Legal Discliamer: The Power Rangers do not belong to me, they belong to Saban Entertainment. Morgan St. Clair and the White Comet TurboZord do belong to me; they may not be used in any way without my permission. This fanfic takes place after "A Ranger By Any Other Name", and is the second in the "Comet's Tale" series. Enjoy.
Pain. Raw, agonizing pain burst through her, tearing every cell she possessed apart. She was on her knees, a scream pouring from her throat. As she managed to bring her head up, she saw three figures standing before her. One lashed out with a savage kick that knocked her almost a full ten feet away.
"You are our White Ranger, Morgan St. Clair," it was Divatox. "Now and forever!"
"No!" she howled in as much pain as fear and denial. "I'm free of you now, the Phantom Ranger freed me! You can't control me anymore!"
Cold laughter sounded. "You'll never be free!" Havoc thundered. "You belong to us forever!"
Her eyes fastened almost automatically on the third figure, wrapped in darkness. "Who are you?" she croaked, wanting to know who joined them in her torment. She received a nasty surprise when he stepped forward and spoke.
"Do you not know me, White Ranger?" that voice. . . .no. . .it couldn't be!
"C. . .Carlos?" she whispered, her heart spasming as the darkness faded to reveal her boyfriend, the Green Ranger, Carlos Alvarez.
"You are evil, Morgan, and will never be a true Power Ranger," he growled. "I cannot love you, you are the enemy."
"Carlos! No!" she felt as if someone had stabbed her in the heart at his rejection. Pain and betrayal did not describe what she felt as Carlos raised a hand in an obviously threatening gesture.
"You will die, White Ranger! I will not let you harm my friends!" he was morphed a moment later. Morgan tried to fall back, not wanting to fight him, only to find she was immobile. He came towards her, his Turbo Sword upraised, and all she could do was watch as the blade entered her. * * *
Morgan sat up in bed, sweat-drenched and just barely managing to stop her screams from waking up everyone in the house. She made her way over to the window seat and stared out over the slumbering houses.
What is it, Morgan? the soft mental voice of White Comet spoke in the caverns of her mind.
A nightmare, she replied. Another nightmare. They've been coming every night since the Phantom Ranger took the implant out of me.
Have you spoke to Carlos of them?
You know I haven't, she sighed a little. I can't, and I won't, tell him that I'm the White Ranger.
Maybe someday. She looked up to a small dot in the sky, and shivered. To some people, that dot might have been a star or a satellite. To her, however, it was a place of pain and hate. She knew what it really was: the SpaceBase, in it's stationary orbit over Angel Grove. Some days I wish Divatox and Havoc had never picked me to be the White Ranger. But then again, if they hadn't, I wouldn't have you, my Comet.
Her Zord was silent for a moment, but she could feel the pure love flowing to her from it, and basked in it. Having someone to talk to at all hours of the day or night was a wonderful blessing, especially since it was the truest friend she had ever had in her life. White Comet was the only being who knew all her secrets, both as Morgan, and as the White Ranger. He knew the pain she had suffered while under Divatox's control, he knew the sheer joy she took in being free. He knew how dedicated she was to making certain that Divatox and Havoc never defeated the Rangers. He knew her heart, mind, and soul better than any living being in the universe.
You also should go back to sleep. You have that history test tomorrow, remember? The one you and Carlos studied half the night for two days ago?
Oh, Comet! Morgan laughed. You're getting as bad as my mother!
White Comet chuckled softly in her mind. I am your Zord, and your friend. Since I was first crafted, I have partnered my Ranger in all things, including making certain they sleep, and are ready for anything they must be. That includes history tests.
Morgan smiled and yawned as she headed back to bed. I love you, Comet.
As I love you, Morgan St. Clair. * * *
"Divatox, won't you ever calm down?" Havoc stared at his sister as she raged up and down the SpaceBase's throne room the next morning.
"No, I will not!" she screamed. "Everything was going just fine until the White Ranger betrayed me!"
Havoc sighed; in the past month Divatox had done nothing but moan and groan over how the White Ranger she had hand-picked had escaped them, so much so he had given serious thought to abandoning her again, letting her deal with the Rangers on her own. Thanks to the blasted Phantom Ranger, they no longer had the control of pain over Morgan St. Clair, the best fighter Havoc had seen in thousands of years. Havoc looked to the Earth, deep in thought.
The White Ranger has not joined the others. She still keeps who she is a secret from them, he mused. That is most strange, and might be useful. If they do not fully trust her, then that is a weakness in her and them both. And a weakness that shall be exploited.
His sight penetrated to where Morgan was fast asleep, and a cold smile curved what passed for his lips. Sleep well while you can, White Ranger. Soon you and all the other Power Rangers will be nothing but a very long-gone memory. * * *
Justin stared into the lake, tossing stones one after the other into it. His dad was going to be working late that evening, and the other Rangers were all busy. There was nothing for him to do now, but sit....and think.
"Justin?" he looked up at the calling of his name to see Gia standing there. In the last month she'd almost been avoiding him, he thought, ever since the dance. "Mind if I sit down?"
"Not at all," he moved aside on the bench to give her enough room. "So, what have you been up to?" was the most creative thing he could think to say.
She smiled a little. "Nothing much. I would've talked to you before now, but I've been so busy this last month, I've barely had time to breath! And I've wanted to talk to you, too."
Justin's eyebrows shot up to his hairline! She wants to talk to me? Why? "Really?" he thanked God his voice didn't crack at that moment, as it had been doing every now and then these days.
Gia smiled a little bit and took a deep breath. How do you tell a Power Ranger you know who they really are? "Well, about the dance last month. I really had a good time, until those fish-monsters showed up."
"So did I," Justin nodded. "Monsters have a way of ruining the fun around Angel Grove. Good thing the Power Rangers are here to keep things in line."
Gia managed to keep a straight face at that. "Justin," she started. "Ummmm. . .there's something I need to tell you."
"What's that?" he wasn't looking at her, his eyes were fastened on the glittering lake. Her strangled voice startled him to his feet.
"Piranatrons!" he looked up to see about ten of the fish-headed warriors advancing on them. He groaned under his breath. This isn't what I needed! I can't morph with Gia here! Looks like I'm gonna have to handle this one on my own!
He was surprised to see Gia falling into a martial arts stance. He'd known she studied karate, but hadn't really thought she'd stick around and fight. "Gia, get out of here!" he told her. Once she leaves, I can morph, and call the others! She shook her head.
"I'm going to stick this one out, Justin!" she barked the words out. "I ran from them at the dance, I'm not doing that again!
Justin watched in awe to see her run towards the Piranatrons. So surprised was he that he almost forgot to defend himself as the fighters attacked him. "Keep off me, fishheads!" he growled. One of them tore his communicator off and stomped on it hard, crushing the device to pieces. Oh, man! Now I can't get in touch with the others, and we're going to need help! I can't morph in front of Gia either!
Several long moments passed as Justin and Gia fought with the Piranatrons. He'd never been in a fight like this before, not without the others coming to help him, and he was starting to get tired. Suddenly, he saw one of the Piranatrons trip Gia up, then throw her bodily against a tree!
"Gia!" he screamed, feeling a sudden and strange rage boiling up within him. This was unlike anything he'd ever felt before! Something seemed to snap inside of him, as he glared with all his hatred and anger at the Piranatron who'd done that. It was an open bet who was more surprised, Gia, the Piranatrons, or Justin, at what happened next. Gleaming red light shot from Justin's eyes, reducing the Piranatron to ashes! The remaining warriors stared at him, then disappeared, not wanting to face this Ranger again any time soon!
"Justin!" Gia ran over to where he stood, shocked into immobility by what had just happened. "How did you do that?"
He shook his head. "I dunno! I just . . .did it!" What in the world just happened? * * *
"So, how do you like Angel Grove?" Ashley asked Morgan as the little group gathered in the Youth Center. "You've been here what, a month now?"
The white-wearing girl nodded. "And I love it!" she smiled briefly at Carlos. In the past month they'd grown closer, especially since Morgan was no longer the evil White Ranger. I'm just the White Ranger. The mysterious helper. She chuckled inwardly. No one knew who she was, except for Divatox, Havoc, and her Zord.
You're going to have to tell them, you know, White Comet told her. She shrugged briefly, timing it so that it looked as if that were in response to a question T.J. asked.
Maybe, maybe not! she countered. I can keep a secret for a very long time if I have to!
"Morgan?" Carlos touched her shoulder gently. "Did you hear me?"
She looked up. "Oh, sorry, Carlos, my mind was elsewhere!" she flashed a bright smile at him. "What was it?"
"You see that?" she followed his gaze to where Bulk and Skull, the local jacks-of-all-trades and comic relief, were sneezing and hacking in a corner over a pair of sodas. "They don't look so good. Hope whatever they have isn't catching."
Morgan nodded. "I'm sure it's just a cold," she said. She shuddered as the thin one, Skull, let loose with a terrible sneeze. "At least, I hope it is!"
No one, not even Morgan, noticed the periscope peering up from a drink on the counter of the Juice Bar. * * *
"So, those two silly humans are sick, are they?" Divatox murmured to herself. She'd finally emerged out of her raging and started planning against the Rangers again. Havoc was greatly pleased, this was the sister he knew so well!
"What do you have in mind, Queen of all evil?" he asked. "Something particularly nasty, I do so hope?"
Divatox laughed as she turned to look at her brother. "Oh, it's so nasty you won't even believe it, Havoc! Porto!" she bellowed for her science officer.
"Yes, my queen?" the large white monster shuffled up. "How may I serve you?"
"I need a monster," Divatox began to pace up and down the bridge. "Something to make the Rangers sick, so sick they can't fight!"
Porto thought for a moment, then nodded. "I've got just the thing, your Majesty! I'd like you to meet Germator!" Divatox almost smiled as a six-foot tall, spiky creature shambled over to her. "The rays it emits from it's eyes will give the Rangers the Altairian Cordon, a disease for which there is no cure on Earth! They won't just be too sick to fight, they'll die!"
"Excellent!" Divatox laughed. "Just what I wanted! Oh, this is going to work perfectly!" * * *
T.J. smiled a little as he watched Carlos and Morgan talking together. They'd grown fairly close the last month. Wonder where Justin is, he was supposed to meet us here thirty minutes ago! Hope nothing's happened to him. The Red Ranger had a definite soft spot in his heart for the youngest member of the team. He glanced up as Justin almost staggered into the Youth Center.
"Justin!" he sprang to his feet, running over to the younger boy. "Justin, what happened?"
He saw Justin's eyes going to Morgan, and then to the others in the Youth Center, and got the distinct feeling he wasn't going to mention it here. T.J. glanced over to the other Rangers, calling them with his eyes.
"What is it?" Ashley whispered as they quickly gathered in the doorway. No one else seemed to have noticed the way they hovered over Justin, which was all very well and good for the Rangers.
"Have to talk to you guys!" Justin whispered. He didn't seem hurt, really, just in severe shock! "In private. In the Power Chamber."
Carlos nodded. "You guys go, I'll be there in a second," he said, dashing back over to Morgan. "Hey, I've got to go for a few, but I'll be back."
"No problem," Morgan smiled. "Is Justin okay, he seems like he's hurt or something."
The Green Ranger shook his head. "Nope, things are fine, he just wants a bit of company on the way home. You know how things are in Angel Grove, what with the monsters and everything. He doesn't want to get jumped. Can't say I blame him, either."
Oh, they do a very nice job of covering up who they are! If I didn't already know, I might've fallen for it! I wish I did know what was wrong with Justin, though. If Divatox has hurt him. . . "Neither do I," was all she said aloud, though. "See you around!"
Carlos nodded as he headed back to the others. How did I luck out in finding her? She's always so understanding! His thoughts turned a trifle darker as he and the other Rangers headed for their usual corner. Justin had better be all right.
Morgan watched them go, and smiled a little as she saw the flash of light that indicated they'd teleported out. Comet, how do you feel about a spin around town? See if Divatox is up to anything in particular?
Her Zord's mental laughter and assent was all she needed to get up and head out the door. Time for the White Ranger to make her rounds. * * *
"Okay, Justin, what happened?" T.J. asked as they arrived in the Power Chamber. "Was it Divatox?"
The youngest Ranger shook his head. "It was. . .I don't know what it was!"
Ashley glanced at the others over Justin's head. "Justin, you're not making any sense."
Alpha shuffled over. "Yo, we were monitoring all youse guys, and saw what happened! Take a look!" he gestured to the Viewing Globe, where the previous hour's events unfolded.
"Tell me I didn't see that!" Carlos was completely shocked at the scene before them. "I did not see . . .lasers. .coming out of Justin's eyes, did I?"
T.J. nodded slowly. "You did. I did. We all did," he said. "Question is. . . how?"
As one, the five of them turned to Dimitria. "Alpha, scan Justin for any and all spells or other things that might have altered his normal biochemistry."
"You got it, Dimitria!" the robot got to work at once, muttering something in low tones about how they all needed to undergo full physical examinations.
Cassie touched T.J.'s arm gently. "You don't think Divatox somehow did something to him without our knowing it, do you?" she wondered. T.J. shrugged some.
"I don't know," he said. "I don't know how she could have, or why she'd do something that would help him against the Piranatrons."
"And it only seemed to happen when Gia was hurt," Carlos put in as he joined them. "So it might not be Divatox."
Ashley nodded. "But that leaves open the question of who, and still of how, and why."
The four of them glanced over to where Alpha was still checking over Justin. "Let's hope Alpha can figure out what it is, and soon," T.J. said finally. "And hope that whatever it is, we can deal with it." * * *
"The really boring part of patrolling is the patrol itself," Morgan said out loud as she and White Comet soared over the city. One of his many capabilities was flight, as he'd shown her shortly after they'd escaped from Divatox's control, and they used that now to keep an eye out for trouble. "You see anything, Comet?"
Nothing, Morgan. Angel Grove is most quiet today.
"You know, that almost worries me," she mused. "I don't like it when Divatox is quiet."
Neither do I. This does not bode well, especially with whatever has happened to young Justin.
"Do you have any idea what she might have done to him?"
None. But rest assured that she will not get away with it, her Zord's calm confidence filled Morgan, and she smiled.
I love you, Comet, she told him softly, running a gentle hand across the dashboard. "Hey, what's that!?" she glanced down at the street below them. "Looks like Piranatrons, Rygog, and Elgar," she shook her head. "Trying to rob a bank. Sheesh. Well, time to go to work!"
Good luck, White Ranger, Comet told her as the driver's door slid open. Kick some tail!
You know it, Comet, you know it! was all Morgan thought as she jumped down the few feet to land right in the middle of the group of Piranatrons. "Now, now, now, you guys know that taking things that aren't yours isn't right!" she admonished them, falling into a fighting stance.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't the traitor White Ranger!" Rygog glared at her. "Come to join us again?"
Morgan laughed. "Oh, you've got to be kidding!" she told him. "I'd rather surf in acid naked than be one of Divatox's little cronies again!"
"Oh, that sounds painful!" Elgar stumped over to her, waving the Piranatrons to attack. "Almost as painful as what they're going to do to you!"
"Yeah, right," the White Ranger laughed as she jumped, hit, spun, kicked, and punched every Piranatron at least four times each in under four minutes. "Next!" she called out sharply, hiding how heavily she was breathing after that whirlwind display. Comet, remind me to practice the Tornado Combo move a bit more, I'm getting rusty!
I shall, Morgan. Elgar, to your left!
With a practiced, smooth move, she blocked Elgar's sword, ducked under it, then kicked both Rygog and Elgar's feet out from under them. She giggled as they fell all over themselves trying to get back up. "Come on, guys, I thought you'd figured out how to walk by now! You put one foot in front o. .no, Elgar, you don't put your foot on Rygog's head!" she mock-groaned, then glanced up as five beams of light entered the area. "Hello, Rangers," she quickly affected the gruff voice she commonly used around them. She spoke more these days than she had when she was being forced to fight them, but still didn't want to let on that she was Morgan St. Clair, Carlos' girlfriend and friend to them all.
"White Ranger," T.J., as morphed Red Ranger, stepped closer to her. "Why don't you join us? Please. We could use your help."
She shook her head and stepped away. "No, Red Ranger. I work alone. I will help you whenever you need me, but no more than that."
Green Ranger was looking at her, almost harshly. Do I know that voice? he wondered.
"You may have won this time, White Ranger, but the war continues!" Rygog snapped as he and Elgar vanished. "Divatox will hear of this!"
She barked a short, humorless laugh. "That's supposed to scare me?" * * *
"The White Ranger!" Divatox screamed as she stared into her periscope. "That traitor dares to fight my Piranatrons and side with the Rangers! GERMATOR!" The monster shuffled up at once. "How can I serve my queen?" "Go down to Earth, and infect each and everyone of those Rangers!" she ordered. "Especially the White Ranger! I want her dead inside of ten minutes! That's an order!"
Germator bowed low. "As you wish, my queen!"
"And take some Piranatrons with you!" Divatox added. "Wear them down! And hurry up!"
"Yes, Divatox!" Germator vanished, Piranatrons in tow, as Divatox returned her gaze to the periscope.
"Nobody betrays me and gets away with it," she muttered. "No one!" * * *
"You stopped them from robbing the bank?" Pink Ranger glanced over at White Ranger, who nodded.
"I was on patrol with White Comet," she told them, gesturing towards the Zord that still hovered above them. "They weren't exactly trying to hide what they were doing, as if they even could!"
T.J., if his face could be seen, looked confused. "You're free of Divatox's control now, why don't you join us?"
"What is your big hang up with me joining you?" she asked harshly. "I do what I want, Red Ranger, and I help when I can, no more. I am your friend, but I am not one of you. I can never be one of you. I have my reasons. Accept them."
Morgan, watch out! Even as White Comet's voice rang in her mind, she dropped and rolled to the side, as a beam of light splashed through the air. "What was that?" she was on her feet and looking around a moment later.
"It was me, White Ranger!" one of Divatox's monsters, surrounded by Piranatrons, leaped up. "I am Germator, here to infect you all!"
Carlos couldn't help but grin. "Infect? You're going to infect us? Most monsters want to beat the daylights out of us, you're going to infect us? Boy, Divatox must be scraping the bottom of the barrel to send you!"
Germator's response was to wave the Piranatrons into battle, while it charged for Green Ranger personally. "I think I spoke too soon," he muttered as he fended off blow after blow from it. He barely noticed out of the corner of his eye that White Ranger was fighting alongside them, and doing one excellent job of it. I'm glad she's on our side now, I just wish I knew who she is! I don't care if she joins up or not, I just want to know who the face under that helmet is! Oh, shut up, Carlos, you've already got a girlfriend!
Morgan glanced around as she slammed two Piranatrons into each other, and saw Cassie and Ashley fighting a short distance away, against almost twenty Piranatrons. To the other side, Carlos was getting pummeled by Germator. Gotta save him. But they need me too. Sorry, Carlos, I love you, but this is business. I'll make it up to you.
With two flips and a kick, she was over by the other female Rangers. "Care for some help, ladies?" she grated.
"Thanks, White Ranger!" Cassie waved as she joined them.
"Yeah, help out anytime!" Ashley nodded. For almost a full five minutes the three of them fought almost as one, matching moves and throws perfectly.
Morgan! Green Ranger needs your help! She thanked her lucky stars Comet kept an eye on the battle as she somersaulted away from the girls. She took in the situation quickly, Carlos was being held by a pair of Piranatrons, as Germator stood in front of him, eyes beginning to glow a hideous orange.
"Hey, Germator!" she growled as she leaped through the air. "Leave him alone!" even as the rays shot from Germator's eyes, she tackled Carlos out of the way, the rays passing right through where he had been a moment earlier. For a moment, they stared at each other through their helmets. Just for a moment, until a strangled scream broke the air.
"T.J.!" Carlos pushed White Ranger out of the way and stared at his friend, who had been hit by Germator's beams. He was already on the ground, choking and coughing, his hands going to his throat. Blue, Green, Yellow, and Pink Rangers all converged on him, while White turned to the laughing monster.
White Comet. You're a Zord. Got any weapons that can blow that thing to pieces? she asked calmly and coldly.
I do, White Comet's mental voice was as icy as her own. Get everyone back!
"Rangers!" Morgan snapped the word out. "Get him out of the way, that monster's about to bite the dust, big-time!"
"We've got to get him to the Power Chamber!" Justin said. "And soon!"
Even as they moved T.J. back a few feet, preparing for the teleport, missiles from White Comet's sides blasted Germator into nothingness. "Woah!" Ashley breathed. "How'd you do that, White Ranger?"
"Tell you later," she growled. Comet, get back to the cave, I'll join you later. I'm going with them to the Power Chamber, if they'll let me.
I'll be waiting for you, White Comet soared off towards the cave as Morgan turned to the others.
"If you do not object, I want to help you help him," she told them. "It is my fault that this happened."
Carlos nodded briefly. "We can use all the help we can get. Let's go." * * *
Cassie and Carlos eased T.J. onto the examination table in the Power Chamber. Since they knew perfectly well White Ranger knew who they were, they were demorphed as they started to run scans on the Red Ranger. She, on the other hand, remained morphed, watching from just out of the way.
"White Ranger," Dimitria called to her. "Why do you not at least reveal who you are to us?"
She shrugged. "I have my reasons. Is the Red Ranger all right?"
Alpha looked at them all, then shook his head. "Rangers, T.J.'s been infected with the Altairian Cordon! Dere's no known cure on Earth!"
They all looked over to where T.J. lay on the table, pale and shaking. He was already unconscious, and sweat dripped from his brow. White Ranger growled deep in her throat. "If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go kill Divatox!"
Before she could teleport out, Alpha continued, "Dere is a cure, though, on da planet Phylos! It's da Samaris plant, and is raised in the temple of Kyloc. An' it's not an easy trip there!"
"I'll go," came from four voices, that immediately fell to arguing. Everyone fell silent at a sharp "Shut up!" from White Ranger.
"It's my fault this happened," she said coldly. "I should've tackled the monster, not just knocked you out of the way, that's what enabled it to hit Red Ranger instead," she glanced at Carlos. I'm going to set right what I did wrong.
The Rangers glanced up at Dimitria, who seemed to be considering it. "Very well, White Ranger," she said at last. "But one of us shall go with you as well," the veiled mentor almost expected her to protest; instead, the once-evil Ranger shrugged.
"Fine, who's going?" was all she said. Before any of the others could say anything, Carlos stepped up.
"I am," he almost challenged them to argue with him over it. "I was the one that thing was aiming for, I'm going."
Dimitria nodded her agreement as the White and Green Rangers stood by each other. "Take this map," a roll of paper appeared in Morgan's hand. "I know not what dangers you will face there, but you must be extremely careful. Anything could happen."
They both nodded, and waited only long enough for Carlos to morph before Alpha teleported them to Phylos. * * *
Divatox stared into the periscope, then moved back, shoving it up into the ceiling. "I do not believe this!" she bellowed. "That did not just happen!"
"What is it, sister?" Havoc asked, looking up from where he was attempting to teach Elgar to play poker.
Divatox turned to him, eyes blazing. "The White Ranger's Zord blew up Germator!"
"Did it manage to infect a Ranger?"
The pirate queen chuckled evilly. "The Red Ranger got it!" she frowned a moment later. "It would have been the Green one, if that traitorous Morgan hadn't knocked him away!"
"At least we will be rid of one of those Ranger," Havoc pointed out, trying to look on the bright side. Divatox shrugged as she glanced back at the periscope. A moment later, a low growl escaped her throat. "What are the Rangers up to now?" her brother wondered. It must be bad if she's not screaming and yelling at us!
"The Green and White ones are heading for Phylos!" she wailed. Havoc came to his feet, spilling the cards everywhere.
"NO!" he growled. "They must be searching for the Samaris plant!"
Divatox stormed over to her brother. "They must be stopped! I will not permit them to cure the Red Ranger!"
"Piranatrons!" Havoc screamed almost as loudly as Divatox herself did. When they appeared, he ordered, "Follow the Green and White Rangers and stop them from getting the Samaris plant!"
The Piranatrons vanished a moment later, and Divatox smiled evilly. "You are so twisted and corrupt, Havoc!! I like that!"
"Not nearly as much as you are, dear sister!" Havoc told her. Divatox chuckled as she seated herself once more.
"My Piranatrons will destroy those two Rangers, and without the Samaris plant, the Red Ranger will perish!"
Havoc threw his head back and laughed. "Three Rangers down, three to go!" * * *
Two beams of light transformed into two morphed Rangers as they landed on a rocky plateau. Carlos looked over to his erstwhile partner. "You know, you could at least tell me your name."
"No," she grunted. "The temple is supposed to be that way, according to Dimitria's map," she gestured to the left after a quick look at the parchment. "Let's get moving, Red Ranger doesn't have much time."
As they started, Carlos wondered, "Why do you always call us by our 'Ranger' titles? I mean, you know who we are, we all know that. But you always call me Green Ranger, T.J. Red Ranger, and so on. Why?"
"I have my reasons," she told him in a tone that didn't invite further conversation.
Geez, I wonder what her problem is? She's so cold sometimes, so distant. Carlos thought as they headed down the path. "White Ranger," he said tentatively after almost ten minutes.
"That Zord of yours. Do you run it by remote control or something?" Maybe she'll at least talk about her Zord, if nothing else!
She chuckled. "No. White Comet is. . .special. That's all you really need to know. Very special indeed."
"Where did you get it from?" he said. "I mean, we never saw it when you were working for Divatox."
"Only because I received access to it just before I. . .left her service," White Ranger told him. That was a mild touchy point for the both of them; Morgan because she didn't want to hint it was her love for him that had given her the courage to stop the death-blow that would've removed his dead; Carlos because he remembered the sheer panic that had overwhelmed him as the blade had come towards him.
They walked on in silence for a few more yards, until finally Carlos asked what he'd been wondering for the past month. "Why did you refuse their orders that last time? From what we know, you were being controlled by pain, and hadn't shown any signs of trying to escape before then."
"Are you complaining?" she grated.
"Well, no," he shook his head. "Just curious." P> She looked at him for a long moment, then finally said, "Because I would have rather died than kill in her service. I had done enough just hurting you Rangers by then. I didn't want to become a murderer, no matter what," she turned back to the way they had been going. "Let's keep on, we shouldn't be too far from the temple now." * * *
Gia headed through the park, wondering at what she'd seen earlier. Justin had shot. . .lasers or something very laser-like from his eyes. He'd been almost as surprised as she had when it had happened, and those fish-things had vanished almost in fear.
Wonder if it has something to do with him being a Ranger. No one knows everything about the Rangers. But he did seem surprised. Gia's head snapped up as she heard a burbling sound. In front of her were five of those fish-things, Piranatrons!
"Oh, great, where's a Power Ranger when you need one?" she muttered as she fell into a fighting stance. "Looks like I'm going to have to deal with this on my own!"
As the monsters charged her, Gia backflipped and slammed one hard in the belly. She almost giggled at the comical expression on it's face, then had to dodge from three more as they started to chase her. "Come on, guys, you can do better than that!" she taunted as she decided to pull the oldest trick in the book. Running as fast as she could, she headed for a garden wall nearby, making sure the Piranatrons followed her. At the very last second she dodged to the side. The fish-things plowed straight into the wall, collapsing into a little heap at the bottom.
She stopped and stared at them as they vanished, shaking her head. "You guys simply aren't bright, you know this, don't you?"
"That's true!" she jumped a little when she heard Justin's voice from behind her. She turned and smiled at him. "Are you okay, Gia?" he asked, coming up. "I. . .saw you fighting those things."
She nodded. "I'm fine," flexing a muscle. "It's not like those things actually have a brain or anything! They were easy to handle!"
"Good," he smiled. "I was on my way home, I stopped when I heard the commotion."
Yeah, keep that up, and I might even believe you! Gia managed to keep herself from blurting out she knew his secret. "That's nice. Well, I'd better get home myself! See you!"
She started off, listening carefully, and chuckled softly when she heard the sound of Justin teleporting away. One day, I'll tell you. One day. * * *
"Is he doing any better?" were Justin's first words as he teleported back into the Power Chamber. Cassie shook her head as she wiped away the sweat from their friend's brow once again.
"I think he's doing worse," she told him. "If Carlos and the White Ranger don't get back soon, it may be too late."
Ashley ran another scan on T.J. "He is getting worse," she reported. "At the rate he's going, I'd say he's got maybe six hours, if that much, before. . ."
"Before what?" Justin wanted to know why Ashley had stopped in the middle of her sentence!
She took a deep breath, not meeting his eyes. "Before there's nothing anyone can do for him."
"Now, now, Yellow Ranger, don't shelter the poor boy!" Divatox's voice came from the Viewing Globe. "Before he dies, you mean!"
Everyone whirled to control the evil pirate queen. "What have you done to T.J., you witch?" Cassie growled harshly.
"Oh, I think you've diagnosed it very well," Divatox laughed at them. "The problem is, you're not going to find the cure in time!"
"Divatox, you and your evil will never win," Dimitria told her sharply. "T.J. will survive, no matter what you try."
The pirate stared at them, eyes glinting with evil. "I seriously doubt that, Dimitria! Even now, your little White and Green Rangers are being torn apart by my Piranatrons!"
Even as Divatox's laughter began to echo in the room, Alpha flipped a couple of switches and blocked her from the globe. Cassie looked back at T.J. "We're going to save you, T.J.," she whispered. "No matter what she tries."
Justin nodded, as Ashley turned to Dimitria. "Do you think she has sent Piranatrons after Carlos and the White Ranger?"
"It is entirely within the realm of possibility," Dimitria said solemnly. "If she has, then they are in great danger."
"Do you think they can get the Samaris plant, Dimitria?" Cassie wondered.
"I hope so, Cassie, I hope so," Dimitria looked at T.J. "For he does not have much time left." * * *
"I don't think I've ever seen anything like that!" Morgan breathed in sheer awe as she and Carlos stared from the edge of the mountains they had just emerged from to face a wide, breathtaking, forest. "It's incredible!"
"Incredible isn't the word for it," Carlos was too distracted by the unspoiled beauty in front of them to notice White Ranger wasn't using her usual harsh tones. "I think Dimitria said the Temple was on the other side, right?"
She nodded, resuming her 'disguise' voice as she did so. "We can't waste any time, either, Red Ranger needs us." Without even waiting for him, she started into the forest. Carlos shook his head a little, then followed her.
I wish she'd drop the attitude, at least for now. How are we supposed to work together, if she won't trust me? "White Ranger," he called out after they'd been in the forest almost a full twenty minutes. As she stopped to look at him, his eyes widened. "Look out!" he snapped. It was to her credit she didn't ask 'for what', but dropped like a rock, whirling to the side at the same time. The Piranatron that had almost taken her head off fell to the ground as she took its feet out from under it.
"Looks like Divatox doesn't want us to cure your friend!" she called out, backflipping to her feet.
"I think you're right," he nodded, keeping an eye on the Piranatrons that seemed to be boiling up out of the woodwork here. "Can you handle the ones over there?"
She ducked as she karate-chopped a Piranatron that tried to grab her, then tossed it over one shoulder into a tangle of vines. "No problem. What about you?"
"I've got it covered!" he scampered over a fallen tree and dodged two Piranatrons deftly, who both wound up bumping into each other and slamming to the ground. "They're not that bright!"
"I figured that one out the first time I fought them!" she told him. She frowned a little under her helmet, remembering how they'd invaded her cozy private space in her old home. I beat them, but Divatox and Havoc WANTED me to then. Wanted me to prove I was worthy of being their White Ranger. Well, I am the White Ranger, only I'm not THEIRS anymore. Time to kick some fin!
Carlos wondered briefly just how Divatox and Havoc had come to find her, who was hiding under that helmet. Then he didn't have time to worry, since half a dozen opponents gives one little time to think about much else besides fighting.
Blast it, this isn't going well! Morgan thought as she ran, dodging Piranatrons the whole way. We need some sort of edge, and all these trees aren't helping either of us fight! She jumped quickly to the left, watching as her enemies piled against it. I can't do this the whole time either, they won't keep falling for it, even Piranatrons aren't THAT dumb!
"This isn't good," she murmured as she saw Carlos surrounded by Piranatrons, and quite a few more heading for her. "What did she do, send out her entire army?"
Morgan. The quiet voice in her mind almost startled her.
Yes. You and the Green Ranger are in trouble?
Oh, gee, whatever made you think that? she grumbled sarcastically as she dodged another grabbing hand.
The tone of your mind, and the fact I see well over fifty Piranatrons in your vicinity. It is time for the Cometblade.
"The what?" she was so startled she forgot to think her question, as she usually did when not in private while talking with her Zord.
The Cometblade. Each Ranger has always had their own special weapon, and the Cometblade is yours. Into her mind there came an image of a sword, delicate and strong, with a hilt of solid ivory, carved with the images of comets and set with a single glittering diamond. This is the Cometblade. Your sword.
It's beautiful!!! Awe filled her. How do I get it? Where is it?
As you are the White Comet Turbo Ranger, the Cometblade is a part of you. Hold your swordhand to the sky and call out 'Cometblade', White Comet instructed. Morgan held her right hand up.
"Cometblade!" she snapped it almost as if it were an order, and a moment later, the sword she'd seen in her mind's eye formed in her hand. The Piranatrons fell back at the sight, then started forward. This time, however, with her sword in her hand, the White Ranger charged towards them. With each stroke a half dozen Piranatrons fell to the side, until she'd reached Carlos. "Want a lift out of here, Green Ranger?" she asked, almost laughing.
"You know it!" he told her. "Where did you get that sword?"
"A gift from a friend," she smiled as she and he ran through the woods as fast as they could, leaving the Piranatrons far behind them. Thanks, Comet. Thanks a lot.
It belonged to you already, you just needed to be told of it. Hurry, T.J. is not doing well.
How do you know?
I am able to monitor him by tapping into the Power Chamber video systems. It isn't easy, either, they've got all kinds of defenses up. But I can at least watch, if nothing else.
Thanks, Comet, she told him. Let us know if. . . anything happens, okay?
I will, Morgan. Be swift.
She nodded briefly, unnoticeably, as she and Carlos charged through the very heart of the woods, seeking the other side and the temple that would have the cure they needed so desperately. * * *
"Porto!" Divatox screamed at the top of her lungs. "Get out here right now! I want to talk to you!"
The science officer was there a moment later. "Yes, my queen, how may I serve you?"
"I need two new monsters, right away!" she bellowed into his face. "One to distract the Rangers from their sick friend here, and another one to attack the Green and White Rangers on Phylos, they must not be permitted to reach the temple!"
Porto shuffled around a little. "Two new monsters? Right now?" he muttered. "At the same time? I don't think I can do that, Your Majesty!"
"What did you just say?" Divatox's eyes glowed. "Did you just say you couldn't carry out an order of mine?"
Havoc stood up suddenly. "Dear sister, let me interject. I will go myself to Phylos and stop the Rangers from gaining the cure. Porto, you can certainly manage one monster, can't you?"
"Yes, of course, sir," Porto bobbed and nodded. "In fact, I think I might have one in mind already!"
Divatox smiled at Havoc. "Excellent, brother! You will be far better than another one of Porto's stupid monsters! I know you won't fail me!" she turned to Porto. "Now, you said you had a monster?"
"Yes!" he nodded, relieved he didn't have to make two monsters. "This is the Thorned Terror, my queen!" he gestured to a powerfully built monster with a thousand or more thorns all over it's body. "It will tear the Rangers to shreds!"
Divatox looked it over, testing one of the thorns with a finger. "Ohhh!!" she smiled as it almost drew blood! "Ahh, I like it, Porto! This is certainly one of your better monsters!" she congratulated him, forgetting she'd been insulting his creations only moments earlier. "Send it to Earth at once! Havoc, you go to Phylos! The Rangers will not succeed!" * * *
Ashley wiped T.J.'s forehead one more time; she'd forgotten how many times she'd done that in the last hour or two. He was getting worse, that was obvious. His breathing had grown shallower, and there were light patches of blue appearing in spots all over him. Alpha had told them those were the symptoms of the disease, and would spread the worse he got.
"They are going to save him, aren't they, Ashley?" Justin asked softly, plaintively, as the Blue Ranger looked into her dark eyes.
Ashley glanced over to Cassie, who was busy helping Alpha find anything and everything he could on the disease, hoping to learn of an easier cure. The Pink Ranger looked back at her. "Sure, Justin," she said finally. "They're going to bring back the cure, and fix T.J. right up!"
"We should hear from Carlos and the White Ranger sometime soon," Dimitria told them. "They were teleported as close as we could get them to the Temple, but there was still a long distance between them and it."
Justin nodded slowly. "Let's hope they make it."
Cassie was about to go back to the computers, when the alarms ran throughout the Power Chamber. "Oh, man!" she moaned, checking the monitors. "One of Divatox's monsters is wrecking havoc in the park!"
"The Thorned Terror is a fierce opponent, Rangers, and we are two members down," Dimitria reminded them. "You must fight it, but be warned. It has Piranatrons to help it, as well as Elgar and Rygog. This will not be an easy fight."
"Three of us against, about twenty of them," Ashley counted off Piranatrons in the Viewing Globe. "Oh, this is going to be fun."
Justin came over to stand with the two girls. "But we have to do it," he told them. "We're Rangers, and that's what Rangers do."
"I know," Cassie looked briefly at T.J. "Alpha, you keep an eye on T.J., okay?"
"Yo-yo-yo, you know it, Cassie!" the droid went over to the unconscious Ranger. "You guys go protect the city!"
Ashley turned to the others. "Shift into Turbo!" in a flash of blue, yellow, and pink, the three remaining Rangers morphed and were gone. Alpha looked up at Dimitria.
"Yo, Dimitria, T.J. ain't doing good at all!" he reported. "I didn't want to say anything with the Rangers here, but if Carlos don't get back soon with that cure, it's gonna be too late!"
The veiled mentor looked down at the sick Red Ranger. "They will succeed, Alpha. Have faith."
The monitors beeped suddenly, and Alpha checked them quickly. He looked back to Dimitria. "Dimitria, he's gone into a coma."
The Inquirian looked worried, even for someone whose face couldn't be seen very well. Hurry, Carlos. Hurry, White Ranger. T.J. has little time left. Very little time. * * *
Morgan and Carlos emerged from the forest; she still carried her sword in one hand, and was at full alertness for attacks. Carlos' hand on her shoulder alerted her to something else though.
"The temple of Kyloc!" he breathed. She stared, eyes widening under her helmet.
It's the most beautiful place I've ever seen in my life!, she thought as they headed towards it. "We're here," was all she said, though. "We're going to save your friend, Green Ranger!"
Carlos nodded hopefully. "Let's just hope nothing else gets in the way between here and there."
"Oh, like me, perhaps?" they both stared as General Havoc appeared out of thin air in front of them. "What's the matter, Rangers? You'd think you'd never seen someone who wanted to kill you before!"
White Ranger stepped in front of Carlos, sword upraised. "I think you might want to rethink this one, Havoc!" she declared. "We're going to get that cure, and the Red Ranger will survive!"
"I don't think so, White Ranger!" Havoc laughed, pulling out his own blade. "Your leader is going to die, and that is only the beginning!"
"Carlos," Morgan spoke without looking at him, never taking her eyes off Havoc as they began to circle each other. "You get into the Temple and get that plant. I'll deal with Havoc."
He nodded, dodging past the general and heading for the wide double doors. He heard the clash and yell of their fight from behind him, but trusted the White Ranger to keep Havoc off his back as he reached to open the door. He almost tore his arm off pulling back, belatedly realizing that the doors were sealed somehow. "I don't believe it, we've come all this way, and they're locked," he muttered to himself. He spared a glance to see his partner and Havoc trading blows with fervor still; neither looked to have so much as broken a sweat, though it was impossible to tell really. Carlos looked back at the doors, and this time noticed something written on them.
Wish I could read this stuff, he thought as he examined the strange
squiggles. They might say how to get inside, there could be another
entrance. Even as he stared at them, however, the writings writhed
and changed to become English. His eyes widened as he read the poem that
was revealed there to himself.
Travelers from afar or near
If thou art good, art welcome here,
Within these walls doth lie the cure,
But beware dark evil's lure,
To enter here, thou must be twain,
To open up the doors main,
If pure of purpose and strong of heart,
Thou wilt win thy prize,
If thou art not, then do not start.
Beware, and see the truth beneath the lies.
"Not exactly prize-winning poetry," he muttered, "but it looks like I'm going to need White Ranger to open up this place, and she's busy. I wonder what the rest of it means?"
"Green Ranger!" he looked behind him at the sound of the White Ranger's call, and blanched beneath his helmet. She was down on the ground, Havoc's sword at her throat. Her own blade a few feet away from her, out of her reach.
Havoc chuckled. "Oh, Divatox is going to be so pleased! Not only do I prevent you from getting the Samaris plant, but I will return her traitorous White Ranger to her! You're going to love being evil again, my dear, and this time, no implants that can be removed!" he gloated. Carlos' eyes were on the White Ranger, and he could plainly tell the fright that filled her at that thought.
She'd rather die than serve them again, I can tell. I won't let that happen. In that moment, Carlos realized the White Ranger was his friend, and he was hers. And friends didn't let friends become evil, not if they could do something about it. "Turbo Thunder Cannon!" he snapped out, and as his weapon appeared in his hands, the Green Ranger leveled it at Havoc. "Leave her alone, Havoc," his voice was calm and deadly. "Or I blow you back to Divatox in pieces."
"You wouldn't dare!" he hissed. "If you hit me, you'll hit your precious White Ranger here!"
Morgan caught her breath; she knew Carlos didn't know it was her, but this was far too much like the dream she'd had the night before not to scare her. The man she loved was pointing a weapon, almost directly at her. . .she shook the memory away. That wasn't going to happen. She did more than love Carlos, she trusted him.
"Try me," Carlos spoke with pure ice dripping off his words. "Try me, and find out just how serious I am, Havoc."
The general glanced down at the White Ranger, who returned his gaze levelly, despite her helmet being in the way. "You would let him kill you?" he asked curiously. "That is madness, you know!"
"That is saving the life of the Red Ranger," she told him. "That's more important."
Havoc lifted his sword, permitting her to rise. "You humans are too foolish," he said. "But I will not risk my own existence at this time. Save your precious Red Ranger, if you can!" he raised his blade in another of his mocking salutes. "But I think you'll find it's too late!" in a blast of flame, he vanished, going back to the SpaceBase.
White Ranger picked up her sword, muttering something under her breath Carlos couldn't hear as he came over to her. "What happened?" was all he asked, though.
"Stupid mistake," she growled. "I tripped on a rock, and he had me. What about you, couldn't you get into the temple?"
He shook his head. "Come on, I have to show you something. It's not going to be that easy to get the Samaris plant."
"What do you mean?"
Carlos hesitated a moment. "You've got to see it to understand, come on." * * *
Cassie leaned against Ashley for a moment, catching her breath as quickly as she could. The Piranatrons were rough enough, but this Thorned Terror was a nightmare! They could barely get close to it without being torn up by it's razor-sharp thorns. "We need the others," the Pink Ranger said.
Justin nodded from where he'd just been knocked back one more time from the thing. Rygog and Elgar both laughed at them from their standpoint a few feet away. "Oh, the mighty Rangers defeated at last!" Rygog ridiculed them.
"Hey, Rygog!" Elgar tapped the blue-shelled warrior on the shoulder. "Don't we usually face five Rangers, maybe six sometimes?"
Rygog nodded. "Looks like they're a few short!" he raced towards them suddenly, knocking Ashley off her feet, then throwing Cassie into a tree. Justin pulled out his Hand Blasters and fired, forcing Rygog to back away.
"Leave my friends alone!" he hissed.
"Ohhhhh!" Rygog laughed. "The littlest Ranger is threatening us! Should we be scared, Elgar?"
Divatox's nephew shook his head. "These Rangers are nothing without their friends!" he declared. "And we're gonna destroy them all!"
The three Rangers looked at each other, then as one pulled out their Turbo swords. They all knew one thing: if they went down, it would be as a team, and they would go down fighting. * * *
Morgan looked at the poem on the door and shook her head. "Why aren't things ever easy?" she wondered, half to herself. "All right, it looks like we both have to open these doors to get inside."
The Green Ranger nodded, then almost at the same time, each took hold of one of handles and pulled. This time, they swung smoothly open, revealing the interior of the temple. Instead of being one simple room, however, doorways and passageways of all types abounded. Carlos stared. "Easy? Try 'impossible'!" he almost shouted. "How are we supposed to find the Samaris plant in here?"
Morgan's eyes flicked from place to place. "By seeing the truth beneath the lies," she muttered.
"Truth beneath the lies?" Carlos wondered. "What do you mean?"
"I'm not sure," the White Ranger slowly walked into the temple. "But I don't think this place is everything it appears to be," she glanced around, walking towards a wall and examining it closely. "And I'm right."
Carlos came over to her; dust lay thick over everything, it was obvious the temple hadn't been entered in years, if not centuries. "I don't get it," he said finally. "This place is a complete maze, and we're wasting time here, we've got to start looking for that plant!"
"It may be closer than you think," she had dropped to her haunches, reaching out to touch the dusty floor. "This isn't real."
"What isn't real?" the Green Ranger asked her. "What are you talking about?"
Morgan chuckled. "Look at the way this dust lies," she pointed out. "If this wall were real, it would be piled up against it. That's how dust collects, I know, I've seen it before. But it doesn't, it lays smooth: like the wall isn't even there."
"A fake wall?"
"Yeah," she nodded. "I'd say a lot of fake walls, but I can't be sure without checking this whole area, and Red Ranger doesn't have that kind of time. So we're going to have to do this another way."
"What other way?"
She stood up, brushing her gloves off as she did so. "Walk through the wall."
Carlos shook his head. "My helmet must be on too tight, I could've sworn you said 'walk through the wall.'"
"I did," she stated, then casually did so! Carlos stared after then, an eerie chill running down his spine as she stuck her head back through it. "Aren't you coming? Once you go through, the illusion or whatever it is doesn't affect you anymore."
"I dunno," Carlos was a bit hesitant; this is something he'd never seen before! Then he shrugged; until becoming the Green Ranger, he hadn't seen a lot of things! He took a deep breath, then walked through the wall. As he reached the other side, he glanced to the White Ranger.
"No," she whispered even as his eyes fell on her. "Not again, never again!"
"White Ranger?" he looked to see what she was looking at, since she didn't appear to be looking at him. "White Ranger, what is it?"
"She sees the power of the side of evil, and sees herself serving it willingly," he looked around at the strange voice, but saw nothing that could be the source of it. The temple was in reality one wide room, with four statues placed on each wall: a golden dragon, a silver unicorn, an ebony pegasus, and an ivory griffin. "Such is her greatest nightmare."
"Who said that?" he asked. There was a soft chuckle, and another, different, voice spoke.
"Your companion faces the darkness of her own soul, and that is a sight few gaze into and survive."
Carlos looked around again, trying to find who had spoken. "What have you done to her?"
"What do you care?" a third voice asked. "She is not your friend, she has fought against you in the past. You do not even know who she is under her helmet."
The Green Ranger shook his head. "She is my friend, it doesn't matter that I don't know her real name or what she looks like. She's fought against us, yes, but she's also fought with us, and she risked her life by coming on this quest. She didn't have to, she could've just left and went. . .well, wherever it is she goes when she's not being the White Ranger. But she didn't."
A fourth voice spoke up. "You fear what she was. You fear that you might become as she was, if you are not careful."
Carlos almost opened his mouth, then shut it again. He couldn't refute that, it had haunted his dreams ever since the White Ranger had appeared. He'd woken up three nights previously, sweat dripping from his forehead and heart pounding, from a nightmare in which he was the one who had been evil, who had fought against a good White Ranger, whom he had killed, though she begged for mercy. He hadn't gotten back to sleep that night, either. "Yes, I do," he said finally. "I am afraid of being evil. I don't want to hurt my friends or the people I care for."
"Yet she did this," the first voice spoke again. "She harmed those she had come to care for, regardless of her own desires."
"I had no choice," the White Ranger spoke up suddenly. Carlos felt instant relief; she was all right! "I was being controlled by the pain implant General Havoc and Divatox had placed within me," Morgan controlled her voice perfectly; there was no hint that only moments before she had seen herself serving evil with all her heart.
The second voice chuckled. "Do you blame them for your actions, then?"
"No," she shook her head. "I take responsibility for the things that I did, and have dedicated my life to making up for them, as much as I can. I could've fought harder in the beginning, died before giving in to them. But I knew if that happened, they'd just give the Powers, and the pain implant, to someone else. Maybe to someone who would turn evil completely and willingly. I couldn't live or die knowing that my actions or inactions could very well have doomed the world, or at least put it into serious danger that could've been prevented."
"And if by taking these Powers, that is what doomed the world?" the third voice asked.
"Then that is what is to be," she said evenly. "I chose as I felt was best at the time, and if I was wrong, then when I am proven wrong, should it be within my power, I will fix what I can."
The fourth voice spoke now. "Why have you two come to this place?"
The sudden change of subject threw both Rangers off for a moment. Carlos was the first to recover. "We came for the Samaris plant, a friend of ours is in danger of his life. Divatox had him infected with the Altairian Cordon, and that is the only thing that can cure him."
"Do you both claim the Red Ranger as your friend?" the first voice asked. Carlos nodded, then glanced to his companion. Oh, man, I get the feeling lying to these guys. ..whoever they are. . .is NOT a good idea! Whoever you are under that helmet, tell the truth now, please!!
"I do," she spoke quietly. "Though they do not know who I am, I claim all the Rangers as my friends. I do not know how they feel about me, but I know that I will protect them with my life."
The second voice questioned, "Even though they may not feel the same way about you?"
White Ranger shrugged. "That doesn't matter. I would like their friendship, but I accept the fact they don't trust me, and probably never will. I took that risk when I spared the life of the Green Ranger and left Divatox's service forever."
The voices all made approving noises. "Very well, Green Ranger, who fights for good under the leadership of Dimitria of Inquirius, and White Ranger, who fights for good under her own heart's guidance. You have proven that you each posses courage, honor, friendship, loyalty, and strength. You have earned the Samaris plant. Hold out your hands."
As they did so, a three-foot long plant appeared in their outstretched hands, with a shimmering blossom on the top. The petals were thin and light, being a pale gold on the outside, and a rich blue on the inside. "Well done," the second voice told them. "Well done indeed, my friends. But you had best return to your own world now, your friend is failing fast, and the other Rangers need your help in a battle with one of Divatox's monsters. Go, and go swiftly. May the blessings of the gods of your choice be on you always."
The White Ranger nodded and prepared to teleport, as Carlos paused a moment to look around the temple one last time. "Whoever you are, thank you," he said.
"You are welcome," the third voice told him. "Anything to help the Power Rangers."
Carlos touched his communicator, as White Ranger touched something on her own wrist, and a moment later, they stood in the Power Chamber. "We got it!" he declared, holding the plant out to Alpha, who shuffled swiftly over to take it. As the droid started to prepare the cure, the Green Ranger looked over at his erstwhile partner. "What did you see there, when you were looking. . .into the darkness of your own soul?" he remembered the phrase the voices had used.
For a moment, she didn't answer. Then finally, "I saw myself, being evil because I wanted to be. It hurt to see myself like that, Carlos, it hurt more than you can imagine," for one moment, she spoke neither as Morgan nor as White Ranger, but as someone who had been injured in the soul. "I realized, though, that it was just an illusion, like the wall. That I wasn't evil. That I could choose my own path, and that I had chosen to break away from evil. Then I heard you speaking with whoever it was there, and you know the rest."
Carlos nodded as he glanced up at Dimitria. "Who was that in the temple, anyway?"
"Those were the Guardians of the temple," she told them. "They tested you in their fashion to determine if you were worthy of the Samaris plant."
"And apparently, they were," Carlos and Morgan looked over to see T.J. sitting up, the color returning to his body, and his fever broken! "Thanks, guys! Thanks a lot. I owe you both my life."
Carlos smiled. "Hey, it was nothing you wouldn't do for us!"
The Red Ranger looked at the White, who stood to one side, obviously lost in her own thoughts. "White Ranger," he said finally. "Thank you."
She looked towards him. "It was the least I could do," she grated. "I was the cause of you being infected, since I didn't think properly at the time. It was only right that I help cure you."
"You didn't have to," T.J. reminded her. "You could've just went on about your business."
She shook her head. "It wouldn't have been right."
"It is that attitude which makes you a true Power Ranger, White Ranger," Dimitria told her. "Though you keep your identity secret, you are indeed our friend, you have proven this. You are welcome here in the Power Chamber at any time, and we will help you, as you have helped us. Thank you."
Though none of them knew it, beneath her helmet, Morgan was blushing fiery red. It took the alarms going off to get everyone's attention off her. "What's going on?" she asked.
"Yo-yo-yo, Rangers, the others are in deep deep trouble in the park!" Alpha reported. "Youse guys better get there quick!"
T.J. nodded. "White Ranger, will you fight with us?" he asked almost formally.
"I will." * * *
"We're getting trashed here!" Justin groaned. In thirty minutes of combat, the three Rangers had been hit, punched, kicked, and pounded on more than they had imagined was possible. There was no way they could leave the battle, if they did, the Thorned Terror would just start tearing up Angel Grove. But if they stayed, they knew they were signing their own death warrants.
"No kidding!" Ashley could barely stand up she hurt so badly. "We need the others, and fast!"
Cassie nodded, just barely managing to dodge a Piranatron as it came towards her. "But T.J.'s still out of it, and who knows where Carlos and the White Ranger are!"
"They are gone!" Divatox appeared in a blast of fire and light. "They are gone, and you are all going to die! Face it, Rangers, I've won! All you have to do is admit it, and I'll let you live!"
Justin looked at the girls, and knew without having to see their faces that they thought the same way he did. "Forget it, Divatox," the Blue Ranger told her. "We'll fight you until the bitter end."
"Mmmmmm, and it's going to be a bitter end for you all!" the pirate laughed. "Rygog, Elgar!" as the two mutants appeared next to her, she pointed to the three tired Rangers. "Finish them off!"
"With pleasure, my queen!" Rygog started towards them, Elgar right beside him. The Rangers readied themselves for what they all knew would be their final fight, without a miracle happening. Rygog and Elgar drew closer. . .
Then stopped in their tracks as a blast of laser fire blew dirt and grass five feet into the air. Everyone, Rangers and villains alike, looked up to the hilltop the shot had come from.
"Divatox, take your little freak show here and go home!" T.J. the Red Ranger said, standing strong and confidant as he holstered his laser pistol. "The odds have just shifted in our favor!"
"Ohhh, one little Ranger shows up and suddenly we're outnumbered!" Divatox laughed. "I don't think so! I don't know how you're standing up, Red Ranger, but my Thorned Terror will destroy you all!"
"Oh, don't you know when to shut up, Divatox?" T.J. was suddenly flanked by the Green and White Rangers! White Ranger, who had spoken, glared at her former mistress. "Pack your monster up and leave, before we're forced to get annoyed!"
Divatox stared at them, then raised her arms in preparation for teleportation. "You will pay for what you've done, White Ranger!" she hissed. "And you will pay in pain!"
"Just go," Green Ranger told her. "We're tired of your lip, Divatox."
In her usual ball of fire, the self-proclaimed Queen of Evil vanished, leaving only the Piranatrons and the Thorned Terror behind. "I knew she wouldn't make it that easy on us," Carlos muttered. "Ashley, Justin, Cassie, get back to the Power Chamber!"
The other Rangers were about to protest, when twin torpedoes landed near the Thorned Terror, growing it to gigantic size! T.J. shook his head. "We're going to need everyone for this!" he declared. "You guys up for this?" he glanced to their friends.
"You know it!" Justin nodded.
"Let's do it!" was Ashley's response.
"Time to rock!" came Cassie's answer.
T.J. smiled under his helmet, then turned to White Ranger. "Can you keep that thing busy while we form the Rescue MegaZord?"
She nodded. "Just hurry up, I won't be able to do it forever!" at T.J.'s return nod of agreement, Morgan mentally summoned White Comet. Come on, my friend, time to go to work!
I am here for you, White Ranger, as I always am, her Zord told her as it soared up from it's hiding place. Come, let us teach this evil creation the folly of interfering with the Power Rangers!
She leaped inside, grinning as she always did when within White Comet. There were few things she enjoyed more than kicking around one of Divatox's monsters; it gave her some small measure of joy to get back at the evil queen in this manner. "Fire lasers!" she ordered, and was rewarded by the sight of the monster trying to cover it's eyes as the lasers blazed towards it. "Missiles launch!" Twin missiles soared across, not causing much damage, but still being annoying.
"White Ranger!" she heard T.J.'s voice over the communications system. "Rescue MegaZord has been formed, get you and your Zord out of there!"
"With pleasure!" she replied, restraining herself from chuckling as she banked and turned. "Give 'em one for me!" as she and White Comet started back to the cave. Another day, another one of Divatox's plans bites the dust, she told Comet as the Rescue MegaZord blew the Thorned Terror to pieces. I do so enjoy being one of the good guys. . .at last. .. * * *
"No! No! No! No!" Divatox screamed the denial out over and over again, not wanting to believe that it had had happened again! "The Rangers did not cure their friend, they didn't destroy my beautiful Thorned Terror! They didn't, there's no way they could have!"
Havoc shrugged. "Relax, Divatox," he advised. "You're going to have a heart attack if you keep this up!"
"And you!" she whirled on him. "You let the White and Green Rangers get the cure! You said you were going to stop them, and you failed! You're getting as bad as Elgar!"
Her brother stared at her in shock. "Well, there's no need to get insulting!" he told her. "I did what I did for a reason!"
"Oh, really?" she laughed. "This I simply must hear!"
Havoc smiled as he leaned back in his chair. "You will see, Divatox. All in good time, dear sister, all in good time."
"What have you got in mind?" she almost begged to know his plans, but he told her only,
"This will spell the end of the Power Rangers, and the White Ranger, forever!" * * *
"Okay, Carlos, spill it!" Cassie asked as the Rangers arrived back in the Power Chamber. "What was it like working with the White Ranger?"
Ashley nodded eagerly. "Yeah, did you find out anything more about her?"
Carlos thought for a few moments. "I found out she's loyal, honorable, trustworthy, and one excellent fighter!" he said at last. "I'm glad she's on our side now, and she is too."
"Uh-oh, I think Carlos is in love!" Cassie grinned at the look in her friend's dark eyes. "What's Morgan going to say about that, Carlos?"
The Green Ranger blushed red at that. "I'm not in love with the White Ranger!" he protested. "I'm dating Morgan, remember?"
T.J. grinned. "I don't know, when I woke up, you two looked very friendly together!" he teased. Carlos' blush deepened, it was all he could do to keep a straight face as his friends kept up the teasing. The joking mood ended suddenly when Alpha came over to them, waving some papers around.
"Yo, I got the results back from the tests we ran on Justin earlier today!" he told them. "Youse guys ain't gonna believe this!"
The Blue Ranger frowned a little. "What is it, Alpha?"
"Yeah, what do the tests say?" Ashley wondered. I hope nothing's wrong with him!
Alpha looked down at the printouts he held, then back at the Rangers. "Rangers, the tests all say the same thing, and I ran 'em through the computers four times to be sure. ..but every time, dey came out the same way!"
"Alpha, don't keep us in suspense!" T.J. leaned against the console. He had been cured completely by the Samaris plant, but was still a little weak. "What do the tests report?"
"Dat Justin. . .isn't human. . .," the little robot watched the Rangers' reactions carefully, and it was pretty much as he and Dimitria had figured they would be: complete shock and disbelief.
Justin, amazingly, was the first one to speak. "I'm. . .not human? Then what am I?"
"The scans have not been able to match up your DNA structure with any known species," Dimitria told him. "However, there is enough evidence for us to assume you are half-human, at the least. You are apparently a crossbreed, someone half-human, half-alien. Though what species your non-human half is we have yet to determine."
T.J. looked at his young friend. "Justin, do you think your dad might know something about this?"
"No, I don't think so," the youngest Ranger said after a few moments of thought. "I think he would have told me if he knew my mom was an alien."
"Are you so certain that it is your mother who was the alien?" Dimitria asked. "It is possible that he is the nonhuman."
Justin bit his lip. "Could you scan Dad and see?" he finally asked. "I want to know one way or the other."
It only took a moment for Alpha to run the scan on Mr. Stewart, and the results were back even sooner than that. "Yo, Justin, it looks like your dad's one hundred percent human!"
The Blue Ranger took a deep breath. "Then it was my mom who was an alien," he whispered. "I wonder where she was from?"
Carlos laid a hand on Justin's shoulder. "You okay?" he asked. When his friend didn't answer right away, Carlos repeated the question a little louder. Justin almost jumped out of his skin at that! "Sorry, Justin," Carlos apologized.
"It's okay," Justin almost stammered. "I just want to think about some things right now, guys," without another word, he teleported out of the Power Chamber.
"I hope he's going to be all right," Cassie said quietly. "I can't imagine what he must be going through right now."
T.J. took a long and deep breath. "If he needs us, we'll be there for him," was all he said. The others all nodded; that went without saying. What else were friends for? * * *
He sat on the same bench he had earlier that day, throwing stones into the lake again. But this time, he had more to think about than just his dad or his friends or when Divatox was going to attack again. This time, he knew something. He knew he was different. Oh, everyone was different, but not everyone was like him. He wasn't human, not entirely.
I wonder where Mom really came from. Which one of those stars is my real home? Justin stared up into the darkening sky, his thoughts churning. Why didn't she ever tell Dad? Or did she, and he's just not telling me? I can't be sure of anything anymore. I thought I was human, and I turn out to be. . .whatever it is that I am.
"Justin?" he glanced up, and just as he had earlier, saw Gia standing there. "Was I interrupting anything?" she wondered.
"No," he shook his head. "I was just thinking a little, that's all."
She laughed, a sweet sound to hear. "You're going to hurt yourself if you keep doing that!"
He had to laugh, it was infectious. "Come on, sit down," he made room for her on the bench. "Has there been anymore trouble from those Piranatrons?" he asked, remembering how she'd been attacked earlier in the day.
"Nope," she shook her head. "I guess they were just out causing trouble, and I got unlucky."
Justin smiled. "You sure showed them who not to mess with, though. I haven't seen a lot of people who can move like you do."
"I've been studying martial arts since I was about three," she told him. "What about you?"
"Me?" he looked a bit startled to be asked. "For as far back as I can remember, actually. It's always been something me and my dad worked on together. He had a martial arts studio back before my mom died," he was a little surprised to find he wasn't choking up after that. He guessed learning, or at least suspecting, that his mom was from outer space had something to do with that.
"That's cool," Gia leaned back against the bench and watched as the sun began to set over the lake. Anyone watching them would have never guessed that one of them was a Power Ranger and half-human, and that the other knew of his secret identity, but had sworn to herself not to tell.
They do make sort of a cute couple, don't they, Comet? Morgan thought as she walked by, remaining as silent as she could to preserve their peace. Whatever happened to him before, it doesn't seem to have hurt him in anyway.
You care about him, don't you?
He's a friend. He's a fellow Ranger. Yes, I do care about him, she replied. I care about them all.
Then why not tell them who you are?
Oh, don't get started on that again! It was all Morgan could do to keep herself from laughing at the tone of White Comet's mind. She did smile, though, a small, secret, mysterious smile that would've roused the curiosity of anyone who saw it. I'll tell them someday, Comet.
You are the most stubborn person I know, Morgan St. Clair! If it weren't for the tone of pure love in her Zord's mind, Morgan might have taken offense. As it was, she only chuckled.
I'll take that as a compliment. I'll tell them someday, Comet.
"It was fun working with you, Carlos," she whispered when she was where none other could hear. "See you soon, partner."