A Darker Return of the Green Ranger
Chapter II: Return of the Green Ranger
Rocky DeSantos hopped up onto the table where Aisha, Adam, and Billy were currently seated, knocking over their food and creating a mess as drinks spilled in every which direction. Aisha and Billy quickly stood up to avoid spilled soda while Adam was not so lucky. Coka-Cola spilled off of the table and right onto his lap. Remarkably, Rocky didn't make any contact with spilled soda or dipping sauce.
"Why do you think Tommy and Kim ran off so quickly earlier?" he asked his friends as he either ignored or was completely oblivious to their cold stares.
"It doesn't take a genius to figure it out," Aisha answered with a scowl as she walked away towards the counter to ask Ernie for a towel.
Rocky turned from Adam to Billy. "But they've been doing that for months. Why so eager today after what happened at the hospital?" the Red Ranger asked his friends.
"Last night was their anniversary. I guess things are just getting serious," Billy theorized with a shrug. "Clean up the table, please."
Rocky looked down at the mess he had caused and noticed it for the first. He frowned and picked up a French fry that was not covered in cola and popped it into his mouth. As he chewed, a rag flew from out of no where and hit him in the face. All he heard next was Aisha's stern voice saying "Clean! Now!"
Rocky hopped off the table and started to mop up the spilled drinks, while shoving all of the soggy food onto their trays to be disposed. "Aisha, did you know it was Tommy and Kim's anniversary?" he asked as he cleaned.
"She mentioned it to me," the Yellow Ranger responded as she leaned on the table adjacent to theirs while her "leader" mopped up his mess. "Why?"
The young Red Ranger simply shrugged. "Maybe we should do something for them," he suggested.
"I think an anniversary is one of those events where you just say 'congratulations' and forget about it unless you're involved," Adam chipped in.
"I don't think so," his best friend responded as he picked up the dirty trays and started towards a nearby trash can. He quickly threw out the bad food and tossed the trays on the top portion of the trash. "We could buy them gift tickets to go to dinner or something. They couldn't have done that last night. We were too busy fighting Elimigator."
Aisha stopped to contemplate his words and even gave a slight "hmmm." She shrugged. "Why don't you worry about paying us back for the food you just ruined before you go buying Kimberly and Tommy a five star dinner." She fixed him with an expectant glance, which the Red Ranger quickly shrank under.
"I don't have any money," he scoffed as if it were obvious.
"Don't have any money, eh?"
The four Power Rangers sighed at the booming voice of Farkas Bulkmeier as he and Eugene Skullovich approached them. The two renowned bullies strode up to the Rangers slowly and Bulk crossed his arms over his broad chest. "That's funny because I happen to have this!" With that, the larger of the two produced a wad of cash from his pocket.
The four Rangers actually raised their eyebrows at the impressive sum of cash that the bully held in his hand. "Beat up a junior high kid, Bulk?" Billy asked sarcastically.
"No!" the heavier of the two bullies snapped. "I just won this money in a bet."
Skull laughed hysterically at this, as he was prone to do on every occasion. "Yeah. Bulky beat Larry in an arm wrestle and got two hundred big ones!"
"Two hundred?" Rocky repeated.
"Yep," Bulk affirmed proudly.
The Red Ranger cast a glance to his friends and smirked. "I think it's funny that you had to go pick on Larry to find someone you can beat in an arm wrestle," the Red Ranger jeered with a laugh. Billy sighed and rolled his eyes while Adam actually chuckled at the exchange. Aisha crossed her arms, waiting to see how this would play out.
"Excuse me, dweeb?" Bulk grunted as his muscles tensed angrily.
"I bet you couldn't beat me in an arm wrestle," the young Stone Canyon Ninja Champion stated.
"You wanna test that?" Skull asked with a laugh.
"I will break your arm in an arm wrestle," the larger boy insisted angrily.
"You wanna bet two hundred dollars on it?" Adam interjected.
Bulk went quiet and didn't respond right away. He always poked fun at Rocky and his friends but truth be told, Rocky had done pretty damn well some of the local martial arts tournaments. He even kept up with Tommy, who Bulk didn't dare get into a fight with since that incident with Kimberly on Tommy's first day at Angel Grove High. Maybe betting all of his newly earned money on this wouldn't be such a good idea.
Skull had no such reservations. "Of course he'd bet two hundred dollars on it!" the lanky boy snorted with a laugh. "Right Bulky?"
Bulk clenched his fist and silently wanted to punch Skull right in the testicles. He kept his calm, however, and simply turned to Rocky. "You said you didn't have any money," the bully stated. "Why should I put mine down if you don't have anything to bet?"
Before the Red Ranger could respond, Aisha perked up. "Bulk, I'll give you a kiss if you can beat Rocky," she said sweetly as she batted her eyelashes at the two bullies.
Skull's jaw dropped as low as it possibly could. Bulk did a double take. "You'll wha-?" he stammered.
"I will kiss you, right on the lips, if you can beat Rocky in an arm wrestling match."
All of his reservations vanished in that instant. "You're on, dweeb!" he told Rocky as he pointed his finger at him. The large young man took a seat at the Ranger's table and held up his arm, read for the match. The cash fell from his hand and landed in the center of the table. Rocky, in an attempt to make a show out of the event, sat down across from Bulk slowly and put up with arm with equal speed. The two grasped hands and the large wad of cash simply sat between them.
"One," Aisha started.
"Two," Skull continued.
"Three!" Bulk and Rocky cried out together.
Bulk instantly began to apply as much pressure to Rocky's arm as he could. The Red Ranger began to slip and his arm started to go down. Bulk smiled. He was winning. With all of his weight, he pressed his opponent's arm down. Rocky, on the other hand, simply smiled and pretended to put up a fight. He was losing badly but that would only last a couple of seconds. His hand was inches away from the table. Then it was centimeters. Then it was millimeters. And then, with just a jolt of Red Ranger energy, Rocky pulled his arm up and smashed Bulk's right into the table on the opposite side. The match was over.
"Bulky!" Skull cried out.
Rocky laughed as he grabbed the money from off the table. He started to count it dramatically to get under Bulk's skin. It worked. The large boy stood up and turned away. He stormed off angrily, pushing Skull aside as he went.
"Bulky, come back!" Skull called as he ran after his friend.
Rocky turned back to his friend. Adam and Aisha were smiling. Billy was not. The oldest of the four Rangers present held out his hand expectantly. "What?" Rocky asked sheepishly as he met the Blue Ranger's eye.
"Rule number three. Never use your powers for personal gain," he stated.
Rocky scoffed indignantly. "Come on, Billy. He ripped it off anyway! It's not like he deserved it."
"Exactly, which is why you're going to give it to me and I'm going to return it to Larry."
Billy waited for just a moment before the younger Ranger sighed and put the money in his hand. Without saying a word, Billy left to go return to cash to its rightful owner. Rocky, Aisha, and Adam watched him as he went.
"Gosh. What stick's up his-,"
Kimberly Anne Hart smiled slightly as she looked around the small studio apartment. She and Tommy had really done a number on it this time. The place was a mess. Items had been knocked over in every direction. Random knick-knacks were strewn across the floor. Their breakfast remained uncooked in the sink and on the stove. Their clothes were scattered across the floor. Overall, the apartment had been trashed.
"Worth it," she thought to herself idly as she thought back on the last couple of hours.
Tommy was asleep beside her and the Pink Ranger wanted to do her best to avoid waking him up. Still, it was almost one and her parents would be expecting her home soon. She had told them that she would be spending the night at Aisha's and if she didn't get home soon, they might start making phone calls. With that thought in mind, the petite young woman pulled the covers off of her and got out of bed. Looking down at her body, she did a quick inspection for hickies or any other condemning marks. Finding none, she got out of bed and stretched her back to get the kinks out. She walked over to Tommy's dressed and opened "her drawer." Inside she kept a few essentials, such as clean clothes, a toothbrush, and anything that she wanted to hide from her parents.
The Pink Ranger dressed quietly in a pair of bright pink shorts and a white blouse and then began to gather her possessions. She tossed the morpher and communicator that sad idly on the dresser into her purse. She then picked up her dirty clothes from the fight and tossed them in his hamper. She and Aisha left clothes at each other's houses all the time. Her parents wouldn't question it if she came home without them. She also picked up the stunning black dress that she had worn the night before for their date and hung it up in his closet to avoid getting any more wrinkles in it.
When she was done, she went over to the bed and planted a soft kiss on his lips. "I love you," she murmured before standing up. The young woman took a moment to admire her sleeping boyfriend. He looked so peaceful in his sleep. It was one of the many reasons she enjoyed spending the night with him. She ran a hand down his cheek.
"You're doing a bad job not waking me up," the White Ranger muttered to her playfully.
Kimberly smiled. "I have to go," she told him. "I'm sorry."
Tommy opened his eyes and looked up at her. "Don't be," he replied as he took her hand into his own. "I'll see you later on."
"We still going bowling with the guys?"
He nodded. "Definitely," he answered.
"Kay. I'll see you then."
The young couple kissed one last time before Kimberly stood up. With that, the Pink Ranger picked up her purse and exited the small apartment. Tommy sat up and looked at all of the chaos around him.
"If Mom and Dad saw this, they'd stop paying for this place in a heartbeat," he said to no one in particular. With a shrug, he got out of bed and prepared to start cleaning.
On the moon palace, the Black Wizard and the cloned Tommy Oliver walked into the lookout room where Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa were idly waiting. The Empress of Evil perked up at seeing the two. She stood from her husband's lap and approached the pair quickly. She placed a hand on the clone's and looked up into his eyes.
"How are you?" she asked him genuinely.
"I'm alright," he answered with a curt nod.
Rita smiled and turned back to her husband. "This was the best plan we've ever had!" she shrieked as she walked back to the evil monarch. "I bet that idiot Dark Specter would never have come up with something so perfect!"
"Yes, my love. It is truly brilliant. But what of the new Power Coin, Wizard? Is it ready?"
The wizard sighed. He reached into the folds of his robes and pulled forth a small golden coin, identical to the original Green Power Coin. A smile cracked over Rita's features while Zedd began to laugh manically. The wizard waited for them to subside before he shook his head. He closed his hand over the coin and crossed his arms.
"The coin is not enough, masters," he informed them.
Zedd and Rita both stopped. "What?" The two monarchs of evil cast their wizard a dark look, which the centuries old mage did not even begin to flinch under. He knew that even in their deepest fury, Rita and Zedd needed him and therefore, he had virtually unlimited protection from their wrath. Still, they were also impulsive and he didn't want to be on the wrong end of an energy blast if he had miscalculated their tolerance towards him.
"The Green Candle never completely siphoned all of the Green Ranger's powers," he explained. "I've imbued what energy there was into the new Power Coin. Tommy here can morph but his powers will be substantially weaker than those of the other Power Rangers. He wouldn't be able to destroy one, let alone all six."
"Ugh! Rita, you incompetent excuse of a woman!" Zedd snarled as he pushed his wife away from him. "If you hadn't ruined the wax from that candle, our plan would be ready to go into action now!"
Rita growled slightly in response. "Me?" she shrieked in her high pitched tone. "My candle gave us a Green Ranger! What about the rest of the power, Zeddie?" She fixed him with a dark glare that did nothing to hide an accusation.
Zedd turned his anger back to the Wizard. He knew that Rita wasn't wrong. It had been his Turbanshell monster that had possessed the rest of the energy they needed. Unfortunately, the Power Rangers had killed the siphon monster before a transfer could be completed. Moreover, the plan to fuel his Dark Rangers had gone horribly wrong, which had made matters worse. Overall, the situation was more his fault than hers. He would never admit that, though. Instead, the Dark Lord marched up to the wizard and Tommy clone. "Is there anything that you can do in order to make the Power Coin stronger?" he demanded.
"Well," the Black Wizard answered slowly, considering the question with great care. "There are a couple of options available, I suppose."
"Tell me!" Zedd boomed angrily.
The Tommy clone back away ever so slightly at his master's fury. The wizard didn't react at all. Instead, he simply answered the question with an entirely straight and even composure. "As you may recall, when the original Green Ranger had to make due with only power left in his Power Coin after your wife's attempt to steal his powers. That was a little less than half. In order to make up the difference, Zordon of Eltar gave his own life force to re-energize his Ranger."
Zedd frowned. "The Green Ranger could barely hold his own in battle at that point! You expect me to send in my greatest warrior when his powers could disappear at any moment!"
Beneath his mask, the Wizard smirked to himself. That excuse had been quick thinking on Zedd's part. He knew that the Emperor of Evil didn't really give much concern to "his greatest warrior." He just didn't want to risk using his own life force to power the Green Ranger. Doing so would leave him vulnerable to any potential usurpers out there. Dark Spectre, Divatox, the Machine Empire, and possibly even Rita would love to see the Emperor of Evil indisposed for even a minute. Still, it wasn't his place to judge his master openly. He simply logged the information away for future use.
The Wizard smirked and simply held his hand out to the Tommy clone, offering him his new Power Coin. The clone took the coin. It felt warm in his hand and a small spark of green energy went off. The spark danced across the smooth surface of the small disc before subsiding. The clone placed a finger on the small, tri-point marking and traced it. With a smirk, he closed his hand over the coin and let the warm sensation run over him for a moment. The power felt good. It felt like small sparks danced in his blood and urged him to fight. He wanted nothing more than to satisfy that urge. Mental images began to flash through his mind of a battle between the Green Ranger and the White Ranger. The two titans would clash in the midst of thousands of people and the world would know beyond any reasonable doubt who was the true Power Ranger.
"Are you ready to prove yourself, Tommy?" the Wizard asked him, interrupting his mild day dream.
"Yes!" the new Green Ranger responded eagerly. "Let me take on the Power Rangers! I'll crush them!"
"Not in your present condition, you won't," the Wizard warned. He turned back to the two monarchs. "I say that we cripple the Rangers and power up our own at the same time."
"What are you getting at, Wizard?" Rita demanded as she passed her scepter from her off hand to her dominant one.
"Only one with a Power Coin can enter the Rangers Command Center. We send Tommy in to infiltrate the Command Center. Once inside, he can reclaim the Dragon Dagger and drain Zordon of his power in order to make the coin stronger."
"But will the coin hold the energy that we steal from Zordon or will it simply fade away."
"If Tommy can get back here fast enough, I can perform a spell which will seal Zordon's energy inside of the Power Coin. The Green Ranger will be stronger than ever!"
"Excellent," Zedd responded as he considered the plan. "Tommy, do you feel up to it now?"
"Yes, Lord Zedd," the Green Ranger answered with a curt nod. "Zordon won't even know what hit him."
"I suppose, as the Rangers like to say, it's morphing time," Rita stated as she came down from the throne and approached her new Ranger. The Empress reached into her long gown and from within one of the pockets she produced a small device. "I had Finster build this when Zeddie and I started talking about creating our own Power Ranger. It's your morpher."
Tommy took the device and examined it carefully for a moment before dropping his coin in the center receptacle. The morpher and coin instantly bonded to one another and an aura of green light encompassed them for just a moment before it subsided. The clone extended his arms outward and pressed the red button on the side of his new toy. A rush of energy surged through him as his new powers coursed through his body.
"Dragonzord!" he called out unwittingly.
Inside of the Power Ranger's Command Center, Alpha 5 gave a confused "hmmm" as the small android bent over a console and began pressing buttons. "Aye aye aye aye aye!" he exclaimed. "Zordon, I don't understand. The reports from the hospital are in but nothing appears to have been taken except for a case of blood that had been donated in the life drive two days ago!"
The neon energy tubes at the side of the energy cylinder at the heart of the base sprang to life and Zordon of Eltar appeared in his prison. "I know, Alpha. I can only assume that Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd have gone so far as to consider using blood magic against us."
"Blood Magic? But Zordon! The secrets of Blood Magic have been lost for centuries!"
"Perhaps we were wrong," the ancient being suggested.
Before the conversation could continue, a swirling jet of emerald green energy descended into the center of the room and the Green Ranger stood there when it dissipated. In his energy prison, Zordon's eyes went wide. Alpha spun around and his photoreceptors flashed brightly.
"Aye aye aye! Intruder!" the small android called out as he went for the console that controlled the base's defenses.
"Oh no you don't!" the Green Ranger shouted and he rushed to intercept the android. The cloned Power Ranger delivered a swift kick to Alpha's chest plate, which sent the little guy sprawling backward and onto the floor. Tommy moved in on Alpha and lifted the robot into the air by the leg and back. "Stay out of my way!" With that, the intruder hurled Alpha across the room. The android cried out in fear as he soared through the air and crashed directly into the viewing globe. It shattered on impact and surges of electricity burst out in all directions. The tendrils of lightning that were near Alpha spiked across his small body. His high pitched "aye aye aye's" slowly became deeper and less coherent until finally the electric surge subsided and his small voice was no more.
Tommy smirked at what he had done beneath his helmet before turning to face Zordon.
"So you're Zordon on Eltar?" he asked idly as he reached up and unclipped the restraints on his helmet. "My name's Tommy," he introduced as he pulled the Green Ranger's helmet off of his head and revealed his features. "It's nice to meet you."
"This cannot be. You are not Tommy!" Zordon protested.
"Oh but I am, old man."
"So this is how far Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa would go. They've violated the sanctity of life to create a clone."
"That's right," Tommy confirmed with a nod as he set his helmet down. "Now you stay quiet while I have some work to do."
The Green Ranger walked over to the command console nearest Zordon and began typing in search commands. As he did this, the ancient man in the tube redirected his attention to his fallen friend.
"Alpha 5, are you alright? Alpha 5, can you hear me?"
"Your little robot friend is dead," Tommy snarled as he found what he wanted. "And this is a nice setup that you've got here. All I have to do is press this button-" he pressed a small cerulean node. "-and this appears."
The Dragon Dagger, retired for almost six months now, appeared in his hands. The Green Ranger smirked as he ran a gloved hand over the contours of the blade and admired its craftsmanship. "Beautiful," he murmured. With delicate care of a warrior in love with his weapon, the Green Ranger placed it in the black sheath on his hip and turned back to Zordon.
"This is the part where you go away now," he informed the Ranger's mentor. Reaching down, the clone plucked the newly fashioned Power Coin from his belt and looked up at Zordon. The Green Ranger smirked darkly as he moved to another console and typed in a few commands. It took him a moment to figure out the base's technology but he managed to find what he was looking for after a bit.
"Tommy, stop. You don't have to do as Rita and Zedd command."
"Shut up," the Green Ranger snapped at him. "I do this because I want to. Rita and Zedd care about conquering this planet. I just want the White Ranger gone."
"And then what?" Zordon inquired. "Once the real Tommy is dead, what do you plan on doing then?"
"Whatever I want," the Green Ranger answered. "If that happens to coincide with what Rita and Zedd want, that's fine by me." With a mechanical drawl, a small disk shaped receptacle popped up out of the console that Tommy was working with and a smile danced across his lips. "I need a little pick me up." The clone placed his Power Coin in the receptacle. Instantly, the lights in the room began to dim and Zordon cried out in pain. Electricity surged through the consoles. Some of them overloaded and exploded but the one that the coin was plugged into remained stable.
The cloned Green Ranger began to laugh. It was a laugh that Zordon had heard before and had prayed that he would never have to hear again. The Evil Green Ranger had returned. The Power Ranger's mentor's last thoughts before he faded from the Command Center were filled with despair. Rita and Zedd may very well have defeated the Power Rangers at last. They would have no way of knowing that a clone that looked identical to one of them was behind the chaos and destruction of the Command Center. And with that, Zordon of Eltar faded from this reality.