Disclaimer: The Power Rangers are the property of Saban Entertainment and I lay no claim to them. Count Iblis is a character from the series 'Battlestar Galactica'. Morbius and the Sisterhood of Karn is from the Doctor Who Episode 'the Brain of Morbius' and Androzani Major and Androzani Minor are from the episode 'The Caves of Androzani'. This story is part of the COE Final Reckoning series and follows on from the events of COE Final Reckoning Minion of Darkness, COE Final Reckoning After the Minion, COE Final Reckoning ID War, Crisis of Faith.
By the Q-team
Rassilon's Tomb Planet Gallifrey The Death Zone
~How long had it been~ the figure asked herself as she stood on the observation deck of the Tomb of Rassilon looking out at the bleak landscape that was before her.~ How long had it been since I had seen the people I love, those I had fought with and fought for. How long had it been since I had seen my homeworld of Inquiris?~
Dimitria of Inquiris had no answer. To her frame of mind she may as well have been on Gallifrey for thousands of years learning all Rassilon could teach her about the nature of good, evil and the Shadow Grid. But if she was to venture back into the universe again only mere years, decades or centuries could pass for her. No one would have ever known that she was truly gone, or at least gone for too long.
Had it been so long since that attack on Inquirus? When the UAE swarmed down and destroyed all there was of a proud civilization. An annoying one due to them only asking questions but a proud one nonetheless. Calls to the council were given, but they all went unanswered. ' Why wouldn't they come?' she asked herself. 'Why wouldn't the council send forces to save our people?' she asked herself as she saw men, women and children cut down as they tried to find safety from the UAE bombardment.
Then the black shape came towards her, enveloping her form and transporting her away from the hell she was in, only to be dropped into a different one.
For she was transported into the Death Zone of Gallifrey, transported with a lot of the monsters of the universe, as well as a few creatures of good. Their purpose was to seemingly fight and die as creatures known as Time Lords had watched on, amused by the antics of the lesser species as they fought to stay alive. Not much of the fighter, it was assumed that Dimitria would have been easy prey. However never was many of the species trapped with her proven wrong.
For Dimitria had proved her adversaries wrong. Being a member of the Order of Meladon Dimitria had fought against many evils before they had disbanded. Other members had been Zordon, Dulcea, Ninjor, Auric, Lexian, and Thalian. And the Order were considered to be the greater threats to the forces of evil. Much like Ranger teams that were seen throughout the cosmos. In fact, it was said that the Order was the Prototype team for many future generations of Power Rangers on many different worlds. And when they had disbanded the members of the Order had all ascended to the rank of Morphin Master, the first to do so.
But nonetheless Dimitria had to face many adversaries within the zone. Adversaries which left her almost defeated until she was able to bounce back on repeat occasions. The memory of her lost world Inquirus, and the oaths she took as a Morphin Master and member of the Order of Meladon drove her forward towards the center of the zone, where the Dark Tower stood.
Like all others in the zone, Dimitria hypothesized that whoever was in the tower held the way home for them. But somehow no one was able to get through the tower to find out. Different traps had appeared each time taking out wary combatants, while others secured the perimeter making sure no one else could get to the tower either. But Dimitria would not be denied so easily.
Her opponents varied. From Raston warrior robots, to mutants of other worlds, androids, ancient warriors, aliens, there seemed to be no limit to the challenges placed before Dimitria, but she was determined to go through each and every one. Her determination, her drive, went undaunted. And in the end, her strength of will was her perseverance.
For she had made it to the main door of the Dark Tower. Where she would confront her abductor, and the abductors of several aliens that she had run across and defeated to get to where she was.
And then she would go home.
To save her beloved Inquirus.
She journeyed through the halls of the tower, going through the halls and traps laid before her. At one time she even thought she saw her sister in front of her. Her sister that was lost so long ago, appearing in the Tower she was fighting to get through. She told Dimitria not to go forward any longer, that she had found a way home.
"Where?" Dimitria asked.
"It's not far." The woman named Demoria said. "It's just outside."
"Outside?" Dimitria asked curiously. "Is it a ship?"
"Yes. One of our own ships made it through the force field." Demoria said. Dimitria wanted to believe so much that an Inquiran ship was here to rescue her and her sister from the Death Zone. But something told her to press forward. Keep going.
"But what about the others here? We can't just leave them."
"Others will come soon to rescue them." Demoria said. "But we can leave now."
"And what about the kidnappers? How do we stop them from doing this again?"
'Demoria' came up with the answer "When we return to Inquiris we can raise a mighty fleet and destroy these kidnappers." Dimitria listened to her 'sister' and figured her answer to be pretty lame.
"No 'sister. '" Dimitria said. "I see no reason to turn back now. If we wait for a fleet to come these monsters could fortify themselves more, and we won't be able to stop them. They must be stopped here and now."
"No" Demoria said. "We must leave now."
"No! I must STAY!" Dimitria said as she pushed through her sister. 'Pushed through' being the literal term. Dimitria turned back and saw that her 'sister' was nothing more than an illusion. A dream that she fancied, yet would never have. Such a violation of Dimitria's heart had to be answered for.
Finally she made it to the center of the tower where one figure sat alone. She ran up to the chair and swirled it around to reveal... no one seated. Dimitria was shocked momentarily.
"What?" she said when she felt a sudden presence behind her. Ducking out of the way as she turned around a bolt of energy streaked past her destroying the throne. Dimitria then looked at the face of her would-be assassin and saw a figure in black robes with a sash around his neck, a rod in his left hand and a crown of some sort on his head. He also had thick grey hair, and an even thicker mustache. In his right hand was a pistol of some sort. The barrel still smoking from where the man had fired it.
Looking over the man before her Dimitria was about to ask who he was but he beat her to the punch. "I am Rassilon. The leader of Time Lord society."
Dimitria looked on in surprise. "You? You are the leader? You are the leader of a species of kidnappers?"
This seemed to infuriate Rassilon as the whole room seemed to radiate with some sort of power. Dimitria felt the power but she was still standing, refusing to be intimidated by the individual that she was now facing. "Did anyone tell you that it is not always appropriate to label a whole race based on the actions of a few?"
"I have heard about that. But that doesn't change the fact that many have been abducted from their homes and are fighting in your zone out there." Dimitria made no attempt to hide her fury. Inwardly, Rassilon smiled. He admired this woman's spirit.
"The kidnapping for amusement was not my idea, even though the game was my invention." Rassilon said which only served to bury him further with Dimitria. "You sought to kidnap other species, for what purpose if not for amusement?"
"To find someone worthy." Was Rassilon's answer. "Someone worthy to help lead the universe through a critical juncture."
Confronting the Time Lord Dimitria then asked her question "Why am I here?"
Rassilon smiled then answered. "Because, you have proven yourself worthy of the knowledge I am about to bestow."
"Knowledge?" Dimitria asked.
"Of a great cataclysm to come." Rassilon said. "A cataclysm that could well destroy the universe if not deterred."
"What is this cataclysm?" Dimitria asked looking to know more. Rassilon went into his explanation of what was to come, and the roles that she and others were set to play. He told of a villain known as Minion who would try to steal the power of a demonic being, and look to bring about the end of all existence. There would also be two others who would represent the beginning and the end as they sought to bring others into the fight. A fight where the intention was to preserve the balance between good and evil.
"Preserve both good... and evil?" Dimitria asked.
"At the universe's stage of evolution one cannot exist without the other." Rassilon explained. "One day perhaps neither will be needed as all become one. But for now the balance between good and evil must be maintained for the survival of both factions." Dimitria nodded as Rassilon continued to explain. Whatever questions she may have had Rassilon quickly answered. Then when all the questions were answered Rassilon laid down the ultimatum for her again.
"So now the choice is yours Dimitria. Will you accept and stay? Or will you go home and possibly doom the universe to complete annihilation?" Dimitria seemed unfazed by Rassilon's ultimatum but inside her mind she wondered if Rassilon was not telling the truth. "Why can't you stop this... 'Minion' from destroying everything? You seem to have all this power."
"I have much power, as do my people. But we are not all powerful." Rassilon stated. "Sometimes we can learn things from the lesser species instead of trying to know more than everyone." Dimitria heard his words and saw the reason behind them. She then thought about the oath she took as a member of the Order of Meladon, where she would protect all life, and all that was good. If the universe was going to be destroyed sometime in the future, how could she refuse.
Dimitria turned to the image of Rassilon and faced him. "All right. I'm in." Rassilon smiled and said "Splendid."
After learning all she could from Rassilon the crisis he spoke of came. Ushered in by Minion Dimitria and Rassilon activated the Alpha and Omega Rangers. Two young boys named Oscar Barrett and Daniel Nelson who then began a series of Interdimensional adventures where they met several individuals and helped direct events so that Thomas Oliver could deliver the final shot that ended Minion's plans. And even if he had to make a deal with the Dark One Tommy was able to get out of it later on.
Dimitria also watched as Rassilon appointed Karla the Grey Witch, who was reborn as Jennifer Summers in another reality, and gave her the power and immortality to become Guardian of the Shadow Grid. She had also taken in two pupils and had taken up the roles as guardians of good and evil.~ At least they take their roles seriously unlike the Q~ she thought as her mind turned to those three children who played with the universe like it was a toy. She knew soon that they would learn their lesson. Who would teach it was another story.
But then Dimitria thought about all that had been accomplished and she wondered if she was needed on Gallifrey anymore. All that she was needed for had been accomplished. Minion had been defeated, the Shadow Guardians were in place. The more Dimitria had thought about it, the more she realized she didn't need to be here any longer. And despite looking in on things from time to time she wondered what the universe was like now. What was happening with the council? Did Inquirus get the help it needed? Despite knowing the answer in her heart she still needed to be sure.
Dimitria looked out at the landscape and made her decision.~ It's time to go home. she thought as she turned back towards the tomb's sky door and walked inside.
"Are you certain of this Dimitria?" the image of Rassilon asked as Dimitria knelt before the tomb.
"I am sure Lord Rassilon." Dimitria stated. "I believe that with Minion defeated and the Shadow Guardians now in place my time here has come to an end. It is time for me to go home."
Rassilon considered the words that were said to him. Dimitria had learned much during her stay here. Knowledge which could be put to good use in the universe, especially during one time period in particular. A period where the ultimate upheaval will take place, and Gallifrey could be involved in it again. But in order to be prepared for it Dimitria needed to be on the outside, taking a part in galactic affairs once again.
"Very well." Rassilon said. "I shall return you home to your own universe. When you return, only a year will have passed for you in the stream of normal time/space."
"Thank you Rassilon." Dimitria said. "I will never forget the good that we have done here."
"Nor will I." Rassilon said with a smile. Dimitria was good company during Rassilon's long sleep, and she had learned much during his tutelage. But she had a role to fill in the universe, like his other student Karla, and her two pupils Shadow and Mirabilis had to fill.
And while the Shadow Triad were accomplishing their goals, Dimitria realized that it was time to accomplish hers... And that was to hopefully save the universe the best way she knew how.
However there was one nearby who was not willing to allow that goal to happen.
The Shadow Guardian of Evil stood off to the side listening to Rassilon and Dimitria speak. His thoughts turning as he considered the possibilities if Dimitria was to rejoin the universe now that she knew some of the secrets of the Shadow Grid. It could prove to be quite the bane if Dimitria took part in Galactic events again.
~I must stop this~ Mirabilis thought as he took his time ship back to his Dark Palace then punched up the codes on his computer that would allow him to contact those responsible for the security of the Matrix and all Time Lord Interests on Gallifrey. The most secretive of all agencies on Gallifrey-the Celestial Intervention Agency.
The Time Lord Capitol Office of the Celestial Intervention Agency
The Celestial Intervention Agency was one of the most mysterious agencies on Gallifrey. They are very hard to find information on but it has been said that they have their hands into everything Gallifreyan.
The official purpose of 'the Agency' as it was so affectionately called, was to monitor affairs in the universe and then deal with them accordingly. Normally the Agency would only involve themselves in matters of grave galactic consequence, and often they would use the Doctor as their unwitting agent. The price he paid for his freedom due to them lifting the exile to Earth in his third incarnation when he and two other incarnations defeated the mad Time Lord Omega. Three such events the Agency used the Doctor on was in the birth of the Daleks where they wanted him to divert the evolutionary path of them so they would not be too much of a threat. This mission had only limited success.
The second was when the Doctor was sent to the world of Karn in order to locate a rogue Time Lord called Morbius who led an evil coalition throughout the universe. This coalition was defeated by the Time Lords and the Sisterhood of Karn, who were guardians of an Elixir of Life that had special healing properties. When Morbius returned the Doctor and the Sisterhood finished off Morbius who was reborn in a makeshift body that was pushed off a cliff after the Doctor defeated him in a game of mind bending.
The third was against the Cybermen when they sought to use a stolen time machine to go back in time and prevent the destruction of Mondas the Cybermen's first home planet. The Doctor was able to defeat the Cybermen's plot and destroy Cyber Control allowing the Cryon women to return to the surface and begin rebuilding their world.
However the Agency had another purpose, the safeguarding of Time Lord secrets so that the 'lesser species' did not misuse, or compete, with the Time Lords' power. Something Mirabilis was able to put to good use as he contacted the Agency Director Ariman and told him what Rassilon and Dimitria were planning, even though Mirabils left out Rassilon's involvement. With the reverence Rassilon had been shown on Gallifrey, Mirabilis didn't want anyone thinking that they would be going against the Gallifreyan equivalent of God.
"There is someone looking to escape through a Transmat in the Death Zone." Mirabilis said. "They have secrets of the Time Lords that must not be allowed to escape." That was all the Agency Director Ariman needed to hear for his paranoia about Gallifreyan secrets to override his rationality.
At the Transmat station ex-Castellan Spandrell and Co-Ordinator Engin stood ready to bid Dimitria good bye. "You sure we cannot convince you to stay with us?" Spandrell asked the Inquiran.
Dimitria smiled beneath her veil. "Positive Spandrell. I need to see what good I can do in the universe now. But I appreciate the invitation."
"Oh well safe journey my lady." Engin said as he kissed her hands. Dimitria was grateful for the veil she wore because both Time Lords would definitely have seen her blush."
"You are both so sweet. I shall never forget you or my time here." Dimitria then got on the Transmat tube and Engin took the controls and activated the console. They had watched Dimitria fade away on the platform and were about to leave when a surge of power overloaded the Transmat beam.
"What's happening Engin?" Spandrall asked.
"Power overload Spandrell." Engin said as he hurried over the controls. "Someone sent a surge of power and overloaded the transmat circuitry as Dimitria was transmatting out."
"Can you pull her back?" Spandrell asked.
"No Castellan. The circuits are completely shorted. Dimitria's pattern is too far away for retrieval, and even if was close enough the equipment could not sustain it."
Spandrell's mind was rolling with suspicions. Dimitria transmats out, then a mysterious accident happens. Spandrell figured the accident may not have been an accident, but right now was not the time for looking into a potential crime. Dimitria's life was at stake. "Is there anything that can be done?" Spandrell asked.
"Well I might be able to contact a second beam station and get them to place a second beam on her and send her on her way to her destination. But it has to be done soon or her pattern will discorporate and scatter throughout the universe." Engin then made ready to contact another transmat station when a signal came in through the computer saying that another transmat beam had locked onto her and was sending her back on her original course.
"Thank heavens she's safe." Engin said. Spandrell nodded in agreement and then decided to focus on the next piece of business, locating who tried to sabotage Dimitria's journey.
He needn't worry about who saved her. He already had a good idea who had done that.
The Shadow Palace
From his tower Shadow watched as the energy stream that carried Dimitria's energy pattern left the planet of Gallifrey and made it's way across the depths of space. He sighed grateful that he was able to step in and keep Dimitria's pattern intact once he learned Mirabilis had conspired with the Agency to kill her if she tried to leave.
~Mirabilis only did what came natural.~ Shadow thought to himself.~ He was only looking out for the best interest of evil just as I must look out for the best interest for good. I'll keep telling myself that.~ he sighed as he looked out among the starry sky as Dimitria's energy pattern soared among them.
"Good journey Dimitria." Shadow said. "I hope you don't mind if you take a little detour though."
Present Time: The Year 1996 AD Deep Space
Sabrina looked out the view port of the Astro Megaship while she was on the bridge. It had been nearly three weeks since her 'rebirth' and it had taken half of the five million she had taken from Astronema to complete the overhaul on the Megaship, buying the parts and repairing systems, bottom line though was that the Megaship was in the best condition that it had been before the war on KO-35.
~It sucks to lose your home.~ Sabrina thought to herself.
"Tell me about it."
Sabrina turned around and saw Anne plop right into the bridge chair. Sabrina rolled her eyes. "I was wondering when you were going to pop up again."
"Having problems of your own still." Anne stated.
Sabrina sighed. "This road to redemption that I am... it sure as hell isn't going to be easy."
"Nothing worth doing is EVER easy." Anne replied. "So what is your fear now?"
Sabrina closed her eyes. "... my fear is of home. Where I betrayed the one person I had left for family when I switched sides."
Anne looked over at Sabrina. "Until you face all of your demons you will never be at the peace you need to begin redemption."
Sabrina looked over at Anne. "So what are you saying? I should go home?"
"You said it. Not me." Anne smirked before disappearing.
Sabrina shook her head. "... I don't know if I'll ever get used to her."
Still it gave plenty for Sabrina to think about.~ When did it all start?~ she wondered to herself.~ Was it one disagreement that spiraled out of control? Or was it a series of things?~
Sabrina was an accomplished warrior when she was Selina. Her skill matched only to that of her sister. Yet when the time came for selection of members for the Order of Meladon Selina was passed by and her sister got that honor. Sabrina was not happy about that at all. She had hoped she would be selected.
Then she saw the Order in battle and wondered why they didn't take a more aggressive stance against evil. It seemed like evil always ran roughshod across the universe and the Order only employed defensive measures when offensive should have been what was necessary. Selina mentioned this to her sister, but she had disagreed and Selina felt like she was being disregarded. It seemed like all the council disregarded her, despite all she had done for the side of light.
And her sister, why did she get all the recognition but Selina could only be a lowly warrior. It wasn't fair.
"No it is not!" a shrill voice said. A voice that belonged to Rita Repulsa who made her a deal.
"Look at you. How could the Galactic Council cast you out like they did? How could your sister discard you after all you had done. Maybe you should join someone where you will be appreciated. Where the council will be sorry that they ever treated you the way they did."
Selina didn't trust Rita and she let her know it, but Rita continued to work her sales pitch on Selina and more and more her resolve weakened. Soon it was at the point that Selina accepted and became Scorpina, starting her on the road to damnation. Her first mission, to confront the Order of Meladon.
Sure enough that confrontation happened, and Selina's sister was shocked to see her become as she was now-the warrior Scorpina. The sister couldn't fight her sister despite what she was, and the Order of Meladon wound up losing a battle which was known as 'The Nemesis tragedy' where the fourth quadrant became a part of the UAE. Millions upon millions of civilizations and people were subjected to terrible conditions, even slavery. To the point where death would be a blessing. Also lost were the team of Ninjetti that Dulcea was training. Killed by her own sister's hand.
Sabrina shook herself out of that memory. Tears fell down her face as she remembered that terrible day through new eyes. Her sister's shock, the destruction of the colony they were on. The fleets running across planet after planet. The reactions of people when a once famous council hero turned on the people she protected and fought with the UAE, and the Ninjetti dying the most painful deaths her evil-influenced mind could imagine. All the death and suffering, and worse off the betrayal to her sister.
She had to confront those demons. Starting off with her sister. "DECA... lay in a course. Maximum Hyperrush."
Sabrina breathed before giving her response.
Onyx The Great Hall.
"But we have no use for that worthless mudball!" Divatox shrieked. "There are no colonies on it. No treasures. No gold or jewels."
Artemis turned and shot Divatox a look. "That shows what you know Divatox. Looks can be deceiving when it comes to Androzani Minor."
Dark Specter seemed interested in what the newest member of the UAE had to say, and most of the rest of the council was interested too. "Very well Artemis. What is it about this world that is so important that it could warrant the attention of the UAE.
Artemis looked at Dark Specter and knew she had to be careful. She needed to provide Dark Specter something of value to the UAE but at the same time had to do it so that no innocents were hurt. As she thought about her times as a Defender she remembered Androzani Minor, and thought that it would be her best bet.
The Megaship had gone on a mission to Androzani Minor to stop a pirate band who was hiding out there. The planet looked like nothing impressive from the air, just a big ball of rock. Geological surveys indicated that the planet had a molten core of boiling mud which tended to burst from the surface at random intervals, and in random locations. This was a major reason why the planet was never colonized by anyone.
However a mining operation was located there. A mining operation from the neighboring planet Androzani Major who mined the caverns for a material called Spectrox, which had many healing properties for the people on Major. Properties that were almost equal to the elixir of life that was in possession of the Sisterhood of Karn. Another world that the Astro Defenders had visited. But Artemis didn't want the UAE to face the wrath of the Sisterhood there, or even the sisterhood face the wrath of the UAE. She had no idea who would win there.
But on minor the Pink Astro Defender Alya found out the hard way that while Spectrox was an powerful elixir of life, it was only when it was processed that it would take those qualities. In its raw state, it was a deadly poison. A poison Alya was exposed to and almost died of had Andros, Karone and Zhane went deep into the caves of Minor and found the milk of the Queen Bats which were the antidote to Spectrox Toxemia. When Alya was sufficiently recovered the Astro Defenders then went to confront the smugglers and bring them to justice. The mining operation however wasn't so lucky.
They had been trapped deep within the caves of Minor by the smugglers and the Astro Defenders couldn't rescue them in time. For just as the Astro Rangers were about to break through the rocks they were buried under a mud burst erupted and buried all the miners within a mess of hot mud. They were killed instantly.
Androzani Major didn't send any more mining operations for a long while. At least not while the mud bursts went on like they had. They would return periodically, but then pull out quickly after they had mined as much Spectrox as they possibly could. Right now there was no mining expedition on Minor at this time. Perfect for the UAE to move in and take possession. All Artemis had to do was convince Dark Specter to do it.
"Dark Specter. Androzani Minor is rich in an element that far outweighs gold or jewels. On the planet is a mineral called Spectrox, which can be both a giver of life, or cause terrible death." The council listened to Artemis's proposal and her own encounter on Minor when she was a Ranger.
"And this Spectrox can also be used to kill as well as extend life?" Zedd asked.
"Correct Lord Zedd albeit in small doses. In it's raw state it brings about a condition called Spectrox Toxemia which comes in three stages once a person is exposed. First comes a rash, then a cramp, third stage is spasms then comes a slow paralysis of the thorasic spinal nerve before TDP-Thermal Death Point."
"Hmmm." Dark Specter said in musing. "A valuable medicine for the UAE which can double as a weapon against our enemies if necessary. And you say the only antidote is the milk of the Queen Bats that dwell in the caves there?"
"Yes Dark Specter." Artemis said. "Although I don't recommend that we exterminate the bats in anyway. One is never sure what may happen if one of the UAE is exposed to raw Spectrox, and we have no way to cure it."
"Oh pooh!" Divatox quickly stood out of her seat and crossed over to Artemis. "If this Spectrox is so important, why don't we just go to Androzani Major and just take it from them?"
Artemis quickly had an answer for her. "Because the Spectrox isn't found on Major. It is made by the nests of the Queen Bats and is mined by miners on Androzani MINOR! If we raid MAJOR all we'd be getting is the Spectrox they have on hand. Or are you looking to just increase your treasure trove?"
"Watch yourself missy!" Divatox glared. "You don't want to make an enemy of me!"
"And you don't want to make an enemy of me... or my sister." Artemis said the last one with a smirk, like a poker player that held all the cards. Divatox was about to explode when Dark Specter spoke first.
"SILENCE!!!" Everyone turned to look at the giant monster who led the UAE. "I see merit in what Artemis says. For now we have been taking territories and riches. It seems like we never really fully exploring the resources the planets we hold have. Sure we look for minerals, riches and even slaves. But we should also look for something that increases the UAE's longevity. So that in the event that the unthinkable happens we are prepared for it."
"The Unthinkable?" Momma D asked. "You don't mean in case we are overthrown?"
Dark Specter sighed. "While the idea seems... remote at best it is a possibility we must consider. And if that event becomes likely we need to be prepared for it, with power and magic and resources that we can use in case we are overthrown. The Spectrox on Androzani Minor could provide that for us. And it also provides us with a means to acquire Androzani Major, should we need to conquer the planet, without even firing a shot."
Rita had nodded in agreement. When Lord Zedd returned and stripped Rita of her powers, he didn't strip her of all of them. She made sure she had enough resources available if she was deposed and was able to return again. She was smart not to put her eggs and one basket and knew Dark Specter was too. "I favor Artemis's plan!" Rita shrieked in favor.
"As am I!" Lord Zedd added.
Soon everyone in the UAE was favoring Artemis's plan to take Androzani Minor. Divatox was the only 'no' vote but that was moot since Dark Specter made the final decision and he decided to favor Artemis's plan. "Prepare a mining mission." Dark Specter ordered. "I want the Spectrox caves of Androzani Minor under my control as soon as possible!"
"Yes Dark Specter." Artemis bowed and then turned to leave. But when she was far enough outside the council chambers Divatox decided to say her peace privately to Artemis.
"I don't know who the hell you think you are or what kind of game Astronema is playing, but you aren't her sister." Divatox sneered in Artemis face after pulling her side at the end of the meeting. "But be smart. Walk away and never show your face again."
Artemis then reached behind her back for her Sati-rang and then slashed Divatox with it before kicking her to the ground and then having her Wrath Staff at her throat.
Divatox smirked. "You wouldn't dare strike me." Artemis then slammed her staff down to the ground and Divatox laughed. "Ha! Told you!"
Artemis however was smiling. "Feel your left cheek."
Divatox did that... and saw on her glove blood. Artemis then picked up Divatox by the throat and pulled her up against the wall. "The next time you try a stunt like that with me, I'll do MORE than cut your slutty face." Artemis hissed before punching Divatox in the stomach taking the wind out of her and then let her fall to the ground. "I am Artemis, Princess of Darkness, twin sister of Astronema... and you are not worth any more of my time." Artemis then turned on her heal and left Divatox on the ground. As she walked away she just smiled as she thought, ~ By the Gods... that felt SO good!!!~ she smirked letting out a small chuckle.
Divatox stared open mouthed at Artemis.~ How DARE she do that to me! I am Divatox! Pirate Queen of the universe! She should be scraping my feet. Her and her slutty sister!~
From his throne room Dark Specter smiled after seeing this in secret from his mystic view portal.~ I am impressed. Her own inner darkness is growing. With her and Astronema, at the right time, the earth will fall to me.~
Artemis was almost at her shuttle when Momma D decided to have a few words as well. "Oh Artemis! Artemis darling!" Artemis turned to look at Momma D, clearly annoyed.
"Yes Momma D what can I do for you?"
"Oh nothing much. I just heard about what you did to my daughter and... I just want to apologize for her behavior." Artemis looked at her curiously. "That's all?"
"Oh... no not really." Momma D then made her sales pitch. "You see, I've been thinking a lot about what Dark Specter said... and the possibility that the UAE may be overthrown, and I just want to contribute a little so that it doesn't happen."
"So you wish to command the Spectrox mining mission is that it?" Artemis asked.
"Well, I just want to do my part for the UAE is all." Momma D said innocently. Artemis considered the words and said "Okay."
"Oh thank you so much Artemis. You're a gem!" Next minute Astronema appeared and asked how the meeting went.
"Not too bad." Artemis said. "Momma D will be leading the mission to Androzani Minor to oversee the Spectrox mining there."
Astronema smirked getting some of her confidence back. "From what my sister tells me Spectrox is a very important substance for the UAE. Are you sure you can handle a mission of this magnitude?"
Momma D seemed taken aback. "Handle it? HANDLE IT?! I'm Momma D! Mother of Divatox! Pirate Queen of the universe!"
"And daughter of the fifth house, holder of the sacred chalise of Rixx, and heir to the holy rings of Betazed." Artemis added in jest. Astronema and Momma D both turned to look at Artemis wondering what she meant. "Something I heard that I found amusing."
"Almost as amusing as Momma D leading the mission to Minor?" Astronema asked.
Artemis smirked and said "Almost." before turning to leave with her sister. Momma D was left behind humiliated. Even though she had gotten command of the mining mission, the sisters of evil left her seething and Momma D wanted them to pay. Especially for her daughter's sake.
Momma D watched as Artemis and Astronema left together.~ Well since you are such a fan of Spectrox little girl, we'll see how much you REALLY like it soon enough.~ Momma D then turned around and walked down the corridor where the mining expedition awaited her commanding presence.
On the Dark Fortress Astronema and Artemis went at it in one of their 'training exercises'. Exercises that were intense to say the least.
"Rah!" Artemis grunted as her Wrath Staff clanged against Astronema's.
"You may not have specialized in close quarters fighting when you were a Defender using that Star Slinger of yours, but you will learn." Astronenma shot.
"And in case you haven't been paying attention..." Artemis replied as she swung her Wrath Staff under Astronema's legs while kicking up at Astronema's Wrath Staff to keep it forceful as the original Princess of Darkness was knocked flat on her ass. Astronema looked up to see Artemis's Wrath Staff at her throat. "I win... you lose." Artemis breathed.
The two women turned around after hearing Ecliptor's voice. "You've spared against each other enough for today." He said. "Good work to both of you."
"You may have beaten me that time sis, but I've been you six out of the ten matches we've had today." Astronema smiled slyly.
"I wouldn't be so snide, just means I'm improving fast than you expected which means you better keep up the pace or soon I'LL be the one winning." Artemis returned.
"You should only be so lucky to have so much hidden potential Artemis." Ecliptor said. "It took Astronema nearly a decade to reach her current level of power. Your hidden potential may give you an advantage but with out developing, training, and discipline, it will do you no good."
Artemis nodded. "I know Ecliptor. I know. Anyways I'm beat. I'm taking a shower and going to sleep."
"I didn't give you permission." Ecliptor said. "You still have..."
Artemis then had her own Wrath Staff and had it at Ecliptor's head. "You are a very good teacher but I've had to deal with Rita, Divatox and Momma D, the UAE's three biggest migraine causing bitches for four hours and before that over the course of 17 hours I have been training and developing my power. So when I say I am going to take a shower and go to sleep..." She then spun around and then shot her left hand out firing off purple lightning in a concentrated stream which totally annihilated one of the practice units in the training hall. She then looked back at Ecliptor dead in his eyes.
"I am GOING to take a shower and go to sleep!" Artemis stated as she walked off back to her own quarters.
Ecliptor just looked on at Artemis walking off wondering until he was broken out of his musings by Astronema's giggling.
"What's so funny?" he asked.
"It just is funny! How she got her way over you!" Astronema smirked.
"My princess. May I remind you of how powerful Artemis is now becoming. Her growth rate in power and magic is astounding."
Astronema nodded. "Indeed. Its also a reason why I intend to call Dark Specter."
Ecliptor blinked. "What for?"
"A relief for about a month." Astronema stated as she let a smile cross her face. "You see Artemis and I can become stronger through each other... however there are other places that I know of to help increase our power."
"What places?" Ecliptor asked.
"I can't say." Astronema said. "There are rules that must be honored."
"Of course." Eclipter bowed. "I'll see you in a month."
Astronema smiled as she walked out of the training room. She would let Artemis sleep for now, but once she awakened the sisters had some travelling to do.
On a plateau overlooking the forest and nearby ocean of Phaedos a hooded figure looked up and saw a ship set down on a nearby beach. Curious she ran to see who the pilots were and determine if they were seekers of the Great Power, as so many had done in the past.
When she got to the site where the ship landed she took in the design. It seemed to be of Council manufacture with a modular construction similar to zord transformations. The hooded figure wondered whether or not Rangers had arrived to claim the Great Power. Then she noticed a hatch open up and two figures disembark. One was a young man of about fifteen or sixteen years of age with brown/blonde hair. The other...
~No! It can't be! What's SHE doing back here?~
The last thought was filled with nothing more than venom and hatred.
It seemed like they were walking for miles but Sabrina assured Andros that she knew where they were going. "You didn't exactly explain why we're here. I mean I know this is Phaedos but..."
"Personal business." Sabrina said. "There are some ghosts I need to put to rest here." No sooner had Sabrina completed that sentence that the hooded figure seemed to fall from the sky and step into Andros and Sabrina's path. Sabrina looked at the hooded figure and right away knew who it was. "You always did like to surprise people." Sabrina said reflecting no humor in her voice.
The hooded figure had her bladed weapon at ready while Sabrina fell to her knees and placed her hands on top of her head. It was then that Andros ended coming out and then went attack the figure when Sabrina turned her head and shouted, "Andros no! Stay right there!" Andros looked at his new teammate but she said, "This is personal."
"What..." the figure, a female, spoke with anger, "Are you doing back here?"
"... to seek forgiveness but if it is not possible... then I accept punishment for my transgressions elder sister."
"Forgiveness... you expect me to forgive what you did?" she said taking off her hood.
Andros was just frozen in shock as he recognized who this was. "You... you're Dulcea, the Master Warrior of Phaedos!" He then blinked at what he had heard so far. "... sister?"
"Once a upon a time..." Sabrina said with her head still bowed in shame.
"It was a long time ago... before you betrayed us. Becoming the monster that you are."
"I would think my friend that it would be monster that she was ."
All three turned around to face a woman in white robes. All three knew who this was.
Dimitria of Inquaris.
Dulcea went over to her without taking her eyes off of Sabrina. "Dimitria I told you to conserve your strength. You've only recently regained full strength."
"I am alright Dulcea." Dimitria said as she looked at both Andros, who had just bowed his head in respect, and Sabrina, who was still on her knees with her head down.
"However as I said, I think you are seeing things as they are in the present. Why would Scorpina wear the uniform of an Astro Guardian, or a morpher for that matter. Further more, why would a spirit bond with an evil like Scorpina... unless she is NOT Scorpina." Dimitria reasoned with Dulcea.
Dulcea just looked on at Sabrina until Dimitria spoke. "Come with us. We should talk more at the Sacred Grounds where we will have protection. The eyes of our enemies are never far away."
"Enemies?" Andros said concerned.
"One can never be too careful." Dimitria said unaware that one of those so called enemies was looking on as they spoke. An enemy of great power and greater evil.
One who studied Andros, and the ghosts he carried, with great interest.
Karone had become quite the heavy sleeper since her 'change'. She would get almost ten to twelve hours due to her re-education so her body could build up its energies spent resisting. However Astronema believed eight was enough, at least in this case as she went to wake up Karone.
Unfortuneately it didn't take much to wake her as all Astronema had to do was walk in and Karone was up. Groggy but up. "What is it?" Karone asked Astronema as she came to the bedroom.
"Get dressed." Astronema said.
"And why do I need to do that? And please tell me this isn't another UAE..."
"This is something not even Ecliptor knows about and by the way we are going now in the night because that's how its supposed to be."
Now this was getting Karone's attention. "What are you talking about?"
Astronema smirked a little bit. "How else do you think I'm as good as I am? Ecliptor is good but I've also had several other tutors that not even he knows about."
"You keep secrets from him of all people?" Karone blinked.
"Part of the rules. You can't belong to a secret society if everyone knows about it?" Astronema replied. Karone looked puzzled as Astronema then continued. "And now that you are here, things need to be set straight."
"What do you mean 'set straight'?" Karone asked.
"Don't start getting all these wrong ideas. The thing is that not everyone becomes a part of our order. I wanted to make sure you were more than prepared for it and strong enough." Astronema stated.
"Strong enough for what?" Karone asked.
"Strong enough... to join the Sisterhood."
After much travel the four had arrived at the Great Temple, or at least what remained of it. "I see some redecorating has been done." Sabrina said.
"No thanks to the UAE." Dulcea said flat out. Dimitria waved her hand as if saying to hold back her emotions until Sabrina told her tale. However Andros asked a question that changed the topic.
"I don't understand this. How did you end up on Phaedos Dimitria? And where have you been for over a year?" Andros asked.
"That my young friend is a very long story." Dimitria said as she prepared to tell them the tale that got her to her current predicament.
"I was brought to the world of Gallifrey, where the residents of the Shadow Grid known as the Time Lords resided. It was there that I met Rassilon. Leader of Time Lord society and legend to his own people. It was with his help that I was able to help to see to it that Minion's efforts to destroy the universe were averted. After that I decided to return home."
"Gallifrey?" Sabrina asked. "Where the Doctor is from?"
Dimitria couldn't help but smile. There wasn't a planet in the universe, or someone, who wasn't familiar with the Doctor. Andros knew of the Doctor himself but he didn't know of the Time Lords.
"The Time Lords are a reclusive group who have mastered travel in the fourth dimension. Beings of great power and knowledge. They are on par with many of the Higher Powers of the universe. Rassilon especially, even though he is confined for the most part in his tomb. However the Time Lords for the most part are very protective about their secrets and are leery when other worlders leave Gallifrey with even a fraction of those secrets."
"They tried to sabotage your departure?" Sabrina asked.
"I'd say more like a group of them known as the Celestial Intervention Agency." Dimitria said. "They are the only ones sneaky enough to pull off such a sabotage in teleportation and cover their tracks. However there were others who saw to it that I made it somewhere if not back to Inquirus."
Dimitria continued to explain. "Rassilon appointed three guardians from other realities. They represent good, evil and shadow. Each one was a Ranger or a villain at some point in their lives with each one serving an aspect. I assume the Shadow Guardian of good saw to it that I arrived here, as well as two old friends back on Gallifrey whose presences I felt try to aid me in my journey."
"I found her here injured and helped nurse her back to health. I've been caring for her ever since." Dulcea said as she then turned her gaze back to Sabrina and said "All right. Now your turn."
Sabrina gulped as she began to tell her story. All that happened on Onyx as the UAE discarded and forgot about her. How Andros arrived and sought to use him to regain entry. How Anne first appeared to her and saw to it that the spell on her Rita placed was broken. How Sabrina became the Gold Astro and saw how Astronema was trying to double cross her. And how they escaped to come here.
"You were enspelled?" Dulcea asked.
"More like I allowed Rita to enspell me." Sabrina said with shame. "She used my bitterness at all that happened and told me what I wanted to hear. Then I allowed her to change me into Scorpina and send me down on the road of damnation I had been on for millennia. Until they decided I wasn't needed anymore."
"It was then that Sabrina was able to be freed of the spell Rita placed on her and leave the UAE." Andros added. Dulcea looked on curious. "Sabrina?"
"It was an alias I used on one of my UAE missions." Sabrina explained. "A mix of both Selina and Scorpina. I am not worthy to take my birth name back, nor am I Scorpina anymore. I needed a name and the name Sabrina was my salvation."
Dulcea said nothing. There was a lot to take in. So much had happened. To her, to Sabrina, to everyone.
She wondered if it was even possible to forgive Sabrina for her transgressions. Despite the journey her life had taken.
The Onyx Tavern, has an array of mutants, aliens, and machines all went about their business. Some just came in to relax and have a drink. Others to take a worry off their woes, and others came in to conduct a little business of their own.
Tonight, Icy Angel was covering the bar in the stead of the Tavern's owners.~ Though after hearing about Astronema I am sure they'll come.~ she thought as she poured another monster a Lava Juice. Her eyes then turned to two cloaked figures. One in blue and the other in purple. Both looked human and female from what she was able to tell.
"Two Onyx Fruits." The one in purple said.
Icy Angel then got their drinks and the one in purple paid... however it was then she saw a coin in the mix.
A coin with a purple snake on it.
"This coin holds no value." Icy Angel said touching the coin so they could see.
"But to a Sister it is priceless." The purple cloaked one said.
Icy Angel then nodded. She then turned around getting another person to keep tabs on the bar while she handled matters. She then walked into the back and the purple cloaked one followed having the blue cloaked one come with her. Once they had reached a room specially made to keep the eyes and ears of people and monsters and mutants out Icy Angel then turned to them. "To come in cloak instead of openly. Why?"
"To keep secrets, hide shame, and keep myself away from hearing sneers of the drunks." The one in purple said as she pulled down her hood.
Icy Angel just narrowed her eyes. "Astronema."
Astronema sighed knowing her emotions. "The Sisterhood is not happy with me."
"No. We are not."
Astronema turned around to face... another Astronema walking into the back but this one with no cloak and with the same purple hair Astronema had. 'Astronema' spoke to Astronema. "Do you know why we are angry?"
Astronema looked at her 'double's' eyes. "Because I didn't except defeat when I knew I was beaten and made a spectacle of myself to humiliate me and bring shame to my fellow Sisters. I have learned from that error and I am still learning."
'Astronema' looked at Astronema intensely before nodded and her form changed into that of Impostra. The Queen Gorgon. She looked at Astronema, "We allow forgiveness when we see fit to deem it upon a Sister by seeing into their eyes. Your eyes have shown me you are learning from this." She then looked hard at her. "But do not allow such act to happen again."
"Of course Impostra." Astronema bowed her head in respect.
Icy Angel then turned to the blue cloaked girl. "So who is this then?"
The girl in blue removed her cloak and then it was Impostra and Icy Angel to be surprised by the sight of a blue-haired Astronema.
"No this isn't a shape shifter or a robot or a person using an image spell." Astronema smiled as she spoke. "This is Artemis. My twin."
"Your twin?" Icy Angel asked.
"We met a while ago." Artemis said. "It was the belief of the two of us, and Dark Specter, that we could become stronger through each other." Artemis said.
"And in order for Artemis to be stronger I thought her joining the Sisterhood would improve her strengths as she helps to improve mine." Astronema added. Impostra considered the words presented to her and they seemed to have merit.
"Maronda and Deceptra should be arriving shortly. Our meetings purpose was to talk to you about your actions but now I see that is unnecessary." Impostra said. "Rather, this will be a test of induction."
"Test?" Artemis asked.
Impostra looked back at her. "You have to go through a test my dear to see if you are worth to join the Sisterhood... and you will be fighting my sister Maronda for your trial."
Astronema then looked at Artemis and flashed a slight smile as if saying 'You're going to have some fun now."
Artemis flashed a smile of her own as if saying 'I'm looking forward to it. '
Back on Phaedos, Sabrina was trying to convince her sister Dulcea to forgive her. Dulcea seemed to still be undecided. Andros decided to excuse himself and took a walk in the forest. The talk of stories left him much to think about on the story of his own life.
"I don't expect you to ever forgive me Dulcea." Sabrina said to her sister who was not even facing Sabrina. Sabrina just continued to look on with her tears starting come. "Nothing I can ever do will bring back your team of Ninjetti. The death of all six of them will forever be on my hands and I will have that on my conscience for as long as I live as well as all the other lives that I have taken..." Sabrina just didn't know what else to say except one more thing. "... I'm sorry Dulcea."
Dulcea then turned around at that moment. "... do you know what the worst thing that I have to live with for the last twenty millennia was..." Sabrina shook her head. "... it was the fact that I lost the last part of my family for all time... and prayed I'd never have to see you again... because I would have to kill you to bring peace to Selina's memory..."
Dulcea then walked over to Sabrina and put her hands on her shoulders. "... you have no idea how much I consider what has happened to you to be a miracle..."
"Dulcea?" Sabrina looked up and saw the Warrior Master crying as she then hugged her.
"Welcome home little sister..." Dulcea cried in joy.
Sabrina only cried with her, never feeling so much better that she had been forgiven by her sister.
Andros walked for a while in the jungle of Phaedos hoping to give Dulcea and Sabrina some bonding time between sisters. As he thought of Sabrina and Dulcea getting reacquainted Andros's thoughts turned to his own sister Karone, and the events that have happened since the destruction of KO-35.
He remembered the vid of her staring up at Astronema defiantly. "Kill me!" she said as Astronema stood ready to grant her wish, and then knew no more. Then came the time on Onyx where Astronema appeared wearing Karone's face, and taking her voice. The face of Andros's sister had become the face of his enemy.
"Why?" he said to himself in thought. "Why did she disrespect her like that? Why did she steal her face?"
As Andros's thought continued on in their endless loop his anger started to grow and grow. He so wanted to kill Dark Specter for the destruction of his home. He wanted to hurt the members of the council who turned a blind eye to his world's suffering, and most importantly he wanted to kill Astronema for stealing his sister Karone's face and disgracing her memory.
"WHY?!!!" he screamed into the blue sky of Phaedos not caring who had heard him or not. He then took notice of the path before him and took off in a fast run.
It had been said that if one ran far enough then one would find himself. Andros could have run a marathon and he would have been nowhere near close enough.
For as he ran the images continued to play out in Andros's mind over and over again. Makarrah's attack on KO-35. His friends rushing down to its defense. All of them getting killed, and his sister being the last one to fall. Astronema appearing wearing Karone's face, Andros lost himself in the repetitive maelstrom and there seemed like no way out.
"Why?" he asked himself. "I'd give anything if someone could tell me why all this is happening?"
"Perhaps... I can be of some help." Andros looked around to see who said the words. No one was supposed to be there, and Dulcea and Dimitria didn't have many deep voices. When Andros turned around he saw a figure in glistening white robes with a lopsided smile. He seemed to radiate an aura of peace and contentment, but that only served to hide the evil that was in its own heart.
"Who are you?" Andros asked.
"Your best friend... right now." was all he said.
Dulcea and Sabrina were catching up on old times as Dimitria walked to another corner of the temple turning her thoughts elsewhere. Towards the council and the state of the universe.
She had thought of her world Inquirus being bombarded by attacks. People taken into slavery and the council doing nothing. Then she heard about KO-35's attack and how the Astro Guardians tried to protect their world despite the council not getting involved. She knew things were not what they were in the universe. Nor were they what they should be. And just as Dimitria was bout to come to a decision on what to do about it the presence was felt.
"Sister, what's wrong?" Sabrina asked as Dulcea turned to her and Dimitria, a look of fear on her face.
"There's evil here. Great evil. I sense it." Dulcea then looked around the ruins of the great temple as she tried to identify who the monster on Phados was. She needn't know any more.
"The Dark One." Dulcea said recognizing the signature, her eyes wide in fear. "He's here!"
Sabrina looked around and asked "Where's Andros?"
"He's gone into the woods." Dimitria said.
"We must find him. And find him quick!" Dulcea said as she took on a green glow then transformed into a White Snow Owl and took to the sky hoping to find a sign of Andros. Sabrina watched her sister fly away and sighed.
"Well, it's been a long time since I've done this." Sabrina said as her body took on a gold glow and she herself had also transformed... into a black panther. And as Dulcea took to the sky for her search Sabrina took to the jungle like a hunter searching for her prey.
Dimitria said a silent prayer for the two Ninjetti sisters hoping that they could find Andros before it was too late.
She prowled through the jungle, taking in all the sights, sounds and scents before her.
It had been so long since Sabrina had been in her panther form. She missed the connection to the animal force of nature it provided. The sense of freedom, of release, that one could not completely reveal as a human due to codes of conduct and behavior that had been imposed for millennia.
But when Sabrina was a panther, all her inhibitions were gone. She was completely free in a spiritual sense. As free as the animals who walked the jungle of Phaedos. Sabrina paused for a moment to feel the presence of all the different animals around her. In her senses she detected the spirits of birds, other wild animals, and one Snow Owl who seemed to radiate a sense of joy like no other animal.
~It is good to feel your spirit again Selina~ Dulcea 'said' to Sabrina in a special way that only she and her sister could.
~I'm afraid I'm not yet ready to take that name back~ Sabrina 'said' back.~ But perhaps one day I will again. Right now though...~
~I know. I'm already flying as fast as my wings can take me. Can you pick up any scent or anything that could help us find Andros?~
~Sorry sister. It's not like I've been sniffing Andros's sock drawer or anything. Truth be told I never thought I'd be doing this again.~ Sabrina continued to search for any lead she could find until she finally picked up a faint scent. The scent seemed to radiate of dark power much like that on Onyx in Dark Specter's lair, only this time it was more powerful.
~I think I've got him Dulcea!~ Sabrina 'said' as she ran as fast as her four legs could carry her. Her heart pounding like mad.
Sabrina would have almost enjoyed the freedom running in her panther form had provided, but right now her friend Andros was in trouble and she had to save him.~ But someday I'm going to have to take a joy run.~
~I'll hold you to that Sabrina.~ Dulcea 'answered' back.~ Mind if I tag along for a flight when you do?~ Sabrina knew Dulcea couldn't smile as an Owl, but she knew that if Dulcea was in human form her lips would be stretched from ear to ear.
Just as Dulcea knew Sabrina would do the same if she was in human form.
But for right now Andros was the main concern, and both sisters had to save him from whatever was about to happen. Of course it helped that Sabrina had Anne to help her as she pointed the quickest paths for her to get to Andros. 'Quick hurry!" Anne said.
Sabrina followed Anne's instructions wasting no time to find her teammate. Moving faster and faster as her heart pumped as she picked up speed. Soon she would reach where she wanted to be, which was where Andros was.
She only hoped she was not too late.
Andros studied the being that was before him. He seemed benign enough, but there was something about him. Something Andros couldn't quite place.
"I sense your apprehension. I suppose I shouldn't blame you." the being said. "Perhaps it would be easier if I introduced myself. My name is Count Iblis."
Andros looked at Iblis confused. "Count Iblis? Where are you from? What race are you with?"
"I am from a time far beyond your own, and my race.. well they are also far advanced that you can even imagine."
"What do you want with me?" Andros asked.
Iblis then smiled. "You are an exceptional being Andros. You are one of the few Kerovians that remain free. Such a being should not allow his gifts to go unfocused." Andros appeared confused. "Gifts?"
"Those inherent in not only Kerovians, but in all humans. It is merely Kerovians that have tapped these abilities the most."
Andros suddenly felt confused. His mind was so focused on KO-35 and his sister that he was barely registering what Iblis was saying. But Iblis was quick to pick up on Andros's emotions. "It's your sister isn't it? You wish to know what had happened to her?"
That part Andros could focus on with crystal clear clarity. "Yes, I need to know where my sister is. Or what has happened to her. Can you help me?"
Iblis smiled. He knew Andros was so close to being in his power. Soon he would have him, all he needed were a few nudges in the right direction. "Better yet. I can show you." A red glow then surrounded Iblis and Andros and they soon found themselves travelling beyond light, beyond space and beyond time to what Andros recognized as the Dark Fortress. Soon they solidified in a dark area where a girl sat chained to a wall. She was unconscious and was only now beginning to stir.
"Where are we?" Andros asked.
"A dungeon. One that contains a very special prisoner. Andros watched the girl stir and awaken. He thought the uniform she wore was familiar then it hit her it was the uniform of the Yellow Astor Ranger. Andros's eyes went wide in surprise. "KARONE!!!" he shouted.
"She can't hear you. Technically we aren't even here."
Andros then looked at Iblis. "What?"
"We are looking in from a realm outside of space and time. Our role here is simply to observe. Watch and learn what is to come about. Andros sighed and watched as the events of Karone's torture occurred.
"Ohhh... what happened to..." Karone looked up and saw herself chained to a wall. She was in a cell room.
"So you are finally awake." A sultry voice spoke. She kept to the shadows but her prisoner could recognize the leather outfit anywhere.
"Astronema!" she spat. "Why you let me live! Too cowardly to kill me!"
Astronema just laughed. "Oh on the contrary you are far more useful to me alive. I have big plans for you." She then dropped something from her hand.
"... A voice scrambler?" Karone said confused.
"Let me let you in on a few of my plans." Astronema smirked.
Karone's eyes went wide when she heard Astronema's voice... for it was her own. "No..." she gasped as Astronema stepped into the light and saw that the face looking at her, excluding Astronema's long purple hair, was her own face.
"Welcome to hell... Karone." Astronema laughed.
Karone thrashed against the chains holding her. "What do you want Astronema! Why take my face!"
"Because I want the last face your brother sees to be your own when I kill him." Astronema smirked as she fingered her Wrath Staff. "Call it poetic justice."
"But why are you keeping me alive?!" Karone shouted.
Astronema then gave Karone the most evil grin she have had... and seeing her own face give this grin scared her.
"Because I've decided... I want a twin." Astronema smirked.
"I, and my warriors, are going make you walk, talk, eat, think, fight, and breath just... like... me." Astronema accented those last three words.
Karone shook her head. "You are insane!"
Astronema then ripped off Karone's shirt and then aimed her Wrath Staff at Karone. "I beg to differ." She then started blasting Karone with her purple energy bolts from her Wrath Staff.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Karone screamed.
"There's one more thing I forgot to tell you... torture is also a part of your re-education. I hope you enjoy it... I know I am!" Astronema laughed evilly as she blasted Karone again.
Through out the rest of what could be called the night, Karone's screams could be heard through out the Dark Fortress. And Andros stood off to the side helpless to watch.
"KARONE!!!" Andros shouted as he watched his sister get tortured. Tears fell down his face as he saw his sister getting hurt like never before, and he himself powerless to prevent it.
"She thought of many tortures. Your sister tried valiantly to stand against them until finally they had broken her leaving her nothing like the person she was. Iblis explained. To a point that was the truth, but Andros did not know of that. All he saw was his sister getting beaten to the point where she might as well have been dead.
"Astronema did this. She and Dark Specter both are responsible for your sister's pain. Specter taught Astronema and she had used what she had learned, and your sister Karone was the victim."
"What about Karone? Is she still alive?" Andros asked his heart filled with hope. Hope Iblis was ready to dash.
"The Karone you knew of growing up... is no more." Iblis said adjusting the truth of what happened.
Upon hearing that Andros felt the anger grow within him. First his home, then his family, then his sister. All the loss, and it was overwhelming. He wanted revenge. Revenge against all who had taken his life away from him.
Soon they were back on Phaedos but Andros was too lost in his rage to notice. "I want them to pay!" Andros seethed. "I want to kill Dark Specter! I want to kill Astronema! I want the entire UAE to suffer like I have suffered."
"Excellent." Iblis smiled. He knew Andros was ready. All he needed was one good nudge and now he was there. He then held out his hand and offered Andros to take it. "Just take my hand, and you shall be on the path to the vengeance you seek.
A howl then erupted into the air as a black panther jumped from the jungle brush and tackled Andros to the ground. Looking up Andros then saw Sabrina in her human form. "Sabrina what are you.. ?"
"No time for questions. Just answer me this, what did he say to you?" Sabrina asked.
Andros looked at her weirdly. "No time for questions? What then did you just ask me?"
"I'm serious Andros what did he say to you?" Sabrina's tone indicated that she was deadly serious.
"He was about to help me get back at those who killed my sister! He was going to help me pay back Dark Specter and Astronema for murdering and perverting Karone's memory." Sabrina studied Andros's reaction and saw the look in his eyes. The same look she had when she was brought into the service of Rita Repulsa. She looked at Iblis standing nearby saying "Get away from him woman! Can't you see he's made his choice? Sabrina then stared at Iblis and realization crossed her face. The setting may have been different, and the parties may have involved her and Rita then, but the events were exactly the same. Andros was about to sell his soul to evil.
~By the goddess. It's happening again!~ she thought as she vainly tried to awaken Andros from his fit of rage. "Damn it Andros you've heard the legends about him!" Sabrina shouted. "The names he's been referred by. Fek'lar, Ardra, Mephistopeles, Irak of Zeta Minor, Scratchman, Ozymandias, the Prince of Darkness, and most recently... the Dark One."
Andros shook himself out of his reverie. "The Dark One?!"
"YES!!!" Sabrina shouted. "Don't listen to him! Don't listen to what he's saying to you! If you follow his path you will regret it for the rest of your life!"
"No!" Andros said in disbelief. "He can help me get revenge for Karone! He can make Dark Specter and Astronema pay!"
"At what cost?!" Sabrina said sternly. "What price are you willing to pay for your vengeance. Do you want to know what price I paid? Do you know what I gave up for my own quest for vengeance? I gave up my freedom! My independence! My family! My identity! I allowed the UAE to make me into whatever they wanted! And I never saw it until it was almost too late!"
Tears started to flow down Sabrina's face. "Don't do this Andros! Don't make the same mistake I did! Don't give in to the call for Vengeance!" Andros almost seemed lost until he looked in Sabrina's eyes and saw the tears fall. Tears of grief. Tears of remorse. Tears she didn't want Andros to cry.
"Insolent witch!" Iblis shouted as he made ready to fire a bolt at her while her back was turned. Andros almost warned her when he saw a white owl fall from the sky and transform into Dulcea who stood in Iblis's path with her staff in hand and herself ready to fight. Dulcea then faced Iblis.
"Phaedos has no place for the likes of you." Dulcea said. "Leave now!" Sabrina then stood by her sister and stared the count down as well backing up what her sister said.
"I allowed vengeance to cloud me into following your path once before Iblis. Never again!" Sabrina said defiantly. Iblis seemed intrigued by the two women's resolve but it was not their view that needed to be heard it was Andros's, and he wasted no time saying his peace.
"Get the hell off this world Iblis!" Andros shouted at the Dark One.
Iblis then got up. "You may have your soul... but humanity WILL fall under my dominion."
Andros stared back at Count Iblis. "NEVER! It will never happen so long as I am breathing!"
"Then we shall see how long it takes before you stop </b> breathing." Iblis said before he vanished.
Dimitria had run through the bush and had caught up to Dulcea, Sabrina and Andros. "Do you know how hard it is to keep up with two warrior women who can transform into animals?" she asked.
"Very hard I know." Sabrina said.
"But I give an 'A' for trying." Dulcea said. The two girls were about to turn back towards the Ninjetti temple when Andros looked on mesmerized at where Count Iblis had stood. "Andros? Are you okay?" Sabrina asked.
"Was that... was that really the Dark One?" Andros asked in a silent tone.
Sabrina stared at the spot Iblis was at as well. "If it wasn't it sure was a close second. Let's go." Soon all four made their way back to the Ninjetti temple.
Meanwhile deep underground on Onyx in the secret home of the Sisterhood, a meeting was taking place with various females all around the initiation arena. The types of women ranged from human looking aliens to mutants and then finally to female monsters.
At the north edge platform, Impostra, Deceptra and Astronema looked down at the two women who were now in the arena: Artemis and Maronda.
In the arena, Artemis stood across from Maronda. The stare between them was much like two old west gunfighters about to go into a showdown.
Artemis kept her gaze calm and collected as she remembered one lesson Andros taught her. 'Never start a fight, but always finish it. ' That was what she intended to do with Maronda right now as Artemis sized up her opponent. She seemed to be able to beat her in brawn, but agility may be another matter.
"Begin!" Impostra said signaling the start of the contest. For Artemis it was a reminder of how many times she had been in Astronema's ring during her re-education and had been carried out plenty of times. Sure enough Maronda gave the first attack which was a sword strike which Artemis dodged. They continued to fight as Artemis used her Wraith staff to block Maronda's sword strikes.
Then she noticed the glow around her neck, and right away Artemis knew that couldn't be a good thing. Quickly she maneuvered out of the way of Maronda and slipped the tip of her staff between her and the necklace chain and threw the necklace off to the side. When Maronda felt for her necklace she looked to see Artemis pick it up and dangle it as if saying 'looking for this?'
Maronda then felt enraged and attacked with renewed drive. Artemis however was counting on this since Moronda's mind was so clouded with anger then she wouldn't be thinking straight. Sure enough Artemis's thinking was right on the money as she was able to get in a few good shots against the Gorgon.
"I am surprised on this. I would have thought Maronda would have been able to capture her with necklace early on but this twin of Astronema's thought with her head and threw it far away so she couldn't use it." Deceptra said to Impostra.
"Very rarely has Maronda been with out her necklace." Impostra nodded. "And it hasn't occurred to any of the other initiates we ever had to do that during their trials."
"They seem to be even." Deceptra replied.
"Perhaps but remember physically Maronda is still much more stronger than Artemis. She can't defend forever against Maronda's sword strikes. Sooner or later her arms will give out. She'll need to attack or she will be finished."
Artemis knew this as Maronda's blows were getting more and more ferocious. What was going on in Maronda's mind was nothing more than her desire to bring the 'little girl' down. Soon the two locked eyes and they knew it was time to end it.
Artemis took a step back and looked at Maronda who was charging towards her about to land her final blow when Artemis then tried a crazy idea.
She threw her staff in the air.
"What the hell... ?" Maronda looked up staring.
That was all the time Artemis needed to sweep her of her feet and then catch her staff as it fell and then hold the tip of it at Maronda's neck.
"Checkmate." Artemis breathed.
Maronda looked up at Artemis and said "I yield."
Artemis nodded and held out her arm to help Maronda up. Astronema, Deceptra and Impostra all came down and congratulated Artemis on her victory. "Congratulations Artemis." Impostra said. "A most impressive display of combat. Worthy of the Sisterhood."
"I do have one question." Artemis said. "In my travels I saw many planets, many races that have taken up the name 'the Sisterhood'. What makes this sisterhood any different from them?"
"A valid question." Impostra replied. "This may or may not be easy for you to grasp Artemis, but when Rita Repulsa was imprisoned Zordon in that dumpster, it left a void in workings of the UAE."
"A void in which perverted men were very grateful to take advantage of us as we learned when we first came to this galaxy." Maronda stated.
Artemis blinked. "... you aren't from this galaxy?"
"No. We come from a sector of space which both the UAE and Galactic Council call the Uncharted Territories."
Artemis let herself absorb this. The Uncharted Territories... but no one has ever tried to go into that sector of space. The only people that a claim there are the Mutiny Pirate Clan but they come out only every so often because of some curse.
"I see you are at a loss as to wondering who we would serve if anyone." Impostra stated. "Tell me Artemis... have you heard of Scorpius?"
"... the King of the Scorpion Empire?" Artemis muttered. I'll be glad we never had to fight HIS forces when I was a Defender. She added to herself. She knew bits and pieces of the King of the Scorpion Empire but those bits and pieces were enough to know that Scorpius was a merciless and powerful force on his own.
"However we are digressing so we shall get back to the point we were making." Impostra said. "As I said when Rita was gone as well as Scorpina, females in the UAE started to be looked down upon. It didn't help matters that not many were showing promise at the time."
"Then a founder of the UAE, Duke Rygel along with a Mephistian called Kuragian helped to create the female slave trade which grated women and female monsters making them nothing more than bitches as far as their rights were concerned. Not even Dark Specter, who had the rulership of the UAE, could move against this as since the majority he needed was not with him." Deceptra said.
"Then in the nearly four millennia ago we arrived on Onyx looking to make our mark in the galaxy. We weren't even serving Scorpius back then. We were only beginning our legend. It was then that we saw the injustices being done against our gender." Impostra stated. "Together my sisters, Icy Angel, and Caldena of Inquarius, an outcast of that world for not conforming to their rules on female behavior, attacked the head of the snake by attacking the bigots own slave auction. They were fools and we used it to our advantage. We then ended their customs and on that day our Sisterhood was born from the females we freed. Our purpose then and now is to function as a society in secret from the UAE to fight for rights of women in evil and make sure we now stay as equals in legality to say the least while we prove to all that women are the dominant half of the species in the universe."
"And before you ask why we don't have people like Rita or Divatox in our sisterhood, " Maronda started. "Rita was the cause of female kinds downfall with her defeat not to mention her atrocious look."
"And Divatox... she and her mother are born pains in the ass and the Diva herself further portrays the image of women as big chested idiots." Deceptra sneered. It was no secret that she as well as many of the Sisterhood despised Divatox for her personality, style and antics. She as well as Rita, gave their cause a bad name.
Artemis just let that all process and then smiled. "Well that's a relief. If any one of them was part of this Sisterhood of yours I would have to decline. No way would I want to have to spend anymore time than needed around them."
Maronda smirked a bit. "I can already see we are going to get a long fine."
"Welcome Artemis." Impostra stated. It was as Artemis looked around and saw the other women and female monsters in the grand room that she heard Impostra continuing to speak. "Welcome to the ranks of the Sisterhood."
~There's a lot I can do now. So much. I have my own will. I have my freedom, though to others it depends on your perspective. So much I can learn. So much more stronger I can become.~ Artemis thought, ~ And then when the time comes to make a choice... I know I'll be ready for the consequences of that choice.
However which choice she didn't know.
For in her mind, the battle between her personas continued.
Their outcome would not be shown for a long LONG time... but the victor of the battle would be the one who would truly be her true self.
All four sat by the fire in the Ninjetti temple taking in the warmth it offered. "So how did you do that trick Sabrina? Transform into an animal like that?" Andros asked.
"It's a special skill that is revealed in only the most advanced of the Ninjetti teachings." Dulcea said. "Few have mastered the art of transforming into their spirit animal. And those that did took many centuries in order to perfect the art."
"I had only mastered my transformation when Rita got her claws into me." Sabrina said. "The only good thing about that was I couldn't transform into a real scorpion. Turning into a scorpion monster was bad enough."
"I'll bet it was." Dulcea said as she then said, "I think you need to stay awhile Andros, and you as well Sabrina."
Both seemed confused at this request. "But why?" they both asked.
"It is clear that you both have some demons to rest, and you need training to control those demons so they don't consume you." Dimitria said. "Even though Sabrina was freed from UAE control the memories of her sins as Scorpina continue to haunt her as much of her evil still remains throughout the cosmos as a legacy of sorts." Sure enough Sabrina nodded agreeing with Dimitria.
"And you Andros are still haunted by your sister's memory and were very susceptible to Count Iblis's and Astronema's corruption of it. You too must learn to control that demon." Andros nodded also realizing Dimitria's logic. "How long will this take?" Andros asked.
"As long as it takes. However long it takes." Was Dimitria's answer.
Sure enough the training took a long time, about a month, but both Andros and Sabrina got through it. Combat, intense mental disciplines it was almost aggravating. But Sabrina recognized that demon and vowed never to let it consume her again. Andros was confronted with memories of her sister that lay outside the tragedy that ended with the loss of the Astro team. He found her memory to be something cherished and revered as he remembered the good times they had and vowed to hold on to that memory never to let it be corrupted or to let the perversion of that memory be corrupted by beings like Iblis and Astronema.
Truly a long thorny road but both Astro Defenders passed their trials. And soon it was time to leave. Then Dimitria dropped her bombshell.
"I shall be coming with you." Dimitria said to the two Astro Defenders.
"Dimitria?" Sabrina asked.
"You won't be going back to Eltar or the Council?" Andros asked.
Dimitria shook her head. "Its been long enough that I have stood on the sidelines and too long since I have mentored a team of Rangers."
Andros shook his head. "But we aren't rangers..."
Dimitria smiled. "As a Morphin Master it is my right to elevate you to the Rank of Ranger... if so wish it and you wish to have me as your mentor."
Andros just felt like he had been hit by a hovertrain but just shook his head and smiled. "Yes! Yes we accept!"
"Then by the power invested in me as a Morphin Master I hereby dub you the Red and Gold Astro Rangers . Everyone celebrated briefly as Sabrina and Dulcea then hugged each other as they said goodbye. "Take care of yourself sister." Dulcea smiled.
"I will Dulcea... and I will be back sometime. This is my birthplace... but I need to find peace for my soul." Sabrina said.
"I know." Dulcea nodded. "Andros, Dimitria, farewell and good fortune."
Andros nodded as he activated his comm line. "DECA, three to teleport."
In teleport streams of red, gold and white, the three left Phaedos leaving Dulcea in contemplation.
~I pray to the Gods I worship for your safety... for I believe very dark times await you all... along with the good. Dulcea thought.
END </b><jumpto url='conquestofevil.com/index.php/Coe_final_reckoning.html' title='COE Final Reckoning'>