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The Next Destination
The planet was safe at last. In the weeks following the liberation of the planet, the Rangers of Earth had worked tirelessly alongside their Aquitian allies to rebuild the protections it had lost during the earlier invasion. Many of the cities had been rebuilt and services were back to near normal. The planet’s food supplies were low but manageable and with the reopening of the space port, they were able to receive aid from their neighbours. And thanks to Zordon acting as their voice within the Galactic Council, Aquitar had regained its rightful status and entitlement to further assistance.
It was a time of celebration and also of sadness. The work was finished, the planet was safe and the people could return to their peaceful lives. It was sad because with nothing further to keep them on the planet, it was time for the visiting Rangers to leave and that meant it was time for some difficult decisions most importantly, where to go?
Zordon had decided to spend time on Erlion to press the Galactic Council for more action against the growing threat of the United Alliance of Evil. The White
Master and Alpha Five would for the foreseeable future divide their time between Erlion and Eltare where Zordon was reacquainting himself with his home world. It was a sign of how far the Rangers of Earth had come that Zordon no longer felt that he needed to supervise them. In truth they had proven many times that they could be trusted to do what was right. He had gone from teacher and stern guide in the ways of the Power, to a trusted adviser.
And now he felt that he could rely on the senior Rangers to help guide the Turbo Rangers until a new mentor could be found; Zordon had somebody in mind. Not that there had been a real threat to Earth since they had left. There had been a number of upstarts that had tried to fill the vacuum left by Rita and the others, but the Turbo Rangers had reportedly dealt with each new threat as it had arisen.
However it was not just a question of where he would end up, but also his Rangers. He had been aware for some time that his teams had reached far beyond the limits of their original powers, but despite all they had accomplished, there was far more for them to achieve. The Morphin Rangers had been found worthy of a level of power that had never before been bestowed on a single team, yet with their time on active duty they had not been trained how to fully utilise those gifts. It was unfair on the Rangers and a terrible waste for the rest of the Universe.
Then there were the Zeo Rangers. Their powers had been created out of a combination of desperation and ingenuity, using a power source that had been available. That they had then taken those powers, developed them, grown so comfortable in their use that many believed that their powers had been around for thousands of years; actually teams using powers similar to those of the Zeo Rangers had been recorded throughout history, but Zordon was certain they were not the same powers. Like the Morphin Rangers they had grown beyond the limitations of their original powers and were on the verge of unlocking even greater abilities if given the opportunity. Zordon wanted to give them that opportunity.
And after that there were others like Jamie Zedden, whose skills with her Elemental Sword of Lightning could be polished by a stay on the world where her father had been born. Or perhaps Christina Collins whose mental abilities would thrive with further training at a specialist school. Lillian and Katarina also had abilities just waiting to be unlocked if given a chance. The question was whether Zordon was willing to risk everything to give them that opportunity; the political fallout of what he proposed could easily ruin him.
Of course the answer was that he was more than willing to trust his pupils to make the decision. Return to Earth or travel to places where they could receive the training and help need to take themselves to the next level. He remembered how over the years he had encouraged his pupils to move on when the time was right and return stronger for having done so. His hope was that they would do so again.
For while it did not seem that the United Alliance of Evil would prove an immediate threat anytime soon – the assembled villains were still in complex talks about their plans, seemingly locked in a never ending deluge of dialogue, proposals, explanations and arguments, almost as if a spell had been cast on the entire membership to render them little more than a shadow of their supposed glory-, he suspected that when they did act the Universe would fall beneath their onslaught.
And so as the last Ranger teleported from the surface to the waiting Pyramidas, and Trey laid in the course for home, Zordon took the time to tell his Rangers what he had in mind.
The Inaugural Meeting of the United Alliance of Evil had finished and as far as Dark Specter was concerned, it was a complete success. After demonstrating his power several times, he had finally convinced the other members that his plan was the most likely to succeed. And he had given them all a real incentive to complete the tasks he had assigned them.
Now the members had left the planet. Each member had been given a mission to complete. For now it was a matter of positioning their fleets so that they were in position for future attacks. And once they had completed their assigned task, he had offered them a new chance to claim the ultimate prize: Earth. It as an incentive scheme that would encourage swift success. As the Rangers of Earth had been seen leaving Aquitar, Dark Specter had sent them on their way.
The first targets would important worlds like Erlion and Eltare. Those planets were well defended and would force the Galactic Council or
Grid Masters to mobilise their armies. Instead he had chosen distant worlds that lacked protection and were considered unimportant during peace time, but would rob the Council and their allies of vital resources once war was declared. It was a plan that would counter the effects of prolonged exposure to Earth, allowing those that had lost their edge to return to their former glory; Rita and Zedd had been more animated than many could recall, Master Vile was even more insidious than ever and the Machine Empire now on a war footing was a terrifying force that could tear through its intended targets with little resistance.
Along with the many new villains he had conscripted into the UAE’s service, the organisation was larger than ever and for the first time since the end of Rita’s battle with Zordon, they posed a real threat. And that was just the start. Dark Specter anticipated that once their forces were correctly positioned, they would be unstoppable; he anticipated the fall of hundreds of worlds in a matter of hours. And while the Council continued to monitor the situation, his forces would turn inward and strike at it heart.
Yes clearly using the Earth as an incentive had worked well especially since he had only offered the opportunity to conquer the planet. Like a true ruler he had promised nothing. And now he had a personal matter to deal with.
“The time has come, my beautiful Karone, to assume your rightful place at my side,” Dark Specter declared.
Dark Specter knew that with a growing empire to control he needed loyal and competent servants to act as his voice. Ecliptor was one such champion of his cause. Loyal to the ideas that Dark Specter had shared, the silicon-based warrior was a noble, obedient and capable lieutenant. Darkonda he had chosen to trust in spite of Ecliptor’s warnings, or maybe because Ecliptor was so strongly opposed to Darkonda’s presence. If Ecliptor considered the other villain a threat then he would need watching, but if directed at Dark Specter’s enemies he could prove adequate.
But what Dark Specter really wanted was his Queen of Evil. He had selected Karone as a child to fulfil that role. He had watched her grow, nudging her carefully to become an Astro Guardian alongside her brother, knowing that the combat skills she learnt would make her a warrior queen. And then he had snatched her from certain doom and had waited for her to grow into the role he had selected for her. Except she had not given in to the darkness as he had expected and had fought him all the way.
At first her resistance had been amusing, but Dark Specter needed a queen and was no longer willing to wait for her to surrender herself to him. With Andromeda, Astronema, Artemis and Astronoma gathered, he started to chant in the ancient language of evil to purge the light from her soul. Dark knowledge, dark experiences and power beyond anything she had felt before pushed into her body, pushing aside her personality and replacing it with something he deemed acceptable. Given time the new personality would completely erase her former self while retaining all the skills that Dark Specter prized. At that moment Dark Specter planned to marry her, but in the meantime she would serve as the Princess of Evil alongside her four sisters. With Ecliptor’s guidance there would come a time when nobody would be able to tell them apart.
All this had been observed by a spy, who had been forced to flee for his life as the assembled villains suddenly became aware of his presence. Even though those that chased him were not connected with the major villains they were skilled warriors and not easy to lose, even in the slums of Onyx. He threw himself around the side of a dumpster and looked for an escape route. He needed to get away from Onyx and reach Eltare as soon as possible. Zordon and the Council needed to be warned.
End of Part
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