Disclaimer: PokéRangers is a not-for-profit crossover fanart series I started back in 2017 on Instagram. For the full disclaimer or to read a summary of the early days of this fan series, please read “The Story Thus Far”. Story and all original added characters (Vinnie, Macho, etc) are my own.
We have fun in our group chats. It’s been a few months and we’re still getting the hang of Radiance Mode. It’s so cool to learn that there’s powers we’re just beginning to tap into. Overall though, things have been pretty peaceful. We’ve even taken rotating vacations. Nothing too crazy, but just enough to keep our spirits as strong as our bodies.
Dusky is adorable sometimes. He risked everything to save us last year and he still thinks he has to do more. He’s afraid if he leaves our side for too long, something is going to happen. But he’s more than earned a little vacation! And besides, what’s the worst that can happen?
Later that same day, Moltres Ranger and Rapidash Ranger decided to take a break down by Waterfront Park.
“I thought it was supposed to be clear skies. Where did all these clouds suddenly come from?” Moltres Ranger asked. The winds began to pick up as a loud crash of thunder was heard. She quickly pulled the Rapidash Ranger towards a nearby gazebo for shelter. “So much for the weatherman” she smirked.
“In their defense…”, Rapidash Ranger began clearly distracted by something else, “…I don’t think they could have predicted that”. He pointed behind her.
The Moltres Ranger – like everyone else still in the park – fell silent. There, floating over the pier was a massive swirling vortex. Suddenly, it began reacting violently as energy surged through it. Something was coming through. One by one, strange otherworldly creatures began emerging through the portal. Screams echoed through the park as those remaining ran past the two Rangers. They were going to need backup.
“Hey, Moltres Rangers and I are down by Waterfront Park…” Rapidash Ranger began as he radioed the others.
“OOOOOO” Luxray Ranger interrupted in a playful voice. “What are you two doing down by Waterfront Park?”
“Anyway….” Moltres Ranger cut in, “we’ve got a situation. Hurry!”
These creatures were different. Their bodies – though shriveled – were pure muscle and the tentacle-like appendages sprouting from their backs made things even harder. At times, it seemed like the tentacles were in control more than the rest of the body. The Moltres and Rapidash Rangers were already engaged in combat and barely holding their own when the others arrived.
“And the award for ugliest creature goes to…” Silvally Ranger began
“Really?” Luxray Ranger asked. “The ONE TIME Dusky decides to take a vacation! … Did we jinx it? I feel like we jinxed it”
“Maybe”, Gyarados Ranger responded. “But he’s in mid-air right now. So even if we wanted to call him back, he wouldn’t get the message. Don’t worry, we’ve got this team!” he assured as the three entered the fight.
“What are they? Left over monsters from Team Rocket?” Rapidash Ranger asked as they began gaining the upper hand.
“Doubtful. These things barely look human anymore!” Silvally Ranger assessed as the creatures began to retreat back into the portal.
“Well whatever they are, we can’t let them get away. After them Rangers!” Gyarados Ranger commanded.
“Are you sure this is safe?” Luxray Ranger asked as he ran towards the portal.
“It’s either this or Serpenquaza comes back and throws another hissy fit because we ‘didn’t stop something fast enough’.” Silvally Ranger reminded…
“… On second thought, I love jumping into swirling portals of nothingness.” Luxray Ranger shouted as he leapt in.
As the Rangers emerged on the other side of the portal, they found themselves in the middle of a blistering sandstorm. They could barely see except for the occasional flashes of crimson lightning in the distance.
“Okay, I’m ready to go home” Moltres Ranger said nervously. Everyone was in agreement, but just as they turned back towards the portal, it vanished.
“Please tell me that didn’t happen. PLEASE tell me that did not just happen!” Luxray Ranger began to panic.
“Well this can’t get much worse…” Rapidash Ranger offered.
The Luxray Ranger shot him a look, “Why would you say that….”Just then, the Rangers reverted back into their normal clothes.”
“It just got worse…” Silvally Ranger added
The Rangers’ Power Badges weren’t working; but it wasn’t like last time when Darklopsis destroyed their Zords and the badges cracked. They were just… lifeless this time… powerless.
“Okay team, we have to find shelter until this storm blows over” the former Gyarados Ranger advised.
No powers, no Zords, no foreseeable way home and – as they would quickly learn the hard way – no food or water either. They couldn’t have been less prepared for such a journey.
After wandering for almost two days, the team came upon a massive canyon. It would have been quite the relaxing view… if it wasn’t for the fact that they were all dying of hunger and thirst.
“Maybe I can climb one of these mountains and get a better sense of direction.” the former Silvally Ranger proposed as she was doubled over on the ground panting.
“You’re going to climb? You can barely even stand.” the former Luxray Ranger muttered as he laid face down on the ground.
“Don’t… tell me… what I can’t do.” she shot back between breaths
“Uh, guys.” The former Moltres Ranger interrupted as she pointed towards a nearby rock formation. “What’s that?”
“Oh great, now she’s losing it too.” the former Luxray Ranger moaned – still lying face down.
“No, she’s right” the former Rapidash Ranger reassured as he too saw a small figure moving along the side of the canyon.
Before anyone could think anything through, the team began to call out for help. Whether it would turn out to be friend or foe, it was seriously their only hope at this point.
Upon first hearing their calls, the figure jumped and moved behind a rock. After a moment, it peaked its head out and saw the group of five. “Pe…pe…PEOPLE?!?!?!?!” It screamed before scurrying over. “How did you? Where did you?” The creature was at a loss for words, but then composed itself upon noticing their condition. “OH MY! You must be starved! Here!” It said as it pulled a couple of what appeared to be fruits out of its bag
It tasted a little odd to them – like a grapefruit with the texture of an avocado – but after two days without food, they were thankful for this small hospitality.
“Who are you? Where did you come from?” the small figure began.
“We’re the PokeRangers” the former Gyarados Ranger began, “and we…” He stopped as he noticed the tiny figure slowly moving back.
“Po..ke..Ran…GERSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!” It screamed in terror as it began running away on all fours.
The former Silvally Ranger was close enough to grab the little guy. “Woah, woah. Calm down.” she said; but he just kept screaming. Then suddenly, a booming and MAJESTIC voice was heard.
“Halt PokeRangers! Your evil deeds end today!”
“Wait, what? I think there’s some sort of misunderstanding”, the former Rapidash Ranger offered as they all looked around to find the source of the voice.
“SILENCE HEATHENS!” a tall figure appeared above them. “You can act innocent all you like, but Macho knows scoundrels when Macho sees them! Have at thee” It shouted as it shot over towards the former Silvally Ranger.
Before she could react, it tripped her – freeing the other smaller figure which proceeded to run and hide. She tried to get up and counterattack, but the large figure was ready for it as it dodged and then roundhouse kicked her towards the others. ”
“Behold, the power of Macho!” it proclaimed
“This isn’t good team. We don’t have our powers and are still pretty weak.” the former Moltres Ranger offered.
The former Luxray Ranger moved in front of the now incapacitated former Silvally Ranger. “And to make matters worse”, he added “this guy seems really tough… even if he does refer to himself in the 3rd person.”
“Macho heard that you rapscallion!!!!!!” He shouted as he leapt towards the others. The mysterious figure proceeded to throw the Rangers around like ragdolls for a few minutes. It wasn’t even a close fight, especially since they were still weak with exhaustion.
“Macho grows tired of this.” the mysterious figure began as he lifted the former Gyarados Ranger up “What game are you playing? And where is the Green one? Do you seek to distract Macho whilst he plans something nefarious?!?!?!?”
“Green one?” the former Gyarados Ranger said as he gasped for breath. “The Tyranitar powers were sealed…. almost two years ago…. He’s the Dusk Ranger now!”
“Dusk Ranger….” Macho’s grip suddenly loosened “Could he be related to Dawn? WAIT A SECOND!” Macho’s grip tightened once more. “You almost had Macho, but TIME REVEALS ALL LIES!!!!”
“Weird flex, but okay” the former Luxray Ranger coughed as he laid on the ground holding his ribs in pain.
Macho looked down at the former Luxray Ranger in disgust. “Two years ago? Please. You’ll all have to invent a better story than that. Especially since it’s been two years since you all—” but before Macho could finish, he and the nearby Rangers were thrown back by an explosion.
“Oh God, now what!?!??!” The former Luxray Ranger cried after being thrown by the explosion.
Macho surveyed the scene as both he and the five were quickly becoming surrounded by strange floating skulls. Each one emanated a strange purple fire and made a weird buzzing sound as they moved about. “Calling in backup eh? I always knew you were spineless, but I didn’t think you COWARDS as well!” He yelled.
“FOR THE LAST TIME” the former Moltres Ranger shouted back as she and the others picked themselves up for yet another fight, “YOU’VE GOT IT ALL WRONG!!!!”
“THEN WHO SUMMONED THE INKULLBI?” Macho shouted even louder!
“Actually Macho”, the original small figure from before corrected while again peeking out from behind a small rock. “Inkullbi usually seem to have more of a recon/ exploratory focus. They’re dangerous, but hardly back up”.
“QUIET VINTAVIUS!” Macho screamed. “WHO’S SIDE ARE YOU ON?” Vintavius rolled his eyes. Clearly he was the only one trying to use reasoning here. Though with the little Vintavius’s location now revealed, two of the Inkullbi set their sights on him.
Despite her injuries, the former Silvally Ranger shot towards Vintavius. In an instance, she scooped him up and then used the rock he was peeking out of as a springboard to leap over the two Inkullbi and get into better cover.
“Well that was overly impressive….” Macho admitted
“Eh, you get used to it.” The former Rapidash Ranger offered
“Let’s help them out team!” the former Gyarados Ranger called out as the others nodded
The former Moltres and Luxray Rangers darted up a nearby ridge as the former Rapidash and Gyarados Rangers waited for the signal. They might not have their powers anymore, but they still knew how each other thought – and each other’s strengths.
Once their teammates got into position, the former Rapidash and Gyarados Rangers darted towards the two Inkullbi who were still focused on where the former Silvally Ranger and Vintavius were hiding. They punted the two targets like soccer balls up towards the ridge where the former Moltres and Luxray Rangers leapt up to spike the two quickly approaching targets. Both Inkullbi flew back towards the ground and shattered upon impact.
“And THAT is why we play beach volleyball!” the former Luxray Ranger shouted in triumph
“A little harder than a volleyball” the former Motres Ranger smirked as she rubbed the side of her hand
“Well either way, we still got it” The two friends high-fived, but then instantly regretted it… yup, definitely harder than a volleyball.
“Hmmmm, such displays of heroism….” Macho questioned as he observed the scene, stroking his chin.
As he puzzled over what he just saw, the other three Inkullbi began firing at him from behind. “Quiet, Macho is thinking” he said calmly before stomping the ground. As he did, three stone spikes shot up from beneath the remaining Inkullbi – destroying them instantly.
“Thanks so much for saving me!” Vintavius said as he looked up towards the former Silvally Ranger.
The added threat now gone, everyone breathed a sigh of relief as they regrouped and focused once again on this strange meeting.
“So… are we good here or are you going to go back to kicking our butts?” the former Rapidash Ranger asked Macho.
“Macho is…. unsure”. Everyone took a step back. “You wear the faces of evil, and yet…” Macho turned to look at the former Silvally Ranger who was still holding Vintavius safely in her arms “….you show such selflessness. Despite your injuries, you ran headfirst into danger to save someone you didn’t know…..”
“Well they get my approval”, Vintavius offered happily, “but we should probably still talk to Zekks.”
“Zekk……” the team all uttered in fear at the same time.
“Brilliant idea Vintavius!” Macho proclaimed. “He’ll be able to sort this out!” He said happily before turning back to the team and changing his tone “And/ or kill them if they’re lying….” It was really hard to tell if he was joking or being serious.
“Uhhh. You wouldn’t happen to mean Lord Zekk would you?” The former Gyarados Ranger asked remembering back to the man who defeated them a few months prior – and would have killed them if it wasn’t for Serpenquaza’s intervention.
“Lord? BAHAHAHAHAHA” Macho laughed loudly “First heroism and now jokes. Maybe you’re not the evil, filth-encrusted bilgerats Macho first thought you to be!”
“He laughs because Zekks is probably the humblest guy you’ll ever meet!!” Vintavius began to explain. “He saved this world and others just like it countless times… that is…before everything happened.” He momentarily shifted to a more somber tone before picking back up. “We work with him!!”
“Ahhh” the former Gyarados Ranger replied. “And who might you both be? With all the misunderstandings, we never officially did introductions.”
“I’m Vintavius Fennaria Quokkugustus III” the little guy responded happily.
“That’s a pretty long name for such a little guy.” The former Rapidash Ranger replied. “How about we just call you Vinnie?”
“Dude! You just can’t give someone a new name!” The former Moltres Ranger scolded. “And besides, Vinnie wouldn’t even be the proper abbrev…”
“I LOVE THAT NAME!!!!!!” Vinnie interrupted in excitement. The former Rapidash Ranger shot the former Moltres Ranger a stupid grin as the Moltres Ranger could only facepalm.
“AND I….” Macho said without any prompting “AM MACHO!”
“Ally of Altruism! Gentleman of Goodness! Friend of the Fearless!” he continued whilst striking a pose at each new title.
“Master of Monologues! Sovereign of Soliloquies! Fiend of Not Using the First Person!” the former Luxray Ranger mocked quietly to his teammates.
“Smiter of Smart Alecks….” Macho said giving the former Luxray Ranger a very frightening glare to shut him up. Everyone fell silent for a moment. “I’M KIDDING!!!!!!!” Macho said in a jovial tone as he put his arm around the former Luxray Ranger’s shoulders…. a little too tightly. “GOSH you are fun to mess with!”
“You’re… very hard to read… you know that right…. and you’re hurting me” the former Luxray Ranger said out of breath
“Ah yes, well we’ve had our laughs. Now let’s hurry inside!” Macho proclaimed.
The five looked at each other in confusion. There was nothing here. As they looked back towards Vinnie and Macho, they realized the two were gone. A moment or so passed and still nothing.
“GET IN THE DARN CAVE!!!!!” Macho screamed as he stuck his head out of the wall right next to them. “Is your hearing as suspect as your motives?”
Now Vinnie’s head stuck out. “Sorry, I should have mentioned the entrance is camouflaged. But please do hurry, we’d like to keep this secret base… well… secret.”
One by one our heroes walked into the secret entrance, making sure they didn’t walk into the wall by accident.
“Wow, this was here the whole time?” the former Moltres Ranger marveled.
“Yup! I was actually on my way back from a supply run when I bumped into you.” Vinnie explained.
“How else do you think Macho responded to his cries for help so fast? Who do you think Macho is, the Lightning Strike?” He chuckled as he led them through the surprisingly cozy cave system.
The open area had couches while off to the sides they could see adjoining corridors connecting to a large workshop, and a room with a few beds and what looked like storage. But neither of these were their destination. Instead they found themselves wandering deeper into a long corridor that opened into a library of sorts. Books lined the walls as well as an array of maps, and there behind the desk – jotting down notes – was a new, yet oddly familiar face.
“So we meet again Rangers….” the five were silent as a somewhat familiar figure stood before them. “… or could this be the first time?”
The voice, the face…. This was the leader of Team Rocket they had fought for two years. The man who proclaimed himself Zekk and tried to either destroy or control everything around him out of jealousy and lust for power. AND YET… he seemed… kinder. He certainly seemed in better shape than the man they knew and yet his features were softer.
“Judging by the looks of confusion and fear I’m getting from all of you – and the overall silence – I take it that neither of us are what the other expected.” He smiled warmly at them as he slowly stood up, bracing himself on his desk. He extended his hand, “My name is Zekks, and I feel we have much to discuss.”