The Wrath of Skeletron(2)
By Kari and Rob
She lay in bed, curled up like a frightened child. Tears of fear rolling down her cheek. She'd never told her friends about her parents, nor did she ever plan to. But now, they might be able to sense the pain in her face, her eyes, her soul.
Dani could hear the shouting from outside the auto door. It was awful. She'd seen it happen before, but it had never been this bad. All the shouting and screaming. Dani had never seen this side of her parents before. She'd known them all her life, and they had always been as tight as tight could be. They almost never fought. And when they did, it was all just little bickering. But this was serious. It had been this way ever since they had moved onto Terra Venture 2100. And even before that, now that she looked back on it, there were signs.
She wished with all her heart that she could somehow use her new powers to push all of the conflict in her parents away. After all, the Power Rangers stood for all the good in the Universe didn't they?
But no, not even as an intergalactic warrior could she fix this problem. As many things as space technology could do, it could never mend a broken heart. And right now, her heart was split into two pieces. One for her Mother, and one for her Father.
She'd heard everywhere about divorce. About how it tore children apart, even in this day and age. Was she to suffer that same fate? Were her parents going to go their separate ways? It didn't look good for her now.
As the tears continued to fall from the cheeks of the young Asian, she listened for the loud shouting of her parents.
"That's the most ridiculous excuse I've ever heard!" Her Mother shouted.
"It's the truth!" Her Father shot back. "If Rass wants me to do it, I have to, I'm sorry but it's has to be done!"
"You're not taking all those tests again. Not on me and Dani! You know how bad it was for her when we moved here. She nearly didn't make it! It's not fair to her!"
"Are you? These days it seems like you're always putting your precious little job ahead of your Family."
"And who do I work as hard as I do for?"
Dani could tell that her Father had taken serious offense to that. Being accused of something personal was not something he liked, and barley could take.
"Well," her Mother said, "you sure don't act like it sometimes!"
"Well you know what? You act like an ungrateful little witch sometimes you know that!"
"Only because the witch's so called spouse isn't spending enough time with her and her daughter, and giving us the love we need."
"What am I supposed to do?" he said quietly. "Huh? What the heck am I supposed to do? I go to work nine hours a day and this is the thanks I get for it all?"
"You need to get your head on strait! Dani's only going to be here for a few more years and soon we're not going to have to chase her around anymore, unless we want attention to her. In these last few years don't you think she needs her Father around?"
"Yes, of course I do. But I told you there would be sacrifices if I took this job."
"Yes." Her Mom began to sob. "But one of those sacrifices shouldn't be the family that loves you and supports you. And by god Mark, if you act like this much longer…… you may not have it anymore!"
With those words her Mom rushed to the upper level. Her tears, tears of anger, sadness, frustration, and most of all fear. Just like Dani's.
Through the closed auto door she could hear her Father crying as well. This brought Dani mixed feelings, for in all her life she had never seen or heard her Father shed a tear.
But this, this horrid, moment of despair and heartache. A moment of horrible realization of a possible change, had made the man she had always known to be a superhero, grow weak.
Dani climbed back in bed, her pillow soaked from tears, tear were still dropping from her eyes. She was a great distance away, from a place that the legends called Paradise.
"Power Rangers?" the evil master Sinister Sludge bellowed.
"NO! How can that be possible? The Power Rangers have been extinct for over a Century! How could they possibly be back?"
Looking around at the snakes that surrounded the throne of his Master, the Ninja Warrior Grimbar decided that this was not time to be frustrated with his superior. How was he to know how the Power Rangers had re-emerged from extinction.
He did not expect Sludge to be pleased with his story of his fight with five Power Rangers on KO-35. Grimbar knew, as Sludge did, that if Power Rangers were to surface, they would be an instant threat to his plan of eventual take over of the Universe.
"I only saw them your Highness." He replied. "I cannot determine how they surfaced."
The Green, black cloaked humanoid with braids of hair and slime trailing from the back of his skull, snorted with dismay. "This news, though disturbing as it may be, is interesting. After so many years absent, five Power Rangers re-emerged. Perhaps, it is not all-bad. It would have been boring to just take the Universe without a challenge. Perhaps now, I can test my ability. As well as this army of Miroids you have assembled Grimbar."
Grimbar nodded his head. Indeed, the army of slime creatures he had assembled was tough, yet Sludge had assumed that the Miroids that attacked the rock avalanche had destroyed the Rangers. He did not yet know that the Rangers had defeated them with what looked to be somewhat of ease. He would have to slightly modify their training techniques.
"Yes." Sinister Sludge growled. "Being the first to destroy a team of Power Rangers will make me famous among future evil masters. Or even those who still exist, if there are any left…"
Grimbar knew all too well about Zordon of Eltar's action in the battle of Darkness so many years ago. The rays of postivity from his energy tube had indeed wiped out all the evil forces on that side on the Universe. As far as he knew, Sinister Sludge was the only one remaining.
But then again….maybe he wasn't.
"Indeed." The Sorcerer snarled. "Prepare to send a quote, "Monster" into the Universe. He will be the first of many to serve myself, the future ruler."
"Where shall we send it?" Grimbar asked.
Sludge thought it over for a moment. "Send it back to KO-35. I want to see just how the Rangers deal with a rocky surface I should be interesting."
"Yes my master." Grimbar replied.
Indeed, it would be interesting.
"Decoda James Stewart! Get out of bed, NOW!"
"Come up here and make me." Cody mumbled into his pillow. The last thing he wanted to do was mow the lawn at 8:30 in the morning, and on a Saturday, too!
He heard his mom's light steps coming up the stairs only moments later. She walked in and opened a control panel on the side of his door, and with one press of a button, the blinds opened, a bright light turned on, and Cody's holographic pillow disappeared! Stupid modern technology…
"Hey!" He protested, glancing up at her, half-blind without his contacts in.
"You are so much like your great grandma. Rebellious, stubborn-"
Cody quickly cut her off, he certainly didn't want any more speeches about that. "Mom, please. I'm nothing like Grandma Nikki. I didn't try to kill myself when I was 13, for one thing…." He mumbled last the phrase but his mom heard him anyway.
"Decoda…I'm tired of you talking about Grandma Nikki like that…You should be proud of her! She paved the way for your generation."
His mom sighed deeply and then stood up. "Go mow the lawn, Decoda. Now." She then walked out the door.
"Ah jeez…now I'm gonna have to hear about this all day." Cody whined rolling out of bed and groping around his night stand for his glasses so he'd actually make it to the bathroom to put his contacts in.
Once he had them in he hurriedly pulled a pair of jeans on. He looked around his room for a T-shirt hoping to find a clean one. No such luck. Oh well, he thought. It'll be warm enough to go without for a couple of hours. Walking out the door he hit another button on the control panel, that sent an Alpha droid running from down the hall and into his room. Without even being told, the little droid began to pick up the teen's room. Cody smiled. Maybe this technology wasn't so bad after all.
He tramped down the stairs and into the kitchen to find his mother reading the paper at the table. Another droid was at the sink washing last night's dinner dishes.
She looked at him skeptically. "I hope you don't plan to go out like that."
"Yes, I do." He sighed and walked out the back door before his mom could protest further.
To his friends, and new teammates, he must seem like an angel. He snickered at the thought. He sure was a good actor when it came to acting completely different, from what at home. He guessed he could thank his great grandma for that, too. He was sick of always being told he was just like Grandma Nikki. Maybe, because he knew he really was like her. It worried him to think that way, but he couldn't help it.
And now he was following even more in his grandmother's steps! Becoming a Power Ranger. Now the only thing that made them different was, he was a guy, she was a girl. He laughed at that thought too. Maybe some day people would stop referring to him as the ancestor of the great Nikki Thompson. He hoped that day would come soon. Real soon.
"So honey, what are you doing, today?" Her dad asked trying to make small talk at the silent breakfast table.
She wasn't buying it. She had heard them fighting. Her mom still had tear stained cheeks.
"I'm going over to a friends house. We might go to the mall." Dani answered quietly.
"That sounds nice." Dani's mom sniffled.
The silence for the next moment was unbearable. She felt ready to burst.
"Mark! Aren't you at least going to say something to your daughter? You haven't even said good morning!" Dani's mother, Lindsey accused.
Mr. Williams threw the paper onto the table. He was intently glaring at Lindsey. "She just got down here, for cripes sake! I wanted to finish this article! Give me two minutes, ok?" Mark screamed at his wife.
Haughty insults were exchanged before Dani finally picked up her china cereal bowl and threw it to the wood floor of their kitchen. Her parents stopped yelling and looked at their daughter and then to the mess on the floor. Her dad then exploded.
"Danielle! What the heck! The china cost a lot of money!"
Tears flooded from the teen's eyes. "I knew it! You care more about some stupid bowl then you do, your own daughter! I hate you!" The words were out before Dani could stop them. Her dad looked genuinely hurt. She wanted to scream and yell some more, but decided against it and fled from the room instead.
"Kaylee! I'm going shopping, I'll be back by dinner. I'm taking the twins. Make sure your brother gets dressed. He hasn't moved from the couch for three hours!"
Kaylee barely heard her mom. She had her bedroom door opened, but her thoughts weren't on what was going on downstairs. She tried to concentrate on the textbook in front of her, but her mind kept drifting off to other matters. As in becoming a Power Ranger two days ago.
She thought she heard the front door shut, so she sighed and closed her Geometry book. Math had never been her subject. She could get A's in everything else, but Math? Forget it.
She tramped down stairs in her pajamas still, and found Mike just where her mother had told her.
"Hey, Mike. Don't you at least want to eat breakfast?" She queried.
Her younger brother brought up a hand to silence her. Kaylee threw her hands up in the air, defeated, and walked into the kitchen.
Mike had always been a bookworm. His first word was, believe it or not, dictionary. He was so smart, too smart. He could do two or three different things at one time. TV, read a book, listen to the radio. She got great grades, but they never beat her brother's.
It sometimes frustrated her, but there were some things she could do better. Martial Arts for example. She'd been doing that for 6 years. She was getting pretty good at that.
She walked over to the synthetron, and pushed a familiar code into the microwave looking appliance. She'd just sat down, when the telephone rang. She jumped at the noise and reached over to the wall where it hung.
"Hello?" She answered.
"Hey Kaylee." A familiar voice answered back.
"Yep. I just wondered if you had Steve's phone number. I wanted to talk to him bout something."
" His phone isn't hooked up yet. I could give you his address, though. He lives right down the street from me."
"Why don't you just gimme your address, and we can walk over together? It's just about our…uh…new responsibilities, you can hear too."
"Ok." Kaylee quickly gave him her address, hung up and then fled up stairs to get ready.
It was almost 11:30, on a Saturday morning, and she still wasn't ready. She had wanted to get started on her homework, instead. Now, Ryan would be there any minute and she didn't even have her hair combed!
She pushed a small button next to the closet door, which rose the door up automatically. Every one aboard the Terra Venture had been ordered to buy patches to sew to the arm or leg of every article of clothing they owned. It identified the age group she was in, and what school she went to. Being in the 14-19 age group, she had a pale pink patch sewn to all her clothes.
"How appropriate," she chuckled.
Kaylee's closet slid open, to reveal a row of clothes, her daily selection. She felt a sudden impulse to wear something pink. Wasn't the patch enough? She shrugged and reached for a pink T-shirt and a pair of jean overalls.
She ran a brush through her hair and brushed her teeth. Just as she was flying down the stairs the doorbell rang. Mike didn't even flinch. Kaylee opened the door, out of breath, and found a smiling Ryan. He wore a red flannel shirt over a white T-shirt and a pair of jean shorts. He too was happy for Saturday when he could wear some "real clothes".
She threw a good bye over her shoulder to her brother, and walked out side to join Ryan on the front porch.
"Ready?" Ryan asked.
Kaylee smiled. "Yes, finally."
The duo walked silently down the front walk and toward Steve's house. It was about half a block away. They chatted about school for a moment and then Kaylee suddenly shushed Ryan, during his conversation on the History teacher.
Up ahead a tall muscular teen, slightly older then the two of them, stood at the corner of the block his hands in his pockets, staring intently at the sidewalk.
Ryan looked down at Kaylee. "What? What are you looking at?"
Kaylee scowled up at him and motioned for him to be quiet. He looked at her oddly for a second but dropped it. A moment longer of standing there and finally Kaylee grabbed Ryan's arm and steered them forward. The sudden movement caught Ryan off guard and he stumbled before matching his stride with Kaylee's.
Ryan was quiet until they were few yards away from the boy. They then turned up to the walk in front of Steve's house. Kaylee finally let go of Ryan's arm, much to Ryan's relief.
"Jeez, Kaylee. That's one heck of a grip." Ryan mumbled rubbing his upper arm tenderly.
"Sorry. I didn't want you to say anything in front of him." Kaylee apologized quickly and then looked back down the road to where the boy was still standing, as if in a daze.
Ryan followed her gaze. "What's your problem? What's with the guy?"
"I don't know. I keep seeing him EVERYWHERE! I don't know if he's following me or if it's just coincidence."
Ryan shrugged. "Don't worry about it. You saw a guy a few times, big deal. He probably lives around here."
Kaylee shook her head stubbornly. "No. But let's go inside. I wanna tell Steve, too."
Kaylee firmly took Ryan's arm again, catching him once more off guard and turned him toward the front door.
She knocked once and the door opened to reveal a half asleep American-African teen.
"What are you guys doing here? It's like 6:30 in the morning." Steve said groggily.
"Not quite, buddy." Kaylee reassured, leading Steve back into the house and over to the couch. He gratefully slumped down into it.
Ryan looked around for the family for a second before flopping down to an arm chair diagonal of Steve. Kaylee shoved Steve's feet off the couch and sat down next to him. Steve mumbled something unintelligible and groped around on the floor for the blanket he knew was there.
"Knock it off, Steve. Ryan wants to talk. And it's almost 12:00 you should be awake by now." Kaylee laughed.
"I was up till 3:30, give me a break…" Steve's voice broke off with a content sigh, and his eyes closed heavily.
"3:30? Isn't that a little late?" Kaylee asked, incredulously.
"No, Duh." Ryan smart-mouthed.
Kaylee took time to momentarily glare at him playfully and then turned her attention back to her half-asleep lifetime friend.
"Why were you up so late?" She queried.
"I was…uh…studying…* yawn * …." His voice broke off again.
"Studying what? On a Friday?" Ryan was not interested.
"The original Astro Rangers. I wanted to see what made them tick. We have VERY complex powers. I don't know how we'll ever understand it all."
"Oh, now I understand. That's why I came over here. Should we call Dani and Cody?" Ryan asked.
"We could, but my stupid phone isn't hooked up. Mom insisted that we get a new TV phone. It allows you to actually see the person you're talking to if they have the same type of phone." Steve mumbled.
"We have one of those too, it's just not hooked up yet. My mom hopes to do it this weekend." Kaylee answered.
"Us too. But I can always use my cellar." Ryan explained pulling out a tiny phone out of his pocket. It must have been the size of a credit card they used back on earth.
"Why don't we just meet them at the park? That'll be easier then trying to give them directions to here." Kaylee advised.
"Does that mean I have to get dressed?" Steve whined. The two others laughed.
Steve sighed and retreated upstairs as Kaylee gave Ryan Dani's number. Ryan punched in the correct numbers for Dani's home number on the phone, and listened to the rings go by.
At first, the voice on the other end alarmed Ryan for it seemed to be weeping. As if in pain. Ryan asked for Dani quickly.
"Hello?" A familiar voice on the other end answered.
Dani. Who also seemed to be crying.
"Dani?" Ryan asked. "Are you alright?" Kaylee turned her head to Ryan with a concerned look on her face.
"Yeah." She replied. "I'm just having some….. problems at home right now. It's nothing that you need to worry about. What is it?"
Ryan rolled his eyes. Rude enough? "You know where Park 56 is?"
"Yeah." She said.
"Good," Ryan said. "Can you meet us there? We need to talk about the…… thing."
There was a pause. "Yeah, I'll meet you there in about fifteen minutes."
"Great, oh, and can you buzz Cody? I'd appreciate it."
"Sure." She said. "Later." And with a click on the other end, Ryan clicked the phone off.
"What was that about?" Kaylee asked. "Is she okay?"
Ryan frowned. "I don't know. I'm not sure, but I think she was, crying. Not only that, but the woman who answered the phone. She seemed to be teary too."
Steve stomped down the stairs, dressed in a shirt and pants of a black fabric.
"Well," He said. "You got me up, so let's get out of this place. The air'll do me good."
Ryan and Kaylee eyed each other. But with a bit of hesitation, they followed Steve through the sliding door
Park 56 was about as crowded as usual today. All the equipment that the kids played on was being hounded every moment by some eager little boy or girl waiting to swing, or bounce, or whatever they desired.
Cody sat on the park bench looking at the kids playing, laughing. Now, that was a good time. They weren't expected to live up to their ancestors. Expected to be all proper, and perfect.
Cody never seemed to escape his heritage. He never had been. He remembered being frustrated, almost to tears at what his Mom was always saying to him about, how lucky he was, and how it was so great, and how he should be proud.
And now that he was a Power Ranger, it worried him that someday, his descendants would be tortured like he had been.
Over the hill, he spotted his new teammates, Dani, Ryan, Steve , and Kaylee. he waved an outstretched hand toward them, and they approached.
What was that look in Dani's eyes?
"Hey." Steve greeted.
"Hey, back. What's going on? Dani told me it was something about our uh…new responsibilities." Cody answered leaning forward so he could speak without other people hearing.
"Yeah, but we can't really talk about it right here. Let's go somewhere with less people. That ok with you guys?" Ryan asked turning to his companions.
"Sure." Kaylee and Steve said in unison.
Dani was silent.
"Dani? Is that ok, with you?" Ryan asked uncertainly. He hoped she wouldn't burst out crying or something horrible. He'd never know what to do.
Dani shuffled her feet across the dirt and nodded still not looking up. Ryan caught a small drop of water, falling from her face to the grass below.
The rest of the group had already taken off, toward the woods. Dani moved slowly. Ryan hesitated before stepping back in pace with her and reached down and gently grasped the shorter teen's hand. He gave it a light squeeze, just to let her know that he was there if she needed to talk. Talk? Since when did Ryan like talking?
Dani looked up at him surprised for a moment and then all hell broke loose. She began crying harder and she threw her arms around Ryan's neck. Ryan was startled, and stumbled backwards. His eyes were wide, and he could feel his neck becoming wet with her tears. Ah, jeez. He thought. What the heck do I do now?
Slowly, cautiously, he hugged her back for a minute and then carefully broke away.
Dani wiped her clammy cheeks and then smiled. "Thanks Ryan." She whispered.
Dani began jogging to catch up with the others, and Ryan stood mesmerized where she had left him.
What just happened?
When they reached the woods, all five teens gathered around a large tree in the center of a pile of leaves. They sat down.
"Okay," Kaylee said. "Educate us."
"Well," Ryan said. "I'm sure you've all done some research on the older Astro Powers. You probably know most of the basics, about how they were made, weapons, and all that stuff right?"
"Actually, no." Dani said.
Ryan sighed. "Mmmkay, well, how they were made doesn't matter. After Morphing a few times yesterday, I took note that there was a small blue pistol in that holster on your left hip. They used to call that an "Astro Blaster". And also, by reaching down into your belts, you can take out a weapon of some sort. Mine is the "Spiral Saber". Cool weapon, once you get the hang of it."
"What about ours?" Cody asked.
"I did do that," Ryan replied. "Steve, you are the Black Astro Ranger, reach into your belt and you'll have an "Lunar Lance" in your hands."
"Cody, you're the Blue Ranger, you will have control of the "Astro Ax", a small ax, but swift at the swing."
"Dani, the Yellow Ranger has the "Star Slinger", a tool that's kind of like an intergalactic slingshot, you'll see it when you need it."
"And Kaylee, the Pink Ranger is equipped with the "Satellite Stunner". A pink gun used to blast aliens out of the sky."
Ryan took a breath. That was a lot of talking.
"Is that it?" Cody asked. "You called us here for this?"
"Well, I thought you'd like to know." Ryan answered.
Cody sighed, "Look pal, I appreciate the effort, but I've got work to do, so I'll catch ya la-"
Then, with a flash of light, ten of those same creatures that attacked them on K0-35 only two days before appeared.
"Miroids!" Ryan exclaimed.
"Miroids?" Kaylee cried. "Is that what these ugly things are?"
Ryan never had the chance to answer the question. The Miroids charged forward, swinging their claws as they did so.
Steve charged back at them, swinging a kick that knocked two of them down to the ground. He pounded his fist into their sternums.
Kaylee swung a Karate chop that hit a Miroid directly in the shoulder. She then grabbed it by that shoulder and swung it into a tree, she followed up with a trip that knocked the monster into a pile of leaves.
Dani clenched her fists. This was for them, and all their stupid arguments. She raced forward, clothes-lining two down with both hands, letting all the bottled up emotions flow. She stomped on ones chest, punched a charging attacker, and kicked him in the abdominal. She then continued her stomping on the one she had pinned down to the ground. She sat down on him, and began to punch his face with all of her strength.
'You care more about some stupid bowl than you do your own daughter!"'
'You act like an ungrateful little witch sometimes you know that!"
"Mark! Aren't you going to say something to you're daughter?"
"I hate you!"
Her inner rage continued slowly to be exhaled form her, until she realized, that the Miroid she had been hitting was no longer there, and she was lying on a ground, hitting it.
She looked up, surrounded by her four friends, who at this point had confused looks on their faces. The Miroids were gone, and yet she was still swinging. Dani cringed at the thought of what it must have looked like.
She didn't cry. Had she cried herself out already?
Steve helped her to her feet. "You okay?"
She nodded. "Are we done?"
"Yeah," Ryan said.
With that, Dani ran off, away from her friends, and from her new responsibilities.
Sinister Sludge raised a green eyebrow. What was this? She had run away from the fight. No Power Ranger in history had ever done that.
He rose from his throne. "This is an opportunity I cannot pass up. Change of plans Grimbar. My new monster is heading to Terra Venture 2100. This new development in one of the new Rangers will make only make them weaker. I may claim victory over these new Rangers easier than I originally thought."
Grimbar nodded his approval.
"And now," Sludge called out, twirling his staff in the air and aiming it at the blackness of space. "Skeletron, arise!"
In the middle of Park 57, flames burst out near the V. bench, as Skeletron appeared.
"As you command Sinister Sludge." It said "the Power Rangers will lick your boots when I finish my mission."
And with that, the monster began his rampage in Park 57.
Ryan, Cody, Steve, and Kaylee sat at the slide in Park 56. Still thinking about Dani's tantrum.
Had the stress of being a Power Ranger made her do it? It was unlikely, being as they had only morphed once.
But whatever had made her do it, it was obviously something personal. Ryan figured it may have had something to do with that woman crying over the phone.
Suddenly, they spotted a man, running towards them with his arms in the air.
"H-, Hey! You kids over there!" he shouted. "Don't just sit there! A huge, horrible, ugly monster is coming this way! Get up and run!"
With that, the man continued to panic, running past the Park and towards town.
"A monster huh?" Steve said. "I think it's time, you guys."
"What about Dani?" Kaylee asked. "We can't have our first big battle without her!"
"I'll get her." Ryan said, trying not to panic. "Her house isn't that far from here. I can sprint that way and hopefully be back in time. If not, you guys morph and fight him 'till we get here. Okay?"
But by the time they opened their mouths to respond, Ryan was already on his way toward town.
The pain in Ryan's side was getting hard to ignore as he reached the street on which Dani's house was. He finally stopped when he was at Dani's driveway.
To his surprise, the door was wide open, revealing Dani and her Father exchanging heated words.
"That is my Mother you're yelling at!" He heard Dani scream.
"Well go yell at her then." Her Father replied. "She's the ungrateful one around here. I work my fricken butt off and all she does is complain!"
"Maybe I will." She shouted back. "Maybe together we can find a way to show you what you're NOT doing around here!"
Suddenly, all eyes were on Ryan.
"Uh, bad time?" he asked sheepishly.
"Yeah." Dani said. "What is it?"
Ryan winked at Dani.
And then she understood. "Dad, I think I'll go out and be with some people who actually care about me!" She walked away from him and slammed the door behind her.
"Sorry 'bout that." He said. "I didn't mean to pull you away from something important."
"Who said it was important?" Dani replied. "It's about that right? Even if it's not, I don't want to spend one more second in that house today! I hate those people."
Ryan raised his eyebrows.
Did she say hate?
Leaves and trees were now all that separated Skeletron from civilization. And he was cutting through them at an extremely fast pace. His ax swinging through the air, chopping branches with every swing.
"Heh heh heh…" He mumbled to himself. "Sludge…Sinister Sludge… death to all… Power Rangers… Armageddon!"
And then, there it was.
The three remaining teens at the Park jumped at the sight of the threat from the woods.
"Skeletron." It said. "Destroy!"
The beast hurled its ax at Cody, Steve and Kaylee. The teens dodged the attack, and the ax cut directly through one of the slides. Skeletron was quick to retrieve it before the teens could take action.
Cody examined the monster. There in front of him stood a creature with a human skull as its head. His entire upper left arm, upper right arm, and left thigh were coated in bulk pitch-black leather. While the rest of his body was made up a large skeletal structure and circuitry. In his left hand he held an ax.
Cody grimaced, he was much too buffed up to be a regular skeleton.
Suddenly, Ryan and Dani burst on to the scene.
"Well look who finally showed up." Steve commented.
"Shut up." Ryan said. "Alright guys, you know what to do!"
The teens nodded in agreement.
With a flick of their wrists, their morphers appeared. And with a press of the buttons three, three, and five, the teens morphed.
Ryan morphed into the Red Ranger.
Steve changed to the Black Ranger.
Cody became the Blue Ranger.
Kaylee transformed into the Pink Ranger.
Dani morphed into the Yellow Ranger.
With a flash of colored light, the Astro Power Rangers appeared.
Skeletron was not impressed. He quickly shot two beams of fire from his eyes that knocked the power team to the ground.
Though the Astro Rangers did not stay down long. They flipped up and drew the weapons that Ryan had mentioned earlier.
Red Ranger attacked with his Spiral Saber drawn. He slashed it across the torso of the beast, and followed that up with a kick to its side. Skeletron blocked his next shot however, and attacked him with a slash of his own.
The Red Ranger fell back. His chest smoking.
"Don't worry Ryan, we'll get 'em." the Yellow Ranger said. And with that, she and the Pink Ranger leaped into the air and fired two laser beams at Skeletron. Pink from the Satellite Stunner, yellow from the Star Slinger.
The beams nailed Skeletron, but barely phased him. He countered with more eye beams that knocked the two Rangers out of the sky. They landed on their backs near the Red Ranger.
"Man," the Yellow Ranger said. "This dudes almost as stubborn as my Dad!"
"Not for long!" Black Ranger shouted, and charged for the beast with his Lunar Lance drawn.
Skeletron blocked his first shot but the Ranger scored on his next one. He threw a left jab, which caught the bony beast on its chin.
The Blue Ranger jumped in and hit the monster hard with his Astro Ax. Skeletron kicked at the Blue warrior, knocking him back. But the Blue Ranger came back with another hard blow to the chest, which knocked Skeletron to his knees.
Finally, the monster let his anger flow and hurled his ax at the Black Ranger, knocking him back instantly. Then he made an unexpected move by removing his right forearm from it's joint and swinging it at the Blue Ranger.
"Whoa." Red Ranger gasped. "Some assembly required!"
Sinister Sludge grasped the arm of his throne tightly. Ozze dripping from his throbbing arm.
"Grimbar…" he said. "Why is my monster losing to a bunch of colorful teenagers?"
Grimbar gulped. "I don't know my lord."
"Hmmm," the evil master rubbed his chin. "Perhaps my monster making skills have weakened a bit since the last time I made a creature. But never the less, this is one technique I haven't lost my touch on!"
Sinister Sludge quickly grabbed his staff and shot a beam of green light toward Terra Venture 2100.
"Grow Skeletron! Grow!"
The Power Rangers cringed at the sight of their new threat. Skeletron had grown taller than the buildings of the city.
He twirled his ax in the air and pounded it into the ground, shaking the ground below them. He then shot those horrific beams out of his eyes just as he had before. The Rangers were forced to retreat under the playground equipment nearby.
"What do we do now?" Kaylee asked. "There's no way we can beat him with our weapons. Not when he's that tall!"
"Ain't no way we can do this." Black Ranger cried. "How did we ever get into this mess anyway?"
As the Black Ranger spoke, under the helmet of the Red Ranger, something clicked. He wasn't exactly sure what it was. It was a sudden jolt of thought that had zapped itself into his head, but what was it? Had the Power spoken to him? Was it memory from studies? Or was it quick thinking in the time of need?
But whatever it was, it was a window of hope for him and his comrades.
"Astro MegaZord power!" he called.
The rock quarry on the eastern part of K0-35 hadn't changed much in two days. With the exception of a few fallen stones. And if you were close enough, you could make out the old, rusty Astro MegaShip that the new
Power Rangers had discovered only two days ago. Under all the rocks and debris.
Suddenly, an explosion shook the quarry with a fierce energy. Boulders fell, stones cracked, and rocks crumbled.
And then, a flash of white light you could see from a mile away shined from the MegaShip. Engines activated, computers turned on, and what had merely been a rusty retired ship moments ago, became a shiny blue Astro MegaShip. Being summoned by the power had brought it back to life, killing all the rust with the power of life.
It lifted off, followed by a white shuttle, which had not been buried far away.
And if you looked down from it, you could see the gigantic empty space that the two ships had once filled.
Skeletron was almost as shocked as the Rangers below him when the Astro MegaShip fired its laser cannons at him. He was hit directly in the shoulder, which made him fall to his knees grasping his arm. The pain was unbearable.
"Ahhhhh!" It cried. "Demon from Sky!"
And then the transformation began. The Astro MegaShip began to morph into the shape of a large body. Dust fell from it as it changed. Different parts of the ship were now becoming one as the Astro MegaZord.
The white shuttled landed atop the head of the large blue machine, assembling the complete battle machine.
"Let's fly Rangers!" The Red Ranger yelled.
The Five colored heroes leaped into the sky, and passed through a small door in the head of the Zord. They were met with a cockpit full of cobwebs and dirt.
"Looks like this place needs a good cleaning up!" the Black Ranger said. He quickly whipped out his Lunar Lance and began to cut through the cobwebs.
The Rangers were able to make it into their proper seats and boot up the deactivated systems.
"How does this work?" Ryan asked. "There's a million controls here, any one could be the one we want."
"Well, press them all!" the Yellow Ranger cried.
The Red Ranger had already found the correct switch by the time the words were from his partner's mouth.
"Oh," he said, "I think I get this. You just use these joystick here, and these things down here. And this control panel here!"
The Power Ranger's discoveries were interrupted by a jolt of movement. Skeletron had struck the MegaZord with his claws.
"Whoa!" Blue Ranger called. "Ryan do something!"
He did so. With a move of the right Joystick, Astro MegaZord's right hand struck back with a blow to its chest.
Skeletron grasped his wound. Grinding his rotting teeth, he fired two flaming Orange beams form his eyes that smacked the torso of the MegaZord.
Astro MegaZord took a few steps back to absorb the blow. It charged forward at half speed, trying not to overhead the power in its legs. It swung a kick that caught Skeletron in its side. It followed that up with another blow to the chest, and an uppercut to the chin.
Skeletron was furious, and raised his ax. He twirled it in the air and hurled it at the robot. But the Astro MegaZord dodged it quickly.
"Ryan!" The Pink Ranger shouted. "The ax! Get the ax!"
Red Ranger did so and used the MegaZord's hand to scoop up the ax from the ground.
"Timber ugly boy." Red Ranger muttered. "Timber."
The MegaZord swung the ax a number of times but missed on all occasions. Skeletron took advantage of that and grabbed the large blue arm of the Astro MegaZord and ripped the ax from it. Using quick thinking, Skeletron slashed the shoulder and upper torso of the robot.
The Astro MegaZord slumped to the ground, sparks spewing from its joints.
"Damn!" Red Ranger shouted. "What now?"
"Wait!" Black Ranger shouted. "I remember reading something I was up late studying, it was about this Zord!"
The Zord shook as Skeletron began to crush it with his foot.
"What is it?" Red Ranger asked.
"A sword." He replied. "The Astro MegaZord Saber. Call its name and it'll come from the sky!"
"I guess it's worth a try." Red Ranger said. "Astro MegaZord Saber!"
Suddenly, the sky light up in a bright white light. The Rangers and Skeletron shielded their eyes.
And then it came. The silver Astro MegaZord Saber shot out from the sky and slashed Skeletron across the chest. It's tip stuck into the ground as it landed.
The MegaZord pulled itself up and picked up the weapon just in time to stop a charging Skeletron. The sword blocked a shot from its ax. The Zord pushed the monster away, and with one swift shot from the Saber, sliced the weapon to pieces.
"Ax!" Skeletron cried. "You…smash ax!"
"Time for some real power!" Red Ranger cried. "Your finished, bones and groans!"
Suddenly, the sword ignited with a blue flame. Skeletron stood in awe, amused by the dazzling sight.
Suddenly, the Astro MegaZord's hand swung the sword down, sending the flame strait at the beast.
And with an explosion, Skeletron was no more.
The Rangers cheered. Victory was theirs. Their new weapon gave hope for the galaxy. Hope for them. They could do this, if they worked as a team!
"NOOOO! I can't believe this!"
Sinister Sludge slammed a dripping fist onto the arm of his throne, so hard it caused the whole room to shudder. Baboo and Squatt cowered in the corner, hugging each other trying to get some comfort from one another's grasps. Grimbar, as well, looked worried about the evil lord's anger.
"I've never lost a battle! And against 5 puny teenagers!" The words came from a clenched jaw. He hands clenched in and out of fists and a disgusting bile seeped from cracks in his rough skin.
"My lord…if I might speak," Grimbar started, slowly advancing toward the throne in the center of the room.
Sludge turned to the ninja obviously annoyed. He finally waved his hand for him to continue.
Grimbar nodded briefly. "These teenagers hold a lot of power. They are very confident of themselves right now, and think they have no faults. I have a plan. If we can distract one of the rangers with something besides monsters, he will become a burden to the team, causing them to start losing. It works, I know for a fact."
The room was silent for a moment and Grimbar sweated nervously waiting for the master's approval.
"Well, Grimbar," Sludge started swiveling his throne around to look out over the earth, "I do believe that sounds like a good idea. Any particular ranger you have in mind?"
Grimbar's face lit up with an evil smirk. "Yes, my lord. I have a ranger already mind."
Dani looked at her house uncertainly. She was not looking forward to seeing her parents. Either of them… She and the "gang" had gone out to celebrate their first victory and it was late now. She just knew her parent's would be mad. She took a deep breath and advanced toward the door.
A few steps from it, it flew open to reveal her Mom and Dad, both crying.
"Danielle? Is that you?" Her mom asked through a stream of tears.
Dani was slightly taken back. "Yeah, it's me mom."
Her mom rushed forward and wrapped her arms around her petite daughter.
"Oh, sweetie, we were so worried! Where have you been?" Mrs. Williams demanded of her daughter.
"I was…uh…out with my friends." Dani answered slowly.
Her mom led her inside and into the kitchen. Dani slowly lowered herself into a chair and looked un-expectantly at her parents. They stood a few feet in front of her, looking awfully guilty.
"Dani, you're mother and I just want to apologize for the way we've been acting these past few days. I'm having some problems at work, and I've been bringing the trouble home. And we want you to know that none of this is your fault. It's all settled now, and we're never going to fight again. It's a promise."
Dani rose her eyebrow. They were talking to her as if she was much younger then her almost 16 years. Never going to fight again? How could that be possible? They'd been fighting for months, and one day it was going to stop? Bull…
Instead of arguing like she wanted to, she decided to accept their lie, with a part of her praying it was true. She felt a sudden burst of emotion and hopped up to hug her parents. With their strong arms around her, she closed her eyes and let the worries that had been haunting her, slip away…