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Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners and are used here without permission. No money is being made from this fic. This is a partial rewrite of the episode Day of the Dumpster and has been altered with regards to Rita and Lokar, which will prove important later in the storyline.
Although Earth does have a moon named Cruithne, discovered in 1986 and orbiting the Earth in a horse shoe orbit that brings it close every 385 years or so, it is actually a great deal smaller than implied in this story.
Ten Thousand Years Ago
Rita Repulsa was deeply offended that they had allowed her to carry a wand at her trial. True her magic had been bound, but there was the principle that they believed that without magic she was helpless. With years of training under the watchful eyes of her cruel father, she was certainly not helpless when she had her wand, magic or not. And the additional training from Lord Zedd had made her even deadlier.
Behind her Goldar, Finster, Baboo and Squatt had been gathered. She did not know where Scorpina had disappeared to. The female warrior had fallen during the battle, but Rita was certain she had survived. Her remaining servants had either fled the battlefield the moment the tide had turned or had been cut down by Zordon’s forces.
She smiled, remembering what she had done to the meddling fool. That he had survived was unfortunate, but knowing he was trapped in some sort of time warp that preventing him from ageing, made her feel better. She promised that as soon as she was released she would seek him out and finish the job.
“Rita Repulsa, you have been found guilty on all counts. The penalty required by the law is termination of yourself and those that followed your orders. However, there has been an intervention on your behalf, a plea for leniency. We have taken this into account along with the horrors we know you suffered at the hands of your father. However, your crimes are too serious for the degree of mercy requested, you must pay for your crimes… regardless of your background, the choice to commit such heinous acts was yours alone.”
The was a long pause as the two large doors to the court room opened and a large metal container was wheeled in.
“It is the decision of this court that your lives will be spared. However, you will remain incarcerated until such time as you are no longer considered a danger to the rest of the universe. May the Power guide you on your journey of rehabilitation.”
Rita had not been concerned by the sentence until she realised that it was to be spent within the confines of a Zithium lined cell. She was well aware that Zithium would not only prevent her from being able to access her powers, but would also shield her from detection by those wishing to release her. And once inside the cell could be magical reduced in size and hidden away until somebody thought to check on her suitability for release. Once the sealing crystal was applied there would be no way to open the cell from the inside even if she found some sort of magical reserve she could use.
Rita was not the only one upset with her sentence. Her henchmen did not appreciate the idea of being stuck with Rita and unable to escape her rants. They argued that they should not all be locked in the same container and that as they had been tried with similar crimes they should be imprisoned separately.
Despite all efforts to convince the court otherwise, they were forced inside the cylinder and the lid was firmly attached. All that remained was to decide where the shrunken canister would be placed, how long they should wait before finding out if rehabilitation had been successful. Despite some arguing for leaving the cell on the lunar surface, the possibility that others might search that location made the decide on a more remote location.
And so Rita Repulsa and her henchment were placed upon the surface of a small planetoid known to have a prolonged orbit of the Earth. And there she would remain to be checked upon every few centuries when the planetoid drew close enough to the Earth for the conditio of its occupants to be checked before continuing on their journey.
“In other news, NASADA have confirmed that Project Excelsior has been granted permission to continue despite financial concerns surrounding the Storm Foundation. The project will launch on schedule and is expected to continue for the full duration. Sources within NASADA had revealed that financial guarantees placed by the Storm Foundation when they were awarded the project contract eighteen month ago are likely to used to cover any financial losses NASADA suffers from having to bear the brunt of the project’s costs.
The Storm Foundation has been rocked by financial scandals after the dismissal of its Chief Financial Officer. While the current Chief Executive Officer, Susan Storm has been cleared of any wrongdoing, questions remain over the activities of her father, the former CEO…”
The mission had been intended to save Storm Industries from total collapse/ A successful testing of their new Quantum Drive Engine would have secured new investment and guaranteed future contracts. Instead the stream of ill-timed lawsuits and foreclosures had allowed NASADA to exercise its contractual rights and take complete control of the joint venture at the Storm Foundation’s expense.
“NASADA have confirmed that Dr Reed Richards and test pilot Benjamin Grimm will still be included among the mission’s crew, however operations will be handed over to NASADA personnel upon arrival. The current status of Storm Industries CEO Susan Storm and her brother’s place on the mission remain unclear at this time.”
NASADA had exercised its control over the mission, replacing many of the staff Richards had appointed. While it was accepted that Richards and Grimm were the only pilots qualified to operate the shuttle, remaining crew members had been replaced. Susan Storm and her brother’s place on the shuttle was more complicated as their seats had been privately purchased and not assigned. With the legal arguments surrounding their status likely to delay the mission, NASADA had reluctantly agreed that the Storm siblings could remain on board although their hopes of a space walk were non-existent.
The mission’s goals had also been changed. Instead of a full test of the new Quantum Drive between Earth and a rogue planetoid followed by detailed study of the planetoid as Richards had suggested as final destination, the mission would now be a simply flight to the giant space rock and back with a few hours set aside for experiments and exploration by NASADA.
It was a great disappointment to Richards that most of his experiments would no longer be possible. At twenty-one, Reed Richards was a certified genius whose interest in the planetoid was secondary to his desire to learn more about the strange energy field on the edge of the planetoid’s orbit. He believed that the strange energy he and his team of assistants had been researching for years could provide the answer to genetic disorders. Unfortunately his plans to set up long range monitoring had been shelved in favour of collecting soil samples. Even the successful firing of the Quantum Drive and their safe arrival could not cheer him up.
Despite observing the strange storms that made for a turbulent landing, the NASADA astronauts were not deterred from setting foot upon the planetoid and beginning their work. And so Reed, Grimm and the Storms busied themselves readying the shuttle for its return trip.
“Get those lights set up,” was the first instruction as the small team of astronauts moved to position lighting rigs. While the planetoid was partially lit by the sun, the landing area was in the shade. “Everybody check their camera feeds and audio equipment.”
“Atmosphere is breathable,” somebody announced as they conducted their initial experiments.
“That is impossible Captain Sharpe,” Reed said over the comm-link. “The size and environment of the planetoid, the lack of plant life and water make it impossible for the air to be breathable.”
“Yeah well someone forgot to tell that to the planetoid,” the captain answered as he double-checked his findings.
“Temperature is higher than expected,” came a second report. In the shade they expected the temperature to be well below freezing. Instead the thermometer showed it was a cool thirty degrees Celsius.
“I think your equipment might be malfunctioning,” Reed told them.
“And I think maybe you should let them do their job pencil neck,” came another voice.
The explorers allowed themselves a smile. Richard’s ‘assistant’, a man named Grimm, was a very honest if slightly conceited man. And despite the scientist’s best efforts to explain the scientific impossibility of the planetoid being able to sustain life, Grimm would simply point to the instrument panel that mimicked their readings and ask him to explain it. Of course when Reed Richards failed to have an answer, and tried to point out the many possibilities, Grimm lost interest and walked off muttering something about longwinded brainiacs. Nobody was fooled into believing that Grimm was there for any other reason than to act as Richard’s bodyguard.
As the two astronauts wandered over the surface, confirming as they did so that some of the soil samples they collected resembled ash, other crew members unpacked a travel vehicle. Two of the astronauts drove off to make a distance survey while the others turned to mapping the geophysical nature of the landing area. And while they did so the soldiers continued to unpack the equipment, set up monitoring equipment and provided security.
“Hey, look at that!” they heard the driver ask as he pointed something out to his partner.
“Let’s go!” was the reply.
“Be careful gentlemen,” Reed warned before turning back to his own little team. “We need all excess materials removed from the shuttle before they return. We don’t want to try and launch if we’re overloaded. It’s a long walk home..”
The Quantum Drives were extremely powerful but difficult to control once activated. Their arrival on the planetoid had been as much down to the exact calculation of how long to fire the Quantum Drive as it had been the technology. Limiting the weight of the shuttle was a vital part of making sure those calculations were accurate.
Meanwhile the two astronauts space-walked to what they realised were the remains of a small castle. And inside, through the ruined walls, they could make out a strangely carved container with a flashing red jewel on the top.
“What do you think it is?”
The first one shrugged. “It looks like a giant oil drum!” was the best he could come up with. “Or maybe an urn,” he suggested as they drew closer and he could seen the shape better. Had they stumbled upon a burial site? The jewel on the top of whatever it was, looked like it was worth more than anything the two of them could dream of making in a lifetime. Who knew what treasure might be contained within? And in their haste it never occurred to them to question why such an expensive jewel would be left outside the container where theives might take it and not safely inside with any other valuables?
“Stop!” the other ordered. He wanted to know what was inside but he also realised that everything needed to be done properly. “Go back to the rover and collect something to carry it in.” The jewel promised wealth and power, there was no way they were going to leave it behind. But they could not just smuggle it back to Earth. They would need to present it as a find and then claiming a reward from their employer for their contribution to the mission’s financial success.
His companion eagerly did so and when he returned, reached out to touch the ruby, which easily lifted off the top of the urn and was quickly placed in the waiting sack. Four beams of light exploded from within, flying a short distance away and transforming into four roughly humanoid beings, all of whom seemed to have no trouble existing without air.
“What’s going on?” the second astronaut moaned, terrified by what they’d unleashed already.
“Who cares?” his partner cried. “Let’s get out of here!”
Even though they didn’t realise it, the two men had been doomed they moment they had opened the container. In doing so they had inadvertently placed the entire expedition in danger. The space urn as one astronaut had so crudely described it, was in fact a prison cell designed to hold those inside in a state of eternal incarceration. The jewel on the top of the lid was intended to resist any attempt to open the cell from the inside. Only when the jewel was damaged or shifted out of alignment, could the occupants escape.
The planetoid held many more cells, all containing prisoners deemed too dangerous to hold in regular prisons and with known accomplices that would break them free from any high security prison. The planetoid had originally only held one cell, but after proving a successful place to stash prisoners they wanted to disappear for the duration of their sentences, more had been added. With the seal broken the security spells failed, restoring the canister to its full size. And due to their greed, the astronauts had unleashed the occupants on an ill-prepared cosmos.
The four creatures glanced at each other as the astronauts scurried a few feet away. One was tall, burly, covered in golden armour, and with a sword. The second was smaller, with white fur and spectacles, as well as a burn-spotted apron. The third resembled a giant blueberry, being small and round and blue, while the fourth was somewhat taller, with tattered wings and blunt claws. All bore the same glint of evil in their eyes.
“All right, we’re out!” the small and blue one declared with joy. He ran back to the cell and peered back inside. “Rita, wake up, wake up, we’re free!”
Grey hair wrapped up into a conical style emerged, followed by a woman dressed in a brown and gold gown decorated with even more cones. She threw her arms out wide and yawned deeply as Squatt, the one who had called her forth, fumbled in his pouch for something. “Uh-oh, morning breath!” he declared. “Let me get you a mint!”
The others were gathering around Rita as she got her bearings back. Finster, the one with the apron and glasses, stated firmly, “Oh, it’s good to be free after ten thousand years!”
Baboo of the tattered wings came over to help her out of the prison. “Here, your Evilness, let me help you! Walk with me, talk with me,” he sang off-key. She growled harshly and glared at him and he promptly shut up.
“Oh Mighty Lokar, I am free once more,” she cried, ignoring her underling. “For ten thousand years they have kept me here in this magicless prison; they will pay for denying me for so long.”
Zithium containers were extremely expensive to manufacture, but boasted a reputation for being escape proof without outside help. Zithium was not an insulator as many believed, but instead a very conductive material that absorbed all but the strongest forms of magical energy. In fact Zithium had once been considered for use in the manufacture of magical wands, except that having absorbed energy it was extremely reluctant to release it again.
Still it was easy to forge, and could retain enchantments placed upon for as long as those spell remained powered. Over centuries methods had been learned to cast expansion charms so that a small Zithium canister could function like a full prison. Rita’s cell had been enchanted to not only provide adequate room for herself and her underlings, but also to enforce the rehabilitation programs her captors had designed for her. And everything had been powered by a single quartz ruby that radiated magical energy at a controlled rate.
The problem with Zithium was that there was always a short gap between the loss of the energy needed to sustain some of its enchantments and the failure of some of the other spells. In the case of Rita’s prison, the spells intended to enhance its strength failed before those forcing its inner dimensions to expanded. The result was the cracking of the Zithium and the release of Rita and her underlings.
Rita glanced around, and saw the two astronauts backing away as fast as they could. She laughed wickedly. “Don’t leave!” she told them, a bolt of energy leaving her wand, encasing their retreating forms in crystal. “You’ll miss our coming out party! That’s where we destroy the nearest planet!”
The five of them looked toward the Earth, recognising the planet as the place of their most recent defeat, and evil laughter sounded that had not been heard in ten-thousand years. It was time for some conquest.
It was Saturday in Angel Grove, California, warm, sunny, and delicious as so many days in that peaceful town were. In one of the most popular business establishments in town, the Angel Grove Gym and Juice Bar, kids had gathered as they did every day to work out, play, and just have fun together. The Youth Youth Center, as it was also known, was known for its safety, it’s popularity, and the fabulous fruit shakes provided by the portly owner, Ernie.
One thing the town was known for, other than near-complete peace, was an abundance of people into the martial arts. Two of them were working out on the practice mats that morning, one a tall, well-muscled fifteen-year-old in a red tank top and black workout pants, his short hair held back by a red headband, his partner a young black man of the same age, in black jeans and shirt. The two of them sparred back and forth easily; it was obvious they’d done this before.
As they pulled apart, the one in red grinned to his friend. “Nice recovery, Zack!”
“Hey, thanks for teaching me, Jason!” Zack Taylor responding, clasping his hand warmly. Zack preferred his own Hip-Hop Kedo for martial arts, but he didn’t mind a few karate lessons, not from Jason, the acknowledged best martial artist in Angel Grove.
Not too far away, a young Chinese girl in bright yellow workout clothes was practicing a kung fu routine, her eyes flashing occasionally to a perky girl in pink on the balance beam a few feet from her. As she leaped off the bar, the girl in yellow came over and patted her on the back. “That was awesome, Kimberly!” ly!”
“Thanks, Trini!” the gymnast grinned.
They looked up as the final member of their small clique entered the main room of the Youth Center dressed in a white gi and white belt the young man also wore glasses. He headed over to Zack and Jason, who examined his outfit with critical eyes.
“Hey, fellas!” the blue head-banded guy smiled as he got closer.
“Yo, Billy!” Zack waved. “What’s up?” he asked.
“Well, I think I’m mentally and physically prepared for my first karate class,” Billy Cranston stated enthusiastically as he smiled at each of his friends. nds.
As the small group continued to chat, Kim and Trini glanced up at the sound of footsteps, and groaned in unison. Two figures had entered the Youth Center, two very familiar, and unwanted, figures, clad in black leather and chains, one huge, the other skinny. “Oh, no,” Trini whispered to her friend. “Look who’s here!”
“Bulk and Skull,” Kim sighed. These two had been doing their level best to ‘date’ the two of them for as far back as they could remember, and were also Angel Grove High’s resident bullies, idiots, and ever present pains in the posterior. Bulk, the larger and supposedly the ‘brains’ of the two, grinned at them. hem.
“Hi, girls!” he tried what he apparently thought was a charming look at them. “How about that double date we talked about?”
“Yeah!” Skull issued a hyena-like laugh as he leaned on Bulk’s shoulder. “What about it?”
Trini shook her head. “Sorry, guys!” Skull shrugged and was about to walk off, when Bulk dragged him back, shaking his head. It was hard for him to take ‘no’ for an answer as he looked back at the girls.
“What’s the matter?” he asked. “We’re not good enough for you?” he was almost taunting in what he said. aid.
“Leave us alone, Bulk!” Trini insisted.
Bulk grinned, leaning a bit closer to them. “Oh, yeah? Make me!” me!”
“Yeah!” Skull nodded. “Make me!” he wilted a bit as Zack and Jason came up behind the two girls. “Him!” Skull pointed to Bulk quickly. “Make him!”
“Hey, you heard what she said!” Zack grinned a little.
Jason nodded. “Didn’t you hear the ladies? They said no!”
Bulk rolled his shoulders aggressively and glared. “Oh, what do you know? The dancer wants to be a fighter! How sweet!”
Kim smiled at them both. “It’s okay, guys,” she said. “We can handle these two.”
As Zack and Jason stepped aside, Bulk looked incredulously at Skull.
“Oh, really?” he laughed. “Let’s show them some karate moves, Skull!” with wild parodies of karate yells, the two of them charged the girls. Kim and Trini moved in identical blurring motions, seizing Bulk and Skull by the arms and twisting, letting their own momentum drag them to the floor. The two bullies lay on the mats, trying to figure out what had happened to them, as Kim giggled a little.
“You guys should definitely join Jason’s karate class!” she declared. Bulk and Skull just looked at each other. How had it gone wrong?
The humans had put up a fight and provided Rita with some fun following her release. The two that had opened the prison had been dealt with; they had attempted to steal from her and that had sealed their fate. The shuttle had been attempting to take off when Goldar had found them. The first blow from his sword had sliced off one of its rockets, leaving the vessel incapable of changing direction. It was facing away from Earth.
It would have been easy for Reed Richards to panic. The Excelsior had been damaged, the NASADA astronauts were missing, presumed dead and it seemed that their attacker was far from finished. His mind ran through the possible scenarios as he tried to determine which course of action they would be most likely to survive.
In the end he decided that it was better to take off into the unknown than wait to be sliced apart by a flying alien.
“Ben, launch!” he ordered.
Grimm grunted and pulled the power lever, activating the Quantum Drive from a stationary position. There was a moment’s delay and then the shuttle lurched forward, avoiding the incoming blade but not the shot from whatever gun the small blue alien had been holding.
The Quantum Drive reached full power as Grimm desperately tried to push the vessel back toward the Earth. The impact from the pistol shot helped as the shuttle stated to spin around and the Quantum Drive reached full power. Unfortunately the engines were damaged by the impact and exploded as the ship took off at high speed and vanished from sight.