"So . . ." Karone's voice trailed off as she picked up two metal bars that came off the Sub Ion panels, "The hip bone's connected to the . . . what?"
Ashley laughed and took the bars from her, "Let's just drop that."
They were silent a few minutes, and then Karone spoke up as Ashley continued working, "Ashley, what's it like?"
She looked back at her for a second, confused, "What is what like?"
"Going to school. I mean, I know I filled in for you one day but . . ." Karone's voice trailed off as she tried to find the right words and Ashley stopped working and faced her, "What's it like going there, everyday?"
"Well, sometimes it can be really fun. Like when there's dances, clubs, prom, homecoming-" Ashley listed, and Karone broke in.
"Homecoming? Prom? Clubs? Huh?" She asked confused.
Ashley smiled and began to tell her all about high school life, both of them ignoring the unfinished broken sub ion panels laying on the floor. After all, girl talk is more important.
Astronema sat up in her bed and yawned loudly. She got up and stretched a little, getting ready for another day at trying to destroy the Power Rangers.
"But today, I will destroy the rangers." She smiled, "I finally have someone who can beat them, who knows their every weakness and thought."
She laughed and walked out her door into the control room where she saw Ecliptor, Elgar, and Darkonda.
"What is this? An early morning idiot rally?" She asked them sarcastically.
"It sure is! You're just in time!" Elgar said and she glared at him.
"Shut up." She snapped and walked past them, "Where is my new evil henchman at?"
"We're all right here!" Elgar reminded her and Ecliptor elbowed him.
"Stay quiet." Ecliptor warned him.
Astronema whirled around and put her hands on her hips, "So . . . where is he?"
"Dark Specter called him onto his shuttle late last night. He hasn't been back since." Darkonda told her.
"What?" She whined and stomped her foot, "He can't take control of this operation! He just . . . well . . he can't! It isn't fair!"
"I'm afraid he can princess. And he will." Ecliptor told her and she looked at him seriously.
"Well then, we'll just have to form our own plan then." She said and walked towards the door, "Let's go, we have a lot of work to do."
Jason walked through the shuttle for his meeting with Dark Specter. His eyes burned red and he could feel anger coursing through his veins. Anger, for the Power Rangers.
He burst through a door and kneeled to Dark Specter's throne.
It slowly turned and revealed Dark Specter.
"Ah yes, my young new apprentice." Dark Specter growled, half smiling.
"You wished to speak with me my lord?" He asked, still kneeling to him.
"Jason, you have been chosen as the side of evil's ultimate warrior." Dark Specter started, "The job I am assigning you is not an easy one, no one has ever successfully completed it. Ever."
"I can take on anything." Jason said confidently as he stood up.
Dark Specter continued, "That may be so, but this job is unlike any other. And even though you are one of the strongest people in the universe now . . . there is someone as strong as you. And you must annihilate them. Immediately."
"There is no one stronger than me, my lord." Jason stated, curling his hands into fists.
"But there is . . ." Dark Specter said and picked up a black folder and handed it to him.
Jason looked at him curiously, then opened the folder and sorted through the contents.
"I take it this is the person that is as strong as me." Jason said.
"It is." Dark Specter confirmed.
Jason glanced down at the open folder then snapped it shut, "Then he must be destroyed."
Dark Specter smiled, "I will expect Zhane Diexion, the Silver Ranger, to be destroyed in 48 hours."
"Hey, hey!" Zhane shouted firmly as he walked into the engine room where he saw Karone and Ashley sitting on the floor laughing, "Didn't you two know that working on the engine wasn't supposed to be fun?"
Ashley and Karone giggled and he smiled.
Zhane pointed a wrench he was holding in his hand to Karone, "You, get back to work." He turned and pointed it to Ashley, "And you, get to school. You're only about an hour late."
Ashley hit her forehead and bolted out of the room.
Karone laughed and threw a dirty rag at Zhane; "You're such a dork."
Zhane smiled and sat down next to her, "I'm a dork? You've been hanging around Ashley too much."
Suddenly a familiar song came over the ship's intercom system and they looked around, surprised.
"Oh no . . ." Zhane moaned, covering his ears.
The song 'Everybody Dance Now' was playing, and there was only one person in the whole universe that would play that song over the intercom.
"Cassie!!!!" Karone squealed and jumped up, running onto the bridge.
She saw Cassie turn around and smile at her, "How'd ya know it was me?"
Karone smiled and ran over to her friend, giving her a big hug.
"You're the only one that listens to the dreadful music." Andros moaned as he and Zhane walked into the room.
Cassie smiled, "Okay DECA, you can stop it now."
The music stopped and Andros said, "You could've at least put some good music on. Like Citizen King or something."
Everyone looked at Andros oddly and even DECA turned her camera to him and blinked.
He shrugged, "What? Ashley bought me the c.d."
Cassie laughed, "If I didn't know any better, I wouldn't think you guys were from another planet at all."
They all smiled, then Karone asked, "So, to what do we owe the pleasure of this visit?"
"Actually, I just came here to get the rest of my things from the ship and . . ." Cassie turned serious and faced Karone, "To talk to you."
Karone heard the hint of seriousness and realized Cassie hadn't come to talk about the latest movie releases.
"Um, guys, I'm gonna take a break and talk with Cassie and help her get her stuff." Karone said, hinting for them to give her and Cassie some privacy.
The guys seemed to have got it and nodded their heads, then walked off the bridge to get back to work.
Karone turned to her and as they started to walk to Cassie's old quarters she asked, "What's wrong?"
"48 hours? Sir, that is going to be nearly impossible. After all, he is as strong as I am." Jason argued with the monarch.
"Trust me, 48 hours is plenty of time." Dark Specter said but Jason still wasn't convinced.
"How are you so sure that I can defeat the Silver Ranger, the strongest Power Ranger in the Universe I might add, in a mere 48 hours?" Jason asked.
"Because," Dark Specter said and suddenly a holographic timer appeared in between them, "That is how long his powers will last."
Jason started at the timer that now read 47 hours 59 minutes. "How is this possible?"
"It is simple. He went back into hyper sleep. Hyper sleep slowly drains your powers away. He just, doesn't know it yet." Dark Specter told him.
"But he's been in hyper sleep before and he recharged his powers. What makes you so sure that he hasn't re-charged them already?" Jason asked.
"In the fight with the Ecto-Morphicons I did several scans on his zord, and him. The scans showed extremely low ratio's of power energizing him. He knows his powers are weakening, he just hasn't alarmed the others about it.
"He is very close with the Pink Ranger, what if he tells her?" Jason continued to doubt him.
"Love is a very strange and wicked thing. It makes us do things that we would not normally do." Was all Dark Specter said and then stated, "You have 48 hours."
His throne turned back around, and Jason exited the room to carry out his mission.
"Enjoy your life while it lasts Silver Ranger." Jason smiled to himself, "Because it won't last much longer."
"Well it's really not just one specific thing. It's everything mixed together." Cassie told Karone, obviously frustrated about something, "The people of the planet Glacieron refuse to join any alliance that Rytan is also in."
Karone sighed heavily, as she and Cassie took clothes out of her closet. That didn't surprise her. Rytan and Glacieron had been at war a few years ago, and even though the fighting had stopped, it turned into a bitter cold war.
"What was their reason for not joining?" Karone asked.
"Conflict of beliefs." Cassie said, rolling her eyes, "Why are those people so hard to deal with?"
"I honestly don't know. I mean, I fought in the war, but . . . it seems like Glacieron is so set in their own ways, that they won't even compromise. Even if it is for the betterment of the universe." Karone explained, "Once I was captured by a few Glacieron soldiers. They took me to their camp and chained me to a chair. I was so completely afraid that no one was going to know I was missing and no one would come to rescue me. I heard some of the soldiers talking and it was almost as if they would rather side with Dark Specter and be in the evil alliance, than take the risk of joining the Galaxy Alliance and having Dark Specter possibly attack them. I think . . . I think they're afraid."
"Afraid? But how can they be afraid? They'll be protected by the G.A." Cassie said incredulously.
"The G.A isn't fool proof yet, Cass. I mean, look what happened to KO-35 and Rytan. People look at the bad consequences more than the good. You're just going to have to stress the fact that if Glacieron is attacked by Dark Specter's forces after they sign in with the G.A, they will have someplace else to go, someplace safe. Someplace where Dark Specter can't go. Like Yobi for instance. That's where the Rytans are temporarily staying until researchers can confirm that Rytan is once again stable enough to sustain a prosperous habitat in which humans can live." Karone explained to her.
Cassie smiled, "Thanks Karone."
"No problem." She smiled back and they zipped the last suitcase, "Well, looks like you're done!"
"Yeah I guess so." Cassie said, looking around to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything.
"You can always come back you know." Karone said as if she read Cassie's mind.
Cassie laughed, "Yeah I know. But, I'm really happy where I am. With Quinn, with the job, with everything. The only down side to this deal is that I barely ever get to see you guys."
"Sorry we haven't been to frequent on our visits. We've been a little busy, to say the least." Karone commented.
"Uh-oh, that is definitely not good news. What's up?" Cassie asked.
"Dark Specter has put a spell over Jason, making him completely evil." Karone summed the past day's events.
"Whoa . . . have you guys talked with him since?" She asked, totally interested.
"We got a transmission from him yesterday, but . . . that's all." Karone sighed.
"Do you have a plan yet?" Cassie inquired.
Karone sighed again, "Not yet, but we better get one soon."
Cassie patted her friend on the back; "Everything will work out. The Power Rangers always find a way."
"Can you pass me the sauce?" Ashley asked TJ as the six of them sat down at the table on the megaship for dinner.
"Who knew Earth food could be this good?" Karone asked, more to herself than the group. TJ, Ashley, and Carlos all raised their hands and then laughed.
"What are these called again?" Andros asked as he looked over his oddly shaped piece of food in his hands.
"Tacos, Andros." Ashley giggled.
"What do you know Andros, you've got a food named after you!" Zhane smiled and patted Andros on the back.
Ashley put her hand over her face and muttered, "Oh dear . . ."
Karone looked at TJ, "TJ! Ew! Why are you putting ketchup on tacos andros?"
TJ laughed and Carlos put in, "He puts ketchup on everything."
Karone wrinkled her nose, "Even tacos andros?"
Carlos laughed at her continuance of calling their food that, "Even tacos andros."
All this time Ashley was laughing and all the Kerovians shot her a weird look.
"What's up with you?" Zhane asked her.
Ashley just shook her head, giggling.
Andros shrugged his shoulders and they all continued eating.
Everyone went off their separate ways after they finished, leaving Zhane and Andros to clean off the table.
"What do you think Karone talked about with Cassie today?" Andros asked.
Zhane shrugged his shoulders; "They're girls. How would I know?"
Andros halted and looked at him, "What if we don't want to know?"
Zhane looked at him then nodded his head; "We probably don't want to know."
"They probably just talked about . . . nail polish, movies, TV . . ." Andros' voice trailed off as he tried to think of some other things.
"That one Brad Pitt guy." Zhane added and Andros nodded his head.
"Yeah him, oh and that other guy that's on that show . . . what's it called again?" Andros asked.
"Party of Five?" Zhane suggested.
"No, no, the one with that guy that was in the movie Teaching Mrs. . . . what's her name." Andros said.
"Oh you mean 7th Heaven." Zhane nodded his head.
"Yeah that show. They probably talked about that." Andros said and Karone, reading a magazine, walked past them and said.
"We talked about the Galaxy Alliance." She said with a smiled, and walked past them into the other room.
Zhane and Andros watched her leave, then looked at each other.
"Or you know, they could've talked about the Galaxy Alliance." Andros said, then smiled a little.
Zhane smiled and picked up a plate then started to walk towards the counter. But suddenly he dropped it and the plate went crashing down.
"Oh man . . ." Zhane groaned, and started to pick up the broken pieces.
Andros rushed over and helped him, seeing his best friends hands shake a little, "You okay, Zhane?"
Zhane stood up and ran his hand through his hair, "I think I just need some fresh air."
Andros nodded his head, concerned, "Why don't you go take a walk down on earth. I'll finish up here."
Zhane agreed, and started to walk off.
"Zhane?" Andros called out and he turned around, "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yeah," Zhane assured him, "I'm fine." He turned around again, and walked off.
Andros sighed and picked up the rest of the pieces of the plate, then looked at the place his friend stood a few seconds earlier.
"Oh yeah, I'm convinced." He commented wryly.
Zhane teleported to the beach, just outside Angel Grove and walked to the shoreline. The water hit his bare feet and he looked out to the horizon.
It was only a matter of time now, he knew. His powers were weakening him. The talk with Zordon earlier that day was not a pleasant one. The aged mentor told him straight up what was happening. Being in hyper sleep twice in one's lifetime was fatal, period. The first time a person goes into hyper sleep, their vital signs are weakened. If the same person goes into hyper sleep yet again, their vital signs would be so weak, they would only be able to survive a couple of weeks maybe a month.
"So this is how it's gonna end." Zhane said quietly, viewing the sunset.
There was so much he hadn't done. Too much, in fact. Being a ranger, he had always thought of death as an honorable thing. Dying in battle defending the universe was the most honorable way to go, and he wouldn't want it any other way. But sadly that wasn't one of his options. He was slowly withering away into nothing. And soon he wouldn't even be able to get up in the morning. He was already starting to shake, sometimes uncontrollably. Zordon said this was the first stage of what he called 'hyper-physcosis'.
The wind was getting a little colder since it was now the beginning of October. Thinking about the time made him even sadder. He would never get to spend a Christmas with the whole group. It would've been his first Christmas since he went into hyper sleep for 2 years. It would be his first Christmas, with Karone back.
He pushed the though of Karone out of his mind. Knowing that it would only weaken him more to think about her . . . and leaving her.
*There has to be a way to stop this, * His thoughts told him, *Maybe if I can recharge my powers again, it'll give me some more time. *
He started to walk across the beach and he suddenly stopped and sighed. *I would just be putting off the inevitable. *
He continued to walk slowly across the beach, drowned in his thoughts.
Jason stood a few hundred feet away from him behind a huge boulder.
He smiled wickedly and rubbed his hands together, "The fun will begin at sunrise, Silver Ranger."
He looked down at his countdown watch on his wrist, it read 26 hours 34 minutes.
"Yes . . ." Jason smiled nodding his head; his eyes burned a dark