Author's notes: *ahem* Hear ye, hear ye...I dedicate this story to all the people who've ever believed in me. You give me strength and hope.

Oh, Jeremy Ray will be appearing throughout this series as the owner of Surf Spot. Although I loved Adelle, I just happened to get sick of her. Let's say...Adelle got married and left, leaving the Surf Spot to Jeremy, who just happened to be Adelle's husband's Best man, and one of her best friends. Now there's a wild story if I ever did see one. *grin*

Author's Thanks: Jeremy, Jeremy. I can't thank you enough for putting up with me! And a bundle of thanks for proofing this! :)

You Believe in Me?
by: Kari Jones

"Mackenzie!" Andros called, praying for a response.

The petite teen stopped abruptly and whirled around. Seeing whom it was, her eyes narrowed, and after flipping him her middle finger she turned and stalked off.

Andros scowled, "Not _that_ kind of response!" He mumbled. Mackenzie Dekalb had been avoiding him all week. He was tempted to run up to her, teleport her to the Mega Ship, and thrust the morpher into her small hands, just so he could get it over with.

The bell rang right above him, and he jumped. Taking him out of wonderland, he realized that the hall had emptied and that he was late for class. He sighed. "Blast." It would be his third tardy that week. And that meant after school detention.

He shrugged, and putting his book bag on his other shoulder, he walked past his Geography classroom, and out the front door.


"Andros, there you are. I've been looking for you all over." Ashley plopped down beside her boyfriend and searched his face for answers.

"Where have you been? Principal Caplan came and interrupted Math this morning, just to see if I was there. He had thought that you and I had skipped school together. When I told him I didn't know where you were, his face got all red, and he stormed out. Boy, are you in hot water."

"Well...after being rejected by Mackenzie for the umpteenth time, I just walked out of the school to think."

Ashley understood then. Trying to talk to Mackenzie had been hard. She only came two or three times a week, and being a sophomore, while the others were seniors, they didn't have any classes together. Except for Ashley. She had gym with her. She had tried to talk to Mackenzie earlier in the week, but Mackenzie had flat told her off, screaming at Ashley to stop stalking her. Ashley had stopped trying after that, and now she felt guilty, leaving it to Andros.

"Well...I can try talking to her this afternoon, ok?" Ashley half-heartedly volunteered, "I'll probably see her at the Surf Spot. She always goes over there on Friday afternoons. That's the only day though. She doesn't leave until Jeremy closes up. I was talking to him last week, and he told me that she sits in a secluded table all day on Friday until 10:30, when he closes. She just sits and stares at her homework, pretending to do that. He also told me, that every time she packs up to leave, she has this scared look on her face, like she doesn't want to go home."

Andros pondered her words for a moment. " doesn't make much sense. It is weird though. And thanks. Hopefully she'll talk to you this time. If not, grab her and teleport. I'm serious."

"Andros! We can't do that!" She stopped short with the lecture she had in mind. "Well...maybe we could," she finished with a sly grin.

Andros laughed. "Just be careful, ok?"

"Got it."


Mackenzie groaned inwardly as her eyes darted upward to where Ashley was standing, talking to Jeremy Ray.

"Why won't those people just leave me alone?" She mumbled, staring blankly at the hardcover Algebra book in front of her. She could hear Ashley stop talking, and hoped that she was leaving.

"Hey Mackenzie! Can I sit down?"

No such luck. She made a show of sighing, and dropping her pencil dramatically onto the book, before looking up at the older, taller teen. Well...glared really.

Mackenzie shrugged, and Ashley took that for a "yes" and plopped down in the chair across from the sophomore.

"So, how's school going?" Ashley offered, trying unsuccessfully to make pleasant small talk.

"What do you care?" Mackenzie grumbled, not looking at Ashley.

"I was just asking..." Ashley could feel her temper rising. Not now, Ash, you have to get this done.

"Well, maybe I don't want to talk to you, did you ever think of that?"

"Just give me a chance, Mackenzie. I'm trying to make peace, here. And I need to talk to you about something important."

Mackenzie was silent for a second. She seemed to be taking in Ashley's words.

"All right. You have 15 minutes. I need to finish my homework."

Inwardly, Ashley sighed. What was Mackenzie hiding? She obviously wasn't doing homework.

"Ok, good," Ashley showed what she hoped to be a real smile, "But let's walk to the park, it's too crowded here."

"What if I don't..." Mackenzie stopped in mid-sentence. She gathered her books from the table and stuffed them into her ratty backpack.

Ashley stood up, and Mackenzie followed suit, walking next to her out of the Surf Spot.

Neither teen said anything as they walked toward the 100-Acre park.

Ashley snuck a glance at Mackenzie. She hadn't talked to the girl in so long. So much had changed.

The makeup that took away from an olive complexion, her hair, originally blond was now mostly red, her dangerously thin arms and legs, all of it hinted at a hard life obviously. Ashley wondered what was going on inside her head.

"Uh...Ashley, why are you staring at me?"

Ashley shook her head and looked at Mackenzie's face. Mackenzie had an eyebrow raised and her hands were on her hips.

"Oh...sorry Mackenzie...I couldn't help but notice..."

"Notice what? How skinny I am? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear it all the time. Anyway, cut the crap, why did you drag me out here?"

"Right..." Ashley's eyes darted for a place out of the sun. She found refuge under a large tree,

"Over there. It's too hot to stand in the sun."

Mackenzie shrugged as if the heat didn't bother her, and followed.

Ashley situated herself on the grass and watched as Mackenzie pulled her backpack off. As she was sitting down her short shirt caught in the breeze and Ashley discovered a nasty bruise near the girl's hipbone.

"Where'd you get the bruise?" Ashley asked casually.

Mackenzie glared at her. "I bumped myself getting out of the car this morning."

Ashley dropped it. She wasn't going to fight with the girl.

"Listen. I don't have all day! Say what you're gonna say, so I can get the-" Mackenzie stopped abruptly.

"No...go on. I don't mind listening."

It caught Ashley's attention too. She picked herself up from the ground and spun around. There stood Astronema, staff and all. Quantrons stood behind her ready to attack.

"What do you want Astronema?" Ashley asked through clenched teeth.

Astronema strutted over to her walking a full circle around the two girls. "So...who's this, Ashley? Part of the secret you're trying to hide?"

Both teens had dropped into their own fighting stances. Mackenzie looked ready to tackle the leather-clad villain, and Ashley prayed that the girl had enough self-will to not attack.

"Well...since you're not willing to talk, how 'bout you fight my army for a little while. Maybe then you'll be ready to talk," Astronema said smoothly.

"Not likely," Ashley snapped.

Astronema snapped her fingers and immediately the Quantrons lunged at them. Ashley threw herself into the fight, using all her power to beat them. She didn't want to get captured, but she couldn't morph either.

After she had knocked one to the ground she whirled to her side, looking to see what the heck Mackenzie was doing.

"You guys are funny, you know that?" Mackenzie giggled, sending one a roundhouse kick.

Ashley's mouth dropped open. Had this girl no fear?

Metal slammed into her, causing her to sprawl forward. "Oof!" She moaned, landing hard on her shoulder.

Taking her in her weak state, two Quantrons grabbed her arms and pulled her up.

"Unfair fight! Unfair fight!" Mackenzie called from under a Quantron. "Get off me!"

"Oh-no..."Ashley mumbled. They were both trapped. She involuntarily struggled with the Quantrons holding her.

Astronema smirked. "Well...not even the big bad Power Rangers can beat me. That must suck. For you guys, that is."

She thrust her staff to the ground and disappeared in a flash of purple. The dozen Quantrons followed suit, Ashley and Mackenzie in tow.


Andros walked into the Surf Spot, his eyes darting the premises. He didn't see who he was looking for, and walked over to Jeremy Ray.

Jeremy looked up from the cup he was drying and smiled. "Hey Andros, can I get you something?"

"No thanks. Have you seen Ashley?"

"Actually...she was in here with Mackenzie a minute ago. They said something about the park and left."

"Ok. Um...does Mackenzie come in here a lot?" He already knew the answer, but he wanted to get some more info.

"Only on Friday's. I know she has a bad rep, but she seems like a sweet girl. All she does is sit at that table," He pointed to a corner table, "and stare at her books. I've tried talking to her, but she doesn't do much of it. So I leave her be until it's time to close up. I practically have to point the door out to her, just so I can go home. I don't know what to do. I've called her house several times to talk to her dad, but no one ever picks up."

Andros shrugged. "I don't know her very well, except by reputation. She's got a real bad attitude."

"Well...if Ashley is trying to be friends with her, she's doing the right thing. Mackenzie needs some good influence, if you know what I mean."

Andros nodded. "Yup, I understand. I better go find them, too. Talk to you later."

"Seeya Andros," Jeremy called as Andros exited the room. He shook his head thoughtfully. "The nicest kid you could ever meet, but that hair..."


Ashley opened her eyes, and struggled to upright herself. She saw Mackenzie doing the same.

"Dude...we are definitely not in Angel Grove anymore," She breathed softly, her eyes looking around the stone walls and floor. Then with a bout face, she turned around and shot a look of hate at Ashley.

"Where the heck am I, Hammond?" She snarled.

Ashley's heart jumped into her throat. So much for explaining it slow. "'ve heard of the Power Rangers, right?"

"Sure, I have! I haven't been asleep for the past 5 years you dolt!"

A spark of anger flashed in Ashley's eyes. "Stop it, Mackenzie! I am trying so freakin hard to be nice to you, but it's getting really hard! You don't have the manners of a pig, you overbearing, self-righteous, conceited little brat!"

Mackenzie was silent. Perhaps she didn't know how to answer. At the moment, in the thick haze of hate toward one another, the wide stone door swung open. Both heads swiveled to see who it was.

"I heard fighting. Please, I want to have the pleasure of destroying you, but I'm afraid you'll get to it first," Astronema purred.

Neither girl spoke.

"Ecliptor, would you please bring Mackenzie into the throne room? I'd like to have a girl-to-girl talk with her." With that, Astronema left the room, a bounce in her step.

Ashley jumped up in front of Mackenzie. She may despise the younger girl, but if Astronema tried to torture her for answers, it would go on for long time, since Ashley hadn't explained anything yet!

"Move aside, Ranger," Ecliptor ordered, coming at the girls.

Maybe Mackenzie hadn't realized the remark Astronema had made toward the rangers in the battle only an hour before, but now...she understood.

She looked at Ashley in a new light. She was a Power Ranger? No way...

"Stop it Ecliptor! Let go!"

Mackenzie let go of her thoughts and focused back on the scene before her. Ecliptor was dragging a kicking and screaming Ashley toward one of the walls.

A voice formed into her mind. Mackenzie...I know you can hear me. Don't fight against Astronema or Ecliptor. It's all going to work out. I'll protect you from any harm.

Mackenzie looked around her in all directions; she saw no being. Who had been talking to her? Taking her gaze back to Ecliptor and Ashley, she saw that Ecliptor had succeeded in chaining Ashley to the wall, and he was now advancing on her.

The words came back to mind. Don't fight against Astronema or Ecliptor.

With great difficulty, she allowed herself to be taken roughly by the arm, and pulled from the room.

She heard Ashley's screams of protest following her down the hall.

Ecliptor towered over Mackenzie by at least a foot and a half. He glanced down at her. "You know...we had a ranger here just 2 weeks ago. Your little friends went and saved him...big mistake. I guess we'll have to make up for it by destroying you, eh?"

Mackenzie couldn't help but shake with fear. She hadn't been afraid since her mom died, but now, as this giant beast stood over here, she felt her lungs closing up as her breath became shallower.


"Carlos? T.J.?" Andros' voice echoed down the corridor.

"Down here, Andros," Carlos replied.

Andros followed the voice into Carlos' room. "Hey, have you seen Ashley? I'm getting worried. She went to talk to Mackenzie, and I can't find her anywhere."

"Huh...I'll help you look. Let's get T.J. to help, too. He's somewhere around here."

The two boys left the room in search of their black compadre.


Frustration had long since taken over. Ashley's wrists were bleeding from tugging against the metal cuffs, and dirt from the filthy air mingled with the tears on her cheeks.

She slumped down as far as the chains would allowed and closed her eyes. It had been 20 minutes since Ecliptor had taken Mackenzie. Horrible pictures played in her mind, and many of them saw Mackenzie dead. Was that a hope, or a fear? It pained Ashley to think through all the years of being "the nice girl" she was actually thinking about some one she disliked, dead.

She shook her head from the thoughts, and strained to hear. She didn't know where she was, and where the throne room was, but she hoped to know at least that Mackenzie was still alive. If she could only hear snatches of their voices.


"Lighten up, and let go of my arm," Mackenzie ordered, glaring up at Ecliptor as they entered the throne room.

Ecliptor only held it tighter, causing Mackenzie to wince as she followed along beside Ecliptor closer to Astronomer's throne. She bit back the fear in her throat, and looked straight at Astronema. The evil princess couldn't be older then she was.

"So...Mackenzie, Ashley isn't here to keep your mouth shut, how bout you start talking. Starting with what the Power Rangers are hiding," Astronema suggested.

Mackenzie rolled her eyes. "Listen here, rainbow girl, I know nothing about the Power Rangers." Astronema tapped her nails on the arm of the throne. "You're gonna have to do better then that."

"I'm serious! Get a clue you freak, I don't know what you're talking about!"

Ecliptor nudged her in the back with his hand. "Don't talk like that. She has the power to strike you dead, right here and now."

"But she wouldn't."

All the three heads turned to the voice. Mackenzie's eyes went wide. "Now I've seen it all," She mumbled.

"No one asked for your opinion, Zordon. If you would have just told me in the first place, I wouldn't have had to capture two of your pathetic humans."

Zordon coughed. "I have a feeling you would have kidnapped at least one of them, even if I had told you. And I assure you now, Mackenzie knows nothing, besides that the fact that Ashley is a Power Ranger."

"Hush, old man," Ecliptor emphasized his point by waving his sword under Mackenzie's throat. "With one move of my wrist this little girl could be dead."

Mackenzie paled, and she struggled to keep whatever was in her stomach there.

Zordon closed his eyes and turned his head away from the group. He wasn't going to risk the young girl's life, just to prove himself.

"Now, Mackenzie, just answer my questions, and you'll get to go home a whole lot quicker," Astronema explained.

Mackenzie snorted. "I think not. First off, for the 10th time, I don't know a thing about what is going on, and a second thing, you're gonna kill me anyway. I tell you, you kill me. I don't tell you, you kill me. It's no win situation on my part. So you might as well do away with me now, cause I ain't talking."

Why this was coming out of her mouth, she knew not, it just felt like the right thing to say.

Astronema let out an exasperated sigh. "All right, if that's how you see it. Ecliptor, kill her."

Before Mackenzie knew what was going on, Ecliptor had thrown her to the stone floor, and was raising his large sword over his head. Mackenzie gasped and rolled out of the way. The sword clicked against the floor two inches from her head, and rose again. As Mackenzie was preparing herself to move away again, she felt her body being moved faster then the speed of light, and being dumped in a heap by a computer console.

She opened her eyes slowly and found a large robot standing over her.

"Hello, I am Alpha Six, might I ask whom you are?"

Mackenzie closed her eyes again. "What did I do to deserve this? C'mon Mackenzie wake up, please wake up..." She mumbled.


Ecliptor's sword again clinked against stone.

"Huh? Where'd she go?" Ecliptor shouted, his eyes darting the stone floor.

Astronema got to her feet and walked to Zordon's life tube. She waved an accusing finger at him.

"You did this, didn't you?"

Zordon was silent.

Astronema stamped her foot. "You make me so mad! Remind me again why I haven't killed you?"

Zordon again kept quiet.

Astronema turned and strutted away, mumbling under her breath. Ecliptor followed after her.

Zordon sighed. Teleporting both teens had drained a lot out of him, not to mention the energy daily being taken away from him. It wouldn't be long, before...


Ashley didn't realize what had happened until she opened her eyes. The Bridge? She felt a tear involuntarily run down her cheek. She knew in her heart what had happened. Zordon had risked his life just to get them out of there. She'd never be able to repay him.


Ashley looked up, and found a half-upset, half-happy looking Andros.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her face into his shoulder. "Is she here, did she make it too?" It made little sense to Andros, being jumbled up in the tears.

"If you mean Mackenzie, she here. She's swearing up a storm down in the Med. Bay. T.J. is trying to talk some sense into her. I don't think it's working."

"Oh no...did you tell her already?"

"No, we were just trying to let Alpha stitch up a cut on her cheek. She won't have any part of it. I don't know what to do."

"Well, after what I said to her earlier, she won't listen to me either."

Andros looked down at her. "What?"

"I yelled at her, sorta. She was bugging the heck out of me, and considering being stuck in a dungeon, it popped out. I'll apologize, but might as well let T.J. take the worst of it, right?"

Andros snickered. "I think not. C'mon, I think you're getting blood on my neck."

Ashley recoiled and blushed. "Sorry, I didn't realize they were still bleeding."

Andros took Ashley's hands in his and examined the raw wrists. "They look pretty scraped up, but not deep enough for stitches. Let's go clean 'em up."

Using the lift down to the bottom deck, by them time they were a hundred yards from the large Medical infirmary, they could here Mackenzie yelling horribly about something.

Ashley winced. "What a mouth..."She muttered.

"Tell me about it," Andros replied grimly.

"Let go of me! I don't what you think you're doing, but get your hands off me!" Mackenzie pulled at Carlos' grip as Alpha tried to put anesthetics on her cheek.

Andros and Ashley entered the room, and Mackenzie stopped yelling again.

"Oh great...Skunk help from him," Mackenzie spat, and then turned to Ashley, "Will you call your friend off? He's bothering me."

Ashley scowled, "He's not a dog, but yeah, Carlos let go for a sec. We can take care of that later, we need to talk."

Carlos gladly let go of the thin girl's arms, and Mackenzie bolted from him, looking for an unblocked entry.

"I need to get out here, so if you'll excuse me...", She tried to break through Ashley and Andros at the door.

"Where you going?" Zhane asked casually. He was leaning against the far wall, staying as far away as he could from the action.

"The police, where else? I've been kidnapped by space aliens, held at sword point, and then stripey here won't let me leave whatever the-"

"Hey, watch your mouth, Mackenzie. Cussing isn't going to help the situation. You can't leave, because we can't have you running around telling people about this," Andros narrowed his eyes at her, and she glared back.

She crossed her arms and scowled. "As soon as I get out of here...I'm gonna sue the pants off all ya."

Zhane snorted. "A fat lot of good that'll do you. We're teenagers, none of us even have a job, you won't get much money."

"Well...well..." Mackenzie stuttered.

"Don't got much to say? Run out of cuss words, eh?" T.J. suggested.

Andros held his hand up to silence T.J. as he noted that Mackenzie seemed to be getting madder by the second. He then put his hand on Mackenzie's shoulder.

Mackenzie shrugged if off and stepped back. "Don't touch me."

Andros held up both hands in surrender. "Sorry. It won't happen again, I swear."

Ashley sighed. "Listen Mackenzie. I don't know how long we have until Astronema decides to send down another of her freaks of nature. Will you just let us stitch that gash on your cheek up, and let us talk to you for two seconds? We'll let you go home after that, ok?"

Mackenzie brought her fingers to her cheek and winced. She must have gotten when that green robot guy shoved her on the ground. But she still wouldn't rely on them for anything. The cut would heal on its own. In time anyway. No way she was gonna let them lay a hand on her.

Mackenzie shook her head. " can talk...but, you're not touching me. The stupid little mark will heal on its own."

Carlos shook his head. "It will just get infected. You're not making a wise decision."

"Don't tell me what kind of decisions I'm making! I'm plenty old enough to take care of myself!" Mackenzie blew up. Whenever it came to people telling her she wasn't making right decisions she got defensive. She'd practically been raising herself for the past two years. She knew what she was doing.

The room was silent. Mackenzie started to feel claustrophobic and the rangers were getting uncomfortable. They all hoped one of them would just blurt it out and get it over with.

Cassie was the brave to speak up. "Mackenzie, 2 weeks ago our mentor, Zordon informed us of a 6th Astro Power. The White Astro Ranger. To say flat out of, he chose you to become the new ranger. None of us know the reason for this decision, but he is very wise and we know to trust his judgement in this. We've been trying to talk to you, tell you that we want you to become the White Ranger. Astronema kidnapped you today, probably to get information out of you, thinking you knew. You do now, and we're trusting you with this information. We hope you'll choose to become our new teammate, too."

Mackenzie started shaking her head. "Heck no! There's no way I'm risking my life to battle off space monsters! Are you out of your mind? I'm not putting my life on the line! Go find some other turkey to do your dirty work. I'm outta here." She turned and pushed past Andros and Ashley. She looked both ways down the hall and chose the left.

She heard the protest of the older teens behind her but she didn't stop her pursuit for finding an exit. She ran blindly feeling for some strange reason tears falling down her cheeks. Tears that had needed to come out for 2 years. Tears that deserved to be cried when her mom died. Tears she had kept in all the times her dad had abused her physically and mentally, tears that should have been shed when she found out that she had cancer cells in her small intestine 18 months ago. Tears that should have flowed during the endless treatments of chemo. Even the happy tears that should have came when she found out that her cancer was gone. But never...never had the tears come. Until now. Why now? Because she realized that everything that had ever come into her life had failed her. Her Mom, her dad, her friends, her dream to be a cheerleader, she wouldn't let being a defender of the planet fail her too.

She tripped over her untied sneakers and tumbled to the ground. Falling hard on her elbow she let out a sharp cry and curled into a ball, sobs racking her entire body.

Fear and anger taking over her emotions, her heart pounding much too fast, her elbow throbbing.

She didn't know how long she was there when some one came and picked her up into their arms. She didn't protest, she didn't open her eyes to see who it was, only cried, letting the tears flood.


"Look at her. Who would think that some one with such an attitude problem would look like an angelic being while she was sleeping," Andros mumbled.

Ashley nodded. She was nestled under Andros' arm as they looked on at their younger patient lying motionless on the observation counter.

"She's gonna be ok, right? She's been asleep for 6 hours, and hasn't even moved from that position."

Andros was quiet for a second. "Yeah, she'll be fine. Who knows what she'll be like in the morning. If she bites our head off for stitching up her cheek, I'm gonna lose it."

Ashley grinned. Her boyfriend was so cute when he was serious like that.

"Well, c'mon, I'll walk to your room, Alpha promised to keep an eye on her," Andros volunteered, steering his girlfriend out the door.

"But what about those bruises and scars? Andros it was plain scary. They were covering her whole back, her legs...everywhere. I don't want to think where she got them from." Ashley and Cassie had changed the girl into a nightshirt, and that's when they noticed the lacerations.

Andros closed his eyes. "Let's talk about it in the morning, ok?"

Ashley sighed. This was the only the beginning...


Mackenzie woke up with a start, flinging herself from the bed, and dropping into a fighting stance. She was dripping with sweat as she always was in the morning, due to the endless nightmares. She looked down and saw that she was no longer in her baggy jeans and T-shirt, but in much too big long-sleeved flannel nightgown. She searched the room for her clothes but couldn't find them. She scowled furiously and stalked out of the room in search of who ever had stripped and stolen her clothes.

Remembrance of the previous day formed in her mind. The last thing she remembered was tripping in a long corridor and some one picking her up. It was a blank after that.

She heard talking and walked in her barefoot form toward it.

It was the jumpbay that also served as a cafeteria where Mackenzie found the perpetrators.

The teens silenced as Mackenzie entered the room.

Mackenzie glared at all of them. "Where are my clothes?"

Ashley stood, obviously not surprised with the girl's unfriendliness, and answered. "Cassie and I washed and mended them. They'll fit a lot better now." She smiled, trying to make the best of it.

"I don't need any one to wash my clothes!" She spat. "When they need washing, I'll do it myself!"

Before any one could answer, D.E.C.A spoke above.

"Astronema's monster BroderBee is attacking Angel Grove."

"The worst timing..." Carlos grumbled; standing up.

"Mackenzie, stay put. That's an order. We're not finished with you," Andros spoke, pointing a threatening finger at the girl.

Mackenzie raised an eyebrow. "An order? Well, I don't take well to orders. You have nothing keeping me here."

"Oh yeah?" Andros left it hanging and bolted out of the room. He knew since Mackenzie was mad, she'd follow him. "Go one without me, guys. I'll catch you in a sec."

"Where are you going? I'm not done making my point!"

"Well, I'm done listening to you," Andros shot back. The Bridge was only a couple more yards away.

He entered and watched as Mackenzie followed suit, fuming mad.

He reached to the nearest console and typed in a quick code.

A beam shot down from overhead and surrounded Mackenzie. She stared in amazement at the glowing blue fortress and tapped a finger against it.

"Hey! What do you think your doing? Lemme out!"

Andros couldn't help but smirk. "I'm calling the shots now, and D.E.C.A and I are the only ones that can get rid of that fortress. When you decide to shape up, I'll consider letting you out."

"You can go to jail for this! I have a lot of friends, Stripey, you better let me out now, and spare yourself the humility!"

"Puh-leese. Don't give me that crap. But if you'll excuse me, I have a _real_ battle to fight." He teleported out, leaving Mackenzie to stare at the spot he once was.

She beat her fists at the impenetrable wall. No use, and she soon gave up on that. A battle shout caught her attention and she turned her head toward the opposite wall. There, a large screen showed the 6 Astro Rangers fighting a nasty looking bee of some sort.

She got soon sucked into the battle. The monster was a tough foe and the rangers were rapidly weakening.

You know what you must do, Mackenzie.

There's that voice again. Mackenzie looked around her for the owner who like last time, wasn't there. You can't see me Mackenzie, but I can see you. You are afraid and angry. Don't let these great powers scare you. They won't fail you, I promise.

"How would you know?" Mackenzie screamed. "You don't know who I am! You don't know anything about me!"

I can read your mind Mackenzie. You can't hide anything from me. You want to be a Power Ranger, but you're too scared to try.

At that moment the fortress dropped and the White Astro Morpher appeared in her hand.

She turned it over in her hands, checking it out. She hit a button and part of the contraption popped open revealing numbers and a few short words. Suddenly, against her will, she began to hit in 3 numbers. 3-3-5. Then, her thin finger moved to Eject. She pushed it and felt herself being overwhelmed with power and energy.

When she opened her eyes again, she found herself at least 4 inches taller, and in a white bodysuit. It was equipped with silver gloves and boots, and a short skirt that covered a small portion of her taller legs.

Her hands reached up to her helmet and she felt around until she found two hooks and undid them. Immediately she shrunk to her normal height.

"Whoa", was all she could utter.

A scream lifted her head again to the screen across the way. The Pink Ranger was down, and the monster was towering over her. The other 5 struggled to bring themselves to their feet so they could save their teammate.

"I gotta get down there..." Mackenzie breathed quietly, as if the words were being put into her mouth.

Before she knew what she was doing, she had pushed a small button on the band around her wrist, and found herself being teleported to earth.

She landed hard, on both knees and groaned. "That'll definitely take some getting used to."

Not 50 yards from where she stood the battle was taking place, and the monster was definitely whooping them.

Mackenzie shrugged. "Let's give this hero business a shot."

She ran at amazing speed toward the group and bumped harshly into the monster.

"Hey!" He protested, turning around to see who dare interrupt him.

"Jeez! You're even uglier up close!" Mackenzie realized aloud.

The monster grunted and swung an arm at the young White Ranger.

Mackenzie ducked and kicked the beast in the side. She shook her head. "Wow, you're really pathetic."

The six other Astro Rangers were quickly regrouping in the back round, watching as their newest addition insulted and beat up the monster.

"Wonder what made her change her mind?" Cassie muttered.

"Who cares! Look at her go!" Carlos was fixed on the scene before him.

"Guys...we're just standing here. I think we should help." Zhane gestured with his arms toward the battle.

The 5 other rangers snapped out of it and with a renewed strength, gave their bodies to the fight.

Throughout the strenuous war the rangers heard Mackenzie often yell harsh words toward the monster, things they wouldn't dare say in public.

As the others watched, Mackenzie stopped dead in her tracks, and instinctively put her hands together in front of her, looking as if she was praying.

"What the heck is she doing? I never really thought she was very religious..." T.J. voiced motioning toward the girl.

Before any one could answer, Mackenzie shouted out a warning. "White Astro Shockwave!"

A white energy shot out from her being knocking the monster flat on his back, and then exploded.

Mackenzie momentarily swaggered before collapsing in a heap.

"Red Ranger Power Down!" Andros ordered. Back in his flight suit he ran toward the heap of white a few yards away.

"White Ranger Power Down," Andros said as he kneeled down next Mackenzie.

A flash of light and Mackenzie was in the flannel nightgown once more, looking pale and lifeless. Andros' hand darted toward her neck, and finding a strong pulse, sighed with relief.

"What happened? Passed out?" Zhane asked behind him.

"I have no idea. But we better get out of here, before people start coming out of the monster shelters," Andros replied.

Zhane nodded and bent down to pick up the frail girl. Secured in his arms, they teleported out.


"Mackenzie? Where are you girl?"

Mackenzie looked up from her homework. He was home? Oh-no...

" here Dad." She answered weakly.

Her dad stumbled into her room and looked at her through fogged eyes. "Where's dinner? I'm starved!"

" haven't been home for 2 weeks. I didn't make anything for you."

"Two weeks? What are you talking about? Are you trying to fool me? Is that it?"

"No...I'm not trying to fool you."

"Why are you looking at me like that? Do you think you're too good for me? Huh? Just like your mama, always thinking she's to good to talk to others."

Mackenzie's temper flared and she jumped up from her desk. "Mom was never like that! She would talk to any one! She wasn't too good for any one! You're just too drunk to remember anything!"

Her dad snorted and lifted the beer can in his hand up to his mouth. After a long swallow, he crunched the can in his large hand and tossed it to the carpet.

Mackenzie looked in disgust at it. "I would appreciate you leaving your beer in your room."

"This is my house! I'll put my beer any where I'd like to put!"

"Your House? Your house?! Do you have to be reminded that Mom paid for this house with her own money just so you could move in before I was born! You were so broke from trying to start your stupid businesses you couldn't lay a dime down for this house!"

Her dad took two steps toward her and hit her harshly across the face.

"I deserve some respect, and I don't think I'm getting any from you! I am your father!"

Tears ran down her stinging cheeks as she looked her father square in the eye and said something that would ruin what was left of their relationship forever. "But I wish you weren't!"

For a moment a look of hurt passed through Michael Dekalb features. It soon changed with a fire in his eyes as he turned on his daughter, throwing her to the floor and screaming obscenities. An hour later, Mackenzie couldn't tell what was bruised more, her body or her mind and spirit. Her own dad had put her down in every way, basically saying that she was the biggest mistake that ever happened.

And yet, long after her dad had left, mumbling to himself, Mackenzie lie on the floor, promising herself she would never cry again. That was the first time her father had hit her, and it wasn't the last. Mackenzie couldn't cry and feel sorry for herself. She would just have to move on, and forget about it.


Mackenzie once again woke up in the same manner, ready to fight. Luckily, this time, people were there to hold her down.

"Hold it, Mackenzie. You aren't in any shape to be jumping around," Andros promised.

Mackenzie shut her eyes again, willing the ache surrounding her body to go away. Then she remembered. The battle yesterday. Becoming the White Astro Ranger. Defending the earth.

I think I just made the biggest mistake of my life...She thought.

She opened her eyes and looked at the 6 faces around her.

Were these people were worried about her? Did they trust her to hold the most powerful morpher in the universe? Did they believe in her?

"Well, I had my fun. You guys can find some one else to take the White Ranger powers now."

"Are you kidding me? You just defeated a monster with one force of energy that we couldn't defeat with all of us!" Carlos exclaimed.

"And if I remember right...the power just about killed me. It felt like it was sucking energy from me!"

"You wouldn't have died. It looks as though you used your most powerful weapon, and your body wasn't ready for it," Andros explained.

"Can I just ask...why did you all the sudden decide to take the powers?" Cassie questioned.

"I didn't really have a choice. Some guy just out of the blue told me he knew what I was feeling, and dropped the morpher into my hands. It was like I knew what I was doing. What to say, what to was weird."

An echo of agreement. They all knew that feeling. It was pure instinct that came with the job.

Alpha waddled in then. "Oh Mackenzie, you're awake! How are you feeling? We're so glad you decided to join the team! You'll make the perfect addition!" Alpha went on praising her and Mackenzie seemed to drink it in.

"So Mackenzie...are you here to stay?" Andros asked. The whole team looked at her, waiting for an answer.

"Do I have a choice?"


Mackenzie looked behind her, and then back again. She scowled. Whoever was talking in her head, knew what he was saying.

"Yeah, I guess I'm here to stay." Mackenzie said it with a grin, like maybe it wasn't the worst thing in the world.

"Ok then. First some rules..." Andros was interrupted by a bewildered

"Rules? I don't do rules..."She stopped short with the glare from the whole team and swallowed sharply, "I mean, rules, of course you have to have rules to defend the world."

"Glad you think so. Anyway, like I was saying. First, no giving away your identity, no pushing a fight: that's the monster's job. Second, you have to be in school 5 days a week, unless really sick. And I'll decide how sick you have to be. Third, no more getting in fights, and no endless swearing. Every time I hear you swear, it'll mean 10 more minutes with homework. Got it?"

Mackenzie began to let out a string of curses at the long list of rules, but quickly clamped her lips shut. She thought the rules over. They weren't that bad. Actually, she kind of liked authority. She hadn't had any of it since her mom died.

"All right, I'll try my best to follow these rules, yahhda, yahhda, yahhda..."

"That's more like it." Ashley said.

"Now...could I please have a shower and some real clothes?" Mackenzie asked.

"Sure. Let me take you to your quarters," The girls volunteered together.

Mackenzie slowly hopped down from the bed, and followed them out.

The boys watched them leave.

"Does any one else feel worried about all this?" Carlos mumbled.

Andros sighed. " I do...but we have to give her chance. People can change, you know."

"She just needs some discipline and a little tough love, I think. Allow me to be the supplier of the discipline," Zhane grinned mischievously, cracking his knuckles for emphasis.

Andros shook his head fiercely. "Not that kind of discipline, Zhane. I already know she's been physically abused. Bad, too. I don't know how often her dad is around, but whenever he is, I think the only reason he is, is to get some money, and make his daughter's life a living nightmare for a couple of days. Ashley and Cassie found numerous scars covering her body, some opened and reopened. Plus the fact...look at her. She's got hardly anything holding her together. Anorexic, I believe."

"Andros...she's only 15. What happens when her dad _does_ show up? We can't take a minor out of her home, especially without permission," T.J. explained.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get there, I guess," He responded.


Hours later, Mackenzie lay in the warm bunk, trying to decide if this was all a dream.

Man...I hope not.

She turned on to her side and looked out the window into endless space. Her insides churned with fear that this wasn't going to work out. That it would some how fail her...and life would return to how it was just like when her mom died.

I won't let it fail me. I'll give everything I have inside to make this work. I need this...I really do...

The End