Legal Disclaimer: If Saban made it, it's his. If I made it, it's mine. This begins the day after Blood Born. This is shorter than the others, it has practically no action in it, and ends on the biggest cliffhanger yet in this series. If you want action and violence, go elsewhere. If you want a lot of semi-pointless chatter and some touches of romance, this is for you. I consider this fic an interlude before the real action starts.

Camping Trip
by: Cynthia

Dawn was coming. Pale streaks were appearing in the eastern horizon. Hidden well by the bushes and trees, a sleek creature that most resembled a human-made car, yet had human intelligence and spirit, waited. The others were still asleep. He no longer knew what sleep was. At least sleep in the way they knew it. He had slept for many eons in a near-coma after the capture of the White Turbo powers, and his awakening had been rather rude. Not that he objected.

He cast his senses back to her. To the one who shared his thoughts and his mind, and a good portion of his soul. Morgan St. Clair. The White Turbo Ranger. The third White Turbo Ranger. She didn't know that, however. Only he knew that. Only he knew of the other two. Sleep, my heart, he thought quietly, sensing a nightmare about to begin in her, and reaching out to soothe it away. She had no conception of how many of her nightmares he'd stopped before they'd begun. Not all, she would've suspected something was up if she'd never dreamed of the horrible time she had been through. But he kept her soothed enough so she could sleep most of the time.

Slowly he turned around and headed back to where he could watch over the whole group. That was what he was there for. Not just to enjoy things and take some time off, though he fully enjoyed the respite as much as they did. But he was their guardian. He was her guardian, and he would watch over and protect her and keep her safe until the end of time or his own destruction, whichever came first.

He would do for her what he had failed to do for his people, and he would do for her what had not been done for him.

White Comet would keep his partner safe for all time.

* * *
"I want to know who invented mornings, and I want to know now so I can do something extremely violent to them," Carlos grumbled as he yawned and sat up, brushing some of the leaves that had fallen on his head out of it.

Morgan looked over from where she was brushing out her own waist-length coppery mane and laughed at her boyfriend. "I'm going out on a limb and say you're not a morning person?"

"No fooling," Justin yawned from where he himself was sitting up. "We all figured that one out the last time we all went camping together!"

Carlos delivered a fairly good imitation of an evil stare at the two other Rangers, then wiggled his way out of his sleeping bag and staggered off, fresh clothing somehow making it's way into his hands {or perhaps it was just Ashley throwing them at him}, to the nearby river. T.J., who had already taken care of his morning ablutions, shook his head. "He'll be all right once he gets cleaned up and wakes up all the way."

"Good." Morgan muttered something foul she'd picked up from Divatox under her breath as she worked out a particularly nasty tangle. Long hair was fun to play with, but it could be a major annoyance to keep untangled. Some days I think I spend more time brushing my hair than I do fighting Divatox and Havoc!

Cassie was on the other side of the circle of sleeping bags, working the knots out of her own wave of midnight hair. "I know how you feel, Morgan," she sympathized. "You know, if Piranatrons were smart, they'd grab us by our hair instead of trying to fight!"

T.J. ran a hand over his smooth head. "That's nothing I'd have to deal with," the bald Ranger stated. The two long-haired ladies exchanged glances, then both of them picked up the nearest pillow and smashed them into their leader. "Then again, why am I worried about Piranatrons?"

Ashley shrugged from where she was cooking up some oatmeal for breakfast. "Whose eating and whose not? I need to know how much to make." After receiving hungry howls from everyone, she blinked. "You could have told me this last night, you know. I could've had breakfast all ready!"

"They probably didn't know last night," Carlos suggested as he came back, adjusting his green T-shirt. "I know all I was thinking about was getting some sleep."

As the Yellow Ranger started to serve up the food, Morgan found herself glancing up into the trees and cliffs higher above them. She'd always been drawn to the natural world, for as far back as she could remember, and she enjoyed being out in the open again. It didn't matter if it wasn't the open she had grown up in; she was at home in any wild and natural setting. She glanced back at the others. "So what are we going to do today?" she wondered. "I was thinking maybe some hiking?"

Gia shrugged a little. "That could be fun. That trail there looks good." She gestured with one hand to a semi-rough trail that wound up and up through the trees and looked to head towards a cliff that would give an absolutely spectacular view of everything. "I think my chair can make it up there."

"I think it can too, with those modifications Alpha and I put into it," Justin declared, glancing at the device she was forced to live most of her waking hours in. Given the fact she was as much under threat from the forces of evil as they were, Dimitria had given permission for Alpha and Justin to work together to make something that looked Like a regular wheelchair, but had some fairly nasty surprises built into it, and could go just about anywhere a person with the full use of their legs could go. There was no way Havoc, or anyone else, was going to take her by surprise again.

* * *
After breakfast, Carlos and Morgan took the dishes to a different part of the stream to do the extremely mundane chore of washing them. None of the others were under any illusions that they would be back any sooner than an hour, despite the fact it would take less than fifteen minutes to wash them.

As a matter of fact, it took under ten. But as the last one was set aside, Morgan laid her hands gently on Carlos'. "It's beautiful out here, isn't it, Carlos?"

"You look...very happy here," he gazed at her. In the city, Morgan had always seemed tense, nervous, as if she were going to fly apart at any moment. Even after she had been released from evil and had relaxed some, she didn't appear quite as free as she did now. "I've never seen you like this before." He wondered what other things he didn't know about her.

She smiled. "Because I'm home. I might've grown up in a regular house like everyone else, but this is the kind of territory I live for. I've spent weeks, months outside sometimes. My dad taught me how to live off the land, and how to live with it." She touched a leaf next to her with a faraway smile. "I think I'd like to become a naturalist, someone who works to preserve the land as it was meant to be. I'm not really a city person, Carlos. I could never be one."

Carlos watched her for several moments, then smiled. "You surprise me every time I turn around, Morgan. I like that."

"I like you, Carlos." Morgan gazed directly at him. "I really like you."

He touched her hand gently with his free one. "I like you too, Morgan. I know we've been dating for a while...well, it's more than just normal like, like I like my friends."

"I think the word love." Morgan looked into his eyes, biting her lip just a little. "I love you, Carlos Valerte."

The Green Ranger looked at her for several long moments, then slowly moved closer to her. "I love you too, Morgan St. Clair." Quietly he drew her into a long, deep, sensitive, caring embrace, their lips touching for the very first time in a kiss that by all rights should have shaken the very earth beneath them.

As they moved apart, both of them were blushing a deep red, but neither had the slightest inclination to unsay anything that had been said. Morgan smiled as she looked at her boyfriend. "Of all the things that have happened to me over the last couple of months, you have got to be one of the best."

"I quite agree," Carlos smiled, squeezing her hand. "I quite definitely agree. You're one of the best things that's ever happened to me."

* * *
Carlos carried the dishes back to camp a short while later, leaving Morgan to sit by the stream. She had always been most comfortable in situations like this, and wanted some time to think about what had just happened. She had never doubted once her feelings for the handsome Green Ranger since they had begun to date, though she had frequently doubted the wisdom and sense of those emotions. Being torn up inside from Divatox certainly didn't help. She grumbled to herself. She felt no answer from White Comet, though she knew he was aware of her, as he always was. She had the feeling he had thinking of his own to do, and she wasn't going to interfere.

"So, what was it like to kiss Carlos?" the White Ranger turned to see Gia behind her. The wheelchair bound young girl looked quite curious as she locked the wheels of her vehicle and looked down at her friend. "Or don't you kiss and tell?"

Morgan smiled. "It was incredible. But how did you know we kissed?" She seriously hoped that Carlos wasn't the sort to go running around screaming that he and his girlfriend had just kissed for the first time. She didn't think he was, but still...

"Carlos needs to wipe his lips a bit more often if he intends to keep your kissing him a secret," Gia chuckled. "Guy lips usually aren't quite that red: especially not the same shade as your lipstick."

Her friend blushed a little, then sighed. "Incredible doesn't even describe it, Gia. I honestly feel like he's the one I was born for."

Gia chuckled a little. "I know how you feel." She looked over at the other woman. "I kind of feel the same way about Justin."

Morgan's eyes hit the top of her head. "Gia, you two are barely thirteen!"

"So?" Gia shrugged, a sudden old look in her eyes. "Morgan, I can't walk, and the odds are fairly good that I never will again. Justin knows more about fighting than most people twice or three times his age. Rangers aren't normal people. You don't have normal lives. Neither do I, anymore. I don't mind either. Except for this," she gestured to her wheelchair. "I rather like how my life is now. That's not to say that I would turn down the chance to walk again. But I have someone I really care about, and some really awesome friends. And I live an adventure every day."

Her friend smiled a little. "You're right. It is an adventure every day. I wish you could walk, though." Her eyes darkened. "I still feel responsible for that, you know. If I hadn't broken away..."

Gia shook her head. "If you hadn't, things would be a lot worse than they are now. I could be dead, instead of just like this." Morgan realized she had never heard Gia use the word 'crippled' since just after the attack. She would use any word other than that at all.

"I honestly hope you can walk again someday," Morgan told her. "You're one of my best friends, Gia."

"You are my best friend, Morgan. Even Justin doesn't know me as well as you do." The young Cranston girl smiled. "The only person that's ever known me that well is my brother."

"Brother?" Morgan had heard her mention him a few times, but she'd never actually heard that much about the elder Cranston. "I don't think I've met him."

Gia sighed. "I wish I could introduce you. His name's Billy. He left to go live with some girl a couple of years ago, we've hardly heard from him since." There was a slight bit of jealousy in her tone, and she sighed. "I guess he's happy, though. I just wish he'd visit more often."

Both of them were quiet for a few moments, then Gia shook her head. "I'm going on back to the others. How does starting up for that ridge about eleven sound?"

"Sounds okay. I think I'm going to think a while longer." Morgan turned back to the stream and was soon lost in thought once again. Gia watched for a couple of moments, then smiled quietly to herself and turned her wheelchair, heading back to their campsite.

* * *
Justin toyed with a small design on a patch of bare ground, drawing something that might well have been Havoc, with himself shoving something into the evil general's back. I wish I could do that...if it would give Gia her legs back. The Blue Ranger never forgot, could never forget the sickening sight of Gia falling with Havoc's wound in her back, or the horrible sound of his laughter....

"You need to let it go, Justin," he jumped back at the sound of Gia's voice, and looked up to see her sitting just in front of them. As always, her eyes were crystal blue lakes of calm and peace, and he wondered how she could keep them like that. "Hating him isn't going to change anything. I'm still going to be in this chair, and I still won't be able to walk."

"But maybe I could do something about it!" Justin felt even more responsible than he had before learning Divatox was his mother now. Havoc was his uncle, and that meant it had been his blood that had ripped her precious ability to walk from her. He tried not to think too hard about the fact his cousin was Elgar...I wonder if they have another brother or sister I don't know about yet. He frowned for a moment. Dimitria has a twin sister she doesn't know about. They should have another brother or sister that we don't know about, since Havoc and Divatox are Elgar's aunt and uncle. I wonder... He shuddered. Nope. Never happen.

"You couldn't." Gia responded quietly, his thoughts having taken up no more than a moment. "Does vengeance really serve any purpose, Justin? Does it do anything besides eat away at you?"

He sighed. He already knew the answer to that. "Not really." He flicked his gaze up at her briefly. "How come you've never been upset by all of this, Gia? I mean...shouldn't you be angry and want revenge and all of that? Havoc almost killed you! If it weren't for the Phantom Ranger..."

"I would be dead and not alive," she shrugged. "So I'm glad I'm not dead and I don't waste my time worrying over what could've happened. I had to grow up a lot faster than most people, Justin, and it happened before I ever met you. My brother was always the star, the one with the attention on him, whether he was getting beaten up by a bully or graduating high school a year before his friends. It was either fend for myself, or get dropped by the wayside. My parents didn't forget I was there...but they didn't remember me as often as they did my brother."

Justin reached out to take her hand. "I remember you." He told her. "I couldn't ever forget you. I really care about you, Gia. I don't care about your brother. Heck, I don't even know your brother! I know you, and I care about you."

The two young people looked at each other with eyes that no one of thirteen should have. Until he had met Gia, Justin hadn't really understood what it was that drew T.J. and Ashley or Cassie and Phantom or Morgan and Carlos together. But as time went by and he had grown to know her, he had understood, and he realized that he might not love Gia just yet...but he could grow to love her, and probably would in time.

"Want to go for a stroll later tonight?" Justin asked quietly. "After the moon's up?"

"I think I'd like that, Justin." Gia smiled warmly at him. "I really and truly think I would." She settled her wheelchair a little nearer to him, then reached down and brushed away the design of Havoc. "Why don't we try this?" Carefully she picked up a stick of her own and drew a design very familiar to both of them: a heart.

Justin smiled. "I like how that looks."

He wasn't looking at the drawing.

* * *
T.J. watched the two young people from across the clearing and smiled as snatches of their conversation drifted to him. He had been hoping something would happen to get Justin away from thinking about the damage done to Gia; something he was obsessing on far more than Gia herself was. At least he's thinking about something else now, or it looks like it from the way they're laughing together.

He glanced around. Morgan had just returned from the stream, and was sitting next to Carlos, gesturing to various trees and things. Cassie and Ashley were talking about 'girl-things' near the banked fire, and he wouldn't be surprised to find White Comet not that far away. He couldn't see the sentient Zord, but he was developing almost as much of a knack for knowing where it was as Morgan was.

"So what are you thinking about, Teej?" When he looked back around, Justin was standing in front of him and Gia had wheeled herself over to where Cassie and Ashley were talking. No one in their right mind would interrupt a romantic couple, especially when one half of that couple was a black belt.

"About how I'm glad I've got so many friends," the Red Ranger grinned at them. "I've never had this many people I've been so close to before."

Justin sat down near his friend. "I know what you mean. It's like the minute you become a Ranger, you get this entire new family out of absolutely nowhere." His eyes shone brightly. "And a much better family than some."

T.J. smiled a little bit. "The best family. One we don't need to keep secrets from." Both of them winced just a bit; one of the things that bonded Rangers so close was the fact they not only faced death together on a regular basis, but they were the only ones to whom they could converse about such things. It wasn't possible for them to talk to their parents or other friends about the fact they'd just spent five hours fighting off a mutant octopus or that they were under a spell that made them walk on air for no apparent reason. Rangers were a breed apart, for many reasons.

"I still miss my mom," Justin murmured after a moment. "My real mom, not Divatox." There was nothing but antipathy in his voice for the monster that he was forced to share blood with. "I...I kind of thought, when I found out that I'm not..entirely human.." he almost seemed to be dragging the words out of himself. "That if I found out where my mother was from, I wouldn't feel quite so alone...or miss her as much...but now..."

"You'll always miss her," T.J. said quietly. "It'll hurt less as the years go by, but it'll never really fade. But the time will come when you don't think about it as much, and when you remember the good times, not the bad ones."

Justin frowned. "You sound like you know what you're talking about." He had talked frequently to T.J., but realized something: the Red Ranger had never told him what his own family back home was like. All he'd ever mentioned were his kin in Angel Grove.

"I do," T.J. shook his head just a little. "But now's not the time to talk about it."

His smaller friend nodded. He recognized the signs of grief not fully healed, and wasn't going to intrude on it. "We've had a good time up here so far. I hope nothing happens to mess it up."

"It won't," T.J. promised, his eyes flashing briefly to where he knew White Comet was watching them. "Besides, even if Divatox did attack, I think we could handle things without it messing up our fun. We could throw them into the river, knock them off cliffs..." The two of them chuckled at the very thought. "But I think things are going to be okay. Divatox usually lets some lag time go by before she tries to fail again. And if she does show up, you know we can handle it."

"I know." Justin smiled, then got up. "I think I'm going to go get my things ready for the hike later. I'll see you later, Teej."

* * *
Ashley ran her fingers briefly through her hair, threw Cassie a look of hope and luck, and started across the clearing to where T.J. was sitting on a log and going through his pack for the hike planned later on that morning. "Hey, Teej," she smiled at her boyfriend, feeling as she always did the strange combination of joy and emptiness whenever she was with him. As if whatever I'm looking for in a guy, he's not it. But how could he not be? He's gorgeous, he's nice, he's a perfect gentleman...and he's just awesome So why do I keep feeling like this?

"Hey, beautiful," T.J. smiled at his girlfriend and squeezed her hand briefly. "What's up?"

"Nothing out of the ordinary," she sat down next to him and decided to plunge right into what was on her mind. "T.J., I think we should go steady. Permanently."

His eyes widened in shock. He knew that he and Ashley had been having a great relationship so far, but the concept of dating exclusively had honestly never entered his mind. He knew he really cared about her, and he had vague notions in his mind about them being together fairly well indefinitely, but the actual concept, the reality of being her permanent and only boyfriend just hadn't sunk into him.

"Ash...." he breathed out the word, gazing at her with love in his eyes. "Ash, are you sure?"

"Yes." She smiled. Perhaps that emptiness was a want for commitment, for something more solid than just the friendship they had. She was fully intent on finding out. She reached out to touch his hand gently. "I don't ever want to be without you, Teej." Slowly she leaned forward and laid a gentle kiss on her lips. It remained gentle only for a moment, as T.J. overcame his shock, then began to return it with all of his heart, soul, and mind.

* * *
A soft wind lifted the leaves on the trees and stirred the flame-bright locks of the White Ranger as she walked along a small trail. She and Carlos had talked a little more, and she had decided to go for a walk to get some of what they'd discussed clear in her mind. A walk alone, no matter how much she liked being with him.

It's kind of fun to be alone. As much alone as I can ever be. She had gotten out of the habit of solitude after joining with White Comet, but she could sense today he was giving her back a little of that sense of being alone. His presence was always in the back of her mind and heart, but he wasn't there, his mind wasn't touching hers. It was akin to knowing someone was watching you, but that they wouldn't bother you.

Her lips still felt like fire from where Carlos' had touched them. She smiled in soft memory as her fingers traced a gentle pattern across them. She had never felt so young or so old at the same time in her entire life. She knew people changed as they grew up, but at that moment, all she wanted was to spend the rest of her life with Carlos, and to fight alongside the Rangers for as long as they would let her.

"Hey, Morgan," she glanced up at the sound of her name and saw Ashley leaning up against a tree, her eyes just as soft and distant as Morgan knew her own to be. "Today's an awesome day, isn't it?"

Her friend chuckled a little; she had seen what T.J. and Ashley before she had set off into the woods, and overheard a little of what Ashley and Cassie were talking about before the Red and Yellow Rangers had their own conversation. "So, how good of a kisser is T.J.?"

"Every bit as good as Carlos, I'm betting," Ashley grinned. "You know, I think the only one who has hasn't got a guy is Cassie."

"I thought she had something going with the Phantom Ranger," Morgan frowned, leaning against a tree opposite to Ashley. "That's what she said back in the Maze."

Ashley nodded. "They've been kind of drawn to each other since he first showed up." Quickly she filled her fellow Ranger in on what had happened when Phantom Ranger had made his first appearance in their lives. Cassie had been captivated from that first moment.

"Kind of like I was when I first saw Carlos," Morgan smiled, remembering how her heart had skipped a beat when she'd first spied the handsome Ranger. "What was it like when you saw T.J.?"

The Yellow Ranger considered, her mind flickering back to the past. "I was scared out of my mind. I'd just been picked to be a Ranger, we all had." As she described how Tanya Sloan had chosen her, Morgan sighed just a little bit.

Imagine being given your powers by someone you trust, not someone you hate. To defend the universe instead of destroy it.. She trembled. They don't know how lucky they are.

"I don't think I really started to fall in love with him until we started dating," Ashley had went on talking, oblivious to Morgan's thoughts. "It was kind of a shock when he asked me out, but I just didn't want to say no. It was like everything I'd ever hoped for that night." She flushed a little, glancing at her friend, remembering what else had happened that night. "Well...up until a point."

Morgan smiled. "I know what you mean. I was enjoying that night too. Most of it." She sighed, then smiled a little as she caught sight of something through the trees. "You know, I don't think we have to worry about Cassie."

Ashley raised one eyebrow, then turned to where Morgan was motioning. As the White and Yellow Rangers peered through the foliage, they both chuckled just the tiniest bit.

On the other side of the stream, just visible, were two figures. One was Cassie Chan, her black hair shining in the sun. Her arms were wrapped around the figure of someone neither had seen since the night of the Halloween Dance, but whom the sparkling ruby around his neck proclaimed him louder than words as the Phantom Ranger. The fact that the two were locked into a kiss that dwarfed both Carlos and Morgan's and T.J. and Ashley's.

"You're right," Ashley murmured. "I don't think we have to worry about her at all."

* * *
The Phantom sighed happily to himself as he faded into invisibility and Cassie waved as she returned to the others. He had known that following them was a good idea, and not just to keep an eye out for potential attacks by Divatox. He had appreciated a chance to speak with Cassie...even if what they'd actually done was just kiss. And kiss. And kiss

I love her so much. He smiled as he began to head back to his temporary shelter. She is everything to me.

I know how you feel. The familiar touch of White Comet's mind brushed against his and he smiled.

Greetings old friend. Valon replied mentally. Where are you at? I know you can't be in the woods.

There was a soft chuckle. And why can't I be? There are clearings a-plenty where I can fit, once I land. I'm about sixty yards from their camp. Gives me a good place to watch over them, and I can get out in a hurry if I have to. What are you doing, or do I have to ask?

Valon chuckled a little. Whom I choose to spend my time with is not your concern, Comet. Or should I say, Ari--

His thought was cut off at once. No. I am White Comet now, Valon. Please call me that. The note of pain in his mental tone was quite obvious, in sharp contrast to his previous thoughts. The person I was before doesn't exist anymore, and hasn't for a very long time. You know that as well as I do.

Valon sighed. He hadn't meant to cause his friend pain. He should've known better. He, better than any currently alive, knew what it meant to White Comet to just be a Zord, to be nothing else and no more. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that.

I know. White Comet's response was slightly distant. I should've expected you would, though. You're the only one left who knows, you know.

The Phantom was shocked. You haven't told Morgan? That was practically unheard of! I thought you told her everything!

She has her secrets that she keeps from the Rangers. I have mine I keep from her. I can't help but know what's on her mind, but because I'm a Zord, she doesn't know everything about me. I knew her mind from the moment she morphed. I don't think she knows just how much I know about her.

Valon slipped through the trees until he arrived where the Zord sat and watched the group of young people "No, she doesn't. And you're changing the subject." Valon whispered the words so the others wouldn't hear. "Why haven't you told her? And don't tell me it's just because she has her own secrets."

Because she doesn't need to know. White Comet thought flatly. Even Dimitria doesn't know who I am. Or was. And by the Power, no one will know unless I choose to tell them!

The black-armored Ranger stroked the Zord's hood soothingly. I understand. But if you ever want to talk, my friend, about the past...

Headlights flashed briefly, and White Comet appeared to smile, if something with an immovable grill and hood for a face could be said to smile. I know where to find you. Where you've always been: right here in my mind, my brother.

* * *
Morgan sat by the stream, throwing small stones into it. Her eyes were far distant, thinking over things that had happened. She'd never talked so much to anyone, or a group of anyones, in her life. She felt cleansed by it, as if it had healed her of things she'd never known were wrong.

With one exception. Her fingers slowly reached underneath her wave of hair to touch the clasp of the collar and she sighed. They still don't know.

And are you going to tell them? Comet asked bluntly. This was one of the few points of contention between them. Morgan had a severe tendency to keep too many things to herself, and Comet had been trying to cure her of that.

No. Morgan tossed another rock. As long as the blocking chip is there, that's nothing they can worry about. No human doctor can get it out of me without killing me, anyway. Porto's about the only entity in existence I know of that could take it out harmlessly, and I know he won't do it.

Her Zord was silent. She knew she didn't have a whole lot of time to play with; the others would be expecting her back shortly for the hike. I'm sorry, Comet. Maybe I'll tell them later. Maybe Dimitria and Alpha can get the implant out of me. Havoc knows it's there, and if anything ever happened to the blocking chip, I think I'd go insane.

She could feel a soft chuckle. She knew Comet had talked to others besides herself that day, and knew he had given them the same thing he gave her: good advice. You keep too many secrets, Morgan. But this is your decision. And if the blocking chip were removed, I think you could handle it. But you'd better hurry back, the others are getting ready to go. We've had a busy morning, you know.

The young girl chuckled. "I know." She was about to stand up and get back to the others when a heavy and familiar hand landed on her shoulder. Her heart went absolutely frigid with fear, even before she heard the voice.

"Hello, Morgan." Havoc spoke quietly, forcing her back down where she was. "I think it's time you and I had a little talk."

She took a quick breath, preparing to call for White Comet and have him call the others, when the general laid a dagger against her throat. "I wouldn't do that, my dear. It could be...very hazardous to your health." Her eyes flicked up at him in confusion and he chuckled. "No, I can't read your mind, but I know how you think by now. Didn't I train you?"

"You taught me only evil." Morgan growled. Comet, don't say anything to the others. Yet. I think I can handle this creep.

Be careful.

Always. She met Havoc's eyes again. "I'm going to guess you didn't come here to discuss the weather. So what is it?"

The general chuckled, the dagger not moving an inch from her neck. "Let's face a few facts. You wouldn't be a Ranger without me. I was the one who discovered the map to the White Ranger powers, I was the one who picked you out of all the others I had in mind, I was the one who designed the implant that's still in you." His fingers ran against the back of her head, right where the collar and beneath it, the implant, were. Morgan shivered at the touch, more out of fear than anything else. "Say it, Morgan. You know it's true, even if you hate it. In fact, I think I like hearing it more because you do hate it."

Morgan glared at him, then growled, "I wouldn't be a Ranger without you. But I'd still trade it all in for a chance to rip your black heart out and stomp on it."

"That's what I like about you, my dear. Such spirit!" Havoc chuckled, a sound that had no mirth whatsoever in it. Morgan considered moving, then reconsidered as the dagger scraped against her skin. "Spirit I'm going to truly enjoy breaking into a thousand pieces. I will own you, Morgan St. Clair. I've already made a down payment." His free hand closed on the collar, then jerked backward, snapping the clasp and ripping it off her neck.

There are no words, in any language, that would give a fair description of the panic that filled Morgan at this point. She wanted to scream, she wanted to struggle and fight. Instead, all she did was stare at the collar dangling from Havoc's hand. "W..why?"

"Because you are my property," the general stated flatly. He moved the knife from her neck and pried into the clasp, working the small chip out the Phantom Ranger had given her on Halloween night. She felt her heart and hopes sinking even faster as he crushed it between his fingers. "And my property obeys."

White Comet.... Morgan's mental voice was full of fear, then agony as Havoc pulled a very familiar remote control out of thin air and touched a button on it. She tensed in anticipation, but what she had remembered was nothing compared to the misery that ripped into her now. No........this can't be happening...not again.. She dropped to her knees in torment, learned reflex holding back on her screams.

"You will obey me, Morgan St. Clair," Havoc hovered over her writhing body. "Is that understood?"

Morgan, no! You can't! White Comet roared in her mind, panic almost overwhelming his telepathic connection her. Tears worked their way out of the young woman's eyes, and she trembled at all the memories that the pain brought back to her.

I don't have a choice, Comet...please...don't tell the others...I need you...I need you with me on this...I've always needed you... Morgan made her way back up to her feet and stared at Havoc. "What do you want me to do?" Her voice had lost all of it's life and sparkle, harking back to how she had sounded after her first weekend of training when they had just chosen her. She could tell he was enjoying it as much as she loathed it.

Havoc smiled. "For now, you'll return to the Rangers and act as if nothing has happened." He tossed her the collar back, and she caught it automatically. "You and White Comet will take your orders from me from now on. Zord, I know you can hear me. You will obey, or I will destroy Morgan's mind with pain: and you know I can and will do it. You might as well forget about the pleasure aspect this thing can cause; that didn't do any good. So it's going to be nothing but pain now." He didn't wait for any hint of assent from either of them, just stepped a trifle away. "Until I tell you otherwise, you'll behave as if I never came here today. Understand?"

"Yes, General Havoc." She whispered. "I obey."

The general chuckled. "Yes. You do."