Disclaimer: Power Rangers belongs to Saban. This fic's title and theme are from a challenge by WolfsbaneX, posted in his Original Teams and Original Team-Ups forum (which is awesome, by the way, and full of cool ideas up for grabs).
I've decided to restore this story as it was; my new ideas are too different, the time gap's been too long for my writing to look and feel the same.
The Moon Palace was nearly empty. Nobody had lived in it for almost a year now, since the Z-Wave, except for the occasional pest. Rita had had rats and spiders bred to add "atmosphere" or something, and there were still many scurrying around.
A short human man stood in the middle of Finster's old laboratory, lost in nostalgia. He looked very much like the man Lord Zedd had become after the Z-Wave had transformed him, but not quite. This was Finneus, the transformed version of Finster. He heaved a great sigh, as footsteps came towards him.
"Are you certain you wish to remain here?" Cestro, the Blue Alien Ranger asked, coming down the hall.
"Oh, yes," Finneus said, turning towards him. The human had set down his luggage, and took another look around the room. "This is where I did my best work—and to be perfectly honest, I can't concentrate as well if I'm worried about the wall rupturing and drowning me."
"I understand," Cestro said, and saluting in the Aquitian style, he bowed. Finneus returned the gesture. "I wish you well, and hope that your new project is successful. How close are you to completion?"
"I just need to tap into the Morphing Grid; thank you, Cestro; I would never have gotten it this far without your help," Finneus replied, glancing over at the black briefcase resting on top of his pile of luggage. "Thank Billy for me as well, when you get back to Aquitar."
"I shall," Cestro promised. He teleported away in a blue light, which Finneus noted wryly resembled the chemical formula for the water molecule.
Turning to his old workshop, Finneus picked up a black briefcase off his pile of luggage, and set it on the desk. The thump knocked up a cloud of dust, but Finneus ignored it. Snapping the locks open, he swung the lid up and looked at the box's contents for a moment.
The formerly evil technical advisor pulled out a silvery oval morpher. It was attached to a wrist strap, and was hollowed out in the middle to hold something. Finneus set it down on the table, frowning in concentration, and began dusting off his workshop with a cloth. He kept looking back at the device as he worked, muttering under his breath.
Retrieving a bizarre little device, he set the morpher on one disc-shaped holder, and flicked it on. Colored lights began flashing on the machine's front, and sparks began to fly from the invention. Finneus quickly turned it off, and sat down to work on it. He kept fiddling with a lump of amber with a dinosaur tooth inside it, trying to set it firmly inside the morpher's indentation, but it wouldn't stay.
The Moon Palace grew dark, and Finneus put up a set of lights around the room. He kept on working as it grew later and later, bouncing back and forth between repairing old technology, testing it with his new inventions, and trying to clean the place up. There was one long pause where he tried to evict a family of space rats from his monster-making oven, then gave it up for a waste of time.
Finally, Finneus fell asleep. The device lay in his slack fingers, and his head rested on his crooked left elbow. He snored, the noises echoing through the Moon Palace and sending up puffs of dust. The former evildoer sneezed a few times, but soon settled into a deep sleep.
Then there was a white flash from Zedd's old throne room. Vermin scurried away, squeaking in alarm, and footsteps came towards Finneus's laboratory. The inventor snorted a little, and his morpher fell out of his hands and bounced on the floor.
A pair of white boots stopped at the end of the table. One white glove trimmed with black took up the morpher, and turned it over. There was a feminine noise of approval, and then the hand slammed the device down on the table with a thump.
Finneus snapped awake and sprang to his feet, disoriented. He backed up rapidly, his eyes darting around the room, and gawked in bewilderment. A White Ranger stood before him, unmoving. She wore a black shield shaped like Tommy's Dragon Shield, and her helmet was molded into a unicorn's head. A breeze tugged at her cape, black on the inside and white on the outside.
"Impressive," she said at last, holding up Finneus's morpher. "I wish my own scientists were so creative. Dinosaurs, eh? Nostalgic for the good old days?"
"Who are you?" Finneus demanded, stepping forward and pulling himself up as far as he could. There was a streak of dust across his left cheek.
"You don't need to know," the White Ranger said, setting the morpher down. "In a little while, you won't even remember me."
"Is that a threat?" Finneus snapped. His gaze went directly to the distress beacon Cestro had provided for him—which was currently inside his suitcase, on the other side of the room. Drat and bother.
"No, just a statement of facts. Don't worry, you won't be harmed," the White Ranger said, starting towards Finneus. "Far from it; I am here to make sure your Ranger project is a success. It will just have to be changed a little, to fit with my own plans…"
Finneus dove past her, scrambling past the table and to his suitcase. He ripped the zipper open and dug around frantically for the distress beacon as the White Ranger turned towards him, chuckling. Finally, his fingers closed around the little plastic device, and he pulled it out.
"You are about to get into serious trouble, whoever-you-are," Finneus stammered, flicking the distress beacon on. "The Power Rangers are on their way."
"Please, call them—I'd love to see my friends and family again," the Ranger said cheerily. Finneus recoiled, surprised. "Now, calm down. Everything is going to be all right," the Ranger said soothingly.
Finneus saw one of his devices, something that he'd invented for testing telepathy levels in the area, begin to sound. Before he could react, a pinkish-purple fuzziness wrapped around his brain. He sat down slowly, flicking off the distress beacon. Why had he turned that on again?
"There, you see?" The White Ranger said with an audible smile.
"Of course," Finneus replied, beginning to smile. "Thank you."
"My pleasure," the White Ranger said airily. She took up another of the morphers, and looked it over. "Let's finish your project in a slightly cleaner place, shall we?"
She snapped her fingers, and she, Finneus, and the morphers were all teleported away in white columns of light.
Above the Moon Palace, a massive disc-shaped spaceship hovered quietly, its lights and sensors on low. The teleporting pair flew into it, and its engines began to thrum. There was a snap, and from the perspective of the rest of the universe, the ship jumped right out of existence.
Somewhere in space and time
Her first waking sensation was that there was something in her nose. She reached up to get rid of it, and discovered the wires and tubes attached to her arm. Both arms. And the rest of her body as well—that was what the nose thing was. Opening her eyes, she focused on the cloudy layer of glass curving in front of her, and then the clear liquid in which she was suspended.
Beginning to panic, she felt all along the glass for a latch or seam, some way to get out. Nothing. She began to pound on the tube.
Then she heard voices, and paused to listen. One of the speakers was a man, and one a woman.
"Clones progressing well…"
"Project requires villains to test them…"
"Simple. Redirect one of our other villains to Northside. Cobalt should do nicely." Then she could see shadowy figures standing in front of the tube. She planted a hand on the glass, then hit it a few times.
"One's awake? It's too early," the man said. He moved around the tube, and now the occupant noticed the black squarish things covered in blinking lights on the side. Now that she looked harder, she could see more tubes like hers.
"I thought so—you've overdosed on intelligence. Reduce immediately—this one isn't going to be a host," the man said.
She began to pound more frantically on the glass. The two strangers quietly worked the machinery, and she began to feel drowsy.
"N-no," she managed, spitting a stream of air bubbles. Then, louder, "No!"
"It's talking. Good, the programming is successful," the woman said. Her voice sounded distant and echoey. Then everything went dark.
Just outside Earth's atmosphere, 2010
A bronze, submarine-like ship hovered unsteadily over the Earth. It was battered and scorched from combat, and smoke drifted lazily in space from its dying engines. On the ship's bridge a woman with snakes for hair paced nervously. She whirled, her black cape swirling around her, towards the mostly broken navigation consoles, and the fishy footsoldiers monitoring it. They wore silvery armor and toothy helmets.
"Well?" She demanded, storming forward and shoving one aside to peer at his screen, "Have you found it yet?"
"Mama D, relax," a young man drawled from a nearby chair. He had both booted feet up on the console, and was playing with a saber. He was dressed in a blue navy-esque uniform, but with bronze armor on his right arm, side and leg. "If the sensors picked up adamantium, we'll find it, never fear."
"Shut up, Cobalt!" Mama D snapped. She rubbed her hands together. Then, finally, a shrill beeping got Mama D's attention. Her face lit up, and she greedily drank in the readings.
"Is it enough?" Cobalt asked, standing and striding over. His black queue of hair swung as he walked.
"More than enough," Mama D cackled, drawing back and throwing an arm around Cobalt. "I always knew your sister was a fool for going after human paper money! Land the ship next to the vein!" She snapped at the footsoldiers, which obeyed quietly. "We'll take over the nearest town, make the humans dig up our adamantium, repair the ship and sell the rest!"
"What is the nearest town?" Cobalt asked, glancing at the navigation console. Mama D looked.
"It's called Northside," she shrugged.
"Just so long as it isn't Angel Grove," Cobalt replied. That made Mama D laugh. The ship rocketed down towards the Earth, trailing fire and bits of debris in its wake.
Trivia: In Neo Zeo, Finneus referenced a "secret project" which he was working on, and yes, this is it, though it took me ages to decide that. Before, his project was a sort of freelance Ranger squad who helped out on various planets, or Aztec Storm at one brief point.