Timeline: This story is immediately after cliffhanger at the end of Rangers Gone Psycho Part 3.
Authors Note: Anything written like ~this~ is a thought, anything like -this- is a conversation Sam is eaves dropping on, [this] is a computer message and anything appearing like *this* is a mental telepathic message.
This story is a part of my take on the IDWar storyline. It is an alternate version of the Conquest of Evil series, however events here are different.
by Shadow Ranger
From all over the Universe members of the UAE had gathered. All of them walking past the statue, few bothering to look at it and none noticing that in addition to the features already developed a deep blue crystal had appeared in the chest, a new message had been carved into the stone.
The glowing red eyes shifted, taking in every detail of what happened, their owner trapped beyond the physical world, but someday to return.
This was Onyx. A month ago it had been the scene of celebration, but now the members were quiet and subdued. They had not expected the Rangers to triumph on Earth. The hope such an event had created had made the villains’ tasks all the more difficult. As long as Earth held out the UAE was certain to lose. Once again the villains sat in their appointed chairs, waiting for the meeting to start.
Dark Specter sat at the head of a long table, awaiting the final delegates to arrive. To his left sat Master Vile, Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, Divatox, and General Havoc. The seat immediately to Dark Specter’s right was empty, reserved for the third most powerful villain in the UAE, Maligore. Due to his imprisonment by Lerigot, Maligore was unable to attend. Instead his voting rights had been assigned to Divatox, a move which had pleased her family. The date had been set for as soon as she could recover the Golden Key held by the wizard Lerigot.
Next to the empty chair sat Count Dregon, Vexor, Grimlord and Nukus. The Four lesser members had proven themselves worthy, as had Kilokahn. In a little over a month they had caused havoc and almost succeeded in taking their assigned targets. Many were saying Nukus was as good a strategist as General Havoc, a view the General secretly agreed with.
At the far end of the table sat King Mondo and Prince Gasket. Both were enjoying their renewed links to the UAE. Mondo was once again enjoying the power he had wielded years before.
Dark Specter scowled at the spot on his table once reserved for the Hydro Hog. Squatt and Baboo, conquerors of Aquitar had now taken that placement. Since they were both considered equal, the ruling body had been forced to water down each member’s right, resulting in only himself, Vile, Maligore and Mondo the right to veto any decision. In a way he was glad, the very nature of the UAE meant they argued more often than they agreed. Fewer vetoes meant more decisions and less talk.
But things had changed again. In the last month Aquitar had become a productive arsenal for the UAE, the imprisoned Aquitians making excellent slaves. Through luck Baboo and Squatt now held a force more efficient than the Cogs and more controllable than Putties. Dark Specter made a note to take Aquitar as soon as the Universe belonged to the UAE. There was still some suspicion about how they had accomplished such a feat. However Baboo and Squatt had experience in many fields including alchemy. He wouldn’t have been surprised to find that in this case the old human saying that there must be something in the water, applied.
The final member of the ruling body appeared at his seat. Scorpius was an Edenite that had been forced from his world by Lexian’s ancestors and now roamed the stars looking for planets to invade. He was an unknown factor, easily dismissed as a parasite. But he was also dangerous and had crushed several teams of Rangers single-handedly.
“I call this meeting to order,” Dark Specter said.
Silence fell throughout the vast room. The inside of the pyramid had provided room for the various villains, their advisors, henchmen and foot soldiers. All of the various groups sat in different parts of the room. The foot soldiers furthest away due to their total lack of intelligence. Nearer were the various henchmen considered too lowly to help. Not too surprisingly recent events had brought even those idiots to within Dark Specter’s standards of competence.
The next table was for the lieutenants and strategists. This was perhaps the longest table, spreading around the main table as a three-sided square. This table consisted of those who were capable of setting out on their own, but lacking the resources to do so. Most of them would respond to a summons but were otherwise free to go their own way. Dark Specter’s most trusted warriors, Astronema and Ecliptor sat at the head of the table, along with Nefaria and Cycloptor. The junior members of the Royal House of Gadgetry, Machina, Archerina and Sprocket sat at the other end of the table. Archerina and the Queen had found they had a lot in common.
Finally on a little table behind him sat the think tank, those inventors and monster builders some of the villains felt compelled to use. Of all those members of the UAE, Porto, Finster, Klank, Orbus, the newly resurrected Professor Longnose and Colonel Icebot were perhaps the few who actually managed to get along. Dark Specter had long maintained that knowledge was power, so while in the pyramid they were under instructions to report any ideas directly to him.
“Our first order of business is the planet Earth.” He looked thoughtfully at the report “Minion has been defeated; his claim to the planet is dissolved. We will now hear all claims to the planet.”
“There is only one sensible solution,” Master Vile stated. “My daughter has been attacking Earth since the Ranger problem arose. I suggest she be placed back in her original role and any conquest be attributed to the House of Vile.”
“Absurd!” Lord Zedd cried. “Rita is my wife and as such, any right to conquest she might have earned belong to me.”
“You are a fool Zedd!” Mondo shouted. “The Machine Empire came closer than anyone to conquering the Earth. We should be allowed to conquer the planet.”
“Point of order!” Master Vile called. “Since my son-in-law and daughter blew up the Machine Empire, their right to Earth is nonexistent.”
“But not all the Machine Empire were destroyed,” Gasket pointed out. “And we did drive your son and daughter away.”
“Which was an illegal act under the rules of this organisation,” Master Vile countered.
“Order, Order” Dark Specter boomed. “Earth officially belongs to the UAE under the treaty we made a month ago. However, the person who conquers Earth shall be given the rank of High Official and have the same rights as Mondo, Vile and myself. Do I have an agreement?”
“Ai!” the assembled villains called.
“Nay!” The figure that appeared before them was clearly a hologram. They could make out the slight flickering around the edges. “The Earth has already been claimed, by me.”
“Your opinion here is not valid,” Dark Specter boomed. “You are not a member of this body.”
“My opinion is both valid and overwhelming,” the figure replied in a strong confident voice. He had chosen to make his hologram appear human, although a few button pushes would have changed the form. “I have the authority to do so. OR do you deny this?”
The holographic image held up his hand and the room gasped at the ring he wore. A red ruby had been embedded into a carved skull that glowed with power. Despite the fact they were staring at a hologram the various villains could feel the evil energies exuded by the ring.
“I suppose you are going to say that Earth is yours,” Master Vile sneered.
“Indeed I am,” he replied. “I have both the ability and the strategy to destroy the Rangers and conquer the planet. I am the rightful ruler of the universe and I act on the highest authority.”
“Outrageous!” Gasket shouted. “You’re not even a member. You rate lower than Finster within the UAE. How dare you tell us what to do?”
“My son is right,” Mondo agreed. “Our forces will not stand aside for the sake of a ring. And that assumes that the ring you claim to carry is genuine.”
“Yeah, why are you still here?” Kilokahn demanded.
The hologram turned to face the newest member of the UAE. He pointed his holographic hand towards the former computer character. Black energy engulfed Kilokahn, destroying his newly captured body and dissipating his program into space.
“Any other questions?” he asked threateningly.
“How do you plan to rid the Earth of those pesky Rangers?” Zedd asked.
“And how can you be so certain of success?” Squatt added.
“A demonstration is in order,” he stated.
A pillar of light formed in the centre of the chamber. As the assembled villains watched it grew larger until all were blinded by its brilliance. When the light faded, they were confronted with five bodies, all aliens and all Rangers. Next to them stood a powerful woman with a rifle strapped to her back.
“Members of the UAE, I present to you Huntrax and her latest catch, the Rangers of planet Canceria. Huntrax is just one of the many bounty hunters I have – er – acquired.”
“These Rangers are still alive,” Mondo said.
“Of course,” he retorted. “I wanted you to see the payment I arranged. Huntrax, you may proceed.”
The large woman lifted her left arm to reveal a small keypad. After she pressed a few buttons, her right hand turned into a metallic claw. She moved to each of the captured Rangers in turn and gripped their helmets with her claw, listening for the satisfying crack as her claw penetrated the armour and pierced the Rangers’ skulls. Energy flowed from the dead bodies into Huntrax.
“Huntrax is paid with the energies of those she eliminates,” he explained. “Every time she kills she absorbs their life force while filtering their powers into a suitable vessel. I’ve been told she makes a handsome profit selling those energies to interested parties.”
“And you believe she will be able to destroy all the Rangers,” Gasket said. “Such a feat is illogical.”
“Nobody said she had to battle them all at once,” he replied. “We all know that the Rangers are not based solely in Angel Grove anymore. I propose we pick the Rangers off one by one.”
“Very well,” Dark Specter said. “All in favour?”
“Yay!” the entire room called. They wanted him to try just to see him fail spectacularly.
“The motion is carried. You will be allowed time to conquer the Earth. The planet will remain out-of-bounds to all other members except for Divatox’s wedding. This meeting is suspended.”
As the conference room cleared, Dark Specter reflected on what had happened. For a month the members of the UAE had worked together. Even after Minion’s death, the truce had held. Then the rumours had started about what would happen to Earth and the bickering had increased. Now Dark Specter was glad he had not ordered an attack on Earth. He had recognised the power of the ring and the force that lay behind it. He had no doubt if there was a confrontation that he would emerge victorious, but there were some battles best left until the opponent had been weakened. A few defeats on Earth would do the trick.
~Perhaps this will be useful,~ he thought, ~If I can combine the others’ fear against him then I can resume my rightful place as sole leader of the UAE.~
In a month they had not completed any of their targets. KO-35 was near defeat, but the other planets had held out. The UAE had still made some progress though. Divatox had taken over Inquirius and sold the inhabitants on the Slave Market. It was a small accomplishment, but showed the UAE was once again a force to be reckoned with after all.
“How may I serve you Dark Specter?” Astronema asked.
Dark Specter chuckled to himself. Loyalty was a rare find amongst villains, but he was truly lucky to have two loyal servants like Astronema and Ecliptor at his command. Astronema was what humans would refer to as a teenager. She wore her traditional leather and heavy armour battle suit and had her hair coloured a strong blue. Next to her stood the ever-loyal Ecliptor. Dark Specter noted the pride Ecliptor held in his prize student.
“How goes the assault on KO-35?” Dark Specter asked.
“Commander Makarra has reported victory over most of the Astro Defenders,” Astronema answered. “She is certain the planet will be ours within the next twenty four hours, but…”
“But what?” Dark Specter boomed.
“Princess Astronema wishes permission to double-check that all the Astro Defenders are destroyed,” Ecliptor said warily. “Especially, the Red one.”
“And you disagree?”
“Only to the extent that if she truly believes Makarra incapable of finishing the job se should appoint a new commander,” Ecliptor answered. “Otherwise I’m sure Makarra could provide evidence.”
“Very well Astronema,” Dark Specter said. “You may go to KO-35, but you are to return as soon as you are victorious. Ecliptor shall accompany you. If Makarra has failed you will deal with her.”
“Of course Dark Specter.”
Dark Specter watched as Astronema vanished along with Ecliptor. He would let his future queen have her fun as a reward for her success. Now the pyramid was all but empty. Only Dark Specter and his chief scientist remained. Known as Doctor Hinelar, the scientist was renowned for the fear he inflicted on his victims as well as his technical genius.
“You summoned me?” Hinelar asked. He was allowed more freedom than Dark Specter’s other servants due to the nature of his work. Hinelar had a way of turning opponents into grovelling henchmen.
“Find out everything you can about that upstart,” Dark Specter said. He didn’t need to elaborate. Hinelar knew exactly whom he was referring to. “If that ring is genuine, find a way to destroy it.”
In the past that ring had been linked to a powerful demon known as the Dark One, or if he was feeling generous, Nekron. Later other demons had taken the name, some even pretended to be the one that had allowed the original to use the name. It was very confusing. Many within the UAE believed that Nekron was the very essence of evil. Dark Specter believed otherwise. He doubted that the ultimate form of evil would allow itself to be trapped for millions of years. Instead he believed that Nekron was just one of a long line of demons to claim the title of Dark One. If that was the case then he could be stopped again.
“At once Dark Specter,” Hinelar said. He clicked his fingers and an Asian woman dressed in a blue bodysuit walked over. Dark Specter nodded; his servant had excellent taste in subjects. “Meet my latest success. Onya, formerly Pink Firebird Ranger of colony H-71.”
Dark Specter studied the frail human before him. Her eyes lacked the fire the Grand Monarch had come to expect from Rangers. Her features although calm emphasized her fear.
“Kneel to your master,” Hinelar ordered. Onya did so without a sign of hesitation.
“Impressive,” Dark Specter purred. “What happened to her morpher?”
“Always close enough to remind her of what she has lost,” Hinelar said. He reached around Onya’s neck and pulled out a golden tag on the end of a chain. “Take a look.”
Dark Specter stared at the small tag and laughed at what he saw. Inscribed into Onya’s now useless Power Coin were the words: PROPERTY OF DARK SPECTER.
“I will reward you for this later,” Dark Specter said before changing to form so he was human. He smiled at his new property, imagining the things he was going to do to her and anticipating the screams he would hear before she ceased to live. “Leave me now.”
Hinelar bowed and quickly made his exit. What Dark Specter did to his female slaves was something he did not want to discover. He had seen enough corpses to know it was neither a quick nor pleasant experience for the victim.
As he left the main chamber, he studied the building carefully. It did not matter how often he entered the pyramid, he always felt in awe of the great evil contained inside. Soon he found what he was looking for and after crossing to a back wall he accessed a computer console. Dark Specter was indeed the Grand Monarch of evil and could not be expected to take care of annoying little details.
“Ah, there you are,” he said as the image of an eyeball formed on the screen.
“Yes, here I am,” Kilokahn said.
“I see you have already gained control of your environment,” Hinelar said after checking how far the virus-based villain had infected the UAE’s system.
“You will all pay for not helping me,” Kilokahn said.
“Really?” Hinelar asked. “I doubt that. I could wipe you from the computer in a matter of seconds. Or, I could give you a new body and a chance to gain revenge on the thing that did this to you. Now, will you swear absolute loyalty to Dark Specter?”
“I accept,” Kilokahn answered.
“Yes,” Hinelar said. “I’m sure you do.”
When Doctor Hinelar had finished constructing a new body for Kilokahn, he left. But not before taking a moment to stare at the statue. It looked changed and looked somewhat familiar. For the first time since entering the service of Dark Specter, Hinelar felt afraid. He had a strange feeling something new was about to happen and when it did, even the Grand Monarch would fall.
End of Part **THIS IS THE END OF THE FILE**