(Timeframe: right after "Rangers of Two Worlds" but well before "Hawaii Zeo")
[The desert outside Angel Grove, Wednesday, October 16, 1996, 11:23 pm]
It was late at night. Cogs were everywhere. Adam, alone and outnumbered greatly, had no idea what to do as he tried to fight all of them at once. "Tommy! Kat! Anyone!" he called into his communicator. "Do you read me? I could really use some help here!" There was no answer. "Guys, where are you? I can't hold off all these Cogs by myself!" Still no answer. Adam stared helplessly at the approaching horde of robots and said to himself, "Oh, man, what I could really use right about now is a miracle . . ."
Meanwhile, at the Power Chamber, an undisclosed teenage girl, not the other Power Rangers, stood before Zordon, a small purple crystal in her hand. "When you were given this crystal as a child, you made the choice that you would claim its power if ever a time came that we needed another Ranger," the great master said to her. "That time has now come. Do you still wish to fulfill this decision?"
The girl nodded. "Yes, I do."
"Then step forward and claim your destiny." She did as Zordon commanded, holding out her crystal. A bright, blinding light filled the chamber. When the light subsided, a Ranger dressed in purple stood in the girl's place.
The alarm sounded, causing the new Ranger to jump. "I regret not being able to educate you on how to be a Power Ranger," Zordon continued, "but our time is short. You must go and help your teammate. Are you ready for your first battle?"
The new Ranger sighed, but was confident. "Ready as I'll ever be," she replied. "I promise not to let you down."
Without any other option, Adam tried running from the onslaught of Cogs in hopes that he could prolong their attack. Then, above the clanking and whirring of gears, he heard what he thought was the approaching sound of a galloping horse. That can't be any of the other Rangers, he thought. None of them have any horses, so who or what could that be?
The galloping sound intensified, but Adam couldn't see through the darkness who was coming. Distracted by the noise, he was blindly attacked by the army. Before the Cogs could do much of anything to the helpless Zeo Ranger, though, there was a crack of thunder and what appeared to be a streak of lightning that sent the robotic army flying . . . and running.
When the dust finally settled, Adam stood up and looked around. The desert was completely quiet; all the Cogs were gone. All that seemed to remain from the battle was a long, spear-like staff with its point driven into the ground. It didn't look like the kind the Cogs would often carry, but rather one that might belong to some sort of Power Ranger. But none of the others have this kind of weapon, Adam thought. What's going on here?
All of a sudden, a shrill whinny pierced the silent air. Adam turned around and had a hard time believing what he saw. Standing at the top of a nearby cliff was a mysterious-looking figure on horseback. But it wasn't just any ordinary figure; it looked like--could it be?--a Ranger! Adam couldn't tell what kind of Ranger it was though, for he could only see the moonlight reflecting off the helmet and breastplate and the horse's sparkling black mane and tail flowing in the late night breeze. Adam turned away momentarily to look at the staff, wondering if there was a possible connection between it and the figure, but by the time he looked back up at the top of the cliff, the horse and its rider were gone. "What the . . ." Adam began to ask himself. "I could've sworn someone was up there! Man, I can tell how late it is the way I'm starting to see things."
Seconds later, Adam heard the sound of footsteps coming up behind him, a steady four-beated sound of horseshoes on hard earth. He turned and much to his surprise found the mysterious mounted Ranger standing before him. The Ranger was obviously female, but Adam couldn't tell much more about her than that. She did not say a word, but but he knew she had to be on the side of good; she wouldn't have saved him otherwise. Her costume didn't look like that of a Zeo Ranger, but more like a combination of the Gold Ranger, the White Ranger, and even the old Green Ranger Adam had once seen, only now with purple armor and the image of a golden phoenix emblazoned on her helmet. A golden sash was tied around her waist, the ends fluttering in the breeze. It appeared to be held on by some sort of four-pointed star-shaped talisman with a purple crystal set in the middle. For some reason, it seemed oddly familiar to Adam, as if he had seen something like it before, but he couldn't determine why. The two Rangers stared at each other for some time, the newest one never moving from her beautiful black horse.
This all had to be a dream. Adam knew nothing of any Purple Ranger, but he was so stricken by her power and beauty that it really didn't seem to matter. She then dismounted and pulled her weapon from the ground. "Who . . . who are you?" Adam finally asked, not knowing what else to say.
"I am the Purple Ranger," she answered confidently, "but that is all I can tell you at this time. You'll all find out more about me when the time comes." She turned and began to walk back to her horse.
"Wait a minute!" Adam called out after her. She stopped and turned her head, looking back at him. "Why are you here? I mean, why have you come to help us Rangers?"
"I'm a teenager like you and your friends, but I've had my powers since my childhood. It just hasn't been until now, though, that Zordon's felt the need for my services."
"What do you mean by that?"
The Purple Ranger turned back towards Adam. "Well, you already know that the Machine Empire is back at full strength with the return of King Mondo, not to mention the threats of Prince Gasket and Princess Archerina. In addition, Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa have also revived their plans to conquer the earth. Because of all these threats, it was believed that another Ranger would be necessary to help stop this evil."
Adam was amazed at her knowledge of the Rangers' opponents, but something about that didn't seem to make sense. Might she have been some Machine Empire spy bent infiltrating the Ranger team? "But we already have the Gold Ranger. Why would we need another Ranger if he's around?"
The Purple Ranger tried to be straightforward. Hmm, apparently Zordon hasn't told the rest of the Rangers yet, she thought. "The Gold Ranger as you know him will not last much longer due to the fact that Triforian powers are incompatible with the Earth human body, and he is thus weakening because of these incompatibilities," she said. "In short, one of the key reasons I've been called upon is to replace the Gold Ranger once he's forced to relinquish his powers back to Lord Trey."
The Gold Ranger, gone? Only Zordon could have told her that, because Adam knew that King Mondo certainly wasn't creative enough to come up with such a story. Though he had indeed noticed in recent battles that Jason was beginning to struggle even in a mere Cog fight, it had never occurred to him that this could have been the reason. However, something else about the Purple Ranger's statement didn't seem to make much sense. If she was so new of a Ranger, and she didn't seem to know Adam's real identity yet, how could she have possibly have known so much about the Rangers' adversaries, as well as the Gold Ranger?
But before the questions could even be answered, something suddenly startled the Purple Ranger, causing her to fall into a fighting stance. A platoon of Cogs had just materialized. "Green Ranger, behind you!" she cried, totally catching Adam off guard. But no sooner had he been warned, the Purple Ranger jumped into action. She fought valiantly, often tossing the Cogs aside like they were toys. Adam was impressed even more by his new ally; not just any Ranger, a female Ranger to say the least, could have singlehandedly disposed of so many Cogs at once. Many questions still remained though, like who was this new Ranger, and why would she come along and rescue an ordinary Ranger like Adam? He tried to fight alongside her, but he was still far too weak from his earlier confrontation with the droids. "Look out!" the Purple Ranger shouted. Out of nowhere, something struck Adam on the side of the head, causing everything to suddenly go black. He had never even heard the Purple Ranger's warning of an imminent attack.
All of a sudden, Adam woke up. He wasn't out in the middle of the desert fighting Cogs, but alone in his own bedroom. "Oh my god, it was just a dream," he said to himself, breathing heavily and his head throbbing with pain. The last thing he could remember was that mysterious Purple Ranger looking at him from afar, a sharp blow to the head, and then he was here. Something about that dream felt so real, painfully real, yet he didn't know what.
Adam reached up to where his head hurt the most. He touched it and shuddered from the excruciating pain. The area was exactly where he remembered being hit in the dream, but when he brought his hand back, there was blood on his fingertips. "It was just a dream . . . wasn't it?" Adam asked himself, still in disbelief.
"Adam, I thought I told you I can't compete with you in this tournament!" Tanya protested as Adam kept hitting the punching bag furiously, barely listening to her. "You know I'm gonna be out of town that weekend! Are you sure you're feeling all right, 'cause, you know, you haven't exactly been acting like yourself today."
"You're right," Adam answered, beginning to restrain his anger against the innocent punching bag. "I haven't been myself. There's just something that's been driving me crazy all day and I really don't know what to do about it."
The two walked up toward the juice bar and sat down at a table. "What are you talking about?" Tanya asked.
Adam looked around, then brought his voice down to a softer level. "Did Zordon ever contact any of you late last night regarding a Cog attack in the desert?"
"Not that I know of. Why?"
"Last night, I had this really weird dream where I was fighting off all these Cogs by myself, and I couldn't get a hold of you guys. That was until this amazing new Ranger came out of nowhere and chased them off. I didn't know who she was or where she came from, but she was just . . . just . . . unbelievable! Then the Cogs attacked again, and before I could find out any more about her, everything went black and I woke up. I never did find out her identity."
Tanya didn't seem to get what he was talking about. "So why is this bothering you so much?"
"Well," Adam continued, "when I woke up, the last thing I remembered happening in the dream was that something struck me upside the head. But then I discovered that something really did hit me there. I don't know; maybe I just fell out of bed and didn't know it."
Tanya thought about it for a moment. "Look," she said, "I really think you oughta talk to Zordon about this, 'cause something tells that was more than just some really weird dream."
"Yeah, maybe I should," Adam replied, "but if it is, I just don't want any of you guys to think I'm losing my mind. I mean, it wouldn't make sense how we were never told anything about a . . ."
Before Adam could even finish, a clamor arose from the other people at the youth center that had caught his attention. A large crowd had gathered around one of the practice mats out on the floor, obviously watching something. Curious, Adam got up and joined the group. When he had finally made his way to the front of the mob, he could clearly see why everyone had gathered. In the middle of it all, a girl about his age, dressed in a traditional kung fu uniform, was practicing her forms. The scene reminded Adam of a few years ago when he had first met that one girl--what was her name?--Sabrina (who actually turned out to be that lowlife Scorpina) and the attention her practicing drew. But this girl was far superior to Sabrina. Her movement was was much more flowing, effortless, and elegant. Everything about her seemed to move in slow motion to Adam, the rest of the world virtually disappearing. He could have sworn he had met her somewhere before, but he knew he couldn't have in reality, could he? All he could think about were her graceful maneuvers, her quiet disposition, her long, flowing hair . . .
"Hey, Adam, you there?" Tanya had joined her friend at the front of the crowd, trying to get his attention.
"Huh?" Adam asked, still partially in his trance. "Did you say something, Tanya?" Finally snapping out of it, he changed the subject. "She's incredible. Do you know who she is?"
Tanya shrugged, obviously not impressed by the girl. "I don't know. She must be new, 'cause I sure haven't seen her before." Her voice carried a hint of jealousy after seeing how Adam kept staring intently at this new girl. Why does he keep looking at her like that? she thought. Adam knows I really like him. I've told him that about a million times already, but he's just totally oblivious to fact that anyone's interested in him! I really would like to be more than just friends with him! Could I have made it any more obvious than I did last month at that kung fu tournament? Yeah, this new girl's pretty good, but I just don't get it.
However, when both looked back at the girl, she was already gone. "Hey, where'd she go?" Adam wondered out loud. "I wanted to ask her something." He kept looking for the girl amongst the dissipating crowd, not even realizing Tanya had left in disgust until she too was gone. "It's like things just keep getting stranger by the day," he said to himself, still searching for the girl.
At last, another day was through. School seemed to drag, as all Adam could think about was that mysterious Purple Ranger he encountered two nights before. It was the only thing on his mind for the second day straight. Now, he thought, it was time to look for some answers as he told Tommy, Katherine, and Rocky the story on the new Ranger after school.
"So have you guys heard anyting about this?" Adam asked, closing his locker.
"It's certainly news to me," replied Kat.
"No kidding," Tommy added. "I haven't heard anything about any new Rangers since the Gold Ranger showed up."
"Don't look at me!" Rocky said, putting his hands up in surrender. "The last time I assumed something about the identity of a new Ranger, I was wrong!" He was obviously referring to the time he thought Billy was the Gold Ranger before anyone knew it was actually Trey.
Adam sighed. "Maybe this really was all just a dream. But it's just that none of this makes any kind of sense to me."
"Oh, come on, Adam," Kat said in her usual sweet and uplifting voice, "if there really is a new Ranger out there, there's probably a good reason Zordon's keeping her a secret."
Meanwhile, a little further down the hall, a small group of girls was talking and giggling--and constantly looking at Adam. "Really, you guys," one of them said. "There is absolutely no way on Earth that Adam Park would be interested in me! Besides, doesn't he already have a girlfriend?"
"Who, you mean Tanya Sloan?" another girl asked. "No! They're just friends! She only wants everyone to think that. I mean, look over there." She pointed at Adam and the others. "Tanya's not even with him and his other friends."
"But that doesn't mean anything," the first girl answered. "She might've just had other things going on after school today."
A third girl piped up. "So you didn't even see the way Adam was staring at you at the youth center yesterday? Girl, you really oughta just go and talk him!"
"I don't know, you guys," the first one said shyly. Her friends always gave that same old lecture of just going up to Adam and speaking her mind. "I-I'm just . . . really . . . I haven't the first clue what the heck I would say!" She looked at her watch. Oh, thank you God for making me have to leave now! she thought. "Oh my gosh, I gotta go. Can I talk to you guys about this later? I'm really late for something!" She started to walk away quickly from her friends, unaware that she was about to back into someone until it was too late and she dropped her books.
She scrambled frantically to pick up her belongings when, from out of nowhere, someone handed her one of her books. "I believe this is yours," a voice said to her kindly. The girl looked up, recognizing that voice from somewhere, and, much to her surprise, found that it was Adam looking right back at her. The two of them stared at each other, smiling shyly. Even though neither knew what the other was thinking, both were wondering the same exact thing: So this is what love at first sight must be like . . .
Like she had just told her friends, this girl had no idea what to say. She was too taken by the fact that fate had finally brought her this chance. "I . . . I . . ." she stammered. Then she regained her composure and graciously accepted the book. "Thanks."
Adam took a closer look at the girl. Something about her long brown hair, blue-green eyes, and long eyelashes seemed unusually familiar to him. "Hey, you were the girl I saw at the youth center yesterday! I wanted to talk with you, but you'd left before I had the chance. So you are . . ."
The girl blushed. "Andréa, but my friends usually just call me Rae for short."
"Andréa . . ." Adam said to himself dreamily, ". . . what a beautiful name." He quickly snapped back into reality. "Hey, are you doing anything this weekend?"
Could this be? Was she actually being asked out by one of the finest-looking guys at Angel Grove High, the one she had been dreaming about since the day she first laid eyes on him? "Well, I'm kinda busy this afternoon," Andréa said, a little more confident of herself now, "but tomorrow is open for me, if that's okay with you."
"Sounds great. I'll meet you at your place?"
Andréa smiled. "I'd love it. I'll see you then." She then hurried off, apparently late for something. Even after she left, Adam was still watching her. Though Andréa was indeed the girl he saw at the youth center the previous day, there was still this odd feeling that he had met her somewhere before that. Oh, he had seen her in passing at school that year, but Adam never knew her personally and this was the first time they had even talked to each other. It also didn't help that, while he was a senior, Andréa was only a junior. But no, it was something else about her that seemed all too familiar, and he couldn't determine why.
Up at the Machine Empire Skybase, King Mondo and Queen Machina had been watching this event unfold. As always, evil was on their minds. "Well, well," Mondo said, "it appears as if Zeo Ranger IV has a new friend. Perhaps we can use her to our advantage."
"What do you mean, my dear?" asked Machina.
"One of the cardinal rules of being a Ranger is to keep your identity a secret," the king explained. "If we can attack this girl in front of Adam, he wouldn't dare morph in front of her, and there would be nothing he could do to defend her because he is too stuck to his honor!"
"Oh, Mondo, that is simply splendid! And because that poor Ranger would be powerless against us, it would mean one less of those annoying brats we have to deal with!"
"The boy will have no choice but to surrender!" The two mechanical monarchs laughed, but, from the side, Klank and Orbus were having their own discussion about the plan.
"Ye think we should tell their highnesses about the Rangers' new secret weapon, laddy?" the Scottish-sounding robot asked his little partner.
Orbus giggled. "If you ask me, I think they should find out for themselves!" the tiny robot replied.
"Ay," Klank agreed. "Gasket wouldn't be at all pleased if we did tell 'em. And the king most certainly wouldn't listen t' the likes of us. That last battle with the Cog Changer was a most embarrassin' one indeed."
Elsewhere in the Machine Kingdom, as Klank had mentioned, Prince Gasket and his beloved Princess Archerina did already know; in fact, they were the ones who had launched the most recent Cog attack. They too had been watching Adam's encounter with Andréa. "So," Gasket said, "Zordon thinks he can hide his new Ranger in the form of a sweet, innocent girl, does he?"
"Yes, my dear," Archerina answered, "and it looks like she's taken to one of the other Rangers! Wouldn't it be just perfect if we could capture her and take her powers for ourselves?"
Gasket was pleased with her idea. "Hmmm . . . that would be perfect," he said schemingly, "and once those powers are in our possession, not even my mighty father would be able to stop us. Then he will have no choice but to relinquish the throne to us, and we shall at last rule the Machine Empire and then the entire galaxy!"
"Oh, my love, I can't wait!" Archerina rejoiced. "We must come up with a plan immediately."
Later that afternoon, Adam decided to go to the park, hoping some time by himself practicing his martial arts would help to clear his mind. As he performed the familiar katas, all he could think about was Andréa. She was really showing some talent with martial arts, he thought. That competition he kept bugging Tanya about was coming up in almost a week; would Andréa be interested in competing alongside him instead?
As if he could have been psychic, Adam looked up and there was Andréa standing a few yards away. She giggled. "Isn't this sorta how we first met?"
He smiled. "Hey, what are you doing here?" he asked.
"I was on my way home, so I thought I'd take a shortcut through the park. I just didn't expect to find you here."
"Neither did I." Man, Adam thought, I know a lot of people wouldn't consider her the most gorgeous girl in the world, but Andréa's just so beautiful in a . . . in a normal sort of way! If only I could find the courage just to say that to her. But instead of saying that, he said something completely different. "Say, are you, uh, real busy right now?"
Andréa could get the hint that he was trying to hold something back from her, but she didn't say anything about it. "No, why?"
Adam still hesitated for a moment, just looking at her. Andréa looked just like any typical teenage girl, wearing jeans and a slimming, fitted purple t-shirt. She wasn't very tall (just about Adam's height, actually) or extremely slender either, but that sure didn't matter to Adam. Her long brown hair, partially pulled up and back into a barrette, sparkled in the light of the setting sun and framed her face beautifully. "Would you, uh, maybe like to perhaps stay and practice with me for a while?" Adam finally asked, stumbling over some of his words.
Andréa smiled, seeing right through his invitation. "I'd love to practice with you," she said.
It started out as if Adam may have been teaching a class, and Andréa was the student. He performed one movement, and she copied it. The sun continued to set, casting its glow on the shimmering lake nearby and creating silhouettes of the two moving in near-perfect harmony. It didn't take long until Adam and Andréa were in perfect sync with each other, both moving like they were the other's reflection. Even their finishing bows were synchronized. Adam took Andréa's hand the same way he always would with his friends after a good practice or sparring match and said, "Nice job."
Andréa blushed. "Thanks. I'm actually a little bit rusty 'cause I haven't been doing a lot of martial arts lately, but I guess I maybe remembered a lot more than I thought!"
"Before I forget," Adam continued, "there's this competition coming up next week and my partner had to back out at the last minute. Perhaps you'd like to take her place?"
"Her place?" Why do I have this sinking feeling he's referring to that Tanya girl? Andréa thought. Could this whole thing of him asking me out just be a sick joke between him and his friends?
"Is there something wrong with that?"
"No, not at all," Andréa half-lied. "But, yes, I'd be honored to be your partner for this competition."
It was still somewhat light out, but the sun had already set well behind the nearby mountains. "It's starting to get late," Adam said. "May I walk you home?"
Hmm, Andréa thought, we haven't even known each other for a whole day and he's already asking to walk me home. Maybe he really is interested in me after all . . . "Sure," she finally replied. As they walked off, Adam put his arm around her shoulder. There was still something about her that seemed way too familiar.
"So, are you new in town?" Adam asked.
"Well, sort of," Andréa replied. "I've been living here just on the edge of Angel Grove with my Aunt Jenny since the beginning of the summer. I was originally supposed to be going to Stone Canyon High this year, but then they all of a sudden went and changed the district boundaries, so here I am."
"They did that again? I thought that just happened two years ago, 'cause that's how some of my friends and I ended up at Angel Grove!"
Andréa laughed. "Go figure. But as I was saying, that's how I ended up here. Actually, if you want to get really technical, I'm originally from France."
Adam looked at her. "Wow, you sure could've fooled me. You don't sound anything like it."
"That's what everybody says. But really, I was born and raised in Paris 'til I was about ten, then moved back to the States with my dad. The real reason I don't sound like I'm from there is because maman was French and Dad was American, so we spoke both French and English at home."
Adam noticed how Andréa was talking about her parents in the past tense. "So what happened to your parents that you're living with your aunt?"
Andréa stopped and looked away, her expression obviously changing. "It's . . . it's kind of a long story," she answered quietly.
"I see." Adam could tell that the thought of talking about her parents troubled Andréa. Perhaps if their relationship became a little closer and they got to know each other better, she would be more comfortable talking about the matter.
The two were nearing the edge of the park, meaning that their walk was just about over. By that time, night had come, and the moon was already shining bright. "So, even though we ended up hanging out today," Adam said, turning towards Andréa, "are we still on for tomorrow?"
"Of course," she answered. "Why shouldn't we be?" The two stopped and stared at each other. Andréa couldn't help but notice how handsome Adam looked in the moonlight, his dark curls blowing carelessly in the light evening breeze and his eyes as dark as the night itself. It was the first time she had ever fallen in love with someone her age (as opposed to some older celebrities she liked) and he seemed to like her back. And to Adam, Andréa was still equally as beautiful, the way her long brown waves shone in the moonlight and her unbelievably long eyelashes seemed to hide her uniquely blue-green eyes when she smiled. He took both of her hands into his, leaning forward to kiss her . . .
Suddenly, out of thin air, a small army of Cogs appeared. Adam pulled back from Andréa but still held her next to him. He watched the robots, who made no sudden movements. "Rae," he said, fearing for his new friend's well-being, "run and don't look back."
Andréa looked at him, scared and confused. "But, Adam, are you sure you can--"
"Just go!" She did as he said. "Man," Adam said to himself, falling into a fighting stance, "what does Mondo want this time?"
Short of breath, Andréa stopped beside a tree and looked back, completely forgetting what Adam had just told her to do. What she was about to see next would absolutely blow her mind.
"It's morphin' time!" Adam shouted, the Zeonizers appearing on his wrists. "Zeo Ranger IV, Green!"
Andréa stood there and stared in amazement as the transformation took place. Had she just seen what she thought she saw? "Oh my god," she whispered to herself, "Adam is the Green Ranger!" She knew that Rangers weren't supposed to reveal their identities to others, so she wondered what could happen if he found out that she knew his secret. However, Andréa was already good at keeping certain secrets, so it surely couldn't be too hard to keep another such as this. She continued to watch in awe as Adam bravely fought the Cogs, but just then, more and more of them began to gang up on him, outnumbering the lone Ranger, and he was in trouble.
All of a sudden, something occurred to Andréa. Adam didn't have to fight alone. She pulled an object out of her back pocket. Andréa opened her hand looking at the small purple crystal she held in it. "Okay," she sighed, "here goes nothing . . ."
Adam tried everything he could do to ward off the neverending attacks, but it was never enough. He couldn't understand why he was still having so much trouble with the Cogs the same way he had the other night.
The Cogs were just about to close in on Adam when a rather familiar voice froze them in their tracks. "Mind if I join the party?"
Adam looked up. Standing at the top of a nearby hill was the Purple Ranger. This time she was not on horseback, but Adam was still impressed by her determined fighting stance . . . and her speed. Before he knew it, the mysterious new Ranger had raced down the hill, her spear-like staff in hand, knocked all the Cogs to the ground, and stopped in front of him. Not since Trey, when he was still the Gold Ranger, had Adam seen anyone as quick and mystifying as the Purple Ranger. "So, Green Ranger, we meet again," she said.
"So it would seem," Adam replied confusedly. This couldn't be another dream, he thought; he was just with Andréa not that long ago, so the Purple Ranger had to be real! "Whoever you are, I . . . I want to thank you for coming to my aid again." God, I can't be falling in love with the Purple Ranger too! he thought. How can I be in love with two completely different women without betraying at least one of them?
A lone Cog approached the Purple Ranger from behind. Adam fell into a fighting stance, but, as if she had eyes in the back of her helmet, the new Ranger whirled around and leveled her attacker with her staff. She still had not ceased to amaze Adam. Had she shown up about a year before, she would have made a fine Ninjetti warrior. He wondered what kind of spirit animal Dulcea would have given her: a panther, maybe? But the thing that Adam did not know was that behind the Purple Ranger's helmet was his new friend Andréa.
She knew that, if she revealed her identity to Adam right then, both of them would most likely be in a state of shock. Perhaps it was a good thing that a helmet covered Andréa's face, because then Adam couldn't see the true feeling she was beginning to have for him. Even when their eyes met for the first time that day she knew that they were made for each other, but did it really have to be this way? Andréa knew very well she'd rather be able to see Adam's perfect-in-every-detail face than to see a somewhat plain green helmet staring back at her. Finally, she turned away from him, unable to take it anymore. "My job here is done," she said rather coldly. "I must go now." Andréa began to walk away as a bright light appeared from nowhere.
"Purple Ranger, wait!" Adam called out to her. "I want to know who you are!" She didn't answer. He tried to see what was going on, but he had to shield his eyes from the intense and blinding light in front of him.
That was the last thing Adam remembered before he suddenly shot up from his bed, hyperventilating and in a cold sweat. "Oh, man, why does this all seem like such a bad dream?" he complained. He still couldn't understand the connection between that blinding light and his suddenly waking up hours later, unable to remember anything that happened in between. If it was all real, how and when did he get home? The he thought about Andréa; did she make it home all right? His mind continued to wander. Could it even have been possible that she saw everything that happened, that she saw him morph into Zeo Ranger IV? And that Purple Ranger, might Andréa have seen her too? Adam flopped back down on his bed and tried to get some sleep, the only thing that made the least bit of sense at the time.
Adam followed the directions that Andréa had given him over the phone that morning to her house, but when he arrived, he wasn't quite sure if he was in the right place. "Angel Ridge Stables?" he read aloud from the sign in front, not recalling being told anything about that. It was a rather large house with a small barn across the driveway from it and vast green pastures behind them where a few horses munched on the grass. Then Adam noticed that someone was riding in the outdoor arena in front of the barn. He took a closer look at the rider, and it was indeed Andréa, but he didn't remember her telling him that she was into horses. He watched her for a while, leaning along the fence near the gate. Andréa rode with the same amount of finesse that she would show in her martial arts, if not more than that.
When Andréa realized she was being watched, she slowed her horse from a canter to a walk, smiled, and waved at Adam. He smiled and waved back. She walked her horse up to the fence and took off her purple schooling helmet, shaking out her hair. The horse was a beautiful creature, a coal black Arabian gelding with no markings and a long, thick black mane and tail, reminding Adam of the horse the Purple Ranger was riding a few nights before. Little did he know that it was the same horse.
"Rae, you never told me that you were into horseback riding," Adam said to her.
"I know," she replied. "There are a lot of things I haven't told you yet, but yeah, I've been riding since I was about eleven."
"So what's his name?" Adam asked as he opened the gate and let Andréa out of the ring.
"His full registered name is something like HA Tihanad's Thunder," she answered, "but I just call him Thunder. He's just about been my best friend since my grandma bought him for me four years ago."
Adam pet Thunder's face, the horse already approving of Andréa's new friend, then looked up at her and said, "He's beautiful." Just like his owner, he thought.
"Thanks," she said modestly, setting her helmet on the fencepost. "Would you maybe like to go for a ride?"
"Yeah, sure, but I hardly know a thing about riding. You'd leave me in the dust!" In fact, the last time he had even really ridden a horse was the year before when he and the other Rangers participated in the police department's charity nature ride, so one couldn't blame him for being slightly tentative about the idea.
Andréa giggled. "That doesn't matter," she reassured him. "I don't think Thunder would mind if he had two riders. Just hang on and you won't fall off. Come on!" She slid forward in front of the saddle so she was sitting at the end of the horse's neck, allowing enough room for Adam to mount up and sit in the saddle.
You bet I'll hang on, Adam thought. Andréa already liked that feeling of his hands on her waist. She glanced back at him and smiled, ready to say something, but then decided not to. When they were both ready, Andréa lightly tapped Thunder's belly with her spurs and they were off.
Neither Adam nor Andréa could have thought of a better way to spend time with each other. They cantered all through the park, Adam holding onto her closely by her shoulders. Andrea loved the feeling of someone holding onto her as closely as he was; she felt as if they could have been a prince and princess galloping through an enchanted forest. Now that she thought about it, that feeling almost felt right to her. Neither wanted the day to end, but eventually they would begin to wonder if it would ever end.
However, the two didn't notice that Gasket and Archerina were watching them from a distance. "The two Rangers are all alone now, my love," said Archerina. "Is the dimensional teleportation device ready?"
"Yes," Gasket answered, standing next to a cannon-like contraption, "but we must wait for exactly the right moment. Soon they will be on our turf and their powers will be ours. Then nothing will stand in our way!"
A short while later, the two teens walked through the park together, Andréa leading Thunder as Adam followed beside her. "So, what do you think of Angel Grove so far?" he asked.
"I love it!" Andréa replied. "Don't get me wrong, I loved living with my grandparents and all, but I just couldn't stand living where I did in Wisconsin. Not only were some of the winters bitterly cold, so were a good deal of those people towards outsiders like me. I had the worst time fitting in at any of my schools."
Adam put his hand on her shoulder and looked at her. "Don't worry about it," he said. "California's a lot different, especially Angel Grove, trust me. The coldest it ever gets around here during the winter is about 50 degrees, and I know you'll be able to fit in just fine."
I already feel like I fit in just by being with you, Andréa almost wanted to say to him.
All of a sudden, Thunder shied at a cloud of fog that appeared from nowhere. Andréa tried to calm the horse down, but she too was frightened. "Adam, what's going on?" she asked in a loud panicked voice.
Adam looked around, trying to find the cloud's source. "I don't know!" he yelled. But then, through the cloud, he could see two tall, faint figures watching them, and he immediately knew this was all one of Gasket and Archerina's plans. Adam dared not say anything, thinking that doing so could reveal his identity as a Ranger to Andréa. But before he could say anything anyway, both of the teens fell to the ground unconscious, overwhelmed by some strange toxin in the fog. When the fog finally cleared, all three--Adam, Andréa, and her horse Thunder--had disappeared.
Adam woke up, dazed and confused. Moments later, so did Andréa. The two stood up and looked around; nothing seemed remotely familiar with the exception of Thunder quietly munching on some grass a few feet away. "Adam," Andréa said slowly and softly, "do you have any idea where we are?"
"No," he replied, equally as confused, "but I know one thing's for sure, that we're nowhere near Angel Grove."
"How did we get here?"
"I'm not sure," he lied. Yeah, Adam thought, like I'm really gonna tell her that we were probably just transported to some other dimension by Gasket and Archerina. I might as well just come out and tell Andréa I'm a Ranger if I said that! She'll probably figure it out sooner or later, but now's just not the right time. I guess teleporting's out of the question too, 'cause that would just be another dead giveaway. What the heck am I going to do?
What should I do? Andréa thought. Even though I know Adam's identity as Zeo Ranger IV, it would be impossible to try to contact Zordon or even teleport out of here without revealing my identity as the Purple Ranger to him. Yeah, he'll find out eventually, when we're with all the other Rangers, but right now would just be way too hard for him to take. I just have the really bad feeling we're wherever we are because of me, and now I'm probably endangering both our lives . . .
Andréa nearly jumped when she felt Adam's hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry," he said, "we'll find a way out of here . . . somehow." They started down a wooded trail, Andréa leading Thunder. As they walked off, Adam's hand slowly moved from Andréa's shoulder down to her hand. The two looked at each other, knowing that this was only the beginning of an adventure that would bring them closer together than they had imagined.
Back at the youth center, it was a typical Saturday afternoon for the remaining Rangers. Jason, Tommy, and Rocky sparred while Tanya and Katherine watched from a table. A short time later, the three boys joined the girls. "Hey, have either of you seen Adam at all?" Tommy asked. "He was supposed to work out with us today and he hasn't shown."
"Oh, Adam didn't tell you?" said Kat. "He was going to spend the afternoon with that new girl, Andréa."
"Hmph," Tanya interjected, looking off into space. Adam just had to be with another girl, she thought.
"But it's not like him to be this late," Kat continued.
"Nah," Rocky chimed in, "he probably just lost track of the time."
"Yeah," Tanya grumbled, "probably." Her jealousy was becoming quite evident to the other Rangers.
"No, I know Adam," Tommy said. And Rocky didn't know his own best friend? "He's always on time for everything and never breaks promises. I think something's wrong."
"Zordon would probably know," Jason added. As the former leader of the Power Rangers, Jason knew that it was important to look out for his teammates, and Tommy, the current leader, seemed to genuinally show that concern for once. "I mean, we would've heard from Adam if he was gonna be late."
"I agree. Let's get out of here." The five filed out of the juice bar and into a secluded hallway where they teleported to the Power Chamber.
Adam and Andréa were still not having any luck finding out where exactly they were. They had been walking for what seemed like hours along endless paths that led to nowhere. As they neared a small clearing on an edge of the woods, Thunder's head and ears perked up at a sudden rustling sound in the bushes. The noise seemed to startle Andréa too. "Adam," she said, "why does it feel like we're not alone?"
"What are you talking about?" he asked.
"I don't know. I just keep getting this odd feeling that we're being watched."
Andréa was right. Cogs jumped out of the bushes and more appeared all around the teens. Thunder half-reared amidst all the commotion. "Rae, go!" Adam shouted.
"Just run! I'll find you later!" Just like the previous night, Andréa did what he said, leaving Thunder there, but only ran far enough so she wouldn't be seen. Before Adam could even call for his Zeonizers, the Purple Ranger leaped out of the woods. Now he knew she wasn't a dream. However, this distracted Adam, and a Cog thus pounced on him, throwing him to the ground and breaking his communicator.
Adam looked up. Once again, the Purple Ranger fought the Cogs valiantly, but she obviously couldn't take them all on by herself. She began to struggle, and two Cogs grabbed hold of her. Adam got up and ran to pull them off of her but was instead kicked backward in the process.
Andréa fought to free herself. "Let me go, bucketheads!" she cried.
"You heard the lady," Adam yelled in agreement, "let her go!"
But suddenly, Andréa stopped struggling; she knew when she had been defeated. She looked up at Adam with a regretful expression hidden behind her helmet, sorry she had to let him down.
"No!" Adam raged. He charged toward them and lunged at the Purple Ranger in order to free her from the Cogs' hold, but it was too little, too late. They had disappeared with her before he could reach her, causing him to land hard again. Adam pounded his fist to the ground in anger, cursing the fates. "I can't believe I let them get away with her!"
The Cogs appeared in front of a deep, dark cave, still holding the struggling Andréa, who had mysteriously demorphed. Gasket watched as they dragged the girl into the cave and threw her into a cold, dark, dungeon-like cell and disappeared again at the prince's command. Andréa had a feeling she knew why she was there, but she still tried to deny everything Gasket asked her regarding the Purple Ranger, hoping he'd show her at least an ounce of mercy. "Let me reiterate myself," Gasket said. "If you just hand your powers over to us, I shall release you, no questions asked. If not, then you will be forced to stay here for all eternity."
Andréa felt around in her pockets; her crystal was gone! She must have dropped it and that caused her to demorph. She silently prayed that none of the Cogs had found it. "I don't have anything you want!" she pleaded, grabbing the bars on the door. "Even if I did, I would never give my powers or anything to the likes of you!"
"Oh, so you finally admit to being a Ranger, do you?" Gasket pressed. "Perhaps you gave your crystal to your friend Zeo Ranger IV for safe keeping?"
"You keep Adam out of this!" Andréa cried. "He knows nothing of my being a Ranger!" She fell to her knees, weak and helpless. Where was Adam now that she really needed him?
"Then that will make it all the better when I destroy the both of you!"
"Please," Andréa begged softly, hot tears streaming down her face, "I have nothing for you. If you have at least a shred of decency, you'll let me go."
"Never!" Gasket laughed as he disappeared. Andréa collapsed to the cell floor, crying. In the midst of it all, she prayed that someone, Adam as Zeo Ranger IV especially, would come to her rescue.
"Zordon, come in!" Adam called into his communicator frantically. "Is anyone there? Come in!" It was no use; the communicator was broken, and he finally remembered why. He then tried his next option. "Andréa!" he called out. "Andréa, where are you?" No answer whatsoever. If Adam had something to kick, he would've kicked it well into the next millennium. "Now what am I supposed to do?" he asked himself. There was no way to teleport home, the Purple Ranger had been taken captive, and Andréa had run to somewhere--where, Adam didn't know. For all he knew, the Cogs could have grabbed her too. "There's gotta be a way to find them and get outta here!"
All of a sudden, the insight hit him. "That's it," Adam said, looking right at Thunder. He and the horse stared at each other for some time, both seeming to have the same idea. "It's a long shot, but it might just work." Adam could ride off to find Andréa and the Purple Ranger, even if it meant having to search for days or possibly even weeks. He really didn't know how the idea came to him, but something about it just seemed right at the time.
Adam carefully approached the horse and patted him reassuringly on his sleek black neck. "Easy there, boy," he said, letting Thunder know he meant no harm. Then, after a few seconds of hesitation, Adam mounted up. He stared out at the vast expanse before him, hoping his instincts, as well as the horse's, would lead them in the right direction. Adam then took a deep breath and firmly kicked Thunder into motion.
Adam really didn't know why he found it so easy to ride Thunder, despite being a very inexperienced rider. Perhaps it was the horse's smooth, swift gallop, the gait's steadiness never ceasing. Or maybe it was the adrenaline rush he got from the the wind whipping at his face and blowing his lengthening black hair into his determined dark eyes. The pair sprinted across plains and through valleys, never quite sure of where they were going but confident they were heading in the right direction. There was no way he'd let those machine creeps hurt his friends, Adam thought, not as long as he was a Power Ranger.
While riding through a mountain range, Adam came upon a cave. Then a tiny glimmer of something in front caught his eye. He walked Thunder even closer, the stopped a few yards from it and dismounted. The small object was still sparkling in the daylight as Adam approached it and picked it up. It was a moderate-sized purple gem-like crystal set in a casing shaped like a four-pointed star. Adam immediately recognized it as the talisman the Purple Ranger wore on her sash, but she was nowhere to be seen. He looked into the dark expanse of the cave. "I wonder . . . could she be in there?" Adam asked himself. Though he was referring to the Purple Ranger, he also stopped to realize that Andréa could have been inside that cave, or perhaps even both of them. Or it could have even been a deliberate trap set up by Gasket and Archerina. Little did Adam know he was right on all of his guesses.
As if on cue, a handful of Cogs appeared. Their sudden appearance startled Adam, causing him to unknowingly drop the crystal. He wasn't going to waste any time this time around, he thought. "It's morphin' time!" Adam shouted. "Zeo Ranger IV, Green!" It only took a short time to dispatch of this batch of Cogs, easily throwing them left and right like he always could. Once they were all gone, Adam ran into the cave, not quite sure of what he might find.
Adam looked down the dimly lit path. "Hello?" he called out. "Is anyone there?"
Andréa, who had fallen asleep for a short time, was suddenly awakened upon recognizing her friend's voice. Assuming he was probably morphed, she called back in response, "Who's there?"
Immediately upon hearing Andréa, Adam ran in her direction. When he finally saw her, he suddenly skidded to a stop, appalled at the terrible state she had to be in. Andrea herself hated to have Adam see her like this. "Are you okay?" he asked her softly.
"Yeah, I'm . . . I'm fine," Andréa replied, her voice quavering. She had to improvise quickly so she wouldn't blow her cover. "I . . . I was running and all these robotic creeps grabbed me and . . . and one of them kept badgering me about some Purple Ranger. I . . . I told him I didn't know anything about it, but . . . but he . . ."
"Calm down," Adam tried to reassure her. Why did Gasket have to pull Andréa into all of this? he thought. "Everything's going to be okay. I'll get you out of here. Just stand back." He drew his laser pistol, aimed at the lock on the door, and fired, breaking the lock. The door creaked open, and Andréa walked out slowly, unsure of whether or not she should just tell him the truth on why she was there. "You should probably go now," Adam continued before she could say anything. "Your friend might be looking for you."
Andréa turned away and looked down, fearful of the possible reaction. "I don't need to go anywhere," she said. "My friend has already found me." She turned and looked back up at him. "Adam, I know it's you."
He looked down and slowly removed his helmet. "It was last night you found out, wasn't it?" Adam asked. Andréa nodded. "Why didn't you just tell me you knew?"
"I . . . I was afraid that if you found out that I knew who you really were, you'd get upset at me or something like that. But whatever happens, I promise 100 percent to keep it a secret." Andréa paused. "You can trust me . . . can't you?"
Adam smiled. "Of course I trust you!"
"You . . . do?"
"Yes! Rae, it would've been only a matter of time before I would've told my girlfriend something as important as this or she would've found out on her own anyway!"
Andréa just stood there, totally taken aback by his words. Girlfriend? That was something new to her; no one had ever called her his girlfriend. She looked at Adam, wondering if he really meant what he said. His expression showed that he truly did mean every word of it as he took her hands into his. Then, without any hesitation, Adam leaned toward Andréa and kissed her. Though she wished her very first kiss could have been under better circumstances, it was the most unbelievable sensation she had ever felt; the way it was so deep and affectionate made her want to freeze time so the moment could never have ended.
"Oh, now isn't that sweet," a voice said sarcastically. "The heroic soldier boy kissing his sweetheart goodbye before marching off to war." Adam and Andréa both turned suddenly to find Gasket standing before the two of them. "Coming to save your little friend, are you, Ranger?"
A terrified look crossed Andréa's face. "Adam, that's the one who captured me and brought me here," she said softly.
Adam's expression quickly changed to that of total anger. "I should've known, Gasket," he said fiercely, drawing his Zeo Saber in preparation to defend Andréa as well as himself. "Only you would sink this low, taking an innocent girl prisoner to lure me into a trap!"
"Adam, don't do this!" Andréa pleaded, trying to give him back his helmet. "You're gonna get yourself killed!"
Adam held her back. "Stay out of this, Rae. I don't want you getting hurt. If it's a fight Gasket wants, then it's a fight he'll get."
"But . . ." There was nothing more Andréa could do. God, if I only knew what happened to my crystal, she thought, I could morph, Adam and I could kick some serious butt, and we could get the heck outta here.
Gasket drew his sword. "Are you just going to stand there, Ranger, or are you going to fight?"
Adam said nothing. Instead, with a sharp battle cry, he came around with his saber, the loud clashe of metal against metal ringing throughout the cavern. Andréa cringed, the fight now under way. She could only watch from the side, hold Adam's helmet, and wish there was something she could do to stop this insanity. Nonetheless, she was impressed by how much of a warrior Adam really was, the way he was often able to dodge Gasket's strikes.
However, the mechanical prince was able to get in a few lucky blows. Gasket slashed through Adam's usually impermeable armor, causing the Ranger to stagger backwards from the damaging blow. "Adam, you've gotta stop this!" Andréa pleaded again after catching him. "There's no way you're gonna ba able to beat this guy like this!"
"Yes, there's no way you could ever beat me, Ranger," Gasket half-imitated Andréa. "Why don't you just give up and this can all end a lot quicker--in your demise, that is!"
Adam had no intentions of giving up anytime soon. All he did was glare at Gasket, totally oblivious to how wounded he really was. His eyes burned with revenge and a searing rage no one had ever seen in him before. It was one thing to capture another Ranger, but to drag the innocent girl Adam had just fallen in love with into all of this for seemingly no reason? "Maybe you should be the one giving up, Gasket," he snarled, "'cause I'm not letting you get away with trying to hurt my girlfriend!" Adam charged at Gasket again and the fight resumed.
Andréa still could not get herself to watch all of the battle, especially now that Adam was beginning to struggle. A kick by Gasket knocked him to the ground, the prince towering above him. "This is going to be too easy," the prince said devilishly, ready to plunge his sword into the Ranger. "It's been nice knowing you, Zeo Ranger IV."
Just seconds before the blade could even touch him, Adam blocked the strike with his saber. The two warriors struggled to force the other's blade from themselves, but Adam eventually won the struggle, pushing Gasket backwards and giving himself enough time to regain his balance. "Don't be so quick to judge!" he threatened Mondo's eldest son.
"You'll pay for that, boy!" Gasket bellowed. He swung his sword around again at the Ranger, but he missed when he jumped away, sparks flying from where the blade struck the cavern wall. Enraged even more, Gasket once again struck out at Adam and was more successful this time, throwing the Ranger against the wall.
"Adam, no!" Andréa screamed when his saber flew out of his hand and clattered to the ground.
Gasket grabbed Adam by the collar and pulled him up off the ground. "Hmmm, what's the best way I can finish you off, puny Ranger?" he asked sarcastically as Adam gasped for breath and struggled unsuccessfully.
"Stop this!" Andréa begged. "Can't you see he's no match for you?"
If Gasket were human, he would have grinned deviously. "As you wish," he responded cold-bloodedly. And with that, he literally threw Adam to the ground. The Ranger tried to get up but fell limp.
"No!" Andréa screamed again.
Gasket laughed as he kicked the wounded Ranger, making sure he was good and defeated. "You're next, Purple Ranger," the mechanical prince said to Andréa as he walked out of the cave and disappeared. The girl could only stand there, stunned.
Andréa finally walked over to where Adam was laying, set his helmet down, and knelt beside him, not sure what she should do. At first, she thought he was already dead, but he was only unconscious and barely breathing. "No," Andréa said softly, brushing Adam's tousled hair out of his face, "please, don't die. I've already lost too many important people in my life to lose another . . ."
"Dad!" eleven-year-old Andréa screamed when she saw the intruder point the gun at her father.
"Andréa, get out of here!" her dad shouted. "Go next door and call for help! Now!"
Three shots rang out before Andréa could even escape. She stood horrified as her father was thrust backwards and into a table. "Nooooo!" she wailed as she realized he was dead, her eyes already swelling with tears as she ran to him.
The masked burglar stared at the two, wondering why he had just done what he did. He threw himself out of the window he had broken in through. Seconds later, Andréa heard another gunshot. She didn't care that the intruder had just killed himself. All she could do was cry over her father's lifeless body.
Andréa was still in shock when the police finally came to investigate and her grandparents came from next door to be with her. Long after the bodies were taken away, she remained in her grandmother's arms, scared and confused. "Why, Grandma?" she asked. "First maman dies, now Dad. Why?"
Andréa's face was wet with tears after recalling the horrible memory. "Why?" she continued to ask herself. "Why did this all have to happen, Adam?" She laid her head on his chest and closed her eyes. "Je t'aime pour toujours, mon amour," was the only thing the French-American teen could find the strength to say. She didn't even notice when Adam's hand slowly moved to hold hers.
"Alpha, have you gotten a lock on Adam yet?"
"Ay-yi-yi!" Alpha cried. "No, I haven't, Tommy. I've done scan after scan and all of them have come up with nothing!"
Tanya looked over Alpha's shoulder and saw a small, flashing purple light on the scanner. "Hey, what's that then?" she asked.
"Oh, u-uh, that?" the robot stammered, obviously trying to disavow any knowledge of the sixth little light that signified the Purple Ranger's communicator signal. "That's, uh, n-nothing."
The Rangers were just about to question Alpha's judgment when the alarm suddenly sounded. "Rangers," Zordon said, "I'm afraid there is a more important matter at hand. King Mondo has taken advantage of our situation and sent the Destructatron monster and an army of Cogs to Angel Grove. You must do what you can to stop this attack despite youe weakened status."
"You got it, Zordon," Tommy replied as usual. "All right then. It's morphin' time!"
"Zeo Ranger I, Pink!" Katherine began with the incantation.
"Zeo Ranger II, Yellow!" Tanya followed suit.
"Zeo Ranger III, Blue!" Rocky shouted.
"Zeo Ranger V, Red!" Tommy yelled.
"Gold Ranger Power!" Jason cried.
The five Rangers were teleported to the city, where Mondo, his monster, and the Cogs were all waiting for them. "Hmm, I thought there were six Rangers," the king noted. "I only see five."
"Where's Adam, Mondo?" Tommy shouted.
"And you better have a good excuse this time!" Kat added.
"You dare accuse me of kidnapping your friend?" Mondo asked. "What would I want with him anyway?"
"You tell us!" Rocky yelled.
King Mondo became furious. "For the last time, I don't have him! Cogs! Destructatron! Attack them!"
The hulking metal creation charged the team, the Cogs following right behind. "Let's get 'em, guys!" he commanded, leading the way.
The two sides clashed quickly, each Ranger taking on at least one opponent. The Cogs, of course, weren't much of a challenge, but Destructatron certainly proved to be a formidable foe. Each Ranger tried to attack him, but they always kept getting thrown aside by the monster. They could see why Mondo had decided to strike at the time the team had been diminished. "Hey," Rocky said to the others, "didn't Adam say something about some new Ranger?"
"Yeah," Tanya replied, trying to regain her strength, "but he kept thinking she was just something out of a dream!"
"Maybe he was right!" Jason shouted as he strugged to get out of the chokehold the monster had him in.
If the rest of the team could have seen Tommy's expression, they would have seen a very grave look. "Yeah," he said, "perhaps Adam was right, 'cause otherwise she would've been here by now."
Andréa awoke when she felt a sudden yet slight movement underneath her. She lifted her head and looked to see as Adam slowly regained consciousness and opened his eyes. "So, should I be expecting to see you at my side every time I nearly get killed?" he asked softly but lightly.
Andréa smiled. "Only if you want me to." She helped Adam to stand up, handed him his helmet, and hugged him. "Geez, what were you thinking, going afer that guy like that?"
"I'm sorry," he apologized. "It's just that I've always been real defensive when it comes to someone trying to hurt my friends and all. I didn't mean to scare you like that."
"Hey, as long as we're both all right now, none of that matters," Andréa replied, accepting his apology. "But it's still just so hard to believe that you're a Ranger. I mean, I had always heard about you guys before I moved to Angel Grove, but I never would've guessed that I'd actually know and, um, be interested in one of you!"
Adam wished he could just stay there and be with Andréa a while longer, but he knew something else still needed to be done. "We have to get going," he said, putting his helmet back on. "There's someone else that needs our help."
Andréa knew exactly who he was talking about, but asked anyway. "Who?"
"There's no time." He took her by the hand and led her out of the cave. "Come on."
Adam kept going, but never realized that Andréa wasn't following him. She stopped just outside the cave where she found her crystal laying in the dirt. "Oh, thank you, God!" she exclaimed, relieved to find it there. She picked it up and watched Adam continue to walk away. "Don't worry, Adam," she said. "You won't have to be searching for long." She thrust the crystal into position in front of her. "Purple Phoenix FireStar Power!" Andréa cried, a bright light beginning to emanate from the talisman.
The light was so bright that Adam, about a half-mile away and only then realizing Andréa and Thunder weren't there, was temporarily blinded by it. "What was that?" he shouted, shielding his eyes. "What's going on?"
When the light finally subsided, Andréa emerged as the Purple Ranger. She mounted up and looked off in Adam's direction once again. "I guess now's as good a time as any to tell Adam the truth," she said to herself, kicking Thunder into a canter.
While Adam still tried to comprehend what just happened, he heard a familiar sound. He turned to find the Purple Ranger, on horseback, walking toward him. This confused him even more, about as much as the time they had first met a few days before. First of all, Adam saw the Purple Ranger get captured by the Cogs earlier, and second, he had even seen her crystal laying there in front of that cave. "What are you doing here?" he finally asked. "I thought you were taken prisoner."
"I--your friend helped me to escape Prince Gasket and also returned my power crystal to me," Andréa quickly corrected herself. "She told me I would be able to find you here."
"My friend?" Adam wondered out loud. "That's gotta be Andréa. Do you know where she is?"
Andréa was hoping he wouldn't have asked that question. She had to lie again. "I, uh, had her teleported home." God, I hope he buys that, she thought. Andréa quickly changed the subject. "Come with me," she said. "There's something I need to take care of, and it involves you."
She turned and Adam followed. What could she possibly want with me? he thought.
"My darling, I'm afraid I have some bad news," said Archerina. "It appears as though Zeo Ranger IV lives and your prisoner has escaped and reclaimed her powers."
"Rats!" Gasket shouted, trying to find something to slam his fist into. "I knew I should've kept a better eye on those two! But I refuse to give up this time. Come, Archerina, my dear, we have two Rangers to kill off."
Adam had followed the Purple Ranger to the top of a cliff, still wondering what was going on when he finally spoke up. "Wait a minute," he said. She stopped and looked back at him. "What is this all about? I mean, what do you want with me?"
The Purple Ranger dismounted and turned to face him. Andréa was a little scared, but she knew it was in the best interest of both of them to do this. "Ranger, there's something I need to tell you."
Even though no one could see it, Adam had a confused look on his face. "What is it that you need to tell me?"
"I think it's time I tell you who I really am. From now on, we'll be seeing much more of each other. It would only be a matter of time before the rest of the Rangers knew of my existence and I would have to reveal my identity anyway." With that, Andréa began to unbuckle her helmet, ready to admit everything to Adam.
"Look out!" Adam cried. The Purple Ranger refastened her helmet and snapped her head up. A platoon of Cogs had materialized yards behind her. Adam leaped up and kicked the one that was about to attack Andréa, giving her enough time to duck out and remount Thunder.
Even on horseback the Purple Ranger fought well, Adam thought. She was able to control her horse with one hand and yet still dispose of the Cogs with her staff in the other hand. If only the Cogs hadn't shown up, I'd know who she is and then we'd probably have been able to get out of here, he continued to himself. But right now I just want to get this over with so I can finally find the answers I'm looking for. Had he only known that end was much closer than he thought.
A Cog struck the Purple Ranger's horse in one of his blind spots, causing him to rear up and throw his rider to the ground. Andréa struggled to get to her feet; though she had fallen off of horses many times before, she had never been thrown off like that and was hurting greatly as a result. With few options left, she tried to back away from the approaching droids, unaware of just how close she was to the edge of the cliff.
"Purple Ranger!" Adam cried. He worked to fight off as many of the Cogs as possible to save her. She began to lose her balance and fall backwards, almost completely over the edge when Adam swiftly turned around and barely grabbed her by the wrist. "I'll pull you up!" he shouted. "Just hang on!"
Andréa held on for dear life, watching as a rock that had broken off from the cliff plummeted hundreds of feet to the ground. "Whatever you do, Adam," she begged, accidentally letting his name slip, "please . . . don't let go!" Adam looked at her for a moment; he didn't recall telling her his name, so how could she have known who he was?
Neither of the Rangers noticed that Gasket and Archerina had been watching the entire battle from a nearby plateau. When they saw Andréa's dangling plight, Archerina raised and aimed her bow, figuring one arrow, if right on, could kill two birds with one stone. "If we can't have that Ranger's powers," she said, watching her targets carefully, "then no one will."
Archerina fired. The arrow struck Adam in the hand with which he was holding onto the Purple Ranger, forcing him to fall backwards and let go. "No!!" he roared, the single word echoing throughout the hills. There was nothing he could do as he watched the Purple Ranger fall part of the way down, hit some rocks, and then tumble like a rag doll to the bottom where she landed lifelessly. Adam glanced over to the adjacent cliff on which Mondo's eldest son and his lover were standing, ready to go after them in a fit of rage before they disappeared, but knew it was more important that he tended to his fallen friend first.
Adam raced down the side of the cliff aboard Thunder. When they reached the bottom, he jumped off and ran full tilt to the Purple Ranger, tearing his helmet off in the process. He skidded to a stop and knelt beside her. "Purple Ranger, are you okay?" Adam asked frantically, trying to shake her awake. "Speak to me!" She didn't answer. "Come on, say something!" Still no response. He checked for a pulse, but it was already hard to find one with her breastplate in the way. Seeing that there was no other option, Adam removed the Purple Ranger's helmet.
His eyes widened in disbelief when he discovered that he was looking into Andréa's face. "My god, no," were the only words he could manage to say. Adam couldn't believe what he was seeing. The sweet, shy, innocent girl whom he had just proclaimed his love for was dying in his arms. Tears began to form in his eyes. "Andréa, please, wake up," Adam begged again. "Come on, it's me, Adam." Again, there was no answer. Her breathing was very faint, and it was beginning to decrease rapidly. "Oh God, please don't die on me!"
Then Adam looked up to the sky. Somewhere up there, Gasket and Archerina were probably laughing at and mocking his grief. The look of sadness in his eyes disappeared and was replaced with that of anger and vengeance. After all, if it weren't for those two, neither of the Rangers would have been in this predicament. "You're not gonna get away with this, Gasket!" Adam shouted to the sky. Then he raised his voice to a level he rarely ever had to reach. "You hear me?! You're gonna pay for what you've done, even if it means killing you myself! No one is ever gonna kill the one I love and get away with it, not as long as I live! You hear me?! You hear me?!!" The words resonated eerily off the canyon walls and through his mind.
Adam's rage gradually returned to grief as he looked back down ay Andréa, who continued to lay limp in his arms. "Oh God, why did this all have to happen, Rae?" he asked her softly as if she could hear him. "Why couldn't this have really been just a bad dream? I wouldn't have to see you suffering like this if it was." Adam rested Andréa's head on his shoulder, her long hair brushing against his face, and held her close to him the same way a parent might hold a scared child. "Please don't die, Andréa," he whispered, closing his eyes and letting his emotions go. "I love you too much to have to lose you like this."
A while later, after deciding that moping like this wouldn't help the situation, Adam picked up Andréa's limp body, her head still resting on his shoulder, and carried her toward Thunder. Then he heard and spotted something that had dropped to the ground. He knelt down and picked it up; it was Andréa's communicator. "You saved the day once again, Rae," Adam said to her, a faint glimmer of hope now evident in his voice. "Let's just hope there are more days for you to save."
"Alpha, is she going to be okay?"
"It's very hard to say, Adam. Her life signs are very low."
Adam knelt beside the examination bed on which Andréa was laying. He held her one hand in both of his and closed his eyes. "I already lost someone close a few years ago," he said. "I can't bear to lose another . . ."
"There's someone coming right toward us!" twelve-year-old Adam screamed, the oncoming headlights growing brighter and brighter in the rain-covered windshield.
"Hang on!" Matthew Park, Adam's sixteen-year-old brother, shouted, trying to swerve hard.
But it was too late. In a split second, there was a loud crash and the headlights were gone. Adam and his nine-year-old brother Ryan looked up from where they had been sitting in the back seat. "Matt!" the two boys cried, their older brother sitting motionlessly in the driver's seat, his head drooped over the steering wheel.
Oblivious to the driving rain, Adam jumped out of the car and ran around to the front, struggling to open the driver's side door to no avail. "Matt, are you are all right?" he asked frantically, shaking his brother through the broken window. Matt's arm moved, but it was only because it fell limp at his side. Lightning flashed and thunder cracked. Adam could see the battered form of his brother and then knew that he was dead.
Later that night, the police concluded that the accident was a result of the other driver being drunk and that it was in no way Matthew's fault. But that still couldn't bring him back, Adam thought. Matt was the one who he had looked up to so often and the one who had always looked out for him, and nothing in the world could ever replace him, not even the child his mother was six months pregnant with.
Though five years had passed since that tragedy, Adam still fought to hold the tears back whenever he thought about it. It troubled him so much that not even any of his Ranger friends knew about it, except for Rocky, his best friend since the fourth grade, and Aisha, who now lived in Africa. Only those who knew him during his days in Stone Canyon knew about the accident. Regardless, Adam hated himself for keeping it a secret as long as he had. And he wasn't going to let history repeat itself either. "Come on, Rae," he said softly, "you can do it. You can pull through this. I just know it."
A few moments later, like she had heard him, Andréa gradually began to regain consciousness and breathe regularly again. Adam looked at her and smiled as she slowly opened her eyes. "Hey there, beautiful," he said, "welcome back to the world of the living."
Andréa looked up, her vision still a little fuzzy. The first thing she saw was a blurry yet familiar face staring over her, a mess of longish black hair surrounding it. "Adam, is that you?" she asked rather groggily.
He laughed lightly. "Who else would you be expecting?"
Andréa smiled back. "An angel from above, maybe? But I guess you qualify for that."
Adam helped her to stand up and then immediately hugged her. "Thank God you're all right," he said. "I was scared to death you wouldn't make it."
"Well, I guess now we're even," Andréa half-joked, referring to how frightened she was during Adam's earlier confrontation with Prince Gasket.
"Andréa, it is good to see that you are well," said Zordon. "How are you feeling?"
"Well, I still have a bit of a headache," she replied, "but otherwise I'm fine. I guess it just took a while before my built-in healing powers kicked in."
"I just can't believe you're the Purple Ranger," Adam said to her, "but at least now everything makes sense. So how did you end up with your powers in the first place? You said the other day that you had them longer than any of us have had ours."
"In a way, that's right," Andréa began. "It's a little bit of a long story, but we seem to have time for it, so here goes.
"I think I was maybe eight or nine when it all happened, but I remember that it all sorta began when my parents and I came here to Angel Grove from Paris to visit some friends and relatives. I eventually strayed off into the woods and by chance came across this crystal--the Purple FireStar Crystal." Andréa held it in her hand, inspecting it in the light. "The next thing I knew I was in what was then the Command Center. Naturally, I was scared, but Zordon reassured me that I wasn't in any danger. He told me about this crystal and how, if used properly, it would give me incredible Ranger powers when I was older. Of course, the Power Rangers weren't needed back then, but Zordon said that if the time ever came that my help was needed, it was up to me to accept that responsibility. Because it sounded cool that I could possibly be a superheroine and save the world someday, I accepted. I had already moved back to the U.S. by the time the Rangers first showed up a few years ago, so when I heard about them back in Wisconsin, I started studying martial arts in addition to my horseback riding, waiting eagerly to finally get the call, so to speak. But after a while, I started to think I had been forgotten along the way. That was before I moved here this summer, though. One day back in August I had somehow spotted one of your friends--what was his name again?--oh, yeah, Billy--teleporting somewhere . . ."
"You knew about Billy?" Adam interrupted.
"Sort of. Anyway, I confronted him later on about catching him teleporting and told him about how I was supposed to be a Ranger. After that, he went and told Zordon about me, and then came back saying that he would let me know when I was gonna join the team."
"But Billy left for Aquitar about a week ago."
"Yeah, I know," Andréa replied. "Right after he left, Billy was somehow able to contact me from there and said that the next attack would be when I finally became the Purple Ranger. You know, I'm surprised he never even told you guys about me, nor did he even tell me who you were. But anyway, that next attack was just a few nights ago, and, well, you know the rest." She paused for a moment. "Wait a minute. Zordon, isn't there some kind of sword you said went along with my powers?"
"Yes," Zordon replied. "The Purple Phoenix Saber. When I called you here three nights ago, my original intention was to have you search for it, but it was more important that you helped Adam first. Until the time came that we were able to locate it, your staff was to serve as an auxiliary weapon."
"Have you been able to find it yet?" asked Adam.
"Yes," Alpha said. "It is located somewhere along the shoreline outside Angel Grove."
"Then I'm going to go get it," said Andréa.
"Rae, you can't," Adam came back. "It's too dangerous. I'm coming with you."
"No, Adam," she answered. "I need you to stay here and help me track my whereabouts. And if I end up getting ambushed, I know you'll at least be there to back me up."
"Are you sure?"
Andréa smiled. "Don't worry about it. I'll be okay."
"Andréa," Alpha informed, "because of the strain on the teleportation unit from both our recent work with the Aquitians and the amount of energy used for the two of you to teleport back here, I can't get you all the way to the ocean."
"That's all right," she replied. "I can just do the old-fashioned thing of riding the rest of the way."
Adam put his hand on her shoulder. "Hey, good luck."
Andréa looked back at him and smiled. "Thanks, Adam," she answered, "for everything you've done." She picked up her helmet and took a deep breath. "Back to action!"
Andréa and Thunder were only able to be teleported as far as the edge of the park, but they galloped the rest of the way through the park, across town, and finally to the shore. She stopped, dismounted, and wandered along the beach. "Okay, Adam," Andréa said into her communicator, "how am I doing?"
"You're doing fine," was his response as he watched her in the viewing globe. "Just keep going due south and you should be there."
Andréa followed these directions until she spotted an object shimmering faintly in front of some rocks. "I see it!" she shouted, running towards it. She stopped at that point and began to dig at the sand surrounding the rocks, eventually unearthing the saber. Andréa held it up in the remaining sunlight. "Wow," she marveled, "it's beautiful." It was a long, katana-like blade enclosed in a gleaming purple and gold scabbard. If this magnificent weapon didn't belong to her, she would have believed to belong to some great samurai warrior.
The alarm suddenly sounded in the Power Chamber. Adam looked in the viewing globe. "No!" he cried. "Rae, look out! It's a trap!"
Andréa turned to look behind her, but before she could even get up, two Cogs knocked her on her back. She lashed out at them, giving herself enough time to get back to her feet. "Not again!" she complained, dusting the sand off of herself and taking a fighting stance. "Doesn't Gasket ever give up?" She tried using her saber, wondering what powers it was capable of, but nothing seemed to work. "Um, Adam, now would be a really good time for you to back me up!"
"I'm on my way!" Adam called back. "Alpha, can you teleport me to her location?"
"Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!" Alpha cried, totally frazzled. "I just used the last bit of energy from the teleportation unit! I don't know if you'll be able to get to her in time!"
"That's a chance I'm willing to take," Adam said with determination. "I'll have to go on foot."
"Good luck, Adam," said Zordon, "and may the power protect you."
"Back to action!"
While Adam sprinted across the valley toward the ocean, Andréa did her best to defend herself against the Cogs' attacks, but she couldn't wait any longer. "I'm not one to give up on anything," she said to herself, "but it looks like I'm gonna have to get the heck outta here." Andréa, still clutching the saber, hopped back on Thunder and galloped away in the direction of the Power Chamber. "Zordon, Alpha," she called into her communicator, "no matter what I do, it's like this sword has no power. Tell me anything and everything I need to do to reenergize it."
Adam was already a few miles from the Power Chamber when a fiery explosion sent him flying. As he pulled himself up, standing before him once again was Prince Gasket. "Why am I not surprised?" Adam said angrily. "You'll do anything to get the Purple Ranger's powers!"
"That's right," Gasket retorted condescendingly. "And you think you can stop me all by yourself? Ha! I defeated you before, and I will most certainly defeat you again, this time once and for all!"
Adam drew his Zeo Saber and fell into a fighting stance. "Wanna bet?" Gasket swung at him with his sword but missed. The fight was very back and forth, as Adam wasn't quite as impulsive about his actions as he was earlier that day.
But once again, Gasket was able to figuratively back Adam into a corner. "Hmmm, you're all alone out in the middle of nowhere and struggling, Ranger," said Gasket, doing everything possible to break Adam's spirits. "A rather familiar situation, is it not? Isn't it about time the Purple Ranger showed up? Oh, wait, that's right! I sent my Cogs to kill her, which I assume they have already done by now. And your friends are too busy fighting my father to even help you. Looks like you're completely on your own now!"
Adam glared at Gasket from behind his helmet. "That's where you're wrong, Gasket!" he yelled. "No mere Cogs could ever stop a Ranger, including Andréa! And as for my friends, I don't need them to stop the likes of you!" But his rage started to show itself and his fighting became more and more careless. It wasn't long before his only means of prolonging an attack was to slowly back away.
Gasket laughed. "Face it, Ranger, you're trapped, and you know it." He was right; Adam did know that he was facing certain defeat again. The Ranger looked around, trying to find a way out. "There's nothing you can--" Gasket was cut off mid-sentence by a long, silvery streak of light that cut the air between them with a crack of thunder and penetrated the hard earth, knocking them both off their feet. The prince quickly got up and looked at it. "What? No! This is impossible!" He pointed his sword at Adam and said, "Until next time, Zeo Ranger IV," then disappeared.
Adam stood up and looked around again, just as confused as he was three nights before. He stared down at the saber in front of him, its point driven into the ground, then looked up again to see a familiar figure approaching over the horizon. Adam removed his helmet and looked harder. Reminiscent of the other night, the Purple Ranger walked silently on horseback toward him. She stopped, dismounted, took her helmet off, and stared back at him. Adam found her even more beautiful than before as the light breeze blew Andréa's long, thick hair across her face and her golden sash out to the side.
Feeling that if she stood there any longer he would disappear, Andréa let her helmet fall to the ground and ran to Adam. He let go of his helmet too and embraced his new girlfriend once they reunited, immediately holding her head on his shoulder. Neither said a word; the way they were feeling, actions spoke volumes.
The other Rangers' battle had gradually moved to outside the city, and so when Katherine spotted two dots over the horizon, one green and one purple, she exclaimed, "Hey, guys, look, it's Adam! But who's that with him?" Taking out the last of yet another batch of Cogs, the other four Rangers ran to join her to see what she was talking about.
"I don't know," Tommy replied, "but whoever it is, it looks like they're on our side."
Rocky looked harder. "I think that's that new Ranger Adam was talking about," he added. "He did say she was a Purple Ranger."
"So she is real," the Gold Ranger said to himself, wondering about the new Ranger's true identity.
Tanya was wondering the same thing, still quite jealous of the idea that Adam was with another girl. "Come on, let's go find out who she is!" the Yellow Ranger shouted, ready to run out there.
"Whoa, hold back, Tanya," Tommy said, holding his arm out to stop her. "Let 'em be for a while. Looks like they've had a pretty rough day. I think they need some time alone."
Adam finally pulled back from Andréa and looked at her. "I can't believe you made it," he said. "Gasket had me thinking you were dead."
Andréa smiled. "One thing about the Machine Empire, they sure know how to underestimate not only the power of the Rangers, but the power of the human spirit as well." She walked over to where her saber was driven into the ground and pulled it out. "But that doesn't matter now. I got my saber and all I need to do now is reenergize it."
"How do you do that?"
"Well, Zordon said that in order for it to be completely useful, it needs to be energized by my powers as well as those of at least one other Ranger." She looked at him. "I don't see any other Rangers around, so I guess you're that lucky one, so to speak. Here goes nothing." Andréa held the saber up, and Adam reached out for it. Seconds later, it began to glow with power, illuminating the two Rangers' elated expressions. Once the glowing diminished, Andréa held it at her level. "I know this will probably sound strange," she said, "but after everything we've been through together these last few days, I think this saber should be as much yours as it is mine."
Adam was flattered. "I . . . I'm really not sure what to say!"
"You don't need to say anything. All that you've done for me is enough thanks."
Just then there was the melodic beeping of a communicator. "This is Adam. Go ahead."
On the other end was Tommy. "Hey, buddy, good to have you back. Where've you been all this time that we couldn't find you?"
Adam looked at Andréa and they both smiled. "Long story, man. Tell ya later."
"Well," Tommy continued, "now that you're back, we could sure use your help against Mondo's monster here. Oh, and feel free to bring your friend along."
"You got it." Adam looked at Andréa again after signing off. "So, are you ready for your first battle as a full-fledged member of the team?"
"Ready as I'll ever be," she replied confidently.
The other five Rangers had the Destructatron monster surrounded, no one attacking anyone, when Adam and Andréa arrived on the scene. Both were on Thunder similar to how they were earlier that day with the exception of them now being morphed. Adam slid down and joined the group. "Guys, Rae and I have a plan," he told them. "Fire your pistols on her command and then get out of the way. She'll do the rest."
"But, Adam," Rocky asked, "what's she gonna do?"
"Don't worry about it! Just do it!"
The Rangers waited for the signal, pistols raised and the Gold Ranger's staff aimed. Andréa and Thunder paced around, looking for the best place to strike. "You can never defeat me!" Destructatron bellowed at the newest Ranger.
"Yeah?" Andréa shouted defiantly, the monster's threat not fazing her. "Watch me!" She signaled the others. "Okay, now!" They fired at the creature and immediately scattered. Andréa quickly pulled her saber from its scabbard at her side and charged towards Destructatron like a knight would charge into battle. With one swift and mighty swoop of her saber while galloping past, she leveled the monster. It exploded into a massive fireball as she stopped several yards away, her saber raised high in victory. The rest of the Rangers who had never seen the Purple Ranger before came out and stood there in awe, amazed by their new teammate's power.
Andréa took off her helmet and turned Thunder so that she and the horse faced the Rangers, a huge grin on her face. Adam was the next to remove his helmet, and then the rest of the team followed suit. "So this is the rest of my team, huh?" she asked, seeing for the first time the real faces behind the Power Rangers as she dismounted and approached them.
The Gold Ranger seemed to recognize her rather quickly. "Andréa? Is it really you?"
She looked back at him and recognized him too. "Jason? Jason Lee Scott? You're the Gold Ranger?"
The others were totally confused. "You mean, you two know each other?" asked Kat.
"Know each other?" Andréa replied. "I'm related to him! His mom's another aunt of mine! Jason and I are cousins!" She shook her head and laughed. "I never would've guessed you'd end up a Ranger, Jase, but even when we were little, you always seemed like the fighter. It's great to see you again, man." But then she thought about what Zordon had told her about the Gold Ranger; did she really want to tell her own cousin that he was losing his powers?
"It's good to see you again too, Annie," Jason said, hugging his cousin.
Adam raised an eyebrow. "'Annie'?"
"That's the nickname my family and everyone else used to call me when I was little," Andréa explained, slightly blushing. "'Rae' didn't come about until I moved to America and my friends started calling me that."
Andréa then continued to look around at the rest of the team recognizing all of the other Rangers as Adam's friends: Rocky, his best friend, was the Blue Ranger; Tommy, Adam's usual sparring partner, was the Red Ranger; Katherine, Tommy's girlfriend, was the Pink Ranger; the Yellow Ranger was the one Andréa basically only knew as "that Tanya girl." While Tommy, Kat, and Rocky were all gathered around her with Adam and Jason, she could see Tanya standing outside the group, looking at her. The Yellow Ranger's expression was blank at first, but as she saw just how much of a friend Adam had become with Andréa, she smiled and nodded. Maybe I was wrong to jump to conclusions so fast about this new girl, she thought. Her eyes then met with Andréa's. The Purple Ranger knew about how much Tanya had really liked Adam, but when she saw the look of forgiveness on the Yellow Ranger's face, Andréa knew that everything was all right and smiled back.
The entire Power Ranger team--all seven members--later gathered, unmorphed, at the Power Chamber to hear Zordon's remarks on their battle. "I'd like to congratulate you all once again on a job well done," he said. "And Andréa, I'm sorry that you didn't have an easier time adjusting to becoming a Ranger, but you have proven yourself to be a very fast learner. You have displayed exemplary leadership skills and yet still know how to work with the rest of the team. I am proud that you have chosen to take on the ancient powers of the Purple FireStar Crystal, one of the first Ranger powers ever created, and I am sure that the original Purple Phoenix Ranger would have found you to be her ideal succesor."
Andréa blushed. "Thanks, Zordon," she said modestly. She looked around at all the other Rangers; never had she felt so warmly accepted into any kind of group. "But Adam deserves a lot of the credit too," she soon added. "If it weren't for his quick thinking and perseverance, neither of us would probably be here right now." Adam couldn't help but smile and blush. "No offense to you, Tommy, but I think Adam would make a great leader someday."
"None taken," the current leader replied.
"Yeah, you know, she's right," Rocky broke in, putting his arm around his best friend's shoulder. "I mean, it's not like it's every day that you get sucked into another dimension and then find out your new friend's actually a Ranger." The way he said it made everybody laugh, knowing that the comment had nothing to do with what she had said. "But really, Rae, any friend of Adam's is a friend of mine, and I think it's great that you're a part of the team."
"Guys, there's something I need to say," Tanya said. "Before I knew who Andréa really was--before any of us knew, actually--I didn't want anything to do with her. I was real jealous, I admit it. But now that I see what she's all about and know what she and Adam went through today, I've put it all aside." She turned to Adam. "Though I've really liked you and all since I joined the team, I really think she deserves to have someone like you at her side more than I probably ever would."
"You mean it, Tanya?" Andréa asked.
"If there's one good quality about Tanya," Kat cut in, "it's her ability to forgive and forget."
Tanya nodded in agreement and hugged her new friend and teammate. "Welcome to the team, Purple Ranger."
"Let's do it," said Tommy. The seven Rangers stood in a semi-circle. Each one--Tommy, Jason, Kat, Tanya, Rocky, Adam, and then Andréa--reached out a hand to the center and leaped into the air.
"Power Rangers!" they all shouted in unison.
The sun was beginning to set over the ocean, a lovely end to an eventful weekend. Adam watched from a distance as Andréa rode quietly. Light waves lapped up on the shore, washing away some of Thunder's hoofprints. He stared intently as Andréa performed difficult yet graceful maneuvers; it was like seeing katas or a ballet performed on horseback.
Cold as the northern winds in December mornings,
Cold is the cry that rings from this far distant shore.
Winter has come too late, too close beside me.
How can I chase away all these fears deep inside?
Then Adam's attention focused solely on Andréa as she from time to time looked out to the ocean, her long hair flowing out behind and beside her. She looked so innocent, too innocent at times Adam thought, for her to be the Purple Ranger. Andréa continued to ride quietly, barely even noticing Adam was there.
I'll wait the signs to come.
I'll find a way.
I will wait the time to come.
I'll find a way home.
But a short time later, Andréa did see him. Facing Adam, she drew Thunder to a halt and saluted dressage-style, dropping one hand to the side and nodding once. Then she gathered her reins and walked toward him.
"That was incredible," Adam said.
"It's nothing really," Andréa replied, sliding down from the horse. "Dressage isn't much different from doing katas, except for the fact that you're on a horse."
My light shall be the moon, and my path, the ocean.
My guide, the morning star as I sail home to you.
There was a short silence as the two Rangers looked out to the ocean, both admiring the sunset. "You know it's amazing how much my life has changed these last few days," Andréa finally said, changing the subject.
"I know what it's like," Adam answered. "I felt the same way after first becoming a Ranger myself two years ago. It really does change your life, sometimes I think for the better."
"After everything I've been through in my life, a change for the better is something I really need."
"What do you mean by that?" Adam asked, sitting down on a rock.
"I guess I wouldn't have been able to keep it from you much longer," Andréa began. "When I was nine years old and still living in Paris, I remember my mother telling me she was just going out to run an errand just down the street. She said she wouldn't take more than an hour, but she never returned and left no trace of her whereabouts. It was like she just . . . vanished into thin air. I know she wasn't trying to abandon me or anything--we were too close-knit of a family for her to have wanted to do that--yet I haven't seen her since. I don't even know if she's still alive." She stared off into space. "Less than a year later, Dad and I came back to the U.S. He just thought there was nothing left for the two of us in France, so we moved in next door to his parents back in Wisconsin. But about a year after that, someone broke into our house one night, and . . . and I was forced to watch as the burglar shot and killed Dad before he jumped back out the window he came in from and shot himself. I ended up with Aunt Jenny because I couldn't live alone when Grandma died at the end of May. But even five years after Dad died, I still can't stop thinking about what happened."
"Something a lot like that happened to me at about the same time," Adam said.
"You lost someone in your family too?"
Adam stared out at the setting sun. "My older brother. I've never told anyone this after coming to Angel Grove, but I guess it would've been hard to keep it from you as well. Matt was just sixteen; he had only gotten his license a few weeks before. But I remember that night when he was driving my younger brother Ryan and me home from something, I can't remember what, but it was pouring rain outside. All of a sudden, there were headlights coming right at us and coming fast. Matt tried to swerve to avoid hitting the car, but it was too late. The head-on impact killed him instantly, but Ryan and I walked away without a scratch. When the police finally came, they said that the other driver was drunk, way over the limit. But that still couldn't bring Matt back. Since I was little, I had always looked up to him, and he always looked out for me. Three months later, my sister Kara was born, but I knew there would still be something missing in my life. Like you, the memory still haunts me five years later."
I'll wait the signs to come.
I'll find a way.
I will wait the time to come.
I'll find a way home.
Andréa sat beside him on the rock and took his hand, looking at him. "It's hard to say, but sometimes I wonder if these things happen for a reason, that they happen in order for us to become stronger. Maman always told me that there was a rhyme and reason for everything, both good and bad." There was a brief silence, the only sound being that of the waves crashing up onto the shore. Andréa stood up and looked out to the ocean again, the cool breeze wafting through her hair and tossing it across her shoulders. "You know, I never really expected all that much from you," she changed the subject.
"Oh?" Adam asked as he stood up and joined her.
Andréa nodded. "I always thought, ever since I first saw you over the summer, we'd be nothing more than just two students at school who'd maybe see each other sometimes yet never really talk and that I'd always be stuck watching you from afar with some other girl on your arm, never a care in the world. My friends kept trying to convince me otherwise; in fact, that's exactly what they were doing right before I bumped into you on Friday. I don't know; maybe it's just because I've never known what it's like to have someone like me like this."
Adam turned to face her, brushing a lock of hair from her face. "Well, now you do," he said. "And that girl on my arm, I can't think of anyone else right now that would be but you. I know you don't remember me saying this, but I really want you to know that, no matter what happens to us, I love you and I promise to always be there for you if you need me."
Who then can warm my soul?
Who can quell my passion?
Out of these dreams, a boat
I will sail home to you.
Andréa's lips formed a thin smile. "I was about to say something to that effect, but I guess you could say you took the words right out of my mouth." Both laughed. "But really, all joking aside . . . What's the best way to say this? . . . I . . . I love you too." This time, she was ready as Adam leaned into her, holding both of her hands, and kissed her with the same tenderness and affection as their first one the day before, and under much better circumstances.
"There is a rhyme and reason for everything in life," Andréa's mother's voice echoed to her in English in her beautiful French accent. "Sometimes you just do not know what it is until much later on." The End . . . for now
See, I told you I would treat Tanya decently in the end! But actually, this part is where I'll be making some useless but sometimes important comments about things in my story that will help it all make a little more sense. First off, if you're having a hard time envisioning what Andréa's Purple Ranger costume looks like, think a purple version of the White Ranger's helmet but with a phoenix instead of a tiger, a blend of the Gold Ranger's and original Green Ranger's breastplates, and white boots and gloves similar to those of the Silver Ranger's (yeah, I know that's two years ahead of the timeline here, but it's the closest comparison I can make). Her staff can be likened to Billy's old Power Lance.
Like Andréa, I had a horse myself, a beautiful yet feisty liver chestnut (meaning dark brown) Arabian mare named Tileene whom I also did a lot of dressage and showing with until I had to sell her in August. (Laughs upon recalling some of those memories) One could say that "Thunder" is even partly related to her. The HA in "HA Tihanad's Thunder" stands for Hillcrest Arabians, a prominent Arabian farm just outside of my hometown of Plymouth, Wisconsin (a small town located about an hour north of Milwaukee and 90 minutes south of Green Bay). Tileene's sire was named Hillcrest Tihanad, so that's where I got that part of the name from; one could call it almost like a tribute to my beloved horse's bloodlines. "Thunder" was just a name I had come up with when I first wrote the story.
Like what Andréa's mother told her, I too tend to believe that there's a rhyme and reason to everything in life. Because of this belief, I wonder if I'm partially psychic sometimes. In my dreams, I often found myself here in California, and now here I am for real. But I have yet to see if anything else will also become reality. (Sighs and looks at the time; sees that it's far too late for anyone to still be awake) Only time will tell, I guess.
When King Mondo steals the Zeo Crystal and captures all the other Rangers, Adam and Andréa are the only ones left who can save them. Because his powers have now been temporarily stripped from him, Adam is given powers by Zordon that were once thought to be long gone: the original White Ranger powers. But when some often frightening and rather mysterious changes take place in him, Adam begins to wonder if he was really cut out for the job, while Andréa, on the other hand, starts to see him in a totally new light. Can the new White Ranger overcome his doubts and help the Purple Ranger to save the rest of the team? Find out next time in "White Knight"!