“Zordon! Are you sure he is gone?” The high pitched, robotic voice of Alpha sounded through the empty room. The rangers had just defeated the villain named Ivan Ooze by luring him into the path of a comet that was passing Earth at the time.
“To be honest, Alpha, I’m not sure.” Zordon, the mentor of the power rangers, said with a little uncertainty sounding in his voice.
“What do you mean, Zordon?” Alpha asked, his voice raising in as much disbelief as his robotic voice could muster.
“Ivan is…..was….able to liquefy himself as well as shape shift. If Ooze did decide to shape shift, he could choose any form he wanted and that would make it very hard to track him down. He could attack from anywhere and there would be no warning or time to prepare.” Zordon explained.
“Oh, Zordon! What are we going to do?” Alpha asked, his distress being shown in the way he held a hand to his head.
“Nothing. We can’t do anything until we are sure. Now, I want you to keep this to yourself for now.” He ordered.
“But Zordon! Why?” Alpha asked in shock.
“Because, if we tell the rangers this, their focus will be off of the present enemy. They will want to search for Ivan, even though we have no way of knowing Ooze’s fate.” The mentor said. Alpha sighed.
“Alright Zordon, I will do as you said.” Alpha answered.
“Thank you. Now that doesn’t mean we are just going to sit around and wait. I want you to start up a surveillance of the whole Earth, I want it to focus on certain aspects that might lead to Ivan if he did what I think he did.” Zordon commanded.
“Yes, Zordon. I’ll get on that right away!” Alpha said with a nod as he headed for a secret computer in the depth of the center. Zordon had him install it so that they could search for things without the rangers’ knowledge.
Turtle Cove, CA
It had been six years since he'd worn the ranger uniform. Six years since Master Org had been vanquished and Princess Shayla had gone back to sleep. Through all of those years Cole Evans had felt a constant sense of foreboding. His deep connection to nature helped him to sense things more than other people could and this uneasiness he was feeling wasn’t good. Something was going to happen, something bad, but he didn’t know when or what. He kept this knowledge to himself.
He wanted to wait until the right time to tell the others. Over time, the feeling would come and go. Sometimes it would be faint or other times it would be strong. Being the leader never left him and neither did the need to protect those close to him. He wanted to be sure about what he was feeling before warning the others, he didn’t want them to start worrying for nothing, especially his wife. Allyssa was in her second trimester with their first child, a boy, and he knew that if he told her about this feeling she would start to worry. He didn’t want to stress her, especially when she was already stressed about the birth and being a mother. He also knew that with the inconsistencies of the feeling that he had to be really careful with the information, there were so many times you could cry “wolf” before people stopped listening.
It was one of the days when the feeling was strongest that Cole found himself on a walk through the park. Alyssa was in nesting mode and she was driving him nuts with all the organizing and cleaning; he just needed to get out. As he was walking he saw a bench down the path. However, it wasn’t the bench that caught his eye; it was the strange man sitting on it. With the ragged cloak he was wearing and the shaggy hair on his head, he looked like a man out of time.
“Hey, you alright?” Cole called out, seeing how pale and distressed man was. It didn't get past him that the man had a sword, he could see the sheath that was almost camouflaged against his pants. He could sense something wasn’t right, but he still couldn’t leave the man.
“Yes, I'm fine.” The man grunted, making it known that he was in some sort of pain.
“Are you sure?” Cole asked, he could see the man getting weaker, gasping for air more than he had been. Cole hesitated as the foreboding grew stronger and stronger.
“No, I need help.” The man said in a resigned voice. He knew that Cole was the one. He could feel it.
“Ok, what's your name? I can get you help.” Cole replied.
“Deker, my name is Deker. You are the only one who can help me.” He answered.
“How?” Cole asked, a little shocked at the man’s declaration.
“I'm dying. I need to pass on my legacy.” Deker explained.
“Your legacy?” Cole asked.
“Yes. I.....I....I'm a warrior. I have a mission to accomplish, if I accomplish it, I will get my wife back.” Deker explained, the weariness in his voice sounding more prominent.
“Your wife? Where is she?” He asked. Being a husband, the knowledge of a man’s wife in danger made the desire to help override the unease he felt.
“In the Netherworld. They captured us right after our wedding, burnt the house, and destroyed
everything we had. When they took us to the Netherworld we weren't sure what would they
would do; they’ve turned us into monsters....and spies.”
“Who is they?” Cole asked. Deker’s head looked up sharply. He frowned at being cut off in his explanation. The other man looked alarmed and also looked as though he wanted to run away.
The Nighlok was right, Cole had seen everything at once; especially the sword that was almost
camouflaged by the man’s pants. This vagabond wasn’t messing around; even housed inside its
sheath, Cole knew the blade was deadly. Only a master warrior would carry it around.
“The leaders of the Netherworld, Master Xandred and his henchmen.” Deker replied.
“What happened to your wife? Where is she? What do you mean by being made into a 'spy'?” Cole asked.
“When we were captured my wife fought back, she was a very tough woman and didn't like to be manhandled like they were doing to her.” He started, the way his voice sounded made it seem like he was reliving that part of his past.
“Master Xandred didn't like it and gave her an ultimatum. He told her that if she would just go along with what they wanted then he wouldn't hurt her, but if she kept fighting then there would be hell to pay. She wouldn't hear of it and kept fighting. That was when it all changed.” Deker said.
“What do you mean?” Cole asked.
“You see, my wife loved me very much and Master Xandred knew that. He knew that to get to her something would have to be done to me. Physically hurting her would do nothing, but if it came to family.....” Deker trailed off with a small smile.
“So, what did he do?”
“He killed me. When she saw what Master Xandred had done she went ballistic saying she would do anything to bring me back. That was when everything changed. He told her that if she wanted him to bring me back, she would have to pledge her allegiance to him. She said she would, even though he told her that she would have to stay in the Netherworld forever.
He changed her, changed her into one of his monsters. She sacrificed her beauty and life so I could live. But that wasn't all that changed. I had changed as well. Both my wife and I, we didn't know it at the time, had already changed when they had brought us into the Netherworld. To get into the Netherworld you have to be at least part Nighlok, what they call their monsters. That was what I meant by being made into a spy.” Deker explained.
“So, wait, you are saying you are part monster, Nighlok, whatever it is called? Like a werewolf?” Cole asked, the suspicion coming back full force.
“Yes, sort of. A werewolf can't change at whim. I'm something like a shapeshifter or a skinwalker. I can only change into two different forms, my human form and my monster form.”
“Don't worry, I'm not here to hurt anyone.” Deker said, seeing the alarmed look on Cole's face.
“Then why are you here? Why do you need me to help you?” Cole asked in a demanding tone.
“Because I'm dying. I need your help to save my wife. Xandred gave me a special mission and if I complete it, my wife will be free. I don't have much longer to live, but I don't want to give up on Dahlia. She deserves to be free.” Deker explained, the pain in his eyes getting to Cole. He sighed, he knew he would do the same for Alyssa, but he still was on guard. He needed to know all the facts before agreeing to help.
How can I help?” he asked.
“Continue my mission. Free my wife.” Deker gasped, getting weaker.
“But I'm not you! How can I complete your mission when I don't know what it is or what to do? You don't have the time to tell me.” Cole reasoned.
“No, I don't, but I can give you what I know.” Deker said.
“How?” Cole asked, getting frustrated.
“Come here.” Deker ordered and Cole got closer. At that moment Deker vanished and small light floated up from where he had been. Cole watched in wonder and trepidation. The light floated toward Cole and entered him through his chest. An indescribable feeling happened and suddenly Cole felt like he was in a fast forwarded movie.
Don't worry, you now have my memories and my abilities. Use them wisely and always remember that Urumasa has the control.
“What do you mean?” Cole thought out loud.
In time you will understand.
I need to go back to my friends.....Cole started to think, but was cut off.
NO! You can't go back! You are on a mission and friends can't get in the way! A different voice screamed at him, scaring him slightly.
But....Cole's thought trailed off.
No! You have to get away from there, you need a place where you can practice. Your friends won't want you anyway now. The voice said.
“What the hell do you mean? My friends don't care.” Cole thought out loud again.
They will when they see what you have become. The voice sneered.
“What?” Cole wondered. He noticed a bag beside him and the sword that Deker had been carrying. He looked in the bag and found a spoon, when he looked at his reflection he dropped it in disgust. He was a monster now. A Nighlok or whatever the Deker guy called them. How could he return to his friends, to Alyssa and the baby, like this? They wouldn’t know it was him, they would probably kill him if he went back. And Alyssa……going back wasn’t an option now.
You know what you have to do. The voice said and along with it came a memory of a cave not to far from where he was right then. Cole side and picked everything up. He started walking away from the place he loved, the place that held the people who were so dear to him. He looked back once and turned back around and left.
The Evans’ Home
It had been a few hours since Cole had gone on his walk. Alyssa had started to become worried; Cole had never been gone this long and had he planned on going on an extended walk, he would have called her first. She had called all their friends, but no one had seen him.
The couple had been marred for two years and now they were going to be parents. They had been close from the start and love had blossomed very early on in their friendship; however, they couldn't act upon it while they still wore the mantle. After their tenure was up they finally admitted to their love and a year later were living together. Alyssa had helped Cole through college while she taught at a local kindergarten, and after his graduation, it wasn’t long before he popped the question.
The way he proposed was just how she imagined he would, surrounded by nature and animals. He had gotten her to go on a hike with him during a beautiful spring day. While on the hike one of his animal friends, an eagle, had swooped down with something in its beak. Even though she knew that the eagle was okay, she was still leery of it when Cole coaxed her to take the item from it. What she found was a ribbon with a ring on it and as she overcame her shock Cole dropped to one knee, the eagle sitting on his shoulder. Right there he asked her to marry him and, with the same amount of excitement that she was known for, she said yes.
Everyone was happy for the couple and their friends couldn’t wait to see them married. Their engagement was short and the wedding was small and intimate, just how the two wanted it. They had decided to go camping for their honeymoon, which for their non-ranger friends was strange, but that was what the couple wanted and it show Alyssa more of how connected Cole was to nature and wildlife which made her love him more. Their love for one another was sweet and endearing and they were connected to each other in more than one way. One of the reasons why Alyssa was so worried.
“Taylor, I don't know what to do.” Alyssa said, slightly hysterical since this was the last friend to call. Taylor Earhardt was the closest friend of the two and Alyssa hoped that she had seen her husband.
"No, I haven't seen him since last week," Taylor said sounding just as worried. Alyssa closed her eyes as the tears came back in full force, the hormones of pregnancy adding to the overwhelming emotions of fear that she was feeling.
She had prayed that Cole had decided to take an impromptu trip over to see the ex-ranger and ex-Air Force Lieutenant and her Silver Guardian husband. Cole loved hanging out and learning about the silver guardians, sometimes thinking of becoming one himself. He would endlessly ask questions, but it never annoyed her or Eric.
Alyssa knew that he would sometimes sneak a visit to Taylor when the woman had started dating Eric Meyers and she knew that he had continued doing that after the two couples had gotten married. Their friend had gotten a job as a silver guardian after her time in the military had ended, but then she quit after the marriage, something to do with being married to a fellow guardian.
"Oh why did I ever argue with him? I was so stupid!" Alyssa said, holding a hand to her forehead as she thought back to what made Cole take a walk. She had been on a cleaning spree and had gotten mad at him for throwing his shirt on the bed when he took it off to change. He never really got annoyed with her, but she had been pushing his buttons lately.
“Alyssa, calm down. You know that with his connection to nature that he knows that it was just the hormones talking and I'm sure that he's fine. He just probably needed a breather. I called Eric and Wes, they're looking for him right now. Taylor tried to console her friend, but to no avail. She wasn't one to comfort and found it very hard to be around people crying.
“Alright. Please call me if anything turns up.” Alyssa ordered.
“I will.” Taylor promised and hung up.
Allyssa sat down on the bed and then slowly lowered herself onto her side, the scent of Cole’s pillow overwhelmed her and before she knew it, she was sobbing into the it. By the time that Danny and Max came into check on her, she’d fallen in to a fitful sleep
Taylor had called them, worried about Alyssa being alone. She had wanted to go over and help her friend, but Eric had asked her to help in the search for Cole. Both men had told her not to worry, that they would take good care of her and that if there were any problems, they would call her immediately.
Everyone knew that Alyssa could become irrational and had a tendency to overreact when there was an emergency situation. It had happened a lot during their ranger days; but because this particular situation revolved around Cole’s disappearance, they had all had become very worried. Neither of the men would say it, but they knew that her hormones would make her already emotional state even worse. After they found her, fast asleep with hints that she had been crying, they covered her up and went out to keep vigil in the living room. Both hoping and praying that Cole would come back.
No one saw the man standing just outside the window to Alyssa's bedroom. He had seen everything and it made his heart ache. He slowly turned around and headed into the woods, his robe gently rustling the leaves on the ground. His eyes fixed on the endless rows of trees and in the direction the voice was telling him to go.
“I will be back, Alyssa. I promise.” The voice carried on the wind as he continued on his journey.
A young woman ran through the forest, her blonde hair flying behind her while her clothes caught on every low hanging branch she passed. Her bare feet left bloody prints in the underbrush while more of the thick red liquid dripped from her torn back, the adrenaline and movement had not allowed the blood
coagulate and close the deep gashes. While that was bad enough, the sweat that was slick upon her
body had dripped into the open skin, leaving stinging sensations to add to the unbearable pain already
zinging through her. Her eyes, one of which was starting to show evidence of a shiner it, added a
scared and wild look to them as she kept looking back every few seconds.
She kept running until she reached a clearing. She leaned against a tree, gasping for breath. Her hand brushed across her mouth and she winced as she hit the split part of her lip. Relief came over her as she laid her eyes on her destination, a house. A house that held the person who could help her, a house that held hope. The whole ordeal that had happened to her half an hour ago came at her like a brick, playing out like a scene from a science fiction horror film.
The small family had been gathered around the kitchen table playing one of their favorite board games. The parents were overjoyed as their one and only child had come for a visit after being gone for almost a year. She had just arrived home that morning and had been resting from her trip before they all came together for the family game night. She had two weeks of break and it would be filled with meetings with friends and family, the family game night had to be then or it would probably be forgotten in the tumult.
A few minutes into the game a loud noise from the living room disrupted the calm atmosphere and suddenly the kitchen was overrun with hideous creatures. They were completely purple, had a man's face, armor and all were identical. Then one creature, who didn't look like the others, came into the room. This one looked to be the leader as it had a long, red robe and looked more coherent than the rest. He looked straight at the girl and let out a horrible laugh before walking towards her. She backed up until she found herself in a corner
“Wow a few years has made you soft.” He taunted. The girl narrowed her eyes at the creature.
“You know this......thing?” her father asked her, his eyes wide with shock and his voice a pitch higher.
“No.” She stated, looking her father in the eye with a look that said “don't ask”, before looking back at the creature. She suddenly rushed at him and he stumbled back.
“Run!” she called to her parents. They hesitated before starting to run, only to be overtaken by the multiple minions who had also come towards her after her attack on their leader. She watched in horror as her parents and the minions holding them vanished into thin air. The evil leader laughed again before he ordered his underlings to get her.
She put up a good fight, finding if she hit them just right that they turned into a purple goo that went everywhere. But, it was all for nothing as hundreds had descended on the house and cornered her. It was a wonder that she didn't hear sirens coming, maybe only she and her parents could see these thing?
The question was thrown out of her mind as the minions picked her up and carried her outside. The leader followed and ordered them to drop her. She looked around quickly and saw that they were in her backyard.
“Who are you?” She demanded.
“Your worst nightmare.” He said before swinging his sword down at her. She rolled to the side, now on her stomach. Without warning she felt a white hot pain spreading across her shoulders. It happened two more times, one time diagonally down her back and then again across her lower back. She could hear screams and for a second she thought that had brought her parents back to watch her torture, but then she recognized them as her own.
Suddenly she was flipped over to see the revolting creature was standing over her. Before he vanished, along with his henchmen, he tucked a piece of paper into the pocket of her tattered jeans. When she felt that she was alone, she sat up to look around. Everything looked okay, nothing out of place, no footprints, nothing. She slowly stood up, the pain from her back, dull because of adrenaline, making her wincing a bit as she did. She went to a window and looked in. It was just the same as the outside, everything back in order, like nothing happened there. The only evidence of an attack was her appearance.
It was then that she realized that she needed to leave and knew the only place she could go to was an old friend. She turned towards the gate that lead out of the backyard and into the forest. The only way she could get to her friend's house without being seen in public, something she didn't want or need at the moment.
She carefully opened the gate and, after going through it, closed it behind her. She looked back at her house and sighed before taking off through the trees.
She took a deep breath before pushing off from the tree. The pain from her back was growing, the adrenaline was wearing off. She tried to walk fast, but the jolting motion was making it painful and so she slowed down. She could feel her strength waning by the time she reached the house, she could barely breathe. She looked around and saw no cars and could hear no sounds that would indicate that people were around. Tears came to her eyes and slowly made their way down her face as the realization that she was alone came upon her.
She leaned against the post of the back porch, the exhaustion and pain taking over her body and making it weak. She slid down to where she was in a sitting position. She would wait until her friend came back and she hoped that she could hold out long enough that they could help her. They, because she knew that he would bring the others.
Slowly her eyes closed and finally let herself rest. As her eyes closed, she faintly heard voices coming her way, but in her weakened state she could only succumb to the darkness that overtook her.