Disclaimer: The Power Rangers are the property of Disney and I lay no claim to them. The Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet are both characters created by George S. Trumble. Sean 'Kamakura' Collins is a character in the G.I. Joe comic and is the property of Devil's Due Publications. References to the Cylons are taken from the show 'Battlestar Galactica' created by Glen A. Larson, NOT Ronald D. Moore.
Pasts and Futures
Young Wesley Collins was bored.
Another day, and another meeting. It seemed as if Biolab never stopped having meetings since the Cylons had their attack. At least that was what Wesley thought as he sat in the back of the limousine looking out at the scenery before him.
There seemed to be so much devastation as Wes took in the sights around him. Scorch marks, craters, ruined buildings and homes. So many people had lost so much. Wes looked on genuinely sad for those that had lost practically everything, and wondered how they would ever recover from such devastation. And yet in other areas he saw people rebuilding. Coming together to build new lives out of the ruins of the old. It made Wes happy to see this side of humanity that is seldom seen, yet often decried because it was considered 'uncool' or 'weak' compared to the so-called 'strong' that took from others for their own gain.
Having one's world fall apart around them was something Wes never thought he'd see, at least not in this way. He never expected silver robots to come from the sky blasting everything in sight. His father Alan Collins got Wes to safety before the bombs hit. And when the attack stopped Wes and his father felt relieved.
Then Iblis made his ultimatum and Alan Collins seriously considered taking him up on the offer. If anything to ensure his son's safety. But before Alan could give his answer there was the press conference with the UN where Iblis was revealed for who he truly was. News reports revealed that the Power Rangers had defeated the Cylons, and Iblis had not come to claim Alan's soul, even though Alan would have freely given it to keep Wes safe.
After the battle Mr. Collins checked on the rest of his family. Namely his niece and nephew from his brother Wade. Wes's cousin Sean answered the call. He was on leave in the military and had been training under someone he referred to as 'Silent Master'. His niece, who had moved out to Angel Grove from North Valley, was safe too. The world however needed to be rebuilt, and Biolab was stepping up to the plate, for a small profit.
Already Mr. Collins had several offers from across the planet. Labs in India were hoping Biolab could help with important research. Weapons contractors were interested in a special project he was developing called the Rameii. Also building developers Mr. Collins had an interest in were calling him to help rebuild their complexes. Clearly Mr. Collins was rebuilding more than just the planet. He was rebuilding his wallet.
His father's business was the furthest thing from Wes's mind. What grabbed Wes's attention more was that his cousin Sean would be coming to visit him and his father for a few days.. When he heard the news that his unit was on leave, and coming to visit them in Angel Grove, it put a smile on Wes's face. Wes longed to see Sean again if for no other reason than to learn a few more self defense moves taught to him by his sensei. A Master Sergeant of the U.S. Army that spent time training in Japan.
Training in moves one wouldn't see in an ordinary self defense class. As Sean taught Wes how to do some moves he wondered if his cousin was some kind of ninja. Especially since Wes saw a tattoo of sorts on Sean's right wrist, and he seemed to carry a samurai sword with him at times.
Sean just gave a lopsided smile and continued to teach Wes a few 'pointers'.
Wes wished Sean was with him right now. He hated to go to another meeting with his father. But lately his father was insistent. Alan Collins hoped to get Wes to take over Biolab someday. He had gone on many trips outside of Silver Hills. His latest was in the town of Angel Grove. -Great. Another boring meeting.- Wes thought. -Bored now.-
"Son?" Alan Collins asked. "You okay?"
"Yeah dad." Wes said. "It's just that....I'm not looking forward to this meeting." Alan asked "Why not?"
"They're just like all the others." Wes said. "Boring." Mr. Collins just sighed as he said. "These meetings are necessary son. After all one day you'll take over Biolab someday."
-What if I don't want to run Biolab?- Wes thought as he turned to see something in the distance. "Hey dad look." Wes said pointing to a gathering outside an office building. A group of reporters were gathered around a man as he looked to unveil a new project. Alan took a look and saw the name of the company as he passed by.
The name of the company was 'Reid Communications'. And the name made Alan Collins' blood run cold
For there was history between the Reid and Collins families. Something that went back over a hundred years. At a place called Brian's Gap. A history Wes himself did not know.
A history Alan wondered if Wes SHOULD know.
"What do you think is going on dad?" Wes asked.
"I wouldn't worry son." Alan said brushing off Wes's question. "Driver move on." The limo driver then sped forth following Alan's unsaid command.
Get him and his son away from Reid Communications.
The main building of Reid Communications was a typical office building of about twenty floors. But at the main doors was a stage where members of the press had come at the CEO's invitation. Many members of the press wondered what CEO Britt Reid had to say. They wouldn't have to wait long.
From stage right came CEO Britt Reid along with his wife Lenore and son Daniel. Britt looked to be a rugged handsome man with streaks of gray hair. Lenore Reid was a woman of elegance and grace who seemed to have a sort of working class woman aura to her. And Daniel 'Dan' Reid was a rugged handsome young man who seemed to take after his father in the category of good looks. When Lenore and Dan sat off to the side showing support to the patriarch Britt, Britt himself took the podium and introduced himself and his company's latest development.
"It has been said that life exists out among the stars." Britt Reid said. "A belief that has apparently become all too real, and all too frightening. We have seen our world come under heavy attack from many forces. The most recent one decimating our people and our world which we are still rebuilding. In some ways we are rebuilding quickly, but in others the rebuilding will take time.
"Reid communications believes that we should be ready for whatever threat comes our way. From space or wherever. From what we've learned from the Power Rangers there are other frontiers that we can only imagine. Frontiers where other threats can emerge. To that end Reid Communications announces the first in a new network of satellites designed to specially monitor extra terrestrial communications."
Britt pulled back the blanket and revealed the first satellite. It was a massive satellite that looked like a big cylinder with a dome on the top and thrusters at the base. "This is the first of five we have ready to deploy with twenty more in development. When all are in place a communications net will form effectively monitoring any and all comm. traffic alerting us of hostile threats."
A reporter however asked. "Mr. Reid, are you concerned that these satellites could be used to monitor Earth communications and maybe even violate the free communications act?"
"A good question." Britt answered. "But unnecessary. The main computer network to the satellites is only designed to analyze alien communications and to keep its sensors alert for any key words that could be considered a threat. By no means is this a 'big brother is watching you' project."
"But how can you guarantee security?" another reporter asked.
"Security for the computer is handled by three separate groups. Not one of them has exclusive access. All three have to be in unanimous agreement in order to unlock the security protocols." More questions followed as Britt answered them masterfully. Lenore and Dan looked on with Dan seeming to be bored with what was happening. "Dan you okay?" Lenore asked.
"Yeah mom. It's just. I don't know. I guess I'm just bored or something. Somehow sitting on a stage watching reporters badger dad doesn't seem like how I'd want to spend my day." Dan said. Lenore smiled a little at her son's remark. She knew Dan had an adventurous spirit and he always wanted to do more out of life than to just sit by and watch his father talk to the press.
-In many ways he's so much like his father.- she thought. Many a time she saw Dan reading some sort of novel about an adventure of some kind where the dashing hero rides in to save the girl from the dastardly villain. Sometimes she wondered if maybe Dan wanted to fill that role himself.
-Dan if you only knew what your father did when he was younger.- Lenore thought as she remembered her husband's time as the vigilante hero 'The Green Hornet'. Driving around with his friend Hayashi Kato and their rolling arsenal the 'Black Beauty' until a heart attack forced Britt to retire from that role and take up the reins of Reid Communications. Others had taken the role of the Green Hornet, and there was a part of Lenore that hoped Dan wouldn't want to take up a mantle of vigilante justice.
Dan had heard some stories of the Green Hornet, as well as stories of an old west hero known as the Lone Ranger, but Dan always dismissed them as stories. Folk tales that were told when he had trouble sleeping at night. He liked the Lone Ranger stories his father told him as they reflected what was the story of a noble hero. The stories of the Green Hornet however he had trouble believing as he read old newspaper clippings from the Daily Sentinel painting versions of the Hornet as a criminal with no scruples.
-The Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet.- Dan thought in passing as he thought of the stories his father, mother and Hayashi always told him. In some ways the stories inspired him to look into other stories about heroes. Noble knights fighting Dragons like he heard in old stories involving a kingdom named Kells. Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Even Science Fiction stories from Star Wars and Star Trek. Adventure and nobility, those were what the stories represented for Dan. Exploring far off places, righting wrongs, saving the princess. Dan found himself easily caught up in the romanticism of the adventure.
But he never lost sight of the noble cause a hero followed. And how traditional heroes such as the police officer and the fire fighter were such an impact on people today. If it was up to him Dan would have loved to look into those branches, or other....adventuresome fields.
Lenore noticed this when she saw the look in her son's eyes. When Dan's father was younger he had much the same look in his, although she had the sneaking suspicion that Dan's look went much deeper than his fathers'. She took note of the resemblance of father and son and wondered if Dan wanted to take part in her husband's former 'extracurricular activities' if she really could stop him even if she tried. Turning her attention back to the press conference she told her son "Tough it out Dan. It's almost over."
Dan nodded wishing the press conference was over now.
With the passing of the Cylons and Iblis from Earth space it was business as usual for the occupants of the Dark Fortress. Dark Specter ordered Astroneam and Artemis to resume their planet conquering plans before anyone else in the UAE had come up with anything.
Both knew Divatox had made an attempt in the past and they wondered if the pirate queen had another plan in mind. They would not have to wonder for long as they resolved themselves to come up with a plan first. But first they had to see what all on Earth they had to work with.
Sure enough Earth was rebuilding. Cities, technologies, businesses, they were all coming back quickly. Companies were even looking to quickly contribute to their planets' defense in one way or another. One such contribution caught the Princesses eyes on the video screen.
On the screen the princesses and Ecliptor were watching the press conference at Reid Communications unveiling the satellite network that was to be deployed. "Hmmmmm. This could be useful. Couldn't it Asty?"
"Huh? Oh yes." Astronema responded. Artemis wondered if her 'sister' was all right as it seemed like she wasn't focusing on the viewscreen, but someplace else. Truth be told Astronema was focused on something else. Or rather someone else.
Astronema studied the image of Dan Reid on the screen. Strong, handsome, almost like he could have been a prince. -Of course on some planets he could well be if his family is as wealthy as they appear.- She studied the face and couldn't seem to take her eyes off it. Artemis smirked at the sight of Astronema taking a trip to dreamland at the sight of a good looking boy but then Ecliptor came up and asked "My princess?"
Astronema then came out of her stare slightly startled with Artemis smirking slightly as her 'sister' tried to regain her composure. In her best authoritative voice she then turned to Ecliptor and asked "Who is he? Is that Reid's son?"
"Yes." Ecliptor said. "Apparently his only son." Astronema looked on intrigued by the young teen before him, but Artemis shook her out of her daydream. "Excuse me sister, but don't we have a plan for this network?"
"Huh? Oh yes." Astronema said regaining control. Artemis hid a slight smirk as she had the feeling Astronema was hit with love at first sight.
"We shall seize this network for ourselves." Astronema said. Ecliptor then asked "My princess. Why do we need this satellite network?" Astronema was ready to answer but the words didn't come. She seemed so sure that she would answer but then her thoughts turned to the sight of Dan Reid and the words that were on her mind never left her mind.
Artemis however picked up the figurative ball and explained. "With these sattelites we can control the flow of information going in and out of Earth. We can control what the people of Earth know, and we can also control what other powers would know of Earth."
"Why would we do that?" Ecliptor asked.
Artemis walked around as she explained. "The general assumption of Earth is that it's a 'primitive backwater'. However we have seen that these humans may not be as primitive as most believe. There are technological secrets on Earth that have peaked our interest. And I intend to unlock all the knowledge these humans possess."
"A sound plan." Ecliptor said. "Don't you agree Astronema?" Ecliptor turned to the other princess who seemed to be light years away. In fact she was in another frame of mind altogether.
-In her mind she was lost in a daydream, with her looking into Dan Reid's eyes, and her looking into his. His smile wide as he leaned down to kiss her. Their lips touching until....-
"Ahhhh!" Astronema shouted startled. "Don't do that."
"My princess are you all right?" Ecliptor asked.
"Of course she is." Artemis said. "She was just....contemplating the soundness of our plan. To control the flow of information in and out from Earth. Weren't you sister?"
"Ummmmm. Of course." Astronema said.
"Then I take it we can proceed on your orders?" Ecliptor said. Astronema nodded and said "Proceed." Ecliptor left leaving Artemis with her 'sister'. "What's wrong?" Artemis asked.
"Nothing. I was....distracted." Astronema said.
"I can see by how." Artemis said looking at the image of Dan Reid. In some ways Artemis couldn't fault Astronema for wanting to take on a suitor, after all she was taking an interest in the young Leo Corbett, and enjoyed his company. However there was a time and place for that, and right now was a time for scheming.
"Just be ready when you're needed." Artemis said. Astronema nodded that she would, but her eyes were on a young man sitting with the Reid family not far from the podium where CEO Britt Reid was making his speech.
This young man was Britt Reid's son Dan Reid. And Astronema had plans for him. -After all if my sister can take a lover, why can't I?-
Off to the side a Quantron was observing the two Princesses in action, and noticed the argument wondering if it should contact its mistresses as per its programming.
A program NOT laid out by Astronema and Artemis.
It was a long drive to the Brown Derby Restaurant. And all the while Dan Reid was millions of miles away himself listening to a radio story about the Power Rangers.
"At a Press Conference today." the radio reporter said. "The Power Rangers announced that they will be leaving planet again in one to two month's time. While details are still sketchy we have heard that the Rangers are planning to organize a mission to free the besieged planet Aquitar from control of the United Alliance of Evil. Listeners may remember from years back when these Rangers stepped in and..."
"Hayashi could we change the channel?" Britt asked. The driver, Hayashi Kato, made ready to but Dan stopped him. "Dad, please. I'd like to hear more."
"Suit yourself." Britt sighed as Dan continued to listen to the news story. Britt leaned back in his seat looking at his son as he indulged himself in the news story. Britt however shook his head as he wondered what fascination he would have had with the Power Rangers. Dan tried to explain it to his dad.
"They kind of remind me of the Lone Ranger." Dan said. "You know those stories you always told me."
"Dan, those were stories. Urban myths." Britt replied back.
"Still, the way you described him. He just reminds me of what a hero is supposed to be. All noble, good, fighting for justice. I kind of see the Power Rangers the same way."
"Really?" Britt asked. "I kind of thought the multi colored uniforms made them look kind of cheesy."
"As cheesy as someone who wore a white western outfit and a mask while he rode a white horse firing silver bullets?" Britt asked. Lenore spoke up and said "He's got you there dear."
"Not really." Britt said. "The Lone Ranger was a hero for his time. Times are different now."
"Really?" Dan asked. "I thought heroes inspired people. Next thing you'll be telling me is that the Green Hornet was a misunderstood superhero." Lenore smirked in Britt's direction and Britt immediately clammed up the rest of the trip. In the driver seat Hayashi Kato also gave a smile of his own as he shared the private joke Britt and Lenore had. A joke that Dan didn't know, but someday he would.
The Reids then drove the rest of the way to the restaurant known as 'The Brown Derby' in silence. It was a high scale restaurant that required a sense of decorum and class. Meaning that it was a place more for the wealthy. Once the Reids were seated at their table and ordered their meal Lenore congratulated her husband on the Press Conference. "Good job dear." Lenore said.
"I just hope the investors thought so." Britt said. "Even though much of the world has 'gone back to normal'." Britt said the last phrase with an air of sarcasm wondering after such an attack by the Cylons how anything could go 'back to normal'. "There are still threats out there. People need assurances that they'll be safe."
"Well it's a good thing the Power Rangers were here." Dan said. Britt looked at his son and said "Even we can't rely on the Rangers forever. Who knows what might happen in the future?"
"Or they could be around for a long time." Dan said. "And maybe they'll face the Green Hornet if he turns up again." Britt pressed his lips together and added "Even if the Green Hornet returned and he was a good guy I doubt that he could protect the planet. Earth will need its own defense. That's why so many contractors will be lining up with their own separate proposals."
"Like Alan Collins?" Lenore asked. Britt paused at the mention of this name. He knew of Alan's reputation and how ruthless he could be. But then what would one expect from someone whose ancestor betrayed twenty friends to a madman over a century ago. Not wanting to think of ancient history Britt was relieved when the maitre'd had shown up with the Reid's meals. They could turn away from the story of the Collins's and their history and turn to something more enjoyable.
That enjoyment however was short lived as Alan Collins and his son Wes entered through the main doors of the Brown Derby . The maitre'd escorted the father and son to their table past the staring Reids. Both Alan and Britt immediately took notice of the other.
"Alan." Britt said in a cold and chilling tone.
"Britt." Alan said in an even chillier tone. Dan and Wes were wondering what was going on that caused the air to suddenly get cold. And not in terms of temperature.
Alan however continued on with Wes to the table he and his son had reserved. Both then took their seats and the waiter said that he would be back with menus.
"I heard from Cousin Sean today." Alan said looking to change the subject quickly and get things back on a positive note, for his own peace of mind if nothing else. Wes immediately looked up from his menu in amazement. He didn't think Sean had any leave time coming. "Is he stopping here?"
"On his way back east." Alan added. "He's been spending a lot of time training in Colorado lately. Some specialized training."
"More of that spooky ninja stuff?" Wes asked. Alan just shrugged. "You know he doesn't go into particulars. Some things he just can't mention."
"You're very proud of him." Wes asked. Alan smiled. His brother Wade did what he could to raise Sean and his sister as best he could. Especially considering Wade's own dark past and the wrong turns he took. In the end Wade died a hero's death and Sean was on the verge of becoming one of the best covert agents the U.S. Army had ever produced. Wes enjoyed hearing about Sean as well, but then he had an eerie feeling about him. As if someone was watching them.
Wes turned his head and saw all but one of the Reids were focused on their meal. The youngest one seemed to stare at the Collins' curiously. The parents seemed to try to take exceptional notice to the food that was in front of them. "Dad? Do you know those people?" Wes asked as he looked towards the Reids.
Alan looked at the Reids and only cast a glance. "Just a businessman and his family having dinner. Nothing to worry about." Wes however noticed his father's evasive answer and wondered if there truly was something to worry about.
Back at the Reid table Dan looked at the Collins' from across the restaurant and asked "Who was that kid with Mr. Collins?" Britt paused and took a breath and Lenore paused too. Dan wondered what he said that was so bad. Nonetheless Britt answered the question.
"That was his son Wesley Collins." Britt explained. "A good kid. Hopefully he won't turn out too much like his dad."
Lenore pleaded with Britt that Alan not get under his skin. "Let's finish our meal. Pay our bill, and go home." Britt nodded and the family tried to enjoy their meal despite the presence of the Collins's.
"Uhhhh excuse me dad. I have to use the bathroom." Dan said getting up. Quickly he made his way to the men's room. Across from the restaurant Wes noticed Dan leave and asked that he be excused as well. "Nature's calling dad."
Alan nodded and Wes left for the men's room himself. Just then a young woman with red hair came in and took a seat at the bar. Her eyes never leaving the entrance to the men's room.
The two rich boys walked in and took the two urinals opposite one another. As they did their business Wes decided to strike up conversation.
"Was it cold in there or was it just me?" Wes said standing over the urinal.
"No it was cold." Dan said standing over his own. "But that chill was nothing the cooling system was generating." Wes paused before he offered his name. "Wes Collins."
"Dan Reid." Dan said. "I'd shake your hand but..." Wes let out a small chuckle in understanding. When they were finished they zipped up and went to the sinks to wash up.
"So any idea why our dads are so cold?" Wes asked.
"No clue." Dan answered. "Maybe a business deal went south or something. Your dad beat mine out and then later he beat out your dad."
"Maybe." Wes said. "But I don't know. I don't think I even want to be running Biolab when the time comes."
"You don't want to run your dad's company?" Dan asked. Wes shook his head. "I'm not sure what I want. I do know I'm not sure I want to run Biolab. I'm not even a chemist."
"I'm not even an engineer." Dan said. "I just feel I have a higher calling in life you know? Like I should be doing something more than just monitoring businesses and counting money you know?" Wes nodded in understanding. He knew exactly where Dan was coming from, yet there was something else about Dan that he heard about. Something from the newspaper. -newspaper- Wes thought. Then the answer hit him.
"Reid." Wes said as if trying to place the name. "Britt Reid. Wasn't he the owner and publisher of the Daily Sentinel?"
"Among other things." Dan said. "He still owns the Sentinel, but his business has grown since then. Even if I don't think Reid Communications is for me there's probably a few things I can get involved in."
"Any ideas?" Wes asked.
"I don't know. Lawyer, police officer. Maybe some sort of district attorney." Wes listened to Dan and was amazed by Dan's choices. "You want to be some kind of crusader or something?"
"Or something." Dan said. "I always heard that my family had some sort of heroic legacy. I wouldn't mind being part of that."
"Sounds like you know what you want to do." Wes said as he smiled. "I wish I had your confidence."
"Don't worry. I have a feeling you'll turn out okay." Dan said as he and Wes finished washing their hands.
As they came out of the men's room Dan and Wes shook hands. "Nice meeting you." Wes said.
"Nice meeting you too." Dan added as the boys made their way to their tables when someone crossed their path. "Oh excuse me." a red haired girl said bumping into Dan and Wes. Dan foremost.
"It's no problem." Dan said as he got down on his knees to help the girl with her purse as she was putting stuff back into it. The girl smiled as she said "I'm sorry. I can be a klutz sometimes."
"Don't worry. I'm Dan Reid. And this is Wes Collins. And you are?"
The red haired girl then said her own name. "Cyane. Cyane.....Specter."
On the Dark Fortress Artemis shook her head at Astronema's actions as she watched Dan on the viewer. It seemed like Astronema had no interest in the information unless it had images of Dan in them. "Typical. Loses all sense of reason when it comes to a boy."
"Does that mean I should question your judgment when it comes to the young man you have taken an interest in?" Ecliptor asked. Artemis then glared at Ecliptor as if silently telling him that Leo was none of his business. "If I pursue a suitor I will make sure he does not interfere in any of our plans."
"Understood. So what shall we do my princess?" Ecliptor asked.
Artemis sighed then answered. "Send down the Quantrons." Ecliptor then gave the order for a battalion of Quantrons to be ready and Artemis said that she would be leading the assault. "My Princess is that wise?"
"They don't know Astronema and Artemis are two different people." Artemis said. "I want to keep that belief going. My presence there will solidify that belief." Artemis then made ready to teleport when she noticed a gaze from the Guard Quantron in the control room. "What are you looking at?" Artemis asked as she teleported down.
What Artemis and Astronema didn't know was that the guard Quantron was looking at plenty, and listening to plenty as well.
On board the Astro Megaship Carlos was on monitor duty. Andros and the other Rangers had been securing provisions and supplies for their journey to Aquitar leaving Carlos to serve as eyes and ears aboard ship. To say that Carlos was bored was an understatement. In fact he had wanted to go on the supply excursion but Ashley had something to say about that.
"We have plenty of fire extinguishers Carlos. Thanks." Ashley said as she disappeared down the teleport tube leaving Carlos with the equipment for company. Carlos shook his head as he remembered when Ashley and Alison were having their reunion party and family and friends got them gifts.
Both girls were overjoyed at all the stuff they had gotten. For both it was clothes, but in Ashley's case it was a designer brand of some kind. For Alison she seemed happy with t-shirts and jeans that were purchased at a Wal Mart. Other gifts were perfume for Ashley, a kendo stick for Alison, romance videos for Ashley, kung fu fighting movies for Alison. It amazed everyone as to how two girls that looked alike could be so different.
"Thanks guys you are the greatest." Ashley said to all her friends, especially when Cassie gave the twins her own special gift. Matching ball caps. One in green the other in yellow.
"Does this mean I have to dye a lock of my hair yellow?" Ashley asked playfully. Alison just gave her sister a friendly punch in the shoulder and both continued to enjoy the festivities.
"You guys are the best." Ashley said as if congratulating her family and friends for coming to the reunion. Alison also had shown her gratitude hugging her mother and father, as well as smiling as Grandmother Hammond promised that she would try to find a boyfriend for her newest niece.
"Grandma Hammond." Alison said blushing. Now was time to get a new gift. "Carlos. Your turn." Ashley said.
Carlos went up to the twins and both immediately opened the box eager to see what was inside. When they looked inside it was as if their faces fell down a mountain when they pulled out what Carlos had gotten them.
Two fire extinguishers. One for each twin.
Both girls gave Carlos a look. A look that was none too pleasing. "Carlos." they both said in unison. A unison that was freaking Carlos out.
"What? Everybody needs one." Carlos said in defense. However Carlos's gift had been such the buzzkill that everyone started giving Carlos a look. Even Sabrina, who was not totally familiar with Earth gift giving knew that the gift Carlos gave was not a very good idea.
After the party the Rangers had him on monitor duty for an indefinite time. A time even the Rangers weren't sure would end. Carlos speculated that the time would be when the Rangers left for Aquitar to liberate that planet, but he had a feeling that the time would be until he realized that fire extinguishers didn't make good gifts. A lesson Carlos was slowly learning.
So Carlos was stuck on the Megaship on monitor duty. He had been making the scans of sectors when he came across signals from the Dark Fortress. Signals heading for a restaurant in Angel Grove. A restaurant known as 'the Brown Derby'.
Carlos immediately went to the communications console to contact his fellow Astro Rangers.
Angel Grove Market
It has been said that shopping with girl Power Rangers was an experience to avoid at all costs. What those speakers didn't take into account was the need for grocery shopping.
For Rangers of both sexes the mall was one thing. The supermarket was another. In the mall female Rangers always went to different shops and the male Rangers had to carry the bags. Fun for the girls, dreadful for the guys.
In a supermarket however BOTH genders had the tendency to be both mature and immature depending on what food to buy. Amazingly enough the supermarket industry was quick to get back on its feet thanks to a food surplus that many corporations had taken in case of dire emergency. When the surplus opened up the supermarkets were back up and running in no time at all, and the corporations could begin work on production of new foods and restocking their surpluses.
Andros pushed his cart down the produce isle with Ashley by his side. Ashley was determining what all to get. Andros was wondering why they couldn't rely on the Synthotron to get food. Dimetria explained that such dependency on technology could be dangerous, and that it was advisable to have adequate food stuffs available on long missions. Anne had tried to explain that to the Rangers under her command, but they never stayed long in one place to pick up adequate supplies. So they always relied on the Synthotron and made sure it never broke down.
But according to Dimetria, the time for such reliance was long past. They needed to have a stash of supplies for the Aquitar mission. And Andros, who'd never gone grocery shopping in his life, was trying to determine what all to get.
To his surprise he found out that Ashley had never gone grocery shopping either. She'd been too busy doing cheer practice, school work or going to the mall. When it came to the groceries she always let her parents do that task and trusted them to feed her properly.
Sure enough Ashley remembered enough of her diet to pick out items she knew she would eat. Like oatmeal, fruits and vegetables. Also a thirst quencher as cheerleaders had to have the endurance of athletes at times. Ashley looked at all the isles provided and chose what she knew her parents gave her for breakfast and dinner.
What she had for lunch in the cafeteria, she would make sure she avoided.
"All right. Let's see." Ashley said. "Oatmeal, fruit salad, carrots, probably need some meat too."
"How do you determine all this?" Andros asked Ashley.
"Nutrition class." Ashley said. "Determines what all a body needs, especially for the lifestyle you lead. Being a cheerleader I have to keep in good shape. Fortunately my parents made good selections that helped shape my eating habits."
"But what about at the Youth Center?" Andros asked. "I mean I've seen you have a....milkshake is it?"
"Oh that's for fun." Ashley said. "And while it does have some nutritional value milkshakes are not usually recommended for nutrition. Neither are hamburgers and fries, which even though they are part of a nutritional category, are not considered healthy due to the way they are prepared."
"You seem to be taking this nutrition thing seriously." Andros said.
"I think we have to." Ashley said. "Especially if Aquitar is going to be as bad as you say it is." Andros nodded as if indicating that Ashley was right. They then came across T.J. who came with his cart full of meats and fish. Clearly he saw the supply run in the same vein as Ashley did, due to the baseball games he played.
"Nice job there T.J." Ashley said. "Good selections."
"Thanks Ash." T.J. said. "But there are a few that......have their own ideas." Ashley wondered what T.J. meant. He didn't have to explain as Alison rounded the corner.
And the contents of Alison's cart made Ashley's mouth drop to where if it could have hit the floor it would have.
"Alison what is all that?" Ashley asked as he picked through Alison's cart. A cart that looked to have a mixture of every sort of junk food imaginable. Ashley was looking through Alison's selections in disbelief. "Doritos, Froot Loops, Hershey's candy packs, frozen pizzas, corn chips, potato chips, OREOS?"
"Hey? Who doesn't love Oreos?" Alison asked in defense. Ashley shook her head and buried her face in her hands. "What?" Alison asked.
"You don't really expect us to liberate a planet on nothing but junk food do you?" Ashley asked. "I mean you've been in underground fights. Don't you have to like....eat right or something?"
"Mostly we just have to last the match." Alison said as she brought up a box of Ding Dongs. "And I'll tell you. These got me through quite a few battles."
Ashley shook her head and said "No. We're not buying all of this. Some of it has to go back."
"What?" Alison asked. "You don't really expect us to go to Aquitar and live off of wheat germ and soybeans are you?"
"Wheat germ?" Andros asked. "You are actually going to make us eat germs?" Ashley placed her face in her hands wondering where she lost control. "Didn't you eat anything nutritious? Something from all four food groups?"
"Pizza. Does that count?" Alison asked. Ashley let out a mock scream not sure she could believe the eating lifestyle her sister had led. Did her life revolve around nothing but junk food?
"Don't feel bad Ash." Alison said. "I have had some nutritious dishes. But grandpa always made those. And since grandpa won't be going on this trip I have to grab what I know I can eat, and get me through what's to come." For a moment Ashley wondered if she shouldn't bring Derik Bogard onto the Megaship as cook, but then Cassie came up with her selections.
"Noodles and rice?" Alison asked.
"It's affordable." Cassie said. "Besides Uncle Saishu has done incredible things with different noodles. I almost bought the teriyaki sauce, but I think we're on a budget."
"Which Alison is breaking with her junk food binge." Ashley said. Alison just stuck her tongue out at her sister as Cassie took a glance at Alison's cart.
"You know what's amazing?" Cassie asked as she looked at Alison's cart. Alison looked at Cassie and asked "What?"
"That you can eat all that and still have the figure that you do." Alison reached in for a bag of corn chips and hit Cassie over the head with it. Then Zhane walked up and everyone was wide eyed at what was in his grocery cart.
For one thing there wasn't any food in it.
"Zhane what is this?" Andros asked as he looked through Zhane's cart, which was full of sun tan oil, deodorant, and other assorted skin care products. Not to mention different brands of cheap cologne that was on sale. "We're going to liberate a planet not spend a day at the beach."
"I know." Zhane said. "But there's going to be a party as soon as we liberate the planet right? A nice beach party?". Andros sighed as Alison asked "This is not so you can put the moves on Cassidy is it?"
"Well....it's not like we're dating." Zhane said in defense. Although the look in his eyes indicated that he would love to have a night with her walking along a moonlit beach watching the moonlight bounce off the Aquatian water. "They did leave some of the beaches didn't they?"
ALL the Rangers then sighed upon hearing this. T.J. however said "Zhane, you're hopeless."
Sabrina was next as she brought forth her cart which was a mix of different forms of bread and bottled water. "Bread and water?" T.J. asked
"Yeah, but I had a hard time deciding which brands to buy." Sabrina said. "In the UAE we just made our own bread and let it go stale. And don't get me started on the water. I never expected to find such a variety of it here. And all the name brands too I had a hard time choosing which was best."
"Bread and water?" Cassie asked. "Isn't that for prisoners?"
"Well I tried the liquor isle, but they said I needed a state ID to prove I was over 21." Sabrina answered. "Why do I need to prove that/ I know I'm over 21."
"Way over 21." Zhane said. Sabrina shot a glare in his direction and said "Watch it silver boy or you'll be minus 21."
Andros then stepped forward to mediate. "All right, we can't take all of this so we're going to have to choose what we take, and what we don't."
"Well I'm not giving up my Oreos." Alison said. "I'll leave the rest, but I'm not giving up my Oreos."
"All right." Andros said. "We'll keep the Oreos. Is there anything else you guys are willing to part with?"
"I suppose we don't need so many noodles." Cassie said. "Maybe just the spaghetti noodles will be enough."
"I can get some spaghetti sauce." Ashley said. "In exchange for leaving some of my selections."
"Good, because I wouldn't want to eat germs." Andros replied. Soon everyone was making sacrifices in their orders, including Sabrina who limited herself to Dasani bottled water and two loaves of Home Pride white bread.
"One doesn't live on bread and water alone." T.J. said. All the Rangers agreed that they would not buy ANY of the skin care products Zhane wanted to get. They then made their way to the register and used money that Sabrina had on hand.
"Where'd you get that?" T.J. asked.
"Pawn shop." Sabrina said. "Traded some jewels I had left over for cash. Although I think he underpaid what the jewels were worth."
"Nevertheless we'd better get back to the Megaship." Just then the communicators went off. Dimetria was on the other end. "Rangers, Astronema is teleporting to Earth. Co-ordinates are relayed to your morphers now. Carlos is already enroute and will meet you there."
"Copy Dimetria." Andros said. "Can you transport our supplies up to the ship?" In beams of white the groceries were transported and the Power Rangers Astro made ready to head off Astronema wherever she was going to turn up.
Soon streaks of red, blue, pink, yellow, green, silver and gold left the supermarket to make their way to the Brown Derby. A streak of black also descended from the sky looking to rendezvous with the others and the villainess they were looking to face.
At the Brown Derby Cyane was making her way to the bar where she ordered a Shirley Temple. Dan and Wes 'escorted' her to the bar where she sat smiling and all three started to have pleasant conversation. Clearly she was enjoying the attention the young men were giving her. "You boys don't need to fall all over me."
"It's no problem." Dan said as he looked at Cyane. "It's nice to help out a pretty girl from time to time. Try to keep chivalry alive you know?"
"Chivalry?" Cyane asked as if unfamiliar with the term.
"Something that was believed dead." Wes said as he thought of Cyane's 'last name'. "Specter. That's an unusual last name for a girl."
"Maybe I'm an unusual girl." Cyane answered back as she sipped her Shirley Temple. It was then that Wes realized where he had heard 'Specter' used as a last name before. "Wasn't there a singer known as Specter?"
"No one I know." Cyane said. "But then I don't know much about music."
"I think it was Ronnie Specter." Dan said. "The singer...I mean. She did a song with Eddie Money back in the 80's."
"How do you know that?" Cyane asked. Dan smiled. "Some of the money we have goes into my mom's music collection. She has stuff going back all the way to the 60's."
"So you're rich?" Cyane asked. Both Dan and Wes shook their heads. "Yeah we're from wealthy families." Wes said. "You?"
"I guess you could say I have had something of a wealthy upbringing." Cyane said as she talked to both boys, but her eyes were totally on Dan. Wes then said "I think someone's crushing on you."
"I am not." Cyane said. "As you can see he's still in one piece. I mean there are no shattered bones or any...."
"I think he means you find me attractive." Dan said amused by Cyane's answer, yet also unsettled by it. "You never heard of 'crushing on someone'?"
"No. I've kind of had an isolated life." Cyane explained. "I never really caught up on the local slang. In fact this is my first visit here."
"To Angel Grove?" Dan asked. Cyane was about to answer when Britt Reid called out to his son and shouted "Dan! We're leaving now!"
Alan Collins then spoke up and said "No son. We're leaving."
"Looks like our dads are arguing." Dan said. Wes then said "Let's go see what it's about." Both boys walked on with Cyane following, hoping to eavesdrop on the conversation.
"At least I've always strived to do honest business practices." Britt said. ""Unlike you."
"I am very honest Reid." Alan said. "I make it perfectly clear that I am looking to acquire companies and willing to pay handsomely for it."
"After you strong arm the companies to sell." Britt answered back. "I know of your practices Alan, you practice business like a strong arm thug."
"And it's amazing that Reid Communications has lasted as long as it has with the business practices you preach." Alan retorted. "I've always heard nice guys finish last."
"At least I value my co-workers where you would sell them out if it was convenient for you." Britt said. He then got into Alan's face and then added "But then the Collins family has a history of selling people out!"
Alan felt his anger build upon hearing that line as he then delivered a right cross to Britt's jaw knocking him down to the ground. Britt was cradling his jaw as Dan and Wes came to Britt's side and helped him up. Cyane looked on wondering what was happening, a feeling she didn't care much for, yet her curiosity was keeping her interested.
"That was a long time ago." Alan said pointing to Britt not sounding the least bit apologetic for the punch. "Neither I, nor my family need to be blamed for sins of the past."
"Of course." Britt answered as he didn't feel there was anything broken in his jaw. He then added one more verbal jab. "Since you have sins of the present to live with."
Alan was about to go after Britt when Wes stepped in between him and Britt. "Dad stop!" Wes said as Dan then got between his own father and Alan. "Dad what's going on?"
"Nothing that concerns you." Britt said not taking his eyes off Alan. Dan however spoke again. "I'd say it does concern me. A lot if Mr. Collins is willing to take your head off."
"Dan. Let it go." Britt urged. Alan then said "For once we agree on something Reid. No sense dragging our kids into our....disagreement."
"Dad, what's going on?" Wes asked as Cyane looked on curious about the drama unfolding but before Cyane could ask any questions of her own Quantrons appeared in the parking lot.
Sure enough when the Quantrons arrived people started panicking. All except for the Collins' and the Reids. And it was they that the Quantrons moved towards. Cyane was also with the Reids but she was feigning shock when she saw the Quantrons appear.
"Britt what's happening?" Lenore asked.
"Don't know Lenore. But when I say 'run' you and Dan run. Got me?" Britt asked. Alan gave the same advice to his own son Wes. Dan took Cyane's hand ready to lead her away. Cyane gave a slight smile touched that Dan would try to lead her out of apparent danger.
It was then that Artemis appeared to face her prey. "So Mr. Reid." Artemis said. "We meet at last."
"I don't know who you are or what you want..." Britt started to say, but Artemis interrupted. "I want the secrets to your satellite technology. And I'm not above taking hostages to get it."
"You won't be taking any hostages Astronema!" a voice said from above as the Astro Rangers descended from the sky. Red, Blue, Black, Pink, Yellow, Green, Silver and Gold all disembarked their Galaxy Gliders and stood ready. Artemis looked at the eight Rangers and cast a little smirk, especially in Red Astro's direction.
"You're still two short Red Ranger." Artemis said. "I wouldn't want to waste a battalion of Quantrons on a Ranger team that was less than a hundred percent."
"We're more than enough to beat you Astronema." Red Astro said. Silver then stepped forward and asked "Andros doesn't she look like....?"
"Long story Zhane. Tell it later." Red Astro explained.
"There won't be a later." Artemis said as she then cast her gaze on Silver Astro and added "For you." Before Silver Astro had time to process the words she snapped her fingers and Quantrons came to her side, regrouped and ready to attack the Rangers now.
"ATTACK!!!" Artemis ordered as the Quantrons moved towards the Rangers. It seemed that the Quantrons were so focused on the Rangers now that everyone else was considered irrelevant, or so the Reid's and Collins's thought as they thought to escape the battle, only to find a few straggling Quantrons get in their way.
"Dan look out!" Lenore shouted as Dan ducked out of the way and took a fighting stance. He then fought off the Quantron using a series of moves that impressed Cyane. "Mom. Dad. Get out of here!" Dan shouted driving back the Quantron. "Take Cyane with you."
"Thanks but..." Cyane then delivered a shot of her own to a Quantron. "But I think your parents would not look kindly if their son was taken by monsters." Cyane stood by Dan's side playing the role of innocent young girl leaving Dan unaware that she was fighting her own troops. Although Dan did notice a degree of skill in Cyane's attack. "Nice moves." Dan said.
"Had a good teacher." Cyane said as she stood with Wes and Dan as the four Quantrons that came their way fell and disappeared. "Well that didn't take long." Wes said.
"I know." Dan said. "You would think for a Ranger villain she'd have more up her sleeve."
"Maybe she does." Cyane said as she then turned to Artemis and bellowed in a mocking tone "Well are you going to attack or what?" Dan and Wes looked at Cyane as if she was crazy but she then said "Trust me. I know what I'm doing."
"You know what you're doing?" Wes asked. "Good. Because I don't know what you're doing."
"I want to see what all this 'villain' has got." Cyane answered. "Besides not many handsome men can say they fought foot soldiers of a space villain. Besides how long do you think the Power Rangers can hold out?"
"The Rangers?" Wes asked. "Can't they hold their own?"
"Against those numbers?" Cyane asked as she created her charade. "They could get overwhelmed quickly. They could use some help getting the heat off." Cyane then got into a fighting stance waiting for Artemis to 'Bring it on.'
"You're crazy you know that?" Dan said.
"In a fun way I hope." Cyane replied. She then looked at Artemis and said "Hurry up will you I don't have all day."
Artemis looked at Cyane and saw her wink as if telling her 'sister' -Go ahead. Attack. I'll be fine.- Artemis nodded getting the message and gave the order.
"Bring me those three. Don't let them escape!!!" she ordered as the Quantrons rushed the three teens. Red Astro turned to see some Quantrons break away and rushed to protect the three. Once Red Astro was between Dan, Wes and Cyane he fought off the Quantrons single handed and said "Get out of here!" to the three kids.
"Sorry. No can do." Dan said. "My parents need to get clear."
"Same with my dad." Wes said. Cyane gave a slight cough hoping to disguise her voice and said "I'm just helping out."
If the Astro Rangers had any questions about Cyane there was no time to answer them as the Quantrons were already upon them. The Astro Rangers fought them off with a series of moves practiced with machine efficiency. Quantrons were starting to go down to their skill and power, but it was not their skill and power alone. Cyane also took down a number of her own troops determining which were 'fit' and 'unfit' for service.
-At least I'm separating the flowers from the weeds.- Cyane thought as a Quantron was coming up to her from behind ready to kill. It was then that Dan delivered a side kick knocking the attacking Quantron down. Cyane turned and smiled. "Thanks for the save."
"No problem. That's what the dashing hero always does." Dan smiled as he went back to the battle. Cyane felt like blushing a bit but then went back to her......troop evaluation.
Not far away Britt and Lenore were taken to their car as Alan followed. However both Britt and Alan were eager to get back to their kids. "Hayashi my son."
"Don't worry." Hayashi said. "I will go back for him." He looked at Alan and said "And your son too." Then Hayashi ran as fast as he could to the battle and jumped in saving Silver Astro from another attack from behind. Artemis silently cursed Hayashi for saving Zhane from the coming Quantrons.
"Thanks." Silver Astro said. Hayashi just nodded as he fought his way to Dan's side, who was holding his own along with Wes and Cyane. "Don't these things drop?" Wes asked.
"They can't go on forever." Cyane said. -Trust me I know.-
"They've been going on long enough." Dan said as the fight continued. All the while being evaluated by not only Cyane, but Artemis as well. She stood off in the background watching Dan fight until she noticed that he fought....
.....like a Ranger.
Artemis then turned to Wes who was trying to fight his own way out and saw that he was holding his own as well. -Could it be that they are two potential Rangers in the future?- she thought. -Only one way to find out.-
Artemis then brought her Wraith Staff and waved it past Wes and Dan allowing Artemis to see through the Morphin Grid spectrum. Sure enough she saw colored hues around not only Dan and Wes, but Cyane as well, who was in Artemis's field of vision.
Artemis looked at Dan's aura and saw a white energy around him, as if signifying that he was strongly connected to the White Ranger aspect the Morphin Grid provided. Looking at Wes Artemis saw a Red aspect. But seeing as how there were enough Red Rangers around Wes would not be a Red Ranger anytime soon. -Probably not for years.- Artemis thought.
But what confused Artemis was Cyane's aura. A natural purple.
While it was possible for villains to access the purple aspect of the Morphin Grid, there was good that accessed the purple aspect as well. Only those considered for the role of Purple Ranger had an aura around them as evil just used the purple energy with no aura around them. She scanned many of the UAE villains and only noticed monstrous appearances. No aura.
Cyane was the only one with such an aura. And Artemis wondered if at some point Cyane was to have been considered for the role of Purple Ranger. As soon as she thought of the possibility she quickly dismissed it.
-Another question for another time.- Artemis said as she looked on at the fighting ability of Dan and Wes further. Ability noticed not only by Artemis and Cyane, but the Rangers as well. And even they were impressed by what they saw. "Whoa." Green Astro said. "Those two have some moves."
"Not to mention the girl in purple." Blue Astro added. Upon mentioning that Red and Silver Astro studied the girl sensing something familiar about her, but that was when the Quantrons attacked for one last strike, and the Astros fought them off.
Before long however the Quantrons went down and disappeared. The Astros then turned towards the Princess of Darkness and Red Astro said "It's over Astronema. You're finished."
"Really?" Artemis asked. "I think Ecliptor would have something to say about that." And with that Ecliptor appeared laying down a surge of grid power distracting the Rangers giving Artemis a few seconds to escape. "Go my princess. Escape quickly." he said before teleporting out. Artemis noticed the Astros getting back on their feet and deciding discretion was the better part of valor.
"Time to go." Artemis smiled as she disappeared in a shimmer of purple energy. With everyone gone things were starting to take a sense of calm which Cyane took as her cue to exit before the Rangers recognized her.
"Well. Looks like you can meet your folks now." Cyane said as she turned to leave. But Dan was quick to stop her. "Where are you going?"
"Uhhhh. My uncle is quick to worry. I don't want to upset him." She then noticed the Rangers getting closer and Cyane decided it was no time to be subtle. Slipping a peck on the cheek to Dan she said "I'll see you later. Bye." After that she walked off as fast as she could without arousing too much suspicion from the Rangers.
"Wait." Dan called out as he went after her, but it was too late. Cyane had rounded the corner and teleported out in her own purple shimmer. When Dan came around the corner he saw only empty air. He was left staring at the empty air as Green Astro came up to him.
"Who was that girl?" Green Astro asked. Dan shook his head. "She said her name was Cyane."
"Cyane who?" Green asked.
"Cyane Specter." Wes said as he stood with the other Astro Rangers who looked none the worse for wear. Green Astro then said "Thanks for getting some of those Quantrons off our backs."
"No problem." Dan said. "You looked like you had things well in hand."
"Still it doesn't hurt to have help." Gold Astro said. "You fought pretty good there. Both of you."
"Self defense classes at school." Wes said "As well as a few pointers from a relative."
"Friend of the family taught me." Dan said. Red then came up and said "You two might make good Rangers someday." Before either Wes or Dan could reply Alan Collins called out to his son.
"Wes!" Alan called out as the limo approached. "Well, better go." He said as he left with his father. In another part of the lot the Reids were waiting for Dan.
"I'd better split too." Dan said as he went with his waiting parents. Soon the Astro Rangers were left alone.
"Whatever happened to that red haired girl?" Silver Astro asked. No one answered as they all went back to the Megaship.
The answer to that question was on the Dark Fortress as Cyane reappeared in the bridge, followed by Artemis. "So." Artemis said. "How did it go?"
Cyane first waved her hands transforming her appearance into that of Astronema before giving her answer. "Very insightful, although not in the ways I would guess."
"Didn't you learn anything of the satellite network by ingraining yourself into the lives of those two?" Artemis asked. Astronema shook her head 'no.' "I was....distracted."
"By what?" Artemis asked. "By them?" Artemis then activated the viewer as it had shown Astronema as Cyane, alongside Wes and Dan fight off Quantrons. Astronema looked at the screen and Artemis saw her 'sister's' gaze locked onto one person.
And Artemis knew it.
Astronema stared at the screen as she watched Dan Reid fight. She noticed Dan fight with a seasoned grace and his eyes held the spirit of a warrior. But there was more in Dan's eyes. More that Astronema could ever imagine.
It was that more that drew her to Dan Reid. It was that 'more' that attracted her to him. Many a time she found herself lost in a daydream with her and Dan. A daydream with her in his arms looking longingly in his eyes as she became complete in his gaze and he became complete in hers. She was so lost in this fantasy until she was jolted awake by Artemis with a jolt from her Wraith Staff.
"AHHHHHHH!!!!" Astronema said as a jolt of magic hit her in the butt.
"Pay attention." Artemis said trying to bring Astronema back to reality and turned back to the screen to where they were watching Dan and Wes fight. "While we obtained nothing of the satellite network we did find out something about these two."
"What?" Astronema asked. Artemis paused as she answered. "They have a grid connection."
"A grid connection?" Astronema asked. "As in the Morphin Grid?"
"There are many species that are born with dormant connections to the Morphin Grid." Ecliptor explained as he walked into the chamber, apparently eavesdropping on the conversation before adding his own two credits. "They manifest themselves in a variety of ways. For some it's fighting prowess. Others magical potential, and with others it is special abilities."
"And these two could have such potential?" Artemis asked. Ecliptor nodded as Artemis then asked "How do we find out?"
"We have to get close to them." Ecliptor said. "If a grid connection is detected, you'll know."
"Very well then. I know who I will start with." Astronema said as she already scouted her first target.
Artemis shook her head. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised."
"There is method to the madness here." Cyane said. "I am now engrained into young Mr. Reid's life. The girl whom he helped 'save'. He trusts me now, and not only can I find out about his Morphin Grid connection, but I can also determine what all he knows about the satellite network."
"Very well Astronema, but keep your focus." Ecliptor said. Astronema said she would. "Now excuse me I wish to adjourn to my chambers. I need a moment alone to prepare myself."
"Of course my Princess." Ecliptor said as Astronema walked out of the control room leaving Artemis and Ecliptor to wonder if Astronema was capable of doing what she had promised. To determine the connection to the grid the Reid boy had, and to find out specs on the satellite network.
"Ecliptor is this wise?" Artemis asked. "She seems infatuated with the Reid boy."
"No." Ecliptor said. "But she must confront her infatuation and then determine how best to deal with it."
"And what if she deals with it....in the wrong way?" Ecliptor paused at Artemis's question dreading the answer he knew was the truth. If what he suspected about Astronema was true.
That she was wanting what she couldn't have. What Artemis couldn't have.
"We'll have to make sure she doesn't." Ecliptor said. "As well as make sure no one finds out." Artemis nodded as she and Ecliptor left the main chamber leaving the guard Quantron behind.
A Quantron that knew everything that just happened.
Astronema entered her chambers and removed her wig allowing herself to be Cyane for the moment. She then lay down on the bed rolling thoughts in her mind.
She knew they needed to find out about the satellite network, and they needed to find out what connection Dan had to the Morphin Grid. But still she liked how she felt with Dan. Like she was walking on air, riding an emotional high....and yet....it also went much deeper than that.
Cyane sighed as she found herself fingering her Kerovan locket. Such lockets were in the possession of many young Kerovan children. Usually in the possession of brothers and sisters celebrating the bond between children. Cyane had hers since her childhood. The only remembrance of her past life, other than her red hair, that she allowed herself to have.
Cyane looked at her locket, and quietly opened it so she could look at the pictures inside.
One of them was of her old face, albeit when she was much younger. She was a runaway who fled from an abusive home. Her father was a heavy drinker who beat on both her and her brother. Her mother wasn't much better as she screamed and shrieked to the point that she and her brother felt even more worthless than before after their mother yelled at them the last time.
Then one night she lay in bed hearing her brother arguing with their parents. She heard a crash and then a scream. For a moment Cyane thought she heard her mother say "You killed our son!" This was the last straw for Cyane. Putting together a small carry on bag she ran away from home looking to live a life on the streets.
It was on those streets that she met the creature that took her into the UAE. Who was looking to groom her to be Dark Specter's heir. With nothing to live for back home Cyane took the offer.
But there were times she still wished her brother was alive. When she heard reports of the attack on KO-35 she hoped her parents had died in the attack. A hateful thought true, but she also thought they deserved to be thought of that way. She then stared at the other picture in her locket. The picture of her brother.
He looked to be a young boy with platinum blonde hair and a smile that would charm any loving mother. He reminded Cyane of the 'Space Cowboys' she had heard so much about in ancient texts. Trail blazers that explored the outermost regions of space, seeking adventure and thwarting injustices.
"I wonder what advice Space Cowboys would give about boys." Cyane said as she thought of Dan Reid.. But then if her brother was raised by Space Cowboys maybe she didn't want to know.
She lay on her bed trying to determine what to do next. Not as Astronema Princess of Darkness, but as Cyane, the girl under the evil identity.
On board the Astro Megaship the Rangers were trying to determine what the point of the attack was. Andros had a theory and pointed to the Reid family. "What do we know about them?" Andros asked as an image of the Reid family appeared on the viewer.
"Their names are Britt Reid and Lenore Case-Reid." Said D.E.C.A. "Mr. Reid is the head of Reid Communications whose company has offices in many major countries. Several communication innovations on this planet are from Reid Communications."
"And the Japanese guy?" T.J. asked.
"Hayashi Kato." D.E.C.A. answered. "Former motion picture star from Hong Kong. Now personal driver for Mr. Reid. In fact he was Mr. Reid's driver in the late 1960's as well."
"What would Astronema want with the Reids?" Ashley asked.
"Possible explanation involves deployment of Reid Communications satellite network around planet to help listen for outer space signals that may be considered hostile." D.E.C.A. answered. Andros nodded as it all made sense now. "She's trying to control the flow of information to Earth." Andros said.
"You sure Andros?" Cassie asked.
"It makes sense." Sabrina added. "She tried the whole 'information' route once before. Who's to say she won't try again?"
"But why attack that other boy? The one at the battle" Zhane asked pointing to another image, an image of....
"Wesley Collins." D.E.C.A. said interrupting. "Son of Alan Collins. Owner of Biolab and other subsidiaries ranging from civilian to military applications."
"There is more to those two." Dimetria said coming up to the bridge as he stared at the image of Dan and Wes she called up. The Astro Rangers were surprised to see Dimetria come up as she was meditating in her chambers.
"I felt tremors in the power." Dimetria said. "Dormant connections in the grid have been detected. And one may come to life."
"What do you mean?" Sabrina asked.
"Prepare yourselves Rangers." Dimetria said. "The two boys have destinies in the future. One is close to realization now. The other will seek theirs in the future. But the danger is no less real."
"Danger? From Astronema?" Alison asked. Dimetria nodded.
"Astronema will be looking to convert them. We must prevent it." Dimetria said as the Rangers all left the command deck to plan how to protect the Reids and Wesley Collins. Zhane however stopped pausing the vid images and looking at the red haired girl that was fighting with Dan and Wes. Usually Zhane always smiled at seeing a pretty girl, but this girl was different.
She reminded him of someone. Someone from his past.
Zhane reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his Kerovan locket. The only connection to his past he allowed. As he opened it he saw the picture of himself on one side and another picture that he kept close to his heart.
For that other picture was that of his baby sister.
They had grew up together in a broken home on KO-35. But the two didn't have such a happy childhood, as they were both abused by their father and mother. One day Zhane decided that he would fight back. He would stand up to the bullies that gave birth to him. For his sister's sake as much as his own.
The argument got heated as Zhane shouted at his two 'parents'. So good was he at getting under their skin that Zhane's father hit him and knocked him to the ground unconscious. Before blackness overtook him he thought he could hear his mother shouting "You killed him!"
When Zhane woke up he heard his parents had been arrested for child abuse and that he would have been placed into a foster home. He asked about his sister only to be told that she wasn't anywhere in the house. A description was sent out, but no trace of her could be detected. Only an empty bedroom marked any indication that she had been there. Zhane continued to dwell on the memories until Sabrina came back and said "Hey Silver boy. We've got plans to make."
"Coming." Zhane said as he followed Sabrina to where the Rangers would be making their plans. Plans to protect Dan Reid and Wes Collins from whatever evil Astronema had in mind. When they arrived in the mess hall the discussion was well underway, and Andros had made his decision.
"We'll split up and check it out." Andros said. "D.E.C.A. has the addresses on both. Ashley, Sabrina and Zhane will come with me. T.J. you take Alison and Cassie with you."
"What about me?" Carlos asked. Andros said "Stay here and monitor our progress." Soon all the Astro Rangers left leaving Carlos alone with Dimetria.
"Buy a fire extinguisher as a birthday present and you pay for it for the rest of your life." Carlos said. Dimetria however had other plans as she made her way to the Power Vault and opened it.
She looked at the White Morpher resting on the bar. The only one there other than the Purple Morpher, but the unveiling of the Purple Ranger would not happen for some time. This Dimetria knew.
No, she knew the White Ranger was coming, and the others had to protect him, as well as the other whose destiny would not happen until later, but needed no less safeguarding.
Back on Earth Wes sat in the limo as he and his father drove away from the battle site. Alan then resolved himself to see that the Rameii budget was doubled. Never again was he going to allow any space villain to get the drop on him again. As his mind kept rolling more ideas were going through his mind, especially one for a private security force that could patrol Silver Hills and other cities...for a fee.
"Wes, how does the term 'Silver Guardians' sound for a private security force?" Alan asked. Wes didn't answer as he was thinking about something else. Something the Astro Rangers mentioned to him.
-Could it be possible? I mean really possible? Me as a Power Ranger?-
Wes was not the only one pondering such a question. Dan also was himself as he rode with his parents away from the Brown Derby and to the mansion they had in Angel Grove.
"I'm glad to have gotten out of there." Lenore said. "Thanks Hayashi for looking after us."
"No problem." Hayashi said. "Although I think Master Dan has had a little too much excitement."
"Huh?" Dan asked. "Oh no Hayashi I'm fine." Dan replied. "I'm just wondering."
"Wondering what son?" Britt asked.
"There have been masked heroes around since the 40's right?" Dan asked. Lenore corrected her son saying "Since the 30's actually. They only became official during the years of World War II when they were assembled to fight off super powered operatives the Axis had created."
"And no one knew who these people were right?" Dan asked. Britt explained "Some names were revealed. Others however remain a mystery to this day. Why do you ask?"
"Just going over a few things in my mind." Dan said. Mentally he added -Like what it would be like to be a Power Ranger.-
After an hour of driving Dan went up to his room to change into his training gi that he used to practice sparring with Hayashi Kato. "Do I have to dad?" Dan asked as soon as they arrived.
"Yes son." Britt said. "This fight reminded me that you have kind of been lax in training and you need to catch up in your regimen. I don't want you caught by surprise again, so get ready." Dan sighed once they arrived, but did what his father asked.
Half an hour later Dan looked at his image in his bedroom mirror as he adjusted the gi he wore when he prepared for his training sessions with Hayashi. Having trained since he was five Dan was a formidable Martial Artist, and could defend himself from many an attacker, just as he had at the Brown Derby when he and Wes fought alongside the Power Rangers against those....Quantrons if he remembered the news report correctly.
-Fighting alongside super heroes. Who would have thought.- Dan thought as he looked around his room. Where one would have had posters of pop stars or rock bands, Dan had neither which stunned many of his friends that he had over. Sometimes they asked why Dan didn't have pictures of anyone cool on his walls. To Dan, what he had on his walls was cool.
Littered around his room were pictures of heroes: the Two Gun Kid, Captain America, Union Jack. On his shelves were stories ranging from Medieval Knights to swashbucklers on the open sea to more cowboy stories. It seemed like everything in Dan Reid's life revolved around one thing.
Many a time he wished he was like the noble heroes he had read about. Selfless, always looking to save innocents from whatever evils came across their path. At heart that was what Dan Reid wanted to do. Help others. Even if he couldn't don a flashy costume like the Power Rangers he felt there could still be other ways he could help. The Fire Department, the Police Department, perhaps even Military service. Dan believed there were higher callings than just running Reid Communications, and he wanted to answer them.
His gaze then turned to a poster he had on his ceiling. It was that of the Morphin Rangers during their second year of activity. The picture had Red, Blue, Pink, Yellow, Black and White taking their fighting poses as if they were ready for action. They posed for the poster on the condition that any proceeds made from the sale of any Ranger merchandise went to charity. Dan heard other super heroes did the same thing and saw the nobility in such an act.
Heroes bringing out the best in people. That was what Dan Reid wanted to be about.
Dan continued to look at the poster when he heard Hayashi Kato knock on his door. "Dan, it's time for your training."
"All right Uncle Hayashi I'll be right down." Dan said as he adjusted his training gi and made his way to the door. He paused as his mind turned to something else, or rather someone else.
His mind turned to Cyane.
He thought of the red haired girl and smiled. She was pretty, and had a beautiful sounding voice. Yet there was also something else about her. Something....that seemed so unlike what Dan was. And Dan found himself drawn to that aspect of her. A darkness that countered his noble heart and training.
Dan tried to put those thoughts out of his mind. He had a training session he had to get through.
In the training room Hayashi Kato looked at Dan Reid as he stood at attention. Dan bowed at Hayashi as Hayashi bowed to Dan showing signs of mutual respect between master and student. Hayashi then went into a fighting stance and Dan followed. A free sparring competition was about to start.
"Begin." Hayashi said. Hayashi attacked with a side kick and Dan defended himself from the blow. Hayashi also did a follow up attack which Dan deflected with a series of blocks and punches. But when Dan lost his concentration for a brief second Hayashi did a leg sweep knocking Dan down to the mat hard.
"Get up. Again."
Dan took the fighting stance again. Again he feigned off Hayashi's attacks, and seemed to do it with the skill of a practiced martial artist. But when Hayashi maneuvered behind Dan and got in a side kick from behind again Dan fell. Hayashi could tell Dan's mind was not on the training session.
"You are not focused." Hayashi said to Dan. Dan nodded knowing the reason why.
He was distracted with thoughts of Cyane.
In a shimmer of purple Astroneam appeared outside the Reid mansion remembering the words Ecliptor had said to her and Artemis before they left for their missions. "Do not lose sight of your purposes my Princesses. Be part of their lives, and develop a trust with these....potential warriors." Ecliptor chose his words carefully as he saw that Dan and Wes could be 'warriors' someday. But whether that was as Rangers or with the forces of darkness was yet to be determined.
"Once they trust us, the chances to lure them away from the light will be easier." Ecliptor said. "Astronema, do not lose sight of your purpose. Get him to trust you and then find out what you can about the satellite network."
"I know my own mission Ecliptor, you don't have to remind me." Astronema said.
"I thought it best to have him remind you." Artemis said. Astronema pressed her lips indicating that she would not forget. Then both princesses teleported off the Dark Fortress and to their respective targets.
Once she arrived Astronema waved her Wraith Staff changing her clothes from black leather to a more traditional Earthen garb. Her wig was replaced by her natural red hair and her Wraith Staff was back in its subspace pocket. She was Cyane Specter again staring at Reid Mansion.
For a moment she was taken in by the sight of the house and was in awe. Dan Reid was a young man of wealth and posterity. Yet that wasn't the only thing that attracted her to Dan Reid.
She felt herself drawn to him...personally. As if he was beckoning her to come to him. Her mind turned to looking into Dan's eyes smiling as they...
....her mind broke out of that line of thought as she saw Dan in the window of the training room. Dan smiled as he saw her and Cyane pointed to the door as if making her way there. When Cyane reached the door she immediately knocked, as was customary for humans who wanted to enter a residence respectfully, and not force their way in as she had so many times in the past as Astronema. On the other side of the door a voice called out "I've got it Uncle Hayashi." As the door opened Dan was pleased by what he saw.
"Hi." Cyane said standing outside the door to the Reid Mansion. Dan was wowed by the sight of Cyane as she was dressed in a purple mini skirt and maroon blouse. Maroon boots completed her ensemble. Dan had to admit that Cyane was a beauty. "Are you following me?" Dan asked.
"Maybe. I don't know." Cyane said. "I started to, but then found I had gotten lost. May I use your phone so I can call someone to pick me up?"
Dan thought Cyane looked harmless enough. "Come on inside." Dan led Cyane into the Reid mansion so she could make her call.
Inside Dan sat in the study as he waited for Cyane to finish her 'call'. When she came in Dan asked. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah. My ride knows where I am. They should be here soon." Cyane answered. Dan then asked. "Is it a boyfriend?"
"No." Cyane said. "I'm afraid I'm single. I've got a possessive uncle that doesn't allow much in terms of....'suitors'."
"Overprotective parents?" Dan asked. Cyane answered "Very." Dan smiled as he led Cyane on a tour of the Reid mansion. She had to admit that the Reid's had a certain regalness to them. "So, did your family all invest in communications?"
"No not really." Dan said. "My dad got his start in journalism until he bought the Daily Sentinel and became the publisher. He then used the Sentinel to start Reid Communications, but that's not the only thing Reids are involved in."
"Tell me more." Cyane said clearly intrigued.
"It's been said that many of us have turned to law and the cause of justice." Dan said. "Some ancestors of mine were even said to be Texas Rangers at one time. I even have an aunt who was District Attorney at one time."
"A family full of heroes?" Cyane asked. Dan just smiled as he said "I have other heroes as well. Not just in my own family, but also in news and stories. I really get off on stuff like that."
"Really?" Cyane asked. "I kind of get off on the villain myself. Does this mean we have to fight each other?" Cyane gave a sly smile which made Dan smile until a middle aged oriental man came in and said "Dan. You have training."
"I'll be there shortly Uncle Hayashi." Dan said as he bowed. The man known as Hayashi bowed as well and then walked down the hall. "Who's that?" Cyane asked of the middle aged Japanese man that walked past in a fighting gi.
"My 'uncle' Hayashi Kato." Dan explained. Cyane looked confused but Dan explained further. "He's not really my uncle, but he's been close to the family so we refer to him as such."
"He looks familiar." Cyane said trying to place Hayashi. Dan was quick to explain again. "He did some films in Hong Kong before the Chinese took it back. His father and my great uncle were friends."
"Friends?" Cyane asked.
"Long story." Dan said. "But apparently my great uncle Britt, whom my dad was named after, saved Hayashi's father's life. Hayashi's father Ikano believed he owed great uncle Britt his life and he stayed by his side. Our families have been close ever since."
"That's a sweet story." Cyane said. "And you say this Ikano believed he owed your great uncle his life?"
"Something like a debt of honor thing." Dan replied. "Where if you save someone's life their life belongs to you." Cyane seemed intrigued. "I've never heard of that sort of belief."
"There are some cultures that have it." Dan said. "Some in the Orient, and some Native Americans as well. I don't know if it's a belief I'd share."
"Why?" Cyane asked. "Afraid to give up your freedom if you lose a battle?"
"Maybe." Dan said. "Then I wouldn't be able to do what I really want to do." Dan looked at Cyane and said "which is help others with their problems." Cyane seemed to take Dan's words in when Dan asked "So what about you? Any family?"
Cyane paused before answering. "I was brought up by a series of uncles. My parents....are people I'd rather not talk about.."
"I'm sorry." Dan said as he picked up on Cyane's vibe. Cyane continued her story as she fingered the locket around her neck. "I remember having a brother, but I haven't seen him since we were kids. I did discover a twin sister though recently. We've been close since we discovered each other.
"I'm glad." Dan said. "Family's important." He then looked up to see portraits adorning the wall. Cyane looked on as well. "Who are all these people? They your relatives?"
"Generation upon generation of Reids." Dan said as he saw pictures of his father, his grandfather, and friends of the family. The Katos, even an Indian from a century ago. Cyane was impressed until her eyes came across one portrait in particular.
"What's that portrait?" Cyane asked of a man who wore a western outfit. His clothes looked all silvery as he rode a white horse. His face obscured.
"I don't know." Dan said. "Dad always said he was an ancestor of sorts. But he never said who. He also said he was some sort of western hero who was around during the frontier days of America when settlers were moving out west. In many ways this portrait kind of inspired me to look into heroes. Get inside their heads, try to figure out why they do what they do."
Cyane looked at the portraits impressed then turned to Dan. "I envy you Dan Reid." Cyane said looking into Dan's eyes. "You have everything I wanted as a child. Family, purpose..."
"And you don't?" Dan asked. "The way I see it you have those as well including one other thing."
"What's that?" Cyane asked. Dan smiled as he gave his answer.
Cyane was taken aback by Dan's comment. She felt Dan's gaze as it warmed her soul in a way that she would have never expected. His gaze was also different from other male onlookers she had to deal with. There was no lust in Dan's eyes.
There was only admiration, affection...and love?
-No we can't feel love. Evil is not supposed to feel love. I must stick to the mission at hand.- Cyane looked at Dan and then tried to get back in focus. "You know, I saw you on T.V. today. That press conference."
Dan sighed as he seemed to be brought back down to Earth, but didn't want to go. "Oh yeah. The satellite network." Dan said as if he had gone to a 'back to business' state of mind. "Not much to tell there. Just the usual 'listen to signals from space and monitor other signal traffic. Pretty much cut and dry."
"You don't sound enthused." Cyane replied.
"Well, I don't begrudge what it's trying to do." Dan said. "It's just....I don't want stuff like that to be the driving force in my life. I do have other pursuits I want to accomplish. Other things I want to do in my life."
"Like?" Cyane asked.
"Like." Dan said as he looked in Cyane's eyes. "Take a pretty girl out to dinner, dance under the moonlit sky with her, tell her she's the most beautiful girl from this side of the solar system and beyond, and that I'd never want to let her go for all the tea in China."
"Does that line actually work?" Cyane asked whimsically.
"What do you think?" Dan asked. It was then that Cyane had forgotten everything about the satellite network she was supposed to get information on. The way Dan was right now she figured she wouldn't get anything out of him anyway....in terms of information.
"I think." Cyane said as she looked into Dan's eyes, and Dan had resumed his gaze. "That you need to shut up and kiss me." Cyane then smiled as she and Dan both moved forward. Their lips parted as they moved in for a soft kiss. They felt the electricity between them as their lips touched and parted. However Britt gave a clearing of the throat ending the moment between the two teens.
"Is your ride on its way?" Britt asked as he eyed Cyane.
"Uhhhhhh yeah Mr. Reid." Cyane said as she and Dan stood up regaining composure. Britt then asked "When does it arrive?"
"Uhhhh. It'll be here in an hour. They'll be arriving outside by the gate." Cyane said.
"Good." Britt said. "I'm sorry to ask you to wait outside but Dan does have some lessons he has to..."
"Say no more Mr. Reid I understand." Cyane answered. "I'd be happy to wait outside for my uncle." Cyane then made her way to the door and said "Thank you Mr. Reid for letting me make the call."
"No problem. Take care." Britt said as Cyane turned to leave the mansion. As she walked towards the door Britt found himself studying the girl as if trying to place her somewhere. There was something about her that made Britt suspicious. As if an old battle instinct was reawakened. He wanted to know more about Cyane before he would let his son see her again, that was for sure.
It was then that Dan asked the question that had been troubling him since the restaurant. "Dad. Why were you so cold to Mr. Collins?" Cyane looked on intrigued as well.
"It's a long story son." Britt said. "But perhaps it's one you need to hear." Britt looked at Cyane as if silently asking her to leave.
"I'd better be going." Cyane said. "This sounds like a family matter." Cyane said as she got up to the door with Dan following. "Don't leave on our account."
"No, my ride will be here soon. Maybe it's best if I wait outside." Cyane said. Dan then asked "Is there a way I can contact you? I'd like to see you again."
"We'll see each other again." Cyane said. "Remember I know where you live." Giving Dan a peck on the cheek Cyane turned and left the house leaving Dan and Britt alone, or so they thought.
Once she was outside the door Cyane walked down the path leading away from the mansion up to the point where the path curved and the mansion occupants were out of her line of sight. It was then that she found a small path in the bushes that allowed her to skirt around the house hoping to evade any prying eyes or searches from security systems. -Of course it helps to be able to see them.- Cyane thought as she pulled out her Wraith Staff and waved it allowing her to 'see' with a special sight.
She saw laser beam trip wires that activated an alarm system that would contact a security department if there was any sign of trespassers, or people that weren't supposed to be on the property. With the help of the Wraith Staff Cyane was able to avoid the trip wires as well as any thing that could send out any guard dogs on the property. Soon she was close to the Reid mansion, and close enough to activate a spell she remembered in the sisterhood's archives. One used for spying undetected.
She closed her eyes and recited the incantation. An incantation in an alien tongue, but uttering a sense of power that was hard to miss.
Once she finished the incantation Cyane disappeared from outside the Reid mansion....
....and reappeared in the Reid family room in a phased state. Invisible to the naked eye, and unable to touch, or be touched, by anything or anyone in the physical world. Including the occupants entering at that time. Britt and Dan Reid.
For all intents and purposes Cyane was a ghost hovering over all that was in the room.
"All right dad. You said you had an answer. I'm listening." Dan said. Cyane smiled as she heard Dan speak. There was a presence to his voice.
Britt sighed as he looked at his son. "Dan what I'm about to say you may find hard to believe, but it's all true. It's a story handed down to us from generation to generation, and has set the destiny of the Reids for years." Britt looked at the portrait of the masked man and then asked "Do you know who that man is?"
"You always said he was an ancestor of sorts." Dan said. "A Lone Ranger?"
Britt nodded. "That Lone Ranger was an ancestor of ours. A Texas Ranger by the name of John Reid. The brother of your great great great Uncle whom you were named after. Both men were murdered by one of their own."
Dan looked stunned. "What? Dad what do you mean?"
"Our ancestors were betrayed by a Texas Ranger gone bad. That Texas Ranger was a member of the Collins family. The same family Wes and Alan Collins are part of."
Dan sat down in the nearest chair. Cyane also sat on her invisible cushion crossing her legs as she listened unnoticed to the story Britt Reid told his son Dan about the Reid family legacy.
It was going to be an interesting story indeed.
Not far from the Collins home Artemis appeared and looked for the Collins mansion. She saw it in the distance. A block or two down the road.
Like Cyane with the Reid mansion Artemis found the Collins mansion to be appealing in its own right. Then looking at her own clothes decided that change was probably a good idea right then. "Don't want to run off with the boy...yet." Artemis said as she waved her staff and changed into her civilian identity of Karone
As Karone walked up the path to the mansion she looked in a nearby reflecting pool at her reflection. She saw herself dressed in a purple sun dress and pink t-shirt. Her blonde hair down to her neck. She smiled briefly as she saw her like this. It seemed like it had been a while since she had been Karone. Most of the time it seemed like she was Artemis, and the only time she was Karone was when she was with Leo.
-Leo.- Karone thought as she remembered the boy she met in San Francisco. A boy she seemed to take a liking to. He had asked her out on a date recently and decided she wasn't going to say no. -Probably the first date I'll have where my brother is not looking over my shoulder.- Karone thought amusingly. It was then she looked at her reflection again and noticed something.
Her t-shirt. It was pink.
-Now why would I wear a pink t-shirt?- Karone thought. She knew she wanted to wear something that would not attract attention, and her leather outfits did not qualify yet pink was hardly her first choice. -Oh well. Might as well live with it.- .
As Karone walked down the street she noticed that she did get some cat calls and hoots from onlookers and Karone sent jolts of energy shocking them a bit. Karone smiled at the mild discomfort she caused those that saw her as an object and nothing else. Before long however she reached her destination and was amazed by the sight of the Collins home.
"Must be a family of great wealth and status." Karone said as she went up to the door and knocked. After a few minutes the butler answered. "Yes madam. Is there something I can do for you?"
"Uhhh yeah. My car died on me, and I was wondering if I could use the phone?" The butler thought for a moment and said "Right this way." Soon the butler led Karone to a phone close to where Wes Collins was arguing with his father.
Arguing about the Reids.
"Thank you." Karone said to the butler as he stood close by. Apparently he didn't want Karone staying any longer than she needed to be there. To that end Karone dialed a number, a number that led to the Dark Fortress.
"My Princess?" Ecliptor said on the other line.
"It's ringing." Karone said to the butler lying. "My uncle lives at home, he should be able to pick me up." The butler nodded and said "I'll be resuming my duties. Let me know when your call is complete."
When the butler left Karone spoke into the receiver. "Ecliptor, I'm at the Collins house. I'm hoping to find out more information here so I'm pretending to be someone needing to make a phone call. I doubt there will be trouble I can't handle, but still be ready if I need you."
"At once." Ecliptor said as Karone hung up the phone. She then went to the door hoping to eavesdrop on the conversation Wes and his father were having, but the thick doors prevented Karone from hearing much. She needed to find a way in to listen.
For a moment Karone considered using shrinking spell that was left over from her exposure to the Talisman of Size but she decided against it, as she would have been stuck in that size until Cyane was around to re-enlarge her. The nature of the spell called for both to be at the same size in order to re-enlarge, so immediately Karone dismissed that idea.
-There has to be a way for me to listen in.- Karone thought as an idea then flashed in through her mind. An old power she had that she had told no one about. Not Cyane, not even Andros knew of this. She closed her eyes and opened her heart to the men inside the room.
Sometimes on KO-35 she would go out into the woods and listen to the sounds of nature, and sometimes it would seem like nature was talking back to her. Through feelings that could translate to words. Karone had no idea how she had aquired this ability, but felt it would be useful for the future. When it would have really been put to use remaained a mystery as she felt the time for its full use had not come yet, but she did use what little she had of it from time to time.
And now was one of those times as she closed her eyes, and opened her heart to the feelings of the men inside the room. She could hear Wes and Alan speak. Their words coming from their hearts and speaking to her through hers. Karone then took a deep breath as she eavesdropped on the conversation Wes was having with his father.
"Our family is not as squeaky clean as the Reids are." Alan said from the room Karone was listening in on. "In fact we have some dark secrets in our past.
"If this is about Uncle Wade I know all about that." Wes said. "I know he was a prisoner in Vietnam. And I know he fell in with the Cobra Organization and became a Crimson Guard. But he broke away from that. He died a hero. And cousin Sean, he's becoming a hero in his own right."
"The darkness of the Collins family goes back further than Uncle Wade." Alan said. "It goes back to a place in Texas called Brian's Gap."
"What's Brian's Gap?" Wes asked.
Alan sighed before answering. "It was where an ancestor of ours sold out twenty Texas Rangers to be massacred by a monster named Cavendish. Two of those Rangers were named Dan and John Reid."
"Our ancestors trusted Ranger Collins." Britt said. "Only to be set up for a massacre by the Cavendish gang."
Dan looked on stunned, yet confused as well. "Dad. What does this have to do with us today?"
"Because no one knows this." Britt said as he looked up at the portal of the masked man on the white horse. "John Reid survived. With the help of an Indian friend named Tonto he healed from the attack. But still John Reid feared what would happen if Cavendish learned that any of the Texas Rangers survived. So one more grave was dug. An empty one, for John Reid."
"In a way John Reid died that day, and the Lone Ranger was born."
Dan was stunned to hear this. All the stories and legends he was told as a child were true. "You mean our ancestor was the Lone Ranger? I heard he was a myth."
"He was real." Britt said. "As was another legacy founded by our great uncle Britt." Britt then turned to a mantle where a series of green masks appeared. All of them with the symbol of a hornet on them. A green hornet.
"The Green Hornet?" Dan asked. "Wasn't he some kind of criminal?"
"No." Britt said as if knowing from first hand experience. "He worked within the criminal element, but he was just as much a hero as great uncle Britt. I should know." Britt then went to a second mask on the mantle. A mask he himself once wore.
"I was the second to bear the mantle of the Green Hornet. Your uncle Alan was the third, and uncle Paul was the fourth."
Dan was stunned as he heard this. Then he remembered something. "Uncle Alan. The one who died. He died when he was the Green Hornet didn't he?"
"It was his first mission." Britt said. "He was killed in an explosion. Set up by someone we thought was a friend. That was when Paul took up the mantle." Britt looked at the last mask which was worn by the last Green Hornet-Paul Reid.
"Paul was a piano player wasn't he?" Dan asked. Britt nodded. "He took up the mantle when great Uncle Britt was murdered. Continued for a while but then retired."
"But what does this have to do with the Collins'?" Dan asked. "They weren't the ones who murdered Uncle Alan and Great Uncle Britt were they?"
"Not directly." Britt said. "Although some of the materials for the explosion that created the bombs that killed them came from Biolab. Crude explosives."
"That doesn't mean Wes was responsible." Dan said. "And what about his dad?"
"Alan Collins denied all knowledge. In the end it came to corporate negligence and he paid for damages. But still...." Dan went to Britt and said "Dad this isn't Brian's Gap. That happened a hundred years ago. And even if there's evil in the Collins family it's not with Wes."
"You can't expect me to believe this!" Wes shouted. "Our ancestor was a traitor to the Texas Rangers? And Biolab helped blow up the Reid's house?"
"Wes. Son. We had nothing with the Reid home being destroyed." Alan tried to say. "Nor did we have anything to do with what our ancestor did to those Texas Rangers."
"No. He just took some dirty money." Wes said. "Kind of like what you do."
"Wes!" Alan shouted as Wes made his way out of the room. Wes turned and said "Dad, I've got a lot to think about." before he saw Karone, who came out of her state, off to the side listening to what was said. In some ways she empathized with Wes as she felt herself dancing on the line with good and evil. However she knew she'd need to give a cover so she didn't give the impression she was evesdropping. To that end she spoke into the phone nearby pretending to complete her call.
"Yes Uncle Ed. You have the address? Good I'll be at the bus stop down the street." She then hung up the phone and told the butler "My uncle is on his way."
"Then may I ask that you take your leave Miss." The butler said. Karone nodded and walked towards the door where she walked into Wes. "Oh sorry."
"It's okay." Karone said. "I was just leaving."
Alan and Wes watched Karone leave as Alan asked the butler as he approached "Cooper who was that?"
"A young lady with car trouble sir." The butler said. "She needed to use the phone."
Alan watched Karone walk away and had a strange feeling about her. Wes however watched Karone leave and thought she looked pretty.
Back at the Reid mansion Cyane continued to listen to the story of the Reids and the Collins' as she sat perched above them in her phased state. A living ghost invisible to all in the room.
As she listened to the story Britt Reid had told his son she found herself intrigued by it. A feud that went back a century. One family still touched by the darkness of an ancestor and the sin he had commited over a century ago, and another family that fought for the light for the light of justice. Starting from one instant in the past they had moved on to ensurejustice in many guises over a century. Clearly the Reids were a noble family that could well be Ranger material.
All the more reason the UAE would want her to corrupt Dan Reid. To twist his noble heart into something dark. Something evil. Perverting his hopes and dreams of heroism and turning him into an evil warrior that would stand by her side. Yes, that would do Dark Specter proud.
-So why do I not want to do that?- Cyane asked herself.
When she looked at Dan, and saw his handsome features, she felt something awaken in herself. Something that went against everything Ecliptor and Dark Specter taught her. She felt.....strange, as if her emotions were in a state of chaos. Just then Hayashi Kato entered and bowed.
"Britt, it's time for Dan to continue his lesson." Hayashi said.
"I've told Dan everything." Britt said. Hayashi looked stunned. "Britt is that wise?"
"I will admit it's a little to digest." Dan said. "And I need time to mull this over but yeah. I know." Hayashi nodded when his head jerked up. The Reids were wondering what Hayashi was up to as was Cyane who sat from her phased hiding place.
"Hayashi, what is it?" Britt asked. Hayashi looked around the room as if trying to spot something that could not be seen with the human eye. "We are not alone." he said as his gaze finally turned to where Cyane sat hovering. Their eyes locked. He recognized her. He knew she was there.
Immediately Cyane disappeared from Hayashi's eyes. "It's gone now."
"What was it Hayashi?" Dan asked knowing of his uncle's perceptions. A trick Dan had a hard time learning. Hayashi turned to Dan and asked "That girl you were with. What do you know about her?"
"Not much." Dan said. "Her name is Cyane Specter, and I met her at the Brown Derby. Dan thinks there's something off with her though."
"I'm concerned for you son. That's all." Britt said. Hayashi nodded and added "I'd be careful around that girl. There is more to her than we know."
Outside the Reid home Cyane reappeared, taking on a solid form again. She cursed inwards about the fight trainer spotting her, and yet wondered how he could do that. She also wondered what her own feelings were regarding Dan Reid.
She was attracted to him just as he was attracted to her. But was there something else? What was it that prevented her from thinking straight? Why were her feelings all turned around? By all rights she should corrupt this being of good and make him evil.
-So why do I not want to do that?- Cyane asked herself Cyane remembered an old story about a war where two rival pilots went down. A male and female from colony worlds caught in a dispute. They were sworn enemies sworn to kill each other, but while they were marooned they did what no one else could have thought they'd do.
They fell in love.
-Can't be.- Cyane thought. -There's no way I could be in love with him. Is there?-
Cyane teleported away in a shimmer of purple sparkles. She needed to get her mind clear when it came to her feelings. She hoped Karone's success with Wes Collins would go better.
From the control room Ecliptor looked on at the progress of the Princesses below. It seemed as if Karone was making some inroads with the Collins boy, but Cyane...Astronema....was having difficulty.
"Pray that you find your way Princess." Ecliptor said. "Don't let that boy beguile you." Ecliptor then turned to leave the room leaving the Quantron guard as the only occupant. Once Ecliptor was gone the Quantron made its way to the communications console and sent out a message.
A message to its true masters. Masters that were not Astronema or Artemis.
In the event that a member of the Sisterhood was on thin ice with Dark Specter, or was in danger of being expelled from the UAE altogether, the Gorgon Sisters employed sleeper agents among members of the foot soldiers their respective sisters commanded. The Astro Princesses were no exception, as the Gorgons had several sleeper agents in the ranks of the Quantrons.
The three Gorgons listened to one such report. They had heard several reports where Artemis had been disappearing at certain periods of time. Intense scans had indicated that she was spending time with a young Earth male, apparently dressed as an inhabitant of Earth, and not in her Artemis attire. Images indicated that the two were becoming quite friendly, and it caused concern for the sisters. Impostra especially.
The Gorgons decided to take a wait and see approach to Artemis's relationship. As she had not been letting it deviate from her duties as a Princess of Evil, and she was currently in a learning role. But Astronema....
....well Impostra thought Astronema should have known better. If the Quantron's report was accurate.
"This is distressing news." Impostra said as she cut off the transmission from the Quantron. "It seems two of our have fallen into a terrible trap."
"A trap?" Maronda asked. "How can falling in love be a trap?"
"Besides." Deceptra added. "It seems our two Astro Princesses have chosen well for themselves. I mean they seem to be good stock for humans, especially males."
"Stock yes. Equals no." Impostra said. "We are not to share anything with males. And that includes our hearts. We are the dominators, they are the dominated." Impostra and Maronda nodded at their sister's words as she continued to speak.
"If love was allowed for us." Impostra said. "We might as well be good ourselves. No, love is something that must be forever denied to the darkness. That is our way." Deceptra nodded as did Maronda to their sister's words. Despite not totally agreeing with them. However if Impostra picked up on their dissatisfaction she did not show it.
"They must learn that love is something we can never have. Never." She then called for Icy Angel and the adjutant of the Sisterhood appeared. "What do you wish mistresses?" she asked.
Impostra answered by placing a picture at Icy Angel's feet. A picture of Dan Reid. "There is another, but he will be dealt with at a later time." Impostra said.
"Why just one mistress?" Icy asked.
"Two would be suspicious. The death of one is all that's needed for the lesson to be learned." Impostra said. "See that nothing leads back to us."
Icy nodded as she knew the person she knew would be able to help.
In another section of space, amidst the Outer Rim sectors floated a ship. A ship that was the flagship of the Emperor Grumm of the Troobian Empire.
Grumm was considered an independent. An evil not part of the UAE and was acting on his own initiative. There were several independent evil empires outside UAE jurisdiction, as well as evil operators serving as marauders and pirates. Grumm's was one such empire due to it being placed far away outside UAE reach. Despite Dark Specter's consolidation of power, that reach didn't reach all the way out into space. And since Grumm made no plays for UAE territory Dark Specter left Grumm alone for the most part.
On board his ship was Grumm's chief monster maker. A woman with the mentality of a twelve year old, since that was the age she preferred to be. Grumm made the promise to transform her back into the age she desired if she would serve as monster maker for him. The woman accepted, and she was changed back into the age she preferred. She also took on the name Mora when she was at her desired age.
When she was Mora she took great pleasure at the malicious evil she had done. Also when she was in the body of a twelve year old it left the courts confused as to whether or not she could be persecuted as she was in the body of a minor. This enabled Mora to get off on technicalities at best, a small amount of time in a juvenile detention center at worst. However Mora was able to tough out time in juvi.
But there would be times when Mora would disappoint Grumm. And Mora would be changed back to her actual age, and her identity of the mad woman Morganna.
Currently she was in her Morganna form as she paced the floor. She was an attractive beauty with a purple scar running down her face, and was adorned in a purple and black body suit that had a helmet which could cover her face once it was activated. But in reality she had the mentality of a twelve year old, and longed for the body of one...again.
However her imagination for creating monsters remained as fruitful as ever, and it was that knowledge Icy Angel needed. Immediately she appeared before Morganna. Morganna was surprised by the sight of Icy Angel appearing and wondered who she was.
"Hello Mora, or should I say Morganna." Icy Angel said. "Allow me to introduce myself, I am Icy Angel, of the Sisterhood of Evil."
"Sisterhood huh?" Morganna asked. "I've never heard of you."
"That was because you spent a lot of time trying to play with your dollies than try to find out who we were." Icy Angel said. "But despite all that there is some help I require of you?"
"Help?" Morganna asked as she held her ragged doll that she named 'Cindy Sunshine'. "What kind of help?"
"I am in need of your imagination." Icy Angel said. "I need a monster that cannot be detected."
"Cannot be detected?" Morganna asked. "What do you mean?"
Icy Angel sighed as she explained. "Many monsters in the UAE can be identified to whichever member has them in their forces. I need a monster that can't be traced to anyone there."
"What if they trace it back to the Troobian Empire?" Morganna asked. "Grumm won't be happy if whoever you sent this monster after traces it back to him, or in this case me."
"You have always managed to avoid detection when it comes to monsters." Icy Angel said. "Since the monsters come from your own imagination then they can't be traced back to you. That's a talent we can use."
"Really?" Morganna asked. "And what's in it for me?"
Icy Angel pulled out a vial and left it in front of Morganna. "If the monster is successful then this will restore you to your child like form that you so enjoy."
Morganna looked so happy that she immediately picked up her drawing book and was thinking of ideas. "What do you want?" she asked unable to wait to be a kid again. Icy Angel considered what would be considered 'appropriate' for this 'lesson' to the Princesses and had an idea.
"How about....something that signifies....broken hearts." Icy smiled at her deviousness. Morganna just said "Oh goody." and began working. -The sooner these monsters do what they have to the sooner I'll be a kid again, and I don't have to bow to that...Grumm.- Morganna pushed thoughts of Grumm out of her mind as she resumed her work.
Nothing would stop her, or the monsters she was going to create.
Outside the Collins home Sabrina teleported in. She was wearing her Earth clothes of a gold t-shirt, blue jeans, black vest and shoes as she looked at the mansion. "Andros I've arrived." Sabrina said. "You sure we don't need the others here?"
"Positive." Andros said as he thought of the decision that he made at the last minute. Instead of all the Rangers going down he decided that only he and Sabrina would go. He thought the presence of too many people might be overwhelming and that one on one confrontation would have been a better way to go. He asked the other Rangers to remain on standby in case there was any trouble. They agreed. "If Astronema shows up we can have the others teleport down."
"Do you see anything?" Sabrina asked. Andros said he didn't. "It seems quiet. No sign of Astronema anywhere."
"None here either, but I'll keep in touch." Sabrina said as she signed off and looked around for a place to enter the estate. The gates were locked and she had a feeling the occupants would not allow visitors. She then saw a tree off in the distance that reached over the outer wall and Sabrina smiled. She had found her way in.
Sabrina triggered her transformation and in a shimmer of golden energy transformed into her panther state. Once she was finished Sabrina climbed the tree using her claws to climb. She then walked carefully across the reaching branch until she was over the wall and then she jumped off and landed on the ground below.
Once she landed she then sniffed the air hoping to catch a scent. Granted she may not have known Wes's scent, but she would have at least been able to detect if there was anyone nearby. Sabrina then remained in her panther form as she tried to find where Wes was. Sure enough she picked up on the scent of what could only have come from a young human male, but there was something else as well.
Another scent. One belonging to a human female, but this one was different. It didn't smell like a human of Earth. In fact the scent reminded Sabrina of Andros, only it wasn't him.
It was female.
-Another Kerovan?- Sabrina asked herself. Then she had a thought cross her mind. A thought of who else it could have been. -Astronema-
Sabrina ran as fast as her feline form could carry her hoping to find Wes before it was too late.
In the estate gardens Wes was walking as he was trying to come to grips with what was told to him about his family history. A history that he had to do a lot of thinking about.
He knew that the Collins family name was not a squeaky clean name, but he never figured that someone in his family could have been a Judas. Someone that sold out his friends to a man who was a monster. "And what does that say about me?" Wes asked himself. "Am I slated to be a corporate backstabber? Or worse?" So lost in thought was Wes he didn't see a shimmer come in from behind as if someone teleported in and came to his side.
"This seat taken?" the voice of a young girl asked. Wes looked up and saw the face of Karone looking at him. "Weren't you the girl that made the phone call?"
"Yeah. My uncle will take a while to get here." Karone said. "So I thought I'd wait here."
"But how'd you get in?" Wes asked. "I thought the gardens were locked."
"Gardens?" Karone asked. "You mean this isn't a park?" Karone said the last line with so much charm that Wes couldn't help but smile. Soon both teens started laughing at how funny Karone's line sounded.
"I'm sorry." Wes said. "I needed a good laugh."
"Happy to provide." Karone answered. "So you want to tell me the real reason why you're hurting?"
Wes sighed as he looked at Karone. Something in her eyes told her that she was being sincere in her question. But there was also something else there. A darkness. At first Wes was wondering if he should tell her anything, but then there was something else as well. A sincerity, and genuine concern for Wes's welfare. And he didn't even know her.
But he could trust her.
"My dad told me a story of our family." Wes said. "About someone that sold out good honest men to a criminal. And how that stain of evil has followed our family throughout the generations. Even to me." Karone nodded listening intently as Wes continued to speak.
"I always wanted to be in control of my own destiny." Wes said. "But lately it seems like there are.....things that want to steer me in directions I don't want to go. Now with this...family evil thing. I'm wondering if I even have a direction to go. Or am I slated to be corporate raider and a backstabber?"
Karone listened to Wes empathizing with his plight. And in some ways knowing what he was feeling. Like Wes she knew what it was like to be torn between darkness, or to have it slated in her destiny. Just like when Dark Specter had her placed on the top of a list to be the Princess of Darkness only to escape that and be the person she wanted to be. And yet have that darkness yank her back later. After sighing she spoke to Wes.
"I wish I could say that things would be easier for you. But I can't." Karone said. "I know what it's like to be forced into a role you don't want, and yet finding out that that role was always made for you. But there's one thing that's worse than that."
"What's that?" Wes asked.
"Not being in control of your life." Karone said. "I'd dread it if someone forced me down a role and I couldn't escape from it. Taking my choices away leaving me with no say in how I can control my life." Karone looked at Wes and drove her point home.
"No matter what happens in life, be true to yourself." Karone said. "Whether your life has good or evil in it, never lose sight of who you are." Karone looked at Wes and added "And from what I see you're a pretty nice guy."
"Thanks". Wes said as he and Karone continued to talk, but their conversation would be ending soon.
Off in the brush Sabrina the panther continued to walk until she came to a clearing. Once she went through she saw someone whom she figured was Wes, and someone else she didn't recognize. A blonde girl whose face she couldn't see.
-Could be Astronema, but I can't tell. I also don't want to spook the boy.- Sabrina then decided to change back into her human form, and in a shimmer of gold energy the panther transformed back into Sabrina's human form. She then walked down the path making her way to where Wes was talking to Karone.
Wes and Karone continued to talk when she felt a presence. Turning her head Karone saw someone approaching down a path on the mansion grounds. When she saw the person approach Karone immediately knew who it was, the Gold Astro Ranger Sabrina.
-Felgercarb. I can't let her see me like this.- Karone thought as she got up. She then looked at something that could pass for a watch and said "Oh look at the time. I've got to go, but remember what I said."
"Will I see you again?" Wes asked as the blonde girl walked away. Karone turned back and said "You never know. I do....pop into the neighborhood from time to time. So you might see me again. See you later though. I've got a bus to catch."
Karone then walked off and as soon as she was out of Wes's sight teleported out of the area. Just then Sabrina came forward noticing Karone walk away. She didn't notice the teleport though as her attention was focused on Wes primarily, but that didn't stop her from asking about the girl. For even though Sabrina only caught a glimpse of Karone there was something familiar about her. Something Sabrina didn't have time to place.
"Who was that?" Sabrina asked.
"A girl." Wes answered. "Do you think this is a park too?"
"This is a park?" Sabrina asked. Again Wes laughed and Sabrina chuckled as well. "So you here to give me a lecture on darkness as well?"
Sabrina sat as she thought of her time as Scorpina. "I know of darkness. I've.....well let's say I've had some experiences in my life that I've come to regret today."
"How old are you?" Wes asked. "You don't seem to look older than eighteen or twenty."
"That young?" Sabrina blushed. "I'm flattered. You're going to knock the socks off some pretty girl in the future." Now it was Wes's turn to blush.
"But I wasn't always a 'good girl'." Sabrina said. "For a while I was a real bitch. And didn't care who I hurt."
"What changed?" Wes asked.
"I found the road to being bad was a dead end, and was kicked to the curb. But then someone offered me a chance to change and I took it." Sabrina explained.
"But does that mean I could turn bad?" Wes asked. "Or maybe a descendant of mine would do what that other Collins did at Brian's Gap?"
Sabrina sighed. "No one can see the future. For all I know there will be a Collins that turns bad. But there's one thing that I can tell right now by talking to you." Wes asked "What't that?"
"It won't be you." Sabrina said with a smile. "You don't seem to have a bad bone in your body."
"Comes from having a good mom I guess." Wes said as his mind then turned to the memory of his mother. "She died when I was little. And it seemed like a lot of things died with her when she died." Sabrina listened to the story as Wes tried to remember.
"My mom was....very beautiful. Sweet, kind, she made my dad smile whenever business was too much for him. Then she got cancer. The doctors tried to do everything for her, but it wasn't enough. She died in bed." Wes then remembered the last words his mother said to him. "Live your life for yourself. Don't let life take control of you."
"Beautiful words." Sabrina said as she thought of her own mother wondering if she'd be proud of the direction she was taking now. "Kind of reminds me of my own mother. Or the woman I called mother."
"What was she like?" Wes asked.
"Oh she was quite the task master." Sabrina said as she remembered fighting sessions she and Dulcea had. Sabrina's mother never let either of them slouch on training as the Ninjetti called for warriors to be able to bring out their best at a moment's notice. Despite all that however she made time for loving her children, at the time however Sabrina was too proud to see the love her mother sought to give.
When she became Scorpina her mother was devastated as one of her children fell to the darkness. Now that she was back at the light Sabrina wished for one more chance to see her mother again, to say that she was sorry for all that had been done. But that would not happen, as the mother of the Sabrina and Dulcea had passed away a millennium ago. "I wish I could see her again." Sabrina said. "Just to say I'm sorry for being such a problem child so long ago." Wes reached out his hand when Sabrina's Astro Morpher then went off.
"Sorry, I've got to go. But remember what I've said." Sabrina got up and Wes couldn't believe it. Two hot women were talking to him and then they were up and leaving him. "But, I don't know your name."
"It's Sabrina." Sabrina said. "And don't worry. I'll be around a bit. You'll see me again." Sabrina then ran off around a corner and brought up her communicator. "Andros what's up?"
"Monsters." Andros said over the line. "They are heading towards my location. I've called in the other Astro Rangers. Need you here fast."
"On my way." Sabrina said as she brought up her morpher to activate her morphing call. "LET'S ROCKET!!!" she shouted as she morphed into Gold Astro and teleported to where the disturbance was supposed to be.
Wes sat in the Collins gardens with a lot to think about in regards to the past and his own future.
Cyane waited at the meeting place she said she would meet Karone at. An old bus stop that hadn't seen use for years. It was part of an old route that was discontinued long ago. No one came there anymore so that made it a perfect place for the Astro Princesses to meet.
Cyane sat and waited as her thoughts turned to Dan. She was torn in her feelings for him. Evil demanded that she try to turn him, but there was a part of him that didn't want to turn him. That to turn him would kill the aspect that was fascinating to her.
-That is what evil does.- a voice echoed through Cyane's mind. A voice that sounded like Dark Specter's, but since Cyane didn't sense Dark Specter's presence behind the voice she deduced that it was her imagination running away from her. An imagination that was serving as a sort of 'dark conscience' to her.
-Evil dominates. It destroys. It conquers. When it rebuilds the aspects that are rebuilt are in the image of the beholder. To serve the wills and wishes of that beholder.-
-But I....I don't want to destroy or dominate Dan.- thought Cyane.
-You must. It is your role. It is your destiny.-
"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!" Cyane shouted as she shot awake. Her time waiting for Karone caused her to nod off. Waking from the nightmare however brought her back to full awareness. But she still was in a quandary about what to do about Dan.
-Do I love him?- she asked herself knowing, and fearing, the answer. Just then Karone appeared in a shimmer of sparkles and Cyane went to greet her. Trying her best to shake romantic thoughts of Dan Reid out of her mind. "So, any luck with your target?" Cyane asked.
"No." Karone said not getting into details. "You?"
Cyane hesitated trying to figure what to say. She didn't want to give any hints of her attraction to Dan Reid in fear that it could get back to the wrong people. She could imagine Rita and Divatox having a field day with that information. "Nope. Just a wild goose chase." Cyane said. In her mind Cyane added -You are so lucky to have broken up with that Ranger boyfriend. You don't have to go through the felgercarb I'm going through.-
Karone however batted her eye at Cyane's response. She had the sneaking suspicion there was more Cyane was not saying, but she figured Cyane would tell in due time. "I'm making my way to the fortress now. Will I see you there?"
"I'll catch up." Cyane answered in response. "I want to see a few things first." With that Karone changed her attire into her Artemis get up and teleported back to the Dark Fortress. Cyane was left alone with her thoughts. Thoughts that kept turning to one in particular.
-What are you doing to me?- Cyane asked frustratingly. -I can't be in love with you I can't be.- Cyane fumed inward trying to get her feelings and mind together. There was no such luck. Dan was firmly locked in her thoughts.
So much to the point that she teleported back to the Reid mansion.
In a purple shimmer Cyane appeared outside the gates of the massive house. She looked through the gates and saw Dan being trained by Hayashi on the front lawn. They were doing a series of martial arts attacks as they sparred with great intensity. Cyane watched as she teleported from the gate to a nearby tree where she could sit and watch. Cyane had to acknowledge Hayashi's skills. Clearly he was an expert martial artist.
But Dan...Dan had an intensity to him that seemed unparalleled. It looked as if Dan had the will to win, but that will came not from competition, but from another source. A source from within Dan Reid that aspired him to be noble and caring. To fight for what he believed was just.
It was that aspect that intrigued Cyane. That made her....
-....no don't say it. You can't. You can't be....- Cyane was about to complete the thought when she noticed Britt and Lenore Reid come up to where their son and family friend were training. They seemed ready to congratulate their son
...when three monsters suddenly appeared. Cyane looked at the three that were swarming around the four individuals. Her sense of curiosity shifting into overdrive. "I didn't call for any monsters." Cyane said in confusion. "Who are they?"
Cyane leapt down from her perch and edged closer wanting to learn more. Her first big question being who invaded her territory.
Not far away from the battle Red Astro stood awaiting the arrival of the rest of his team. When the other seven teleport streaks arrive Silver Astro asked "Andros what's up?"
"Three monsters just set down." Andros said pointing to the three that arrived. Yellow Astro commented "Ewwww. Who designed their outfits?"
"I'm not sure I want to know." Pink Astro added. Red then asked Gold "Sabrina, do you recognize them?"
"No." Gold Astro said. "They don't match any known record in the UAE database. Granted there may be some unknown monsters, but I doubt that they would be in the files."
"What are you saying?" Blue Astro asked.
"I'm saying that Astronema may not be behind these monsters." Gold Astro said. "I think maybe an independent sent them."
"An independent?" Green Astro asked. "What's an independent?"
"On that didn't join the UAE and acts on their own." Red Astro explained. Gold then said "So fearless leader what are we to do?" Just then the communicator activated and Dimetria was on the other end. "Yeah Dimetria what's up?"
"Rangers, protect the boy in white at all costs." Dimetria said. Everyone wondered why. "Why Dimetria?" Blue Astro asked.
"Destiny is about to come into place for him." Dimetria explained. "Just make sure he's protected."
"We will." Red said as the Astros made ready to attack, but then someone else entered the fray. A red haired girl dressed in purple. "Whoa Andros. Who's that?" Black Astro asked.
"I don't know." Red said, but for some reason Red Astro thought the girl looked....familiar.
The Reids and Hayashi looked around at the three monsters that looked like female punk rockers that were circling around their potential victims. Dan, Hayashi, and Britt took fighting stances wondering what these freaks were doing at their home, and looking to keep Lenore safe. "What are you freaks?" Dan asked.
The three monsters stood as if they were members of a rock band. One seemed to have a guitar shaped like an ax for a weapon. Another looked like they had a keyboard strapped to their shoulder, a keyboard that could fire deadly bolts of energy at its targets. And the third looked like it had drums on its front. They then took dramatic poses introducing themselves. "I'm a Hearthbreaker!" one monster sung.
"Dreammaker!" sang another.
"Lovetaker!" sang the third.
"Don't you mess around with us!" all three sang in unison and then resumed their circling of the Reids. Dan however shook his head as he thought the monsters must have been inspired by some sort of Pat Benetar fan or something. "What do you want?" Britt asked.
"Our orders are to kill your son." Dreammaker said as she brought her weapon to bear. Suddenly Cyane appeared and walked before the three. "Stop!" she shouted.
The three rock monsters were stunned to see Cyane there. "Uhhhh who are you?"
"Cyane what are you doing here?" Dan asked.
"Saving your bacon, if that's the right way I remember the term." Cyane then turned to the three monsters and addressed them. "This planet is under UAE jurisdiction. On whose orders do you trespass on my world of conquest?"
-World of conquest?- the Reids and Hayashi all asked themselves wondering what Cyane was talking about. "And what's it to you bitch?" Heartbreaker asked.
"I am the Princess Astronema." Cyane said. "Heir to the mighty Dark Specter himself. I demand you address your presence here at once." The three 'musicians' talked amongst themselves then Lovetaker turned and said "Like that's supposed to mean something to us?"
"I said leave." Cyane added. "If you don't then you will feel the wrath of Dark Specter, especially if any harm comes to his heir." Dan looked at Cyane confused but she just winked at Dan as if saying "Trust me I know what I'm doing."
"Oh really?" Dreammaker asked in mock astonishment. "Well guess what 'Princess', bring on the big bad wrath!" Dreammaker then fired a bolt of energy that encircled Cyane and enveloped her form. Immediately after she was totally enveloped Cyane disappeared.
"CYANE!!!" Dan called out as he was scared for her. Despite the questions he had of her he was still very concerned about her well being. He then charged the monsters when Lovetaker then crossed Dan's path saying
"Uh uh uh! No following the beauty." Lovetaker sneered.
That's what you think." a voice said from above as Astro Rangers all swept in from the sky blasting with their Astro Blasters. The monsters were driven back. Hayashi moved to get Britt and Lenore to safety. Dan also found cover, but in a place where he could still watch the battle.
The Astro Rangers then all appeared ready to face the mutants. "You monsters are going down." Red Astro shouted.
"Oh I don't think so." Heartbreaker said as she opened a portal. "Beyond that portal is a hostage. You make a move against me and she dies."
"A hostage? Who?" Yellow Astro asked.
"A girl named Cyane." Dan said coming out of hiding and walking to the side of the Rangers. He then turned to the three monsters and addressed them. "And if you monsters have done something to her there is no place you can go that you won't be able to hide from me."
"Oh I'm sure our employers can live with that." Lovetaker sneered. Pink asked "Who are your employers."
"That's privileged information." Heartbreaker asked. "But get this, the girl thought she was Astronema."
"Astronema!" Red Astro said in shock. Had these three monsters before them taken out the Princess of Evil, and they were turning their attention to a young teenaged boy for some reason no one knew. Before any of the Astros could totally process what was being said Dan took the floor.
"I don't care if she's the Princess of Hell. I'm going after her, and I'm going to save her from you. And if I know Power Rangers, they are going to beat you all the way from here to Kingdom Come." The Rangers all looked at each other. They admired Dan's spunk, but they also believed he had no business in the battle. Yellow Astro went up to Dan and said "Look you've got to get out of here."
"I can't. Not until I know Cyane is safe." Dan said adamantly. Red Astro then called into the communicator and asked D.E.C.A. to teleport Dan somewhere safe, but Dimetria interrupted.
"Andros. Perhaps it's best to transport him to the Megaship." Dimetria said over the comm line. Red Astro was confused. "Why Dimetria?"
"I believe we have found a suitable successor for the White powers." Red Astro looked at Dan and was concerned. "Are you sure Dimetria?" Red Astro asked.
"I am." Dimetria said. "He has a strong spirit, and a noble heart. I wish to make the offer to him."
"Offer what offer?" Dan asked.
"Come here and let me tell you." Dimetria said. Dan nodded and soon Dan was enveloped in a white light sent shooting upwards. Dan was teleported out of the battle to the Megaship, where Dimetria would make her offer.
"And now with the guests out of the way we can get to battle." Red Astro said as the Astro Rangers took defensive stances. The monsters also took stances as they were ready to strike. A strike Dreammaker was ready to draw first blood on. Bringing her keyboard weapon to bear a stream of energy shot out and struck the Astros back, allowing heartbreaker to deliver a series of slashes to Rangers knocking them down.
"Lovetaker used her drums to send a series of sonic blasts to bring the Rangers down. Once they were on the ground the monsters seemed ready to celebrate.
What they wouldn't know was that the battle was only beginning.
On board the Astro Megaship Dan Reid materialized in front of the Power Vault where Dimetria was waiting. "Welcome." Dimetria said.
Dan looked around to study his surroundings. "Uhhhh. Not to sound like a total dingbat but, where am I?"
"You are on board the Astro Megaship." Dimetria explained. "Headquarters of the Power Rangers Astro. Or what is better known as Space Rangers in other circles."
"Space Rangers?" Dan asked remembering an earlier news report about a new team of Rangers arriving when it seemed that the Morphin and Zeo teams had disappeared for a few months. "And I am on board the headquarters of those Rangers?"
"Yes Daniel Reid." Dimetria said. "And I am here to make you an offer." Dimetria then punched in a code on the vault keypad and the door opened. Inside were two separate racks. One was bare while a second one had two separate devices hanging from it. One adorned on a white rack, while another was adorned on a purple rack.
"The one in white is yours if you want it." Dimetria said. Dan looked stunned at the sight before him. Here was this woman, offering him the chance to be a super hero, much like his ancestors had been. Still the question came to his mind. "Why me?"
"Why not?" Dimetria asked. "Your family has always been in the service of justice and honor. Ever since John Reid took up the mantle of the Lone Ranger, and your great uncle, your father and your uncle took up the mantle of the Green Hornet, they sought to aid the cause of justice. Such a cause is one you share." Dan nodded in agreement, but he had questions. The first one predominant in his mind.
"How do you know of my family history?" Dan asked.
"I have made it a practice to know of the history of the heroes and heroism of your people." Dimetria answered. "Your ancestors are but a few chapters in a long story of your planets legacy of heroes and heroism. Chapters I have found....uplifting."
Dan smiled as if he appreciated the compliment, but he still felt overwhelmed about everything. "It's true my family has done many things in the cause of justice. But me....as a Ranger?"
"It is time for you to form your own legacy Dan Reid." Dimetria said. "A legacy with you as a Power Ranger." The White morpher stood before Dan ready for him to take. Dan however had questions still. "Was there another who had these powers?"
Dimetria couldn't lie to Dan. he deserved to know. "Yes, there was another. He however perished at the hands of an evil foe. A foe that has been since dispatched."
"Still there is the possibility of death in all this." Dan said. Dimetria nodded. "If I don't take these powers what will happen to Cyane?"
"I do not know." Dimetria said. "But the risk to her could be greater if you do not take them." Dan nodded realizing the consequences. Cyane could be hurt, or worse, if he didn't take the powers. And how many more could he save as the White Ranger?
Dan Reid made his choice as her grabbed the morpher off the rack and placed it on his wrist. The words formed on his list as he activated the 3-3-5 morphing code. "LET'S ROCKET!!!"
Where Daniel Reid once stood, now stood the White Astro Ranger.
And the White Astro Ranger had a girl to save.
"Portal frequency detected. Generating portal." D.E.C.A. called out. The portal then opened and White Astro made ready to enter. "Before you go, you will need something to travel with." By White Astro's side came a white board that seemed to hover in the sky as if waiting for White Astro to get on. "What's this?"
"Your Galaxy Glider." Dimetria said. "It will aid you in your journey. In the event you need any help just call out "Galaxy Glider, Hang Ten and it will come to you. It also has other abilities that you can call upon."
"What abilities?" White Astro asked.
"The power will tell you when the time is right. For right now you need to make the jump." White Astro nodded as he got on the glider ready as he would ever be to journey into the unknown.
"Good luck." Dimetria said. White Astro nodded indicating that he would be careful.
Then he jumped in the portal looking to rescue Cyane, alias Astronema.
She didn't remember much. Just the energy enveloping her and reality twisting and turning around her. Then came the darkness. A darkness that was starting to clear in her mind. As she opened her eyes she took a look at her surroundings she met with the glare of the sun hitting her eyes.
Cyane picked herself up from the ground she had laid on and brought her arm forward to block the sun's glare. As she shielded herself from the brightness of the sun she looked around and found herself in a desert. A rocky desert with an opening composed of two cliffs. Cyane didn't know where she was as she couldn't place the geography, however she assumed it was somewhere on Earth.
"Now where's civilization?" Cyane asked as she tried to figure out which direction she would go. Off in the distance she heard footsteps, footsteps synonymous with the animal known as 'the horse'. She looked and saw twenty riders coming her way. One rider made a comment and said "Whoooeeee. Look at that!"
"Quiet Reeves." the leader said. He then looked at Cyane, who was now wearing a purple shirt with vest, jeans and boots. Clothes that seemed to reflect the time period she was now in. -Did that portal throw me back in time?-
The lead rider however came forward. "Miss. You okay? You lost?"
"Uhhhhh. Yeah." Cyane said. "I'm lost. Can you show me the way back to town?"
"Well the walk back will take you a while. You'll need a horse." the leader said. Quickly he ordered one of his men to dismount and offer Cyane his ride. Cyane nodded in thanks. "Thank you Mr....."
"Reid. Captain Dan Reid." the leader said. Immediately Cyane's blood ran cold as she heard the name. -Reid?- She studied the features of the Captain and noticed the resemblance to the Dan Reid she knew. She then realized where she was, or rather when.
She was somewhere in Dan Reid's family history. Possibly at the spot where the first Reid hero 'the Lone Ranger' was born.
"You better get clear miss." another rider said. "We're huntin down Butch Cavendish. He just murdered the town newspaper editor. We're here to bring him to justice."
"You are going to bring someone to justice?" Cyane asked. "Who are you?"
"Why Ma'am, we're Texas Rangers." another rider said trying to be charming. Cyane was chilled at the mentioning of 'Rangers' but these Rangers were nothing like the Power Rangers she had faced. Perhaps these 'Texas Rangers' were something completely different.
"All the same ma'am you'd better get clear." Captain Reid said. He then turned to another Ranger and gave his orders. "Collins. Scout out ahead. See if it's safe."
"You got it Cap'n." a Ranger said as he brought forth his horse to ride ahead. Captain Reid then said "Be careful Collins."
"Always am Cap." 'Collins' said. Cyane's eyes went wide as she heard the Ranger's name. -Collins?- Cyane asked herself as watched as the man named Collins rode ahead as another came up to her side. It was then that Cyane realized what was happening. She was reliving the battle of Brian's Gap. Where the Texas Rangers were going to be betrayed.
"Miss? You okay?" a man asked. Cyane was startled as she turned to see a man with another face that reminded her of Dan. Cyane regained her composure and answered "Yeah sure Mr...."
"John. John Reid." the man said in introduction. Cyane asked "Are you and the Captain...?"
"Brothers? Yeah." John said. "But look Dan wasn't kidding when he said things were going to get dangerous. You'd better get clear." Cyane was about to nod when on the top of the mountain Collins waved the Rangers forward signifying that the gap was safe.
"Wait." Cyane said. "Are you guys sure its safe?"
"Missy." Captain Reid said. "Collins has been with us for years. There ain't one of us that don't trust him." The Texas Rangers all nodded then rode in to the gap with Cyane looking wondering what to do next.
"Probably not the smartest thing I've done." Cyane said as she brought her horse to follow the Texas Ranges from a distance following them right into the middle of Brian's Gap. Where Butch Cavendish and his men were ready to ambush her.
White Astro found riding the Galaxy Glider for the first time to be an enjoyable experience. The rush of going through the portal at racing speed was a thrill in itself. It almost reminded him of surfing a California wave. To his surprise he didn't wipe out.
-Must be something in the power keeping me from doing that.- White Astro thought as he continued to ride the vortex wave. The wave seemed turbulent, but no more than riding some waves on the California surf as he had done once or twice, not enough to make a career out of but enough to find it fun. Then after some more riding the vortex seemed to open up and once Dan was on the other side he found himself greeted to open sky, and blazing heat.
"Whoa!" White Astro said as he put his hand above his visor hoping to keep the glare from blinding him. Suddenly he had heard the sound of an explosion below and White Astro turned to see where it was..
Looking down he saw the opening of Brian's Gap blown up from the rear, blocking the Texas Rangers' only avenue of escape. White Astro also saw individuals on the rocky bluff ready to attack at their leader's command.
That leader was Major Bartholemew Cavendish. A stocky built, clean shaven, man with a maniacal look in his eyes. He cast a sense of fear and menace about him as he stood atop his mount. He looked down at the gap as the Texas Rangers came into position.
"Oh my god!" White Astro said. "Is this Brian's Gap? Is this where John Reid...?" White Astro had no time to wonder as Cavendish then brought down his arm silently giving the order to fire. White Astro hovered out of sight wondering if he should interfere. He hoped he was looking at an illusion, but what if it wasn't? -Would I be making things better if I stopped Cavendish? Or worse?-
The options swirled in his mind. If he saved John Reid and the other Texas Rangers he would be changing the future. A future where White Astro Ranger Dan Reid, or Dan Reid in any form, may not exist. But if he didn't save John Reid he'd be dooming the other Rangers, and John, to Cavendish's ambush.
-But you would be insuring the Reid legacy. A legacy that will bring much to future generations.- a voice said in Dan's mind. "Who said that?" White Astro asked.
-That's not important right now.- the voice said. -But know that if you interfere now you could be condemning this reality for years to come, denying them the legacy of which you are a part.-
"What?" White Astro asked. The voice explained.
-You wish to avert the tragedy of John Reid. But know that if you avert this tragedy there would be no cause of justice for the Reid's to follow. No beacon of light to follow amidst legends and stories. One that many need.-
"But...wouldn't there be others taking up the fight?" White Astro asked.
-Perhaps. But not in the way that you and others would know. This is a major point in history. Would you deny millions a hero just to avert one tragedy?-
White Astro considered the question and accepted the answer. If he stopped Cavendish there would be no Lone Ranger. No heroic legacy of the Reid family. There would be no Dan Reid as he himself knew him. Changing history was no guarantee that things would be better. In fact, he could wind up making things worse. It hurt him to make the decision he had to make, but he really did have no choice.
-I'm sorry.- White Astro thought as he looked down at the slaughter of the Texas Rangers. -But I'm here for Cyane. Not for you. May God have mercy on your souls....and mine as well.-
White Astro stood as he watched as honorable men, and two ancestors were being cut down by a cowardly attack.
-Welcome to the curse of viewing time Daniel Reid. The blessing is that only we know what tomorrow may bring.- The voice then faded leaving Dan to watch the last moments of the massacre of the Texas Rangers.
The last one surviving was John Reid who was calling for his dead brother. Crawling to his side as he bled. White Astro watched as John crawled.
"Dan." John was saying with tears in his eyes. Tears that were more from the pain of losing his brother than anything Cavendish could have done to him. "Dan." John repeated as he made it to his brother's side. A brother who was now dead. John Reid wept for his lost brother for a few seconds. Seconds that Cavendish had allowed until he decided the time was at an end for John Reid.
Cavendish brought out his gun and opened fire on John Reid. The bullet hit John sending him into bleak unconsciousness, almost to death.
White Astro turned away at the sight, but he took comfort in the knowledge that someone would help John later so he went to look for Cyane. However the whoosh of the engines went heard by the bandits who looked up at the sight of the flying Astro Ranger. Immediately the Cavendish gang opened fire with Cavendish himself looking intrigued at the sight of the White Astro Ranger.
"Impressive." Cavendish said at the sight above him. "A man flying on a board."
"What kind of Indian trick is this Butch?" one of the bandits asked as he fired at the White Astro, who seemed to be buzzing around like a bee.
"No trick." Cavendish said. "Rather a marvel. A marvel that can be destroyed." Cavendish then brought forth his gun and leveled it at White Astro hoping to find a weakness in the defenses of the Ranger. After finding what he believed was a weak spot, an air intake, Cavendish fired.
And hit its mark dead on.
White Astro found his Galaxy Glider to be losing control. He had tried to regain but he found himself losing his balance and falling off the Glider into the gap, amidst the bodies of the Texas Rangers. To say that the fall was a long way down was something of an understatement as the force of the landing caused Dan to demorph into his normal attire. His Ranger powers apparently protecting him from any changes the time vortex would have done to his clothes.
His powers also protected him from serious injury due to the fall he had sustained, a fall that could have killed him. And for all Cavendish knew the fall did kill him.
Cavendish looked at the fallen body of Dan intrigued, but then dismissed him believing that even a magic man could not survive a fall from the height he fell from. The Astro Glider crashed amidst some rocks damaged. Like the fallen body of Dan Cavendish let the Glider go.
He had other things on his mind. Namely the sight of the unconscious girl at the entrance of the gap.
Cyane wasn't a meter inside the gap when an explosion erupted right behind her. It was so close that it was deafening, and it spooked her horse so much that Cyane was thrown off the horse and hit the ground hard. Once she hit she felt unconsciousness overtake her as she succumbed to blackness.
She awoke minutes later to find the menacing form of Cavendish looking down on her. His face was like stone giving little to no expression. His men however were looking down at her drooling.
"Who might you be my dear?" Cavendish asked. Cyane said nothing as she stared at the man she had heard about in the stories of the Reid family. Before her was Major Bartholemew Cavendish.
Looking at the eyes of the man Cyane knew Cavendish was not like any evil she had seen before. He was not the epitome of power Dark Specter was. There was no sign of the code of honor that was part of Ecliptor, now was there a gleeful menace that she saw in other villains. In Cavendish's eyes was an impassiveness. A calm about him that was......chilling. As if there was no darkness, or atrocity that could faze him.
Cyane wondered if Cavendish wasn't a psychopath.
Just then Collins walked up after checking the bodies of the Texas Rangers. Collins nodded confirming that the Texas Rangers were all dead. Cyane's gaze turned to Dan and John Reid who lay together. One dead, the other almost. Bloody brothers side by side.
"They were your friends." Cyane said glaring at Collins. "How could you betray them?"
"So she speaks." Cavendish said. "Excellent. Perhaps you can answer some questions for me."
"Questions?" Cyane asked.
"The appearance of you and that flying white man are oddities I want to know more about. Is it an Indian trick? Are there more I should know about?"
Cyane just shook her head at Cavendish. "I would never tell you."
"Really? We'll see about that." Cavendish said as he drew out his gun....and aimed it in Collins direction. Collins looked on wondering what was going on. Collins had no time to wonder as Cavendish brought his gun towards Collins and shot him in the leg.
"It would look suspicious if the only survivor of Brian's Gap wasn't wounded." Cavendish explained. "Don't be disappointed. You might get a medal." He then turned his gaze towards Cyane who looked at Cavendish with a sense of malice. "And now my dear. What of you?"
Cyane fired a bolt of magic at several of the bandits knocking them back. She was about to aim at Cavendish when he pulled his gun and shot her in the arm. Cyane clutched her arm where the bullet passed. It was just a scratch, but it still hurt Cyane who had never been shot in her life. She had been fired on by lasers and magic, but never hit with a bullet. She then looked at her hand and saw the blood pouring out. The sight of her own blood sent a river of fear in her.
"You'll recover." Cavendish said. "However I am fascinated as to how you just did what you did."
Cyane didn't respond. Her eyes were still focused on the sight of her own blood, and then at the sight of Cavendish who just looked at her impassively. As if not caring that she had been shot.
"Take her back with us." Cavendish ordered as two bandits grabbed her and bound her hands together. Cyane didn't fight back as she was still in shock. "Bind her wound. We'll treat her at the camp." The bandits did so as they put Cyane back on her horse. She was then brought forward to Cavendish as her reins were tied to Cavendish's mount.
"You will follow me." Cavendish said impassively. Cavendish then rode on leaving taking Cyane by the lead, leaving the ambush at Bryan's Gap, and the death that followed, behind them.
The Astro Rangers were taking punishment as the threesome were taking down the Rangers. All three monsters were advancing as the eight Rangers were being driven back.
"Andros. I could do a ki maneuver." Green Astro said. Red was thinking that it was a good idea, but Gold didn't think so. "Not yet Andros. Let's not play our power cards until we know more about these creatures."
"What more do we need to know?" Black Astro asked. "They're wiping the floor with us."
"Like maybe...who sent them?" Gold Astro commented. "Somehow I don't think these monsters are from Astronema."
"Not Astronema?" Blue Astro asked. "Then who?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Heartbreaker asked as she brought out her guitar ax ready to take a swing. Red Astro blocked the attack with his Spiral Saber while Yellow fired her Star Slinger at the monster. Heartbreaker was sent back to her fellow beasts as the three regrouped. "Well that was fun."
"Fun?" Gold Astro asked. Then all of a sudden she had the answer. "Sabrina. You know something?" Pink Astro asked.
"Yeah." Gold said. "Something about these monsters was pounding in the back of my mind. Now I'm sure I know the answer. The design, the personality. I know who sent these monsters."
"Who?" Silver asked. "Is it UAE?"
"Not UAE. She's an independent." Gold said. "One who offers her services to the Troobians Empire. Her name is Morganna. Or Mora. Depending on what age she is."
"Age?" Green Astro asked.
"Let's just say she likes to be young. More than the other UAE villains would." Gold said.
"And wouldn't it be a dream come true for her to be the one to destroy the Astro Rangers?" the three monsters said as they brought forth their musical weapons and fired. The Rangers scattered before the blast hit, but right now they were considering that maybe Alison's augmented ki may not have been a bad idea after all.
Time had passed in Brian's Gap. The bodies of the massacre remained undisturbed, but it wouldn't be so for much longer.
An Indian rode into the gap surveying all that he had seen. Bodies of Texas Rangers cut down. While he had little love for the White man he did feel some sadness that their lives had ended. He knew not what circumstances had led to this massacre, but he would see if there was anything he could do for them. Whether it was in terms of finding survivors, or seeing to their burials so they could rejoin whatever great spirit these lawmen had worshiped.
Unfortunately the Indian had found death wherever he went. Bullet wounds. He knew that no one from his tribe could have done anything like this. No raiding parties were sent against these men. No their deaths were caused by another.
The Indian then came to the bodies of Texas Rangers Dan and John Reid. Dan, like the others, were dead, but when he came to John Reid he still felt breath come from him. John Reid lived, but barely.
The Indian then saw a medallion John wore around his neck. A medallion given to him by the Indian's own tribe. Once, long ago a young boy's family was murdered and their ranch was destroyed. This young boy rescued an Indian that was attacked by a group of cattle rustlers that were destroying ranches hoping to drive settlers off their lands.
The young Indian, whose name was Tonto, took the young John Reid into his tribe and sought to learn the ways of the Indian. Ways that kept the spirits of his parents alive in his heart. John had lived with this tribe for months until Dan had come to take him back.
John didn't want to leave, but he had to. When he left Tonto gave him a medallion and told John "Wherever you go, whatever you do, know that you will always be kemosabe'. Trusted friend." John nodded and remembered.
And now, years later Tonto had come across an adult John Reid. And Tonto would save his life just as John Reid save Tonto's years ago.
As he mounted John Reid's injured body on his horse he noticed another sight. A boy in white laying on the ground. Tonto went to him and noticed the strange garb he wore.
He saw a strong spirit in this boy as well as a feeling. A feeling that the boy's destiny lied elsewhere. Suddenly one appeared behind Tonto. A man in black.
"Don't worry. I'm not here to hurt anyone." The Shadow man had said as he knelt down to young Dan Reid. "I'm just tending to my charge, just as you must tend to yours." Tonto looked to John Reid who was dying before him.
"Tend to kemosabe'. I will tend to the boy here." Tonto nodded as he mounted his horse and rode off with John Reid. Meanwhile the Shadow man was left with Dan Reid who was starting to come to.
His head was aching as was the rest of his body, but he didn't feel that there was anything broken. Willing himself to stand up, Dan did so. And despite feeling dizzy for a brief second he regained his bearings and took a look around. He took a deep breath as he caught sight of the death around him. The stories of death and betrayal echoed throughout his mind, now a glaring reality staring him right in the face.
His great uncle John Reid was gone. The body of Captain Dan Reid remained as well as the bodies of the other Texas Rangers. Dan knew this wouldn't be for long though as he knew John Reid and his Indian rescuer Tonto would be back to bury the dead Rangers. He would have to be gone before they returned. He went to the sight of his crashed glider. It was gone.
"Cavendish didn't take it if that's what you're asking." a voice said from behind. Dan turned and saw a ninja in black standing behind him. Dan took in the sight before him and asked "Who are you?"
"Just a friend." the ninja said. "Although for all intents and purposes you may call me Shadow." Dan's eyes suddenly recognized the voice as the voice that was in his mind telling him not to interfere in the massacre of Brian's Gap. To let history run it's course.
"All right, Shadow." Dan said. "Care to tell me what's going on? What am I doing in Bryan's Gap? And what's going on with Cyane anyway?"
"You have questions." Shadow said. "That's good. But some of the answers may be a little too complicated to answer. What I can answer is that the portal Dreammaker made led to a parallel reality. Similar to the one you came from, but no less real." Shadow paused for a bit as he then added. "Parallel realities are kind of like gingerbread houses for those that have never traveled to them. So many possibilities, but no one ever hazards a guess as to what the effects would be to the reality itself if one tries to determine a path for it that it's not meant to take."
"A monster that can open portals to parallel realities, yet it calls itself Dreammaker?" Dan asked.
"Dreams can come true in parallel realities." Shadow explained. "The trick is not to make it a nightmare for yourself and others."
"All right I'll accept that." Dan said. "But what about Cyane? Who is this Astronema that she mentioned herself as being?"
Shadow sighed as he didn't know how to answer this question. "That is a long and complicated story. And I'm not just saying that. It really is." Dan was about to ask further but Shadow raised his hand. "Answer me this. When you think of Cyane what do you think of her?"
Dan paused trying to come up with his answer. "Well she's beautiful. Has a wonderful smile. Has a very strong personality. Driven. A lot of things I find attractive in her."
"Do you love her?" Shadow asked. Dan seemed floored by this question. "What? What do you mean?"
"Do you love her?" Shadow asked again. It seemed to Dan that the answer was right there in front of him, but there was no sensible way that the answer he had could be the right one. He only knew her briefly, and yet he felt drawn and attracted to her. And he knew she felt the same way.
Yes, yes he did love her. "I do. I love her."
Shadow smiled. "Good. All I can say is that Cyane has traveled a long, dark and dangerous road throughout her life. So much that she knew no other life. But now, with you, she is seeing the possibilities before her. She will not be able to leave her old life behind, at least not right away. But once she does, never lose sight of what you feel about her. And have faith that she will never lose sight of her feelings for you."
Dan nodded trying to understand then Shadow presented a device to Dan. "What is this?" he asked.
"You know of your destiny, but do you truly understand it?" Shadow asked. "What you know is stories and legends. But you never looked at these heroes face to face have you?" Dan reached out and touched the device which looked like a crystal ball with images in it. Images of men in masks. One dressed in white and silver. Others dressed in green masks with long overcoats. By their sides were oriental men and one Indian. Images of horses and black cars. As well as a myriad of other images ranging from old west heroics to battles against organized crime figures.
"In your hand is a holoempathic matrix crystal. To touch it is to experience everything the bearer had been in life." Shadow said. "Encased in this crystal is the entire legacy of the Reid family. Open your mind and allow it into yourself. Accept this destiny as you become the next new chapter of the Reid legacy."
Dan looked at the crystal in his hand as plumes of smoke appeared around him. Plumes that took the form of human shapes. One of them was a man wearing a mask that rode a white horse. By his side was an Indian who rode a brown horse. Another took the form of a man with a green trenchcoat with an Asian with a mask by his side. On his face was a green cloth with a hornet on it. Dan knew these figures well from the stories that were told.
Now they were before him. As real as could be.
"Hello Dan." the man in white said. Dan looked on amazed. These men were his ancestors. Yet he could not help but ask the question. "Who are you?"
"Links in a chain." the man in the hornet mask said. "Of which you will become the next link."
"With what you now hold young warrior." the Indian said. "You will take the calling of your bloodline to the next level of greatness. To bring justice to worlds of which we could only imagine."
Dan looked at the individuals before him. He looked at the man in white first. "You...you're John Reid aren't you?"
"Once I was known as John Reid." the man on the White horse said. "But when I was attacked in Brian's Gap I was left for dead, until my friend Tonto saved me." The Indian that Dan now knew as Tonto nodded then spoke himself. "For many years kemosabe and I rode to ensure safety for all. White man and Indian from those that would harm them, or cause them evil."
"Kemosabe'?" Dan asked.
"Trusted friend." Tonto said. "As he has always been since we were children. He saved me from bandits that attacked his ranch and killed his parents. For a time he learned the ways of our people until his brother came to take him back to white man's world."
"Then came Brian's gap." the Lone Ranger said. "And John Reid died, only for me to take his place."
Dan nodded as he looked at the man in the green overcoat with the Asian by his side. "Great Uncle Britt?"
"Yes Dan." the man in the Hornet mask said. "Or as I'm known in this guise-the Green Hornet."
"The Green Hornet?" Dan asked.
"A guise taken by many in our family. Including your own father." the Green Hornet said. By his side was his friend Ikano Kato-the partner of the original Green Hornet.
"Why are you all here?" Dan asked.
"To show you your destiny." the Lone Ranger said. "A destiny that all the Reids have followed in one form or another. In one guise or another."
"Haven't I already?" Dan asked. "Just taking up the White Astro powers?"
"You may have taken the powers." The Green Hornet said. "But have you truly embraced the responsibility that goes with them? Or what being a Ranger will entail? Your path will be much different, and much more difficult than ours will have ever been."
"What do you mean?" Dan asked.
"For us there was no question of our path." Tonto said. "We followed the path of justice diligently that nothing deterred us from it. But you will go down a path that may lead to temptation unless you offer salvation to she that may come to tempt you."
"Offer salvation?" Dan asked. "Do you mean Cyane?"
"Her path is different from yours." the Hornet said. "But the path she takes does not end happily for those that follow it. When her path ends offer your hand, and if she accepts then you both can follow your path together." Dan was about to ask more but then Kato spoke.
"The time has come for you to break away from the legacy of the Hornet." Kato said. "With you is the means to create your own identity to use in order to go down the path all the Reids have followed."
"What path is that?" Dan asked.
All four then spoke. "The path of justice."
The four shapes faded from view as their voices echoed "Embrace your destiny." Dan stood looking at the crystal that now went dark. Shadow stood not far away with the Galaxy Glider by his side. "Are you ready?"
Dan looked at the morpher on his wrist. He still had questions, mostly regarding Cyane, but there was no question now of what he was supposed to do. He would follow his calling, and follow his heart. His calling was to justice. His heart was to Cyane.
"LET'S ROCKET!!!" Dan called out as he activated his morpher and suddenly morphed into the White Astro Ranger. He then boarded the Galaxy Glider and sped off into the sky heading to where he remembered Cavendish's compound.was located. According to history texts.
Shadow watched Dan leave. He knew what Dan was thinking and feeling. He hoped that when the time came when his calling and his heart divided that he would make the right choice.
Cyane looked around Cavendish's compound as she was being led through it. It looked like a fort. Log walls surrounding everything. Placements where gunmen could open fire on approaching cavalry if any decided to ride in. She had to admit, for its time, Cavendish had a well fortified base of operations.
Her hands were still bound as Cavendish didn't want to take the risk of being shot by whatever magic Cyane possessed. He figured Cyane couldn't do her tricks if her hands were bound. He was right in his assessment.
Cavendish then led her to his quarters where she was dismounted from her steed and 'escorted' in. She remained defiant not giving in to whatever fear she might have had. He then waved a hand at an aide who tended to her wound. They soaked a cloth with peroxide and placed it on the wound. CYane felt the sting, but she refused Cavendish the pleasure of hearing her cry out in pain. After the peroxide was applied the wound was dressed and Cavendish began speaking after he asked the aide to leave.
"Please forgive me my dear." Cavendish said. "But I wouldn't want you using whatever Indian magic you might have against me." Cyane smirked as she said "My magic is more than just 'Indian magic'."
"That could probably be true." Cavendish said. "But all the same I know a threat when I see one. And no matter what power you might possess, I have no wish to be on the receiving end of it. Especially since I am on the verge of my greatest endeavor."
"What is that?" Cyane asked. Cavendish looked at her and smiled. "You are curious. I'm flattered."
"Let's just say I am known in the ways of power. And not just that from 'Indian magic' as you may call it" Cyane replied. Cavendish nodded as he presented Cyane a document. A document that looked like a treaty.
A treaty that allowed the secession of the state of Texas to be an independent nation, under the rule of Cavendish. "You can't be serious."
"Oh but I am." Cavendish said. "I have been systematically severing the economic avenues in the state leaving the economy barely able to stand. I have been seizing land titles awarding territory to me. It is a plan that has been years in the making."
"And any that resist are eliminated is that it?" Cyane asked. Cavendish nodded. "You catch on fast. Nothing must stand in the way of greatness. Any that try are only jealous individuals that can't touch greatness, and try to keep others down. I will not be one that is kept down."
Cyane shook her head in disbelief. In her days with the UAE she had never seen a man like Cavendish. It was like genius intermixed with madness, and she didn't know where one ended, and the other began. She held up the piece of paper that was the treaty and added "This document is worthless you know. You would need the signature of someone very powerful in order to legalize it."
"Rest assured I have that planned as well." Cavendish said as he pointed to a model where a train rested on a makeshift hill. At the rear of the train was a car decorated in red white and blue. Cyane guessed that the rear car was someone important. "This train is the train the President of the United States will be travelling. At my signal the President's car will be detached from the train and sent to where my men will be waiting to escort him here."
"And when you have the President?" Cyane asked. "Then what?"
"Then he will ratify my treaty, and the country of New Texas shall be born. With myself as its leader." Cyane looked at Cavendish and she thought she detected a sense of pride in his voice. Cyane however shook her head not sure she was believing what she was seeing.
"Major Cavendish." Cyane said looking into the man's eyes. "You are a diseased lunatic."
If Cavendish was offended by the remark he did not show it. He merely dismissed it out of hand called for his guards. "Take her. See that she is...properly prepared."
"Prepared?" Cyane asked. "Prepared for what?"
Cavendish then smiled a menacing smile. "It has been too long since my men have had.....'certain liberties'. I think they would enjoy taking liberty....with you." Cyane's eyes went wide as she realized what Cavendish was looking to do.
When the time was right Cavendish was going to have his men rape her. "It shall be quite the celebration once we have the President as our prisoner." He then looked at his men and ordered "Ensure that she remains bound. I want her unable to escape or to use her abilities to escape or attack."
Cyane struggled as the men carried her off. "NOOOOOO!!!!!!" she screamed as she struggled. Never before had she known this feeling. This feeling of fear. She was always in control. Always in charge.
Now that control was taken from her, and Cavendish looked to take more when the time was right. And President Ulysses S. Grant was in his compound.
Out on the bluff overlooking Cavendish's compound Dan Reid camped out. He had something of a survival pack in a compartment of his Galaxy Glider and made use of it. For a while he was almost reminded of camping trips he and his family had gone on. But Dan believed this was not the time for pleasant reminiscence, as he looked over the Cavendish compound for what seemed to be a long time.
After a while his observations had paid off. He saw Cyane being carried off struggling and immediately Dan wanted to intervene. But he found himself suddenly stopped by a presence from behind.
"What do you plan on doing?" a voice asked from behind. Dan turned and saw Shadow standing behind. "Are you just going to charge in, gun blazing and save the girl?"
Dan said nothing as he continued to stare down at the compound. Shadow however continued to speak and asked a question that got Dan's attention. "And is she worth saving?"
"Dan turned and looked at Shadow. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You heard what she called herself. Astronema. Do you even know what that name means?" Shadow asked. Dan then searched his mind as he tried to place the name to something. Finally he remembered a scandal that circulated the papers. A scandal started by what seemed to be a UAE villainess no less.
Dan remembered a news story about a woman that had captured the Star Wars satellite network, and had brought many government indiscretions to light, a woman that had answered to the name 'Astronema'. It was said that she had been hoping to subvert the planet's population to her will, but what intrigued Dan was that she didn't use the satellite network to do it. She used the transmission she broadcast instead, which raised a lot more questions regarding Earth's governments than it did in spreading fears..
The satellite network was freed by the Power Rangers, but the event caused a lot of people to question the government's actions. However the questioning didn't last long as a new celebrity scandal took center stage, and the government investigation was placed on the backburner and forgotten about. The people of the world were jolted awake, then they turned back and went to sleep again.
Dan however didn't forget. He remembered the woman known as Astronema speaking and he remembered what seemed to be the truth in her words. He had the feeling that she told the truth as she saw it, and believed in it.
Despite everything Dan saw Astronema as a woman of conviction, which was rare in a world of spun news and celebrity scandals. At least that was what Dan believed.
And in that belief Dan believed that Astronema was not at heart an evil woman. For he remembered something Hayashi had told him.
"Evil deals in deception, lies and corruption. It serves only itself and its own ends, desires and motives. And it is willing to destroy the dreams of others to fulfill its own ambitions." Dan thought of Cyane/Astronema and didn't see any of that in her. A darkness yes, but not an evil.
And Dan believed Cyane deserved a chance to turn away from that darkness. And in that chance lied Dan's belief that Cyane was worth saving from Caviendish. He turned to Shadow and asked "All right. You have any ideas on how to get Cyane out of Cavendish's compound?"
"Maybe." Shadow said as he looked towards a button on the Galaxy Glider. "That there activates your 'Silent Mode'. It will allow you to hover in quietly and touch down outside of where Cyane is being held and lift her out of there." Dan looked at the button and pressed it with his foot. He tested the Glider as it hovered. It was as silent as the wind.
"Of course you can't use Silent Mode at top speeds. This is purely a stealth feature." Dan nodded knowing full well what Silent Mode would be for. He looked over at the cabin that was Cavendish's headquarters and asked "What about Cavendish? He'll be looking to take President Grant."
"Others will deal with Cavendish. You just get Cyane clear." Shadow said. Dan nodded indicating that he would do just that. He got on the Galaxy Glider and activated the Silent Mode. He then hovered quietly into the compound outside the area where Cyane was being held.
Inside the house she was a prisoner in Cyane stood tied to the rafters. Her mouth had been gagged and her feet bound as she stood stood on a stool by her tiptoes trembling in fear as she hung from the ceiling afraid of what some of his men would do, many of them with lust filled looks in their eyes, as they wanted to....party with her. Some already grabbed some free feels as they were eager for the...party.
"We're going to have such a good time honey." One of Cavendish's men said as he reached up to her belt and made ready to undo it. Cyane brought her legs up, and even though they were bound together she was able to deliver a booted drop kick knocking the hoodlum back leaving him with the taste of leather boot heel and dirt in his mouth.
The rest of the bandits taunted the hoodlum, which only seemed to anger him. "I'd like to see you try that again missy." the bandit said as he was about to attack her but Cavendish broke up the melee' upon entry. The whole room fell into silence once he stepped in.
"She is not to be touched yet." Cavendish said. "Once we capture President Grant then we will have our celebration. No before. Until then, leave." The men then left, and for a few seconds Cyane felt relieved. But then Cavendish looked back at Cyane and played with the buttons on her shirt as if teasing what was to come later. And again Cyane felt fear at being helpless before monsters such as Cavendish and his crew.
"Don't be surprised if I'm first in line to celebrate." Cavendish said with a leering smile before he left leaving Cyane alone...and for the first time scared of someone other than Dark Specter.
She hated the feeling she was experiencing. She hated being powerless and helpless as her hands were tied above her and her feet below her. Unable to move them or to cast spells effectively. And she didn't like the looks many of Cavendish's men were giving her as they strung her up and stripped her of her clothes. If it wasn't for Cavendish's order to leave her until President Grant was captured she dreaded what would happen.
Cyane wished she could be Astronema right now, but her mouth was gagged so she couldn't give incantations. Her hands bound so the couldn't cast any magic, as were her feet. She wondered what else she could do, or how she could escape. She had no answer.
She had to escape, but how?
-Does someone have to come and rescue me?- Cyane thought. Silently she hoped Dan would come for her, but also she dreaded someone rescuing her as it would make her appear weak. She could not afford to give the impression of weakness, to anyone.
Even to someone she....loved.
She had to admit it, she loved Dan Reid. His appearance, his strength of will, everything about him. It was a shame he was devoted to good, and she to evil. -Maybe it doesn't have to be that way. Maybe he could become evil.-
As soon as she thought of it she knew that that would be impossible. She would not be trying to convert the goodness of one individual, but the goodness that was passed down a family line from generation to generation. No one in the UAE had dealt with something like that, other than kill them. And that was something Cyane didn't want to do.
But now Cyane had other things to consider....like escaping.
She had to escape. She couldn't be helpless. Helplessness was for the weak. And she could never be weak. -I am Astronema. I am not weak!- She then paused as she remembered something. Something taught to her by Ecliptor. Something that could lead to her freedom.
There was a spell Dark Specter had taught many in the inner circle. A transformation spell that allowed people to transform into their 'spirit animal'. That reflected their inner being. She had heard Divatox tried this recently and she turned herself into a slimy snake to avoid capture. Cyane figured that perhaps it was now time to find out just what type of animal she really was.
-And please let me not be a snake.-
Cyane closed her eyes and thought of the image of herself she wanted to project. The image of Astronema. Slowly a purple glow emanated from her and soon filled her entire being. She was energy now, energy that twisted and shaped itself and started to shrink in size, her bonds becoming loose as she changed.
Cyane felt her features change. What was once arms were now wings. Her feet and legs were transformed into claws and her mouth was turned into a beak. When the transformation was finished Cyane was no longer a teenage girl.
Her new form was that of a crow.
-A crow.- Cyane thought as she remembered the legends of such birds. Birds that in some circles carried souls to and from the world of the dead. Shrouded in darkness, and that was the spirit animal Cyane had within her.
In her new form Cyane scouted the room and saw an open window. Immediately she flew through the narrow crack spreading her wings and flying through. When she was out she flew among the night sky looking down at the compound below taking in all there was to see, including the building where Cavendish made his plans.
-That is where I must go.- Cyane thought as she flew down and initiated her transformation back. The purple glow emanated again and Cyane changed again, back into her human form. Looking down at herself she smiled. "Glad I'm not a snake like Divatox." she said, but as she looked down at her clothes she decided a change was in order.
-Better if he faces who I REALLY am- Cyane thought as she called upon the glow again allowing her to change. Only this time her change was different. Instead of her animal totem she changed into her other identiy. That of Astronema.
-And now I will have revenge on Cavendish.- she thought as she opened the door and walked out of where she was being held.
Immediately as she crossed the compound she was grabbed from behind. She struggled briefly as she wondered who it was. She saw a helmet of a Power Ranger, a White Astro Ranger looking at her. Before she could utter a curse however White Astro brought a finger to the area where his mouth would be and motioned for her to be quiet.
"Shhhhh." White Astro said as he slowly brought the Galaxy Glider around and out of sight. Astronema looked at White Astro wide eyed as she recognized who was behind the helmet. "Dan?"
"Yep." Dan said as he brought the Galaxy Glider around to where he was before. "The Princess of Evil saved by a Power Ranger. I can imagine how that could go in the villain's clubhouse." Astronema made a face at White Astro and yet gave a smile. If anyone would have saved her, she would have preferred it to be Dan.
She only wished Dan wasn't a Power Ranger. For a Ranger was her sworn enemy.
But how could someone she loved be an enemy?
"So it's true huh?" White Astro said. "You really are Astronema?"
"The Princess of Evil." Astronema said. "And you're enemy."
"I don't believe that." White Astro said as he took off Astronema's wig revealing the red hair of Cyane. Strangely enough Cyane didn't stop the gesture. White Astro then looked in Cyane's eyes and said "I see more that just leather and a wig."
"You don't know anything about me." Cyane said. White Astro looked at her.
"I know that you are one who stands by the courage of her convictions." Dan said. "I remember the address you gave when you captured the Star Wars satellites. There was honesty to your words. You believed what you were saying."
"Yeah well, that still doesn't make me a good girl." Cyane said.
"No, just one that's strong willed." White Astro said. "And one that stands behind the courage of her convictions." Cyane nodded in understanding. "You realize that when we return we'll be enemies."
"I....have that idea." White Astro said. Cyane nodded. "And that we're going to have to fight each other at times. Neither one of us giving quarter."
"Until we make the other see our respective reason." White Astro said. Cyane smirked as she said "Why Mr. Reid, are you proposing a competition?"
"Yeah." White Astro said. "The winner is the one who succeeds in converting the other. You become good I win. I become evil you win."
"Deal." Cyane said shaking White Astro's hand. "And just so you know I hate to lose."
"I'm not one for losing either." Cyane said. "May the better force win." Cyane and White Astro shook hands cementing the deal. Both looking forward to their 'private little competition'. But now Cyane wanted to pursue other matters. Namely Butch Cavendish.
"Cavendish is going after the President." Cyane said as she looked down from above. White Astro nodded but then pointed to where two riding figures were coming their way. These being the Lone Ranger and Tonto.
"They will deal with Cavendish." White Astro said. "And bring an end to him." Cyane nodded but said "I still want some measure of revenge on him."
"I can understand that." White Astro said. "But we can't deter the path history is meant to follow. Who knows what would happen?"
"There would be no Cavendish that's for sure." Cyane said.
"There would also be no UAE as you know it as well." White Astro said. "Who knows what one change could do?"
"Well....it could make things better."
"Or worse." White Astro. "Is that a risk you want to take?" Cyane paused as she considered Dan's words. No, she wasn't willing to do that. Rita and Divatox might have, but not her.
And the last thing she wanted to be like was like Rita and Divatox.
"All right. I'll play it your way." Cyane said. "But I must have revenge against Cavendish. He sought to..." White Astro placed a hand on her shoulder offering reassurance. He could only imagine what Cavendish was going to do to her.
"Don't worry. I have an idea in mind." Cyane smiled as she looked at White Astro's face plate. "Can you please take that helmet off?"
White Astro nodded and did so. Cyane looked in the eyes of Dan Reid and soon the two kissed as the Galaxy Glider hovered away amidst the moonlight.
The day that followed Cavendish executed his plan to capture President Ulysses S. Grant. A plan that was successful.
What Cavendish didn't count on was a masked man riding after him with an Indian by his side. Both riding on a mission of justice, although in regards of the masked man, who started to be known as 'the Lone Ranger' vengeance may have been a factor. Yet it would not be the dominant factor as the Lone Ranger sought justice, not vengeance for Cavendish's victims. A list which would include President Grant if he wasn't in time to stop Cavendish's plan.
Tonto however had concerns for his 'spirit brother' whom he called 'kemosabe'. A word that meant 'trusted friend'. The Lone Ranger was at a crossroads in his soul. And he wondered which side he would choose. Tonto had faith that the man once known as John Reid would choose the right path. But he was still concerned.
All the same they had to track Cavendish to his lair. They followed trails, and paths until they came across a traveling couple. The Lone Ranger fancied them to by young settlers looking to make their living out in the west, as so many others did. Both the Lone Ranger and Tonto rode to the two young people and asked them if they saw anything regarding Cavendish and his crew.
"Yes." the young red headed woman said. "They were taking someone to a makeshift fort downstream. Are you going to stop him?"
"Please excuse my wife." the young man said. "We're new in this region and those bandits raided our farm. They hurt my wife greatly."
"Don't worry. We'll stop them." the Lone Ranger said as the woman gave more directions. After thanking the masked hero Dan and Cyane watched as the Lone Ranger and Tonto rode towards Cavendish's compound. Cyane nodded at the sight of them riding away. "Will this be enough?" Dan asked.
"It will have to be." Cyane said. "I may not be able to avenge myself outright, but at least I turned your ancestors to the right direction. Vengeance against Cavendish will still come from my hands."
"And what of our little wager?" Dan asked. Cyane smiled as she said "It starts when we go back to our time frame. But I hope you don't mind if.....we spend some time together every once in a while when we're not enemies."
Dan smiled as he added. "Why Cyane, is this an attempt to seduce me?"
"Ummmmm. Maybe." Cyane said. "Pick me up at 7:00?" Dan shook his head as he said "This is going to be a very complicated relationship."
"Until one of us wins." Cyane added as she changed her clothes from frontier traveler to Astronema. "I'm looking forward to having you as my dark consort." Dan morphed into White Astro and added, and I'm looking forward to you fighting alongside me as we take on wrongdoers."
Astronema just gave a slight chuckle as she got on the Galaxy Glider with White Astro as they hovered to find the remains of Dreammaker's portal. When they were at a high enough altitude the two immediately began searching for the entrance back through Dreammaker's portal. White Astro was scanning with his helmet visor and found trace remains of it where it was left. At Brian's Gap.
Immediately the Galaxy Glider raced for the portal and when they were close enough White Astro asked "Think you can energize it with that staff of yours?"
"No problem." Astronema said as she brought her Wraith Staff to bear. The portal became energized and ready to be passed through. "You ready?" White Astro asked.
"I'm ready." Astronema said as she looked at the portal.
White Astro took Astronema in his arms and led them through the portal back to reality. Off in the distance he saw the previous identities of the Reids waving him on as if his earlier vision was coming to life. In the distance he heard the Lone Ranger give his famous call.
"HI YO SILVER!!! AWAY!!!"
White Astro smiled as he held Astronema and led her through the portal back to reality.
The Astro Rangers were getting thrown back by the three monsters. All three stood over the downed eight Rangers as Heartbreaker looked down and said "Beg. Beg for your lives and I will end them quickly."
"You mean we will end them quickly sister!" Lovetaker said. Heartbreaker sighed and corrected herself. "All right WE will end them quickly!" Under her teeth she muttered "Why couldn't I have been a solo act?" Just then a surge of energy erupted and the White Galaxy Glider burst through a portal. Astronema was on board fighting the White Ranger. Both had grips on the Wraith Staff as if they were fighting for control of it. "Give it up Astronema. You won't win!"
"That's what you think White Ranger. I will have you in my forces if it's the last thing I do!" Astronema then gave a slight wink as she knocked White Astro back with her staff and then jumped off the glider. A cushion of energy formed at her feet cushioning her landing and she landed softly behind some bushes. From her vantage point Astronema watched as White Astro headed towards the recovering Rangers and the monsters they were fighting. When he stood by the Rangers ready to finish off the monsters Red Astro asked the first of many questions. "Who are you?"
"Answer that later." White Astro said. "For now let's just dust these diva wannabees." All the Rangers stood ready to draw their weapons.
"SPIRAL SABER!" shouted Red Astro.
"QUADRO BLASTER!" Black Astro shouted with Blue, Yellow and Pink behind him.
"SILVER SAMURIZER!" shouted Silver Astro.
"SOLAR SAIS!" came Gold Astro's call.
"LIGHT CANNON!" shouted White Astro with something representing a bazooka on his shoulder.
"LASER CROSSBOW!" Green Astro called with her weapon drawn,
The monsters all stood afraid for what would happen next. "Uhhhhh. Exit stage right girls!" Heartbreaker said as all three tried to run away. The Rangers however wouldn't give them the chance.
"READY FIRE!!!" All the Rangers fired as a stream of concentrated energy engulfed the monsters.
The monsters fell. Destroyed in a burst of flame. And with them destroyed Red Astro turned to the newest Ranger and asked "All right. Now who are you?"
Just then the comm link came on line. Dimetria was on the other end. "Andros, may I introduce you to your new White Astro Ranger."
"New Ranger?" Blue Astro called. "How?"
"Dimetria opened the Power Vault for me." White Astro explained. "She said I had potential to be a Power Ranger, which is....something."
"What about Astronema?" Yellow Astro asked. "I saw you two fighting."
"Yeah well I'm not sure myself." White Astro said. "It seemed like the monsters sent her back in time and she stowed away with me." Red Astro looked at White with suspicion. "Are you willing to reveal your identity?" he then asked.
"Andros?" Gold asked. White raised a hand as if indicating that it was all right. "Is anyone around?"
Pink Astro scanned the area. She detected no one. "Nope. All clear."
White then reached up for the latches and undid them revealing his face to the assembled Rangers. "My name is Dan Reid."
The other Astro Rangers then demorphed and introduced themselves. "Andros Lanrydan."Andros said in introduction.
"T.J. Andrews." T.J. said in introduction.
"Carlos Garcia." Carlos said offering his hand.
"Cassie Chan." Cassie said shaking Dan's hand.
"Ashley Hammond." Ashley said in introduction.
"Alison Bogard-Hammond." Alison said. Dan couldn't help but notice Ashley and Alison being twins. "We get that a lot." both girls said in unison.
"Sabrina. Gold Astro." Sabrina said in introduction. Dan shook the hand, then came Zhane. "Zhane Ki'tain."
Dan shook his hand but noticed something about Zhane. Something that reminded him of....."Is something wrong?" Zhane asked. Dan came out of his daze and shook his head. "No."
"Well we'd better get back to the Megaship." T.J. said. "It's quiet now, but who knows what might be coming." Everyone agreed as nine teleport streaks headed to the Megaship.
From her hiding place Astronema looked on as Dan Reid, her lover and rival, joined his allies on the side of good. -But if I have my way you will willingly join me on the side of evil.- Astronema thought as she dreamily thought of Dan by her side. So much so that when she felt a touch on her shoulder she jumped up slightly startled.
"Ahhhh! Don't do that!" Astronema said still feeling the effect of her being shot in the past.
"Sorry, but since you haven't been in contact I tracked your staff signal." Artemis said in explanation. "What happened? You went off the grid."
"One of these monsters tried to send me back into the past." Artemis said. "But I escaped with the help of the White Astro Ranger."
"The White Astro Ranger?" Artemis asked. "Is....?"
"No it's not the one that perished." Astronema explained. "It's.....someone else." Artemis noted the lightness in Astronema's voice and smirked. "You're infatuated with him aren't you?"
"I am not." Astronema countered. "I just....fancy him. He could even be a potential....conquest to me."
"A conquest?" Artemis asked coyly.
"A friendly wager." Astronema said. "When the UAE attacks Earth, and when good loses, he will willingly join me by my side. He will be my consort just as you will have your own." Artemis thought of Leo by her side, yet she also pictured Leo having a hard time adapting to evil. She wondered if the White Astro would be any less stubborn. "And what happens if you lose?" Artemis then asked.
This caused Astronema to lose her composure a bit. "If I lose then....I must.....I must......join good....."
Artemis laughed at the sound of that. Laughed loud and long until her sides ached. Astronema pressed her lips together and said "It's not that funny!"
"Sure it is." Artemis said. "Who would think? You? On the side of good?" Artemis continued to laugh and then Astronema laughed a bit herself. She had to admit her being on the side of good was....an amusing thought.
Only because of how difficult it would be for her to be good. She figured that good would throw her out after one week. -Oh well. When I win the bet with Dan that won't happen.-
Finally the Princesses of Evil regained their composure and made ready to teleport back to the Dark Fortress. Both of them with a mystery to solve. Once on board Ecliptor asked how he could be of service.
"Find out who sent those monsters to Earth!" Astronema ordered. "I want to know who infringed on our territory and endangered me."
"At once my Princess." Ecliptor said as he bowed ready to carry out his mistress's command.
"And when I know who they are they shall feel the wrath of Astronema." After that Astronema clenched her fist causing purple energy to spark out. Artemis could tell her 'sister' was angry.
-Wes, I'd hate for this to be you.- Cyane thought silently hoping Wes didn't fall to temptation of darkness.
Back at the Collins mansion Wes had been going over in his mind everything his two visitors had said. About evil, and the cost of going down the dark path. And it seemed like he was no closer to an answer than he was when he asked the question, and heard about the Collins legacy.
He felt a light within him. A sign of a good and noble heart. A trait he knew he got from his mother. But he also felt something else within him too. The darkness and fear within him. Fear of giving in to darkness that was evident in the Collins family, making friends and then betraying them like his ancestor did at Bryan's Gap. That was a path he did not want, but was it in his destiny to follow that path?
"No." Wes said giving his answer aloud.
"No, I will choose my destiny. I will not have it dictated to me."
"Glad to hear that. But what brought this on?" a voice asked from behind. Wes turned and saw his cousin standing behind him. Immediately Wes went over and hugged the young man that was like a brother to him.
Sean 'Kamakura' Collins had arrived. "So what's up with you?"
"Long story. Can I tell you upstairs?" Wes asked. Sean nodded. "Need to put my stuff in the guest room." Wes looked at the small bag and asked "Is that all you brought with you?"
"Short leave." Sean said as he then made reference to his belongings. "This is all I've got."
"Well we'd better get you situated." Wes said as he led Sean inside the mansion where the guest room was.
Back on the Megaship Dan walked the halls with the rest of the Astro Rangers. He wore the same brown uniform the main Rangers wore, but his shirt was white.
"Welcome to the team." Andros said. Dan nodded. "Thank you. I'll try to do you proud."
"So." Alison asked. "How was it like fighting Astronema?" Dan tried to find words to describe the experience...and the wager he made with her. But he couldn't find the words. "A gentleman never tells." Dan answered.
"Well it's nice to know chivalry isn't dead." Ashley added. Soon everyone was laughing. But then T.J. asked "So, you're part of some legacy of heroes?"
"Yeah." Dan said. "Going back all the way to the 1800's."
"Was your ancestor the White Stranger?" Cassie asked. Dan looked at her curiously. "Who's that?"
"An old west hero from Angel Grove." Carlos explained. Dan shook his head and said "No we were all in Texas then."
"What brought you to California?" Zhane asked. Dan said "Family had business here. I went along."
"You're going to have to tell us about this legacy of yours sometime." Sabrina added. Dan nodded that he would. "It's a date." Soon the Astros all went their own way but Dan stopped Sabrina and asked "Sabrina, you were once a villain weren't you?"
Sabrina turned around and said "Yeah. Why are you asking?"
"I was just wondering." Dan asked. "What made you turn good?" Sabrina paused for a moment and answered. "I found evil leading me to a dead end, and someone offered me a chance to change."
"And you took it?" Dan asked. Sabrina nodded and asked again "Why are you asking?"
"It's just.....do you think Astronema's evil?" Sabrina was floored by Dan's question, yet she answered it as best she could. "It's hard to say. She was brought up to be the heir of Dark Specter. She's had some lessons from Ecliptor, yet the lesson of honor seemed to elude her."
"Honor?" Dan asked.
"There are some villains with honor." Sabrina said. "There are others who aren't. I know from first hand experience that Astronema is not one of them." She then went into the story of how she subdued Andros on Onyx with the intent to turn him over to the UAE, and how Astronema was going to go back on the agreement. Dan seemed to be nervous when he heard this story.
"You okay?" Sabrina asked.
"Yeah." Dan said regaining his composure. "I guess I'll just have to be ready for Astronema." Sabrina nodded and then said "Supply run at 0800."
"Supply run?" Dan asked.
"Yeah, we still have groceries to get. We'll be leaving for Aquitar shortly." Dan would have asked what that was about but Sabrina had already left his quarters, leaving Dan alone with his thoughts.
Thoughts not so pleasant.
-Oh man. Did I fall for a lying bitch? Is she going to turn on me at first opportunity? Oh wait. She said she would, but how can I believe that?-
Dan hoped the spirits of his ancestors were watching. He would need their strength.
Up in Wes's bedroom Sean and Wes were talking. "So, Uncle Alan convince you to run Biolab yet?"
"No." Wes said. "I....actually have been troubled with other matters. Matters in family history."
"Ahhh. The Brian's Gap story." Sean said. "I heard it myself."
"You don't seem troubled about it." Wes said.
"This is coming from someone who's father was the first member of the Crimson Guard." Sean said. "Even though I wasn't born a Collins my family still has some evil in its history. Evil that I too have had to overcome." Sean sat down on the bed and talked to Wes in a brotherly manner.
"I don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for my stepfather and the Silent Master." Sean had said. "I'd probably be the next member of the Crimson Guard if we hadn't broken away from Cobra."
"You never talk much about that group." Wes said.
"I had reasons not to." Sean said. "They come to you as champions of the downtrodden and the little guy. But really, they were self-serving. Looking for their own angles on things, and not caring who got hurt, or got in their way."
"And their leader?" Wes asked.
Sean rolled his eyes as if saying silently not to get started on him. The less said about that lunatic the better. Instead Sean told Wes about what led to his decisions.
"I joined the army because I wanted to serve something bigger than myself. And I wanted no part of the specter of the Cobra organization anymore." Sean said. "But when Firefly murdered my team I saw that some specters still surface. And when the Silent Master lost his first apprentice his specters returned."
"So you both drove away the specters of one another?" Wes asked.
"By taking me on as a new apprentice things came into focus." Sean said. "New worlds opened to me, and I found myself at peace. And that is something I believe you are seeking right now."
"You mean with the family legacy?" Wes asked.
"You are on the path to establishing your own destiny Wes." Sean said. "Don't let other forces establish it for you." Wes nodded taking his cousin's words to heart.
He would make his own destiny. And it would be grand.
On board the Dark Fortress Astronema was being tended to. Medical drones were patching up her cuts and bruises, and through it all becoming a bad patient.
"Owwww!!!" she said as the drones were soothing a sore muscle. I feel like I was the one tortured and not you." Astronema said to Artemis. Artemis just smiled and said "Now you know what it's like."
Astronema looked in Artemis's direction and just shook her head. When the drones were finished Astronema got back up and redressed. She would be stiff for a few more days but she could still walk.
"Okay. Now we get to business." Astronema said. "Like finding out who sent those monsters."
"Ecliptor and I looked through the monster files of the UAE. I saw no record of them." Artemis said. Astronema nodded. "There is someone who may just know." Reaching up to her Wraith Staff Astronema pulled out a key which she took to a communications console. Artemis went up to her own Wriath Staff and pulled out a similar key.
Both Princesses inserted their keys in two separate locks, and the image of the Gorgons appeared on the screen. "Astronema. Artemis. To what do we owe the honor of this call?"
"We were attacked today." Astronema said as she uploaded the images of the three monsters. "What do you know of these three?" The Gorgons looked at the images and seemed to feign ignorance. "I am uncertain." Impostra said. "They seem to not fit the files the Sisterhood has. Official or unofficial."
"Could they have been created by imagination?" Artemis asked. Deceptra nodded and said "Yes, that's possible. But there are only a few that can create monsters out of imagination. None registered with the UAE."
"Meaning an independent." Artemis said. Maronda nodded. "There are several independents out there that have not joined the UAE, and whose abilities cannot be accounted for. Perhaps it is one of them."
"Do you know who sent the monsters?" Astronema and Artemis asked. The sisters paused and answered "No."
An answer that was an outright lie.
"All right. Thank you." Artemis said. as the sisters then signed off. Artemis then turned and had a smirk across her face as she asked her next question. "So. What are you going to do now that your boyfriend is a Power Ranger?"
Astronema just glared at her twin. But in actuality Astronema didn't have an answer.
In Morganna's quarters Icy Angel received the report from the Gorgons who were not happy. "The monsters were failures." Impostra said. "They didn't accomplish their mission."
"Unfortunate mistress." Icy Angel said. "What shall we do now?"
"For the moment nothing." Impostra said. "For right now return to Onyx. We must wait and bide our time until we can move again." Icy Angel nodded as Impostra signed off then she turned to Morganna and glared. Morganna stepped back and asked "Uhhhhh. Okay, what's wrong?"
"Your monsters failed." Icy Angel said. "Also one of the targets is now the White Astro Ranger."
"What?!" Morganna shouted. "How is that my fault?"
"You tell me. You created the monsters." Morganna then crossed her arms together. "I knew I shouldn't have made them interdependent."
"The Sisterhood does not tolerate failures." Icy Angel said in her coldest tone. "Our business is at an end." Icy Angel said as she turned to leave. But Morganna went after her. "What about the potion?" Morganna asked. Icy turned and smiled. A smile that sent chills down Morganna's spine.
"This potion? The potion that would prevent Grumm from changing you back into an adult once he turns you into a child again?" Morganna nodded as Icy Angel held up the potion. Morganna reached out to grab it, but it became cold to the touch as Icy Angel crystallized it, and sent it down to the ground where it shattered into a thousand pieces.
"NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" Morganna screamed at the useless fragments, sipping as if trying to find some of the youth juice the shattered glass contained. But none of it remained.
"You want to be young? Go kiss up to Grumm." Icy Angel said as she left and smiled at the thought of Morganna scavenging for youth she will not find, unless it was at Grumm's whim. Morganna was left behind picking up shattered frozen crystals that were now useless. Tears streaming down her face.
"HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!" Emperor Grumm laughed as he saw the plight of his monster maker. Her chance at independent youth gone. Now she was totally at his whim. "And now she will know that it's not wise to fail me."
"Or herself it would seem." Icy Angel said as she entered Grumm's throne room. "I trust everything went to your satisfaction?"
"Yes." Grumm said. "I knew you had come on board when you first arrived. There is little on this ship I don't see." Icy Angel then asked "So why did you allow me to continue my business?"
"I am amused by the notion of Mora, or Morganna as the case is now, trying to escape my employ. I enjoy seeing her try to find a way to get what she wants without my help, only for her to fail. Don't get me wrong. She is very capable as a monster maker, but she also....."
"...needs to learn the finer points." Icy Angel said. "I understand. I had hoped though that Morganna would have succeeded."
"I would have as well." Grumm said. "But she hadn't. So now she must try harder and not fail me. I consider this an object lesson for her." Icy Angel nodded and then asked "And our arrangement?"
"Of course." Grumm said as he brought forth two seeds and placed them in Icy Angel's hand. "These should help you with what you hope to accomplish."
"Thank you Emperor." Icy Angel said as she turned to leave. Grumm however asked one final question. "One last thing. What do you hope to do with those?"
Icy Angel smiled as she then said "Getting rid of two embarrassments." before teleporting out. Grumm then sat at his throne imagining what would happen, and then turning his focus back on his own affairs.
There were planets still to conquer, and enemies to destroy.
-Like Doggie Kruger.- Grumm thought as his eyes became a menacing red. He would enjoy his revenge against Kruger when the time for it came.
-I don't think I've ever seen the stars like this.- Cyane said as she looked up at the night sky. -At least REALLY seen them.-
For so long Cyane had seen stars as if she was among them. Bits of light to travel on as she made her way from system to system conquering worlds for the UAE. Being the Princess of Darkness. When she looked up at the stars from planetside it seemed like her perception changed.
"It's different when you're on the other side isn't it?" Dan said as he walked up the path. Cyane smiled as she ran into Dan's arms and they kissed. "Were you followed?" she asked.
"No. You?" Cyane shook her head no as she let Dan hold her in his arms for a few seconds. Then they both looked up at the night sky.
"What's it like?" Dan asked. "Crossing stars, going to distant worlds, seeing all there is to see?"
"Isn't it the same as when you cross continents on Earth?" Cyane asked. "When you visit another country that is totally different from the place you knew?" Dan nodded a bit and saw the point. He had gone with his family on several trips to Europe and Asia. Many times he found aspects of wonder, but there were other places he hadn't gone.
"Yeah some places are wondrous on Earth." Dan said. "But there are places one fears as well. Mostly due to the hate people feel, or their differing ideologies. A lot of these places are war zones. Even after the Cylon attack there are factions looking to resume their old conflicts. As if the invasion was just a breather before they go back to slaughtering each other."
"They may not be for too long." Cyane said. "Once the UAE takes over...."
"There will be resistance." Dan said. "The killing won't stop." Cyane tried to speak but Dan added. "Nothing will stop a lot of these factions from killing each other. And if any one does they would wind up killing them before they go back to killing each other."
Cyane just sighed and said with distain "Politics." Dan just smiled as he then said "I'm going into a war zone you know."
"What?" Cyane asked. "If you are referring to something you think the UAE is going to do..."
"No not that. It's something else." Dan paused before speaking again. "We're leaving, in a month. For Aquitar."
"Aquitar." Cyane asked in shock. "But that's under UAE control. Squatt and Baboo run that world now."
"The Rangers believe they need to go liberate it." Dan said. "And I agree with them in principle. But the reality...."
"I know. They're not going to let go of that world easily." Cyane paused before speaking again. "They may have other defenses that even the UAE doesn't know about."
"What do you mean?"
"It's just....no one expected Squatt and Baboo to hold that world for very long. They may have some additional backing. Backing that even Dark Specter doesn't know about." Cyane explained. Dan then asked "Isn't the evil of the universe under Dark Specter's control?"
"I wish." Cyane sighed. "There are a few independents out there that are not under Dark Specter's control. Some of those are....unaccounted for. There are a few we know of, but there are others that take great care at being hidden." After a pause Cyane added. "You know if you leave Earth becomes vulnerable."
"If the UAE attack?" Dan asked. "I know."
"You might find it overrun by us." Cyane added.
"Then we'll fight to free our world if it comes to that." Dan said. "And if we win..."
"Or if you lose...." Cyane added. "At least we'll be together. Provided you come back."
"Hey. I'll be coming back." Dan added looking deep into Cyane's eyes. "And if the UAE wants to move in on Earth, they will find it's not as easy as they might think."
"We'll see. But for now." Cyane and Dan inched closer to one another and Cyane's lips parted for a soft kiss. Dan moved forward and deepened the kiss. Both lost in their love for each other. When they broke apart Dan then said "Romeo and Juliet have nothing on us."
"Who?" Cyane asked. Dan shook his head. "Never mind." as they kissed again.
The future was another story. For Cyane and Dan Reid tonight was all that mattered.