kerovans are on the loose. I repeat, Ashley and the three Kerovans are on the loose!" the little elf yelled into a communicator.
"Just one more adjustment," Chris said as he welded Ecliptor's right eye back into place.
Chris gazed down at Ecliptor as he lay unconscious on an operating table.
"Okay, Ecliptor, its time to wake you up and see if the operation was a success." The Ranger leader turned Ecliptor over on his stomach, unscrewed a covering that was on his back to reveal a set of numbered keys. Chris then entered the appropriate combination that Ecliptor had give him earlier, and then screwed the covering back into place.
Chris then rolled Ecliptor back onto his back and waited a few moments. Up until now, Chris had never had to do any mechanic work, afterall Joseph was the mechanic of the team. Chris was however thankful that the Fortress of Power's computer still held information on how to repair any injury that Ecliptor might suffer.
After a few second the mighty warrior began to stir. "Arrr," Ecliptor snarled as he sat up. He turned his head in various directions and then looked at Chris. "You did it. You fixed my eyes."
Chris gave a sigh of relief at the success of the operation.
"There's no time to loose, Red Ranger. I sense that your friends are in grave danger," Ecliptor warned.
"Then let's get this ship into space," Chris replied. Together, they walked to the bridge, and within moments the Fortress of Power was rising from its resting place below the Pacific Ocean. The ship began to ascend into the sky, building speed as it went.
"Hang on, my friends. Help is on the way," Chris whispered.
At Ray-Tech, Mason Hodges was sitting in his office, reading some financial statements when Derek Simon entered.
"Derek, what's up?" Hodges asked, looking up from the papers.
"I just got word that the remains of Rangers' zords are being taken to the Angel Grove Junkyard."
Hodges frowned for a moment and then said, "Did you get the Megazord's main computer system?"
"Yes...or what was left of it. I still don't understand what use we could have for it," Simon replied.
"Well, we have the Psycho Ranger datacards, and the means to make our own Rangers, so naturally these Rangers would need zords," Hodges explained.
"But the Power Rangers have finally been captured by the Brood, so why would you want your own group of Rangers? I mean, you've got the Shadow Ranger."
"I know, and you've done well as the Shadow Ranger, however, with my own group of Rangers, no one would dare cross Ray-Tech. Not even the Allied Planets could challenge me," Hodges sneered.
"Sounds like you've got big plans," commented Derek Simon.
"Yes, I do have plans, but these things must be handled carefully. That whole Ramrod project almost blew up in our faces," Hodges stated. "Take the Megazord's computer down to the lab, and give it to Mr. Worick. Tell him I want him to take the computer home with him, and see if there's any information that can be salvaged from it."
"Why Worick?" Derek asked.
"He's the only computer expert that works for us that can be trusted not to go to the police. In other words, he's just as shady as we are," Hodges explained.
"We are approaching the Cimerian Planet," Ecliptor informed as he looked at the viewing screen.
Chris took a deep breath and then replied, "Well this is it. We either save them or die trying,"
"Perhaps you should wait here. Though your healing powers have returned a great deal of your strength, you still appear to be having trouble getting around on that leg," Ecliptor noted.
"Injury or no injury, those are my friends down there. I'm coming with you, and that's final," Chris said.
"Then let's go." Ecliptor handed Chris an old blaster that had been used by the Quantrons, many years ago. The two warriors joined hands, and exited the Fortress of Power in two beams of light.
"I don't like this. There has been no sign of the four escapees," Zara worried.
"Patience, Zara. They wouldn't leave here without the Rangers and their other friends," Dark Spectre roared.
"You're majesty! Your majesty! The Fortress of Power has been detected nearby," Blane informed as he entered the throne room.
"It must be the Red Ranger," Zara guessed. "He must be coming to rescue his friends."
"Put the guards on alert. I want the Red Ranger captured immediately!" growled the evil Monarch.
Ecliptor and Chris materialized in a dark corridor, and agreed that the best place to begin looking for the captured heroes, was the dungeon. Since Ecliptor had spent so much time in the UAE headquarters, he knew his way around very well.
"How much farther?" Chris asked.
"Shhh! I heard the sound of marching Quantrons," Ecliptor warned.
"I guess Zara knows we're here," Chris said.
The two warriors ducked behind two large statues of Zedd and Master Vile, just in time to avoid being seen by a group of patrolling Quantrons.
"That was way too close," Ecliptor whispered.
The pair then continued their journey towards the dungeon.
In a large ceil, the captured Rangers conversed about their present situation.
"So, this is how it ends, huh. We'll probably never get out of here," Joseph said, sadly.
"I still can't believe Dark Spectre is back, and now I'll bet Astronema is too," Stephanie said.
"C'mon, you guys. Chris is still out there. He'll find some way to rescue us, and then we'll give Dark Spectre and the Brood the beatings that they deserve," Nick encouraged.
"But, Nick, the Brood took our morphers, and even if Chris did try to rescue us, he'd be walking into a trap," Tim stated.
"Michelle, you're awfully quiet. What's on your mind?" Stephanie questioned.
"I'm worried about my aunt. The Brood soldiers took the old Rangers in another direction. If those monsters have hurt my aunt I'll....I'll." With that Michelle burst into tears.
"Come on, Michelle, its going to be okay," Joseph said, taking his girlfriend in his arms. "We'll get out of here somehow."
"Shut your yanking, Powerless Rangers!" ordered Nightpaw as he walked up to the ceil.
"Man, if I weren't in this ceil I'd tear you limb from limb!" yelled Nick.
"Well you are in that ceil, and that's where you and your friends will be staying for a very, very long time, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" laughed Nightpaw, before walking away.
"Nightpaw! Nightpaw! Nightpaw, you come back here, right now!" yelled Nick as he grasped two bars, in anger.
As Nightpaw walked down a hallway, he was seized and driven to the ground by four shadowy figures.
"What's going on?!" the monster yelled in confusion.
Before Nightpaw could react, his arms and legs were bound in a very strong bundle of wires.
"Okay, Nightpaw, where are the other former Rangers?" Andros asked angrily.
"Like I'd tell you," the monster scoffed.
"Either you tell us where our friends are, or I'll feed you to Scrudly," Karone warned.
"Ha, Scrudly isn't even on this planet," Nightpaw retorted.
"Actually, I left him here while the war was going on. We just came from his lair, and he's still alive, after all these years," Karone said slyly.
"But you're good guys. You wouldn't feed me to that thing," Nightpaw said.
"C'mon let's drag this guy to Scrudly's lair," Zhane said as he began to tug on the monster's feet.
"Dark Spectre! Zara! Blitzkoff! Somebody help me! These people are crazy!" yelled the bear-like monster as Andros, Ashley, Zhane, and Karone dragged him down the corridors, but his cries fell on deaf ears.
Two Quantrons, were now standing guard over the Rangers, and from out of the blue, the robotic warriors were overtaken by Ecliptor and Chris.
"I knew you'd come, big bro!" Nick said cheerfully.
"Everyone move to the back of the ceil. I'm going to blast it open," Ecliptor said, as he raised his blaster.
The Rangers cheered as the bars shattered into pieces.
There were a few hugs and embarrasses between Chris and his friends.
"Come, Power Rangers, there is no time to lose," Ecliptor ordered. "We must find my princess and the former Rangers."
"Lead the way," Chris said.
"How did you run up with Ecliptor?" Tim asked as the group made their way through the corridors.
"Its a long story, but I'll explain everything once all of this is over," Chris replied.
Ashley and the three Kerovans dragged Nightpaw to the entrance of a large cave, within the headquarters..
"Okay! Okay! I'll tell! I'll tell!" Nightpaw pleaded.
"Hold it right there!" yelled Princess Zara as she and a group of Brood soldiers materialized.
Looking around the four heroes could see that they were heavily outnumbered.
"Surrender, fools. There's no way you can escape," the Brood princess hissed.
"Hey, Zara, we're here to even the odds!" yelled Chris.
"Attack!" Zara yelled.
Zara headed straight for Karone, while everyone else battled.
Andros and Zhane took Blitzkoff down with a double shoulder tackle. Ashley fought off Nightpaw, who had somehow freed himself. Chris, with his leg now fully healed, leaped into the air and drop kicked two advancing Brood soldiers. Joseph DDTed a soldier and then hurled Michelle at two advancing ones, so that she could execute a flying drill like maneuver. Stephanie, Tim, and Nick simply punched every soldiers in their range.
As Zara prepared to fire a blast from the Wrath Staff, in Karone's direction, Ecliptor grabbed the Brood princess' arm.
"Ahh!" yelled Zara as her blast struck the ceiling.
"Ecliptor!" exclaimed Karone as she rushed over to him and hugged him.
"Yes, my princess, I have returned," the warrior replied.
Andros, Zhane, Ashley, and the Power Rangers then surrounded Zara.
"Surrender, Zara, we've got you this time," Chris said.
All of the sudden a bright light emanated from where Zara was standing, causing the heroes to look away. When the light finally ceased, the evil princess was gone.
"She got away!" exclaimed Stephanie.
"Some other time, Rangers. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" Zara's voice echoed through the halls.
The sound of a large ship taking off could now be heard.
"Come on!" Chris said. They all raced through a few corridors and out of the castle, just in time to see Dark Spectre's flag ship heading into deep space.
Before they could utter a word an image of Dark Spectre appeared in the sky.
"Fools! You are all doomed! I have your friends and your morphers, and you'll never see either of them again! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" With those last words, the image faded away.
"Come on, we'd better get up to the Fortress of Power," Chris said.
"That's probably a good idea," added Andros. "There's nothing else we can do here."
Ecliptor punched in a set of numbers on a hand-held remote. Instantly a beam fired from the Fortress of Power and teleported the heroes aboard.
Everyone was now assembled on the ship's bridge, and they all wore somber expressions on their faces.
Andros sighed as he looked around at his friends. They truly found themselves in a real dilemma, this time.
"I know all of you are looking to me for advice, but honestly I really don't have a plan, right now," Andros stated.
"Well we just can't sit here. I mean who knows what Dark Spectre plans on doing to Tommy, Cassie, and the others," said Joseph.
"Add to that the fact that the Brood now has our morphers," Nick added.
"Here's the way I see it. Dark Spectre won't harm our friends, because he knows that he can dangle their safety in front of us, and I'm sure there's a power source out there somewhere that can return your powers," Karone explained.
"There's something else we need to take into consideration," Tim said.
"What's that?" Zhane inquired.
"Mason Hodges probably knows, by now, that we're gone. He's probably on the verge of hatching a scheme of his own to conquer Earth," Tim explained.
"Um, pardon me for butting in, but where is your Megaship?" Ecliptor asked.
"Alpha and DECA took the new Phantom Ranger to the Senturions' main headquarters, and they haven't returned yet," Ashley responded.
"At first we thought that they had made a stop on Alpha's homeworld of Edenoi, but now that we know that Dark Spectre is back, we can only assume that they've been captured," Andros said.
"We should warn the governing body of the Allied Planets about Dark Spectre's return," suggested Michelle.
"I wish we could, but doing that would reveal our identities as the Power Rangers to the whole universe. If Hodges had that information he could harm our families on Earth," warned Nick.
"Now that Zara knows who we are, whats to stop her from telling Hodges who we are, or trying to harm our families, herself?" questioned Stephanie.
Everyone exchanged worried looks, and then the radar caught their attention.
"What is it?" Karone asked.
"Its the Brood. They're attacking a small planet in the Checka Galaxy," Ecliptor warned.