Disclaimer: I do not, have never and have no hope to own the
Power Rangers. They are owned by Saban (Please don't sue me Mr Saban).
I also do not own Doctor Who, which belong to the BBC or any associated
characters. Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling and although not
used directly in this series is an excellent read and deserves a mention.
I do not own VR Troopers, Big Bad Beetleborgs, Masked Rider, Galaxy Rangers, Transformers or GI Joe. Some of the concepts and character in this story are based on these shows as do any characters that make an appearance. They are all used without permission of the copyright owners.
I also need to credit Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Blake's Seven and Star Fleet/ X-Bomber for some of the ideas in this book and for general inspiration. References are made later in the series to Sailormoon, Digimon, Pokemon, Robotech, Zoids, Gundam Wing, Captain Planet, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future and Dragonball-Z and any character or idea taken from those series is done without permission. If there is anything I've forgotten such as MASK, Terrahawks, Thunderbirds or Ghostbusters, they're not mine either.
I would like to thank Jeremy Ray Logsdon, Ellen Brand and Randel for writing their respective series. They were an inspiration to me two years ago when I started writing this series and remain so regardless of the numerous rewrites I have produced. The basis of the Morphin Grid in this series is modified from Randel's version of Ellen's definition of the Morphin Grid. The idea of the Infinity Crystals in later chapters was inspired by Jeremy Ray's Earth Crystals and Marvel Comic's Infinity Quest. Any characters used have been taken with the permission of the author.
The mention of a series, book or television program in this disclaimer in no way guarantees characters, places or situations from those sources will appear in this series. Most are excellent programs that deserve a mention or that have had a positive influence on the direction of this series. No part of this series is used for profit.
Author's Note: This is a rewrite of the first part of Conquest of Evil first released at the Command Center Archives in 1998/99. This has been rewritten to allow for later seasons of Power Rangers including Wild Force.
Time Line: The series does not adhere to the Saban timeline. The year is 1996 and the series begins after Billy left for Aquitar, but before Jason started to lose the powers of the Gold Ranger.
The warm sun beat down on the mountain range outside of Angel Grove, warming the four figures who stood nervously next to a piece of bizarre machinery. From a distant three of them were dress in the same type of uniform, the fourth choosing a black tee shirt and blue jeans. Closer observation would note that three of them looked the same and would have assumed they were triplets. Those in the know were well aware that the bond between these three men was closer than even the bond between brothers. They were Trey of Triforia, former Gold Ranger currently on Earth.
"Ready?" Jason Lee-Scott, current Gold Ranger and original Red Morphin Ranger of Earth asked.
A bead of sweat ran down his face, a sign of not only the strenuous workout the four men had undertaken, but also his nervousness about what was to come. After a brief discussion they had all agreed that a brief exercise session would allow them to focus on the job in hand and reduce the risk of shock if successful.
He removed his communicator and T-shirt so he was wearing only a small medallion around his neck. That was a gift from Alpha, intended to act as a good luck charm. On the front of the medal was a carving of a dinosaur emerging from a pyramid, a reference to the powers that Jason had held.
"Ready," Trey of Courage added. "We appreciate this Jason. Not many would be willing to help us like this."
Trey of Courage, apparently the spokesman for the Treys on this occasion nodded his consent before removing black and gold top. He wore a similar medallion with a different inscription. Jason could not quite make out the animal represented; it was hidden from his view or very badly carved.
"That's what friends are for," Jason answered. "The Universe needs the Gold Ranger."
"We are lucky to have a friend like you then," Trey of Heart smiled. "I am ready... Wisdom?"
"If we bounce the golden energy around Aquitar to Triforia and back to Earth, we might be able to remerge," Trey of Wisdom said softly. "I am ready."
"Gold Power Staff!" Jason called.
When the current Gold Ranger nodded his consent, the three Treys wrapped their hands around the staff and together the four of them called: "Gold Ranger Power!"
A beam of energy shot from the tip of the Power Staff into the night's sky. A column of gold formed into a spectacular spiral of sparks as it reached the edge of the atmosphere. Then it was gone, pulled by an unseen force as it bounced first off Aquitar and then onto the surface of Triforia. As traveled the wavelength of the energy changed just as Zordon had predicted to a frequency that would allow it to remerge Trey so he could resume the role of Gold Ranger.
This was an all of nothing, one time only attempt to restore the Gold Ranger. Following Garrison's defeat the Rangers had been made aware of Jason's rejection of the Gold Ranger powers and what that meant for both him and the team. With the Zeo Zords damaged and the danger from the Machine Empire only temporarily diminished they needed to protect the Gold Ranger powers from harm. Add to that the fact that should they fail neither Jason nor Trey would be able to hold the power again and failure was not an option.
Recent scans of the Machine Empire's base ships had revealed a small amount of movement within. That there was any movement showed just how durable the Royal House of Gadgetry had become. With reported sightings of Gasket and Archerina in the area, not to mention messages intercepted from Rita and Zedd to their superiors, speed was a requirement.
Inside the building that Zordon had constructed not far from the old Command Center, the Zeo Rangers watched anxiously. The building had been intended to act as the Zord Bay, but they had never found the need for it. So now, apart from a mysterious laboratory that Billy had place out of bounds, the only use it represented was that of an observation lounge.
"It's reached Triforia," Adam said.
All they could do was wait as the energy beam from the Power Staff bounced off the planet and continued to increase in energy. Adam's eyes darted back and forth from the screen to the datapad in his hand. He hoped the energy would be high enough when it reached Earth or all was lost.
"Incoming!" Rocky cried as he saw the beam approaching like a shooting star.
"There's something up there," Tanya stated.
"What is it?" Tommy asked.
"Rangers, report to the Power Chamber immediately," Zordon boomed, but his voice was lost in the chaos that followed.
There was a commotion outside. Without hesitation they rushed to the friends' aid.
High above a lone figure savored his completion. The energy beam intended to help Trey and boosted by the power of the Golden Power Staff had been absorbed. Already the cells of his body were using the energy to grow; he allowed just enough power to ensure Jason and the three Treys survived albeit in an altered state. As the mixture of cells regenerated by the energy, his will transformed them into a new body for the greatest ally a villain could have: an expendable one.
On the ground the Rangers had gathered around their four friends. Jason was lying in the center of the circle, his body transformed into the Gold Ranger once more. Next to him the three Treys were attempting to understand what had happened.
"The energy bonded with Jason again," Trey of Wisdom said. "He will be able to keep the powers longer than planned."
Trey of Heart was holding his head and looked up as the consequences of their failure dawned on him. "We can't repeat this process. Our bodies cannot be merged."
"Heart, you're bleeding," Trey of Courage said.
"It's nothing," Trey of Heart replied.
"But I'm not," Courage argued pointedly.
Heart looked at Courage and realized what he meant. When separated into three parts a Triforian was still considered a single entity. Knowledge and pain, strength and death were shared; injury to one was inflicted on all. Trey of Courage should have had the same injury as Heart or at least have felt it. But he couldn't because Heart and Wisdom were no longer voices in his head. In fact they were barely whispers. He could feel their concern but little else.
"The energy didn't heal us," Heart said.
"Instead of drawing us together," Courage added.
"We've been thrown apart," Wisdom concluded.
"We're alive!" they said together as the pieces slotted into place. They were separate living beings, not parts of one being. Trey of Triforia had perished during the attempt, but in his place three new lives had just begun.
The other Rangers gathered round in shock, but their surprise increased when they looked at Jason. He was still in the uniform of the Gold Ranger and glowed brightly as the sun reflected off his armor.
"Guys I think I'm back."
Jason Lee-Scott walked through the forest to the south of Angel Grove. He had been working out during the day and was now on his way home. The last time he had been in the forest it had been with Tommy, en-route to the Power Chamber to become the Gold Ranger. Now his powers were failing him. He had been warned that holding the Gold Ranger Power was dangerous for any human, but had accepted the risk to help his friends.
Zordon had warned him that Alpha had detected small fluctuations in his life signs when morphed and that it might be necessary to give up the powers. He had not mentioned the pain he felt when morphing. Now the situation was even more urgent. An attempt to remerge Trey of Heart, Trey and Courage and Trey of Wisdom had failed due to some unknown force stealing the energy wave they had used. The residual energy that struck the Golden Power Staff had done little good and had even made matters worse.
Now Trey of Triforia was gone forever, his three component souls damned to be separate. The process had been useable just the once and instead of helping the Trey's to become one it had destroyed their unity, perhaps forever. Although they retained a mild ability to sense each other, they no longer thought with one mind; the fought for their own reasons even though those reason were similar. Most importantly they were starting to develop unique personalities to the extent of picking new names.
Trey of Courage had decided to keep the name Trey. He had always been the dominant personality in their combined form and continued to exert some influence. He had grown headstrong recently and remained eager for action.
Trey of Heart had gone in much the opposite direction. After changing his name to Travis he had sought out his spiritual side, hoping that by calming his inner conflicts he would understand his dilemma and find a way to reunite with Courage and Wisdom.
Not to be left out, Trey of Wisdom was also seeking a way to reunite. He recognized just how dangerous it was for Jason to keep the Gold Ranger powers much longer. He also knew that if Trey of Courage were to attempt to morph the powers would consume him easily. Wisdom had changed his name to Trent and had locked himself in a private part of the Power Chamber in the hope that he would find a solution.
For a while Jason had been able to continue as Gold Ranger, the small recharge from the wave intended to cure Trey had somehow halted his deterioration. But things could not stay like that for long. The Gold Ranger could feel himself growing weaker with each battle and the need to transfer them was urgent. If Trey could not take the powers soon the option was to either recruit another Triforian or another human to act as temporary host. Jason didn't like the sound of either option.
Fortunately the Rangers had some good news. Mondo and his faction of the Machine Empire were still crippled after the Electro Magnetic Pulse the Rangers had unleashed weeks before. Obviously the Machine King was not as resilient as they had thought. During that time Rita and Zedd had tried to take over, but had been pushed to the back of the line by Gasket and Archerina. Neither faction had been able to take advantage of the Rangers' weakness, which had now been fixed.
With the help of Josie and Jennifer Belle, both computer and electronic geniuses, Alpha had been able to restore the Super Zeo MegaZord and the Zeo MegaZord to full capability. During their time helping the Rangers, Jennifer and Rocky had become close much to Josie's amusement. For her part Josie had struck up a strong friendship with Alpha Five.
"Gold Ranger." The cold mechanical voice belonged to the leader of a group of Cogs. "Surrender and you will remain unharmed. Resist and you will be destroyed."
Jason studied the machines carefully. The basic design was Mondo's, but they looked sleeker than Jason remembered. That meant they were Gasket's. The younger machine preferred lightweight materials. This was a good thing since it took less effort to destroy Gasket's Cogs. Of course he had no intention of fighting them on his own and was already trying to teleport away. When nothing happened he realized he was being jammed.
As the machines moved towards him Jason was looking for a way out. During his time as Red Ranger he probably would have tried to stand and fight, but those days were behind him. His headstrong nature had been tempered and he was willing to think before acting. Of course during his time away from the action his skills had also deteriorated not because he hadn't trained, but because without constant monster attacks his regular training regime was less effective. There was just no comparison for physical boost morphing provided.
That was something Jason had noticed upon his return and had discovered the older Rangers felt the same. The Zeo power failed to give the extreme high they had come to expect. The Gold Ranger powers could have even been worse since they were not truly part of the Zeo Crystal. The Gold Ranger used a variation of the Zeo power, using the Golden Power Staff to convert magic into an appropriate form. Despite that it had been altered over time to work with the Zeo powers. By the very trust, which appointed the Gold Ranger as guardian of the Super Zeo Gems, so the Triforians had rebuilt their hero's Zord to merge flawlessly with those of the Zeo Rangers.
By the time the clumsy Cogs had reached him Jason had formulated an escape plan. He waited to make sure they weren't going to surround him and then turned to run. The Cogs spread out in an attempt to intercept, but Jason hadn't moved. At just the right time he sprang into action, striking at the one place they had left vulnerable, the path of their original approach. He had already found a suitable branch to use as a weapon and as he moved he picked it up.
The Cog saw him coming and prepared to block the blow to its head. Fortunately Jason had other plans. When he was close to the Cog he skidded, using the loose dirt under his feet as lubricant. As he slid past the machine he jammed the end of the branch into the back of its knee. He ignored the electronic squeal as he scrambled back to his feet and ran.
The other Cogs were in hot pursuit, but Jason was determined to get away. While he ran his hand was frantically pressing the button on his communicator in the hope that he might find a weakness in the jamming field. He had a head start and hoped to reach open ground where Zordon might notice his predicament.
"Get him you blundering dolts," Gasket called. He had been watching events unfold and had moved to the planet's surface to take command. "I fail to see how they'd get along without us my dear," he told his wife.
"Shall I intervene my love?" Archerina asked.
Gasket nodded his consent and Archerina leapt in action. She drew her bow and unleashed a volley of arrows, one of which struck the unmorphed Ranger's leg, tore through the material and snagged him in place.
"You had better surrender human," Gasket said. "You can't fight all of us like that. You don't even have a weapon."
Jason eyed the advancing machines, calculated the odds and then relented.
"It's Morphin Time!" Jason cried as the Golden Power Staff appeared in his hand. "Gold Ranger Power!"
The now familiar black and gold spandex formed around him. Jason winced as a flash of pain struck him in his side. He shook the pain off and fell into a defensive stance. He waited for the Cogs to move in close, gripping the Power Staff all the time. As soon as they were all in range Jason started to swing the Power Staff in a circle, striking each Cog as they tried to grab it.
Once they had all fallen, Jason launched himself into the air and dropkicked the first Cog to try to stand up. A spinning savate kick caught another Cog and he used the tip of the Power Staff to smash another Cog in the chest. Holding the Golden Power Staff in front of him Jason decided it was time to finish the undue workout and get home.
"Time for a Gold Rush!"
A tip of his staff glowed with power as the Gold Ranger charged forward. Suddenly the built up energy was released inside as he reached the Cogs, destroying all of them. His legs felt strange as the energy faded and he had to battle to stay upright. His hand grabbed a tree trunk and groaned as his Power enhanced strength crushed it.
"Look dear, he can hardly stand let alone fight," Gasket said smugly as the two machines advanced.
Jason was too weak to fight them. He needed a way out and quickly.
"Golden Flash!" he cried.
The tip of the Golden Power Staff opened for a second and allowed a small ball of light to form. As Gasket and his wife watched it grew larger, sucking in oxygen from the surrounding area. Then it exploded as all the stored energy was converted to light. Jason had in that time backed away as his visor darkened.
The ball of light that overloaded his optic circuits caught gasket unaware. For a brief moment he was blind; Archerina faired no better. His hand went to his mechanical eyes as if that would help.
As soon as the ball exploded Jason ran, knowing that with the Gold Ranger powers enhancing his body he could run fast than before. Of course the flash did more than just blinded his attackers, he hoped. With luck the energy discharge would set off the alarms in the Power Chamber, assuming that his morphing had not already done so. But there in was another problem with the Gold Ranger powers. They were not tied to the Zeo Crystal and therefore could not be monitored by Zordon and Alpha.
An explosion caused Jason to stop and look. Gasket had apparently shaken off his loss of sigh and was now blasting the area. Although his aim was less than perfect, the blast did knock Jason off his feet.
"Good try human," Gasket said as he towered over the fallen Ranger. "But not good enough."
His sword struck between the boy's shoulder blades, causing the Gold Ranger to howl in pain even as he tried to stand. The sword raised to deliver a second blow to the neck.
"The Golden Power Staff," Gasket said. "Now!"
"Never!" Jason shouted in reply.
The Golden Power Staff faded back into Jason's personal sub-space pocket where only he could access it. If Gasket killed him it would stop anyone replacing Jason, but at least it would keep the powers from Gasket's clutches.
"I think the Brain Drain might be in order dear," Archerina said.
"I believe you might be correct," Gasket replied.
Jason trembled at the thought of ending up like Tommy, a puppet to be used by these evil monsters. He hoped Zordon knew what was happening. Then he thought no more as a heavy blow to his neck caused him to pass out.
Sam, Jennifer, Josie and Daniel sat at the table of the Youth Center along with Tommy, Rocky, Adam, Kat and Tanya. Five of them were Power Rangers, about to receive a call to action. Three of them knew who the Power Rangers were although not necessarily that each other knew and one was totally unaware of what was going on.
Samoht Revilo or Sam to his friends was well aware of who the Rangers were, he had been one. For that matter he still was although they didn't know it. Sam was the clone of the Green Ranger, who had been left by Tommy in Colonial Angel Grove and discovered, to his horror that he could not die. Since then he had watched and waited as history had passed him by until his desire to fight was no longer there. Now being a Ranger just didn't appeal anymore.
Next to him sat Josie Belle, a technical genius who had along with her parents and sister been recruited by NASADA to build a weapon capable of terminating the Machine Empire. Just lately she had aided the Rangers shutdown Mondo and helped Alpha fix their damaged Zords. But her time with the Rangers was sadly drawing to a close. Before long her family would be moving to Oregon where her father had a new contract with GB Blackrock, one of the biggest oil producers in the United States.
Of course if Josie was concerned about leaving Jennifer was even worse. Her sister had only helped the Power Rangers; Jennifer was dating one. Rocky DeSantos sensed his girlfriend's discomfort and put his arm around her. Jennifer melted into his embrace wishing it would never end, but knowing there was no way her father would change his mind.
Daniel Nelson was the final member of their little group. He didn't know who the Rangers were and had only seen them in action once. Normally he would be with his own group of friends, but trip time had come to Angel Grove High School and his friends were away. He had been grateful when Kat had invited him to join them; the idea of eating alone had no appeal whatsoever.
"Is Jason always this late?" Sam asked, changing the conversation away from Karate.
Although he had known Jason and the others for many years he had only become a good friend with them in the last year or so. He had only officially met Jason when the other boy returned from Geneva.
"No," Tommy replied thoughtfully, "This isn't like him at all."
Further conversation was interrupted by the tone of Tommy's communicator. Sam sensed how awkward this was going to be. There were nine people and five needed to make a quick exit.
With an effort to hide what he knew Sam asked, "Is that your beeper?"
"Yeah," Tommy replied, silently grateful he didn't need to come up with another excuse. "We gotta go guys."
To Sam's surprise Josie and Jennifer exchanged glances and rapidly made their own excuses to leave. At first he was curious but then reminded himself it made life easier on the others. Two down and one to go. Luckily Ernie decided to ask Daniel to help him with something leaving the Rangers free to leave.
"I understand," Sam told them and stood to allow the Rangers to pass him and make their way to the back of the Youth Center where they normally teleported.
Reaching into his pocket Sam touched the object hidden inside, using its power to extend his senses until he could hear the Rangers' conversation.
-what is it Zordon
-Rangers, the machine empire is after Jason. You must teleport to his location and help him.
-We're on our way Zordon.
Sam waited during the silence that meant Rocky was checking to ensure the Rangers were clear. Then he heard the Rangers morph and leave to save their friend. Sam severed the link before Zordon noticed him. He had no desire to get involved. He had simply been curious about where Jason was.
Clearing his plate Sam walked over to the counter, thanked Ernie for the food, said goodbye to various friends and left as quickly as he could. Ernie watched as the young man left, shaking his head. There was something familiar about the boy, but he couldn't place it. He had noticed Tommy saying the same thing on a previous occasion. He had thought to mention it to Tommy, but even if Tommy knew, Ernie doubted he would tell him. Tommy and friends rarely told him the whole story, normally leaving out small details they hoped he would not notice.
Jason was only out for a moment while the Power dulled the fire in his pain receptors. Thankfully he had not demorphed as a result and was protected against some of Gasket's rage. The machine prince had decided to beat the Power Staff out of Jason even if it killed the boy in the process. A sharp kick caused Jason to hiss as he felt one, possibly two of his ribs break. Accelerated healing would deal with, but only if he survived.
His options were limited. A second Gold Rush was out of the question because if it failed he would be even more helpless. He was also in a vulnerable position. On the fall his strength did him little good. He tried to teleport, but that didn't work either despite the distance he had traveled. He was stuck.
"All I require is the Golden Power Staff," Gasket said as he hauled the Ranger back to his feet. "Give it to me!"
Gasket's metallic hand connected with Jason's chest and threw him back into the trees. The cracking of timbers as the plant live was pushed away by his flying body. Jason felt each impact and prayed he wouldn't strike his head or back in the wrong place. That would be the end of him.
"You're not helping yourself Jason," Gasket warned as his stomped on the Gold Ranger's hand. His sword appeared in his hand once more as Archerina placed her foot on Jason's knee. "Perhaps when we start removing body parts you'll cooperate."
Something black grunted as it crashed into Gasket. Jason caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of his eye. It spun and kicked at Gasket without fear, at one point successfully blocking a deadly slice from the villain's sword. The figure's black cloak shrouded Gasket's face while he blocked an arrow from Archerina with his gauntlets. A swift backhand knocked weight off Jason's back as Archerina stumbled.
"Can you stand?" Trey asked.
Jason was in too much pain to talk properly, but his mind recognized the need to move. He stood warily and steadied himself on Trey's shoulder.
"What are you doing here?" he managed.
"The Gold Ranger powers must be protected," Trey stated. In a light tone he added, "So must their avatar,"
If he hadn't been in pain Jason might have smiled. But he knew they weren't out of danger yet.
"How did you get here?" he asked.
"The jamming field ends at the edge of the forest," Trey answered. "Come on."
With Trey leading the way they ran toward safety, aware of Gasket and Archerina now back in pursuit. A few Cogs had managed to stand by this time and tried to block their path. Luckily Trey had thought to bring a weapon with him and knocked the obstacles from their path. With surprise on his side he had managed to knock Gasket and Archerina about, but Trey was not a fool and despite his longing for action, he had learnt to be cautious.
When Trey dropped like a stone it took those present a while to figure out exactly what had happened. At first Jason thought a Cog had managed to use its eyebeams, but a second shot that just missed his feet and a shout of anger from Gasket told him that was not the case.
"How dare you interfere?" Gasket demanded.
Things had finally been going his way, but now Rita and Zedd had decided to involve themselves. He cursed that he hadn't made the Jamming field affect them as well. He watched as a second charge struck the Gold Ranger.
"Leave at once!" Gasket commanded, synthesizing the most compelling voice he could manage, which happened to be that of his father.
"Leave?" Rita screeched. "We're just about to claim the Gold Ranger powers for out own. You leave."
To back up his wife's words Zedd unleashed a blast of magic from his staff, which dissipated as soon as it struck Gasket.
"We're immune to magic Zedd, remember?" Archerina mocked.
Zedd did remember. The Machine Empire and Archerina, after some enhancements by Gasket, were made of Iron. Of all the elements Iron was almost unique in its ability to repel magic and with it the power of the Morphin Grid. Of course Zedd was not so stupid that he wouldn't have a backup plan ready.
"Rito, Goldar, what are you waiting for?" the Emperor of Evil asked.
"Uh nothing Ed," Rito replied and the two charged while Zedd fumed silently,
"Come on Zeddy, we need to get that Ranger," Rita said.
Rito and Goldar were incompetent at the best of times, but they made a good distraction. Even if Gasket were a genius by comparison they were too strong for him to handle on his own. With the two machines facing off the idiot henchmen, Tengas were dispatched to pick off the few remaining Cogs.
Trey by time was starting to stir while Jason was back to his feet albeit unsteadily. A second shot from Zedd's staff put him down again as Rita used her staff to bind their hands to their sides.
"Now," Zedd boomed threateningly, "Give me the Golden Power Staff."
The sharp edge of his Zedd staff touched Trey's body, drawing a trace of blood. Jason knew things had taken a turn for the worse.
Sam exited the Youth Center and stopped. Why was he so worried about Jason, he hardly knew him? That wasn't really true, as a clone he retained all of Tommy's memories of Jason and valued the other boy's friendship. The truth was he knew something was wrong and that he had to help, but he was scared. He was scared that once he intervened for any reason he would be drawn back into the life of a Ranger. A life he no longer wanted.
*What about Jason? * a voice asked. "Would you really abandon your friend because of your own fear? *
Samoht recognized the voice. He had argued with it constantly for over two centuries and had no idea what it was. Still on this occasion the voice had a point. The Rangers would need help and he couldn't let a friend die, no matter how much he wanted to believe he could. He sensed Rita and Zedd had also decided to take the powers and that a non-Ranger was in peril.
Reaching into his pocket Sam retrieved his Power Coin. It had been a long time since he had used it to morph and he wondered if his body could take the strain. _Only one way to find out. _
When the Zeo Rangers arrived it had been easier than they expected to slip through the jamming field using a technique Billy had devised long ago. They soon discovered the reason for their easy entrance was that Rita and Zedd had allowed it. As they entered the wooded area Z-Putties and monsters they thought long defeated swarmed them.
Of course those monsters they had dealt with during the age of the Thunder Zords were easily dispatched since the Zeo powers were stronger than those they had at that time were. The monsters from their time as Ninja Rangers were slightly more difficult. This was because as Tommy, Adam and Rocky had discussed one night; the Ninja powers were equal if not stronger than those of the Zeo Crystal were. However, against the Machine Empire's Iron bodies, the Ninja powers were ineffective.
Gasket and Archerina had finally subdued Goldar and Rito after unleashing two of their creations to handle the task. They were now in a direct standoff against Rita and Zedd. For although magic had no effect on the machines, objects affected by magic, such as falling trees could. Likewise it would take little for the machines to shred the other villains' flesh.
"Leave before I really get angry and make it rain," Zedd half-joked and half-threatened. Whether Gasket was rust proof was something he considered finding out, but there were more important matters to deal with first.
Rita and Zedd both knew that the Machine Empire was immune to magic, except that which was forced to conform to the rules of science. Such powers as those found in the Zeo Crystal or Golden Power Staff would give them a means to destroy Mondo and his family once and for all. Then they could wipe out the Ranger, conquer the Earth and take their prize.
"Leave now you arrogant organics," Gasket boomed in his best Mondo voice. "We were here first." He paused for a moment. "Besides, you have the other Zeo Rangers," he pointed out.
Zedd looked around to see the Zeo Rangers caught in an oversized cocoon which had been enchanted to prevent the use of their weapons. As the trap closed inwards the Rangers were forced off their feet. When the excess air was all gone, they would be forced to demorph in return for Oxygen.
Jason howled in agony causing all present to look in his direction. His costume flickered for a moment and then disappeared, leaving him vulnerable and holding the Golden Power Staff, which had mysteriously appeared. Next to him Trey was still trying to shake off the effects of the spell, but without the Power he lacked the accelerated healing the others enjoyed.
"Perhaps a compromise is in order," Zedd said.
He kicked Jason hard in the gut and rolled him over with his toe. Another kick rolled him towards his fellow Zeo Rangers.
"Release them," he told Rita.
Rita was about to ask if he had gone masked when she sensed something she had not felt from him since his arrival o the Moon, He was confident of victory. A wave of her wand released the Rangers who seemed to be confused and concerned for their two friends.
"Rangers," Zed said as he hooked his staff through the back of Trey's clothing. "Power down and drop you Zeonisers or I will kill your ally."
"How do we know you'll let him go if we power down?" Tommy asked.
"Let him go?" Zedd asked. "Who said I was going to let him go? Your actions will simply decide whether he lives or becomes Tenga food."
"More than enough power to share," Gasket said to Zedd quietly.
"Or to keep for myself," they both muttered.
"One minute Rangers," Gasket warned.
"Let us go and talk to Zordon," Adam said.
It was a good ploy. If Zedd allowed them even a moment of communication Zordon could teleport them all including Trey to safety. But Zedd would have done of it.
"Fifty seconds," he reminded them. He raised Trey higher to make his point. "I suggest you don't keep your friend hanging about."
Sam arrived at the edge of the jamming field and had to admit it felt good to morph again. Then he remembered it was the addiction to morphing he sought to avoid. The desire to charge headlong into battle and save the day was almost too great to resist, but he had learnt over the years not to give in to such instincts. Instead he looked for an alternative.
Against Rita and Zedd he would have a slim chance, but against Gasket and Machine he had no chance. The Zeo Rangers on the other hand were intended to fight the Machine Empire and could probably handle Rita and Zedd as well. It he could free Tommy and the others they could take things from there.
He used the scanner inside his helmet to take a closer look at what was happening. Trey had been hoisted into the air and hung from Zedd's staff, tendrils of dark energy running over the course of his body. Obviously this person was more to the Rangers than Sam had first thought. Their indecision was not the same as when a family member was held captive, or an innocent member of the public. From their concern and Tommy's actions it appeared as if Trey were a close friend.
"Aura Scan!" he ordered, suddenly curious.
The helmets of the original Power Rangers of Earth had contained the secret to many capabilities Zordon had revealed when the time was right. By doing so he had ensured that the Rangers kept to their oath never to escalate a battle, even though they showed great restraint in that area. Jetting, Metallic Armor, Power Scans and night vision were standard features Zordon and Alpha had developed during their first few years on Earth. When Tommy had joined the team they had updated his suit to include those functions. When Rita and Zedd had ordered the Wizard of Deception to create Sam, the Wizard had used the White Ranger as a template for the Green Clone Ranger powers; powers Sam now held.
The Aura Scan made use of the Power Scan feature to analyze a subject's magical potential and identify those who were capable of using or actively using the Morphin Grid. His scan yielded quick results. The Machine Empire failed to even show up on his scan, appearing as a void; the Putties and were just grey anomalies indicating a total lack of their own life; Tengas were black and white, the black marking them as evil and the white indicating their lack of power. Rito and Rita both showed up as black and green, something Sam imagined was due to them being related; Goldar was red and black with a hint of grey; and Zedd himself was just plain black. What the colors meant wasn't clear, but he assumed they were rankings of some sort. They weren't important anyway; it was the Rangers he was interested in.
First he checked the five Zeo Rangers. Tommy was red with a green outline, Rocky was blue with a red outline, Kat was pink all over and Tanya was yellow with a broken purple outline; Adam was a surprising mix, green with a half-yellow and half-black outline. Then he checked on Jason. The Gold Ranger flickered between gold with red flares and clear. All the time maintaining an even red edge.
_Now for Trey. _
The scan quickly revealed the Trey was a Ranger of some type. He showed up as clear, but had gold streaks running throughout. Unlike the others he lacked an outer color, leading Sam to believe that Trey was probably Jason's predecessor.
Now he knew who everyone was Trey could see why the Rangers were undecided. On the one hand they couldn't just give up their powers, but to risk a civilian or worse a teammate was something they weren't prepared to do. It was a no win situation and they needed a third alternative. Sam decided to provide it.
"Back to action!" he muttered.
The countdown had continued without delay and the Rangers were growing more and more desperate. While Trey was a hostage they couldn't move against Zedd. Any attempt to do so would end in disaster. As the count got lower Tommy steeled himself for what had to be done. The Rangers had given up their powers before and survived, he hoped they could do so again. After all, back then they had a Green Ranger waiting in the wings.
The noise drew attention from all parties as the Dragon Ranger leapt through the air and landed next to Zedd. With a swift kick he threw Zedd off balance. A swipe of the Dragon Dagger to cut through Trey's costume and a sharp quick to push him away freed the other Rangers to attack.
Sam ignored Gasket and Machina because his powers would be at best ineffective and at worst could cost him dearly. Instead he sprang back to cut off Goldar as the simian charged at Jason. Blade Blaster drawn in sword mode the Green Dragon Ranger duked it out with his former comrade, all the time looking for an opportunity to leave. Their swords clashed as Goldar tried every trick in the book and some Sam hadn't realized existed. With a grunt the Green Ranger was slammed on his back.
"Later Green Ranger," Goldar gloated as his sword descended on its latest target.
"Zeo I Power Disk!" Pink Zeo called.
Her small shield like disk energized and grew until it was a few feet in diameter. Flames licked the edge without affecting Kat, who after drawing it back like a Frisbee threw it at the gold plated monkey.
Sam watched as Kat pummeled her enemy with a wide variety of kicks; Tanya was having a similar confrontation with Rito. Tommy had drawn the short straw with Zedd; Rocky switched between Rita and Archerina leaving Gasket for Adam. But Jason and Trey were still vulnerable to the Tengas, Putties and worse still, Cogs against which Sam was helpless. But Jason wasn't...
Without waiting for the attackers to respond he moved over to the fallen Gold Ranger, produced his Blade Blaster yet and fired as quickly as possible. The Putties disintegrated on contact while the Tengas ran off leaving a trail of burnt feathers. As expect he could do little against the Cogs and burnt out his weapon just to convince them to back off. When he reached Jason, Sam touched the unstable Ranger. With an effort he sent a wave of fresh power into his friend's body. Not much, but enough to accomplish what need to be done.
"It's time for a Gold Rush!" Jason called.
With his powers in a state of hyper-activity, the Gold Ranger tore through anything he didn't recognize as a friend. Goldar moved to tackle him and was rewarded when his sword shattered.
Sam kneeled over Trey. There was little he could do for the former Gold Ranger except protect him from further harm. A quick check revealed there was nothing else wrong that Alpha and Zordon couldn't handle. Now they just needed to escape.
Luckily by that time Tommy had repeated his previous success with Zedd and located the source of the jamming field. A quick swipe of the Zeo V Power Sword and the jamming field was gone, just as the villains decided to call it a day. Sam followed their lead.
"... And then the next thing I remember is charging at Goldar," Jason concluded.
"What about the Green Ranger?" Rocky asked.
"I didn't notice Adam," Jason replied honestly.
After returning from their rescue mission the Rangers had taken the time to shower and changed into their spare clothes before meeting in the Command Area. Alpha had taken the opportunity to secure Trey on a healing bed where his body could repair. Fortunately the former Gold Ranger was relatively unharmed.
Jason had also been forced to submit to a scan. But apart from a broken rib and severe bruising he was unharmed. His powers had now returned to normal and his rejection had ceased for a while at least. Now came the debriefing where he had to explain what had happened, a job made difficult because he had no recollection of events.
"Not Adam," Rocky stated firmly. "I meant the Green Ranger."
Jason glanced at Tommy who shook his head. "It wasn't me man, we couldn't do anything until Zedd let go of Trey."
"So who was he?" Jason asked. "And what does he want?"
"He helped us rescue you," Tanya pointed out.
"I am afraid Rangers that unless the Green Ranger wishes to make himself known to us we have no way of knowing," Zordon said.
"Man I hope he stays," Tommy said. "At least until we know who he is."
The Rangers nodded in agreement as the conversations continued into the early evening.
He checked himself to make sure he was intact and discovered his Blade Blaster had been damaged. With a sigh he placed the blaster back into its subspace pocket and promised himself he would never morph again, a promise he had made once before and only broken today. He took a final look at himself as the Green Ranger and then turned from the mirror.
"Green Ranger - Power Down!"
He glanced quickly at the Power Coin in his palm and then shoved it into his pocket. "Never again," he said just loud enough that someone walking past his door might hear. "Never again."