By Shadow Ranger
By Shadow Ranger
"You may choose any of the rooms in this corridor for your own use," the Master said as he showed his new servant, Xizor around.
It had not been as difficult to obtain Xizor's services as the Master had believed. The reptilian had recognised him and sworn allegiance almost too quickly. It was of little importance why this had happened, but he knew not to take things for granted. Something was going on and he would eventually need to discover what it was.
In truth Xizor both knew and hated the Master with a passion. Before becoming the Dark Prince of the Black Sun syndicate, Xizor had been an inhabitant of a small world in another part of the Universe. Everything had gone smoothly until the day two Time Lords arrived. They had made their intentions clear from the outset that the planet was going to become an experiment. What they had not mentioned was that the experiment would involve the mass genocide of millions when they unleashed the deadly nerve gas. The planet had quickly become a lifeless rock with only a few children able to escape.
On that day he had vowed vengeance against the Master and dedicated his life to bringing the Time Lord down. Of course both the Master and the Rani had escaped into the past or future and the Falleen lost any chance of catching them. That did not stop Xizor though. He created the Black Sun syndicate and used the illicit profits to fund research into capturing Time Lords. When he had been caught he had believed his chance at revenge was ended, but fate had intervened and now he had a chance to gain vengeance and a means of escape.
His face had remained emotionless as the Master had told him that he was to become a servant. His rage never showed despite the hatred he felt for the man. Showing emotion was for the weak and warm-blooded while he was cold and strong. Mammals were inferior to his reptilian race. He liked being cold and calculating. It allowed him time to plot his adversary's downfall. Revenge is a dish best served cold a philosopher had once said. There was nobody colder than Xizor.
The reptilian crime boss from the future nodded his acceptance. Although they were nowhere near the standard he was used to, his escape into Earth's past had prepared him for some inconvenience. Still, the Master had explained how to obtain furnishing and Xizor had no doubt he could find some females to serve him. His skin changed to red at the thought of attracting more potential mates.
"Now for your duties," the Master said. "You are to pick one of the Earth's Power Rangers and ensure his or her destruction. You will then move on to the next Ranger and do the same. When all the Rangers are destroyed I will release you from our agreement."
"Any Ranger I choose," Xizor echoed, regarding the faces of the Rangers and concentrating on the females.
"Any Ranger except for Aisha," the Master said. "Huntrax is supposed to be dealing with her. Upsetting Huntrax would be unwise."
"Maybe I will leave Aisha for now," Xizor conceded. "I'm sure there are other Rangers worthy of my attention."
"This one is most worthy," the Master said, pointing at the picture of Tommy Oliver. "Alas, if you should attack him you would be destroyed by my hand. The Dark One has plans for Mister Oliver."
"This one," Xizor said after a while.
"Ah, Jason," the Master answered. "A skilled fighter and extremely dangerous when angered."
"Exactly," Xizor answered, his skin returning to its normal shade. "He is emotional and therein lies his weakness. As with all warm bloods, he will become angry and will make mistakes. I on the other hand, never get angry and allow my emotions to direct my actions. That is why cold bloods will one day thrive on this world."
"This one might object," the Master said, pointing to the image of Samoht Revilo. "He is protective of his team mates and is a lot more disciplined than Jason. Maybe he will be a challenge for you."
"He is still warm blooded," Xizor said. "And like any warm blooded teenager he will be unable to fight Stella."
As he spoke, Xizor pulled a small box from his pockets and threw it to the ground. The metal started to expand as it bubbled on the ground. Slowly it changed shape to that of a human female. Xizor smiled. He had originally designed her to serve as the ultimate bodyguard, but had programmed her too well. Now she looked after all his personal needs as well.
Almost six feet she weighed exactly one hundred and twenty six pounds. Her body was designed to withstand physical abuse and to strike quickly. Her red hair hung loosely over her shoulders, contrasting nicely with her fair skin. As her synthetic flesh finished forming, her clothes appeared. Made of fine metallic silk, the one-piece green and yellow jump suit was made to reduce impacts and protect against solid weapons.
"Most attractive," the Master said.
He reached out with his hand and stroked the cyborg's cheek. Faster than he thought possible, the machine responded. The Master quickly found himself on the floor, a rare position for him in combat. He flipped back up and thrust a kick in Stella's direction. The robot caught the Time Lord by the foot and twisted him in the air before depositing on the floor again.
"Beautiful and deadly," the Master stated. "I trust she will be as effective against our enemies."
"No Earthling can withstand her attacks," Xizor said. "She will destroy the Rangers for us."
The Master smiled. After the disaster that had been Minion's Psycho Rangers he had desperately sought a way to defeat the Rangers. Now as he watched the reptilian in front of him he realised he had found the right man for the job.
Sunday in Angel Grove, a day traditionally intended for relaxation was made even better by the sun making an unscheduled appearance. Some of the Rangers had taken advantage of the warm day and decided to hang out on the beach. Currently, Tommy, Jason, Samoht and Rocky were heavily involved in a game of Frisbee, whilst Adam, Tanya, David and Kat sat in the sun, talking quietly. Zack was back in the groove having taken a day off from the Peace Conference. His smile grew as he attempted to impress the ladies with his dancing. So far he had had no luck, but being Zack, he continued anyway.
Not all the Rangers had traveled to the beach. Kimberly had taken Aisha to the Mall daily since the White Morphin Zeo Ranger had touched down in Angel Grove. The two friends had almost two years' worth of catching up to do. Billy and Trini were also missing. Billy had decided to start working on the repair of the Sky Zords and Trini had agreed to help.
Further up the beach, Trey sat watching his human friends as they enjoyed themselves. It was during moments like this that he understood the trust Zordon had in his Rangers abilities. On any other planet the Rangers would have been ordered to train almost constantly between battles. That had certainly been the case on Triforia. Their mentor had kept the defenders working out for hours after each battle, constantly berating them for their errors and what he perceived as shortcomings. But on Earth, the Rangers practiced their skills as a hobby during their day. They were rarely called to the Power Chamber except in emergencies and he had never heard Zordon remind them of their failures except where necessary for battle.
It was a strange feeling for the Triforian prince, but enjoyable none the less. His only regret was that he was alone on the planet. Yes, the Rangers were his teammates, but had yet to think of them as true friends. Well, maybe Jason. The Gold Zeo Ranger and Red Ranger shared a bond through the Golden Zeo Fragment that none of the other Rangers could share. It was a culmination of respect and understanding that had formed a last bond between the two.
Of course, even as he sat alone, Trey realised that what he lacked was not friendship, just a best friend. On Triforia, the Rangers under his command had known him for many years. Most had parents that had served with his father, adding an extra dimension to their relationships. They had trained together constantly and become a tight circle of companions willing to die for their teammates.
As he watched the four Rangers playing Frisbee, Trey made a decision. Hauling himself to his feet, he walked over to his teammates and joined in.
Nobody on the beach noticed the changing booth that mysteriously appeared and vanished, leaving behind a beautiful young woman. She turned her head and a wicked smile spread as she identified the Rangers on the beach and noted where they were in relation to each other. Her orders had been to isolate a group of Rangers and attack them.
Stella was a more precise operative than Huntrax. She didn't rely on weaponry even though she was a crack shot. Instead she preferred to use her physical strength and computerized reflexes to fight. In the future where Xizor had created her, she was undefeated. But then she had never had the chance to battle a Power Ranger. It was an opportunity she looked forward to.
Rocky was the first to spot something was wrong. Even though the spot of beach the Rangers had chosen was almost deserted; it was hardly ever silent. The lack of noise alerted him that something was wrong. He stopped and looked around. It was then that he saw the reason for the silence; somehow during their game, the rest of the beach had vanished leaving only the five Rangers and a strange woman.
All the Rangers were now on alert. Something about the way the woman moved made them feel uneasy.
"I am here to destroy you Rangers," Stella in a voice that was almost too sweet.
"We don't want to fight you," Jason said.
The woman smiled and then attacked. Her moves were swift and deadly, targeting one Ranger at a time and ignoring the others. As Tommy joined his friends on the ground, he decided it was time to turn things up a notch.
"It's Morphin Time!"
"Red Ranger Power!"
"Green Ranger Power!"
"Zeo Ranger III - Blue!"
"Zeo Ranger V - Red!" Tommy grimaced as pain spread through his entire body. He barely managed to remain standing and made a promise to discuss this new problem with Zordon. As his transformation finished the pain was forgotten, as was Tommy's promise to tell Zordon.
"Zeo Ranger X - Gold!"
"This is more like it," Stella said. "Humans are beneath my notice."
"Ow!" Blue Zeo exclaimed as he punched their attacker in the face. "What are you?"
Stella laughed as her left hand connected with Blue Zeo's throat. She had the satisfaction of feeling his windpipe crush even through the Plastoid armour of his costume. Ranger healing kicked in almost immediately to repair the damage, but Rocky was out of the fight temporarily.
While the others were stunned by their teammate's plight, Stella pushed her advantage. She mercilessly attacked Red Ranger, preventing him from attacking with a mixture of nerve holds and aggressive kicks. It had quickly become apparent that this woman was more than she seemed, and as a result Red Ranger did not fail to pull out all the stops. Aiming for the areas that appeared to offer less protection, he succeeded in knocking her off balance. Green Ranger and Red Zeo struck from the blind side, both connecting with a foot to the skull.
"She's still moving!" Red Zeo said in amazement.
Stella answered the Red Zeo Ranger with a kick to the chest. Red Zeo rolled with the blow to counter the worst of the impact. The two warriors traded punches with Red Zeo failing to land most of them. Stella seemed to be everywhere at once either countering his moves or attempting to paralyze him with her moves. Shifting her weight she sent Red Zeo back to the floor, where he remained.
As much as Stella wanted to finish the Red Zeo Ranger, her programming prevented her from doing so. Xizor had been very exact when detailing which Rangers she could kill and which; she had to leave alone. Tommy Oliver was one of those she had been ordered not to kill for reasons known only to Xizor's employer.
"Fire Fist!" Green Ranger called.
Having seen this woman take out two of his teammates, Samoht was decided to use his magical powers. She had yet to kill any of the Rangers, but the Green Ranger suspected it was only a matter of time. His fist connected with her chin and he could smell the odor of burning flesh. To his surprise, Stella did not scream or make any attempt to cover her wound. She merely wiped her palm over the singed flesh, exposing the metal below.
Stella laughed as the Red and Green Ranger halted their assaults. The sudden realization that she was a machine was enough to make both Rangers rethink their strategy. It also gave her a chance to make the next move. She did so with a snap kick to both of her opponents. Helmet or no helmet, she knew they would feel the pain of that move even as she unloaded with an explosive combination of chops.
"Four down, one to go," she commented as she discarded the Red and Green Rangers. She would finish them later, but first she needed to deal with the Gold Zeo Ranger.
Trey had not been idle during Stella's attack. He had been trying to contact the other Rangers or at least Zordon and Alpha since his blue friend had fallen. Now as Stella approached him, he knew it was time for action.
"You might as well give up contacting your friends," Stella told the Gold Ranger. "We're not even on Earth anymore."
"Then where are we?" Gold Zeo asked.
"A pocket dimension designed to resemble the beach where we collected you," the machine answered.
"Why are you doing this?" Gold Zeo asked.
"It's what I was programmed to do," Stella answered.
Trey looked over at his comrades and noticed that Red Zeo had started to stir. Stella picked up on the slight movement and drove her foot into Tommy's head. The Red Zeo Ranger groaned and ceased moving.
"Humans are such wimps," Stella stated.
"They may not be as strong as machines, but they never give up," Trey answered.
"And what about you?" Stella asked, "Are you stupid enough to challenge me, human?"
In answer Gold Zeo summoned his Golden Power Staff. He leapt into the air and had the pleasure of seeing Stella crouch into a position where she could not be hurt by his intended attack. That was exactly what he'd hoped would happen. He held the Golden Power Staff over his head as he landed.
The power of the Gold Zeo Ranger flowed into the ceiling of the pocket dimension, piercing the barrier and releasing them from Stella's trap. There was a bright flash and the Rangers were returned to Angel Grove's beach.
"A clever move human," Stella commented as she turned her attack to Trey. "But now you are mine."
When Tommy, Samoht, Jason, Rocky and Trey had vanished, the other Rangers on the beach had instinctively teleported to the Power Chamber. From There they had contacted Kimberly and Aisha. A quick search revealed that the five Rangers were trapped in a pocket dimension, which they could not access. It also showed Stella attacking and successfully defeating four of the Rangers.
"Billy?" Zack asked, unsure how such a beautiful woman could take Rocky down with a single chop.
"Scanning," Billy advised. "She's some type of cyborg, but I've never seen this combination of organic and mechanical parts. It's like someone deliberately grew human organs and then added machinery. She has some type of blood supply, so she may be vulnerable to weapon damage."
The other Rangers groaned as they saw Green Ranger burn away her flesh and her equally violent response.
"We need to get them out of there," Trini said.
"We need to find them first," Billy reminded her.
They watched as Gold Zeo unleashed his Gold Rush attack and transferred the Rangers back to Earth.
"Got them!" Billy cried. "Teleporting now."
Gold Zeo fell back on over one thousand years of training as Stella moved towards him. He carefully matched Stella blow for blow, keeping enough distance to ensure that her punches were less effective. For a while Stella was more than willing to let the Lord of Triforia believe he could beat her. Then she increased the speed of her attack and Trey was once again on the defensive.
"Triple Threat!" Gold Zeo called.
Stella had not expected any of the captured Rangers to have this ability and was unprepared to face three Rangers at the same time. However, the computer that served as her brain soon came to terms with the change of strategy and formulated a working defence.
As soon as Trey realised he had lost the advantage again; he remerged into a single Ranger.
"Gold Rush!" he called again. This time the tip of the Golden Power Staff was pressed firmly against Stella's throat.
Stella had not been programmed to recognise pain, but as the energy continued to flow into her body, she screamed. Almost panicking, she thrust her palm into Gold Zeo's chest, winding him.
"This is over," she announced.
From her pocket she pulled a small pistol and aimed it at the Red Ranger. As she pulled the trigger all five Rangers vanished.
In the Power Chamber the five Rangers had been powered down and had quickly recovered, although Tommy's wounds seemed to be taking longer than usual. While they recovered, Billy and Adam were comparing the readings they downloaded from Jason's helmet with their own scans.
"Well, how do we defeat her?" Tommy asked.
"We don't," Adam answered.
"What Adam means is that there is a subliminal energy wave that prevents the male mind from focussing on attacking her," Billy explained.
"He's right," Rocky said. "When I was fighting, I didn't want to hurt her."
"Then why was Trey able to unleash his attacks?" Zack asked.
"Because the Triforian body lacks several of the hormones affected by Stella," Billy explained. "If he'd remained there for a few more second he would have been killed with the rest of you. He was slowed down, but not totally disabled."
"So the only way to defeat her..." Trini said.
"Is for us five to take her on," Tanya said, picking up on Trini's train of thought.
"Affirmative," Billy answered.
"You must still be careful Rangers," Zordon said. "Even without her energy wave, Stella is still a formidable adversary."
"We'll be careful," Kat promised.
"Stella is not made of Iron," Billy told them, "So you don't need to worry about your powers."
Aisha stepped forward, accepting the challenge and called out: "It's Morphin Time!"
"Yellow Ranger Power!"
"Pink Ranger Power!"
"Purple Ranger Power!"
"Zeo Ranger I - Pink!"
"Brown Ranger Power!"
The five female Rangers teleported to the centre of Angel Grove, where Stella was leaving a trail of carnage.
"Zordon, I'm detecting multiple attacks all over Angel Grove," Billy said. "Perhaps we should check them out."
"Very well Billy," Zordon replied. "May the Power protect you!"
"It's Morphin Time!" David called from where he was helping Tommy. "White Ranger Power!"
"Black Ranger Power!" Zack added.
"Blue Ranger Power!" Billy called.
"Zeo Ranger IV - Green!"
In four columns of light the Rangers teleported away to face the Master's newest creations. The five other Rangers were forced to watch as their teammates went into battle, knowing they were not in any condition to help.
"She failed," the Master stated.
"Only for a moment my master," Xizor answered. "She is still standing."
"Yes," the Master conceded. "So far is she doing better than I expected."
"Then she may continue," Xizor said.
"For now," the Master agreed. "For now."
"Power Bow!" Pink Ranger called.
Stella easily brushed the arrows aside, but failed to block Pink Ranger's Power Bow when it smashed into her face.
The daggers pierced the android's shoulders and pinned her to the wall. Now with her arms restrained Purple Ranger was able to move in.
The chain wrapped around Stella's ankles, binding her in place.
"Zeo I Power Disk!" Pink Zeo called.
Her small disk appeared and as she touched it, the centre vanished leaving a small hole, the material allowing the disk to increase in size. As she threw the disk at Stella, the android lifted her legs so that Pink Zeo's weapon sliced into the Power Nunchuks and allowed Stella to break free. Grabbing the Power Disk from the air, she threw it back at the Rangers.
"Hey!" Brown Ranger cried as the Power Disk struck Pink Ranger and Pink Zeo. "You can't do that to my friends. Power Stick!"
Locking the two nightsticks together, Aisha locked them into a single staff.
Twirling the weapon in the air she started to glow the nine colours of the Morphin Grid. As she thrust the staff into Stella's chest, its glow changed to Brown. Lightning struck the ends of the staff. Stella screamed as the electrical energy arced into her chest.
"Your plan is failing," the Master said without any trace of humour.
"Stella can be replaced," Xizor answered.
The Master nodded and looked at the screen showing the Rangers fighting with his BATs.
"Your ground troops seem to be keeping them busy," he said. "Retrieve Stella and have her locate a piece of the Red Zeo Ranger's armour from inside the pocket dimension. Recall the BATs and I'll give the Ranger something to really think about."
Xizor obeyed the Master's instructions and Stella soon appeared before them holding a small fragment of Red Zeo's armour. The master snapped it in half and after placing one half with the tracking compound and orb he had stolen from Doctor Campbell; he placed the other part into the Time Scoop.
"Fire Toad arise!" the Master called.
He combined the armour with the Green Psycho Ranger known as Adaam. After sending it to Earth as a giant, he sat back and watched the fun.
"Kim, are you alright?" Blue Ranger asked as his group rendezvoused with the five female Rangers.
"We're okay," Pink Ranger panted before looking at the giant toad monster towering over them. "I think we need some Zords."
"Right!" the other Rangers agreed.
"Shogun Zords, power up!"
"Super Zeo Zords, power up!"
"Pyramidas, power up!"
The nine Rangers teleported into their individual Zords and battled the giant monster. It took only a few minutes for the monster to fall and the Rangers emerged victorious.
In his TARDIS, the Master sighed as he saw his monster explode. It had been expected because Fire Toad was only sent on the off chance he could pull off a surprise victory. The Master knew that monsters were not the key to victory. His plan to eliminate the Rangers one at a time though was a different matter.
Stella had proven herself in combat and although her skin had been totally burnt away by the Brown Ranger's final attack, the Master remained confident she would be a valuable servant. Like Huntrax she now had a defeat under her belt, but unlike Huntrax, the Master knew she would triumph the next time she attacked. She had already chosen Trey of Triforia as her target. The Gold Zeo Ranger's ability to withstand her chemical attacks attracted her interest.
In addition, the BATs had proven their worth in combat. The androids had sustained little damage and with a few modifications they would be even stronger in the future. He made a quick call to Savron Glitz to ensure the freelance thief had managed to obtain the equipment he desired. He smiled as he listened to the wiry little man attempt to increase his share of the takings. Glitz would see it his way in the end or he would die.
Flicking a second control the Master decided to see what Xizor was up to. Although his new servant had so far proven himself trustworthy, the Master doubted that the former crime lord would be able to stand being under his control for too long. Eventually Xizor's desire for vengeance against the Intergalactic Mafia leader Don DeLero would cause him to make a grab for power. The Master hoped it would not come to soon because Xizor was an excellent servant. Had the Master known that Xizor's hatred for Time Lords ran even deeper than his anger at DeLero he might have wondered why Xizor was so loyal.
Every fibre of his being could feel the changes about to take place. Soon one of his servants would accomplish their mission and destroy one of the Rangers. From there things could only go down hill for Earth's defenders.
The Master turned towards the sound. In his haste to employ Xizor, he had forgotten about his other project: Joe. By now he imagined the memory feed should have finished brainwashing the human. With a powerful ninja under his command he knew he would emerge victorious.
"Soon," he promised himself. "I shall be Master of the Universe!"
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