Jocelyn shivered at the sound of a high-pitched shriek. Even at a depth of over ten feet, she could hear the cry pound between her ears.
Or, maybe I'm not literally hearing it, she surmised. Maybe it's telepathic.
She couldn't really say. Ever since the battle had begun with the Chaotics, her powers had been acting… strange. The nightmarish creatures seemed to radiate a dark, burning power that pierced her skull. Even at a great distance, swirling impressions of death, agony, and destruction tensed her muscles and blurred her vision. Her heart raced, her mouth was dry.
I'm not going to panic, she resolved, clenching her shaking fist. This is me, not panicking!
"Jocelyn? Are you okay?"
She turned and stared into the opaque visor hiding the Blue Ranger's eyes. "I don't know," she confessed. "It's like my mind is swimming. Did you… did you hear that scream before?"
Billy tensed, and Jocelyn instantly regretted asking. "No," he answered after a long pause. "All I've heard is pounding above us. The frozen earth separating us from the surface should insulate us from most sounds."
He then turned away from the Orange Enforcer, casting a worried glance down the dark tunnel in the direction from which they came.
Jocelyn watched him for a moment, her heart twisting sympathetically. If it had been her friends fighting for their lives against mysterious and terrifying creatures, she'd probably hurtle back through the tunnel to aid them. Or even blast right through the ground under which they traveled, giving away their location and their strategy.
She reached for the distracted Ranger's shoulder. "I was probably wrong, Billy. These monsters, they have a weird aura that's screwing with my powers. I think I'm… hearing things."
Billy nodded slowly. "You're probably right," he decided, his voice a sigh. "In either case, the most good we can do is complete our task. Let's keep moving."
Jocelyn smiled encouragingly, despite the fact that her mask hid her expression. Then, she turned back to the solid earth that blocked her path, braced herself on her knees, and raised her arms.
Orange energy flowed from her palms, carefully penetrating the ground and forcing a narrow tunnel through the frozen soil. The broken earth was then packed neatly into the newly-formed walls, held in place by a faintly glowing orange force field.
Jocelyn crawled deeper into the makeshift tunnel, the Blue Ranger close behind her. She sighed, remembering the shriek that had shaken her just a minute ago. In her heart, she was terrified that it was a Ranger, screaming in agony as one of the Chaotics used its deadly pinchers to lop off a limb, or crush bones… Stop it!! This isn't productive at all! Focus on the plan… focus on the plan. She grimaced. Maybe this wasn't such a great plan after all. How long can five Power Rangers distract all those demon freaks anyway?
It had seemed like a logical strategy to accomplish their most immediate goal: figure out what had happened to the portal that had transported Jocelyn Armand into an alternate Earth under the guard of the Power Rangers. When they'd arrived at the North Pole, they'd been greeted with a terrifying sight: a small army of creatures roughly the size of horses, each armed with pinchers large enough to slice a full grown man in half. And they all circled the mouth of the cave, which was their only hope of getting any answers.
Since Billy was the technical genius, and Jocelyn was capable of piercing and shaping the frozen ground with her powers, they were chosen to tunnel beneath the battle field, scan the portal, and deliver whatever information they could to the Command Center.
As the ground was frozen, it was tedious work. The precision required, coupled with the pounding on Jocelyn's head thanks to the Chaotics, made the tunneling all the more challenging.
Fighting back another wave of fear and distraction, Jocelyn focused on the task at hand, drilling through the earth with rays of light at her fastest pace. The pair worked in silence, the Blue Ranger carefully watching the scanner in his hands, until he finally reached out and touched her leg.
"This is it," he reported. "The cave should be right above us."
"Are you detecting anything?"
"We're too deep to pick up specific energy patterns in detail, but there's a great deal of activity." He frowned deeply behind his helmet. "Let's get up there and see with our own eyes."
Jocelyn nodded, straightening on her knees. She touched her palms to the makeshift ceiling, closed her eyes, and concentrated.
"Hang on to me, Billy," she advised.
The Blue Ranger did as she asked, holding on to her waist just as the orange aura began to brighten. Then, she launched herself upward, carrying Billy with her through the layers of dirt, rock, and ice.
They emerged in a small cavern, eerily illuminated with red light pulsing from a large two-dimensional portal.
And they weren't alone.
"Billy!" Jocelyn shrieked in warning. Reflexes honed after over a year of service as a Power Ranger made the genius dodge just in time to avoid being caught in the sharp pinchers of one of the crab-like Chaotics.
Billy rolled into a crouch beside Jocelyn, drawing his Blade Blaster and opening fire. Jocelyn immediately responded, fisting her hands and adding twin beams of orange light to the barrage. The monster flailed helplessly, unable to resist the pummeling dual attack, until it shrank into itself and burst into an acrid smoke.
The Blue Ranger sighed, holstering his weapon. "We're in the clear."
"No," Jocelyn murmured, her voice stricken, "there's another one."
He followed the Orange Enforcer's line of sight, and stared in shock at the portal. An array of insectoid legs stretched from the opening, wriggling like worms and carrying a cylindrical body into the material realm.
Billy grimaced at the sight of the large creature, over seven feet in length with curved horns stretching from its anterior like antlers. Its countless legs swayed like hairs in the ocean, carrying it over the ground with shocking speed.
The new monster wasted no time and charged the two humans, its horns glinting in the dim light. Billy quickly drew his Power Lance and braced himself.
He greeted the Chaotic with a sharp swing, forcing the monster to turn its head and keep the piercing horns from meeting flesh. However, the sheer power of the monster's charge sent Billy crashing into the wall, the monster's body pulverizing several inches of solid rock as he pressed the Blue Ranger through the cave's wall.
"Billy!" Jocelyn cried, mustering her power. A vivid flash of orange flooded the cave as tendrils of energy stretched from her body, wrapping the millipede-like monster and dragging it backward. The monster thrashed against her grip, growling shrilly, until she finally managed to throw it into the opposite wall hard enough to cause small rocks and dust to snow from the roof of the cave.
She stood on shaking legs as she watched the monster. It never stopped wriggling, even after hitting the wall with a resounding thud. It rolled back onto its legs almost immediately, turning toward the warm orange glow.
Jocelyn took a deep breath and stretched her reach for the monster again. This time, instead of throwing it she tried holding it in the air, intending to generate a sealed energy bubble to imprison it.
But then, the dull pounding between her ears erupted into a stabbing pain, stunning her into releasing her grip. She collapsed to the cold ground, her head spinning, oblivious to the charging monster that rapidly closed the distance between them…
..until another battering ram of power streaked from the cave's mouth, plowing the monster off course just three feet from the Orange Enforcer.
"Billy! Jocelyn!" Zack called breathlessly, racing into the cave with the Cosmic Cannon balanced between his hands. He trained his weapon on the monster again, standing just in front of Jocelyn and letting the energy fly once again.
The monster didn't have a chance to recover this time. The destructive power of the Cannon, intensified by its point-blank range, pierced its plated body and made the creature vanish.
Sighing with relief, Zack leaned his cannon against his shoulder and tapped Jocelyn's arm.
"Hey, you okay?"
Her breaths came in short puffs, but she did manage to reply. "Yeah. Got the migraine of the millennium, but otherwise I'm okay." She kneaded her temples slowly. "How'd you know we needed help?"
"The orange explosion was kinda hard to miss."
Jocelyn glanced up, watching as the Black Ranger hurried over to the smoking, cracked wall just behind them. Billy hung spread-eagle in the wall, held fast by the Ranger-size mold his body had dug into the stone.
"Billy? Can you hear me, man?"
A wordless groan answered, urging him to dematerialize the Cosmic Cannon and carefully extricate Billy from the depression. Zack propped his dazed teammate against his shoulder.
At this point, Jocelyn had managed to drag herself to her feet, though she was still weak at the knees. "Is he okay?"
"Stunned," Zack replied. "Help me get this scanner off him."
Jocelyn approached, taking the back-mounted device off the Blue Ranger's shoulders, when she noticed the deep cracks and sparking wires on the unit.
She sighed in defeat. "It's broken. It must've happened when the monster hit Billy against the wall."
The Black Ranger released a frustrated grunt. "Then we're back to square one!"
Jocelyn exhaled loudly, almost like a balloon deflating. Her shoulders slumped as exhaustion, pain, and misery finally crushed the last of her spirit.
It isn't fair, she lamented, fighting the urge to sniffle. Without the scanner, we can't even figure out what changed the portal. I'm stranded here, all alone. I'll have to stay in Angel Grove… assuming I survive this battle against Chaos, anyway.
It was just too much to bear.
Sighing in remorse, the visitor from an alternate reality dared to glance at the magical portal that had caused so much trouble for two dimensions. What would pass through the gateway to Hell next? Trolls with pitchforks? Fire-breathing dragons? Or just more terrifying giant bugs?
She blinked in shock at the sight before her: a very familiar, and very much missed, young man in green.
* * *
He'd been screaming at the portal for nearly a full minute, his frustration mounting exponentially as each moment passed. She was standing right in front of him, alive and unhurt. So close, yet an entire universe away.
After he'd seen the goat-like creature appear in the window, Matthew's curiosity refused to let him leave. He decided to monitor the portal, leaving the cave only when the creatures appeared too quickly for him to destroy alone.
He'd come to recognize a pattern. Right after a few creatures passed through the portal, it turned from a blood red color into something very dark. He recognized the near-black background from when he saw the goat creature.
That confirmed there were at least two universes connected to his own via the portal. But was this second universe the same one that Kimberly Hart called home?
He found his answer a minute ago. After struggling against a powerful flying demon, Matt turned back to the portal, and his jaw dropped in shock when he was greeted to a brilliant orange glow.
He watched, his heart in his throat, as Jocelyn fought against some other horrible monster with the aid of a man in a blue and white costume, likely the Blue Power Ranger. He began calling her name as soon as he recognized her. He tried to jump through the portal as soon as the Blue hero was clobbered by the dark creature. He'd begun to panic when Jocelyn faced the monster alone.
He'd cursed obscenities, tried to fire energy through the portal, and reached for Jocelyn through their telepathic link, all to no avail.
But now, the danger had passed. Jocelyn had been aided by another local hero, this one in Black. And she finally saw him.
"Hang on, Jocie," he urged. "We will get you out of there."
He knew she couldn't hear a word he was saying, but at least she could see him now. So he held his hand palm out as close to the portal as he could manage, as if he were pressing it against a pane of glass.
Jocelyn paused, staring at him for a moment. She then mimicked his gesture, her hand aligning with his own.
But then, the image in the portal shifted again, Jocelyn disappearing as the angry red returned.
Matthew backed away, his jaw set in determination. "We're coming, Jocie," he promised.
He mustered his power, his muscles tingling in anticipation at the thought of unleashing his frustrations on whatever demonic creature would pass through the portal next. This one he'd destroy as soon as it dared enter his reality.
But before the creature appeared, he spared a moment to deliver a message to the rest of the Spectrum Force. *Guys! I saw Jocelyn through the portal! She's okay… for now, at least.*
The wave or relief that streamed through the psychic link brought a small smile to Matt's. Now the Force knew their sixth member was alive… and that only made them intensify their efforts.
* * *
Kimberly paced beside the open window, occasionally glancing at the calm green of the Dreiser University campus. But the pristine view of gathering students, leisurely yards, and austere administrative buildings failed to impress her.
Instead, her gaze kept climbing to the blue sky, almost as if she could see the faint trails of purple and yellow energy that Tamara and Rachel had left in their wake.
Tamara's parting words echoed in her ear. "Kim, we've got to get going. Keith needs us. You'll be safe here."
The Pink Ranger scoffed. Hmph. Safe.
She didn't want to be "safe." She wanted to be useful. The Spectrum Force had been summoned back to the North Pole by the Red Enforcer, apparently because he had found some resistance there. Had the Denebians done something to the portal? Where they guarding it for some evil purpose? Or did whatever creature the princess intended to summon finally emerge?
The thoughts made Kimberly shiver. That portal is my only way home. If something happened to it… I'll never see my friends and family again.
She squeezed her eyes closed, fighting back tears at the heartbreaking thought. She was never one to dwell on the negative. She was always optimistic, always ready to believe that all problems could be solved, and all battles could be won.
Of course, it was much easier to believe that if one had the ability to do something other than wait on the sidelines.
Is this what Tommy felt like when he lost his powers? When he watched the rest of us risk our necks day after day, wishing he could do something?
Kim stuffed her hand in her pocket, fishing out her Morpher. Offering a silent prayer, she held the device at arm's length and cried "Pterodactyl!"
She willed the Power to heed her call. She begged and pleaded for the might of the Pterodactyl to suffuse her. She could almost feel the rush of power beyond human comprehension flooding her, giving her the might to take action, to fight her way back to Angel Grove.
But nothing happened.
Crestfallen, Kim threw herself onto the couch, folding her arms and pouting in frustration. It was hopeless. She was useless.
*Now now, Child… there is no need to work yourself into a rage. You are far from useless. You are the key to restoring balance between our two Realms.*
Kim jumped to her feet, raising her arms defensively as she scanned the room. She couldn't determine from where the voice had come… because she heard it in her mind.
Then, a tiny spark of light appeared a few feet from her, hovering over the floor. Tendrils of energy stretched from the core, until a human shape appeared.
An old man with alabaster skin, cottony beard, flowing robes, and kind sapphire eyes.
She gulped. "You read my mind?"
He smiled. "My apologies, Kimberly. Sometimes strong emotions cause a person to trumpet out their thoughts. I hadn't intended to eavesdrop."
Slowly, Kim's defensive stance relaxed. "Who are you?"
"Luminus. I am Spectra's friend, and I am here to help fix the various problems young Celea managed to create."
He held his hand to her. "We must go to the ship now. There, we will decide the appropriate actions to take."
She hesitated. After all, she'd never met this man, and she had no evidence that he was in fact trustworthy. However, his kind eyes and open smile reminded her so much of Zordon, she felt drawn to him.
She took a chance, and took his hand.
The world went white for a split-second, as if a camera had flashed in her eyes. Then, gradually, the sterile equipment of the Spectrum Force's base came into focus.
She looked around, and relaxed minutely when she met a familiar gaze. Spectra tried to smile at her, but the anxiety in her peach-hued eyes simply couldn't be masked. Her entire body was tense, like a coiled serpent ready to spring.
Kim's throat tightened. "What's going on?"
"We've arrived to a point approximately twenty miles from the North Pole. The Force battles a group of monsters the likes of which I have never seen!" Spectra responded. "They feel so wrong…"
"Chaos and Order are never in harmony," Luminus spoke. "These creatures come from the First Realm, and their aura of devastating hunger and consuming madness is difficult to tune out to those who are sensitive. You and your Force show discipline and concentration when you wield your powers. The touch of Chaos interferes with order, challenging your team to maintain control of their powers."
Spectra's eyes narrowed. "They are not experienced enough to block out that kind of distraction. I will go to them-"
"Not yet. They have held up quite well against these creatures so far. They do not seem in particular danger."
Then, to everyone's surprise, Kimberly raised her voice. "Are you nuts?? They're battling Chaotics! As in plural! How can they not be in 'particular danger'?"
Luminus stared at the petite girl, curiosity raising his brow. "And what do you know of Chaos, Kimberly?"
"Lord Zedd, the alien emperor bent on taking over Earth, summoned this totally gross thing called Erebus about a month ago," she elaborated. "It took everything we had to defeat it, and then some! And we were a complete team. Your Force down there is minus one! They're not even at full strength!"
Spectra blinked. "You mean your Earth has been exposed to Chaos? That is… incredible."
Luminus nodded his agreement. "Chaos seldom crosses with material Realms. Such forces are tremendously powerful, and impossible to control. They exist to destroy." He then shook his head. "At least we now know what Celea was trying to do. She attempted to create a portal to Chaos, and inadvertently bridged our world with Kimberly's. She had opened the wrong kind of portal, connecting to the wrong Realm."
"So my being here is just a mistake?" Kim concluded.
"A mistake Celea has since corrected," Spectra pointed out. "What does this mean for Kimberly's chances to return home?"
Kim paled at the frightening possibility. "Is… the portal to Angel Grove even there anymore?"
"We shall see shortly." Luminus took Kimberly by the shoulders, guiding the distraught girl to a chair. "For now, I need you to relax, Kimberly. Relax, and think of your home."
The first part was definitely a challenge, but the last part came naturally. Kimberly did her best to calm her mind, dwelling on happy memories of home. Images of her school, her friends, her family, and even her triumphs as the Pink Ranger flooded her consciousness. She managed to disconnect herself from most of her anxiety, burying her mind in the smiling faces of her loved ones, until one startling memory came to mind. Ohmigosh! I missed the PSATs!! Mom's gonna kill me when I get home!
Luminus stood behind her, his hands hovering a few inches from her temples. He disregarded her last distracting thought, focusing instead on the lives with which the girl before him had connected. Her memories were flashes of her Realm, and her yearning to return shined like a beacon, reaching out to her home.
Spectra watched silently as both Luminus and Kimberly seemed to be lost in meditation. Then, gossamer threads of energy stretched from Kimberly to Luminus' hands.
She stared in awe at the magic filling the small chamber in the ship. Shaking off her stupor, she turned her attention to the monitors that displayed the Spectrum Force, who held nothing back as they countered the unnatural creatures that assaulted them.
At least there was no sign of the princess. It was a small comfort, but Spectra couldn't help relief that she wasn't out there, leading her misbegotten army.
Then, curiosity blossomed in her mind. This must have been Celea's scheme all along. But where is she? Why isn't she basking in the glow of her insane accomplishment?
* * *
Spectra wasn't the only one to wonder about the princess' whereabouts.
Phaedra stared out at the dinner table, her gaze thunderous. Celea had not heeded her summons. Again.
May the gods damn Acheron for sending her here! she snarled silently. So far, all she's managed to do is distract me from my research! How will I ever find the Nightfall if I'm constantly tracking Celea down??
Her frustration mounting, Phaedra closed her eyes and searched for her daughter. However, instead of touching her errant child's mind, her eyes widened with shock as she hit an unexpected barrier of power, lurking ominously over the Earth.
Her first response was outrage. Celea was not on the ship, and something was happening on Earth! Again! She focused her formidable powers more intently, attempting to Rein her daughter back to the ship. However, even the Rein spell couldn't penetrate whatever magical force had swallowed the apex of the planet.
Her lips twisted as all the pieces fell into place. "Stubborn brat! I told her not to toy with inter-dimensional boundaries! She'll destroy the whole star system!"
She rose from the dinner table, throwing her chair into the wall with a satisfying crunch as she approached the door. "How dare she disobey me? I will make her submit! I will not tolerate insubordination! I'll seal her in a pit until she grows out of this damned stage!"
She marched through the halls with purpose, her flashing eyes giving adequate warning to all aboard to make way. Soon she stepped onto the bridge of the Flagship, startling the crew.
"Run a full scan on the northern extreme of the Earth," she commanded. "What's happening down there?"
The crewmembers hurriedly carried out the monarch's order. Phaedra watched, eyes narrow, as the main screen was swallowed by an image of the globe. Then, it began to zoom in on the designated area.
Far before the scan penetrated the cloud cover, the screen suddenly broke into static.
The technician manning the scanner gulped. "There is… interference, my Empress. We can't get a clear visual below the stratosphere."
Phaedra's lips twisted into a horrible grimace, filled with rage, impatience, and not a small amount of fear. "Do whatever you can to get me some information."
She whirled around and strode off the bridge without another word. A few minutes later she'd crossed the ship, throwing open the heavy doors to her private quarters with but a thought.
Without preamble, she settled on the cold floor, closed her eyes, and concentrated every fiber of her being. If she couldn't see what was happening on Earth remotely, she would have to handle matters personally.
* * *
Keith dodged behind an outcropping of icy stone as quickly as possible without dropping the body in his arms. A heartbeat later, a stray stream of corrosive liquid crashed into the spot where he'd stood a moment before, melting the stone into slag.
The Red Enforcer huffed with frustration as he rose again to his feet, carefully cradling Princess Celea as he risked hovering up a few meters to the next crevice in the jagged rock formation.
About a hundred feet below, Tamara, Craig, and Rachel struggled against a swarm of creepy-crawlers. The first bunch had resembled spiders, and despite their horrifying appearance they weren't too difficult to overpower. However, the second wave of creatures had wings, making them much more evasive. And they also had the ability to spit acidic goo that ate anything it touched.
Now, the new creatures numbered ten, meaning the rest of the Force simply couldn't destroy the monsters at the same rate the damned portal brought them to Earth.
And here I am trying to protect our enemy, while my friends are fighting for their lives!
Keith held the unconscious girl a little tighter as he crossed a particularly perilous ledge, searching for some cover. As he adjusted his grip, he felt her tremble.
"Okay, that's a good sign," he acknowledged, "At least she's not dead… but there's nothing I can do if her condition gets worse."
Not for the first time, the Red Enforcer wondered why he was so determined to protect the one that started this entire nightmare to begin with.
"She might be useful," he rationalized, "If she opened this portal into the Twilight Zone, she can probably close it."
He sighed, his eyes falling to the hideous wound that split her cheek. He stared at her ashen face, and felt himself grimace at the concern he felt for her.
Who'm I kidding? I helped her because I couldn't just leave her there. She's crazy as hell, but she's just a kid. How old can she be? Fourteen? Fifteen?
He took a breath, strengthening the shield of crimson energy surrounding her body, keeping out the brunt of the polar cold.
He'd taken refuge high in the cliff face in which the cave was found, giving him an excellent view of the battle while at the same time keeping off the monsters' radar… so long as he kept himself and his charge hidden.
Only when he felt a sudden wash of dark power did he realize that he hadn't hidden quite well enough.
The young man gulped awkwardly. Horrible, furious power wafted toward him like heat drifting out of an open oven. It took all of his considerable courage to simply turn around, and face this newest threat.
His eyes widened. Standing just a few yards from him was a woman, tall and elegant, her eyes burning like crimson suns. Her power crawled around her body like fire, holding off the biting winds, but still stabbing Keith's vague sense of magic.
Then, her snarling crimson lips parted. "You dare touch the Denebian princess, Human?"
The empress was powerful. Incredibly powerful. Not to mention extremely pissed off. There's nothing more dangerous than a mother protecting her child. Keith didn't have a chance, and he knew it.
Yet, oddly enough, he was no longer scared senseless. Her tone pricked his sense of pride, helping loosen his tongue.
"If I didn't 'touch' her, Phaedra, she'd be dead right now!"
The empress' eyebrow quirked slightly. She obviously hadn't anticipated such a bold response.
Still, she made no move to kill Keith; probably because his vital organs were shielded by Celea's body.
Keith pressed his advantage. "I don't know what you guys are trying to do here, but this is beyond insane! Those monsters almost tore your daughter in half! If we didn't get here in time, she probably wouldn't have survived."
Those blazing eyes narrowed. "You expect me to believe you aren't responsible for Celea's injuries?"
A startled grimace pulled his mask. "I've seen this girl fight. I don't think I can cause this kind of damage."
The pair fell into a silent standoff, Keith watching the empress warily. He knew she was less than stable; he remembered quite clearly how mercilessly she treated her prisoner Gaius on the planet Edenia. What would she do now?
Then, Phaedra glanced to the side, toward the battle below. Keith dared not spare his friends a glance, instead reading the empress' expression the best he could.
Surprisingly, she gave little away. Her face was set in stone, though her eyes danced with power begging to be unleashed.
He gulped as those eyes trained on him once again. "What will you do now, Human?"
He hesitated. In all honesty, he figured he'd just react to whatever Phaedra threw at him… assuming he lived long enough to react. Now, the ball was in his court.
He dropped his eyes to Celea, watching the blood ooze from the open cut on her face. His own uniform was blotched with her blood, from numerous cuts and bruises.
She was a mess, pure and simple.
And there's nothing I can do about it. I can't take her to our base; there's too much at risk if she recovers. And no hospital on Earth can treat an alien… not to mention the danger of keeping Celea hostage with Phaedra hovering around.
His face hardened. I won't just let her die.
Then, he came to a decision. He followed his gut instinct.
His power coalesced around the princess, brightening the crimson light. He saw Phaedra tense, but she didn't move.
The red energy carried the princess across the space between the powers of light and darkness, and settled her listless body into her mother's arms.
Phaedra relaxed only minutely, and only after the crimson energy had faded completely. She blinked, her eyes passing from Keith to Celea's face and back again. Then, her accusing stare locked on Keith.
He chose to answer the unspoken question. "I can't help her. You probably can."
The proud empress blinked again, the stony mask cracking just enough to register some of her shock.
The Red Enforcer tensed, and waited. What would the empress do now? Finish him off? Retreat with her injured daughter? She probably had the power to do both at once.
Finally, she moved. She gave him a shallow nod. "The creatures you face are of Chaos. They will ravage your entire planet unless you defeat them here."
It took a long time for Keith to find his voice. "You're… helping us?"
Her lip twisted angrily. "Celea opened the portal against my wishes. If this portal is not closed, eventually creatures with far greater power will emerge. They won't be satisfied razing this planet, either. They will consume everything, and nothing in the Empire can hope to control them."
Her crimson gaze passed to the battleground again. "These creatures are minor Chaotics. As they are smaller and more numerous, they pass through the portal first. However, the longer the portal remains open, the better chance a more powerful creature will find it. You must close the portal to stop the invasion."
Keith scratched his head. "How do we do that?"
"It depends on how the portal was opened, and I…" her gaze dropped to her daughter. "…don't know what Celea has done. But your best immediate option is to block the portal, and prevent more creatures from passing through. That will buy you time until you figure out how to close the portal permanently."
Keith opened his mouth to ask another question, but the empress suddenly vanished. He stared at the spot in which she'd stood for several moments, a small smile appearing on his masked face.
* * *
"I have it," Luminus murmured. He took two steps away and turned, reaching his sparking hands at arm's length above his head. He then traced a tall rectangle in the air, leaving a trail of energy behind. Once the shape was complete, the four corners flashed once, sending energy into the center that spread to the edges.
"And there you have it," Luminus stated, smiling in amusement at both Kim and Spectra's open-mouthed surprise. "This is the only Realm in existence that matches Kimberly's signature precisely."
Kim recovered enough from her surprise to mutter a faint "Huh?"
"It is almost like tuning into the frequency of your home. By focusing on events and individuals in your Realm, you resonate with the signature of that Realm. That made it possible for me to 'feel' what your home Realm is like, and then find it in the Multiverse."
"But, how did you find it so quickly?" Spectra wondered. "The Multiverse is limitless."
"We were fortunate, in this case, because it is far easier to find Realms that are close to our own. Had Kimberly come from a reality vastly different, then it would have taken much longer to pinpoint it."
Kim then jumped to her feet, staring into the window as an image took shape. She saw the rich darkness of the night sky, with stars twinkling peacefully in the blanket of space. Below stood thick clouds, dark yet visible in the pale light.
"Where is this?"
"That is the exact spot we reside in now," Luminus explained. "However, since there isn't a ship hovering in the stratosphere in your reality, the other end of this portal stands in open air."
Kim frowned, puzzled. "So how exactly do I pass through? Strap on a parachute?"
He shook his head solemnly. "Unfortunately, you will not be able to use this portal."
He waved her closer. "Try it."
She threw him a dubious look. "If I get sucked in, who'll catch me before I go 'splat' on the ground?"
An amused smile appeared. "Should that miraculously happen, I shall be sure to follow you through the portal and catch you."
Despite her reservations Kim decided to obey him, tentatively approaching the gateway to her home reality with her hands extended, as if she expected to hit an invisible wall. Just as her fingers brushed the "surface" of the portal, tendrils of energy flashed, pushing her away.
Kimberly stumbled back, more surprised than harmed. She rubbed her fingers, which tingled slightly as if the blood flow had been momentarily interrupted. "I don't understand," she confessed.
"Yes," Spectra noted, folding her arms. "This makes no sense."
Luminus stepped away from the portal. "I will explain. When I scanned Kimberly's aura for her home world, I felt a strange connection. Almost like an anchor. And the other end of that anchor is without a doubt the portal down on Earth."
Kim grimaced. "I don't feel drawn to that portal."
"It is beyond your realm of sensation, but it exists. And it is strong. I can only conclude that this is an aspect of the bridge Celea created. That portal traded you and Jocelyn, maintaining a cosmic balance. As a result, you can't return to your world until Jocelyn returns here. And your only doorway is the original portal."
The Pink Ranger fell back into the chair as if all her strength had evaporated. She squeezed her eyes to hold back frustrated tears. She was so close…
Luminus lay his hand on her shoulder. "Remember Child, if you are still bound to that original portal, that proves it still exists. Your path home waits for you."
Kim looked up into the sage's smiling eyes, trying her best to take solace in his encouraging words. But, she couldn't shake the fear that returning to Angel Grove would be much more difficult than merely stepping through a doorway.
Then, Spectra raised her voice. "At least we have found Kimberly's dimension. If I step through, I can telepathically reach Jocelyn and instruct her to return to the North Pole for the exchange. Then we'll be prepared when-"
Her suggestion died on her lips as she suddenly closed her eyes. Kimberly watched, startled, as shock plainly etched itself on the warrior's face.
She turned, and noticed that Luminus too had closed his eyes. Only instead of surprise, his face lit with wry amusement.
"That isn't possible, High Father," Spectra stated, folding her arms. "Keith must be mistaken. Or he's been deceived by that witch."
"Or, perhaps you aren't taking in the full picture," Luminus interrupted, smiling at his student. "Remember, the empress has a stake in this battle as well. Should the Chaotics destroy the Earth, which they ultimately will if left unchecked, then there is nothing left for the Denebians to conquer."
Kimberly's frown deepened when she realized both Luminus and Spectra seemed to have forgotten her presence. "What are you talking about? What happened?"
Spectra turned to the inter-dimensional visitor. "We've received a message from Keith. Apparently, Phaedra has suggested a method to slow the invasion of the Chaotics."
Kim blinked. "Phaedra? As in the evil space alien bent on taking over the world?"
"The very same," Luminus answered. "And frankly, I'm disappointed that I hadn't thought of it myself. It's a brilliant way to calm down the battleground, and assure safe transit for yourself and Jocelyn."
He settled his hands on Kimberly's shoulders. "Spectra and I will descend to the Earth and prepare the portal for your transit. You wait here until preparations are complete, and the area is safe for an unpowered human."
He noticed her tense, and chastised her with a shake of his head. "We will have you home shortly, Kimberly. Please be patient."
The petite girl bit her lower lip, visibly struggling with her anxiety, but she offered a curt nod. Luminus then turned to Spectra.
"You must contact your Force and inform them of our plan. Should the seal work, they will be able to defeat the remaining Chaotics without much difficulty."
Spectra nodded, and together the two seasoned warriors approached the hatch. White light burned around them as they dropped into the atmosphere, carried by currents of magic as they approached the battleground.
Spectra reached out her consciousness to the five humans fighting tooth and nail against an endless enemy. *Spectrum Force! We have come up with a plan that should help us set everything right.*
She felt the relief and excitement erupt from her team, and continued. *We will place a sealing spell into the portal, and prohibit the Chaotics from replenishing their forces. Once you destroy the monsters already on Earth, we will be able to restore Jocelyn and Kimberly, and permanently seal the portal.*
*Yes!* Tamara cheered, *Thank God you're back, Spectra!*
Spectra smiled at the warm greeting. *I believe we will need one of you to help fend off any creatures that pass through the portal during the casting.*
*I'm on it,* Matt responded immediately.
*Spectra?* Craig responded. *Who is this 'we' you keep mentioning?*
*I have an ally you will all meet shortly. For now, be careful and be confident. This battle nears its end.*
She then drew her mind back, just in time to see flashes of energy and blotches of blackness amidst the swirling snow and winds. They had reached the battleground, which was pot-marked with energy blasts and black ooze from the nightmarish creatures that hobbled along the tundra or flew in the bitter currents of air.
She blinked. "There is more than one type of Chaotic here."
Luminus nodded grimly. "The longer the portal remains open, the more Chaotics will learn of its existence. With time, surely very powerful creatures will pass through."
"Then let us waste no more of it," Spectra decided, her feet touching the snow. She raised her staff, and opened fire at the flying creature that had approached them. After several moments, the creature erupted in a burst of dark energy, opening the path for Spectra and Luminus to hurry into the cave.
The cave was brightly illuminated with a warm green glow. As the pair of seasoned warriors passed cautiously through the narrow opening, they were met by a loud pounding, followed by an even brighter burst of energy and a horrible shriek.
Scowling, Spectra ran ahead, her staff glowing as she mustered energy for an attack. However, when her gaze finally fell upon her student, the ferocity slipped off her face, replaced by concern.
Matthew leaned against the unyielding rock wall, panting heavily while cradling his leg just above the knee. Even in the dimming light, Spectra could see the deep red quickly saturating the vivid green of his costume at the site of the wound.
"That… last one got a good hit in," Matt hissed between gritted teeth.
As she approached, Spectra could make out numerous bloody gashes marking the slim Green Enforcer. All his other wounds were shallow compared to the one slicing open his thigh, but nonetheless Spectra felt her concern rise. And the way the young man's shoulders heaved with each breath spoke volumes.
"I'll take you back to the ship," she decided, reaching for his arm. "We can-"
"No!" There was a steely note in his voice that startled his mentor. "We don't have time! We'll only see the Power Rangers' world for another twenty seconds at most!"
Luminus inspected the portal, frowning at the black nothingness projected. "This is the dimension where our Orange Enforcer is presently?"
Matthew nodded, finally easing into Spectra's grip to take the weight off his injured leg. "I saw Jocelyn and a couple Power Rangers about fifteen minutes ago. Then the red distortion came, and a few seconds later a monster passed through." He winced as he and Spectra began moving, approaching the portal and Luminus. "After that, the portal turned white for a few seconds, and then the blackness came. I'm pretty sure that's the same cave Jocelyn was just in; they must've pulled back. Without Jocelyn there to illuminate the cave, we can't see anything."
Spectra glanced at the Green Enforcer sideways. "So the Power Rangers and Jocelyn are already at the site of the portal? That should make our job much easier."
"Even though they may be physically near the portal, we cannot communicate with them across dimensions," Luminus realized. "The exchange must be executed on both sides if this is to work."
The portal then flashed red, causing all three to take a cautious step back.
"We've got about twenty to forty seconds before a monster passes through," Matt pointed out, drawing away from Spectra. "We can expect one to three monsters to come through at one time."
Spectra frowned deeply at Matthew, who couldn't hold a pained hiss as he put weight on his leg. "And you've been standing vigil in this cave all alone, fighting off each monster that has passed through the portal since Jocelyn last appeared?"
Matt tensed at the rebuke in her tone. "Not… exactly. If there were too many for me to fight, I led them out of the cave, threw them out, or called some backup. It's too cramped for the whole Force to fight in here."
Spectra's gaze slid back to Matt's most prominent wound. "You've fought enough today. Go back to the ship." This time, it was an order. "You can hardly stand, much less fight."
Grimacing beneath his mask, Matthew focused his power. A warm green glow saturated his body, lifting him off weakened legs and letting him hover ominously a foot off the ground. "I don't need to stand to fight, Spectra."
Spectra clenched her fists. Since when had Matthew been so recklessly stubborn?
"Spectra, to my side!"
She refrained from responding to Matthew's insubordination, choosing instead to lead by example and obey her own mentor's direction. The elder's hands stretched toward the portal, a faint nimbus of energy outlining his hands.
He stepped to the side of the portal, nodding for Spectra to follow. "Matthew," he spoke, "there are two creatures passing between here and Chaos. You must push them out of the cave immediately. Do not try to fight them here; I must begin casting the spell as quickly as possible to make sure I don't miss the next window. Push them out, and then you and your teammates can make quick work of them." He spared the young man a potent glance. "Do you understand?"
Matthew nodded, his aura intensifying as he gathered his strength. A heartbeat later, the portal flashed, drawing two more winged abominations into a realm of matter.
Matthew reached out with his powers, latching on to each creature and hurling them toward the cave's mouth before their misshapen feet touched the soil. He then streaked after them, ignoring the throbbing in his head, the fire in his leg, and the ache in his heart.
Spectra watched him leave, her face drawn with concern. "He's too badly wounded to continue, High Father."
"He will not rest until Orange is found," Luminus said sagely. "His thoughts are consumed with determination to rescue her. There is no sense in trying to convince him to take another course of action; not when time is limited."
He then drew his open palms together, urging the light of his power to intensify. "Spectra, you recall how to create force field spells?"
She blinked her disbelief. "Of course!"
"Good; creating a seal within a Multiversal portal is very similar. The key, as always, is to make the barrier 'fit' the circumstances, to make sure nothing leaks. Now, pay attention."
His fingers began swaying, weaving tendrils of magic and creating a shimmering lens just in front of the portal. "Now I'm calibrating the seal to withstand the Chaotic energies that still permeate this cave. Once Chaos reopens, I can cast the seal within that tunnel, and fasten it there."
After several moments more, the consuming blackness in the portal gave way to fierce red. Then, Luminus extended his hands, and the portal flashed.
Spectra jumped back, reflexes demanding she cover her eyes. When she opened them again, the portal gleamed before her, the angry red appearing vaguely pink through the translucent barrier.
"So, it's done?" Spectra murmured. "The portal is sealed?"
He nodded. "Remember, this is only a temporary fix. I calibrated this seal to withstand the energies we've already faced here, meaning if a more powerful Chaotic attempts to pass through, the seal may not hold. So long as I stay near the portal, I should be able to adapt the seal to compensate; assuming I am able to make the adjustments in time." He then stared through the mouth of the portal. "Retrieve Kimberly, and then see that everyone reports here as soon as they are able. We may have averted catastrophe in this Realm, but I fear great danger threatens the other Realm."
Spectra nodded, her face grim.
* * *
Keith twisted in the air, narrowly avoiding ravenous claws and the furious bat of a leathery wing. *I'm clear! Fire!!*
Bright yellow energy collided with the wayward monster, hitting it in the underbelly and mercilessly pummeling it in Keith's direction.
Keith smirked fiercely, his hands flashing as he summoned an answering stream of power, plowing into the monster on the other end.
It took only a moment for the dual-assault to disintegrate the creature.
"We're making progress," Tamara noted, descending to Keith's side. "Only five to go."
"Four," Keith corrected, grinning as Rachel slashed through another Chaotic with her Dia-Staff. Craig was also relying on his handheld weapon as he battled another Chaotic high in the sky.
Below, Keith watched the Green Enforcer's aura charge with blinding light. The freshman flew headfirst into a Chaotic, and Keith watched in slack-jawed shock as the creature staggered. Matthew pivoted for another volley, but the creature quickly recovered its bearings, turning and opening its maw…
"It's gonna spit!" Keith growled, diving below. His hands squeezed the air, driving his powers deep into the frozen, rock-solid soil of the North Pole.
Matthew gasped just as he saw his target vomit the deadly corrosive acid, and tried to dodge out of the way… when a sudden wall of red-tinged snow and earth erupted from the ground, three feet thick and six feet high, just in front of the Chaotic. The corrosive liquid ate away at the barrier, buying Matt the seconds he needed to angle out of harm's way. Though he didn't have the time or the focus to control his landing, instead crashing into the icy snow and digging a wide trench with his body.
A bombardment of yellow bursts won the Chaotic's attention, as Keith hurried to check on the dazed Green Enforcer.
"You okay?" Keith panted, running to where Matthew had finally skidded to a halt. A quick glance around showed that Tamara, Rachel, and Craig had the remaining creatures actively engaged, giving Keith a moment to examine his wounded friend.
"I'm… fine," Matt wheezed, though as he picked himself off the snow, his slow, ginger movements proved otherwise.
"Like hell you are!" Keith snapped, pointing at Matt's bloodied leg. "Matt, your costume's as red as mine!"
Matt's assessing gaze took in the darkened stains covering much of the Red Enforcer's torso. "Your covered in blood yourself, Keith."
"That's not mine; that's Celea's."
That comment stimulated Matt's memory. He tensed, and his aura began to glow. "Where is that witch, anyway?" he demanded. "Is she awake? Can she talk yet?"
Keith fought a wince. "We'll… talk about that later." He took a breath to calm his anxiety, and reached to offer his friend a hand. "Matt, slow down. Take a breather. Look around you; the others have this under control."
Green accepted the assistance, painfully rising to his feet. Breathing heavily, he forced his knees to lock, keeping him upright as sharp green eyes surveyed the battle.
As Keith had said, the fight was nearly over. Rachel quickly dispatched a Chaotic, joining Tamara to pulverize the one that had nearly bereft the team of a Green Enforcer. Craig then finished off his own opponent with a loud, concussive wave of power.
Then, an oddly peaceful silence fell as everyone searched for any lingering targets, all vaguely awed that the long, difficult battle was over.
The silence was, not surprisingly, shattered by Craig. "Oh yeah! We smoked 'em!" he cheered, darting to the ground to join his roommates. He then got a good look at Matthew, and gasped audibly.
"It's not as bad as it looks," Matt insisted irritably.
"Oh, Matt," Tamara sighed, kneeling by his wound. "Come on; I'll patch it for you on the ship. Spectra showed me the regenerator-"
"No!" he barked. He winced at the startled stares his teammates hammered him with. "Listen, guys, I'm okay. This isn't life-threatening! Now, our priority is Jocelyn!"
"He's right," Rachel commented from the air. "If he can tolerate the pain for now, let's try and get our plan of action worked out." She hovered with her arms crossed, her eyes following a bright white glow that rapidly approached from the horizon.
Seconds later, Spectra landed at the mouth of the cave, setting the team's inter-dimensional visitor on her feet.
Spectra quickly appraised her team, pride stretching her smile. Despite scratches and scrapes, they all stood upright, ready for the next phase of battle. They were all focused, determined to protect their world, and their comrade, from danger.
"You've all done well," she said softly. "Never before have I seen creatures such as these. They reek of death and destruction, yet you did not let them overwhelm you."
The five heroes stood a little taller at her praise.
"So what's the next step?" Craig asked. "Did you guys figure out how to switch Jocelyn and Kimberly again?"
"Yes; although it will not be an easy feat," Spectra admitted, turning into the cave. "Let us join the High Father inside. He will be able to explain better than I."
Rachel stared at Spectra incredulously. "The High Father? He's here, on Earth?"
The group entered the shallow cave, and the Force gawked at the aged man standing beside the flashing portal.
Spectra turned to her team, smiling with pride. "Let me introduce you all to Luminus, the High Father of the Resistance. He is the one that assembled the organized opposition to the Denebian crown."
The Force turned their startled gazes to the legend himself. Then, after a long silence, Rachel stepped forward. "It's an honor to meet you, Sir."
He smiled at the young warrior. "No need for formality, Child. I am just as honored to meet you all."
The group of youths beamed at the compliment.
Luminus then turned to the Power Ranger among them. "Kimberly, I have discovered that the portal that brought you here was altered since your arrival."
Matt shrugged. "That's a safe bet: the portal didn't spit out bloodthirsty monsters yesterday."
Kim's confused gaze slid from the white-haired sage to the redheaded teen. "Wait a minute. You're saying that the Chaotics are coming out of my portal?"
"Yes." Luminus confirmed.
Keith gasped with inspiration. "So that's what Celea was doing down here earlier! She was screwing with the portal!"
"You are correct, Keith. However, she did not simply re-create the portal to Chaos. Instead, she altered the portal she had already created. As a result, she wove the portal to Kimberly's reality with a portal to Chaos, creating a three-pronged inter-dimensional window."
Luminus' gaze was uncharacteristically grim. "Essentially, Celea has unwittingly created a far more complicated problem. The portal she mistakenly created linked Kimberly's world to ours. And now, thanks to her most recent spell, the existence of the Bridge now connects both our world and Kimberly's to Chaos. The doorway to Chaos is open on both sides; which explains the shifting Matthew has witnessed in this portal."
That announcement made Kimberly gasp. "You mean… those things are in my world too??"
Luminus nodded sharply. "Unfortunately, the existence of the Bridge leaves your home open to Chaos as well."
The stricken expression on the Pink Ranger's face was disturbing. "Then we have to do something! I have to get home, pronto! Without me there's no Megazord, no Tiger Megazord, no combined weapons…"
Keith frowned at the incomprehensible rambling. "Slow down, Kim," he urged, "take a deep breath. Spectra called us here because she and Luminus have figured out how to fix all this." His gaze slid to the two aliens among them. "So, how to do we untangle this mess?"
"The key is to undo the Bridge; the first link, connecting our two Realms," Luminus revealed. "That is the most difficult step, because we must restore balance between the two universes. Kimberly, you are personally tethered to this portal, as is Jocelyn in the other Realm. The only way for you two to return to your Realms of origin is to re-activate the Bridge. Then, the link between the two Realms will finally break completely."
He paused, letting the Pink Ranger process all the information given. She stared wide-eyed into the portal, marveling at the shimmering lens distorting the red-tinged view.
"What is this?" she inquired, waving at the lens.
"It is a sealing spell. It holds back the Chaotics, and removes all possibility of you somehow being swept into that dark realm. The path between this world and your own is open. However, just as before, it can only be activated by you and your counterpart. And only once the Bridge is severed permanently can we safely close the portal to Chaos, stopping the invasion of evil on both Earths."
"So really, we're almost there!" Tamara contributed. "If I'm following all this, Kim's already got one foot in the door. Matt saw Jocelyn through the portal earlier. She's probably waiting for us! All we have to do is sit tight for the Bridge to align our two Earths again, and problem solved."
"Not exactly," Spectra pointed out, gesturing to the window Luminus kept closed. "Even if Jocelyn understands that she needs to jump through the portal, there's no safeguard on the other end. Luminus has sealed Chaos on our end." She turned to Luminus. "If Jocelyn tried to come home, could she be diverted to Chaos?"
"Unfortunately, I cannot answer that. I've never seen this amalgam of portals before. I cannot safely predict how it will behave. Perhaps if Jocelyn attempts to pass through at the wrong time, she might be diverted to Chaos. Though, life as we understand it cannot exist in that realm. She would die before she even enters the other end."
The Force froze with tension at the thought of the horrible death potentially facing their friend.
"But we can address this danger," Luminus assured the team. "Spectra, you and your entire Force we will travel to the Realm of the Power Rangers."
Craig frowned. "How does that help anything?"
"Spectra shall erect a shield in the other portal, sealing off Chaos and allowing safe transit for both Kimberly and Jocelyn. And the rest of you will assist the Power Rangers in destroying the remaining Chaotics expediently, making the area save for inter-dimensional transfer."
Spectra felt her stomach knot. "I can't cast that spell! I know nothing about alternate realms! I-"
"Follow the steps I demonstrated, Spectra. You aren't making a portal appear. You are merely casting a force field into one vein of a portal. This is not beyond your skill, or I would not ask you to do it."
Spectra almost protested again, but bit her lip.
Tamara stared at the portal. "What will happen to Jocelyn when she passes back through the portal? When Kim fell through, she was out cold! Jocelyn could freeze to death in the time it takes us to get back!"
Luminus turned to the Green Enforcer, who stood stock-still amongst his team, his eyes never wandering from the red-tinged portal. "Matthew, perhaps you can stay behind."
He blinked, turning to the wise sage that addressed him. "Huh?"
"That way you can attend Jocelyn as soon as she emerges," he explained. "And should anything unexpected pass through the portal in the meantime, you can assist me in handling it."
"And once Jocelyn is safe, make sure to take care of that leg," Rachel said sternly. "You're the pre-med student here; you know better than we do that your risking infection, major blood loss, and scarring."
Matthew winced. "Okay, okay…" he sighed.
"So what happens then?" Keith inquired. "How do we ultimately break Celea's spell?"
"Once the two displaced individuals return through the portal, all tethers holding the Bridge open will disappear," Luminus explained. "Then I shall wipe clean Celea's spell, closing the portal in both Realms, and then care for your teammate."
The Force continued to hesitate, each one considering the details given and trying to understand the situation the best they could. One thing was certain: they were dealing with mystical forces far beyond their comprehension. And the stakes were higher than they'd ever been.
"The seal is really just a temporary fix," Keith pointed out. "If this Bridge isn't undone, then eventually the Chaotics will break through. The only way to permanently erase these portals and save our planet is for Jocelyn and Kim to pass through the Bridge."
Rachel nodded, folding her arms. "If that means we have to go into the other Realm and get Jocelyn to pass through, then so be it."
Tamara had come to a similar conclusion. "But how will we get there without creating even more 'tethers' keeping our dimensions connected?"
Luminus smirked. "The princess is not very skilled at creating inter-dimensional links. I, on the other hand, know how to create clean doorways into other realities. I already opened one on the ship."
"Please," Kimberly murmured. She turned toward the Spectrum Force, her eyes pleading. "We have to act now. Every minute we stand here and talk is a minute my friends are fighting without me!"
"Then let's move out!" Keith declared, pumping his fist. "Looks like we're heading on an inter-dimensional field trip."
Craig grinned. "And to think, before I joined the Force I'd never left the continental U.S.!"
* * *
The tittering of the minors had drifted through the immaterial realm of Chaos, spreading like lava pouring down an erupting volcano. A hole had opened. Not a large tear, nor a purposeful one. No great power was summoning specific hordes of Chaos. Someone had simply unlocked the door and left it open.
Strangely enough, the door had two destinations. Both were rife with light and life, practically begging to be smothered. However, only one had a Shadow lurking beneath the light, calling into Chaos like an enchanting song.
The presence of the Shadow Lord, drawing his demons like a flame lures a moth.
Only it wasn't the Shadow Lord that opened the doorway. When he had done so in the past, his call was loud, irresistible. And even the upstart mage Zedd had managed to force a Chaotic into the material realm.
This wasn't a summoning. This was an open invitation.
An invitation into the Realm of the Power Rangers. An opportunity to finish the mission, and destroy Zordon and his charges once and for all.
The large creature moved toward the portal, and scores of lesser creatures made way for the powerful beast. This time it would not fail. This time it would be prepared for the Rangers, and any other creative tricks they'd devise.
This time, it would lead an army. And those deadly forces would help it obliterate all life on Earth, leaving nothing but blood and rubble… much like it had done on the planet Phaedos in the ancient past.