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Friday, July 10, 2015

2435 - Power Rangers: Zero Hour - EPILOGUE

Finally... Repost done.

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-

A week had passed since the war with the United Alliance of Evil had ended. During that time, the Space Rangers had helped out in the resettling of space colony KO-35. In the mind of the Red Ranger, Andros, he was simply glad to be back home... now that he had found his sister and brought her back into the light, all seemed well and there wasn't anything that could dampen his days.

Except, of course, for the fact that the team he had worked with and formed a bond with are returning to Earth and chances are they wouldn't meet. He and Ashley, the Yellow Ranger with whom he had shared a budding relationship, had kept to themselves for the better part of an hour, discussing various things. Ashley had asked him if he was sure that he didn't want to come with them, but Andros only told her that KO-35 was his home. He had to stay and help rebuild. Ashley accepted that answer, but he knew that she was disappointed.

When his Terran friends boarded, the colonists had gathered to bid them farewell, Karone, Zhane, and Andros among them. He had given each Ranger a nod as they boarded the ship. Then his eyes glanced at Ashley, who stared back for a moment before lowering the blast doors. Suddenly, he was having doubts on where he belonged and Karone had noticed it. Andros couldn't understand why he was feeling uneasy staying behind. KO-35 was his home, it's where he belonged. Wasn't it?

He turned to Zhane and saw that he was feeling the same thing. Even though he had been stuck in a block of ice for the better part of two years, he too had regrets. Neither of them could understand why. Weren't they home? Weren't they where they truly belonged?

There weren't any spoken words the whole time, mostly thoughts and facial expressions between the three of them. Finally, Commander Kinwon approached them and the three turned their attention to the older Kerovan.

"You belong with them now," he said matter-of-factly, "We'll be fine without you. Go."

That was it. No arguments, no second thoughts. That's all it took. And with that said, Andros, his sister, and his best friend decided to return to Earth... with the friends that had stuck with him during the past year.

-o-

From his towering citadel overlooking the Machine Capital of Gorah Khan, Emperor Aradon surveyed the surrounding cities and industrial zones, amazed that little of the battles with Mondo has damaged the city itself. Most of the battles had taken place in space and on-board the Defense Satellite Space Station where Aradon had killed Mondo in deadly combat.

While he would try and cleanse the name of the Empire, he knew there were still those who opposed his reign. So he declared the territories of the Machine Empire quarantined; any ship entering or exiting Machine space would be destroyed on sight regardless of the circumstances. It seems anti-productive of Aradon, but for now this is the only way. He still had enemies within the Empire, including Mondo's generals who are probably itching for a chance to avenge their leader. But today, Aradon isn't concerned with those things.

Today, he has an empire to rebuild...

-o-

The following week after the end of the war took its toll on Rocky DeSantos, who had returned home from attending his childhood friend's funeral. It was a simple, traditional funeral arrangement, but he knew Adam wouldn't have wanted any other way. He recognized some of the people in attendance: friends, family, former Rangers, and whatnot. Rather than engage in conversation, Rocky mostly kept to himself. Those who knew him saw that he was a fairly different man from the outgoing person he usually is, but Rocky couldn't help it. He had lost a friend.

When the service ended, he quietly walked out of sight without attracting attention. He had walked along several streets until he returning the karate school that he and Adam opened some time ago. Pulling out his keys, he opened the front doors and walked through, making sure to lock the door behind. He went into one of the smaller rooms, where he had found Billy's Portal-Com device that had been used to infiltrate the Lunar Palace before the battle broke out. He stared at it intently with rage, gingerly grabbing a nearby sledgehammer that had been laying on a table. When the building rage reached its point, Rocky wildly swung the hammer and knocked down the two towers comprising the device. With the towers down, Rocky continue to pound them with the head of the hammer repeatedly until the casing began to break apart.

Rocky tossed the hammer aside, inadvertently punching a hole through a wall with it. He then grabbed the broken pieces of the Portal-Com units and tossed along the same wall, which punched a larger hole. Rocky slowly took steps towards and with a deep breath and tears flowing down his face, he stepped through the hole where he would continue his own mourning...

-o-

Having been officially declared dead a week ago despite lack of concrete evidence, an equally lavishing funeral was prepared for Katherine Hillard - not a casualty of war, but the unfortunate victim of a vengeful plot against another. Although there was no body to bury, personal belongings and other items important to Kat were buried in a sealed casket. The funeral and wake had a big turnout, with several hundred people appearing to pay final respects to their honored dead. Some former Rangers could be seen, along with the current Space Rangers, who were clad in standard uniform. They found it bad enough having to attend one funeral, but a second funeral slowly made the ramifications of the war slowly sink in. After about an hour of service, the crowd disappeared, save for one person who stayed behind.

Thomas Oliver, former Ranger and love interest of Kat, fought back the urge to break in tears when he was surrounded by people. When he was alone, he allowed them to flow. Despite the lavish arrangements and declaration of death, Thomas was still unwilling to believe that Kat was dead. Maybe, over time, he would get used to it... at least, he thought he would get used to it. But another feeling crept into his being, replacing the sorrow that he was in. It was the feeling that he had somehow failed her.

Failure. The very nature of that feeling chills his spine because it was now a part of him despite the claims of others. He had almost been considered godly by admirers and fellow Rangers, something that had made him complacent in his position. He had been through power losses, broken relationships, roster changes, and many retirements. His exploits had deemed him legendary. Some who were in the know concerning his Rangership considered him to be the very best. Somehow, he had truly believed that and he had developed a complacency of things, believing that no matter how bad things got, it'd get better in the end.

That belief had cost him his love.

With a bitter sorrow, he knelt down to Kat's grave and spoke a silent prayer. He had silently apologized in not being there when he should have and also that he wasn't worthy of being forgiven for such an oversight. Instead, Thomas made a personal vow to both her and to himself that he would try to rectify the mistake he believes himself responsible for. It would take him years, perhaps even until the day he dies. He knows this to be true, but this is what he believes is the right thing to do. Someday, he may ask for her forgiveness and hopefully, he would be able to find peace.

"Excuse me. Are you Thomas Oliver?"

Thomas was taken aback by the sudden voice and turned to find a middle-aged man in a black suit standing over him. Thomas slowly got to his feet and patted the dirt off his pants before addressing the gentleman.

"Yes," he replied, "And you are?"

The man gave a warm smile and extended his hand. "My name is Anton Mercer, CEO of Mercer Industries. I have a proposition that just might interest you..."

-o-

He walked into the local Limpy Eye bar located deep within the grungy suburbs of his homeworld Titan. Wearing nothing more than rugged loose pants and a loose chain mail, he studied the place for a moment, finding it to be a bit worn down. Not like the elegant workplaces he had been in for the past few millennia, but in his heart, the change of environment was a welcome change. He slowly approached the bartender; a strange little creature with large ears and rough ridges on his forehead. The bartender noticed the Titan from the corner of his eye and approached him. It was at a closer glance that the bartender recognized the face of his latest visitor.

"You're him, aren't you? You're the Titan warrior of Lord Zedd," the bartender said calmly, more surprised than afraid. "As much as it is an honor to have a warrior of high regard such as yourself, I have to ask... aren't you dead?"

The Titan merely grinned. "News of my ill-fated death were greatly exaggerated. In any case, I am in need of employment. I have heard you are in need of a bodyguard. Perhaps we can come to an agreement."

"You're wrong, my friend," the bartender said, "I'm not looking for a bodyguard. I just found him." He extended his hand to the Titan and gave a wry smile. "That is, if you wish to be."

The Titan considered the offer for a moment and after five seconds, shook the bartender's hand. A new chapter in his life has begun...

-o-

Two months have passed since the Alliance Wars officially ended. During that time, many events had occurred.

Despite having missed several weeks worth of classes, former Power Ranger Thomas Oliver had managed to pass most of his paleontology courses with flying colors, with partial thanks to the assistance of an industrialist by the name of Anton Mercer, who had agreed to help Thomas with his studies until he graduates so he could hire the youngster as part of his organization. There is no doubt in the mind of several of Angel Grove University's most distinguished professors that there would be a doctorate in Oliver's future, assuming he keeps up with the high grades. His identity as a former Power Ranger is known only to a select few.

-o-

The Space Ranger team retired as active superheroes, allowing each member of the team to pursue their own interests. TJ began a promising career playing major league baseball, Carlos took a job coaching soccer, Ashley studies architecture (a subject she never had much interest in, but found to have some talent in), Cassie pursued a singing career, while Andros, Zhane, and Karone, aliens from another world yet as human as "Terran apple pie" (blame Zhane for the poor joke, though Andros at one point), went on a world tour to explore the sights that Earth had to offer as well as try to help with the healing process to remove the emotional scars that Karone had endured.

To that end, the Astro Megaship was officially retired as an active vessel and, with most of the critical components stripped off or locked away, was converted into a museum piece on Earth for curious visitors who wanted to check out a piece of Power Ranger history. An expert engineer and mechanic by the name of Damon Henderson was hired as the museum caretaker.

-o-

With the evil magic and security measures nullified by Zordon's wave, scientists and technicians of the Galactic Space Agency worked on dismantling the remains of the Dark Fortress, as well as studying and reverse-engineering its advanced alien technology for use on its own series of space craft, including the prototype space colony codenamed Terra Venture. It is said that with the new technology at their disposal, the colony could see launch within a few months time at the earliest as opposed to another five years under normal development.

-o-

Via his personal one-man shuttle loaned by the NASADA group, former Power Ranger William Cranston frequently makes stops between Aquitar and Earth to assist with the various repair functions as well as attaining permissions to use Aquitian technologies to assist in the creation of a new government-sanctioned Ranger team under the Lightspeed Rescue division. William had also been keeping tabs with the Japanese JETMAN division through intermediaries, offering advice on morphing technology. The more peculiar issue was that all this stemmed from word of his Power Eagle high school project (where he had succeeded in morphing a rubber chicken into a suited eagle) and not his Power Ranger exploits, which is known only to a select few.

-o-

The five pilots of the Japanese Arwing squadron were made instant celebrities in Japan, earning most of that nation's highest honors. Most of all, it was enough of an influence for the government to provide funding for the research and development of the JETMAN division of extra-terrestrial countermeasures... in case such an invasion were to occur again, they would be ready to strike and defend this planet. The five pilots are considered to be prime candidates for the initial JETMAN task force.

-o-

Power Karate, the karate school owned and operated by former Power Ranger Rocky DeSantos and the late Adam Park was re-opened a week after the war was declared over, only to be shut down and sold off to an anonymous consortium after roughly three days of operation. All of this had happened despite the fact that the dojo was making its money and wasn't in any danger of bankruptcy. No one had seen Mr. DeSantos since then, some having speculated that he had fallen off the face of the Earth.

-o-

News reports surrounding the mysterious appearance of an unconscious blonde woman in Surrey Hills, Australia broke out. Although her identity was concealed to avoid any panic among those close, many believe that this woman was a native of the town who had moved to America a few years prior. A day after the news broke, a group of suited men - claiming to be government officials - acquired her body and taken it away. Their present location is unknown.

Additionally, a global investigation had begun on determining the whereabouts of Kimberly Hart, who was last seen in Angel Grove days before the invasion took place. The investigation is currently ongoing.

-o-

On the planetoid known as Nemesis, a former Ranger meditates in the Temple of Power, hoping to learn more about her newfound power and her new role. She doesn't concern herself so much with returning home as she has been charged with a new purpose. She hopes to someday find out what that purpose is.

-o-

Despite the great victory of the Alliance Wars and the battle won on the planet Eltare, the homeworld of the late Zordon is in disputed space. The past year has severely divided the planet's populace into small factions. Although the planet is slowly on the verge of rebuilding, it is no longer considered to be the most important piece of real estate in the galaxy. And without Zordon to hold the planet together, it would be a long time before prosperity returns to Eltare and its people.

-o-

Three months had passed since Project Prodigy had been initiated, which was a month before the closing battles of the Alliance War. William Cranston, the organizer of this project, had deemed it fortunate that the final assault of the United Alliance of Evil had not resulted in the discovery of the project or the Fourth Chamber by evil forces. Even if they had found it, it would have been too late; as the energy wave of light - codenamed Zero Hour - would promptly dispose of them, turning them into dust.

In the ruins of the Command Center/Power Chamber, the remaining flames finally died out. Pieces of the outer shell's rubble vanish. Debris suddenly turn into nothingness. Computer circuit boards melt and merge with the sandy foundation upon which the structure had been formed. Damaged energy tubes turn into dust, with the wind subsequently blowing the pile away. This continued for a short while until nothing remained except for a solid plateau and an item of extreme power.

The Zeo Crystal. The source of power for the Zeo Rangers materialized in the center of the plateau, slowly floated downward and lightly tapped the ground. Almost instantly, the Zeo Crystal began to fade, its various energies being shot around the place. Some beams shot onto the plateau, while others were shot far away. Presumably to the holders of the smaller subcrystals, where the Zeo power would continue to be of use to them.

It wasn't long before the Zeo Crystal had vanished, leaving behind an orb of energy that dropped through the plateau, causing it to glow a faint light-blue. When the glowing died down, things seemed calm and quiet. Only the sound of slow brick laying could heard close by and only the slow materialization of a familiar wall would be seen on the plateau.

Project Prodigy continues...


The End...?

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