"Catch it T.J.!" Carlos called, just as he released the Frisbee with the flick of his wrist. He knew that T.J. wasn't paying attention, which was his point at throwing it at him. Carlos gasped as the plastic flying disc impacted on T.J.'s head with a hollow clunking sound.
"Ow!" T.J. fell, rolled over on his side and pulled the frisbee up from underneath him, then hurled it back at Carlos. Laughing, he caught it.
"Poor T.J., knocked out by a frisbee!" Cassie said, putting her hands on her hips. "What a strong fearsome leader we have!"
"I was not knocked out. I have a head like a rock!" he reached up, balled up his fist and gently tapped his head.
Ashley laughed, shaking her head. "He can say that again!"
"A big THICK rock!" Justin added, grinning from ear to ear.
"Now, I wouldn't go THAT far!" T.J. told them, climbing to his feet.
Carlos covered his mouth to choke back a laugh. "I would!"
"Come now, Burrito boy...you know I could kick your butt any day of the week if I wanted to! Big rock head or not," a sly grin slid across T.J.'s face, and he cracked his knuckles loudly. The girls and Justin jumped back, but Carlos just stood there, laughing.
"Yeah, right!" he retorted in a teasing tone. "You wish!"
"Wanna bet??" T.J. balled up his fists and took a boxing stance, and then began to bounce around Carlos, who just laughed harder and harder.
Justin pointed at the Red Ranger, giggling. "Look, T.J. looks like a kangaroo!"
"Yeah, a big old red kangaroo!" Cassie added.
T.J. stood still, then drew his face into a pout. "Shut up!" he demanded, but his solemn expression dissolved into laughter. Ashley giggled, then toppled to the ground, pointing at T.J.
"Look everyone! It's T.J.!! The friendliest bouncy rock headed red kangaroo ever to bounce through Angel Grove! He's been called the new 'Barney' by 'USA Today'!"
"Now that's going a little TOO far!" T.J. exclaimed.
Carlos clapped T.J. on the shoulder, smiling at him. "Come on, Teej. We're just teasing you. You're not the new Barney."
Justin started laughing again. "Yeah, you're the new Lambchop!"
Carlos dropped his knees, and began to roll on the ground, laughing his head off. Ashley laughed as well, and pointed at the Green Ranger just as he began turning blue in the face.
"He looks like he's going to explode!" she commented.
Cassie giggled. "Oh, man. Are we all crazy or what?"
"Or what," Justin said.
Carlos stopped laughing to look at the younger ranger. He bore a confused visage, and squinted. "What are we?"
"Or what!" Justin repeated, eyeing Carlos strangely. "Don't you get it?"
"But that's what he just asked, Justin. What are we?" Ashley said. She too looked confused. These two were like two peas in a pod, they didn't get anything, did they? Jocks and cheerleaders tend to be like that.
"Or what. . ." Justin sighed and shook his head.
"Oh! I get it!" Carlos exclaimed. "That's funny!"
"Yeah! It's funny!" Ashley repeated and the two of them started rolling around, laughing crazily. T.J. started laughing as well and toppled over, and Cassie soon followed. Justin snorted, clicking his tongue and shaking his head.
"I don't get it," he himself was trying hard not to laugh, after all, it was very funny watching these people, who were supposed to be older and more mature than him, rolling around in the grass, getting all dirty, and laughing like idiots.
They were all laughing so hard, they didn't notice the periscope peeking up out of the water and focusing on them. The person on the other end would do anything to spoil the fun the five Rangers were having, anything at all!
Ashley bumped into Carlos, starting to calm down her laughter. But as she saw the look on his face, and all the grass that they had both acquired in their hair as they had rolled around, she started up again.
Justin grabbed onto Cassie's arm and pulled her to where she was standing. "Come on!" he whined.
She laughed over at T.J., who had gotten up and was playing with the frisbee by himself, and having a fit with it at that! And not only that, but Carlos and Ashley had begun a tickle fight with each other.
Rolling his eyes, Justin stated, "Silliness is spreading!"
"Spreading all over!" Cassie continued, and she looked at Ashley. "Your turn!"
"All over the Earth!" Ashley nudged Carlos.
"Over the Earth, and across the galaxy!" he shot a glance at T.J.
"Across the galaxy and BACK!"
Cassie giggled. "Twice over!
Justin sighed and gave in. Laughing with full force, he added. "And over and over!"
"FOREVER AND EVER!" Carlos yelled, and he got up and dashed for the picnic
basket. "Let's eat!"
Divatox spun around, her gloved fingers clenched onto the handles of her periscope, and her eyes plastered into the viewfinder. Her ruby red lips were curled into an evil sneer, and a growl slowly escaped the gaps between her teeth.
"Whatcha doin'?" Elgar came sauntering up to her, and clapped her on the back with his large, gangly hands. She spun around and slapped him, eyes wide with anger.
"Don't touch me, you fool!" she demanded. "I was watching the rangers, what else do you think I would be doing?"
"Watching the home shopping channel?" he asked. That reply was only met by another vicious slap.
"I told you, when I am at the periscope, I am watching the rangers, you twit!"
"Ohhhh, 'kay!" he said, "So like, what are they doing now?"
"Having fun, and laughing their silly little heads off." She spat. "Ha! I'll give something to laugh at! I must find a way to destroy their puny little powers!"
"The. . .uhhh. . .best way to do that, Auntie D, is to like. . .capture one of 'em, and some junk, and like. . .get Porto to check out their Turbo Charger thingies and figure out how to like, make 'em not work." Elgar looked very exhausted after that outburst, and dizzily backed into the wall.
Divatox stood there, staring at him, utterly dumbfounded to say the least. "Elgar. . .," she whispered, teeth clenched. "If I didn't know it was impossible, I'd swear that you just had an idea! And a good one at that!"
"I had an idea!? WOAH!" Elgar jumped around a bit, only to hit his head on the ceiling and topple to the ground. Divatox came and stood over him, tapping her foot impatiently.
"Don't get used to it," she muttered, "It wont ever happen again."
He rubbed his egg-shaped head, and looked up at her dizzily. "Uhhh, whatever you say, Auntie D."
The large monster came over to her, and took a low bow. "Yes, oh captain of captains?"
"Take some Piranatrons to the park and go capture me a Power Ranger!" she commanded, balling up her fists and grinning mischievously.
"Do you have a preference?" he rumbled.
"Not really, but either the Red or Blue ones will do nicely," she nodded at him. "Now go do it!"
"And so it is done!" Rygog bowed once more, then waved his hand and dozens of Piranatrons appeared next to him. "I'm outa here!" and with that, he and the Piranatrons disappeared in a flash of red.
Divatox began to cackle gleefully. "Viva la Diva!" she screamed. "Oooh, goody, goody, goody! I'm gonna win this one!!"
"Uhhhh. . .yeah!" a dizzy Elgar replied, and the echoing of his voice was drowned
out by the shrill laughter of Divatox, as it rang through the SpaceBase, and out into the
cold void that surrounded it.
Cassie laid out a blanket, pulled out the picnic basket and set the food out on it. It had been a major battle keeping Carlos away from the food before she had even had a chance to set it up, and now Ashley, T.J. and Justin were holding him down as she did so. They practically had to tie and gag him! She made sure everything was set up perfectly, then turned to face the others, smiling.
"Turn the animal loose," she told them, staring Carlos in the eye. As their fingers let go of his arms and legs, he lashed out and made a mad break for the blanket. When he had reached within the range of three feet from it, he made a leap, not unlike one seen in a soccer game, and he went crashing into the picnic basket.
"Carlos!" Cassie whined, and she grabbed hold of him and pulled him away from the food. "Are you that hungry!?"
He nodded eagerly, a wide grin creasing his face. She shook her head and slapped him lightly. "I think it would be more polite of you to wait for everyone else to get over here before you devour all our food," she said as she held tightly onto his arm. He sat still, looking her in the eye. "Is that understood?"
"Si, mama," he said, "I'm sorry." And as he said so, the others came and sat down at the blanket, and began to serve up some food for themselves.
"Good," she giggled a little, then grabbed a sandwich off of a plate laying on the blanket nearby, and shoved it into his mouth. He somehow managed to chew it up, and more surprisingly swallow the entire thing.
"Good food, Cassie!" he exclaimed after he had done so. He grinned and grabbed a handful of potato chips, and shoved them into his mouth as well.
"I'm an expert peanut butter and jelly sandwich maker! It's my specialty!" she picked another sandwich off of the plate for herself, and slowly began to nibble at the crust.
"Hey, I brought the drinks!" Ashley yelled.
"Gee, you're so talented at buying soda!" T.J. teased.
"Hey, I thought that I brought the drinks!" Justin insisted, then began to laugh.
"Guys, this is. . .Piranatrons!" T.J. growled, on his feet even as he spoke.
"Oh crud," Carlos leapt to his feet, glaring at the fish headed creatures that had appeared and surrounded them. "Why now!? I was still eating!"
Ashley shrugged, going into a fighting stance. "Who knows? But let's kick some fin!!"
"Right!" Justin exclaimed, and dashed into the midst of the Piranatrons. Before he could so much as touch one, they shrugged, took hold of his arms and legs, refusing to let go "Hey! NO fair! I didn't get to do anything yet!" he wiggled and twisted in their grip, trying to break his way free.
Carlos ran out, beginning to kick some of the other Piranatrons away. The others dashed out after him, setting out to free Justin from their grip. Justin too, had a plan of his own. He managed to get his head to where one bound his wrist, and clamped his teeth down on the Piranatron's hand. It yelped, and hopped away from him, holding onto its hand. The other Piranatrons, after seeing what he had done to their colleague, dropped him and stepped away. Justin laughed, and karate chopped one in it's neck. Burbling like boiling water, it dissolved into the ground.
The other rangers too, got into the thick of the battle. T.J. did a low roundhouse kick, sending a few falling to their rears. Cassie back flipped over some of them, hitting them in their heads and sending them flying. Carlos used his soccer style kicking technique to send a few of them flying into the branches of nearby trees. And Ashley full out pounced on them, squashing them. The fish-headed monsters fought back to the best of their abilities, but that simply was not enough. Only a few remained in moments, and they were weak and straggling.
Then, as if things weren't already bad, Rygog appeared out of the blue, with a whole new squadron of Piranatrons. "Rangers!!" He snarled, holding his sword out before him. The Piranatrons charged, sending the tired Rangers sprawling on the ground. Justin, hit hardest of all, went hurtling into the nearest tree, much to his dismay as Rygog stepped over his friends, coming towards him. The monster seized him by the shoulder, dragging him to his feet with his sword to Justin's throat. "Queen Divatox requests your presence at the Space Base, Power Brat."
"Hey! Put me down!" Justin kicked and struggled, but as Rygog's blade neared his throat, he stopped, staring with wide and terrified eyes at it.
"JUSTIN!" Cassie screamed, trying and failing to stand as a Piranatron delivered a powerful kick to her ribs.
"See ya later, Rangers!" Rygog waved his arm, and he, the Piranatrons, and Justin vanished.
This was met by screaming and rioting by the Rangers that they had not taken. They all dashed up to a standing position, grabbing for their Turbo Chargers. Hate glinted in their eyes.
"NO!!" T.J. yelled. "JUSTIN!!"
Carlos growled down deep. "Let's get to the Power Chamber and find a way to get him back! I don't want to think about what they might do to him!"
"If Divatox does ANYTHING to him, I swear. . .," Ashley swore even as Carlos spoke. She nodded briefly. "Let's go," their decision was met only by silent nods from Cassie and T.J.
And with that, they dissolved into 4 streaks of multicolored light, and
disappeared, on their way to the Power Chamber.
"Let me go, you disgusting . . .things!" Justin struggled with the Piranatrons as they dragged him into Divatox's throne room. She smiled a little at his nerve, he wouldn't stop fighting even when he'd obviously already been defeated! She raised an eyebrow as he pulled away from the Piranatrons and backflipped to the wall. Oh, please let him do what I think he's going to do!
"Shift into Turbo!" he growled, pulling his Turbo Key out of a back pocket. With a flick of his wrists, his Turbo Chargers appeared on them.
"Now, Elgar!" Divatox snapped. Her nephew stepped out of the shadows and seized Justin's arms, holding them apart so he couldn't activate the morphing sequence. He looked up, eyes wide with startlement.
Divatox laughed as she had him chained to a wall. "Welcome, Little Boy Blue!" she grinned at him evilly. She reached out and touched his cheek gently...her long nails traced his high cheekbone. He shook his head and turned it away from them, squirming and writhing in the chains.
"Let me go!" he demanded.
"Oh, I don't think so!" she laughed. "Oh, no!" she removed her hand from his face, reached up to his wrists and tore the Turbo Chargers away from him.
"NO! Give those back to me! Give them back!"
"I think not! Porto!" she crooked her finger, motioning to the large monster across the room. He wobbled over to her, holding out his hands. In them, she placed Justin's Turbo Chargers. "Take these, and find a way to destroy those Rangers' powers!"
"Of course, my queen!" Porto made a short bow, and wobbled out of the room, Turbo Chargers in hand. Justin struggled and screamed.
"Give me those back!!!"
Divatox cackled. "Nope!!" and to seal off her reply, she slammed him in the stomach with her balled up fist. He gasped loudly, and his eyes bugged out. He went limp in his chains, unable to breath. Screaming with vile pleasure, she kicked at him.
"Stop it! Leave me alone! Give me my Turbo Chargers back!" he groaned, unable to lift his head to look at her.
"NOPE!" She stepped aside, gesturing to a group of Piranatrons nearby. "Have fun, boys!"
And then they stepped in her place, beating and kicking with all their might. Poor Justin hung there, unable to fight them back, unable to save himself. After what seemed to have been hours, they stepped away, leaving him bruised, battered and bleeding. Justin screamed as Divatox stepped back in, and kicked him square in the knees with her boots. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut, closing out her image. He groaned softly, panting for breath.
Then Divatox grabbed hold of him by the chin, and stared at his closed eyes. Slowly, Justin reopened them, only to find himself staring into her eyes. She smiled seductively, licking her lips with the flick of her long, reptilian tongue. Justin gasped, then gulped loudly.
"Ever been kissed, little Ranger boy?" she asked, stroking his cheek once more. He shivered under her touch, and shook his head slowly. She laughed. "Well, you're about to be."
Justin whimpered, and turned his head away from her. He made himself clamp his mouth shut, afraid of what was going to happen to him. Her grip on his chin tightened, digging her fingernails deep into his skin and jerking his head back to face her.
"Now that's not nice at all! That's no way to treat someone who is gonna give you the kiss you're never going to forget!"
Justin's heart pounded like a jackhammer as he stared straight into Divatox's eyes, whether he wanted to or not. Then his heart almost stopped completely as she bent forward, swift as a snake, and fastened her lips on his. He stood in shock, which turned into disgust and horror as he felt his mouth opening in response to her tongue forcing it's way inside, unfolding to unimaginable lengths as it slipped down his throat. Burning, raw agony sprang up all through him, mixed with disgust and hatred of this monster masquerading as a woman.
When he tried to pull away from her, the tongue, now somewhere down deep inside of him, wrapped around, tightened, and held a tight grip on his windpipe. He tried to shriek with horror, but found it impossible. Not only that, but he was starting to lose consciousness. It seemed an eternity until she pulled away from him, her tongue slurping out of his insides, and back down into her evil mouth. Her lips curled with a smile of satisfaction, and she began to laugh at him.
Justin immediately began gasping to regain the breath that he had lost, eyes wide. He trembled all over, and the burning sensation...the fire that was eating him up inside...was stronger than ever. It hurt. . .hurt so bad. . .
"I could do a lot more to you than nearly rip your windpipe out," she stated simply, placing her hands on her hips. "As a matter of fact I could kill you, but you're too important to my plan."
"My. . .throat. . .on fire..."
She backhanded him across the cheek, almost snapping his neck. "Oh, don't be such a baby! You'll live," she shrugged suddenly, grinning. "Maybe."
"Kiss him again!" Rygog was nearly jumping up and down, giggling with demonic glee. "That was hilarious! A classic!"
Divatox looked back at Justin, hanging there so helpless in those chains that she
had bonded him in, hurting from the beating she and the Piranatrons had given him, and
dying from the damage that she had done to his insides with her 'Kiss of Death'. She
shrugged, lifted his head to look up at her once more and said, "Oh, why not?" and then
plunged her mouth back down, before Justin could so much as cry out a word of protest.
Cassie dropped to her knees and filled the Power Chamber with a long, shrill scream. Her eyes filled with tears as the image of what Divatox was doing to their friend loomed on the viewing globe. "We have to help him! We have to!!"
"I'm going to kill her," T.J. growled, cracking his knuckles. "SLOWLY!"
Carlos dashed over to the control panel, and immediately began punching buttons. Alpha ran over, grabbed hold of his wrists and pulled him away.
"Yo! Carlos, don't go messin' with da controls, dude. They're fragile!"
"GET US THERE NOW!" Carlos demanded. "Don't you see she's hurt him ENOUGH! We have to get to him!!"
Cassie came up beside Carlos, and pulled Alpha's hands from his wrists. "Yeah! Get us there now, or consider yourself scrap!"
Alpha nearly toppled over backwards, giving a sideways glance to Dimitria. She just nodded, and he turned to the control panel and began to enter in a code of some kind. "I warn ya, Rangers. . ." he said softly, sounding very hurt. "That this is gonna be real dangerous. Youse need to keep a lookout for yourselves. I don't wantcha gettin' hurt up there..."
T.J. nodded. "We know, Alpha. But we have to do it. We can't just stand there while Justin is getting his insides ripped out by that. . .that monster!"
Ashley stood there, eyes locked on the globe. "She has her tongue shoved down his throat! We have to get to him! She. . .she could kill him!"
"OK, Here ya'll go!" he pressed the last button, and away they went; on their way
to save their friend from the clutches of the Evil Space Pirate, Divatox.
Divatox slowly lifted her lips away from Justin, pulling her tongue back into her mouth as she did so. She laughed throatily, glaring down at him, when all of a sudden she heard a low growl sounding from behind her. She attempted to spin around, but before she had a chance to move, a hand slammed into the back of her neck. Her eyes bulged, and turning on her heel, she moved to face her attacker. Then she was met with a powerful slap on the face, before she could see who had hit her. Her vision blurred, and she backed into Justin, who let out a loud grunt. The attacker grabbed her by the neck and dragged her away from him, and threw her into the wall.
Divatox's head swam, and she dizzily climbed to her feet. After shaking her head a few times, she saw Carlos standing in front of her, fists and teeth clenched, ready to strike her again. From behind him she could see Cassie running to the battered Justin, hanging in chains on the wall across the way from them; and in the doorway, she could see Porto standing there, holding Justin's Turbo Chargers in his hand and cackling evilly.
Divatox leapt away from Carlos, laughing. "Pathetic little Power Brats! My plan is complete! And there is nothing you can do about it either! Porto!" she nodded at him. "Do it!"
"You're going to be OK, Justin. . .don't worry," Cassie grabbed hold of the chains and tugged with all of her might. He looked up at her, eyes wide, red and swollen from tears and unbearable pain. His breath. . .oh, it terrified her to hear his breathing, he rasped, and wheezed, and the sounds of things rattling in his lungs resonated within him. There were bleeding cuts and bruises all over the bare areas, like his arms, neck and face, and she assumed there were many more that were hidden by the torn clothing that half- way clung to him with the dampness of cold sweat. The chains rattled and cracked then broke loose, and Justin crumpled and began to fall. Cassie caught him carefully in her arms. She rolled him over on his back, squatting down, and wiped the sweat, blood and tears off of his face.
He moaned quietly, gazing up at her with imploring eyes. "Save. . .yourselves..." he rasped. "My. . .Turbo Charger. . .Porto. . .,"
Carlos began to advance on Divatox, reaching deep in his pocket for the key that would activate his Turbo Charger, and in turn, the Green Turbo Ranger powers. "You're going to pay for hurting my friend, Divabitch..."
"Oh, you Rangers think you're so great!!" she laughed. "Well, I've got a surprise for you!! Porto, you big marshmallow! Have you done it yet!?"
"Waiting, my captain, for the right moment!" he giggled, quaking all over like a gigantic balloon being battered around by a little child. "Oh, this is going to be GREAT!"
Snarling, Carlos pulled his hand out of his pocket and thrust it out at her throat, pinning her to the wall. He bore his teeth, growling like a wild wolf when it has trapped it's prey.
T.J. came up behind him and took hold of his shoulder. "Come on, let's morph and take her down. Cassie's got Justin, we can blow this pop stand once we get rid of her!"
"Not before I repay her for what she has done to Justin!" he turned his face to T.J., eyes narrowed. Divatox sighed, then kicked her foot as hard as she could in a sensitive male area, and his slit eyes became wide. "L. . .let's morph!" he squealed, finding his voice was three octaves higher, and backed away from the cackling Divatox quickly.
Cassie ripped the bottom of her shirt off, and tore it into tiny bandages, beginning to tend to Justin's wounds. As she did, he screamed and bucked, then became limp, nearly falling into unconsciousness. She nodded for the other three to morph. "Go ahead!" She yelled. "Finish her off! He's not doing too well!" Almost lovingly, she brushed the damp hair away from Justin's face, then kissed him gently on the forehead. "Don't worry, Justin, we'll take care of you."
Immediately he began to squirm again. "My. . .Turbo Charger. . ." he cried. "Take it from. . .Porto. ..get my. . .Turbo Charger!"
"We'll get it before we leave!" she eyed Porto suspiciously.
"Beware, rangers! HAHA!" He rested his hands on a lever, ready to yank it down at any second.
Magically, in the hands of the green, yellow, and red rangers there appeared a key. Like three little marionettes; in perfect precision they instinctively went into a stance, holding their keys out at the ready, before them and all in the room. Their eyes narrowed, faces solemn and serious. Their voices cried out simultaneously. "Shift into Turbo!" and down went Porto's hands, and the lever with them.
And then, with the lever pulled, the power of millions of lightening bolts surged through the keys. Screaming in agony, the half-morphed rangers crumbled, squirming around on the ground. Divatox howled with laughter, watching as the power swirled around them all, draining their power...
And then it stopped, and the rangers lay there, unmorphed, hurt, and powerless.
"Sorry, Rangers!" Divatox came by each of them, planting her boot in each of their stomachs. "Or should I say EX-rangers!"
Cassie clung onto Justin, hot tears streaming down her cheeks. "Wh...what happened?" she whimpered, just as Justin groaned, then fell unconscious in her arms. At the same moment, her own key had sent a shock through her, but not nearly as bad as what had been through the others it seemed.
T.J. rolled on his back, jumping back so that he could stand. From there, he helped Carlos and Ashley get up. "She destroyed our powers!!"
"That's right, little rangers!" Porto screamed. "And there's nothing you can do about it!!"
Laughing evilly, Divatox motioned for Piranatrons to come nearer. "DESTROY THEM!" She ordered, and they began to advance on the shaken group of teenagers. Cassie stood, holding Justin close to her.
"Not a chance, Divabuttocks! Come on guys, let's teleport our butts out of here while we still can!" and before the Piranatrons could reach them, they disappeared into the night.
"Let them go!" Divatox put her hands on her hips, a devious grin curling her lips.
"They have no powers...they can do NOTHING to stop us!"
Minutes after their arrival in the Power Chamber, the shocked rangers were leaning against each other, rubbing their heads. They all felt numb, as if this was all one horrible, awful nightmare. Justin wasn't really dying in front of them, their powers weren't gone, Divatox wasn't already sending her minions to pillage Angel Grove. . .
Everything was fine.
But no, it was not fine. Nothing was fine anymore. Justin was on the brink of death, lying out on the table under the watchful eyes of Alpha 6. Their powers were gone; destroyed with the single pull of a lever. And Divatox was slowly trapping them in their fortress; monsters surrounding the Power Chamber inched closer and closer, sealing them off.
Cassie turned her tear streaked face up to the plasma tube, looking at the white veiled woman within. "What did she do to him, Dimitria??"
"It is hard to tell. . .," the gentle voice echoed softly through the Power Chamber. "She could have punctured his lung with the tip of her tongue, ripped some veins out. Sadly, I fear the worst."
"Alpha, can you help him?" T.J. asked, coming up behind the robot as he tended to Justin.
"Yo...I'm no surgeon , T.J, but I'm doin' what I can..."
Suddenly, Justin jerked out of his coma, wheezing, rasping. His arms reached out, eyes became wide. "Mom! Where are you. . .mom, I can't see you!" he cried deliriously, gasping for a breath. "I can't see anything!"
Carlos came over and gently took hold onto Justin's hand. "Shhh. . .it's going to be alright, Justin. Calm down."
"I can't see! Where is my mom!" he wailed, then started a shuddering cough, sending his body into convulsions.
"Help him, Alpha!" Carlos begged, wiping tears that began welling up in his eyes.
"Yo...Carlos, calm down, buddy. I'm tryin', I'm tryin'!"
A crackling sound filled the building, and a streak of blue light rocketed from the ceiling. It materialized, and there stood one of the Rangers' most dear friends and allies, the Blue Senturion.
"What has happened?" he inquired with his intercom type voice. "I felt the disturbance, and came to your aid, but when I saw the horde of monsters, without you fighting them, I felt there was more to the problem than some mere disturbance."
"Oh, Blue Senturion!" Cassie practically pounced into his arms, sobbing. "It was awful, just awful! Divatox sent Rygog down, and kidnapped Justin. She. . .she kissed him, and now he's sick, really, really sick! She took. . .she took his turbo chargers, and she destroyed our powers and we don't know what to do!!!"
"We're at the end of our rope," Ashley admitted. "We need your help. Is there...is there anything you can do?"
"You won't be safe here for long," he stated. "The monsters are closing in."
"But Justin is dying!" T.J. exclaimed, pointing over at him. "We can't just leave!"
"You're going to have to!" the Senturion yelled, sounding very worried. "Hear me out, you're going to have to leave here, and fast! You haven't much time! I might know someone who can help us, but if we don't leave now, he'll die for SURE! You need to flee from here, all of you!"
"Why??? The monsters can't get in here!" Cassie insisted. No sooner had she said that, when scores of Piranatrons poured in from the ceiling, landing all around them.
"I told you! THAT is why!" the Blue Senturion ran to the table, and lifted Justin up cautiously, then dashed for the control panel.
"Oh, CRAP!" T.J. screamed, grabbing onto Carlos and Ashley's wrists. Cassie followed them quickly, and they all huddled together as Piranatrons crept closer to them and closer.
"Alpha, set a teleportation course for Phaedos, and hurry!" Blue Senturion demanded, just as monsters bashed the door down, and ran inside, joining their friends in surrounding the Rangers.
"Phaedos! Got it, Blue!" Alpha began to punch at the buttons as Dimitria came down from her plasma tube.
"Come Rangers, we must leave now!" she nodded at the Blue Senturion, and before she could say anything to him, they were being teleported, on their way to the Planet Phaedos.
The monsters crowded around the panel where the rangers had just stood, gaping at the empty area in disbelief.
"Uh oh, they got away," Elgar said as he entered and stared around. "Auntie Di
is not gonna like this one little bit!"
"You're right I don't like this!" Divatox growled. "They got away!"
Porto looked up from a computer console. "I'm tracking them, my queen! They're on their way to Phaedos!"
"Phaedos?" Divatox screamed the word at the top of her powerful lungs. "NO!"
Rygog checked over the controls. "There is now ay we can stop them until they reach the planet, either!" he reported, shuffling away from Divatox as he did. She had a habit of striking down people who made her angry.
"Send a squad of the best Piranatrons to intercept them as soon as they're on the ground," she ordered. "And I want Justin and Carlos brought to me, both in one piece!"
Elgar frowned, as much as he was capable of frowning anyway. "Uhhh. .why them two, Auntie?"
"Just do it!" Divatox screamed as Rygog ordered the Piranatrons to Phaedos. "Good!" she approved of his instant obedience to her wishes.
Porto came over to her. "Rest assured, captain, that they'll never reach the Monolith!"
"They'd better not!" Divatox growled. Porto shook his head, which had the effect of shaking his whole body really.
"Oh, no, they won't even get close!" he promised her.
Divatox glared at them all, her eyes flashing. "If they do, you'll all pay for it!" she promised, pleased by their shivering fear of her. "Now, get some monsters ready! We're going to take Earth by storm!"
"This is going to be fun!" Rygog declared as he started to gather up the mosnters.
Divatox laughed with evil agreement as she turned to Earth. Mine, all mine, at long last!
The little group appeared on the rocky shores of Phaedos, with Cassie and Ashley still hovering protectively over Justin. The Blue Senturion looked around, and the Rangers had the distinct feeling that he would've been nervous if he were capable of it. "Here we are at last!" he declared. His voice sounded somewhat more human, startling them all, though it was still the same voice they had known for so long.
"We are safe, for a little while," Dimitria informed them. "We are not needed for this, Rangers, and will return to you when your quest has ended."
Before any of the Rangers could say or do anything, both she and Alpha had vanished completely. Ashley bit her lip, then glanced around. "It doesn't look like anyone is here," she said at last.
"Do not let the landscape deceive you," their robotic friend warned them. "There is great power on this planet."
Carlos glanced around, there was something unnervingly familiar about this place. "Great Power?" he asked. The Blue Senturion nodded.
"Far greater than you have ever known, Carlos," he told the Ranger.
T.J.'s eyes widened. "Wow! How do we get it? We've got stop Divatox, she's going to be wrecking Earth without us there!"
"Be patient," the Blue Senturion told them. Cassie was still checking over Justin.
"I hope he's going to be okay," she murmured. The Blue Senturion came over to her and she had the strangest feeling he would be smiling if he were capable of it.
"If we can find someone to help us in time, he'll be fine," he told her. T.J. looked around.
"Who can help us?" He wondered.
The Blue Senturion gave what might have been a short laugh. "You'll see!" was all he said, no matter how hard they tried to get it out of him. Carlos looked hard at Justin, feeling a strange desire to protect him, no matter what the cost to himself.
"I hope we see soon!" he declared. "Justin doesn't look good!"
As the Blue Senturion came over to take Justin in his arms, T.J. asked worriedly, "Is he going to be okay?"
"He's not doing well at all," their friend sounded concerned. "Do you know what she did to his insides?"
Cassie told him, "According to what we saw on the Viewing Globe, nothing good!"
"I don't like that tongue of hers!" the Senturion had sounded less and less like his normal self ever since he'd arrived in the Power Chamber! "This is not good at all!"
"And that's even worse!" Ashley groaned as she pointed to a batch of Piranatrons that appeared a few feet away.
"Everyone watch out for yourselves and each other!" the Blue Senturion snapped as he pulled a shield from somewhere, holding it over Justin. "They're up to no good!"
The Piranatrons charged them, as the Rangers who were capable of it fell into fighting stances. The Blue Senturion was shooting at the creatures as fast as he could while still defending Justin, while a few feet away, Cassie was already having to deal with three of the fish-headed things. Her eyes widened as she saw Carlos in danger.
"Carlos!" she called out, slamming a Piranatron into a rock. "Look out behind you!"
The powerless Green Ranger turned, just in time to see himself get grabbed by the Piranatrons. "Lemme go, sushi-breath!" he growled, struggling as best he could. Obviously, this batch of Piranatrons was smarter than usual, as the one holding his left arm replied to him.
"Never, Ranger!" it hissed at him. "Divatox wishes your presence on the Space Base!"
It's companion, holding his right arm, laughed. "She wants to shove her tongue down your throat!"
The scream Carlos let loose with shattered the eardrums of four Piranatrons, and didn't do Carlos' fellow Rangers much good either. But it did get them to drop his arms and back away, holding what would've been their ears if they had any. Ashley rubbed her ears and frowned.
"Uhhh. . .good job, Carlos," she said finally. He smiled at her, then pointed behind her.
"Watch out!" was all he had time to say as a Piranatron hit her in the back. That seemed to turn the tide of battles in the enemies' favor, as all over the beach, the fish- monsters started to gang up on the Rangers.
The Blue Senturion growled in disgust as one of the Piranatrons seized his shield and started slamming him about the head with it. The intergalactic police officer shielded Justin as best he could, especilly when he saw one of the monsters starting to grab for the semi-conscious Ranger.
"You know, this sucks!" T.J. cried, and things didn't get any better when one of the Piranatrons started to blast the Blue Senturion with his own weapon!
"Blue Senturion, Justin!" Carlos screamed as the Piranatrons began to drag Justin away.
The monster laughed hideously. "Divatox wants you, little Ranger!" he told them. Whatever else he might've said was lost as a cloaked figure leaped down from the heights above them to kick the creature away. The Blue Senturion seized Justin away from the thing, almost smiling, if he were capable of it.
"Good timing!" he told the person, who turned out to be a tall, golden-haired woman as she threw off her cloak.
Carlos triple spin kicked five Piranatrons that were around him, and almost laughed. "Looks like the help you talked about has arrived!" he said. And she looks so familiar! This whole place does, but I know I've never been here before! What's going on here?
"Finally!" Cassie groaned as she kicked a Piranatron. The strange woman grabbed every Piranatron she could, then pulled out a staff, twisted it in the middle, causing it to come apart. She spun both halves expertly about, creating a harsh whistling noise that no one there seemed to be able to stand the sound it made.
Except Carlos. He stood there, eyes wide as the Piranatrons burbled and finally dissolved, vanishing from Phaedos. The woman turned, sliding her sticks back together, and her eyes flew wide open as she saw Justin.
None of the Rangers had ever seen someone move so fast as she did as she ran over to their youngest member. He opened his eyes slowly as he looked at her. "The. . .noise. . .stopped."
"I'm sorry," she said softly, tenderly. "But I had to get those things away from you."
"Mom!" Justin's eyes went wide with joy. "Mom!" he was doing everything he could to wriggle out of the Blue Senturion's arms. The woman carefully removed him and held him gently against her, tears sparkling in her eyes. "You're here!" he whispered. "I thought I'd never see you again!"
She frowned. "What?"
"Well....I just never thought that I'd see you...living on another planet and all." Justin told her.
She frowned even more, as the Blue Senturion stepped forward. "I am the Blue Senturion, at your service, ma'am," he said, then quickly introduced each of them. "We have come for the Great Power you guard here."
She nodded, and stood up, Justin in her arms. "I am Dulcea," she introduced
herself. "Guardian of the power of Phaedos, and Justin's mother."
"Hurry up, hurry up!" Divatox roared. "I want tons of monsters and millions of Piranatrons!" she demanded.
Porto looked over at her. "I'm preparing them as fast as I'm able!" he told her. Divatox glared at him.
"Faster! Faster!" she screeched as she looked around. "Where are those Piranatrons with my two Rangers?"
Rygog went over to the sensors. "Checking the scanners for them now!" he told her. A few moments later, with Divatox urging everyone to hurry whatever they were doing, he looked up. "Uh-oh. . .!"
Divatox whirled on him. "What? Uh-oh? Did I hear you say uh-oh, Rygog?"
"Uhhhh. . .no, my queen," he tried to cover up what he'd said quickly. She marched over to the consoles, glaring at him with glowing eyes.
"What's going on?" she demanded to know. Rygog fell back, not wanting to face her when she was this angry.
"Some force that was not the Rangers destroyed the Piranatrons!" he finally reported as her eyes glinted with rage.
Divatox's voice nearly shattered the Space Base. "What?"
Rygog continued his report quickly. "They nearly had the burrito boy and the pipsqueak and nearly destroyed the Blue Senturion and everything!"
The pirate queen of evil glared all around as if her moronic crew had the answers. "Who dared to do this?" she demanded finally. Rygog whispered the name at last.
"Dulcea," he winced as Divatox recited some incredibly nasty names. When Rygog told her that Dulcea was apparently Justin's mother, she said even worse things about the warrior woman. Rygog tried to be assertive.
"We need to do more than this! The Piranatrons weren't enough, we can't let them reach the monolith! If they do. . .it'll be. . .well, not real good!"
"I know that!" Divatox snapped, then laughed harshly. "But don't concern yourselves, no one has ever survived a trip to the monolith!"
Porto had information Divatox didn't like, though. "Not true, my captain! There is a record of one group of warriors making their way there!" he shut up at a viscous glance from Divatox.
Rygog tried to distract his queen. "Dulcea hates you with a vengeance for what you've done to her son, that's for sure!"
"Send the most hideous monsters we have to destroy them all!" Divatox declared, ignoring both of them. Porto nodded and cackled eagerly. He started to gather up his most evil monsters, to the background noise of Divatox snickering. "I will not be defeated by children and a dried up old relic like Dulcea!"
"Victory is ours!" Rygog declared, to Divatox's fierce agreement. "I can feel it, it is within our grasp!"
Divatox threw herself into her throne. "Yes, and I will rule forever!"
"Long live Queen Divatox!" they all declared, gathering around in proper humble positions.
"Oh, yes, forever!" she purred. Rygog cleared his throat and brought up what might be a delicate subject.
"Do you still wish that one Ranger as your mate?"
Divatox nodded, the Green Ranger had figured in several of her romantic dreams for weeks! "Certainly! So he can see how miserably he and his friends failed their world!"
"You are so cruel, my captain!" Rygog declared. Divatox laughed.
"Flattery will get you nowhere!" She almost smiled at him.
"I'm not flattering, it's the truth!" Rygog complimented her. Divatox smiled, and held her hand out to him.
"I know, I know! You may kiss my hand!" as he reached for it, she jerked it
away, grinning. "Gotcha!"
The Rangers stood in a small bunch, watching as Dulcea did something they couldn't quite identify to Justin. He looked happily up at her. "Wow!" He smiled. "I feel so much better now, Mom!"
"I'm glad," she smiled at him as he got up and hugged her.
"I feel tip top, one hundred percent!" He looked completely back to normal, back in the perfect health he'd enjoyed before Divatox had gotten her claws onto him.
Cassie smiled. "Thanks, Dulcea," they were all grateful she had healed him. "You're a great mom to him, he looks like nothing ever happened!"
"We will be forever grateful to you, Dulcea, Master Warrior of Phaedos," Carlos smiled and bowed extravagantly. "I am Carlos Valesquez, at your service forever and a day. Justin is one of my best friends."
Dulcea nodded and bowed in return. "You have come for the Great Power?" She had barely spoken to the small group; her entire attention was focused on Justin.
"Yes, we have," Carlos nodded. "The Turbo powers were destroyed by Divatox, and now she is probably having a field day pillaging our planet. And not only that, but she seems to be after Justin and myself as well."
"Mom," Justin reached inside his shirt and pulled out a necklace. Dulcea smiled at the sight, and pulled out an identical one. "You remembered!"
"How could I forget?"
Justin glanced over at the others, and smiled a trifle. "Oh, you guys know about my mom, don't you?"
T.J. was almost frowning. "That she's supposed to be dead, that's what you told us, anyway!"
"Cause that's what I was supposed to tell you," Justin said matter-of-factly.
Ashley frowned. "Ummm. . .I don't get it."
"Uhhhh. .. you tell them," Justin glanced at Dulcea, who nodded and smiled.
"To give the bare essentials of it. . I gave birth to Justin and sent him to Earth. I visited him as often as I could, which wasn't nearly as often as I wanted to. But a short time ago, I discovered I was no longer allowed to go to Earth. In my last visit, I gave Justin his half of this necklace, and kept the other half for myself. No matter how much time passed, we would always know each other by them. He was to tell anyone who asked that his mother had died," she explained quickly.
"And that's what happened," Justin nodded. "I didn't let anyone know the truth."
"So, is Mr. Stewart really Justin's father?" Carlos wondered. Dulcea shook her head.
"No, he agreed to act as Justin's father, and legally adopted him by Earth law," she growled lightly. "ANd I believe I shall discuss with him the neglect of my son when I am able to."
Justin put a hand on her arm. "But mom, that wasn't his fault," he looked thoughtful for a moment. "Mom?"
"Who is my dad?"
"You will know soon enough, Justin!"
"Is Justin even my real name?"
"You will know that too, but not right now."
"So it isn't," Justin looked almost accusingly at her as she wrapped him in a warm hug.
"Justin, everything will be revealed in the proper time."
"All right, Mom!" Justin grinned, leaning against her and relaxing in the warmth of her love.
Ashley looked from one to the other of them. "So, lemme get this straight. Justin's not from Earth, that guy isn't his dad, his mom is you, and you're not dead," she cocked her head to one side. "Why don't I get it?"
"Cause you're a cheerleader!" Cassie muttered. Ashley looked over at her fellow female Ranger.
"Just kidding, Ash!" Cassie giggled. Ashley grinned back at her mischeviously, as Dulcea stepped away a little.
"And now, it is time," she glanced over to the center of the temple ruins, where a fire started to burn as she did so. The Blue Senturion jumped back a little at that; he'd been near where the fire now burned happily. Carlos glanced around at his friends.
"I fear. .. well. ..not only fear but know that Divatox is going to be very angry with you when she finds out that you have helped us."
Dulcea glanced first at the Blue Senturion. "Sorry about that," she told him. "I think I can handle Divatox," she told Carlos, who nodded.
"I'm sure you could," he smiled. "You handled Piranatrons like no one I've ever seen before."
"Practice," was all she said as she came over to where the metallic cop stood. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, I am fine, Dulcea," he replied. "Thank you for asking."
She smiled a little at him. "Do you want to remain as you are?" she asked suddenly. He looked at her, in shock.
"What are you talking about?" he remembered so little from when he was not the Blue Senturion, it was almost funny. All there was in his memory banks was a sense that he was not fully human or robotic.
"The Power of Ninjetti can restore you completely to who you once were," Dulcea told him. That seemed familiar, as if she'd said something like that to him before . . .
He stared into the fire, and made his choice. It was really the only one he could make. "I would like very much to be the way I was before."
"Then stand with the others, Blue Ranger," she told him. He nodded and bowed his thanks as he stood in a semi-circle around the fire. She looked at them all, pulling the sacred powder out of it's bag. "Buried deep within each of us is an animal spirit waiting to be released. Close your eyes."
They did so, and she blew the dust into the fire. It flared up as high as it could go, and when it died down again, six people in red, white, blue, yellow, pink, and black stood around the fire. The one in blue looked down at himself, then jumped and screamed in shock and pleasure both.
T.J. smiled briefly as he once more resumed the Red Ranger position, then looked over at the newcomer. "Woah! Who are you?" He wondered. That's where the Blue Senturion was standing!
The Blue Ranger looked down, then looked over at the others. What's been going on? None of these are my friends, but they all look so familiar . . ."I. . .I'm Billy Cranston. Who are you?"
"Wow!" Cassie started at him, heart pounding. Man, he's good-looking! "But, what happened to the Blue Senturion?"
"Blue Senturion?" Billy repeated the words carefully. "What are you . . .wait a minute . . ." he frowned as memories flicked through his brain. "The Power Chamber . . .I . . .I was a robot!"
Justin nodded. "Yeah, you were our friend!"
"I was the Blue Senturion?"
"You sure were!" Ashley nodded. Billy glanced around, trying to piece together his memories again.
"All I remember . . .the Power Chamber . . .you . . ." he pointed to Justin. "You were hurt, and I made you come to Phaedos."
The youngest Ranger nodded. "You saved my life."
"Wow," Billy smiled a little. "The . . .last thing I remember before that. . .the operation, I was at an Aquatian hospital after that accident. . .," he shuddered as that memory flowed through his brain. "The horrible accident."
Dulcea cleared her throat, getting their attention. "You were made human and whole again by the Power of Ninjetti."
"I thank you, Dulcea," Billy smiled. "With all of my heart."
The Guardian smiled mysteriously at him. "You are welcome, but now we have something that must be taken care of."
"I remember," Billy nodded. "The Turbo powers were destroyed."
Ashley winced in remembered pain. "Don't remind me!"
"And now it is time for the power of Ninjetti to be reborn," Dulcea gestured towards their ninja-like gear. Carlos winced at the symbol on his. Oh, it just had to be that, didn't it?
Dulcea stepped towards Ashley, once more in yellow. "Ashley, strong and courageous, you are the Lion."
She nodded. "And I'm ready to rip Divatox apart!"
Dulcea smiled and stepped over to T.J. "T.J., you are the Panther, powerful and wise," she told the Red Ranger.
"Thanks Dulcea, we really owe you a lot!" T.J. told her as he high-fived Ashley. Dulcea went up to black-clad Carlos and frowned.
"Carlos?" She asked. "Carlos, is something wrong?"
"I'm a bat."
Dulcea smiled. "Yes, a bat!" she told him. "Cunning, swift, keen-sighed, the master of the night!"
"Oh . . ." Carlos looked a bit confused. "Uhhhh...thanks!" Dulcea smiled and went on to Cassie.
The Pink Ranger grinned as Dulcea looked deep into her eyes. "Cassie, free- spirited and smart, you are the Eagle!"
Next was Justin, who bounced up and down in his white uniform. "Justin, clever and agile, you are the Dolphin."
"Thanks, mom!" Justin laughed, he'd never been happier in his life, even knowing what Divatox was going to be doing to Angel Grove! Dulcea came next to Billy.
"It has been some time, hasn't it?" She asked. Billy nodded.
"Yeah, it has. And I already know what I am!"
"You are the Wolf," Dulcea reminded him and told everyone else. "Cunning and swift!"
"I have so much to thank you for!" Billy told her. Dulcea shook her head.
"Only doing what is right," she reminded him, then raised an eyebrow as he continued to stare at her. "Billy?"
They were all startled to see Billy step a little closer to Dulcea, wraps his arms around her, and pull her into a deep and passionate kiss. She was startled for a moment, then leaned into it, enjoying it with all her heart. The other Rangers stared, but none so hard as Justin, whose eyes looked about ready to fall out. After a few moments, Billy stepped back, shaking his head and looking very confused!
Dulcea stepped away from him, a strange expression of regret in her eyes, then looked at all the Rangers gathered there. "To be in harmony with your spirit animal is to have the force of the Ninjetti. To those who are Ninjetti, anything is possible. But I'm afraid you must complete this quest on your own," she glanced over them all; T.J., Carlos, Ashley, and Cassie were all surprised, but accepting. Justin's eyes had nearly tripled in size, and it didn't look like Billy was going to say anything coherent for a while. "May your animal spirits watch over you!" she transformed into a snowy owl and soared out of the temple.
The others all looked at each other, the same question plain in their eyes. What is going on here? Billy ignored them, going over to sit by the fire. "Why did I do that?" he murmured. Still clear in his mind was what he had seen: the vision of a lavish wedding, his wedding, and standing next to him as his bride and love was . . .Dulcea. "Why did I see that?" A name had pinned itself into his brain. Ralien. "Who is Ralien?"
"Mr. Cranston?" he looked up to see the Red Ranger standing there.
"Hmmm? Oh, please, no, not Mr. Cranston! That's my dad!" he grinned some. "Just Billy."
The younger boy held out his hand. "Billy. Hi, I'm T.J.," he glanced down at his red uniform. "Red Ranger still it looks like!"
"Nice to meet you, again, obviously, not that I can remember."
"Nice to meet you, too," T.J. was actually honored.
Billy glanced back into the fire, then over at his new teammate. "You were the leader, I assume. Good job, this is a really good team that you have here."
"Thanks," T.J. grinned, then sighed. "Didn't do a good enough one, obviously."
Billy looked at him, and saw the same concern for his friends that Jason and Tommy had always had. "You know Tommy, right?" Stupid question! "He was the leader the first time I came to Phaedos. All leaders have bad things happen once in their careers." Though I must admit, Tommy went through enough for three leaders!
"This was the worst, though!"
Billy shook his head. "Believe me, I understand. I've been a Ranger, or one who helped the Rangers, longer than anyone, I think."
"I was the first Blue Ranger," Billy would never forget that day, as long as he lived. "And was the Blue Ranger until the Zeo Crystal quest. Then I gave up the power to Tanya, and helped out in the Power Chamber until. . .I wound up on Aquitar," he shuddered for a few moments. The accident. Cestria saying she hated me for being crippled. Then. . ."Then I was the Blue Senturion, obviously. And now, here I am."
There was only one thing T.J. could say to all that: "Wow!"
Billy shrugged. "I guess. I don't really understand what happened back there just a minute ago. I never thought about Dulcea that way before."
"She didn't look like she minded that much," Heck, she looked like she wanted you to keep going!
"I know," Billy nodded. "And she didn't kiss like she minded much either. I just don't understand what I saw and said and did. It was. . .strange," he pondered for a few moments. "We never saw her again after the last quest. I wonder if we will after this one."
T.J. shrugged a little. "Maybe she can explain it sometime?"
Billy sighed. "It's just confusing. I mean, the Black Ranger. . .I've never met him before, but he seems so familiar!" Like I knew him in another life or something!
"Carlos," T.J. glanced around to see Carlos and Ashley talking quietly in another corner of the temple. He looked a little agitated about something, she appeared to be calming him down.
"Yeah, Carlos," Billy nodded confirmation; that was who he had been thinking of. Well, that, and Dulcea.
"He's a nice guy," T.J. offered. Billy glanced over to the newly made Black Ranger. Billy nodded.
"I'm sure of it. Any Ranger is a friend of mine," the oldest Ranger glanced across to where Justin was staring up at the star-filled sky. There was an unspoken agreement that they would be staying there that night, and moving on in the morning, to the monolith. "But the White Ranger also gives me a strange feeling, like I'm attached him in some way. I don't understand any of this, I've never met any of you before except as the Blue Senturion." So why do I feel so. . .drawn. ..to those two, to Dulcea. . .and even to you, T.J., though it's not quite as strong.
"That is weird," T.J. stretched a little, yawning. Billy got to his feet.
"I guess I'll figure it out eventually," he called out to the others. "We need to leave for the monolith at dawn's first light, which means we have to rest before then, so that we can be at full strength to face the challenges on the way to and at the monolith itself."
T.J. nodded. "Let's all get some sleep," the others were already starting to curl up in various positions around the temple grounds.
Ashley glanced over at Carlos, thinking over the conversation they'd just had. He had been wandering around the temple, looking a little sad. When she'd managed to get him to talk he'd told her, "I feel like I've been here before, but it isn't the same as I left it."
He hadn't been able to tell her more than that, and he was every bit as confused as she was over it, if not more so. Finally he'd just lain down, and headed off into slumberland. She yawned a little, sitting near him, and decided that was a very wise decision.
She didn't notice Billy crouching next to the fire, eyes boring into it. "I wish I knew what was going on," he whispered. "I wish I knew," he laid down, starting to doze off. He thought he caught a glimpse of warm and loving eyes watching him from beyond the fire's light, but fell asleep before he could be sure.
"I wish I could tell you, my love," Dulcea whispered, wiping away a tear. "I wish
"Wake up, everybody!" Justin screamed at the top of his lungs. T.J. rolled over to stare at him; it was fairly safe to say that the Red Ranger was not a morning person!
"I'm up, I'm up!" Billy came to his feet ."What is it now?"
T.J. growled, "It's Justin with a death wish, obviously!"
Their youngest friend shook his head hard. "Teej, come on, Carlos has disappeared!!!" that did it, everyone was on their feet a few moments later, screaming out various forms of the word 'what'. As they started to look for him, a figure moved into the temple grounds.
"What? Why aren't you guys asleep? Go back to bed!" it was Carlos, but it wasn't. The accent was gone, he seemed to be standing a little bit taller, and there was a strange look in his eyes.
"It's morning!" T.J. protested. Carlos shook his head.
"Merely four in the morning," he told them, which got Justin a dirty look from T.J. "Not late enough to wake up. You have an hour and a half yet to sleep."
T.J. then glanced back to the Black Ranger. "Carlos, are you okay?"
"Who is this Carlos you speak of?" Carlos wondered. "I am Ayond, Master Warrior of Phaedos, and if you wish to have all of your energy, you had better rest this final hour and a half! Don't make me pound it into you!" he glanced at each of them, and as his gaze fell on Billy, he bowed low. "Oh, my! I apologize, my Emperor!"
Billy, the smartest and most intelligent person for thousands of miles around, responded in his usual fashion. "Huh?"
"Carlos, what's wrong with you?" Ashley wondered. Carlos almost glared at her.
"I am not Carlos!" he insisted. "I command you all, go back to sleep! Why are you resisting the most powerful warrior in the whole universe?"
"Uhhhh. . .," Billy glanced at the others. "Let's go back to sleep now."
"You heard your Emperor!" Carlos snapped. Everyone sort of looked at each other, then settled back down in their sleeping areas as Carlos walked around, tapping his foot impatiently.
"Um, we're going to sleep now!" Ashley told him. Carlos nodded.
"You had better!" he leaned against a pillar and closed his eyes, falling back to sleep himself. It seemed like only moments before it was dawn, and everyone had to get up again. Everyone was also staring at Carlos! "What's everyone looking at me for? What did I do?" his voice was back to it's normal inflections and accent!"
T.J. looked hard at him. "Don't you remember?"
Everyone exchanged glances, until Billy asked, "Carlos, do you have a sleepwalking problem or anything?"
Carlos shrugged. "Oh, that! I forgot to tell you, I'm a chronic sleepwalker. My parents said I claim to be the most powerful warrior in the whole universe!"
"I sleptwalked once," Ashley giggled. "My parents say I was swearing I was a piece of toast! I kept trying to crawl into the toaster, too!"
Carlos smiled at her. "I think mine is a little more realistic than yours. They took me to a psychiatrist, and he couldn't do anything for me," he shrugged. "So I suffer from sleepwalking."
"Weird," was T.J.'s comment.
"My family and I got used to it," Carlos told them. "I guess so used to it that I forgot to tell you!"
"Guess so!" Cassie grinned at him.
Carlos glanced around at everyone. "So I'm not losing my mind if that's what you were thinking!"
Billy cleared his throat. "You were calling me the emperor!"
Justin nodded. "It was a bit scary!"
"I'm sorry," Carlos apologized for a few moments, then Billy sighed.
"I'm going for a walk," he told them. T.J. advised him not to be gone long, since they had to start soon. "I won't. I just need to think a little."
The younger Rangers watched as their newest member walked away from them. There was never any argument over whether he would join the team or not, they all knew they could use the extra help, and he was one of the most experienced Rangers around.
"I hope he's okay," T.J. whispered. Justin shrugged.
"It'll take some time," he said. "He's been through alot!"
Billy walked quietly through the temple grounds, thinking. He suddenly felt eyes on him and looked up. "Who's there?"
"I am," Dulcea stepped out of the shadows. He felt suddenly nervous, but suddenly comfortable at the same time.
"Oh, Dulcea," Billy smiled at her. "How are you today?"
"Well," she nodded. "And you?"
Billy glanced around. "I'm all right. Confused, but all right."
He nodded. "About what happened last night," Oh, that's so very specific, Cranston! A LOT happened last night!
"And why not?" he smiled a little, he seemed to be doing that a lot around Dulcea, and it was only one of the things confusing him.
Dulcea smiled at him in return. "You will understand in time."
"But. . . you didn't care about what I did. . .," he mused. Dulcea nodded.
"You're right, I didn't!"
"You were. . .," he remembered it perfectly. "Your hands, your mouth. . .I didn't understand."
"You will," she told him in that maddeningly calm way of hers.
"I want to understand now!" he almost wailed. "It's so confusing!"
She touched his shoulder lightly. "You have something that must be done first."
"I kind of liked kissing you, Dulcea," he told her. She smiled warmly at him.
"And how?" when she only nodded, he clarified. "How could you tell?"
Her response somehow didn't surprise him. "Because I did too."
He glanced out towards the monolith. "I'm going to have to go," he looked back at her. "Tell me, Dulcea, is the journey going to be the same as it was before?"
She shook her head. "No. It will be far more dangerous and difficult."
"As I had anticipated," Billy smiled. "But I'm sure we'll make it."
"I know you will."
Billy glanced at her, wondering why he didn't want to leave her. "Thank you, Dulcea, and I hope it's soon when I figure all this out!"
"You will," was all she said.
"It's been nice seeing you again," he realized he was making up things to say to her, just so he wouldn't have to leave her presence! This hadn't happened the last time he was there!
"And nice seeing you, too."
"Thank you for everything you have done for me," he told her. "How can I ever replay you?"
She shook her head. "There is no need."
"Come on," he smiled a little. "If there's anything I can do to repay you. Something simple that can serve as payment until I can come up with something better."
Dulcea glanced at him, then smiled. "Well. . . ,"
"Just name it," Billy told her. "We have nearly an hour."
She stepped closer to him and wrapped him into a warm and loving kiss, which he found himself returning. Oh, who cares WHY!! This is RIGHT! When they finally broke apart, he looked at her. "This feels natural, I don't know why."
Dulcea nodded. "I know."
"Do you know why?"
His eyes widened briefly. "Did we used to know each other?" How can that be? I'm only nineteen!
She shook her head. "I can't tell you that now."
Billy found himself chuckling, even as he started to kiss her again. "When I was younger, things were never this confusing! But this is a nice kind of confusing!"
"Indeed it is!" they might've went on to do more than kissing, if Justin hadn't come around the corner.
"Billy, come on!" he told the older Ranger. "We're going to get an early start," he waved to Dulcea. "Hi, Mom!"
"Hello, Justin," she smiled a greeting to her son.
"Wish me luck!" Billy told her. "I'm going to go now."
She smiled at him. "Good luck, Billy!"
"I'll come back once I know what's going on," he promised, still with an arm around her waist. Justin cleared his throat as Dulcea nodded. Billy made his way back to the temple, leaving mother and son alone for a few moments.
"See ya, mom!" Justin hugged her. "We'll get the power!"
"I know you will!" Dulcea told him as he ran off after Billy. She looked after them both. "Come home soon, my love."
Carlos grinned and waved at them as they ran up. "Hey, you guys! Took you long enough!"
"We're all ready to go!" Ashley was bouncing a little in her eagerness. She was more than ready to kick some Divatox posterior!
"Let's get moving!" was T.J.'s advice as they headed off. Dulcea watched them
go, smiling gently to herself. As they were out of sight, she turned back to the temple,
heading to the place that had been her home for so long. She was startled when
something seized her from behind in a tight grip. A hideous voice whispered into her ear,
"You will never win, Empress!" just before a stunning blow knocked her unconscious.
The remade Count Nocturne threw Dulcea to the ground in front of Divatox. "Here she is, Queen Divatox!"
The pirate queen kicked Dulcea in the ribs with all her might. "Well, well, well, the might empress of the universe, reduced to a mere prisoner!"
Nocturne laughed as Dulcea tried to regain consciousness. "She barely put up a fight!" he told Divatox, who ordered Rygog and Elgar to chain Dulcea to the wall. As Dulcea's eyes slowly opened, Divatox smiled. "All chained up with no place to go?" she said mockingly. Dulcea growled at her.
"Divatox! I'm not surprised, to say the least!"
"I finally will get rid of you!" Divatox promised her. The pirate had several interesting plans in mind for this woman, and even more interesting ones in mind for her husband!
"Why do a stupid thing like that?"
Divatox grinned wickedly. "Simple. I want your husband."
Dulcea laughed at her. "He doesn't even know that he's my husband, you fool! Leave him be!"
"I don't think so!" Divatox had been plotting this for some time!
"He is on an important quest," Dulcea told her. "And if you so much as lay a hand on him, Ayond will awaken, no matter if it's time or not and reduce you to dust!"
Divatox shook her head. "I will have him when I am ready to have him. Once you're out of the way, and that's going to take a long time! I want to enjoy your death!"
"Isn't it enough that you're planning on overthrowing the entire royal court, but you also want my husband, and plan on killing me as well?" Dulcea drew herself up to her full height and stared down at the pirate.
"You catch on fast!" Divatox mocked her. "And no, it isn't enough!"
"Divatox," Dulcea tried to reason with her enemy. "Ayond will sense that you've imprisoned me."
She sighed. "As I said, he will reduce you to spacedust!"
Divatox wasn't impressed, not in the slightest. "I seriously doubt that!"
"And you're not scared?" She's stupider than I thought she was! I didn't think that was possible! "He will crush you!"
Divatox shook her head. "I've already made plans to deal with him! He will be nothing!"
Dulcea felt a sharp stab of fear, if she could take out Ayond, then the Emperor would have no protection! "What are you going to do with him?"
The purple-haired pirate queen laughed. "Now, now, that would be telling!"
Dulcea glared at her. "If I'm going to be dead, then it wouldn't matter!"
"Quite true!" Divatox nodded. "So as soon as you're dead, I'll tell you!"
Dulcea struggled in the chains, to no avail. "Tell me now! I won't remember once I'm dead, and what can I do chained up here? I can't tell anyone!"
"Oh, very well!" Divatox relented. "I have a spell that will unleashing all those nasty trapped emotions with Ayond. He won't know how to deal with any of them, and he'll lose his mind!"
Dulcea growled, "It will never work, Divatox!"
Dulcea smiled. "My husband will never permit it. As long as my husband is near, Ayond is protected. As long as Ayond is near, my husband is protected!"
"That is what you think!" Divatox laughed with all her wicked heart.
"Yes," Dulcea nodded. "And you will know it when Ayond and Ralien destroy you! You will never win, as long as one member of the court lives!"
Dulcea laughed. "You and your allies made an awful mistake thousands of years ago, and once Ralien reaches his twentieth year, then you will all pay!"
"Ohhhh!" Divatox faked fear. "I'm so scared!"
Rygog stepped up. "Would you like me to make her shut up, captain?"
Divatox nodded. "Yes, she's seriously getting on my nerves!" Rygog delivered a stunning blow to Dulcea, who slumped against the wall to the tune of Divatox's hideous laughter.
"The universe will be yours, Divatox!" Nocturne congratulated her. Divatox nodded slowly, smiling.
"And so will the king of the universe!"
Elgar looked at her curiously. "You like blondy, bluie, glow, glitter guys?" he 'urked' as Divatox grabbed him by the throat and glared at him.
"You got a problem with that?"
"Ummmm. . ..well, I don't really think he's your type!" Elgar tried to say. Divatox's eyes flashed with rage.
"When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you!" she told him. Elgar agreed as she dropped him and walked to her quarters, deep in thought. "I still don't think a guy that glows is Auntie Di's type."
"Do you wanna tell her that?" Rygog asked.
"And you see what that got you!" Rygog pointed out. Elgar shrugged.
"That's how she treats me when I say anything!"
"So shut up!" Rygog suggested. He'd lost track of how many times he'd told Elgar that!
Elgar was still trying to think, and smoke was coming out of his ears as he did so. "What makes her think glitterman is gonna like her?"
"I have no idea!" Rygog shrugged. "We just have to deal with her, that's our job!"
"Yeah!" Elgar nodded. "She doesn't wanna marry us, luckily!"
As the small team wandered through the jungle, two of them stopped suddenly. Billy and Carlos both looked back behind them. "What is it?" T.J. asked, worried.
"The Empress," Carlos whispered, his accent gone again. Billy nodded.
"Ayond, we have to go back!" he declared. T.J. stared at them, as did all the others.
"Carlos?" he asked, worried. "Billy?"
Carlos glared at them. "Back away! We must return to the temple!"
Justin felt a thin thread of fear down his back. "You guys?"
"Guys!" Ashley yelled. "What's wrong with you?"
Billy glared at her. "Young woman, young man, have you no respect for an Emperor? Ayond, come, we must return to the Empress!"
They started back up the way they had come. Justin stared, not believing his eyes. "What's happening to them? Look!"
They saw that both Billy and Carlos were starting to change! Both were somewhat taller, Billy's hair was a little more blonde, and longer. His eyes had changed from their greenish blue shade, to a bright sky blue. And strangest all, he had a glowing, glittering tinge to his skin, shining brilliantly in the daylight. Carlos' muscles had almost doubled, his face and eyes became stern; hardened by what seemed to be many, many years of horrible battles. A long jagged scar seemed to have been slashed across his cheek, like the claw marks of a tiger, showing all that he was a battle-hard warrior...though the rangers knew that this was not true. "I have no idea!" T.J. breathed.
Ashley leaped over in front of Billy. "Billy, what are you doing, we have to get to the monolith!"
She was surprised by the look in his eyes. "Young woman, I spoke to you once before. Please respect your Emperor, or Ayond shall tend to you!"
He nodded. "Emperor! Now, let me pass!"
Ashley didn't stand aside. "Billy, what is wrong with you?"
"Ralien!" he snapped. "The name is Ralien! I am your emperor, and I command
you, step aside!" the tone in his voice was that of true royalty, which left no room for
denial. As Ashley moved to the side, he continued, beckoning Carlos to join him.
"T.J.?" the Red Ranger jerked up, his eyes flying open at the voice. He looked around, reassuring himself that everything was all right here. It was just a dream. I freed the Empress from Divatox, and Count Nocturne didn't even exist then! A dream, a mix of past and present. No one remembers anything. Except me. And our enemies.
He looked over to see Ashley looking at him. "What?" He asked, remembering she'd called his name.
He nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"
"Sounded like you were dreaming," Ashley told him. She'd been awakened by his thrashing, but then again, she'd always been a light sleeper. "You were thrashing around a bit."
"Oh," he bit his lip, hoping he hadn't talked in his sleep. It wasn't time yet. "Sorry for waking you."
"It's okay," Ashley smiled.
He glanced around. "Did I wake anyone else?"
She shook her head. "Don't think so."
"Good," he smiled. " Now you try and get back to sleep," he chuckled a bit as she
turned over and was asleep again in moments. He glanced at the fire, which was starting
to die down. Nights on Phaedos were chilly, and with a muttered word, the fire once
more burned brightly. So much fun being a wizard at times, too bad I'm not capable of
what I used to be able to do...and I wont be until the time is right, was his last thought
before he slid back into sleep. They had a lot to do the next day.
The first morning's light skimmed it's way across the plateau , warming the bodies of the six sleeping Ninjetti. As the sun light rolled over her, and glared straight into her closed brown eyes, Ashley awoke with a start. She leapt to her feet, and began bouncing around the rows of slumbering bodies. Grumbling, they pushed themselves up to look at her.
"Ashley..." T.J. yawned. "Good grief, I wake you up with my kicking and thrashing, and you're more wide awake than any of us!!!"
"Go back to sleep." A groggy Justin mumbled.
"No way!" she giggled, shaking them each by the shoulders. "Time to get up, everyone!"
Billy sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "My, aren't you chipper this morning."
"She's always like that," Cassie rolled over on her back. "Get used to it."
Carlos curled himself up into a little ball, snoring a bit. After all of that, he was still asleep! Talk about heavy sleepers! Ashley bounded over to him, then began to poke him in the ribs. "Come on, sunshine! Time to wake up, we gotta go!"
He squirmed, whining up at her. His big brown eyes were filled with sleep, and he did not look the least bit happy to see her. "Oh man, Ashley!" he sat up, nearly falling back over as he did so. He stayed silent for a minute, waving his head dizzily to and fro. "You could wake up the dead with your hyperness..." he added finally.
Still bouncing around, Ashley replied. "Come on, lazy bones! Time to get up! We've got some Divabutt to kick!!" She squealed as Billy came up behind her, wrapping his arms about her waist and lifting her up the ground.
"Calm down, already! What are you, a cheerleader?" he said, just as a moaning and groaning Carlos curled back up into a ball, claiming that he didn't want to go yet, and that he was still sleepy.
"Yeah, I am!" Ashley told him, wiggling free of his grasped. As soon as her feet touched the ground, she nearly pounced on Carlos. "Wake up, sleepy head! Rise and shine!"
"I'll rise..." he muttered, stumbling to a standing position. "But I'm not going to shine! You hear me!"
"OK, fine, whatever." She grinned. "But at least you're up! Let's go, let's go!" she dashed for the side of the hill, where a long narrow stairway descended down into a gigantic jungle.
"Aww...come on Ash, can't you give any of us some time to wake up a little? We didn't get half as much sleep as we wanted to, what, with T.J. kicking around and waking us all up!"
"Sorry," T.J. looked down, shuffling his feet. "I sorry..."
"But...I'M awake!" Ashley insisted, running around like a chicken with it's head come off. "I'm ready to go!"
"Ashley...we need to at LEAST wake up a little more. We can't search for anything if we're still half-asleep, can we?" T.J. told her, grabbing hold onto her shoulders and making her stand still.
"Besides," Justin said, "We need to find us something to eat. What good are we going to do if we're trying to find a power on an empty stomach?"
"He's got a point," Billy walked around the fire, and a smile curled his lips. "There, just as I thought. She left us some breakfast."
"OK! Fine, eat, eat!" Ashley tried to rush them, but the still sleepy Carlos grabbed her by the arm and pulled her down to sit next to him.
"You're going to eat too..." he said calmly, holding onto her arm with a strength she didn't know that he had. She quieted, and then sat still."
"Good!" Cassie exclaimed, hearing what Billy had said about the food. "I'm starving!"
"There's plenty for all, and them some. All we have to do now, is cook it...." He lifted the dead animals, two rabbit like creatures known as jackalopes, up by their hind legs. "Any volunteers?"
At the sight of dead animals, the younger team members shrank back. Their voices all echoed in cries of disgust, until Carlos, sighing, stepped forward. "I'll help." He said, and went over to Billy's side. "I hope these aren't sick or anything. I'd hate to think that we're eating a diseased animal." The other four did not like the sound of what he said at all, and retreated back farther.
"It's alright, there's nothing harmful about them. All we need to do is skin them, spit them, and then cook them over the flame." He twisted his torso around a bit, eyes scanning the nearby area for something. "All we need is a knife, and a stick...." He said thoughtfully. All of a sudden, a long slender object hit his head. When he turned around, he saw a stick laying at his feet, and Cassie with her hands covering her mouth.
"Sorry...I was trying to throw it to you." She apologized to him, turning her face away as Carlos handed Billy a long blade that laid near his feet, and he began to skin the dead animals.
Ashley and Cassie groaned, complaining that now their stomachs didn't feel so well. T.J. had walked off, circling around the fire and watching the two cook with interest. Justin brought his knees up against his face, and was now hiding his face behind them.
"I'm glad I'm not cooking!" Ashley pointed out. "I'm scared of food, unless someone else cooked it for me!"
"Why?" Cassie asked her.
"Did it bite you or something?" Billy laughed a little, preparing the meat of the jackalope on one stick, while Carlos worked on skinning the other.
"As a matter of fact, it did!" She insisted, eyes wide with fear as she remembered that time long ago...well...in cooking class the other day.
Billy bit down on his lip. "What were you cooking???"
Carlos looked at her, then started to laugh. "Ashley, the fish was DEAD!"
"I don't care!" she whined. "The thing was sitting there staring at me with beady little eyes, and when I was trying to prepare it, it BIT me!"
In a hushed voice, though each and every one of them could hear what he said, Billy whispered. "Somebody needs to get their head examined." And that remark was met by a hurt glare from Ashley. He immediately apologized.
"Sokay..." she said simply, shrugging her shoulder.
"I was only fooling around." Billy's voice had become quiet. "I haven't had high enough spirits to even attempt it for years."
She grinned at him, watching as flames licked over the meat that he and Carlos held over the flames. It was turning brown, and the smell drifted over the entire plateau. "I know."
"Do you all realize, that it has been a long time since I have honestly felt my age?" his tone was now serious; his eyes locked on the fire.
"How old are you?" Justin piped in, finding it safe to look up from his knees now that the meat was roasting over the fire.
"I just turned nineteen last April....at least it was last April from what I remember. What year is it? What month?"
"Good, then I am nineteen....it was the same year that I have my last memories in...but it seems so LONG ago. I honestly haven't felt my age ever since I lost the power. Ever since then, up until now, I've felt...nearly fifty or sixty years old."
"You don't look it!" Ashley exclaimed.
"What, nineteen, fifty, or sixty?" he couldn't help but let out a short laugh.
"None of em! You look about our age, or about 17 or something!" all of the others of them were nodding in agreement with Ashley's comment.
Billy actually seemed to blush there for a second, and then he and Carlos both pulled the cooked jackalopes out of the fire. "Breakfast is served!"
Each ranger got an equal share of the meat, and gnawed and bit at it until every last bit of it had been swallowed. They all noticed how good it really did taste, and how much energy that it gave them. If they had been sleepy before eating, they definitely were not any longer!
"Alright!" Billy jumped to his feet, clapping his hands together. "Everyone ready to go now?"
Ashley began to bounce again, smiling widely and laughing. "Let's go! Let's go!" and then she dashed off towards the stairway.
Just then, Carlos stood and stretched. "Let's do this!" he said, then called out for Ashley to stop before she ran off ahead of the others. "I think she's a little anxious to kick Divatox's butt."
"Aren't we all...." T.J. mused, and he and the others headed towards the stairway. Ashley giggled, beckoning for them to hurry. Justin came to stand besides her first, and he turned around to wait.
The others took a brisk pace as they walked, but Billy walked slowly along behind them. Images of the last time he had been on Phaedos, with all of his other friends, seeking the power....all of them floated through his head. He seemed to slump back slightly, letting them sink in. What wonderful memories they were....
"Are you alright, Billy?" T.J. had come up to him, breaking the serenity that had been flooding his mind.
"Just thinking." He answered, looking at T.J. There really was something familiar about him...something he couldn't pin down. He had felt the same about Justin and Carlos as well. That feeling for them was somewhat stronger than him. And then, his feelings for Dulcea... "Look, the sun is already over the horizon! We'd better get a move on!"
Shouting battle cries, threats to evil doers, and other such things, the group of six
warriors bounded down the stairway, and into the deep, lush, green Neola Jungle.
Cassie spun about, her black hair flying. Her dark brown eyes drank in the serene beauty of the jungle around her, and she found herself only able to speak but one word. "Wow..." she breathed.
"It's beautiful here, isn't it?" Billy murmered. He seemed to be trying not to break the peaceful silence that this place held, and took a deep breath of the aroma of the fragrant blossoms, and lovely plants that surrounded them. Cassie nodded at him.
Carlos looked around, eyes widened slightly. "You know what, guys?" he pondered. "I'm getting the strangest feeling of déjà vu!"
"How?" Ashley practically demanded, brown eyes intense. Then she laughed. "We've never been here before, silly!"
He shook his head, black curls falling in front of his face. "I know that...but haven't you ever had that feeling before? You know, that feeling you get when you meet someone for the first time, but feel like you have met them before?"
"Well...yeah." Justin said. "That happens to me a lot, actually."
"Me too!" added T.J.
"Well..." Carlos shrugged, wiping a few beads of sweat from his brow that had formed just underneath the headband. "That's how I feel about this place. I know I haven't been here before, but I feel like I have. It's probably just flashbacks from my trips to Brazil when I was a little boy."
T.J. smiled faintly, his dimples deepening. He let out a short, low chuckle. I don't think that is it... "Probably!" he told him.
"Well, Carlos...while you're having the strangest feeling that you've been here before, I am having the strangest feeling that this isn't going to be the same as the journey that I went on a few years ago." Billy nodded slowly. "Probably completely different. Even the path here is different!" his hand jutted out, gesturing to the path in front of them.
"As long as we get through!!" Justin was grinning from ear to ear, bouncing along in front of the rest of them.
Billy smiled. "I'm sure we will...."
"I know we will!" Cassie exclaimed.
And then...they walked in silence; they wanted to bask in the peacefulness that this jungle held, knowing that it would not last, and that they probably would never see it again. They trudged on, for nearly three quarters of an hour, listening to the screeching and chirping of birds, and chattering of assorted animals scurrying about in the trees. Every once in a while, one would point a strange animal out to the another, and they would stand and gawk at it for a moment, and then continued. Then, as everything in the jungle seemed to become silence, T.J. spoke.
"It's so peaceful around here...." He told everyone, and his voice seemed to echo. "A little too peaceful for my taste."
"Ranger instinct." Billy pointed out, grinning a little. "If anything is peaceful, then it is too peaceful, and it will not stay that way for long!"
Cassie nodded slowly, nervous eyes twitching from side to side, scanning the area around them. She was a little concerned with Billy's lack of confidence, and her every sense was on the look out for any sudden dangers that might occur. Ashley, who stood near her, shuddered violently.
"Is it just me, or is it getting cold?" she inquired.
Justin trembled, breathing out a gust of air. It shown like fog before him. "Nope...it IS cold!"
"This is a jungle!" Billy exclaimed. His blue eyes narrowed with anger. "It's supposed to be warm!!"
"This is weird!!" T.J. glanced over at Carlos, clapping his hands against his torso. Carlos nodded.
"Something isn't right here. This is something that Divatox would do, I can smell her horrible body odor now!"
Billy stopped in his tracks. "Th...that isn't body odor..." he said, voice cracking. He took in a deep breath through his nose, then gasped in horror. "It's ammonia!"
"She's trying to freeze us to death!" Justin exclaimed. "And just in case THAT doesn't work on us, she's cutting off her oxygen supply!!"
"Great! JUST Great!" the wizard, Tayrn Jalas replied, finding himself unable to reverse the changes in the atmosphere. His powers had been weakening, and he could not perform large tasks until the time came. "Ammonia is poisonous! We're going to die!!"
Cassie turned her head to look at each and every one of them worriedly. "We've got to get through this! Everyone...RUN!" and on her cue, the Red, White, and Yellow rangers broke off into a sprint behind her. But they were soon haulted by the Blue Ranger's deep-throated command.
"STOP!!" His eyes narrowed. "If we run...then we'll use up more air!!"
T.J. cocked his head and looked at Billy, as if he expected him to know the answer. "What do you suggest then?"
"I uhhhhhhh......" Billy looked around, feeling pretty dumb, then cried out. "Whatever is doing this, SHOW YOURSELF!!!!"
A low, guttural chuckle echoed around them. It was the laugh of their sinister enemy...mocking them. Divatox HAD been the one behind it!
"SHOW YOURSELF!" Billy roared, "NOW!!!!"
Divatox's laugh stopped abruptly, and then before their eyes, she appeared in the fork of a tree. "Oh, very well..." she sneered.
The former Blue Senturion growled up at her, letting one word slide past his frowning lips. "Divatox..."
"Ohhh, you remembered me! Goody goody!" she clapped her hands together, "I suppose I should be thrilled!"
"Shut up and make things back to the way that they were here, or you'll wish you had never been born!" The other 5 of the Ninjetti shrunk back, Justin most of all, as their senior member took control of the situation. As it seemed, he was sticking his own neck into the noose! What he was doing was suicide!
"Oh, you've got to be kidding!" She rolled her eyes, not afraid in the least of this...well...he wasn't a boy, and damn, was he mighty attractive. And oh, brother, did he remind her of someone.
Billy rose up to full height, rolling back his shoulders. He looked almost regal standing there like that! His eyes were as sharp as flint, and his lips were drawn tight as a bow. "I'm not kidding, Divatox." He rumbled, voice deepening. "Change things back, or you will pay. The journey is hard enough without your interference."
"Let me explain something to you, little wolf boy...I am the BAD guy! Can you say bad guy?" she paused for a second, and Billy was silent. "I knew you could! Bad guys...KILL the good guys....and that's you, remember?"
Billy practically snarled at her, but maintained his stone visage. "Let me explain something to you, Godzilla. The bad guys, NEVER WIN!"
Divatox screamed, and everyone except for Billy and Carlos clutched at their ears. "GODZILLA!?" she demanded. "How DARE you call me that!?"
"Easy!" Billy exclaimed, grinning...and then he spat on the ground near the tree in which she sat. Eyes flaring red, the pirate queen jumped down from the tree, and landed right in front of him.
"You take that back!" there was an edge of pleading in her voice, and Billy only laughed at her.
"I am NOT!" Divatox tore off her glove, revealing her long, ruby red nails. Then, she drew her hand up into a clawing position, while Billy stood unnervingly still, challenging her. With that, she couldn't take his back-talk and silence any longer, and she lashed out. Cursing and yelping, he jumped back, his hands went up to his face. Thin lines of blood dripped through his fingers, and when he removed his hands his face now bore what resembled the mark of a freshly issued tiger scratch. Carlos's eyes became wide, and he touched his own cheek lightly. His dark eyes clouded and narrowed and then he broke out in a mad dash, snarling and howling.
"The Empress shall die, and the Emperor will be mine, forever!!" Divatox cackled with impish glee, holding the tip of a long sword to the nape of Dulcea's neck. "I am so going to enjoy killing you, Majesty!"
"You will never get away with this! Never!! My Husband, Ayond, and Tayrn Jalas will save me!" Dulcea struggled with the chains, beads of sweat pouring down her face. Divatox eyed her warily, examining her. She grinned suddenly, and pointed the tip of the sword at Dulcea's bulging stomach.
"I think you'd much enjoy watching me murder your child first," Divatox cooed, and her arm muscles stiffened. Her eyes, hidden behind that dark mast became as wide as saucers, and her jaw dropped. "I can't move my arms!!"
"Serves you right." A deep voice purred. "And you wont be able to move them until I move Her Majesty, and the Heir safely back to her husband!" Out of the shadows, came the Lord High Wizard, Tayrn Jalas. Clad in a long flowing red cape, and the hood over his head, he held his fingertips together lightly. A smile curled his lip, and his eyes, they shined brightly, knowing that he had won. From behind him, crept out Ayond. His thick chest and arm muscles were not protected with shirt, nor meaningless armor. His long, jet black hair was pulled back and tied with a crude string, but he was not one to care about vanity. All he wore was black pants, with a belt containing a staff and sword at his hip. On his feet, were strong black boots. He cracked his knuckles menacingly.
"Tayrn! Ayond!" Dulcea cried, pulling at her shackles against the wall. Tayrn pointed at them, and her hands fell free. Quickly, she ran to him. The Wizard turned to his friend.
"Take care of her, for us..." he told the Master Warrior. "Give her what she deserves!"
"Hmph..." he grunted in reply. "Let us give the witch a fair battle, free her arms and return to our Emperor."
With that, Tayrn snapped his fingers, and he and the Empress disappeared. Also, just as Ayond had wished it, Divatox's arms could now move. She dropped her sword, pulled off her gloves and stared at him.
"Come on, macho-man! I ain't got all day!"
Then, he pounced on her, fists and staff flying. Not a single move was wasted, all were direct blows. And not a single blow was taken on his side as well, until she fell back, and flexed her hand. The red fingernails shone in the pale light of the submarine, and she leapt. Ayond screamed, for the first time in what could have been centuries, as the nails impacted with the skin on his cheek. The flesh tore, and bled, and Ayond backed away from her, clutching at his face. She stared, and then started to laugh at him.
"So much for the High and Mighty Master Warrior!" She squealed.
Ayond winced in pain, shrinking back onto his knees. Whimpers escaped his throat, a sound that he never knew he would hear coming from himself. And then grief overtook him, and for the first time ever, in any battle at all...the Master Warrior of Phaedos; Ayond: The Most Powerful Warrior in the Universe...fled...
Divatox laughed out her triumph, but was soon knocked back into the tree as Carlos barreled into her. Air gushed out between her teeth as she impacted, and her eyes bulged with fear and fury. Carlos's fist went plummeting into her stomach, and he swore violently. Divatox could do nothing to ward off his attacks; he had come onto her like an animal.
"Never again, pirate!!" he shrieked, losing all control, and his accent as well. Carlos's deep brown eyes flashed with a fury none of his friends had ever seen. His arms and legs sent powerful blows onto Divatox's crumpling body, and the other rangers screamed and backed away with horror. Justin pulled off his headband and tore it, then bandaged Billy's face. He howled with pain, shrinking away, but Justin managed to get the bandages on, and stop the bleeding. The ammonia air seeped into their lungs, and they all began to rasp. The beads of perspiration that had once run down their faces were now frozen solid, and their body temperature had dropped. T.J. curled himself into a little ball, convulsing all over. Panic swept through them.
Divatox shot a quivering glance into Carlos's flaming eyes, and nearly fainted. The fire, the sheer rage and hatred...the centuries of plotted revenge. These...these were no ordinary eyes on an ordinary man. These were the eyes of one who had vowed to destroy her...these were the eyes of Ayond. She rolled underneath his legs quickly, taking advantage of his Non-Ayondish state, and knocked him to the ground as she kicked him square in the knees. He toppled over, and crashed into the tree.
"Fine!" she stood slowly and snapped her fingers. "Everything is back to normal, I hope you Power Geeks are satisfied!!!" And with that, she was gone.
Ashley caught her breath, breathing in the fresh oxygen deeply, and ran to Carlos. He propped himself up on his elbows, and shook his head. Bits of twigs and leaves fell out of his hair. Ashley held out her hands as she offered to help him up. In seconds, he took hold and she pulled him onto his feet. Everyone else had stopped shivering, and T.J. too was back on his feet, pulling in breath after breath of the cleansed air.
Cassie looked at both Billy and Carlos; Billy still holding onto his face, and Carlos...who didn't seem at all breath, or sweaty in the least. "That...was...so...Amazing!" she exclaimed. "The both of you, that was great! She's gone! The air is clean! We're OK!"
"When you've been through as much crud as I have in one lifetime, you learn not to take any crap from anyone." Billy shrugged, barely noticing the long scratch marks that he wore on his cheek.
Carlos just stood there, a look of accomplished revenge shone in his eyes. Clearly, he was satisfied with getting rid of Divatox. And if she should show up again, boy was SHE gonna get a whooping! But he soon feel out of that and started laughing, then playfully saluted Billy.
"Yes, sir!" he barked, and then stood as still as an army soldier. The others laughed and fell into the same stance at his side, forming a horizontal line in front of Billy.
Billy shook his head as he looked at them, his hands on his hips and wearing a big grin. "You guys...." He slightly protested; then he too stood straight. "TEN HUT!" he ordered.
Turning on their heels, they spun around and faced the path that they had been following for the past few hours, one behind the other.
"Forward, MARCH!" And then he took his place behind Cassie, the last and line, and
marched...once more on their way.
Divatox appeared on her Space Base, patting her heaving chest gently. She continually gasped, trying to catch her breath. Rygog at once took notice of her defeat and ran to her, pulling out a chair for her to plop down into. She practically fell into it, and shut her eyes tightly. It appeared that she had just been in quite a brawl! All those Rangers, beating on his captain! Rygog wasn't going to take it!
"My captain, what has happened with the rangers?"
"That damned son of a sea biscuit, stupid wolf boy freakish animal!!" she panted, obviously describing the once robotic ranger. She shook her finger at Rygog. "He called me Godzilla!!"
"That bad, huh?" he asked, trying to sound as supportive as possible.
"It gets worse pea-brain! Batman Mexico kicked my posterior!!" she growled down deep. Carlos seemed so familiar when he attacked her, and all that raw rage and power...it couldn't have been, could it? "I am going to KILL them!!!"
Elgar narrowed his eyes as smoke slowly began to roll out of his ears. "Why kill em, Auntie D? Wouldn't they like, be more use alive than dead?"
"I didn't say WHEN I was going to kill them, did I?"
"Uh...no..." Elgar confessed. "Nope, you didn't. But then what are you gonna do with em? I know it was my idea and all...I...think. But what are you gonna do with em?"
Divatox grinned menacingly, breathing out short laughter. "First, I am going to make them BEG for mercy from me for what they have done! THEN I am going to marry them BOTH!"
"If you wanna kill them...why do you wanna do a stupid thing like that." Elgar questioned. He rarely understood things like this.
"Cause I wanna make their lives a living HELL for a few thousand years! THEN Kill em!" she explained.
"Why waste all the time?"
"Because I want to!" she roared, and kicked him in the stomach.
He shook his head; swaying from side to side with dizziness and confusion both. "I just don't get it!"
She growled at him, and then pointed at each one of her crew members, only to stop on Elgar specifically. "Understand just this...ALL of you...I get what I want...got it, ELGAR!"
"Uhh...yeah...I think so Auntie D." He shrugged his armored shoulders. "But you want these guys who don't want you and all they wants to do is kill ya, and they aren't your type besides...and that's what I don't get!"
Divatox rolled her eyes and flicked her tongue thoughtfully. She then stated matter-of-factly, "If nothing else...it'll confuse the heck out of people!"
"It sure as hell confuses me!" Elgar declared, then looked through the periscope before Divatox threw him into a wall. "What are you gonna do now?"
Rygog looked at her confusedly, tilting his head off to the side. "Just wait?" he asked her.
She nodded. "Let them get their stupid POWERS..." she told him sarcastically. "I really could care less...PORTO!!"
"Uhhh...my captain?" Porto trotted over to her, and presented himself with the best bow that he could manage.
"Make me monsters! Lots and lots of monsters. And make me a lot of Piranatrons...THOUSANDS...no...MILLIONS of them!"
"I thought you said to let them get their powers!" Elgar whined, just as Porto stated that he was already constructing them as she spoke.
She sighed and shook her head. Why should she bother explaining to THIS half-wit...but she did anyway. "When they're ready...I will flood Angel Grove with them! Without Power Rangers to protect it, the Earth will be ours before they can even MAKE it to their stupid powers!" she laughed. "See, Elgar...I know what I'm doing!"
"Good, cause I STILL don't understand."
"That's why I'm in charge, you sniveling little twerp!"
"Well...things are back to normal at least." Cassie sighed. She was getting slightly bored with the monotonous miles upon miles of jungle that surrounded them. It now ceased to awe all except Carlos, and they all were growing dreary. Not only that, but pangs of hunger for a midday meal were gnawing at their guts, and when they could catch a glimpse of the sun above the canopy, it was high in the sky by now. "At least we're making good time now.." she reminded them, and they had. Of course, by now they had expected to reach the monolith.
"As far as I can tell..." Billy muttered.
Ashley had been the only one not to lose any energy from the seemly endless walking. She still had quite a bit of bounce in her step, and with a shrill giggle, she told them exactly how she felt about what so seemed so boring to them. "Gee...this is fun!"
"Don't you ever calm down?" Justin asked. He had been silent most of the way since Divatox had disappeared. She still frightened him, but he knew that he would pay her back for what she had done to him.
"Nope! Never!!" she informed them.
T.J. grinned. "Look everyone," he pointed out, remembering what they had been saying about them in the park as they had played frisbee. "Ashley: Caffeine with legs!" This was only met by a sharp glance from Ashley.
"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, even though she knew exactly what it meant.
"You bounce around like you've had MAJOR infusions of Surge at REGULAR intervals!" he told her.
She laughed. "Oh that!" she said, grinning. "If it comes as far as THAT, what do you honestly think that my blood is made up of! It ain't red and white blood cells, that's for sure!"
"Somehow, I'm not surprised." Carlos laughed at her. "I always thought you were some kind of alien." And that set of a chorus of laughter among the other rangers. Billy soon quieted them with a stern "Shhh!!" and looked at them.
"You guys, we really need to keep on the alert you know." He reminded them.
"Yup!" Cassie nodded. "There are probably tons of dangers in this jungle that aren't Divatox..."
"Thanks for the reassuring thought, Cass..." Justin whispered, and all of them glanced around the area nervously. On they walked, for at least a quarter of an hour more, when they were snapped out of their thoughts of intruders by a loud clap of thunder. Justin nearly jumped a foot straight up, shrieking with horror. "Great!! I HATE thunder!!"
Carlos stopped in his tracks, and listened carefully, silencing the others by holding up his palm. His face was grim, displaying a thin frown and dark eyes. From the looks of things, he didn't like what he heard at all. And before he was able to say anything to the rest of their lot, large drops of rain began to pour down and drench them.
"Oh crap!!" Billy yelled. "Just what we need right now!"
"Just LOVELY!" Ashley glanced around, looking out for a place for herself and her friends to get out of the soaking rain.
And there Carlos still stood, still listening. Suddenly, he barked out the loudest most stern command they had ever heard from him as he ran for a nearby tree and scrambled up. "CLIMB NOW!!!"
"Huh?" Cassie asked, somewhat dumbly. "Climb what? The trees?"
"YES!" Carlos screamed, waving his arms frantically. "Climb NOW!! Flash FLOOD!!!"
Without a word of protest, they all dashed for the trees after him. And all got up within nearly two seconds...all except Justin.
The poor guy, he was trying to climb but couldn't...he kept on sliding down the trunk, and at the same time trying to grab for Carlos's hand as the black ranger reached down to help his younger friend up. But he couldn't make it. Just as he thought he might be able to grasp on the Black Ninjetti's fingers, he suddenly slid back down and cursed to himself. He managed to grab a small branch and started to pull himself up when the water rushed in, at full force.
It swirled up, just above the young White Ninjetti's waist, tugging and pulling at him. Yelping, he clung to the branch and Carlos screamed as he tried to reach down to grab hold of Justin's wrist. But just as he had managed to hang onto the sleeve, the powerful current took Justin and started to carry him away as he screamed and cried for help.
Cassie erupted with a shrill and panicked scream. "GUYS! Justin's in trouble!!" She instantly tried to jump out of the tree, but Billy grabbed her by the waist and pulled her onto his lap, swearing.
"Don't even think about it!" He demanded, and watched as Justin was swept farther and farther away from him, and disappeared under the water. "Oh, GREAT!"
Before Billy could tell the two other male rangers otherwise, they dove into the water and started to swim as quickly as they could to reach Justin. Billy managed to grab onto Ashley and Cassie before they could jump in as well, commanding them not to jump for their own saftey. A burbling and gasping Justin popped up from under the water, yelling his little heart out for help.
"Why can't we go?" Ashley growled, pulling against Billy. "Justin's in trouble, he needs us!!" As she said that, Carlos and T.J. swam on, more or less being pulled by the mighty current.
"Listen to me! Both of you! I am not going ANYWHERE, even if Justin is in trouble. I think T.J. and Carlos can get to him in time. If you two went, it would be putting more and more of us in danger, now please be quiet and hope they can reach him before he drowns!"
The two of them were silent, and watched on in awe as they saw a soaking wet white clothed arm reach out from under the water and grab onto a branch of a tree down the stream. The other arm soon followed, and Justin clung to the branch for dear life.
"We're coming, Justin!" Carlos screamed out to him, getting a mouth full of the water. He spat it out and looked with his water filled eyes to see a blurry red form just in front of him. He blinked the water out quickly to find that it was T.J. and tried to swim faster.
"We can get him!" T.J. told him as they now swam side by side.
Carlos nodded. "Hold on, Justin! We're almost there!!!"
"What do you THINK I am doing!?" Justin moaned as he tried to get a firmer grip on the branch. He nearly slipped, and his head went under...but then he reappeared above the surface coughing and spattering, and still hanging onto the branch.
Carlos practically got slammed into the tree by the current, and grabbed hold of a higher and more sturdy branch with his left arm. His right arm circled Justin around the waist and the younger boy was pulled against Carlos. "No time to joke around, man..." Carlos muttered, groaning against the strain of the current. T.J. came up a second later, grabbing another branch and onto Justin as well.
"I just want to get it out of my system in case I die!!"
"You're not gonna die, Justin!" T.J. exclaimed. "We've got you now. Now all we have to do is hang in there until this stops!!"
"I was just making plans!" Justin managed to scream, just as a gigantic wave plummeted down on top of them. Cassie, Ashley and Billy screamed with terror as their friends disappeared under the raging waters. But...was the water subsiding??
Just after the last wave hit them, the waters started to sink away. Carlos, Justin and T.J. were revealed once more, still hanging onto the same tree that they had been when the wave struck. And then...finally....after what had only been a few minutes...the ground became visible once more and the Ninjetti warriors jumped down out of the trees that they were in. Cassie broke out in a run, quickly followed by Billy and Ashley, and they reached the other three in world-record breaking time.
Carlos and T.J. put Justin down, and he wavered to and fro. He still needed to get his legs back. Rubbing his head, he asked the others. "I...I'm alive??"
"Yeah!" Carlos answered. "Alive!"
"YEAH!!!" Justin cheered, but then held his head in his hands. "Remind me not to scream anymore....I've got a headache."
"You've had a rough time..." Billy tried to console him, laying a hand on his shoulder. Justin looked up and stared Billy in his big blue eyes.
"Yeah...." He managed to whisper, and blinked his eyes many times to clear the water out.
Ashley made it a point to tell them that they were soaked, and they needed to start a fire. "Too bad everything around here is soaked now." She sighed.
"Looks like we're just going to have to walk it off," T.J. shrugged. "I don't think we'll catch cold...the water was warm!"
Giving each other a glance of approval, they started to walk again. The Ninjetti uniforms dried very quickly, and after about an hour, they started up conversation again.
"Carlos, how'd you know about that flash flood?" Cassie asked. She had been curious about that since the entire incident had stared.
"I...just did I guess. I have good ears."
"Really good ears! Enough to save our lives!" Billy pointed out.
"Not all that great." Carlos shrugged.
"They got us out of danger..." Ashley whispered. "You saved us...all of us....You're a hero and some junk!"
Cassie giggled. "Yeah! Carlos: The Hero!!"
And all the while Carlos kept refusing that he was a hero in the flood scene, and they
kept telling him that
he was one...the scenery around them became darker and more fearsome, until before they knew
standing in the middle of a jungle black as pitch.
Slowly, the blackness faded away around them, and as it did, the Rangers began to wish it hadn't.
They were back in Angel Grove. But it was an Angel Grove from their worst nightmares, quite literally. Piranatrons marched everywhere in neat rows, people writhed and groaned on the ground, only a few feet from corpses of their friends and family. Fires burned everywhere, buildings had been destroyed, monsters tore through the streets, and in the middle of it all, a hideous tower stood, with Divatox's face glaring out over the devastated city.
Ashley's eyes filled up with tears as she took in everything around them. "No. . .no. . ..," she whispered. It can't be. It just can't be.
"We. . . we were sent back. . .," T.J. whispered. The five former Turbos were all in shock, but none more so than Billy. His eyes were wide enough to fall out of his face as he sank to his knees, mouthing a single word of denial over and over. He hugged his arms around him, swaying back and forth, unable to believe his eyes. He had spent most of his young adult life defending this city, now it lay in ruins before them.
Cassie went to Billy, wanting to comfort him, though she had no comfort in her. Tears streaking her own cheeks, she put a hand on his shoulder, hoping that simple touch would be enough. It wasn't.
"No!!!!!!!!!!!!" the entire planet almost seemed to shake with the force of that cry from the Blue Ninjetti. "No!!!!"
A Piranatron patrol marching a short distance away stopped and started towards them, not noticing the hate-filled glare Carlos shot towards them. "This can't be happening!" Ashley fell into a defensive stance as the Piranatrons started towards them. Cassie shook her head and pulled everyone behind a large pile of rubble.
"Hide!" she whispered. "They're coming this way!"
As they fell behind the ruins, Carlos whispered the others, "This can't be happening! How did it happen so fast?"
Billy sobbed, "We weren't fast enough! We didn't make it to the monolith on time. . .we failed. . .I failed. . ."
Cassie put her hands on his shoulders. "You didn't fail. Things. .just happened too fast," she whispered. "We didn't have time."
"I failed," Billy didn't seem to hear her. "I wasn't good enough. Divatox conquered the planet, we didn't win, we lost!"!
T.J. growled fiercely, "If she cqonquered it, then we take it back from her! Somehow!" he declared.
Justin suddenly dashed out from behind their hiding place, screaming like a banshee. "No!" he didn't care who heard him. "Dad, no!"
"Justin!" Ashley ran after him. "Justin, come back!"
"Dad!" he kept running, slipped, stumbled, and threw himself down next to a body. Twisted in the agonies of death was Dean Stewart, with a dagger sticking out of his chest. Ashley ran after him, calling his name, wanting to keep the Piranatrons away from him.
As she saw what he was draped over, her heart almost broke. "Justin. . .," she whispered. "Oh, Justin, I'm sorry!"
Justin looked at his dad's eyes; wide and glazed over. He ran a hand across the dead man's chest, then grabbed hold of the knife handle and pulled, closing his dad's eyes as he did so. Attached to the knife was a note. Quietly he read it to himself.
Dear White Ranger,
Your father and I had quite a good time before I drove this into his heart. I'm coming for you, and for all the other failed Rangers.
Hate and horror,
Justin balled up the note and threw it as far away from him as he could, sinking to his knees and crying with all his heart. Ashley wrapped her arms around her, rocking as gently as she could, doing what little she could to soothe him.
"I'm going to kill her!" he swore. "She raped and stabbed my father!" his tears overflowed. "This wouldn't have happened it we hadn't failed!"
The Rangers had no words for their friend; what could be said in this situation? Nothing. Nothing at all. They had failed.
Carlos wiped away his own tears, wanting nothing more than just to curl up and die. Leaning against a large cement block, he sighed deeply. "What the?" he glanced around at a sudden noise, and then broke into a mad run to the other side.
"Carlos!" T.J. called out; what did it matter who heard them in this nightmare world? "Where are you going?"
"I've found Dimitria!" Carlos screamed as he scooped their mentor up in his arms and held her close. The others joined him moments later as Carlos wiped blood, tears, sweaet, and dirt from her face. "She doesn't look so good," he breathed, unable to explain why it cut so deep into his heart to see her like this. As she moaned lightly, he held her a little closer. "Dimitria. . please. . .talk to us. We failed. . .we're sorry."
Billy slowly gathered up pieces of a dismembered Alpha 6 as everyone else drew closer to Dimitria. Her gentle hand brushed against Carlos' cheek as Justin sniffed back tears. "We lost everything," he whispered. "Everything!"
"I love you, Dimitria!" Carlos felt as if his mouth were speaking without asking instructions from his brain. "Don't die on us!"
"C... Carlos," the voice was faint and failing.
"M. . my fault. . ."
Carlos shook his head. "No!! It's not your fault! It's our fault! We weren't fast enough to get the Power from the Monolith!" he ignored everything, the Rangers gathered, Billy attempting to put together the shattered droid, all his attention was focused on the woman in his arms. "It was our fault! I failed them. . .I. . .the most powerful warrior. . .couldn't make it to the very Monolith that I guard with my life!"
Everyone stared at Carlos as he spoke; this wasn't quite the Carlos they knew! In two voices he spoke, one the familiar soccer player, the other, older, wiser, stronger somehow. "This isn't fair! Why must these things always happen to us? First Dark Specter sends me and the emperor forward in time as children, freezes the empress for centuries, then Divatox destroys our powers in my second life and destroys this world and all I love!"
"W. . .what?" Ashley felt as if her jaw had been unhinged and was on the ground, a quick glance at the others showed they had equal reactions.
"Should. . .have come with you. . .," Dimitria whispered.
Carlos stared. "But, Dimitria! You did come! You were there; then left us to go on the journey ourselves! I remember as clearly as the day we were married!" he spoke once more in that strange dual voice, shocking all the Rangers, who looked as if someone had hit them on the head with a large board at that utterance.
"No," Dimitria whispered. "Didn't. . .go with you. . stayed. . Power Chamber. . ."
"No, you didn't!" Carlos spoke now alone. "The Power Chamber was being destroyed! You came down out of your tube, and you, Alpha, the Blue Senturion, and us went to Phaedos! Then you left with Alpha!" as Dimitria shook her head, Carlos' eyes blazed. "No! No! No! What you say isn't true! You came, we all know it!"
"No. . .," Dimitria whispered. "I'm sorry. I failed you. You failed. . .."
Carlos put her down quickly and backed away, understanding coming to them all as he did so. Billy stood up. "Dimitria wouldn't have been here, and neither would Alpha! They would be on Phaedos, safe and sound!"
T.J. nodded. "And if they're here, then here, isn't what we think it is!"
"Then this isn't really Angel Grove!" Ashley declared.
"My dad isn't really dead! Everything in Angel Grove is fine!" Justin's voice sounded happier already.
"This was just a test!" Cassie realized. "We didn't fail!"
"We're going back!" Carlos finished it. "And we're gonna get the Power! We won't fail!" his voice echoed all around them, and as the echoes died away, they were once more in the Neola Jungle of Phaedos.
T.J. practically jumped up and down with joy. "We did it! We did it! Well...almost!"
Cassie giggled, "Oh, wow, what a relief to find out that whole fiasco wasn't real! We didn't fail!"
"How could we have even considered the fact that we had failed?" Billy wondered. "We're the Power Rangers; we don't give up like that!"
Ashley laughed. "You know it! Come on, guys, we've still got to get the Power!"
With renewed spirits, they started off happily, singing songs and dancing, despite the seriousness of their quest. To know they hadn't failed, despite the horrors they'd seen, had infused them with more energy and joy than they had known since Divatox had abducted Justin. * * *
Dean Stewart wandered through Angel Grove; looking for his son. "Justin!" he turned around in place, cupping his hands and shouting through them. "Justin, where are you?" somehow he didn't notice Divatox and her Piranatrons and monsters marching through the streets. He sighed. "Where is my son? How could he have disappeared like that?"
Divatox stared at the human walking through town, and smiled to herself. "Mmmmmm," she murmured. "Very nice."
He stopped and gulped as he suddenly noticed the purple-haired pirate watching him. Divatox chuckled to herself. "Well, well, well, just what do we have here?"
"Uh-oh. . .," Dean whispered as he started to back away. If they've done anything to Justin, I'll KILL them!
"Piranatrons!" Divatox ordered. "Take him!"
As her monsters rushed him, she was nastily surprised to see him take down almost five of them with skilled, practiced karate moves. She licked her lips in anticipation. "I like a strong guy!" as he started to take down more and more of her Piranatrons, she frowned. "Hey, you! Don't wreck all my Piranatrons, I need them to conquer the Earth!"
He glared at her. "So you're Divatox! Tough chance on conquering the Earth, the Power Rangers will stop you!"
"I destroyed those puny Rangers' powers!" Divatox laughed. She deliberately left out the fact that the Rangers were now seeking out new, stronger powers. She rather enjoyed the dumbfounded look in Dean Stewart's eyes, which was replaced by fear as she walked over to him. As he pulled back his fist to strike her, she grabbed his arm with superhuman strength, and twisted it until it cracked. Dean sank to his knees, screaming in pain. "What's your name, human?" she asked casually.
"Dean!" he winced. "Dean Stewart! What does it matter to you?"
"Stewart," Divatox murmured the name, then smiled evilly.
"Yeah, Stewart!" Dean growled. "What does it matter?"
She laughed hideously. "Well, who would have ever guessed I'd find you?"
"Is there something totally special about me that I should know about here?" Dean wondered; not understanding and not liking the way she was staring at him.
"About you?" she shook her head. "No!"
"Then why make such a big deal about who I am?"
She cackled, "Oh, you'll find out!" the adopted father of the White Ninjetti! Imagine that! And rather attractive, for a human. . . she watched as he backed away from her, straight into a brick wall where she pinned him with her gloved hand.
"Let me go," he whispered. "What do you want with me, anyway? What use am I to you?"
She ran a hand down his arm, chuckling. "Quite a bit, actually!"
Dean shivered. "Look, lady!" that's a stretch! "I'm a widower, and I was out looking for my son, Justin! Now if you'll excuse me!!!"
"Justin Stewart, age twelve, goes to Angel Grove High School, a genius and your adopted son."
"How in the world did you know all of that?" Dean growled, eyes narrowed with outrage. Divatox laughed in his face, she was enjoying the torment of him.
"Oh, I know a lot of things, Deany-boy!"
He glared at her; the pain in his arm was starting to increase; she had to have broken it. "Don't call me that! How do you know these things?"
"I'm Divatox!" she reminded him. "I know everything!"
"Stay out of my personal life!" he declared as she started to suddenly run her hands all over him. "Hey! Stop that!" she backed him even farther against the wall, laughing when he slipped and fell to his rear. A moment later, she was on top of him, laughing. _Justin, wherever you are, please be okay! Dean prayed. Please come home safely!_
All was dark and silent for him, for a long time. He ignored what Divatox was doing to him, wanting only to be with his son. When he chose to return to wakefulness, he found himself staring straight into Divatox's glaring eyes.
"Took you long enough to wake up, lover!" she laughed. Dean glanced around, then screamed as he saw what he was wearing. . .or more accurately, what he wasn't wearing! Pulling at the chains he found binding him, he screamed at her, "Where am I?"
"My place!" Divatox chuckled, gesturing around the bridge of the Spacebase. Dean spat at her.
"I want out! How dare you take such advantage of me when I'm unconscious?"
She shrugged. "I can do it when you're conscious, too, if you prefer!"
He shuddered. "When my son find out about this, he won't stand for it!"
"Your son?" Divatox laughed. "You don't have a son!"
Dean pulled at his chains again, wanting to be away from her. "Whether he is of my blood or not doesn't matter, I raised him, took care of him, and I love him!"
Divatox laughed; oh, if only this fool knew! "He won't be around for you to take care of much longer!"
"If you so much as touch him, so help me, I'll. . ."
"You'll what?" Divatox mocked him.
"Divatox, mark my words, you will pay!"
Divatox laughed as she turned her attention back to the conquest of the Earth. "I seriously doubt that!"
_Justin, watch out for her, please!_ Dean sighed as he looked away from her; hoping that somehow, things would work out. He couldn't bear to think of what she might do to his son. * * *
At the Angel Grove Youth Center, Bulk, Skull, and Jerome Stone were hurrying people into the shelter in the basement. "Come on, everyone downstairs!" Bulk urged them.
"Yeah, hurry up!" Skull held the door for them. "Those monsters could be here any minute!"
"Down in the shelter, quickly, we don't want anyone getting hurt!" Stone watched as the last few people went by. "Don't rush, take your time! Just make sure you move out quickly and carefully!"
Skull sighed as they locked the door. What are we gonna do?" the former punk wondered. "Where are the Power Rangers?"
"I dunno, Skull," Bulk shook his head. "They disappeared."
Stone nodded. "So have Carlos, Justin, Cassie, T.J., and Ashley! I haven't seen them anywhere. I just hope they've gotten out of town and nothing's happened to them," he took a deep breath. "Everyone here's in the shelter. I'm staying out. I'm sick and tired of not doing my part!"
"Sir," Skull stood up straight and saluted. "Let's go kick some monster butt!"
Stone smiled. "Good idea. But what are we going to do, we don't have any powers, we're not Rangers!"
"We can get more poeple to monster shelters, and maybe find some way to fight these things until the Rangers show up," Bulk suggested. The Power Rangers had always shown up in time before; this wasn't going to be any different. Bulk had faith in his heroes.
Stone agreed with him. "Let's split up and patrol the town. Find everyone in their homes and put them in the nearest shelter you can find. We have to save as much of the populace as we possibly can. We'll show this stupid space pirate that the little people can make a difference!"
"Little?" Bulk grinned; he'd been called a lot of things throughout the years, a good many of them rude, but never had he been referred to as little!
"Bulky, compared to the Power Rangers, it never seems like we can do much," Skull said quietly. "What he's trying to say is that us, the non-Power Rangers, can make a difference in this battle."
"I know, I know!" Bulk grinned. "But I'm not little!"
Stone stifled a laugh. "True, but we're not talking about actual size here!"
"Don't you guys know how to take a joke from me?" Bulk grinned; for some reason, he felt in a good mood. He couldn't explain it; it just felt right to tease them gently.
Skull shrugged, smiling. "When an evil space pirate is trying to destroy the world, your sense of humor kind of disappears!"
"True, true!" Bulk cracked his knuckles, grinning in anticipation. "Let's get down to business!"
"Right!" Stone and Skull chorused. The three of them headed out.
The Ninjetti made their way through the jungle, Justin in the lead. Suddenly he scooted to a stop. "Uh-oh!" he stared. "Guys, we've got trouble?"
"What is it?" Ashley asked, continuing past him.
"Ashley, watch out!" Carlos screamed, grabbing her hand just moments before she would've fallen into the huge canyon that opened up before them.
She stared, shaking a little, as Carlos effortlessly lifted her back up and set her on the ground again. "Whoa! Thanks, Carlos!"
"No problem," he grinned at her. "Be careful, everyone! Big hole in the road!"
Ashley looked at him for a moment; she'd never felt such strength from him before. "You been working out or something?" she asked.
"Not really, no," he shrugged. He did feel stronger here on Phaedos though, he realized. Must be the air here.
Billy glanced over the cliff and shuddered a little. "Long way down! How in the world are we going to get across?"
Justin looked around. "Good question!" he agreed. This looked to be the next thing to impossible!
"Hey!" Cassie pointed to a wide, tall tree near the edge of the cliff. "What if we pushed that tree down and scooted across it to the other side? It's be slow going, but we could make it!"
T.J. grinned. "Good idea, Cassie!" trust her to come up with a solution that has to do with nature!
Billy and Cassie both leaped at the tree, pushing with all their might, but for all the effect they were having, they might as well have been blowing at it! Carlos came over to them. "Care if I try?"
"Go for it!" Billy gasped, trying to catch his breath.
Cassie nodded from where she was bent over, hands on her knees. "Be our guest!"
Carlos put a hand on the trunk of the tree, pushing. The Ninjettis' eyes widened to see it starting to sway! As he put both hands on it and pushed, it fell over, and before it could collapse into the crevice, he managed to throw it just perfectly to create a bridge for them. As they stared, Carlos rubbed his hands together, moaning, "Damn it, I got a splinter!"
"You okay?" Ashley asked. Carlos nodded and pulled out the splinter.
"Yes, just fine!" he grinned at her. Cassie glanced over to T.J., noticing a strange mysterious smile on his lips.
"Teej, what are you smiling about?"
T.J. shook his head. "Nothing! Let's get moving!" quickly they started across one at the time, first Justin, then Ashley, Cassie, T.J., and Billy. Carlos went last, and as he reached the halfway mark. . .he slipped.
"Carlos!" Billy screamed, trying to get to his friend. Carlos stiffened up as the tree started to crack and fall into the canyon, which would spell his certain doom.
"Oh, crap!" T.J. growled, throwing up his arms and chanting quickly,
"That which was done, now undo, return things to the way that's true!"
A moment later, Carlos was on the ground next to them, as the log fell spinning into the depths. Everyone stared at T.J., chorusing in a round of, "What the hell???"
"Whew! You're okay!" T.J. helped Carlos to his feet as everyone stared at him in sheer awe. The Red Ninjetti bit his lip, then chanted again,
"Make his crossing seem safe, his passage be not perilous! May what I have done be remembered by none of them, so that my secret shall not be revealed until it's proper time!"
Everyone blinked for a moment as his spell took effect, then Ashley shook her head. "Carlos, you okay?" she asked. "That tree dropped just when you were getting off it!"
Carlos nodded; that had been horrible! "Yeah, I'm all right. I swear, I thought it was going to collapse on me the whole way!"
"I'm glad it didn't, you would've died!" Billy shuddered. He hadn't liked seeing his new friend come this close to death.
"Yeah, he's okay now, though," Cassie grinned. "And everyone's across safely!"
T.J. smiled a little. "Come on, let's get going," he suggested. Justin frowned a little, confusion in his eyes. "Anything wrong, Justin?"
"No, nothing's wrong," Justin shook his head. "I just feel like my mind's been tampered with."
"Now who could do that?" T.J. laughed gently.
"Nobody, I think," Justin shrugged. "I guess the stress of this journey is getting to me."
"No kidding," Ashley nodded. "Things should calm down once we get the Power and get back to Angel Grove, though!"
Justin nodded. "Yeah, this trip has been nothing but....holy crapola!" His eyes bugged out suddenly in awe.
"What??" everyone turned to face whatever horror he was looking at. . .and just stared.
"The Monolith!" Justin stared. "We made it!"
"At last...." Carlos breathed, "The Monolith...."
"We made it!! We really, really made it...." Cassie drifted off, in awe of the gigantic structure that towered before them. It was magnificent, but not quite the place that they had imagined held such a great power that could save their world from Divatox.
Justin continued up the path that led up to a gigantic door on the front of the monolith. On the side of the path, there were six statues. Three were on his left, and three were on his right. At first, he took no notice of them, but then when he looked up, he let out a loud yell and jumped back out of the path. His eyes were wide, and frightened. "Uhh....guys!!!!" he screamed, gesturing for the other rangers to come forward and join him. They came up, and he pointed to the statues.
"What is it?" T.J.'s gaze followed Justin's pointing finger, and when his eyes fell upon the six still statues, all of his words got stuck in his throat, and he only managed to utter a singe word. "Woah..."
The first of the statues stood tall and proud, but that was it's only good quality. The figure was of the Blue Senturion, not adorning his helmet to reveal Billy's face. The hair was carved, looking ruffled and messy. There seemed to be dirt, and pieces of debris hanging in it. The eyes; Billy's usually bright blue shining eyes, were the color of slate, and sunken into his head. On his face there were cuts and scars, and the lips of the figure were curled into the most evil sneer imaginable.
Next to it stood a figure that all except Billy had seen. It was Carlos, on the day that Nocturn had bit him and turned him into a vampire. He wore the leather jacket, the pants, the boots, the chains...everything except the sunglasses The eyes were open and wide, looking pale and menacingly down upon the row of rangers. His mouth was open slightly, revealing the long fangs within.
On a pedestal next to that of the vampire, at the end of that row, stood a figure of Ashley. A mask covered her face, and her hair was pulled up into a high ponytail. She wore very large boots that went up to her knees, and a very strange looking dress, that didn't have any straps. A necklace that seemed to be made of disks hung from her neck. And then there was her smile...no one could deny what they were seeing. They were seeing Ashley, dressed as Divatox.
The first statue in the second row nearly tore all of their hearts out. The person who stood there, was that of their youngest member. He looked almost zombie-like in his appearance. There was a strange bulge in his throat, and a strange, horrifying smile was plastered onto his small face. The eyes were far more sunken than that of Billy's statue, and out of all the statues, the skin complexion was pale and dead looking. The only changes to the paleness were what seemed to be bruises, blood stains and cuts. The clothes were ripped, and none of them could deny that this was almost exactly what Justin had looked like before Dulcea had saved his life.
They all were afraid to look on at the last two, but shifted their gaze to the next statue in line. All that they saw was a cloaked figure, and they could not even make out a face from underneath it. Each of them guessed that this must be T.J., for the statue afterwards was most definitely Cassie.
The statue of the pink ranger was dressed in a tight top, which revealed more cleavage than should have been revealed...and an equally tight, and short skirt. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and sunglasses were placed down over her eyes. Her arms were held out in front of her, and in her hands she held a pistol. She was leaned back slightly on her legs, poised as if she was going to fire the weapon that she held.
Billy stared at the statue in his likeness and stiffened. He backed away slowly, holding onto his throat and finding it hard to breath suddenly. His gaze darted around to the other rangers quickly, to see their own reactions.
The cloaked figure seemed to scare T.J. out of his wits, he stood there, staring with frightened eyes and he whispered on word of his denial. "Never..."
Carlos growled at the image of himself. He had beaten Nocturn! This wasn't him! Who had dared make such statues of them!!
The statue of the dead White Ninjetti stared down at his model, still wearing the evil grin. Justin whimpered and backed away, covering his eyes with his hands. Was this what would have happened to him had his mother not saved him? Was this what he would have become?
Cassie shook her head over and over again, clenching her fists tightly. This statue was an image of what she was before she had moved to Angel Grove, what she had left where she had come from to escape. Memories of the band, when she killed so many, when she sold herself to countless men, when she smoked and drank, flooded into her head. She had changed, this wasn't her!! Not anymore, not ever again!!
Ashley's reaction was simple...for she didn't even know why this statue even looked as it did. All she could do was put her hands on her hips and utter a simple "YUCK!" and then turn away from it. The image of herself dressed as Divatox was going to give her nightmares for weeks! She never thought that she could ever look that bad; she always thought that she would be fashion conscious...even as a statue!
Billy took in a quick breath and put his hand on his chest. He patted it gently, trying to start the air from circulating again. "It had to be this...did it?" he rasped, gulping loudly. "It had to be what would hurt us most!!"
Justin whimpered still, already starting to lose his sanity over this gruesome statue. "No...no..." he kept repeating, rubbing his eyes over and over...as if he was trying to clear his eyes and make the statue be just a normal statue; any statue but that one. But it never changed.
Cassie turned her gaze from the statue down to the ground, looking both angry and ashamed at the same time. How had whoever made these statues known about this past that she was trying to keep secret; this past she was trying her hardest to get rid of and forget? That was all she could wonder, until a sudden sound jerked her out of her thoughts and brought her eyes to look back up at the statue.
The jaw on Cassie's statue began to move, grinding with the sounds of two rocks pushing together. As the lips parted, then came down again, there was a smacking sound. The jaw began to move faster and faster, and the gum smacking from inside the statue's mouth became louder and louder. Color came to the complexion and clothing of her, and without warning, the trigger was suddenly pulled and a bullet sped off into the other side, straight into the jungle.
"NO!!!!!!!" screamed Cassie, and the other ninjetti spun around to see what had happened. When they found the cause of the gunshot, they stopped in their tracks, transfixed and unable to move a muscle. All they could do was watch.
Laughing and smacking her gum, the former statue of the Pink ranger hopped down off of her pedestal on which she was standing. "Well, hello there, dear!" she purred at Cassie, and began to walk up to her.
Cassie shook her head and started to back away. "Get away from me, you...you FAKE!!!!"
"Fake???" the gun went down to her hip as she put her hands there. "I'm no fake, dearie!!! I'm YOU!!!!"
"No, you're not! You're not me! I'm not like that anymore, I've changed my ways! I'm never going to be like that ever again!" Cassie insisted, trying to get this "imposter" away from her.
"Oh, you THINK you've changed, do you?" the statue asked, shifting her hips a little. "You haven't. Ha! Oh, no you haven't!"
Cassie shot her a sharp glare. "Yes, I have!!!!"
The leather clad woman smiled, almost seductively. "Come on, now. You KNOW you liked being what I am! You don't like being this....this little goody-two-shoes. You LIKE the feel of selling yourself to someone. You LIKE the feel of being stoned! You LIKE the feel of the cold blood of the people you've killed!!"
"If I had liked it so much, I would never have LEFT it!" Cassie exclaimed. Her heart was racing. She knew in her heart that what this...statue...was saying was true.
"Hell, girl..." the clone laughed. "You liked it more than you'll ever know! You only left 'cause you were too chicken to cut it out anymore. The cops were comin' on to ya and ya got scared and RAN!!"
"NO!!!" Cassie started to retreat again, "NO! That isn't true!!"
"Oh yes! Very plenty true!" She leaned back again, lifting her pistol up. The point was aimed straight for Cassie's head, and the former statue let lose with maniacal laughter that rang through the area.
T.J. was the nearest to her than all of them, and broke out in a mad run. When he reached her, he slammed the evil Cassie's wrist, causing her to drop the pistol to the ground. He gasped when he saw both of them jump back, clutching at their wrists.
"That hurt!!" The ninja clad Cassie screamed, rubbing her wrist and moaning.
"But I hit HER!! Not you!" he told her, and she knew that he was right. The evil Cassie behind him started up her laughter once more, thrice in volume this time.
"Go away!" she yelled at her double. "You're just some dumb copy of me, get lost!!!"
"Don't you GET it???" she snapped back in reply. "He hit me, and it hurt BOTH of us! You cannot destroy me without destroying yourself!!!"
Cassie just stood there, staring at her.
"Get it?? So don't hurt me, cause you're only hurting yourself in doing so!" she pointed out.
But Cassie didn't care, she broke out in a full run, yelling out her rage and heading straight for the leather clad figure. Behind the sunglasses, the eyes of the other became wide, and she dashed for her pistol. Scooping it up in her hands, she fell into position, aimed it and fired. Screaming, the real Cassie sunk to a crouching position so as not to get shot, and the bullet streaked past her head with lightning speed. Growling, Cassie's double pulled the trigger again, only to find out that the pistol was out of ammunition.
"I always was a lousy shot!" Cassie reminded her, totally relieved that she indeed was. All of the hits she had ever made were accidents...
"OK, that's it! No more Miss Nice Bitch!!" the other snarled, and jumped at Cassie. The two of them collided with max force, and the pain that swept over them was double in strength. Before long, the both of them were nothing more than two moaning and groaning bodies laying in the dirt before the monolith. And they had been so CLOSE to reaching the power!!
T.J. heard a loud rushing sound from behind him. Almost to late, he spun around and ducked as the ball of flame whizzed past his head. The cloaked figure stood before him, laughing. He was obviously the source of the flame.
"Oh," he cackled, his voice a low and evil version of T.J.'s "You're just the perfect little wizard, aren't you??? WIMP!!"
"No! That isn't true!" T.J. growled. "I'm not perfect, and neither are you!!" He narrowed his large brown eyes at the evil version of himself.
"I am perfect, you weakling. Perfectly EVIL that is!!!"
"I would NEVER be evil!" T.J. declared. "Never!"
With a laughing response, the statue replied. "Oh, really?"
"Remember who TAUGHT you magic, sucker???" the cloak seemed to blow about him, yet still not show the figure's face. "Of course, how could you ever forget???"
T.J.'s eyes became wide. This couldn't have been happening to him, it just couldn't. He had changed, he had ran away from what he used to be! "Don't remind me of that!"
"Oh, but you remember your teacher very well, don't you, Tayrn? You do remember that Dark Specter is the one who taught you the magic that you know..." the voice was almost purring, booming ominously from underneath the hood.
T.J. shook his head violently, denying the truth of what he was saying. "No...no..." he continued repeating the phrase over and over, as the figure came closer and closer to him.
"I didn't turn to sorcery!" T.J. insisted, trying to make the words sound real to himself almost as much as the statue. "I broke away!"
"You'll always go back to your roots...." He rumbled.
"Never!" T.J.'s screamed to the sky. "I am the wizard of the high court, I would never turn back to what I was and betray those whom I serve!"
The cloaked former statue practically roared at his likeness, raising his hands up high. "You can never run away from your past forever!! Dark Specter...he will call his favorite SON back to him once the time is right!!"
"NO!!!" T.J. covered his face with his hands. "He may be my father, but I will never let him control me like he did so long ago! Never again will I let that evil monster posing as my sire rule me!!"
The statue duplicate seemed to find what T.J. had said absolutely hilarious. "Oh, you fool! He already DOES!!!"
T.J. screamed at the top of his lungs at the cloaked version of himself. "Never!! I let him control me once, but never again!!"
Mocking laughter surrounded T.J. as he sunk down to his knees, covering his eyes once more. "You are HIS, wizard! FOREVER!!!"
"I was....not am..." T.J. said, a frighteningly calm tinge to his deep voice.
"Oh, but you ARE!!!" with that, the statue threw the cloak off of himself to reveal the body of a gigantic orange and black monster, the exact likeness of Dark Specter. A roaring laughter surrounded T.J., which was only drowned out by his ear piercing scream of fear and denial.
Justin could not believe his eyes, two of his friends were being torn apart inside by these statues. He wanted to help, and when he was just about to run out into the fray, there sounded behind him a low, gurgling laugh. He turned around, only to find himself staring at the dead likeness of himself and utter a cry of horror.
The laughing from the dead boy only became louder, gurgling and rasping in his bulging throat. With a cut hand, he lashed out as quick as lightning to seize onto Justin's neck. "You lousy excuse for a Power Ranger..." he rattled. "You small, insignificant little bug..."
Justin squeaked and grabbed onto the hand around his throat, trying to pry it off. "Let me go!"
"Never..." he replied, cracking a smile. This only revealed that some of his teeth were missing; knocked out by who knows what. "You're going to die just like I did..."
"Yes you are!" he rasped, and tightened his grip on Justin's throat. He himself was starting to lose some of his hair, but being dead, it really didn't matter. He could easily kill the boy without doing much harm to himself. After all, he was no longer alive, what did he have to lose?
Justin began to turn blue in the face, and started to kick at him with all of his might. Unfortunately, his strength was diminishing fast, and along with it, his air supply. He had to stop this statue, he couldn't die!
The squeezing at his throat became tighter and tighter, and the laughing of the dead boy was starting to fade in his ears. "Just like what Divatox did to me! Just like her tongue slid down my throat and killed me!!! HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT, HUH!?"
"I HATE IT!!" Justin managed to scream, and seconds later he wished that he hadn't. He had used much of what air he had left to yell that, and now it cost him dearly. The world started to fade in and out about him, and the grip of the hand around his neck tightened still.
"Too bad, midget boy. You're going to die...."
With the last of his remaining strength and air, Justin cried out in protest and struggled. But that was to no avail. Just as he slipped off into unconsciousness, the dead version of the white ninjetti dropped him to the ground, and kicked him hard in the side.
Ashley screamed out, throwing herself down to the ground just as two twin beams of red light rocketed towards her. She rolled over to face the source, to find the Divatox version of herself towering over her. Yelping, she scooted backwards, and pulled herself up to her feet.
"Like mother, like daughter!!!"
"What in the hell are you talking about?!" Ashley asked, genuinely confused.
She laughed shrilly. "You heard me!!"
"Divatox isn't my mother!" Ashley exclaimed.
"HA! You don't even know that you were adopted!"
Ashley's eyes went wide, and she balled her fists at her sides. "I am NOT adopted! My parents would have told me if I was!"
"Oh, REALLY?" she purred in reply. "I seriously doubt that!"
"Well I don't!" Ashley was nearly snarling, and her knuckles became white with the force she used in clenching her fists. "They would have told me something like that! Divatox isn't my mother!"
The Divatox version of Ashley laughed, the same exact laugh that the pirate queen that the Power Rangers hated so much rang through the clearing. "Oh, you foolish HUMAN!!!"
Ashley couldn't take it anymore. This was just too much! Her parents would have told her if she was adopted, and even if she was, she couldn't have been Divatox's daughter, of all people! That just wasn't right, not right at all! With her fists out in front of her, Ashley charged at the other, and the two of them slammed into each other, just as the Cassies had, and lay moaning on the ground.
Billy had been staring at his statue the entire time, engrossed with how real to what had happened it looked. He had looked like that after that accident, he was afraid to admit. And that scared him more than the fact that someone had constructed it to model that. All that the statue reflected was true....
"Huh?" Billy had turned his gaze to the ground, ashamed to look at the statue any longer. But then when he hear a loud robotic chuckling sound from above him, he looked up and found himself staring into the wide, gray, sunken eyes of the figure brought to life. "Noooo...." Billy groaned to himself as he tried to his hardest not to look at it. But his gaze was fixed, and he could not pull it away.
"Yes..." The Blue Senturion coughed. The sounds of sparking rustled in his artificial throat. "Oh yes, yes, yes, Billy Boy!!"
"You're not me!!!" he shouted, stumbling backwards.
The hands of the blue robot flexed, causing an eerie mechanical whirring sound as they moved. "I am you...you pathetic CRIPPLE! You should have watched what you did with the ship! You should have watched where you were going!!"
Billy sank to his knees. The memories of the accident began to flood into his head, and his vision blurred with the coming of sudden tears. "I know!!" he wailed.
"Look at what you have DONE to me!" The glazed over eyes shot Billy a hateful accusing glare as he pointed his metal index finger out at him. "You knew that you should have been paying attention, but NO! Smooching with Cestria was MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR OWN LIFE!!"
"I...I'm sorry..." Billy whispered quietly.
The hand drew back, then came plummeting down onto Billy's head. The Blue Senturion swayed a minute, feeling the blow for himself, and held his head. "You...you had better be!!" he stuttered. He really hadn't expected his blow to hurt himself at all. Obviously he hadn't been paying too much attention. Billy just curled up and wept as the robotic version of himself glared down with his sunken eyes.
Carlos stared at the empty pedestal, and then spun around. Much to his surprise, he couldn't find the vampire anywhere! It was as if he had disappeared! Not that Carlos wanted to meet him too much, but this was a little strange. All of his questions about the disappearance, however, were answered with a low echoing laughter from behind the trees, which when Carlos followed it with his ears, was met by a pair of glowing red eyes that were nestled in the darkness of the shadows.
"A flash from the past, bat boy!!" The accented voice of the vampire drifted up from behind the trees.
"I destroyed Nocturn." Carlos replied, trying to keep his cool. "I'm not a vampire anymore."
"The evil will always be a part of you..." the voice purred.
"Never!!" Carlos did not like the way that his counterpart was talking to him. From what he had seen going on with the others, he knew that he had to find a way for them to get rid of these come to life statues.
"WANNA BET!?" he challenged in reply.
Carlos put his hands on his hips, and wiped the sweat from his brow. "Come out here, show yourself!!"
At Carlos's command, the vampire version of himself from that day not so long ago stepped out of the brush.
"You're what I could have been," Carlos stated matter-of-factly. "What I used to be. And in truth...even a PART of me. But that means...that I am a part of YOU also!"
"Naturally!" Vampire Carlos shrugged.
"Then...we are ONE...and not two...." Carlos added.
The other nodded approvingly, then snapped. "It took you long enough! I thought you dimwits were never gonna figure it out!"
"Then if we're one, we have to BE one...quite literally." Carlos whispered thoughtfully, rubbing his chin.
"Then let's!" Carlos declared. "Step into me!"
The clone waved his hand, shaking his head fiercely. "No way! YOU step into ME!!"
Carlos sighed and rubbed his temples. He couldn't say he hadn't expected this guy to be stubborn. "Fine...let's have it BOTH our ways. Let's step into each other!"
Shrugging, both Carlos's began to step towards one another. Before the last step, a shining black light enveloped the both of them, temporarily blinding the vision of all who stood near the monolith. When it faded, only the black clad ninjetti remained, and he was grinning widely.
"It worked!!" he breathed happily. He looked at the pairs of Statues and Ninjetti, showing them that his planned had worked
Statues looked at their counterparts, and Ninjetti looked at their statues. Those who were down on the ground climbed up, and with short whispered words of admittance that they were both one in the spirit, the 5 other pairs joined together, leaving only the Ninjetti to remain afterwards.
"Woah..." Cassie rubbed her head lightly, then looked at the rest of her teammates. "That was...."
"Weird?" T.J. finished for her.
"To say the LEAST!" Ashley sighed with relief, glad that all of those horrifying statues were gone.
Billy looked concernedly around at the others, then asked them "Is everyone okay??"
"My neck is a little sore..." Justin told him, pointing to the red strangle marks on his neck. "But they're healing quickly. I'll be fine."
Carlos nodded. "All fine over here."
Once Billy had accepted that no one was seriously injured, they all made their way up the path past the six empty pedestals.
"Now what?" T.J. wondered.
The earthquake began, just as Billy had known it would. "Now this!!" he managed to yell over the rumbling. Carlos stumbled ahead of the others, farther up the path until he stood right in front of the monolith.
A gigantic pyramid slid out from now widely open doors. There was a gigantic coin embedded into it, with the signs of their spirit animals all combined on it. The coin in the center began to glow brightly, and from out of them soared small little animals; miniature versions of what seemed to be their brand new zords.
Carlos looked at it for a minute, but then sank down to one knee and lowered his head. His dark brown eyes now shone with the light of the coin in the pyramid. His voice rang out, no longer his hispanic accented voice, but that voice from which they had heard him speak to Dimitria in that vision, the voice that they heard when he attacked Divatox when she had scratched Billy. The voice was soft, but it echoed throughout the entire clearing, the jungle, and drifted all the way out to the plateau. "Together we have learned that there can be no good without evil...No love without hate...No heaven without hell...No light without darkness. The harmony of the Universe depends on an eternal balance. Out of the struggle to maintain this balance...comes the birth of legends. Now it is time....to take the power that we have earned this day, through dangers untold, and hardships unnumbered; To rid the Earth of a Force of Darkness so strong, so vile...that this Power is the only hope for it's salvation...."
After such an amazing speech such as Carlos just delivered, Cassie could only bring herself to say one thing. "Ummmm...yeah..."
Carlos stood and stared at the coin once more, smiling softly. Ashley came up from behind him, trying to avoid the lion and bat zords from hitting them as she rested a hand on his shoulder. "You okay?" she asked him gently.
"Hmm???" he turned to look at her, and then nodded. "Oh, yeah..." Spinning on his heel, he turned and made his way back to the line of Ninjetti that stood there, taking his place down at the end. Ashley stood next to him.
"What was all that stuff you were saying? I mean, I heard it and all. But...why were you saying it??" Cassie inquired.
"Because I was supposed to."
"Any idea why?" Billy asked him, noticing that the glow of the coin became stronger as Carlos spoke.
"I am the one who guards this...the plateau, the temple...the monolith..." his response to Billy's question only met by a bunch of confused stares. "To those who are Ninjetti, anything is possible. But now, we must take the power...and go back to Earth...before it's too late." As he finished his sentence, the light became it's brightest, and the mini zords soared into the symbols of their animals on their chest plates. When it faded, they now stood...not in spandex... but in armor.
"Woah!! Armor!!! COOL!!!"
"We did it!! We got the Power!!!" Justin started to dance around, laughing. "This is SO AWESOME!!"
Cassie looked down at her uniform, finding it almost the same as the uniform used years ago by the first pink ranger, only with the sign of the eagle upon it. "I am IMPRESSED!!" she breathed.
"We're going home!!" T.J. exclaimed, clapping his hands together.
"And we're going to kick Divatox's ass back to whatever hole she crawled out of!" Ashley giggled, but she was totally serious about what she said.
Billy looked around at his sides, finding that he was in the middle. This time, he adorned a shield, just like the one Tommy had worn. No one seemed to argue that now he was the leader of the team "Let's doing it! Hold on, Angel Grove, the Power Rangers are coming back!!!"
In one simultaneous movement, all 6 pairs of hand clapped themselves around their new morphers, and all six of them dissolved into the beams of colored light, which streaked across the evening sky, and disappeared into the space above.
Dulcea watched them go, leaning against a ruin and hugging her staff closely. She smiled
a little; she had
always known that they would make it through. "Good luck, Rangers...and come home soon...my
With a blazing crackling noise, the six Power Rangers materialized on the ground, right in the middle of Downtown Angel Grove. Things were a mess, but not half as bad as they had imagined it. Ashley looked around, turning on what seemed to be headlights on her helmet.
"No major damage..." Billy stated simply. "Things are pretty much the same. Divatox must not have done too much pillaging."
"That's odd..." Carlos said.
"Yeah, but the place still looks awful." T.J. pointed out. "It's going to take a long time to fix all of this up."
Justin sighed, looking around. "I hope my dad's OK. I'm betting he's worried sick about me by now."
"I'm sure he's okay, Justin." Ashley said. "Our parents are probably worried too, it's not like we told them where we were going or anything."
Carlos gulped suddenly, looking straight down the middle of Main Street. The rest of them heard this, and followed his gaze. "Here's on part of the vision we had that was true!!" he said, shaken at the thought of it. "A DivaTower!"
All of them stared at disbelief at the tall tower that stood down the end of the street, towering high above all of the other buildings in Angel Grove."
"Divatox must be in there!!" Justin cried. "Let's go!"
All of the others held their fists out in front of them, chorusing "Right!" and then fell momentarily into a fighting stance. Without another word, they streaked off down the street, running straight for the DivaTower. This was not going to be an easy mission.
But to those who are Ninjetti, anything is possible.
The quiet scratching noise of a nail file against long pointed fingernails was the only sound that echoed through Divatox's chamber high atop her own personal DivaTower. The pirate sat up high in a large chair, grinning down at her bed as she sharpened her nails. "Finally stopped struggling huh, Deany boy?"
Dean Stewart groaned loudly through the gag that had been shoved into his mouth and gave a fierce tug on the shackles that chained his wrists to the bedpost. His back arched upwards as he tried to force his feet out of their own binding, letting the only thing covering his tired, sweat covered body: a sheet, slide down his chest farther. Squinting his eyes with pain, he let out a loud scream of frustration from behind the gag.
"Getting frisky again, I see!" Divatox grinned impishly down at him. "You wore me out toots, I don't wanna play right now!"
Another scream sounded in the room: one of rage.
She growled and threw the nail file, barely missing his neck by only a few inches. It hit the wall and stuck into it, a grim reminder of what might have happened to him had her aim been better. "Will you stop that already? You're getting on my nerves with all this struggling, mumbling and screaming!" she pointed at the file "That will be you next time you make a sound!"
Dean glared at her, wishing he could get her to leave him alone. He wasn't sure what she wanted to do with him, but he was definitely certain he didn't really want to know! He leaned back as much as he could. I wish I knew where Justin was. He's getting me worried.
"Majesty?" Dean managed to twist his head around to see the chubby Porto entering the bedroom. Divatox looked over at him, her eyes flashing.
"This better be good!" She growled. "I don't have time for your petty little games, Porto!"
Porto shook his head, and his whole body. "My queen, the Power Rangers have invaded the lower levels of the DivaTower!"
"What does that have to do with anything?" She growled. "That's what the Piranatrons are for!"
"I thought you'd like to see to their destruction personally!" Porto offered. Divatox smiled wickedly, licking her lips with her long tongue. Dean groaned as she flicked that same tongue over him from top to bottom.
"There's more where that came from, sweetie," Divatox grinned, pulling her cloak about her shoulders. "I'll be back once I've disposed of the Rangers!"
As she swept out of the room, Porto quickly shut the door behind her and locked it. As he jerked the gag out of Dean's mouth, the man coughed and tried to moisten his lips. "W…w…why?"
Porto was busy snapping the ropes and didn't answer for a few moments. Once Dean was free and trying to rub some circulation back in his legs and arms, the scientist took a long look at him. "Simple," he told Dean, "I'm making a break from Divatox and I'm taking you with me."
Justin's dad stared. "Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you one of Divatox's minions, and the last time I looked, you guys were almost winning!"
Porto snorted. "You're sort of wrong and sort of right. I was one of her minions. Not because I want to be, though, and they're not going to be winning for long if I have anything to say about it!"
Dean wasn't quite sure how to take this, and stared for a few moments. Porto only grinned. "You'll see. Come on, let's get out of here. The Rangers aren't here just yet, but they should be soon. I told Divatox that so she'd leave us alone and we can escape!" He tossed a pair of blue jeans and blue flannel shirt that had been removed from Divatox's prisoner of war off of the floor and tossed them to him.
Kicking the sheets off of him, he got up off of the bed. "Thanks," he started jerking his clothes on as Porto pulled the sheets from the bed and started knotting them into a rope. Once he was re-dressed, the man turned to his strange new friend. "You can't mean we're going out the window!"
Porto shook his head. "We're not. You are!"
"Huh?" Dean hardly resisted as he was pushed over to the window. Man, this guy sure was pushy! "What about you?"
"I'll meet you below," Porto told him. "Now hurry up, we don't have all day! Divatox could come back at any moment!" Worry was evident in the giant creature's strange voice.
That was all it took for Dean to be out the window and down the makeshift rope. A few feet from solid ground, one of the sheets came untied from another, sending him hurtling towards the concrete. He grunted loudly as he crashed into a large bush that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. As he started pulling his head up out of the mass of branches and tiny leaves, a high pitched insane giggle sounded to his left. His head free, he turned it so that he could see the chubby monster of a scientist laughing at him! Grunting, he climbed out of his uncomfortable landing pad and looked sternly at him.
"Well, that was fun!" Porto chuckled. "Sorry, guess the rope wasn't long enough for you!"
"How'd you get down so fast?" Dean said coldly, putting his hands on his hips. "Come on now, stop laughing and tell me! It wasn't that funny!"
"Oh but it is!! As for how I got down here, that's simple! I teleported," Porto shrugged, adjusting a bag he was holding over one shoulder. "Come on, hurry up! We've got to find the Rangers, I've got to tell them something! Very important!"
Dean bit his lip; he hoped to be able to find Justin, he didn't much care about finding the Power Rangers. "I really don't know where they'd be. Divatox said that their powers were destroyed… "
Porto laughed. "I think she's going to have a nasty surprise on that one. But the
Rangers did have to get new powers, and they are heading back to the DivaTower. We'll
probably have the best luck finding them if we head this way," he gestured off to the right.
"Got the bomb, Bulky?" Skull asked his best friend as the two of them and Lieutenant Stone prepared to blow up Divatox's twisted tower.
"Right here!" Bulk showed them the small device, fully capable of destroying the entire monstrosity that rose above them. Their one-time instructor shivered a little.
"Be careful with that, you two!" he advised. "That's not a toy!"
Bulk nodded. "We know, sir!" handling explosives wasn't exactly the safest thing the two of them had ever done in their lives, but it was definitely one of the most exciting.
Skull looked around. "So where are we going to put it?"
Lt. Stone glanced around; there didn't seem to be anyone near here, which boded well for them. "Right here looks good! Set it for about ten minutes."
Skull was getting ready to set the bomb when a shadow fell across him. He jerked around and had an automatic reaction: "Mm…M…monster!"
A shocked Dean Stewart shook his head. "Hold up now!" he wasn't going to let anyone hurt Porto; strange as it sounded, they were friends! After everything he had done to help him escape Divatox's bedroom and all. Besides, Skull's wail was hurting his ears and was bringing on a headache.
"What's going on here?" Stone asked harshly, standing up to full height and brushing dust off of his Hawaiian style shirt. There was no point to that really…with all of the things he and his two ex-partners had been through on this day, dusting off clothes did not help anything. He turned his head, then nodded to see his friend: Justin Stewart's father standing behind the bulk of the large creature. "Oh, Dean!" he scrunched his nose slightly. "What a surprise…to see you here…especially with…" he cleared his throat and nodded in Porto's direction.
"I've just escaped from Divatox, with his help," Justin's dad pointed to Porto. "He's trying to take down Divatox, just like me…and you three it seems," at Bulk's nod, Dean continued, "Don't worry about Porto; he's cool. So what are you guys doing?"
"Planting bombs," Stone told him. Dean bit his lip a little nervously.
"You guys haven't seen the Rangers, have you?" he asked. "We're kind of looking for them…" Skull shook his head; they hadn't seen hide or hair of the Rangers in almost a day and a half!
Porto sighed. "Oh, drat it! Would you help us look? I have something very important to show them!"
"All right," the former police officer nodded. "They should be around here somewhere! I know I saw the streaks of light coming out of the sky, that could have been them you know!"
Just as the five of them were about to start off, six armored forms appeared. "Whoa!" the White Ranger murmured. Dean whirled around; that voice sounded so familiar!
"Justin?" he found himself staring right at the Power Rangers, but these were definitely not the Rangers they'd last seen! They were Rangers he had seen in the news, just a few years prior to this incident.
"What are you all doing here?" the Blue Ranger asked, as the Black waved the White Ranger to silence. Porto stepped forward. Immediately the Power Rangers fell into fighting stances and pulled their gigantic weapons out of thin air! Dean jumped in front of Porto and cried out to them, while the ex-henchman of Divatox scooted to a halt. The White Ranger urked silently and took a giant step back.
"Rangers! I have something important to talk to you about!" Porto declared, holding a small brown cloth pack up as high as he could with his stubby little arms.
"Important?" T.J. stared; he wasn't quite sure of what was going on here! Justin's dad protecting Porto? And what is that Porto has in that little bag he's holding? "Like what?"
"Like this!" Porto swung the pouch he was carrying open and pulled out their Turbo Chargers! T.J., Carlos, Justin, Ashley, and Cassie gaped at them in shock, remembering how they'd simply dropped them and ran when they'd lost their powers on Divatox's SpaceBase. The weapons that the five of them held disappeared in a flash of colored light; the color of each ranger that was holding it. The Blue one still held out his gigantic sword, wary of a trick of any kind. Porto continued, "I was planning a rebellion against Divatox, and didn't destroy your Turbo powers, but I had to make it impossible for you to access them for a time. I'm sorry for all the trouble I caused you. He…here you are!" he dropped the Chargers in front of them and scuttled back to where Bulk, Skull and Lt. Stone where. Dean quickly followed, standing by Jerome.
Ashley stared. "But we've already got powers!" and stronger than the Turbo ones at that!
"I know," Porto nodded slowly. "I'm sorry, but maybe you could give them to someone else?"
Billy glanced at the five people there, and smiled under his helmet as he pulled the other Ninjetti off to one side to converse. "So what are we going to do?" T.J. whispered.
"I think we could always use five more Rangers," Billy commented. Ashley nodded; she'd never thought she'd be glad to see her powers go to someone else!
"I agree. Who do you suggest then?" she asked him in a hushed voice. They all stared in complete disbelief as Billy glanced to Bulk, Skull, Dean, Porto, and Jerome. "You've got to be kidding!" they squeaked.
Billy shook his head, and Justin took a deep breath. "I know Dad could do it, and Lt. stone too. But Bulk and Skull? And Porto?"
Carlos shrugged; he was willing to give them a shot, as was Ashley. T.J. offered, "Yeah, I think they could do it! Bulk and Skull are great guys, and I think it would do them good, as for Porto…" he paused, searching his mind and memories. "Do you think we could trust him? You think he's for real this time?"
"This is his second time trying to get away from Divatox," Cassie reminded him, nodding. "Kat told us he turned against her briefly before we became Rangers. Of course, he attacked the rangers that time, but he didn't this time! He wound up having to go back to her, but this time around, I think he just might stay free! With our help! We're just going to have to keep an eye on him for a bit, just in case this is some sort of a trap."
Once it was unanimous, Billy turned to them. "So, guys, how would you like to be Power Rangers?" his voice was light and crystal clear, haunting three of the five non-rangers present…where had they heard that voice before? It was so familiar! Especially to Bulk and Skull!
"Say what?" Porto couldn't believe his ears! He was a mutant, and they were offering to make him a Power Ranger?
"This is a once in a lifetime offer," Carlos reminded. "We've got five powers that we don't need, and there are five of you!"
"And we really need your help!" Justin declared. Dean stared at the one in white, running things over in his mind. Always leaving, that watch…never around when the rangers are fighting…
Bulk was in simple shock, stuttering over and over, "Us?"
"Sure!" Ashley grinned. "Why not?"
"We're…ummm…us!" Skull pointed out, making it sound that being them was not really a good thing. Carlos shrugged.
"A minor formality," he said, his accented voice sounding from under the black helmet. The five standing there had a strange feeling, that they knew most of these people… "You guys would make great Power Rangers, I'm sure of it! It's not hard; it comes very naturally. Once you have the power, everything you need to know is implanted into your mind."
"Oh, wow!" Bulk managed to utter something else for a change. Stone stood up straighter.
"Well, I accept the offer!" he declared, as did Dean. Bulk, Skull, and Porto all agreed; this was the chance of a lifetime!
Billy grinned a little. "Think we should show them who we are?" he suggested. T.J. nodded.
"If they're going to be Rangers, I think we can trust them. And Porto already knows," the Red Ranger pointed out.
"All right," Billy had never deliberately revealed his identity to someone else before, even doing it to Aisha, Adam, and Rocky had been by accident, "Let's take off our helmets."
Justin closed his eyes for a moment. Oh, boy, this is going to be a shock for Dad! I hope he isn't going to be upset about this! As they removed their helmets, he heard Dean's shocked voice. "Justin!?"
"Hi, Dad," he said, smiling. He tried not to show that he was worried about his father's reaction to the shocking news. Dean Stewart was practically staring at him, wondering what the heck was going on!
"What are you doing being a Power Rangers?" Dean wasn't quite sure what to think of this! Carlos spoke up when Justin was at a loss for words.
"He's saving the world," the Black ranger said matter-of-factly. It was as if he made it out to not be as big a deal as it was, and Dean just continued to stare at them all. Justin spoke in a small voice.
"You don't like me being a Power Ranger, do you, dad?" Deep inside, he knew that if his father discontinued his rangering days…he'd just die!
"It just rather surprised me," Dean told him, cracking a smile. "I'm…proud of you, Justin. Very proud of you."
After Justin breathed out a deep sigh of relief the two of them shared a warm hug, then turned back to business. The former Turbos held their old keys in their hands. "Red, Green, Blue, Pink, and Yellow. Who gets what?"
The five of them looked at the new Rangers to be, then smiles spread across their faces. Carlos walked up to Skull, handing him the Green Turbo Charger, while Justin gave his father the Blue one. Bulk received the Yellow Turbo key, while Jerome took charge of the Red one. Finally, Cassie stared at Porto, her old Pink Charger in one hand.
"I don't mind wearing pink," he smiled at her, as best he could, anyway. She grinned and bestowed in on him. Jerome took a deep breath.
"Shift into Turbo!" he ordered, just as if he had spoken it thousands of times before. He didn't even have to ask any questions of the former rangers, and neither did the other four. The words just came…they were just there.
"Mountain Blaster Turbo Power!"
"Dune Star Turbo Power!"
"Desert Thunder Turbo Power!"
"Wind Chaser Turbo Power!"
"Red Lightning Turbo Power!"
The five men, chosen by their predecessors, glowed in brief light, and then once again, the Turbo Rangers stood there. Bulk was now somewhat slimmer and much more muscular, Skull had muscles where before he'd only had skin and bones, and Porto… "Whoa," Cassie stared. "You're not pink…you're white!"
The White Turbo Ranger glanced down at himself, then slipped his helmet off. Instead of the familiar Porto-face they'd expected to see, a human looked back at them! He had a thin face, sharp featured and handsome. His skin was tanned, and his eyes a light brown. His hair was long, about shoulder length; and strangely enough…it was dark brown, with extremely prominent blonde streaks in it. Porto's eyes went wide as he realized. "Divatox transformed me into that…that thing!" He breathed. "And now I'm back! I am Adrian again!"
Ashley was almost staring at him. "Adrian, huh? So that was your name before Divatox got control of you?"
"Exactly." He answered her. His voice was no longer the slightly high pitched, muffled whine that it previously was…but deep rich tones, comforting and crystal clear. Ashley's knees almost gave way underneath him. Dang, he was cute! And he looked like Billy a little…in the face! "I was the scientist for the court of Emperor Ralien. I was always in my lab…always was…but I developed so many significant scientific discoveries that Divatox wanted me for her own use, so she took me…"
There's that name again…Ralien. Carlos and Billy thought to themselves as T.J. smiled mysteriously.
Carlos' gaze was locked on Porto…or more accurately, Adrian's face. There was something so familiar about it. His heart softened as he continued to look upon it…this was something that he had never felt before in his life! The familiarity…the tenderness…He shut his eyes tightly and shook his head, backing away to stand behind the group slightly.
Billy sighed briefly. It was time to bring his team's and the other team's attention back to the task at hand. They were , after all, in the middle of a battle.
"And now it's time for some planning!" he stated plainly. "We've got a long way to go before we win!"
"Uhhhh," Carlos choked out suddenly from behind them all, "Guys, we don't have much time for planning!" all the Rangers, Turbo and Ninjetti, turned around to see what was causing Carlos to sound so pained, to find Divatox choking him! Cassie growled harshly.
"Let him go!" She ordered fiercely.
"Divatox!" Justin shivered a little as he stared at the woman who had almost killed him not so very long before. It had led to him being reunited with his mother, but he would not forget the pain anytime soon! And now there she was, strangling the helmetless Black Ninjetti.
The evil queen turned to him, her grip tightening on Carlos' neck. The Black Ranger struggled, "Let go of me!" he practically whimpered.
"You heard him!" T.J. growled, ready, willing, and able to get rid of this evil woman. She'd hurt more than enough of those who he cared for! She had done it in the past long ago, and in the past not so long ago, and he wanted to make sure that she would never be able to hurt anyone he loved ever again. He had made that oath long ago when the throne was usurped by her, and all of those like her. "Never again, you snake!"
With mocking laughter, Divatox retorted. "Don't give me that. I've won against you before, I'll win again…get used to losing!" She winced suddenly as Justin raced up to her and kicked her hard in the leg, then returned the favor and dug her nails farther into Carlos' neck.
"One step closer, Power Pukes, and batboy here is history!" she challenged. Billy stepped up, eyes flashing.
"Let him be, Divatox!" he boomed, holding forward his still drawn sword. She glared at it, and twin red lasers blasted from out of her eyes. They impacted on the sword, making it unbearably hot. He screamed loudly and dropped the sword abruptly.
Laughing, the pirate queen shook her head. "You will pay for humiliating me, Rangers, and this one is the first to go!" when she'd discovered that the Rangers weren't anywhere near being close to the entrance of the DivaTower, she'd went looking for them! She laughed as the Yellow Ranger berated her with the foulest of names, and the Pink warned her not to harm Carlos! I'm going to enjoy this!
She jumped in surprise as someone grabbed her by the neck, her grip coming undone on the Black Ranger. T.J. quickly pulled him to safety, and Justin laughed. "Way to go, Dad!" he declared, and Divatox turned to see Dean, in the armor of the Blue Turbo Ranger, behind her!
"And this is your payback for humiliating me, Divatox!" he declared. She only grinned, despite being held by the neck.
"You'll pay for this, toy!" she promised, as he tightened his own grip. "You will pay!"
"Toy!?" Dean hissed. "I am no one's toy, got it?"
Even though she was now beginning to lose her breath…Divatox had an ace up her sleeve. "Rygog!" she commanded. Her chief lieutenant came up quickly, slamming Dean in the head as hard as he could. The new Blue Ranger, helmetless, collapsed. "Good!" the evil queen snapped. "If I paid you, you'd get a raise!"
"Dad!" Justin snarled and growled as he jumped at Divatox with all his morphed might. As the two of them struggled, the other Turbo Rangers dragged Dean away, ready to start planting the bombs that would destroy the DivaTower. "Don't you ever touch my father again!" the White Ninjetti Ranger roared. Divatox laughed.
"He's mine!" she told him. "Mine forever!"
"Never!" Justin hissed. "Never!"
He had to throw something to her, it was either that or explode! With blazing fury, he threw the closest thing to him, his helmet. Divatox caught it easily, and he sank to his knees, heart thumping loudly in his chest as he tried to catch his breath.
"Justin!" T.J. shouted suddenly. "Look out!"
That was all the warning Justin had before Divatox's booted foot caught him across the face. A deathly scream issued from his lips, and Billy felt his blood pounding at the sound.
"That's enough!" Billy bit the words out. "Leave him alone!"
Divatox laughed in the Blue Ranger's face, as one of her monsters began to emerge from the tower. Billy's eyes were ignited with anger. "First you almost kill him with that kiss of yours! Second, you take his father and make him…your…toy! Third, you get your flunky and hurt his father, and fourth, you slam him in the face! I have seen just about enough!"
Divatox laughed as the monster drew closer, someone struggling in his claws. "Oh, really? I've got something else for you to see!"
Billy stared, not bothering to wonder as the sense of rage that filled him when he saw the Master Warrior of Phaedos in the grip of the monster. "Dulcea!"
"Billy! Rangers!" Dulcea was fighting as hard as she could, but even she couldn't deal with a monster four times her size at the least! Justin stared at his mother, shivering to see her in pain. Warm blood slid down his chin from his busted lip, but he didn't even wipe it away. She had hurt his father, and now was about to hurt his mother…She would pay!
"Now, I believe the usual order is 'surrender or she dies'," Divatox mocked as the monster drew closer to her. The Rangers stared at them.
"Mom!" Justin cried. More blood streamed down his face from a severe cut on the forehead. "Let her go, Divatox!"
Billy nodded in agreement. "Or prepare to die!" he snarled.
Divatox only laughed, holding a knife near Dulcea's throat. "I take it that was a 'No!' huh?"
Glowing thunderclouds appeared without warning from out of moonlit sky. Little bolts of lightning flashed back and forth between the white and blue Ninjetti rangers, and loud claps of thunder echoed through the skies. Cassie shivered, but not from cold, from sheer excitement! Justin and Billy were both staring up into the storm that had quite literally appeared out of nowhere, feeling as if they control the storm, as if they were a part of it! The helmetless rangers could feel their hair standing on end!
Billy smiled, but there was no humor in it. "I believe that you are quite mistaken, Divatox."
Justin seized a lightning bolt: in his bare hands, and smiled menacingly at her . The powerful bolt that he held gave his small face a clouded and sinister tinge; his eyes a pale white glow. "I concur!" he declared. His arm muscles tensed and jerked backwards swiftly. His arm was now cocked at the angle at which he could throw the bolt, holding it high above his head. Billy nodded at him approvingly.
"Throw it, my son…" his voice was rich and thick…deep and haunting. "Teach this monster never to mess with the powers of the universe."
Justin's small grin spread out to full length. His dimples deepened with the cruel sneer he bore, and the light of the bolt of lightning caused the dimples to shadow in darkly. He indeed looked very powerful. "Yes…yes…" he hissed quietly. The arm that held the bolt shot forward, and the hand released it's grip. Fifty thousand volts of pure electricity crashed to the ground at the pirate queen's feet…sending her flying backwards with an ear-shattering cry of terror. The sound was immediately drowned out as the thunder from the striking of the bolt to the ground cracked through the air like a whip, knocking all but the two rangers down.
Billy looked up into the cloud filled sky, raising his hand high into the air. With a powerful laugh, a blast of flame ignited in his palm. Lowering it, he gestured his flaming hand in the direction of the fallen Divatox. "I take it you didn't like the electrocution treatment, eh?" he cackled. "Prepare to be scorched!!!"
Justin stood beside him, watching the blue ranger intently. With a short grunt, he nodded to himself and crouched down to the ground. On the solid turf he laid his palm down, and let it rest there. Staring down for a minute, his hand began to glow white. He jerked his head up to look at Divatox lying on the ground and Billy: ready to blast her with fire, while the ground beneath his hand shone brilliant white. Emitting a loud karate yell from his lips, he shut his eyes tightly. Five blasts of white light coursed from his fingers, trailing along the ground with lightning speed. They all met up again beneath where Divatox was slowly climbing to her feet, then caused the ground below her to shine so brilliantly, that she was engulfed in it's light. Before she could scream, the solid Earth below her began to crack and give way, the ground outside of the glowing circle falling down around her. But wait! It wasn't! The circle was rising upwards, placing her high up in a pedestal like position. When the light faded she could see that clearly, but only for a split second, before a loud shout of "YOU PLAY WITH FIRE, YOU'RE GOING TO GET BURNED!" from Billy, and a gigantic fireball blindsided her and knocked her off, sending her tumbling towards the ground.
Billy laughed, and helped Justin back up to a standing position. The younger of the two looked up as he saw a small figure that was falling from his plateau that was almost as high as the DivaTower. Extending his arm, he pointed his index finger out, letting a slow flow of air escape his lips. A violent wind suddenly ripped through the air, and Divatox shrieked as she stopped falling, and was being thrown from side to side by the force of the gusts!
"Always knew she was an old windbag," Justin muttered, shuddering at his own bad pun. "What should we do now?" he looked up to Billy.
He cracked a smile. "I think she's had enough, I'm sure she'll know not to mess with us anymore. Let's send her back?"
"Sounds like a good idea to me!"
They stood next to each other silently for a few minutes, letting the evil pirate be tossed around by the winds, then rose both of their heads up to the sky. Their eyes glowed the purest white light that could have ever been seen, and slowly, the two of them joined hands. Lifting their held hands up to the sky, they shouted a mantra in some language that some of the rangers had never heard before in their lives, and another bolt of lightning flashed down, striking the two hands. Still connected with the lightning, they lowered their hands slightly, still chanting the slow mantra with loud voices, then released it with a primal scream…perfectly in unison. The bolt streaked through the sky, striking Divatox and causing her to disappear. She was gone…And her monster, frightened by the force of the two warriors, had disappeared without brining Dulcea with him. They had done it…
The both of them released the other's hand and dropped to their knees. The storm clouds disappeared, and the ground returned to it's former state, the way it had been before the fight. Billy and Justin collapsed, completely spent and exhausted.
"Wow," T.J. stated, a small smile on his lips.
"That was so wicked awesome!" Ashley breathed. "I've never seen anything like it!"
Carlos ran over to the two worn out Rangers. "Are they okay?" he asked, as T.J. joined them. Billy's eyes flickered open slowly as they were checked over. There seemed to be nothing wrong with them besides their exhaustion, and the cut that Divatox had given to Justin's face with her boot.
"What happened?" Billy whispered tiredly.. "Where's Dulcea?"
"Billy!" the freed Master Warrior joined them, and Billy smiled warmly at her.
"Dulcea! You're okay! What happened?"
She sighed. "That stupid Goldgoyle grabbed me at the Temple," Dulcea told them. "I did what I could, but even I can have bad luck. And I did."
"All that lightning…the fire…the rocks and the wind…Justin…me…h…how?" Billy wondered aloud. She only smiled gently at him.
"I'm just glad you did."
"But how?" Billy's logical mind kept trying to work at this problem, as Justin began to wake up, groaning in pain.
Dulcea smiled. "I'm sure we'll all find out one day," she said. "We can be patient!"
He chuckled. "But you're here," he smiled a little weakly. "What a wonderful sight for sore eyes. And my eyes are sore."
"Just lay still, Justin," T.J. advised the youngest Ranger. "You'll be all right."
Cassie bounced up and down. "You guys got rid of Divatox!" she rejoiced. Billy looked up, wincing at the pain the movement caused.
"Yeah!" Ashley giggled. "It was incredible!"
They didn't have much time for rejoicing, however, as Carlos glanced back to the tower behind them. "Come on. The others should have the DivaTower about ready to go sky-high!" even as he said that, the Turbo Rangers came running out of the building.
"Good timing!" T.J. added to Carlos, patting him on the shoulder. The Ninjetti Rangers grabbed their helmets up off of the ground where they lay and held them against their hips.
"Let's get out of here!" Skull and Bulk echoed after each other. The helmets at the hips of the other rangers were soon on their heads. T.J. and Carlos picked up Billy and Justin, as the two teams ran for cover just moments before the DivaTower made one of the most spectacular explosions ever seen! Dean leaned back and watched the rubble fall.
"You guys got rid of Divatox, we got rid of her ugly tower," he congratulated them all. For what felt like hours, but was probably only a few minutes, they rested in as much peace as they possibly could.
"Happy ending," Cassie sighed with joy. "Though I doubt very much that it's going to last very long…"
Dulcea stood next to her and nodded. "I agree with you, Cassie…the forces of evil
never rest long in the heat of battle. Divatox wont be beaten so easily..."
"Hey, where's Porto?" Elgar screeched as Divatox stomped up and down the SpaceBase, trying to figure out just what was going on here. There was no way those two Ninjetti had done what they did, but they had! What was going on here?
"He's gone!" she snapped; that had been another strike in the back, that her supposedly loyal scientist had finally and ultimately betrayed her. Was there nothing those rangers couldn't screw up? She was beginning to wonder about that…
Elgar shrugged. "Guess he found a better line of work!"
His aunt glared at him. "No, he's gone! Back to being human!"
"He was human? Ewwww!!" Elgar shuddered at the very thought of that! Divatox only growled and hissed in frustration. "You had a human working for you!?"
"I'd changed him into something better!" Divatox reminded him. "And now he's gone!"
Elgar pointed out, "I don't think he much liked you anyway."
Divatox ignored that, pushing him to the side. "I don't care! I've got bigger fish to fry! Goldgoyle!" she screamed for the monster that had kept Dulcea captive. As it stepped up to her, she berated, "How dare you run from the fight!" The monster stared. "But, you ran!"
"I am the Queen, I can do whatever I want, you got that?" Divatox reminded him. "Now get back down there and don't come back until you've won!" she pushed him out the door as hard as she could. "Get moving, get moving! And make sure to bring…Adrian or whatever his name is back! I want my marshmallow flunky back!"
As the monster left, Divatox threw herself down into her throne and fanned herself. "It's so
hard to find good help these days!" her eyes narrowed. "Don't worry Adrian…you will be mine
again; Mine forever! You may have slipped through my fingers, but never again!"
"Dulcea…?" Billy asked her quietly as she laid his head on her shoulder. The two of them sat against the red brick of the building, where the rangers had dashed into a small alley for shelter from the explosion of the DivaTower.
"Yes, Billy?" She held his helmet in her lap, and stroked his hair gently.
He groaned a little and shut his eyes. "I thought…that you would age rapidly if you left the plateau on Phaedos…"
"This is a special exception I suppose…" she whispered. She looked at her son who was sleeping next to her, his head on the opposite shoulder. "I'm glad it is…"
"So am I…" Billy couldn't help but yawn a little. "Really glad."
Suddenly the ground beneath them began to shake violently, jerking the two exhausted rangers out of their rest. The rest of the rangers uttered frightened cries and were knocked off of their feet.
Skull stumbled back up and made his way slowly to the mouth of the alley. Grabbing onto the corner of the building to keep himself from being knocked down once more down into the alley by the quaking of the ground, he peered out to look at the city that lay before them. There, towering above even the tallest skyscraper in this business district of Angel Grove, was an enormous Goldgoyle. Ashley came up behind him, grabbing onto his shoulders tightly. She gasped when she saw the monster.
"Uhhh…everybody…GET OUT HERE!!" Ashley screamed, clutching onto Skull's shoulders tightly. The ground shaking calmed, and they all climbed to their feet. The Green Turbo Ranger and the Yellow Ninjetti Ranger embraced for a second, then turned to the others as they joined them at the opening of the alleyway out into the street.
"Goldgoyle is back," Carlos growled softly as they looked up at the gargantuan monster that was beginning to smash the business precinct with his bare hands. Bulk almost bounced up and down.
"Does that mean we can drive those cars now?" he asked, Skull echoing the joyous cry. Porto shook his head.
"This is trouble," the former mutant declared. "Goldgoyle is tough!! I'd heard about him; he's destroyed whole planets on his own before! This is no time to be fooling around."
The Yellow and Green Turbo rangers stopped their bouncing and giggling instantly, and nodded their helmet-covered head's solemnly.
Dulcea looked to her son and Billy. "Are you two feeling well enough to be doing this?"
Justin cracked a smile and lifted his helmet up. Clamping it down over his head, he instantly shot up six inches to full height. "I sure am! I take it Divatox hasn't learned her lesson from what we did to her! Which I'm still wondering about, by the way…." He put his hands on his hips.
Billy laughed and snapped his own helmet on. "Me too, Justin…" he agreed. "But according to your mother, we will know soon enough. Of course that's not soon enough for me!" he shrugged. "But we have more important things to deal with!"
"Exactly!" Dulcea beamed at the two of them. "Now…you all have work to do. Good luck Power Rangers, and may the power protect you! I'll stay here and watch the battle."
Lt. Stone turned to look at her. "Do you see what that thing is doing to those buildings? You need to get somewhere safer, or he might just smash you just like he's smashing those…" his voice was full of concern for this woman, though he was quite certain he had never seen her before in his life. "You seem to be pretty important…"
Dulcea rested her hand on the shoulder of the former police officer. "Just relax…I'll be fine. I have faith in you all. With all of you as my protectors, I'm sure that I'm going to come out of this without a single scratch. Now go…all of you!"
Billy laughed. "With two great MegaZords like we've got now…this guy is toast!"
T.J. nodded. "Let's do it!"
"We need TurboZord power, now!" Jerome Stone declared, while Billy glanced to the Ninjetti with him.
"Let's do it, guys! Ninja Zords!" he declared.
Ashley laughed, "This guy's going down and hard!"
"Prepare for the end, Power Rangers!" Goldgoyle announced as he strode towards the Zords appearing in mid-air. Billy and Jerome both laughed.
"Get over it, Goldgoyle!" they declared in unison. The Rangers, Ninjetti and Turbo, weren't going to let this evil win, no matter what it took!
"Ninja Bat Zord, Online!" Carlos declared as he and the others with flying Zords took to the air. "Oh, wow, I never flew before!"
Cassie's voice came over the communicator. "Let's swoop in on him, Carlos!" she called from her EagleZord. "I like flying too!"
"You guys take it from the air!" T.J. ordered, with Justin joining them; his DolphinZord swimming through the air as if it were the ocean. "Ninja PantherZord, ready to rock!"
"Ninja LionZord!" Ashley cried. "Ohhh!!! I love this stereo!"
She's like Kim in some ways, Billy grinned as he joined them, loving the feel of a zord under his control once more. And not just any zord, but the zord of the Ninjetti; his Wolf Zord…now larger and much more powerful than before. The Turbo Rangers were enjoying their new Zords as much as the Ninjetti were.
"Ohhhh!" Skull laughed. "Driving a Zord! I love this!"
"Funny, I never drove before!" Adrian cried. "This is so weird, it's like a second nature to me…like I've done this before! Déjà vu flash to the extreme!"
Bulk revved up the engine. "Makes me glad I passed driver's ed., eh Skull?"
"You betcha, Bulky! Hey Dean, how do you like your car?"
Dean let out a cry of joy. "Oh this is great! No wonder Justin loves this so much…what a thrill!"
"I'll say!" Jerome agreed. "Who would have thought all of us would end up as Power Rangers, huh?"
"Not me!" A chorus of four voices echoed in reply.
"Turbo MegaZord power NOW!" Jerome declared, and instantly the five cars began to form into a gigantic fighting machine. Goldgoyle winced at the sight of them, but then turned to grab onto the spike at the top of one of the nearby skyscrapers.
"Impressive, Turbo Rangers! Looks like you've got yourself an oversized Transformer there…ahh…but what can you DO?"
The Turbo MegaZord Saber appeared in the hand of the zord.
Billy flicked on the communication to all Zords. "All ready on the western front, T.J.!" he declared.
"And the Eastern!" came from Justin and Ashley almost at once. They almost got into an argument over who was supposed to say it, even as the other reports from the other sides came in. Goldgoyle only laughed.
"I'm not afraid of you!"
"Too bad!" Billy mocked. "You will be soon! Right, guys?"
"Power Rangers!" the eleven of them declared. Goldgoyle almost backed up, before regaining what might have been his courage.
Jerome stared at the array of buttons and switched before him. "Let's see what this baby can do!" he declared, watching as the Ninja Zords began to form into the Ninja MegaZord not too far away. "Let's keep him away from the others till they're ready!"
"You got it!" Dean and Adrian shouted. "Turbo MegaZord Spinout!"
As it's finishing move spun towards Goldgoyle, the new Turbos were surprised to see that their maneuver stopped. "Uh-oh," Bulk whispered. "Not good!"
Goldgoyle laughed menacingly, then kicked the Turbo MegaZord's feet out from underneath it. With a gigantic crash, the helpless zord tumbled down to the ground; it's metallic head staring up at the monster with five terrified new rangers inside of it. The monster lifted it's foot, then sent it plummeting towards the cockpit.
Yellow light flashed through the sky like lightning, and Goldgoyle hopped back as the force of the Ninja Power Sword erupted on his foot. He turned, growling with fiery rage, to see the fully assembled Ninja MegaZord standing before him, holding it's sword out toward him.
"You think that's going to stop me, Power Rangers! Think again!!" he rumbled, then charged at the zord. Before he could reach it however, it swerved to one side and left Goldgoyle to run straight into the building that had been behind them. The 6 rangers inside of the zord winced.
"I hope no one was in there…" Justin whispered. "I never noticed before…but there must be people in all of those buildings."
"I'm sure that the city was evacuated." T.J. replied shortly. "Otherwise there would have been more prisoners."
All of the Ninjetti nodded slowly, Justin had been right. All of these years that the power Rangers had been around…every building crushed…was more people dead…But with the monster alarms more people were evacuated. That was good at least…
Both the monster and the Turbo MegaZord quickly regained their standing positions and took on a new fighting stance.
"You Power Rangers grate my nerves!" Goldgoyle roared. "How dare you unleash such trickery on the mighty Goldgoyle! You shall perish!"
"You know what…" Adrian challenged. "I think you've got more bark than you've got bite, Goldgoyle! All talk and no action!"
"You want action?" the creature replied in a tone that sent chills down all of the rangers' spines. "I'll SHOW you action! You'll wish you had kept your mouth shut, traitor!"
"Who are you calling a traitor!" Adrian cried.
"Queen Divatox wishes me to bring you back with me, Porto…"
The Turbo MegaZord saber swiped at the air. "MY NAME IS ADRIAN!!!" the White Ranger screamed at the top of his lungs. His fellow rangers did what they could to calm him, but this was his breaking point. "TURBO MEGAZORD SPINOUT!!" he ordered.
Once more, the final move of the Turbo MegaZord was initiated, and the zord spun at top speed towards Goldgoyle. There was no time for him to move, or to do anything to stop it. Without much of an attempt at escape or defense, Goldgoyle was smashed into the ground as the Turbo MegaZord impacted violently with his side. But however, this was not the end of him.
He groaned from down on the ground, laying down in the middle of the main street through Angel Grove. The eyes imbedded in his ugly face shimmered red in light of the rising sun. The first morning's light shimmered over the tops of the skyscrapers. It had been a long night…everyone was tired.
Twin lasers rocketed from out of those eyes, enveloping the two Zords in blazing red light. Screams of terror echoed through the two cockpits as the two gigantic machines sank down to their knees slowly. The energy was slowly being sucked out of them.
"What's going on?" Dean wondered. "All systems are down! We can't move!"
"Same here!" Justin cried. "What are we going to do? It's like he's draining all of our energy from the Zords!"
Billy turned to Cassie. "What about the emergency power?" he asked her worriedly.
Cassie punched some buttons on the panel in front of her. "Emergency Power is down too!"
"Same here!" Adrian told them all. "It's like we never even had any to begin with!"
Goldgoyle chuckled and stood above them, his form casting shadows over the downed Zords. "And you thought that you could win against me…Puny pathetic excuses for super heroes. Bah! Power Rangers, huh? Some mighty Ninjetti and Turbo warriors we have here!! Prepare to be destroyed! This morning shall be the last you all see!"
Dulcea scrambled out of the alleyway and jumped up and down. She waved her arms frantically. "Rangers! Rangers!! To those who are Ninjetti, anything is possible! Tap into the power within yourselves, and you can win this!"
Billy looked to the other rangers within the cockpit of the Ninja MegaZord. "You heard her guys, she's right!"
Justin cocked his head off to one side. "How are we supposed to do that?"
"Yeah! How?" Cassie and Ashley asked. T.J. just sat there and then Carlos chimed in, using that strange voice in which he had spoken.
"Close your eyes and look deep inside."
They all shrugged their shoulders and closed their eyes without a questioning word. And then they looked, searched deep down into the depths of their souls. The spirit animals…the wolf, the bat, the lion, the eagle, the panther and the dolphin…flashed before their eyes. The turbo rangers watched the opposite zord in awe. The red from Goldgoyle's energy ray was slowly changing to a bright shade of blue.
Adrian gasped. "Emergency power is coming back online! Normal power is coming back too!"
Jerome let out a sigh of relief. "And not a moment too soon! Whatever they've done is sure working!"
Dulcea smiled widely as the two Zords regained their energy…and gained more energy than they had when they had begun this battle. The two Zords slashed out their swords towards the monster, who was shocked to say the least at seeing the two Zords up and running, ready to chop his head off.
"MAXIMUM POWER!!" Billy and Jerome cried and unison. The machines flashed bright yellow momentarily…then merged to form one gigantic zord!
"Ultra Ninja TurboZord: Online!" the Power Rangers declared in one voice.
Goldgoyle just couldn't handle it. He jumped back and yelped out a scream of terror. The new zord held the Ninja Power Sword in one hand, and the Turbo MegaZord Saber in the other…and without warning the huge zord began whirling them about, headed straight towards him! He began to back away as quickly as he could, but the onslaught of the whirling blades caught him in his midsection.
In a blaze of fire, Goldgoyle let out an ear-shattering scream, toppled to the ground and exploded with such force that it rivaled the explosion of the DivaTower. The Power Rangers had done it, Goldgoyle was destroyed for good.
Cheers of joy echoed through the zord as the Rangers began to celebrate their victory. They embraced…jumped around, screamed loudly, made threats to Divatox and anyone who dared to challenge them, and wept. They cried tears of joy for this long awaited victory. They had accomplished their mission.
In the beginning, it started as a normal day in the lives of the rangers. A Frisbee game and picnic in the park between the five turbo rangers: T.J. Edwards, Carlos Miranda, Cassie Chan, Justin Stewart, and Ashley Hammond. Then, as often happened before…Divatox sent her henchidiot Rygog down to ruin the rangers' day of fun. He succeeded in capturing the youngest Ranger: Justin…and took him away to the Space Base. Full of worry, the Turbo Rangers teleported to their Power Chamber in an attempt to release Justin from Divatox's clutches.
On the Space Base…Divatox had her own plans, however. When Justin attempted to morph so that he could fend her off, she held his wrists taut and allowed her scientist, Porto…to remove them. She ordered him to find a way to make the Turbo Powers obsolete, and he immediately set off to do so as Divatox chained her young prisoner to the wall. She allowed Piranatrons to beat on him…and got into the fun herself when he remembered her most sinister trick, her evil kiss of death. Planting a kiss on the young man's lips…she slid her tongue down his throat and caused unmentionable damage to his insides.
The rangers in the Power Chamber saw this happen, and demanded to be sent to the Space Base so that they could deal with Divatox for hurting Justin. Once there…Carlos beat Divatox away from Justin. She kicked him back, and Cassie removed Justin from the chains. He was dying it seemed, and in her arms. He warned her about Porto and his turbo chargers, and of what Divatox had planned for her to do to them. She just told him that everything would be alright, as he struggled to get out of her arms and get his turbo chargers.
T.J., Ashley and Carlos pulled out their Turbo keys, and readied themselves to morph. Porto, standing near a lever on the far side of the room, laughed at pulled the handle at Divatox's command. At the cry of "Shift into Turbo!" the rangers: those trying to morph and those not, felt as if a stream of electricity had just shot through them. The Turbo Powers had been destroyed. They dropped their keys and chargers on the ground, scared out of their wits, went to Justin and teleported out of the space base, leaving Divatox victorious. The next step in her sinister plan for world domination was to destroy their base: The Power Chamber.
When the Power Rangers arrived there, they immediately began to tend to Justin. He was not doing well at all, crying out for his mother…and there was seemingly nothing that they could do to save him. Suddenly alarms started to blare, and Dimitria informed them that there were monsters surrounding their Power Chamber. They were under siege, and with Justin dying, it was going to be difficult for them to evacuate.
Hearing a distress signal, the Power Rangers' friend: The Blue Senturion arrived to help them. Nearly in a daze, he ordered them all to leave Earth for the Planet Phaedos…and that they would be able to find someone that would help them there. Without many questions asked…Alpha, Dimitria, The Blue Senturion carrying the ailing Justin, and the Rangers teleported out of the Power Chamber headed for Phaedos just as the monsters entered the chamber.
When Divatox learned of the Rangers departure from the Power Chamber and learned their destination, she was enraged to say the least! She ordered a school of Piranatron to meet the rangers when they landed on Phaedos.
The Rangers arrived to Phaedos with no problems, but Justin wasn't getting any better. Dimitria and Alpha left them with the Blue Senturion, telling them that it was a mission that they had to accomplish on their own. With them gone, they wandered around aimlessly for a while, wondering what to do. Carlos was getting the strangest flashes of déjà vu, it was like he had been to this place before…but he had never been here in his life! While the Blue Senturion was acting as if he had done this all before, confusing not only him, but the rangers that he seemed to be getting more and more human as they walked. As they continued on, following the Blue Senturion as he kept him on the search for someone, hundreds of Piranatrons suddenly appeared and tried to beat them down.
The battle was beginning to get rough, when suddenly Carlos was grabbed by some Piranatrons. Enraged, he let out an ear-shattering scream, nearly shattering everyone's eardrums. He was released…but the other Piranatrons did not give up their cause. They tried to take Justin away from the Blue Senturion…and just as it looked like they might have gotten them, a cloaked figure bounded down from the rocky cliff above and beat the Piranatrons to the point of leaving. During the battle, she had thrown off her cloak to reveal a bikini-clad woman…a warrior that the Blue Senturion seemed to recognize and called "Dulcea".
After taking the rangers to the ruins of the Ninjetti temple and healing Justin's injuries, she soon revealed herself to be Justin's mother. The others wondered how this was possible, and she informed them of the fact that she had sent Justin to be raised on Earth…and she raised him with the help of Dean Stewart. She had to leave for Phaedos and defend the power…and Justin was to tell his friends that his mother had died. She told them that they would have to use the force of the Ninjetti to get the great power from the monolith across the Neola jungle. The quest for the power was going to be a long and difficult one.
Carlos wandered around, finding the entire temple so very familiar…and yet very different. It was like he had seen it in a dream. The Blue Senturion stood before a roaring fire in the center of it all…staring down into it. He was having memories that he couldn't quite place in his mind…and it was confusing him. Dulcea came over to him after her reunion with her son and asked him if he wanted to be what he used to be. Confused, he nodded…and she told the rangers to get into a semi-circle in front of the fire. Gathering some magical dust in her hands, Dulcea told them to close their eyes and look deep inside. When they did, she blew the dust over them…the fire grew bright…and then it died. Six Ninjetti warriors were revealed.
In the Yellow was Ashley: The Lion. In Red was TJ: The Panther. In Pink was Cassie: The Eagle. Carlos was in Black: and he was the bat. He didn't exactly seem thrilled with that at first, until Dulcea convinced him otherwise. Justin stood next to him, wearing the white Ninjetti suit. He was the Dolphin. And then…much to their surprise there stood another Ninjetti.
Where the Blue Senturion had been standing, there was a young man there. He wore the blue Ninjetti suit, and his spirit animal was the wolf. He called himself Billy Cranston…and he was the first Blue Ranger. And strangest of all…when he saw Dulcea…and he thanked her for making him human again…he stepped forward and took her into his arms, kissing her long and deep.
After getting to know their new team member and leader, they all laid down for an early night's rest. During the night, T.J. had a strange dream…one that he said to himself combined his past, and the present. Revealing himself as the wizard Tayrn Jalas…he makes the dying fire burn bright for the rest of the night.
The next morning they all awoke early, with a little prodding from Ashley for Carlos. They made their breakfast, and then set off into the Jungle. They had begun their quest.
The Neola jungle was just beautiful, and it seemed that nothing would go wrong in there. But they remembered that there must be challenges, and the first one appeared no sooner had they realized that it was getting to quiet. The warm climate suddenly turned frigid, and the air filled with poisons. An enraged blue ranger called out for Divatox to appear before them, and on his command she did. They had a heated argument, and she scratched his face.
This act triggered horrible memories deep inside of Carlos, and he charged at Divatox. He soon disposed of her, sending her back to her Space Base.
They walked on slowly…until their second challenge: a monstrous flood occurred. The team ran for the trees, but before Justin had a chance to climb up into one, the flash flood swept through the area and began to carry the young ranger away in it's current. T.J. and Carlos jumped in after him to save him…and they grabbed hold of him and a tree until the current subsided.
But before they could finish congratulating Carlos on his good hearing, for he had been the one who informed them that the flash flood was coming, the world faded around them and everything became nothing but blackness.
And then everything faded in to reveal a destroyed Angel Grove, where they rangers had failed their mission. Justin found his dad murdered with a letter from Divatox driven into his heart with a knife, and Carlos found a dying Dimitria. They got so caught up in their self pity for a moment, that they totally forgot that Dimitria had gone with them to Phaedos, and wouldn't be on Earth! When they remembered that, they realized that it was all an illusion. Justin's father being dead, a horrible tall DivaTower standing in the middle of the city, and Dimitria had all been nothing more than an image! It was just another challenge!
And the world faded again, returning them back to the Neola jungle to continue their quest. They kept on through the jungle as planned.
On Earth: Bulk, Skull and Lt. Stone were evacuating people into a shelter. Divatox had begun her takeover after destroying the Power Chamber…and they were trying to keep the people safe. They set off to do what they could to help the Power Rangers, who had disappeared.
Dean Stewart in the meantime, was looking for his missing son. Everyone else had evacuated, but he refused to leave until he found his son…who was not in any of the shelters. While looking for him, Divatox spotted him and took him prisoner…so that he could be her little toy.
On Phaedos the ninjetti felt that they were nearing the end of their quest. That is, until they reached a large cliff, and couldn't find a way across it. Justin and Billy thought on the matter for awhile, and then decided that pushing a tree down that was tall enough to go across the crevice and then crossing over that slowly would be their only hope. Of course, when they tried to push a tree down…and each ranger took a turn…they couldn't. Then Carlos walked over to it, and pushed it down as if he were pushing over a twig!
They each crossed at their own turn…but when it was Carlos' turn, for he went last…he slipped and fell. T.J., showing some kind of odd power, uttered a chant and caused Carlos to appear on the ground right next to him. When the others began to ask questions, he quickly said another chant and they forgot all about it. Then they continued.
The group of Ninjetti entered a clearing, and there it stood. Right before them towered the monolith, and on a path leading up to him was two rows of statues with three statues in each row.
One statue of each ranger, looking evil and positively frightening.
And then they came to life. That was even worse for the rangers, to have those gruesome looking statues come to life. A black leather clad, gun carrying Cassie…Vampire Carlos, Dead Justin, Ashley clad in Divatox's outfit, Blue Senturion without his helmet, revealing Billy's battered face, and T.J., wearing a flowing cape…looking extremely evil. As a matter of fact, they all did. And they all attacked their corresponding Ninjetti warriors.
They tried to fight back, but whenever they struck the other one…the pain of the blow seared through not only the statue, but themselves! The battle ranged until Carlos figured out that they had to join together with the statues…because they were a part of each other…both of them put together made the whole person.
Once all of the rangers were joined with their evil statue counterparts, the ground began to shake. Carlos went ahead of them as a gigantic pyramid bearing a coin with their spirit animals on it slid out of the monolith. When the coin began to glow, and tiny versions of their spirit animal began to circle them, Carlos gave a speech about the fact that there can be no good without evil…
The spirit animals flew into their hearts, and then they stood there…in armor. They had accomplished the mission to get the power…and now the power rangers were back! They instantly returned to Earth, knowing very well that Divatox would have begun her takeover. They didn't know how true that was until they saw the DivaTower from their challenge standing in the middle of Main Street! They started off towards it…headed off to defeat Divatox.
After having her fun with Justin's father, Divatox sat in her bedroom watching him. He was chained up to her bed, and demanding to be let free. She began to threaten him when Porto burst into her room, telling her that the rangers were nearing the DivaTower and that she could watch it on the TV in the lower halls. Promising her return, she left the room.
Porto shut the door behind him and locked it, then went over to Dean and released his bonds. He told Dean that they were going to be escaping, and Dean got dressed. Porto made a makeshift rope out of sheets and pushed it out of the window. Dean asked him what was going on, and he got a reply about how Porto wanted to get away from Divatox and had something to show the rangers. Then he was shooed out of the window down the rope…and was met down at the bottom by Divatox's former henchmutant.
While searching for the rangers, they came upon Bulk, Skull and Lt. Stone…who were planting bombs at the base of the tower. The three others were very startled to see Porto there, indeed…but when Dean assured them that he was on their side, they turned off the bombs for the moment and went to help them find the rangers, which just happened to come upon them!
If Bulk, Skull and Lt. Stone had been startled to see Porto with Dean, The White Ninjetti Ranger, along with all of the other rangers were just as shocked! They pulled out their weapons and were about ready to fight until Justin's father stepped in the way and told them that he had helped him to escape from Divatox's clutches. Porto also told them that he had something important to give them, then stood forward and took the power rangers old turbo chargers out of the bag!
The five former Turbo Rangers did nothing but stare as Porto explained that he hadn't really destroyed their powers, but temporarily made them where they couldn't work. He offered to give them back, but the rangers no longer had any use for them. Under careful consideration, however, they decided to bestow the power onto Jerome, Bulk, Skull, Dean and even Porto!
Jerome became the Red Turbo Ranger.
Dean became the Blue Turbo Ranger like his son before him.
Skull became the Green Turbo Ranger.
Bulk became the Yellow Turbo Ranger
And Porto, with a slight variation of the former color, became the White Turbo Ranger.
Porto had become human, for he was originally human before Divatox had ever captured him…and his name was Adrian.
The two teams had little time to rest however, when Divatox appeared. And she was ANGRY with the fact that not only her toy escaped, but her scientist had as well! She attacked the rangers, who began to fight back. When worse came to worse for her however, she pulled out her monster Goldgoyle, who had Dulcea! The Turbo rangers in the meantime snuck off to finish planting the bombs.
Billy and Justin could not stand this, and to the surprise of almost everyone there, they both exploded into a fiery rage. They hurled lightning, rocks, wind and fire at the pirate queen, and sent her and her monster back to the Space Base! Billy and Justin collapsed afterwards, exhausted.
The Turbo Rangers dashed out from the tower and pulled the Ninjetti rangers and Dulcea away from it and into an alleyway before it exploded in a flaming blaze of glory. The rangers, especially the two-exhausted Ninjetti, finally had a few minutes to rest.
But it did not last long however, before Divatox sent Goldgoyle back to Earth to finish what he had started. This time, he was huge sized and bashing buildings. The Power Rangers: all eleven of them, called on the Ninja Zords and the Turbo Zords, and formed the MegaZords to battle the monster.
The battle was fierce…but the rangers were on the verge of winning. Then, Goldgoyle did something at dawn which none of them expected. Two beams shot out of his eyes and circled the Zords. The energy from the Zords was totally drained, and hope seemed lost. Until Dulcea, from out of her hiding place in the alley told the Ninjetti that to Ninjetti, anything is possible.
Carlos told them to close their eyes and look deep inside, and soon…the power of the Ninjetti spirit animals reversed the energy drain that Goldgoyle had done to the Zords and made them powerful again. Even more powerful than before, as a matter of fact! They were back up and running…and fed up with the monster. They called for Maximum power, and the two Zords combined to form the Ultra Ninja TurboZord…which quickly turned Goldgoyle into space dust.
They…the Power Rangers Turbo, and the Ninjetti Power Rangers…The Power Rangers…had won the battle against Divatox.
But it wasn't over yet…
"The Power Chamber!" Cassie cried out suddenly, remembering what had happened to their base as they were leaving for Phaedos. "The Power Chamber was destroyed! What are we going to do!!"
"Power Chamber?" Four of the Five Turbo Rangers asked. Adrian had no need to wonder, he knew about it already.
Billy sighed. "It was our base…and before we left to get the great power it was destroyed."
Dulcea appeared next to him and wrapped her arms around the blue armor. "But you forget, my love…that the great power can do ANYTHING!"
He was silent for a moment, and then slapped his head. "That's RIGHT!" he declared. "How could I forget! We need to get back to the Power Chamber, there's still some hope!"
Ashley looked at him. "But it was demolished…how can there be hope?"
It was the most horrible sight any of them had ever seen as they teleported in to where the Power Chamber was. Or more accurately, where it used to be. It was nothing but a flaming pile of rubble…not even a shell of what it used to be. There was nothing left that was recognizable by any of the former Turbo Rangers. It was completely demolished. Billy shivered; this brought up far too many memories for him, memories he'd hoped he'd gotten rid of forever. This time, we won't ever let it happen again.
"To those who are Ninjetti, anything is possible," everyone looked to see Carlos and Dulcea speak those words at the precise same time! Justin almost laughed sarcastically, wiping the tears away that were forming at the corners of his eyes. Upon reaching the site, they had all removed their helmets.
"Even fixing this?"
Billy put his hands on his hips and laughed. "You'd be surprised!" he declared. T.J. nodded slowly. They had recharged the Zords and defeated Goldgoyle when everything seemed futile. There was absolutely no doubt in his mind that they could fix the Power Chamber.
"Let's do it!" the Ninjetti Rangers stood in a circle directly in the center of where the center of the Power Chamber used to be, their hands just barely touching. Dulcea smiled and nodded.
"Close your eyes and look deep inside," she told them again. As the Rangers did so, a soft glow came from within each of them, spreading out over the entire area in which the Power Chamber used to stand. The spirit animals of each floated out of the golden coin on their chest, joining in the center in a blaze of white light brighter than the other. Rumbling was heard all around them; the sounds of reconstruction echoing in the area. The Turbo Rangers ran into the center as fast as they could, being blinded by the light. Things clunked and clicked into place, and then the light began to die down. In moments, their base had been restored.
"Told you so!" Billy grinned. They all looked up, finding themselves in the middle area of the restored Power Chamber. Dimitria suddenly appeared within her plasma tube, and Alpha waddled in as a door slid open on the other side.
"Rangers!" Dimitria smiled, even more warmly than she ever had before. "You've completed your quest! I knew you would!"
The Rangers nodded, and T.J. grinned. "And we've beaten Divatox back for now!"
"Excellent job, Rangers!" Dimitria congratulated them. "All of the Rangers! Welcome, new Turbo Rangers! And it is good to see you once more on the side of good, Porto!"
"Thanks," Adrian blushed slightly, but then stared up at her. "Just…don't call me Porto, Okay? My name is Adrian."
Everyone broke down into a fit of laughter. Things were finally coming to a close in this battle. They had truly won…
Ashley grinned widely. "Let's party!" the Yellow Ninjetti declared. They all glanced briefly up to Dimitria, who emerged once again from her tube and joined them.
"This is your time to rest, Rangers. And. ..to party!" she declared. Raising her hands, she
sent waves of magic through the Power Chamber, filling it with music and lights. It was indeed a
happy ending. One they had all long anticipating.
"Hi, there," Dulcea smiled to Billy as she pulled him away from the party a little while later. "Looks like we've won this battle, eh?"
He nodded happily. "We did win!"
"You know," Dulcea almost purred. "Winners get rewards."
"I've got my reward," Billy told her. "Everyone's happy! Angel Grove is safe once again…I don't need any more of a reward than that."
The Guardian of Phaedos smiled. "You've got another one waiting for you, though…" she told him. Billy frowned in confusion, as Dulcea reached out to give him a sweet kiss, as full of love as anything he'd ever known before in his entire life.
He stared. "Was that my reward?" he almost stuttered. Dulcea shook her head and poked him gently in the ribs.
"No, Billy. That was just the beginning!"
"J…just the beginning?" Billy wasn't quite sure what to think as Dulcea pulled him to a soft position on the floor and nodded, kissing tenderly and passionately. But before Billy could allow it to go any farther than that, he couldn't quite explain it, but a thought occurred to him. "Dulcea…You are Justin's mother…and we know that Dean isn't Justin's father…"
She nodded and kissed his neck. "That's right…" she said.
"Well…then who is his father?" he asked her.
She smiled at him, her eyes warm and full of love. "You are."