Authors Note: Anything written like _this_ is a thought, anything like -this- is a conversation Sam is eaves dropping on, [this] is a computer message and anything appearing like *this* is a mental telepathic message.
Timeline: This story is set in the "Conquest of Evil" series. Kim and Zack's quest for power takes place at the same time as Trial of the Body. Any events that occur elsewhere are taking place shortly after Dark Genes. This story features mainly around Zack and Kimberly and their search for their new powers.
All times given are based on Angel Grove time.
"Welcome to the Temple of the Mind," Thalian said. The bright sun reflected off his shoulder armour.
"Looks more like a tower than a temple," Kimberly noted.
Thalian smiled, not the forced smile of a teacher trying to deal with a child who shouts out during class, but a deep friendly smile that spread all the way to his eyes. "Okay, welcome to the Tower of the Mind. All you have to do to pass your tests is reach the main chamber inside the tower."
Unlike the Temple of the body, which had been large and impressive, complete with stone pillars and long steps, the Temple of the Mind was simple. Made of dull grey stones the temple did resemble a tower, tall and square walled without decoration. Behind the spot where Thalian stood, was a simple doorway. To each side of the entrance was a moat, filled with green ooze.
A map appeared in his hand showing a picture of the temple. "Those who into the tower would go, must choose above, between or below."
"What does that mean?" Zack asked.
"There are three entrances," Thalian explained. "One is on the roof, one is below the moat and one is behind me. Each will lead to the main chamber and each has its own challenges. The question is which will you choose?"
Without saying another word Thalian disappeared, leaving Zack and Kimberly to find their own ways in. If they were true Rangers it would take them a while, but they would eventually find the answer. Deciding to help them on their way, he had left them with was a small clue. "This task is as simple or as difficult as you decide it should be," he had said.
Finding no obvious entrances or secret methods of opening the temple door Kimberly and Zack had split up to see if they could find any entrances elsewhere. Thalian watched from the temple entrance. He had expected nothing less from two of Zordon's chosen. They had been taught to assume that the obvious way was wrong, meaning they had not followed him through the middle door.
He had no question they were worthy of the power. He had watched them during the time they had used his powers. He had seen them both grow wiser. If it had been his choice he would have given the power to all of them without testing. Well, nearly all of them.
There was one whom Zordon had sent who caused Thalian concern. The feeling was weak, but no less evil and strangely familiar. He had watched over Kimberly, Zack, Billy, Jason and Trini, and he knew them to be pure. That meant that the problem was with one of Zordon's other choices.
David had never been a Ranger, but Thalian could sense a purity within him equal to Zordon. Tanya had been chosen to replace one of the Rangers and Thalian knew the Morphin Powers would not accept anyone unsuitable. Sam was another matter. Thalian had seen the trouble the Clone of the Green Dragon Ranger had caused when Rita and Zedd had created him. He secretly wondered whether Sam had truly conquered his darkside.
_Stay alert, _ he told himself. He had expected the Rangers to miss the easy option and to go searching for a way in. Now he need to check they passed the three tests they were required to fulfil in order to gain the power. _Good luck Rangers, _ he thought. _You might need it. _
"Great, just great!" Kimberly muttered as she climbed her way up the side of the Temple of the Mind. She had soon realised how little Thalian's advice had helped. Walking around the side of the tower she had noticed a set of footholds carefully carved into the walls. She had started to climb as quickly as possible, knowing the climb was going to be a long one.
As she reached what should have been the halfway point she looked up to see how much further she needed to climb. _That's impossible, _ she thought to herself as she saw how far she still needed to climb. Despite climbing as quickly as possible she had hardly covered an eighth of the wall. Sighing she resumed her climb, hoping that she had enough energy to keep climbing.
_I'm not going to make it, _ she thought to herself. She looked up again and noticed how much further the top seemed to be. *So give up now, * a voice in her head said. *Why do something when you KNOW you will fail? *
Kim ignored the voiced and kept climbing. Despite the wall becoming steeper and the footholds smaller she kept going. She knew the others were relying on her. She had missed being a Ranger and having her friends around her. Especially Tommy. She had known almost as soon as she arrived at Gunther Schmidt's compound that she had made the wrong choice. She had left the man she loved and the friends who meant more to her than anything behind, just for a chance at a dream that might never happen.
After a few months she had sent Tommy the letter, not having the nerve to face him herself. There had been no new boyfriend, Kimberly had simply noticed how Kat had been attracted to him and did not have the heart to come between them. _Why should he have to wait for me, when there's already somebody he could be happy with. _ Once the letter had been written Kimberly soon realised it was a good decision.
Being away from Tommy had made her realise that they had never really had a future together. Tommy could be fun and friendly and he was one of the gentlest people she knew, but there was always a shadow in the back of his eyes. A secret darkness that kept him held back always scared to get close in case he hurt her.
_For Tommy, _ she thought as she kept going, moving faster. The climb seemed to become easier, the footholds loser together as though her determination was helping her.
_The top has got to be within reach, _ she thought, knowing she had already climbed a long way. She looked up and noticed how close the top she was. _Almost there. _ She looked a second time and noticed that the top had moved even closer.
Zack climbed down the stairwell that had appeared. It was obvious he would be trying to enter from below. At the bottom of the ladder he found himself confronted by a blank wall. Looking around he located a button and pushed it. The wall moved to reveal a room at the end of, which was written the word ENTRANCE next to a small door at the right far right hand side.
Zack's first impulse was to run across the floor as fast as possible to reach the temple. With an effort he suppressed that urge, deciding instead to try the cautious approach. On the ground he noticed some stones and he began throwing them on the floor ahead, which had suddenly transformed into a chessboard pattern.
The first stone had no noticeable affect. The second was equally disappointing, only creating a hollow thud. He tried the third and fourth row, once again nothing happened and he was almost tempted to go ahead and cross. He had one last stone in his hand and without thinking threw it across the floor. As it hit, a laser beam blasted the floor from above in rapid fire, destroying the stones as it did so.
With a low grinding sound a stone rose from the ground next to him. Zack carefully read the words engraved on the stone: IF YOU ARE READING THIS YOU HAVE ALREADY SHOWN YOUR INTELLIGENCE BY NOT GETTING KILLED. TO CROSS SAFELY FOLLOW THE PATH OF THE BLACK KNIGHT, EVER FORWARD FOUR TIMES.
Figuring the riddle referred to chess Zack quickly found his way to the black square on the right hand side. _Two forward, one across, _ he thought. Slowly he moved across the board, somehow knowing he could only go forward and could only move four times. _This is too easy, _ he thought. _Something must happen soon. _
As if on cue a loud noise sounded behind him. Zack turned around to see the floor he had just stepped on collapse into a pit. On the wall was carved: YOU DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD BE THAT EASY, DID YOU?
From the corner of his eye Zack noticed a black Knight moving towards him, sword drawn ready for action. He rolled forward as it struck the floor, cautious in case the floor gave way. Forgetting the words on the stone, Zack ran for the exit. The knight was in fast pursuit. As Zack reached the exit, a wall of flames rose from the floor, the heat causing him to retreat.
YOU DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD BE THAT EASY, DID YOU?
The words were now scorched into the floor beneath him and the knight was still closing. _Zack, _ he thought to himself, _you need to find a new day job. _
Ducking the knight's charge Zack ran around the board, trying to shake his pursuer. _Come on Zackman, he's not so tough. _ He looked around and was surprised to see the knight had shrunk. It was no longer as fierce and seemed to be moving slower.
_This will never work, _ Zack thought as he attempted to distract the knight with his dance steps. For a moment the knight followed his steps, then it attacked.
"Okay, new strategy," Zack said to himself. He looked around trying to find a weapon or anything he could use as a lever. All he saw was the stone on which his original challenge had been written. _That's it. _
"Hey ugly!" Zack called, drawing the knight towards the back of the board, making sure he was on a white square. "Let the challenge resume."
He quickly followed the move a knight would make in a chess game. He moved forward two squares and one to the left. As he had expected the floor behind him gave way, as did the floor to his left. The knight who had been chasing him fell into the chasm, allowing Zack to complete the test and enter the next room.
Kim finally made it to the top of the temple and climbed over the battlements. She rolled onto the cold hard floor happy to one-step closer to her new powers. In front of her she could see the small wooden door leading inside the tower. Carved into the wood were the words: YOU DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD BE THAT EASY, DIDYOU?
The door creaked as it changed to form a face. It seemed to snarl at her. Kimberly took a step back, just to be on the safe side. A dark shadow appeared over the roof, taking the form of a pterodactyl with white specks for eyes.
"Cease," the door creature said. "To enter you must get past me, by answering my questions three."
Kim took a deep breath. "I can do this," she told herself. "Go ahead," she told the face.
"In the morning I move on four legs, in the afternoon I walk on two legs and in the evening I walk on three legs. Tell me now, what am I?"
"You're a human," Kimberly said. "In the morning of its life a human crawls on four legs. Later it is able to walk upright on two legs. And in the evening of its life, a human walks with the help of a cane, the third leg."
"Correct!" the door said. Behind her the shape was becoming more solid and changing to a link pink colour. "Unfortunately one won't do, so answer for me riddle two. How many sides has a circle?"
Kim was tempted so say "none," remembering from the maths that Billy had taught her that a circle had a circumference. Then she thought about the question, visualising the circle in her mind. "Two," she said at last. "An inside and an outside."
"Correct!" the pterodactyl, said, now a bright pink. "Speak one more true and you may walk through."
_This one will be difficult, _ Kim thought. _I don't know if I can do this. _
"What is Kedjenr of Finra's famous recipe for ice?"
Kimberly's face went blank as she struggled to understand the riddle. She had no idea what he had said. At least she assumed the door was male. She had no idea who Kedjenr of Finra was or what he put in his ice."
The pterodactyl swooped at her, knocking her face down to the floor. She looked down at the floor below her, just making out the words written on the stone: YOU DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD BE THAT EASY, DID YOU?
_Come on Kimberly, think! What do you use to make ice. _ The answer was so simple she almost dismissed it outright. _But what else could it be? It has to be right! _
"Water!" she shouted, knowing he would have to accept the answer.
"I am forced to accept that as a correct answer," the face said. "Three answers have you, you may go through."
Kimberly turned to look at the pterodactyl as it flew into her head.
Thalian had known Kimberly would find the answer. In fact there was no such creature as Kedjenr of Finra. The whole thing had been a test of Kimberly's confidence. He hoped she had learnt the lesson ready for the next test.
Zack had also impressed him. He had not been sure whether the Black Ranger would be able to beat his first test, but as soon as Zack decided he could beat it, he had to succeed.
With the first test complete, now came the more difficult tests to beat. Both Rangers had emotional baggage that the tower would attempt to use against them. They could fight against it, but first they had to realise it was part of the test. Their faith in their friends and their believe in themselves were al they needed. Thalian hoped they would figure that out themselves.
Zack walked along the plain grey walled corridors, constantly on look out for the next challenge. He seemed to be in a maze that did not follow the rules a student at the Peace Conference had taught him. Compared to the corridor the long hours of protocol and research seemed exciting.
But he had been called back to action. Back to the friends he had missed in Geneva and the family he had never wanted to leave. Zordon had not given him a chance to choose whether or not he left for Geneva. Instead he had been sent with the others to retrieve the Sword of Light and pass on his powers.
For a time everything had been all right. Zack had thrown himself into his work for the Peace Conference determined to make the best of a bad situation. Then Jason had left and Zack had never felt more alone or jealous in his live. Why did Jason get to be a Ranger again when he had wanted it just as much? When Zordon had asked him to return Zack had jumped at the chance.
And now he was trapped in a seemingly endless maze. He used his intelligence and stopped walking, deciding to work out how far he had walked. Once he had the answer he came to the conclusion the exit was around the next corner. He wasn't sure how he knew, he just knew that when he rounded the corner he would have passed the test.
Standing up Zack walked around the corner and exited the maze. Before him was another wooden door, the entrance to the third and final test.
"Hey, where are you going?" a familiar voice asked.
Zack turned to see Jason, Billy, Sam, Kimberly, David, Tanya and Trini all decked out in their new Ranger uniforms. Each of them had removed their helmets and placed them under their arms.
"Yeah, we have all the powers we need Zack," Trini told him. "There's no need for you to finish the test. We can all just return to Earth and you can go back to the Peace Conference"
"But what about my powers?" Zack asked.
"We don't need you Zack!" Billy shouted. "The Rangers have never needed you. The only reason you stayed around was because you were in the Youth Centre at the same time as us. Otherwise there would only have been five Rangers."
Zack choked back the tears, trying hard not to believe what Billy was saying. This had been his worst nightmare since being called back.
"You were never one of us," Jason said.
"Yeah," Kimberly agreed. "Give it up and go home."
"No!" Zack said firmly. "I came here to get some new powers to protect my world from the forces of evil. Now if you won't have me, that's fine. But I'm going to complete this quest."
Zack moved towards the door. As expected Jason moved to intercept and Zack found himself eye to eye with his former leader. _This isn't happening. Jason is my friend! _
"You're not Jason," Zack suddenly realised. "And if you are not Jason then I can fight you and win."
A loud banshee like scream filled the room as Jason and the other disappeared. Zack took a final look around before walking through the door and into an even worse nightmare.
The second test for Kimberly was a long empty corridor. On the far wall she could make out the words: YOU DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD BE THAT EASY, DID YOU?
Now she knew there was a trap set for her. She looked carefully at the walls and could make out the thin outlines of laser emitters, not powerful enough to shoot at her, but evidence of a trigger mechanism. Above them she could see a series of holes possibly indicating where something could be released.
"There's got to be another way," she said out loud, knowing that if she had to her gymnastics would allow her to avoid the lasers, _If I could only see them. _
Kimberly looked up at the roof and spotted a set of rungs sunk into the concrete. _I can make that jump, _ she thought. Lowering herself to the ground she sprung upwards, reaching out to grab the first rung. Swinging hand over hand she moved across the ceiling, using all her strength to take up as little space as possible.
About halfway over she detected a movement. Without warning the rung she was holding broke away, threatening to throw her to the floor. Kimberly acted quickly, hooking her foot around the nearest rung and hanging upside down. Her hair passed through one of the lasers, causing the room to shake. As she looked down the lower parts of the wall closed together. Then at high speed they opened again revealing an empty space where the floor had once been.
_Time to stop hanging around, _ Kim thought.
Reaching backwards she grabbed the next rails and recommenced her journey across the ceiling. Finally she reached the end of the corridor and landed on the floor. The wooden door was right next to her and she reached out to open it.
Kim turned around towards the new voice. On the platform just behind her stood Tommy. He fixed her with his puppy dog eyes and gave her the smile that had melted her heart so long ago.
"Hey beautiful," he said, running his hand through her hair.
"T-tommy, what are you doing here?" Kim asked.
"I've come to take you home Kim," Tommy told her. "I never loved Kat, I just missed you. Come home and we'll find a place to settle down."
"What about the Rangers?" Kim asked, taken aback by the way her dreams were coming true. She had hoped she still had a chance with Tommy.
"They can manage," Tommy said. "As long as we're together, nothing else matters. Let's go." He attempted to kiss her, but Kim pulled away sharply.
"Who are you?" she demanded. "I know Tommy Oliver and he is devoted to his duty as a Ranger. He would never give up being a Ranger for his own selfish reasons."
The Tommy look alike retreated slightly as Kimberly looked at him sternly. "Please Kim, don't go!"
Kimberly opened the door and walked through, realising that she no longer loved Tommy Oliver. That he had been a small piece of her life. They might be friends forever, but they could never be together. He was devoted to his duty, but she needed somebody who would not need to close her out on a regular basis.
_Two down, one to go, _ Thalian thought. Both Rangers had come to terms with some of their feelings. Zack had realised his friends would never turn their backs on him. Hopefully one day Zordon would reveal the true reason why he insisted Zack, Jason and Trini had gone to Geneva. Kimberly on the other hand was starting to understand her feelings for Tommy. She still had some way to go, but had at least admitted the truth to herself.
Now the Rangers would need to show they could cope if they were to lose something valuable to both of them. The tower had discovered what made both of them special and was about to take advantage of it as part of the test.
_Be strong Rangers, _ Thalian thought. _The power will be yours if you are true to yourselves. _
_I'm old! _ Zack realised as he walked into the room. His skin had shrivelled like an old prune, his eyesight had grown poor and every move hurt due to arthritis.
He looked around at his surroundings and found himself in a nursing home. He caught the attention of a young nurse who walked over to him.
"There you are Mr Taylor, we've all been worried about you. What with the monster alarms."
"You know me?" Zack asked, confused.
"Of course we do Mr Taylor," the nurse said cheerfully. "Don't you remember? The others brought you here when you failed your quest for the new powers."
"Yes Tommy and Jason. They were very concerned about you and told us you were once a Power Ranger." The nurse looked around to ensure nobody could overhear them. "Of course, apart from the director and myself nobody is aware of this small fact. Your secret is safe and I am sure the others will be able to save you once again."
"Thank you," Zack said as the nurse helped him sit down. "Is Minion still on the loose then?"
"Of course not Mr Taylor. The other dealt with him as soon as they got back. I don't think you need to worry about him again." As she spoke the nurse wheeled Zack around the nursing home towards his room. Normally Zack might have noticed that he had not been in a wheelchair when he had sat down. At present, Zack was too scared to think straight.
Of all the things Zack had valued, his youth and ability to have fun had been one of them. His time as a Ranger had made him even more aware of how precious life was. Now it was gone. He was too old to help his friends, have fun or even remember what it had been like to do so.
As the nurse entered Zack's room she made a quick check to ensure everything was as it should be. She caught sight of the tape player Zack had stored in one corner, a collection of his favourite music nearby in a neat pile.
"Now Mr Taylor, you have been warned that policy forbids the playing of loud music of any type. I suppose your friends smuggled this in?"
"Yeah, I guess so," Zack replied.
"Well I'm sorry Mr Taylor, no music allowed." That said the nurse turned and left the room, leaving Zack alone with his thoughts.
Angel Grove High School had always been the place where Kimberly was the centre of attention. She had numerous admirers who would watch her closely when she was in the hallways. Today though nobody seemed to be looking at her. In fact, most of the students were going out of their way to avoid looking at her.
"Miss Hart," Mr Caplan called from down the hall. "Haven't you forgotten something?"
Seeing the blank look he received the principal reached into his pocket and produced a brown paper bag. He handed it to Kimberly who looked at it questionably.
"For your head," Caplan explained. "Put it on."
"You must be joking," Kim retorted.
"Young lady, put that bag over your head or you will be removed from the premises."
Kimberly looked at the bag again; thinking it was a prank and put it over her head. Around the corridor students sighed in relief.
"Thank you Miss Hart," Caplan said. "You may go to your lessons now."
Kimberly did as she was told, leaving the lockers and heading to the girls' toilets where she could see what was on the bag. Once inside she looked in the mirror and was amazed to find it was nothing more than a bag.
"I tell you, if Mr Caplan hadn't stepped in with that bag I could have vomited."
Kimberly ducked into a cubicle as two of her classmates entered. One was Aisha and the other was Trini. They were talking about someone and for a moment Kimberly was tempted to join in. Until that was, she realised they were referring to her.
"I can't help feeling sorry for her," Trini said. "I mean if it hadn't been for that accident during the quest to Dairon she would still have her looks."
"I know," Aisha replied. "I just can't bring myself to talk to her. Do you think she remembers what happened?"
"I doubt it," Trini replied. "Zordon made sure she had no recollection of the events that happened. Unfortunately it means we have to leave her alone or she might start to remember."
"It's just that she looks..."
Kimberly lost the rest of the conversation as Trini and Aisha left. Gingerly Kimberly walked outside and looked in the mirror. Taking a deep breath she lifted the bag, looked in the mirror and fainted.
*You're old, * a voice said, waking Zack from his sleep. *You're weak. Why don't you give up now and go back home. It's not too late. Zordon can turn back time so you never took the test. All you have to do is agree. *
_No, _ Zack replied.
*Why not? * The voice asked. *You gave up your youth to become a Ranger. You served well and held Rita and Zedd at bay for a long time. And how does Zordon say thank you? He sends you away from your home and your friends without even asking what you wanted. *
_Zordon had his reasons, _ Zack thought, trying to convince himself.
*Face it Zack, you're washed up, yesterday's Ranger, ready for the scrap heap. *
Zack thought about everything that being a Ranger had cost him. The fact he had to lie to his parents and friends; constantly worrying when the next strike would come and even when Rita didn't attack he still had to deal with growing up. Except every time he had a problem somebody would create a monster to make it worse.
Then Zack thought about what he had gained. As a Ranger he had learnt to have confidence in himself. Jason had even taught him karate to help him in battle. Billy had helped him with his homework. Kim and Trini were always there when he needed someone to talk to or cheer him up. In fact, being a Ranger had secured him five of the closest friends he had ever had. Before becoming a Ranger he had had a strong friendship with Jason, Kimberly, Trini and Billy, but as Rangers that friendship became stronger.
Then Tommy had joined them and he had another friend. The six of them had been inseparable over their time as Rangers both in fighting and in the other aspects of their lives. And now when he had had a chance to become a Ranger again, he had failed.
_Wait a minute! If Zordon can arrange for me to travel back before I took the test, I could still help the others without powers. _
*Why? * The voice asked. *You're old. *
_I'm as old as I feel, _ Zack thought. The idea of shouting with his thoughts was a new concept and Zack was amazed how forceful he could be.
Zack noticed that as he started to become positive, so he started to get younger. His mind started to work overtime, calculating why this had happened. Then he realised, _Failing and not being able to be a Ranger is my worst fear. _
Suddenly things started to make sense. All through his journey things had got more difficult every time he had been negative about his quest. The chessboard had been a test of his ability to think quickly. His confrontation with the others had been based around his fear of rejection. And this was based on his own fear of failure.
"I haven't failed!" he cried out loud. "And I'm not going to fail."
He watched as his body reverted to its previous form. In front of him the room change and a door appeared in the far wall. On top of the door were the words: IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT!
Zack turned the handle, opened the door and walked into the main chamber. Inside he saw Kimberly arrive through the other side. She too was smiling. Thalian appeared in the centre of the room and looked at both of them, nodding happily.
_I'm hideous, _ Kim thought as she regained consciousness. Her faced was horribly disfigured and twisted. She began to wonder what had happened to her that made her so ugly.
*But you've always been ugly, * a voice said. *Why else would Tommy have left you for Kat? *
Kim knew it was true. Although she had written the letter, it had been as a precaution against Tommy dumping her. She knew Kat had been desperately trying to get her hands on Tommy since the day she arrived in Angel Grove. Kat was tall and blonde, while she was a short brunette. She seriously doubted had it come down to a choice that Tommy would have chosen Kat.
_No, _ Kim thought. _You left Tommy because you didn't want him be lonely. _
*Yeah right, * the voice said. *You knew you'd lose him because you're nothing but an ugly, worthless piece of human excrement. *
Kimberly sank to the floor as the word ate away at her. She knew they were true and nothing she could do would change that.
_Crap! _ She thought. _Come on Kim, you know that looks are not everything. And if you lost them trying to help the others, so what? _
She started to think more clearly; suddenly realising this was one of her deepest fears. She had always been known for her looks and although a fine athlete, it would have been her face she was judged by. In that moment of time Kimberly understood what had been happening. The three riddles had been a test. She could have given any answer ass long as she believed it was true. The image of Tommy had been based on her own desires and she had conquered them. Now the tower was testing her abilities to conquer her fears.
_I am not ugly! _ She thought. _And if I am, then I am not going to let my looks rule my life. _
In the mirror Kimberly saw her face revert to its normal appearance. The room changed into an empty room with the familiar door. Above the door were the words: IT'S AS SIMPLE AS THAT!
Kimberly walked through the door to see Zack already they're waiting for her. Thalian appeared and seemed to smile as he gestured for them both to come close.
Kimberly and Zack had recovered from their ordeals and had spent the last hour talking with Thalian. It turned out the Temple of the Mind chose their tests by selecting either fears or desires they may be carrying as well as a simple test of will. Thalian also revealed that had they walked through the middle door, they would have been in the main chamber without testing.
"Of course if that had happened you would not have received your powers," Thalian explained. "A true Rangers knows the obvious is usually either a trap or the path to evil. You were true to yourselves."
"Now, it is time to receive your powers," Thalian told them.
"Stop!" a deep voice boomed. "Do not take the Ranger powers. Come to me and I will give you all the power you could desire." An old man in a long red robe stood before him.
"No, come to me and I will give you the power to crush Minion without endangering your friends," a light female voice called.
Zack and Kimberly exchange looks and then looked at Thalian. The Guardian shrugged, indicating it was their choice whether they accepted or not.
"I don't desire power," Kimberly said. "All I need is the power to protect my planet. And as for you," she said pointing at the woman. "Rangers are a team," Zack finished.
"Good choice, you have overcome temptation and proved yourself worthy of the Ranger Aspect," Thalian told them. "Now step forward and claim that which is yours."
Zack watched as Thalian flipped four coins into the air. For a moment they moved around. Then they stopped as though waiting for Thalian to tell them what to do. "Zachary Taylor, you have proven yourself to be the embodiment of the Black Ranger. You have overcome your fears and shown that you are capable of studying an opponent before acting. Because of this I grant you the Body, Mind, Ninja and Ranger Aspects of the Black Ranger."
On the four coins images started to engrave themselves. On the first coin appeared the Mastodon; on the second coin appeared the Pegasus; and on the third a picture of the Frog appeared. The three coins join together, waiting for the final coin to join them. On that coin a picture of the Black Ranger appeared. It grew larger and thinner. Before too long it was able to fold around the other three coins to form a small golden ball. As Zack held out his hand the coin landed in his palm. Zack examined it and could make out all four Aspects.
"Kimberly Ann Hart," Thalian said next. "You have proven yourself to be true to yourself even when the truth is unpleasant. You are the confident heart of the team, willing if necessary to fight whatever the cost. It is to you I grant the Body, Mind, Ninja and Ranger Aspects of the Pink Ranger."
Kimberly found herself surrounded by the animal spirits of the Pterodactyl, Firebird and Crane. As one they flew into her chest, emerging again as a coin formed in front of her. As they hit the coin their features became engraved on the surface. Then the Ranger Aspect entered the room, floating through Kimberly and into the coin. Its image formed on the reverse side of the coin. In a flash the coin was transformed into a golden ball and came to rest in her hand.
"You are both now and forever Power Rangers," Thalian told them. "Now I sense Jason and Sam have both succeeded as well. We should return to the Temple of the Body and join them in training. It's Morphin Time!"
"Black Ranger Power!" Zack called.
"Pink Ranger Power!" Kimberly called.
Both of them appeared in armoured version of their Ranger uniforms. Kimberly's was pink complete with Blade Blaster. On her back was her Power Bow. In the centre of her chest was a golden coin showing the Firebird flying above the Pterodactyl and Crane. In the centre was the image of the Pink Ranger.
Zack's uniform was completely black. Even the small holster for his Blade Blaster was black. On his back was the Power Axe he had once used. In the centre of his chest was a coin showing the Pegasus on top of a Mastodon and Frog. In the centre was the image of the Black Ranger.
"Griffin Power!" Thalian called. Silver armour grew around him to make him appear similar to Ninjor. Then the armour changed colour to yellow.
Minion charged through the laboratory in North Valley towards the containment cells. He had felt yet another shift in the Morphin Grid, this time in the Black and Pink colours. _Two more Rangers have gained new powers, _ he thought angrily.
He opened the cell and moved inside, spotting his target chained to the back wall. Firing a bolt of energy from his hands he cut Taanya down from where he had left her hanging. As she hit the ground he started to beat her.
He began with a few slaps, taking out all his aggression on the helpless human. Then he intensified the assault, kicking, hitting and blasting her with energy bolts. When she was within an inch of her life Minion turned and left. He had not been able to use her in his plans, but she did make an interesting punch bag.
His new servants were complete and now Minion planned to use them. Marching back into the laboratory he confronted his creations. "Go to Angel Grove, draw out the Zeo Rangers and destroy them!"
The ten warriors bowed and vanished, leaving Minion to check on his other servants' progress. Mandarin had just finished summoning his troops; The Queen of the Crown had set a trap for the Beetleborgs and Golobulus was about to start his attack on Crossworld City. All in all things were going better than planned.
A once peaceful and prosperous planet gradually tore itself to pieces. Behind it a gigantic rift had opened in Space/Time and was gradually sucking the entire Universe into oblivion. Millions of people died, unable to escape their doom.
Before dying an eminent scientist determined that the rift had
been caused by the activation of a dimensional barrier on Earth
in the year 1996. After much research using the vast technology
available he found the name of the creature responsible: Minion.