Space, just outside Earth's atmosphere, 1995
"Shields are down to nine percent!" the black ranger cried, as sparks inside the Ninja Megazord spewed. The red ranger gripped the control yokes hard, as he tried to break them free of Ivan Ooze's death grip. His purple eyes, seeping with a crazed, psychotic look, glared into the cockpit. Despite their friendly kiddy image they presented to the public, mostly to ease the seriousness of what they did to put people at ease, being a ranger wasn't the fun and games it appeared to be. Anyone that would follow in their footsteps would find that out. On the surface, they were good students, model citizens, and well behaved teenagers. Image is everything, after all. But beneath all that, they were real people with faults, dreams, desires, strengths, and weaknesses. They were human, after all. But the mask of a ranger protected them certain scrutiny if the public knew that human teenagers were behind those masks and charged with protecting them.
"You foolish children…do you really think Zordon gives a damn about you? Feh, you're just more expendable soldiers that he has chosen to fight his war. Do you really think you're the first? Fools, you're members in a long line of young people that gave everything to Zordon only so he could reap all the glory of your victories! He plucked you from obscurity and has given you power! But he'll take it away just as quickly and send you back to live normal lives while he picks a younger crop! It is the way of the Council of Meledon! But you can't be normal! Not after the power touches you! Mark my words, you'll regret the day you crossed paths with him! Once this power touches you…it will haunt you for the rest of your days!" Ooze ranted maniacally.
"Stuff it slime head, you don't know what the hell you're talking about," the yellow ranger spat angrily, as the Megazord and Ooze tumbled end over end in a power struggle.
"You are wrong little bear…you'll see. Or maybe you won't since I'm going to kill you all!" he screamed, as his fist slammed down on the side of the crane zord, nearly caving in half the cockpit. The blue ranger was thrown hard into the red ranger and the pink ranger hit the view window. The white ranger grabbed her, while red helped blue up from the cockpit floor. They were going to be killed if they didn't figure out something fast, though the public would never know just how close the rangers came to death each and every time they battled an evil alien or being. To them, they were just colored heroes, possibly not even human. Beneath the surface, they were flesh and blood human teenagers, irrational, hormonal, and not even old enough to vote. Yet the fate of the world was in their hands. To them, Zordon was like a father. To outsiders, if they knew, they might question the old sage's motives for choosing kids to fight these battles.
"Dammit…power is in the red. Billy, any ideas?" Tommy called. No one could see, but Billy gritted his teeth beneath his blue helmet. He never said much, but he always had to come up with a plan to save their asses.
"If we don't get him off us, we're screwed. But if we can, we might have a shot," Billy spat, as he pulled up the schematics on the screen.
"What are you thinking?" Rocky asked.
"The comet. We're dead otherwise. It's our only chance," Billy said gravely.
"There's no breaking his grip. We're out of lasers…the power sword is gone…" Adam replied.
"Leave it to a woman," Aisha grumbled, as she began flipping switches and hit an emergency button on the wall. The guys all actually felt themselves cringe, as the Megazord kneed Ivan in the balls, effectively breaking his grip.
"Engaging thruster power," Billy called, as he got them out of there.
"Oh no…" Ooze uttered, as he stared at the comet heading straight for him. There was an explosion that pushed them along back to earth. No one doubted that Ivan was completed destroyed and along with him, the comet. Life on Earth would return to normal.
Dulcea, Master Warrior of Phaedos and former member of the disbanded Council of Meledon stood on the top platform of her Temple. She smiled, as she felt her half-brother's life force return to normal. His time warp had been repaired and his life saved by his young charges.
"You chose well with those six, my brother," she whispered, wishing that they weren't both trapped by a curse inflicted upon them by evil. She remembered where everything had gone so horribly wrong…
Six thousand years ago
The Great Council of Meledon, once led by her half-brother Zordon, was all but gone. The siblings were almost all that was left. Zedd, before he was corrupted by Master Vile, had been the a member. But Zedd had always been jealous of his older brother, Zander, who was a powerful warrior, the Ninjetti spirit of the legendary Phoenix. The Firebird spirit, unlike other Ninjetti animal spirits, only chose one bloodline to bestow its amazing power of thunder and fire and only chose one person per generation in the bloodline. Zander had been the one in his family to receive the gifts, making him a powerful crimson ranger. Zordon, the spirit of the Falcon and white ranger, fought alongside Zander and they were the best of friends. Had it not been for Zander, they would not have been successful in trapping Ivan Ooze in his hyper lock chamber. Zedd's jealousy of his brother only grew after their defeat of Ooze.
Zedd's jealousy did not go unnoticed by the evil Master Vile and he planted knowledge of the zeo crystal in young Zedd's mind. Master Vile manipulated Zedd into believing that if he obtained the crystal, it would help him rival, if not exceed his brother's powers of the Phoenix. Zedd sought the crystal and reached it, but his body was ignited in white flames when his hand touched the power, for the zeo crystal couldn't be touched by one with any evil in his or her heart. Knowing this, Vile had used Zedd to obtain it, since the young man wasn't completely evil. Zedd survived the encounter, but a scarred monster now, his flesh completely burnt away, leaving only a muscled, gruesome body behind. The protectors of the zeo crystal, having called on Zander to help, stopped Master Vile from capturing the crystal and sealed it away. This began Vile's intense hatred of the Morphing Master and he waited in the shadows for his chance at revenge.
And he would have his chance, as he watched Zander and Dulcea fall deeply in love and marry. It was not long until their first child was born. A boy with the Ninjetti spirit of the Phoenix, the power over thunder and fire, the ability to heal from most wounds, and strength and speed like no other, powers he would one day wield like this father.
But Master Vile was hard at work, seeking to create a curse to seal Zander away and steal the powerful child to mold as his evil soldier. As a result, Zander whisked his family away from Eltar to Dulcea's native planet of Phaedos where she was crowned princess. They lived there peacefully for many months, but Vile was far from finished with them…
Dulcea stood in her chambers by the view window, gently rocking the tiny, fussing bundle in her arms. She gazed down at her beautiful baby boy and kissed his forehead. The tiny prince of Phaedos soon quieted and she put him down in the crib, watching him sleep. It wasn't long before she felt a pair of strong arms slide around her waist and warm lips kiss her neck. She turned in his arms, looking up at his handsome face, framed by shaggy, sandy blonde locks and a smile that made her melt.
"You were gone so long. Is there danger?" Duclea asked her husband.
"We've driven Vile back to M51. For the time being, the danger has passed," Zander replied. She sighed.
"He won't stop…you know he won't stop until he has our son," Dulcea fretted.
"Hunter is fine. I promised you that I would not let that monster touch him and I won't, no matter what I must do," Zander promised, as he took her in his arms. She hugged him tightly and rested her head on his chest.
"Come on, he's fine. Let's go to bed," he suggested, giving her that wolfish grin that she loved. She smiled back, as he drew her lips into a kiss, before sweeping her into his arms and carrying her toward the bed. But a loud explosion interrupted their bliss and their baby cried out sharply, having been awoken and scared by the disturbance. Dulcea ran to the crib and swept him up, cradling him against her chest.
"Stay here," Zander said, as he rushed out. Dulcea gasped from the window, as she witnessed explosions peppering her beautiful planet. She turned, as she heard footsteps and she stepped back in fear, as Zedd's monstrous form strode into her chambers.
"Zedd…what are you doing?" she questioned.
"Give me the child and I won't have to hurt you," Zedd ordered.
"Why are you doing this? Why have you turned against us?" Dulcea demanded to know.
"My arrogant brother is undeserving of such power! He wastes his abilities by letting the people of various planets rule themselves and destroy each other with war! He should rule them! It would be for their own good and I will succeed where my brother has failed! Look at your planet, my dear sister-in-law! Your husband is responsible for its destruction!" Zedd roared. Tears fell down her cheeks, as she witnessed her people dying by the thousands before her very eyes. Hunter wailed in her arms, obviously picking up on his mother's fear.
"Allow me to raise my nephew to greatness and he will become the most powerful being in existence!" Zedd ranted.
"You mean let Vile corrupt my son and use him to do his evil bidding! No, you will not lay a hand on him!" Dulcea yelled, as she made a motion with her hand, taking control of her element of wind and throwing him back, the silvery strands of her power holding him back. He growled, but regained his footing, his anger bringing forth his elemental power of earth. The ground shook beneath her and she struggled to keep her footing against the assault of his green energy. But Zedd's attack was interrupted, as flames suddenly surrounded him and crimson thunder struck him down. Zander stood tall in the doorway, glaring daggers at his younger, corrupted brother.
"You will not lay a finger on my family, monster," Zander spat. But Zedd only chuckled evilly, as the roof was ripped away. Violent winds and debris tossed them about and Zander protected his family from the danger, as Master Vile descended before them.
"Your family belongs to me now," Vile said, as his spell hit Duclea. Zander caught his wife, as she collapsed in his arms and her skin began to slowly shrivel.
"What have you done?" Zander demanded to know.
"She's dying now and there's only one way you can stop it," Vile cackled. Zander frowned, as he held his wife and child in his arms, knowing it would be the last if he wanted to save them.
"You win monster…she will have my essence and I will be gone," Zander stated gravely.
"No…" Dulcea cried weakly.
"I must do this my love, for you and for Hunter. You both will always be protected by the Phoenix. And Hunter will one day realize his destiny and destroy the evil that plagues the universe," he whispered, as he kissed her for a final time. He closed his eyes and his body lit up with a bright light, before changing to a roaring inferno. His humanoid form was gone and replaced by the giant firebird spirit. The rapid aging on Dulcea was immediately reversed and the giant flaming bird disappeared, leaving his essence to protect his family. Vile chuckled evilly, as he approached the young princess, who clutched her crying child to her breast, even as her own tears flooded from her blue eyes.
"He is mine now…" Vile said, as he reached for the baby. As he touched the blanket that enclosed the tiny prince, he cried out in pain, pulling his hand away in alarm. Dulcea was equally surprised, until she looked down at Hunter and saw the Phoenix spirit in his eyes. She gasped, as her husband's ghostly form appeared beside her.
"You're wrong Vile. I've made sure you can never touch him or curse him. Your spell has ensured that Dulcea can never leave this tower, but our son is not marred by the same curse. He will rise to finish what I started one day," Zander promised.
"Then we will see that he is destroyed before he can realize his true power! If I am not the one to do it, then another of my kind will. The Phoenix will never rise again when we are finished!" Vile spat angrily, as he and Zedd fled the planet. Dulcea sobbed, as she stared at her beloved. His ghostly fingers caressed her beautiful face.
"Take heart my love, I'll always be with you and Hunter," he told her.
"What will I do? How can I protect Hunter from them?" she asked.
"It is true that as long as he remains here with you, he will not age. However, when the times comes, you will send him where he is needed and he will age at a normal pace. You and Zordon will both know when that time is. As long as he remains here, evil cannot touch him. The Phoenix protects this Temple and will incinerate any evil being that sets foot upon it," Zander promised.
"I will cherish the time I have with him, even if I will someday have to watch him grow from afar," Dulcea asked. Her husband smiled.
"When his powers and destiny are finally revealed to him, he will return here to you. Trust in our love and everything will be as it should be. Goodbye my love," he told her, as he gently faded away. Dulcea rocked her baby, as she grieved for her lost love…
Dulcea found the strength to go on for their son and he brought her endless joy. For thousands of years, she cared for her infant son and thousands of years passed, though they remained the same within the Temple's time warp. But even thousands of years did not prepare her for the day she would send her baby away.
"Zordon, are you sure? There is no danger yet," Dulcea said, as she communicated with her half-brother through her viewing pond. He had been trapped in a time warp himself all these years, on the young planet known as Earth of all places.
"I am certain, Dulcea. The ancient scrolls that I have obtained from the Wind and Thunder Ninja Academies do not lie. The Earth will soon enter an unprecedented assault of evils unlike anything experienced by any world before. Hunter must grow and begin the path toward his destiny," Zordon told his sister. Dulcea nodded sadly and kissed her tiny son's forehead.
"This is not goodbye my sweet one. I will always be watching over you and someday, you will stand here before me again as a man. I love you so much, my little one. May the spirit of the Phoenix protect you and watch over you," Dulcea said, as she looked down at her brother.
"I'm ready," she sniffed. Zordon nodded.
"He will be well cared for. He will be adopted by a loving couple, a pair of powerful Ninjas that will teach him in the ways of the Thunder Ninja. One day, he will wield the crimson powers and when the time is right, he will remember his true parentage and know his destiny," Zordon promised. She nodded.
Nine years later…1995
Ivan Ooze was gone now, and while she sensed no danger, she knew his Empire wouldn't allow the rangers to get away with defeating him. Her brother had been saved and the Earth was at relative peace again, though she knew Rita and Zedd would continue their futile attempts to destroy the rangers. Zordon had often assured her that this was only the beginning of the evil the Earth would see. She often looked in on her beautiful son and watched with pride, as he trained in the ways of the Thunder Ninja. His talent was obvious and it seemed that the one known as Sensei Omino recognized it too.
"Last one in the water is a little girl!" Hunter called, as Tori shot him a playful glare, before chasing him into the water.
Dulcea smiled, as she watched her son let loose a little. His life on Earth had not been easy and she had often worried about his anger. But she saw so much of her beloved Zander in him that she knew he would be fine. He was the crimson ranger now and had all but mastered the element of thunder, but would not learn of his abilities with fire yet. He wouldn't know the extent of his powers for a few years yet. Were he to come into them now, Lothor wouldn't stand a chance, but she knew it wasn't time. Lothor was small in comparison to what he would someday face if Zordon's readings of the lost scrolls were correct.
"That's one hell of a nephew I have. Zander would be proud," Zedd told her, as he appeared. Zordon's wave had cleansed his body five years ago and he had renounced his evil ways, realizing that his jealousy had been destructive and foolish. To atone for his sins, he had dedicated himself watching over his nephew on Earth when needed, without his knowledge of course and when the time came, Zedd would guide him in memory of his brother. Dulcea smiled.
"He reminds me so much of Zander. I miss them both so much," Duclea said.
"I'm sorry, it's partly my fault that all this happened," Zedd apologized.
"I have forgiven you. Vile planted lies in your head and preyed on your vulnerabilities. Zander would forgive you too," Dulcea replied.
"Then he was a better man than me, but then we both know that he was," Zedd replied with a smirk.
"You've gone a long way to make up for your shortcomings. Zander and I will be forever grateful to you for remaining on Earth to watch over him," Dulcea said.
"It's the least I can do," Zedd replied, as the continued to watch him through Dulcea's viewing pool.