One was the Zeo Rangers. Tommy Oliver, Kat Hillard, Rocky DeSantos, Tanya Sloan, and Adam Park. The three boys were dressed in nearly identical suits, with cummerbunds of red, blue, and green respectively, while Tanya and Kat were both sheathed in shimmering gowns of yellow and pink.
The other group were their allies, former teammates, and good friends, the Avatars of Life. Jason Lee Scott, Kim Hart, Billy Cranston, Trini Kwan, Zack Taylor, Aisha Campbell, and Kyle Lee Scott. Their suits were also identical, with ties in their respective shades, Kyle's being a pure white. Aisha, Trini, and Kim were splendid in green, yellow, and pink, and the various couples that had sprung up over the last few days were going strong it looked like.
"You look magnificent, beautiful," Tommy smiled as he took his girlfriend's hand. He couldn't conceive of loving anyone other than her.
Billy kissed Trini gently on the cheek as the two of them joined hands. "I wish we could have gone to more of these together," he said. It was amazing that he had waited so long to tell her how he felt, but now that it was out in the open, he couldn't wait for the entire universe to know.
"That suit is really nice on you, Adam," Tanya smiled as she and Adam looked at one another. They hadn't been dating long, but it was fairly plain to both of them that they meshed perfectly.
Zack and Aisha said nothing as they touched, but from the electric thrill both felt at their contact, both of them smiled. This was going to be one very interesting date, they felt.
"You look so beautiful. . .," Jason breathed in awe as Kat smiled at him, the light shining off her golden hair and blue eyes.
"And you look handsome," Kat took his hand and the newest Ranger-Avatar couple turned towards the Youth Center and started in.
Rocky and Kyle glanced at each other for a moment, and both the Blue Ranger and the Avatar of Good grinned. "Is it just me, or do the really cute guys not have dates?" Kyle cracked lightly.
"You could have a point there," Rocky headed inside, his friend in step with him. "But we're still going to have a great time!"
His chief scientist was popping up almost before he'd finished uttering his name. "Yes, sire! They're ready to go at your command!"
"Good!" Mondo was certain this plan of his was going to work! How could it fail? It was elegant in it's simplicity. Send the Cogs down during the dance, when the Rangers couldn't morph and the Avatars wouldn't use their powers for fear of all the people around, grab the Pink Ranger, and hold her hostage for the service of the Avatar of Spirit. And I might even be able to get the rest of the Avatars and the Zeo Rangers into the bargain. We shall have to see. He was almost drooling, if he were capable, of the very thought of having all those skilled warriors and unusual powers under his metallic thumb.
How could he possibly lose?
Rocky and Kyle were hanging out by the punch bowl, and browsing for interested girls. So far, they had both come up nil. "At least the food's good," the ever-hungry Blue Ranger commented as he munched on a cracker.
"And it's a peaceful night," Kyle seldom let his experience with evil mar his pleasure, but he truly appreciated peace in a way perhaps only Tommy and Kat could really understand.
Thinking about the two who had also been evil caused him to glance around for them. Naturally Kim was with Tommy, but he didn't see Kat for a moment. Then, he smiled. Dancing fairly close to each other were the Pink Ranger and the Avatar of Spirit, and they were looking at each other in the way that only those who have found a missing part of themselves do. "Looks like everyone's got someone but us," he said half-wistfully. Haven't had a girlfriend in ages. And now with my power. . .I don't think I'm ever going to have one. Who could understand what we go through?
Rocky glanced to see what his friend was looking at, then grinned. Kat and Jason looked very happy together. He wondered if he would ever be that happy. The odds didn't look very good on it. But he didn't begrudge them that joy.
That joy was shattered a bare second later when a platoon of Cogs appeared from one of Mondo's teleportation circles and started attacking.
"Wh----" Kyle's morphing call was broken off by Rocky's firm hand on his shoulder. "Rocky!?" he half-growled. "We have to help them!"
Rocky shook his head. "I know. But we can't change here. There's people everywhere. I know you Avatars don't have the rule of keeping your identities secret like we do, but you'll get swamped if you do it here and now. We'll get somewhere out of the way and do it there."
The rest of their teams seemed to be having the same idea as they could see everyone heading as unobtrusively as they could in a screaming, throbbing mass of humanity that was surging this way and that about them. Kyle and Rocky surged along with them, intending to get to a safe place to change and go back to do some serious damage to the Cogs, when a familiar yell of fury stopped their headlong charge out.
Both of them turned almost in slow motion. They hoped they wouldn't see what they saw, but they saw it anyone: Kat surrounded by Cogs, Jason on the floor, obviously having been trying to protect her, curled up in pain.
"Fireflash!" Trini shouted, hoping enough people had cleared out by now that no one would notice. Even if they did, she thought Aisha and Kyle would be able to take care of 'inconvenient' memories. I don't like doing that sort of thing, but if necessary. ..
The Avatar of Fire growled something viscious as her blast shot across the room and completely missed the Cogs, who had just vanished into another circle, taking Kat along with them.
Slowly, Jason got up to his feet, his eyes stormy. "Let's get to the Power Chamber," was all he said.
The Machine King laughed harshly. "In case you didn't notice, Pink Ranger, I already have! Having you here gives me total command over the Rangers and the Avatars!"
"And just what makes you think that?" she snorted. "I think it would get you destroyed by them even faster!"
"It's easy, my dear Katherine. You see, your boyfriend is the leader of the Avatars, and you are a Power Ranger. Therefore, if either of them want to see you alive again. . .ever. . .they will do just as I tell them."
Kat wanted to say something particularly foul to her captor, but nothing that came to mind seemed either accurate or strong enough. Finally, she settled for just spitting at him.
Mondo reacted to that, but not quite as she would have liked: a harsh slap across the face. "Take her to the dungeon, Klank," he ordered. "And contact the Power Chamber once she's in a cell. It's time to issue my demands."
"As you wish, my lord!" Klank sketched a salute, then marched off with the Cogs holding Kat in tow. He hoped he'd be able to perform some of his favored experiments on her sometime soon. The mechanical scientist had some things in mind that should prove very, very painful.
All in the name of science, of course.
The Spirit Avatar paced, his eyes darting back and forth as he relived the moment it had happened over and over. The two of them had been heading out with everyone else, both of them thinking about getting to the nearest secluded space and transforming. Then Kat had stumbled. Just a little trip, her ankle had turned on a rough spot in the floor, and she had been down. Jason had stopped to help her, but before he could pick her up, Cogs had already grabbed her. A powerful kick from one had sent him sprawling. He'd watched breathless and helpless as she'd been teleported away.
Mondo, you don't know how much trouble you're in, he thought, his eyes flashing upwards briefly to the general direction of the Skybase. He fully intended to show his enemy just how much damage the Avatar of Spirit could cause.
Billy's voice broke him from his furious reverie. "Guys. . .the..there's something going on at the Skybase. I'm putting it on the main screen."
The group looked up as static crackled for a moment on the screen, then cleared. The Skybase showed there, looking as calm and evil as it always had. Jason growled low at the thought of Kat's golden beauty being trapped on it for even a moment.
He was about to ask Billy what was so unusual when the Skybase blew up.