This story is currently undergoing editing. Changes might be made to this story over time.
Disclaimer: Saban owns the Power Rangers and all related characters. Samantha Jones is the property of BBC books. The Daleks are the property of the BBC. The reference to Coventry was taken off an episode of Babylon 5. Cassidy Bridges is the property of Carlton Cuse Productions. The Battlestar Pegasus is from the series 'Battlestar Galactica' owned by Universal Studios and is created by Glen A. Larson. I am using the characters without permission. This story is part of the COE Final Reckoning series and follows on from the events of COE Final Reckoning Minion of Darkness, COE Final Reckoning After the Minion, COE Final Reckoning ID War, Crisis of Faith. Author's Note: This is the final part of the Mission to Aquitar mini-series. Additional Note: This story is based upon Shadow Ranger's original story.
By The Q Team
By The Q Team
Victory: the total destruction of an enemy or obstacle. But, can a victory be claimed where the very goal you set out to accomplish is lost with those that would oppose you? That is the question the Zeo Rangers, Morphin Rangers, Astro Rangers, Outsiders and Carrier Ranger or Earth were asking themselves as they helped the survivors of Aquitar clean up after the battle that had almost destroyed their world.
Baboo and Squatt were gone that much was certain. The two mutants had fled back to Rita, Zedd and the rest of the UAE leaving their inner circle and defense backers to taste the Rangers' wrath. At the end Malice, a high level member of a secret criminal syndicate called the Organization, several of his lieutenants, as well as a couple of Daleks led by the Dalek Supreme were incinerated by the power unleashed by the Rangers. For the first time ever a world had been exposed to the purging powers of the combined Morphin Grid and Zeo Crystal (Which included the Outsider's crystals) with the Astro Powers thrown in. But it had been the sacrifice of the Aquitian Rangers and many of their people that had prevented the Rangers from being killed. Even so the Rangers of Earth were exhausted, some to the point where their bodies had been frozen until they could be treated by Zordon.
Now they moved silently across the barren wasteland that had once been the home of some of the noblest people the Rangers had ever met. In the days since the fighting had ended the Rangers had gathered the bodies of their Aquitian allies for burial. Forgotten were any feelings of betrayal. At the end the courage and skill of the Aquitian Rangers had come to the surface to help vanquish the evil that had destroyed their world.
Cestro, Corcus, Delphine, Tideus and Aurico, the true heroes of Aquitar were placed in a special tomb marking their deeds for all time. Those few Aquitians who had survived by hiding paid their respects as the new rulers of their planet. Mass graves had been built where all but one of the planet's dead citizens were laid to rest. The Aquitian survivors had assured the Rangers that the bodies would help to repair the ecological damage done overtime.
"Zack, we're ready, " Jason said solemnly.
All the Rangers able to attend were present at the ceremony although all of them felt the gap left by their exhausted allies. As this was a formal affair they were standing in their Ranger uniforms in standby mode. Despite the warm air surrounding the planet it felt good to be back in uniform after their time spent in the cells.
Zack pressed a button to activate the Stress Fracture Cannon the Sky Megazord that was pointing at Hydrohog's storage tank. The cannon found the microscopic fractures in the tanks and enlarged them sufficiently that water could flow through at a steady drip. As is its nature the water found its way through the crack as gravity pulled it down. As more water flowed the hole became larger until the tank ruptured and Aquitar stated to hydrate.
The ceremony continued without words, as those standing there considered what would become of the world. Now reduced to nothing the planet was no longer useful to the UAE and would never be accepted as a member of the Galactic Council. In the vast universe their world would now be considered nothing more than a poor relative to be pitied by its larger neighbours.
Only one of the Rangers left as his teammates watched the rebirth of a world ruined by Baboo and Squatt. Billy Cranston touched his morpher and teleported to the spot where he had so recently fought the battle of a lifetime against his own wife and emerged victorious.
~ Or did I lose? ~ He wondered. ~ Could I have saved her? ~
In his heart Billy knew the answer was no, Cestria had been lost long before Minion had arisen. She had even faked her own death when Aquitar was restored so that she could help Baboo and Squatt manage the world alongside the Organization. In fact it was she who had recommended that they be contacted in case someone decided to horn in on Squatt and Babboo's action. The Organization agreed to provide protection to the fledging evil triumvirate in exchange for 20% of the profits for the eternal falls water.
The Daleks came later. They needed a base to establish their hatcheries so they could grow new Dalek embryos, and create travel machines for their newborn Daleks. The captured Aquatians also doubled as Slave labor for the Daleks as they were put to work in the factories the Daleks had built. Some of the Aquatians had even undergone the process of Robotzation where an Aquatian's mind is wiped clean and only an obedience to the Daleks remained as the RoboAquatian's final objective.
Cestria saw the advantages to having Daleks on her side. They were cold, ruthless and evil beings that had no concept of pity, remorse or conscience. They existed to destroy and conquer and nothing else. Cestria figured that with the Daleks helping her, no one would dare stop her. And if the Organization got too greedy, well she would have a fallback position to help maintain the triumvirate's hold on power.
~ She was wrong. ~ Billy thought as he shivered about all she had done as well as how she had also used her people's telepathic abilities to monitor for signs of resistance whilst finding chemicals to control the former Aquitian Rangers. If not for Billy having taken the Power Coins when Death Bringer attacked then the Universe would have faced a dire fate.
Even though they had stopped her there had been a high price. Most of Aquitar's population was gone forever, Tommy, Samoht, David, and Tyler had lapsed into protective comas after exhausting their powers and Christina had been so badly injured during her mental fight with Cestria her body was starting to reject the Zeo Psi powers.
Skull was also in cryo with the White Zeo Powers rejecting him too. As he slept his mind turned to the death of his friend Farkas Bulkmeier-Gold Zeo Ranger. A nightmare loss he kept dreaming of over and over. Add to that the injuries Trini, Tanya, Kat and Kimberly had all received thanks to Cestria's vengeful nature and it was definitely not the Rangers' greatest victory.
Emily St. John sat off to the side trying to come to grips with all the evil deeds that she had done while under the control of Rita and Zedd's A. P. She had practically told Cestria every plan the Rangers had, which only led to them being captured. The memory of her smiling as her friends were being taken, and standing alongside Cestria, Squatt and Baboo was forever etched in her mind, despite not being in control of herself. The killing blow however came when Cestria decided to destroy the A. P. since there was no need for it anymore.
She also wanted to see Emily suffer as the knowledge and guilt came crashing down on her. Then Cestria would have turned her over to the Rangers so they would gain their pound of flesh, not knowing the Artificial Personality was destroyed. Fortunately, things did not work out the way Cestria wanted, but Emily still had a lot to live with and wondered if the Rangers would ever forgive her.
Alison, Ashley, Cassie and Cassidy were off on a rocky bluff trying to take in all they saw on their trip to Aquitar. Alison and Cassie pushed their abilities to the limit in prizefights Cestria had set up, while Dalek scientists ran grueling experiments with Ashley hoping to see if she had any ki ability like her sister had in hopes of applying it to new breeds of Daleks. And if the Daleks could not harness this ability then the humans would have been exterminated. The Daleks needed no more threats to their empire.
The scientists never found out, but Ashley felt something in her soul, and wondered briefly what it was. ~ Was that my ki?~ she asked herself. Ashley never found out.
It was Cassidy however who had managed to affect a rescue of her friends, with her being one of the few to have escaped Cestria's surprise. But it meant doing something she never thought she would do. She took the life of another living thing.
Cassidy remembered the Aquatian guard as he fell. Her finger squeezed on the trigger. Chest smoking from where the blaster hit, the guard falling wide eyed down to the ground, and then the loss of pulse as Cassidy realized that she had just killed a man. Self-defense or not, for her friends or no, WAR or no, Cassidy Bridges took a life and was unsure how to deal with it.
Billy sighed as he considered what type of funeral he should give to the woman he loved, the woman he had risked his life for during the battle and the woman who he had felt was responsible for the death of at least one of his fellow Rangers. He remembered Malice holding Bulk high in the air and Malice had managed to cut off Bulk's head. Tanya tried to stop him but got a blade in her shoulder for her efforts. Since there were no immortals on Aquitar, the power of the Quickening was dispersed among Aquitar's atmosphere. The power was presumed lost.
When all was said and done the Rangers had won, despite it being a costly victory. But they soon learned that most, if not all, viable evidence to prove the existence of the Organization was lost.
The Daleks no one could afford to keep alive. Their reputation for causing destruction and evil had caused even the UAE to have sleepless nights. Daleks were so driven and persistent in their relentless pursuit of power that when a Dalek base was destroyed, then it had to remain completely destroyed. So operations went about to find any and all Dalek bases and hatcheries that Cestria allowed on Aquitar and destroyed any they found. Admiral Finn and Commander Kinwon both made efforts to make sure no trace of the Daleks remained on Aquitar as rebuilding commenced.
~ But that's not the real point is it?~ Billy asked himself as he turned his thoughts back to Bulk. Billy remembered how he felt when Bulk died the first time, and how Skull had felt. He felt lost and adrift, and only when Bulk came back as an immortal did Skull feel whole again. The White Zeo Powers gave him a purpose as well, but what do you do when the one whom you would have called 'brother' had died again? And this time there would be no coming back?
Billy wondered briefly what would happen if the power of the Quickening was unleashed by one who was not an immortal. According to Bulk, no one truly knew, although it was speculated that the power went back to nature waiting to bring about another immortal. The knowledge the immortal claimed would be lost of course but its power would insure that a new immortal would be born.
~ If that's the case then Bulk's death may just help bring about new life on Aquitar~ Billy thought as he continued to dwell on the situations that were present. On top of the list was Cestria.
The more Billy thought about what had happened the more he was certain the Cestria he had met during his treatment had been nothing more than a sham created for his benefit just as she had made everyone else see what they wanted to see.
~ How could I have misjudged her? ~ He asked himself.
Love was the obvious answer and like it or not he had loved the Cestria he had married. Even though those feelings had been placed there during his time as her patient they were no less real and had blinded him to what she was doing.
As he considered how to dispose of the body he knew there was no real choice. Aquitar's tradition demanded any traitor be disposed of without burial. With the tides rapidly rising and no animal life near the surface to consume her body, Billy decided to give her a burial in space.
"Pegasus, send down a shuttle!" he called into his communicator.
The shuttlecraft from the weary Battlestar flew to his position and took both Billy and Cestria on board. Leaving Cestria's corpse in the cargo bay Billy moved to the cockpit and set course for an orbiting asteroid.
As Billy cleared Aquitar's atmosphere a Viper had flown by his ship's side. The pilot indicated that Commander Kinwon had ordered an escort fly alongside Billy's shuttle in case stragglers from the Uranus Organization or the Dalek invasion force were still in the area. Billy didn't believe that, but welcomed the escort nonetheless.
Soon Billy arrived at his destination. "Hover!" he ordered the ship's computer.
The shuttle stopped in place over the asteroid, the lower hatch of the cargo hold opened and Cestria's body was jettisoned into the trench. The hatch closed and Billy called for his Viper escort to move around to target the edge of the trench and fire his turbo lasers. The sides of the trench collapsed inwards due to the blaster fire in order to cover the body.
"Computer, mark this asteroid as Nemesis, " Billy instructed.
The Viper still flew alongside Billy's shuttle as Billy said his final goodbye. "Goodbye Cestria, " Billy said with tears still running down his face. "I'll always remember you, but not as my wife."
Pulling back on the control he turned the Pegasus shuttle towards Aquitar where his friends were waiting. On the way he stopped at the Pegasus to check over the damaged Drop Zord to ensure it was safe for travel, as well as the condition of the Pegasus during its confrontation with forces from the Daleks, and with Malice's forces. The Battlestar fought the armada with the Astro, and Delta, Megaships lending a hand. But none of the vessels had emerged unscathed. All three ships had taken on damage, with the Astro, and Delta, Megashisp taking most of it.
He ignored the fact he was trying to keep busy as he started a rigorous check of the Gestalt system on the Drop Zord, which had been damaged during its crash on Aquitar. Even though the Rangers had controlled the crash their collision with the planet's shields had crack some of the heat shielding.
Deciding that the Drop Zord and Pegasus were in good enough condition for the trip home, Billy teleported back to the surface vowing he would never again come to Aquitar. Andros and the Astro Rangers were checking out the Astro Megaship.
On board the Astro Megaship Alison and Cassidy looked at Ashley who was recovering from the experimentation the scientists had tried to do to her. Alison remembered Andros was ready to tear through every scientist he could find in the main battle so he could make them pay for hurting her when he found out what they did to her. Alison also smiled as Andros finally realized that he was in love with Ashley and that Ashley returned that same affection to Andros.
"Well it's about time he woke up and smelled the coffee." Alison said as she turned to Cassidy. Cassidy was only able to let out a half smile as she still felt herself trapped in the memory of herself taking the life she held in her hands. Alison sighed as she took Cassidy to some spare quarters that were on the Megaship and the two girls sat down to talk.
"Hey Cass. I know that it's tough, but you'll get through it." Alison said reassuringly trying not to sound as if she was insensitive about all that had happened, because in Alison's heart she too was shaken to the core by what she saw. All the death, the mass burials Alison wondered who wouldn't be affected by that.
Cassidy turned to Alison and asked "Do you remember that history lesson we had? The one that covered World War II? A city called Coventry?"
Alison nodded. She knew what Cassidy was talking about. In World War II the Germans had a secret code called ENIGMA which the allies had cracked. One day they intercepted a signal that the Nazis would bomb a city called Coventry. The allies realized that if they moved to save the people of Coventry then the Nazis would have realized that their code was broken and that they would have switched over to another system. If they did that, the allies could have lost the entire war.
The allies kept the secret, Coventry was never evacuated. And on November 14, 1940 Coventry was destroyed.
Newsreels had shown the dead piled up like cordwood, and Winston Churchill's face haunted by the knowledge of what he had done and didn't do. As Alison thought about the Coventry lesson she realized that much of the devastation on Aquitar was like that of Coventry. Dead piled on top of one another, and even though the Aquatians said that their bodies would go to enrich Aquitar's soil, it was still a lot of death.
"When I first joined to be a Ranger." Cassidy said. "I wanted to make a difference somewhere. I suspected that being a Ranger involved more than bashing in a monster or flying giant mecha, but never did I expect something like this."
"I know what you mean Cass." Alison agreed. "Bogards are no strangers to death. We've practically grown up around it. For Terry it was Lily, Sulia, Uncle Jeff, Master Tung. For me it was my foster parents. But this... this is too much even for me."
"You know." Cassidy continued. "Grandpa always talked about his days in the Navy during World War II. He always looked at the times with fond memories and tales about how his buddies covered his back." Cassidy looked down at the water planet below her and saw how so much death happened on that one world. "When I tell my children or grandchildren about this day, I won't look on with the affection that grandpa had for the old days, or talk about tales of how my friends covered my back here. No when I tell of this, I'll say that this was where a little girl grew up, and almost wished that she could go back to being that little girl for even a little while."
Tears started to come down Alison's face and she moved to wipe them away. Just then Carlos came in and said that Ashley was recovering, and that Cassie was with her now. "All right I'll be right there." she said. After asking Cassidy if she was going to be okay Cassidy nodded and Alison went to med center to see how her teammates and sister were doing. Cassidy was left alone, but not for much longer.
"Hey how's it going?" Zhane asked Cassidy. Cassidy just gave a lopsided smile.
"Don't ask." Cassidy answered.
"I can relate." Zhane said. "I had just come out of medical myself. I was taking a look at the scans of what Aquitar was like now..." Zhane broke off unable to complete his sentence. Cassidy however turned her thoughts to Farkas Bulkmeyer and the death he had suffered at the hands of Malice.
"First Jessie Belle, now Farkas Bulkmeyer. How many more people have to die before that damn council gets off their asses and let people do something?" Cassidy stated. "Two good people had died going up against these 'dark forces' we face each day as well as peoples of many worlds. How many people have to die before something becomes wrong? Can you answer me that Zhane? How many?" Zhane looked at Cassidy's anger and shared it, but like his fellow Silver Ranger he didn't have an answer.
"I don't know about the council or why they do what they do." Zhane started to say. "But when I look down at Aquitar I see how KO-35 was attacked. So much death and destruction happening over and over again. I... I..." Zhane could say nothing more as the words failed to say what he was feeling. But as Cassidy looked into Zhane's eyes she saw he didn't need to. Zhane's eyes told the story of KO-35 and Cassidy knew every word and chapter that happened that day as she looked into the despair filled eyes of the Silver Astro Ranger.
Then, without either one realizing it Zhane and Cassidy moved closer together and hugged each other offering comfort. Then without either of them realizing it Cassidy's lips parted as did Zhane's as they came together in a soft kiss. A kiss filled with longing and need, as two Silver Rangers realized their need for one another.
Cassidy and Zhane didn't think, they just acted as they continued to move forward as they deepened the kiss. Their bodies closer to one another. Suddenly the two Silver Rangers broke apart. "What the hell are we doing?" Zhane asked.
"I don't know." Cassidy stated. "But... I kind of liked it."
Zhane nodded but he was concerned nonetheless. "But... but we're... we're still teenagers! Is this right?!"
"Zhane." Cassidy started to say. "You and I both know that we're not normal teenagers. Not anymore. None of us can go back to those times of sweet innocence anymore. We've seen too much. Know too much about the stars and what's among them. There's so much joy, but there's so much pain as well."
"I know but..." Cassidy broke Zhane off before he had the chance to finish.
"Please. We're both hurting. You most of all with the loss of your home and Karone. I feel like I've just grown up ten years in the span of three months. You need me. I need you. We need each other." Zhane didn't have to be a telepath to know what Cassidy was thinking, for she was thinking the same thing-the Silver Rangers needed to be healed of their emotional wounds, and both wanted to do the healing.
Next thing Cassidy and Zhane moved closer together and kissed again. Soft and tender kisses which later grew in intensity. Outside the room however Alison and Carlos, both looked in for a second then closed and locked the door as Cassidy and Zhane did what they needed to do in order to heal themselves. Right now both were lonely, both were hurting, and both needed each other.
"Leave them." Alison said to Carlos. "They need each other right now." With that Alison and Carlos left Cassidy and Zhane alone together fulfilling the needs of completion, healing and love that they both had.
In the Life Station of the Pegasus Adam stood watch over the cryo chamber that held Tanya's still form. He wasn't sure what to do but he knew he just couldn't leave her alone right now. Even still he felt alone.
"Want some company?"
Adam turned around and saw Sabrina in the doorway. "Um... sure. Thanks."
Sabrina just walked over to him and sat stood right next to him. "This is always the hardest part. Watching over the ones you care for and feeling so damn helpless that the only think you can is watch and pray."
"Are you used to this? The wars? All of this death?" Adam asked.
Sabrina sighed. "I've seen over a thousand different wars Adam. It never changes. In war people die and I have seen piles of bodies stacked up to the farthest I could see. I guess after living as long as I have you could say I'm no stranger to death, that I know all about what war and its horrors are... but I never get used to one thing."
"What's that?" Adam asked.
"That with every war, the death toll is larger than the last." Sabrina closed her eyes. "In war no one is immune, the good, the bad, the innocent, the guilty, the sick, the rich, men, women, or children. All have equal chance to die in war."
"That's a different type of view." Adam said.
"I just speak from my heart and my head." Sabrina replied. She looked at Tanya. "She's very lucky to have some one like you."
"Yeah..." Adam sighed.
"You're going to be here for a while?" Adam nodded. "Do you mind if I stay here with you? None of us should be alone right now."
"... I'd appreciate that." Adam showed a small smile to her.
Not many words were exchanged, but the act staying said more than enough.
On a rocky bluff Aisha and Nathan looked on at the Delta Megaship as it sat repaired to an operable condition. There were still some dents and gashes, but the ship was in one piece and able to fly back to the Pegasus. A complete repair would be done when the Rangers arrived back on Earth, but for now it could help take the Rangers back to the Pegasus if they needed to.
"Amazing what a little self-repair and elbow grease can do." Nathan said as he looked at the Delta Megaship. He thought it looked a little worse for wear but it could still fly. Aisha smiled as she looked at Nathan. She thought he'd have had to go into a cryotube as well, but he seemed quite resilient, which Aisha liked. "You did good with the Delta. You sure you don't want to consider keeping it?"
"I'm sure." Nathan answered. "You might need an Ultrazord at some point or something."
"I can manage." Aisha answered. "You Outsiders however are still pretty short on the zord front."
"Tell us something we don't know." Nathan had said. The zords Biilly had built for the Outsiders fell apart after disuse. The Outsiders had no real use for them, yet still they felt they needed something. "Tyler said Gaudemas may have something for us back home. Something he found in Japan."
"He didn't say anything else?" Aisha asked. "I heard Japan has some powerful stuff there."
"He hasn't let us down yet.." Nathan added. "Maybe he also found a set of powers for Chelsea to have or something."
"Or something." Aisha said. Looking at Nathan she saw his mind was made up on Gaudeamas's deal. "But if you need the Delta I'm willing to loan it to you guys."
"Thanks, but I think we're good." Nathan said as he looked at the skyline and saw the sun setting. "Shuttle is running up the last of out materials. We can head up to the Pegasus and get some sleep before tomorrow."
"Sounds like a great idea. Besides, I'm beat." Aisha and Nathan walked over to the Delta Megaship and headed up to the battlestar following the shuttle heading up to the Pegasus. They both needed to be as refreshed as possible for the next morning.
Next morning was to be the final memorial services for the Aquatian Rangers and the people that had fallen.
As Adam and Sabrina stood over Tanya's tube in the life station of the Pegasus Tritania looked at those who were held in the medical stasis tubes. So many were dead and injured when the mighty Battlestar took on the Organization and Dalek fleets. The Daleks were relentless. They pounded on the Pegasus like there was no tomorrow. But somehow, the mighty Battlestar still held together.
The Organization were ruthless in their attacks too, but they were afforded the luxury to be survivors by Kinwon. The Daleks were not given that honor due to their persistence and nature for hatred. Kinwon knew each Dalek ship had to be destroyed or they would simply keep coming. The Daleks one objective was to be the most dominant force in the universe, and they didn't care who they had to exterminate to accomplish that goal.
Kinwon hoped the Organization would be willing to surrender, but they were never taken alive. Their main mandate was to leave no traces and leave now witnesses if they can help it. And in the case of Aquitar the mop up was smooth as usual.
But nonetheless Tritania looked at those who were injured or killed in the battle, and it reminded her of her own family. How she disagreed with them, rebelled every chance she got, until finally she ran away from home.
And through it all, she never even got to say good bye to any of them. Now if what Chelsea Oliver said was true, she'd never get the chance again.
She learned that her cousin Terr had murdered the entire Royal Family. Her family. Tirol took over the role of Prime Minister while Trey was locked up in a suspension capsule on Earth due to an injury suffered at Terr's hands when he was overthrown. Terr was executed and Trey asked he be sent to Earth so he could say good bye to his friends. Trey was still in cryo and he'd been there ever since.
Tritania then felt a presence behind her and turned around. Chelsea Oliver stood in the doorway looking in at the life station herself. "Penny for your thoughts?" Chelsea asked.
Tritania looked at Chelsea confused until she explained the expression. "It means... do you have something on your mind."
Tritania nodded as she looked at the patients in life station. One of them was the Pegasus's helmsman. "I'm just thinking about some things. Life, death, missed opportunities."
"With family?" Chelsea asked.
Tritania nodded. "I never even got to say good bye to mother and father. To me it was more of a good riddance than anything. And Trey and I were nowhere near close with each other."
"And now that they are gone. What are you feeling now?" Chelsea asked.
"Regret." Tritania answered. "Regret that I wasn't there for Trey and my sisters. My mother and father. By the Lords of Light we argued so much. So much that I had to pack up and get out of that palace. I didn't want to think of royalty or Triforia ever again."
"And now?" Chelsea asked.
Tritania answered the question. "There's no way I'm going back to assume the throne. That life is not for me. But Trey however, he was born to be king of Triforia. Tirol's good, but Triforia needs Trey."
"I agree with you." Chelsea said. "But unfortunately, Trey is stuck in a suspension capsule, and unless he gets a gene sample from a first degree match then Trey will never be free of that capsule."
Tritania turned to look at Chelsea. Her expression dead even. "What do I have to do?" she asked.
Emily St. John sat on one of the bluffs that looked out over the vast Aquatian ocean. Even though the civilization of the Aquatians was all but gone the lifeblood of Aquitar, it's water, was still very much intact. Emily stared out at the water losing herself in the thoughts predominant in her mind.
Thoughts of the evil that Rita and Zedd had done. Rewriting her mind so that she was a servant to them while the real Emily was buried in a deep recess of her subconsciousness. Powerless to do anything to stop the evil version of her the two evil warlords had created.
Even when she was herself, Emily wasn't herself. Upon analysis it was revealed that the A. P. had been subtly maneuvering her real personality to cause friction between the Rangers at odd times. Hence the snotty attitude, and mood swings that came and went.
And when all was said and done. When she was of no further use to Squatt, Baboo, Cestria, Malice and the Black Dalek no longer Emily was free. Only to live with the knowledge of all the evil she had been done. And the violations done to her by Rita and Zedd. She wanted revenge, that was certain, but that was the only thing that Emily was certain about.
She suddenly realized that she was no longer sure who she was anymore. The Emily of old seemed like a distant memory. And even though the A. P. was gone its influence was felt clear to Emily's soul.
Her thoughts were broken by the appearance of Jamie Zedden who was concerned for Emily's wellbeing. "Are you all right?" she asked.
Emily smirked sarcastically. "Define 'all right'. I find out my mind was torn apart and rearranged so an evil 'me' could be created. That same evil 'me' leads you all into a trap where you're almost killed. Bulk is killed! All of this... is because of me!" Emily broke down into tears and Jamie went over and embraced Emily in a hug of support.
"It wasn't your fault." Jamie said. "It wasn't you that betrayed us. We know that now. It was some version of you that Rita and Zedd created for their own use. You're free of it now..."
"But the things I did. The things that happened later. It was all because of me!" Emily said between tears. "I don't deserve to be the Purple Ranger."
Jamie then looked in Emily's eyes. "Don't say that!" she said. "If you say that, and believe it, then Rita and Zedd have truly won. Don't give in to despair. They win that way."
Emily still had tears in her eyes but she was focused on what Jamie had to say. "What can I do?"
"Keep going. Keep at being a Ranger. Not just to fight Rita and Zedd, but to redeem yourself. To make up for all the evil your makeshift dark side had done. Keep fighting... for redemption." Emily seemed to hear Jamie's words and started to wipe her tears away. Jamie then hugged Emily and decided to see how Jason was doing. "This is one of the few times I can probably be with Jason right now. I want to make the most of it."
Jamie wasn't more than a few steps away when Emily called out to her "Please wait." Jamie did as Emily requested and turned around
"I just…remembered something." Emily said as a mix of images ran through her head. Images of a woman in red hair. A chamber, screaming, and the same woman coming out of a pit looking like she was in a block of carbonite from the Empire Strikes Back.
Emily remembered seeing that woman Jamie mentioned on the wall of Rita and Zedd's palace. She then turned to Jamie and Emily said "I know what happened to your mom."
Jamie got real interested real fast, and listened to what Emily had to say.
The new morning broke on Aquitar as the Rangers who were not terribly injured or in cryo stasis came down to the planet. Jason made one last offer of support to the Aquaitians. "Are you sure you don't want us to help set up defenses?" Jason asked.
"I'm certain, " Admiral Finn said. Not only was he the leader of Aquitar's resistance but he was also the new leader for the survivors. "Aquitar has nothing left to offer invaders and nothing to bring to the Galactic Council at this time. Our world needs to be rebuilt."
"Maybe in a few years we will be ready, " he added. "But right now we need time."
"Very well, " Jason said shaking the Aquitian's hand. "Should you need us just call and we'll be here."
"I will, thank you Rangers of Earth and goodbye."
"Alright Rangers, " Jason said, taking command once again. "It's Morphin Time!"
Although already morphed the Rangers called on their powers a second time and felt the Power refresh their tired bodies. In columns of light they return to the Pegasus and waited for the jump to light speed.
In the landing bay the Sky Zords were secured as was the Astro and Delta Megaships. The injured Rangers were stowed safely away in the Pegasus's life station. They would be transferred to the Megaships when they got closer to Earth. On the bridge Billy and Jason stood with Commander Kinwon as some of the Rangers filled key positions on the Pegasus bridge.
"Let's go home, " Billy said to Samantha who had taken to manning the Pegasus's helm. She had learned how to navigate her Sky Zord, and thanks to emergency training from Kinwon's aide Tykwa she was able to handle the mammoth battleship well enough to get them home.
"Course is laid in and we are all systems go, " Samantha said at the helm station. The regular helmsman was one of those in life station.
As the Pegasus started its jump to hyperspace the Rangers looked back at the first world where they had found allies during Master Vile's assault on time and had helped Billy in his hour of need. That world was gone and like it or not it had been gone since Minion had sent the Death Bringer to destroy it. Only an illusion had survived, masking the truth of a woman's betrayal of her people and an arsenal in the making. Looking back one last time Billy knew the world would survive with a great deal of sacrifice and hard work, but it was the knowledge that the Aquitar he had known was gone forever that now burnt its way into his soul.
"Billy, we're ready, " Jason said. He knew his friend was hurting and planned to use the trip home to talk to him. ~ If there was ever a time he needed a friend, it's now!~
Kinwon nodded in Billy's direction as he had when the liberation began indicating that the final order was his to give. "Engage, " Billy instructed. He tried to put a brave face on his feelings, "Earth, here we come!"
The mission to Aquitar was ended. It was time to head home.
The ruling council chamber became the staging area for Admiral Finn and the crews looking to rebuild their home. So many plans and proposals came his way. It was hard to know where to begin.
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Finn however made the most of what he had. He'd quick skim what looked good and what didn't. A project that looked beneficial was handed off quickly. One that he had concern about went into a pile to hopefully be looked at later. Time and thoughts permitting.
Both of which Admiral Finn found in short supply. And he only had a few moments to make a decision on what he believed would be a good project. He needed help deciding, but it was hard to find good volunteers to help rebuild a world.
An aide came up to Finn and gave him a data file. "Yes, what is it?"
"It's the information from Commander Kinwon." The aide said. "It's about Commander Tykwa's death." Finn grabbed the data file and remembered what was heard about Tykwa. A patrol had come out of hiding and killed her as she was investigating a strange structure on Aquitar.
Finn knew Tykwa, and knew how important she was to Kinwon. But there were more important matters he needed to worry about now. He had to rebuild a planet and find help to do it. He didn't have the manpower to look at a structure in a distant sector. He needed to get the central population centers in a state of working order, not to mention agriculture alternatives as they would need to rebuild food supplies. And those were just on the top of the list.
As much as he wanted to check on the circumstances leading into the death of Tykwa, Finn knew he just didn't have the time.
Finn took a look at the information and set it on a stack of files to be looked at later. "Probably just an old temple that was used as an ambush site. We have more important matters to start, like surveying the damage to our cities and determining where to rebuild first."
And with that Admiral Finn left the council chamber looking to rebuild a ravaged world. The file on Tykwa's death remained on the pile of documents, and would be buried by more files. Soon the file would just become one bit in a huge stack of junk mail.