Author's note: I want to say thanks to all the people that have read the 'Coming Together' series, this is the final story in this series. But don't be sad! My next series will pick up where this one left off.
The Phantom looked around, as if he were hiding from something, then answered, "Rangers, I have found Zordon. He is not even guarded." TJ looked at the others strangely then looked back to Phantom, "Don't you find that a little...odd?"
Phantom shook his head, "I don't quite believe it myself but-- well I guess the only way for you to truly believe me is...." he started then backed away to reveal Zordon's tube on a platform, not even one yard from where Phantom was standing.
"Zordon!" Ashley exclaimed.
"DECA how far are we away from Niro?" Andros asked snapping into action.
"We are already in its Galaxy. We will reach Niro in 3 minutes." DECA's voice told him.
Carlos gave everyone a funny look, "Isn't all of this a little convenient?"
Cassie nodded her head in agreement, "Yeah but, if Zordon is not guarded, and there are no evil forces anywhere near Niro, we have to check it out."
"Cassie's right. We have to check it out." Andros said and the ship raced towards Niro.
Niro was a desert planet. No civilization was on it, because of the extremely high temperatures. The something told each and every ranger, including Phantom, that they weren't seeing the whole picture. Something just wasn't right...and they all knew it as they walked off the Megaship towards the Phantom Ranger and Zordon.
As soon as their feet hit the sand, they dashed towards Zordon. They were in front of him in a matter of seconds, breathing heavily.
"Z.... Zordon? Is it really you?" TJ asked trying to catch his breath.
Zordon smiled and nodded his head, "Yes TJ. It is I. and it is wonderful to see you all. I never doubted for a second that you wouldn't find me." he shifted his attention to Karone, "Hello Karone. It is nice to see that you have finally found your brother and realized your destiny to be a power ranger."
Karone stood completely still, "How.... How do you know who I am? When I've never met you in my entire life."
Zordon smiled again and Alpha interrupted; "Zordon has had a master plan all this time! He knows what will happen. He is the Power Ranger's guide."
Karone still confused, nodded her head in understandment.
"Don't worry Karone. No one completely understands my powers." Zordon reassured her, reading her thoughts.
Karone gave him a confused look, but before she could say anything Phantom spoke up.
"We need to get Zordon out of here, and fast. I'm afraid we could be attacked at any moment." Phantom said in a tone of urgency and the rangers got to work.
It took a few hours, but the rangers got Zordon on the Astro-Megaship launched back into space. Zordon's new home was in between the two sliding doors on the Bridge, facing the main viewing screen, and the rangers' battle stations.
"Well, that about does it Zordon. You comfortable?" Andros asked him, checking over the wiring one last time.
"Yes, and thank you Andros." Zordon said, nodding his head.
Everyone left the room, except for Andros, and he slowly walked in front of Zordon.
He looked at the ground then finally up to Zordon, "Zordon...I don't know if this means anything, or what I should do, but the other rangers and I...we...well we have this uneasy feeling that something major is about to happen. Do you know of anything that could happen."
Zordon paused a moment, then responded, "Andros, there are over a million different issues that can happen in one day that could change the course of one's life forever. And there are other issues that will have no effect at all."
"So you're saying we're just paranoid?" Andros asked.
"No, I'm just implying that everything has a 50/50 chance. But if you have a feeling that something bad will happen, you should act on it. Immediately. Because if you wait, then it may be too late to change it." Zordon explained.
"So how do we act on our feeling?" Andros questioned.
"There are many different ways to act on our feelings, Andros. You have to search for your own, and hope you find it in time." Zordon said to him, then everyone entered the room again.
"Zordon it is so good to have you back!" Ashley chirped and walked over to Andros who looked deep in thought, "Andros? You okay?"
Andros gave her a reassuring smile, "Yeah. Yeah I'm fine."
"Great!" Ashley said cheerfully and put her arm over his shoulder.
Everyone smiled at each other, including Phantom, who was still in his Ranger Uniform.
Cassie looked over at him and noticed he had not stopped looking at her since they boarded Zordon onto the ship. She slowly walked towards him and whispered, "Let's go into the hallway."
Phantom nodded and they both walked out, without anyone noticing they left.
They stood there for a moment, not knowing what to say to each other.
Cassie broke the awkward silence, "I thought you said you would see me soon."
Phantom's head jerked towards her, "What?"
"You said on Hercuron that you would see me soon. And it's been 3 months." Cassie said, with a hint of anger in her voice, but more disappointment.
Phantom realized she was upset with him. And who wouldn't be? He had given her his word that he would see her again soon, and he hadn't. He had been away 3 months and not even sent her one short transmission telling her where he was, or that he was okay.
He slowly walked towards her, "Cassie, please...don't be upset with me. I just..."
Cassie looked at the ground, "I'm not...I'm not mad. I was just worried about you. I mean... you didn't send me a message, or a transmission, you didn't even act like I existed for 3 months! I thought...I thought that maybe you had.... Forgotten me."
Phantom suddenly put his hand painfully over his armor where his heart was underneath and winced in pain.
Cassie gave him a concerned look and put her hand on his shoulder, "Phantom? What's.... What's wrong?"
Phantom slowly lifted his head up to hers, "I...hurt you. That is something I never wanted to do."
"If you didn't want to hurt me, then why did you not even contact me when you were gone?" Cassie asked curiously.
"Cassie," Phantom started, "There are something's about me, that would be hard for you to understand. But, I have these feelings for you, that I haven't felt in my entire life, they.... They almost scare me."
Cassie looked at him sadly, "I'm scared too. Did you know every night before I went to bed; I had DECA scan the galaxy we were in for you? Even when we were under attack, or I was busy, I always did that. Because I cared that much for you. And you didn't--" her voice broke and tears welled up in her eyes, "And you didn't even try and contact me."
Phantom grabbed her arms softly and looked into her eyes, "I tried Cassie. I tried but I wasn't brave enough. I was so afraid that if I did talk to you, and tell you how I felt, that you wouldn't have those feelings towards me. And I couldn't handle that."
"Can you tell me now?" she asked him, fighting the tears in her eyes.
Phantom stood there for what seemed like forever, saying nothing.
They stood there a few more minutes and finally tears escaped from Cassie's eyes.
"Then you just hurt me, more than you'll ever know." she cried and ran off to her quarters, leaving Phantom standing alone in the hallway.
The others had gone about their own business and were all scattered out over the Mega Ship. Zhane and Karone decided to take this time and have some alone time.
"Zhane can I ask you a question?" Karone asked as they walked down the main hallway hand in hand.
"Anything." Zhane declared.
"When did that pain in your heart go away?" she asked quietly.
Zhane stopped walking and pulled her back towards him.
"What pain?" he asked her.
"The pain you talked about in the rescue transmission. When you were young." She told him quietly.
He took her hands into his and brought them up to his mouth and gently kissed them.
"It never has." He admitted softly.
She gave him a sad look, "I'm sorry."
He back up a step, still holding her hands, and gave her a funny look, "What are you sorry for? There's nothing to apologize for."
She looked at him sadly, "I'm hurting you. I should apologize."
Zhane pulled her into a tight hug and whispered into her ear, "Karone, the hurt isn't the same as it was. It's.... It's changed."
Karone pulled back and looked at him confused, "Changed? How?"
"When you were kidnapped, it was a deep, dark pain. Because I had lost you." Zhane explained, "But now...Now it's an extremely deep pain, because I'm afraid I'll lose you. If something happened to you...I...I don't know what I would do. I would be empty inside."
They just stared at each other for a while, looking deep into each others eyes.
"I'm glad I'm not the only one with this pain then." Karone said and smiled.
The next morning everyone, including the Phantom Ranger, met on the bridge to go over last night's radar readings.
"Ok everyone give me a status report." Andros said.
"Nova system is clear." TJ reported.
"Kerova system clear." Ashley declared happily.
"Levox system clear." Cassie said putting down her papers.
"The Milky Way is free and clear." Zhane said putting his feet on the control panel.
"Ilisar system clear!" Carlos stated.
"Deretan system is clear." Phantom confirmed.
"Ok and last but most certainly not least, the Vizcoth system." Andros said and waited for a response from Karone. But he didn't hear a reply.
"Karone how's the Vizcoth system?" Andros asked.
Karone just sat in her chair looking at her papers.
"Karone? The Vizcoth system? Is something wrong?" Andros asked worriedly.
Karone sat up at her station and punched buttons on the control panel, "DECA, scan the Vizcoth system for planet Aquitar." Karone commanded.
Andros got up and walked over to her, "Is there trouble on Aquitar?"
Karone turned to a monitor that was bringing up the coordinates where Aquitar would be located and she sat there stunned.
"Karone, what is wrong with Aquitar." Andros asked again.
"It's...its not there." Karone whispered in shock.
Everyone gave her a weird look.
"What do you mean its not there?" Zhane asked, "We flew through the Vizcoth system last night and saw it."
"I mean," Karone said and put the image she was seeing onto the main viewing screen, "It's not there."
The picture showed one moon, but it was circling nothing. It was just slowly making a rotation in a perfect circle.
"Alright that's it!" Zhane said and smacked his hand on the control panel, "Who stole Aquitar?"
Everyone but Karone burst into laughter.
"What is so funny? Aquitar is gone." Karone said shaking her head in disbelief.
"Oh come on Karone! A planet can't just vanish into thin air." Zhane laughed and patted her on the back, "DECA, bring up Aquitar on the main viewing screen."
"It already is on the main viewing screen." DECA's voice responded.
Everyone looked at the lit up camera.
"There isn't anything except a moon on the screen DECA." Ashley said to the computer.
"Affirmative. The planet Aquitar was destroyed." DECA's monotone voice explained to them.
"What??!!" Andros asked incredulously.
"Pulling up all last known data on Planet Aquitar." DECA said, then a moment later continued, "Aquitar and all it's inhabitants were destroyed less than an hour ago by an Evil Force."
"DECA that is impossible! The Aquatian Rangers would have known something was happening and defeated it! Or at least contact us for help." Phantom argued.
"Negative Phantom Ranger. The Aquatian Rangers were destroyed along with the rest of the inhabitants." Said DECA.
Everyone stood there a few moments in total shock. They continued looking at the starry screen that used to show an aquatic planet full of life. But that planet was no totally destroyed, without anyone noticing.
"How could this happen?" Ashley whispered to herself.
All the rangers just shook their heads, not knowing what to say.
Zordon cleared his throat, and they all turned to him.
"Rangers, This is a very unexpected move on the force of evil's part. We must find out what happened, before it is too late." Zordon told them.
"What do we do Zordon? I mean.... We have nothing to go by." Cassie stated.
"There is always a way, Cassie." Zordon argued.
Andros nodded his head at Zordon, "Okay, let's get started guys! We have a lot of brainstorming to do."
The all snapped into action reviewing camera recordings and old radar readouts of Aquitar.
Ashley slipped out of the room for a minute to rest.
"There has to be something we're not seeing." Ashley whispered to herself as she sat down against the wall in the hallway.
"We'll figure it out...." Andros's voice said from the doorway, "I don't know when, but we'll figure it out."
"How can you be so sure?" she asked him, patting her hand on the empty space beside her.
Andros walked over and slid down the wall to sit beside her, "We're the Power Rangers," Andros said and watched her smile.
Ashley sighed and rested her head on his shoulder, "Yeah, we're the Power Rangers..."
"What is it Zhane?" Karone asked as Zhane led her into the empty engine room.
Zhane framed his hands around her face, "I just wanted to have some time alone with you."
Karone sighed and put her hands on his wrists, "Zhane...they need our help. We can't just let them do all the work." She told him sternly.
"They can live without us for a few minutes." Zhane smiled, "Besides, we haven't had anytime to ourselves lately and I have a feeling it's gonna be awhile before we have an opportunity like this again."
"Zhane, I'm not going to be able to concentrate on anything until I figure out what's going on." Karone told him softly.
"Well then we have to figure out what's going on, and fast. Or else we're gonna have to go around here cloaked if we want to be alone." Zhane laughed.
Karone laughed with him, then suddenly stopped.
"What.... What did you say?" Karone asked him, as if she were trying to fit two pieces of a puzzle together in her head.
"I said we were going to need to cloak ourselves if we ever wanted some alone time on this crazy ship." Zhane smiled.
Karone backed away and realized what the missing piece of the puzzle was, "Oh my god Zhane.... Evil...it's.... It's been all around us this whole time!"
Zhane gave her an odd look, "Huh?"
Karone grabbed his hand and pulled him into the bridge were everyone was.
"They cloaked!" Karone shouted.
"Huh?" Carlos asked her confused.
"That's what I said." Zhane said to him and smiled.
"Isn't cloaking some sort of device that makes you invincible by radar and other devices and stuff?" TJ asked.
"Yes! Dark Specter must have cloaked all the ships so he could mobilize all his ships without us knowing!" Karone explained.
"DECA! Do a Universal Scan on all Evil Cloaking beacons. And put the results on the main viewing screen, immediately." Andros instructed her urgently.
"Affirmative. Scanning will be complete in 10 seconds." DECA reported.
"This will show us if were their positions are all around the universe if they are using cloaking devices." Andros explained to them and they all looked at the main viewing screen.
"Now bringing up Universal Scan results." DECA confirmed and the screen lit up with enormous masses of red around all galaxies.
"Oh my god...." were the only words to come out of their mouths.
"They're positioned throughout the entire universe ready to strike!" Ashley shrieked covering her mouth.
"Look! Look!" TJ said and pointed at the red masses, which were now beginning to move closer and closer towards the planets.
"All right guys. This is it." Andros said and they formed a circle.
"We are the Power Rangers. We can defeat anything that comes against us." Andros encouraged them and put his hand out in the middle of the circle.
They all nodded their heads and put their hands on top of each other's in the circle.
Phantom looked at the group then slowly put his hand on top.
"We can do this guys!" Ashley said encouragingly.
They all nodded their heads 'yes' enthusiasticly.
"Power," they all said in unison and jumped, "Rangers!"