Disclaimers: I do not own Power Rangers, or any characters related to it. Power Rangers is owned by Saban Entertainment. I do not wish to be sued.


Timeline: Sometime right after they got their Ninja (Ninjetti actually) powers.

When empires crumble
or
What if the Machine Empire had attacked sooner?
By Lucas Harrell

"The past few weeks have been paradise," Kim said. She and Tommy were at the drive-in with their friends, watching a new movie. "Zedd and Rita haven't been attacking, and we've been going on date after date, like totally interrupted."

"I concur," Billy said, "It has been prodigious." He sounded happy, but that inside, he really wasn't. 'I miss Trini,' he thought, 'I never believed in the saying that you never miss something until it's gone until now.'

"What'd he say?" Tommy asked Adam.

"He said that he agreed, and that it has been fun," Adam replied.

"Oh." Tommy then wrapped an arm around Kim's slim waist and pulled her into a kiss.

"Oh, Tommy," Kim said, "Not here." She laughed when Tommy blushed, remembering that the others were in the same vehicle. The couple were used to being by themselves and paying a lot less attention to the movie.

"Now, cut that out, you two," Aisha said, "You promised that you weren't going to go romantic on us."

"I really wish we hadn't made that pact," Tommy whispered to Kim, as he gently pressed his forehead against hers. Kim giggled.

"Foods here, guys," Rocky said, as he brought an armful of popcorn, coke, and assorted candy to the sliding door of the van, which Adam was obliged to open.

"Now, don't you be eating all of that by yourself before we can get some," Aisha teased. Rocky stuck his tongue out at her and sat down beside Adam.

"Who ordered what?" he asked.

"Kim and I ordered a large popcorn, one diet coke, and one regular coke," Tommy said. Rocky carefully handed them their order. "Thanks, Rocko."

"No problemo, Tommy," Rocky said. He then started handing the others their orders, and then, the Rangers turned their attention back to the movie.

***

"This planet is perfect," Mondo said, "Who's supposed to be conquering it?"

"Lord Zedd, your majesty," Klank said.

"That loser? He'll pose no threat to me. Nor will his wife, or any of their henchmen. Quadra fighters, ATTACK!!!!"

***

"The Rangers are unprepared," Zedd said, "It's been weeks since we last attacked, and they have their guards down. Now is the time to... What in the world is going on?" Explosions rocked Zedd's castle.

"Zeddy, what's going on?" Rita Repulsa screeched.

"I don't know," Zedd said, "But if I find whoever is responsible, I'll..." Another set of explosions knocked Zedd off of his feet. He went to the balcony and red flashed from his visor. "MONDO!!!" he screamed, slamming his fist into the balcony. "NO!!!"

"Zeddy," Rita said, "What do we do now?"

"We run," Zedd said, "Get to Serpenterra as fast as you can." With that, the two monarch's ran for the large evil zord.

"But, where will we go?" Rita demanded.

"I don't care, as long as we get out of here, and fast," Zedd said. With that, the two and their henchman hopped onto Serpenterra and took off. But once in space, they were surrounded by Quadra fighters.

"Drop your shields and prepare to be assimilated," a mechanical voice said over the speakers.

"Go rotate yourselves," Zedd said. With that, the fighters opened fire. Zedd turned to Rita. "I'm sending you to Earth. Much as you'll hate to, you need to go to Zordon, and tell him about the Machine Empire's arrival."

"All right," Rita said, "But I really don't like it. But, what about you?"

"I'm going to stay here," Zedd said.

"But that means that you'll be assimilated," Rita said.

"If I teleport out of here, they'll know exactly where I'll end up at," Zedd said, "You'd be endangered then. And so will our child. Now, go. Everybody else, too." He waved his Z wand and Rita and their henchmen disappear in a flurry of red light. He then takes back the controls.

On Earth, Rita and the others find themselves in downtown Angel Grove.

***

In the Command Center, all hell is breaking loose. All kinds of sirens are going off, and it's under attack. "Ay yi yi!" Alpha exclaimed, "Zordon, the Machine Empire has overthrown Rita and Zedd, and are attacking.

"I've been fearing this day," Zordon said, "The Machine Empire has a take no prisoners attitude, and assimilates entire species. If they now have Zedd in their fold, Earth could be in major trouble. Send out the drone jets. They were specially made to take on the Quadra fighters.

"That's not all," Alpha said, "Rita Repulsa and her stooges have appeared in downtown Angel Grove."

"Now, this I expected," Zordon said, "A long time ago, before Zedd was turned evil, he made me promise that if he has a child, I would ensure it's safety, no matter what he turns out to be. Teleport the trio here, and contact the Rangers."

"Should I put a containment barrier up?" Alpha asked.

"No, I don't think they'll do anything to harm their only chance at survival," Zordon said, "It should be all right."

"I don't like it, but I'll trust you, Zordon," Alpha said. He went over to a console and pushed several buttons. A few seconds later, a roar of jet engines could be heard leaving a faraway part of the Command Center. Then, Rita and her henchmen appeared in their respective colors.

"Welcome," Zordon said, "Though it's against my better judgment to bring you here, a deal's a deal, and I made one with Zedd a long time ago. I can trust you not to do anything to damage the Command Center, can't I?"

"Yes you can," Rita said, speaking for her group. "For now."

"We read you, Zordon," Tommy's voice came over the viewing globe. "What's up?"

"Tommy, you're needed in the Command Center, right away," Zordon said.

"Right," Tommy said. A few minutes later, the six Rangers appeared in flurries of their respectively colored light. When they saw Rita and company, they all went into defensive stances. "What are they doing here?"

"They're seeking refuge from a mutual enemy," Zordon said, "Behold, the viewing globe." The Rangers turned around and gave their undivided attention to the crystal ball looking apparatus.

"There, Mondo and Machina came into view. "This is Mondo and Machina, the rulers of a band of merciless conquerors, the Machine Empire. They have overthrown Zedd and Rita on the attempt to take Earth.

"When the Machine Empire takes over a planet," Zordon continued, "They assimilate every living thing on it. Animal, that is. Plants are destroyed. When they assimilate something, a bunch of mechanical neural parts are injected into it.

"At that point, the once-living thing then becomes pure machine. The person inside the machine dies. There is no known way to reverse the effects of an assimilation. Their foot soldiers are known as Cogs. They must be dismantled to be completely beaten."

"This is just great," Kim said sarcastically.

"Don't worry, beautiful," Tommy said, "We'll find a way to beat them. Remember Ivan Ooze? He seemed unbeatable, until we found out about the comet."

"Yeah, I remember," Kim said. All of a sudden, a different sounding alarm went off. "What's that?"

"The Machine Empire has sent Cogs to downtown Angel Grove," Zordon said, "In an attempt to get some of the civilians to willingly be assimilated. You must stop them, Rangers."

"We will, Zordon," Tommy said, "Guys, IT'S MORPHIN' TIME!!! White Ranger Power."

"Pink Ranger Power."

"Blue Ranger Power."

"Black Ranger Power."

"Yellow Ranger Power."

"Red Ranger Power." They morphed and were teleported to downtown Angel Grove, where some Cogs were trashing the place.

"That's enough," Tommy called out. The Cogs turned towards them.

"Prepare to be assimilated," one said.

"Yeah, right," Tommy said sarcastically. The Rangers jumped into the Cogs midst, where they proceeded to fight.

***

"Those Rangers of yours don't stand a chance against the Cogs and you know that, Zordon," Rita said, "The power of their weapons aren't as effective against machines.

"I know," Zordon said, "But they should keep the Machine Empire busy until I can find the powers the Rangers were destined for."

"There's no need," Rita said, "I have them right here."

"You have the Samurai gems?" Zordon asked.

"Actually, dad had them," Rita said, "I just took the liberty of... relieving him of them not too long ago."

"Then, please give them to Alpha," Zordon said, "Only with the Samurai-Ninjetti powers can the Rangers even hope to stand a chance against Mondo and Machina."

"It's against what little I have of a better judgment," Rita said, "But here you go, Alpha." She gave him a big ornamental box. Alpha opened it, and there were nine beautiful various colored gemstones.

"Nine?" Even Zordon thought there were only six.

"Yes, nine," Rita said, "Despite popular legends, there were nine intergalactic Samurai in the legendary council. Nine brave people that sacrificed themselves to literally put their very souls into these gems. The question is, though, who is going to take up the other three?"

"I have three people that would probably be more than happy to take up the powers again," Zordon said. 'It's a good thing Trini, Zack, and Jason are back in town,' he thought. "But, they have to get the great power to activate the booster gems, don't they?"

"I'm afraid so," Rita said, "I'm also afraid that they can't be used until nine Ninjetti Rangers have been chosen to wield the gems."

"Alpha, recall the Rangers," Zordon said. On the viewing globe, the Rangers were taking a terrific beating. "We'll have them visit the other three when they do get here." The Rangers reappeared in the Command Center and all demorphed and slumped to the floor, worn out from the battle.

"Whew," Tommy said. Kim was snuggled up against him and had already drifted off to sleep from exhaustion. "Zordon, what do we do now? We can't beat them."

"We are working on something that will allow you to take on Cogs and robot monsters more effectively," Zordon said, "Right now, I need three of you to go see if Jason, Trini, and Zack would be willing to rejoin. All three are back in town after the Peace Conference in Geneva went bust."

"Trini's back?" Billy asked. He blushed at the knowing looks he got from Tommy and Adam, who were the only two awake. Rocky and Aisha had also given into exhaustion, and were snoring softly. "I mean and Jason and Zack are back, too?" Tommy couldn't help but grin, and that made Billy a little more uncomfortable.

"Yes, they're back in town," Zordon said, "We need the three of them, if we're going to make this work.

"Right, Zordon," Tommy said, "I'll go see Jason, if it's all right with the two of you." Adam and Billy nodded. "Billy, I know who you want to go see, so go for it. Adam, can you talk to Zack?"

"Sure thing, Tommy," Adam said, "I don't know him too well, but I should be able to talk him into helping out."

"Just explain the situation, and he'll more than likely help," Billy said.

"Well, let's go," Tommy said. With a nod to Zordon, the three teleported out.

***

"I'm sorry, your majesty," Klank said, "But Lord Zedd got away from us. He's heading towards the Omega sector."

"Probably went to see that mother of his," Mondo said, "It's the one place I can't get him, and he knows it."

"He'll have to come back eventually," Klank said, "His wife, and his child are here on Earth."

"True," Mondo said, " But he'll have the whole family armada with him when he does get back."

"Just more to assimilate, your majesty," Orbus said.

"You idiot," Mondo said, "There's nothing in the universe that can stand against that legendary armada. Zedd's family armada can withstand an attack by the combined forces of all of the other armadas, and still win."

"Then what do we do, your majesty?" Klank said.

"There's nothing we can do," Mondo said, "Except take this planet. Then, the rules of the council say that they can't take it from us."

"It's easier said than done, dear, " Machina said, "Rita has the Samurai gems."

"WHAT?1?! WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME?!?!?!"

"Mind your oil pressure, dear," Machina said.

"You're right, my dear," Mondo said, "It doesn't matter that Rita has the booster gems. We will crush those Rangers, no matter what."

***

Tommy made his way up the walk to Jason Scott's house and rang the doorbell. Jason opened it immediately and the two embraced.

"It's good to see you, bro," Jason said, "Come on in."

"Good to see you too, Jase," Tommy said, as he stepped into the Scott's house. "Look, this isn't exactly a social call. I'll get right to the point. We need you to become a Ranger again. There's a new villain in town, and we need a full team, which, from now on, will consist of nine members."

"You know I'll help anyway I can, bro," Jason said, "Just let me go get the communicator you guys let me keep, and we can head to the Command Center. I'll be right back." He ran up to his room and grabbed his communicator off of his night stand and flew back down the steps. "Let's rock." With that, they teleported out.

***

Adam was walking up the Taylors' front yard, heading for the front door. Though he had gotten to know Zack some before he left, Adam still thought that he didn't know Zack enough for this assignment. He went up to the front door and rang the doorbell.

A few seconds later, Zack opened the door. "Hi," he said, "Adam, right?"

"That's right, Zack," Adam said, "Look, I'm going to get right to the point. We need you to be a Ranger again. What do you say?"

"I say let's rock their world," Zack said, "Wait right here, and I'll go grab my communicator." Adam nodded. "You can come on in to wait, if you want."

"Thanks," Adam said, stepping inside the doorway. Zack took off for his room, but was back in no time, with his old communicator on his wrist. The two then teleported to the Command Center.

***

Despite popular belief among the group, Billy has the hardest of the three tasks. He knew that the minute Trini opened that door, he would tell her how he feels, how he's always felt, and it might cause tension between the two that could tear their friendship apart.

***

"The Blue Ranger is all by himself, your majesty," Klank informed Mondo.

"Cogs, get down there," Mondo said, "Take the boy genius alive and bring him to me." The Cogs went to carry out his orders.

***

With great hesitation, Billy continued up the walk to Trini's house. All of a sudden, Cogs came out of nowhere. "Oh, great," he said, "This is what I really need right now. It's morphing time. Blue Ranger Power." He morphed and jumped into the fray, but was quickly outnumbered.

All of a sudden, Billy and the Cogs both heard a cry. From out of nowhere, an Asian girl dropped into their midst's. "Hiya, Billy," Trini said, as she tore into the Cogs.

"Trini," Billy said, "I'm glad to see you." It was then that he noticed the outfit she had on: a skimpy nightgown. "Did I catch you at a wrong time?"

"I'll say," Trini said. She then sneezed. "I think I've got a cold." She sneezed on a Cog, who didn't know what to make of it.

***

"Alpha, get them out of there," Tommy said, "Hurry." Alpha pushed a few buttons, and Billy and Trini were soon after teleported into the Command Center. Noting all of the guys there, Trini pulled her nightgown a little tighter.

"Trini!!!" Kim exclaimed, rushing at her friend for a hug. "It's so good to see you."

"It's good to see you too, Kim," Trini said. All of the others came over to welcome her except for Billy, who kind of hung back after powering down.

"We're all glad you're back," Tommy said, "Especially Billy." They all turned to see the red faced genius seemingly trying to blend in with the shadows of the Command Center. Trini took a few, tentative steps towards him, outstretching her hand. With a few minutes hesitation, Billy took it.

"Welcome back Jason, Trini, and Zack," Zordon said. Not one to waste time, Zordon launched into a lengthy explanation of why they were needed. "The road ahead of you, the one that will give you places in the team again, is going to be long and hard. You must travel to the planet Phaedos, and attempt to become one with the great power. Do you accept the mission laid out before you?"

"I do," Jason said.

"Of course," Trini said.

"I've just got one question," Zack said, "When do we start?" Everybody, even Zordon couldn't help but laugh.

"Right now," Zordon said, "Once on Phaedos, you need to seek out the warrior Dulcea. She will help guide you on your way. Ready?" Jason and Zack nodded.

"Can I have a few minutes before we leave?" Trini asked.

"Sure, Trini," Zordon said, "But you must hurry."

"I know," Trini said, "Billy, can I talk to you in the next room for a second?" Billy nodded. She took his hand like a little school girl and led him out of the room. Though she didn't say it directly, the other Rangers knew that she wanted some privacy.

"Billy, I don't know where to start," Trini said, "I guess I should with this." She gently tugged him closer, and gave him a kiss.

Billy was surprised for a few minutes, but relaxed into the kiss. "Wow," was all he could think to say when they came up for air.

"My sentiments exactly," Trini said, "I left us in a bad state when I went to Geneva. In fact, there wasn't an us at all. I feel that our correspondence since then has changed that, don't you?"

"It didn't change the way I feel," Billy said softly, "I've been wanting to tell you this for a long time, Trini. I love you." Trini was surprised that Billy took the initiative so quickly.

"I love you too," Trini finally got out, "I'm glad to be back and part of the team. Now, I can watch your back, like in the old days." Billy smiled. There was silence for a few moments, but it wasn't as uncomfortable as it usually was, since they had finally gotten their feelings out in the open and were a couple. "I guess we'd better be getting back in there."

"Yeah, I guess so," Billy said. Trini started for the door, but Billy caught her hand and pulled her close, into a passionate kiss. "Be careful," he whispered when they broke for air. "I just got you as a girlfriend, and I don't want to lose you."

"You won't," Trini said, "What's going to happen with Jason and Zack going with me? Don't you trust them with my safety?"

"You know that I do," Billy said, "But I know how head-strong all three of you can be. Don't be going kamikaze on them on Phaedos, all right?"

"All right, sweetie," Trini said. It warmed both hearts to finally hear those words coming from her. With one more kiss, Trini led the way back into the main room. There, they were met with a standing ovation. Even Alpha was clapping and cheering.

"Finally," came the unanimous call.

They finally died down, and Trini went home to change into some regular clothes. When she got back, Trini said, "I'm ready." Trini, Jason, and Zack were teleported to Phaedos shortly after.

"What about us, Zordon?" Tommy asked, "Are we getting the gems yet?"

"I'm afraid that the gems can only be activated all at once," Alpha said, "If we're lucky, Mondo won't attack until the others get back."

"Yeah, right," Kim said, "Like he'll really wait for very long."

"Well, we'll just have to wait and hope," Zordon said.

The only one not paying attention was Billy. 'Please come back to me, Trini,' he thought, 'I don't think I could live without you.'

On Phaedos, Trini, Jason, and Zack take a second, just looking around at the amazing sight of the beach they land on. "Oh, I bet Kim loved this," Trini said, "She loves beaches."

"Go back wherever it is you came from." They spun at the voice, to see a beautiful woman standing a few feet away.

"Are you Dulcea?" Jason asked.

"Yes, I am," Dulcea said, "Now, who are you?"

"I'm Jason, and this is Zack and Trini," he replied, "Zordon sent us here to get the Great Power. We need them to defeat the Machine Empire."

"You'll need more than becoming Ninjetti to beat the Machine Empire," Dulcea said.

"Well, we've got the Samurai gems," Zack interjected.

"Impressive," Dulcea said, "Well, right this way." She led the way to a plateau with a huge clearing and to a rocky ledge, overlooking a beautiful jungle.

"Wow," Trini said, "This place is amazing."

"There, beyond the Neola jungle is the monolith," Dulcea said, pointing to a structure in the distance. "It shouldn't be more than a day's walk. There will be three tests along the way. In those tests, you will have to face your individual greatest fears."

"Are you coming with us?" Zack asked.

"We will call upon your Ninjetti guides to help you on your journey," Dulcea said. She led them to a fire. Instinctively, the three ex-Rangers knew exactly where to stand, and they did so.

Dulcea stood before them. "Inside your very soul are animal guides. Close your eyes and look deep inside." The three did as she bid, and she blew a dust into the fire, which blazed, scattering the dust all over the three ex-Rangers.

A few seconds later, they opened their eyes, and found themselves clad in some ninja looking outfits. They all looked down at the golden coin on their chests and then pulled the tops of their masks back, to reveal their faces.

Dulcea stepped up to Zack, who was the nearest to her. "Zachary, you are the green chimpanzee," she said, "Playful, with surprising intelligence and wit." She stepped up to Trini. "Trini, you are the silver owl: Caring and smart beyond your years."

Last but not least, Dulcea stepped up to Jason. "Jason, you are the gold Tasmanian devil: fierce, protective, and nearly unstoppable. May your animal guides help and protect you in this journey and any others." With that, she started to walk away.

"Aren't you coming with us, Dulcea?" Trini asked.

"Like I told your companions before, I'm afraid not," Dulcea said, "One step past this plateau, and I would begin to rapidly grow old. I would be long dead before we reached the monolith.

"The animal guides will be there for you, though. And if you look hard enough, you might find another guide. I wish the three of you the best of luck." With that, she turned into a snow owl and flew away.

"Let's get some sleep," Jason said, "We'll need it." The others steadily agreed. "I'll take first shift. The two of you, get to sleep." Trini and Zack found no reason to argue. They settled down on the rocky floor of the temple, and fell asleep.

In the morning, the three headed down a rocky staircase heading down to the ground and started through the jungle. "Three tests?" Trini thought aloud, "I wonder what they could be?"

"I don't know, but we'll find out soon enough," Zack said. Just then, Zack froze and started swiping at his arms and legs. "Bugs everywhere. Get them off of me."

"Bugs? I don't see anything, bro," Jason said.

"Get them off of me," Zack said.

"Zack, listen to me," Trini said, "You have to face your fear. That's the first test."

"That's right, bro," Jason said, "Ignore the bugs, imagine that they're not really there."

"I can't. They're too big," Zack said.

"Concentrate," Trini said, "Focus your mind." Just then, an idea hit her. "Look deep inside yourself. Look for guidance from your chosen animal guide."

Zack did as she said. "The bugs are all in your mind, Zachary," he could hear his guide saying. "Don't let them. Force them out." Zack concentrated. When he opened his eyes, the bugs were gone. He let out a huge sigh of relief.

"They're gone," he told Trini and Jason.

"Good," Jason said, "Now, let's get going." Nodding, Trini and Zack followed Jason further into the jungle.

***

Tommy and the others had been shoved out of the Command Center and told to get some sleep. They all went home and complied. Except for Billy. He couldn't sleep, knowing that his new girlfriend and his two best friends were on a faraway planet, fighting for the future of their home.

"Who am I kidding?" Billy asked himself, "I'm not going to be able to sleep. Not with Trini on Phaedos. I just can't get her out of my mind. Not that I should. She is my girlfriend, after all." He tried again and again to fall asleep, with absolutely no progress.

Billy finally got up and went to his lab. There, he went to his computer and signed on. He smiled when he saw Tommy's screen name online. They met in the groups usual private chat room. "Couldn't sleep either, bro?"

"No, I can't. I shouldn't have sent them to Phaedos. We both know the dangers there."

"Yeah, I know. We do need some help with the Machine Empire, though."

"True. So, how come you're still awake?"

"What can I say? I'm worried about Trini."

"You're about as bad as I am, Billy," Tommy said, "Though I would feel the same way, if Kim were there."

"FrongPrince has entered the room," the online host said.

"Hey, Adam," Tommy said, "What's up?"

"Nothing really, Tommy," Adam said, "Just too wound up to sleep."

"I know what you mean, bro," Tommy said.

"PinkCrane1897 has entered the room," the online host said.

"Hey, sweetie," Kim greeted Tommy, "What are all you guys doing up?"

"Couldn't sleep, Kim," Adam said.

"Yeah, I bet Rocky and Aisha will be joining us any minute," I said. Just then, Rocky and Aisha's screen names appeared, and the four of us dissolved into laughter.

***

"I don't like this," Trini said, "It's too quiet."

"I can't agree less," Zack said, "The quietness is a little too unsettling." It was then that they noticed that Jason had lagged behind. "Jase?" They went back to him.

"No," Jason said, "It's too tight. The walls are closing in. I can't breath."

"He's claustrophobic?" Zack inquired, shocked. "I never knew that."

"Neither did I," Trini said, "Knowing Jason, not even Tommy probably knew about it. Jason likes to hide the fact if he's afraid of anything."

"I've got to get out," Jason said, snapping the two out of their reverie. "It's too tight an opening." He started making choking noises.

"Jase, snap out of it, man," Zack said, "Whatever you're seeing, wherever it may seem you are, you're really not there and you're not really seeing anything." Jason didn't seem to hear him. Whatever spell the jungle had over him must have their voices blocked out. It reminded the two of their short time on the Island of Illusion.

"Hear you he can not, and see you he can not," a voice called, "Only in riddles and rhymes can he hear you in time."

"Who's there?" Zack demanded, whirling around in a defensive stance. A strange little man appeared.

"Your muscular friend is claustrophobic, right?"

"That's what it looks like," Zack said, "Now, who are you?"

"I am known as the Quizzical Traveler," the little man said, "Most people call me Q.T., for short."

"All right, Q.T.," Zack said, "Now, how do we help him?"

"No need to be rude," Q.T. said, "The method, though, is pretty crude. To make him hear you in time, speak to him in riddles and rhymes."

"In time? What do you mean?"

"If you do not help your friend soon," Q.T. said, "He'll die of fright by high noon."

"Stop speaking in riddles," Zack said, getting impatient.

"Zack, don't get angry at him," Trini said, "That's why he's called the Quizzical Traveler. He helps us, but we have to think his help through."

"Smart girl," Q.T. said.

"Jason, listen to me, man," Zack said, "To get out of the place that's cold and dark..." He looked to Trini for help.

"Imagine you're in Angel Grove Park," she finished.

"Not bad," Q.T. said.

All of a sudden, the vacant look on Jason's face disappeared. "Whoa," he said, "That was nerve-wracking."

"I know what you mean, bro," Zack said, "I felt the same way, when I was going through that. Why didn't you ever tell us you were claustrophobic?"

"It never came up," Jason said, "Honestly. We were never put in a situation where I would have to go through tight spaces.

"True," Trini said, "Well, you two have had to face your worst fears. That means that I..." She gulped.

"What's your worst fear?" Jason asked. Trini wouldn't answer him.

"You'll find out soon enough," was the only answer Trini would give them.

"This way," Q.T. said, showing them a path nearby.

***

Tommy was distracted all day at school. Teachers chalked it up to his bad memory, but only the other Rangers knew what was wrong. Billy was the same. He told the teachers that a relative of his was sick, and couldn't get them off of his mind. The teacher's took that lie, and stayed off his back.

After school, Tommy was sitting at the Rangers' usual table. Kim came up behind him. "Hi, sweetie," she said, kissing him. When Tommy didn't answer, she put her hands on her hips. "Tommy. Earth to Tommy. Come in, Tommy."

"Hmm? Oh, hey, beautiful. Sorry about that."

"You know, you've really got to get them off your mind," Kim said, "They'll be back. Boy, you and Billy sure have been in a funk. Billy's worse than you are." She had to poke him because he had gotten absent minded again.

"That's only because Trini's there," Tommy said, "If you were there, I would be a lot worse than even Billy."

"That's so sweet," Kim said, as she sat down in his lap. She noticed a slight bulge, and giggled.

Tommy blushed. "With an outfit like you have on, who would blame me?" he teased. It was true. Kim had found out some time back just how much Tommy liked seeing her in her gymnastics outfit.

"That's all right, big boy," Kim teased, "Just don't let your little pal get too excited." They both laughed at that.

"All right, you lovebirds. Here's your drinks," Ernie said. He handed them a couple of smoothies.

"Thanks, Ernie," Kim said, blushing. 'Did he hear everything we just said?' she mused.

"Don't worry," Ernie said, "I've heard a lot worse. Just keep it down more, you two."

"We will Ernie," Tommy said. Ernie left, and Kim got up from Tommy's lap and sat down in a chair.

***

"We're nearing your destination," Q.T. said, "I must leave now. Take care, or cut short will be your visitation." With that, he disappeared.

"Well, that was informative," Trini said.

"Hey, guys. I see the monolith," Zack called out. Trini started towards the direction of his voice when a hand dropped on her arm, stopping her. She spun around, to see Billy standing there.

"You slut," Billy said, "You slept with them last night, didn't you? You don't really love me, do you?"

"I do love you," Trini said, "I didn't sleep with Zack or Jason. I'm still pure, waiting for you, my love." With that, she kissed Billy. Before she knew it, Billy had disappeared. She realized that she had faced her worst fear: Losing Billy. All of a sudden, she found herself in front of the temple.

"You have done well, Rangers." The weren't too surprised to see Dulcea there, even after what she had said at the ruins. "You faced your fears. A arachnophobic, a claustrophobic, and someone afraid of losing the person they love. What a combination. Mostly working as group, you pulled it together enough to conquer your fear. Congratulations."

With that, the big doorway to the monolith opened and a big stone slab came rolling out of the opening. All of a sudden, energy came pouring out of three symbols on it. It came to surround Jason, Trini, and Zack. Then, it hit the coins on their chests. A few seconds later, they were morphed. "Congratulations, Ninjetti Rangers," Dulcea said.

"Thank you, Dulcea," Jason said, "But, I don't get it. I thought you said that you couldn't leave the ruins?"

"This really isn't me," Dulcea said, "It's a holographic projection. Now, go home and rid the universe of the Machine Empire's menace.

"We will," Jason said. 'Billy, here I come,' Trini thought, as they teleported away from Phaedos.

***

The other Rangers were gathered in the Command Center. "I just received word from Dulcea that Trini, Jason, and Zack have passed the trials," Zordon said, "They've became Ninjetti Rangers and are on their way.

"Great," Billy cried out. The others couldn't help but laugh at his enthusiasm to see his new girlfriend again.

All of a sudden, a flash of green, gold, and silver marked the appearance of Zack, Jason, and Trini, in morphed mode. "Power down," Jason called, and their suits disappeared. The others rushed them, Billy making a beeline to Trini.

"Good to have you back," Zordon said.

"Yeah, bro," Tommy said, "We've all been worried about the three of you."

"There was no need to worry," Zack said, "The Zack-man took care of everything."

"Yeah, except for your part of the trials," Jason said. Zack shrugged sheepishly and everybody laughed. Well, everyone but Billy and Trini, who seemed to be off on their own little world.

"It is time, Rangers," Zordon called out. "Rita, please bring out the gems." Rita brought out an ornamental box. She opened it, to reveal nine stunning gems. "Concentrate on the gems, Rangers."

The Rangers gathered around the ex-villainess and did as Zordon instructed. All of a sudden, the gems started floating in mid-air. They disappeared, and the Rangers were clothed in a different kind of morphing armor.

"This is your new morphed state," Zordon said, "New weapons that you have to find out on your own, and new zords. Observe the viewing globe." The Rangers turned around to look at the crystal ball behind them. Amazing looking zords appeared there. "These are your new Samurai zords.

"Each is a lot like the Thunder Megazord of old, except they're each just one zord, of course. The come together to form the Samurai Megazord. It can form with the Falconzord to become the Samurai Falcon Megazord, and it can form with Titanus to become the Samurai Falcon Ultrazord."

"They're awesome," Tommy said, "But what about the Ninjetti powers and the Ninja zords?"

"You still have your Ninjetti mode, just in case," Zordon said, "And you can still call upon your Ninja zords, even in Samurai mode. To morph, simply call out your respective color, and then say Samurai instead of Ranger. For example: Tommy you would call out 'White Samurai.'"

"Right," Tommy said, with a quick nod.

"Now, you can go on about your daily business," Zordon said, "I'll call you if I need you."

"All right, Zordon," Tommy said, "Power down." Their suits disappeared and the Rangers all teleported back to the Youth Center.

There, they found a party going on. "Welcome back Jason, Trini, and Zack," a banner read. Ernie had put together a surprise party, one that not even the other Rangers knew about.

"Surprise," everyone called out. Every friend they had at school was there, even Bulk and Skull, along with Lieutenant Stone. They started to blend in and enjoy themselves.

A little while later, Jason, Zack, Adam, Rocky, and Aisha are sitting down at their usual table. Tommy and Kim were out on the floor, dancing, along with Billy and Trini. "Boy, those two have gotten cozy in a hurry," Rocky said, nodding to Billy and Trini.

"It's not a hurry, if you think about it," Adam said, "All Billy ever talks about is either his inventions, or Trini."

"I think that someone's a little jealous of Billy, though," Aisha said, pointing to Richie, who was watching Billy and Trini dancing.

"I think I'd better go talk to Richie," Jason said, "I don't exactly like the look he's giving them." He got up and walked over to the counter, where Richie looked up at him. "Hey, Richie. Long time, no see."

"Hey, Jase," Richie said, "What's up?"

"Well, just one thing really," Jason said. He looked over to Billy and Trini. "How do you feel about those two getting together? I know how much you probably still like Trini."

"Yeah, I do care for her a lot," Richie said, "But I just want her to be happy. I knew even when we were dating the short time before you guys left for Geneva that she was in love with Billy.

"So, you're okay with it?" Richie nodded. "Then, what's with the scowls I see you giving them every once in a while?"

"Oh, it isn't scowling, really," Richie said, "It's just the way I get when I'm deep in thought. Believe me, no one's happier for those two than me, not even you guys."

"Good," Jason said, "I'm sorry for suspecting you like that."

"It's all right, Jase," Richie said, "I know that you were just looking after two of your best friends."

"Right," Jason said, "Well, I'll see you later, Richie."

"Bye, Jason," Richie said, "Oh, and welcome back."

"Thanks," Jason said, as he walked back to the table. Zack had taken off to dance with Angela, and Rocky and Aisha went onto the dance floor, leaving Jason and Adam at the table.

"So, how'd it go?" Adam asked Jason.

"Surprisingly good," Jason said, "He was happy for Billy and Trini, and didn't want to stand in their way." He looked around for a dance partner, and saw a pretty blond girl sitting off to the side, all by herself. "Would you excuse me, Adam?" Adam followed his line of sight and grinned. Jason left and went over to the girl. "Would you like to dance?"

"Sure," the girl said, smiling at him. He helped her up and out to the dance floor. "My name is Emily. What's yours?"

"Jason."

"So," Emily said, "What's a nice boy like you doing in a place like this?"

"I'm one of the guests of honor," Jason said, "What's a pretty lady like yourself doing without a dance partner?"

"I just got here," Emily said.

"Oh," Jason said.

***

The party went on for a while. The Rangers really enjoyed themselves. When it was over, they started walking home. Kim stumbled a little bit. "I think someone spiked the drinks," she said. Tommy shook his head. They mostly went their separate ways, but Tommy went with Kim, to make sure she didn't hurt herself.

They were walking along when Kim stumbled and fell into his arms. Tommy had to drop to his knees to accommodate Kim's weight. "My knight in shining armor," Kim said, giggling. She got up and Tommy did a roll back, landing on his feet. He helped her up the stairs when they got to her house.

"I think I'd better say good night," Tommy said.

"Good night, sweetie," Kim said.

"Good night, beautiful," Tommy said, giving her a kiss. She went into her room, while Tommy quietly slipped down the steps and outside. He then walked home.

The next morning, the Rangers met at the Juice Bar. Kim had a hangover, but was otherwise all right. "Are you all right, Kim?" Tommy asked.

"Yeah, just a wee bit woozy," Kim replied. All of a sudden, cogs appeared.

"Let's do it, guys," Tommy said. They sprung up and went to a dark corner. "It's morphin' time. White Samurai."

"Pink Samurai."

"Blue Samurai."

"Red Samurai."

"Yellow Samurai."

"Black Samurai."

"Green Samurai."

"Silver Samurai."

"Gold Samurai." They morphed into their new Samurai suits and set into the Cogs.

"Swing, batter, batter," Zack said, somehow molding one of his hands into a baseball bat. "Swing, batter." With that last swing batter, Zack connected solidly with several Cogs around him.

"Nice moves, Z," Rocky called out, "But watch this." He grabbed a Cog, ripped its arms out, and literally beat the crap out of it with its own arms. He repeated it with several other Cogs nearby.

"Too cool, R," Aisha said, "Samurai freeze block." All of a sudden, a Cog froze in mid-air. It hit the ground and shattered. She then used it and her martial arts abilities to tear into a bunch of other nearby Cogs.

"Good one, Y," Adam called, "But watch this. Samurai-Ninjetti double team." All of a sudden, there were two of Adam, one Samurai and one Ninjetti. They worked together to take out a bunch of Cogs.

"Way to make them see double, D," Jason said, "It's time for a gold rush." He called upon his sword and charged it with golden energy. He ran at a bunch of Cogs, slicing and dicing them. Soon, there was only a pile of rubble.

"Spectacular, J," Trini called, "Silver sickle." With that, a long sickle and chain appeared in Trini's hand. She ducked and whirled it. It decapitated several Cogs around her, taking them out instantly.

"Morphinominal, T," Billy said, "Rocket racers, power up." With that, some skating equipment appeared in place of his boots. They were rocket powered. Billy pulled out his blade blaster and turned it into knife mode. He went at the Cogs at super speed, tearing a good portion of what was left apart.

"Looking good, B," Kim called, giving him the thumbs up. "Laser whip, power up." With that, an energy whip appeared in her hand. She lashed out, sending a whole bunch of Cogs into the scrap heap.

"Save some for me, beautiful," Tommy teased. With that, he took to the air. He came down at super-sonic speeds, using special claws on his gauntlets to take out what little remained of the Cog army.

"Good work, Rangers," Zordon boomed over their communicators. "Report back to the Command Center."

"Right, Zordon," Tommy said, "Let's go, guys." With that, they teleported out.

***

"They cut through the Cogs like a hot knife through butter," Mondo said, "Klank, you better have some good news for me." Klank appeared, along with Orbus.

"We do, your majesty," Orbus said, "We've got a robot prepared that should be able to destroy the Rangers. But it has to be linked with the entire royal family's power to do so, you see."

"Do it," Mondo said, "But, if this monster fails, what will it do to us?"

"It will destroy you, as well, your majesty," Klank said, "But, it will not fail. With the energy of the five of you, it'll be invincible."

"Yes, it should be," Mondo agreed, "Machina, Sprocket, Gasket, Archerina, I need to see you immediately. Klank, get the monster ready, while I brief my family."

"Aye, your majesty," Klank said. He left. The other members of the royal family appeared a few minutes later, and Mondo explained the situation to them. They were all reluctant, at first, but agreed under his constant badgering.

***

"Good job, Rangers," Zordon said, "But the Cogs were just the beginning. Knowing the Machine Empire like I do, I predict that they should be sending down a monster any time now." All of a sudden, the siren goes off.

"No offense Zordon, but I hate it when you do that," Tommy said, "It creeps me out."

"I'm sorry, Tommy," Zordon said, "A monster is attacking downtown Angel Grove. You must morph, and stop it."

"We're on it," Tommy said. He looked to Jason. "Want to call it again, for old times sake?"

"Sure," Jason said, "Guys, IT'S MORPHIN' TIME. Gold Samurai."

"White Samurai."

"Pink Samurai."

"Red Samurai."

"Black Samurai."

"Yellow Samurai."

"Blue Samurai."

"Silver Samurai."

"Green Samurai." They all morphed and, a few seconds later, found themselves facing down a monster.

"Today is a good day to die, Rangers," the monster taunted, "For you." With that, the monster flung itself at them. It tore through them pretty easily.

"That's it," Tommy said. With that, he took to the skies. The monster quickly took aim and shot him down from the sky.

"TOMMY!!!" Kim screamed. Tommy looked to be all right, just fazed. "That's it. Laser whip, power up." Her energy whip appeared in hand and she lashed out at the monster, who caught it and slashed through it. The feedback sent Kim flying.

"Arm blade," Zack called. His arm morphed into a long blade. He jumped at the monster, swinging it. The monster side stepped it and knocked Zack for a loop.

"Rocket Racers, power up," Billy called. His rocket skates appeared on his feet and he took out his blade blaster. He went at the monster.

"Time to eat gravel, Ranger," the monster said, tossing a whole bunch of gravel at him. Since he was moving at super speed, the gravel tore into his suit like buck shot. He went down.

"Billy!!" Trini exclaimed, "Silver sickle." Her chain and sickle appeared in hand and she jumped near the monster, ducking her head and swinging it. The monster also ducked the sickle and knocked Trini for a loop.

Rocky ripped off the monsters arms, but it quickly grew new ones and knocked him unconscious.

"Samurai freeze block," Aisha called out. The robot froze in place and Aisha came at it with a kick, hoping to shatter it like she had the Cog earlier, but the robot quickly broke out of the ice, caught Aisha, and power bombed her down on the back of her head.

"It's time for a gold rush," Jason said. He charged his sword with the golden energy and flew at the monster. The monster absorbed the blows, and then sent a smashing force wave into Jason, knocking him back several feet.

"Samurai-Ninjetti double team," Adam shouted. He split up into his two forms and went at the monster. The monster ignored the Ninjetti and focused on the Samurai. Bad move. Adam hacked its head off with his Ninjetti sword. All of a sudden, the body grew a new head, and the head grew a new body.

"I can do that too, Ranger," the monster said. The two tore into the Ninjetti Adam, who had given up his trump card to try to take down the monster. A few minutes later, Adam was lying at the monsters feet, barely conscious.

"The Rangers have fallen to your combined might, your majesties," Klank said.

"Good," Mondo said, "Now, to finish them off." All of a sudden, the base the Machine Empire was on was rocked by explosions. "What in the world is that? Onscreen." All of a sudden, the Samurai Falcon Megazord appeared. It was floating in space, taking potshots at them.

"Hope you liked our little hologram show, Mondo," Tommy's voice filtered through the comm system. "We made it especially for you. Now, it's time to end this. Samurai Saber." A flaming sword appeared in the Megazord's hands. The Samurai Megazord grasped it with both hands and was obviously about to slash.

"Transfer consciousness to the robot," Mondo cried to his family, "The royal family must not be destroyed, no matter the cost." With that, the entire royal family felt themselves leaving their bodies and flowing into the mega robot. Then, the Samurai Megazord slashed the base, destroying it instantly.

"Now, for the mega robot," Tommy said. They flew back down to the Earth, where the royal family was having problems jointly running the mega robot, which had grown to maximum height.

"No where to run, Mondo. Samurai Falcon Ultrazord." The combination quickly came to pass. "Lock on and fire all weapons." The zords did as they were told and fired, to no avail.

"Rangers, call upon the Samurai-Ninjetti Falcon Ultrazord," Zordon said over their communicators. "That should do the trick.

"Thanks, Zordon," Tommy said, "Samurai-Ninjetti Falcon Ultrazord, power up." The Samurai Falcon Megazord split from Titanus, and formed with the Ninja Megazord, then recombined with Titanus.

"Now, let's try this again. Lock on and fire all weapons." The zords did as commanded and fired, and finally destroyed the mega robot monster, along with the royal family of the Machine Empire.

Exhausted, the Rangers teleported to the Command Center, where an amazing sight awaited them. A man was there and so was a beautiful woman. "Zordon," Tommy said, "Who are these people?"

"Rangers, may I present Lord Christopher Zedrian and Empress Rita Lee," Zordon said, "Formerly Lord Zedd and Empress Rita Repulsa."

"What's going on?" Kim asked, "Can someone come to Earth and pick me up, because I'm, like, totally lost?

"I was one of the original Samurai council," Zedrian said, "I left because of an outside force. The man responsible was the being known as Ivan Ooze. I do believe that you've always wanted to know why I let him loose, am I right?"

"Yeah, that's true," Tommy said.

"The reason is really simple," Zedrian said, "Revenge. I knew that you would defeat him. After he was destroyed, we found out that the spell he had put us under was irreversible and that he had linked our life energies to whatever passed of the same for the Machine Empire, a failed experiment Ooze had started a long time ago.

"You see, Rita didn't argue with me to come help you for another reason: we wanted to rid the universe of ourselves. And now, I have a place in the big place upstairs. I did not go to the evil side, and kill many people by my own free will, and neither did the others.

"We hope to see you all in heaven one day, Rangers. In fact, we're sure we will. Thank you, from all of us. Oh, and Zordon, I entrust my child's safety to you. You will find it in your sickbay."

They seemed to be about to disappear, when Rita stepped up. "Wait a second," she said, "I need to get something off of my chest. Tommy, I'm sorry I turned you into the evil Green Ranger against your will.

Tommy looked around at everyone and then at Rita. "I accept your apology, and I forgive you," he said, "And I actually thank you. For, without you, I never would've met the guys and, especially, Kim."

Rita looked surprised. She was expecting him to accept the apology and was hoping he would forgive her, but she never would've guessed in a million years that he would thank her.

"You've given me a gift, and now I give you one," Rita said. She held out her hand, and a beautiful ring appeared in it in a flash of light. She tossed it to Tommy. When he caught it, there weren't one, but two rings in his hand. One was the one she had shown them, and the other...

"No way," Tommy said.

"Go for it," Rita said. The quartet left with her winking at Tommy.

"Tommy," Kim said, when they had gone for a picnic with the guys at the place beside the duck pond where Tommy had first kissed Kim. "What did she give you?" 'Here's a good a place as any,' Tommy thought. He palmed the other ring, and showed Kim the one Rita had displayed, and then tossed to him.

"It's beautiful," Kim said, taking it from him. It wasn't exactly polite, but Tommy didn't care. "But, there were two rings, weren't there?"

"Yeah, there were," Tommy said. He brought the other ring around while dropping to his knees. Kim gasped when she saw what it was: an engagement ring with a big diamond. "Kim, will you marry me?" All of a sudden, Kim spun around. 'Deja vu,' Tommy mused. "Kim?"

Kim spun back around. "You don't think that I'd make it that easy, did you?" she asked playfully, "Of course I'll marry you." She flung her arms around his neck and gave him a very long, very deep kiss. After they came up for air, Tommy slipped the engagement ring on her finger. All of the others applauded.

A few weeks later, Tommy and Kim met at the same spot. Tommy looked very handsome, decked out in a white tuxedo. Kim had on a not surprisingly pink dress. "I can't believe this is happening," Kim said, "It all seems like a dream."

"I know," Tommy said, "Nothing's going to change, though. We'll still go out with our friends and be Rangers, if the need arises."

"Yeah, I know," Kim said, "The only thing that will change is my last name, and I'm glad." They then stepped up to an altar, where the reverend was standing, waiting for them. With him were Trini and Billy. It was a double ceremony that their parents were glad to pay for.

"We are here today to bond these two couples, respectively, in holy matrimony," the reverend said. The rest was a blur to the four young people standing in front of him. They were remembering all of the times they had spent together, as their respective couples, and with the other Rangers.

"Thomas and William," the reverend continued, "Do you take these women in holy wedlock, to love and to hold, through sickness and health, for richer or for poorer, until death do you part?"

"I do," Tommy and Billy said in perfect unison.

"Kimberly and Trini," the reverent continued, "Do you take these men in lawfully wedded husband to love and to hold, through sickness and health, for richer or for poorer, until death do you part?"

"I do," Kim and Trini also said in perfect unison.

"If anyone finds any reason why these three couples shouldn't be married, speak up now, or forever hold your peace," the reverend said. The place was absolutely quiet. "The rings, please."

Tommy and Billy slipped the wedding bands on the fingers of their respective brides. Kim and Trini did the same to their respective grooms. "I now pronounce Tommy and Kim and Billy and Trini, respectively, husband and wife. You may now kiss the brides."

That was all the boys needed, as they swooped in on their new brides for very passionate kisses.

After the reception, the respective couples went to their respective houses, their wedding gifts from Zordon, who had sent Alpha out some time back to buy them, just for this purpose. "I predict that they will all have happy lives," Zordon said. And that they did.

The end

Authors update: This story originally kicked off my unofficial series of "What if?" type stories. I've long since dropped the idea, but I might pick it up again one day. Who knows. Anyway, hope anyone reading this at FF.net enjoyed the story. I had fun updating it to put it up there. As for a sequel... well, anything's possible.