"Power Rangers: Psycho Matrix"

Book One: "Twisted Rebirth"

Chapter 1: "Psycho Rising"

Disclaimer: Power Rangers is not mine in any way, shape, form, or capacity. It originally belonged to Saban Entertainment, but they gave it to Disney after PR Time Force. Any characters you recognize from Power Rangers, Zordon and the Psycho Rangers in particular are not mine. The humans who inherit their powers and spirits are mine, though.

Author's note: After seeing reruns of the Psycho Ranger saga on ABC Family, I've become interested in the idea of seeing the Psychos redeem themselves. This is how I figure they might get their chance.

Ages: Kieran Grayson, 17; Darien Kyle, 16; Liam O'Connor, 16; Kaitlyn Blackwell, 17; Faith Darkchilde, 16

Timeline: This story is set in the Ninja Storm period, but don't expect any crossovers.

Five years ago, the Space Rangers were the latest Ranger team to defend Angel Grove. During that time, they fought one of the toughest battles they'd ever fought. That battle was against the Psycho Rangers, evil counterparts to the Space Rangers whose only goal was to destroy the Space Rangers. One by one, they were defeated, until in a spectacular battle, Psychos Red, Black, and Yellow were destroyed.

The Psycho Rangers returned briefly, when they used Astronema's digitizing device to restore their physical bodies. For their effort, they were digitized into data cards. One year later, those data cards were retrieved by a new menace to the universe Trakeena. She used a digitizing machine to restore the Psycho Rangers, after redesigning them so that they were even stronger. She sent them to attack her nemeses, the Galaxy Rangers, but the Psychos were defeated when the Galaxy Rangers received help from the then-retired Space Rangers.

That last battle happened four years ago.

And this is now.

Kieran Grayson was in his father's dojo, practicing his karate katas. Since he was seven years old, his father had been teaching him martial arts. His mother hadn't liked the idea at first, but his father assured her that he wasn't teaching his son how to beat the crap out of people; he was teaching him how to defend himself so he wouldn't have to. That was the point of martial arts: knowing you could beat the crap out of another person and having the discipline not to.

"Good, Kieran," his father's voice said from the doorway. Kieran spun to face him, never pausing once in his katas. "However, you could use a little more fluidity in your motions. It's good to be fast, but you must allow yourself to flow like water and not even think about it."

"So that's it?" Kieran asked. "I'm putting too much thought into my moves?"

"Yes," his father said. "True, you must put thought into your moves, but in a real fight, your best weapon is your instinct. You must learn to trust that instead of thinking about your moves. For thinking leads to hesitation, no matter how brief, and hesitation can spell defeat for you."

"So, what you're saying is, 'Do not think, be,'" Kieran translated.

"Where'd you get that from?" his father asked.

"A fortune cookie," Kieran replied, smiling wryly.

"Funny," his father said dryly. "I'll see you at dinner."

Darien Kyle was doing his homework while listening to Korn.

Night! So I play.

Give me a sign this is day.

Give me some patience, so I pray.

It's time to die. Is that what I want?

As he was thumping his foot to the rhythm of the song and doing his homework, he heard a knock on the door.

"Darien, turn it down!" his mother shouted from behind the door.

Darien sighed in annoyance. His mother was such a bitch. She never seemed to approve of anything, whether it was his taste in music, in clothing, or even in friends. She wouldn't let him have friends over because she thought they were too "punk" for her liking.

Darien had laughed outright when she'd said that. For starters, it was actually "Goth." Second, who the hell did she want him to hang out with, those stupid preps who thought they were so great? Of course, his laughing had earned him a stern "I'm serious, Darien" from his mother.

Fuck her, he thought. Who was she to tell him who he could and couldn't associate with? The way Darien saw it, the kids he hung out with actually had something between their ears.

Sighing again in annoyance, he shouted over the music, "Ok, Mom!" He hooked his headphones up to his computer and slipped them on over his ears, turning the music up full blast. That ought to drown her out.

Liam O'Connor was at a ski resort, snowboarding. The mountains were a fun place for him, a place that was practically a playground. At least, it was a playground to someone with his experience. He launched himself off a mountain and did a somersault in midair before landing on the slope.

When he was finished, he returned to the lodge and hung up his board.

"Did you have fun out there?" his girlfriend Sophia asked.

"Yeah," Liam replied. "A boatload."

Sophia replied with a kiss on his lips. Liam returned the kiss eagerly. When they parted, he smiled. "How did I ever end up with someone like you?"

"Should I feel flattered, or insulted?" Sophia asked coyly.

"Flattered," Liam replied. "You understand me, and you're always there for me no matter what I get myself into."

"I wouldn't be a good girlfriend if I weren't," Sophia said, just as coyly.

"And I wouldn't be a good boyfriend if I didn't do the same for you," Liam said.

Kaitlyn Blackwell was playing her guitar, like her friend Eden, while their mutual friend Lana beat the drums, Mia played the keyboard, and Catrina sang.

The five of them did this a lot. Every day after school when they got the chance, they'd get together in Kaitlyn's garage and play music. They mostly performed at the local clubs, and did it for fun and enjoyment, not to get rich. Besides, Catrina liked their current freedom and didn't like the idea of being tied down to a record label that would milk them for all they were worth. Although, she had to admit, it would be great to tour the country or even the world, performing for thousands of fans.

After they were done playing their instruments, Kaitlyn chatted with Eden for a bit.

"You think we'll ever be famous?" Eden asked.

"Who knows?" Kaitlyn replied. "Lots of people dream of being famous. Only a few out of millions of them actually become famous."

"Well, whatever happens, we always have fun, don't we?" Eden said.

"We do, Eden, we do," Kaitlyn agreed.

Eden looked at her watch. "Gotta bail, Kait," she said. She went out the garage door. "See you later!" she shouted over her shoulder.

"Bye, Eden!" Kaitlyn shouted back.

Faith Darkchilde was shopping at one of her favorite underground gothic shops. She bought a lovely black leather shirt with metal buttons and dark red silk fringes on the sleeves and neck, as well as a pair of leather pants and an ankh choker. She also bought a few other outfits and then departed the store.

Ah, how she loved being a Goth. It was a hell of a lot better than being some dumb stuck-up preppy bitch who gushed over stupid fake-ass boy bands. She smirked at the thought of Justin Timberlake, who was currently on the solo trip. Hopefully,his stupid prefabricated bandwould break up for good.

Not all pop music sucked. She had to give gals like Michelle Branch, Vanessa Carlton, and Avril Lavigne credit for writing their own songs and using their own instruments. Not that she was seriously into them, but yeah, they deserved credit for that alone, and for actually being serious about the stuff they sang about.

Faith returned home, to once again endure her family. Said family consisted of her airhead mom, her former jock father, and her stupid little brother.

"How was your day, Faith?" her mother asked, annoyingly sweet as ever.

"Fine," Faith murmured.

"Hey, how's my little woman doing?" her father asked. Little woman. That was his pet name for her.

"Fine," Faith repeated.

"So, what'd you buy, Faith, more 'Goth' stuff?" her little brother Richie asked.

"Yeah, I did," Faith replied, sneering. "You have a problem?"

Richie just stuck his tongue out at her.

"Come on, Richie," Faith's mother said, "that's no way to act toward your sister."

"Well, she shouldn't provoke him, either," Faith's father added in Richie's defense.

"I'll be in my room if anyone wants to know," Faith said, going to her room.

In the underworld, five spirits wandered the seemingly endless darkness.

Those spirits were known as the Psycho Rangers.

"This world ceased to amuse me a long time ago," Psycho Red snarled.

"You found this world amusing?" Psycho Pink asked, disbelieving.

"New places can be interesting at first," Psycho Red defended.

"Those accursed Space Rangers!" Psycho Yellow snapped. "They put us here!"

"I want out!" Psycho Blue screamed. "I refuse to take this world a second longer!"

"You're not the only one who wants out," Psycho Black grumbled.

"We must find a way out!" Psycho Yellow declared.

"Thank you for stating the obvious," Psycho Pink sneered.

"You want to make something of it?" Psycho Yellow challenged.

"Enough," Psycho Red said, waving a hand to "sweep away" rising hostilities. "We must focus on the task at hand, and that's finding a way out of this place!"

In a much more pleasant corner of the afterlife, the ancient wizard known as Zordon watched the Psycho Rangers wandering through the underworld.

"I feel a great darkness rising in the living world," he said to himself. "Unfortunately, I cannot reach the Rangers there as they are all still alive." Except for Trini, he added to himself sadly. Trini had died two years ago in a car accident, and just on the day before her marriage to Jason, the first Red Ranger Zordon had ever recruited. He could reach out to Trini, and she'd respond, but she was only one Ranger. Hardly enough to combat the force Zordon had felt, and the Ranger powers were created in such a way as to foster cooperation between the Rangers.

Then it came to him. It was an insanely risky idea, but alas, it was all he had all he could do to prevent Earth's destruction.

"I must call them," Zordon said to himself. "It is the only way . . . to save Earth."

Back in the living world, but outside of Earth, a warship came into orbit around Earth. The inhabitants of said ship felt no fear of being detected; after all, there was nothing those primitive humans had that could penetrate their stealth technology. Said inhabitants were a woman dressed in black leather with armor over it and long blood-red hair, a younger girl with pinkish red hair, and three lieutenants. The first lieutenant was wearing black full-body armor with a T-shaped visor. The second was in icy blue with an X-shaped visor, and the third was a female in white with a Y-shaped visor.

The five inhabitants of that ship came from Kirai, the world of shadows and torment. The woman was Kanika, the younger girl her little sister Kokure, and the three lieutenants Tsukimaru, Xaran, and Yuna.

"So this is Earth, huh?" Kokure said. "Will we have fun here?"

"Much," Kanika replied. "This world is defenseless against us." She looked to her lieutenants. "When the time is right, we will strike the humans down and strip their worthless planet of all its life energy."

The next day, school was in session. It was at school that Kieran, Darien, Liam, Kaitlyn, and Faith all met each other. The school period had been lunch.

"This place sucks, doesn't it?" Darien asked Kieran.

"I wouldn't know," Kieran replied. "I prefer to have an optimistic view of the world."

"Mr. Sunshine," Faith mocked.

The five teens sat together at a lunch table and began scrutinizing each other while trying not to make it look too obvious. Kieran was dirty blond with violet-blue eyes. Darien was dark-haired with ice-purple eyes. Liam was brown-haired with dark brown eyes. Kaitlyn had lustrous black hair, flawless tanned brown skin, and hazel eyes. Faith had red-tipped short-cropped black hair and eyes of a color they called "cerulean frost."

Kieran introduced himself first. "I'm Kieran."

"I'm Darien."

"I'm Liam."

"I'm Kaitlyn."

"I'm Faith." That one was said in a low, sullen voice, as if the speaker disliked human interaction.

"Not much into making friends, huh?" Liam said.

"I don't like interacting with others," Faith replied curtly.

"Why?" Liam asked.

"I haven't found anyone who hasn't been brainwashed by the system," Faith replied.

"'Brainwashed by the system'?" Kaitlyn echoed.

"The system teaches you one thing, and that's to conform," Faith clarified. "Why do you think the preps look down on everybody else? Because they've absorbed the system's teachings and they're now out there making sure everybody follows along, and those that don't aren't very popular around here."

"She speaks the truth," Darien said, obviously agreeing with Faith. "My mom bitches at me about my clothes, my music, and even my friends. Why? Exactly like Faith said. She grew up with all that shit they put in your head about how to be a good boy or girl, and to her, practically everything about me isn't 'good' enough for her."

"You two talk like the whole world's being brainwashed or something," Kieran asked. "Where the hell are we, The Matrix?"

"The point is, Ki, conformity's overrated," Faith said. "And me and Darien here seem to be the only ones who get that around here."

"I'm all for being your own person, but you make it sound like no one's allowed to do that," Liam contested.

"Oh, you think they don't preach that crap?" Darien retorted. "They tell you to be your own person, all right, as long as the person you are is the person they want you to be. You start deviating from that, that's when they give you trouble." He looked over his shoulder. "Hey, I see some friends of mine over at that table." He picked up his lunch tray and stood up to leave. "See you guys later."

"Yeah, I gotta bail, too," Faith said. "Maybe I'll see you guys around sometime." Like Darien, she stood up with her tray and left.

Darien sat at the table with his three closest friends: Raye, Devin, and Wayne.

"So who were those kids you were just sitting with?" Raye asked. "And could you get me the number of the blond guy in red? He's cute."

"I'm with Raye," Wayne said. "How about that girl in the black leather? You wanna get me her number?"

"The guy in red's Kieran," Darien replied. "The other boy's Liam and leather girl's Faith. The other girl's name is Kaitlyn."

"Kaitlyn," Devin echoed. "Sounds like a prep's name."

"Nah," Darien scoffed. "We all know preps ain't got nothing but Abercrombie & Fitch, Britney, and Justin in their heads. That girl's got something more in there."

Meanwhile, Kieran, Liam, and Kaitlyn were talking to each other. "So you do karate, right?" Liam asked.

"Yeah," Kieran confirmed. "Been learning the art since I was a kid. I'm now a fourth-degree black belt. You, Liam?"

"My uncle owns a ski lodge up in the mountains," Liam replied. "Whenever I get an opportunity, I like to go up there and do some snowboarding. There's nothing quite like it."

"What about you, Kaitlyn?" Liam asked.

"I'm a guitarist," Kaitlyn replied. "My four friends and I like to play music together, and we've been performing at local clubs here and there for the past year."

"Cool," Kieran said.

In the Spirit World, Zordon watched the Psycho Rangers. Casting an incantation, he summoned the five of them to him.

"Where are we?" Psycho Red asked. He looked up. "Zordon!"

"What do you want with us?" Psycho Pink asked.

"I require your help," Zordon replied.

"You mean to tell us that you, the Great Zordon, require our help?" Psycho Black asked.

"And who's to say we'll help you?" Psycho Yellow asked. "In fact, why should we help you?"

"Because if you do, you will be restored to the living world," Zordon replied. "In actuality, what I am about to ask of you requires that you exist in the living world."

"Spill the beans, old man!" Psycho Blue snapped.

"An evil force from the planet Kirai has come to Earth with the goal of draining its life force," Zordon explained. "This force is led by Kanika, Kirai no Hime, Princess of Kirai. The others are her sister Kokure and her lieutenants Tsukimaru, Xaran, and Yuna. Their foot soldiers are known as the Kiraikure. If they are not stopped, Earth will be drained of all its life energy, rendering it a dead world, incapable of supporting life."

"Give us a reason to give a damn," Psycho Red sneered.

"This is your only chance to redeem yourselves and to escape the confines the underworld," Zordon replied. "The full terms of our deal will be explained to you soon."

"Don't play games with us, wizard," Psycho Red snarled, his voice threatening. "You tell us everything, or no deal."

"As you undoubtedly know, your bodies were destroyed by the Space and Galaxy Rangers," Zordon elaborated. "Therefore, the only way for you to return to the living world is to bond yourselves to five still-living human bodies."

"You want us to merge with humans?" Psycho Blue asked.

"It is the only way," Zordon replied. "I even have five in mind. Dimitria will contact them."

After school, Kieran, Darien, Liam, Kaitlyn, and Faith all did what they usually did. Kieran practiced karate and sparred against his father. Darien endured his mother's seemingly incessant disapproval. Liam snowboarded at his uncle's lodge. Kaitlyn played instruments with her friends. Faith struggled to survive as a Goth in a family that consisted of a former jock, a former preppy cheerleader, and a video game-obsessed little brother.

After practicing his fighting technique, Kieran laid on his bed, letting his sore muscles get some rest. That was when he heard a female voice in his head.

Kieran, the voice said. It is time for you to meet your destiny.

Before Kieran could reply at all, a red flash of light teleported him out of his house. In four other places, four other teens were teleported out in a similar fashion, but with different colored lights.

Red, black, blue, yellow, and pink lights landed inside a dimly lit chamber, fading to reveal Kieran, Darien, Liam, Kaitlyn, and Faith.

"What the hell is going on here?" Faith asked.

"Relax, young ones," the female voice that had spoken to them all before they'd been teleported said. The five looked in the direction of the voice, and an ethereal woman dressed in white appeared. "I am Dimitria."

"Wow," Kaitlyn said softly. "She's so beautiful."

"I have brought the five of you here on behalf of a wizard named Zordon," Dimitria replied. "He is currently no longer of this world, so he could not be present to tell you this. A terrible evil threatens your world."

"Are you for real?" Faith asked skeptically.

"It is good that you are not so quick to believe," Dimitria said. "But this is no fabrication. An evil force has descended from the planet Kirai, a world of shadows and torment. The leader of this force is Kanika, Kirai no Hime, the Princess of Kirai. Directly below her in terms of chain of command are Kokure and her three lieutenants: Tsukimaru, Xaran, and Yuna. If they are allowed to succeed in their evil plans, your planet will be drained of its life energy, rendering it incapable of supporting human life."

"Assuming this story is real, how do you expect us to do anything about it?" Darien asked.

"For Christ's sake," Kaitlyn said. "If she could teleport us here, wherever here is, then don't you think her story has some credence?"

"If you do not believe, then let me give you a taste of what is in store for your planet," Dimitria said. Suddenly, they were in what looked like a 3-D hologram, watching gray-and-green-suited foot soldiers rampaging through an alien planet, killing and looting and plundering. Above it all, they saw the woman identified as Kanika laughing maniacally at the destruction. Finally, they saw the planet drained of its very life force. They saw the surviving inhabitants die from the deprivation of the life-giving bounty of the planet.

Finally, the vision was over.

"That's just sick," Liam said.

"Damn right," Faith said. "I'm still not sure what to make of this, but if what we just saw actually did happen somewhere, I don't want it happening here. I'm in."

"Count me in, too," Liam said.

"Three," Kaitlyn said.

"Four," Darien said.

"Five," Kieran said.

"That leaves only one question," Darien said. "How do you expect us to fight these monsters? If they could take out an entire planet, what chance do the five of us have?"

"By yourselves, none," Dimitria replied. "But with the help of five powerful warriors, you can succeed."

Five colored lights red, black, blue, yellow, and pink came down from the sky, flying around until they stopped in front of the five teens. Each light solidified into a figure dressed in black armor with white and another color as trim.

"Behold the Psycho Rangers," Dimitria said.

"So they're gonna help us, right?" Kieran asked, looking at Psycho Red.

"Don't you know?" Psycho Red snarled. "Staring happens to be very rude."

"Yes, they will help you, Kieran," Dimitria confirmed. "Their spirits will be merged with yours, becoming the other halves of your own souls. You will be able to call upon their power whenever you need it. You must follow three key rules. First, never use your powers for personal gain. Second, never escalate a battle unless you are forced to. Third, you must keep your identities secret."

"Why?" Darien asked.

"Because you will only be able to fight unhindered if you keep your identities secret," Dimitria replied. "If your identities were public, then you would be subjected to close scrutiny."

"Ok," Darien said.

"It is time," Dimitria said.

Upon those words, the Psycho Rangers became brightly colored lights again and flew into the five teens. The five glowed brightly and then the glow faded, except for around their wrists. The glow faded from their wrists, revealing mysterious black objects. The ones on their left wrists were shaped like ovals combined with rectangles and trimmed in silver. The oval part was covered by a black semitransparent glass, enough so that a black circular screen could be seen. The objects on the right wrists were slightly thinner and more streamlined in shape with loop attachments.

"What are these?" Kaitlyn asked.

"They are your Psycho Morphers," Dimitria replied. "When you activate them and shout 'Psycho Spirit Exchange,' you will be able to call upon the spirits and powers of the Psycho Rangers. Kieran, you are now Psycho Red. Darien, you will be known as Psycho Black. Liam, you will be called Psycho Blue. Kaitlyn, you will take on the identity of Psycho Yellow. Faith, you will embody the essence of Psycho Pink."

"Pink. Why pink?" Faith murmured.

"You do not have much time, Rangers," Dimitria said. "Go now."

The five new Rangers were instantly teleported to the center of town, where an army of Kiraikure were attacking.

"Hey, you guys looking for the mall?" Faith asked. She pointed behind her. "It's that way, and to your right."

The Kiraikure simply pointed weapons that looked like a cross between an axe and a sword at her.

"You don't wanna talk?" Kieran asked. "Fine. Ready, guys?"

"Ready," Faith said.

"Don't have to ask me twice," Darien said.

"Go for it," Kaitlyn said.

"Let's get psycho," Liam said.

The five Rangers rotated the loop attachments on their morphers until they were facing over their hands. "Psycho Spirit Exchange!" they shouted.

As they said those words, they performed a series of complex-looking arm motions that ended with them inserting the loop attachments into the Psycho Morphers. Flashes of black light tinged with another color engulfed the teens, momentarily obscuring them. When the light faded, the Psycho Rangers stood in their place.

"We're back," Psycho Red said.

"Finally!" Psycho Black shouted. "Real hands!"

"This feels a lot better than I remembered," Psycho Blue said.

"We're going to have so much fun here," Psycho Yellow said.

"Let's do this while we're still young," Psycho Pink said.

Just then, the air seemed to warp itself in front of them, and three armored figures stepped out of the warped air. Tsukimaru, Xaran, and Yuna.

"You must be the Psycho Rangers," Tsukimaru said.

"Guilty as charged," Psycho Red confirmed. "Not that it'll matter to you in a few minutes."

"So old man Zordon's got you doing his dirty work for him now," Yuna said. "How the mighty have fallen."

"What might?" Xaran sneered. "They've always been somebody's pawns. First Astronema's, then Trakeena's, and now Zordon's."

"Like I said, 'not that it'll matter to you in a few minutes,'" Psycho Red repeated.

"So be it," Tsukimaru said. "Kiraikure, get them!"

"Bring it on," Psycho Pink challenged.

To be continued . . .

Next chapter: The Psychos fight their first battle on the side of good, and learn what being heroes is all about.