Disclaimer: All characters recognizable from the show belong
to Saban. Kevin and Shariss are my own creation.
Author's Notes: I've decided to name this series Aftermath. It takes place after Countdown to Destruction, with some significant modifications to what happened in the TV episode. The first three stories are the "Requiem for Ecliptor" trilogy, and this is the fourth story.
The conference room darkened perceptibly as Serpenterra crossed in front of one of M-51's twin suns, briefly eclipsing it. When Zedd and Rita had changed back to good, Goldar and Rito had seized control of the huge zord and used it to flee. Since it was, as always, low on energy, they left it in orbit around the planet rather than landing it. It was just as well, since the darkness now matched the mood of those inside.
Dark Specter slammed a fist down on the table, using his rocky hide as a gavel. "This meeting of the United Alliance of Evil is now session," he growled, every word tasting like dust in his mouth. The other members of the Alliance-all twelve of them-doubtless felt the same way. What Dark Specter wanted to know was how they felt about the future, not the past.
He looked around the room. On his left were Goldar and Rito. It was impossible to know what Rito was thinking (though if he was even capable of thinking was a matter of great debate inside the Alliance) since, being a skeleton, he had the ultimate poker face. Goldar, on the other hand, looked bored. He had never been much for meetings. Next to them sat Finster, blinking owlishly around the room. He too looked less than thrilled to be here, doubtlessly wishing to be back in his lab working with Porto, with whom he had formed a bond and who sat next to him. Further down sat Kevin, the renegade human, who was watching the meeting closely, analyzing and thinking, as was his habit. Master Vile and his bodyguard Scorpina had taken seats at the opposite end of the table from Dark Specter. Vile's main face was watching Dark Specter intently, while his secondary faces kept eyes on each side of the table. For her part, Scorpina, though she had only one face, also managed to watch everybody at once.
Starting up the other side of the table, Rygog and Elgar sat together, though that was evidently Elgar's choice rather than Rygog's. The idiot chattered away at Rygog, who did his best not to slug him. Further up, Klank stood rather that sat at the table, since he was not designed to be able to sit. Orbus sat on table in front of him. They had the best poker faces next to Rito, and again Dark Specter was unable to determine their thoughts. Finally, Shariss sat on his right, watching with a cold reptilian gaze. She was a Bechet, a species who bore a distinct resemblance to Earth's velociraptors. Her upper lip was curled slightly, revealing glistening fangs...a dangerous sign.
All of those who habitually wore weapons had brought them with them. Nobody knew how this meeting would turn out, and they wanted to be prepared. As a compromise, however, all weapons were constantly kept in plain sight on the table.
After Dark Specter had finished his survey and everyone had quieted down, he began to speak again. "I realize that the circumstances of this meeting are extreme, but I must insist on proper order and decorum. Therefore, when you wish to speak, you will address me first, and..."
"This is insane." Master Vile's calm voice cut him off. "The Alliance doesn't exist anymore, you pompous fool. All it's other members are reverted or dust, along with the foot soldiers. You have nothing left to lead, which by the way is exactly what you are qualified to lead-nothing!"
Dark Specter refused to lose his cool. Apparently, now that the shock had worn off, his leadership was being questioned. "And who are you suggesting should replace me? You? You, who fought the Earth Rangers for a week and then ran away with his tail between his legs?"
"Yes, me! I'm the one who was conquering a galaxy while you were leading the Alliance down the path to destruction with your obsession with Zordon! You've had your chance, Dark Specter, and you blew it."
"Zordon was our greatest enemy! How was I to know his death would have such disastrous consequences!? Besides, I wanted to drain his power first! And furthermore..."
Now everyone was getting into it.
"I should be leader! I have control of the mighty Serpenterra!"
"The day that under-powered hunk of metal is worth anything, you gold-plated monkey, is the day I shove my sword up my..."
"I challenge you to a duel, Dark Specter!"
"With what, you idiot? We have no powers anymore! And if you think you can take me, you overgrown dinosaur, I'll show you what rock does to fangs!"
"I think I should be leader! After all, I have the most experi...awwk!" Elgar was abruptly cut off when Rygog lost it and started trying to strangle his erstwhile former shipmate.
"I believe that Orrrrbus and I should lead. After all, everyone knows machines are superior to all other life forms."
"Tell that to Mondo, you walking toaster oven. Oh wait, you can't, he's been reduced to spare parts!"
Everyone abruptly stopped arguing to look at the new, smoking hole in the stone ceiling, and then at Kevin, who still held one of his laser pistols in his right hand.
"Now that I've got your attention," he continued smoothly, "I'd like to say a few words...if it's all right with our leader?" He looked at Dark Specter.
Dark Specter nodded.
"Thank you. First off, I'd like to point out that if we keep this up, we're going to finish what Zordon started. Then all hope for evil will be truly lost. Therefore, I propose that we rule by committee. If a majority of us can, by some miracle, actually agree on something, then it's probably a good idea. Let's test this theory right now. All those in favor, raise your hand."
In the end, the vote was 10-3, with Dark Specter, Master Vile, and Scorpina (who loyally voted with her employer) against it. Kevin knew the others voted for it mainly because they didn't want anyone else to become leader, but he was willing to accept that.
"Thank you. Now this next question is mainly for my curiosity. Why did we survive when no one else did?"
For a moment there was silence. Then Orbus spoke up. "He's got a point. King Mondo and Queen Machina were both much more powerful machines than us, and yet we survived when they didn't."
"That's not the only example," Finster said. Gesturing around the table, he continued, "All these various henchman survived, and yet our masters either reverted or perished. Clearly, power had nothing to do with it."
This time it was Klank who spoke up. "I may have the answer. I've just run a check on my internal records, and they say that everyone in this room has been evil since they were old enough to choose. Beings like Zedd and Rita didn't become evil until later in their lives. Perhaps that's it."
"But what about Ecliptor?", Master Vile asked. Dark Specter stiffened at the mention of his traitorous lieutenant, but he said nothing. "Or for that matter, what about the Tengas, Cogs, and Putties. They were created to be evil, more evil in their way than any sentient being. Why did they dissolve?"
"That's it!" Shariss hissed. "They were created to be evil. They didn't have a choice! Out of all the members of the alliance, only we chose to be evil from the beginning. Only we truly deserve to be called evil. And only we survived."
Kevin was smiling broadly now. "By God, I think she's got it. See what we can accomplish working together instead of apart?"
There was another loaded moment of silence. Then Dark Specter cleared his throat. "Your point is well taken, Kevin. But now I'm curious about something. Where do we go from here?"
This time the silence wasn't loaded, just confused. Dark Specter smiled tiredly. "To be fair, it is a big question. Let's all sleep on it. We'll meet again at the same time tomorrow. This meeting is adjourned."
Kevin relaxed on his bunk. The meeting had gone well, from his perspective. He had managed to keep the other villains from killing each other, and had set up the type of governance he desired. Now if he could just hold everyone together...
He had come a long ways from the days when he was just a Mafia foot soldier in the 1960s. But even then, he was different. He read everything he could get his hands on, and had graduated summa cum laude from the local university. He valued knowledge, thinking, and alliance-making in an organization based on power. He had defeated several rivals by making them destroy themselves, and had been marked as a rising star by the dons. His ultimate dream than had extended no further than running his own family. But fate had intervened, and broadened his horizons...
It was sheer chance that he was driving along the deserted desert road that the UFO crashed by. When he realized what is was, he immediately got out of his car and hiked to it. Sprawled half-way out of the door in the side had been a four-armed, pink-hued humanoid alien. Or rather, it had been four-armed. One limb had been ripped off, and yellow blood was pouring out. Making a split-second decision, Kevin had tied a make-shift torquinet around the stump, stopping the blood loss. It was not a decision made out of kindness; he had realized just what this discovery could mean, and a live alien would be much more grateful than a dead one.
Gig, the alien, had indeed been grateful. He was a smuggler who had, this run, been carrying an extremely rare drug, fabac. Fabac had a wide variety of effects on a wide variety of beings, none of them legal and all of them highly profitable. Unfortunately for Gig, he had an argument with a Triforian customs vessel and had to jump to lightspeed with a shot-up hyperdrive. It cut out just in time for him to crash-land on Earth.
Once he had regained consciousness, and had a session with the medical unit, Gig used a universal translator to establish communication with Kevin. In gratitude for saving his life, Gig offered Kevin any reward he wanted. Kevin was curious about what effect Fabac would have on humans, and demanded that the medical unit figure it out. Gig complied, and the results had astonished them both. It seemed that Fabac stopped the aging process in humans completely. The human could still be injured or killed, but would never age.
Taking the chance that Gig might be lying to him, Kevin injected himself with the drug. Impressed with this daring risk-taking, Gig offered to have Kevin become his partner, and he accepted. The two repaired his ship and took off. They tripped the light fantastic for several years all over the galaxy, though they never returned to Earth. Kevin had urged that they do so, since the drug was a success and there would be a huge market for an anti-aging drug. But Earth was well-known as the residence of Zordon, and Gig had no intention of bringing that being's wrath upon himself.
Eventually, Kevin had left Gig and joined up with UAE. There he had found his niche under the now-dead Lord Kregg. He started out as a hired gun and worked his way up, operating much as he had in the Mafia. But the events of the countdown had destroyed Kregg's entire operation. Kevin had fled, and eventually found his way to M-51.
With a start, Kevin pulled himself from his reverie and looked at the chrono. If he hurried, he could just make it to his scheduled meeting with Finster and Porto. He had promised to teach them poker...
Goldar, the mighty warrior, bane of the Power Rangers of Earth, was frozen with terror. Scorpina was coming up the hall towards him. Desperately, he looked for possible distractions and saw none. The only other beings nearby were Putty guards, and it was a strain to have a coherent conversation with them, much less pretend to have a diverting one. With a sigh, Goldar resigned himself to his fate.
At least Scorpina wasn't scowling. That was something to be grateful for. Their break-up had been less than friendly. She had absolutely refused to serve under Lord Zedd, and had begged him to come away with her. But duty had always come first with Goldar, and he had sworn an oath to Zedd. So he had refused, though it had torn at his heart.
She came to a stop in front of him. "Hi," she said softly. She looked so alone and vulnerable that Goldar's first instinct was to embrace her. After he ruthlessly crushed that, he was left with surprise. Scorpina never looked vulnerable. She was strong and independent, two of the traits that had made him fall for her
"Hello," he responded. Then, just to be polite, "How are you dommmphh!" Scorpina cut him off by leaping at him and kissing him fiercely. It was fortunate that he had a large lung capacity.
Finally, Scorpina broke off the kiss, though it took several moments more before Goldar's brain kicked back in. "What was that for?"
"That was weeks of thinking and worrying about you." Scorpina's eyes started to tear up. "Everyone in Vile's organization except he and I were destroyed. Some of them were my friends, but what was worse was not knowing for certain about you. I thought you might have been... been...."
This time Goldar did hold her. Scorpina sniffed and cleared her throat. "Sorry. The point is, it got me thinking. About death, and not knowing the future, and love. And I decided that I want you back in my life, right now. Because I don't know what will happen tomorrow, and I don't want to make the mistake of waiting." Still snuggled against him, she looked up. "So, what do you think?"
Goldar smiled. "I think that my quarters aren't very far from here."
A mischievous gleam entered Scorpina's eyes. "Mine are closer..."
Rito paced back and forth restlessly in his quarters, thoughts for once swirling around in his head. Granted, they weren't being processed all that well, but still, having a mental quandary was itself a major achievement for him.
The simple fact was, Rito wasn't happy. As a matter of fact, as he thought about it, he hadn't ever been truly happyexcept once. That was when he and Goldar had lost their memories and had been taken in by Bulk and Skull. They could be a little bossy, but overall they had actually treated their wards kindly. And Goldar had been so nice without his memory. Rito had found that he liked people being nice to him, and what's more, liked being nice himself.
Just why was he evil, anyway? He couldn't remember ever making a conscious decision, though he must have since he had been spared from Zordon's energy. It had just always been expected of him. He was son to one of the most prominent villains, and brother to another. What else could he be? When Zedd had restored his and Goldar's memories, he had just fallen back into old habits.
But now, alone in his room, the villain regarded by both villains and rangers as the dumbest of them all began to make plans.