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<B> <P>DISCLAIMER:</B> <I>The Rangers, the bad people in this merry universe and Angel Grove plus her good citizens all belongs to Saban and Saban belongs to them. And add two and two and we'll have a happy family. Just kidding :)</I></P> <B> <P>TIMELINE:</B> <I>Right after the end of the Zeo episode and a few weeks after my first fic, Final Farewells. And this fanfic is way before the Turbo era.</I></P> <B> <P>NOTE:</B> <I>I know that the Machine Empire has been destroyed by the old bomb-in-the-present trick. And I'm not denying the fact nor am I going to say that in my fic they were never been bombed by Rita and Ed, I mean Zedd. But this fic takes place after the Empire has recovered and not really functioning well. There is a story behind it and you will need to wait until it appears in this fiction. Okay, on with the story already.</I></P>

<h5><center>Silver Legacy: The Crystal of Power<BR> By Raye</center></h5> </FONT><B></B> <P>BOOM! Yet another King Mondo's supposedly mighty monster exploded into pieces. The Zeo Rangers cheered and congratulated each other.</P> <P>"Yes! We did it," said Zeo Ranger I, excitedly. Zeo Ranger II gave her a quick hug.</P> <P>"Come on, guys. Let's go back to the Power Chamber," Zeo Ranger V intervened, reminding them that the zords need a full charge up. The others quickly returned to their seat and flew the SuperZeoZord back into its holding bay.</P> <P>" Congratulations, Rangers. You've done really well," Zordon said as the happy Rangers entered the Power Chamber.</P> <P>Tommy took off his helmet. " Thanks, Zordon. That was a tough one."</P> <P>" But that ought to teach King Mondo that he can't mess with us," Rocky said, wiping his sweat while the others nodded in agreement. Then he rubbed his gut. "You know, all this fighting is making me hungry. Who's up for Ernie's raspberry pie?"</P> <P>The others cheered in agreement. Then Adam mischievously added. "Come on, guys. Rocky just volunteered to be the sole financier." With that he teleported out to avoid Rocky's mock punch. The others followed him in pursuit while Rocky started to feel for his wallet. Then he was also gone, leaving Zordon and Alpha chuckling.</P> <P>But there are only one people who didn't celebrate the Rangers' victory. King Mondo was pacing back and fourth in his throne room. He's really angry at this new defeat.</P> <P>" I can't believe it! I've just sent my most powerful monster to defeat the Rangers but <I>it</I> got defeated instead!" he exclaimed, his mechanical body shook violently.</P> <P>Queen Mechina quickly fanned her husband. " Dear, please, control your anger. Your oil pressure is steaming up. I think we need new power to recharge our monsters."</P> <P>" What power? Nothing works the same after that stupid bomb blast destroyed our flagship. I was lucky enough to teleport us out just in time. That skinless of a being and his cone-head wife have humiliated me big time," he shouted, trying hard to control his temper.</P> <P>Suddenly, Klank interrupted, " We do have power, your majesty. We can always seek the Crystal of Power."</P> <P>King Mondo's eyes gleamed. "Crystal of Power? What is that? " asked Prince Sprocket, obviously interested.</P> <P>" The Crystal of Power is a dark power created only for the use of evil-doers like us. With it, we can destroy the Rangers at any time." King Mondo explained to his son. " We can use it to make powerful monsters and stronger cogs. And restore our Empire in time to crush Zedd's court before they could finish renovating their castle."</P> <P>" But I thought it was hid and sealed by the Ancient Rangers centuries ago," said Mechina.</P> <P>Klank bowed at her. " But the good news is, I've just located where the Rangers hid the crystal. We can get it any time."</P> <P>" Excellent, Klank. You obviously done your homework." Then, turning to Sprocket he said,</P> <P>" Son, bring some cogs and get the crystal for me."</P> <P>Sprocket obeyed and left. Mondo turned to his queen and said, " Come, dear. This cause for a celebration."</P> <P>But the Rangers and the Machine Empire are not the only ones who're celebrating. Far across the galaxy, a planet was filled with joy. A planet that is protected by five Alien Rangers. The planet of Aquitar.</P> <P>And they're celebrating the defeat of their enemy, the Hydro Contaminators, after a long and hard war.</P> <P>But the Aquitians aren't the only one who is celebrating. There's one individual who is completely different from any of them. We don't have to look twice to tell that this person didn't belong in Aquitar. But to anyone who asks the Aquitians who he is they would tell them that he had played the most important role during the war. And that he happens to be a former Ranger. A former Earth Ranger. Most Aquitians call him the Great Mind. But to his friends back home, he is known as Billy. William James Cranston.</P> <P>Billy's handsome face beamed as he watched the Aquitians busy with the preparations for their celebration.</P> <P>" Here, let me help you with those," Billy offered his help to a boy who are carrying baskets full of things that look like, to Billy, decorations. The boy looked up at him and shook his head.</P> <P>" No, Great Mind. You and the Rangers are forbade to help with the preparations," he said and left, rather hurriedly.</P> <P>Just then a female voice echoed. " Billy, aren't you suppose to have your rest now?" said the familiar voice. Billy turned and saw Delphine.</P> <P>Billy smiled weakly. " I guess I was too excited."</P> <P>" Yes, that goes for me too," said Delphine as they looked on.</P> <P>Billy frowned. " Delphine, tell me something. Why are we forbade to help with the preparations?" he asked, curious.</P> <P>She smiled at the human's curiosity. " It's just our tradition. All warriors of war are not to trouble themselves with any preparations. They're suppose to rest for the celebration," she explained.</P> <P>Billy yawned and stretched his sore body. " Now I understand. Thanks." Delphine chuckled.</P> <P>" I think we better join the others," Delphine said, touching his arm gently. " How's your hand?" she asked, concerned. Billy had injured himself during the battle. He was holding on an electric cable that sent him a dose of electric shock. Luckily, his hand only suffered a minor burn. But he could still feel the pain and the effect from the shock.</P> <P>" It's fine," he said, waving his bandaged hand. " I think it's making me a hero."</P> <P>Delphine hugged him, surprising Billy. It isn't like an Aquitian to show an open affection. Billy just guessed that his human emotion is rubbing on the Aquitians. " You are a hero, Billy. If you hadn't come up with the laser blaster and mend the force shield in time, we would have been defeated." Gently, she took his arm. " Come on, you need a rest," she insisted. Tired, Billy let himself being pulled.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>Billy looked at himself in the mirror. He had to admit that he looked good in the silver robe. His light blond hair matched perfectly and his light blue eyes shone against the shining silver. Checking himself one more time, he went to the balcony. The celebration is only an hour away but Billy could see that most Aquitians had left their quarters to assemble at the Sacred Palace on the Great Plains. The only land that could be found on Aquitar.</P> <P>As he observed them, his gaze landed on his homemade telescope. He walked towards his pride and joy and grabbed a space chart full of scribbles. Before the war started, Billy had been watching a new comet. He suspected that the comet would reach Earth's orbit in about five months. And since Aquitar is further from Earth, Billy could see the comet earlier than any people on Earth could. Not only that, he was also tempted to send his discovery to NASA and name his comet. But every time he thought of Earth, something stirred in him.</P> <P>And now, watching the great ball of fire approaching Earth, he wondered what he should do next. When he had told his friends that he is staying on Aquitar, he had not told them the real truth. After his treatment at the Eternal Falls, he had detected a slight tension between the Aquitian Rangers. Only after he demanded an explanation did Cestro told him that the Hydro Contaminators have broken the truce and Aquitar is in verge of war.</P> <P>Since it was Billy who led the truce between both parties, he felt it was his duty to stay on and do what he could do to maintain the Peace Treaty. This is one reason why he had told his friends that he is staying but he could never explain why he had told them he found a soulmate in Cestria. Or why had he asked Cestria to lie with him.</P> <P>True, he liked Cestria from the day they met. When she helped him to forge the Peace Treaty between her people and newcomer, the Hydro Contaminators. Cestria have this calm demeanor in her and a sign of great intelligence he had never found in any girl. But to romantically involve with Cestria, he doesn't think so. He only thought of her as a friend and a sister he never had. And he knew Cestria felt the same about him.</P> <P>The other reason, well, Billy had tried hard not to think about it but now that the war is over, he had to wonder. What should he do next? He had been thinking of going back to Earth, but the same question he had pondered long time ago popped up. What can he do on Earth? He is no longer a Ranger and he has graduated from high school. College? He somehow thinks he isn't ready for it, yet. Sure, he can just go back and be the technician to the Rangers but the way the others treated him as if he was a delicate glass statue, he doesn't think he wanted that. He doesn't want to be a liability anymore.</P> <P>Billy jumped when a hand clamped on his shoulder. He turned to see Cestro, in his blue robe.</P> <P>"Watching the comet, Billy?" he asked, good-naturedly. Billy put down his chart and smiled weakly. "Yeah."</P> <P>"Come on, the others are waiting," said Cestro. Taking a last look at his telescope, Billy followed him.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>"Today, Aquitar will celebrate the defeat of her enemy, the Hydro Contaminators," said the High Priestess of the Sacred Palace. "For years we have battled them, forged a Peace Treaty with them only to be betrayed..."</P> <P>Billy listened as he looked around him. He and the Aquitian Rangers are standing on the high platform where the priestess is, facing the people of Aquitar. How many of them? Thousands? Billions? And Billy was impressed at how fast the Aquitians prepared for the ceremony. The deads were buried in a religious mass funeral, and the ruins were cleared. And it all happened in five days. He was also impressed at how well the Aquitians could work together.</P> <P>"... and now I would like to thank the Rangers for protecting our planet all these years and taken the front line during the war. We will forever cherish their sacrifice..." Billy heard the priestess said as the Aquitian Rangers stepped forward. There was a huge round of applause as Aquitians old and young cheered for their local heroes.</P> <P>And again, Billy let himself drifted into his world again. Lately, he has been thinking a lot about his friends; Tommy, Jason, Kim, Kat, Adam, Rocky, Zack, Trini, Aisha and Tanya. He has also been dreaming of Alpha and Zordon, all trying to call him back.</P> <P>"... and we would like to thank a special friend who without him, we would never be here and celebrate our victory. The Earthling, Billy."</P> <P>Suddenly, Billy was tugged back into reality. Every Aquitian is looking at him appreciatively. His ears deafened by the thunderous clapping. He was stunned by the way they thanked him. Delphine and Cestro came to his rescue and pulled him forward.</P> <P>The priestess faced him. Again Billy was stunned, seeing her beautiful face. Suddenly she bowed. "Thank you, Great Warrior Billy. You have given us something that we would forever be in debt to."</P> <P>Billy was touched. The Aquitians had treated him as if he was one of them but this is too much. He blushed and bowed back. "Thank <I>you</I> for receiving me as one of you," he said to the priestess.</P> <P>She smiled serenely and turned to her people. "Let the celebration begin."</P> <P>They all cheered.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>"Nothing but Ernie's milkshakes could make me feel better after a fight with the cogs and monster," said Rocky, leaning lazily.</P> <P>"Well, you won't say the same when you have to pay for all of us," Tanya teased. Quickly, Rocky straightened up.</P> <P>"Guys, can we talk about this..." he began but the others let out a long "'NO...' and he slumped back into his seat, sulking. The others laughed.</P> <P>Suddenly, they saw their principle, Mr. Caplan, stepped into the Juice Bar. At first he looked around, obviously looking for someone. When his eyes landed on the Rangers, he walked towards them.</P> <P>"Kids, I had tried to contact Mr. Cranston but I couldn't get to him or Billy."</P> <P>Tommy frowned. "Sir, Mr. Cranston has been in Tokyo for three months. Something about a computer convention and he'll only be back this weekend."</P> <P>"And Billy?" Mr. Caplan prompted.</P> <P>The Rangers exchanged uncomfortable looks. " He... uh... went to Switzerland to visit Trini, Zack and Jason. Been there quite a while," Kat answered, crossing her fingers under the table. They had all agreed to stick to that story if anyone ask for Billy.</P> <P>"What's wrong Mr. Caplan?" asked Rocky, changing the subject.</P> <P>"It's about Billy's graduation. I'm afraid the school computer was making a mistake saying he exceeded the GPA credits where he still need to sit for a few more papers."</P> <P>Adam eyes lit up. "Does this means...."</P> <P>The principle nodded. "Yes, we must withdraw his diploma until he come to school, attend a few more classes and ace a few more exams." He paused. "He may have missed a lot of classes but I'm sure he could catch up in time to graduate with you young people, maybe even earlier."</P> <P>Then he took out an envelope. "Here, give this to Billy when you see him. I have to go and review the list of class valedictorian again." With that, he left the Rangers looking at each other in silence.</P> <P>It was Tommy who broke the silence. He let out a slow whistle. "Wow! That is a surprise."</P> <P>"You know, guys. It's been a while since we last contact him," said Adam, quietly. Tanya looked at them. "Hey, we decided not to call him, remember? We all agreed."</P> <P>That is true. The last time they talked, Billy had told them how much he enjoyed his life with Cestria and that he wouldn't trade anything for it. That is when the Rangers decided not to call him or even bother him with Ranger problems anymore. They wanted him to be happy with Cestria without having to look back.</P> <P>Truthfully, the decision hurts them a lot, especially Adam. The Green Ranger had never found a kindred soul as he had found in Billy. And now that Billy is gone, Tanya was Adam only console. To the rest of the team, they found it hard to imagine a life without Billy, a friend who is always there when you need him. Someone who always offers a shoulder to cry on and the only person they trust enough to pour out all their problems on. Losing Billy still hurts although he had left quite a long time ago.</P> <P>"I wonder if he is happy on Aquitar," said Kat.</P> <P>"And <I>I</I> wonder what he's <I>doing</I> right now," Rocky said, playing with his milkshake.</P> <P>Tommy tried to cheer his friends up but the damage is done. Soon, every Ranger seemed to lose in their own thoughts.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>"Boy, it tears me apart seeing him like this," said Delphine to Cestro. Both of them have been watching Billy for days now. After the celebration, Billy has kept his distance from the others. He has been caught many times, alone, with the telescope by his side. Being able to understand a human behavior better now, they could tell that Billy is thinking hard. Hard enough to have missed his meals.</P> <P>Cestro looked at her sadly. "He must have time of his own. You know as well as I do that he's trying to make a big decision."</P> <P>"I know," said Delphine. "But I wish he would hurry up. All this waiting is eating me up."</P> <P>Cestro raised his eyebrow in amazement. "'Had he just heard Delphine talked like an Earthling?' Realizing what she had said, Delphine blushed. Cestro just smiled. "'I guess Billy's Earthling attitude is rubbing on us as our Aquitian attitude influencing him.'</P> <P>Then remembering the subject at hand, he glanced at Billy, who is writing something on his star chart. "But you do know that he can't stay here forever. No matter what happens," he reminded her.</P> <P>"But James Mallory did. Why can't he?"</P> <P>Cestro sighed. Another human behavior he picked up from Billy. "James Mallory had nothing to look back on Earth. But Billy does. His family and his friends are there."</P> <P>Delphine lowered her head. "I know. It's just that I'm going to miss him if he decided to go."</P> <P>Cestro took her arm, leading her away. "We <I>all</I> going to miss him, Delphine. He's like a family to us now. Come, let's give him room to think."</P> <P>That brought a smile on Delphine's face. "And we got some thinking to do too. I have just the perfect idea for a thank you present for Billy."</P> <P>"What do you have in mind?" asked Cestro, curious.</P> <P>"I'll tell you as soon as we get the others together."</P> <P>In the shadows, there is another person who had been watching Billy, Cestro and Delphine. She also had been listening to the two Rangers' conversation. When she first met Billy, she made a vow to herself that she should get to know the Earthling better. But when she heard the conversation about Billy not staying on Aquitar, she felt that she should act quickly before he is gone forever. Slowly, she came out from the shadow and cleared her throat.</P> <P>Billy jumped. " Hi, your name's Billy, right?" she asked, wincing at her "'smooth' approach. Billy nodded and smiled. "Remember me? We've met at the Sacred Palace."</P> <P>"Yeah, I remember," said Billy, extending his hand. "You're the high priestess. Though I don't quite catch your name."</P> <P>She looked at his out-stretched hand, for a moment. Then remembering human's way of greeting, she shook it. "My name's Anya. I... uh... not all Aquitian knows my name."</P> <P>"Why not? I thought you're a very important person on Aquitar."</P> <P>Anya looked outside at the endless sea. The view is beautiful. Under the three moons of Aquitar, the water seemed to shimmer. "I am important. But they only know me as the Guardian of the Sacred Palace. That's why we never meet. Whenever Aquitar is in trouble, I have to return to the Palace to guard it. That's my job ever since my mom died."</P> <P>"You've been in there the whole time?" asked Billy, incredulously. Anya nodded. "I am forbade to go out. The Palace is too important to leave it unguarded." She looked at him, gratefully. "Now thanks to you I am allowed to leave the place."</P> <P>"What's inside the Palace that needed such attention?"</P> <P>"The Sacred Powers. The Palace is where we stored the Rangers' power. It is what most enemy of Aquitar is after, aside from our pure water and the power of the Eternal Falls."</P> <P>"But why you? Why you of all people?" asked Billy, curious.</P> <P>Anya sighed. "My parents was the guardian, so was my grandparents and my great grandparents. It runs in the family." Then she changed the subject. "Tell me, what's Earth like?"</P> <P>Billy looked up to the starry sky, feeling the same sensation he had felt earlier. "Earth is a very beautiful planet. It's not all watery. We have lands bigger than the Great Plains. There are trees and lots of kind of animals." He looked at her. For the first time his eyes gleamed. "It's hard to describe with words. You got to be there to experience it."</P> <P>Then Anya's eyes landed on a picture on Billy's table. She saw nine Earthlings, standing close to each other. And by the looks of it, Anya could tell that they're very close. "Are they your friends?"</P> <P>Billy smiled weakly and picked it up. "Yeah, this was taken at the airport when three of our friends were going to Switzerland," he said, sitting on his bed. Anya joined him.</P> <P>"Who's that in white?" she asked.</P> <P>Billy had to smile. Typical. Girls would notice Tommy first. "That's Tommy." Before Anya could open her mouth, he added. "Yes, he was the White Ranger."</P> <P>"And that's Kimberly," he told her. "She's the former Pink Ranger."</P> <P>Anya did a double take. "Both of them seemed so close," she remarked.</P> <P>"They were inseparable," he corrected her. "They were in love." Under his breath he muttered, "'Until Kim's ambition got between them'</P> <P>Anya looked at Billy, carefully. "Have you been in love before?"</P> <P>Billy was taken aback by the sudden question. Anya blushed as she realized that she had just touch a sensitive spot.</P> <P>He lowered his head and sighed. "Yeah, once. And a few serious crushes too," he admitted, his eyes lingering on Trini's image. In his mind, he thought about Violet, Laura and every other girl he had ever dated.</P> <P>Sensing Billy's discomfort, Anya changed the subject. "Who's that in black?"</P> <P>"That? Oh, he's Zack. He's the former Black Ranger and our former clown in the team." He pointed at the person standing at the far end on the left. "The other guy in black is Adam. He's the Green Zeo Ranger now"</P> <P>"And that's Trini," he continued. His eyes trailed on the Asian girl for a moment. "She was the Yellow Ranger before Aisha here took over." He pointed at another yellow clad girl.</P> <P>"The current joker in the team is Rocky. He was the Red Ranger, now he's Blue Zeo," he said, wincing. "And finally Jason. He's the former Red Ranger and leader of the Earth Ranger. The last time I was on Earth, he was the Gold Ranger." He winced again at the remembrance of the Gold Power.</P> <P>Then Anya reached out. "And that's you, right?" she guessed, noticing a guy in blue, standing at the edge of the group on the right. Instantly, she realized that like the other guy in black, Billy is the kind of person who would sit at a corner and disappear.</P> <P>Spotting another picture, she picked it up. She could see Tommy, Adam, Rocky, Billy and two girls she didn't recognize. "Who's this?" she asked pointing at the beautiful girl in pink. Billy looked over and smiled softly. "That's Katherine. And the girl in yellow is Tanya. They both replaced Kimberly and Aisha."</P> <P>"When was this taken?" asked Anya.</P> <P>Once again, Billy smiled. "This was taken right after the Rangers' resurrection."</P> <P>Just then, Anya spotted another picture. "Is that you?" she asked disbelief. Billy looked up only to see a picture of his early years. In the picture, Billy is wearing a coverall and his old spectacle. Beside him stood a handsome and kind-looking man.</P> <P>"Yeah, I looked ridiculous, aren't I?" He chuckled as he recalled his nerd image.</P> <P>"You don't look ridiculous, Billy. In fact I think you looked cute wearing those." Billy nearly laughed at that but seeing Anya's serious face, he clamped his mouth shut and blushed.</P> <P>She continued. "And I think you're very handsome now."</P> <P>Hearing that, he blushed some more. To hide his red face, he turned away. Seeing Billy's embarrassment, she changed the subject.</P> <P>"Who's this man?" she asked. "Is he a Ranger too?" Billy turned back to her and answered.</P> <P>"My father. And no, he's not a Ranger. He's a computer analyst"</P> <P>Anya eyed Billy's father. She could see where Billy got his good looks. Then she craned her neck around the room, looking for something. Billy was about to ask her what she's looking for when she beat him to it.</P> <P>"Where's your mother's picture? What does she do?"</P> <P>That sent Billy another wave of sadness. For a moment, he couldn't find his voice. When he did, it cracked. "She's dead."</P> <P>Anya quickly realized her mistake. In turn to know more about Billy she had just touched Billy's most sensitive spot. "I'm sorry, Billy. I..." she started to say but Billy waved it off.</P> <P>"It's okay. You don't know about it." For a moment there was silence. Anya sensed that Billy wanted to be alone. She gently put the picture on the table and stood.</P> <P>"Billy, we know that you're still thinking about what you're going to do next but whatever your decision is, you're always be part of us. Remember that," she said, gently.</P> <P>When she left, Billy took out another picture under his pillow. He touched it gently as tears started to form in his eyes. He realized then that his friends are waiting for his decision, anxiously.</P> <P>"Mom, help me," he whispered.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>"Father! Father! Here it is," Sprocket cried, jumping up and down. He then presented his father with an oval-shaped crystal. Seeing it, Mondo snatched it from his son. As soon as he touched it, a flow of raw power entered his body and he felt recharged.</P> <P>"Ahh... the power of the Crystal of Power. It's like nothing I've ever felt before," he commented, enjoying its power. He turned to Klank. "Klank, put this in the power generator. And made sure every cogs and monsters are charge with it."</P> <P>With a bow, Klank retreated. Mondo smiled at his son. "Now, my son. It's time for Phase Two."</P> <P>Sprocket looked at his father and King, eagerly. "What is it, father? What's the next plan?" he asked. King Mondo's eyes gleamed evilly.</P> <P>"It's time for the destruction of Zordon and Alpha 5."</P> <P>The plan was simple. To blow up the Power Chamber cut off the inter-dimensional communication of Zordon and Earth. But the hard part is to lure Alpha out of the Power Chamber and keep the Rangers out of the way.</P> <P>That is why Mondo separated his troops into two teams. Sprocket and a few cogs will go and destroy the Power Chamber while Klank will bring the newly charged cogs and monster to distract the Rangers.</P> <P>"Go, my fellow subjects. Make the Evil One smile upon our victory," he wished, before his troops left for their mission.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>Suddenly a familiar beep echoed, breaking the deep silence. Adam winced and looked around him only to see a few people, staring at him. The librarian at the counter frowned. Then Adam spotted Tommy and Rocky, a few meters away, gesturing toward the exit. When the three of them were out, Tommy looked around, cautiously.</P> <P>He raised his communicator. "Yes, Zordon?"</P> <P>"Rangers, Mondo has sent his monster to the playground in the park. You must go there and protect the children," Zordon said, with a hint of urgency.</P> <P>Rocky clenched his fists. "If anything happen to those children, I'll..." he began but Tommy interrupted him.</P> <P>"Save it for the fight, Rock," he said. "It's Morphin Time!"</P> <P>"Zeo Ranger III, Blue."</P> <P>"Zeo Ranger IV, Green."</P> <P>"Zeo Ranger V, Red."</P> <P>The three teenagers, then, vanished in trails of blue, green and red.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>Adam let out a long howl as he was thrown into a tree. He hit the ground with a thud. Rocky came and helped him to his feet.</P> <P>"Thanks, old friend. Man, these guys are tough," he said, rubbing his throbbing butt. Then Katherine somersaulted to them.</P> <P>"These guys are tougher than before," she corrected. "What's going on here?" she wondered as another group of cogs attacked them.</P> <P>Rocky punched one on its' metal face and turned to deal with another bunch. "I don't know. These guys just won't quit. They keep coming for more."</P> <P>"Yeah, it's like they've found new powers to recharge themselves with," Adam agreed.</P> <P>"Only this time, it's more powerful," Tanya added as she and Tommy joined them.</P> <P>Tommy kicked a cog, hard. "Let's quit talking and concentrate on how to defeat them."</P> <P>"Right!" the others chorused as they devise a new strategy.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>"I love it! I love it!" Mondo cheered, watching his cogs trashed the Rangers. Then he turned to his son. "Now, Sprocket. Go!"</P> <P>The prince bowed. "As you wish, father." Then he and another bunch of cogs vanished. King Mondo smiled, evilly.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>"Ai yi yi yi! Zordon, Prince Sprocket and his troops are approaching the docking bay where we keep the zords," Alpha reported, close to panic.</P> <P>"Unfortunately, we can't call the Rangers to help. They got their hands full right now," said Zordon, not knowing what to do for the first time.</P> <P>Then Alpha had an idea. "Why don't if I go and chase them away!"</P> <P>Zordon looked at him skeptically. "How are you going to chase them away with?"</P> <P>"With this!" Alpha answered, taking out a blaster. "Billy gave me this before he left. I guess he always knew that someday I might need it."</P> <P>Zordon looked at his determined assistant and companion. "Yes, that'll do, I guess. But I hope you'll be careful, Alpha."</P> <P>"Will do, Zordon," was the last thing Alpha said before being teleported out.</P> <P>He appeared right in front of the machine prince and his cogs. The troopers jumped back in surprise while Alpha, aimed his blaster. "Stand back or I'll shoot."</P> <P>Maybe the cogs didn't have a brain of their own or maybe they looked down on the little robot. But a second later, Alpha found himself blasting the bigger robots away.</P> <P>"Take this! And that," he exclaimed as he destroyed the cogs one by one. He was so engrossed with his new zapper that he didn't see Sprocket, sneaking behind his back.</P> <P>"Take this!" Sprocket quoted, hitting Alpha with a branch. Alpha dropped face down and his blaster was thrown a few feet away. Seeing the robot down, the cogs surrounded him.</P> <P>Zordon, who was watching over Alpha, quickly teleported him back into the Power Chamber. But what he failed to see was Sprocket attaching a small box on Alpha just before he was teleported. When Alpha was gone, Sprocket contacted his father.</P> <P>"Phase Two completed, daddy." Then they teleported back to the Empire.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>"Ai yi yi yi! Thank you, Zordon. I thought I was a goner," said Alpha, getting onto his feet.</P> <P>"Alpha, what is that?" asked Zordon, noticing something on Alpha's back. Alpha groped for it only to find a small black box.</P> <P>"I don't know, Zordon. It wasn't with me when I teleported out." He reached for the scanner and began his scan. What the reading showed terrifies him more than his previous experience. "Ai yi yi yi! It's a bomb!"</P> <P>The last thing both of them heard was a beep before their world exploded...</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>Tommy tried to kick a cog but he only hit an empty space. He looked around only to find his adversaries had all vanished. "What..." he began, as other cogs vanished too.</P> <P>Puzzled, his friends joined him. "What was that for?" asked Rocky. "Those cogs nearly got me before they split."</P> <P>The others are wearing the same clueless statements.</P> <P>"Well, whatever it was, I don't like it. It only means that Mondo have something nasty up in his sleeve," said Tommy, raising up his communicator to his lips. "Zordon, come in."</P> <P>Nothing. Not even static.</P> <P>"Zordon, Alpha. Can you read us?" he tried again.</P> <P>Still nothing.</P> <P>The Zeo Rangers started to get worry. "Let's go back to the Power Chamber now," he suggested, punching the teleport button.</P> <P>Nothing happen.</P> <P>"Guys, I'm getting a bad feeling," Katherine voiced, as they demorphed. Tommy squeezed her shoulder.</P> <P>"Let's run to the Power Chamber," he suggested. The others nodded in agreement. And the five teenagers left, running.</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>"Wait!" Tommy suddenly halted. The others screeched to a full stop and put on their karate stance, eyes wild, searching for a sign of trouble. They only see the bare and quiet desert around them. Far but visible, stood the Power Chamber.</P> <P>Rocky relaxed. "Why are we stopping, Tommy. Shouldn't we get to the Power Chamber as soon as possible?"</P> <P>"Yeah, that I agree." Tommy admitted. "But do any of you know how to get inside? It's underground, remember? And the teleportation system is currently not working" he pointed out.</P> <P>There was silence. Suddenly, Adam looked up. "I know a way," he announced, softly. The others turned to him, eagerly, waiting for him to continue.</P> <P>"Billy had once showed me the complete blueprint of the Power Chamber. There is a secret entrance."</P> <P>Tommy looked at Adam, incredulously. "Billy showed you the blueprint?"</P> <P>"Yeah," Adam answered, shrugging. "He said that someone else ought to know about the Power Chamber in case he is not here to help."</P> <P>There was silence as they recalled their thoughtful resident genius.</P> <P>"Good old Billy," Rocky muttered, feeling slightly relief.</P> <P>"Let's go then. Adam, you take the lead," said Tommy, getting into business.</P> <P>After walking for a long distance, they found themselves in the woods of Angel Grove. Then Adam stopped in front of a small cave. It was nearly hidden by an old oak, some thick bushes and heavy growing shrubs. They would have missed it if Adam hadn't point it out.</P> <P>"The cave is the entrance?" asked Tanya, disbelief. Adam just smiled.</P> <P>"No and yes, there is a tunnel in there that would lead us underground, crossing the desert and to the storeroom. Then we'll have to walk to the main chamber," he explained.</P> <P>Tommy shook his head. "Isn't this risky? I mean what if Mondo finds it."</P> <P>Adam looked at the cave, confidently. "No. No one will find it. Even if they do only those with the power of good can enter. Zordon's spell will make sure of it." Then he looked at his friends. "Come on, guys." He stepped inside the cave and disappeared into the darkness. His friends followed in pursuit.</P> <P>It was a long journey. Luckily the cave isn't rough but it was dark. The Rangers have to grope for each other in the dark so none of them would ran over the other in front. There were occasions when they tripped over rocks or stumbled over bigger rocks. When it came to a narrow tunnel, they have to walk sideways and they have to crawl when it came to the low-ceilinged tunnel. After been walking in the dark for what it seemed like hours, Adam saw the first trail of light. They followed it and found themselves in the ventilation system of the storeroom.</P> <P>There, they walked to the main chamber, each wondering why the main lights were off, leaving the emergency lights on. Then, when they come to the main entrance of the Power Chamber, it took Tommy, Adam and Rocky to pry it open. When they do, they didn't like the sight before them.</P> <P>The Power Chamber is a mess. Wires, cables, pieces of metal are everywhere. To Tommy it reminds him of the sight when Ivan Ooze destroyed the Command Center a year back only this one is even worse. The Rangers wondered around, stunned.</P> <P>Suddenly Kat let out a cry. "Alpha!"</P> <P>The others quickly joined her. In her hands is Alpha's torso. Near a destroyed console, is one of his charred hand. His other hand is nowhere to be found. There are also pieces of him everywhere.</P> <P>Kat let out a sob. Tommy kneeled beside her, trying to comfort her.</P> <P>"What's going on, Tommy? Who did this?" she asked. Tommy held her close.</P> <P>"I don't know. But I have a pretty good idea who is responsible for this," he said, his eyes burning red.</P> <P>Adam turned towards them from the control panel. "The control is dead. Everything is dead. I can't even contact Zordon in his time dimension," he reported, feeling very hopeless. "All security system, down completely."</P> <P>Then suddenly, Rocky's face twisted into fear. Before his friends could say anything, he shouted "Zeo Ranger III, Blue."</P> <P>Nothing.</P> <P>He looked up in fear. "I can't morph anymore!"</P> <P>The others tried to morph but they too suffered the same thing. "What..." Tommy began.</P> <P>"Guys, come here." Adam called out from a far corner, near Alpha sleeping chamber. They joined him as he was staring at an empty container. "There's our answer. The Zeo Crystals are gone."</P> <P>"Oh no! What should we do?" asked Kat, in tears. "We're beaten."</P> <P ALIGN="center"><B>TO BE CONTINUED...</P> <p><center>~*~</center></p> <P>NEXT</B>: <I>The Zeo Rangers tried to repair the Power Chamber. They need help but how can they contact Billy and the Aquitian Rangers? And without their powers they are defenseless against Mondo. Meanwhile, Billy makes a tough decision. How would his decision effect the other Rangers? And during the time of crisis, a new Ranger came and rescued the defenseless Rangers. But the Ranger seemed not wanting to get acquainted at all. Who is the new Ranger? Will he or she be the only Earth's defense?</I></P>

<p>onda< ¸