"Focus!" Alex blinked the sweat out of her eyes, and spared a thought to complain to herself about how hard Shaira was driving her. She tried to focus again, and then a metal, TWHAP! made her shout. "Ow!" she exclaimed, rubbing the back of her head. "What was that for?" she demanded. Her ears were ringing from the force of Shaira's telepathic blow.
Shaira's eyes narrowed, and the Purple Guardian said, "If you had been focusing properly, I wouldn't have been able to get past to hit you."
"Have you ever thought that I MIGHT NOT be able to do this?" Alex demanded. "What you're teaching me is a theory that comes from Photeus, while I'm a Shadow Mage. You know, Shadow? As in Shadius?"
Shaira shook her head. "The principle is the same, Alex. You should be able to do this."
"That's just it!" Alex said, jumping to her feet. "'SHOULD be able to.' Maybe I can't! Maybe I'm just to tired!" She turned and stormed out of the room.
The Shadow Mage and the Purple Guardian were on the Guardian Ship, and Shaira was trying to teach Alex a Photean trick for strengthening shields until nothing could get in, but Alex's magic could get out. Shaira sighed and dropped into the chair that Alex had just abandoned.
Two weeks since the Rangers and Guardians had banished the Shadow Lords, and the Shades had started to focus even more their attention on Alex. The Shadow Mage took in a caliver mood, but Shaira was worried for the former Shadow Ranger, and it showed in the practice sessions. She pushed Alex harder than before the banishing, and the fending off the Shades and the lessons were starting to tell Alex. Her eyes, once a light gray, were starting to slowly turn silver. After they reached a full silver, Alex's eyes would then start to turn an ice blue. Her hair had been bleached by the focusing of the energy that banished the Shadow Lords, and that same energy had forced-growth her hair to down past her waist.
Shaira looked up as the door opened, and Jen walked in. "Hey, Photean," Jen said teasingly. "How goes the lessoning?"
Shaira shook her head. "Something's wrong, Jen. She wasn't focusing."
Jen, a minor mage herself, knew how important focusing was, and said, "I'll go find out." Shaira nodded, and the Green Guardian left.
Jen found Alex staring out the mess window, and she asked softly, "What's wrong, Alex?"
"My monthly hasn't come, Jen, and you know as well as I do that I've been as regular as a Swiss watch."
Jen snorted. "I could practically- Oh, my God," she said as what Alex said hit her. "Are you sure you aren't... just late?"
"I don't know, Jen."
"How long?" the Green Guardian asked. "Have you told anyone else?"
"Two weeks, and Momma DeSantos knows. But no one else. You're the first person I've told." She turned to Jen, and said, "Jen, if I am, what do I do? Knowing Tommy, he'll feel obligated to marry me. And you know how I feel on that."
Jen sighed and shook her head. "I don't know, Al. Pray you aren't, I guess." She walked over to the Shadow Mage and put her hand on Alex's shoulder.
Tommy tossed the small black box from hand to hand as he impatiently waited for Alex to come out. The door to the DeSantos home opened and he stuffed the box in his coat pocket. Alex stepped out, wearing a black leather coat, her backpack, holding the gifts, over one shoulder, her helmet tucked under one arm, a spare helmet in her other hand, and her face wore a worried frown. Tommy wrinkled his brow and asked, "What's wrong, Alex?"
"Nothing, just... female troubles," Alex said, then mumbled, "I hope." She smiled at Tommy and asked, "Are you ready?" He nodded, and Alex climbed onto her bike. She pulled her helmet on as Tommy climbed on behind, then handed her soulbond his helmet. After he finished pulling his helmet on, Alex started the motorcycle, and they headed out.
They pulled up to Angela's house as Adam and Tanya pulled up, and Alex smiled at them. All of the Rangers and guardians were meeting here for a pre-Christmas party. "Are you ready?" she asked Tommy. He snorted.
"If Angela's cooking? No." The others laughed, and Alex lightly popped him on the arm.
"That's not nice, Red," Alex said, as Jen opened the door.
"Oh, hey, guys! Come on in! You're the last ones here." As the others took off their coats, Jen asked Alex, "How'd you get him here on time?"
"Oh, that's easy. I told him it started a half-hour before she actually set the start time."
As the other Rangers entered the main part of the house, Jen asked, "Did you tell him?" Alex shook her head.
"I want to see a doctor first."
Kim poked her head into the entranceway, and said, "Jen, Alex, we're waiting for you. Come on!"
Tommy walked out onto the back porch, where Alex was sitting alone on a porch swing, staring out over the vista behind Angela's house. The mansion was situated on a hill that over looked a valley that gradually lead to the beach, and Angela's grandfather had bought the valley with the house. The moon, full overhead, shined down on the ocean, and Alex was mesmerized by the play of moonlight on the crashing waves. She looked up as Tommy sat down, and he asked, "Alex, what's wrong?"
"Nothing, really," Alex said, unconvincingly, and it showed on Tommy's face. Alex sighed, then admitted, "I'm late."
"I thought you had until- Oh." It dawned on him what she meant. "Have you seen a doctor for tests?"
"Momma DeSantos has one scheduled for next week."
Tommy took in a deep breath, and asked what he'd been meaning to all night, "Alex, will you marry me?" Alex stared at him, then ran off, tears streaming for her eyes. Angela was standing in the doorway when Alex ran in, and Alex brushed past her.
"What happened?" the Purple Ranger asked.
Mystified, Tommy answered with, "I don't know."
Alex sat on Jen's bed crying, as the Green Guardian tried to soothe the Shadow Mage. "Alex, neither of you are sure if you really are pregnant. He didn't ask because he knows he got you into this position."
"But he asked right after I told him. It amounts to the same thing, Jen. He doesn't love me!" Alex started crying again, and Jen collected her best friend in a tight embrace.
Kim knocked, and said, "Tommy's at the door. Do you want to talk to him?" Alex shook her head angrily.
"I don't want to see, hear, or be near him!" she spat angrily. Kim turned and left, and Alex flopped face first onto Jen's pillow. She started crying again, and Jen left the room quietly.
Kim was still talking to Tommy at the front door, and Jen said, "I'll talk to him, Kim. You go see to Alex, all right?" Kim nodded, and Jen stepped outside. "She's not in the best of moods, Tommy. She's POSSIBLY pregnant, and then you asked the Big Question at the wrong time. She always swore that she'd never get married because someone got her, pardon the expression, 'knocked up.' She's seen too many marriages start that way and break up in anger."
"Oh." Tommy looked down at his feet, then asked, "Is there any way you could possibly convince her that I meant to ask her even if she wasn't pregnant?"
"I'll try, but she's stubborn." Jen smiled, and winced at the sound of something crashing. "You better go. She's throwing things." Tommy turned and left, and Jen entered the Hart house.
Alex picked up a worn hardback book, and held it up in a threatening manner, as Jen snatched up a pillow, giggling. "Die, you worthless elf!" Alex teased, and started to swing the book to throw it. But something made her stop, and Jen asked, "What's wrong?" She had worked to hard to get Alex into a good enough mood to giggle, to have something go wrong.
"I'm not sure," Alex said, then looked at the book. She gasped, and dropped it onto the bed. It bounced once, and Alex backed away. "You kept it?" she demanded in a not quite angry tone.
"What?" Jen glanced at the book "Oh, that. Hon, I didn't know what else to do with it. Besides, it's yours."
"I ain't touching it," Alex said. "Not after what happened after the last time I touched it."
:Actually, that was partially my fault.: A voice similar to, yet subtly different from, an old woman's mind voice echoed in Alex's head, and Alex yelped, then looked around.
"Who said that?" she demanded. Jen looked at Alex, puzzled.
"That... mind voice," Alex said.
:She didn't hear me the first time.: This time Jen squeaked. :Oh, calm down. I haven't hurt you yet, Jeninive.: the voice snapped, exasperated.
"Who are you?" Alex demanded. "How do you know Jen's full name?"
:I'm the Shadow Book you just tried to brain your friend with, dear. I've been living, if you could call it living, with her ever since that Halloween two years ago. Now, would one of you be kind enough to open me to page 230? It's the page with the red and gold bookmark.: Jen slowly reached over, and opened the Shadow Book. On the page was gold writing in alien characters, and the gold ink swirled around, rearranging itself into English characters. :Thank you, Jeninive.:
"You're a book, and you're sentient?" Jen asked.
:Yes, you could say that. It's an ancient spell that was lost when Shadius and Photeus split ways and went to war. So the Shadow Lords are gone, huh? You Rangers and Guardians banished them?:
"Yeah," Alex said cautiously.
:Well, Alex, that means you need to start taking care of the Shadow Nexus. And you need to learn how to tap into the ley lines and nodes.:
"What's that?" Jen asked.
Alex replied for the book. "Magic doesn't just lay around, especially Shadow Magic. It moves around, like water, and that creates currents, or ley lines, and where two or more ley lines meet, that's where a node is located. The more the ley lines, the more powerful the node. And they aren't permanent. A mage can use up a node, or strengthen the node. It depends on how much time is spent there, and what is done with the energy."
She turned to the Shadow Book and said, "Shaira's been trying to teach me to tap into it."
:The Photeans have theories about its existence. Theory is fine, but it doesn't mean that your Photean knows how to tap into it, so it comes to me to teach you.:
Alex giggled. "No, really?" The snowy haired girl was relaxing in the park with Jen and the Shadow Book after a lesson in tapping the Shadow Nexus, working on the same shielding technique that Shaira had been trying to teach Alex, and the Shadow Book just finished telling a humorous tale about one of her first Mage students.
:Yes, really,: the book replied. :Her hair wouldn't lay down for a month. I didn't even have to say, "I told you so." She looked at me and said, "I know, I know, you told me so.":
With her new ability to tap into the Shadow Nexus, Alex was supersensitied to energy flows around her, so her laugh cut off and her head snapped up as she sensed a rift forming. "We're about to have company," she said, climbing to her feet, Shadow Book in hand. Jen climbed to her feet in time to see the rift form.
"Have fun," Alex said, and stepped back. It was starting to get uncomfortable around the others. She made a mental note to ask the Shadow Book if there was something that Alex could do about the sensitivity.
"It's morphin' time! Green Dragon Guardian Power!" Jen stepped up to the Shades, and fended off the taloned Shadows.
Alex smiled, and turned around as a flock of Tengas appeared around her. "Gee, let me guess, Zeddy wants to see me?" She turned as Goldar appeared behind her. "Or is it Ed? I never figured it out." She snickered as the Shadow Book changed into a black and silver sword in her hand. "Shall we dance?"
"Brynne! We gotta go! Shades in the park again!" Hunter slid to a halt in Brynne's bedroom doorway. Brynne was in a white leotard, and was stretching in an impossible looking position. She uncurled slowly, and stood up.
"Let's book. Shall we go?" Hunter nodded, and Brynne asked, "Well?"
"It's morphin' time! Zeo IIX- White!"
"Silver Ranger Power!" Brynne said. When they landed, Brynne said, "You help Jen take care of the Shades. I'll take care of Goldilocks." Hunter nodded, and they took off in different directions.
Brynne watched, amused and puzzled as Goldar was force back by the strength of Alex's blows, and she wondered where the Shadow mage was getting the energy to force off Goldar. "Hey, Al! Leave some for me!" she teased. Alex glanced over her shoulder and grinned. As Goldar swung, she rolled out of the way, and Brynne swung down, locking Goldar's sword down with her Power Staff. "Buh-bye," she said, and punched.
Goldar staggered back, and Rito caught him. "Ed says to get rid of her," the walking skeleton said. Goldar nodded, and they crossed swords, pointing them at Brynne. Brynne prepared to dodge as the swords began to glow where they crossed, and then a bolt sped out. Before anyone could blink, the bolt had frozen in midair, between Brynne and Goldar and Rito, and everyone stared, bewildered.
Alex focused on the bolt, and then she drew on the Shadow Nexus to dissipate it harmlessly. She grinned, and then she said, "What's wrong, boys? Your little toy fizzle out?" Brynne laughed, and the two warriors swung on the Silver Ranger.
Alex clutched the Shadow Book, now back in book form, in one hand, and narrowed her eyes. She felt... She whirled to see a rift form, and she asked the book, "Is there any way to seal a rift?"
:Yeah. Page 143, half way down.: Alex flipped to the page, and read the instructions. She looked up at the rift and pointed at it. She opened herself up to the Shadow Nexus, allowing it to flow through her, and she focused it into a seal, and as it blocked the Shades, imagined it to slowly pull the rift closed. The rift edges grew closed, albeit very, very, VERY, slowly, and Alex grinned broadly.
"I like this," she said, and closed the book gently. "Thank you."
:Not a problem.:
Adam and Tanya landed as Jen and Hunter finished off the Shades. "What's Alex doing?" Adam asked the Yellow Ranger. Tanya just shrugged.
"I don't know, but it looks like it's closing the rift. Look." As Adam watched, the rift grew noticeably smaller. "But it's taking all her attention, look!" Tanya pointed out the two Tengas sneaking up behind Alex. Without a further word, the Green and Yellow Rangers attacked the overgrown crows.
Alex grinned over her shoulder at her friends, but then she caught a flash of red, and saw that Tommy and the others had joined the fight. A flare of anger burned through her mind, and her attention slipped away from sealing the rift. But just as the rift started slipping from her grasp, the Shadow Book snapped, :Pay attention to the rift!: Alex's head snapped towards the rift, and in a burst of power, the rift snapped shut.
Alex wobbled, and then dropped to her knees, her hands and arms locked to prop herself up. The book had fallen beside her, and Alex glanced over at it. "What happened?"
:Your attention wavered, and when it snapped back to the rift, it created a backflow of energy that snaped the rift shut, exhausting your mage talent. That was dangerous, by the way, young lady, shifting your attention to the Red Ranger instead of the rift. You could have been fried.:
"Oy! Not a lecture, now, please," Alex said, teasing despite her exhaustion. The book gave the feeling of chuckling, and wrote, :Sleep is all you need, young one. Sleep.: Alex obeyed the book's gentle command, dropping to the ground as Jen ran up.
The Green Guardian picked up the Shadow Book as the others ran up. "Let's get Alex to the Power Chamber. She's all right, she just needs to sleep off some of her exhaustion." Tommy scooped up the unconscious mage, and the group teleported out.
Shaira looked over as Alex moaned, and glanced at the monitor again. She knew what it meant, that particular reading, but she doubted if anyone else did. She sighed, and as Alex sat up slowly, asked, "How you feeling, Al?"
"You know, I hate that name," Alex said, joking. Shaira smiled, and then asked, "When did you pick up the ability to tap into ley lines and nodes?"
"Just recently. An... old friend taught me the trick," Alex replied. Shaira nodded.
:Thank you, that makes me feel so young,: the Shadow Book said dryly and privately to Alex, who struggled to keep her face deadpan.
"Does Tommy know about this new ability of yours?" Shaira asked.
"Why should I tell him?" Alex demanded angrily. That puzzled Shaira.
"What are you angry about?" the Purple Guardian asked.
"Because I always swore that I wouldn't be married because some guy got me pregnant. And when the possibility pops up, Tommy proposes," Alex said, still angry. She slid off the examining table, and began stretching out the kinks caused by her unexpected nap.
"But Tommy's been planning to ask you ever since we got back from Shadius," Shaira protested. "He was supposed to-" Shaira clapped her hand over her mouth, but the muffled, "Oops," didn't register in Alex. She was staring in shock at the Photean.
"He what? And how would you know that?" Alex demanded, hands on hips and tapping her foot.
"Uh, a little bird told me?" Brynne asked. Sheepishly, she said, "Hunt, Brynne and I were Christmas shopping, and we ran into Tommy as he came out of a jewelry store, pocketing a ring box. Brynne and I wouldn't let up until he told us."
"I have to talk to Tommy."
"Alex, it's almost midnight!" Shaira said, shocked. Alex grinned at the Purple Guardian. "That's the best time for talking, girl."
Tommy snapped open his eyes as he felt someone settle in bed, and Alex said, "Tommy, I'm sorry. I didn't know that you had planned to ask. I just thought that you had asked because I might be pregnant."
Tommy turned to her, and pulled her into his arms. "I would have asked you even if you weren't, Alex. We were meant to be together, Spell Maker." He kissed the base of her neck, and Alex giggled.
"Spell Breaker," Alex retorted. She twisted around and tried to tickle Tommy, and he flipped her around so that her back was pressed against him. "Will you marry me, Alexandria DeSantos?"
"Of course, Nag," Alex teased. Tommy sat up and reached for his coat, which was lying at the foot of his bed. He pulled out the ring box, and removed the ring, sliding it onto Alex's finger.
"Stubborn mule," he shot back, before kissing her again.
Jen stared as Tommy and Alex walked hand in hand into the Youth Center, than glanced at Alex's left hand. On the ring finger was a silver ring with a black onyx sent between two diamonds. Jen smiled broadly, and said, "So, you finally managed to bag the catch, eh, Alex? There's going to be a lot of disappointed people at school when we get back from Christmas vacation."
Alex stuck her tongue out, and said, "They'll always have their dreams, girl." THAT made Tommy blush, and the two friends chuckled mercilessly. Alex and Tommy sat down, and Rocky and Angela joined them.
Rocky raised an eyebrow, and said, "Momma was kinda worried when you weren't in bed, Alex. Where were you?"
"Talking." Alex said shortly, and Jen and Angela suppressed snickers. "No, not like that, geeze!" Alex rolled her eyes and then said, "We sat up most of the night, talking, and then we fell asleep. If you don't believe me, ask Tommy's mom. She walked in on us, asleep on top of the bed."
"How did you do that thing in the park?" Angela asked, changing the subject.
"Well," she glanced over at Jen, who nodded, and then looked at Angela. "Remember my Shadow Book? W-e-e-e-l-l-l, it told me how to seal the rift," she answered, dragging out the 'well.'
"Really?" Angela asked. "What else is in it, I wonder?"
"Oh, how to tap into the Shadow Nexus," Alex said offhandedly. As the others, minus Jen, stared at her, she said, "That's where I got the power to seal it shut, guys and gals." Rocky, Tommy, and Angela continued to stared at Alex as the Green Guardian started laughing, and Alex's lips twitched as she suppressed the urge to laugh.
"The Shadow energy that I draw on for my magic, you know that? Well, it flows in lines called ley lines, and where two or more lines meet, that's called a node. The entire network of nodes and ley lines is called a nexus. I've just recently learned the ability to tap into the Nexus around Angel Grove, and once I master the ability, I'll be able to tap into any Shadow Nexus on any planet, and I might be able to tap into other Nexuses."
"There are other types?" Rocky asked.
"Well, duh! As many in number as the types of magic in this particular reality." Alex said, then sent, :That wasn't nice.: She discovered, quite by accident, that the book could take Alex over if Alex wasn't on guard for it.
:Nice, Smice! When you're as old as I am, you don't have to be polite. Anyway, it's time for your lessons. And bring the Elf Girl.: Alex glanced over at Jen, and saw that Jen had heard the last comment. They rolled their eyes in sync, and stood up.
"We have to go," Alex said, then kissed Tommy on the cheek. "Don't beat him up too much, Rocky," she tossed, not looking at her cousin, and the two girls walked off. Angela giggled as Rocky watched his cousin leave, and then he asked, "Why would she say that?"
"Because there's a good chance she's pregnant," Angela replied. "Jen told me a little while ago."
"Good goods above and below," Angela said, using Shaira's favorite round oath while rolling her eyes, "Big Brother Syndrome."
Alex and Jen settled in the park, the Shadow Book open and lying between them. :So what we're going to do today, is teach Alex how to loan energy to someone. And that someone is-:
"Me, right?" Jen asked.
"Shada, can I ask you something, before the lesson starts?" Alex asked, calling the Shadow Book by name.
:You just did, but go ahead.:
Alex smiled at the joke, then asked, "Was it you? That Night, I mean. That made everything real?"
:Good guess, girl. Yes, it was me. I wasn't fully aware, but enough to sense the Shadow Lord, taking on your future fianc,'s form. Plus, I worked through you and your friends, to banish him back to the Shadow Realm.:
"Oh, okay. I had wondered ever since you woke up yesterday."
:Not a problem. Now, back to the lesson. Jen, I've put an 'Avoid Me' spell, so try to cloak the entire park in an illusion.: Jen shrugged, and started the illusion spell.
:Now, Alex, you reach out for the Nexus, and link in, without trancing.: Alex complied as the area around the girls started to waver. "Now what?" the Shadow Mage asked.
:Link to Jen, and release the energy.: Alex started to reach for Jen with her mind when the Shadow Book shouted, :NO!: and magically slapped the Shadow Mage's mental hands. Alex shook her head, and asked, "What!?"
:Like that, you would have fried Jen's mind, girl. You reach out for Jen like you reach for the Nexus, with your talent, not your mind.:
"Oh, sorry," Alex apologized sheepishly. She looked over at Jen and reached for the Nexus. Jen's brow was wet with sweat, having held onto the illusion all that time, and as Alex reached for Jen, correctly this time, the wavering stopped, and became an illusion of Jen's former apartment home, with the girls sitting in the living room. With the illusion tied to the Nexus through Alex, Jen relaxed, and found that everything was just like she remembered it.
:That's because it's coming from you, Elf Girl,: the book replied.
The illusion was banished by Alex when Jen's communicator beeped. Jen looked apologetically at Alex, and the Shadow Mage nodded her friend on. Jen climbed to her feet, and Alex sighed and asked rhetorically, "What do I do now?"
A mental feeling like a sigh echoed through her head, and the book suggested, :How about learning how to link to a dimensional pocket?:
Alex snapped her head about to stare at the Shadow Book. "With what?"
:You're always complaining that you need more space in you backpack,: the Shadow Book suggested.
"Cool. What page?"
:Four fifty-one and -two.: Alex reached for the Shadow Book and flipped it open to the proper page.
Alex slid the Shadow Book into her backpack, summonded from her bedroom, and hefted the black leather bag, but didn't notice any difference in weight. Shrugging the backpack on, Alex climbed to her feet, and headed out of the park. :Did you remove the 'Avoid me' spell?: she asked Shada.
:Can I ask some more questions?:
:Sure, go ahead.:
:Well, the Shadow Lords, how did they start? When did the war between Shadius and Photeus begin?:
:Well it all started long before Zordon's war, in a time so ancient, that there weren't any dinosaurs on this planet. Shadius and Photeus were sister planets, where magic was brought to both an art and a science. On Shadius, some of the Shadow Mages that were balancing the Shadow Nexus went evil, and started destroying the other mages, Shadow and otherwise, the only exceptions being the Shadow Mages that joined them, or were converted, or the ones that escaped to Photeus. The Shadow Lords, as they called themselves, declared war on Photeus, for harboring dangerous enemies, and that was that:
:And then they got the Guardian Coins?: Alex asked.
:Not right away. The war was at a stand still for a long time. Then 35 millennia ago, Photeus started losing the fight, battle after battle for seemingly no reason, and they finally called out for help, but most of the rest of the galaxy never realized the danger the Shadow Lords posed.: Shada's voice sounded bitter.
:It wasn't that they didn't care. It's just that Shadius was concentrating on Photeus,: Alex replied.
:And where did you get your information?: Shada demanded.
:From the horse's mouth?: Alex offered and grinned at the Book's sigh of exasperation. :Zordon let me see some of the files from way back when, and someone wrote that down.:
:Well, anyway, a young Inquirian tried to play peacemaker, and failed, and then one day, a stranger appeared in the Council Chamber, right in the middle of the session, a woman, and she bore the nine Power Coins. She was the first Purple Guardian, from her line came Shaira and her family.:
:When did the Green Coin get lost? And what about the Amber Coin?: So involved in learning the ancient and complex history of the war between Shadius and Photeus, Alex didn't notice that her feet were taking her back to the park until she heard the monster alarm go off. Her head snapped up and she saw the rangers fighting a monster Zedd had sent down that looked like he was half-lion and half-man, and heavily armored.
Brynne pointed her Power Staff at the monster, and a silver-white blast shot out. Alex heard Tommy, behind her shout, "Alex, look out!" as the blast was deflected straight for her. She started to teleport out, as at the same time a rift formed behind her, and the blast struck her, knocking her into the rift. The Silver energy, twining around the stunned girl, and her aborted teleportation spell changed the rift, and there was a sudden explosion of power.
"No!" Brynne shouted, staring in horror where the rift had been as her eyes cleared from the glare. Tommy was lying on the ground, not moving, and Alex... She wasn't in sight. Lord Zed's Roarrior laughed, and Brynne turned to face the monster, her eyes blazing under the helmet.
"You!" she snarled, doing a very credible imitation of a lion. Roarrior stared at the Silver Ranger, and Brynne focused all of her power through her staff at the monster. There was a brief moment when everything paused, and then Roarrior exploded. Brynne ran for Tommy, and removed the Red Ranger's helmet. "Tommy, please, don't die on me!" she begged, tears streaming down her face. Tommy groaned just as Zedd made his monster grow, and Hunter, the first to recover, said, "Alpha, teleport Brynne and Hunter out of here, pronto! Tommy's down! Get David there, right away! We need him!" The Red and Silver Rangers were teleported out.
When Brynne landed in the Power Chamber, David was waiting, and Tommy was on the examining table. The Red Ranger powered down, and he gain consciousness long enough to recognize David, and press his Zeonizers into his brother's hands, and then fell back into unconsciousness.
Brynne started taking care of Tommy's more serious wounds, and David said, "It's morphin' time! Zeo V- Red!" He morphed into the Red Ranger, and then disappeared to join the battle.
When David and the other rangers returned from defeating Roarrior, Brynne wasn't around, and Tommy was lying on the examining table, still out. "Alpha, what happened to Alex?" Rocky asked.
"Well, as soon as we had Tommy stabilized, Brynne started searching for Alex, and..." The little robot stopped hesitantly. "Alex isn't around. Sensors indicate that the rift, plus Alex's teleportation beam, plus Brynne's blast, created an explosion that ripped reality and Alex was knocked into it, It sealed up before we could scan to find out which reality it lead to. I'm sorry, Rocky."
The blue ranger paled, and slid bonelessly to the floor, staring at Alpha. "she's... gone?" he whispered. Jen stared in wide eyed horror. Her eyes rolled up, and she fainted.
Angela caught the Green Guardian, and eased the LA native to the ground. "Rocky, I'm so-"
He cut her off. "It's Brynne that needs it, Ange. She'll be blaming herself." He motioned to the Silver Ranger when she entered the Power Chamber, her eyes still red from crying.
Trey hurried over to his soulbond, but she shrugged him off. "Don't touch me," she said. "What happened to Alex is my fault. Alpha said so. If I hadn't fired, she would still be around. Tommy wouldn't have been hurt." Brynne turned away and ran out, crying.
Rocky followed Brynne outside, to where she was standing on a cliff edge overlooking the desert, and walked up behind the distraught Silver Ranger. He wrapped his arms around her and said, "It wasn't your fault, Brynne. If you hadn't fired, the Shades would have been able to grab her. It was just an accident."
"An accident that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been there!" Brynne snarled, then shifted out.
Jen used Hunter's gate caller to shift to the Safehouse, and looked around. "Brynne?" she called. Sobbing pulled her towards the Silver Ranger's bedroom, and Brynne was crying into her pillow.
"Go away, Jen. I'm cursed." Brynne's voice, muffled from the pillow, was hoarse from crying.
Jen took a deep breath, then took a gamble. "Isn't there a chance that we could get her back, that she's still alive Brynne? Doesn't the Safehouse's scanners search realities?"
"Yeah," Brynne said tentatively.
"Then why not program the sensors to scan for Alex's mage signature, and link the computers at the Safehouse to the Power Chamber's? We've linked them before."
Brynne's eyes opened wide as the possibilities dawned on her, and she rolled over and jumped up. She ran out her bedroom, and Jen hurried after the Silver Ranger. As Jen entered the main room, Brynne was already typing away.
"That's brilliant. Hell, it's more than brilliant, Jen. That's genius. I'm putting the sensors on automatic, and I'm programming them for Alex's mage and bio-signature. I'm also cross referencing it with recent Shadow activity, because it's a sure bet that she'll be force to use her Shadow energy."
Jen smiled, seeing Brynne's mind occupied away from her guilt. Jen hoped that Alex was alive to be found, for Brynne's sake. There's no telling what a relapse into guilt would do to the Silver Ranger.
The woman glanced over at her nephew, and said, "It's almost time. Prepare the chambers." Her nephew nodded, and left the bridge of her subcraft. The Pirate Queen Divatox, the most wanted woman in three galaxies, turned back to the view of the green and blue planet before her, and she narrowed her eyes. Yes, it was almost time. When she freed Maligore, she would have his granddaughter at her side, and the girl would be bound irreversibly to evil. An evil smile grew across her face, and her eyes gleamed with an acquiring light as she imagined all the riches she would have at the side of Maligore and his granddaughter.
"Prepare to meet your grandfather, Alexandria." She chuckled softly,
began planning how to free her master. "Set a course for Liaria," she
ordered her crew. "We have a wizard to capture."