"All right," Emerald said a short time later, "How in the Galaxy did you manage to take out two Droids and injure a third like that?"
Tommy shrugged. "I used my blaster."
Emerald raised her brows. "Your blaster? That's it?"
"Could I have a look at it?" Kal asked.
Tommy nodded, quickly morphed and handed the blaster over to the other boy.
Kal examined it closely, then said, "It's a little different from ours. Must be something in the structure that's powering it differently. I'd have to study it more closely though."
"Can you duplicate it?" Emerald asked.
Kal shrugged. "I can sure try." He looked at Tommy and asked, "Mind if I borrow it for a while?"
"Go for it." He paused, then asked, "How did you guys beat them before if you couldn't use your blasters or swords?"
"We used electricity," Chase replied. "Few thousand volts usually does it, but try getting them to where you want them." He shook his head.
"We're still trying to perfect weapons with the right current of electrical energy," Emerald added.
Tommy shook his head. "Man, and I thought Putties and Tengas were hard to beat."
"I'm gonna go start studying this," Kal said, moving toward the door.
"You know where to find me if you need me."
"Think I'll go do some training exercises," Chase said. He looked at Tommy and added, "You should come with me. Think you could use some lessons on fighting Droids."
Tommy nodded and both of them looked over at Emerald stated, "I'll join you in a bit. I'm gonna go check and see how Ina is doing."
Tommy hesitated when he heard this, wondering if he shouldn't go with her. Emerald seemed to read his mind and said, "Go with Chase. I won't actually be going inside. I'll just be speaking to monitors."
Tommy hesitated again but then nodded and followed Chase out another door as Emerald went out the main door.
Kat's eyes flickered open and Raske and Isis' concerned faces floated into view above her. "I'm all right," she said weakly, carefully sitting up.
"Are you certain?" Raske asked. "You are awfully pale."
Kat nodded. "Yeah, I'm sure. What about you two? Are you hurt?"
Raske shook his head. "No, we're fine. That thing seemed intent on you."
Kat nodded. "Yeah, I figured it would. Did you manage to get Ina the power supply?"
Raske smiled and nodded.
"Good." She stood slowly and looked down at the sleeping girl. "Now we just watch her carefully and give her help where we can. For the most part, it's up to her now."
Raske quickly reached out and steadied her as Kat started swaying. "You should rest. Isis and I can watch her."
Kat seemed about to argue, but then nodded and moved for one of the other cots. She lay down and felt her body relax instantly. She lay with her eyes closed for a moment, then opened them and looked at Raske.
"Tell me, are you two related?"
Raske looked at Isis, who was busy watching Ina and nodded. "She is my sister."
"Why is it that only you seem to know my language?"
Raske smiled. "Where we come from, the women of our race are unable to learn other languages. But they possess an ability instead. If you hang around them for a few days, then the ability kicks in and extends.
When that happens, then she'll be able to understand you and you her."
Kat frowned in confusion. "But the others all speak my language.
Shouldn't she know it already?"
Raske smiled again. "Nobody here is speaking your language. We're all speaking our own, but because you are a Ranger, the power is translating for you. It's sort of Isis' situation only for her, it takes a little longer because of who she is."
Understanding flashed through Kat's eyes. "Well, that certainly makes sense."
She shifted her position and, almost as if that were a signal, her eyes slipped closed and sleep claimed her. Raske covered her with a blanket, smiled down at her, then went and joined Isis at Ina's bedside.
"Litara requests an audience, Lord Mantrica," one of the many roaming
Droids purred to the figure seated on the throne.
The being clad in silver armor nodded his masked head shortly and the Droid turned and walked out. Seconds later, Litara entered, approached the throne and bowed her head respectively.
"What news do you bring me?" a deep, silky voice asked from behind the silver mask.
"Emerald has returned. She brought the Green Dragon Ranger back with her."
"What of the Jade Fire Ranger?"
"I'm quite certain he or she is here too. Emerald would not have returned unless she had both of them. Emerald Water is still alive and since Jade Fire was not with the others, I suspect he was with her.
Which would ultimately suggest we have a healer on our hands, though this is all speculation."
Mantrica was silent for a moment, then said, "Find out for certain. I want to know if Jade Fire is here as well. If so, then I will take the next step."
"I will let you know when you need to. Now leave me."
Litara nodded. "As you wish."
She bowed her head again, then turned and left. Mantrica's eyes glowed a blueish white as he thought over the information Litara had given him.
"If the Jade Fire Ranger is here and is indeed the one who can destroy me..."
"That will not happen Lord," a Droid very different from the others said as she stepped from the shadows. "To destroy you, one would have to go through me and to go through me, one must first get through my children."
Mantrica took her small hand in his and squeezed gently. "Your loyalty touches me to my very soul, Selikis. I owe much to you."
Selikis smiled slowly. "We owe you our very lives. If not for you, my race would be no more. What you think you owe is but a small payment of the debt we owe you. Each and every one of my children is prepared to die for you, as am I."
Mantrica brought her hand up to his lips and kissed it gently. "Not a day goes by that I don't sacrifice an innocent to thank Father and Mother Darkness for sending you to me."
Selikis smiled again and leaned down, their lips meeting in a gentle kiss.
"To the destruction of the Green Order," she whispered as she pulled back.
"I couldn't agree more," Mantrica replied, watching as she disappeared back into the shadows. He chuckled. "No I couldn't."
Kat stirred as she felt a hand lightly stroking her cheek and slowly opened her eyes. She smiled and put her hand over Tommy's as she stared up at him.
"How you feeling?" he asked softly.
"Better than I was earlier. That demon is a mean one."
Tommy nodded. "Raske told me about it. Looks like we've both had a rather exciting first day here."
"Oh? What happened to you?"
Tommy quickly related the events that had occurred the previous day.
"That Litara chick seemed so familiar it was scary."
"Well, guess I'll meet her soon enough," Kat replied, sitting up.
With Tommy's help, she got to her feet and went over to where Raske was silently feeding Ina energy.
"How's she doing?" she asked when he opened his eyes.
"See for yourself," Raske replied, eyes dancing.
Kat took the place he vacated and placed a glowing hand over Ina's heart. A smile crossed her face a moment later. "Raske? Would you call Emerald in here, please?"
Raske nodded and went into the hallway. A few moments later, he returned with Emerald right behind him.
"How is she?" Emerald asked, her gaze flying to the unconscious girl.
Kat smiled. "I have very encouraging news. The evil inside her is at least sixty percent weaker than it was last night and getting weaker rapidly. I give it a few days before she wakes up and, with the right amount of treatment, she'll be up and around in no time."
Relief flooded Emerald's whole body. "I don't know how to thank you three," she said, smiling at Isis as the girl entered the room. "We're in your debt."
"No, you're not," Kat replied. "Rangers stick together, remember?"
Emerald smiled slightly. After a short moment of silence, she said, "You must be hungry. I'll send something here if you like."
Kat nodded. "Thank you. I didn't realize how hungry I was till now."
"I'll have something sent for all of you right away then."
She turned to leave, then stopped and turned back. "Oh, I almost forgot." She held out her hand and a Jade colored amulet appeared in her hand. "Here. Where this at all times. It acts as your morpher.
To morph, just touch it and call on your power."
"I was wondering what that was you were wearing," Kat said, smiling at Tommy as she took the necklace.
Tommy smiled back. "You think that's different, wait till you try Morphing."
Emerald regarded the pair a moment, then said, "I'll have the food sent right away. I have something I need to do, then I'll come back for a long visit."
Kat nodded. "Thank you."
Emerald nodded, turned and left.
Tommy drew Kat into his arms and kissed her gently, ignoring the company they had. "What do you say we go exploring after supper? I'm sure you're two helpers here can look after Ina for a short while."
Kat smiled and kissed him back. "Sounds like a good idea. I could use a break."
"If you go into the city," Raske said, "use caution. Lord Mantrica has spies constantly watching for active and inactive Rangers. You don't want to get caught in a trap."
"Thanks for the advice," Tommy replied, "we'll be careful."
The group looked to the door as it slid open and two young boys entered, carrying trays of food.
"Wow," Tommy said, "that was fast."
Kat smiled and went over to where the boys set the trays down, thanking them as they left. "Certainly looks good," she commented as she looked it over.
Tommy grinned. "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's eat!"
Zedd stood on the palace balcony staring intently at the Earth. Or rather, at someone on the Earth. All day long, something had drawn him to watch Tanya Sloan as she went about her business and it irritated him to no end. But something strange was going on and somehow, the Yellow Ranger was the key. So he watched. It was several hours later when he felt like the entire Galaxy had smashed into him.
"So that's the secret," he said out loud. "I don't believe it."
"Don't believe what?"
Zedd turned and looked at Zara as she joined him on the balcony. She looked at him and raised her brows. "Something wrong?"
"I wouldn't exactly say wrong," Zedd replied, "I'd stay more stunning than a death ray."
"Well? Don't keep me in suspense. What is it?"
"The pretty Yellow Ranger is...pregnant."
Zara feinged ignorance. "So?"
"The child she carries is mine."
Zara let her eyes flash with complete surprise. "You're kidding, right?"
"Do I look like I'm kidding?" he snapped in reply.
Zara looked back at the Earth, shaking her head. "That's what you get for taking advantage of an Earth girl. What do you plan to do about it?"
"Simple. Let her carry out the term and when the child is born, take it. Now that I have discovered what it was that was being kept from me, the spell around her is gone and I can feel the power it holds already." He fell silent for a moment, then said, "Go down there and capture her. Take her to my secret dimension."
Zara nodded and turned to leave, stopping when Zedd said, "Oh and Zara.
Let's keep this between us. Last thing I need is Rita throwing a jealous fit and killing mother and child."
Zara smiled slightly and nodded. "Of course Uncle."
As Zara disappeared, Zedd turned his gaze back to the Earth and chuckled softly. Things had definitely taken an interesting turn.
Tanya had been uncomfortable all day. From the moment she woke up that morning she'd had the feeling of being watched and, as a result, had stayed in highly populated areas. Now, it was late afternoon and she was quickly making her way to the Youth Center. She hadn't noticed how empty the Park was until the intense feeling of danger that had hung over her like a cloud all day seemed to grow ten fold. She stopped dead in her tracks and listened, noticing that not even the birds were singing.
"Oh, I really don't like when this happens," she muttered, bringing her communicator up.
She glanced around, then pushed the teleportation button on the communicator and vanished in a flash of yellow light. Seconds later, Zara stepped from behind a bush and watched the light disappear in the sky.
"Sorry Uncle, just missed her. But don't worry, I'll get her tonight."
She smiled, then vanished as well.
"Hey Tanya," Billy greeted as he entered the main chamber and saw the girl, "What are you doing here?"
Tanya smiled though Billy noticed it didn't reach her eyes. "Just thought I'd come visit for a while, maybe help out."
"Well, I was just gonna go down and do some repairs on the Zords. You can help with that if you like."
Tanya nodded. "Sure. Lead the way."
Billy glanced up at Zordon, then turned and lead the way from the chamber. A short time later, the pair were hard at work on the huge machines. They worked in companionable silence, talking only when necessary. Finally, Billy called a dinner break and they had Alpha teleport them in something to eat.
"So what's on your mind?" Billy asked as they ate.
"What do you mean?"
"There's something wrong. I can tell. You've looked ready to jump out of you skin since you got here. So what's up?"
Tanya studied Billy for a long moment, then told him about the feeling of being watched all day. "I don't know. Maybe it's because Kat's not here anymore." She raised her eyes and looked at him, revealing the fear in them. "I'm so scared that Zedd is gonna find out about this baby. If he does, then...." she trailed off and looked away.
Billy put his hand under her chin and titled her head up so that she was forced to look at him. "Listen to me. Zedd is not going to get his claws on this baby. We won't let him. Adam and the others, they'll all protect you. I'll protect you. Understand?"
Tanya's eyes glimmered with tears. "Thank you Billy. That means a lot."
Billy smiled and pulled her into a hug. "Anytime. Now why don't we finish up this last Zord so you can go home and get some sleep?"
Tanya smiled and nodded. A few hours later, she said her goodnights and headed home. Her mind had been eased somewhat, but she couldn't stop it from lingering on the edge.
"You're not going to get this baby, Zedd," she whispered as she stared at the ceiling, "I won't let you."
Her eyes slowly closed and she drifted off to sleep. In a corner of the room, in a spot the moon lit, there was a flash of black flame and Zara appeared, watching the sleeping yellow Ranger. A small smile played on her lips at the power emanating from the child within the Ranger's womb.
æOh, you're gonna be a strong one,' she thought. She sighed inwardly.
æGuess I'd better get this done.'
She crossed over to the bed and stood, staring down at the girl. She made her move when Tanya stirred and started to open her eyes. In one fluid motion, Zara summoned a knife and pressed it to Tanya's stomach while her other hand firmly covered her mouth.
"Shh," Zara whispered as Tanya's eyes widened and she began the motions of struggling. "Don't move and don't make a sound or the blade I'm holding to your stomach won't just hurt you if you get my meaning."
Tanya froze, her eyes turning fearful at Zara's words. Zara smiled slightly.
"Uncle Zedd found out about the little bun you're hiding. He wants to have a little chat."
Tanya's eyes grew even more fearful if possible and Zara couldn't stop the surge of sympathy that washed over her. She shook herself and let a cruel smile cross her lips.
Before Tanya could do anything, they were gone from the room and in a place that resembled the Dark Dimension. Tanya quickly scrambled to her feet as Zara vanished, desperately searching for a way out that she knew wasn't there. She spun around at a chilling laugh as, in a flash of red, Lord Zedd appeared.
"Greetings Tanya. I hear you and I are about to become parents."
"You'll never get your hands on this baby, Zedd!" Tanya growled, quickly slipping into a defensive stance.
Zedd laughed again. "On the contrary my dear. That child will indeed be mine."
He pointed his staff at her and, before she could move, a beam of energy shot out and into her. She reeled back, falling into a wall where she leaned, eyes wide and gasping. Zedd approached and watched in satisfaction as a red light slowly took it's place in her eyes.
"Now how do you feel about the situation?"
Tanya struggled but then the red light flared and she said, "T...This child will be...yours. As will I."
"There's a good girl. Now, go on home and back to bed. When you awake, you will act and appear completely normal. However, should the others discover you are in my service, you will take care of it accordingly, understand?"
Tanya nodded silently and Zedd chuckled again before touching her with his staff and sending her back to her bed. His mind lingered on the thought of her in bed and he flashed back to the night the conception of his unborn child had taken place, feelings of pleasure running through his body.
æPerhaps we'll have to reacquaint ourselves now that I have her in my power,' he thought, then shook himself as a chilling shock replaced the pleasure.
"All right! I'm coming!" he shouted. "Blasted woman," he muttered. He sighed, then activated his staff and vanished, heading back to the palace.
To Be Continued ...