Bad to the Core
By Shadow Ranger
By Shadow Ranger
Deep inside the Earth,
31 October 1996.
The prophecy had come true. The Full Aspect Rangers had arisen to save those of the crystal. And in a time of deep confusion, a new colour had arisen to battle the forces of evil. But for every action there must be an opposite reaction. Not necessarily equal, as the force waking from its long slumber was about to prove, but definitely opposite.
The Rangers had once again gone their separate ways. The Zeo Rangers had remained in Angel Grove as had Aisha and Tanya. David had returned to his reservation to speak with his father. The other members of the Morphin team had decided that they were no longer needed in the war against evil. In truth there hadn’t been a villain in sight for a few weeks.
Samoht had taken advantage of the quiet to travel to England. He had said something about unfinished business, but the Rangers didn’t want to ask. Kimberly had gone to Florida to continue here training. Jason had agreed to join her there for a few days before he left on a short trip to Japan.
The three remaining members of the Morphin team had already decided on their future. Billy had applied for a place at the Peace Conference and the UN had been more than willing to oblige. The intervention of a now once again retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart of UNIT may have influenced their decision.
Ninjor, Thalian and Saurian had returned to their respective temples to continue with their work. Not even the future sight of the Mind Aspect Master had predicted the approaching enemy. Likewise the Great Power shielded Dulcea from knowing what was about to happen.
In the Power Chamber, Zordon had taken the opportunity to meditate and Alpha was recharging. The computer had been programmed to alert them if anything happened, but so far the alarm remained silent.
Deep beneath the planet’s surface in the very heart of its molten core an evil being was starting to awaken. It had never been to the surface before since it preferred to sleep, but the sudden power it detected from the Morphin Grid was too tempting. Its strength increased as it drew on the evil power of Halloween. It detected a concentration of magical energy in Switzerland where the Power Rangers were busy unpacking.
“Here’s the last case Trini,” Jason said as he put the Yellow Ranger’s luggage on the bed. It was hard to believe that even though she and Zack had left the Peace Conference without packing; she had the most clothes to take back.
“I just think it’s fortuitous that Kimberly isn’t moving in,” Billy said, referring to the Pink Ranger’s love of shopping.
“Aisha is worse,” Zack muttered. “She has to but a complete wardrobe.”
“And I bet you just had to volunteer,” Trini said. She had noticed how close the Black and Brown Rangers had become.
Zack was about to answer when the ground started to shake.
“This doesn’t look good,” Jason said as a black cloud floated through the floor.
It honed in on the Morphin energy and burst through the floor. Humans screamed when they saw it, increasing its powers as they did so. Beside him a bunch of black caped figures with white masks and sharp daggers appeared.
“Bring me some food,” it demanded. “I need to feed.”
Bursting through the Earth’s crust had been a tiresome process and the demon had exhausted his powers in doing so. But when it saw how far life had come on the surface it knew the effort had been worthwhile.
“Eternal night!” he cried.
The Sun was eclipsed as the minor demons rounded up delegates for him to eat. Soon he would absorb the Morphin powers and then he would be indestructible.
“Power Scan!” Blue Ranger called softly.
The Rangers had tried calling Power Mountain, but their communicators were jammed by the demon’s power. With their options limited, they had morphed and Billy was attempting to identify the demon.
“This being is pure demon,” he said.
“Meaning?” Zack asked.
“He won’t have any of the human weaknesses Zedd or Minion exhibit,” Yellow Ranger explained.
“Can we stop him Billy?” Red Ranger asked.
“How should I know?” Blue Ranger snapped. “Can’t you people think for yourselves for once?”
“Billy, what’s wrong?” Yellow Ranger asked.
“I am tired of doing all the thinking around here!” Blue Ranger answered. “If muscle brain or dancing boy here would do their share of the work I could have some fun.”
“Who are you calling muscle brain?” Red Ranger demanded, sword drawn.
“Billy, Jason, please. We need to study this thing before we attack,” Yellow Ranger said. Her face had gone blank as she stared into space.
“Well, well, well, Power Rangers,” the demon said.
“What are you doing to them?” Zack asked.
“I just enhanced their natural attributes to extreme levels,” the demon said in Billy’s voice. “Jason is hot headed, Trini likes to study her opponents and Billy, well Billy hates to think that those around him only value his mind.”
“What are you?” Zack demanded.
“I am Darkling,” the demon said. “And I have come to feed.”
“But why now?”
“Because it is Halloween; a time when darkness can walk the Earth. Speaking of which, it’s time for you to join the party Zackman.”
Black Ranger felt coldness in his chest and a sudden desire to dance. He dropped the Power Axe he had been carrying and started moving in time to a tune only he could hear. Next to him Trini continued to stare into space, Jason was swinging his sword at some unseen enemy and Billy was spouting Techno-babble to someone only he could see.
Darkling disappeared for a moment and then became a solid body of darkness. His shadowy servants seized the Rangers from behind as they tried to rip open the armour.
“Now, I feed!”
Angel Grove Reservation
David Trueheart stared into the crackling fireplace whilst drinking his cup of tea. Sam Trueheart sat in a chair opposite and listened while David told him of his most recent adventure. For some reason the White Ranger kept losing track of the conversation.
“David?” Sam asked.
“Something’s wrong,” David said.
He didn’t have Samoht’s mysterious gift of prophecy, but the White powers had given him a sixth sense about his friends.
“Do you know what?” Sam asked.
“No?” David replied. “But I can feel a wave of darkness approaching.”
“Perhaps the fire can answer your questions,” Sam suggested. “Look into the flames and let the Falcon guide your search for the truth.”
“What did you see?” Sam asked.
“A demon,” David said. “He has my friends.”
“Then perhaps you should call your other friends,” Sam suggested.
“They can’t help,” David replied. “They’ve all been disabled.”
“Then you must destroy him.”
“But he already disabled Jason, Billy, Zack and the others,” David pointed out.
“David, you are my son and I know you better than even Tommy knows you. I know that you can defeat anything that stands in your way. You have something the other Rangers lack.”
“The power of the White Ranger,” Sam smiled. “Remember when the sky grows dark it is time to switch on the light.”
“Who said that?” David asked. His adoptive father was always quoting something one of the tribal chiefs had once said.
“Health and Safety booklet,” Sam said, pointing to the leaflet they had received through the post.
“Thanks dad,” David laughed.
“Anytime David,” Sam answered. “Now go!”
“It’s Morphin Time!” David cried. “White Ranger Power!”
“Good luck David,” Sam called as his son vanished from view.
Darkling smiled as his foot soldiers reported they had disabled most of the Earth’s Ranger. Only one remained and he was on his way to Switzerland. In a flash of light, White Ranger appeared.
“Welcome David Trueheart,” Darkling said. “I’ve been waiting for you to join us.”
“I’m here to take my friends back,” White Ranger said.
“That’s what they all say,” Darkling hissed. “I know the truth though. You’re here to free them so you don’t have to fight. I know you hate being a Ranger.”
“I don’t hate being a Ranger,” David answered. “It wasn’t the life I planned, but I wouldn’t change it.”
“True, being a Ranger is a noble path. Even if you were only chosen because you’re related to Tommy.”
“You’re nothing David!” the creature said. “You’re only here because your brother was the leader of the Zeo Rangers. If you weren’t his brother Zordon would never have even considered you.”
White Ranger sank to his knees as the creature continued to spew its venomous words. It was difficult to ignore what it was saying; especially when in his heart he suspected they were true. He really was there because of Tommy. Up until the point where Minion had captured Tommy, all David had been was the carrier of half an arrowhead. _But I did carry it. _
“No, don’t think about the past like that,” the creature cried. “You’re nothing. You were never given special powers. Zordon never asked you to be his Green Ranger.”
David smiled beneath his helmet as Darkling realized its mistake.
“I’m not Tommy,” David said. “I wasn’t meant to do the things that Tommy has done. And if Zordon had chosen me to be a Ranger, I would have done so. But he didn’t. He came to me when the others were in trouble. He trusted me to help them. And as for the arrowhead; I didn’t need special powers to protect it because the UAE didn’t know I existed.”
“You’re more like Tommy than you think,” the creature said. “You have the same darkness inside your soul as he once had.”
“Everyone has some darkness,” David answered. “But I was raised to deal with it face on. I could never have held the Green powers because my soul is clean.”
“Join me,” the creature said. “I have never met anybody who was able to withstand my power. Together we could seize control of the planet and make things how they should be.”
“Do you think that I really want power?” he asked. “I don’t want the responsibility of ruling a planet. I don’t even find the offer tempting.”
“Then destroy me,” the creature said. “Summon your strength and cut me down without mercy. Then maybe you will get your friends back.”
“I don’t need to kill you to get my friends back,” David said. “You had me fooled for a while there, but now I know they’ve been here the whole time.”
“No, what are you doing!”
White Ranger started to glow brightly as his powers counteracted the creature’s spell. The wet blanket he had been feeling the whole time was lifted and with it the spell that had cloaked his friends.
“I’ve had enough of this game,” White Ranger said. “Leave or you will be destroyed.”
Tendrils of darkness tried to wrap themselves around the White Ranger, but he merely fought them back with Saba. His light grew ever brighter as he looked at his exhausted friends. He was not alone and that made him all the more dangerous.
“Rangers, destroy him!” the creature ordered.
“Never!” Red Ranger cried.
“I freed them,” White Ranger explained.
“We don’t take orders from the likes of you,” Red Ranger said.
“And we never turn on our friends!” Yellow Ranger called.
“As we told Rita when she first attacked,” Black Ranger said.
“Get off our planet!” Red Ranger cried.
“Let’s take him together,” White Ranger said.
“There’s a old saying,” Blue Ranger told the fallen creature.
“And what is that?” it answered.
“To vanquish the darkness,” Blue Ranger said as White Ranger stood over the creature. “Increase the light!”
“White Ranger Power!”
As the bright flash died away, the Rangers were returned to the Peace Conference. The rooms were a mess, but fortunately nobody had been hurt. David stayed around for a few minutes and then left the other Rangers to finish unpacking.
“Well, if this is what life in Switzerland is like, I can’t wait till tomorrow,” Billy joked.
The Rangers laughed as they helped Trini unpack. Some things never changed.
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