(Timeframe: Somewhere between "Shadow Rangers" and "Built for Speed")
[Divatox's subcraft, Wednesday, June 4, 1997, 1:47
"Oooh, I still can't believe my rotten luck!" Divatox shouted angrily. "That Purple Ranger is actually Dimitria's kid! That's not fair!" She stormed around the bridge of the subcraft for a short while. "Porto!" she finally screamed.
"Yes, my piratress?" Porto asked as he waddled in.
"I want my own kid!" Divatox whined. "One that'll do my own evil bidding, and I want one now! Dimitria's not gonna one-up me this time!"
"Aw gee, come on, Auntie D," Elgar butted in, "ain't I like your own evil kid?"
Divatox rolled her eyes. "Puh-leeze! I'm talking about one who can actually get rid of those Ranger runts! I want a kid who'll be just as evil as me . . ." She gazed into her periscope and grinned devilishly. "And I think I just found my girl." The pirate queen rubbed her hands together and laughed to herself. "She's mine now, Dimitria . . ."
[Angel Ridge Stables, same day and time]
"Lookin' good out there!" Andréa called out from the center of the ring as Adam held Lightning at a steady canter. "Remember: head up, heels down, shoulders square, legs tight, back straight, hands steady, and eyes looking forward!"
Adam tried to follow all of these directions as she rattled them off, but not even he could take so many commands at once. Finally, exhausted from both the heat of the California summer sun and the lesson that seemed to go on forever, he slowed Lightning down to a walk and went to the middle of the ring. "Please Rae, don't do that!" he sighed, pulling off his schooling helmet and running his fingers through his long hair. "I get enough orders barked at me at the stunt show as is!"
"Sorry about that," she apologized, walking up to him as he dismounted. "I guess I've been hanging around my aunt too long while she gives lessons herself. It's just something trainers and instructors always do; I had it done to me by mine when I first started out too. Don't worry about it though. It was a pretty good lesson otherwise."
Andréa was about to say something else when she heard a song playing on the radio from inside the barn. She hadn't heard it since the fall, and so it brought back a lot of memories. She stopped what she was doing. "Adam, listen. It's that song . . ."
'Cause I'm your lady
And you are my man
Whenever you reach for me
I'll do all that I can
"What song?" Adam asked. Though the words sounded vaguely familiar to him, he couldn't think of why she would have wanted to stop and point it out.
We're heading for something
Somewhere I've never been
Sometimes I am frightened
But I'm ready to learn
Of the power of love . . .
"Don't you remember?" Andréa asked him. "Last fall, not long after we met." Adam was still confused. "You know, that time you got to be the White Ranger." As soon as she said those last two words, she realized she made a major faux pas.
Adam turned away from her. "Oh . . . yeah," he said without emotion. That was definitely one time during his Ranger career that he didn't look upon with much pride and enthusiasm. Granted, he got something he had always wanted, a chance to be leader of the Power Rangers, but the opportunity had also come with a price. During the time Adam was the White Ranger, the powers created some unusual side effects that not only caused his appearance to temporarily yet dramatically change, but they gave him telekinetic, manipulative, and healing powers he didn't want but was permanently stuck with and had been trying to live with for the past few months. And now that Andréa had brought it up again, all those painful memories came flooding back . . .
. . . Though Adam was slightly tentative about possible side effects, he was still curious. "So in other words, you're asking me to be the White Ranger?" Right after he asked that question, he couldn't believe that he had spoken those words; it almost didn't even seem right that he had.
"Until we can reclaim the Zeo Crystal," Zordon said, "yes Adam, you will be the White Ranger. . . ."
. . . Adam had no idea what was going on, the color literally draining from his face. Granted, he knew that the White Ranger's powers were greater than what his Black Ranger powers used to be, but it couldn't have been by this much, he thought. He fell down to one knee, almost overwhelmed by the amazing power as the white armor began to materialize on him. Everything around him was white light, but then Adam looked up and saw a figure standing in front of him who he could've sworn looked just like him except with a different hair and eye color and dressed much differently, as if he might have been a warrior straight out of a fantasy novel. What's going on? he thought, frightened by the figure slowly approaching and reaching out a hand to him. Who is that? And why does he look so much like me? The helmet finally formed around his face as he stood up and then the mysterious figure was gone. I don't get it. Why do I suddenly not feel completely like my self anymore? Something definitely isn't right here. I know it. Adam was completely frozen in place as the power finally took complete hold. . . .
". . . Adam, is . . . i-is it really you?" Andréa stammered.
Moving for the first time, Adam let his hand take Andréa's "Yes, it's really me," he answered in a soft, uncharacteristically hypnotic tone of voice. Suddenly it took on a more serious tone. "But I can't let you see me like this."
She looked at him strangely, her own voice soft. "What?"
His voice became soft again as he took a step back from her. "I don't want you to be afraid of me. Please try to understand. I can't let you see me like this."
Andréa still didn't get it. "But why?" she asked. "Why won't you let me see you like this?"
Adam sighed, knowing there was no way out of this. "Because . . . something's happened . . . something . . . that I couldn't explain even if I tried, and I just don't want you to be afraid." He hesitantly took another step back and slowly removed his helmet, fearful of the possible reaction.
Andréa nearly fainted upon seeing Adam's face. . . . "Oh my god," she said softly, her hands covering her gaping mouth as she strained to even say the words, "Adam, your hair . . . and . . . and . . . and your eyes!" This was obviously not the appearance she had expected to see. . . . Gone from Adam's face was the golden complexion she had come to admire and instead replaced with that of a ghostly white color. His lengthening hair, once nearly as black as the night sky, was now a silvery white like that of some kind of character out of a fantasy novel or anime series. Finally his dark brown eyes had now become a deep, almost chilling shade of blue, far from the typical characteristics of anyone of Asian descent. "What . . . what happened to you?" Andréa whispered. . . .
". . . I don't know how or why, but there's this--what's the best word?--allure that I can't seem to resist. I mean, I feel like I've been so drawn in it's almost pathetic." Andréa was finally able to look Adam in the eye. "Adam, what is it about you like this that makes me want to lose control? . . ."
. . . Adam's face paled even more once he realized the gravity of the situation. There was a reason all of that happened, and he knew it. "I'm telekinetic now, aren't I? . . ."
. . . The two of them stared silently at each other for a while. Andréa was starting to fall under Adam's spell again, but she didn't seem to care one bit. Then he said something softly to her that took her by complete surprise: "I made a promise to you that I would always be here to protect you, and I intend to keep that promise, my love. . . ."
. . . Adam looked over to where the others were still fighting. There were still quite a few Cogs left, and they had the six Rangers surrounded. A look of fright suddenly spread across Adam's face as he watched his teammates get beaten by the foot soldiers. "I . . . I've gotta help them somehow," he said to himself. All of a sudden he thought of something; he didn't know why, but it almost seemed to come instinctively . . . He summoned all of his powers and used it to force all the Cogs away from the other Rangers. Confused as to what was going on, the six jumped out of the way and watched in amazement as Adam seemed to crush the droids by using not his physical power but his mental power, his eyes almost glowing with this new strength. Then, all of a sudden, he couldn't control the power. Andréa tried to run to him, but there was a violent rush of wind that knocked her off her feet and then a sound that she thought to be Adam letting out a fierce and almost painful battle cry. Something was happening that he couldn't explain, something he didn't know if it was supposed to be good or bad. Then there was a fiery explosion and a blinding white light that forced the other Rangers to look away.
In the midst of it all, Adam saw that same figure in front of him again that he had seen when he had first taken on the White Ranger powers. A terrified look crossed his face when he saw that the figure really did look like a longer-haired version of him in this state. Who are you? Adam could feel himself asking without even actually speaking.
You will know soon enough, the figure replied in kind and in Adam's voice, a serene look on his face that greatly contrasted the frightened Ranger's. Both of you will know when the time comes, but you must learn to accept who and what you have become now before you can learn the truth about who I am.
Adam didn't know what to do as the figure approached him again. "No, stay away from me!" he said out loud, trying to back away but couldn't. The near-mirror image continued his approach. Then, all of a sudden, he was gone, and Adam felt a sharp sensation rushing through him. Not knowing what else to do, he fell to one knee and cried out in pain until he couldn't cry out anymore, this rush of a strange new power far too overwhelming for him to handle. . . .
. . . Adam looked at the glass panel on the wall where the White Ranger's image was supposed to be, saw his reflection, and approached it. A look of fright crossed his face when he saw his white-haired, blue-eyed reflection staring back at him, the first time he had even found the courage to actually look at himself like this. For a split second, he even thought he had seen the image of that strange figure instead of himself, and it frightened him even more. . . .
His appearance and whoever that strange figure was were the two most haunting memories Adam had from that time, not to mention right when his now permanent powers took complete hold. Never in his entire life had he ever experienced anything quite as terrifying as that moment. But there was that promise he had made to Andréa as well. It was the only thing that had kept him from giving up completely.
Some of those same memories ran through Andréa's mind as well. She had always felt differently about that point in time, but she never really wanted to admit it to Adam. In fact, it was one of the things she had always admired about him. She remembered just how handsome he looked, a sight she almost felt to be right: that pale face, those deep, intensely blue eyes (which would even come back every so often but for a short period of time; perhaps it was another one of the lasting side effects that had come from his taking on the power?), and that amazing silvery white hair. Andréa wondered if she'd ever get to see him like that again; it was one of the most incredible things she had ever seen. But despite all of her feelings, she knew Adam didn't like it. "Sorry I brought that up," she sighed. "I guess I just forgot about how much you want to forget about all that and now I probably dredged up all your painful memories. Please don't be upset with me or anything, all right?"
Adam smiled a forgiving smile. "What's there to get upset about? You know I never have any reason to be upset with you!"
"I know," Andréa said. "It's just that . . . I remember how you'd felt about being the White Ranger and I know how much you really don't like having those powers thrown upon you and being stuck with them, and--"
"Shhh." He placed a finger over her lips to keep her from saying any more, then smiled again. "But don't forget that I remember as well how you felt about me like that, so I guess now we're even."
Andréa looked at him, slightly confused. "How'd you know you I was thinking about that right now? I didn't know you were telepathic too."
"As far as I know, I'm not. I honestly didn't know you were thinking that right now." Adam then realized something about that. "You really were thinking about that?"
Andréa smiled and nodded. "Well, then I guess great minds think alike, don't they? Why don't you go get untacked and then we can hang out at the youth center for a while. I've been wanting to learn that new kata of yours."
"Sure." Adam led Lightning out of the arena as Andréa looked on. She still thought it amazing how quickly he had picked up being able to ride; from the moment Adam first got up on that horse back in the fall, she noticed his seemingly natural talent. And of course, if it weren't for that little joyride Adam took in the pasture that one night, Andréa would probably still have been fighting Lightning in his training, and his original owners wouldn't have been so quick to sell the horse to the two of them. She wondered how, in a matter just over six months, Adam had gone from barely knowing the front end of a horse from the back end all the way up to being as good of a rider as she was. For her, it took her nearly that many years to get to where she was at that time. Not even the Olympic or Pan Global-level riders learned how to ride overnight, so there must have been more to it than either of them thought.
* * *
Adam had just finished untacking Lightning and was putting the young Andalusian gelding away for the day when all of a sudden he heard an unusual amount of shouting coming from outside. And then, once he heard a familiar-sounding "Get your hands off of me!" he immediately threw the horse into its stall and raced out of the barn. Piranhatrons had Andréa surrounded, a few of them even holding onto her, and there was nothing she could do to defend herself. "Adam, do something!" she screamed, struggling just to pull out her crystal.
"I'm coming, Rae!" he called back. "Shift into Turbo!" Adam pulled out his Turbo Key. "Desert Thunder Turbo Power!" He jumped over the fence and ran to where the Piranhatrons were holding Andréa. "Get away from my girlfriend!" he yelled, pulling them off of her. Andréa fell backwards into the sand from the force Adam had used against her attackers.
Another Piranhatron was just about to take hold of her when she was finally able to pull out her crystal. "Purple Phoenix FireStar Power!" Andréa sprang up and knocked it over with a powerful kick between the legs. "That'll teach ya to kick a woman when she's down!" she said, towering over it.
Adam looked up from his fighting. Two Piranhatrons were sneaking up behind Andréa, ready to grab her. "Rae, look out!" he cried, warning her of the imminent danger. However, it was too little, too late. The two foot soldiers had grabbed a good hold of her and would not let go. At the same time two more of the fish-like warriors pulled Adam away from her and threw him hard to the ground.
He looked up at Andréa helplessly while clutching his side in pain, his vision blurred. Adam tried to use his telekinetic powers to force her free, but he couldn't concentrate amidst all his pain. The two Rangers reached out for each other, thinking that if one should be captured, so should the other. They were just about to touch when another Piranhatron kicked Adam in the hand and the other ones holding Andréa jumped backwards with her. "No!" Adam shouted furiously. "Let her go!"
The Piranhatrons refused to listen as the Purple Ranger squirmed around in their grasp. They struggled to hold her still, a third one holding her around her neck. "I love you, Adam!" was the last thing the Green Ranger heard her say before the Piranhatrons disappeared with her and knocked him back over into the sand.
[Divatox's subcraft, 2:01 pm]
Andréa found herself in Divatox's subcraft, still being held by the Piranhatrons but demorphed. The pirate queen stood there in front of the girl, who shot her an icy glare. "Let me go, you ugly hag!" Andréa snarled, still struggling to break free.
"Oooh, you're a feisty one!" Divatox retorted, running a hand down the girl's face. "You're just like me, lots of spunk! Boy, with an attitude like that, it's a wonder that Dimitria, of all people, is your real mother! But the biggest surprise will be when she finds out that you're my daughter now!"
"Look Divatox," Andréa snapped, continuing to stare coldly at her, "I don't give a rip what you're up to, but I'll have you know that I am in no mood for your tricks and I have no intention of staying in this dump. And if you've done anything whatsoever to Adam, I swear I'll whoop your--"
"Oh, no tricks, my dear," Divatox cut her off. "And what would I want with your pathetic little boyfriend anyway? All I want is for you to be my own evil child." She lifted Andréa's chin so she could look into the young Ranger's face. "You'd be absolutely perfect. Let's see, you're quick, you're intelligent, you know all the Rangers' weaknesses, hmmm, your man is on the team . . ."
Andréa had become completely enraged, knowing that the pirate queen had added that last remark to get her even more irritated. "I told you, if you even come near him, I'll--"
Divatox paid no attention to the girl's threats. "Those little power pukes won't stand a chance with you as my Purple Ranger!"
Andréa broke free from the Piranhatrons' hold and lunged after Divatox but was pushed away by Elgar. "In your dreams, witch!" she shouted angrily. "I'll never work for you!" She began to back away, looking for an escape route. "I'm not your daughter, nor will I ever be!" Andréa reached for her communicator only to find it wasn't on her wrist. "Oh no . . ." she mouthed to herself once she realized her wrist was bare.
Divatox laughed cruelly, dangling the communicator in front of the Ranger's face. "Oh, I think you'll be changing your mind very quickly! I guess you won't be needing this anymore." She pitched Andréa's communicator off to the side, where it disappeared behind a control panel. Then she looked over to Porto, who was holding a strange-looking laser gun-type of device. "Get her!"
"Trust me, my dear, this won't hurt a bit if you cooperate," Porto said, firing his first shot at Andréa and missing.
As Andréa kept dodging Porto's shots, the more the little marshmallow-like creature kept firing at her. She ran all over the bridge, diving under control consuls and pushing Piranhatrons into the line of fire. "Don't just stand there, you morons!" Divatox screamed to Rygog, Elgar, and the rest of the Piranhatrons. "I pay you to stop those Rangers, not stand around and twiddle your thumbs all day, so GET HER!!" They all ran around chasing the girl but did nothing more than slam right into each other and fall to the floor while Divatox continued to throw a temper tantrum.
But despite the henchmen's buffoonery, Andréa still was unable to outrun her fate. Backed into a corner by Porto, she was hit by the beam and fell to the floor with an unconscious thud. "Well, at least someone knows how to follow orders around here!" Divatox shouted as two Piranhatrons picked up the limp Ranger and dragged her off the bridge. "Oh, I'd love to see the look on Dimitria's face when she sees her Rangers getting destroyed by her very own daughter!"
[Angel Ridge Stables, 2:06 pm]
Adam stood up and looked around. All the Piranhatrons--and Andréa--were gone. "No!" he shouted to himself. "I can't believe I let them get away! Not again!" He frantically searched every last corner of the stable, hoping that maybe, just maybe, Andréa was able to run and hide. "Rae, where are you?" Adam constantly called out wherever he looked. "Say something!"
But it was no use. Andréa was nowhere to be found. Finally stopping in front of the barn, out of breath and without any other options, Adam demorphed. He was frantic, furious, and frightened all at the same time as he slammed his fist into the side of the barn. "How could I have let this all happen?" he asked himself angrily.
Trying to regain his composure, Adam leaned up against the wall and looked up to the sky even though he knew he wouldn't have found any answers up there. "Why couldn't Divatox have taken me instead?" he said, still beating himself up. Little did he know Divatox's real reason for kidnapping Andréa.
[Divatox's subcraft, 2:53 pm]
Andréa woke up in an unfamiliar yet very comfortable bed. Despite its unfamiliarity, though, something about it seemed completely right. She was in a dimly lit room, filled with chests and armoires chock full of fancy clothing, fine jewelry, and other wonderful treasures. It was new and different to Andréa, but she felt right at home. She got up and took a look at herself in the full-length mirror. "Ugh," she said, referring to her reflection, "these clothes are . . . awful! They're too . . . common!" Normally, a pair of jeans and a plain t-shirt would do for Andréa, but not anymore. "And my hair . . . yuck!" A simple, low-slung ponytail just wasn't good enough for her. It was time for a brand new and more proper look for Divatox's new protégé.
After rummaging through the piles of clothes and jewelry, Andréa ditched her old outfit for one similar to the one Divatox always wore. It consisted of a tight-fitting purple top (even then, she had an affinity towards the color purple) decorated with gold accents and jewels along the bottom and sleeves rolled up to below the elbow; long, skintight black leggings; a short, see-through purple skirt that fluttered as she twirled about; a thick gold belt with still more jewels on it, a simple gold tiara, shiny black high-heeled boots that came up to the knee, and a long purple cape with gold on the underside. There were giant jeweled rings on both hands and immense gold bangles on each wrist. Around Andréa's neck was a diamond choker with an enormous purple stone for a pendant. Topping off the ensemble were long, blood red fingernails, dark, heavy makeup, and a long, high-set ponytail that fell over her shoulder. "Oooh, now that's more like it!" Andréa said in a low, sensual tone as she admired herself in the mirror.
Suddenly she heard someone at her door. She spun around to find Divatox standing there and beaming with delight. "Oh my dear, you look simply gorgeous!" she squealed as she ran up to the girl and hugged her. "Not even I looked good at that age!" Andréa responded with a huge grin. "There's no way those Rangers'll ever be able to stop us now, especially that one who likes you and who you used to like . . . oh . . . what's his name?—"
"What?! I actually liked one of those Rangers?!" Andréa asked, rolling her eyes at the comment. "Puh-leeze! Why would I want to like someone who's supposed to be my enemy?"
Divatox grinned and patted Andréa on the shoulder. "That's my girl," she said, beginning to leave the room. "You come along when you're ready. I want you to show those power pukes just whose side you're on now."
"You got it, D," Andréa replied. She stopped and thought for a moment after the pirate queen left. "That can't be true," she said, laughing to herself. "Me? In love with one of those meddlesome Turbo Rangers? Yeah, right! If I really did like one of them, then what would be the point of wanting to get rid of them?" Blowing off the entire idea that she could have had a thing for one of the Rangers when she didn't know who any of them were, Andréa left her room and wandered about the subcraft.
[Angel Ridge Stables, same time]
After a long time of trying to think about what to do, Adam decided it was necessary to let the others know what happened. "Guys, do you read me?" he called into his communicator, still sounding somewhat panicked. He began to worry when there was no answer after a few seconds.
"Go ahead Adam, we read you." It was Katherine. "What's wrong?"
He heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing his teammate's voice. "Man, am I glad I got a hold of you. Piranhatrons just came out of nowhere and took Andréa."
"What would Divatox want with her?" Justin, who was with Kat, broke in.
"I don't know," Adam replied, "but I have a bad feeling she didn't just kidnap her for the heck of it. Can you have the others meet me at the Power Chamber?"
"Sure," Kat answered. "I'll call Tanya and Tommy. Kat out."
After signing off, Adam looked down. "Don't worry, Rae," he mumbled softly, "I'll get you back no matter what it takes." He then made sure no one was watching and teleported to the Power Chamber.
[Power Chamber, 3:04 pm]
One by one, the five Rangers arrived. Adam was the first to get there, followed by Justin and Kat, then Tanya, and finally Tommy. "Hey man, what's up?" the Red Ranger asked, noticing Adam's distraught expression.
Adam took a deep breath as he leaned over one of the control consuls. "Where should I begin?" he said. He thought for a minute, his face still pale with shock and fright. "It all started after Andréa and I had finished up with my lesson. I'd already gone back into the barn when I heard screaming coming from outside. It was Rae, and Piranhatrons had grabbed her. She broke free, and both of us were able to morph, but they grabbed her again." His voice began to tremble. "There . . . there was nothing I could do as I watched them take her away." Adam tried everything he could do to keep from breaking down.
Tommy looked up to face Dimitria, curious as to just what was going on. "Dimitria, why would Divatox want to kidnap Rae?"
"I'm afraid there is more to Divatox's plan than just wanting to kidnap Andréa," Dimitria replied. "I believe it may only have been part of a plan to take the Purple Ranger as her own surrogate daughter."
"Of course," Adam said out of the blue. "Now that she knows you're Rae's real mother, she's gonna do everything in her power to keep the two of you apart. God, I don't even want to think about what she might be doing to Rae right now. It's my fault this has all happened! I should've been there for her!"
Tanya came up beside him. "Adam, stop beating yourself up like this! It's not your fault, and we'll do everything we can to try to get her back."
"But you don't understand!" Adam snapped back uncharacteristically. "We don't even know where she is or what Divatox's done to her! What if Andréa's been turned evil? Would you really want to fight your own friend?"
Tommy had to hold him back so he wouldn't lash out at the other Rangers. "Hey, hey, take it easy, man," he said.
"We're receivin' a message," Alpha interrupted, activating the viewing screen.
The Rangers all watched as Divatox appeared on the screen. "Hello, Rangers," she said, similar to the ultimatum she had given them a while back when she had Kim and Jason. Adam could do nothing but glare at the pirate queen the entire time. "I just called to let you know that your purple friend is alive and well, and I have no intention of hurting her."
"Yeah, a likely story!" Adam said, still being held back. "What have you done to her?"
"Oh, do you really think I would tell you that right now?" Divatox replied, directing that question right at Adam and purposely trying to make him even more upset. "That's for the two of us to know and for all of you to find out the hard way. Let's just say you won't like her too much after this, Green Ranger! Toodles!" The screen went black.
"No!" Adam raged. "You're gonna pay for this, Divatox! If you hurt one hair on that girl, I'm gonna--"
"Whoa, chill!" Tommy had to say to calm his friend down again. "Let's take this one step at a time. If she really has been turned evil, then we'll have to think up a way to get her back. Until we find out anything else, maybe you should just go home, take it easy, and try to get this off your mind. The minute we hear anything or we come up with a plan, we'll let you know."
Adam looked at him, the rage slowly wearing off. "Are you sure?" he asked. This normally wasn't like Tommy to do something like this; if he did, it was usually because the other Rangers dragged him into the situation.
"Adam," Dimitria said, "do you really believe that you should strain yourself when you are already exhausted? For the time being, please let us handle the situation."
He looked back over to Tommy and the others, who all nodded in agreement and reassurance. "Yeah, I suppose you're right," he finally gave in. "I'll see you guys later." Adam then teleported away, leaving the other four Rangers behind.
"What are we going to do?" Kat asked the others after Adam was gone. "You know he won't want to fight her if she attacks. Andréa probably won't even care if Adam loves her or not, and she'll try to tear him apart if he does fight."
"I know," Tommy replied. Then he suddenly remembered something. "I've got an idea. We may have to wait a few days to use it, but it might just work. The thing is . . . I'm just not sure if Adam's gonna want to go through with it, because you know how he feels about that."
Kat and Tanya knew exactly what he was talking about, but Justin was confused. "What do you mean?"
"It's a long story," Tommy said, "but I think we have time. Last fall, not long after Rae joined the team . . ."
No I can't forget tomorrow
When I think of all my sorrow
When I had you there
But then I let you go
And now it's only fair
That I should let you know
What you should know . . .
Adam tried not to think about Andréa as he just sat there in his room, but how couldn't he think about her? He was the only one who saw what happened as she was dragged away against her will. And it didn't help that so many things around him that reminded him of her. He looked in his yearbook; though her picture hadn't been the greatest, Andréa had written him a very long, very heartfelt message about everything they had been through together that year. There was one of the many portraits she had drawn of him a few months before, based on his senior picture. Then there were all those photos of the two of them together: Homecoming (one of the very first pictures taken of them together), the winter formal, prom, and even some taken in secret while wearing their Ranger costumes, among many, many others, especially the very first picture taken of the two of them that was kept in a frame on his nightstand. It was a wonder Adam could look at them without wanting to tear them up.
I can't live
If living is without you
I can't live
I can't give anymore
I can't live
If living is without you
I can't give
I can't give anymore . . .
Adam couldn't understand why he was feeling this way about Andréa; he was rarely ever this protective of anyone or anything. If it weren't for the fact that Rangers should never look for a fight, he would've already gone after Divatox to save Andréa, and everything would be all right now. What if she really had been turned evil as Divatox seemed to imply? What would she have looked like? Would she have been turned into some sort of monster bent on wreaking havoc on the city and her friends, just as what had happened to Kat when she was still under Rita and Zedd's control? How on Earth would he have the courage to try to fight his own girlfriend, the woman with whom he hoped to someday spend the rest of his life? All these questions kept plaguing Adam's mind as he slowly drifted off to sleep.
* * *
The two of them were sitting under a tree in the park, admiring the sunset. Andréa rested her head on Adam's shoulder, his arm around her waist. "It's so good to have you back," he said to her. "I was beginning to think you'd never escape Divatox."
A wicked smile flashed across Andréa's face, one that Adam couldn't see. "Oh, I may have come back," she said in an almost hissing tone as she pulled away from him, "but that doesn't mean I've escaped."
Adam staggered backwards and away from her. "What are you talking about?" he asked, scared by the way she said that. Then he saw something even more frightening about her as she stood up and faced him. Her blue-green eyes had become an eerie, cat-like golden yellow, her hair was all tangled and matted, her fingernails had become long, razor-sharp claws, and he could see that she had fangs as she bared them at him. "My god, what have they done to you?" Adam said as he got to his feet and Andréa slowly advanced toward him, ready to strike. "W-what are you doing? You wouldn't hurt your own friend, would you?"
"Friend?" she snarled. "Since when do I have any friends? I've been given specific orders by Divatox to destroy all who stand in her way, and that includes you, Ranger!" Andréa lunged at Adam, but he jumped out of her line of attack before it was too late.
"Rae, don't do this!" Adam pleaded. "I-I don't want to fight you. You're just as much a Ranger as I am, and you know it! Please, I love you."
Andréa rolled her eyes at him. "Oh, is that so? Then if you refuse to fight, that'll make it all the easier to get rid of you! Surrender to Divatox or die!"
"I'll never surrender!" Adam shouted. "Shift into Turbo!" Nothing happened. He tried again. "Shift into Turbo!"
Andréa laughed cold-bloodedly. "Oh, are you missing something, Ranger?" she said sarcastically, dangling his Turbo Key in front of his face. "The choice is yours. If you want it back, you'll have to go through me first . . . that is, if you're not afraid to fight!"
"Looks like I have no choice but to fight you," Adam said to himself as he assumed a fighting stance. He took a running start for a flying kick, but Andréa jumped up and threw him to the ground, pinning him down in no time and swiping her claws across his chest.
She laughed again. "This is almost too easy," she hissed as she slowly raked her claws down his face, leaving behind four long, bloody slash marks. "Is that the best you've got?"
Adam's expression went from one of complete terror and excruciating pain to one of rage and vengeance. "Far from it!" he said, gritting his teeth. Then he reached up, grabbed Andréa's arm, and flipped her over to the side. He nimbly rolled the other way and to his feet as she fell to the ground with a high-pitched shriek. Adam grabbed his key out of her limp, clawed hand and started to run as fast as he could from the young woman he thought was his girlfriend . . . or at least what was left of her.
Adam made his way to a dark, wooded section of the park when something suddenly caught him by the neck and hurtled him backwards. He reached up to pull off whatever it was around his neck only to realize it was someone's arm. Gasping for breath, he looked up to find himself staring into Andréa's savage face, which had become even more hideous than it was just before. "Thought you could run, huh, Ranger?" she growled. "You cannot escape your fate!" She pulled out a long, double-edged dagger, its silver blade shimmering in the early evening moonlight.
"Andréa, don't do this!" Adam begged again, looking at the dagger with sheer terror as she waved it front of his slashed face. "I'm your friend! Let us help you! We can turn you back to normal . . ." His breathing became irregular as her hold around his neck tightened. "You . . . you don't know what you're . . . doing . . . Please . . . don't . . . do this . . ." This was it, Adam thought as he felt the cold blade underneath his chin. He was staring Death in the eye in the form of a once sweet, innocent girl who would never harm anyone or anything. Now, one false move and he was history.
Adam was just about to fall unconscious when a sudden and familiar beeping sound jerked his head up. Andréa stepped back upon hearing it and loosened her grip. Adam fell forward, gasping for air. He turned around and she pounced on him as he attempted to wrestle the dagger out of her hands. She held it over his chest, ready to thrust it in at any moment. "Die, Ranger!" she screamed rabidly.
"No!" Adam cried out. "I won't let you do this! I won't let you!" Andréa's eyes pulsated with a searing rage and savageness that completely sent chills up and down his spine. She raised up the dagger, the blade shining in the moonlight, and let out a crazed, animal-like roar . . .
* * *
Adam shot up and looked around in the darkness. He wasn't in the park, and there wasn't a dagger being held in front of his face. It was all a terrible nightmare created from his fears about what Divatox could've done to Andréa. He looked at his clock; he had slept all afternoon and through the entire evening. Then there was that beeping sound--the sound of his communicator and the same sound he heard in his dream. That could've meant only one thing at such an hour, and he didn't like it. "This is Adam. Go ahead."
On the other end was Tommy. "Hate to do this to you, buddy, but we just picked up something we think you might want to see. We'll tell you more about it when you get here."
Adam's eyes were filled with fear. "Are you sure, Tommy?"
"Yeah, I'm sure."
Adam was reluctant, but he knew this was the only way he might have been able to find some answers, "I'll . . . I'll be there as soon as I can." He signed off, took a deep breath, and teleported to the Power Chamber, wondering what he might find.
[Power Chamber, 10:43 pm]
"What did you want me to see?"
Tommy looked at Adam grimly. "It's a message we got a few minutes ago . . . from Rae. But now that we've seen it, I'm really not sure if you want to see it."
"I do want to see it," Adam said. "I need to see what Divatox has done to her, whether or not she's . . . herself. Show it to me."
"If you say so," Alpha replied, starting the message.
It was indeed from Andréa, and she was aboard Divatox's subcraft. She wasn't looking right at them but instead minding herself in a hand-held mirror. "Hi, Rangers," she began. "I'm just calling to tell you I'm absolutely fine and dandy down here." She paused for a moment. "Divatox tells me that one of you likes me. Oh you poor child, to have such a dark side . . ."
Adam tried to hold back his emotions after seeing how Andréa looked and sounded like a teenage version of Divatox; even her true feelings for him seemed to have been wiped out with the evil brainwashing. "No," was all he could say softly, "what has she done to you, Rae?" At least she didn't look like some terrible, snarling beast like in his dream, he thought.
"Anyway," Andréa continued, "I have a proposition for all of you. You can either surrender and I'll spare your sorry lives, or you can try to fight me. Otherwise you can just kiss this planet good-bye. Downtown Angel Grove, 11:00 tonight. Don't be late . . ." The image then fizzled out and was replaced with static.
"Hey, yo, that's all she wrote," Alpha said.
Adam continued to stare at the blank screen, still barely able to believe what he had just seen. "We have to do something!" he said, finally snapping out of his trance. "We have to get Rae back, and it's almost 11:00 now!"
"Guess we'll have to take her up on her offer whether we want to or not," Tanya added.
"Adam, are you sure you want to come with us?" Kat asked. "I mean, you don't have to if you don't want to."
"I'm sure," he replied. "Perhaps if she sees me, she'll snap out of it long enough for us to break the spell. I have to come."
The alarm sounded. In the viewing screen, there appeared an image of the Purple Ranger leading a school of Piranhatrons through the city, and they were already starting to trash everything in sight. "Rangers, come out, come out wherever you are!" she called in a sarcastic, sing-songy voice as if she knew they were watching. "I'm waiting!"
"But it's not even 11:00 yet!" Justin blurted out.
"I know," Adam said. "It's the typical thing of trying to lure us out before we've made our decision. So what do we do now?"
"I hate to tell you this," Tommy replied, "but it looks like we'll have to fight her. Even though she's really one of us, we can't just surrender."
Adam didn't want to do this, but he knew none of them had a choice. I'm sorry for whatever I may have to do in order to stop you, Andréa, he thought. "Let's do what we need to do and get it done and over with," he said to the others.
"Sorry we have to do this," Tommy tried to console him again. "Shift into Turbo!"
"Mountain Blaster Turbo Power!"
"Desert Thunder Turbo Power!"
"Dune Star Turbo Power!"
"Wind Chaser Turbo Power!"
"Red Lightning Turbo Power!"
[Downtown Angel Grove, 11:00 pm]
The five Rangers landed in the downtown area right on time when a rather familiar voice stopped them cold. "Well, looky here! Those pathetic power twerps decided to show themselves after all!" Standing on top of a building was the Purple Ranger, her saber out in an attack position. She then laughed. "That proposition I made, that was just my way of getting you out of hiding. No matter what decision you made, I'm still gonna get rid of you." Her stance was so much like one of the first times Adam had ever seen her, the way she looked so determined and how the moonlight glistened off her costume. "Prepare to meet your end!" she yelled.
"No!" Adam suddenly shouted to the others, starting to fall back from the team. "I--I can't do this!"
Tanya and Justin grabbed hold of him to keep him from running. "No Adam, don't!" they said to him. "We need you!"
"You don't understand!" he shot back, pulling free. "I can't fight someone I love!"
Before anyone knew it, Andréa jumped down from the building and landed lightly on her feet in front of the Rangers, her sinister laughter catching them all off guard. "That's right, run! You'll never defeat Divatox's own Purple Ranger!"
Now the Rangers couldn't stop Adam from going after her. "Rae, don't do this!" he cried out. She lashed out at him with her saber and knocked him to the ground. He quickly got up and took her by the shoulders, looking right into her covered face. "Snap out of it!"
Andréa broke free from Adam's hold and pushed him aside. He immediately grabbed her again. "Let go of me, weakling!" she yelled, trying to break free.
"No, I won't let you go!" He pulled off his helmet, oblivious to the fact that someone could have seen him. "Don't you recognize me? Rae, you have to remember! Please, I love you."
She scowled at Adam from behind her helmet, then threw him down again. "I don't know any of you! And why should it matter anyway? I'll destroy you all!" Andréa raised her saber and an army of Piranhatrons materialized behind her. "Attack!"
The Piranhatrons charged towards the Rangers. As the five fought, Andréa slipped away from the battle into a dark alley when she thought no one was looking, laughing cruelly to herself. However, she didn't notice that Adam had caught her trying to slip away out of the corner of his eye. He followed her, careful not to be seen either by her or by the other four who were still fighting. "Andréa, wait!" he cried out to her as she disappeared into the darkness. When she was completely gone, he fell to his knees at the edge of the alleyway, looking down its dark path and reaching out to something that was well beyond his reach. "Please, come back . . ."
[Divatox's subcraft, Thursday, June 5, 12:22
Divatox slapped Andréa across the face. "How dare you run away from a battle like that!" she screamed in the girl's face. "You let those Rangers get away!"
Andréa started to back away. "But Divatox, I was--"
"But nothing! When I ask you to do something as simple as destroy the Power Rangers, I expect you to get it done! Geez, you're no better than that dunderhead Elgar!"
"Hey, I resemble that!" Elgar butted in.
"Shut up!" Andréa and Divatox both shouted in unison.
The pirate queen was still miffed, but she tried to regain her composure. "Now tomorrow, you are going to go up there and tear the city apart, and you will not come back until those Rangers are ancient history!" She gritted her teeth. "Got it? If you don't do what I tell you to do, you're gonna be swimming with the fishes, and I ain't talking scuba diving!"
Andréa shot her a dirty look. "Yeah, all right, fine!"
Divatox spun around on one heel and stormed off. "Teenagers," she grunted, "they've got such an attitude problem! Some daughter she turned out to be!"
As Divatox left, Andréa silently imitated her and rolled her eyes. "I may have an attitude problem," she said defiantly, not even caring if anyone was listening, "but at least I go up there and do the dirty work for you! That one Ranger was nearly on his knees begging for mercy!" She paused for a moment, thinking about that scene. "Hmmm . . . that has to be the one she said liked me." Andréa grinned devilishly. "I guess then he's the first to go . . ."
Five days had passed, and every day it was the same thing: Andréa attacked with the Piranhatrons, the Rangers fought them, she ran off, Adam tried to go after her, she got reamed out by Divatox, and nothing had been said to Adam about possible solutions to get the Purple Ranger back on the side of good. For Adam, it was five days too many. He hated having to go through this torment day after day. A few of those times, he had tried using his manipulative powers to try to bring Andréa back, but not even that was strong enough to break Divatox's hold on her. If that wasn't helping, then how would the Rangers be able to convince Andréa to stop her rampage and come back so they could help her? Things were just seeming so hopeless now . . .
* * *
[Angel's Bluff, Monday, June 9, 12:19 pm]
Adam stood overlooking Angel's Bluff with Lightning at his side. It was a sunny and breezy day, but it might as well have been dark and stormy considering the way he felt. He looked at the horse--yet another terrible reminder of everything that had been going on. "It's all my fault," he kept saying to himself. "I should've done something!" He looked up to the sky, his eyes starting to swell with tears. "Why does everyone keep doing this to me?" Adam shouted. "Every time I become close to someone, someone else always tries to take them away from me!" The wind blew his hair into his eyes as he let out a sound similar to a battle cry. It was more a cry of rage, sorrow, and guilt.
Adam looked down over the steep drop of the bluff, wondering just how far it went down. No, he thought, that shouldn't have to be an option when there's still a slim chance I might get Rae back. He stopped and thought about her some more, about all the wonderful times they had shared together, about all the things they had been through. Then he wondered about whether or not there would ever be any more of those moments to share, that was, if they'd ever have any kind of future together now. It tore Adam apart. What if the other Rangers couldn't do anything for Andréa? What would happen then? Would she try to kill them all the way she tried to in his dream? Would she become so evil that not even Divatox could stop her and then try to conquer the earth herself? These thoughts were driving him crazy.
* * *
[Divatox's subcraft, same time]
Meanwhile, Divatox's hold on Andréa was starting to gradually fade. Her mind was still evil, but the desire to destroy the Rangers was not as great as it had been a few days before. She looked out the porthole in her chamber, only to find she was looking at nothing more than water, seaweed, and a few fish swimming by every now and then. "Who is that one Ranger who always tries to stop me?" Andréa asked herself quietly as if in deep thought. "There's just something about that one in particular that all of a sudden seems so . . . familiar . . ."
* * *
[Angel's Bluff, 1:38 pm]
Adam felt a hand on his shoulder. At first, he thought it could have been Andréa because she would always do something like that, but when he turned around, it was only the other four Rangers standing there. They must have teleported in when he wasn't looking, he thought. Tommy was the first to say something to him. "You still thinking about her?" he asked.
"It's hard not to," Adam replied, still looking out over the edge. "But I still feel like I should've done something to keep all this from happening."
"Hey, you remember the time Zedd and Rita took Kimberly?"
"Yeah, but what's that got to do with anything?"
"I was doing this same thing of constantly putting the blame on myself," Tommy said. "But you kept telling me that there was nothing I could've done to begin with, and that everything was gonna be okay, that we'd get Kim back, and we did."
"But this is different!" Adam snapped back. "Kim was never turned evil back then! And you weren't there to see her get taken away like I was with Andréa."
Kat remembered that time all too well. She was the one, in fact, who had been turned evil and did that to Kimberly. "Adam, stop this!" she cried, not wanting to tread on the topic any further. She hated to have to use that tone of voice, but it was probably the only way she'd be able to get her point across. "We're all having a hard enough time as it is!"
"She's right," Tanya added. "Maybe you should take your own advice."
"Besides," Justin broke in, "we can't bring Rae back without your help."
Adam looked down at the boy confusedly. "What are you talking about?"
"Dimitria wants to see you right now," said Tommy. "Come on."
Adam didn't like not knowing what they were up to. "Okay," he replied reluctantly. And something was telling him that he was going to like this even less.
[Divatox's subcraft, same time]
Andréa continued to look out the porthole. It was unusually quiet, and she had become terribly bored. She had been sitting there for over an hour now doing only two things: staring out at the emptiness of the underwater world and thinking about whomever that one Ranger could have been. Her eyelids eventually grew heavy, and she slowly dozed off.
* * *
Much to her surprise and dismay, Andréa suddenly found herself alone in a wooded area. Though it was warm out, the skies were clouded over and the leaves on the trees had already begun to change color, and there was a light fog that hung over the area too. "What am I doing here?" she demanded. "What is the meaning of this?"
Moments later, there was a soft and steady four-beated crunching sound of leaves that gradually came closer and closer and then stopped directly behind Andréa. She jumped at the sound of a snort and whirled around. Feet from her, atop a beautiful white horse, was a rather handsome young man with a very pale face, long, silvery white hair that came nearly all the way down to his shoulders, and eyes of a most striking shade of blue. He wore a completely white Ranger-like costume, part of it covered with a black and gold breastplate, and his boots and gloves were trimmed with gold. Andréa swore she had never seen this person before in her life, but there was something about him that was just so unusually familiar. He said nothing; all he did was look down at her from his horse with an expression of total surprise as a light breeze blew his hair across his face.
Andréa scowled at him. "Who are you?" she asked sharply. "And what are you doing here?"
"Andréa, what's happened to you?" he asked back in a calm and quiet manner that was the complete opposite of her but with a hint of worry in his voice as he looked at her. "Don't you remember me?"
She continued to look at the horseman with an angered expression. "Remember you? I don't even know you!"
The young man dismounted from his horse and walked up to her. "Andréa, it's me," he said softly, "the White Ranger."
Andréa looked at him strangely. Since when was there any kind of White Ranger on the team? "Excuse me, but you must've mistaken me for someone else," she replied curtly. "I don't know anything about any White Ranger, nor do I care!"
Her behavior continued to dumbfound the White Ranger. "Why are you acting like this? I thought you loved me."
"What?! Loved you?! How could I ever have loved someone who's on the side of good? You're my enemy!" Andréa turned and started to walk away.
The White Ranger stopped her by taking her hand and bringing her around. "No," he said, "I'm not your enemy. Your only enemy is what's telling you to believe I'm your enemy."
For the first time, Andréa stopped cold and the angered expression disappeared from her face. Only then did she realize something about him. His voice--she thought she had just heard it somewhere recently. And his face--why did it look so familiar? She stared into his eyes and felt herself slowly losing herself in them. "What's going on?" she asked, frightened. "What are you doing to me?" She began to back away from him, almost scared of the way he was looking at her.
The White Ranger stopped her and took her other hand. "Andréa, please, listen to me." He drew her in even closer. "I love you, and I know that somewhere, deep down beyond all that deceit and confusion, you truly love me. Don't do this to yourself."
Andréa was losing herself even more. "I . . . I . . ." Suddenly she snapped out of it. "I can't do this!" she shouted. "If Divatox saw me here with you, she'd have my--"
"There's no one here for miles except for you and me," the White Ranger interrupted her.
She was falling again, and this time there was no way of pulling herself out of it. Was it supposed to be this way? "I-I don't know what's going on," Andréa stammered. "I-I'm supposed to destroy the Rangers, y-yet it feels like I know you from somewhere, a-and that I don't want to do anything to you."
The White Ranger nodded. "Yes, that's right, Andréa," he said, sounding a bit more hopeful. "Your true nature is good, and I know that soon you will see that too."
"Oh, why must I always have a weak spot for the hero?" she complained to herself.
The two looked at each other. Andréa couldn't help but be mesmerized by the White Ranger's deep blue eyes and the long white hair that fell into them. She also couldn't help but notice how he looked so much like someone she thought she had seen not that long ago, but she didn't know who, where, or when. Then, without really thinking about it, she moved in closer to him and put her arms around him while he did the same with her. When that happened, Andréa's long purple and gold cape billowed around the two of them and then tore off from her outfit. As it blew off and away, she was no longer dressed in the slinky outfit she had been in but now in a simple, lavender-colored sundress. Her hair had fallen out of its ponytail and down into long brown waves that cascaded over her shoulders. The White Ranger pulled back from her a little bit and smiled. "Now this is the true Andréa I know," he whispered. Although she didn't know it at that point, she was slowly becoming good again. Finally giving in, Andréa rested her head below the White Ranger's and let him kiss her tenderly on the lips. This was completely right, she thought; it was supposed to be this way, and now she knew it.
[Power Chamber, 1:51 pm]
"You needed to see me, Dimitria?"
"Yes Adam," Dimitria replied. "The Rangers have told me that they have found a possible way to break Divatox's spell over Andréa."
Adam was curious. "So what does all this have to do with me?"
"There is only one Ranger who is powerful enough to break the spell: the White Ranger. Is it not true that you were the last one to possess these powers?"
Those words struck Adam harder than a cheap shot from a Piranhatron. All those painful memories suddenly flooded back to him again as he turned away from the team. "It's true, but it's . . . not exactly something I'm proud of."
The three other one-time Zeo Rangers looked at him in disbelief; though he had once told them that he didn't like the experience, they didn't expect him to say something like that. "Adam, you can't be serious!" Kat piped up.
Adam looked down, still facing away from the others. "I am serious. I really didn't want to go through with it from the start once I was told about the side effects. In fact, I came really close to giving up early on. The only reason I stayed with it was because Rae told me to. I can't do it this time."
"But you have to!" Tanya pleaded. "You're the only one who can!"
"Exactly," Adam came back fiercely. "Then no one else can become the White Ranger and go through the same thing I went through."
"Look," said Kat, "if you were the one taken captive and Rae was the only one who could save you, would she back out at the last minute?"
Adam glanced back at the Pink Ranger. "Well no, but I--"
"Then why should that give you any reason to give up on her?"
Adam looked to the others for an answer, which he didn't get, but remained silent. Then that one phrase he had told Andréa several months ago echoed through his mind once again: "I made a promise to you that I would always be here to protect you, and I intend to keep that promise, my love . . ."
"How much do you really want her back?" Tommy asked.
Adam sighed, defeated. "I guess I don't have much of a choice in the matter then, do I?" The Rangers all gave him a "Yeah, you don't have much of a choice, but we're all here for you" nod. "I hope I'm ready for this," he said to himself as Alpha handed him the White Ranger's morpher. He accepted it reluctantly and took a deep breath. "Here goes nothing," he said, looking up into space. This was it; no turning back now. "It's morphin' time!" Adam shouted, the first time that call had been heard in months. "White Tiger!"
There was a bright flash of blinding white light that forced the others to turn away. Adam looked up, the color draining from his face once again. He fell down to one knee, overwhelmed once more by the power as the armor formed around him, and then saw it--that mysterious figure he had seen the first time this happened. But now, except for the different hair and eye color and a different outfit, he could've easily been mistaken for Adam's twin in that their hair was the exact same length. No, not him again! Adam thought as the figure began his approach and reached out a hand to him. Why is this happening all over again? Just as he returned to his feet, the helmet materialized around his face and the figure was gone once more.
When it was all over, the other Rangers looked back to see that Adam was once again the White Ranger. He stood there looking at them and waiting to see if they had anything to say. "Is it . . . the same as last time?" Tanya finally asked.
Adam didn't want to remove his helmet, thinking that doing so might have elicited the same reaction they all gave him the first time out, but did anyway. The first things the Rangers saw were locks of silvery white hair tumbling out of his helmet. Adam was definitely the same as last time, but only now his hair was much longer that it had been the first time around, falling more around his pale face and blue eyes. Contrary to what he thought, no one, not even Justin, who had never seen this look before, showed any sign of shock; in fact, the youngest Ranger thought it rather cool. "Whoa!" Justin shouted rather impulsively. "This really happened before?" The other Rangers tried to stifle a laugh, knowing just how much Adam didn't like it.
He nodded. "But don't expect me to look like this for too long," Adam said, turning away from the team again. "My plan is to lure Rae out into the open by going alone, do what I need to do to break the spell, and bring her back as soon as possible. I want to make this as quick, easy, and painless as I possibly can."
"Well, then you'd better get going, White Ranger," Tommy said, clapping his friend on the arm. "Duty calls."
"Yo, yo, good luck, boy," Alpha added. "Go get your girl back."
"Thanks," Adam replied quietly as he looked back at everyone. "Back to action!"
[The desert outside Angel Grove, 2:15 pm]
Adam was directly teleported to the desert. Being alone in such a barren, wide-open area would be the perfect way to lure Andréa out. "Now it's only a matter of time before she comes," he said to himself.
* * *
The plan was already working. Still rather bored and quite confused about the meaning of the dream she had just had, Andréa wandered onto the bridge and peered through Divatox's periscope. "Who's this?" she said out loud. "A new Ranger? And all by himself? This is my chance, and nothing's gonna stand in my way now!" She looked back behind her at Rygog, Elgar, and Porto. "Hey! Christmas Tree Ornament! Conehead! Marshmallow! You never saw me leave, got it?"
"You got it!" Elgar came back with a salute.
"Why don't I trust those bozos?" Andréa mumbled to herself before she morphed and left the subcraft.
* * *
Andréa appeared about twenty feet behind Adam. "Well, well, if it isn't a new Ranger who's come to challenge me!" she shouted cruelly. "Not even you are any match for me by yourself!"
Adam slowly turned around, careful not to be drawn into a fight too soon. However, when Andréa saw him after he turned around, she stopped cold. "You're . . . you're the one from my dream!" she said. She didn't have to see his face to recognize him; the costume was enough proof. Andréa drew her saber and held it out in front of herself, the long, thin blade gleaming in the blazing afternoon sunlight. "How is this possible?" she shouted.
"Rae, what's the matter with you?" Adam asked, trying to sound as reasonable as possible. "Don't you know who I am?"
"I don't know who any of you are," she replied angrily, "but I do know that I must kill all of you!" Her saber raised high, Andréa charged toward him.
Adam sidestepped and backed away, then turned to face Andréa. "Rae, please don't do this! Snap out of it!" She lashed out at him again, but he blocked her saber's strike with Saba. "I don't want to fight you," Adam pleaded.
Andréa backed off some. "Why not?"
"Because . . . I can't fight someone I truly care about."
Andréa continued to back away at this. "Who are you?" she demanded again, mildly scared. "And what are you trying to do to me?"
"Andréa, don't you recognize me?" Adam slowly removed his helmet in order to show her his almost true self and started to walk towards her, his hand outstretched. "It's me . . . Adam. Come back to us, Rae."
Andréa was growing more and more frightened of him after seeing his face and hearing his voice and continued to back away. He was the one who she had seen in her dream! "I'm not going anywhere with you! This . . . this is all a trick!"
"No Rae, this isn't a trick," Adam tried to reason again. "Please, listen to me."
She looked at him, the spell beginning to fade again. "Adam? I-is it really you? I don't get it. What's going on?" Andréa was having a hard time finding a way out of her predicament. She still couldn't understand what was happening to her, but then the evil took over again. "No!" she snapped, still sounding frightened. "Y-you're my enemy! I-I'm supposed to destroy you!" She charged after him again, her saber brandished high above her head. "You can't fool me, Ranger!" she cried madly. Andréa let out an Amazon war cry, but about ten feet away from Adam, she suddenly stopped, unable to move at all.
What Andréa didn't know, though, was that Adam was using his powers, the ones forced upon him the first time he was the White Ranger, against her as a means of keeping her from attacking. His gaze on her was intense, so intense, in fact, that the evil spell she was under was slowly fading back and forth. And it was also so intense that she thought she could hear his words being projected into her mind instead of actually hearing them being spoken:
Andréa, you have to listen to me, Adam tried to tell her. He didn't know how he was doing this, but it just seemed like the right thing for him to do at the time. You're under an evil spell, one that's made you blind to who you really are. I don't want to hurt you, but this is the only way I can convince you to believe me. The Purple Ranger's place belongs on the side of good and was meant to protect her people, not destroy them. You're much more than what Divatox's told you who you are. Rae, you're the Purple Ranger, a key part of the Power Rangers' fight against evil. I know that somewhere, deep down inside of you, is the real Andréa I've grown to love and care for struggling to break free from her chains of deceit and alienation. Let yourself break free . . .
Those last few words continued to echo through Andréa's mind. She was starting to turn good again, but there was still that part of her that was telling her to kill. Both of those sides were battling it out in her mind. But completely losing it and letting the evil side overpower the good, she broke free from her temporary paralysis and continued her charge towards Adam. "Enough of your mind games, Ranger!" she screamed.
Andréa brought her saber down in front of him with a quick and powerful swoop, but before it could even touch him, Adam swiftly reached out and grabbed her by the wrist. She stopped again, scared of what he might have done to her next. Then there it was again--that same stare he had just given her moments before. This time, Andréa couldn't determine if it was his power that was doing this to her or if she was doing it herself as her inner war between good and evil continued to rage. Divatox's grip continued to loosen some more, however, as Andréa let her saber fall out of her hand and clatter to the ground.
"That's right," Adam said to her in a soft, calm, reassuring, and almost hypnotic tone. "There's no need to fight me anymore. Let your true self show."
Andréa staggered backwards, grabbing her head as if she was trying to rip her hair out from underneath her helmet. Good was starting to win the war going on in her mind, but no one would have been able to tell by the way she screamed and writhed about like she was possessed. Adam watched as all of this took place, unsure if he should have run to her aid or stayed back. He hoped and prayed that by the time this was all over, Andréa would be herself again. After one last chilling and painful moan, she fell down to her hands and knees and all was quiet.
Adam continued to wait and see what would happen next, still unsure if he ought to have gone to her or waited for her to come to him. "Rae, are you all right?" he finally asked just loud enough so that she barely heard him.
Andréa slowly stood up, her side facing Adam, and stumbled forward a step before regaining her balance. Then, after taking a deep breath to relax herself, she slowly removed her helmet, letting it slip out of her hands and fall to the ground. Outside of her tear-streaked face, she looked the same as she always did, no signs of her time as Divatox's surrogate daughter evident. A dazed look on her face, Andréa turned her head, then her whole body, to face Adam.
As the two seemed to stare at each other forever, Andréa slowly walked towards Adam, stumbling clumsily every few steps. She wanted to run but was far too weak. Stopping less than a foot from him and crying softly, her balance gave out and she fell into him. "Oh my god, what have I done?" she sobbed.
"It's all right," Adam said to her softly and soothingly, "everything's gonna be all right." He held her as closely as he could, thankful that she was back to normal again. Nothing else in the world mattered to them anymore; the only thing that was important was that the spell over Andréa was broken and they were back together again. "It's all over now," he said, letting a few tears fall down his porcelain features as well. "I've got you now, and I never want to let go."
After a few minutes of crying on his shoulder, Andréa looked up at Adam, only now completely noticing his appearance. "I thought you said you never wanted to be the White Ranger again," she said.
"That's what I thought too," Adam replied, "until the others told me that this may have been the only way to get you back. I didn't want to go through with it, so it took a lot of convincing for me to agree."
Andréa smiled a weak smile. "I'm not surprised. But what did they mean, 'the only way to get me back'?"
"I don't know. No one ever told me." Adam kissed her on the forehead, still holding her. "It really doesn't matter anymore anyway. All that matters is that I've got you back."
[Divatox's subcraft, 3:27 pm]
Divatox stormed onto the bridge. "Where is she?!" she screamed. "Why won't that girl come when I call?!"
"Uhh, she said to us that we never saw her leave, Auntie D," Elgar cut in.
"WHAT?!!" Divatox snapped. "Rygog! Where did she go?!"
"I think she said something about going up to the surface to take on a Ranger who was by himself," Rygog answered, "but uhh . . ."
"Well? What else?"
"Perhaps you should see for yourself, oh great one," Porto advised.
"Oh, I suppose you're right." Divatox looked into her periscope and was greatly displeased at what she saw. It was an image of Andréa with Adam, but she didn't recognize him as being the White Ranger. "No!!" she bellowed. "She's been turned good again! And who is that with her?! I don't remember there being any kind of White Ranger on the team!"
"But there was a few years ago," Porto said. "Ask Rita. The White Ranger used to be the leader of the Power Rangers until they started using the--"
"That doesn't tell me anything!" Divatox cut him off. "Who is he?!" She began to jump up and down furiously, throwing yet another one of her childish temper tantrums. "I wanna know what's going on!!" Then all of a sudden, she thought of something. "Wait a minute," she said, finally having some insight, "I know what I can do! I can ask Rita! Maybe she can tell me what's going on!"
"B-b-but my piratress, I-I was the one . . ." Porto sputtered, eventually giving up what he was going to say.
Divatox picked up the phone, tried to remember the number, and then dialed. It rang a few times before a cranky voice was heard on the other end. "Hello? Whattya want?"
"Hi Rita, it's D again. Listen, I hear you might know something about this . . . I've got this problem with this White Ranger, and I was wondering--"
"What?!" Rita cut her off, totally confused. "Tommy's the White Ranger again? Since when did that happen?"
Divatox stopped for a moment. "Tommy? No, no, no, Rita, you don't understand. This kid's got long white hair, kinda curly, and . . ." She looked back through her periscope and looked harder. "And it looks like he has blue eyes and a real pale face. You know of anyone who might fit this description?"
Rita gasped. "No!" she shouted in Divatox's ear. "I thought Daddy had gotten rid of him a long time ago! How could he be back? And what's he doing as the White Ranger?" She remembered something about a warrior prince who lived thousands of years ago and who nearly all evil beings feared would someday return . . . and looked almost exactly like how Divatox had described. "If I were you, Divatox, I'd get the heck outta there!" After cackling a couple times, she hung up.
"Oh yeah, that really helped!" Divatox said to Porto as she slammed the phone back down. "All Rita did was keep blabbing on about someone her father destroyed but never gave me any name! Any other advice you'd like to give me?"
Porto studied something on one of the scanners. "Hmm," he said, "according to this, it shows that there are still only six Rangers, so whoever this White Ranger is must be someone who is already on the team."
Divatox thought about that for a moment. "All right, there's three guys on the team, but only two of them are old enough to be taller than the Purple Ranger. But since it's not Tommy, that could only mean . . ." She gasped herself. "No!!" she whined again. "Not him again! It's that blasted Green Ranger!" She then thought about something. "But then who was Rita just talking about?" Divatox paused for a moment again, thinking of what to do now. "PORTO!!" she thundered. "Do we have any spare monsters available?"
"As a matter of fact, we do, my piratress," the little marshmallow-like creature replied. "Pree-senting the Lionator . . ."
The hulking creature burst onto the bridge, roaring and making an incredible scene. He was just as his name described, a powerful part-man, part-lion creation with large plates of armor and a thick, almost growling Austrian accent. "Let me at those Rangers!" he bellowed.
Divatox grinned schemingly. "Oooh, I like him!" she rejoiced. "Now that's my kinda man! Those two Rangers don't stand a chance now! Get up there and claw them to pieces!"
"You command and I obey, Divatox," the Lionator replied. "I'll be back!" (One doesn't need to guess who he was trying to imitate.) He then let out a deafening roar and disappeared, going up to the surface.
Divatox looked back into her periscope. "If that little Purple Ranger thinks she got away this time, she's got another thing coming!"
[The desert outside Angel Grove, 4:02 pm]
The two Rangers were still standing there by themselves when a loud roar suddenly broke the silence. Startled, Adam and Andréa turned to find the Lionator standing before them, snarling and pawing at the ground. "Looks like Divatox hasn't given up on you yet," Adam said to her.
"I guess not," Andréa replied.
"Divatox has ordered that I tear you apart!" the monster growled, primarily targeting the Purple Ranger.
"Yeah, well, why don't you just go back and tell her that if she wants that to happen, she's gonna have to come out and do that herself!" Andréa retorted, obviously unimpressed by the Lionator's threat. She turned back to Adam and smiled, reaching out her hand. "Shall we?" she asked as if the two of them were about to dance.
Adam took her hand and smiled back. "Of course," he replied. "Back to action!"
The two Rangers fell into their fighting stances, both of their sabers in hand, as the others teleported in behind them. "Hey Adam, whatever happened to coming back as soon as possible?" Tommy asked as the four ran up to the pair.
"Slight change of plans," Adam replied. "It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be."
But just then, two torpedoes sailed overhead and landed directly in front of the Lionator, exploding on contact into a massive fireball. The Rangers fell back and, when the dust settled, found the beast towering stories above them. He stomped his gigantic paw on the ground in an attempt to crush the Rangers, creating a gust of wind and a ground-shaking tremor so powerful it knocked the team off their feet. "Hasta la vista, Rangers!" the creature, its voice echoing off the distant hills and mountains.
Adam and Andréa were the first to regain their balance. Though nobody saw it, the Purple Ranger rolled her eyes and had a pathetic smirk on her face. "Can you believe this guy?" she commented sarcastically to the other Rangers, gesturing at the monster and poking fun at its really bad one-liners.
Adam looked up. "Well, we've certainly got our work cut out for us," he said.
"Time to call in the heavy artillery!" Justin shouted enthusiastically.
Andréa turned to face Adam and extended her hand in partnership. "One more time?" she asked in reference to piloting the White Tigerzord.
Adam took her hand again and smiled behind his helmet, knowing exactly what she meant. "One more time."
"All right," Tommy said, "we'll meet you up there, fearless leader."
Adam saluted to him, much like how Tommy used to when he was the White Ranger. "No problem."
"Turbo Megazord Power!" the four Turbo Rangers cried in unison.
Within a few minutes, the Turbozords arrived and melded into the Megazord. It stood ready as the Rangers waited for their two friends. The pair looked at each other. "Here we go again," Adam said. "White Tigerzord, power up!"
In no time, the Tigerzord showed up on the scene. Adam and Andréa both leaped up into its cockpit and immediately took control. "Time to show Divatox just how ticked off I am at her for trying to take you away from me." He made a motion with his arm. "Tigerzord, convert to warrior mode!"
At his command, the robot immediately transformed into its massive warrior form. It stood beside the Turbo Megazord, both robots at about the same size and staring down the Lionator. Seeing this, Andréa found a golden opportunity to make another random and light-hearted comment. "Hmm . . . lions . . . and tigers . . . and Rangers . . ." she said, pointing to the monster, then to Adam, then to the other Rangers in the Turbo Megazord.
". . . Oh my!" Adam continued, finishing off the Purple Ranger's variation of the familiar phrase and looking over at her. "You just couldn't help it, could you?"
"Sorry," Andréa admitted with a slightly sheepish shrug, "it slipped." The other Rangers heard her comment and couldn't help but laugh.
Adam had to laugh as well. "Well, one thing's for sure, you're definitely back to normal."
"If you're done talking amongst yourselves," the Lionator boomed, "I'd like to pulverize you now!" That caught all the Rangers off guard. The Turbo Megazord moved behind the beast so that it was surrounded on two sides by Rangers. "Do you really think that two Zords can stop the mighty Lionator?" the monster growled, watching as the two robots paced in a wide circle around him.
"Guess he doesn't know us very well, does he?" Adam said to Andréa. He brought the Tigerzord around to attack the Lionator with its saber, but the blow was blocked by the creature's long rod-like staff. Then the Turbo Megazord came around and, with its sword, sliced it in two and knocked out of his hand.
The monster stumbled back a step. "You'll pay for that!" he roared. He lunged at the two Zords but was met with a simultaneous punch from the robots that sent him reeling.
"Turbo Megazord Spinout!" the four Turbo Rangers shouted in unison. The Zord spun around like a tornado and struck out at the Lionator.
But even after the normally fatal blow, the monster stood up and came after them again. "What the . . ." Tanya began to ask. "That didn't even faze him!"
"Hey Adam," Tommy radioed, "why don't you give it a try?"
"The pleasure's all mine," the White Ranger called back as he brought his Zord into position. "Tigerzord, full power!" Using all the power Adam could summon, the Tigerzord took its saber and slashed through the monster. The Lionator let out one last roar before he fell to the ground in a tremendous, fiery explosion.
"All right!" Andréa cheered. "Guess the it's the tiger who's the king of the jungle now!"
"You bet," Adam came back, looking out into space for a short time. Unlike many of the battles he and the other Rangers had fought over time, this momentous victory was much different. A teammate's life was at stake, and Rangers never backed out on friends. This was especially significant to Adam, who finally realized that being the on-again/off-again White Ranger didn't have to be such a painful experience. It had its many rewards: being the leader (even though it was only temporary), having certain civilian powers no one else had (though he didn't like them at first, they had since become more and more to his advantage), and, above all, saving the life of the woman he loved. And perhaps that was the most rewarding aspect, Adam thought, of his being the White Ranger.
"Hey buddy, you coming with us?" Tommy suddenly broke Adam's train of thought.
"No, you guys go ahead," he called back. "There's something I need to think about for a while first."
[Angel's Bluff, 6:15 pm]
Aboard Lightning, Adam looked out over the bluff again, the wind blowing his still silvery white hair into his face, as Andréa rode up beside him on Thunder. She was slightly caught off guard when she finally noticed his still changed appearance even though the color had returned to his face. "Adam, I thought you gave back the White Ranger powers after the battle," she said.
"I did," he replied, not even facing her.
"So why do you still look like that?"
Adam sighed, finally looking over at her. "That's what I'd like to know myself," he answered. "I'm almost beginning to wonder if it might have something to do with that vision I've had both times I became the White Ranger. Whenever that happens, I keep seeing someone who looks and even sounds like me, but I know he can't really be me. I just wish I knew who he was though." He then thought of something. "I wonder . . ."
Adam stared out into space and concentrated for a moment. Just then, he saw that mysterious figure, also on horseback, gazing back at him with a serene expression. Although the figure was dressed differently from him, and the horse he was on looked different from Lightning, Adam felt as though he could have been looking into a mirror.
I look into the mirror
See myself, I'm over me
I need space for my desires
Have to dive into my fantasies
I know as soon as I'll arrive
Everything is possible
'Cause no one has to hide
Beyond the invisible . . .
Adam's own expression became firm upon seeing the strange vision, the total opposite of how he had always reacted to it before. Whoever you are, he thought, I'm not afraid of you anymore.
You never needed to be afraid of me, the image seemed to respond in Adam's voice but without actually speaking. I'm a part of you, and very soon you will know the truth about me.
Close your eyes
Just feel and realize
This is real and not a dream
I'm in you, and you're in me
It is time
To break the chains of life
If you follow you will see
What's beyond reality . . .
Adam continued to look at the near-mirror image. A part of me? he asked. But how? What is the truth?
I cannot tell you yet, the double said. All I can tell you now is that both of you will know all the answers very soon and that you will see me again. Though you have finally been able to accept a part of who you are, it is still not over yet. I am your past, your present, and your future.
Adam blinked, and the mysterious form was gone as he felt a soft and sudden breeze blow through his hair. He touched his face in disbelief as if he knew something was different about himself and looked at a lock of hair that had fallen into it. "I'm . . . myself again!" he said half to himself and half to Andréa, noticing that the lock of hair was black again instead of white. "Did you see him? He was right there in front of me!"
Andréa shook her head. "The only thing I saw was your appearance returning to normal, and that was strange enough as it was."
"I don't know if I'm going crazy or what," Adam went on as he dismounted and stood along the edge of the bluff. "He said that he was a part of me, and that we'd know the truth about him real soon, that we'd see him again, but he didn't say how or when."
Andréa dismounted as well and joined him. "You think it means something?"
"It just has to," Adam said. "But I just wish I knew how!"
"Some things in life just never make sense," Andréa broke the short silence. "But if you want to know something that's really baffled me for a while, it's that I've felt like I've known you for a lot longer than we've actually known each other."
"What do you mean by that?" Adam asked curiously.
Andréa sighed. "Where do I even begin?" She stared off into space for a few moments. "I remember the very first time I saw you a year ago, not long after I moved here. You, Rocky, and Tommy were all sparring at the youth center. I asked someone who you guys were, and when they told me your name and which one you were, I suddenly felt this . . . attraction to you, like I already knew someone named Adam and looked just like you. But at the same time, I had this feeling that I knew someone else who almost looked like you in one way or another yet had a slightly different name. This other feeling seemed to be the strongest both the first time I saw you as the White Ranger and again today. I never really understood it to begin with, nor do I still understand it now." She looked back up at Adam. "Have you ever had this feeling?"
"Quite a few times, actually," he replied. "When we met last year, before I even knew you were the Purple Ranger, I immediately had the same déjà vu feeling you had. I've never really understood it either." Adam smiled. "But if there really is more to us than we think, I wouldn't be at all surprised, especially considering everything we've been through together."
"Like you being the White Ranger?" As soon as she said it, Andréa realized she had made that same faux pas she had made the other day.
Adam smiled even more. "Like me being the White Ranger," he answered, taking both of her hands into his and kissing her on the cheek.
Andréa couldn't help but grin herself. "Well, you sure seem to have a different outlook on that all of a sudden," she said, noticing the more optimistic tone in his voice. "Why the change of heart?"
"I guess I finally realized that it was less about me and more about what I had to do for the team. And then when I saw you looking at me the way you did after the spell was broken, I figured that there must've been something you saw in me that I never saw both times I was the White Ranger."
Andréa nodded. "You're right," she replied. "There has been something I've been seeing in you. And it wasn't just you as the White Ranger, but you as Zeo Ranger IV, the Green Turbo Ranger, and just . . . you." She looked up at him. "Adam, I not only saw someone who really loves me, but an amazing warrior who never backs down from a fight and always sticks up for his friends when they need him, regardless of whether or not he's the leader. I saw it that very first time you rescued me, I saw it when you came to my window the first time you were the White Ranger, I saw it in you again when you broke the spell earlier, and I now I still see it in your eyes, no matter if they're brown, blue, or whatever. That's what I've really come to admire in you."
Adam was rather impressed by her words. "Wow. You really mean it?" She gave him a sincere nod. He pulled her in even closer for a hug. "God, it's good to have you back again, Rae."
Andréa rested her head on his shoulder and gazed up at him. "It's good to be back too. Even though you don't look like it anymore, you're still my handsome white knight."
"And I still intend to keep my promise to always be
here to protect you," Adam responded, "no matter what
happens. Nothing on Earth will ever change that