Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers; they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic. This is an alternate universe from the television show with an alternate timeline.
Authors Note: This is the first part of a new series exploring what happens when evil gets its hands on the Zeo Crystal. It is based in an alternate reality within the Conquest of Evil Multiverse. However in this reality events did not run quite the same. This chapter sees the one and only appearance of Minion in this series. There is no Samoht Revilo/Tom Oliver to save the day here.
Scrapping the Competition
The Zeo Crystal was gone, and without it the Power Rangers were helpless to stop Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa from conquering the Earth. It had been five days since Tommy had been defeated by Lord Zedd's chosen warrior and the Red Ranger's injuries were slowly healing; without a connection to his powers he had to rely on the Power Chamber's facilities and time to repair the damage. But Tommy had hardly noticed as he and the other powerless Rangers had waited for the signs that Rita and Zedd had finished celebrating and were moving against the planet.
"What's taking so long?" Rocky asked, not for the first time. He quickly looked up to assure his friends that he was not hoping Zedd would decide to attack soon, it was just not knowing that made him increasingly nervous.
"It's possible Rita and Lord Zedd are having problems with the protection spells on the Zeo Crystal," Billy answered.
The former Blue Ranger had studied the Zeo Crystal during his time in the Power Chamber and had come to realise that the Monks of the M-51 Galaxy had taken great pains to prevent its power being used for evil. Directly accessing its power would require complex spells that he wasn't sure Lord Zedd would manage; Master Vile would perhaps succeed given that he was much older and wiser in the ways of evil, but Zedd was unlikely to share that power with his father-in-law.
"Do you think we could get it back before he finds a way?" Adam asked.
Billy shook his head.
"Negative. There is no way we would be able to reach the Moon and retrieve the Zeo Crystal before Rita and Zedd detect us. And without our powers we would stand a chance if Zedd decided to unleash his power."
And so, they continued to wait, aware that the longer it took the villain to make a move, the more chance there was that he was planning something nasty.
In fact, conquering the Earth was not at the top of Lord Zedd's priority list. Having defeated the Power Rangers and left them powerless, the villain had turned his attention elsewhere, seeking to eliminate the competition. To that end he had set his servants to work upgrading Serpenterra, restoring all the magnificent weapons that the mighty machine possessed but had been allowed to fall into disrepair due to lack of use. By rights Serpenterra should have been one of the most powerful weapons in existence, but its immense size meant that it suffered from poor power consumption and often just ran out of fuel.
Of course, now Zedd had possession of both the Zeo Crystal and the Golden Power Staff, energy was no longer a concern. The Zeo Crystal had been easy to hook up to the machine's power systems, and as soon as the engine room had been modified to correctly seat the artefact, the great Zord had reached fully operational status for the first time Zedd could remember. Not to mention that by using the Zeo Crystal in such a way, Zedd avoided the need to interact with the crystal directly, thus avoiding its evil-eroding powers.
~And if this works as I suspect, those protections will soon be gone.~
"The modifications to Serpenterra's reactor are complete Lord Zedd," Finster reported.
Powering the engines had been a simple task, using that same power to charge its most potent weapon had taken some imagination.
"It's about time!" Rita groused.
With the help of their new servant, Finster had been able to make the modifications in a very short time and had completed his part of the work much faster than Rito and Goldar, who were still dragging heavy materials from the lunar surface and positioning them in their correct positions. Once positioned and activated, those sections would restore Serpenterra to its full size.
"What is the status of the Machine Empire?" Zedd asked.
"They still haven't noticed us Zeddy!" Rita replied.
Hardly surprising given the infighting between Mondo and his son Gasket. In fact, Zedd considered himself lucky that the Machine Empire was in a state of near civil war, as he had no doubt that if Mondo had been paying attention, the Zeo Crystal would have already been snatched away before they could use it. But now Serpenterra was almost complete and Zedd was confident that his machine's firepower was greater than anything Mondo could assemble on short notice.
"Very well, set course for the Machine Sky Base. I want to teach that mechanical buffoon and the scrap heap he calls a family who the real power is around here."
The repairs and upgrades of King Mondo were a time-consuming affair during which the Machine King needed to divest himself of his heavily armoured metal plating so that the heavy panels could be taken away from restoration. Following a string of encounters with the Machine Empire's numerous foes, Mondo had ordered a complete refit, which had left him reduced to little more than a head on a scaffold of Cold Iron. It was not the sort of image a king such as Mondo wanted to project, but the Cogs had been programmed never to comment on any signs of weakness, so it really didn’t matter.
Suddenly alarms sounded throughout the Sky Base. Not the alarms that usually sounded when some inferior creature took it upon themselves to try and rescue a comrade or avenge some loved one. This was the siren that warned of an impending attack that threatened the safety of the Royal House of Gadgetry.
"Klank!" Mondo bellowed. "What is the meaning of this?"
"Forgive me, ye Majesty," Klank stammered as he rushed into the throne room. "Our outer defences have picked up a large object heading this way."
"Sire, it's Lord Zedd!" exclaimed Orbus.
"That weakling?" Mondo laughed. "How dare he attack me, here? Turn on our defences and destroy him."
He was not even sure why Zedd had triggered the alarm, there was very little harm the villain could do to him, even in his weakened state. Magic just did not work on machines.
"Daddy," Prince Sprocket whined, panic evident on his vocal circuits. "I don't think destroying him will be as easy as you think. Look!"
"What?!" Mondo cried as he turned to where the camera feeds from some of their scout units were positioned. The gigantic form of Serpenterra was hard to miss. "How can this be?"
"Sire, our sensors show that Serpenterra is at full power," Orbus reported.
"Impossible! There is no way Zedd could have found a spell to activate it fully!"
When Mondo and Machina had driven Zedd from the Moon, Mondo had spent time pondering how to capture the mighty Zord and turn it to his service. He had determined that to do so would require a vast amount of fuel and twenty Cogs shovelling it into the machine's reactors.
"Send a message to Zedd," Mondo ordered. "Tell him that we will allow him safe passage on this occasion, but future incursions into our space will be met with force."
"Message has been sent," Queen Machina replied. As the queen it was her duty to speak on Mondo's behalf while he was... not himself. "Message was received and has been read." She wished that she had thought to attach a virus.
Serpenterra seemed to slow, making the machines believe that Zedd had accepted their terms. The moment he turned away Mondo planned to upgrade their defences so that next time Zedd would be destroyed.
"I'm receiving a message," Klank informed them.
"Well, what are you waiting for. Play it!" Mondo demanded.
"You bucket-headed numbskull, my Serpenterra is more powerful than anything you have ever encountered, Mondo. Your puny Sly Base is no match for my power. I offer you what you offered me, leave this place or be destroyed!"
"Ahhh, daddy, I think he's serious," Sprocket warned as Serpenterra opened its massive mouth and charged an energy blast.
"You win this time Zedd, but the Machine Empire will return!" Mondo warned as he signalled the Cogs to start the process of moving the Sky Base out of orbit.
It he had expected his words and actions to cause Zedd to hold his fire, Mondo was in for a bitter disappointment. The mighty power generators drew on the energy of the Zeo Crystal, channelling it into a single burst of destructive power, which was in turn directed at the Sky Base.
Lord Zedd pushed a series of buttons, delighting as the readouts in the cockpit held steady and the arcing pulse of electrical energy grew within the firing chamber. For a moment there was a sound like a machine powering down and then as the destructive power shot from the Zord's mouth, the cockpit lit up, preventing them from seeing the full devastation of the attack. But it didn't matter for the smoking remains of what had been the centre of the Sky Base told of their victory.
"As if I would allow you the chance to seek revenge you metal plated moron!" Zedd growled as the Zord landed upon the largest area of what remained. "You and your rust bucket family will not be allowed to interfere with my plans."
As the machine took off, the Sky Base crumbled, settling the argument once and for all about which was the superior villain.
"And now, my dear wife, we shall deal with the rest of our rival before we return to Earth and put an end to the pesky Power Rangers. And the we shall rule the entire universe!"
"Oh Zeddy, I knew there was a reason I married you," answered Rita.
"Yes, I know I've said it before, but this time nothing can stop us, not even the Chowder Rangers, and the irritating allies. Bwah ha ha ha ha!"
End of Part