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Friday, July 10, 2015

2434 - Power Rangers: Zero Hour - ZERO

Disclaimer: The author would like to clarify that Power Rangers and its characters is owned by BVS Entertainment and not the author.

Note: This chapter has been recently revised from its originally published version.


-o-

For the longest time imaginable, there was the war between good and evil – a war that is generally believed to have begun many eons ago. Fought across the many cosmos, under many grueling conditions and guises, the war has left a terrible mark on those who have fought within it. All worlds and galaxies that have been a participant in the war, directly or otherwise, had experienced the war in various forms. But the true war of good and evil was fought spanning dozens of worlds, both sides united under the belief that the world was black and white.

As time passed, the war escalated, stagnated, and reignited to the point where a final battle was fought, where the victor would finally vanquish. The United Alliance of Evil - now truly united - would attack on all sides and were at the very point where they were close to gaining that total dominance of the universe that had long eluded them all this time. They were all-powerful, they were numerous, and they were vicious in their assaults. But beneath all the beliefs that they would finally destroy the forces of good, a simple truth emerged. A truth which had hit Ecliptor just between the moments that the Red Ranger had destroyed Zordon's tube and that holy light had turned him into sand. A sad truth with a simple message...

The Alliance never had a chance...

-o-

Astro Megaship
Orbiting Luna

From the ravaged bridge of the Astro Megaship, its lone occupant had seen the energy wave emerge from the last remaining Dark Fortress, watching the wave pass through everything. All attacking cruisers passing through the wave were suddenly floating in space endlessly, Velocifighters were instantly destroyed, and all traces of the Alliance would soon be wiped off the face of the Earth. But even as an automaton, Alpha 6 felt the wave for what it was; the energy of Zordon scattered about the cosmos, doing its final act. For a moment, he grieved the Eltarian, whom he met briefly during the Turbo ceremony and during construction of the Robot Ranger project. He knew very little of the man personally, but knew of his exploits.

If he could, he would shed a tear for the loss of a great hero. But before he could utter any words, he heard the footsteps of the former Rangers whom he had managed to teleport in from the other Dark Fortress shortly before its destruction.

"Rangers! Thank goodness you're all okay!" he squeaked in relief.

"Not all of us," Justin said, then showed Alpha the green communicator that had belonged to Adam. "Could you get a lock on him? We have to get him off that Fortress."

Alpha lowered his head, confirming what the Rangers already knew. "I'm sorry, Rangers. The fortress exploded shortly after I teleported you out. There wouldn't have been enough time to lock on to another life sign. If Adam had stayed behind, then he..." The words didn't follow. Sadness overwhelmed the bridge, a dead silence enveloping them all.

"No..." Jason's voice broke into silence, unable to finish the thought despite the visual evidence before him. He didn't want to think this possible, but soon as the thought settled in...

"We should have never left him behind," Rocky whimpered, "We shouldn't have let him stay."

"He chose to stay," Justin said, "He chose to sacrifice himself for our survival."

"That doesn't make it right," Rocky retorted, "He threw away his life and we just stood there like idiots allowing him to do this."

"What could we have done?" Billy asked, "Would Adam and his sudden reckless attitude listen to reason?"

"He has before," said Rocky, on the verge of tears. "Or we could have brought him back kicking and screaming. But..." His words came out softly to the point where no one could hear them. Finally, he said aloud, "We should have done something."

With that, he removed the two Zeoniser units from his wrists and threw them across the floor of the bridge. The others looked on in shock as Rocky turned his back and walked out of the bridge, too distraught to even look at them. As Billy and Justin approached various posts, Jason stared ahead into the empty space that was occupied by an enemy fortress. After a while, Jason slumped towards a nearby chair, his eyes still looking into the void. Bad enough they lost Adam, but then adding to the misery was the gained knowledge that their mentor had given his life to rid the universe of the Alliance. He wouldn't allow the truth to be acknowledged... he didn't want to believe it, but in the end, he knew. He didn't know how he knew... he just did.

First Adam. Now Zordon. Both gone for good.

For the longest time, the hardest decision Jason ever believed he had to make was choosing between saving Tommy's dwindling Green Ranger powers and saving his life. Although it was something that he bounced back from and although things had turned out well, that memory was still in the back of his mind every time he had. He knew this would hinder his abilities as a leader... part of the reason why Zordon chose Tommy to lead the team when he became the White Ranger. As time passed, the pain he bore as a result of that decision slowly faded away and soon it became a big memory. But now that decision paled in comparison to what had just happened.

Adam Park made the decision to stay behind. That didn't hurt Jason much, but what did hurt was that he didn't do anything to stop Adam. In a way, Rocky was right. They left a friend behind... and in the end, it meant nothing. Another man's sacrifice was doing more to end this war. It should have been a good thing. But to Jason, it simply meant more bad news to share with the others.

Suddenly, he remembered why he enjoyed retirement from the Ranger life...

-o-

Vika

Rita Repulsa had remained within the small base camp established on Vika shortly after the planet's conquest, look over several reports and keeping track of new occurances. While she stays put, most of her armies and forces had already spread to other planetary bodies close by. Each passing hour, she receives news of conquest and easy victories. Not even the Gold Ranger of Triforia and his fleets were able to withstand her armies' powerful onslaughts. What pleased her especially was that this was truly her army. There was no Dark Specter to fear, no Astronema barking orders at every turn, nor was there a Lord Zedd looking over her shoulder and taking credit for her victories. Even Goldar was nowhere to be seen and had been missing since he had witnessed her execution of the doppelganger Flinn, although Rita didn't care for the useless monkey. This was Rita's time and her chance at immortality.

Rita minded her own business when she had sense the coming of a great presence towards this planet. She couldn't quite make out what it was, but she knew that it was too big to ignore. So she slowly got up and walked outside the small tent where she had taken refuge and looked beyond the barren wasteland that had been the battlefield. It was then that she looked up in the sky and saw a very wide, gold-colored energy wave flying at incredible speeds towards the planet surface. She couldn't quite make out what it was and had no idea of what it was capable of until the wave smashed upon the surface. She had witnessed the wave of light enveloping her armies and quickly turning them to piles of sand. The wave was only seconds away from reaching her. With no means of escaping this powerful force, Rita bowed her head slowly, uttered a few silent words to herself, and then raised her head to face her fate.

Rita shrieked as the wave of light pass through her physical form, forcing purple fumes to escape as the witch's body slowly lost its color and turned white. When the wave completely passed through, the body was nothing more than a stone statue which quickly shattered soon after, turning to a small mound of grey dust. Shortly thereafter, the dust whisked away with the winds, revealing a beautiful young woman in a fetal position, wearing nothing more than white and red robes. The woman was shedding tears of joy... tears of relief that the curse she had endured for the better part of her lifetime was finally lifted.

-o-

Far beyond the battlefield, a lone figure garbed in nothing more than gray robes and wrappings roamed the land, without purpose, without regret, and without grief. The figure, who had once been a soldier serving dark masters, felt nothing when the wave of light passed over him... all the while other soldiers of darkness had been reduced to nothing more than piles of sand and ash. He paid no heed to his surroundings as he walked passed the fallen minions of evil, but a part of him had to wonder... why was he spared among the rest? What made him special that he did not succumb to the same fate as those around him? For the better part of his life, he had been committed to serve those with malicious ambitions. He was no better than the others... and yet he stood tall above the rest whose lives had been made obsolete.

It did not take long for the thought to fade from his mind and Goldar of Titan soon found himself wandering the desert... with the intent to possibly start anew.

-o-

"Wake up, Aurico."

Aurico, the Red Ranger of Aquitar, woke up slowly as he heard the voice calling to him. Everything seemed blurry at first, but when he gained full awareness, he found himself floating in a vat of chemicals, staring at the ceiling of what appeared to be an Aquitian medical bay. This confused him, as the last thing he remembered was being beaten down by members of Divatox's pirate cartel. He turned to see an Aquitian garbed in his medical tunic, smiling over him.

"The other Rangers," he said coarsely, "are they well?"

The medic gave Aurico a confirming smile. "We managed to get you into these regenerative chambers as soon as we found you." He looked up at a nearby display. "It was amazing. Some sort of wave had passed through and wiped out all the Alliance forces. When we discovered your last known co-ordinates, we've managed to locate you in time before you would have perished." He glanced back at the Red Ranger. "Curious that the wave had a purifying effect to it, but I've felt an essence there. I cannot possibly explain it."

"I felt it too," Aurico grieved, knowing exactly what he meant. "I felt it too."

-o-

Eltare

Buried within merciless, tireless, and brutal soldiers of fortune, Thomas Oliver had found himself pinned to the ground, unable to free himself from the grip of those who had come to avenge the recent slaying of their master and lord Zedd. It was a beating that had lasted a minute since he was pummeled from behind.

Through the cracks of the ceiling, he saw a thin line of light that was growing bigger with each passing second. As the line of light grew bigger, the darkness of chamber quickly faded as illumination grew brighter, drawing the attention of the soldiers of evil as they looked up at the light. For the next five seconds, they saw the ceiling light up and covered their eyes as the golden wave fell upon them. In an instant, all the soldiers around Thomas turned into sand while he yelled in pain as the light worked on him. Thomas placed both hands over his ears, trying desperately to block off the pain that the light caused. Light filled the room and Thomas' surroundings vanished, replaced by various images of the past.

He relived his early youth, traveling with his foster parents from city to city before settling in Angel Grove. He relived the beginnings of his Ranger career, working as an operative for Rita Repulsa and coming close to destroying Zordon and the original Power Rangers. He relived the moment where he was placed in a trance to steal a powerful artifact and present it to Lord Zedd. But the more painful images were those of recent times: watching the crater that used to be Kat's house, his dark turn to uncover the truth, his battle with the clone. All of these images were images of Thomas' road to evil, a road he had concluded with his recent killing of Zedd.

All these negative images had converged together to form a solid ball in Thomas' mind. He saw the ball shrink down in size until it was the size of a pea and vanished. Thomas broke out of his trance and found himself on his feet... alone in the old Command Center. Thomas couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the room in its functioning glory... it had been destroyed years ago. How could it be standing here? Thomas glanced upwards towards the energy tube where Zordon would be, but he wasn't there. Instead, he saw a floating person hidden in shadows watching over him. He couldn't make out any of the being's physical features, but for some reason Thomas seemed entranced by her presence. It almost seems as though he had met her before somewhere. He wanted to ask who she was or what was going on, but while his mouth moved, no words came out. It was then that Thomas discovered his voice was gone... and it didn't really bother him. He's been in this situation before.

Suddenly, the environment shifted and Thomas no longer found himself in the Command Center, but in the old Power Chamber during his Zeo days. He briefly studied his surroundings before turning back to the being who resided in Zordon's chamber. The scene shifted again and the old chamber was replaced with the newer chamber during his final days as a Ranger. Once again, Thomas saw the being in the energy tube, still shrouded in darkness. Finally, the room faded completely and was replaced with white light where only the Ranger and the shadowed being stood face to face.

The figure slowly approached Thomas, who still tried to speak but couldn't. When the two were only a couple feet apart from each other, the figure raised a hand forward, as if it was reaching for something. Thomas took a step forward to get closer to the figure. But before he could get a good look at the being's face, he was shrouded in bright light and before he knew it, he found himself back on the throne room of the palace, alone in the chamber among mounds of sand. He got to his feet and ran out the door, where he was immediately greeted with a view of the city outside. Where there were Quantrons, Ranger Wraiths, and other foot soldiers, there were now growing piles of sand. Where there were giant warships covering the sky, now there were bright red clouds reflecting the shine of the red sun. Thomas didn't understand what had happened. Despite the state of confusion he was in, he knew that this was a good thing.

-o-

Nemesis

Kimberly felt sorry for the soldiers - not because she was handling them rather well, but because of the fate that they would suffer. She had known of the coming wave's presence before she even saw it coming. She didn't know how. In fact, there were a lot of things she didn't know about the powers Ninjor had bestowed upon her. But that didn't matter to her at the moment. What mattered was survival, something she was doing pretty well for the moment. But the soldiers continued to pile on her faster than she could kill them off.

But that's okay, she thought, because in a few seconds, none of them will be alive.

From the corner of her eye, she saw the wave in question. Her continued fixation on the approaching wave of light had forced the Alliance army to take notice as well. Their reaction was varied; some stood there, some ran as fast as possible, while others stupidly covered their faces to block the light. All good, common sense tactics that would do them no good here and now. By the time the wave hit the surface, they would soon be gone.

And good riddance to them too, Kimberly thought.

Kim had felt the brunt of the golden wave passing through her very beings, her hand extended outwards as if she was trying to reach for something. She stood there for a moment before slowing glancing at her surroundings. Where there had been soldiers of evil, now stood mounds of coarse sand continuing to pile up. She then turned to Ninjor's temple and watch the remnants of the temple slowly faded away, leaving behind only a rock formation similar to how it was when the Rangers had first encountered the Temple.

That didn't matter to her, because Kim had felt his very being passing through her. She didn't know what had happened, nor did she know how it was possible, but she felt his presence... and yet for all she didn't know, what she did know was that it was inevitable. A single tear formed and ran down her cheek before Kim wiped it off quickly. She then walked to the formation and vanished in a shade of pink light.

-o-

Earth (Terra)

The battle in the city streets of Angel Grove had ended just as abruptly as all the others; with a wave of bright light crashing through the surface and enveloping all in its path. The light had turned the swarms of Quantrons and Piranhatrons into piles of sand and ash. The light had also forced the morphed Rangers to return their normal forms and when the light had vanished, the crowd broke into a roaring applause, cheering this miraculous victory over the forces of evil. The Rangers were soon embraced by the citizens as well as one another, as they all survived this battle with their courage. Among the celebration, Cassie noticed that Ashley had hid herself behind a wall and quickly followed. When she found her, she noticed that Ashley was looking towards the sky. Unbeknownst to her, the other Rangers followed as well.

"Ash..." Cassie said, sounding almost like a whimper.

"What about Andros?" Ashley asked as the others joined them, "What do you suppose happened to him?"

"And Zordon," Zhane added, worried. "And Astronema."

"Could they have been wiped out?" TJ asked rhetorically. "Just like everyone else?"

Soon, the cheering would stop as a loud hovering sound could be heard. Soon enough, the demorphed Space Rangers and citizens of Angel Grove saw the Alliance flagship, the other remaining Dark Fortress, slowly descending from the heavens. Its outer hull damage and the fact that a good chunk of the Fortress was incinerated in space did not affect the imposing image it instilled on the people, who looked on in stunned silence.

"Astronema," Cassie mouthed, "She's won."

Ashley hung her head in fearful realization. Andros.

As soon as the Dark Fortress settled on the ground, various portions of its hull and armor erupted in explosions, startling the crowd who stepped back to avoid any pieces of debris. The main entryway slowly opened up, forming a ramp of roughly fifty meters. From the dim, orange light emerged the Red Space Ranger holding an unconscious Astronema, his emotionless stature betraying his agonizing soul as he slowly walked down towards the crowd holding his sister in his arms. The Rangers shouted excitedly and ran to meet with him, but Andros couldn't hear them. His mind was on Karone, who laid there peacefully. Andros laid her body on the ground and dropped to his knees, unable to believe and accept that he got his sister back, only to lose her again... for good.

Andros closed his eyes as a means of closing out the world around, tears streaming from his shut eyes down his cheeks and dropping off to land on his fallen sister's forehead. The fallen tears did not remain on her for long and without his knowing, Astronema slowly began to fade away, leaving behind a young, blonde-haired girl in a simple black jumpsuit. The girl's eyes slowly opened and the first sight to greet her was her tear-stricken brother. Slowly, she lifted her free hand and wiped the stream of tears of Andros' face, causing him to open his eyes and look on in shock.

"Karone? Is it really you?"

The girl simply nodded and slowly got up to sit. She looked around at the crowd of people and the destructive scenery that had surrounded her.

"What's going on here?" she asked innocently. "Why are you crying?"

Andros gave her sister a firm hug. "It's a long story, Karone. One that's finally over."


End ZERO

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