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Chapter 6 - Roundtable Rivals

When Widow and Roki return to the Moon after acquiring new powers, they are stronger than ever. The Power Rangers must band together with new allies and discover new abilities to face the new threat and more powerful enemies.


Chapter 6 - Roundtable Rivals

Chapter 6 - Roundtable Rivals
Scott Dojo, Angel Grove

Although the dojo was usually pretty busy, today was a unique day. One of the training rooms there was occupied by a small gathering of present and former Power Rangers as they eyed three of their newest recruits.

KiKi, Mason, and Holly stood on blue mats dressed in gis while they were eyeballed by Tai, Rex, Jason, and AJ. Also, in the room were several of their friends. KiKi fidgeted and that brought her Tai's attention. Although she wasn't afraid of him, she shrank back a little. She'd been around long enough to be wary of his scrutiny. She offered him a slight smile. "I heard you were trained to use a sword," he said.

"Yeah. Epic fantasy adventure movies are always lookin' for folk that know how to swing a medieval looking sword without looking like a moron," she answered.

He nodded slightly. "Anything else?" he asked. He'd noted that Tori's long-lost sister was pretty competent in a fight.

"A bit of self-defense me and mum took a while back, and some boxing for another movie I was an extra in. Mermaid Kung Fu. Couple of ninja-looking moves when I played a minion once," she answered.

"Take a stance," Jason instructed.

She hastily complied, spreading her legs, bending her knees, and holding her fists up. He cocked his head and glanced at Tai. Tai shook his head. He didn't recognize it. "Boxing or self-defense?" he asked.

"Self-defense," Kiki answered. Jason grimaced. She switched her feet up and brought her fists close to her face. "Boxing," she said and bounced on the balls of her feet.

"Let me have her. You're both too karate for her," Rex said.

Kiki blinked in confusion. What was that supposed to mean? But Jason and Tai seemed to understand what he meant. "Okay. Martial arts with you, sparring with Tori and Chloe, weapons with Wood," Tai decided.

Tori and Wood were among the peanut gallery. Tori knew several different martial arts, so she grinned. Wood sent her an encouraging smile. She nodded, accepting whatever they thought best. Fox was watching with interest. "That means she's the new grasshopper?" he asked.

Rex shook his head and sent Fox an evil grin. "You'll always be Grasshopper," he said.

Fox made a face. "What about the spare tyre?" he asked, pointing his chin toward Mace.

Having been quietly observing the intense scrutiny on Kiki, Mace was startled when he was suddenly the center of attention. "Spare tire?" he asked, mildly offended.

"Ignore him," Tai said and slanted Fox a hard glance. Fox gave him a very respectful bow. While Rex was Shifu, Karone was da jie, AJ was san ge, to Fox Tai was Dashi, his great master. "Mace is a blank slate. The only thing he's ever done is gymnastics," he said breezily.

Mace crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. "You make me sound like a weakling," he said.

"Not weak. Unskilled. AJ's going to change that. He's seems to want to have you as a student," Tai said.

Mace still felt he was being insulted. He had an Olympic Gold medal for Pete's sake. He glanced at AJ. He'd seen him a few times on the periphery of things, but he'd never really talked to him.

AJ smiled. "That's right. When Damien gets back, he can confirm a few things for me, but we will definitely shape him into a Pai Zhuq master," he said enthusiastically.

"That means you get to be playmates with Fox and Danny," Tai said. Danny had been dabbling Pai Zhuq recently.

"Speaking of the lethal siblings Kennedy, why aren't they around?" Fox wondered. "I'm feeling too secure in myself and there doesn't seem to be anyone around to deflate my ego," he said.

"An invitational in Turtle Cove," Tori answered.

"Yeah, because they need more trophies," Fox said rolling his eyes.

Mason frowned a bit. It seemed like Chloe was still unavailable. "Whatever you guys say," he said, holding up his hands and acquiescing to their martial expertise.

Holly winced when it was her turn. "Um, I've just been around martial artists and Power Rangers for years, I picked up a few things," she said sheepishly.

Lani bounded into the room, slightly out of breath. "Sorry," she said. "Family free for all went on longer than I expected," she said, still suited up for a family tae kwan do tournament.

"Who won?" Jason asked.

Lani made a face. "Pua," she complained. "Pua always wins," she grumbled. She noticed Tai scrutinizing her. She blushed and patted herself to make sure she was in proper order.
He smiled at her. "How do you think your dad would feel about a new student?" he asked.

Holly blanched. "Can I not?" she asked.

Lani put her hands on her hips. "Are you afraid of my dad?" she asked.


"I always knew you were a smart girl. Seriously Tai, I wouldn't even sic my dad on Widow," Lani said.

He nodded and went over to her and tightened her black belt, making her color slightly again. "What about you?" he asked.

"Me?" Lani frowned. She peered at Holly. Holly smiled wanly back. She shook her head. "I want to keep being friends with Holly," she said. "If I try to teach her tae kwan do, it'll change our dynamic. I already don't have Manny," she said.

Tai thought about that a minute. "Fine. Holly. Karate with Jason," he said.

Holly let out a breath she hadn't been aware she was holding. "I can do that," she said.

Fox began clapping. "Brava, dashi. Impeccably handled as usual," he said.

"Fox," Tai said in warning. Fox gave him another bow. "Training should start training immediately," he said for everyone.

Rex nodded. "Let's change venues," he suggested to KiKi, but also including Wood and Tori in that statement.

"Where?" Kiki asked.

Rex glanced at Tai. Tai nodded. "Tai's training yard," he said.

"Ooh," Wood said.

"Oh, the flashbacks, the trauma, the tropical vomit," Fox said, covering his face.

"We'll take Fox to my training room," AJ said loudly to Mace.

"We really should before he pushes Tai anymore," Mace agreed.

Jason led Holly out so that she could join a class that was about to begin. Tai watched AJ and Mason herd Fox out, who stopped at the doorway and gave Tai another bow before disappearing. Rex and the rest left as well, leaving on Tai and Lani. He smiled down at her. "Do I need to call out Pua and put him in his place?" he asked her.

Lani rolled her eyes. "It would be a different story if he simply won, but he's sooo smug about it," she complained. She sighed. "After what evil you did to him, he's still not your biggest fan. Not sure beating him in a match would win you any points," she said.

He grinned and pulled her close to him. "Hmm, I like how you naturally assume I'd win," he said.

"Of course. He might be older and bulkier, but you're, well, you," she said and beamed up at him. His ears turned red and he rubbed the back of his neck. He cleared his throat and dipped his head, kissing her.

He drew back before he got too distracted. "Where are Keone and Noa? You need a strategy," he said. "And I need to see Pua in action," he said.

Lani raised her brows. "I'll text them and see. Noa's preparing for his move to Mariner Bay. I could probably convince Keone to challenge him, though. Noa would be for that," she said. Tai nodded. They left the room to see what they could do about deflating her eldest brother's ego a bit.


Moriko was snuggled up to Griff on their comfortably cozy sofa. Though they'd been quiet while she flipped through a manga she borrowed from Rei, he'd been quieter, almost pensive. She glanced up at him, closing the book. "Are you thinking about Titus?" she asked.

He wasn't surprised that she'd figured out where his thoughts wandered. "We should have kept him with us," he said flatly.

She shook her head. "He wanted to find his own way. You can't blame yourselves for what happened," she said. She suddenly raised a brow at him as a thought occurred to her. "Say, is he the person you thought of during Valentine's that was a little like you and a little like Sora?" she asked.

Griff hesitated to answer. Then he suddenly found himself thankful to Zita Repulsa as she barged into their warehouse. Wearing another shirt pilfered from Tai and a pair of blue jeans, and ankle boots, she's actually taken the time to braid her pigtails and pin them in buns high on her head and apply a little make-up. Not many would still connect her to evil space witch bent on conquering Earth, but she didn't look like a bon-bon eating couch potato anymore either.

Moriko got to her feet. "Zita," she said, wondering what could have made her sister finally seek her out.

"Yes, 'tis I," Zita said dismissively. "I need your help. Both of you," she said and looked at Griff. "Don't worry, you won't have to think overly much. You just need to tell me everything you know about this Dr. Lee person," she declared.

Moriko didn't know whether to be disappointed that Zita wasn't reaching out because of their shared destiny, or thrilled that she was at least showing interesting in something besides soap operas. "Oh, and why would you want to know about that?" she asked.

Zita wandered around her sister's new residence, taking it in. "I've found a challenge. Someone said I couldn't do something. I'm going to prove them wrong," she declared.

"Like what?" Griff asked, though he suspected he had somewhat of an idea.

"Remove tamper and magic proof technology. There's no such thing as magic-proof. Magic-resistant, sure, but never magic-proof," Zita declared.

Moriko leaned forward slightly. "So, you really came here to learn about Titus," she couldn't help saying.

Zita scoffed. "Keep your silly romantic flights of fancy to yourself," she seated herself regally in an armchair and crossed her legs. "Now, tell me everything," she prompted. "Do try to use words longer than one syllable," she added.

Used to Zita insulting his intelligence, Griff ignored her barbs. He was, in fact, rather grateful to have her help on this issue. Moriko settled in beside him again as he began to fill her in on everything he knew. In fact, due to her probing and pertinent questions, he even told her about things he hadn't even realized he'd observed in the hectic time that they'd dealt with Dr. Lee.

Moriko listened silently. She tried not to smirk and did indeed keep her romantic flights of fancy to herself. Zita, as always, would have to realize things herself.


Palace on the Moon

Widow crossed her arms behind her back as she walked along the corridors of the palace. She paused at the door of the lab where Roki was still working on his project. "My dear husband. Where has our insufferable houseguest gone?" she asked.

Roki paused and looked up at her through goggles that magnified his eyes. He blinked. "Rio?" he asked. "I haven't seen her," he said. He frowned an removed his goggles. "I have not seen Rio in quite a few days," he said.

Widow sighed and rolled her eyes. "I would say, the less seen of her the better, but I don't trust your cousin," she said.

Roki shook his head. "Neither do I. If she's no longer on the moon, perhaps I can take this opportunity to ban her completely," he said thoughtfully. He set aside his project and removed his magnifying goggles. He turned to his wife with a slight smile. "What do you think?"

Widow was thoughtful a moment then she nodded. "Very well," she said. She drew a circle in the air. "I spy with my little eye Rio Revile," she incanted. The air shimmered but nothing changed. Her face tightened. "I spy with my little eye Rio Revile," she said more forcefully, putting a little more power into the rather simple spell. The air shimmered once again, but still; nothing was revealed to her.

Roki grunted. "There's only one place she could be if you aren't able to find her," he said. "In which case she's gone to ally herself against us. I'll begin the banishment," he said since technically only he was able to do it. "Zita is much better at these things," he muttered.

Widow sighed quietly. "Then ask for her help while Finster and I prepare a gift for the Rangers," she said. She walked out of his lab. She wondered what Zita would do when given the choice of helping her brother or helping the Power Rangers.

Roki wondered the same thing.


The Station

Astronema sat in the control room, legs crossed as she rubbed her head near her implant. She didn't understand why it throbbed so. A display of the Earth occupied a large screen. Why this puny little planet was such a bone of contention, she really had no idea. All things considered; it was a backwater. A collector of space junk. Why had it been under siege for such an unseemly amount of time? The Axis of Evil even nearly met it's end here. Empires, years, centuries, even millennia in the making had fallen here.

She supposed revenge was as good a reason as any for some, but why bother it to start with? That was the question that occupied her mind. She glanced up when Nubia entered. The other woman bowed. "Mistress," she said greeted.

"What is it, Nubia?" she asked, glad to be distracted from her thoughts and the throbbing in her head.

"We have a guest and I cannot find Titus," she answered solemnly.

"Titus can do nothing against his program," Astronema said dismissively. "But what in the cosmos do you mean by a guest?" she asked.

"One of the inhabitants of the moon. She calls herself Rio. She claims she's here to seek asylum."

Astronema cocked one eyebrow. "Intriguing. Let her in. I'll hear her out," she said. A beeping sound interrupted them. "One of the pods is ready. Find it and release it," she instructed.

"Yes, my lady. What about Titus?" she asked.

"Take Gebbo. Find him. Punish him," she said dismissively. I'll handle the guest on my own." Nubia seemed to want to argue but a thought that activated her implant stopped her short. 

"Are you trying to disobey me, Nubia?" she asked.

"Never, mistress," Nubia grunted. The pain eased. Nubia got to her feet and bowed. She'd send in the guest and be on her way. The little blue dog creature scurried after her.

Draped in a cloak Rio came into the control room. She gave a reverent bow. "Astronema, Princess of Evil," she said in preferential tones. "I am Rio Revile and I have come to join you," she said.

Astronema got her feet and eyed the woman, pacing around her. "You wish to betray your family and help me?" she asked.

Rio's face tightened with anger. "I want vengeance on those who killed my mother. Those sisters. Especially Zita," she spat. "I can do nothing on the moon because of Roki and Widow. She doesn't trust me--"

"With good reason it seems."

"And he's as guilty as his sisters," Rio finished.

Astronema smirked. "Changing allegiances isn't as easy as you may think. Have you noticed that you can't quite connect to your power? Are you feeling like one of your limbs is missing?" she asked.

Rio's eyes widened. The effect had been so subtle that she hadn't really noticed until it was pointed out her. "What have you done?" she demanded.

"Not me. Dr. Lee. Nebbo, Zebbo. Rio will be joining us from today. Escort her to the lab have her fitted," she said. Her other two pets ran forward. They shifted into humanoid creatures, a cat-like woman with her three tails, and an androgynous figure with wings. They each took a resisting Rio's arm and began dragging her from the control room.

"No! You can't do this. I came here willingly!" she protested and struggled, but the two creatures were much stronger than she was.

"You should have stayed where you were or run away. Dr. Lee leaves nothing and no one beyond his control," Astronema said as she sat back down. Her head was throbbing more than ever. Even after the door closed, she could hear Rio shouting in protest and struggling to get away.


Angel Grove

Getting Keone and Noa on board to finally defeat Pua once and for all wasn't as difficult as Tai feared it may be. Noa, who'd known Tai the longest as they'd been in the same grade since the Lyong’s moved to Angel Grove, readily agreed. Keone was a little more distrustful. The day they'd gotten on Tai's bad side when he'd been under the influence of the Sword of Evil still stuck with him.

Noa actually spoke up for him since Lani was obviously biased. "I get Pua still being hung up on it because his pride took a hit but Tai's not usually like that. I'm sure there were nefarious evil alien explanations for that," he said reasonably. "Besides, do you think Lani's taste is really that bad?" he said. Lani frowned at them but decided not to interject.

Keone crossed his arms over his chest at that and eyed Tai. They'd stepped aside to have this discussion, but Tai could still hear every word while pretending he couldn't. "Are you saying he took down Pua like because aliens?" he asked. Even after everything that'd happened in Angel Grove this past year, that seemed like an awfully convenient excuse.

"So, the one time Tai was anything but respectful to you guys is just because he's secretly a jerk and he couldn't hold it back anymore, and I'm too stupid not to notice it any other time?" Lani finally asked drily.

Keone didn't know what to say to that. "Fine. I'll let it go. If he thinks he can help us finally beat Pua, I'm willing to listen," he agreed. "After all, we've been arguing over the fact that he did take him down in one move," he said.

Lani clapped her hands together. "Okay. Tai. We're ready!" she called out.

Tai then invited them to his house for special training. When they arrived, they were surprised to see so many other people there. Grandpa and Zita and even Rei sat on the ground, sharing tea while watching the youngsters training. Zita and Rei patently ignore one another but chose to be on their best behavior in front of Grandpa.

Mason's training was coming along better than AJ had expected, so they'd decided to move out of the dojo. He was sparring against Fox under AJ's supervision. He was still at the basic stage and neither could yet summon animal spirits, but they were shaping up nicely. He was also keeping an eye on Rex and Danny, who, because of their years of experience, caught on more quickly than the other two.

With wooden sticks, KiKi and Tori were sparing with Wood occasionally stopping and helping KiKi when she needed further guidance.

Holly was practicing with Zara and Chloe while Melody watched. Sora was supervising them but when Tai and the Lyong’s appeared, he left Chloe in charge. Neither Lyong brother had noticed them at first, but it appeared Taran and Lammy were also there. They joined the newly forming group.

"What is this place?" Keone asked. They weren't at Tai's house. They'd been led away from there when they arrived.

"Training ground. The future home of Tai's martial arts empire," Sora answered with a grin.

Neither Keone nor Pua knew this trio very well. They just knew they all attended AGU and hung around the Youth Center. They didn't enter martial arts competitions or anything, so they weren't on their radar. So, it begged the question, why did Tai invite them over. Even Lani seemed confused. "So, guys, what's going on?" she asked.

"Ask Tai," Lammy answered.

"I've watched all your training sessions," Tai said. Mr. Lyong was nearly religious about recording his children's training and competitions. "I figured out why Pua always wins," he said.

Keone raised a brow. "Oh. Do tell," he said, a note of disbelief in his voice.

Noa just grinned at his skeptical brother. "Yeah, let's hear it," he said.

Lammy rolled her eyes. "You've all had the same training and your skills are nearly equal, but he's older, has more experience, and knows all your weaknesses," she said impatiently.

"Yes, thank you, Lammy," Tai said. "In other words, from today until your next family free-for-all, you'll each be getting special training," he said.

"From...them? Why? Who are they?" Keone asked. Noa was just as puzzled.

"Not every martial arts expert has to show it off on the competition stage," Taran said. "From what's Tai's told me, Keone's sword work and speed need to be improved. That's where I come in. I don't have expertise in any one area, but I can help you break out of your comfort zone. I don't think we've ever met. I'm Taran Goldsmith," he said, holding out a hand.

Keone eyed him. Now that he was getting better look at the blond farm boy, he did seem like a warrior. "I'm willing to give it a try. Keone Lyong," he said, taking Taran's hand.

"So, what's my weaknesses?" Noa asked.

"Strength and stamina," Sora answered. "My sensei always said there's no dishonor in outlasting your opponent," he said.

"Your sensei would say that. I'm not sure he even has a sense of shame," Rex drawled. He'd wandered closer to see what Tai was up to. "But, in this case, he isn't wrong," he added.
Noa nodded slightly. He also went to high school with Rex. Despite his words, he seemed to have a sense of respect for this unknown sensei. Sora chuckled. "I'm Sora O'Keefe. Pleased to meet one of Lani's brothers," he said.

"How exactly do you know Lani?" he asked.

"Taran and Sora live in the same building as Manny's grandmother," Lani answered breezily. "So, does this mean you're giving me to Lammy?" she asked Tai. "What exactly is she helping me with?"

"You're temper," Lammy answered. "You lose it easily with your older brother. It makes you sloppy. I was kind of appalled watching the videos. Couldn't believe it was the same person I knew," she tsked. Lani flushed but knew she probably couldn't dispute that. All her brothers knew how to get under her skin like no one else. But it was only them. Lammy grinned as if reading the direction of her thoughts. "Don't worry. I know exactly how to help you," she said.

Lani sighed, slightly apprehensive. "Fine," she said. "You two have any objections?" she asked her brothers.

"None from me," Noa assured.

"I'm willing to learn," Keone agreed.

"Then, I'll leave you to your new masters," Tai said and moved away from them. With those words each of the Lyong's bowed to their new trainer.

Tai went to the table with Grandpa and the Repulsa sisters. Rei poured him some teas as he folded himself to the ground. "It's nice for things to be lively" Grandpa said with some satisfaction and sipped his tea.

Tai nodded slightly as he watched everything. Rex had settled into travelling around the various groups and observing for a while.

"And nothing about it screams 'Power Rangers in training'," Zita said drily.

"Don't you have a secret mission to undertake?" Tai asked her just as drily.

Zita narrowed her eyes. "Seems it’s not that secret," she said. "Who told you? Let me guess. The meathead told his sister and she told you," she grumbled.

"Don't put all the blame on Griff," Tai said. "If you need anything from me, let me know," he said. He got to his feet, offered a bow to Grandpa and joined Rex on his wandering. Zita glared at Rei since the meaning of his words weren't lost on her. Rei serenely took a sip of tea.

Grandpa chuckled. Yes, it was nice for things to be so lively.


It took Widow and Finster awhile to perfect their latest masterpiece. Their newfound rival had given Widow a bit of idea. Once they'd finished their newest creative masterpiece. The Mad Madam was perfected painted queen with long, lusciously flowing locks of lavender, a simple but elegant purple and pink peasant dress, fishnets and glittery purple shoes. His face was pale and perfectly painted to enhance his acid green eyes and deep red lips.

He wafted through Angel Grove looking for his perfect partner. But alas, he was just an expression of perfection that no entity, living or otherwise, could match. So, he took his jealousy out on all the best friends he saw and turned them into the most vicious of rivals. And when they were almost the perfect match, he became really spiteful.
Just watching the tall blonds with glasses and blue clothes drinking coffee as they discussed scientific things was just too much for him. He slinked over to him. "Oh, you two must be the best of friends. Just look at how close you are!" he exclaimed.

Danny and Billie, having been discussing way to power the RAD cannons so they didn't take so long to recharge, were taking aback at the arrival of the Madam. "Uh, yeah, I guess. Can we help you?" Danny asked, wondering why someone was suddenly all up in their business.

"As a matter of fact, you can," the Madam said. He smiled, his lips stretching beyond human means. He produced a wand. "Don't be best friends. Be best rivals," he said and waved his wand and with a twinkle he disappeared.

Billie and Danny blinked. "Was that a monster?" Danny asked.

"No alarms went off," Billie said.

"Still, we better report this," Danny said.

Billie smirked and pushed him. "Me first!" she said and teleported.

Danny growled and teleported, determined to be the first to report what had happened.

The Mad Madam wasn't done making friends into rivals. He bumped into the cutest little pair of twins he'd ever had the pleasure to witness. Matched perfectly in nearly every way. They were hanging around with a bushy haired boy he paid no attention to as he showed off the replacement scooter, he'd finally been able to get. He didn't like them one little bit. He cast his spell and moved on.

Wood barely knew what to do when Tori and KiKi suddenly began to squabble over who would get to ride on his scooter first. They were fine a minute ago, then all of a sudden it was a death match. "I'm his girlfriend. Of course, it's going to be me," Tori said with all the confidence in her body. There was a lot.

Kiki scoffed. "Yeah, well, we're mates and partners," she pointed out just as confidently.

Wood scratched his head. "There's really no need to fight," he said.

"Stay out of this!" they snapped at the same time, giving him identical, hard aquamarine stares. Wood immediately put up his hands.


Damien had finally returned to the Angel Grove. He and AJ were risking their livers and eating convenience store hotdogs on the way to a racetrack. They wanted to open up their bikes and have a good race. They hadn't raced in a while. Between working in the dojo and Damien's travels for the School, they haven't had much down time. But things seemed to have to worked out for them to get a day for fun.

They were propped against their bikes wolfing down the barely edible food when the Madam spotted them. They definitely had the auras of either being the best of friends or the bitterest of enemies. It was intriguing. He moved over to them. "My, aren't the two of you handsome," he purred in greetings.

Both of them paused in their eating as they watched the gaudy guy approach. "Thanks," AJ said weakly.

"Are you guys friends? The very best?" the Madam asked with keen interest.

"What's it to you?" Damien asked.

The Madam shook his head. "Just wondering what would happen if you weren't," he said with an elegant shrug. He walked away but gave his wand a little twinkle before disappearing completely.

Shaking off the encounter, Damien and AJ started to eat again. They noticed they each had about the same amount of food left. A hard, tacit challenge shifted through the air and they wolfed down the food even faster, a competition to see who'd finish first. Afterwards they jumped on their bikes and raced off the track.


It took Nubia awhile to locate the Chimera pod that was ready to open. That's because it was in the ocean. It floated on the surface of the water. Titus made a face. She'd found him taking a nap in the cool of mountains and forced him to go on the hunt with her. She'd been dragging him around for days and they finally found it bobbing on the surface of the water like a sickly buoy. "I don't really want to know what thing is going to turn into," he declared.

Nubia scowled at him. "Dr. Lee's great plans are not for you to scoff at," she said.

"Dr. Lee's great plans can suck--" his words stop when she had the audacity to backhand him across the face. His eyes narrowed and his nostrils flared. His hand shot out and grabbed her by the throat and lifted her off her feet, surprising her. His implant lit up and he felt the pain, but since was expecting it, he was able to block it for the time being. "Never are you touch me again. Do not mistake my disdain for the circumstances in which I currently find myself for weakness. Cross that line again, even if I die from this implant, I'll take you with me," he warned. He abruptly let her go and wiped the blood away from his nose.

Nubia fell to her knees and gulped in air. She rubbed her neck.

Gebbo snarled and growled, baring teeth that were too large for it and were getting even bigger as it ran toward Titus and leaped.

A crack of purple lightning made the dog-like yelp in pain and crash into the ground and roll. Titus never saw what caused the lightning or what happened next because of the pain from the implant overtook his senses. And he crumpled.

Nubia gasped and scrabbled to activate the pod even as Zita Repulsa appeared. She wasn't the same Zita Repulsa from her time on the moon, but neither was the moping Zita Repulsa who didn't know what to do with her life anymore.

Standing before Nubia, her dark make-up and wide, dark-lipped, dangerous smile was present as always, but gone was her gothic Lolita. Much more practical, dark leather pants, tall suede black boots attired her lower half. The top half showed some signs of her personal style. A white corseted top with frills at the bottom was over by a deep purple tailcoat with puffy top sleeves that buckled at her through and strapped just under her bust and at her waist. Her dark hair was pulled into her usual high pigtails.
She held one hand out, a magic force holding up the unconscious Goldsmith. The other was held toward where the dog-like creature had landed. "No one touches what belongs to me," she warned. The little mutt struggled to its feet, baring its teeth at her.

They were both distracted by the explosion from the water that launched the newest Chimera onto land. Like a sloth, a jellyfish, and Venus flytrap thrown into a pot and mixed together then reassemble again, the sight of it was horrible. Terrifying for humans, vaguely disgusting for Zita. "Ew. At least Finster has a since of aesthetics," she said.
"Anemonemone! Attack her," Nubia managed to yell out hoarsely. She ran to Gebbo, scooped him up and teleported.

Zita pursed her lips. Thinking it best not to try to transport Titus by magic, she just used the magical force to move him out of the way and faced the monster. She held out a hand. "Try me," she said and beckoned him forward.

Anemonemone roared and spit a slimy bubble at her. She produced a sword not unlike Lammy's rapier and slashed it. It exploded with enough force to knock her off her feet. She rolled to her knees and realized despite its sloth like appearance, it was fast. It was already on the loose. Well, that was a problem for the Power Rangers. She stood and walked over to where she stashed Titus. She knelt down sighed. "Bleeding again. You really are one of them," she said and pulled a piece of cloth from a pocket and wiped his face.

His eyes suddenly snapped open and he gripped her wrist, stopping her. "Do your spidey senses not work with that thing? Don't know the difference between help and danger?" she asked.

His head was throbbing, but he smirked. "Is there a difference when it comes to Zita Repulsa?" he asked. He released her wrist but took the cloth from her to wipe his own face.
Her grin widened. "Maybe not," she said as got to her feet. "Do you think you could not get yourself killed before I can figure out how to remove that?" she asked.

He didn't try to get to his feet. He knew he wouldn't make it without assistance, so he crossed his legs and leaned back on his arms to look up at her. "Why?" he asked.

His grin faded and she cocked her head. "Because I was told I couldn't," she answered, and her grin appeared again.

He couldn't help but give a slight laugh at that. "I'll try not to get myself killed," he said. "I don't know if you care or if you intend to spread it around, but Rio Revile went to Astronema," he said and scoffed.

Zita raised a brow. "It was only a matter of time. I'm sure she thought doing so would help her get revenge for her mother," she said.

"Dr. Lee doesn't care about anyone's personal grudges. She should've stayed where she was. She's no better off than any of us now," he said when he was finally able to get his feet.
"What do you mean?" Zita asked. He pointed to his implant. Her eyes widened slightly. "You mean Astronema had her implanted? When she went willingly?" she asked.

Titus' laugh was cold and bitter. "Astronema? She doesn't run anything. Don't for a moment think anyone but Dr. Lee is in charge. He just let's Astronema use the title of Princess of Evil because it suits him. She's a tool, same as me, Nubia, those little mutants, and that thing that came out of the water," he said. "All tools and dispensable," he said solemnly.

Zita nodded. "Will he experiment on her? Rio?"

"Without a doubt," Titus said.

Zita rolled her eyes. "Luckily we can't be cloned, but I don't want some mad doctor decoding any Vilite's DNA," she said. She harrumphed. "Keep your nose clean. I can't always be around to save you," she said and disappeared in a puff of purple smoke.

Titus smiled tightly. There would be punishment. He needed food to replenish his strength so he could handle it. He wandered off to find some.


Since AJ and Damien were off playing with their bikes, Mace didn't have to train with them. He decided to avoid Rex as well and headed away from the Youth Center. Chloe was still playing hard to get so he headed toward a skate park he used to like to go to before he left Angel Grove. Skating was about the only other thing he'd done besides gymnastics. When his mom found out, she'd gone ballistic because how easily he could have hurt himself and ended his career before it had even begun. That was no longer a problem for him, and he decided to see if skating itself had been as fun as he remembered or if it had been the thrill of doing something besides gymnastics behind his mom's back.

He was somewhat surprised to encounter Fox along the way. Fox had a habit of avoiding the Youth Center when he wasn't working. He spent enough time there and didn't feel the need to spend too much of free time there if he didn't have to. He had no particular aim in mind when he left. Free of training or working, he'd just wanted some fresh air. Running into Mace had been unexpected. They greeted each other somewhat awkwardly.

But Fox wasn't known for his ability to filter. "You don't like me much, do you, mate?" he asked as he somewhat feel into step with him.

"It's not the other way around? You don't feel like I took your spot?" Mace asked carefully.

"Maybe at first, but now I get it. I wasn't supposed to be Mastodon. Megalodon fits me so much better. Feels right. I ain't a problem with you. It's Chloe," he said.
Mace stopped in his tracks. "What?" he asked, flushing faintly.

"You don't like me because of Chloe. And she's playing it up. Look, mate, I don’t know what the deal is there. It ain't my business. Me and her, you can't even say we're friends. We were partners, we relied on each other in ways that go beyond that. She's fierce, tiny little bombshell, I give her that, but other stuff? No way," he said.

Mace gritted his teeth and crossed his arms. "I'm not sure what exactly you're thinking--"

"Ain't no use denying. Everybody can tell. I'm sure Tai's already said something. Trust me, mate. You don't want Tai to decide it's time for him to get into it. If it interferes and threatens the team, he will. I ain't one to meddle in other people's business but I think I have to be the one to settle her down," he said.

Mace blinked. "Are you saying you're going to help me? How?" he asked, no longer denying he needed it. And maybe Fox was exactly the right person to do it.

Fox nodded. "This involved us Black Rangers. Rex would probably get involved before Tai and nobody wants that either," he said. Mace chuckled. He couldn't argue with that. "Let's think of a plan. Whatever the thorn is, her avoiding it isn't doing anyone any good," Fox finally concluded.

They both suddenly stopped in their tracks and turned to look behind them. The Mad Madam was watching them intently. He pouted. "This is no fun. You aren't friends, but you're no longer rivals either," he complained with a petulant harrumph. He tossed his hair and turned to leave.

"Monster," Fox declared and hit his panic button.

"You sure?" Mace asked. Fox nodded.

"How did you know? What gave me away?" The Mad Madame demanded. He grinned and shifted into a hot pink and purple striped tiger. He maintained his acid green eyes. "Not that it matters," he growled and pounced toward Fox.

Mace pushed him out of the way. He cried out when the monster's claws raked his arm, but it was already beginning to heal.

The Madam growled. He shifted again, turning into a large snake and tried to wrap himself around Mace.

"Bronze Blades!" Fox summoned his swords and charged toward the monster, slashing it. He cried out and sparked, slithering away to shift again to his usual form of glory. "Dark Putties!" he summoned.

"So, is that what's Finster's into?" Rex suddenly speaking from behind him, startled Mace. He glanced around and realized that Team One had appeared along with Rex and Holly.

"We're not getting into that," Tai said. "Let's go!"

"Sorry. I'm not going to ruin my make-up playing with you anymore," the Madam said and twiddled his fingers before disappearing in a twinkle. But plenty of Dark Putties remained.

"It's Morphin' time! Tyrannosaurus!"









The Rangers morphed and engaged the Putties. Red summoned his Tyrannosword. He slashed through several of the Putties as they attempted to smother him. They eventually overwhelmed him and knitted together to form a Puttie Hulk atop him.

Blue was disappearing and reappearing, occasionally throwing her Sai when invisible. She was the first to notice what was happening to Tai, but she couldn't get over to him to help. "Someone help Tai!" she called out.

Black summoned his flail and was using it to the best of his limited mobility, the Dark Putties were smart. Only Blue seemed to have any actual autonomy to move around as the Putties kept each of them separated from the others.

Pink summoned her Fans and whirled through Putties encroaching on her but even as she escaped one circle, another soon formed around her. "Wood! Can you jump them?" she demanded.

Yellow was flipping and leaping like no one's business, but he still couldn't shake them. "I can't get past them," he complained.

"They've gotten smarter," Green decided as she practically speared her way through several of the puttied. She even headbutted one of them and it sent her stumbling.

Platinum's kama were short range weapons, and his metallic skin only managed to fortify himself, but he had confidence in Tai. "Just concentrate on your protecting yourselves," he said.
"That's practically all I can do," Titanium declared, firing cross bolts at Putties who surrounded her.

Bronze sliced and diced, so that No Puttie could get to near him, but he couldn't find an opening. "Shifu's right. Dashi can handle that," he said.

Red held his breath, summoned his strength and managed to get to his blaster. He began to fire rapidly. He kept firing. Puttie Hulk began filling with red energy. It began to crack apart as it glowed. It suddenly exploded in a massive red light that knocked everyone back and took the remaining Putties with it.


Anemonemone was heading toward more densely populated areas and every human he met, he spat at with a slimy bubble and caught them. At some point, he was detected by the Power Rangers. Team Two and the Legends were dispatched to deal with it while the others rescued went to the rescue of Fox and Mace.

Just as it was to launch another bubble at a huddling old man and his terrified wife, a blast of red energy shot it. It exploded but the Gold Ranger shielded the couple. "Hurry, get to safety," he said. The old couple tanked him and hurried away as fast as their aged frames could take them.

"You guys help the citizens to safety," Red instructed him. He nodded. Silver and Electrum helped him clear the area.

The other Rangers faced the Chimera. "Oh, it's so ugly. It's like the brain bug from Starship Troopers, but worse," Blue said.

"Yeah, the brain bug wasn't attached to a sloth sasquatch," Pink agreed.

"Nerds," Black accused them.

A skoris pod landed nearby and broke open. The insectoid creatures began spilling out to protect the monster.

"Enough chatter," Red said. "Danny, Nathan, take out that pod. The rest of you handle these things," she instructed.
"Right!" they agreed.

Green summoned his Stygian Blade and used it and his intangibility to engage the Skoris. "I really don't like these things," he complained.

"Ditto, bro," Yellow agreed. Being super agile came in handy when all you were fighting with were a pair of little bitey things, but they did seem to pack something of an electric punch that made up for it.

Black summoned her Power Axe and hacked her way through them. She huffed. "I think it's just general consensus that they're horrible," she said.

Blue summoned his Power Lance, but not to use in battle. Instead he was fiddling with something inside of it. It suddenly changed shape, becoming long and narrow and glowed blue. "Ha. Take this Billie," he mumbled to himself. "Nath!" he said and tossed it up to the Pink Ranger and threw up a force-field to protect himself now that Nath couldn't do it anymore.
Pink had been levitating and guarding Blue, but when he caught the Lance, her pivoted midair and faced the pod. He notched the lance like and arrow. He pulled his arm back and took careful aim. He fired and the Lance flew into the pod and exploded in a bright flash of light.

Red was trying to get close to the monster, but every time she tried, he spit a bubble at her and when she hit it, it exploded.

Having finished with the civilians, Gold, Silver, and Electrum rejoined her. "Get your cannon ready," Gold told her.

She nodded but before they could make a move, the Chimera started making a gurgling sound. As if foaming at the mouth, several small bubbles formed but the bubbles kept getting bigger and bigger and it began blowing a huge bubble that kept getting bigger and bigger.

"What's it doing?" Silver asked.

"Protecting itself," Gold said.

"It'd take the brunt if we burst it," Electrum said reasonable.

"There's going to be a lot of damage either way," Red declared. "Everyone behind me. Danny!" she called.

"Right! Gather close. We got you covered, Danny," Gold assured him. Blue nodded and the Rangers gathered closely together.

"Saurolophus!" Red called. The duck-billed R.A.D. digitized into existence. "SauroCannon!" The little robot transformed itself into a single barrel team cannon that seemed to hover on its own power. She aimed it. Her team helped her steady it. "Sauro Blast!"

As soon as she fired, Blue threw up a forcefield that was reinforced by Gold and Electrum channeling magical energy into him. And he needed that reinforcement. The power of the cannon's blast hitting the bubble exploded the world. They only managed to stay on their feet because they steadied each other, but as it was, Blue completely gave out when all was said and done. He lost his Morph and fell back into Gold's arms.


Command Center

Team One and the Mythic Rangers regrouped after their encounter with the moon monster. "Can you tack it Billie?" Tai asked. "What's the status of Team Two?" he asked Nyo.
"About to go Megazord, but Danny's down," Nyo said as the pooped Blue Ranger appeared in the Medi-Lab. "But we have a weird problem," he said.

Billie no longer felt the urgent need to one up Danny as worry for him set in. "What happened to Danny?" she and Holly demanded at the same time.

"He only needs to rest," Beez assured them.

"What's the weird problem?" Tai asked Nyo.

"There's a huge Pai Zhuq battle going on in the middle of raceway off the interstate," Nyo answered. "AJ and Damien are fighting and it's getting pretty bad," he said and pulled up a screen.

"The monster!" Billie said. "He said something weird to me and Danny about not being best friends but best rivals," she said.

"Well, that explains things," Wood said.

"Explains what?" Autumn asked.

"Why KiKi and Tori almost came to blows over gets to be the first to ride my new scooter," he said. "And then said some things that will be very hard to take back," he added, and sent Tori an odd look.

"I didn't say anything that wasn't true," she said. "I can't help it if I'm better than she is," she declared.

"Right. Definitely monster influence," Autumn agreed.

"We better go stop AJ and Damien," Rex said. "With any luck the monster will be watching it's handy work," he added.

"Right," Tai agreed. "Rex and I will Try and handle AJ and Damien. The rest of you get the Cannon ready," he said. They agreed and teleported out.


AJ and Damien were in the midst of fierce battle. AJ's white and crimson tiger was howling and slashing at the massive green and teal lion that belonged to Damien. "Give it up, AJ. You can't beat me. You never could," Damien called out.

"Don't make me laugh. I've only ever let you win so I wouldn't hurt your feelings," AJ goaded.

Suddenly, a huge black and gray bat broke screeched and flew through the big cats, startling them into breaking up the fight and hurting their ears.

Startled, Damien and AJ looked around for the source of the bat. Tai and Rex were approaching them. "Rex?" Damien asked. "Since when can you--?"

"I spent several months in space with nothing to do but talk to Zhane. Practicing unleashing my animal spirit was preferable," he said.

"See, even Rex is better than you, Damien!" AJ called out. Damien fumed and started toward him, but Rex stopped him.

"Let me go, Rex. I need to put this punk in his place," he said.

"Bring it on, hog boy!" AJ called out and stepped forward, but Tai appeared in his path. "I'll apologize later but I don't think we'll be able to talk sense," he said. Before AJ could understand what he meant, Tai struck, and AJ slumped.

Damien wasn't fast enough to prevent Rex from following his lead. The big cats faded and the two of them were teleported to the Command Center.

"You stopped the best show! But maybe there's an even better show to be had with you two," the Mad Madam said, suddenly appearing before them. He waved his wand and smiled triumphantly.

Tai and Rex looked at each other. "You feel any different?" Rex asked.

Tai shook his head. "No. You?"

"Not really. Kinda sneezy for a second but it went away," Rex said.

The Mad Madam screeched. "Why isn't it working?!"

"Perhaps I can explain. Unlike Danny and I, Rex and Tai are already each other's acknowledged biggest rivals. The thing you didn't anticipate is that rivalry and friendship are not mutually exclusive," Billie said from when she joined them. "You two, please duck," she said to the boys.

They all got out of the way just as the male Black Ranger, holding the BrontoCannon fired. The kickback almost got him, but the others steadied him.

"Now what? Team Two and the Legends are still dealing with the other monster," Billie said.

"I have good news and bad news," Titanium said as the monster grew. It was no longer and elegant drag queen. Instead it was an ugly old man in a frumpy dress and messy hair. 

"Dastards! My beauty! How dare you!" he said.

"Let's have it," Tai said.

"We have Mythic Zords. The Alpha Zords are still nonfunctional," she said.

"Go for it. The rest of you head back to the Command Center," Tai said.

Rex nodded. "It's Morphin' Time! Ankylosaurus!" he morphed as Tai and Team One teleported out. "AnkyloZord!" he summoned. Digitizing into existence, the spikey armored silver-white and black Zord zoomed forward and whipped around crashing its tail into the monster. Platinum teleported into the cockpit.

"NyctoZord!" Titanium summoned. Digitizing into existence in the sky, the sword headed, silver and black flying Zord screeched, swooped and grabbed at the hair of the monster. Titanium teleported into the cockpit.

"MegaloZord!" Bronze summoned. Digitizing into existence, the bronze and black shark clamped its powerful jaws around the monster's middle. Bronze teleported into its cockpit.
The monster shouted and flailed but managed to shapeshift into a giant snake to escape the assault. When it became humanoid again, he brandished his wand like a sword and slashed at the Zords.


Despite the absence of Danny, Team Two summoned the Raptormax Megazord and the Legendary Megazord to battle the now humongous monster, but the power increased with its size, and both Megazords were taking big hits.

"How can we get past those bubbles?" Red asked, hoping for ideas from either team.

"I have something of an idea," the male Red appeared in the shared cockpit, in Blue's usual place.

"Tai!" female Red gasped.

"Taran, we're not far from raceway where the other monster is. Let's herd it there. There's nothing out there except the raceway and AJ and Damien already cleared the place out," he said.

"Right. We'll follow your lead," Gold agreed.

"It's not often we get to play together on a Megazord," female Red told her partner. "Let's do this," she said. Both Megazords began herding the monster, protecting themselves from blow back from the bubbles as much as possible.


After tussling with the Monster individually for a while, Platinum decide it was time. Besides, they would be having guests soon. "It's time to bring 'em together!" he declared.
"Right," Bronze and Titanium agreed.

"Megazord mode activate!" Platinum initiated the sequence that had his Ankylozord breaking into an armored humanoid base with a club, Nyctozord breaking into a shield and helmet, and the MegaloZord becoming leg and arm armor with its fierce head attaching the Megazord's chest. They appeared in a joined cockpit. "Mythic Megazord!" They announced.

"Is that supposed to scare me?" the Mad Madam laughed but was quickly on the offense when the club turned out to be on a chain similar to a flail and crashed into him.

He sparked and lashed at the Megazord but the NyctoSheild protected it.

"Hey, here comes your soul mate," Bronze jeered as he spotted the other monster and Megazords closing in on them.

The Madam whirled and recoiled. "You've got to be kidding," he said, aghast. "I may be a monster made of clay, but I have my standards," he declared.

Someone how detecting it was being insulted, the Chimera monster turned toward the clay monster and gurgled.

"What did you call me, ugly?" the Madam demanded. Somehow forgetting about the Rangers, the two monsters began to attack each other.

"Not exactly how I expected things to go, but we can work with it," male Red declared. "Summon the Cannons," he said.

"Sharp-Toothed Cannon!" female Red summoned.

"Spike-Tail Silo!" Gold summoned.

"Bone-Headed Blaster!" Platinum summoned.

Each Megazord summoned massive launcher type cannons and aimed them at the fighting monsters. The monsters suddenly still. "Hey, buddy. Get the feeling we just lost?" the Mad Madam asked. Anemonemone gurgled in agreement.


All three cannons fired into the monster and turned their backs on the ensuing explosion. They managed to win the day, but things were getting more and more serious.


Appearing in the Command Center, Tori and KiKi both burst into tears and couldn't apologize enough for the horrible things they said to each other. Whatever the words had been, neither they nor Wood were willing to share with anyone else.

Billie and Holly checked on Danny, who was beginning to wake up.

AJ and Damien also came to their senses only to face not only a stern Tai, but Jason had appeared to watch over his little brother. Tai decided to leave them to the older Red. Even under the influence of the monster, there was no excuse for setting loose animal spirits the size of Zords in a place where there were civilians just to fight each other.

But all was not well that ended well. Although most of the people that Dr. Lee's monster had captured were freed after its defeat, many were unaccounted for. They definitely needed to figure out how to find Dr. Lee's station.


Outsiders were not invited to the Lyong family free-for-all, so Tai couldn't witness firsthand how his efforts came out, but he quickly heard about. The Lyong's met Tai and their three masters in the Youth Center. Noa had his luggage with him, because he was catching a bus to Mariner Bay to attend a specialized program for aspiring marine biologists who wanted to work with aquatic mammals. It had been his last free-for-all and he couldn't be more pleased.

"Judging by that face, I'm guessing Pua finally lost," Tai said, looking at Noa. Keone didn't seem too pleased, and he couldn't really tell how Lani was feeling.

Noa grinned. "You should have seen his face when he lost. Well, I'm sure you will if ever see the training video, but man. To be there. It's a memory I'll treasure the rest of my days," he said.

Sora cocked his head. "Then, did you win?" he asked wondering if he should be proud of his student or not.

Still grinning, Noa shook his head.

"It was Lani," Lammy said.

Lani shuffled her feet sheepishly and couldn't face Lammy. After Lammy's training, Pua's wheedling would never be able to bother her again. She was also now intimately privy to why Lammy doesn't consider herself to be capital G Good. She wasn't even sure if Lammy was completely lowercase g good.

"Oh, that's why Keone's still put out. He thought he'd be the winner if it wasn't Pua," Tai guessed.

"I tried my best," Taran said. What he didn't add was what every single one of them always thought, the girl for Tai wouldn't or couldn't be ordinary. He also knew Lammy. There was never any doubt that Lani would be victorious against her brothers.

Keone looked at Lammy. "What did you teach her? Can you teach me?" he asked.

Lammy smirked. "Sorry, sweetie. Your fragile male ego could never handle it. Lani wouldn't like it if I broke one of her brothers," she said. She finished her espresso when she saw Winter come downstairs. "Excuse me boys. I'm going on a date with my fella," she said. She threw them a smile and hurried over to him. She walked out with him looking like any girl in love and not hottest, scariest woman either of the brothers had ever met.

"Your friends are weird, I'm taking Noa to the bus station," he said.

Still grinning, Noa waved at them and followed his older brother out. "A date sounds fun. Let me try to make up for having you train with Lammy," Tai said Lani quietly.
Lani looked at him then laughed. "You don't have to make up for that. It's what I needed," she said. "But do let's go have fun," she said. She smiled and waved at Sora and Taran and pulled Tai out with them.

Sora noticed Taran watching them. "What's with the look?" he asked.

Taran shook his head. "A weird phrase just kind of appeared in my mind when I was looking at them and it's the perfect description," he said.

"What phrase is that?" Sora asked.

"The Red Lord and his Lady," Taran answered.

"Does it feel a bit like a premonition?" Rei asked from behind the counter. "Your powers are improving a lot," she said.

Taran smiled slightly. "Exactly. A premonition," Taran agreed. Both of them turned toward the counter. She beamed and poured him another espresso. Sora didn't get it, but he didn't have to. He returned the smile Rei sent him as she gave him another spiced tea. He trusted it was a good premonition and the future was brighter than things seemed at the moment.

-x-End 06-x-


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