|Foreword||One and Two||Three, Four, Five||Interlude I and Six|
|Interlude II, Seven and Eight||Nine, Interlude III, and Ten||Eleven and Twelve||Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen|
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Angel Grove was under siege. And unlike previous times, the enemy meant business. The citizenry ran for their terrified lives as the gibbering gray army swarmed every street, every building, every nook and cranny. And wherever they went, the putties left carnage and blood in their wake--shattered windows, overturned cars, smoke and flames, and bloody bodies left a clear trail of where they’d been.
Five putties stormed Bulkies and went on a wild spree, destroying tables, chairs, and counters with sheer abandon. They did, however, pause in their destruction to take long drinks from the soda dispenser, lapping the colas up like dogs. Bulk, who’d stopped at his father’s store for a quick snack, took advantage of the respite to flee. Moments later, he turned to see the place explode in a huge fireball. He didn’t even have enough time to mourn the loss of his father’s livelihood, as three nearby putties spotted him standing there and attacked. With surprising speed for such a big fellow, Bulk ran for his life.
He found Skull five blocks over; his friend was cornered in an alley, surrounded by putties and defending himself and a five-year-old girl with nothing more than a garbage can lid. The putties jabbed their weapon-arms at him teasingly, toying with their terrified prey. Bulk stood there for a moment, mouth agape, then he looked around wildly and ran out of the alley and down the street until he found an abandoned beauty shop.
Skull hadn’t seen his partner, as he’d been too busy cowering behind his makeshift shield and desperately parrying his attackers’ jabs. But the sound of a familiar “YO!” made him glance up and stare at the entrance of the alley. Bulk was standing there, a sneer on his lips and his legs spread wide in a gunfighter stance. “Come on, dirtbags!” he called to the putties. “Come take me on!”
The putties glanced at one another and gibbered a moment or two, then stormed forward.
Bulk whipped his arms up. In his right hand he held a can of hairspray; in his left, a butane lighter. In his heart, he held the fervent hope that he remembered how the guy in the movies had done this.
As the putties closed in, he pressed the spray nozzle down and flicked the lighter. A sheet of flame erupted, smashing into the putties and igniting them instantly. Within seconds there was nothing left of them except scorched clumps of rubber and a foul stench in the air. Bulk opened his eyes and hurriedly let up on the can, which was all but empty now anyway.
“BULK! YOU WERE GREAT, MAN!” Skull cried as he and the little girl ran over to join the stunned hero. “You saved our lives, man! The Power Rangers couldn’t have done better!” When his buddy didn’t answer, he peered up into Bulk’s face, then waved his hand back and forth in front of him. “Bulk? You okay?”
“I think I wet my pants,” Bulk whispered, his eyes still wide.
* * * * *
Goldar, the winged simian warrior, soared above his troops and laughed harshly. His huge sword was tinged with dried blood, as were his armored fists. He was proud of his mindless armada, pleased with their performance so far. He had waited so long for a chance such as this, to finally do battle unencumbered by his master’s restrictions, to wage pure war against these puny creatures and reduce this damned city to rubble. Only one thing troubled him at the moment--there had been no sign of those annoying Power Rangers. Goldar ached to engage them; he would show them once and for all just how deadly he could be. What a shame, too, that his old nemesis, the original Red Ranger, had given up his mantle to another, less worthy, individual...
A blast of energy slammed into Goldar from behind, sending him tumbling into his minions. Roaring with rage, he picked himself off the ground and retrieved his sword, glancing down at his singed fur and trying to ignore the odor that wafted around him. With one powerful leap, Goldar soared skyward, searching for the fool who’d dared challenge him.
He spotted his foe just as a second blast smashed into his chest. Goldar tumbled from the sky a second time, and Egon Spengler smiled grimly. “That’s two, monkey boy,” he muttered under his breath, then raised his thrower in readiness.
This time Goldar emerged from the ground, shoving his putty troops aside as he stormed toward his tormentor. “Fool!” he bellowed at the top of his lungs, brandishing his sword and waving it wildly in the air. “You will pay for this indignity!” He turned toward his putties. “KILL HIM!”
“Not today!” came a cry from above, and Goldar almost smiled when he looked up and saw the source of the taunt. The White Ranger stood poised for battle on the roof of a nearby storefront. As he slowly turned in a semicircle, Goldar saw the Red Ranger ...the Yellow Ranger ...the Black Ranger ...the Blue Ranger ...and the Pink Ranger ...waiting for their leader’s signal. And the monster smiled, knowing that at least one of his remaining wishes had come true.
“Come to me, White Ranger,” Goldar taunted, waving him on. “Your best against mine--let us see who triumphs today!”
The White Ranger’s right arm made a quick movement, and suddenly his own sword, Saba, glittered in the afternoon sun. “Let’s go, Rangers!” he cried as he soared into the air, and his comrades instantly followed suit.
The battle was joined.
* * * * *
Janine Melnitz raced out of the portal Scorpina had created and hurried to her locker. “No time, no time,” she panted as she grabbed her pink-and-blue jumpsuit, then slipped into it as she hopped over to her desk and slapped the panic button. “LET’S GO!” she bellowed as Peter, Winston and Ray emerged from the basement, staircase and fire pole respectively.
“What gives?” Peter demanded as he donned his coveralls. “What are you doing back? Where’s Egon?”
“Egon’s in Angel Grove,” Janine replied breathlessly as she tied her bootlaces. “The city is under attack and Rita sent me here to get some help. Hurry up!” She grabbed a proton pack and strapped it on her back, ignoring the sudden weight against her back.
“Who’s Rita?” Winston asked as he slammed his locker open.
“Rita Repulsa. The woman Ray and Egon pulled out of that doo-dad earlier.”
“Rita...Repulsa,” Peter echoed as he stripped out of his street clothes. “What kind of name is that, besides very alliterative?”
“She’s Scorpina’s mother, she’s ten thousand years old, and she’s a very powerful witch,” Janine supplied.
“Okay.” Peter grabbed his coveralls and slid his legs in. “So is she a good witch or a bad witch? These things are important, you know.”
“She’s on our side.”
“That isn’t an answer,” Peter pointed out.
“That’s the best I can give you,” Janine shot back. “Now shut up and get dressed, Dr. V.”
“Just how are we going to get there?” Winston asked as he slipped his pack onto his back.
“Over there.” Janine pointed toward the shimmering portal near ECTO-1. “We’ve got to hurry, though--Rita can’t help the kids out until we’ve gone through.”
“I’m set,” Peter said, moving over to join her.
“Me too,” nodded Winston.
“Oh, boy!” Ray exclaimed as they walked through the rift. “A controlled transdimensional interface! This is so neat....”
* * * * *
The putty army quickly besieged the Power Rangers. No matter how many the Rangers dispatched with kicks and blows, more took their fallen comrades’ place instantly. And unlike prior battles, this time the putties were aiming their bludgeons and blades with nasty accuracy.
Aisha discovered this the hard way. She had just destroyed a putty with a spin and kick when a second one slammed its bludgeon into her left arm. The Yellow Ranger yelped in pain but managed to roll with the blow, falling to the ground and somersaulting under the legs of three other putties. She rubbed her throbbing limb and grit her teeth against the pain that was shooting up it. “Damn,” she muttered under her breath.
Meanwhile, the Black Ranger had several rips in his uniform from close calls with a blade-handed putty. “Geez!” he yelled as he avoided another swing, then pivoted and slammed his fists into his foe’s chest. The putty instantly shattered into a thousand pieces. “I thought these outfits could take more punishment than this!”
“Yeah, I know what you mean--these guys mean business!” the Red Ranger yelled as he shattered two putties with a spread-legged kick. A second later he was on the ground moaning as a third putty struck him in a particularly vulnerable area; the Pink and Blue Rangers stood over him back-to-back while he recovered.
“Gotta watch yourself, Rocky,” the Blue Ranger warned as he smashed his fist into a putty’s face.
“Uh-huh,” the stricken Ranger squeaked.
“Like, this is getting us nowhere,” the Pink Ranger declared as she took out three putties with a wide-arc kick.
“I’d be happy to entertain hypotheses!”
“Why don’t we get the Zords and squish ‘em?” the Black Ranger suggested; he was sitting atop a frustrated putty with his hands covering its eyes. So far the blinded putty had taken out three of its comrades.
“It’s a thought...” There was a flash of light from nearby, heralding the appearance of the remaining Ghostbusters. Rather than explain, Egon chose to demonstrate the assignment to his partners, firing a narrow proton blast that melted a dozen putties into smoking puddles. Within moments Ray, Winston and Peter followed suit, giving the Rangers a bit more breathing room. But the entire putty army had turned from its mission of destruction, heeding the orders of their master and seeking only one thing--the death of the Power Rangers and those who stood beside them.
The Red Ranger shook his head. “This does not look good...”
* * * * *
Meanwhile the Ghostbusters were having problems of their own. They’d thought themselves to be the cavalry, riding in to save the day, but within minutes of their appearance putties were approaching them from every direction. Adapting quickly, they moved into a circle, standing back-to-back and firing full power spreads into their foes.
“Geez,” Peter yelled, wrinkling his nose. “It’s starting to smell like Pittsburgh around here!”
“This is worse than DOOM II in nightmare mode!” agreed Winston.
Egon frowned. This wasn’t working as he’d hoped. Instead of backing up the Rangers, his team was in as great a danger as the kids they’d come to save. “Ray,” he called over his shoulder. “Do you have any ideas?”
“None right now,” the chunky Ghostbuster replied. “How about you?”
“I asked you first.”
“Oboy,” Peter said, glancing at Winston worriedly. “When the boy wonders are dry on brilliant solutions, you know we got trouble.”
“Hope this isn’t another ‘crossing the streams’ situation,” Zeddemore nodded.
“Frankly, I’d have preferred that to this,” Venkman noted. “At least Gozer smelled better when we toasted him...”
* * * * *
Angela wanted to scream, but she was too busy saving her breath for running. A pleasant afternoon jog to take her mind off Zack’s bizarre disappearance had turned into a wild sprint with her life as the prize. She didn’t even glance over her shoulder; she knew the putties would still be there, matching her stride for stride and closing the distance between them with every second.
Her chest heaved with every breath. She could feel the strain in her legs, but she couldn’t let up. A raspy cry escaped her dry lips as she spotted the Juice Bar in the distance. Angela could just make out Ernie’s rotund form in the doorway, shooing panicked children and teenagers in and fending putties off with his broom. He couldn’t possibly hold out forever, she realized, but still, a momentary haven was better than nothing. Angela grit her teeth and somehow managed to pick up her pace.
She could hear the putties shrieking behind her; ahead, the Juice Bar grew closer and closer, but still so far away. Angela was beyond thought, her body acting on sheer instinct as she reached inside herself for a final burst of energy to break away and reach sanctuary. She kicked her legs out with every stride, pumped her arms with grim determination, trying to eat up the final distance even faster...
She heard an odd noise from behind and turned instinctively to see what it was. She barely had time to register the leering expression of a putty before she tripped and tumbled roughly onto the pavement. Angela could not even cry out as her arms and legs skidded along the jagged surface, so exhausted was she. When she finally bounced to a stop, all she could do was lie on her back and wheeze helplessly as her pursuers encircled her, leaning forward and snickering in low, menacing tones.
Zack, she thought to herself dazedly. I’m sorry, Zack...
Suddenly a wild tingle shot through her body. Angela gasped as her exhaustion instantly vanished, replaced by an incredible, almost euphoric feeling of power. With a wild cry of delight, Angela pushed herself off the ground and performed a magnificent somersault over the heads of the confused putties, then proceeded to execute a sharp series of back flips toward the Juice Bar. When one putty was foolish enough to get in her way, she did a tuck and roll, then shot her legs straight out and smashed her feet dead center in its chest. The putty screamed and shattered into a million pieces; Angela gracefully rose to her feet and with effortless ease raced into the Juice Bar. Ernie held the door open for her as she passed.
Once safe, Angela shuddered as the energy faded as quickly and unexpectedly as it had arrived; she staggered into a chair and shook her head, as if to clear it. She looked around tiredly and was stunned to see how many people were there. “Why...why haven’t the putties...?”
“Beats me,” Ernie shrugged. “But I’m not complaining. By the way, nice going,” he commented wryly as he shut the door behind them. “I didn’t realize you were such a good gymnast.”
“I’m not, normally,” she gasped. “I don’t know what got into me.”
“Whatever it was, it was something.” The proprietor handed her a glass of ice water. “You looked like a Power Ranger out there.”
And not too far away, Rita smiled to herself before returning her attention to the battle.
* * * * *
Rita and the three former Rangers were stationed in a nearby alley. “We should be out there,” Jason pleaded with the witch. “They need our help.”
“Don’t be a fool,” Rita retorted. “Even with their powers, they’re barely holding their own. You wouldn’t have a chance.”
“We can’t just stand here and watch them get slaughtered...” Zack argued.
Rita turned around, her eyes burning. “Listen to me. The true warrior knows to wait for the right moment to strike. At the moment, we’re invisible to the enemy’s sight. If circumstances require you to join the battle, then by all means join your comrades. Until then...”
Jason gasped and pointed toward the street. “Tommy!” The White Ranger was stumbling backwards under Goldar’s relentless assault. At the moment, he was wondering if taking the monster on solo was such a good idea. Saba was blocking the blows that kept slamming down from the armored ape, but it was getting harder and harder to keep his defenses up.
“Hah!” Goldar sneered as he brought his sword down; the White Ranger parried it away, but it was close. Too close. “Where are your boasts now, White Ranger? Where are your mighty powers? Where is your all-wise, all-powerful mentor when you need him? Now you see who is the greater warrior! I will write my name in the sky with your blood!”
“Yeah, and you’ll probably spell it wrong, too!” Tommy lunged forward, slamming into Goldar and knocking the ape backwards. But he recovered almost instantly and returned the blow, sending the tired Ranger sprawling. The back of his hand hit the pavement hard, and Saba skittered out of his grip. Goldar loomed above him, laughing maliciously as he brought his sword down in a swift motion...
Goldar suddenly roared and fell to Tommy’s left as something smashed into him. Tommy glanced up and saw Jason standing there, smiling and offering his hand. “Are you crazy, man?” Tommy cried as accepted the assist. “Get out of here, Jase! What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“Saving your butt, partner,” Jason grinned. “As always.”
Goldar slowly rose to his feet, an ugly smile etched on his simian features. “Ahhh...” he chuckled ominously, nodding with satisfaction. “Red Ranger. How nice to see you again ...one last time...”
“Why? You leaving?” Jason retorted, assuming a defensive stance.
“I had hoped you’d do something stupid, like joining the battle,” Goldar growled. “Now I can kill both of you and present your bodies to Lord Zedd!”
“Big talk,” the White Ranger declared, extending his hand; Saba jumped off the ground and flew back to his grip. “Let’s see the walk, Goldar!”
Goldar roared and attacked; Jason barely eluded the slashing blade and kicked his foe in the knee, while Tommy leaped into the air and smashed his boot into the ape monster’s face. Goldar stumbled backwards and wiped the blood from his nose, then charged once more. Jason planted a foot in Tommy’s hands and flipped himself through the air, landing on Goldar’s shoulders. Locking his legs around his foe’s throat, Jason slammed his fists over and over into either side of Goldar’s head while Tommy slashed at the creature’s sword hand. The sword clattered out of Goldar’s hand, and he reeled back and forth under the assault.
“Get off!” he screamed at Jason, who was hanging on for dear life.
“Jase!” Tommy yelled. “Be careful!” He raced forward and leaped; his feet smashed into Goldar’s face, breaking his nose and sending blood spurting in every direction. But the monster had managed somehow to grab hold of Jason’s arm, and with a scream of outrage he pulled the former Ranger from his perch and sent him flying into the air toward a brick wall.
“JASON!” Tommy screamed as he watched, unable to leave the staggering Goldar free for even an instant to save his friend. The wall loomed closer in Jason’s sight ...closer ...closer....
Jason abruptly found himself sitting in Scorpina’s arms, inches away from the brickwork. “Mother told you to stay with her,” she scolded.
“Sorry,” Jason replied.
She smiled as she let him down. “No apologies necessary. But for now, it is best that you leave the fighting to us.” He nodded curtly and headed for the alley; when she was sure he was safe, Scorpina turned her attention to the reeling but still standing Goldar. “Stand back,” she ordered the White Ranger, a nasty smile on her lips. “Allow me this small pleasure.”
“After you,” Tommy said, bowing slightly.
Scorpina’s smile broadened. “Oh, Goldar!” she called sweetly; the monster’s head slowly turned in her direction. “Remember me?” she asked, lifting her sword into the air.
“Uh-oh...” Goldar muttered.
Scorpina let fly; the sword hissed as it whirled through the air and smashed into Goldar’s battered body. He fell backwards and hit the pavement hard. She caught the weapon on its return arc and sniffed derisively at her fallen foe as she picked him up one-handed. “This is for all the times you pawed at my body.” She smashed a fist into his gut and was rewarded with a whoosh. “This is for all the times you challenged my abilities as a warrior.” Her knee shot north, and the simian creature’s eyes bugged out. “And this is for finding some little fool, putting my armor on her, and daring to give her my name . . .” She raised her sword in anticipation for one final strike.
“Uh, Scorpina?” Tommy interjected.
“What?” she hissed.
“I think he passed out somewhere around the second shot.”
“Oh.” There was more than a trace of regret in her voice as she let the senseless Goldar fall to the ground in a heap.
“Nice going,” the White Ranger complimented her. “Now, let’s get over and help the others--I think they’re in big trouble!”
“My beloved needs me,” Scorpina whispered, her features tightening with worry. “Let us go now!”
* * * * *
Rita sighed and shook her head. “Teenagers. Tell them not to do something, they go right ahead and do it anyway.”
Zack and Trini had followed Jason’s lead and joined the fray. At the moment, they were carrying the stricken Aisha back to the alley; the Ghostbusters lay down covering fire and melted as many putties as they could. Jason was returning toward Rita’s position, having finally decided discretion to be the better part of valor. Scorpina and Tommy were wading through the gray battalions, swords singing as they sliced and diced a path toward their comrades.
The problem was the putties kept coming, no matter how many they managed to destroy. Rita bit her lip, considering her options, then sighed again and raised her wand.
To the Ghostbusters’ amazement, the putties abruptly stopped their relentless march--as if something had suddenly dropped between them and their target. Gibbering angrily, they strained against the invisible barrier, to no avail.
“Egon?” Janine asked. The others glanced over at the scientist, who in turn was staring at the approaching Rita.
“I take it you have something to do with this respite,” he said.
“I might,” she agreed, her voice carrying a hint of strain. “Your weapons are needed in another area for the moment. The Rangers are being overwhelmed and need a chance to regroup.” She pointed toward a large concentration of putties, some of which were flying backwards through the air. “Over there,” she ordered. “That’s where you need to be firing.”
“But Billy and the others are over there!” Egon protested. “We can’t fire on the putties without hurting the Rangers as well!”
“I’ll take care of the Rangers--you clear an escape route for them!” Egon hesitated, then nodded curtly and motioned to the others at the spot Rita had pointed at; his thrower screeched as it cut loose in tandem with Janine’s, firing a pair of blasts that sent the putties screaming in every other direction. Peter, Winston and Ray followed suit a moment later. Meanwhile, Rita’s eyes narrowed and her mouth moved silently as she aimed her wand in the same direction.
In the middle of the melee, the White Ranger and Scorpina had finally found their battered companions. At some point it had occurred to the Red Ranger that he wasn’t completely without weapons; he quickly summoned his power sword and lifted it high, Skywalker-style. Three putties stood directly in front of him, gibbering menacingly.
“Hey!” Rocky yelled, pointing up at the sky. “Look! The Goodyear blimp!” The putties glanced up, following their opponent’s outstretched finger. The Power Ranger swung his sword in a tight arc, slicing their heads off neatly.
“Suckers,” he sneered at the disintegrating putties. “Goodyear doesn’t have a blimp!”
Adam glanced over at Kim and shook his head tiredly. “You wanna tell him?”
“Maybe later. Like, assuming there is a later.” She stretched out her arm and concentrated; a heartbeat later, her Power Bow was firmly in her grip, ready for action. She quickly realized that she didn’t have room to shoot arrows, so she chose to use her weapon as a bludgeon instead, with gratifying results. Adam summoned his Power Axe. Nearby, Billy was already whirling his Power Lance through the air, sending putties flying in every direction.
“Hey, Tommy, glad you could make it!” Rocky gasped as he slashed off the head of a putty who’d gotten too close.
“Like, this is worse than the after-Christmas sale at the mall!” Kim cried as she brought her bow down on another foe.
“We can’t hold out much longer!” Billy yelled.
“Mother is working on it, beloved!” At that moment the Rangers felt a massive heat wave rush past them; to their surprise the putties around them sizzled and melted into gray puddles. But not a single Ranger was so much as singed. When the energy blast had passed, the Rangers saw that they were momentarily clear.
“Let’s join the others!” Tommy ordered.
“Don’t have to tell me twice,” Adam muttered, running toward the Ghostbusters at full speed.
Jason was standing next to Rita. “You okay?” he asked, concerned by the weariness in her eyes.
She nodded tiredly. “In a moment. I had to protect them ...such spells can be draining.” She glanced over to where Trini and Zack were tending to Aisha. “How is she?”
“Arm’s not broken, but it hurts her to move it.” He glanced worriedly at the putties. “I don’t think she’s going to be able to fight them much longer.”
“Agreed. It’s time to finish them off.” Rita smiled as Tommy ran over to her side. “White Ranger, your friends must assemble the Power Gun.”
He glanced at the putty army, which was straining against an unseen wall, then back at Rita. A faint sheen of sweat covered her brow. “Are you sure that’s going to be enough to stop them?” he asked uncertainly.
“Do it,” she ordered through gritted teeth. Tommy spared her one final glance, then hurried back to the other Rangers and relayed her orders to them. The Gun was quickly assembled, though Trini had to bring the Yellow Ranger’s Power Daggers over for her successor. Rocky slid his Power Sword into place and aimed. “Well,” he shrugged, “here goes nothing.”
The barrier fell just as the blast reached the putties. There was a loud sizzling at the point of impact and a foul stench in the air. When the smoke cleared, there were fewer putties than before, but still far too many ...and they were advancing.
“Uh-oh,” the Red Ranger muttered.
Ray Stantz hurried over. “Let me see that.” He examined the Power Gun with a practiced, critical eye. “Hey, Egon!” he yelled. “If we were to boost the energy feed with our packs...”
“We’d have one hell of a weenie roast,” Peter finished. “Do it, Ray, and quick. I’ve got no desire to be trampled by these Michelin rejects.” Egon hurried over to join his fellow scientist, shucking his pack and setting it beside his partner’s. The Rangers stood around, grateful for the breather. Billy kept stealing longing glances at the gun, but stayed at Scorpina’s side, letting her tend to his cuts and scrapes.
Kim joined Tommy and Jason at Rita’s side. “Like, you okay, guys?” she asked.
Tommy nodded. “Though I’m not sure about Rita.” The witch was gripping her wand with a white-knuckle grip, and her features were twisted with determination ...or perhaps pain. “Rita, there’s got to be something we can do to help you...”
“No,” she gasped, shaking her head. “You need your energies for the upcoming battle. I dare not tap that...” Her legs buckled suddenly, and both Jason and Tommy lunged forward to catch her. The instant they touched her, however, Rita’s eyes snapped wide open, and she visibly improved. “Ah ...thank you, boys,” she sighed, smiling happily. “I think that will do nicely for now.”
“Huh?” Kim asked, puzzled.
“Tantric energy, my dear. Nothing quite like it--better than coffee.” She glanced over at Jason, who blanched and quickly looked away. “At any rate, I believe I can hold the barrier up now, so long as you two keep supporting me, until the Ghostbusters have finished...”
“Got it!” Ray cried triumphantly.
“At least we believe we’ve done it,” Egon said, a bit more uncertainly.
“You mean ...you don’t know if it’ll work?” Rocky asked, his voice quavering. “I gotta fire this thing without any guarantee that I won’t turn into a pile of ashes?”
Peter grinned. “Can’t be any more dangerous than carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on your back every day, kid. Trust me.”
“In theory we’ve boosted the power flow several times over with these packs,” Egon commented as he finished the final connections. “It ought to destroy the putties instantly.”
“As well as anything else in its path,” Winston said, shaking his head.
“Well ...there is that possibility,” Egon conceded. “There wasn’t time to target the blast at the putties. I never managed to obtain a fix on their PKE frequency.”
“Well, the town’s going to get trashed one way or the other,” Peter commented cheerfully. “Might as well have the good guys do it.”
Rocky reached down and gripped the Power Gun, then winced. “Problem, guys,” he said. “It’s too heavy for me to lift, with these packs attached.”
“We didn’t have the wire or the time to hook them up any other way,” Ray said sadly. “You’ll have to wear one pack, and someone will have to hold the other.”
Peter saw the Red Ranger tremble slightly and made his decision. “Want some backup, kid?” he asked Rocky, slapping the Ranger’s shoulder affectionately.
“No. I’ll do it,” Adam quickly interjected, stepping forward.
“You don’t have to do it,” Rocky assured him, but his voice was equal measures terror and gratitude.
“Hey. No problem.” Adam grabbed his fellow Ranger’s hand and gripped it tightly. “Let’s do it.”
“Agreed,” called Rita. “Rangers, Ghostbusters, to my side. I will shrink the barrier to surround our immediate vicinity.” She nodded at Adam and Rocky. “I believe I can shield you as well ...if all works according to plan.”
“Okay.” Rocky took a deep breath and hoisted the modified Power Gun up high, then joined the others around Rita. Adam stood beside him, watching stoically as Rita’s barrier grew closer and closer. They felt a slight tingle pass through them, and now they stood outside the barrier, watching as the putty army closed in on them from all sides.
“Ready, man?” Rocky asked.
“Well ...nobody lives forever, so...” Rocky pulled the trigger.
Energy flared from the Power Gun, then shot outward in every direction. Wave after wave of destructive power flowed through the city, vaporizing the putties instantly. Inside the barrier, the explosion blinded the Rangers and Ghostbusters, and Rita staggered as the energy slammed into her barrier. But the shield held, and within moments all was still outside.
Rita lowered the shield immediately, and the Rangers hurried over to where the Black and Red Rangers lay, unmoving. The Power gun and the Ghostbusters’ two packs were utterly slagged, black with scorch marks. Janine and Aisha knelt down and quickly removed the fallen Rangers’ helmets.
“They’re breathing,” Janine said in relief a moment later. “Thank God...” She tenderly brushed a few sweat-drenched strands of hair from Adam’s face.
“Rocky?” Aisha said softly. “Rocky? You okay?”
The Red Ranger’s eyes flickered open, and a tired, triumphant smile slowly spread across his features. “Smokin’...” he croaked.
“Oh, you,” the Yellow Ranger groaned, shaking her head. Her eyes were brimming with tears but her smile was bright. Around her, the other Rangers gave a collective sigh of relief.
Egon was consulting his PKE meter; Scorpina was standing beside him, peering over his shoulder. “Low level readings. That would indicate that the putties have either been destroyed or forced to retreat.” His eyes narrowed and a frown appeared on his lips. “Strange...”
Scorpina squinted at the strange little device. “What?”
“I’m picking up the Rangers, Rita, yourself ...and one other entity.” He frowned and nodded eastward. “It’s over there in the alley. Stationary.”
The warrior woman unsheathed her sword. “Let us find out what it is, then.” Scorpina led the way, with Egon following. A moment or two later they found the source of the reading--Goldar, unconscious and lying flat on his back. Scorpina poked at him with the toe of her boot once or twice, but got no response.
“I could have sworn I defeated him out on the street,” she mused.
“Then how did he get here?” Egon said, scratching his head in curiosity.
“My doing,” came a voice from behind. They turned to find Rita standing there; she knelt and caressed the simian warrior with almost material care. “Poor Goldar. Always getting himself in over his head...”
“Mother,” Scorpina said testily.
Rita looked up and glared at her daughter. “He served me well enough at the time; I could hardly reward his service with a painful death, could I?” She patted the creature’s face one last time. “There. He’ll sleep soundly and trouble us no more today.”
Jason and Tommy walked into the alley. “Adam’s awake,” the White Ranger reported, his helmet off and long dark hair streaming behind him. “Looks like he and Rocky are going to be okay.”
“Of course they will be,” Rita snapped. “I told you I’d protect them.”
“So, I guess the question is what’s next...” Tommy began, but the sudden appearance of an ominous dark shadow sliding over them made him fall silent. The group looked up as one into the sky and watched as the huge, monstrous construct known as Serpentera writhed above them.
“Summon your Zords,” Rita quietly ordered Tommy. “Now.”
* * * * *
The Command Center was enveloped in darkness, save for the small rings of emergency lights and the flickering of the control consoles. The viewing globe was blank; Zordon’s communications column was devoid of any sign of life. Silence shrouded the room.
Alpha 5 lay sprawled awkwardly across the floor, frozen stiff. Suddenly his ocular panel flickered once ...twice ...then flared into full life. “Re-initialization routines commencing,” it announced to the empty chamber.
<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>
The Thunderzords arrived just as Serpentera began its attack.
The Rangers scattered as the terrible construct spewed a wave of fire from its vantage point in the sky; Rita managed to erect her barrier to shield the Ghostbusters and the former Rangers, but the strain was starting to tell on her. As they evaded the initial blast, the Power Rangers leaped into their Zords--Rocky into the Red Dragon, Kimberly into the Firebird, Aisha into the Griffin, Billy into the Unicorn, Adam into the Lion, and Tommy into the White Tigerzord. Instead of merging to form the Megathunderzord, though, the Rangers attacked separately, firing their weapons at their foe from six different directions. Serpentera roared and writhed as blast after blast struck its metallic hide.
“Attaway, Tommy,” Jason shouted, clenching his fist and pumping it furiously into the air.
“It’s far too soon to start cheering,” Egon warned him; the Ghostbuster was inspecting his team’s last three packs along with Ray. “Your friends got lucky by doing the unexpected; now Zedd and Zordon will know the old tactics won’t work, and they’ll adapt their strategy appropriately.”
“So what can we do to help, o wise one?” Peter asked, glancing up nervously at the nasty-looking Zord in the sky.
“At this point, very little,” Egon replied. “I don’t think our strongest blasts will amount to more than a mosquito bite against that thing.”
“What if we fired ‘em up and crossed the streams?” Winston suggested.
“No, no, no,” Peter said with a shake of the head. “Crossing the streams is not a healthy thing for a Ghostbuster to do, remember, Zee?”
“It might work as a last resort,” Ray conceded. “But it’s hard to say if it would destroy that thing--all we might succeed in doing is wiping ourselves out, along with Angel Grove.”
“So what can we do?” Zack asked.
“Keep your eyes open and stay sharp,” Egon suggested. “There’s no telling how this battle is going to go.”
* * * * *
Tommy switched his Zord over to Warrior mode and fired a round of energy blasts at Serpentera. Zedd’s mechanoid somehow managed to writhe its way around them--but in doing so, left itself open to a secondary attack from Kim’s Firebird. Her blasts scorched the monster’s dark metallic skin. “Way to go, Kim!” Tommy cheered; in reply she swung low by his Zord and gave him the “Arsenio” cheer through her cockpit window.
Meanwhile, Rocky had maneuvered his Red Dragonzord above Serpentera, while Adam and Aisha had crept beneath it. Now they fired their weapons as one, hitting the Zord from three different directions. Lightning crackled and smoke gushed from its wounds as it tried desperately to get out of range of the attack. The three Rangers continued their assault, pounding the wounded monster as Kim, Tommy and Billy joined in with their own weaponry.
“All right!” Zack grinned. “He’s going down!”
“Wait...” Trini warned. “Something’s happening...”
Suddenly Serpentera’s tail lashed out and smashed into the Red Ranger’s Dragonzord; Rocky struggled valiantly to regain control of his Zord, but it tumbled wildly end-over-end until it smacked the wing of Kimberly’s Firebird. Now Kim was also fighting to correct her Zord’s flight and keep from crashing. And now Serpentera’s head twisted around and unleashed a series of energy bursts that slammed into the Black and Yellow Rangers’ Zords, knocking their systems offline and leaving them vulnerable.
“Uh-oh,” Adam muttered as he fought to bring his controls back up. He glanced up through his view screen and fought the urge to utter an appropriate obscenity. Serpentera was turning around in a tight U-turn and coming toward him and Aisha, no doubt to finish them off.
“Tommy, we need some help!” Aisha screamed, clutching her throbbing arm and gritting her teeth against the pain.
The White Tigerzord moved to stand between the disabled Zords and their attacker. Tommy fired a series of blasts at the approaching Zord, to no effect. Serpentera’s eyes lit up bright crimson and energy crackled around its head and neck as it prepared to fire.
Suddenly the Red Dragonzord, reconfigured in Warrior Mode, fell from the sky and slammed directly onto Serpentera’s neck, knocking the construct off-balance and redirecting its deadly blast into a block of deserted warehouses. The Red Ranger pressed his attack, smashing his Zord’s fists again and again into his opponent’s metallic skin.
“Jesus, Rocky, are you nuts?” Adam screamed. “Get the hell off there before you get yourself killed!”
“Rock-and-ROLL!” came the exuberant reply as Rocky continued pounding on Serpentera. Seconds later, the White Ranger joined the fray with a mighty leap onto the monster’s back. It writhed wildly back and forth, trying to shake its tormentors off, but the Rangers somehow managed to hang on.
“Tommy, be careful!” Kim cried, then sent her Firebird screaming down from the sky, weapons blazing. Serpentera roared as the barrage smashed into its already-damaged exterior, then tried to return fire. But the sustained pounding it had taken was adding up, as the blast was pitifully weak and missed the Pink Ranger by a mile.
“We’re doing it!” Rocky whooped.
“Don’t get cocky,” Tommy warned. He activated his Zord’s power saber and plunged it into Serpentera’s back, then dropped back as a hail of sparks and power spat out from the gouge. Serpentera suddenly performed a barrel roll, effectively dislodging its attackers, then plunged awkwardly and slammed into the ground.
“Okay guys,” Tommy ordered crisply. “Bring ‘em together!” The Rangers obeyed, instantly combining their five Zords into the Megathunderzord. “Now,” the White Ranger continued, “Take the sword and slice Serpentera’s head off! I’ll back you up.”
The Megathunderzord rumbled forward, sliding its energy samurai sword from its sheath and raising it high in anticipation. Behind it strode the White Tigerzord, its own saber ready to assist if necessary. Serpentera writhed weakly on the ground, seemingly helpless.
“Let’s do it!” cried the Rangers in unison. The sword descended...
And suddenly alarms began wailing from within both Zords. “What’s happening?” cried Aisha.
“This is impossible...” Billy stammered, staring at his control panel. “The Zords are losing power! Something’s interfering with the morphing grid ...they’re separating!”
“We’ve gotta get out--now!” Adam shouted over the klaxons. The Power Rangers ejected from the Megathunderzord just in time; seconds later, their Zords were gone, as were their uniforms.
Tommy, similarly stripped of his powers, ran over to join his bewildered companions. “What’s going on?” he demanded. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” Billy admitted. “It was as though something cut off the Zords’ connection to the morphing grid ...as well as our own...” His face paled. “Alpha.”
Kim made an angry face. “That little turd,” she growled, then gasped and covered her mouth. “Oops!” she exclaimed.
“What do we do about Serpentera...” Rocky began, but a sudden shadow falling over them made the question academic. Their hearts sinking, the Rangers turned to find the evil Zord slowly rising into the air, its eyes blazing angrily as it stared down on them. The air crackled with waves of energy building up around the Zord.
“Oh, shit...” Rocky whispered.
“Got that right,” Aisha agreed, eyes wide with fear.
* * * * *
“What happened?” Egon demanded frantically, struggling against his partners’ grips as he tried to run over to the Rangers’ side. “Let me go! I’ve got to help Billy...”
“Spengs, that isn’t the brightest idea you’ve had,” Peter replied, gripping his friend’s arm tightly. “Why don’t we wait for him to come here?”
“Do you really think that thing’s going to give him the opportunity to try?” Egon retorted furiously.
Rita’s eyes narrowed as she reached out with her senses. “Something’s sabotaged the grid,” she said. “It’s disrupted the feed to their morphers...”
Scorpina gasped. “Mother!” she cried, pointing toward the battlefield. The small crowd turned to look and saw Serpentera slowly rising into the air, poised to attack the helpless Rangers. “Mother, we must act!” she demanded frantically.
Serpentera fired; the Rangers scattered, barely evading the deadly blast. They tumbled in every direction, struggling to their feet and racing toward their friends. A second blast just missed Aisha, but the aftershock was enough to send her flying roughly against the ground. She struggled to her hands and knees, too shaken to move. Billy and Adam turned, saw their friend’s predicament, and ran toward her ...even as Serpentera prepared to fire again.
“MOTHER!” Scorpina screamed.
“Lami ...your child...” Rita pleaded.
“HE IS KILLING MY BELOVED!”
Rita shut her eyes tightly and nodded. “All right.” She lifted her wand high into the air, then threw it hard in Scorpina’s direction. “Magic Power Wand ...MAKE MY DAUGHTER GROW!”
The wand slammed into the ground and fired a burst of energy into Scorpina; seconds later, her body grew into gigantic proportions, shifting shape into a more grotesque form that could make the bravest heart pause momentarily. She immediately threw her sword at Serpentera; it smashed the Zord directly in its face, causing a power feedback that rippled throughout its black, snakelike body. Serpentera screamed and writhed into the air, seeking the high ground for this battle.
“Quickly,” Egon ordered as he slipped one of the three remaining packs onto his back. “Let’s give them some cover fire!” Winston and Peter nodded and quickly donned the other packs; they fired as one at the screaming mechanoid, keeping it occupied with defending itself from two directions as the fallen Rangers scrambled for safety.
“Why is it all the beautiful women I meet change into monsters sooner or later?” Peter asked Winston as they kept up the full-stream barrage.
“Must be your charming personality,” Zeddemore replied, smiling grimly as he struggled to maintain his grip on the thrower. It bucked wildly as every iota of available power poured from his pack through the hose-like device. “Hey, is your thrower getting a little warm?”
“Full power blasts will do that,” Ray called. “That’s why I always wear gloves.”
“Now he tells us,” Peter groused. He abruptly switched off his thrower and nodded to Ray. “Take over here.” As soon as the transfer was complete, Venkman hurried forward to assist Billy and Adam with Aisha, who was stumbling forward as quickly as she could. Ugly red lines stretched down her bare right leg.
“Let me take a look,” he ordered. “I’m a doctor.”
“You’re a shrink,” Janine pointed out.
“I’m okay,” Aisha mumbled dazedly. “I’m okay.” As soon as the Rangers were able set her down on the ground, Trini appeared with the remains of Jason’s shirt, which he had ripped up for makeshift bandages. Jason and Zack helped the remaining Rangers reach their outpost. “How you doin’?” Jason asked Tommy.
“Been better!” He glanced back over his shoulder; Scorpina was shrieking angrily at Serpentera as she struggled to damage her foe further. “She can’t hold out for much longer, guys. Zedd and Zordon together are too much.”
“Man!” Rocky declared angrily, popping his fist into his other hand. “And we almost had ‘em, too! We were so close!”
Egon hurried over to join the Rangers. “We need to get back to the command center and restore your connections to the morphing grid,” he told Tommy as he whipped off his pack.
Billy tapped his wrist communicator and shook his head despondently. “No good. We’re being jammed. There’s no way to get there in time.” He turned and watched his lover as she struck again and again at Serpentera. “We’ve got to do something to help her, Uncle Egon!”
Janine gasped. “Egon...” He turned and followed her outstretched finger; a small rift had appeared in mid-air and was growing by the instant. He quickly glanced over at Rita, who was gritting her teeth and gripping her wand so tightly her knuckles were ghost white.
“Go,” she ordered, gasping for breath. “ I cannot hold this much longer. Go!”
“Billy, come on,” Egon said briskly. They had just about stepped through the rippling portal when Janine hurried up, wearing one of the remaining backpacks. Egon frowned and glanced over at Peter, who grinned, shrugged and gave a thumbs-up sign. The scientist spared one final look at his love’s fierce, determined features, then sighed and motioned for her to join them.
* * * * *
Alarms sang throughout the command center as Egon, Janine and Billy stepped through the other side of Rita’s portal. Alpha-5 whirled around immediately and screamed upon sight of them. As the portal popped into nothingness behind them, Janine switched her unit on and leveled the thrower in Alpha’s direction. “Make my day, Robbie.”
“Ay-yi-yi!” The robot lunged toward a set of buttons on a nearby console. Janine bit her lip and fired. The thrower, still set for full beam, spat out a violent surge of energy, which smashed into Alpha, instantly fusing and melting every circuit in his body. It tottered about wildly for a moment or two, then fell face-forward onto the floor, black smoke pouring from its joints.
“I never did like him,” Janine declared, patting her thrower affectionately.
“Come on,” Egon ordered his nephew. They hurried over to the main consoles; Egon deferred to Billy’s expertise with the equipment as the young scientist gave the readings a rapid scan. “I was afraid of this,” Billy said despondently. “Alpha has sabotaged the power grid access system. Without knowing what he did and how, there’s no way I can bring the grid and the Zords back online.”
Janine glanced nervously around the shadowy emptiness, thrower primed and gripped tightly in her hands. “Isn’t there anything you can do, Egon?”
The blond scientist was moving from console to console, rubbing his chin thoughtfully as he carefully studied every dial, every meter on every machine. “Here,” he said abruptly; Billy hurried over to join his uncle, who pointed at one particular set of readings. “What’s this represent?”
Billy frowned. “It measures the readiness level of each of the Zords. But Uncle Egon, that’s not the problem! The power’s there, we’re just blocked from gaining access to it!”
“I thought there were only six Zords,” Egon commented. “This shows eleven...”
“We originally had five Zords; when we found they weren’t powerful enough to battle Lord Zedd, Zordon helped us develop a new series--the Thunderzords. And Tommy’s White Tigerzord came shortly thereafter.”
Egon turned to face his nephew. “How do you know those original Zords ...which, if what Rita told us is correct, are the original machines used by your predecessors ...aren’t enough to beat Zedd?”
“Well, we didn’t have much luck with them in our first battle...”
Janine’s eyes widened. “But if Zordon and Tin Boy here monkeyed with the power input to ‘em, wouldn’t that result in your losing?”
Egon nodded grimly. “And Zordon just happened to be able to give you a new set of Zords ...ones that he created, under his control. A new means of keeping you all in line. How convenient.”
Billy had grown pale. “I ...suppose that’s possible. I’m sorry, Uncle Egon, it’s still hard for me to accept that Zordon would manipulate us like this. We thought we were saving the world from evil...”
“You did. You still are, only now you’re seeing the true evil.” Egon looked around the empty chamber, then back at the Zord power levels. “So, this is telling us that all of the Zords are online...”
“Yes, but...” Billy began.
Egon pointed at the sabotaged console. “Did that control all of the Zords ...or just the new ones?”
“Only the Thunderzords. Alpha told me he had to reconfigure the schematics so that the increased power levels could be properly maintained...” Realization dawned upon the young scientist, and, whirling around, he hurried over to a dusty, long unused control panel. His face fell as he tried several controls. “It’s not working! Alpha must have damaged it as well...”
“Let me see.” Egon and Billy went over every inch of the panel, then flipped it open to peer into the maze of wiring beneath it. Meanwhile Janine made a slow reconnaissance around the room, pausing only when she was directly in front of the Spenglers. “Huh?” she exclaimed, spotting something lying on the floor. “Hey, Egon?”
“Can it wait, Janine?”
Wise to the ways of Spenglers, the feisty redhead didn’t get angry; instead, she simply knelt down and picked up the object. Then she waited until Billy and Egon were through poking about in the circuitry and had lowered the console panel back into place. Only then did they see her standing there, a big grin on her face and the business end of a long power cord dangling from her free hand.
“Would this help?” she smiled.
Billy grinned and shook his head. “The oldest trick in the book,” he sighed.
“Always look for the low-tech solution,” Egon agreed, taking the cord from Janine and plugging it into a floor outlet. The console flared into life; Billy pounced upon it instantly, his fingers dancing about as he hurried to bring everything online. “That did it!” he exclaimed a minute later. “We’re back online and fully accessing the Grid!”
“Are you sure?” Janine asked, peering over the edge of the console. Her eyes narrowed at the sight of the fluctuating readings. “Looks pretty unstable to me.”
“It’s the best we can do for now,” Egon replied tightly. “Billy? We need to perform a validity check, if you wouldn’t mind.”
In answer, Billy reached behind him and grabbed his morpher. “Triceratops!” he yelled, and with a flash of lightning the Blue Ranger stood before them.
“Good,” Egon declared. “Billy, go back to Rita and the others. Janine and I will remain here and keep the system running as long as we can.”
The Blue Ranger nodded. “Will you be all right?”
Janine patted her thrower. “You betcha, kid.”
“Get going,” Egon warned. “You’ve got to stop Zedd and Zordon as quickly as you can. There’s no guarantee that this connection will hold.”
The Blue Ranger nodded and vanished in a halo of light.
* * * * *
Serpentera roared and smashed headlong into Scorpina. The transformed warrior shrieked in pain and fury as she tumbled backwards to the ground, flailing wildly at her opponent with her sword. The Zord writhed out of the way of the blows and undulated skyward. Then it abruptly executed a 180-degree turn and unleashed a terrible volley of fire on its fallen foe. Scorpina tried to roll out of the way, but enough of the blast caught her that she screamed a second time.
“We’ve gotta do something!” Rocky cried, his fists clenched so tightly they’d turned a deathly shade of white.
Tommy shook his head, his frustration plainly as great as his friend’s. “Without our morphers, we’re snake bait...”
“If only Billy and his uncle can fix things...” Adam began, but suddenly the Rangers gasped as one as a familiar tingle shot through their bodies. A second later, the Blue Ranger appeared in a blaze of light, standing between Egon and Janine. “Aw-right!” Adam yelled, grabbing his morpher.
“We weren’t able to get the Thunderzords running, “ Billy cautioned as he removed his helmet. “Alpha’s sabotage was too great. We were able to bring the original Zords online, though.” He turned to see Scorpina crawl away from Serpentera’s relentless assault. “We’ve got to hurry!” he begged.
The Rangers quickly grabbed their morpher and activated them. Aisha cried out and crumpled to the ground as she changed; Adam and Rocky quickly came to her aid. Meanwhile, Tommy reached for his own morpher and called out, “Tigerzord!” And at that moment, as his uniform flickered into existence, the others’ outfits just as quickly faded out.
Kim looked down at her bare arms. “Huh?”
“What happened?” Adam demanded from his position beside Aisha.
Egon’s voice came from Billy’s communicator. “Billy, there was a massive energy drain just a moment ago. It caused a shutdown of the morphing grid; I’m trying to reset the system, but there’s not enough power to get it rebooted.”
Everyone turned to stare at the White Ranger.
“Zordon hooked Tommy up directly to the grid,” Jason said softly in realization.
“There’s not enough energy available for him and the rest of us to use,” Billy nodded.
“So what do we do?” Kimberly demanded.
In answer, Tommy shut down his morpher. “You guys are going to have to tackle Serpentera without me,” he said sadly. “Five against one is better than one-on-one.”
Jason snapped his fingers. “Wait! What about the Green Ranger coin? All you need to do is get your old coin, and you’re set, Tommy!” But to his surprise, his best friend’s face twisted into a painful grimace. “Tommy? What’s wrong?”
“The Green Ranger coin...” Tommy said reluctantly. “It’s ...gone.”
“Gone?” Jason echoed, incredulous.
“Yeah,” Kim snapped. “And before you ask, yes, we checked his gym bag. It wasn’t there.”
“It vanished just after I’d lost my powers,” Tommy explained. “And about the time I was going to tell Zordon about it, he offered me the White Ranger’s powers, and I kind of forgot...”
“Rangers,” Rita abruptly interjected. “You don’t have time for this.” She pointed over to the battle in progress, where Scorpina was slowly but surely losing ground to Serpentera.
“She’s right,” Jason nodded glumly. He placed a sympathetic hand on Tommy’s shoulder. “Sorry, man. You gotta sit this one out too. Just like us.”
“Wait...” Everyone turned toward Aisha, who was struggling into a sitting position. “ I can’t. I can’t morph. It hurts too much.” She glanced over at Trini, who was kneeling beside her, and with a slow, pain-wracked movement, removed her morpher and handed it to her predecessor. “You’ve gotta do it, Trini.”
“I...” Trini stared for a long time at the morpher, then slowly wrapped her fingers around the device. “All right. One last time.”
Adam and Rocky glanced at each other and seemed to come to an unspoken decision; they stepped forward and handed their morphers to Zack and Jason. “Huh?” Zack declared. “What are you guys doing? There’s nothing wrong with you!”
Adam shrugged. “We’ve never used those Zords. We wouldn’t be as effective in them as you guys.”
“Besides,” Rocky said with a grin. “The Power Rangers need their leader.” He wrapped Jason’s fingers around the morpher. “You, man.”
Jason gripped the morpher, surprised at how good, how familiar it felt after all this time. “Are you guys sure?” he asked.
Adam and Rocky nodded.
“Jason,” Billy pleaded, “we have to go--now!”
The former leader of the Power Rangers nodded curtly, took a deep breath, and brought his morpher up into position.
“Okay, guys--it’s morphin’ time.”
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|Foreword||One and Two||Three, Four, Five||Interlude I and Six|
|Interlude II, Seven and Eight||Nine, Interlude III, and Ten||Eleven and Twelve||Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen|